Author: leilani

Eleventh Hour

Eleventh Hour

The title of this entry sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Ooooh, the eleventh hour

Not exactly ominous, though it’s a situation rife with complications. We have ten grandchildren now. There is probably going to be an eleventh. The pregnancy is confirmed. Everything else is up in the air. All things considered, G and I are trying to remain neutral ’til we find out which way the wind blows.

We did a marathon shopping day today – if you follow me on FB, you already know we bought a new sofa and recliner. I found a sofa I loved at the first place we stopped, but G nixed it on the basis of comfort. Both G and I skew to the short side, and a lot of sofas are too deep for us to sit comfortably. Either our feet dangle above  the floor, or we can’t sit all the way back, or both. Usually it’s both. The one we bought was one of a handful that “fit”. The recliner was my issue – almost none of the models we saw offered support under my knees. The one we bought was literally the only one that ticked the support box. I’ll probably end up living in the thing more than anyone else does, so G didn’t want to make a decision on it at all. I still insisted he sit and see if he thought it was comfy. (He did.) It wasn’t my favorite in appearance, but it’s the right thing for my body.

We agreed a while back to get a new sofa and recliner, and eliminate a disintegrating loveseat and a pair of oversized chairs. It should make a lot better use of our space. The sofa is slightly longer than our existing sleeper loveseat, but we’re trading two oversized club chairs for one small recliner. We’re also getting rid of a tatty ottoman that we’ve been using as an end table. G gets to do the interior designer thing, because 1) he’s better at it than I am and 2) I don’t have time anyway.

We plan to give our old furniture away. The chairs are in good condition, just not suited to the space. The loveseat is part of what was originally a sectional. While it isn’t spectacular, it isn’t torn or stained, and it is a sofa bed. What”s more, the bed is actually comfortable for sleeping. With that in mind, we figure someone can use them. Local FB groups always have someone begging for furniture due to family misfortunes. If we can help someone, everyone wins.

Apart from the furniture hunting marathon, we made a half dozen stops trying to track down an adapter for our new range hood. The old one developed a short, and the replacement didn’t fit our non-standard vent. G finally found something he can jury rig to do the job. Since it’s not an electrical component or fire risk, I’m all for it.

 

Dollar Holler

Dollar Holler

My body is still rebelling against the change of schedule, which – as it worked out – ended up being a waste of effort. The whole principle of going to o’dark thirty in the morning was to make more money. The company has now determined that ain’t happening, honey. I assume, based on the way it’s being handled, the intent is to empty the building within the next couple of months. It’s a system that sounds nice on paper, but we’ve already lost half our workforce, just as we’re getting ready to hit our busy season, and our top performers are going to take a hike the second the new pay structure kicks in. These are people who will literally lose $3000 a month or more under the new system. I don’t know yet how much it’s going to cost me, but I gather it’ll be a fair amount.

It was either a gross miscalculation or the first step toward closing down the center. I’m lucky enough to have some cushioning, so it’s not the end of the world for me. I feel for some of my colleagues, who are scrambling to find other work asap. I’m looking, too, don’t get me wrong – but I don’t panic over it. There are too many jobs now that pay more than this one will pay, and I have both the experience and the financial coverage to wing it for a bit, if need be.

The irony is that this is the one specific thing I was told – in my original interview – that this company would never, ever do. The lack of integrity alone is enough to make me look elsewhere.

Being dumped into a team with a shiny new (micro)manager doesn’t help the situation. I don’t hate the new manager as a person, and I know her intentions are good, but as a manager she’s truly awful. She’s been picking on one person in particular (it’s stupid obvious), and is directly responsible for that person losing several hundred dollars on just one paycheck. Stupid move, which refers back to why this person should never have been promoted to manager in the first place.

Saddest part is, this isn’t a new company. The corporate structure’s been around for a long time. But the local management doesn’t seem to have a clue. That level of miscalculation (or intent – still haven’t figured out for sure which applies) will spell the death knell for this center, unless someone upstairs keys in and dismisses the top brass. That isn’t usually what happens, of course. The top brass stays on, or worst-case scenario is sent off with a golden parachute, while the workforce gets kicked in the teeth.

Which is why a good chunk of our workforce has already taken a hike, with the rest in the process. This is a “right to work” state, which means management can screw with you any way you like, and you’ll end up with nothing for your trouble, if you choose to stay on. You can be kicked to the curb for any reason or no reason, on the whim of management, and you have no recourse. Your salary can be jacked up all over the place, and you have no recourse. (Trust me – minimum wage laws here are loose suggestions only in this part of the world.) The only positive aspect of the atrocious rule is that you can walk out with no repercussions, too. I don’t know of anyone in our department who isn’t planning to leave.

I’m comfortable that things will work out. I’m hoping to find something closer to home, maybe even something on a M-F schedule. If I had my say we’d leave the state, but G might have a literal heart attack at the prospect.

Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia

As a writer, I’m aware of words, in the most intimate way possible short of printing something on a prophylactic. Therefore, as a writer, I’m cognizant of what words mean, of the power they convey, and the messages they impart. Onomatopoeia is, if anyone doesn’t know, words for sounds, such as BOOM for an explosion, and hee-haw for the sound a donkey makes. I heard it on Reading Rainbow, back when my kids were little.

In this day and age, we’ve coined new expressions for certain sounds. For example, Fake News is the sound a President makes when he’s lying through his ass. It’s ironically a kind of camouflage, one which only works on the people behind the President when he makes it. You’d think they’d smell the stench when he lets one rip, but I guess the camouflage masks smells, too, if you’re in the right position. Or maybe if you’re in that position by choice, it’s because you have no senses left.

Grab ’em by the pussy is the sound of women being attacked, demeaned, and dismissed. It’s also the sound a man makes to indicate he’s unfit for any business, office, or position of authority. This one positively reeks, most likely because it’s been around so long. It’s also a symptom of a backward society. If you hear this sound, run. The source is rotten and when it blows, it’ll take everything out with it.

This one is  the sound of a nation on the verge of failure: Why can’t we use nuclear weapons? I think most of us understand the implications of this sound (except those behind Trump. See Fake News, above.)

Other sounds are laughable, until you pay attention. Case in point: I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall. This repulsive sound is one similar in scope and meaning to Grab ’em by the pussy. If you hear this sound, however, be aware that no wall is likely to be erected any time soon, unless it’s a wall designed to keep Americans from escaping and tainting the rest of the world. This is the sound made by civil rights at their execution. It’s a tragic sound and one which may become our irreversible funeral dirge.

Nobody who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty. This is the sound of a society hanging on by a thread. It’s the acknowledgment of human dignity, tempered by the acknowledgment that human dignity is an endangered species.

These are only a few of the catchphrases we should be listening to, and reacting to. The problem is that so few are paying attention these days, even when humanity as a race is lying wounded and dying.

Are you listening?

Free Wheeling

Free Wheeling

Okay, so my title is misleading. My wheels most assuredly aren’t free. They are, however, a substantial improvement over my old mode of transport.

Kia SpectraI’d been talking for a while about getting another car, and finally hit the point of pulling that trigger a few days ago. The final straw was when the already-intermittent AC sputtered to its ultimate demise. I had already been talking with a sales person who was offering me the moon if I’d just buy a car from him, any car, any how. I’d planned on dragging the husband unit out with me, since he ostensibly wanted to be involved with the selection.

Mind you, when I say the AC was the last straw, I don’t say that lightly. The old car had 160K miles on it. It NEVER had high beam headlights, not from the time we acquired it. We put two clutch systems into it in as many years, and it was popping out of both reverse and 5th gear. It was known to overheat – in winter – so we knew that summer was going to be a bitch at best.

That sunburnt beige monster is what I’d been driving for the past several years. Cars don’t rust around here. The sun does, however, destroy the paint.

Yet I was doing my best to postpone the inevitable because I knew we have money coming in mid-June, and with my credit I was going to have to plunk down some serious cash to buy a car. Except, I didn’t.

My credit card company has a free notification system that tells me if anything hits my credit, and it also gives me periodic updates on my credit score. I’ve been digging my way up from a few decades’ worth of starvation wages whilst working in the radio biz, and have been a good little consumer, paying my bills on time, and all that rot. My bills consist of a couple of credit cards and a PayPal credit account, so revolving lines of credit. We retired the mortgage and the last time I had a car payment in my name was probably ten years ago.

When the car lot pulled my credit numbers, the credit card alert popped up and told me my credit score was in the “poor” range. Not quite to the 400 numbers, but low enough I knew a car wasn’t going to happen. I know enough about how credit works to know that wasn’t the number that I’d been assigned at my last view of credit score. I assumed it was because of the credit pulled from the car dealership, and hoped that when they pulled it, they got a little higher number. I was praying I was at least into the low end of the “fair” category.

Welp, I found out one little detail about my credit card company. Their numbers lied. Like, significantly.

Up at the the top of the page, you’ll see the new baby. Not a Maserati, I know, but about a thousand percent improvement over what I was driving. My only real beef is the seats, which are miserable. I’m going to spring for a lumbar cushion, which should address the concave back to the seats. Who designed those things, anyway? A teenager, for whom a perpetual slouch is normal?

The salesman showed me my credit report printout from the big three agencies. My credit card company lied through its ass. And I couldn’t be happier about it, because I was able to drive off the lot without a down payment, and bought a new car. Not just new to me, but new as in, the odometer had 20 miles on it after my test drive, full factory warranty, and more. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever bought a new car. It came with all my must-haves (automatic, air, and cruise control – because I’m OVER trying to fight my way around a standard, with my knees!) It also came with a lot of bells and whistles, including roadside assistance. But not, ironically, a spare tire.

We’re going to be getting that spare tire, and a jack, soon. Even if I have roadside assistance, it’s stupid not to have some things. I also ponied up the extra to extend bumper-to-bumper coverage for 10 years/100K miles, not just the drive train. It’ll probably be fine, but I’m not taking chances.

Since I didn’t have to wait for the cash to put down on it, I’m debating whether to just pay a lump sum so I can pay the loan off sooner, use the money to cover a year’s payments and sock cash back that would otherwise have gone to a car payment, or what. I’m leaning toward the former, but part of me says to hang onto the cash in case of emergencies. It’s a nice conundrum in my world. How do I spend XX thousand bucks?

Luck of the Draw

Luck of the Draw

My body truly cannot figure out when to sleep and when to be awake. Supposed to be asleep right now. The clock says it’s just shy of 9:30. My work schedule says it’s about midnight or thereabouts. I have 4.5 hours before I need to get up for work – if tomorrow wasn’t the second day of my “weekend,” anyway.

Urg.

Husband Unit G and I were talking today about some of our options. Our vehicle, at 11 years and 160K miles, is thumbing its nose at us. Still running, thankfully, albeit with idiosyncrasies like crazy. Today the AC worked, then didn’t work, then worked, then… well, you get the idea. It has no high beams, and hasn’t for the five years I’ve been driving it. It has issues, I tell ya, issues. We two old farts, being aware of its issues, have already begun scouting around for its replacement. The replacement is being made possible by a cascade of serendipitous stuff, starting with a move to a place without a mortgage; a new job; a soon-to-be raise at aforementioned new job; and the happy discovery of a goodly chunk-o-money we didn’t previously know existed. We’re not millionaires, but turns out we were thousand-aires for the past several years, and didn’t have a clue.

It’s enough money to do a handful of much-needed stuff.

One is putting down a hefty down payment on a vehicle. I’d love to pay cash. Buuuut… I’d love more to have a car that won’t hit 100K miles after a week and a half of my commute. We’ll get enough we could actually buy a decent vehicle for cash, but it would leave us nothing in reserve, which is another thing I want to achieve.

Also, G agreed with me (after a bit of arm twisting on my part) that our living room furniture is due for replacement. I’m grateful for what we have. It’s gotten us through. But it doesn’t work for the long run. Hubby agreed to get a new sofa – that part was easy. What we have now is one arm of a sectional. No, really. Not the worst thing in the world, but not ideal, either. I’m still working on him to trade out the two oversized arm chairs for one modest recliner. Eliminating one chair would make a whole lot of difference in our available floor space. This room isn’t that tiny, but there’s so much crap shoved into the room that it feels claustrophobic. Gotta love being married to a pack rat!

We also need to get our deck rebuilt. It’s currently a death trap, and for all his posturing, I can’t see G building it. His health won’t permit it. Our neighbor wants to buy our old car when we get a new one. G proposed trading the car for a new deck. (Neighbor is a contractor.) I was all OVER that idea.

On another money front, I agreed to help an acquaintance format her next book for print and eBook. I committed to the project a while back, and was happy to do so. It’s a paying proposition. She also asked me to format her cover for her. She provided the artwork, a painting done by one of her friends.

Ummm…

I had to gently explain to her all the reasons that her dear friend’s “masterpiece” wasn’t a good option for a book cover. I tried to be as tactful as possible while telling her it looked like it was painted by a very young artist. Extremely young. I suggested if she wanted to include the image inside the book, she could state that it was a friend’s visualization. I also pointed out that where this book was historically based, the history was way off when it came to the image at hand. Her book was set in America in the early 1600’s. Her characters were costumed a good 250 years later, what you could see of them. It would be like dressing Martha Washington in hot pants and a cowboy hat, and a good half-century further forward in time.

Luckily she trusts my judgment and saw my point. (The author – not Martha Washington the hussy!) Which means now I need to find some suitable images for the story, which in turn is looking increasingly unlikely. Ergo, I will probably hand-draw her cover, something I don’t want to do for about a thousand reasons. Can I draw? Yes. Do I want to, or even have time to do it justice? HELL no. But I’ve searched my ass off and ain’t nothing like what I need on the photo membership sites. So, as it stands now, looks like I’m the illustrator for her book cover. I’m going to do my best and cross my fingers.

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