Wretched XS

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Re: Wretched XS

#261 Unread post by Wrider » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:35 pm

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Well done!
Now pack yourself and your family up and go to the land of warmth and straight roads haha.
5 guys is pretty darn good I must admit. Although I like their fries better than their burgers.
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Re: Wretched XS

#262 Unread post by fireguzzi » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:50 pm

Welcome to the south! Now turn up the skynyrd and jack up yer truck cause we gone have us a good ole' time! Be careful of all the hazards of Florida though. Them gators will get ya if the retirees in their caddy's don't.
Congrats on the job
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Re: Wretched XS

#263 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:15 pm

Thanks, @Wrider and @fireguzzi. Five Guys...man, the burgers are like my wife made them, and the fries are like *I* made them...I'm a sucker for real potatoes made into French fries.

So, they made the job offer, and I made my counter-offer. I expect their 2nd offer tomorrow, and I have it on good authority that it's a decent offer. So, I might be moving down there in 2 weeks. And I finish my MBA in 3 weeks. And I walk in my graduation in 4 weeks.

Sadly, the Yamaha won't be moving down with me until my wife and kids move down in June or July. I can't tow a trailer with the Volvo. Once it's down, I might just spend the next 6 months rebuilding it so it isn't quite so asthmatic. Maybe I'll need to buy a GSXR to tide me over. :twisted:
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Re: Wretched XS

#264 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:18 pm

Done Deal

It's official...I'm a project manager for Tampa General Hospital. I'll be moving down there the last week of March -- it's spring break week so my wife and kids will caravan down with me and get me set up, then head back. They'll join me for good in June, after the school year finishes.

It's a good move for us -- I firmly believe that moving TO something is great, while moving AWAY is bad and depressing. And while we're admittedly moving away from winters, we're moving to a great job, great city, great beaches, and so on. It doesn't hurt that (while not mentioning any numbers..oo, tacky) they're just about doubling my salary and paying for our relocation. I'll get a free iPhone, too. :roll:

I won't have the bike immediately (as I think I said) but when we bring it down in June I'm looking forward to tearing it apart and rehabbing some of the more important bits. So, no immediate biking, but it's in the cards, and once the bike's up I can ride it all year long. :kicking:
1979 XS650F -- "Hi, My name's Nick, and I'm a Motorcyclist. I've been dry for four years." (Everybody: "Hi, Nick.")

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Re: Wretched XS

#265 Unread post by Wrider » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:41 pm

Oh man... Only doubling your salary? Are you sure you can handle that? haha. While COL will go up, it won't go up that far I'm sure!
Hmmmm now to plan a trip to Florida and use "visiting forum members" as an excuse to do it... haha
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Re: Wretched XS

#266 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:52 pm

Another Page Turned

Another stage of my life is done. Yesterday I finished my last class to earn my MBA. It has been a *long* two years, and my family doesn't really know what to do with me if I'm not down in our basement reading homework and writing case studies. When I started this, I counted up the 40 drives I'd have to make -- 320 miles each -- and it seemed like it stretched out forever. I figured out the distance, and it would be from Key West, to Point Barrow Alaska, back to Key West, and up to Baltimore. One of my team-mates drives twice as far as I do for school, and he figured out that he drove from Marquette, Michigan to Alaska and back...five times. Or around the equator once.

Anyway, all of a sudden I had three drives left. Than, yesterday I was finished up at 4pm, and we had a celebration dinner, and I made the 3 hour drive home for the last time. This Wednesday is my last day at work. Next Saturday I walk in my graduation ceremony. I look back at our "welcome dinner," and it seems like it was yesterday. Our intense first residency seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago. Yet, I feel like I've always been doing this, and like the people I've met during the program have always been my friends.

So... after I graduate, we drive home that evening...and get in the cars on Sunday morning and start our 2-day drive down to Florida. My kids have spring break that week, so my family is coming with me for the first week, then they're heading back to Michigan so my kids can finish out the school year, and we'll all be together in June. We've got a vacation rental lined up for me for the next couple of months.

I know I'll be busy -- I have to be certified in the EPIC medical EMR software, and I already have two trips to Wisconsin lined up. Plus, we'll be building our teams of analysts, and so on. I know I have some pretty big expectations to fill, so I'm going to have to hit the ground running. I'm hoping it helps me forget that I'm living 1300 miles from my family.

But right now, this week, I get to enjoy just not being a student anymore. I don't have to spend my weekends doing homework, I don't have to worry about grades. I can sit on my @ss and piddle around on the internet. This week, I get the joy of quitting the job that's been $crewing me for the past 10 years, and I get about a week of being unemployed. Things are going to be tight and pretty much $uck while we're in transition with a week without pay, and while supporting two households, and while paying all of Florida'$ fee$ that they $tick to new re$ident$ for car regi$tration and $o on. (dollar $ign$ intended) But we all know that once we're settled, it's worth it, and we can start digging our way out of the hole we're in, and start actually having a lifestyle.
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Re: Wretched XS

#267 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:28 pm

I'm...um....*between* jobs right now

So, I've technically joined the ranks of the unemployed. At least for a week or so. Yesterday was my last day at the job I've had for the last 10 years, and even though we were getting a mongo-size blizzard, walking out the car was the best thing ever. I've hated that place for most of those 10 years -- many of the people there are great, but as an organization, my former employer was corporate, policy-bound and cheap.

So we spent last night at the "Great Wolf Lodge," an indoor waterpark/hotel in town, so the kids could have some fun. As I said, we were getting a late-season blizzard, and it was awesome to be indoors in a swimsuit, looking out the window at 3" per hour of snow falling. Traverse City got 10" of snow in a day, and a bit north of us got 14". When we got home this afternoon, I had to gas up the snowblower one more time and clear the driveway so we could actually drive into it.

What's scarily clear now is that I have two days to get ready for our 2-day drive, and my move to Florida. And one of those days is going to be spent driving to Lansing so I can graduate. I think I'm going to be spending tomorrow packing.
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Re: Wretched XS

#268 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:15 pm

I Graduated

I walked in my graduation ceremony today. I'm an MBA now.

That is all.
1979 XS650F -- "Hi, My name's Nick, and I'm a Motorcyclist. I've been dry for four years." (Everybody: "Hi, Nick.")

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Re: Wretched XS

#269 Unread post by Tek » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:14 pm

Congrats!

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Re: Wretched XS

#270 Unread post by Johnj » Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:20 pm

Today is the first day of your new life. :lol:
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Re: Wretched XS

#271 Unread post by Wrider » Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:57 am

Congratulations man!
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Re: Wretched XS

#272 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:21 pm

Boring New Life...

Hey, thanks guys!

So. I've lived in Tampa for a week now. It's already in the high 80's (F, not C) in the afternoon, and sunny almost every day. I'm gonna love my bike when I get it down here. My commute takes me right through the downtown, but I don't have any qualms about riding instead of driving it, after seeing the traffic for a week. It's not cut-throat like Chicago or (gulp) Detroit. Of course, when I bring down the bike, my commute changes from the easy 14 miles on surface streets I have now, to 25 miles of mostly expressway...and my old '79 XS isn't much for freeway speeds anymore.

So, I'm no @High_Side, but here are a couple of pics from around here the past week...

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Here's Tampa General, on my way into work.

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And a nice post-sunset shot

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Downtown buildings in the dawn light, on my morning commute.

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Tampa Bay from the parking garage at work
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Re: Wretched XS

#273 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Sun May 22, 2011 2:26 pm

Closer....Closer....

So, it's now just less than a month before I fly back to Michigan, load our house into a moving van, and drive the family 1,400 miles to our new home in Florida. I'll reiterate that I can't wait to get the old XS down here. But...while I'm looking forward to riding it, I really think I'm going to rebuild the motor first, or at least disassemble it and replace the gaskets. Knowing me, I'll probably pick at the rest of the bike while it's apart. I've always liked working on the bike, and I'm kind of looking forward to having it spread over my workbench.

Note to self....need to build a workbench in my new house...

Anyway, I've been driving around Tampa for almost two months now, and it seems to be a different motorcycle culture than in Michigan. I'm used to there being either Harleys or crotch-rockets, and nobody waving at anybody. Down here, I'm noticing that yeah, there's a lot of sportbikes and Harleys, and not many old Japanese bikes like mine...but also bikes that there simply AREN'T in Northern Michigan -- like the caricatured Hayabusa drag-bikes with the extended swingarm and superwide rear tire. Also, I'm seeing a surprisingly large number of choppers -- like OCC-type choppers, and not in 1%-er gangs, either, but like a dude and his girl out for a ride on their chopper.

I honestly didn't see many bikes on the road at all in April, when I'd be having a heyday. Now that it's getting hot, I'm seeing bikes out. Kind of the opposite of me. My bike has a hard time cooling itself when it's in the high 90's outside -- it needs to maintain at least 35mph to move enough air past the cooling fins, and I generally can't do that for a large part of my commute. So, I might not be able to commute on my bike, or at least not during the really hot months. But, I should still be able to get out for some evening rides.
1979 XS650F -- "Hi, My name's Nick, and I'm a Motorcyclist. I've been dry for four years." (Everybody: "Hi, Nick.")

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Re: Wretched XS

#274 Unread post by roscowgo » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:03 am

Congrats on the new gig noodle.

Aint electronic medical records fun? :lol: Goin through that disaster myself right now.

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Re: Wretched XS

#275 Unread post by ceemes » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:26 pm

Just finished reading your blog from beginning to end...or at least the end up to now I and many other are expecting and demanding more in the future!!!!!) Made for a great read, lots of drama and interesting slice of life content. In fact I would go so far as to say, it would probably make a great common man biography if ever officially published and printed.

Anyways, congrats on graduating and the change in your fortunes. Only one word of advice, beware of the elderly Quebour Snow Birds that inhabit FLA, their driving skills are more lethal then your home grown blue rinse set. Now get that classic back on the road bro.
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Re: Wretched XS

#276 Unread post by jstark47 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:42 pm

Went to a local bike night last Saturday, parked, and what pulled in next to me? An XS650 in great shape. They are cool bikes - hope you can get yours back on the road this year.
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Re: Wretched XS

#277 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:13 pm

Thanks, @roscowgo!

And... thank you @ceemes :oops:
As for the Snow Birds...where do you think they spend their summers? Michigan, where I came from. No shortage of white Cadillacs with Florida plates in Michigan in the summer.

@jstark -- cool! Was it an XS650 "Special" or "Heritage?" Or one of the less common standard-styled XS's?
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Re: Wretched XS

#278 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:58 pm

Ketchup

I dunno why, narcissism maybe, but I just went back and read my own blog from the beginning. All 28 pages of it. Kind of had a long, wistful, mildly amusing, nostalgic trip down memory lane. I also noticed that in the recent couple of years, my posts have been more terse than interesting. It's understandable, I had a helluva lot going on.

So I thought I'd try to catch up. (like the title says. See what I did there? Eh?)

My last real posts really seemed to be before I became eyeballs-deep in graduate school -- something about the welcome dinner. Man, does that every seem like a different lifetime ago. Very vivid though -- a couple days over 2 years ago, and I sat with Francis and his wife, Eric, Tony, Gary and Heidi. And remembering names for me is a really big deal because I'm generally terrible at it. Basically, we got our initial books and assignments at that dinner, and several speakers -- both alumni and professors -- said something to the effect of "this will be the greatest thing ever, but you can do it -- AND DO YOUR PRE-WORK." And they weren't kidding. I headed into my basement, where I'd set up a makeshift home office/study area, and started an online statistics course. That consumed June. In July '09 I started the 12 chapters of Accounting pre-work. That consumed July. Then July 31 we had our official orientation, where we all met the 4 or 5 strangers who would be the other members of each of our study teams for the duration of the program. My team had four people, including myself. Today they're all close friends. That day, total strangers.

So after the orientation we all went home, we all had a week to kiss our spouses and our free time goodbye, and the next weekend we all converged on East Lansing for our initial one-week residency. I alluded to it in a post about two years ago...something vague about three full college courses in seven days. That doesn't even come close to covering it. It was hell-week. It was boot camp. It was shared misery. College courses take 16 weeks, not seven days. Man, I've looked back at my day-planner from that week and it's crazy. Every day had three classes of chapters to read, study questions to do, a case study to write up, a quiz to study for and maybe a final paper to start writing. Every day. They put me up in a hotel about 5 miles from the university, and every day would start at 6:30, shower, in the car at 7, breakfast at the Henry Center, class at 8 until lunch, class after lunch until 5 or 6. Coursework with the team at the facility until 8 or 9, then back to the hotel and individual homework until 1 or 2am. I didn't go to bed before midnight during that week. At all. And strangely, it was fun. It also taught every one of us just how much we could do if we really tried. And for amusement, we could watch the teams that didn't mesh very well start to self-destruct around day 5 of the 7 days.

At the end of the initial week -- this was in August of 2009 -- I settled into the routine that I would follow up until this spring. My days were pretty fully scheduled: Get up at 6:30, get ready, help get the kids ready for school, then go to work. Come home from work, eat dinner. Do dishes after dinner -- my attempt to keep my hand in at least a bit of the housework. Depending on how late dinner was, maybe spend a bit of time with the family, but not on a lot of nights. At 9:00, the kids went to bed, and I went into the basement to do homework. I tried to do homework until midnight or 1am every night. Wednesday nights was a teleconference with my team-mates.

Which brings up a quick description of my team. We were geographically spread out -- more than any other team in the program. One team had a member that flew in from D.C. for class, but the other four were near each other. Some teams had members in Chicago...but near each other. My team? Jeff lives in Marquette, closer to Wisconsin than the college. I lived in Traverse City, 3 hours from the college. Lynn lived in Midland, 2 hours from me and 5 hours from Jeff. Brian lived in Crystal, 1 hour from the college, 2 hours from Lynn, 3 hours from me, 6 hours from Jeff. Our team spanned probably 400 miles. So we teleconferenced.

Anyway, every other weekend was a class weekend. After work on Friday I would eat dinner, load up a bag, get into the car and drive 160 miles to Lansing. Overnight in a hotel, then 8 hours of class on Saturday. Back into the car, 160 miles home and I'd arrive at around 8pm. Sunday on those weekends I'd leave school strictly alone if I could. Honestly, I tried to keep Sunday free from schoolwork for the duration, with mixed results. But I tried to keep at least one day per week open for family time. It didn't work real well...I was pretty stressed and grouchy on most of those Sundays.

So, there was another one of those one-week residencies during the summer of 2010, but it lacked the balls-out craziness of the first one. It was more relaxed, and there was less coursework crammed in. There were a pair of large case competitions, one in spring of 2010, and one the day before the last day of class this March. And in my case (and that of other active job-seekers) there was additional work from the Career Services Department (CSC) to get us ready to land a big, fancy, MBA-level job. We had resume workshops, interviewing workshops, job search classes -- it was comprehensive.

In November 2010 I went to a national MBA career fair in Chicago. I drove two hours south to Grand Rapids, and caught an Amtrak train from there to Union Station in Chicago. The conference was in the McCormick Center, and was a mind-boggling sea of black business suits. It didn't get me a job, but it was an experience that was totally worthwhile.

Concurrent with all of this, as I've said in snippets, I pursued a job lead in Tampa that wound up being my new job. I learned of the opening in November 2010 and pursued it. I had a phone interview -- while sitting at a frozen beach, in my car -- in January. They flew me down for a 2nd interview at the end of February. I started on April 4, and I've been living in a 216 square-foot apartment since then.

As I said, my family and I caravanned from Michigan to Tampa at the end of March, and they spent the week down here for spring break, then headed home. Two weeks later my wife's grandma -- the person my wife was closest to on Earth -- passed away. She went a little crazy with grief for the week until I could get up to Michigan for the funeral, but fly up there I did -- got a great deal from Southwest, not that that's important. That was on April 22 -- there was still snow on the ground up there. I haven't seen them since then, though we do talk on the phone most days, and I post pictures on Facetube every day for the kids to see.

Since then, I lined up a house for us to rent, then found that the car needed $1,000 in air-conditioning work so that I wouldn't melt into a puddle in traffic. Then I bounced the car off a cement pillar, so it's semi-permanently dented -- "urban camouflaged" I like to call it. I've settled into my job fairly well, being all project manager-ey and stuff.

And now it's coming right down to it. Tomorrow after work I go take delivery of our rental house. Thursday, Friday, Saturday I'll move the stuff I have in this apartment to our house, then early Sunday morning I drive the airport and fly home. For Father's Day, yay! :D Monday morning we pick up our Penske truck, and load it Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday we drive all of us and our stuff 1,400 miles from Michigan to Florida. Friday and Saturday we unload the truck. Monday it's back to work for me, probably badly in need of a week off after my week off.

And then we start to dig out our finances after all the expenses of having two households, and moving us down, and starting a new residence. We're thinking that we'll be back on an even keel sometime in September, maybe. On the positive side, we just today received a solid offer on our house in Michigan. This is simply stupendous -- houses in northern Michigan just do not sell. My boss just sold his Michigan house last month -- and they moved down here two years ago. We had been planning to rent our house out and still have to pay $200/month of the mortgage, but if it actually sells and we're out from under it, that would be awesomely awesome.

As for the bike, it's coming down with us. I'm not hot to start riding it immediately -- as I've said about eleventy-billion times, it needs work. I'm looking forward to taking my time, building a proper workbench if the garage doesn't already have one, tearing the bike apart and rebuilding it. I'd like to include my son, if he wants to -- my oldest girl, if she wants to for that matter -- in the project, and take 6 months or a year to properly rebuild the motor and replace bushings and worn parts on the rest of the bike. At the same time, I wouldn't mind revisiting the beach-cruiser bicycle project that's been sitting in a box for several years.

I have to say, though, that being cooped up in my tiny apartment by myself for the past couple of months has given me time to think, and made me appreciate the things I have. I spent the past 2 years with my head either in a book or up my a$$, honestly, and I've not been the best husband or father that I could be...or even anything close to that. Not being with my family has made me realize just how much I miss them, and just how much of my kids' childhood I've actually missed out on. When I started school, my twins were still 2 years old. Now they're bearing down on 5, and we're looking at pre-kindergarden programs for them. My son just turned 11 and is interested in girls, and my oldest girl -- almost 9 years old -- is fast becoming a raven-haired beauty. I lament the time I ignored the kids to play on Facetube, or shushed them so I could hear a movie. I want to spend time WITH my kids, not just near them, when we get settled here. I can feel my priorities shifting, really. I don't expect my wife to trust it right away -- she's had a distant husband for a long time before I became geographically distant, and I don't doubt it'll take a while to bridge that distance.

So I'm hoping that this begins a new chapter in my life; in all of my family's lives. I have a new job that pays well enough that my wife doesn't have to work if she doesn't want to. My hours shouldn't be so bad that I'm always gone, and I should be able to spend time with my family. We'll be living in a region with awesome weather for 9 months of the year, and hot but pretty weather the other three months. There are things to do here, and hopefully we'll have the $$ and time to do some of them.

Ciao, and thanks to all of you for reading this blog as it's meandered along. With luck, in the coming months you'll start seeing posts here about overhauling the XS.
1979 XS650F -- "Hi, My name's Nick, and I'm a Motorcyclist. I've been dry for four years." (Everybody: "Hi, Nick.")

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Re: Wretched XS

#279 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:37 pm

Mmph

So, on the good side, I'm back with my family and we're setting up shop in Florida. On the bad side...turns out we have MUCH more stuff than we thought we did, and even with the largest Penske truck we could rent, we had to leave some stuff in Michigan, which my in-laws are going to move into a storage unit for us until we can come and get it in a few months.

Including the bike. :(

I'm not too put out about it, really. I mean, I'm not happy, but it's not a :shooting: kind of thing. We had the 26' truck loaded front-to-back, floor-to-ceiling, and even I can't claim that things would've been better with a 7'x3' bike taking up space in there instead. We'd have had to leave our couch or a couple of beds behind.

We're thinking of using a service to have the bike shipped down, possibly. We thought of renting a trailer the next time we go visit family in Michigan, but we'd have to have a trailer hitch installed for that, so a service might be the way to go. ABF shipping offers this service in one of their "U-Pack" boxes -- specifically a motorcycle shipping service, so we might do that come this fall when we've managed to pay off some of the past few months.

We'll see. I'm no stranger to not riding my bike, I guess...
1979 XS650F -- "Hi, My name's Nick, and I'm a Motorcyclist. I've been dry for four years." (Everybody: "Hi, Nick.")

Wrider
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Re: Wretched XS

#280 Unread post by Wrider » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:54 pm

Also go take a look at http://www.u-ship.com. Used it a few times to ship stuff and it works great, like a reverse e-bay almost.
Have owned - 2001 Suzuki Volusia
Current bike - 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
MMI Graduation date January 9th, 2009. Factory Certifications in Suzuki and Yamaha

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