Sunday, March 1, 2009

Change is inevitable . . . except from a vending machine.

It's not very often that I start into a new job, and have everything about my life turned completely around.  It's not something that you really plan for or anticipate.  From moving to a new location, assuming a new lifestyle, and being around new people, sometimes its seems like everything changes! But to wax philosophical, change is neither good nor bad, it simply is. 

Here are some examples of changes that I've had to get used to, and how I'm (trying) to make them positive ones!

#1) Taxes! Holy Cow, you start bringing home a salary from work, and all the sudden it's okay to take a MUCH more sizable chunk out of your paycheck to pay for things like more toll roads, so you can pay even MORE taxes.  Illinois is also one of the only states that has a state income tax, sales tax and a massive property tax.  I found out that most states only make people pay 1 or 2 of those three.  Really cool places like Illinois, California and New York have all three! This translates into paying more money for everything, from the money taken out of the paycheck, to rent and even groceries!
 The benefit: Someday, when I move out of Illinois to a location less taxing, it will seem like I got a huge raise! Then, I'll invest in a big swimming pool where I'll store my money, and swim in it like Scrooge McDuck.

#2) Driving! I remember when doing my internship with UDOT, I found a route to work that only took me through 4 stoplights . . . for the entire 12 mile commute.  Living in a place like Chicago however, does not allow for wide open streets like that, and it seems that every location where two streets cross, there's a stoplight!  The result of this (and wicked-crazy traffic) is that while my commute here is quite shorter (only 8 miles), I pass through several dozen stoplights, and the commute is twice as long!  Not only that, but the Metra rail line runs right in between my home and my office, and because the commuter rail taking people downtown is so frequent, I'm guaranteed to get stopped going to work, and coming home probably 9 out of 10 times!  I'm definitely not used to being in the car for so long and traveling such short distances.

Benefit: Living in a place that's so condensed, well, everything is a tad closer! When I'm at work, I've got a gym across the street (see next point), at home there's a Walmart and a Home Depot a stone's throw away!  If Naomi and I want to watch a movie, boom! There's a Redbox across the street, and I can run and grab it and be home in less than 10 minutes!  If I'm working on a home improvement project and need something from the hardware store, boom! I'm off on foot and home in no time flat!

#3)Sedentary Office Life:  When I was Junior high, I'd get home from school, strap on the roller blades and play street hockey with my friends until it got so dark we couldn't see the puck and someone got whacked in the head!  As a Missionary, I didn't see a problem if I had to walk 10-12 miles a day doing the work missionaries do!  As a college student, hardly a day went by that I wasn't biking to classes, jogging up a canyon, playing Frisbee, soccer, volleyball, refereeing a laser tag game at some park or doing any other assortment of physical activity.  The one thing I was definitely not prepared for was an 8 to 5 office desk job!  I noticed very quickly that at about 3:00 every afternoon, my legs started to bounce around and get a nervous twitch!  It is most definitely a very difficult thing to get used to!

Benefit: While I actually have yet to find a benefit to sitting in a cubicle chair for 40 hours a week, here's what I've done to keep myself moving and not go insane.  (Insane Lunatics don't keep their jobs as Structural Engineers, and I'm all about being a good employee and producing results!)  
-I rarely send emails to people in my office.  Every chance I get, I get up and go talk to people.  
-I drink ridiculous amounts of water.  This ensures that I have to get up and go to the bathroom at least 5-6 times a day.  Sometimes more . . . (I said ridiculous amounts).
-I got a gym pass! I now pack a lunch and just eat it at my desk.  Then, during my lunch break, I hoof it over to the gym across the street and work out!  Lately I've been swimming in the pool, because nothing wears me out in less time!  I'm up to 20 laps, 3-4 times  a week, and I love it! 

So I'm sure that there are people out there who have made even larger changes than me, so if anyone has any advice on what to do about these wild changes, let me know!

And no, I don't really swim with white tigers . . . but seriously, wouldn't that be cool!


california smiths said...

yay california and illinois! what made us choose one of the only three states that do all three to live in?!?! i love your new pic at the top. Very cute!

Anonymous said...

I don't have any suggestions. Just enjoy living whereever you are. As a navy wife I decided that I was going to enjoy every place we were transfered and I did.
It was really exciting getting new orders for a new place. And then exploring that place. I think the kids enjoyed it too until they bacame older. Changing schools was tough.
Sounds like you have everything going on the right track. Have you thought about taking the metro?
Would that be and improvement?
If you can get past the homesickness and three month dooldrums every thing will be great.
Grandma Pratt

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that Virginia has state taxes, Personal property taxes, sales tax (on gro. too) and everything else. In fact if we shop at the navy commisary we are charged a 10% surcharge. It seems every where we go we're getting taxed. No too roads here in Norfolk though.
Grandma Pratt

Tara said...

Geez you're so healthy! Drinking tons of water and working out during lunch? You're an example to us all. :) That sucks you guys get so much money taken out for taxes. Virginia has tons of toll roads too, I thought it was weird when I came out west and never saw any. My brother pays an arm & a leg out there for his monthly toll road pass. But it's good to see you guys are looking on the bright side as usual! You guys planning on any big Illinois races this summer?

Pae and Guy said...

Just one more reason to love that adorable little tax deduction/credit named Brooklyn!

Dude, think about it, if you "did" swim with white tigers...that combined with your gymnastics acumen would make you a serious bad @$$ in my book!

**wait, just checked "my book", it appears that you already have you listed under "bad @$$"!**

Beccarigg said...

I can't believe you swim (with white tigers no less) on your lunch break! Freakin' stud! Seriously, both Taber and I were way impressed when we read that. (bowing with arms raised above my head) All hail the Lord of Catan!!!

Lisa said...

That's a really scary tiger picture!