The only "exciting" thing that has happened this week is that I joined a vanpool. Intercity Transit (public transportation for the Olympia area) provides the van. "A vanpool is a group of 8 to 15 people who commute together in a comfortable passenger van. We [Intercity Transit] own, maintain, manage, insure and license a fleet of 8-, 12- and 15-passenger vans. These vans are assigned to commuter groups and driven by volunteers who share the commute. You must live at least 10 miles from where you work to start a vanpool." So I joined a group (7 people besides myself) that travels from Federal Way to Lacey. I go to a local Park and Ride where the van picks me up. We then make a quick stop in Tacoma to pick up some more people, and am dropped off in front of my office in Lacey. Almost all of the people in the vanpool also work for the government, so our hours and experiences are very similar. The only real negative to the vanpool is that I do have to leave the apartment a little earlier. If I drive myself I leave at 7:15 to get to work by 8:00. To get to the Park and Ride, I need to leave at about 6:55 for a departure from Federal Way at 7:05. And at the end of the day, I get home a few minutes later.
However, it is totally worth the slightly less sleep. First, I don't have to drive. I might eventually go take the class to get certified to drive the van, but the head of the vanpool usually prefers to drive. I would just get certified as a back up. But secondly, and more importantly, I am going to be saving a TON of money. To drive to Lacey every day is very expensive in gas. I was filling up ($30ish) every 3.5 days. The vanpool for the entire month only costs $74. Plus, once I get signed up through the state of Washington, the state will give me a $40 voucher to help pay for the vanpool. They encourage car pooling and taking the bus to relieve traffic congestion and pollution. So ultimately, it will cost me less than $40 every month to commute. Plus, I will save wear and tear on my car, and my car insurance should cost less since I'm not driving to work. Oh and I am helping out the environment too!
So that's about it for me. I see Robb for about an hour before I have to go to sleep most nights. He's a little frustrated with his job right now because they haven't been great about keeping track of his paperwork. (He had to refill out his W-4 and I-9 forms. He hasn't received his discount card yet, even though he should have weeks ago. The union didn't even know he existed, even though Met Market was supposed to let them know about him.)
Oh, and the Union is a whole other story which will be saved for another day. Other future installments will also include the hassle of getting a Washington State drivers license. Stay tuned...