Well, I did return to work last night from midnight until 5am. It allowed me to get much done on the work front. Between that, and this afternoon I’ve made some impressive progress-

Completed-

  • Will and Power of Attorney
  • Room reservations for SCA
  • Seeds shipped to Germany
  • All orders but 1, and that’s not essential
  • A large portion of the plant transfers
  • Hotel for Wednesday night pre-D*C, Hyatt Regency

Big things left to do-

  • Plant transfers, hopefully by the end of the day
  • Presentation– tomorrow and during/following travel
  • Photocopy and distribute documentation
  • Coordinate cat-sitting and send out contact lists
  • Last minute shopping
  • Pick up new phone
  • Final cleaning of home
  • PACKING!
  • Nearly forgot— Rush Concert, tomorrow night!
    • I know, how could I nearly forget about Rush…..

Given where I was a few days ago, it’s looking more manageable. I’m now down to exactly 48 hours to the plane lifting off. Must make the most of the few hours remaining and go work with my plants.

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The day’s results-

July 25, 2007

Could be worse but also could be better…. I did get a number of things done today and didn’t add an appalling number of extra tasks to the list. Therefore a good but not exceptional day. I’ll be heading back to work tonight to get some additional work done before crashing for the night.

Today’s to do list- updated:

  • get a new phone (I’ve got a free/cheap upgrade) and the old one might croak before I return
    • after spending 30+ minutes of my time, they didn’t have it in stock- must wait for Friday
  • finish the media prep that stymied yesterday
  • pack seeds for shipment to Poland or is that Austria….

    • Seeds are packed, awaiting address confirmation, it’s Germany
  • place orders at work just two special orders yet to deal with
  • transfer plants– going back in tonight to do this
  • work on presentation– have the work specific templates, nearly time for the brain dump.
  • make room reservations for SCA
    • email prepared, should have it out tomorrow
  • tackle photocopying and some of the list/itinerary/will and power of attorney things
    • gathered together, just need to spend some quality time with the photocopier
  • Parsec conference call

New and updated list in the morning. I like how this is keeping me honest about preparations.

3 days and sundry hours

July 25, 2007

My days remaining until I board the plane for S. Africa can now be counted on one hand, or referred to as “few”.

My overly long list of things to do has shrunk significantly, although additions keep sneaking past he armed guards that I’ve posted.  You’ll notice today’s task list has items that don’t appear on the main lists-

Work:

  • Presentation for the laboratory I’ll be working in
  • Get 1+ weeks of lab work completed in the next 2
  • Arrange for lab projects to be looked after while gone
  • Submit vacation request

Personal

  • Copy all ID, contracts, and important papers, leave a copy or 2 with friends
  • Find crash space or lodgings for the Wedenesday night before D*C
  • Set up call forwarding for the cell phone- route to skype
  • Coordinate pet sitting schedule with various friends and get them contact info for each other, plus vet info
  • Make itinerary and contact list for friends, family, work place etc. and distribute
  • Power of attorney and will, just in case life gets too exciting– found the forms
  • Go to Rush concert on Friday night
  • Create list of all bill to be paid while gone, confirm electronic payment options

SCA & Podcasting

  • Set up room reservations for the SCA on-campus group
  • Hopefully– finish up Food Geeking #3

Today’s to do list:

  • get a new phone (I’ve got a free/cheap upgrade) and the old one might croak before I return
  • finish the media prep that stymied yesterday
  • pack seeds for shipment to Poland or is that Austria….
  • place orders at work
  • transfer plants
  • work on presentation
  • make room reservations for SCA
  • tackle photocopying and some of the list/itinerary/will and power of attorney things
  • Parsec conference call

It’s a sizable list, so I must get in gear, leave home and get a start on it. I don’t expect to accomplish everything on this list today, some things will slip to tomorrow, but we’ll see where I stand tomorrow… when I’ll have 2+ days left…

As of today- August the 20th, I’m down to 8 days until the flight to S. Africa begins. I’ve managed to get a number of the tasks that I need to complete taken care of for the trip, but there are many that yet need doing and the list seems to grow faster than I’m able to whittle it down. True panic is likely to strike on Thursday, allowing me to go completely mad for all of Friday and give me a few hours of recovery time on Saturday before I bundle myself onto the plane…. at least I have a plan.

I’ve spoken with the cell phone company, and as long as I keep my phone off, and have all calls forwarded, I will not be billed for roaming. If I keep the phone on, then roaming charges will apply. Since I hope to route all calls to Skype and use Skype VM for taking messages I should be good there. It means I’m likely to respond to messages by email, unless callers are lucky enough to catch me on Skype when the call is forwarded.

Earbuds and international power adapters are now mine and I’ve got everything set up to pay rent in absentia. Most of the paper work related to the SCA is complete and I should be able to turn it in on Monday.

The last important things to do are related to putting last paper work in order, coordinating pet care while I’m gone and the presentation, which I fully expected to be my major point of procrastination. The additional Skype services are one of the final planned expenses that has yet to be dealt with.

It has been brought to my attention that I have failed to state that the trip is work-related, but not specifically for my job. I’ll be a visiting scientist while working for CSIR.

Too much to do-

July 13, 2007

As of tomorrow I will have but 14 days until I’m on a plane. Time is no longer slipping by, it’s taking an express train and barreling past at high speed.

  • √ Flight itinerary to and from S. Africa set
  • √ Travel immunizations
  • √ Ticket for Dragon*Con purchased
  • √ New Bucky travel pillow purchased- the nice U-shaped neck pillows, with buckwheat hull filling.
  • √ Ticket for flight home- Monday September 3rd.
  • √ Record sufficient material for Food Geeking for the 5 week absence- I think we are now good
  • √ New earbuds- purchased
  • √ Power converter and plugs for computer
  • √ Arrange for electronic payment of rent, and any other bills while away
  • √ Prepare student club registration for the next year- in preparation
  • √ Found different hotel room to share at D*C

To be done-

Work:

  • Presentation for the laboratory I’ll be working in
  • Get 4 1 weeks of lab work completed in the next 2 1
  • Arrange for lab projects to be looked after while gone
  • Submit vacation request

Personal

  • Copy all ID, contracts, and important papers, leave a copy or 2 with friends
  • Find crash space before D*C to reduce hotel expense, or
    • find a roommate to share the hotel room for the weekend.
  • Buy extra Skype services- SkypeIn and VM (Kris_from_Tempe)
    • if you add me in Skype, change the message. I don’t add people I can’t identify.
  • Set up call forwarding for the cell phone- route to skype
  • Power converter and plugs for computer
  • New earbuds- the old ones have shorted and I’d line to discontinue my electric shock therapy-
  • Coordinate pet sitting schedule with various friends and get them contact info for each other, plus vet info
  • Make itinerary and contact list for friends, family, work place etc. and distribute
  • Arrange for electronic payment of rent, and any other bills while away
  • Power of attorney and will, just in case life gets too exciting

SCA & Podcasting

  • Prepare student club registration for the next year- in preparation
  • Set up room reservations for the SCA on campus group

I’m certain there’s more, but that covers much of it….

Armed and painless

July 8, 2007

The discomfort from the injections have improved greatly over the last 24 hours. I’ve still got a bit of soreness and stiffness in the left arm but I can now raise and extend my arm completely over my head with only the slightest twinges. I expect by tomorrow I will have nearly forgotten that I received 3 separate shots on Friday.

It’s now time to push ahead with all the other things that must get accomplished before leaving for S. Africa. The count is now at 21 days, as Sunday arrived an hour ago. Just 3 more weeks.

Post-pincushion pain

July 7, 2007

Three shots were had yesterday, much to my relief. The single shot to my right arm (typhoid) has provided no discomfort, which is nice given I am right handed. I’ve not been quite so fortunate with the two shots I received in my left arm. Both sites are causing pain. Not sharp pain, but the deep muscle-bruise sort of pain. If I don’t move the left arm it’s not a problem, but most grasping and lifting does hurt, and I can’t really lift my arm more than 45º degrees from my side before  the discomfort becomes very noticeable. Beyond that, the immunizations left me feeling completely wiped out last night, and I went to bed at least 2 hours earlier than usual. With any luck, all the pain and discomfort will fade over the next day or so.

With immunizations completed, a great weight has lifted from my mind and been crossed off the “to-do” list. Now the final big concern is travel arrangements. I’m still waiting for a flight itinerary, which once known, will allow me to make post Africa travel plans in Atlanta and my final return to Phoenix. Indications are that this information should soon be available.

22 days to Africa- that is correct, just three weeks and a day. It will be a very busy next few weeks, but I’m finally starting to look forward to this trip, rather than dreading

I must have done right to somebody or something recently. I received a call from the review nurse, the very same who could not approve my pre-authorization on Tuesday. She did send the request up the chain to the director of that section and tagged it as urgent. (Many thanks Cathy, you rock!) Much to my delight and surprise, it was approved. Tomorrow with pre-authorization code in hand, I shall visit the campus health center and get stuck with at least 3 needles if I’m counting properly.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more pleased to hear that I can get to play pincushion for a day. I don’t actually mind shots, or needles one bit, I’m just so very relieved that I can get them tomorrow, and that the insurance company approved it. I’ll even give them a silver star and a cookie. Cookies all around, I’m in such a good mood. Today ended up being an amazingly good day, particularly given what the other side of the coin held. Maybe I got lucky and it was the same coin used by Rosencrantz… or was that Guildenstern, in the opening scenes of R & G are Dead…. great movie and very much a favorite of mine.

This has come through at the absolutely last moment. The review nurse advised very strongly, and repeatedly that the typhoid immunization must happen now, because I will need a few weeks to produce sufficient antibodies, and if I haven’t before I leave, I’m actually at greater risk for contracting it than if I hadn’t received the immunization. Three weeks is pretty much the cut-off point for getting the typhoid vaccine before departure.

I did get my passport scanned and sent as a pdf to S. Africa, and they are working to set up flight schedule for me. Once the itinerary is set I shall be able to announce publicly my plans for my return trip. I didn’t want to raise my hopes, or anyone else’s without being certain that I could follow through with my scheme. Once again, it seems that dumb, blind luck is favoring me- but more on the what and how once I have flight plans in my hand.

Don Quixote had it right- Sometimes you should tilt against windmills, you never know when you might win.

And the winner is-

July 3, 2007

S. Africa!!!

That’s correct, S. Africa get a gold star and a cookie (variety of their choosing) for making me wait less time, and not requiring me to check with them every 3 days to see if anything has been done and overall being a small source of stress and consternation in my life.

Today I received an email with a 26 page contract attached, detailing the agreement between CSIR and myself. Upon my approval of the contract, and the receipt of a pdf file of my scanned passport, a courier will be dispatched with 2 copies of said contract for my signature, one to keep and the other for return to S. Africa. Once they receive my passport information my flights and accommodation will be booked. My title while there will be Visiting Scientist.

Actual business cards are now in the offing- I’ve never had the privilege of carrying them before.

While in the midst of this post, the insurance company has stepped up to the plate… I got a call from the “review nurse” who could not approve my pre-authorization request, because it is “out of network.” It was then explained that there were no “in-network providers” as I’d already spent 4 days researching those, almost 2 weeks ago.

So the request is now being bumped up the ladder to the director, and a letter from my supervisor will be faxed on Thursday morning supporting that this is work related travel, which may or may not assist in the process.

Tick, tock…. tick, tock.

In 27 short days, I expect that I will be on a plane bound for S. Africa. Unfortunately, that is still all I know…

I, not unlike most, have had to complete tasks or activities that are unpleasant, painful or simply not fun. Yet, if the task is necessary or by it’s completion some better outcome will be achieved you apply yourself, screw up your courage and plunge in, knowing that once completed, you can go back to all those more pleasant and enjoyable activities of life. I’ve now found one such unpleasant task that is now verging on painful. Wait for it…. waaaait for it….

Yes, “wait” is the key word. I’m now coming to believe that waiting, the simple process of remaining patient while others act, or worse fail to act, is the most difficult and frustrating of all activities.

My list of things to do, and items to obtain is filling up nicely. My list of tasks to complete at work before I depart is extensive, yet manageable. Unfortunately, the two most important and time sensitive of these tasks cannot be dealt with until I receive information or feedback from sources beyond the scope of my control.

The first of these tasks are the immunizations I will need before I travel. Time is now running short and I must get the first of these injections soon, if I am to complete the Hepatitis A and B series before I depart. This bit of waiting is currently in the hands of my insurance company, which is reviewing my pre-authorization request. They are to contact the Health Center upon reaching a decision, but will not specify an expected time course for this process. This entire process of obtaining these immunizations has become an ordeal, and is a source of much frustation. I will likely contact harass them with a phone call later today or tomorrow in a vane attempt to obtain some information.

I’m also waiting for the contract and travel itinerary to arrive from the company in S. Africa for which I will be working. I sent the dates I would be available, and all other requested information to them a full two weeks ago. In this case, I’m somewhat less bothered by the delay and have rather more patience with the situation. I do however need to know the itinerary so I can plan activities and lodging in Atlanta upon my return in late August, and arrange for a return flight to Phoenix. Time is not yet of the essence, but I will need details soon. I plan to make a polite inquiry by the end of the week, to see if they have any information. They are paying for both the travel and my lodgings, in addition to a salary, so I don’t wish to be bothersome, yet I will need this information by the end of next week at latest.

In the meantime, I’m working on the task list I have at my job, and trying to address as many of the other items on my every growing “to do” list as I can. I must say, the wait is not killing me, but Typhoid or Hepatitis just may if my insurance company makes me wait for too long.