Wed. July 7, 2021: Home

image courtesy of Sophie Ilvarinen via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

I am home.

Aren’t those beautiful words?

I spent the holiday weekend on Cape, finishing the clearing out. Most of what was left over ended up in the dumpster, although I salvaged a enough for 7 carloads that went into storage over the various days.

My lovely neighbors down the street helped me pack the dumpster on Saturday and Sunday. They’re very efficient, dumpster geniuses, and we got it all in. Monday, once I finished the storage runs, was about cleaning.

The cleaning took a lot. The basement, where boxes had gotten damp and stained the walls, needed the most work, but I used a bleach mixture and it’s better. It still needs repainting, but hey, it’s been ten years.

As I cleaned, an alarmed face showed up in the streaks. I should have taken a photo of it. It wasn’t exactly Taco Jesus, but it was interesting. (“Taco Jesus” was the name of a play I stage managed way back in the 80’s at the One Act Theatre Company of San Francisco, with Michael McShane in the lead).

There’s still a lot of processing to do, and I will do that, and decide what I’m comfortable publicly sharing. Lots of emotion involved in all of that. But it was easier to do without my mom underfoot and every toss out becoming an argument.

I was also frustrated cleaning, because I’d clean something, and 5 minutes later it looked worse. I had to clean all the baseboards again in the house. I’d cleaned them the day the movers cleared out the furniture. Here it was, less than two weeks later, in an empty house, and they were filthy again. I don’t get it.

I scrubbed and cleaned all day. Of course, the landlord called me at 5 to see how I was doing. I was ready to go just after 6. The key exchange was nice enough, although, even though he’s keeping the security deposit, he wanted to charge extra for these five days of clearing out. No, honey, that’s what the security deposit is for. Plus, I could have just walked away and left him to deal with it; according to MA state law, he couldn’t just toss everything. He would have had to photograph and inventory everything and store it for 60 days until I claimed it. But I did not do that. I came and dealt with it myself. He gave me the water bill – although he’s paying a portion of it, for the water used for the lawn. Again, that could come out of the security deposit. He’s making noise about charging me above the security deposit, if he finds things cost more.

No. The place needs painting. It hasn’t been painted in 10 years. Most of the paint has held up very well. There’s a little wear and tear, and some damage where I removed the Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs we fastened on the walls when we moved in – damage because the hardware store guy sold me an adhesive he promised wouldn’t damage the walls, but, like everything else he told me, that was wrong.  Aside from the staining and some dry wall shrinkage in the basement, and the ding in the wall at the bottom of the stairs caused by the movers, the place is not in bad shape. It needs paint, and it needs a professional scrub. The central vac didn’t have any suction – mostly because the landlord never ordered the special bags it needs (it’s original to the house) and never told me where I could get them. Our vacuum went on the moving truck, so I was using a broom and dustpan, and also using my little hand vac. I Rug Doctored the heck out of the carpets.

What it really needs are bathroom renovations and new windows, but we know that’s not happening coming from them, and I’m not paying for that.

There were plenty of things in the ten years we lived there that the landlord “never got around to.” I’m not paying for those.

Let him jump on the Short Term Rental Greed Train. He’ll find out it’s not as easy as having a year round tenant. When holiday renters are paying top dollar for a property, they don’t want  something that’s original to the house just because it’s Cape Cod – especially since this house is 5 miles from the beach. They want better stuff than they have at home. He can blame me all he wants for not being able to rent out the place by July 4th weekend. But even if we’d gotten out at the end of April, the place wouldn’t be ready.

I was happy to drive out of there without looking back. It was about 6:30 by the time I finally got out of there.

I was practically numb with exhaustion trying to get over the Sagamore Bridge. I’d only had an egg for breakfast and some watermelon for lunch. It took 40 minutes to get over the bridge, and, according to the radio, it kept backing up.

There was another backup around Middleboro, but then it wasn’t too bad.

I managed to get to Sturbridge by 9-ish, to my favorite inn, The Publick House. I stumbled in, begging for a room in the lodge, the section that has all the goofy toile wallpaper and the little balconies.

The lodge was sold out to a special group.

I was ready to cry. I was too tired to go any farther.

But, I’m a regular guest there, sort of. I’m in their system. So they offered me a room in Tillyear House, at a big discount, which only made it about $20 more than staying in the lodge.

I said yes.

It was a lovely room. Enormous, with two queen beds with soft mattress toppers, a huge bathroom with a tiled shower, a reading/writing area, and giant TV.

First thing I did was take a shower, slather on their wonderful bath products, and feel like a human being again.

Of course, I had no real food. I had leftover chips and cookies, and the remnants of the wine I’d bought to wind down in the evenings when I camped in the empty house. So I had chips and wine, and watched Food Network and HGTV for an hour or so, until I was tired enough to fall asleep.

I slept. I woke up around 5, the latest I’ve slept in months. I lounged in bed until about 6:30, then got dressed. I’m so sick of cargo pants I can’t stand them anymore (they made the most sense during the move). Fortunately, I’d thrown some other clothes into my bag, so I put those on. I’d thrown one of my Ipsy bags in my purse, so I even had a little makeup, so I didn’t look like death warmed over.

Hopped next door to the bakery to get my complimentary breakfast of coffee, blueberry muffins, coffeecake squares. Took it back to my room, ate, wrote in my journal. Enjoyed having finished the house.

I was tired enough to want to go back to bed, but I got my act together and was back on the road by 9. The woman at the desk and I had a lovely talk, and she encouraged me to come back for my birthday weekend in March. If the weather’s not bad, I just might book myself in there for a weekend of reading, writing, and spa time, in Tillyear house. Much as I love the funky little lodge, it was nice to indulge in one of the fancier rooms.

Traffic wasn’t too bad, although once I left the Pike at Lee, the last hour to home took a little longer because there was more traffic than at 7 AM when I usually breezed through. But I got home around 11:30. Mom and cats happy to see me.

It took awhile to unload the car, because it was full of weird bits and pieces from the clearing out. I took breaks in between, due to the humidity. But I got it all done. Then I fell asleep on the couch for a few hours.

Got up, made dinner, and went to bed early.

The cats woke me a little before 5 this morning, demanding breakfast. Tessa marched out of her bastion near the front porch, all the way down the long hall to the kitchen, demanding to speak to the manager, because breakfast was late, and That Will Not Do.

A client contacted me yesterday about a possible steady writing gig. I was too incoherent to respond, but I will do so today, and we’ll see if that works out. I will start up again with the script coverage work today, and also let my book review editor know I’m ready for the next book.

There’s a lot of unpacking to do; we will do so slowly, and figure out where we want things. Shift and re-shift things around a bit. We need to do a good grocery shop.

Hopefully, I can re-read some of my own writing later in the day; I want to get back to my first 1K of the day early on in the next few days.

I need to ease in, instead of jump in, due to exhaustion. I have to prioritize the paying work, because I’ve lost three weeks’ of work due to the move and clearing out. Bills are already starting to come in, and I want to make sure everything is paid on time.

I have to process the emotions of the move, and of the friction between the life I thought I wanted on Cape Cod and the reality of life on Cape Cod. That will take time. I have to create new, sustainable routines for life here, and explore my new area.

While I need to work steadily to earn a living, I also want a balance. I need rest, and I want to enjoy my life. I am going to be much more cautious about getting involved with any local groups or organizations here – it will take me some time to recover from the burnout from the organizations on Cape Cod. I don’t care about being a good sport or fitting in anymore – I’m going to figure out how to craft the life I want, and people can either accept those boundaries or fuck right off.

I’m beyond tired, but I’m also relieved that the move is done, and I’m looking forward to building a positive next act here in the Berkshires.

Thank you so much to all of you who cheerleaded (cheerled?) and contributed to the GoFundMe, and, in general, supported me through a difficult time. I am filled with gratitude.

Fri. May 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 363 — Frustration

image courtesy of Sasin Tipchai via pixabay.com

Friday, May 21, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cooler

Yesterday was another day that was all over the place.

I was up worrying way too early. Got up early, fed the cats, dozed on the couch a bit, which calmed Charlotte’s anxiety a bit.

Cleaned out the garage some more; almost finished sorting all the plant pots. I mean, there’s a lot more to do in the garage, but getting that done will make a big difference.

Handled a few things for the soon-to-be-ex client. Sent off a bunch of LOIs. Sent off rental application information. Most of these “property management companies” ask for inappropriate information and wanting me to carry 100K of renters’ insurance “in case I damage the apartment” is way out of line when there’s a security deposit involved. That’s what the deposit is for. Also, the properties that want additional monthly payments per cat – ridiculous. Again, that’s what a security deposit is for. And who can apply to dozens of rentals when every place has an exorbitant fee just to apply? It should be illegal.

The housing crisis was manufactured by landlords, and they need much harsher regulation.

Got my hair cut. I think the last time was October 2019. The hairdresser chopped about a foot off. She really didn’t do much other than cut the length off and do a bit of cleaning up. I wish the guy who gave me the great cut in 2019 was there, but he wasn’t. She was supremely disinterested in being there and doing much. On the one hand, I didn’t need much done, and she told me that the hair salon opened LAST MAY, at the height of the pandemic, so everyone’s stressed and completely burned out. I wasn’t going to fuss, because the cut is perfectly functional. I just would have liked a bit more care and attention devoted to it. Like, maybe even 5 more minutes. I was in and out of the salon in 10 minutes. But again, they’ve been under huge stress and burnout, and the cut is fine. It’s not brilliant, but it does the job. And yes, I tipped well, because hairdressers have been under huge stress for the duration.

I feel so much better, too. I just don’t feel as brilliant as I felt with the last cut.

But then, in the ten years I lived on Cape Cod, I’ve only had two haircuts that were good; most were serviceable, and some were truly awful.

And yes, we were all masked, thank goodness.

Came home and worked. Got out coverage of one script; read another one; claimed two more that I will read and turn around today and tomorrow. I’m getting into the flow of it.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Last week will be our final week. Most schools are running into June, and the kids and parents will be in touch with each other, but the official online homework group will be finished as of next Thursday.

Managed to sleep until 2 AM before I woke up worrying. Charlotte started fussing at 3. I let her into the bedroom. She was good for awhile, all purry and cuddly, but then she started fussing at Tessa, so she got kicked out of the room.

We are really at a crisis point in the house hunt. We need to get out of here. We are perfectly capable of steadily paying rent on the places to which we’re applying, but we’re being turned down because the overall income isn’t high enough to please the landlord. As long as we pay rent – and since we have decades’ worth of positive rent-paying history – that should count more than an overall number.

People deserve decent living situations. It shouldn’t be this impossible to find a clean, safe place to live in our budget.

Anyway, I’m off to clean out more of the garage. I actually forgot to do a grocery run yesterday, so I’ll have to do it today.

Most of the day will be script coverage and trying to finish that damn article that’s not working. The weekend has to be house hunting and packing.

12 more hours spread over 3 days. #CountdownToFreedom.

Peace friends.

Published in: on May 21, 2021 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 363 — Frustration  
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Thurs. May 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 362: Loving the Lilacs

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I have a post over on Gratitude and Growth about the lilacs. More photos, too.

Yesterday was a little all over the place. I was up half the night, worrying. Worked on cleaning out the garage early in the morning. I got out some LOIs and some rental information requests. Heard back from some of the rental possibilities, and am waiting to hear back from another one that sounds fantastic and is in a place we love.

Went to the client’s. She was fine today, acting like Monday’s outbursts never happened. We got a lot done. She interviewed someone to replace me, who would be good. The second interview of the day didn’t show up. Two more are being set up for early next week.

I’m under no illusion of not being replaceable. I know I am; in fact, they need someone with different skills to replace me, because the focus of the business, for the next few months, is not on what I’ve been doing, but on other stuff I don’t do and don’t want to do. So it’s all good. I’m wrapping things up and writing up notes and cheat sheets. And, I’ve always believed that it’s important to set things up so it can run without a particular individual, because one never knows what life brings. Hoarding information and knowledge sets a bad tone.

I was exhausted by the time I left; picked up a prescription for my mom. Got home, had a few exchanges about rentals, joined Remote Chat, which was fun.

I was wrecked after chat. I rested for a bit (reading the latest Donna Leon Brunetti mystery). Then, we took the cats out on the deck in their playpens while I watered the grass, and I read another script. I’ll write up the coverage today.

Collapsed into bed early, which meant that I was up by 1 AM again, worrying. Charlotte started fussing around 4, as usual. I got up and fed everyone, then settled on the couch for about 45 minutes, which calmed Charlotte down, and I got a bit of a doze.

Getting ready to do some more work in the garage. Then, I’ll get out some LOIs, join the online meditation group, and I have a few errands to run this morning, before getting back to the script coverage job, articles, LOIs, packing, and house hunting.

To say I’m exhausted is an understatement.

Published in: on May 20, 2021 at 4:36 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 362: Loving the Lilacs  
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Thurs. May 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 355 — Do I Listen to My Head or My Gut?

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I have a post on the garden progress over on Gratitude and Growth. The lilacs are blooming, which always makes me happy.

Yesterday was an enormously stressful day, and it’s not appropriate for me to discuss the details publicly. But, believe me, it sparked plenty of discussions on the home front about choices we need to make in order to move forward.

I’m hesitating to make a choice out of fear, but my gut is telling me it is vital to make this choice and make it NOW.

Was in touch with my doctor, and we have a telehealth consultation late Monday afternoon. That will help, although there are some decisions and actions that need to happen before Monday.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun. Turned around some more script coverage. I’m worried that I’m not giving them what they want; I’m happy to adjust to whatever they do want, but without knowing, I’m just plowing forward in the way I’ve been trained for this type of job. It’s a little nerve-wracking.

Still feel bad after the vaccine dose, but at least I’m on my feet, moving around, and keeping food down. Let’s celebrate the small improvements, shall we?

Watched a documentary about New Zealand last night, which was interesting. I only passed through New Zealand on my way to Australia when my show was in Adelaide, but the place fascinated me. I’ve always wanted to go back.

Online meditation group this morning (much needed), then client work, script coverage work, work on the short story and article, more LOIs, setting up more conversations with potential clients, packing, starting to clean out the garage. Busy day ahead, yeah?

Hope you have a good one!

Published in: on May 13, 2021 at 5:41 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 355 — Do I Listen to My Head or My Gut?  
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Thurs. May 6, 2021: Nurturing Myself, Rather Than Dying For My Employer

image courtesy of Nico Wall via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Still Dark outside

Yesterday was so stressful that my skull was ready to explode before 10 AM. But we got through it.

Of course, being up since 2:30 in the morning, I was already exhausted by 8. I’d put in a full day, at least mentally and emotionally.

There’s a post up on Gratitude and Growth about how the septic guys evened out, raked, and resodded the back. It’s going to look beautiful. With photos!

And the lilacs will be far enough along this weekend, so I can cut some and enjoy them while I recover from my second vaccine dose.

The septic guys were back early in the morning, right on time, to finish up. Then, at the time I should have left for work, the plumber arrived. Turns out the upstairs toilet needs to be replaced, and a new valve needed to happen in the hot water heater in the basement. We’d shut Willa in my mom’s room and Tessa in my room, which left Charlotte to supervise, and she took her duties seriously. Fortunately, the plumber adored her. He’s another good guy.

Having skilled people who care about their work actually do the work makes a huge difference. They were great, so they didn’t add stress, it was just trying to juggle everything all at once, and keep on top of some appointments I was setting up for today AND get to the site for the client.

I’m riding out that situation for a few more weeks, but it will change. What I do does not have to be done in the office, and the client is trying to change the scope of duties to work I don’t do and don’t want to do. But I’m supposed to be grateful.

On top of that, the client has made decisions on my housing situation that are inappropriate and don’t work for us, but says that I “have no choice.” Um, yeah, I actually do have choices, and choices that don’t involve this client and aren’t the client’s business.

Swung by the grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things for the next few days.

The septic guys were just leaving. The back yard is going to be gorgeous once the grass grows back in.

Remote Chat was fun.

I got some responses from LOIs. Some were “no, thanks” which is fine. One wants me to do a one-way video interview, so that’s a no. Another wants me to write a “case study” for free in the next 48 hours. I’m sending my contract for samples and telling her I can book it next week, provided the deposit arrives in time. And those companies go on my Toxic Company Culture list.

I’m waiting for my first assignment from the new client – hoping I can start next week. Waiting to hear back from a couple of other potential clients from materials I sent them last week and this week. Depending on how a few more pieces play out, I may decide not to go forward with one of them, because there are some red flags that concern me.

I finished the book for review; will write up the review and get it out within the next hour, so I can get assigned the next one.

I’m very, very worried about my car. The last thing I can cope with right now is another major repair. Think good thoughts for me.

There’s stuff going on today and tomorrow that I can’t discuss publicly yet – it’s all good, don’t worry. I hate vague posts, but things are at a delicate stage, and if I talk to early, I’m afraid I’ll crush them. Plus, it might not work out. Then, I can pour out my disappointment and ask for sympathy!

But I won’t be around much today and tomorrow, and I get my second vaccine dose on Saturday, so it’ll be next week before we can thoroughly catch up.

Peace, friends, and hold a good thought for me.

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 4:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 6, 2021: Nurturing Myself, Rather Than Dying For My Employer  
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Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging

photo by Devon Ellington

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

I’m in a rocky period, and that’s the way it’s going to be for this next stretch. I have to figure out how to navigate it without killing myself.

Friday was a mix of frustrations. I managed to get some client work done really, really early to hand it off to the person who needed it, getting in early rather than waiting until this week. And then THAT person went and took credit for the work I’d done both Thursday and Friday. So there’s some clarification that needs to happen next week.

Friday was a bit of a fractured workday, although I managed to do a curbside pickup at the library. I’m stressed with most of my cookbooks packed, so I ordered more cookbooks from the library as a soothing agent.

Got a stack of LOIs out. Prepped for a late afternoon meeting. It was a video call, so that meant choosing the wardrobe, doing the makeup, fixing the lighting, checking to make sure the background wasn’t full of boxes.

I woke up on Saturday morning, filled to the brim with stress and rage.

I worked hard to let go of it – it was a gorgeous day outside. I did an early morning grocery run, got the laundry and the housework done, worked on the paperwork for the contest (I finished the third category), and then decided to give myself a day off. I’m completely cooked, and I am making myself ill. I read a book, I played with the cats, I sat outside on the deck and enjoyed myself.

It was Beltane, and I did a ritual. Let’s hope things are moving in the right direction.

The Kentucky Derby was in the evening. I was disgusted to see how many flouted the masking protocols and ignored social distancing. They should have all been removed.

King Fury was scratched, so he wasn’t part of my picks, poor baby. I didn’t actually bet this year, even online. With the move coming up, betting is an unnecessary expense, and, frankly, I didn’t put in enough work to make it worthwhile. Plus, it’s not the Derby where one makes money; it’s the undercard, and I certainly didn’t put in the work to bet on that.

I stuck with my choices of Midnight Bourbon as my first choice, then Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie, and Soup and Sandwich as my long shot. Had I bet, I would have put the first three across the board and Soup and Sandwich to Show.

The winner was Medina Spirit, who ran a beautiful, wire to wire race. Mandaloun came in second, very close, with Hot Rod Charlie third and Essential Quality fourth. Midnight Bourbon was sixth – I don’t know what was wrong with him today, he just didn’t show up. Soup and Sandwich has a good start, but faded to finish last, poor thing.

So I’m glad I didn’t bet! I would have only won a few bucks on Hot Rod Charlie.

I had good early morning writing sessions Saturday and Sunday. Sticking to writing first thing in the morning helps keep the rest of the day grounded. I’m going to work hard not to self-sabotage on that front.

Finished the decisions on the winners and the finalists for the contest on Saturday and sent them off. On Sunday, I received invoicing instructions, sent off the invoice first thing Monday and was paid immediately.

Sunday, I also read a book for review, sent off the review and the invoice from the last batch. Again, first thing Monday, I was paid. That’s how it should be!

Found some interesting listings for rentals on Sunday, and sent off a few emails. Heard back yesterday morning from the one I really, really liked, so I’m hoping we can set up a time for me to head up there to see it, although it’s a bit of a hike.

Got a little bit of packing done, but not enough. If we knew where we were going, it would be easier.

photo by Devon Ellington

Monday morning, we were up early to eat, do the dishes, clean the litter boxes, etc., before the septic people arrived. They were here on time, and very, very nice. And efficient.

I managed to get some LOIs out before I headed to the client’s. Unfortunately, the water needed to be turned off at the house while I was gone, and the landlord came in to do it. I was embarrassed that he came in among the moving chaos. I’ve got things spread out and boxes everywhere and it’s a mess.

My client figured out that I’m having a moving situation going on, and immediately started giving me advice – that serves her, not me. This is one reason I didn’t want to discuss it with her until I had more tangibles. It’s going to be a nightmare for the next few weeks until things get sorted out, with her trying to “fix” things so it suits her, and not what we need. I should have just lied, but I didn’t.

Got an interview request from another LOI. At first, I set it up for later this week, but then I moved it to this afternoon – another end of day interview, which I’m not thrilled about, but if we’re going to look at rentals toward the end of the week, before my vaccine on Saturday, I needed it to happen sooner rather than later.

Turned around a script coverage piece. If this company likes me, they might throw me some more work here and there. I loved the piece I read; if that’s an indication of the quality they get in, it will be a joyful job. But what I have to say might not be what they want to hear. Still, I had to give notes that I felt best fit the piece.

The backyard is quite in tumult. The septic guys will be back today, and maybe finish by Thursday. Che Guevara Chipmunk sat on the deck steps in the late afternoon, looking absolutely devasted (although his actual home, in the bushes, is fine). I felt awful for upsetting the chipmunk.

Absolutely shattered by the end of the day. Fish and chips were as fancy as I could manage.

We watched some more of WILLIAM AND MARY, which is so well-written. Martin Clunes and Julie Graham are wonderful, and the supporting cast is great, too.

The June issue of THE WRITER arrived on Saturday, with my article in it on “Food Sensuality in Fiction.” I scanned the pages (although I had computer issues – my curser and trackpad aren’t always working properly and letting me use the keyboard). But I got it scanned, and I sent the PDFs out to the authors who were included. They were all really pleased with the way the article came out, and I’m so grateful to them for their quotes.

I love writing pieces like this, and I hope I get to do more.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing sessions yesterday and today.  Today, I’ve got some remote client work, an article to finish, a short story to work on, and a book to turn around fast for review. My editor’s been so great since I started working for the publication; no one wanted to read/review this book, and it needs to be done quickly, so I said sure. It’s definitely got some challenges. But I want to be fair and give it a helpful, not a harmful review, while still being honest.

CAPE COD TIMES ran an article about how Cape Cod businesses can’t find enough workers for summer tourism season. Hmm, let’s see, people are refusing to work in dangerous conditions for crap wages? Good. Of course, the paper frames it as “lazy people making more on unemployment.” Hey, assholes, if they’re making more on unemployment, the job was crap anyway. They did point out that there aren’t enough of the visa workers who come in from other countries for the summer season. Again, these are people who work for subpar wages. They compete for housing with people who live here year-round. And the article barely touched on the fact that the lack of housing is a crisis. The ratio of actual pay to the cost of housing is completely out of whack. As usual, it was right-leaning whining, instead of actual journalism. Typical of this area.

It rained overnight, so the backyard is now a mud bath.

Should be interesting.

photo by Devon Ellington

Published in: on May 4, 2021 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging  
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Wed. April 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 340 — Unsustainable Stress Levels

image courtesy of kalhh via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

Today is a rough day. It is the second of the hoped-for moving dates I’d wanted when we were deep in this process. To say I feel like a complete failure on personal and professional levels because this isn’t our moving day is an understatement.

Yesterday was rough, too. The recruiter who’d claimed to want the morning appointment blew me off. No contact, no response when I followed up. Just skipped the appointment. Not a surprise, but any time I see that “staffing agency” listed, I know to avoid it.

The property manager who had the afternoon phone appointment didn’t call, either, although I did get an apology email in the evening, and we’re going to try to set up something for tomorrow. I’m hoping we can go up and take a look at it over the weekend.

I thought I’d found another, really cute house in Nashua for rent. At first it didn’t come up in any realtor searches, but digging a bit deeper, it did –yup, another scam. So I reported it.

In the afternoon, I heard back from one of the LOIs stating they wanted to “get to know me better” and sent me a link – to write an unpaid, 250-word piece.

I responded with a cordial email and the contract/rates for that.

I got an almost immediate snarky email back from the entitled white boy who runs the company, stating that they paid for test pieces further in the process, but a 250-word piece about something I knew about “shouldn’t take much time.”

Talk about a red flag right there. How would he know how much time something took? Short pieces need a great deal of care, to make sure that every word carries more than its weight.

I shot back, again, politely but firmly, that a good 250-word piece, even on a topic well within my wheelhouse, takes time, skill, and care, and deserves compensation. Our work styles are obviously incompatible.

Entitled white boy mansplaining his attempt to get free labor. No, thank you. So sick of it.

Because of the two meetings (which ended up not happening), I couldn’t deep dive into any project. It was a frustrating day.

I did get out a bunch of LOIs, including to a really cool project that would be long-term, steady, and in one of my favorite arenas.

I did some research into the KY Derby for Saturday.

Got some reading done. I’m close to the end of the third category of entries (although I still have a lot of paperwork to enter). I hope to have my decision by either Friday or Saturday. I’m reading a magical realism book that I waver between liking because it’s clever and getting frustrated with for jumping around too much.

Made Chicken Chow Mein for dinner – that’s turning into a major comfort food for me.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s ready for the school year to be over.

The mask mandate is being lifted for being in outdoor spaces as of Friday. Which means the Covidiots will be even dumber inside.

We watched some DOC MARTIN, and I went to bed early.  Of course, that meant I work up a little after 2 AM, fretting, and couldn’t go back to sleep.

I made myself write this morning, at least a few pages. I was tempted to punish myself and not do it, but I needed to, and it helped. I still have two pieces that I need to finish this week.

Living at this level of stress and uncertainty is unsustainable. But I just don’t know what to do. I’m at the end of my rope.

Today, I have a stressful day onsite with a client, but at least there’s Remote Chat to which to look forward.

Keep a good thought for me, okay? Thanks.

Published in: on April 28, 2021 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 28, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 340 — Unsustainable Stress Levels  
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Thurs. April 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 334 — Earth Day is Ironic Here

photo courtesy of Bela Geletneky via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cool

Earth Day

Earth Day, but they’re still out there in the neighborhood, destroying nature at full blast.

Post about the garden up on Gratitude and Growth.

I forgot to mention, in yesterday’s post, that I’ve been invited to submit a short story to a women’s gothic horror anthology. I have until May 15. I started playing with the opening – it’s very twisted. Even though horror isn’t really my wheelhouse, I do love gothic, and I’m having fun with it. Channeling some frustrations and anger into it, and then will have to hone it. I want to keep it between 1-2.5K. I’ve got a lot of it percolating in my head, so, fingers crossed I can pull it off.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Thankfully, much less stressful than I anticipated. Came home, decontaminated, and participated in Remote Chat, which is always fun.

Didn’t get much packing done. Was worn out, but got some work on contest entries done. I only have 2 weeks to finish the rest of the categories. I want to get the next category done by the end of this week. It’s the biggest one, and it will give me plenty of time for the last one.

It’s colder and windy today, but supposed to get nicer again over the weekend.

More bubble wrap arrived yesterday. I have a lot of packing to do this weekend.

And, of course, house hunting.

Charlotte woke me up a little after 3:30, with her separation anxiety. I moved to the couch in the living room to settle her down and dozed off, but she forgot I was there and went back up to cry outside my bedroom door around the time I usually get up anyway.

I was late getting to the page, and didn’t have as good a first writing session as I’ve had the last week. But I showed up at the page and got words down, so I’ll count it as a win.

Keep on keeping on, right?

At least I have the virtual meditation group today. That should get me back to rights.

Published in: on April 22, 2021 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 334 — Earth Day is Ironic Here  
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Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Hazy and cool

Re-read THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE. I only have the prologue and a couple of chapters, but it has energy and wit, and I like it.

I have to figure it out, and write the outline, but I like it.

In the meantime, I wrote steadily on a piece with the working title SELF-SANCTUARY. I’m doing between 1200-1750 words a day, longhand, which is good, steady work. Every three chapters, I will type what I have.

The house hunting is stressful. A couple of good places don’t have any openings right now, so maybe I’ll get us on the waiting list, while we look elsewhere. A couple of cute houses, smaller than we are in now, came up, and we can even afford them, but the competition is fierce.

And, of course, there were at least a dozen more scams. Those are disheartening.

Did laundry, packed, house hunted, wrote, did housework. Not only are the people moving in destroying the environment/habitat/landscape they claimed to move here because of, it’s getting filthy.

We do the daily cleaning, of course, and then a weekly big clean with dusting and mopping and vacuuming. And then the spring cleaning/fall cleaning. But in between even the weekly big cleans, it gets really filthy. It didn’t use to. There’d be a little dust here and there, and, of course, the pine pollen in spring. But now, it’s a layer of grime, similar to what I dealt with in New York City EVERY WEEK. Because of the constant heavy machinery and leaf blowers. It’s disgusting.

At least I got some sleep. Slept through the night Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, although I had weird dreams.

A client sent me something on Saturday for quick turnaround. I replied that I would do it first thing Monday (which I did). Remote work does not mean I’m on call 24/7 for instant turnaround.

It was too cold to sit on the deck, which made me sad. We don’t have much longer to enjoy the deck.

My mom was sick Sunday into Monday. I worked fully remotely on Monday, so I could take care of her. Had her on the couch, propped with yoga blankets and bolsters and a hot water bottle, so she was comfortable. Charlotte and Willa took turns playing nurse.

I had a solid morning’s writing session, got out some LOIs, turned around client work, house hunted, took care of my mom.

In the mid-afternoon, I had a delightful chat with someone who’d liked an LOI I sent a few weeks back, and we discussed possibilities. Hopefully, that will come to fruition.

Worked on contest entries, got my review out. I have another book to read/review, and then I can invoice.

It was temperate enough to sit on the deck with a glass of wine for an hour or so in the late afternoon. I took Charlotte and Willa out in their playpens, and they were very happy. There was a baby woodpecker in the maple tree. He was so cute! I guess Raoul and Juanita (our resident woodpeckers) had a little one.

Simple supper of spinach and cheese omlettes.

Tired and went to bed early, which meant I woke up too early this morning.

I had to force myself to sit down for the first writing session this morning, but once I did, I was glad I did, and got a good 1500 words in on SELF-SANCTUARY. It’s flowing well. I’m in the third chapter written in longhand; once that’s finished, I’ll type the first three, as I continue in longhand.

But going back to my daily 1K (or a little more) first thing has made me feel better about everything else, and stabilizes my day. I am more creative and productive. Punishing myself by not writing until I solved the housing crisis only sent me into a downward spiral. Self-flagellation and self-sabotage are not the answer.

A different potential client got back to me, demanding I work PST hours (which would mean working until 8 PM Mondays through Fridays), even though I stated clearly that we have enough overlapping hours to work in real time, and then work asynchronously the rest. If you demand working YOUR business hours for a remote team, you don’t understand how distributed workforce actually works. No. Moving on.

I need to make a run to Trader Joe’s this morning, and then get more client work done, and more house hunting done.

One foot in front of the other, right?

Published in: on April 20, 2021 at 5:23 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 332 — One Foot in Front of the Other  
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Fri. April 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 328 — Pen To Paper

image courtesy of Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Bucketing down rain

I’m so grateful for the rain. We need it. A good, all-day soak would be a boon for this area.

I didn’t do the grocery run yesterday. I had a really, really bad feeling I shouldn’t go, as I got ready to leave. So, I trusted my instincts and didn’t. I don’t know why; there wasn’t news of a serious crash down the street until later in the day. But I trusted my instincts.

Meditation was fine, although I had trouble focusing and staying in with it.

Did some client work, looked at rental listings, heard back from a place that they didn’t have the unit available we’d need, noodled with a couple of pitches I hope to get out today.  I want to get something to my Llewellyn editor for the 2023 almanacs.

Freelance Chat was interesting, although it was about working with agencies as a freelancer. While I’m poking into that, I really didn’t have much to contribute to the actual conversation. It was about listening and learning yesterday for me, which is a good thing.

Got a response from an LOI, and we are having a conversation next week. The company interests me, and if the parameters and the way they treat people are as well as they claim, we’d be a good fit. I might, actually, visit their calendar and try to move the conversation earlier in the week.

Did some work on the Topic Workbook revision of THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. I need to get the Topic Workbooks revised and out again. When they are available and I promote them properly, they are steady sellers. I keep them affordable, but not so cheap I resent it. Once we move, I might look into getting some print copies of them, too, not just digital.

Worked on contest entries.

I’ve read two books in the past few weeks (not contest entries) that are different – from each other and from what’s out there – and enjoyable. WHO IS MAUD DIXON? by Alexandra Andrews is twisty and fun (although I did figure it out ahead of time, but was interested enough to find out how the characters would navigate). BEACH READ by Emily Henry was also fun, a nice twist on the standard romantic comedy formula. Hits all the points, but goes beyond, with a lot of heart. I recommend both.

I also, finally, got back to some writing, working on three ideas that have been playing in my head. I had hoped to find a way to combine them, but they are three definitive sets of characters on different projects.

One is contemporary, slightly alt-reality, with elements of romance and paranormal. I have the characters and the catalyst, and part of the setting (the house in which most of it happens is very clear, but I don’t yet know where that house IS). I’m looking for a one-word title for it, a word that encompasses self-confidant solitude. I threw out the request on Twitter yesterday, and got some interesting responses, but nothing with quite the right shade of meaning yet.

The second idea is something I’ve been playing with, off and on for years, inspired by the breakfasts at Cole’s Farms in Maine, and some of the other wonderful breakfast-only places in Maine that are so well-loved. I want to start in the 1970’s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and have one section in each decade for about five decades. Built around a breakfast-only restaurant in Maine. Cole’s Farms closed this past January, after 68 years in Maine. I’d been eating there, when I visited my family up there, since I was 10.

The third idea I suspect will grow into a mystery series, and needs the most research. It will start in the aftermath of WWII, a former ferry girl pilot and the shattered soldier with whom she had an affair during the war. I don’t want to say too much about it until I know where it’s headed. There are a few scenes very strong in my head that I will get down as a foundation, and then develop.

And yes, I’m aware that I still need to write the stand-alone suspense novel about the former ferry girl who becomes a barnstorming pilot just after the war, the one I started developing in a workshop during the Cape Cod Writers Conference a few years back. That’s in the queue.

Once we’ve moved, I can look at the queue of books that need to be written, sort them, and get back to it. But for now, under all this stress, I will work on what pulls me.

I’m going to take a look at THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE and see if that’s viable, or needs to be put into stasis. I’ve been thinking about it the last few days.

Because writing even for a couple of hours made a huge positive difference in my psyche and coping skills. I need to stop the self-flagellation about not knowing where we will move, and keep writing so I have the energy to move.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re taking another break next week — many of them have next week as the spring break. Everyone is burned out. We all need a massive month-long vacation. But too many companies have learned NOTHING from the pandemic, and are trying to force the same old crap. No. Just no. All the way around no.

Staying in today in this mucky weather, to work on articles, pitches, LOIs, client work, contest entries, the Topic Workbooks, story ideas, and, of course, pack and look at rental listings. I have another book to read for review, and I hope to finish the next category of contest entries this weekend.

At least I slept through the night for the first time in a bit.

Another mass shooting, this time in Indiana. More murdered black children. The cops need to stop murdering people based on skin color, while letting white domestic terrorists roam free. And, in general, American society needs to stop murdering its children.

Have a good weekend.

Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was not a particularly productive day. It was mostly built around rental listings and inquiries. Saw a house that fits our budget, location, and price parameters that didn’t seem like a scam, so sent an inquiry on that, too. We’ll see. It seems low-priced for the area, but then, so is where we are now.

Saw an overpriced, absolutely mediocre house in a mediocre neighborhood (that had a nice kitchen, though) – but their demand is that anyone who wants to rent it earns a “minimum” of $114K/year. Are they high?

The Sagamore Bridge is down to one lane in each direction for bridge work, which also puts more pressure on the Bourne Bridge. The traffic is already back to summer pre-pandemic levels, so getting on and off Cape is difficult. It’s very frustrating.

Got some client work done, caught up on some correspondence, worked on contest entries. This category I’m working on has fierce competition. What a pleasure to read strong book after strong book!

Mostly, I felt drained and exhausted.

Got a bit of packing done. Charlotte “helped”, Tessa kept wanting to unpack what was packed, Willa’s not sure about it all.

Stress baked chocolate chip cookies because I was stressed and wanted chocolate chip cookies. Might as well keep enjoying the kitchen while we’re here.

Arm feels better, still fatigued and have a headache.

Got a request for further information from a potential client, so we’ll see.

Was very disappointed by a company whose products I’d liked for years. We started discussions about the possibility of me doing some copywriting for them – but they want unpaid samples. Nope. So not only am I moving on, I will no longer be a customer. If that’s how they treat employees, while promoting themselves as a company out to do “good” in the world – hypocrites, and I won’t work for them.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are digging in, just trying to make it through the end of the school year, although some of them don’t know when that will be. Dates keep getting changed. Schools that are back to in-person learning keep having to switch back to remote because of COVID outbreaks. I’m glad we’re all staying strong, and the kids won’t go back in person this year no matter WHAT the pressures are.

The parents are starting to get their vaccine appointments, and, hopefully, in a few months, vaccines for the kids will be approved, and they can, too.

Today will be stressful, having to be onsite at a client’s, but then I have Remote Chat to which to look forward, and I am.

Have a lovely day, and please spare a positive house-and-hearth thought for me, if you can.

Published in: on April 14, 2021 at 4:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Exhaustion  
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Tues. April 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Vaccine Dose 1 Recovery

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cool

Well, it’s been an interesting few days.

Friday I was just cooked. I did client work, worked on the paperwork for the new client (which did not get finished), and cleared off as much as I could for the weekend. Looked at rental listings, put out some inquiries. Worked on contest entries. Worked on the book for review.

Saturday morning, up early. Finished reading the book for review. I liked it, but wanted to think about it for awhile before I wrote the review.

Made sure I ate a big breakfast (frittata with spinach, tomato, and cheese).

We were out of the house on time, headed for the vaccine appointment. Not bad getting there, although the Google Maps directions sucked. Technically, it’s where my primary care is located, but I usually go to the satellite office down the street.

Went in, filled out paperwork, got my jab (Moderna). Sat reading in the waiting area, although no one checked on us, and we were trusted to speak up and keep track of our 15 minutes ourselves.

I started feeling the effects within five minutes, the fatigue, but I didn’t want to say anything, because I was afraid they wouldn’t let me go home. After 15 minutes, I thanked them, waved, and went to the car.  By the time I got to the car, they’d pinged me with the second dose appointment.

That’s the way it should work, not all the cage fighting I had to do to get my mother’s appointments.

I should have let my mom drive me home, but I drove. Of course, there was an accident at the turn to the road for the dump. Probably caused by the jackass with all the pro-Trump paraphernalia on his corner lot. It’s distracting.

Anyway, sitting there, waiting for the traffic to move was difficult. But, eventually it moved, and I was still conscious by the time we got home. I managed to toss the first load of laundry in, drank a large glass of water, changed into my pajamas, and went to bed, where I promptly fell asleep.

The day consisted of me sleeping for 20-30 minutes, getting up to drink a glass of water and do a few asanas, and then back to bed again. I kept moving my arm. I managed to get two loads of laundry through, sorted, and put away. I sort of read a book for pleasure in between naps.

But that was it. My body said it was busy, and I needed to rest, so I did. I had some swelling in my lymph nodes, but only for a few hours.

I ate lunch and dinner – I was very hungry all day, along with being very thirsty, but hungry for very specific things.  All healthy, fortunately. And I felt well enough to cook dinner.

I took some Tylenol and went to bed very early. Slept through until about 2:30, went to the bathroom, drank more water, went back to bed. A fever had started overnight.

Sunday, my arm still hurt, I had a fever off and on, and a mild headache off and on. Still quite a bit of fatigue. It didn’t help that I did too much: I changed the beds (usually a Saturday task), ran that laundry through, folded it up and put it away. I packed all the chimes and bells from the house, except for the large chimes on the deck. It feels so empty without them singing every time we go through a door or open a window. Packed more decorations in the living room, and from the fireplace mantel. Sent out a bunch of inquiries to listings. We found a few that we like, and think could work. Packed up my tarot cards in my room – a little more than 3 boxes’ worth.

In between, I rested and took Tylenol and felt grumpy. Probably because I wasn’t resting properly. My body was busy learning to fight the threat.

But imagine if we lived in a world that honored listening to one’s body? Resting when necessary, eating properly, taking care of oneself and each other instead of us being forced to literally work ourselves to death? “Die for Your Employer” isn’t just about the pandemic. It’s how we are expected to conduct our lives, and it needs to change.

Felt well enough by late afternoon to work on contest entries again, and even cooked a nice dinner of baked trout on a bed of roasted vegetables. It was very good, and I felt much better after eating it.

Woke up once in the night Sunday into Monday to go to the bathroom and drink more water, but managed to get back to sleep. Still up early, though. Got my review written and sent out, and requested more books.

Had to catch up on correspondence that came in over the weekend. Some from friends; others from those pretending they are reaching out in the name of friendship, but then want something.

Went into the client’s office for a bit. I’d hoped to get what I needed to get done onsite and get out before the others got there, but one person arrived early. We figured out some stuff, I got the ETSY orders done, downloaded some stuff that came in via the client email that I needed to work on, and left. I actually felt worse than I had at any point after the vaccine.

Swung by the post office to drop off the ETSY shipments, came home. Decontamination protocols, then back to the computer. Got the stuff done for my client. Got my review out, and was assigned two more books. Worked on contest entries.

Felt pretty lousy; the arm still hurt, and I had a headache. I had chills for a couple of hours, but wrapped up in a blanket with Tessa snuggled next to me, and it passed. Should have packed more, but didn’t feel up to it. Did start feeling better in the evening, and more like myself, which was nice.

Looked at more rental listings, and send out more inquiries.

Heard back from one place – the apartment layout we liked won’t be available for at least a year, so that won’t work. Reported a bunch of scams on craigslist.

I made an absolutely huge decision: I’m going to sell my little red push mower. Yes, the little red mower that I dreamed of owning all my life, and bought about three years ago, and only used for one season.

Chances are we won’t have a garden in this next move. Even when we do get another place with a yard, I hate mowing, and I’m going to hire someone to do it, like I have here. Carting it around and paying to keep it in storage doesn’t make sense. And yet, it breaks my heart a little to give it up.

I spent a lot of last week crying, and it looks like quite a bit of this week will be spent that way, too.

Going to put several things up on craigslist in the coming weeks, including the old printers that can be used for parts. Trying to see which thrift shops are taking donations (if any are, since, technically, it’s still pandemic time). As we’ve been sorting through the closets, there are several big bags of clothes in really good shape that don’t fit or I don’t like and won’t wear that we can donate.

Today, I need to finish the paperwork for the new client, get out some more LOIs, finish my article, and pitch some new article ideas to editors. I need to get some client work done, work on contest entries, and, most importantly, get packing again.

I just wish I knew where we were going. Looking at listings, when they have floor plans, it’s kind of fun to see if and how we could make things fit. I’m looking forward to the UN-packing, once we know where we’re going. It’s the uncertainty that takes such a toll.

Woke up this morning, after sleeping through the night, for once. Lymph nodes are a little swollen again, but the arm hurts less. I have to say, I’d rather have a parade of symptoms, one or two at a time, then have them descend all at once.

Back to it.

Published in: on April 13, 2021 at 5:15 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 13, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 326 — Vaccine Dose 1 Recovery  
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Thurs. April 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 321 — Follow the Damn Protocols

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

I’ve got a post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

The thought that soon, I might not have a garden at all, saddens me.

Yesterday was busy. I had to be onsite with a client, and I actually had to say, “If you kill me with COVID, I can’t finish this by deadline. Please put your mask on.” I shouldn’t have to do that. This whole “I’m vaccinated, so to hell with you” is enraging.

Busy there, got a lot done, have to put in some more hours today and tomorrow, but remotely.

I have some paperwork to fill out with a new client, and then we’ll get started next week. It’s freelance, so it will ebb and flow, but the work sounds interesting, so we’ll see.

Came home, decontaminated, enjoyed Remote Chat.

Did some more client work, looked at rental listings. One of the most frustrating things about the rental agents is that they don’t listen. They don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to any of the information I send them, or any of my needs.

Worked on contest entries.

Today, I have meditation group, and then have to get client work done, work on the paperwork for the new client, and finish my article, so I can get it to my editor. I need to get at least one article pitch out, maybe two. More LOIs, more rental listings.

I’m feeling a little discouraged today. But all I can do is make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

Published in: on April 8, 2021 at 5:19 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 8, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 321 — Follow the Damn Protocols  
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