October 30, 2008: Getting the Apartment Ready

22 Days to Baby Day! (36 Weeks and Six Days Pregnant)

1 Work Day Left for Dominica.

“Information wants to be ambient.” – Erin McKean, Lexicographer

Scott’s new words for today: layoffable and layoffability.  In reference to “how layoffable” a certain employee is.  The more layoffable you are the easier it is for the company to lay you off.  If you are completely critical to the firm then you are not very layoffable or your layoffability is very low.  Go ahead, start using them.  It’s fun.

I got to Peekskill Station without any problems at 9:23 last night.  I was running to make the train home.  I really did not want to miss it or it was going to be one crazy late night for me.  I got to check out the Peekskill waterfront at night while I waited for the family to come pick me up.  There is a bar in the train station itself as well as the Peekskill Brewery being right across the street.  These will be handy for evenings when I get it but have to wait before Dominica is able to pick me up from the train.  I also found that there were taxis waiting at the station when the train arrived which will definitely come in handy from time to time when Dominica just can’t get down to the station to get me or, for example, when Dominica goes into labor and I have to rush to the hospital from Manhattan.

Everyone came down to the station and picked me up around nine thirty.  It was pretty chilly standing outside without a jacket this evening.  They were coming to get me straight from having dinner at the New City Diner which Dominica raved about again being extremely happy with her meal there.  That is our third time eating there this week.

For dinner, Dominica picked up fish and chips for me.  They have awesome fish and chips at the New City Diner.  We went home and I ate dinner then everyone had the pear tartlets that I brought home from Financier Patisserie.  Those were really amazing.  Dad and aunt Sharon were not prepared for how awesome real patisserie desserts are.

We did our best to make it an early night but there was not much hope.  It was around eleven when we all finally managed to get to bed.  It is going to be a short night.

Today was the only day that Dominica and I both need to commute from Peekskill.  We were up at five thirty and out the door around six fifty.  Dominica dropped me at the Peekskill Station where I easily caught the 7:08 Metro North train to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.  She drove on from Peekskill north over the Bear Mountain Bridge and down to Totowa, New Jersey.  She was in the office by 7:53 which was not bad at all.  She made great time for rush hour.

The views from Peekskill Station are awesome.  While I was waiting for the morning commuter train I got to watch the freight trains in Orange County across the Hudson River lazily winding their way along the river’s edge.  It is so cool to watch trains across the river.  The lower Hudson Valley is one of the greatest train watching spots ever.  You can also watch traffic as it winds down from Bear Mountain Bridge on either side of the river.  And the ferry boats making their way towards the city.  I wish that there was a ferry that I could take so that I could alternate routes to shake things up a bit but no such luck coming from Peekskill.  Nyack has a very cool ferry, I hear from Katie.

The ride was nice.  The train was definitely full this morning.  Not standing room only but every seat was taken.  Peekskill is one of the later stops with only Cortlandt and Croton-Harman being “pickup” stops made before the Harlem and Grand Central drop off stops.

At Grand Central Terminal I managed to pick up the Peekskill/Cordlandt Schedule to carry with me.  That will make things easier when I am rushing for the trains at night.  I got to ride the “sardine train”, the Lexington Avenue Express (5) from GCT to Wall Street today.  Katie has been warning me about it.  Everyone tries to avoid teh 4 & 5 trains in the morning as they are awful but there is very little that I can do to get around it.  I managed to get onto the first train this morning but it was definitely back completely full and very uncomfortable.  More like riding on the London Underground (the Tube) or DLR than riding a New York City subway.

I timed my trip carefully this morning and with the Lex Express getting stuck around Utica Station for almost ten minutes and me grabbing a bagel and coffee (sesame seed with cream cheese, large with milk and no sugar, of course) on the way the time from door to desk was one hour and fifty minutes.  That’s total travel time.  Less than two hours from the time I step at the door until I am typing on my computer.  It is a very long commute but a comfortable one that I am not going to mind so much.  I really do get a lot of chance to read, listen to podcasts, microblog (tweet) and just relax and have some time to myself.  Once we master the time that we need to leave the house, get a monthly pass rather than buying the tickets on the platform and if I don’t get stuck anywhere the trip could theoretically be shaved to as little as one hour and thirty five minutes from door to desk, and that is during rush hour.  There are times that it could, with the right set of trains, be as little as one hour and twenty five minutes.

No sooner do I learn this new commute that I get to the office and learn that the rumour mill says that I am being relocated, again.  This time up to Tribeca to the fixed income trading floors.  The move is not all bad, of course, as there is always some amount of silver lining.  Chances are that I would maintain my Wall Street office in addition to my spot on the floor (the floor would be paid for from a different budget, I believe.)  The commute will be longer by a bit and more of a pain.  There is the problem of the gym, as well, since there is no gym with a pool anywhere near the Tribeca building.  So I would need to commute from Tribeca to Downtown in order to swim.  The upside is that it is a higher profile position sitting directly on the floor.  Not that being high profile is all good, but it isn’t all bad either.  (I was told that it was very unlikely that this would actually happen.  We will wait and see.)

To add to all of our stress, Dominica found out that tomorrow is our last day of open enrollment for our health care coverage from Siemens so we have to decide on health plans, tonight.  Deciding in a few weeks would be so much better.  We are stuck going to a less expensive plan too because we start paying out of pocket for the coverage starting pretty soon.  That is going to be very, very painful.  We decided to move to a lower cost HMO plan that is still going to cost us more than $1,050 per month out of pocket.  Eek!

I also had to deal with homeowner’s insurance this morning.  Apparently it is required that we be covered by our homeowner’s association even though they refused to disclose any and all homeowner’s association information prior to the sale of the house.  I called the insurance company early this morning to attempt to get things rolling.  I need to make changes for the cars anyway since we have a new address and now that Dominica is not going to be commuting at all.

Serious email delays at the office this morning.  Thirty to forty minutes for internal email delivery.  That makes for quite a mess.

Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, has an interesting post recently about how it is possible that Linux will be shipping on more computers (desktops, laptops, etc., not servers) next year than Windows.  It is a short and interesting article.  Very interesting that Linux may make it on to the majority of user’s computers without them even realizing that Linux is providing a significant base to their user experience rather than Windows.  The Linux distro causing the splash (sorry) is SplashTop.  Interesting product indeed.

A related product is the new Asus EeePC B202.  I don’t know too much about it, but it definitely looks quite interesting.  It is a lot like having a desktop version of the EeePC Netbook.  Not a very powerful machine but very inexpensive and has been doing quite well for certain uses.  I expect that this type of device will become increasingly popular as more and more people need environmentally friendly, almost-always on email and browsing solutions for their home.  In a world where people have become accustomed to always being able to check their email and lookup movies on IMDB, get an anwer from Wikipedia, read a blog, grab a recipe, etc. having a nearly instant-on computer that uses almost no resources, generates almost no noise or heat and costs very little could be a pretty big player.  Look for more devices like this to be appearing from the big vendors once people begin to realize the need for something in this niche.  Add in the ability to handle lots of media (just add a dash of VideoLAN’s VLC player) and you have one awesome piece of equipment.

Today is another super busy day with house and apartment stuff so I know that I am not going to have very much time to write and post SGL so my plan is actually to post very, very early in the day.  I am leaving the office during my lunch window and taking the train back to Newark.  I will be working from Newark for the afternoon.  I have to be there to coordinate with the maid service who is cleaning the apartment today for the check out.  Then, as soon as Dominica can get to Newark from Totowa after work, we are loading up the car with everything that we can fit into it and taking a load up to Peekskill.  That should include all of the plants at the very least.  Then we will return to Newark with the air mattress and Oreo where we will spend the night.

Tomorrow Oreo is going to daycare to his halloween party.  Dominica is going to her last day of work.  I am staying in Newark to do the final apartment move out inspection with Ramone then I am taking my final commute on the PATH.   And at the end of the day we are commuting from Wall Street and Totowa up to Peekskill and will be completely done with our life in New Jersey.

It is one in the afternoon and I am signing off now to head back to Newark.

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