Mid-Life Crisis Trip

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Entry 8: Interview with an entrepreneur

Saturday, June 03, 2006

9:12 am

We're breakfasted, checked our mail and found our way to the Starbucks in Bend where we're to meet Felice (she later apologized for the whole Starbucks thing but it was the only place she could think of to meet).

Because we're early, we decide to wander around downtown Bend. It's pretty clear that there's been quite a bit of effort put into tarting up the place. We count any number of places with the word "bistro" in their name (versus "diner," featured by your non-tarted-up downtowns). There's even one place that offers both a "bistro" and a "wine bar."

There's a group of Boy Scouts that are busy installing flags along the main street. Well, more accurately, they're watching grownups dig holes and install flag stands, and then the Boy Scouts stop chasing each other long enough to come over and put a flag in the holder.

We ask one of the grown-ups about it, and they say that this is the "Parade of Flags" done eight times a year. We're unclear on what makes it a "parade" since they're all American flags and they're pretty much stationary, with only a bit of flapping in the breeze.

10:05 am

Felice shows up, almost on time (or, as Robert says, "Late! Late! LATE!"). She turns out to be a nice person who's about our age—and therefore wise with the years.

2:30 pm

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! We are just now wrapping up the job interview, having repaired to an Indian restaurant for lunch where we continue the the interview.

Felice did apologize for the length of the interview and said that she doesn't like to rely on first impressions, and so likes to take the time to really talk to people. We don't mind talking to people, but since we're both basically introverts, talking (especially about ourselves) and listening intently for four and a half hours is pretty close to the same as running a marathon, only without all the sweat and puking.

One of the good things to come out of the interview is discovering that Felice will take care of our housing, which will make our meager salary ($783 each—before taxes) go a little further. We'll probably also get our COBRA (healthcare) payment covered. Laura is psyched that we get a 1% to 3% cost of living increase through the year.

Also, we heard about some of the projects she's working on, including:


Improving a farmer's market in a nearby town (helping them expand, telling them to quit selling so damn many coffee cups)


Helping establish Community Foundations (like the Bill Gates Foundation, only for cities and with lots less money)


Developing artisan cooperatives (and making sure that they don't add to the surplus of handmade coffee cups on the market)

bullet Creating University student project teams (taking some of those idealistic college kids and giving them a real-world project to lead)

Also, she's working on putting together a deal with another person to cover the cost of one of the positions. We'll probably be "shared" between the two of them, but the other lady is "very interested in Robert's skill set" ("And I haven't even talked to her on the phone!" smirked Robert). So it looks like Robert won't be hacking into computer networks and then offering them "protection" from the hackers.

So, we (and probably you) asked: do we get the job?

Well, she needs to go off and process the interview (she's one of those people who need to do things like that). She's finished with interviewing people (there's also some college kids we're competing against) and has to mull things over.

But she promised she'd have an answer by Wednesday, so Robert is convinced we can start packing up all our crap (again) and getting ready to move to lovely Bend, OR.

4:47 pm
Maupin, OR

We decided to take 97/197 north to I84 so that we'd see what it looks like. It looks like a heaping pile of high desert. Not the sand dunes you think of as desert, but bluish scrub, green undergrowth, black rock, tenacious purple and yellow wildflowers. Occasionally there's a tree, but nothing you'd call "overwhelming greenery" or "fertile land," and yet it is beautiful in its wildness and desolation.

Maupin is at the bottom of a huge gorge carved by the Deschutes (which seems to flow north, despite what it should be doing, which is flowing south). It's terminally picturesque—poster child for the Post-Apocalypse.

5:41 pm
(131 miles)
The Dalles, OR

Even though "all" we've done today is have a job interview and drive for a while, we both feel as though we've been worked over by a phalanx of particularly sadistic Spanish inquisitors. So we decide that rather than blow into our hometown at about 10:00 pm, we'd rather stop here and repair to the a hotel bar and suck down five or ten chilled alchoholic beverages.

So, we pull into the local Shiloh Inn, where we determine that they've gone to the trouble of password-protecting their router ("Dang," says Robert who was rather enjoying the whole Zorro hacker thing).

From the hotel bar, we can see the Dalles dam, which is spilling prodigious amounts of water picturesquely. So we take a picture and go back to sucking down dacquiris.

Robert & Laura
Mid-Life Crisis Trip Log