Mid-Life Crisis Trip

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Entry 10: A New Hope

Thursday, June 15, 2006

While Robert's phone-fu has been drained (curse you Lex Luthor!), Laura's phone-fu has been dramatically energized (a Power Transfer!).

LJ got a call from another VISTA agency in Oregon and fifteen minutes into the conversation, she was offered the job(!). Yikes! We've had dinner orders that took longer to be delivered.

Naturally, she didn't want to seem too eager, so she asked for "time to think it over" (and, frankly, she did need some of that). It's pretty much an exact fit for what Laura wants to do, so yesterday she called back and said, "I'm in!"

The lady (Marcia) said, "Thank God! All week I've talked to people who use 'like' and 'y'know' every other word and I don't think I could stand to work in the same office with them!" [Take note, young people—employers do not think talking casually is like, y'know, cool and stuff.]

The particulars:

The job is based in Salem, about four hours from Seattle (which will make zipping back to Seattle a little easier). It's headquartered at the Chemeteka Community College, although travel will be involved.

Here's the organizational breakdown: AmeriCorps*VISTA ==> OMEN (Oregon Micro-Enterprise Network) ==> MERIT (Micro-Enterprise Resources, Initiatives and Training) ==> Laura (Luscious And Ultimately Really Alluring).

There are three counties in Oregon that have high unemployment levels and lots of poor folks: Marion, Polk, and Yamhill (yes, we checked the spelling). The goal of Laura's job is to help people in these counties start their own businesses by providing training and resources (money).

The "micro-enterprise" part means 5 or fewer employees and less than $35K in start-up costs (a "small business" can be up to 100 people).

[Despite the dorky name (a mispronounciation of a local tribe's name), Yamhill county has 134 wineries. This works out to about one winery for every 650 people. This could be our kind of county!]

Meanwhile, in Robert's world, he's meeting with a VISTA agency guy on Sunday about working with Indian Tribes. This is an economic development outfit that works with 57 different tribes in the Pacific Northwest, and they need help with all sorts of things, including marketing and technology development.

Robert thinks this could work out, because he grew up on reservations (granted, they were military reservations, but hey, "a rez is a rez"). Also, he used to sell fishing nets to various tribes (one of the cool things about being old is that you've done so much different stuff that you've always got some kind of relevant experience).

So, bottom line: We're set for Salem, Oregon for the next year or so, with Laura helping poor folks start or grow their own businesses.

Also, don't forget that this Saturday is the Fremont Solstice Parade, where we will be Quality Control volunteers (really). We'll be making sure that the trash cans aren't overflowing and that the pasties on the naked bicyclists are in place.

Robert would also like to point out that there are 722 songs in iTunes that include the word "Winner" including Follow The Winner, Walking Away A Winner and The Winner Takes It All.

Robert & Laura
Mid-Life Crisis Trip Log