Saturday, January 28, 2012

Arrowhead, the real Countdown.....T-minus 2 days and counting

Spent the night in Cook, MN last night....brought back a lot of memories. My wife and I stayed here back in Dec. of 1982.
We came back to WI/MN from OR for Christmas and a job interview just south of Cook after sending out 100 or more resumes in WI and MN looking for work that would bring us back to the midwest. We were 5-6 years into our family and had 2 sons and wanted to move back closer to family. This was the only positive reply I got back from all of the resumes we had sent out.
The interview went terrible. As I was not from the area, it was setup that I would meet with a number of Managers on this one day for a job at a new plant that was going to be producing OSB (Oriented Stand Board)...a somewhat new building material that would compete with plywood. The plant had been ready for over a year, but with the bad economy and poor housing starts, it was being idled until it was decided that housing was turning the corner. Now was the time. I learned later that over 10,000 people had applied for just over 100 positions. The MN Iron Range was only 30-40 miles south of the plant and by and large, the iron ore mining industry was shut-down, so there were thousands out of work. The Plant didn't want to hire these unemployed miners because when the mines fired back up, they'd most probably go back to the mines. Unemployment was around 20% or higher in this area in the early 1980's.
When I showed up for the interview, only 1-2 people could meet with me. I was disgusted with this. We went to the motel after the short day at the plant, spent the night and I woke up madder than hell after stewing all night. So, of course, being that we had to drive right by the plant on our way south to MPLS, I decided to pull in and tell them what I thought....27 is great age for some, you have no, from working as a logger in OR for the past 9 years, diplomacy, tact and sensitivity were not my strong points (some may say they still aren't!).
In any case, I found the HR Manager and told him what I thought. He apologized that things didn't go off the way he or I had hoped they would have and told me they'd get back to me. I said fine, but if I didn't hear back from them in a week don't bother contacting me at all and that I was going to look at another opportunity I was considering. (which was a lie....back in the early '80's nothing was happening for work anywhere)
In reality, I was just pissed and didn't want to be bothered with them after a week of wondering yes or no. I still had a job in OR, so it wasn't critical to me that I land this job. Lynn, on the other hand, was not impressed with my approach.
She was the one that had sent out all the resumes, she had the real desire to head back east. The winter before she didn't see the sun for over 30-40 days for all the rain, if I recall. All I had to do was to show up, do the best I could and not do anything stupid, and it appeared I couldn't even do that properly. We had flown into MPLS and borrowed her sister and BIL's car. It was a tense drive back to their house, a longer plane ride back to OR and even a longer week.
The HR guy called me back within the week and offered me the position. I accepted and we moved to MN. Sometimes one just has to go with one's gut.

I met an friend that worked with me back then last night and we caught up on old times.

Anyway, on to International Falls for the Arrowhead.
Stopped at the first check point from the start of the race, Gatewaty Store, for a short ski.
The snow was soft and not enough of it to make a nice flat ski surface, but it's going to be the same for everyone. Still plenty of dirt/small stones in the snow in many places, so the rock ski decision hasn't changed.
Got checked in and looking to get some decent sleep.

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