It's a Pandemic!

Ok, so it's not really. It was just a tabletop exercise. I was apparently one of the few persons who had prepared to be a facilitator. Although I missed the planning meeting due to a communications breakdown, I did make a point of getting the information from the folks who are running the exercise. My co-workers attended the planning meeting, but most of them didn't have any idea that they were meant to be facilitators or evaluators. I don't know if they didn't pay attention when that information was given out or if it wasn't mentioned. I ended up with a list of evaluators/facilitators somehow.

Anyway, I actually read most of the regional pandemic influenza plan in the past two days, so I would know what most of the answers were to the exercise questions. I find that knowing what the heck is going on makes it easier to guide a discussion. So this morning, about ten minutes prior to leaving for the exercise, co-workers want to copy my answers to the questions. Given that they didn't know they were supposed to lead the discussion at their respective tables, I suppose it's good that they had some information to go by.

However, the entire exercise went very well, I thought. The logistics were handled superbly. There was plenty of coffee, juice, sodas and snacks (pastries, grapes, bananas, apples, bagels/cream cheese, muffins!) in the morning. Lunch was delivered and set up very quickly and quietly during one of our discussion periods (complete with signs on the tables specifying which kind of sandwiches were in each stack of boxed lunches). I had a yummy veggie and cheese samich on whole wheat bread. It had lettuce, cucumber, tomato, thinly sliced red onion and some sort of herbed cheese spread. The boxed lunch also included potato salad, chips and a cookie. Extra bags of chips and extra cookies were available in the kitchen area. For afternoon snacks the fruit plates were replenished and more chips, cookies and muffins were set out. Of course, this means I ate more than I really should have eaten. At the end of the day I was given a nearly full 2 liter bottle of root beer. All I need now is a little vanilla ice cream and a frosted mug!

The most important part of the exercise was not the food, however. The turnout was really good. The organizers said that 150 persons were invited and it looked like about 130 showed up. Invitees included health department directors, communicable disease/infection control personnel from hospitals, chamber of commerce staff, fire/EMS/law enforcement staff, civic and community organizations and school district administrators. The idea was to get persons from different agencies at each table so we could all learn from each other and come up with solutions that we might not have had before. It also provided the opportunity to discover areas in which information was lacking. Overall the attitude of everybody there was positive. Nobody got upset or defensive. I thought it went very well and was quite productive.

New Phone! New Phone!
My new phone is currently charging. I'll download some backup software later this evening, then move everything on the old phone to a memory card and move it all to the new phone in one simple step. Once I do a hard reset on the old phone to erase everything from it, I'll pop it into the pre-paid mailer for returning to the nice Asurion people. I can hardly wait to have a screen that is NOT broken. The blackened areas have slowly grown in the past week. It's been "interesting" to play "Guess what the obscured word in *this* message is", but I'll be happy to just read things like a normal person.

It's SHOCKING I tell you!! Shocking!!
I've gone ahead and thrown the shock chemicals into the pool. Technically, the pool isn't completely vacuumed yet, so I don't know how well this will work, but it will be a start to kill off the critters living in the pool and I will at least run the complete volume of the pool through the filter. I'll adjust the pH and continue chlorinating later in the week. Saturday morning during my now weekly cleaning swim, I'll get the vacuum to finish hitting the spots it's missed so far and get the silly pool steps weighed down properly.

In a fit of kindness, I also rescued a drowning horse fly. I'm hoping that it doesn't bite me later. :o)

Another of the great mysteries of life.....
Where do the flyswatters go at the end of the summer? I had *two* of them last summer. One was in the kitchen and one was in my bedroom. Do you think I can find either of them now? Do you think I can manage to get rid of flies in my house either? OF COURSE NOT! There is one runt fly which is just bugging the daylights out of me every time I am in the living room. Heck, it might be following me through the house. I keep telling myself (and the fly) that it'll die of old age in a day or two at the most, but apparently this particular fly does not understand that its lifespan is really quite short. Trust me to have flies that exceed normal lifespans. Freaking overachievers!!!

On the Job Front....
Well, the job surveillance front, that is. I have prepared a resume for the NYC Dept of Health. I need to get a cover letter written tonight or tomorrow. The job for which I would like to apply closes on Friday. The job is "Syndromic Surveillance Director". Given that I was hired into my current job to develop a syndromic surveillance program and I accomplished that successfully in about two weeks, I figure I might understand what's required. I suspect that much of the pay raise associated with this job would be eaten up by cost of living increases, particularly since the job requires residence in NYC. Methinks I won't be having a 1 acre yard, much less a 1 acre *back*yard. I won't be having 4 bedrooms either. At least not on my single salary, unless I win a big lottery jackpot. There would be some downsizing going on as well. I can't decide if living in NYC would be entirely too hectic and chaotic, thus driving me crazy(er) or if the chaos and hectic aspects would be soothing to the ADHD part of me. I certainly wouldn't be able to complain about not having anything to do with all the museums, shows, restaurants, shops, knitters, sporting events, concerts, parks and other activities.

The other job I'm preparing for at the moment is a response to a general ad for scientist from the Defense Intelligence Agency. They're looking for folks with an infectious disease background. It's a generic recruiting ad, but I could have a lot of fun with figuring out what sort of risks might develop with regard to homeland and military security and then how to identify and prevent any problems from developing. No doubt what will happen is that I'll end up with two offers. That's what happened just after I accepted my current job. I was offered a final interview with the US Navy regarding global pandemic influenza planning. The timing of things was just off by a week or two and I might be a DoD employee right now. Oh well....there's another adventure just around the corner. I've certainly learned a lot on this journey about myself and what I want and expect from a job.

Another of Life's Questions:
Why is it that I'm actually getting FLUFFIER since I started working out seriously every morning? I know that the scale isn't a good measure of making weight loss progress since muscle is denser than fat. The weight gain from building muscle can sometimes outstrip the losses from losing fat. I understand that. I mostly pay attention to how my clothes fit to gauge whether I'm going up or down. SO WHY ARE MY PANTS TIGHTER AND I HAD TO LOOSEN MY BELT! Argh. Time to start logging all my food intake again. That's the only way I can really get a handle on serving sizes and see where I'm going wrong. (Let's not talk about the extra cookie and bag of chips I had at lunch today. They had nothing to do with my pants being tight this *morning*.)

I haven't been running/walking in a while now, though I've been keeping up with some cardio and weight work. If I'm going to have a successful outcome in the marathon in October I need to get back to roadwork in the morning. I can always do indoor cardio and weights in the evenings. ("Successful outcome" is defined here as finishing the race, preferably in less than five hours and ideally in 4 to 4.5 hours.)

Vegetable-y Goodness
Here's the harvest for today. You can't really see the 1/2 quart of green beans I also picked. I could also pick a colander full of lettuces and chard, plus a cup or more of basil, but I thought I'd save that for tomorrow. I'm still not sure what I'll do with the chard. I don't know if I've ever eaten chard. It sure is pretty though.

I have nearly this many zucchini and cucumbers already in the refrigerator. Gotta get some recipes together. Soon. Probably make a zucchini chocolate cake this weekend. I wonder how well zucchini freezes....


Stefaneener said…
Shredded zucchini freezes adequately. You can salt and drain it first, too.

I'm crossing fingers for a DIA job with a residence well outside of town in Virginia, so you get almost the same weather and cost of living, but you're close to DC and it's just so beautiful. Okay, I'd like to have a few acres in Virginia, and I'm not a scientist, so go you.

Nice garden bounty.

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