Tues. May 25, 2021: Drunk on Lilacs/Ray of Sunshine

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

The weather is gorgeous, and I am absolutely drunk on lilacs. DRUNK ON LILACS is actually a title for a friend’s WIP. She’s been a good reader on my work, especially my Coventina Circle series; I’m excited to read her book, once she’s ready.

It was a bit of an overwhelming few days, especially on the house front. Looked at a lot of listings. Found a few that sounded decent, and one that sounds absolutely perfect. The guy’s description was great, and he had a couple of lines in the description with which I just connected.

Heard back from a question I’d sent through Zillow, and went back and forth with the agent, to the point of putting in an application (even though it wasn’t the one that was so absolutely perfect), only to then hear back from my due diligence work that the guy had no authority to rent the apartment, and, in fact, it had been rented for months.  I didn’t have my bank information or social security number on the application, but, in any event, I warned my references, warned the bank, and filed an IC3 with the FBI.

The due diligence on the place we really love is coming out clean – the guy is who he says he is, we had some good exchanges via email, and then a great phone conversation on Monday. So, fingers crossed that it all comes through. We plan on seeing it on Thursday.

On a happier note, I love, love, love the script coverage job. I’m already earning more than I did with my onsite client (it’s nice to have the overlap with two incomes coming in for a couple of weeks). In my first two weeks, I’ve received 5 “writer satisfaction” bonuses (where the writer liked my feedback and found it useful), and one tip. I’ve read 11 scripts, so it’s nearly half.

I’m on track to earn at least double from this job than what I earned from my onsite client; with other freelance work picking up, we should be okay. But landlords want guaranteed income, not estimated income, and what I made the last few years is irrelevant to what I’m making in the next few months. Although all of it is more than enough to cover rent and expenses.

At least, as of Saturday, I’m fully vaccinated.

Overwhelmed, but fully vaccinated.

Working on cleaning out the garage. Packing, Purging. Dump runs. Trying to keep up with earning money. House hunting.

I am one of those freaks that is very, very happy when I take recycling to the dump.

Then, Monday morning, I go outside to check the grass and make sure the wasps aren’t building a nest and chasing the woodpecker from the house – and there were giant ants coming out of the seam of the deck roof over the kitchen door.

I hate ants.

These were giant ants.

I hosed them off the deck and then sprayed the seam with ant killer. I looked up online what they were – carpenter ants. Bad news.

I called the landlord, he came over, and we figured out a plan of action. He wasn’t as upset as I was about it. I was picturing the back of the house coming down from the chomping. Because there are never just a few ants.

There aren’t any ants inside the house – we had sugar ants during the septic switch out and I scrubbed with vinegar every day, so once they were gone, they were gone. We’re keeping an eye out. I have permission to use chemicals as necessary (usually we use all organic).

He also mowed the front for us, which was very nice.

I got into the office later than usual for me, but was still the first one there. Had a decent workday. I’m setting everything up as clearly and as smoothly as I can for my replacement. Because I wish someone had done that for me in oh, so many jobs! Came home, had my phone meeting, sorted everything out for Thursday’s viewing.

More script coverage, more packing.

I hope Thursday works well. We love the pictures of the place, the sound of it, it’s in our budget, in an area we really like, and I really, really, REALLY liked talking with the landlord.

Fingers crossed. At this point, I’m almost afraid to hope, but it feels right. I want a place that feels right, where we can feel at home, and live our lives quietly.

Tues. May 18, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 360 — Inappropriate

image by Peggy Marco courtesy of Pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and warm

Well, it’s been an interesting few days.

On Friday morning, after sending out a slew of LOIs, I went onsite to a client’s, and told her I was giving two weeks’ notice. It’s the last onsite client with whom I’ve been working since the start of the pandemic. The scope is changing into something that’s not what I do, and I also don’t want to work from the office. Since we’ll be moving off-Cape, probably not in commutable distance, it doesn’t make sense. It makes more sense to leave now (well, in two weeks) before things ramp up for tourist season, than when things get too busy. The conversation went well; we will see how the next two weeks go.

Driving away from there, I felt a huge weight had been lifted; while I am sure the next two weeks will be challenging, it was the right choice, right now, for all of us. They can hire someone who wants to be there, who can do the physical lifting and shipping and whatever else changes in the scope of the job, and I can move on to work for which I’m better suited.

I’d written up a comprehensive job description for them to list; if the ad went up Friday, resumes would come in over the weekend, they could interview/hire next week, and they will be some overlap the following week. I saw the ad they posted – used the intro paragraph and no financial information. If they don’t get a lot of resumes, they’ll blame the whole “no one wants to work” myth.

But that’s not my problem anymore.

When it comes to the myth, remember:

–nearly 600,000 people died in the past year, and that’s what we know about. Most of those people had jobs. Those individuals are DEAD. They no longer exist to fill those jobs. That’s nearly three times the year-round population of Cape Cod.

–Around here, many of those people died because they were put in unsafe working situations by their employer. Last summer was a nightmare of “Die For Your Employer” and “Die For Tourist Dollars” which made the Cape a red zone for COVID from the autumn until just a few weeks ago.

–People who were laid off/furloughed don’t owe loyalty to companies who showed no loyalty toward them when things got difficult.

–Somewhere between 100 and 200 people in my wide network of acquaintances discovered that they can do other things and liked doing it. Many of them started on new career paths that pay better and are more fulfilling.

–I see a couple of dozen of excited posts a day about people starting new jobs and being happy about it.

“No one wants to work because the gubberment pays too much” is a malignant myth by those who are frustrated they don’t have enough people to exploit.

I sent out LOIs, ran some errands, and read, both for the script coverage job and for pleasure. I really enjoy the script coverage job. I just hope I can keep up the pace, and even pick it up a little.

House-hunted sent out a bunch of requests, dithered. I can’t afford to pay multiple application fees for places we won’t get. I just can’t. That cuts into moving money. I also think it’s yet another scam by landlords/property companies to make money off people who need to find a place to live.

House hunted all weekend, actually, and sent off a bunch of enquiries. Fingers crossed I hear something back that’s positive.

Worked on some script coverage over the weekend, although I’m trying to keep weekends clear of that work. Kept up with watering the yard. Did some grocery runs. Did a dump run with garbage/yard waste/recycling. We’re cleaning out the garage. I’m tidying and packing up the pots, and seeing what we can toss. I have a feeling there will be multiple dump runs in the coming weeks.

Did eight loads of laundry done on Saturday, including switching out the curtains, and washing blankets and covers and stuff that can be packed away both for the move and until next winter.

I still wish that lovely little duplex in Bennington would come through for us, but I need to reconcile myself to the fact that it probably won’t.

A painter was supposed to come and take a look at what needs to be done to the outside of the house, and the landlord was going to stop by to see some tree work that needs to be done at the property line, but neither of those things happened. I just have to carry on with what I’m doing and not worry about the rest of it.

Got some packing done on Sunday in my office. I have to up the packing pace.

I’m reading the Meg Lanslow mystery GIFT OF THE MAGPIE by Donna Andrews, and it’s quite wonderful.

Read the book for review. Wrote the review, sent it off, waiting to get assigned my next book.

Got my first positive writer feedback from the script coverage job; a writer was really pleased with my comments. It’s a relief that I’m on the right track, at least for that particular writer. The place pays twice a month; I started near the end of the pay period, and they’ve already paid me for the work I did through the 15th, which is comforting.

I have to set up the binder and a new flash drive that’s just for the coverage this week.

Up early yesterday. Did some cleaning out in the garage first thing. Then it was the book review and LOIs. I had to go to the client’s in the morning for a few hours. Between this week and next week, I have a total of 24 hours spread over 6 days. My plan is to go in and get them as set up for the summer as I can, keep my head down and my mask on – because you know they’ll refuse to wear masks around me, even though I’m not considered fully vaccinated for another week, because “they’re tired of it.”

Looked at photos of hairstyles. As of Saturday, when I’m fully vaccinated, I plan to get my first haircut in 18 months.

Went into the client’s site to finish my last 24 hours spread over 6 days, winding up projects for her, and setting things up for whomever comes in next, if there’s no overlap. She became verbally abusive and completely, inappropriately unhinged, making threats. I told her to stop it; if this continues, I will not work out the two weeks. I gave notice as a courtesy; this is an at-will state. An employer can fire an employee without notice; an employee can quit without notice. Since I am on a W-2 instead of a 1099 with this particular client, those rules apply. This is a part-time job, with the job scope changing to something I don’t do, and the demand of being in-office when I’m leaving the area. The entire response to the perfectly reasonable notice is disturbing and inappropriate. Beyond hostile.

The above is another reason the PROACT, with the ABC Test, will hurt freelancers. This crap.

Not to mention she now refuses to wear a mask in the office, in spite of the fact that I’m not fully vaccinated for another week, and I don’t even know if the third person in the office is.

Nightmare. We will see what the next few days are like.

On top of that, she wants me to come in for one hour once a week indefinitely to “answer questions.” No. I’m working remotely for other clients past my end date. She can send me an email or book a (billed) phone call or Zoom call. I’m not losing half a workday to come onsite (when part of the reason I’m leaving is that I no longer do onsite work) to “answer questions.” Everything in my former job scope can be done remotely and should. The same with questions.

I should have tidied up the front lawn (too small a job to bring in my lawn guy), but I felt like I’d been battered. I managed to read a script for the script coverage job and take notes, which I will write up today.

My Llewellyn editor is going to contract me for the 2023 Almanacs. I’m excited.

I had a telehealth conference with my doctor. She was kind and helpful, and is referring me to resources I need to get through this next bit. I’m very grateful to her.

Felt sick most of the night, probably from stress. Up way too early. Posting this, then have to do some more work on the garage before I leave for the client’s – whether I stay there or not until the two weeks are up up in the air.

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

Fri. May 14, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 356 — Taking a Risk to Clear a Path

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Friday, May 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Somehow, yesterday seems like months ago.

Meditation was great. The theme was “self-compassion” which is something that I sorely needed (and continue to need).

I sent out a bunch of LOIs. Got an almost immediate response from one, asking for more samples and other information, which I turned around immediately.

I felt dizzy and exhausted off and on for most of the day, so I didn’t get as much other work done as I would have liked. I had to keep taking breaks.

Amongst all the reading I’m being paid to do, I’m reading a rather wonderful book for pleasure, DANCE WITH DEATH by Will Thomas.

I did not get an offer for the job where I blew the interview on Tuesday. They went with someone else (and were very nice about it, points to them for class). While the stability of the position was attractive, at least for the next stretch of time, the money meant I would have to take on a lot of extra work, and we just weren’t the right fit for each other. They made the best decision for everyone.

I took the day of script reading (which means I have to make up for it today, since I have coverage due tomorrow morning). I was just exhausted.

I didn’t get any packing or purging or cleaning up done.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The teens are getting appointments for their vaccines. The younger kids are jealous!

I did some house hunting; there was one possibility that looked good and wasn’t a scam, but I have a feeling it’s only a summer rental. Still, it was worth an email, and maybe I’ll hear back, or maybe I won’t.

I keep seeing us in that adorable little space in Bennington, even though someone else got it. It feels so vivid and right. I need to let go of it.

I was, however, weighing different scenarios on an issue that has to be faced down today. I’m going with my gut on it. Things have reached an untenable point, and, although what I’m going to do is a financial risk (which I shouldn’t take right now), it is also necessary. It has to be done in person today. It is mostly likely to be extremely unpleasant (potentially dangerous, since I am not considered fully vaccinated for another week); it could be a reasonable conversation that works well for all of us. The former is more likely than the latter. But I must remain calm and firm. I need to look after myself in this situation.

I’m weary and overwhelmed even anticipating what will happen, but it has to be done. I’m hoping that making this difficult decision and taking this risk will clear the way for something better. Because the situation now is unsustainable.

And then, we move forward. The next two weeks will be especially rough, but time moves forward no matter what, so it’s about getting to it.

I could use all the good thoughts you could spare today, on both this and the home front.

Have a great weekend, friends, and peace. We’ll catch up on Tuesday.

Tues. May 11, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 353 — Vaccine Dose 2 Takes Its Toll

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

New Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

The last few days have been a ride, let me tell you. Seriously, that’s what I’m about to do. Tell you. So, get the beverage of your choice and settle in. I didn’t blog or post on social media about it, because, frankly, I didn’t want people weighing in who aren’t living in my skin right now.

Late Wednesday afternoon, we headed over to Enterprise by the airport and rented a car. We just didn’t trust our old car for the trip. The Enterprise rental seemed like a good price (until the extra insurance was piled on). It was tiny, a Chevy Spark. It felt like driving a tuna can. Not stable at all.

Anyway, we packed, and set up feeders and waterers for the cats.

On Thursday, we left a little bit after 9, to miss the worst of the traffic. We had a bit of a delay, because a recruiter wanted information. I sent him what he initially requested and told him I would be out of the office until Monday, and he kept at me two more times for more, so we were a bit delayed. There was still road construction and bridge work, and all the rest. But we took the Sagamore Bridge (the work is on the Bourne); although it was slow, it wasn’t too bad. The car doesn’t accelerate well (unlike the rabbit, which roars into action more like a lion than a rabbit, even as old as it is). We saw some constructions on the other side of 495, so we plotted an alternate route coming back. The car had Nova Scotia plates, which got us a few looks, since the Canadian border is still closed.

We made good time to the Mass Pike, and took gas for the first time just past Worcester. Honestly, just about anywhere we drove through is somewhere we could live, except for Springfield, which has one of the highest crime rates in the country.

Western Mass was gorgeous – spring is ahead of what it is on Cape. Things are in bloom, and it looked just, just lovely. There was a lot of road work around Lee, so, again, we plotted a different route to head back.

There were a couple of places in Pittsfield – they were okay, but not great. Lack of storage and lack of parking were the big concerns. All smaller spaces than what we live in now, but that’s to be expected, within our budget. One place was proud of its additional security system, which reinforced the feeling that the neighborhood was sketchy. We absolutely loved Williamstown. I’ve always liked Williamstown, but we really loved it. Unfortunately, the place we’re interested in – a loft – well, they haven’t finished building it yet and they already have more than a year’s wait list once they do.

We headed into Bennington, which we absolutely adored. It’s been several years since I’ve been to Bennington, and it’s a great town. The place we looked at was in walking distance of downtown, but in a terrific neighborhood. The place itself was tiny – supposedly 1000 square feet of living space, which meant it’s 2/3 the size of where we live now, but it seemed like maybe half. But charming and workable. Delightful details, lots of storage space in the basement, its own garage, a storage shed with lots of space. A small, screened in back porch. A larger, covered porch in the front. A narrow portico along the side that could be more outdoor living space in the good weather. The next-door neighbor is a delightful older gentleman who loves to decorate. Oil heat, which is a worry. Very little closet space. Each closet has less space than our hall closet.  A stream runs behind the house, which, on the one hand is peaceful, but on the other hand, I worried about flooding, although the landlord says it doesn’t flood. If we lost the car and the books, I’d be devastated. I already lost one car to a flood in Rye. Images of Blind Brook regularly flooding came to mind.

But we could work with that. We liked the landlord. It was a good conversation. We liked the feel of the space. We liked the house’s history – it’s from 1913, with a colorful story. We took a rental application. I explained I wouldn’t be able to get it in until we got home, but we would do so as soon as possible, definitely before I got my second dose vaccine, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take me down. He said he’d be away with his family over the Mother’s Day weekend, so it would be next week before he got to the paperwork anyway.

Of all the places we’ve seen since the beginning of this journey, this is the one we liked best. As with any place, there are compromises. But we could be happy there.

By the time we were done, we didn’t have time to go over to Troy to look at another place we were interested in. I’d had a feeling we wouldn’t make it, so I hadn’t booked an appointment, although if we had had the time, I would have called ahead and seen what we could do. But we were at the end of the day by now, and pretty worn out.

To avoid the traffic, we took Rt. 9 East over to Brattleboro and then 91 down to Springfield. We had hoped to take a look at another duplex, similar in size to this one, in Brattleboro, but hadn’t heard back from the landlord. From there, it was back on the Mass Pike to Sturbridge, to stay at our favorite Publick House, n their funky lodge building.

The Publick House had just opened to guests. In fact, only one lodge was open and running. All the ground floor rooms were booked, so we took one upstairs, which was fine. They warned me that the TV wasn’t working – it was supposed to be, but the company screwed up, as usual. But the internet was. We don’t have cable TV at home, so it didn’t matter. To my dismay, they’d also taken the fridges out of the lodge rooms.

However, we’d packed food in an insulated bag, and it was still cold. There’s no way we’re indoor dining yet. It was a calculated risk to travel even as we did, following safety protocols.

The positive part of the risk was that, once we were off Cape, everyone we encountered followed masking and distancing protocols WITHOUT MAKING A FUSS. Unlike here, where they don’t, and when they’re called out, they pull a Karen.

People were cheerful (from a masked distance) and doing what needed to be done. No fussing. No whining.

So this is what it was like elsewhere in the state during the pandemic? Not the nightmare that was Cape Cod, with reckless tourists coming in, determined to kill us all for their “freedoms”?

I kept hearing stories about how MA residents were being so responsible, and it looks like they were, in other parts of the state. Just not here.  Where too many people don’t give a fuck about anything except tourist dollars.

Anyway, at the Publick House, we unpacked our picnic and had a nice supper (we’d skipped lunch). We sat on our balcony and watched the sunset, with all the flowering trees. It was beautiful and peaceful. It was a lovely little break from all the stress.

We talked about possible ways to arrange things in the little duplex, and what to put in the shed, the basement, the garage, and what we still need to purge. The recruiter from the morning was at me again; but the money is insulting for this job. It’s entry level hourly for what should be a senior level salaried position. No. I told him to withdraw me from consideration. I got a message from another potential client about a second round Zoom meeting for Tuesday morning, to which I agreed, although I worried about aftereffects from the second vaccine dose.

The rent on the duplex is considerably less than what we pay now; it would give us some breathing space. It gives me a chance to settle in with the new script coverage job and see how much steady earning I can get from that, and also add in more clients, while still not being frantic every month. The move itself would be a bigger expense, but because it’s all going to the house instead of to a house and a storage facility, that would help. We could do it.

More importantly, we could be happy there. Even moving during Mercury Retrograde, which beyond terrifies me.

We had a decent night’s sleep (although I found the mattress too soft). We didn’t have to worry because we were the first people to stay in the room for over a year, so they were definitely clean. We saw them loading furniture in one of the other lodges. So they stripped all the rooms during the pandemic?

It was cold enough outside to store our insulated bag on the balcony.

In the morning, we headed down to the bakery. They’d set up the flow of traffic and outside seating area for maximum safety. Everyone followed protocols and no one fussed. We got our coffees; they prepared a lovely assortment of pastries (more than we would have taken). We took it back up to the room and ate on the balcony.

We waited until a little after 9, to avoid rush hour traffic, checked out, and headed back on the pike. Filled up with gas again (really, this little car is not more fuel efficient than the rabbit). The seats in the Spark were uncomfortable, and we were a little sore by now.

But we sailed across the Pike and back onto 495 South. We’d timed it well. We took Rt. 44at Taunton from 495 across to Rt. 3 to miss the road work, then took 3 south down to the Sagamore Bridge, which was a little slow, but not bad. We took 6A from the bridge to home, so we could enjoy the scenery.

We were home a little after noon. We unpacked, to the sounds of chain saws and leaf blowers. We realized we hadn’t heard a single leaf blower in the past 36 hours, no matter where we were. It was the first time we had a break or even a mini vacation since 2019.

We returned the car, and came home. Got the cats sorted; Charlotte was anxious; Willa was unsure and puffy; Tessa was angry. It took awhile to get them sorted out.

Unpacked, did the onboarding for the script coverage job. That took longer than expected. Started the rental application for the duplex.

The landlord here had set up an irrigation system while we were gone, for the resodding, so I got that going, too. It looked dry.

The recruiter with whom I’d had a meeting last week who was so hot to have me meet with a client early next week and promised to set a date by Friday – never got back in touch. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I haven’t met a recruiter in the past ten years who wasn’t a complete and utter waste of space and of my time.

Saturday morning, finished up the rental application, scanned it, and sent off the PDF.

Headed to Mashpee for my second Moderna Dose. It hurt more than the first one, and I was already feeling woozy by the end of the 15 minutes. My mom drove us home.

Even with its problems, our old rabbit feels better than that little Spark!

I didn’t feel too bad initially. Even managed to get the laundry done. The fatigue and the thirst started up fast, though, followed by chills and body aches. I was in bed by early afternoon. I managed to hoist myself out of bed in the late afternoon to water the lawn.

Sunday added fever and swollen lymph nodes and nausea. I was awake for maybe 45 consecutive minutes. I slept and slept and slept. I read a little bit – nothing that was work, just for pleasure. Charlotte and Tessa called a truce, so that Charlotte could come on the bed and play nurse, and even Willa came in to visit occasionally.

Monday, I still felt like hell. I told my client I’d work from home, and that is what I did, off and on. Got everything done and out that needed to go out; I just had to take frequent breaks. It had rained quite a bit Sunday into Monday, so I didn’t have to worry about the lawn.

I also turned around my first coverage for the new job, and accepted two more assignments. I read the second one, and will write up the coverage this morning, and will read the third one later today. I need to make up for the money spent on car rental, gas, and hotel.

Plus, I have a feeling that I need to get our car repaired, and I’m worried that will be a large bill that eats into the moving money.

The landlord brought some people to look around the outside of the house. I don’t know what’s going on there, but I feel even more pressure to get the move sorted out.

There was a rental up in Worcester County that looked good, so I sent off an email. It had an open house last night, but there was no way I felt well enough to go anywhere. It will probably be rented from the open house – it’s a nice space at a good price – but it was worth an email.

We heard from the landlord of the duplex. He’s giving the apartment to someone else – a couple who didn’t even come to see it – they cancelled their appointment to see it on Friday, but they got in their application before we got in ours, so he’s giving it to them. Which is complete and utter b.s. The only reason he would rent to someone he’s never met over someone he has is that he didn’t want to rent to us, and he’d rather rent to someone with more money. We happen to be outstanding tenants. May we find something more suited to us.

To say we are disappointed is an understatement. It had faults, but it had enough positives and was in a good place. However, it’s not meant to be. A good cry, and time to move on.

With the first Moderna dose, I was hungry all the time. Now, I can barely keep food down.

Heard from the landlord that he’s bringing landscapers to look at the outside tomorrow.

Heard from another potential client to whom I’d sent an LOI. They want me to do a 40-minute initial assessment/personality test; if they like it, they want two additional samples. I’m sending them the test agreement this morning, and telling them I can schedule it on Thursday, provided I get the deposit by Wednesday. But if the “personality” segment has anything to do with DISC or Myers-Briggs, they can forget about it. It’ll be another no-go from a not-good match. Read my portfolio samples. Your lack of critical thinking skills is not my problem.

Watched more of WILLIAM AND MARY last night, and went to bed early. Had trouble getting to sleep, but once I did, slept pretty well.

Up around 5:30 this morning, later than usual. Charlotte waiting patiently outside the bedroom, instead of banging on the door and crying the way she usually does. I still feel awful – mostly fatigued and dizzy.

Posting this, then showering and preparing for the Zoom meeting with the potential client. Will work on writing up the coverage and getting it out, reading the next assignment, working on my article, and doing other client work.

I’m feeling absolutely beaten down, but the only thing to do is pick myself up and keep going.

Published in: on May 11, 2021 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 11, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 353 — Vaccine Dose 2 Takes Its Toll  
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Fri. April 30, 2021: It Keeps Piling On

photo by Devon Ellington

Friday, April 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cool

Beltane Eve

Yesterday was a frustrating day, but it all worked out, somehow.

Dealing with a boundary issue with a client, which is frustrating.

At least I got out some LOIs and got some work done. The property manager missed the two potential phone appointments with no contact, and then sent me the rental application late last night, along with a time to drive a long way up and see the place that I already said wouldn’t work.  So, that place is out. Plus, my questions haven’t been answered on the lack of washer/dryer, the monthly fee for the garage, etc. I don’t think this is going to work. If we’re having this much difficulty communicating in getting basic information on the property, it’s a red flag to what it would be like if we actually moved in. It’s already near the top of my price range, and then with all these extras? I don’t see how it can work.

Heard back from a company to whom I’d sent an LOI months ago, and they want to talk today, so we have a video interview set up late this afternoon (my worst time of day, but so what). I have to bring up the rolling rack from the basement and drape fabric over it so act as a screen to hide all the packing going on in the office. It also means I’ll have to dress up and put on makeup.

Contacted another property, that’s also quite far away, but looks and sounds fantastic, and the price is good, too. It’s a little small, but workable, and in a place I hadn’t considered, but that would work.

Had a series of exchanges with a fairly local realtor, who contacted me after I told her that a property she represents showed up as a scam rental on craigslist. She’s been in touch a few times. I explained the situation, and she suggested some resources (all of which I’ve already contacted), but also admitted that there isn’t anything in the area to rent (that’s not a kazillion dollars and a short-term rental) and very little to buy. I mean, she was nice and all, but it didn’t get me any closer to solving the problem.

The stress continues to build.

photo by Devon Ellington

The septic company dropped off the digger yesterday afternoon. It’s a big old thing, stashed in the backyard, until they start up, first thing Monday morning.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re all ready for this school year to be over.

Worked on contest entries. I should be finished by today, and can send off my choices tomorrow.

I had a horrible, horrible cramp in the arch of my foot last night, like a Charley horse in the arch. I don’t want to experience that again any time soon.

I have a lot of work and a lot of packing to do today, along with a grocery run. At least I had a good first writing session, although I didn’t get enough work done on the article or the story yesterday. Hopefully, I can make up for that today.

And tomorrow, the Kentucky Derby! AND Beltane!

Catch you on the other side. Hopefully, next week will look up as far as house hunting.

Published in: on April 30, 2021 at 5:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 30, 2021: It Keeps Piling On  
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Wed. April 21, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 333 — Give Credit Where It’s Due

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cooler

Got a lot done early in the day yesterday: LOIs, article work, house hunting. I need to fill out some paperwork on a couple of places.

A house I’d hoped would work out seems to be a scam; another one we really liked has so many applicants, the guy isn’t even responding to emails.

Did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s and bought more than I planned; picked up a few things at CVS. Still doing full decontamination protocols. Even once I’m fully vaccinated, we’re talking about keeping some of the protocols in place. Because too many people are gross.

The tree-clearing morons were out in force yesterday. Cutting down healthy trees all over the neighborhood. Noise pollution, dust pollution, destroying habitat. Welcome to Cape Cod, where those who move here for the beauty systematically destroy it.

My mom still felt poorly, but she was better than the previous day, so, hopefully, she’s on the mend. Charlotte and Willa took turns playing nurse.

Worked on contest entries. Packed some of the candle holders. I didn’t realize how many candle holders I have. I’m washing out a bunch of them and scraping old wax out of some, too. The stillroom is going to take longer to pack than I expected.

I had to order more bubble wrap (the 6th & 7th rolls, for those keeping track).

The Tamed Wild box arrived, and it’s gorgeous. There’s a stunning necklace included, a beautiful altar cloth, a carved bear. Just lovely.

Worked through another stack of magazines I came across and tossed a lot.

I need to photograph the old mower and contact the guy who buys them and refurbishes them. I want that and the broken weed whacker out of here.

It was nice enough in the afternoon to sit outside and read for a bit. I took Willa out in her playpen for a little while, but it was too windy, and she kept getting tossed ass over teakettle, so I brought her back in. Charlotte was upset that I took Willa out and not Charlotte. Tessa stayed out of the fray.

I burst into tears of relief at the Derek Chauvin “guilty” verdict. As someone who’s been a juror on murder trials, I know how seriously jurors take it, and how heavily the responsibility weighs to go over the evidence and serve justice.

I was angered by all the “thanking God” going on all over the internet. God had nothing to do with the guilty verdict. It was the jurors, who took their job seriously and fulfilled the oath they swore. If God gave a damn, George Floyd wouldn’t have been murdered in the first place. If God existed, the Sociopath would have never been in the White House. So cut the crap about God having anything to do with this verdict. It was people who took their oath seriously, which is more than most politicians do.

Today I have to go onsite for a few hours, overlapping with other work colleagues. Not looking forward to it.

But then, there’s Remote Chat, to which I AM looking forward.

The early morning writing sessions are going well. It gives me a solid, positive foundation for the rest of the day. I’m making progress in the work, and it’s giving me creative energy to fuel more work in the day. So I’m glad I’m getting back into the daily rhythm.

Now, if I could only land us a place to live. . .

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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Thurs. March 25, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 307 — Breathe the Scent of Rain

image courtesy of Krzysztof Pluta via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Waxing Moon

Foggy and cool

There’s a short post about the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was busy, but, for the most part, it was a good busy, at the client’s office. Did my time, got a lot done, we talked about what needs to be done in the coming weeks, on several fronts. The owner is making noise about not wanting to wear a mask at the office anymore since she’s been fully vaccinated, and we said no. She’s going to keep pushing, and this will cause a problem a few weeks down the road.

Swung by the library to do a curbside drop-off/pickup and then home for decontamination.

Remote Chat was a lot of fun.

Rested on the acupressure mat, looked at house listings (depressing), got out some LOIs, worked on contest entries. There were a couple of truly delightful ones. I have three more to read in this category, and then I can make the decision. I’m working on the other two categories, too.

Researching interview options, since two of my requests were a no.

Got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY. Played with some other ideas. Read Nick Hytner’s book more. I have an idea percolating (it’s been doing so on and off for years) about Laertes, Hotspur, and Tybalt, but I’m not sure if it’s a piece of its own, or if I can fold it into another piece on which I’m working. It might not be more than a scene – I can’t tell, it’s still too vague in my brain. Also, in the play I’d be folding it into – even though it’s not a realistic play (it IS set in the Afterlife, after all), I’m using real people; mixing fictional ones in with them would muddy the play. So, I guess, in this public brainstorming session, I’ve figured out that they either get their own piece or they will be part of some other piece, but not the one of which I was thinking. Thank you for listening to my ramble.

I have to make sure I do at least one session of creative work for myself in a day, because it helps keep me centered. Otherwise, I turn into a hot mess. Keeping up regular writing/reading on my own projects takes off some of the pressure, instead of adding more.

I’m looking forward to the online meditation group this morning. Then, it’s back to LOIs, client work, house hunting, and packing. We’re supposed to get some much-needed rain today. If it’s nice over the weekend, I might put out the Adirondack chairs and the wind chimes on the deck over the weekend. We aren’t setting up the usual Enchanted Garden with the upcoming move, but at least we can sit there and enjoy it a little bit before we go.

Have a good one.

Published in: on March 25, 2021 at 5:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 25, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 307 — Breathe the Scent of Rain  
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Wed. March 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 306 — Trudging Onward

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was warm and pretty enough so we could have the windows and the door to the deck open for a bit. Only about a half hour, but it was nice to get in a spring breeze. It still goes down into the 30’s at night, so we wake up to frost, but there are a few hours during the day when it’s lovely.

I was up early. Got ahead on some client work. I’m trying to work ahead, at least roughing out a few projects, so that we get closer to deadline, I can refine them.

I’m spending hours every day house hunting. I’m not going to go into the details here, but it’s discouraging. The number of scams is appalling.

Got out some LOIs. Worked on contest entries. I’m almost done with one category. One of the digital files was blank, so I asked for a replacement. I’m hoping to get the finalists sent off by the end of this week. Working on the other two categories, too.

Reviewed the assigned book. I have another from the same company to review, which I will start reading today. Hope to get the review out by Friday or the weekend.

Did an early morning grocery run. Decontaminated.

Did some sorting, but not much packing. I will do a big push tomorrow through Sunday.

Did some work on GAMBIT COLONY. I’m not writing enough every day, and that’s making me more stressed. So I have to go back to the early morning writing to get my centering for the day.

Heard about a call for horror audio scripts. Paid. Thought it would be kind of fun, but their formatting is so out of any audio formatting I’ve ever done that it’s too much to take on right now. If it was one of the standard formats, no problem. But to have to learn a new format and create a 30-minute piece in a few days? While I’m under all this stress? Too much, and, while it’s great that it’s paid, it would be on spec rather than contract, so I’ll have to pass.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone’s working hard, Stressed about schools reopening too soon and without everyone being vaccinated, even though my kids will not go back to in-person learning this school year. It’s too dangerous. Plus, ALL their grades have gone up this year. There are all these “studies” about how not being in school is hurting kids. It might be true in certain cases, but WE are making it work for them. The fact that they like learning helps. And resources from museums and other cultural institutions adds so much.

I’m reading Nicholas Hytner’s book BALANCING ACTS about his years at the National Theatre. He was the director on MISS SAIGON. Although the show was five years into the run when I joined it (for its last five years), he stopped by to check on the show every now and again. I didn’t know him well by any means, but we had some good conversations. I liked and respected him a lot.

It’s fun to read about his work with people I worked with, and also people I didn’t work with, but admired.

Reading it makes me miss theatre even more.  I wish the US funded theatre (and all the arts) the way the UK does. The way Europe does. Although, re-reading Peter Hall’s diaries about his years at the National, the amount of time spent appeasing various Councils definitely interferes with creation.

I need to get back to reading more Dorothy Parker and Dawn Powell material to do the play about them, and I need to do more research on Marie Collier for that play.

A couple of interview sources turned down the request for interview for the article, so I’m looking for other sources. I will get out some requests today.

I have to be onsite at a client’s for a few hours this morning, then do a curbside pickup/drop-off at the library. After decontamination, it’s Remote Chat, and then some other work.

Onward.

Tues. March 23, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 305 – Stress Accumulates

image courtesy of pen ash via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Waxing Moon

Spring is here

There’s still frost on the ground in the mornings, but the days are sweet and sunny. Still a little cool here, but nice.

It was an incredibly stressful weekend. I’m just not comfortable sharing the details publicly, Things hit a real crisis point Sunday/Monday. I managed to negotiate a bit of a reprieve, but I will be under intense stress for the next couple of months.

I managed to do a lovely Ostara ritual. Goodness knows, I could use some rebirth.

Packing like crazy, even though we don’t yet know where we will wind up. It looked as though we had it settled at one point over the weekend, but it all fell apart on Sunday, so back to the hunt.

There are so many scams out there. The legitimate listings want proof of income 3X the rental price. I don’t know many people who earn $9k/month, do you? I’m sure as heck not one of them.

Went into the client’s office yesterday to do some work with no one there. As it should be. Had to get in touch with my mom about something. When she didn’t answer her phone, I was worried and came racing back; turns out she was upstairs packing and had left her phone downstairs. At least she was okay. At 96, one worries.

I was wrecked for the afternoon. The stress of the last bit caught up with me. Instead of packing or doing client work, I finished a book for review. I have to think about it a bit before I write the review. I had mixed feelings. I want to be honest about it, but I also want to be fair.

I worked on contest entries. I’m almost done with one of the three categories. I hope I can finish it today or tomorrow, and send off the choices for that category by Thursday, latest.

I did some work on GAMBIT COLONY as a stress release valve.

Today will be about client work, LOIs, house hunting, review work, contest entries, and packing. I have to make a quick grocery run – we’re out of bread and a couple of things.

We’re back to daily mass shootings again? Too many white guys running around with guns and the sense of entitlement that they can play God. Without consequence. I’m really tired of the lack of consequence.

Keep on keeping on. That’s all I can do.

Published in: on March 23, 2021 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 23, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 305 – Stress Accumulates  
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