Cold snap

Monday was the last day of Skyweb installs for me for a month.  If things go as I plan, I probably won't be doing any more installs.  As I've said before, I'm currently seeking "regular employment" in hopes of funding a few projects I want to bring about.
While the job seeking process is now in full gear, I do have a few projects lined up for February.  First off, I'll be taking back the tech support telephone from Greg and doing more work in the shop.  I still hope to keep Greg on standby for various reasons, but my days will focus on providing technical support to the multitude of customers.
While  I won't be doing installs for Skyweb, I will be planning to work on their towers over the next month.  We will be raising up a brand new tower, replacing an existing one, and then put in around 5 higher capacity backbone links.  As time permits, I'm sure I'll be doing some service calls and signal checks in the area.  However, I do have AJ fully trained to do the installs and some service checks, so as soon as he gets a vehicle with some actual cargo room, he'll be set.
Raystown work continues.  There will be people wanting installs there of course, but we also have some tower work coming up and work around the Marina.
To round out the month, several clients have expressed interest in getting me to work on their website, and I have some programming work to hopefully finish up for myself.  So while I'll be freeing up 3 days a week, I have a hunch that I'll be filling that "void" rather quickly.

A Tale of H

I was going to call this "A Tale of Two H's", but then I realized that there is a lot more of H going on than I originally realized.
Anyways, since people have asked, the job in Hershey is somewhat up in the air.  I got some feedback about it.  Essentially, three people left for other jobs during December.  I don't know how many were full time and how many were part time, but I know they went and hired one full-time person.  They are going to train that person (3 weeks) and then wait a week to see if they need another part time person or not.  Which is basically saying "you might get the job, but we're going to see if we get along with what we have."
In the meantime, I've been looking at some other jobs.  Finding a "part-time" job is actually pretty hard.  Plenty of jobs are available for full time, with good pay and benefits.   Some of these jobs look very promising and are well within my skill set.  However, none of them really match what I'm looking for quite yet.  However, I did find a wonderful job in Hagerstown.  This is a full time position.  However, unlike the Hershey job, the job description looks like something I can keep interested in for a long time.  The pay is also very good (it starts at a rate that I would expect to get after working at one company for 5+ years).  I applied last week, and spoke with their "recruiter" today.  They are reviewing the resumes and will be scheduling interviews early next week.  He let me know that my resume was definitely "in the loop", so if I understand him correctly, I should have my interview next week sometime.  He also said that they need to fill the position soon (and they need more than one person in this position).  I'm a bit excited about that.. out of the other jobs I looked at, this is one I really feel I would enjoy working.
If I get the Hagerstown job, I'll end up closing my shop for a few months until I can resolve my schedule and get things back on track.  I'll still be able to take care of my existing clients over the weekends, and if I get a 4-day work schedule (or, while I'm dreaming, a 3-day) I'll be able to have another day for them.  Plus, I think I'd be ready to hire someone to work for me.

Ghosts of the Past

For those of you that don't know -- I live by myself. Now that winter truly seems to be here, I have only been heating the living room in my house (with a space heater). The living room has become my office, my bedroom, and my changing room. This one room stays between 65F and 70F while rest of the house seems to hold around 49F.
Anyways, I came home tonight and went up to my living room/office to do some work on the computer. I'm designing a mysql database for a recurring/real-time ISP billing system that I am writing when my gaim pops up and this "ann" is messaging me. I am dumbfounded as to who it could be. She obviously knows me, but how do I know her? Slowly, it hits me. This is Minnesota Ann! Actually, I thought it was Missouri Ann (I get those M states confused all the time), but she soon set me straight. But let me tell you about Minnesota Ann. Ann is "my first". By that, I mean she is the first person that I met online that I talked to more than once. I met her on IRCNet in either late '97 or early '98. She introduced me to Skeletor1/Mike and #cool_teens. She was the first girl I ever knew that had a bot.
I've talked with Ann many more times over the years. Somewhere in '02, I stopped getting on IRC as much, but we still messaged each other through AIM and related networks, occasional emails. But I would say I haven't truly heard from her in about 3-4 years. She had changed her screen name. But she found my site off of Mike's new site (she talks regularly with Mike), read my blog, and sent me a message out of the blue.
Talking to her again brought back many memories. I almost want to hop back on IRC again (even though neither of us are still on). Now let's think about this. I first registered with InterNIC in '98. My first post on here was in '99 telling people about my joining the USMC. There were more posts since then, but I ended up loosing them in '02 through my own fumbling. I've had the same screen name (squegie) since 1997. I've been "Squegie T. Sanest" for 10 years. I am ancient according to Internet time.
Ann has has the same email address since '98. Mine has shifted around. I had [email protected] and still do since '01. I now use [email protected] and probably will for the rest of my natural life. My snail mail address stayed the same from '01 to '06. My phone number has remained the same from '00 through now. With LNP, it will probably stay with me until the phone number structure changes. I find myself amazed at the number of things that have changed since I was 15, and the number of things that have stuck around.
I invite anyone that's known me for a long time, or even if you've just been reading this site for a while, or anyone really to post a comment on here for me to read. If we haven't talked in a while, I'd love to hear from you. Post a comment, send an IM, or even send me an email. If you're really up to it, give me a phone call.

After the champagne runs dry

New Year's Eve 2006 has come and gone. My "party" if you can still call it that was a lot smaller than planned, but still an enjoyable evening.
The end of December has given me a lot of of time to reflect on the past year or so, on where I am, and think about what I want to do next.
In April of '05, I got home from my second trip to Iraq. By May of '05, I had received my last active duty paycheck and was living entirely off of income from my business (not counting the reserve pay of $100-$200 per month -- most of that went right back into Marine activities). In December of '05, I had survived eight months of "on my own", survived Christmas, and I met Robin. In March of '06, I took another step and separated from the active reserves. No longer would I be making the trip to Ebensburg once a month. Two months later, in May, I committed to purchasing a house for me and my business, finalizing the paperwork and closing costs in June. In August, my business acquired Access Lightspeed, a nationwide dial-up ISP. In November, I took Robin to the Marine Corp Ball, and in December, we had Christmas together (multiple times). Overall, an excellent 21 months for me.
Where I Am:
While the last 21 months looks good on the surface, it was not without its rough spots. You can be moving along real good for a month or two, and then all of a sudden, you have a couple weeks of crap that leaves you spending the next two (good) months trying to catch back up. As it is, I have no real source of income I can count on to meet the bills each month.
I am not as good as some people believe me to be. There are some people I don't think very highly of. While everyone has been known to fall on hard times, these are the people that do it chronically. You know the type. They always have a reason for it, a story even. Somehow, through a series of seemingly unavoidable circumstances, the person has run out of money, and quite likely they have no work to make more of it. They live in a constant state of crisis. Well, it seems I am well on my way to becoming one of these people. I go from seemingly having plenty of work to having no work for no apparent reason. When there is no work, there is no money coming in, so I can't pay the bills that are due, were due, are now past due. Something always comes up at the same time like needing heating oil for the house, or tires for the car, or (currently) axle bushings for the car. And you start to realize that if you told someone a story in August or September about why you couldn't pay your bill right now, and then you're telling them another story in December, you're not doing quite as well as it seems. I hate having to tell someone that while I did agree to pay this amount before, I can't make good on that agreement. So what do I do? I screen my calls with caller id. There are two people that call me, and I know their numbers. I know from previous times that if I do answer and tell them that I can't pay right now, they will ask when I can, and I don't know. It might be in three days, it might be in three weeks. And then I do something, I make the money, I call them up and make a payment, and everyone is happy for another month or two. But until I do that, I'm one of those people, either screening their calls or telling stories. I will tolerate those kind of people, but I can't stand being one -- even though I am.
I remember once back at the unit, everyone was expected to throw $2 into a fund each month (it went towards various "fun" things for the unit). I did have $2, I just didn't have it on me in cash, so I borrowed from a friend. This prompted a conversation with another friend from Pittsburgh. I explained how I was essentially broke after I put gas in my car to go home (all in good cheer though) and she asked how that could be. I told her that self-employment doesn't pay as much as one would think. She told me that she had two jobs to make ends meet. There was a hint of an accusation in that.
The truth is that even though I am really good at cutting corners, budgeting to save money, and stopping myself from buying things I can't afford, I'm not really financially responsible. If I was, I would be doing everything in my power to make sure that I had enough money to make good on my promises. If I want my promises (fiscal or otherwise) to mean something, I have to stand behind them and honor them.
What I want to do next:
Basically, I am going to do what it takes to get my bills paid. Overall, my debt is mostly from advertising and total less than $5000 ($416/month). Compared to a lot of people I know, that is a small debt, but a debt nonetheless. To take care of this, I am going to take an actual W2 job that will provide me with a steady income. I'm calling it a part-time job because it will only be 3 days a week, but in truth, it will total 36 hours. I can always add more hours/days on as I need them. All income from this job will go towards my debt and immediate living expenses. It will take away from running the business and being available to clients, but is a necessary step for me to get things back on track.