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Not that there’s a good day for a death in the family….

December 26th, 2013 2 comments

Sometime on the night of Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning, my sister died.

Eulogies are supposed to be about the deceased, but I think they’re always about us.  I’ll try to talk about my sister.

She was born December 17th, 1976.  She refused to have more than a finger length’s of her hair cut off because she’d promised our paternal grandfather she wouldn’t.  She showed the door to a boyfriend who demanded she have dinner on the table by the time he got home from work.  She inherited (or learned) the quick, cold temper that my mother, her sister, their mother and I imagine her mother all had.  She was one quarter Canadian (naturalized).  Our parents called her Toad.  I have no idea why.

She liked frogs, though.  Her cell phone made some kind of jungle frog chirp when it rang.  It made gift giving easy, frog = success.  She didn’t get hangovers, but one day she called me to ask about my previously mentioning I was starting to get mild headaches after a night of drinking.  Getting old sucks.

I turned her onto Bushmills Irish Whisky and she claimed she drank nothing else.  Brotherly duty fulfilled.

My dad was supposed to pick her up for presents at our stepsister’s house.  She (sister, not stepsister) had a seizure about four months ago and thus couldn’t drive.  He called me when she didn’t answer the door to see if I had a key.  I didn’t, and neither did my mother, who he’d already called.  Mom called some time later to say Dad called 911 and the police were going to break in.  It “didn’t look good.”

He didn’t go into her apartment.  The police told him he shouldn’t, but they said she looked like she was just sleeping.  People always say that and maybe sometimes it’s true.  The one freshly dead body I’ve ever seen sure looked dead.

We were in a friend’s borrowed car, the GF was driving and she went all Dukes of Hazzard to get to my mom’s house.  Except the jumps, we didn’t jump anything.  Upon arrival I asked her to stay in the car for a few minutes while I went inside.  Mom knew.  Of course she knew.  She, wailed is the only word for it, while I held her upright.  The GF said she could hear it from the street and came in before the “few minutes” were up.  She’s better at people than I am.

Mom went outside for some fresh air and I had to call her sister, my aunt.  I went with Mom to tell the neighbors, who fortunately can be relied upon to keep tabs on her.  Aunt arrived with some well-meaning platitudes.  Our fortuitous possession of a friend’s car was taken for divine intervention.  Mom’s getting fatalistic in her old age to think God sent a couple from University Park to Utah to make killing my sister more convenient for the family.  Me, I think we’re a giant TV and God’s munching popcorn and laughing.  I knew it wasn’t the time to mention that.

Mom didn’t want to go to my sister’s apartment (I try to stay out of Vancouver myself) and Dad left before the body was removed.  It was taken to the closest funeral home the Vancouver police had on their list.  When we can arrange it we’ll take her ashes to a little town in northeast Oregon called Athena.  I remembered at some point she always wanted to be buried there.

Can I talk about me now? Thanks.

I’m okay.  Okay doesn’t mean great.  I get waves of sadness but they pass quickly.  Kid Me resented her for being the favorite.  I didn’t realize that at the time, I just thought my parents should have quit while they were ahead with just me.  As I got older I equally subconciously realized it wasn’t her fault.  I can’t say I liked my sister.  Like every other person I share DNA with I probably wouldn’t have associated with her voluntarily.  She was okay, though.  I kinda wish I’d gotten drunk with her at least once, but that was always unlikely and the feeling will probably pass.

Will it hit me? Maybe.  Maybe this is the benefit to being a realist (I won’t be offended if you spell that “pessimist”).  My dad broke down a little when he told me she’d died, but I had no immediate physical reaction.  Once I accepted the GF was going to speed all the way from Jantzen Beach to Lents to tell Mom my mind was in neutral.  Defense mechanism? Clock cycle conservation? I don’t know.  I’ve been thinking it, I’ve even said it out loud a few times.

My sister is dead.
I don’t have a sister any more.
I’m an only child now.
My sister is dead.

It hasn’t hit me yet.

Tomorrow we’ll make arrangements.  Decisions about last paychecks and cremations and property and hopefully I can get into her apartment before my parents find anything embarrassing in there.  Maybe I’ll go to pieces when I see the bed she died in.  I doubt it, but it’s possible.

She was 37.  She smoked menthols.  She chewed with her mouth open.  She’ll never go to Scotland, but maybe in July when Athena has its Caledonian Games the bagpipes and the yips of the sheepdog trials will carry to the old cemetary in the brown hills where our grandparents are also buried.

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I GOT A NEW JOB!!!

June 8th, 2011 No comments

After only about 7 months at the RiverPlace Hotel it’s my second most hated job, beat only the place (justly) known as the Shithole. It’s only a modestly badly run hotel, but it’s still a fucking hotel. You’ve all heard enough bitching about that place, so I won’t bother you further.

The new place, which I will be cagey about following my personal social media policy is a (wait for it) high rise commercial building contractor! Huzzah!!!

It’s actually a federal contractor. Also, a union shop. But the union contract is being negotiated so I don’t have to join yet.

It’s over HALF again what the hotel was paying me. 156%, to be exact. There’s no concern about layoffs from budget cuts, being cagey I’ll just say it’s a part of the budget no pol will campaign about cutting. Also, not affected by shutdowns.

It’s day shift, business hours so no more missed Yelp Elite events!

Apart from that, it’s gonna be a fucking job. People are going to annoy me, tasks are going to frustrate me. It’s a job.

It’s just way better than what I have now.

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Partly hired

June 24th, 2010 No comments

Tuesday I start a part time maintenance job at a hotel. It’s two days a week, but it’ll last longer than unemployment insurance, especially since right now there’s no extensions (Congress apparently is considering a vote to make some) it will also leave time to interview for real jobs.

Not really something to celebrate, but better than nothing.

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It’s done…

May 17th, 2010 1 comment

Gave notice on the apartment. 6/12 is my last day, but if I get out earlier I get more prorated rent back, so I’ll try to do that. I mentioned to the manager the possibility that I might get hired in that period, but if I haven’t been offered a job in the last year and a half I’m not gonna get one between now and when someone puts down a deposit on this place. Studios go pretty fast in this building.

Now I’m taking a break from straightening the place up for viewing. Mgr promised me it wouldn’t get shown before Wednesday, but there’s no reason to dawdle in doing the cleaning I should have been doing all along. Tee hee.

I was reminded that $125 of my deposit is non-refundable to pay for the turnover. Which is shitty, but oh well, rent (inclusive, you’ll recall) is cheap here. $125 isn’t even one month’s difference between this place and what studios go for normally. Since I know I’m not getting that back I can slack on the cleaning a bit. The carpet, for instance, is all on them.

Anyway, yeah, this sucks. I was gonna mope some but I’m going to prepare lunch instead.

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My present status…

April 3rd, 2010 2 comments

… in relation to unemployment insurance and whatnot is: precarious.

I just finished the online process to restart my claim. The first hurdle is according to the Employment Department since I was “taken off the assignment before it ends” I was fired, or as they quaintly put it, discharged. Therefore the Employment Department has to determine if I was discharged for a good reason. I can’t recall the standard exactly (I saw it in a letter informing me I was on the dole after the shithole fired me), it’s something like flagrantly disregarding or willfully neglecting the employer’s best interests. I thought at the time it was actually a pretty reasonable standard. Assuming it’s honestly applied. I remember reading in Willy Week during the Clinton administration some welfare agency in Oregon was being sued repeatedly for denying applications for assistance no matter what so they could claim they were reducing welfare rolls when they closed the file.

I think I have a good chance. Even if I was “discharged”, I didn’t DO anything wrong, like stealing or no-showing. Theories range from the guy making the call is a stupendously picky mother fucker to they just didn’t want that position filled at all. I lean towards the “picky mofo” end of the spectrum.

Anyway, they have 21 days to resolve it. If my claim is denied, I’m in deep dodo. If my prior claim is restarted I’ve got a grace period of at least a month, maybe more if there’s some extension I haven’t missed the deadline on. If I have to start a new claim at some point I doubt I’ll be able to keep my apartment and have any kind of discretionary income. I figure something good has to happen in the next two weeks or I need to give notice. At that point I move my shit to mom’s house and spend a lot of time at Wooga’s place. I’ll be 35 and either living with mommy, leeching off a girlfriend or a combination of both. I will unilaterally declare myself a failure and consider beginning Operation Drink Myself to Death.

I’ve had two interviews this week and I have a phone interview on Monday. All of them are at best meh for various reasons. I don’t really want any of them but I’ll accept any of them if offered.

Two weeks is the 17th of April. Something needs to come up before then if I want to keep this lovely little cave in Nob Hill. So if you know of anything, you know how to get a hold of me.

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Aw, fuck.

March 18th, 2010 1 comment

Unemployed again.

Got no information from management, of course. My temp recruiter said the fucker told her I wasn’t trying enough. Which is bullshit. I suppose he expected me to patrol the building looking for broken shit, which is a practice so terrible I couldn’t actually bring myself to believe he meant it. This is now maintenance works, you do your scheduled stuff, then you fix what breaks. In building maintenance this means taking service calls. That’s it. The end. The whole process right there. Surveys looking for problems are perfectly reasonable, if they’re a scheduled PM! You don’t tell the new guy to wander around. When he told me he wanted me to be more proactive (never trust anyone who uses that word) he only mentioned one specific thing, which I was fucking DOING.

So I don’t know where this leaves me. I might be able to restart my claim, I gotta get some info from the agency before I can file. I don’t know about extensions or anything, they all have deadlines that your benefits have to run out before. I think the deadline next one I was looking at has already passed.

Thank you, girlfriend, for talking me out of buying a Mac Mini will my federal refund.

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Progress and reflection

January 27th, 2010 No comments

I just realized the title kind of sounds poetic. That was unintentional.

Progress is I (soft of) found a (sort of) job. The first sort of is my temp agency actually found me the job, and the second sort of is it’s temp to hire, so I can blow it and not get hired. At which point I might be pretty well fucked. But I have several reasons to feel good about this opportunity.

I have experience and training in the field. The job itself is easy, it’s changing light bulbs, plunging toilets, futzing with the occasional door. Although the two people I interviewed with dropped hints that if I work out there might be more in store for me. The people seem pretty chill, no one sticks out as an obvious dick and most of the people seemed to be reaching out to make me feel comfortable. It’s a fairly large crew, there’s 8 including me. One of the sources of conflict at my last job, in the Pearl, was there were only three maintainers, one of who was the chief. So it was just me and Numbertwo day after day after day. Numbertwo and I get along, I’d even venture to say we’re pretty good friends. But there would be flareups occasionally, mostly because we would get sick of looking at each other. I like this situation better.

The last reason is the reflection part and it’s about blogging. I never got into diaries or journaling, I only started blogging to keep my IM friends up to date. But occasionally I’d get bored and look through old entries. That’s how I discovered that I, in fact, do NOT have a strong immune system. And it also identified a pattern with jobs. I walk in excited, I become intoxicated with the place, then I turn against it with the type of savageness normally reserved for mama bears and bored cops. All due to overwrought expectations. So this time I’m going to keep my head about me. It’s a job, in fact, it’s an audition for a job. It’s not going to change my life. Other than the paychecks and time sink.

It’s a commercial property management company downtown with one big and several smaller buildings. Details? Ask me IRL.

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On the matter of lodgings….

April 27th, 2009 2 comments

A little over a year ago I (finally) moved out of my mom’s house. I’d been there for about three years while I back to school’d. The plan had always been for it to be short term, I’d find a part time job and a cheap apartment and be an adult again.

That didn’t quite work. I’ll never understand how people can work two full time or mostly full time jobs. There was a period I was getting 25-30 hours a week in a dishpit in North Portland and going to school 4 nights and 2 days a week. It about killed me. And I still couldn’t find anywhere I could afford to live and get out of my place once in a while. Thus with a heavy sigh I gave up and admitted I would be at my mom’s house until I finished school and found a real job.

I did both of those, then started looking for a place. I wanted to live in NW Portland, hopefully Old Town. Downtown would be second best. Inner SE a distant third and anywhere else would be a cause for tears. I found an apartment right on Burnside, a decent sized one bedroom for the low, low price of $700/month. This was a bit more than I’d budgeted but was at least $200 less than I was finding anywhere else. I figured all I needed was a studio but those weren’t coming up. This, I decided, was too good to pass up and with only a little hemming I leapt. When it was offered to me, management actually knocked $25 off the rent, which makes me wish I was actually good at negotiating.

And there I was. An adult again, living above one of the cooler bars in town. On a major street, where the garbage, recycling and delivery guys stopped to service the building and/or bar. With southern exposure that woke me up between 5:30 and 7am every day. Then the smoking ban and drunks on the sidewalk all night long. I understood why it was so cheap.

But it was as good as it got, right?

Then came unemployment and number crunching and figuring out when I’d have to do something drastic. The Dole was enough to get by (esp when my credit insurance started covering my minimums) and I had plenty of savings to maintain the abuse of my organs. But it wouldn’t last forever and job prospects were BAD. Not boldfaced bad, but all caps bad, BAD.

Then a text, from Galleyhag (I didn’t make that up, she did), a studio in her building, a scant six(ish) blocks away, for $515/month. I recall staring at my iPhone for a moment, waiting for that to turn into a reasonable number. But it persisted.

So, let’s think about this, a quieter neighborhood, a more reasonable size apartment (trust me, I’m swimming in this one bedroom, it’s really just more shit to get dirty), free utilities (did I forget to mention that, yeah, free utilities), the building has a wifi service. It’s really close to the streetcar and further away from the fast food options that plague my dreams (I can hear you 24hr McDonald’s window, cease your siren song). Plus there’s a convenience store nearby open until 10pm, there’s one a little further off open until 2:30am.

And $160 a month, cash, in my pocket, which might end depredations on my savings account, maybe (just maybe would keep me out of it (the wifi service would equal my average power bill here).

In exchange for no longer having a grocery store across the street and losing quick access to MAX and #15 & #20 busses. Oh, and I wouldn’t be living across the street from a Hot Lips Pizza. That last one actually hurts pretty bad, and I’ll miss MAX being so close, but I’m typing this with a receipt for the deposit in the other room. There’s the answer.

Official move in date is the 9th. Gotta give notice here soon, that will give me a few weeks to do some moving.

Awesome.

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Redesign!

February 27th, 2009 1 comment

This is version somewhere between 3.5 and 5.0. I’ve finally given up on maintaining my website’s architecture manually. The W3C (no, I’m not linking them) have won with their stupid, infernally complicated written-by-committee changes to HTML. I want to beat senseless whatever asshat came up with the strong tag.

Grrr.

Okay, nerd off.

WordPress is now driving Doom’s World. I’m probably not done tinkering with it, but I’ve already missed my window for the gym and I have other stuff to do. Next stop, sorting out the blog roll.

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It’s official!

December 2nd, 2008 No comments

The company I work for has been fired. The company that used to manage the property (which, did I mention, I’ve already interviewed with?) is taking over again.

How Alanis Morrisette.

If you’re curious, this is the deliciously ironic possibility I suggested way back when I first blogged about my employment sitch.

Numbertwo is all pissed off because we didn’t get any more notice than 30 days. But I don’t think the building owner was sharing with anyone onsite. Either way, I’ve known for a while what was coming. Boss is pretty devastated, he’s used to flying pretty high. Uberboss, I dunno, we’ve had hints he was trying to get out of here for a while. He’ll probably land on his feet, as is usual with the higher ups.

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