## 18 to 24 August: Plumbing the depths, talking does help, and checkin’ out the junque store!

I went to church on the 18th.  I was feeling down.  Things just weren’t feeling good.  I am so far from home, in a foreign land, by myself…  alone…

After church, I asked Pastor Paul Self-Price if I could come see him some time during the week – he of course agreed, and said Tuesday morning would work.  We chatted about therapy and Emotions Anonymous – which he had never heard of, but asked if it was like Alcoholics Anonymous…  which of course it is very much like.  He has been in AA for over 30 years, so I knew that I was talking to the right person!  I mentioned that I had had trouble with the 5th step and now having trouble with the 9th step, and of course, having been in the program, nobody has to remind you what the 5th step is… or the 9th.  Yes, I will be talking to the right person.

They were having a luncheon get-together after the service, and I was invited to stay.  Of course, everyone was so gracious, and tried so hard to make me feel at home… but somehow, by the time I left, I had to run (not walk) back to the condo, to be alone in my misery.

So Sunday afternoon, I hit the bottom.  I was feeling low, so far from where I want to be, moved so much, lost and given away so much, not even knowing who the Hell I was any more.  I’ve lost my touchstones, relationships.  Given it all up.  Moved.  Moved back.  Then given it up again.  Moved away.  And now I am here.  Is this supposed to be better?  I tried to read, but could not.  I tried to watch a couple of movies – a sci-fi movie, even Casablanca – but could not.  I tried to surf the web, look at news, blah blah…  Nothing worked.  Yikes!  I flopped in bed, looked at the ceiling, and pondered… and cried.

By Sunday evening, the darkness had started to lift.  Thankfully!  I do not want to be there again.  Not that this is any surprise, mind you – but there is no need to revisit this place.

I went to see Pastor Paul on Tuesday morning, on my way to work.  It was very helpful.  He understands much more than I might expect, at least initially.  It generally helped to buoy me up, and I felt much better.

At the Emotions Anonymous meeting on Tuesday evening, there was some crosstalk about my situation.  One of the other members called on it, and I was placed in the uncomfortable position of having to jump in and tell them both that their input was appreciated but unnecessary.  I will move forward in the program when things settle enough that I can find my stuff and move forward in the program.  Not entirely satisfactory for them, but damn it, it’s my program, not theirs!  Yeah, I’m probably over reacting, it wasn’t nearly that dramatic.  I need to get moving, not change direction… again.  I can… and I will.

Skyping with mom and Eric on Wednesday was nice.  Mom is flying out to Alberta on Saturday to see James and his kids for a week.  They are all going camping (yikes 🙂 ), shall see how that works out.
I slithered through the rest of the week without incident.  Well, found out that Autopac will cover my windshield replacement, have to pay my $200 deductible (in US funds, waa waa), so scheduled it for Monday. They come to me, and do it in about an hour, apparently. Wow. On Saturday, I went to Apache Reclamation and Electronics, south of downtown Phoenix. It’s in a rough part of town, obviously hit hard by the recession of these past few years. Anyway, the shop was amazing and fun! It would not be if I wasn’t into electronics, mind you. Narrow isles full of dusty, dirty electronics of all types – surplus parts, new parts, circuit boards pulled from electronic assemblies, power supplies, test equipment, specialized old equipment, computer equipment, some just plain junk. If you wanted to make up a sci fi movie set from the 1950s, you could do it here! I tell you, they have everything! There’s even a full room of shelving units chock full of many vacuum tubes. I even held an 807 tube in my hands, the type used in my old No. 19 set… wow. I almost bought it, just to mount it and put it on display as a memory of my old hobby… perhaps next time.  Yup, the venerable 807 tube  A No. 19 set – I had a much larger setup than this – all the accessories – long, long ago… Anyway, it was a cool place to visit. There was an older, retired fellow there who was working on a little project to recondition his car batteries – a line-powered capacitively coupled de-sulphur device. Sounded dangerous! I gave him a bit of advice – including to put a high resistance across that big motor run capacitor that he was holding, so it didn’t electrocute him – and to use a big monster bridge. He asked about putting a fan operated from the output, perhaps using that cool LM7812 regulator to run it – which I dissuaded him from doing. I’ve burned up a few LM7812s in my time, by not putting proper decoupling… plus it won’t take the extra high voltage for a open (completely failed) battery, or when the battery isn’t there and the thing “accidentally” gets turned on… I think I gave him good advice, and stern enough warnings to be careful. Well, hopefully he didn’t electrocute himself or blow anything up. ## 11 to 17 August: Delivery of Elizabeth, interesting haircut, a banker’s tale, and let there be Jazz On Sunday, I went to see The Last Starfighter. It was good. Monday, we went back to the house to double-check some of the contents that I’m thinking of buying from the present owner. For instance, a big television set. As I suspected, it was an older, internal projection unit – nice, but not worth a whole pile. It works well though, so I’ll try to acquire it. Later Monday, I went to Wells Fargo and got my US$900 through the Visa cash advance, right out of my RBC Bank account.  Now, I was ready for the delivery of Elizabeth.

I also found a place to store her, outdoors, at least until I have the house with garage.  It’s only a mile or so from the office, Deer Valley Mini and RV Storage, so she will be close by.

The truck driver had to unload two other vehicles first, then roll her down off the carrier.  He insisted on using her own brakes, whereas I wanted to use the winch; it worked out great because without the winch, the suspension was “up” and the rear cleared the ground better.

I started her up and drove her into the compound.  She sounded terrible!  But she made it to the designated spot, and eased in, for a rest.  I brought a bunch of the stuff out of her interior – all the tote bins – then put the cover on her, and left her there, hopefully just for a couple of weeks… shall see.

On Wednesday, I got to Skype with mom and Eric.  It was good to see them both.  Am I missing Winnipeg?  Oh yeah.

On Thursday, I went to The Men’s Lounge Barbershop.  What an experience!  It was a nice cut, then a straightblade shave (a first for me, eek), then ear and nose hair trimming (another first), and a hot towel at the end.  I was pretty nervous about the straightblade thing, but, like going to India, I just said, “whatever, let it roll”, and it was fine.

So Friday was my first payday, but my direct deposit wasn’t finalized yet, so I got a cheque.  The amount was less than I expected, but then again, I realized that they only paid up to the previous Friday, which is of course the way it is done.

## 22 to 27 July: Adjusting to being on my own, becoming more American, looking at houses – to buy!

What is it they say about idle hands?  Oh yeah, not something I want to associate with myself 🙂

So, although Eric left on Sunday, 21 July, I didn’t start work until Thursday, 01 August.  What to do?  Plenty!

I applied for my Social Security Number.  All you have to do is have a valid work permit in the US (a TN Visa qualifies of course) and be in the country 10 days.  You take down your proof of identity, citizenship, and the valid work permit, and apply.  It arrives a few days later in the mail.  Wow.

I was busy with the guys from Easun Reyrolle in India.  Srini and Mani had lots of questions, and I am helping them a bit more on their relay designs.  I was talking to them pretty well every day, often in the evenings (they are 12-1/2 hours ahead of Phoenix), but sometimes early in the morning too – hey, hey, not that early 🙂   I am developing a bit of a bad attitude toward mornings.

I connected with an Emotions Anonymous group in Glendale, meeting Tuesday evenings.  It has been quite helpful.  As you can imagine, it has been quite stressful to go so far, experience so much climate change, so much culture change, be alone, and then not working for a couple of weeks.  EA helps.

I went looking at houses – being uninspired by my rental choices, I wanted to look at a home purchase instead.  There were about 40 potentials, which I whittled down to about a dozen right away, then cut down again to six.  So Fla and I zipped around to six houses.  Oops, well, one I rejected right away – although it looked great because it was 2 acres with a shop c/w overhead crane, storage for over a dozen more cars, lot backing out on a wash so I could race off on the bike… when I drove by there the night before, it was in a dumpy area, rather scary actually… too bad.  Plus the listing had *no* pictures of the interior of the house – and as I recall, said something about “as is” – so you know that it must be scary.  So sad.

The houses were… interesting.  A low cost one was a foreclosure, I could see myself doing a lot of work on that one, saving a lot of money… but man, was it grubby.  The bank had tried to do some work, but it just wasn’t clean.  Yikes.

There was a house with a large iron gate between the living room and the kitchen.  Hmm, looked like something that would be more appropriate in the yard, to restrict access to the pool.  Not sure what that was all about.

Then there was a 3,000 square foot house with a 26×36 garage/shop!!!!   And another 10×20 shop attached behind that.  And an RV storage area on the other side.  And a huge pool.  Wow.  I would love that, but sadly, couldn’t see being able to fill even half the place with furniture – and the cost to cool the place in the summer would be astronomical.  Sigh.

So we entered the next week pondering…  and thinking of the one place that seemed to be a balance of most of what I was looking for – 3017 E Utopia Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85050.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were playing again on Friday, 26 July, with the Calgary Stampeders in town.  I tried to hook the computer up to the big screen TV again, but it did not work nearly as well – very frustrating.  The image started to go out for 5 to 10 seconds every minute or so, argh!  Eventually just cut off the TV and watched it on the little screen.  Ooh, the game wasn’t all that good, we lost pretty convincingly.  Just as well that I couldn’t see it on the big TV.

## 20 and 21 July: Bein’ Lazy, and then Bein’ Alone

It has been too long since I updated this blog.  We were lazy on Saturday, then Eric flew home on Sunday.  It sure was good to have him along with me, but it was sad to see him head off.

 Eric and I outside the Mesa Gateway Williams Airport

And then…  I’m alone.   The place is sooooooooooo quiet.  Oh well.  That’s kind of what I wanted – or at least, what I expected.  I washed the linens, cleaned up a bit (as much as needed – which wasn’t much 🙂 ), and then got on with it.

## 19 July: Looking at rentals, and watching the Blue Bombers over the Internet

My real estate agent picked Eric and I up at 9 AM on Friday, and off we went to look at rental properties for me to live in.  This condo is only temporary for a month, provided as part of the relocation package that the company gave me – so I have to find someplace real to live.

The first place was great – it was a house with a nice garage, a pool, and tons of space.  It was also filthy, and needed some repairs.  Perhaps I’d pony up to buy at a good price, because I can do some cleaning and repairs, but to rent – no thank you.

The rest of the places were various condos in beautiful gated communities, with nice pools, nice views, some with big garages.  All with lots of levels, many stairs, too much carpet.  Nice, and quite liveable, but gee, it would be nice to have more.

Oh my Lord, is it freakin’ hot here!  I can’t believe it!  I went for a swim after dark, and the water was still hot tub warm, just from the sun!  It’s going to be a challenge for a Canadian boy from the prairie plains to get used to.  It might be fun to try though!

That evening, there was a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game on.  Well, this being the USA, CFL football isn’t high on the priorities list for them.  But, it turns out, that some CFL games are broadcast on ESPN2 sports network, which the cable system in the condo gets.  However, not this one, so sad.  But, it was being broadcast on ESPN3, an Internet-only sports network, which I could get on my laptop.  I dug through my tote bins, found my DisplayPort to HDMI cable, and pumped it out through the big screen TV in the living room.  Ha ha, beer, pizza, and high definition football!!  What else could a couple of guys want???

## 18 July: Tour of the Cardinals football stadium

We got up, rarin’ to go.  We zoomed over to the Phoenix Cardinals NFL football stadium and went on the tour.  Way cool!  It’s kind of weird looking from the outside (okay, really weird), but apparently it’s supposed to be modelled after a type of cactus.  Hmm, OK.

 Inside the “skin” there is a huge logo, and pictures of all season ticket holders when the stadium opened

Inside, of course it’s impressive, you know with so many big screen displays, so many concessions, the ability to convert to this use and that use, blah blah  blah.

The coolest thing is that the field is real grass – and it’s on a huge portable pad that’s something like 120 yards long x 60 yards wide, which rolls into the stadium when needed, on hundreds of rail wheels!  When it’s out, the floor is a nice flat concrete surface with the odd steel ribbon level in the floor, for the wheels to roll on (no raised rails or anything).  Way cool!

 The football field, growing happily in the Arizona sun – rolls towards us into stadium when needed

We also tried to get a tour of the Phoenix Coyotes NHL hockey stadium (Coyotes being the former pre-1995 Winnipeg Jets), but the fellow who would give the tour wasn’t in, and didn’t return my call in time.  Oh, well.

We did some grocery shopping, chilled, and watched a movie.  It was a good day.