Holiday Slow-Down

Welcome my friends, to the holiday season. For the first time in a couple of years, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas are all approximately co-occurring. That means many of us are all celebrating at almost the same time. It’s kind of nice, right? Well for me it is an extra special break.

The last couple of months has felt like an all-out sprint (and I was never a sprinter!) through school, work, work, and human-y responsibilities. I started a new job in the end of October that kept me running to get through training and onto the normal schedule. It’s a great job but can sometimes mean quite long hours which, understandably, left me pretty tired a few times. That was okay, but got in the way of some of my other things and therefore had me playing catch up. The job I previously had with the gym I stopped working full time back in July but staggered down even more to just working Saturdays about a week before I began the new job. Thankfully, now that I’m comfortable in the new job, I was able to leave the gym instead of working multiple jobs at once (did that for 10+ years, hated every second, never want to have to do that again).

But hey! School! Yeah so I went back to fill in some gaps and only took two classes to start with: pre-calculus and another English composition requisite. Both kept me on my toes since, you know, you have to learn the instructor as much as you end up learning the subject. That was a little harrowing at times but I got through it all with an A in the math and a B in the English.

Since the new gig is a government contract-style thing, we’re basically shut down through the holidays, which is super nice! Coupled with the break in classes until the spring semester begins, it has become a daily ritual of cleaning and reorganizing things around the house that were probably already organized just fine to begin with. Oh well. The best part of the day-to-day stay busy or fall asleep mode is having to set an alarm on my fitbit to make sure I stop what I’m doing long enough to eat something around midday. Next week, though, my dad will be here for a visit so I’ll be able to bounce some of my inane energy off of him.

For now, my dears, I will cease the rambling. I wish you all cozy time, warm somethings in huggable mugs, family, friends, and joy for this beautifully inclusive holiday season.

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Be Thankful

The last couple of years have been a rough ride but this year things have settled. I am now settled into a bigger, better job that makes me feel challenged, I went back to school and am almost done with two classes. Batman, and I have been living together for 7 months and are close to reaching a stasis in our routine. We meal prep together m=for most of the week and have real meals whenever our schedules sync up. As of January 1st, though, we’re hoping to both have weekends off so we can be humans together for more than one day a week. All these things have made this year great, although stressful at times, and it makes me feel like we have really made progress.

So here it is, my personal “what I’m thankful for” statement: I’m thankful that I will be spending the holiday at home with my soulgeek, watching the parade and football, playing games, and just being together with no running out for errands or work. I’m thankful that for the first time in a long time I don’t have to work the day after the holiday in chaos and crowds, instead I’ll be at home decorating for the next holiday and probably baking a bit. I’m thankful that my family is still mostly healthy and the ailments that are present seem to be holding at bay. I am thankful for the people in uniform behind the invisible curtain that are always on duty, even when I am fortunate enough to have a day off, to ensure that I am safe and protected from the perils and evils in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope it brings you all happiness, sanity, and perspective.

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Election 2016

It’s over. Finally. This election cycle has taken two years. I feel stripped. I have a deepening desire to unplug and walk off the grid. This whirlwind has shown the destruction of several of my hard and fast rules regarding election years:

  1. I refuse to talk, think about, read about/listen to, or research any election prior to January 1 in the year of the election. I tried very hard to hold to this one for the same reason I hate discussing Christmas in August: it’s just too much. Putting in the proper efforts for prolonged times is truly exhausting.
  2. Emotions have no business in politics. Up until today, I think I did a pretty good job with this one. I leaned on the edge a few times, but in my defense, this was an extremely contentious election. I still fully believe that when people get emotional you get the nastiness, the hatred, and the violence that has been seen on both sides of this race. Many, many people have come before us all, living through nightmarish conditions and found much more productive, respectable ways to protest the atrocities they faced. Why are we letting ourselves devolve to such low levels? Whatever we face today, our responses will be recorded a hundred times over for our progeny. What kind of legacy will we leave for them to learn about?
  3. I don’t blast social media with my political views. Honestly I try not to discuss politics outside of my own home. Thankfully I have a soulgeek there who holds the same beliefs I do who will listen to my rantings when rule number one gets broken. This time around I think I still did pretty well but even those postings I wrote or shared that seemed innocuous apparently riled a few people. To those people: oh well, my post = my opinion. We don’t have to agree.

I will admit, just once, that the candidate I voted for did not win. Hell, the candidate I voted for in primaries didn’t even make it to the general election. To say the least, I am feeling, yes, feeling rather uneasy at the moment because of the results.

I don’t  proclaim to be an expert. I do my best to research things and make informed decisions. I try to walk a middle ground between the parties the same way I do with religion. Because politics is made by people, and people are fallible. But I took my opportunity to be heard, to make a difference. I did what I had the right to do and voted for the candidate that I thought best represented the way I thought the country should be going. Now I just hope that we have heard the end of the bickering and the hate. I know, rationally, that conflict is human nature, however, so I am not naive enough to believe that we are settled. I just hold out a possibly vain hope that the future becomes everything we are capable of making it.

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How Not to Get Assistance or Support for Your Cause

This morning while working I had gone on a towel run (we have bins around the building to collect used towels. We run loads of towels through the laundry pretty much all day long). As I made my way toward the front desk, two of my associates were there with a tall, older gentleman who was dressed in street clothes and carrying a clipboard. Before my coworker could finish her sentence to ask me a question for this man, he walked (quickly) around the desk to me.

<convo>

Me: What can I help you with, sir?

Him: I was just asking if I could stand out front and attempt to register people to vote.

Me: Oh. No, I’m sorry. (I genuinely was.)

Him: Me too. All the people of this country want is the right and ability to vote.

Me: (Less empathetic) I understand, sir. Your tone isn’t obnoxious at all…

Him: (Half under his breath) I don’t think you do…

I ignored his comment because I have better things to do with my brain cells than to enter into a conversation/argument with a grown man who thinks being a jerk/bully is going to get him his way, besides, I was working and had things to do. As we both walked toward the front door where I had another towel bin to empty and he had to exit, he gave it one last shot:

Him: You know, I think it’s bad policy-

Me: {Turning to face him, knowing my every expression tells more than I typically voice}

Him: Don’t look so disgusted.

Me: Sir, the fact that you’re attempting to browbeat me is incredibly condescending. This is a corporation. Anything that takes place on the property has to be approved through the corporate offices. {I turned back to what I was doing, done with him and his attitude.} Thankfully the gentleman left. Had he continued to try and force me to listen to him, as though I’m young, naive, and/or fearful enough to suddenly break down and cry or just simply take his side and give him what he wants, I probably would have lost my s^!t in an incredibly unprofessional manner.

</convo>

Here’s the thing: if you’re legitimately working towards some goal and looking to get assistance in some way, you do not behave in this manner. You enter the business and politely inquire as to whom its best to speak with first. Generally, anything that involves getting a business’s brand involved (yes, standing in front of a business IS involving their brand!) requires speaking to the topmost manager at the facility or going even higher if its a corporation. If that person is not available: you do not have permission to proceed any further. Had this gentleman inquired about the chain of command or even asked to speak with the general/site manager, he would have had a much better chance to do what he wanted to do.

Voter registration is a huge thing. There are notifications everywhere telling people how to go about registering. The DMV asks people about registering every time someone goes in for anything. The news, radio, social media… every possible data transfer outlet has been pounding it out for weeks that people, “need to vote, make sure you’re registered!” So why now, by himself, is this man walking door-to-door trying to get businesses to let him stand outside and register people? Furthermore, why is he acting like being turned away from one place means that we are somehow preventing people from registering to vote?

His conduct and attitude makes me very leery about his true intentions. I find it difficult to believe that the various entities responsible for registering people randomly handed this dude a clipboard and said, “have at it, register whomever you want, wherever you want.” The collection of information needed in order to register a person is just extensive enough to steal that person’s identity so you know what? Unless you have a responsible, professional deportment, conduct yourself respectfully, and produce some form of evidence that proves that you have the authority to collect this information and that it is going directly to the source, I think you’re just a shady f^#*ing bully that didn’t think a few short women working at a gym wouldn’t boot your ass for being rude as hell.

I don’t care what your cause is, if you’re condescending to people when you talk about it, no one is going to help you. People don’t typically help assholes (unless it’s they’re last-ditch effort to make it into heaven).

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What We Remember

Fifteen years ago today I woke up late. I had worked late the night before and didn’t need to be at work again until the afternoon so I slept in. I was living with my dad at the time and stumbled into the sun-filled living room around 9 a.m. I turned on the TV and almost instantly became confused. I had remembered people telling me that there was an attack on the World Trade Center once, but as I never learned the details, I thought what I was seeing was some form of remembrance.

I changed the channel. There it is again. Change the channel. There again. It was on every channel.

The plane. The tower. The smoke. The people. Oh god, the people.

I couldn’t seem to reconcile the fact that what I was seeing was a current event. I must have watched the news that day for hours before it really sunk in that what I was seeing was really happening.

The whole country seemed to be in the same state as me for days, even weeks afterward. Being in California, there seemed to be nothing we could do to help. The nation wept collectively. We became captive to our emotions of grief, helplessness, and anger. Everyday we anxiously awaited the news from Ground Zero, hoping to hear of survivors instead of more tics on the ever growing body count.

So many of us have said that we will never forget. But what are we remembering? The anger? The hate? The fear?

What I remember is the blood donors flooding the centers in NYC. So many donors that officials had to ask people to stop and wait for a few days before coming in again. I remember fire crews from all states were sent to Ground Zero to relieve those already falling over from exhaustion. I remember the locals making food at home to take to the emergency crews as they stumbled away for a few minutes rest. The nation rallied in every way we could with telethons and fundraisers.

I remember the way we all worked to honor the fallen. We suffered a tragedy. What happened that day in New York, in Virginia, and in Pennsylvania was horrifying. I will never forget that day, those images that are burned into my mind. But I choose to focus on remembering those that ran towards the fray in every location. I choose to remember those people who fought to bring that plane down in PA saving hundreds more lives. I choose to remember how we came together to heal.

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Re-embarkation in Education

For any of you that know me personally, you know that my educational history is rather fragmented:

  • I went to college right out of high school, but as I largely lacked financial aid, I worked so much to try to cover the costs of classes, fees, and BOOKS, I dropped out about 1/2 way through the general ed requirements for a biology degree.
  • A few years later I attempted to start the process of transferring my education to the state of Virginia requirements and only got through 2 classes (again without financial aid) before succumbing to financial defeat.
  • After moving back to California and suffering through a couple of years of a job that made me miserable, I conceded to the fact that I would have to finish a degree in order to get away from jobs and managers like those that were making me consider insanity as a career. I went back to school via online classes with DeVry (totally unrecommended, btw). I finished 3 years worth of credits towards a degree in Computer Forensics. Guess what! I dropped out again because of finances (not sure why I didn’t see that coming, DeVry is a for-profit institution).

Another few years has now passed and I’ve spent several months researching area schools and their requirements to determine what options exist. I deliberated for a couple weeks before settling on Old Dominion University. I sent in a request for info and spoke with an academic adviser a few times. In order to get back into the flow as financially soundly as possible, we decided that it was best if I took some of the lower level classes at the nearby community college.

Thus! (really, the exclamation point is necessary) I will be starting classes again in a few weeks time. What’s funny is that after so many years away from school, the process of getting started again has made me feel incredibly stupid. So much has changed! The road to registration is rather roundabout and has an exuberant scavenger hunt-feel. There was a lot of waiting due to the transfer of credit from 2 other schools in 2 other states. Some of my credits didn’t transfer because the school here doesn’t have course equivalents to those on my transcripts (fun fun!). Today was the ultimate stupid-feel as I had to take a couple of placement tests for math. Let me remind you, I haven’t been in any classes for around 5 years and haven’t taken any math in about 12 years. Thankfully, I tested well enough to tap dance directly into pre-calculus so I won’t have to back up too far (hallelujah!).

So now I’m a student again. Batman and I already raided the back-to-school sale at Target. On Friday I will hit the bookstore for my texts. My parking permit will arrive soon. Now I will just brace myself for the majesty and wonder of the numbers that are soon to make me mumble and twitch for 14 weeks. Oh, I’m taking a literature class, too. That should break up the dancing numbers nicely.

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Adventures in Renting

In order to take a bit more human time for myself to adult, I recently made some changes at work with regards to my schedule. As such, last Friday (June 24th) was my first Friday of paid time off. I was super excited. I was motivated. I was ready to make the absoluteCAM00075 most of it at home. After a few hours at my recently completed evil command center (an L-shaped computer desk loaded with desktops and laptops, a white board/cork board combo on the wall and a bookcase with office supplies and a printer) I started to wind down a bit and realized I was hearing dripping in the HVAC closet beside me. When I opened the door to look, I found that the leak had apparently been going a while as many parts of the closet and internal components were covered in mold. Also, my foot was wet because the leak had soaked into the carpet outside the closet.

So I did what responsible adults do and I took pictures, I put in the online work order, I called the office to let them know that it was an urgent work order. The on call maintenance guy came out, looked at the leak and went upstairs. A couple of hours of banging and clanging later, he came back down to tell Mike that the leak had been fixed and a contractor would be here sometime this week to repair the damage. Since the damage seemed to be located only within the HVAC closet, we let it go with the vague information.

CAM00077Saturday morning as we were getting ready for work (we both CAM00079had to be in at 6am) and found that there was considerably more damage that was no longer unique to the HVAC closet. The ceiling in the bathroom (room adjacent to the HVAC) and the living room over the printer. Time for more pictures and an email! I got everything sent to the assistant property manager with a request to be contacted about a timeline to completion of work.Mike and I both went to work as usual and I made arrangement with my teammates to leave a bit early. When I got home, the damage has worsened to the point where the bathroom ceiling was actively leaking and the living room ceiling was beginning to fall apart (over our printer!). More pictures. Walk to the office.CAM00083

The assistant property manager doesn’t work Fridays or Saturdays so no one had seen the email or pictures. After speaking with the only person working in the office, the maintenance guy that had been in our unit the night before had failed to follow up with anyone. I sent all the photos again (to a different email addy this time) and they made strides to get contractors in that night. Frustration started to settle in and we had already made plans for an afternoon date so we left for a couple of hours. When we got back around 5, it was apparent that someone had been in, but nothing had been done and the leak in the ceiling of the bathroom was even worse. Call the office again. Leave a message. 520p the office employee calls back explaining that the office was now closed but she would call and find out why no one had been in. Frustration deepens.

6p Saturday: contractors show up. Hallelujah! the saw appears and drywall is cut out of CAM00094 the ceiling in the bathroom, a plastic tube is connected to the ceiling and a dehumidifier that is large enough to warrant its own zip code. By the way, we only have ONE bathroom. I stay in the living room, turning the volume on the TV up louder and louder to hear it over the now running dehumidifier. The contractors move into the living room to cut out a portion of the drywall in the ceiling for the same process… just to discover that the leak wasn’t fixed the night before. It’s now about 8p. Contractors ask me to call the on call maintenance guy. Maintenance guy comes out and all 3 dudes go upstairs.

10p, the leak is fixed! An industrial fan in set up in the living room to dry out the area and the contractor informs me that as the area must be completely dry before they make repairs and no one works on Sundays, the dehumidifier and the fan are going to run from now (10p Saturday night) through Monday when they come in to start the work. …O_o I… I have no bathroom for the whole weekend?? I hCAM00096ave to listen to these enormous, loud machines all weekend?? He said that in order to sleep, because I couldn’t cose the bathroom door due to the plastic tubing, that I could turn off the dehumidifier at night in order to sleep. *deep breath* It’s not the contractor’s fault. He’s been a good dude. It’s late. I’m exhausted. I need to pee. The contractor left and I began the awkward task of trying to figure out which yoga pose I needed to be in to use my now mostly blocked toilet and did my thing.

Sunday morning, after the somewhat crappy night’s sleep due to the fan in the living room having to stay on, I climbed into a poorly placed plie to start my morning bathroom ablutions. I turned the dehumidifier back on and Mike and I start trying to figure out how to live in part of an apartment for the next day and a half, read and re-read our lease to see about appropriate accommodations and/or compensation for a situation in which we lost use of part or all of our unit. The complex office doesn’t open until noon on Sundays so we waited. By 1pm Sunday I was feeling a desperate need for a shower so I gathered toiletries thinking I could at least shower in the locker room by the pool (it’s in the same building as the office). That locker room has 3 shower stalls… and no shower curtains. Hoo. Ray. Time for the office staff to man up.

We went in to discuss accommodations only to be met with a rather blase attitude in which CAM00095we were told a few times about how there were 4 apartments effected by this leak and that one person was already put up in the on-site courtesy suite so they didn’t have anything for us. So I repeated what I’ve already told multiple people: WE ONLY HAVE ONE BATHROOM AND IT’S NOT USABLE. I’m very unclear as to how this is not a problem. Am I’m doing too much first world whining over that one? Oh, wait, no. My lease guarantees that I will have access to a bathroom. Again, time for the staff to man up. Look, I’ve worked customer service in a lot of crappy situations where I had to answer for things that I wasn’t responsible for but rule number one is to at least pretend like you give a damn when something is really f@$*#! up. In a situation like this, where we are paying to live in a domicile that has only one bathroom and said bathroom is no longer usable, that is really f@$*#! up.

My frustration level has reached a new peak. I need a shower. I want my home back. I want someone at this office to acknowledge that it is not my problem that other people were effected or that there was only one on-site courtesy suite. Put us in a hotel. Tell us that you’ll reduce our rent. DO NOT continue telling us about everyone else or what you would have done had you not already done something for another person (I mean seriously, there was NO contingency plan in place should multiple residents have an issue at the same time?!). They gave us the key to an empty unit so that we could shower. The other unit didn’t have a shower curtain or door, either. My frustration turned into a personal Chernobyl.

Mike had to go back to the office to talk with them and I went back to our broken down wind tunnel of an apartment to blast some Netflix. After he explained to them that they’re suggestion of climbing around the stuff in our bathroom to take down our shower curtain and walk it up the street to install it in this band aid unit, they conceded to look for a shower curtain for us to us. Because $2 worth of bathroom supplies for two people who have had no real assistance in a total fiasco was akin to providing nuclear launch codes, an all-expense paid trip to the Caimans, and a no-questions-asked loaded bank account there for us to use indefinitely. So Mike put up the shower curtain and called me down there to get cleaned up.

From then on it has been a lot of noise. Because this is apparently our lives now. AnCAM00097 (2) apartment that has water damage and big fans and humidifiers that aren’t drying anything out very well. Oh, that’s right, we also live in a humid area. Awesome. The contractors came in this morning, just about 10am to check the progress and informed me that the areas weren’t dry yet. What? Oh yeah. So it will be at least one more day. The guys that were here this morning told me that what the dude said on Saturday about being able to turn off the dehumidifier over night so that I could sleep was incorrect and that it probably delayed the process. Well isn’t that special. They did, however, acknowledge the fact that the enormity of the unit and the placement of the plastic tubing were incredibly inconvenient for us as they prevented us from being able to shut the bathroom door. That’s right folks! The bathroom door couldn’t be shut, so if we needed to pee, we had to tell each other not to come near the area. Because this is a totally acceptable bit of non-privacy according to common sense and our legal, written lease contract.

Anyway, the only progress that has been made is that a smaller dehumidifier has been brought in and the plastic tubing in the bathroom has been moved over so that now the bathroom door can be closed. I still have to take my toiletries for a walk up the street if I wish to shower and I’m still going deaf from the volume of the fan in the living room and the volume I have to turn the TV up to in order to hear it. I suppose I could skip watching the TV but then I’d be left with my own thoughts of fury at the office not making an effort for us in any real way, so, yeah. I’m going back to Netflix and Capt Morgan.

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Current Mood

As I am just over two months into a new apartment where I live with the Man of Bat, I am beginning to settle from the moving process. Today he put together the new bookcase which I am happily filling with the previously homeless books we had stuffed in a box and buried in a closet. I have wine and Netflix to keep me company as His Royal Batness is dog sitting elsewhere. After having declared that I have long since past my limit for watching or reading news, the happiness of filling a bookcase and watching Gilmore Girls is just what I needed to wrap up this day.

I know I had begun a previous discussion on  Disturbed’s cover of The Sound of Silence, and I would love to continue that soon, but the news of late bears some ranting time. For now, though, I return to a happy place with wine and books. TTFN.

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Happy 2016!

Okay so obviously I’m way overdue for a new post. Like a whole year. It has been quite the roller coaster for me which is why I randomly dropped off the net. I have several post ideas in the works, though, so I will hopefully be able to return to my creative outlet with regularity.

To begin, I submit for your consideration the following music video. A friend of mine at work told me about this cover a couple weeks ago and I just got to hear it for the first time a few days ago. Once we’ve all heard it a few times, I may have more about it, at the moment I’m still in contemplation mode so I wish to simply provide the link for your musing. Cheers!

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No rest for the wicked

Last weekend, May 1st through 4th, I spent in Northern California with family. It was a very welcome break from the endless work. I didn’t spend much time resting or relaxing, but I got to see the family I had been missing for quite a while so it was a fantastic weekend. Lots of food! Oh man, it was an excellent weekend of food. Having a brother that’s a chef and an uncle who has a passion for cooking made me gain a few pounds. Damn them! I got to hit up an enormous farmers’ market that made my stomach growl at every turn. Sunday was a big birthday party for Grandma. Always an awesome day.

Sadly, it was entirely too brief a stay. Most of that Monday was spent in transit home where I landed not much before midnight. Once I did land, though, I basically did a tuck and roll into a very long work week. At 9a on Tuesday the 5th I was supposed to start a kind of mini-seminar at work that was supposed to include a mini-interview. Unfortunately, things happened. We didn’t end up getting started until around 945a and the mini-interviews didn’t start until close to 11a. There was about 20 of us there, myself being the only one from our site, and due to planning for the interviews, I ended up being the very last person to start. I was supposed to have a 1p-10p shift and thought the morning seminar would be short enough to go home again and change before that shift. OOPS. My interview started close to 1230p so I was 35 mins late after running home to change with a quickness.

That was day one of 6 in my workweek. Today was my first day off. How did I spend it? Well, hmm… let’s just make this fast:

  1. unloaded 300 pounds of sand in 50 pound bags from my truck bed
  2. stripped the bed and did a load of laundry
  3. planted a veggie garden
  4. did another load of laundry with the now filthy gardening clothes
  5. vacuumed my bedroom
  6. hauled a box of goodwill items upstairs and out to the truck
  7. showered and scoured
  8. baked blondies
  9. prepped strawberries and watermelon
  10. re-jarred honey
  11. ran to goodwill and target (where I bought 34 pounds of cat litter)
  12. changed the litter in the litter box
  13. put away all the laundry
  14. made the bed (around a stubborn cat)
  15. celebrated the day’s productivity with steak and loaded mashed potatoes…

For all I can remember, there may have been something else but I’m beginning to fade again. Part of me really wants a high heels and war paint night. I could be girly and feel pretty for a while. The rest of me wants nothing more than to wander off beyond the reach of cell coverage. I would pack a lunch and some snacks and nap under a tree. No phone calls, text messages, or emails would be able to find me. Damn, I really just need to go camping for a few days… Well, on that note, I will be off now. I need sleep.

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