(Update: I wrote this blog post more than five years ago. Since then the post has been steadily visited over the years, leading me to write another Minot-centered blog post Why? Why Not Minot I hope you will visit it as well, and let me know what you’re looking for when searching Why Not Minot. Thanks for reading my post!)
Friday, June 17: First – TGIF! However, when you’re unemployed that saying doesn’t have the same meaning. Quite the opposite. It’s another week ending without a job, and you feel a little sad and defeated and frustrated. However, Friday also means you have a couple of days ahead to take a break from job hunting and all the worries that go with it and spend some time with your employed family and friends!
In my last post, I shared that I would spend a Girls of ’79 Turning 50 reunion weekend in the Black Hills. We had a marvelous (that word doesn’t get used much any more!) time! Some people don’t have fond memories of high school. I do. Especially memories of fun times and adventures with girl friends! Those bonds are special, and, if you’re lucky, like me, lasting and endearing. So if you have fond thoughts of grade school or teenage friendships and have lost touch with those people, I strongly suggest you seek them out on Facebook or some other avenue!
On Monday am, after saying farewell to the Girls of ’79 (with talk of yet another reunion!), I start heading to ND, where I have an interview in Minot on Tuesday. I pass a particularly pretty abandoned country church and stop to snap a few pics on my cell phone. On Tuesday morning, I depart from Bismarck to Minot on Highway 83. I have not driven this stretch of a road in a very long time! The forecast calls for rain, lots of it, something this water-logged state most definitely does not need! The radio news tells me people are still debating who is to blame for the flooding Missouri River, which is impacting not only ND, but several other states. I also hear a program on NPR about how to keep graduates of ND colleges in the state, an issue in the news for a long time.
Highway 83 crosses between the Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon, which are very high. Lake Sakakawea is named after the young Indian woman who assisted Lewis and Clark during their exploration. After safely crossing the lakes, I then begin seeing hundreds of towering, large, white wind turbines. For some reason, I find these structures oddly creepy. They remind me of aliens in alien invasion movies!
I finally reach Minot, which is prospering because of the Rockin’ the Bakken oil boom just to the west. Many oil and exploration and extraction and related businesses have set up headquarters in Minot, which has resulted in a housing shortage and higher real estate prices. Great if you are a landlord or home seller – not so great if you are in need of housing!
Minot is known as the Magic City and also part of the phrase “Why Not Minot?” Apparently it’s not meant to be a positive saying. Instead it means – why not? Because it’s too cold. Or why not? Because (if you’re from a big city) the perception is there is not much there. A large air force base is located just outside of Minot, and I suspect that is where the saying originated. A co-worker of mine in DC, who was a former air force member, was based in Minot for several years, or as he liked to put it, he spent three winters in Minot.
I find the building where my interview will take place. As I sit in my car, I remember something I keep meaning to share in my blog. A fellow job seeker once said that during an interview the interviewer asked him if he could see the inside of his car. That has to be one of the oddest interview questions! Did the interviewer want to know if the job seeker’s organizational skills extended to his vehicle!
The interview seems to go well with the potential employer’s board of directors, following which I head on my merry way! As I head south it begins to rain. Destination: Valley City ND. I had received a phone call the previous evening from a company I had interviewed with on my previous ND visit, and we scheduled a second interview for today at 6 pm. I pass the slowly twirling wind turbines that seem even creepier in the rain! It continues to rain all the way to Jamestown, where the second interview with another board of directors again seem to go smoothly. Once again these Valley City residents seem a little leery about my Devils Lake ties, and my home town’s plan to release water that could adversely affect their town.
It’s then off to J-Town where I am again spending the night with Uncle Steve and Barb. We talk about the interviews and discuss the pros and cons of each job.
Thursday I start heading west to Bismarck around 7:30 am – there is no rest for the wicked! There I meet in the state capitol with a reporter who is doing a story about jobs, the economy and ND. She asks if she can take my pic for the article, and I reluctantly say yes. Let’s just say I am not looking my best! I am extremely tired, wearing no makeup, and, I think, looking a little rumpled and disheveled. Let’s hope I find a job before the article is published, because based on the pic, I don’t think I will be flooded with job offers!
The interview is brief, and I hit the road again. I am beyond tired and am not sure how far I will make it today on my journey back to CO. I stop for gas in Dickinson ND. A young man approaches me before I get out of my car. He points to my car hood and says in a bit of a southern twang “Da hood on yer car is loose. We seen you on the highway.” The kid is skinny, wearing a baseball hat, has curly brown hair and freckles and rather unusually large teeth. “You can fix it wit some duct tape.” “Thanks” I say and wave him off, thinking something about him seems a little off.
As I fill up my car, I see the skinny kid come out of the store. He looks my way and shouts “I got some duct tape in my vehicle.” I tell him no thanks. As I wash all the sticky bug splats off my windshield, I notice that he and his buddy keep glancing over at me. I go inside and load up on some road trip junk food, including Hostess crumb donetts and Dill Pickle Old Dutch potato chips. I come back outside and the Dumb and Dumber duo are still there. Ok, now I am getting creeped out. I am not sure what these Deliverance-ish southern backwoods folk grandsons want to do with duct tape and a middle-aged chubby woman, but I am not about to stick around and find out!
I get the heck out of there and soon turn south on Highway 85. I soon approach the scene of my crime – my speeding ticket – and keep an eye on the speedometer and an eye out for Officer Rosy Cheeks, who issued me my first-ever ticket. Ticketless, I finally reach Bowman ND, and am about-to-nod-off tired! I think of all the countless nights when I have so much trouble falling asleep, and now my brain could drop off in a second as I speed down the highway! I enter a Mom and Pop grocery store in search of caffeine. As I stand in line at the checkout counter, I notice a tiny elderly lady with short white permed hair writing a check. It seems only elderly people write checks any more, and I watch her as she slowly and carefully writes out her check, which only contributes to my sleepiness. I chat a bit with the clerk who is anorexic skinny with a husky smoker’s voice. I tell her I am extremely tired, and she tells me to be careful driving. She says she is tired too and glad her shift is almost over. Maybe this thin, kindly clerk will invite me to her nearby house, and I can take a much-needed nap!
But no such luck. And somehow I manage to make it through the day and roll up to Autumnwood Chase around 10 pm. After multiple, too-long road trips in just a few short weeks, perhaps I should get a gig as a long-haul truck driver!