January 2022

Happy New Year!

Lord have mercy, let’s hope this year is better than the last two! Hubby and I did our ritual of burning the calendar to get rid of the bad juju from the past year. We were going to skip it this year because it is ridiculously cold here (it was -37F this morning with a minus fifty-something wind chill), but he was so angry and sick of last year that he decided he was going to do it in spite of the weather. So we put the 2021 calendar into the fire pit outside, doused it in lighter fluid, and burned that bitch to ashes!

The good news is, I’m officially a college graduate. The bad news, I’m not sure when I’ll be receiving my diploma. See, I’m in a dispute with our parking office, and they have a ridiculous amount of power. I have a hold on my student account (transcript something-or-other) which I’m assuming means they aren’t releasing my diploma until the parking ticket is resolved. I’m a little worried that if it isn’t resolved before classes start, they might even cancel my registration!

Anyway, this all happened because I drove my own car over to the vivarium and parked in “research” parking. I’ve done it before several times over the last three years. The girl who had the job before me did it. But, for whatever reason, I got a parking ticket this time. Thinking it was an error, I filed an appeal. I mean, I work for the Center for Biomedical RESEARCH, and I transport and take care of the RESEARCH animals, and my email address ends in RESEARCH.edu. I should be authorized for the research lot next to my vivarium, right?

They rejected my appeal.

I requested an in-person meeting. They denied it, saying the only way they allow in-person meetings is if there is significant (their emphasis) additional information that I was not in violation. You mean besides the stuff I just listed?

So then I asked, who CAN park in the research area, then? They replied that they can’t tell me that.

Seriously?

So I may be in violation, or it might be a clerical error, but you can’t tell me which.

They did say, “We have a list of names that are allowed to park there.” Obviously, I must not be on that list, so I talked to my supervisor. He was as shocked as I was. He parks there. All my coworkers park there. Worse still, no one ever asked him for a list! And when I do take my personal vehicle over there, it’s usually because my supervisor wants to use our mouse-transport van for other business (like picking up parts for our wash bays, etc).

So our admin, on behalf of my supervisor, sent an email to them saying the ticket should be voided, that we need to park there to tend to the vivarium, and here is the list of names that should be added.

The parking office replied, “The list of names is given to us by the SMHS.” In other words, they politely told the admin and the CBR supervisor to bugger off, that they aren’t high enough on the food chain to request parking at a facility that we are partly responsible for.

Of course, the holiday has delayed any further progress on it, so I won’t know what happens next until some time next week. I know our admin had copied a couple of folks from the SMHS on the emails, but I didn’t see any responses or reactions from them. Either that was handled in private, or perhaps they were already gone for the holiday.

So you’ll have to wait until next month to see how “RESEARCH tech vs Parking office” ends. Even if it has a happy ending for me, I feel bad for all the students that have to deal with this over-reaching parking office. Can you imagine if you were some kid from Ohio who graduated and went back home, and you needed your transcript for the job you had lined up, but the parking office was holding it hostage because of a parking ticket? I would be livid!

My reading and writing were pretty stagnant in December. There was just a lot of other stuff vying for my attention.

On the writing front, I accomplished absolutely nothing other than finishing off that final for my last English class.

I’m still listening to the audiobook version of Moby Dick;

I’m still working on The Walking Dead and Philosophy;

I failed on #500Stories500Nights again. Got one good month, then fell off the track again. Ah, well. It’s a new year.

I did finish two ebooks: Plague, by HW Buzz Bernard, and DRYP The Final Pandemic, by RA Scheuring. I love books about pathogens, so I enjoyed them both.

I’ve also started Crooked Hallelujah, by Kelli Jo Ford (in actual dead tree book form)!

Another “thing” that I’m starting is the study of the philosophy of stoicism. There are a couple of different books that I’ll be working on as part of it. Part of it will be The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman (and the accompanying journal), and also the Stoic Six Pack: Meditations, The Golden Sayings, Fragments, Discourses of Epictetus, Letters from a Stoic, and The Enchiridion. Nothing like a light reading project!

I am also trying to learn wood carving. It’s something I’ve always thought about trying, and hubby’s been encouraging me to find something that we could do together out in his workshop.

He does all kinds of woodworking. He’s built a lot of things around the house and camper (like custom doggy steps for our bed in the camper, a custom storage unit for the camper, my beautiful–but dusty–altar pictured above, and even those crows above the altar). So I’ve been watching some YouTube videos and once the supplies come, I’m going to try it. Even if I never get good at it, it’s something hubby and I can do in his workshop together, working side-by-side. I just hope I don’t lose any fingers. I’m not one of those writers who is very good with dictation software, so I kinda need all my fingers.

Last but not least, let’s get to that goal I set of doing a “question of the month” here on the blog.

For this month’s question, I picked: what’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

That’s a complex question. I’ve always been really flighty in my employment, flitting from job to job. Up until my current job, the longest I’d ever stayed at a job was two years. When you spend that much time changing jobs, you tend to have a wide range of employment, and a lot of them are pretty shitty jobs.

One job clearly stands out as the worst, though, and it’s one of TWO brief jobs that I had right before I took my current job. And when I say brief, I mean BRIEF!

The first job, I lasted only three days. It was night shift sorter at the post office. I was hired part-time, no benefits, but I ended up putting in thirty-six hours in those three days. When I asked my co-workers, “Wow. When are they going to hire enough people that it won’t be like this anymore?” They laughed and exchanged knowing glances. One gal stepped forward and said she’d been doing the job for seven years, and it had *always* been like that. They said they just gradually got used to it, and by the time they realized they were always going to be working twelve to sixteen hours a day, six days a week, they were so in love with the crazy amount of money that they were making, they couldn’t walk away. Well, maybe they couldn’t . . . . I walked.

I went straight from that job into the worst job I ever had: pest control call center. The job was an awful lot like telemarketing, except that some of your contacts were also regular customers. But whether you were making cold contact or they were contacting you, the icing on the cake was spending the whole day talking about bedbugs and mice and cockroaches in five-star hotels and fancy restaurants in places like Vegas and Beverly Hills. Yay! Jobs like that will make you never want to travel (or eat anywhere) again! God it was awful. I think I lasted three weeks or so at that job, and the only reason I lasted that long was because the first week or two was training. Once I got out of the training modules and on the phone, I soured on the job pretty quickly.

Almost worse than the job itself was the animosity from the other workers. This job was one of those places that tries to screw over “employees” by hiring everyone through a temp agency. So most of the workers there were unbenefitted and not “guaranteed” continued employment (not that anyone is “guaranteed”, but you know what I mean). For reasons I don’t quite understand, I was hired as a standard employee, not through a temp agency. So I had more benefits and job security than everyone else, and they were pretty pissed about it. I bet they were even more pissed when they found out I just abruptly quit my “cushy” job. Bleh. One man’s shit show is another man’s stable income, I guess, and that one just wasn’t for me.

Thankfully, I saw an ad for my current job shortly after, and that’s where I’ve been ever since, nine years and counting!

That’s it for this month, folks! Hopefully next month I’ll be able to tell you all about the really cool short story I’m working on, LOL!

Until then, stay spooky!