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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Wed. May 5, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 347 — Things Are Shifting

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

There are several irons in the fire, all good. I will share information when I have it. I just don’t want to jinx anything by speaking about it too early!

Yesterday was busy; struggled with my article. It’s just not shaping up the way I’d like. Wasn’t able to get much done on the short story (which needs to be finished this weekend). Got some client work done, got some LOIs out.

Had a Zoom meeting with a potential new client. Actually, it’s a recruiter for a potential new client, so I doubt it will work out, but it was a pleasant enough conversation, and he asked for more samples, which I sent as soon as we were done. He says the client wants to move fast; I explained that I wouldn’t be able to book another meeting until early next week.

Meanwhile, I sorted out appointments for tomorrow – the ones I can’t yet discuss – going back and forth. Might set up another couple of appointments, if I can fit them in.

Working on the book for review. I want to get it finished and the review out tonight.

The script coverage I turned around on Monday was a hit, and the company offered me a long-term, freelance position. It’s under NDA, so I can’t talk about it in detail. The contract’s fine, the money seems decent. Until I actually do a few assignments, I won’t know for sure, but it seems like a steady, fun client. I’ll start either late this week or early next week, and I should have a better sense of them by the end of next week.

I’m having terrible tension headaches, but once things get sorted, I’ll be fine.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone just wants to get the school year done, have the summer break, and see where we are in the fall. The kids who are returning to school in person (hopefully) in fall are optimistic that enough people will be vaccinated by then so they can. But there are several families who decided to home school instead.

At the end of the school year, we’ll have a big Zoom call with kids, parents, etc., and see where we are, and what the options are moving forward.

Watched more WILLIAM AND MARY, which is really a lovely show.

Woke up again at 2:30 AM, fretting. Hopefully, once the move is sorted out, I can start sleeping through the nights again. I have to come to terms with the fact that I’ll be moving during Mercury Retrograde. Amongst all the warnings of not making big purchases, not signing contracts, travel plans and electronics all screwing up, retrogrades are also about resolving unresolved issues. The move is an unresolved issue, so getting it done – even with the knowledge that there will be obstacles because of the retrograde – could be a relief.

Because it needs to happen when it needs to happen.

The septic guys worked through yesterday, in spite of the rain. My mom was fascinated, and to be honest, it was rather like a beautiful ballet. The amount of trust between the guy working in the pit and the guy manning the earth mover, a literal ton of machinery just inches from him, was amazing.

They finished the big leech pit taking up most of the meadow and started filling it in. There’s still more to do, but I bet they finish it today.

I did a curbside pickup at the library and had a good, socially-distant conversation catch-up with one of my librarian pals. She feels the same as I do – the lack of transition. We’re being pushed into reopening without any thought for how hard most of us have worked through the pandemic. This attitude that we’ve all been on vacation for the past year is insulting.

I had to book some things online this morning, pay some bills, and then I’ll head out to the client’s office. I know she’ll nag at me with her demands of where I should move and how we should give up the cats and throw away all our stuff. I’m hoping to just nod and smile and ignore her. We will make the best decisions for US, not for someone else’s convenience.

The lilacs are starting to bloom. I might be able to put a vase of them by my bed this weekend, as I recover from the second vaccine dose.

Onward, stressful soldiers!

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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