So very True - Image by Anne Taintor

So very True - Image by Anne Taintor
I would like this on my very own business cards

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Odd Moments in Assisted Living

Working for the last few months in assisted living has really provided me with insight into the aging process and I have gained a deeper compassion for people.  Especially for the caregivers that I work with on a daily basis.  I have needed to fill in on the floor a few times when staff hasn't shown up for a shift.  That was really difficult for me the first time I did it.  I have no experience in it whatsoever!  It opened my eyes to what the caregivers provide to others on a regular basis.  These amazing people help others with basic tasks that I take for granted such as putting on my socks and shoes and even using the restroom alone.  I am in awe of the kindness and caring that caregivers need to exhibit.  I am also in awe of the grace that they must exhibit continually.  

Happy moments occur regularly.  We were playing bean bag toss and clapping when someone scored 100 points.  Another women who has dementia and was sitting nearby, started giggling and shouted out "Oh Delicious!"  If I ever get dementia, I hope I am as happy as her.  She is usually smiling and laughing.  Maybe she doesn't always know what is going on but at least she is happy.  That is what I want too.  

I have gotten used to being asked my name often.  I always wear my name tag and remind people it is ok for them to ask me and if they can't remember just look at the name tag.  It is my job to remember their names but they don't need to remember mine.  I will even answer to "Hey you."  I suppose that is because I grew up in a large family so not being called by name is no big deal.

Today I took a group of residents out to lunch at the VFW for Veteran's Day.  It was so nice to get to know them outside of my regular job role.  I made a comment about working and one of the residents looked right at me and said "Where do you work?"  The other residents had a laugh when I responded with "Where you live.  I work at your house."  

One day I was helping an older gentleman in the restroom.  While I was assisting him on the toilet he asked me if I was married.  That really surprised me as toilet conversation.  Another time I was walking through the hallway and saying "hello" to residents that I passed.  One woman yelled out in a booming voice "Boy, she sure has a big butt!"  What do you say to that?  You can't exactly turn around and say something in response.  So you suck it up even though it would have been nice to say "You wet your pants."   

Even with my experience in government work nothing could have prepared me for the daily interactions I experience with residents.  I am used to defusing anger and tempers that involve property rights.  That is a hard thing to do.  Making people happy is nothing like that.  It is rather rewarding.  I go to work smiling and go home smiling (although sometimes I may be muttering a retort under my breath).

This is the first drawing I created using my new Bamboo tablet and pen.  Maybe my drawings are a bit crude but it is so much faster than drawing with the mouse tracking pad on my laptop.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Totally Not Work Related At All

Last month we took a family trip to Silverwood. I honestly thought it would be fun. From what I remember of past experiences, I love rollercoasters. Apparently, the past is not accurate. I almost wet myself a number of times, came damn near a panic attack and actually imagined that I was going to die. Not the fun I had in mind.

I hate heights. I will start with that. They don't tend to bother me if I am strapped and buckled securely. That would be the biggest issue off the bat. A number of times I felt as if I was about to fly out of my harness and flail through the air to my certain death. Flying through the air is one of my biggest fears. People have asked me “Wouldn't it be nice to be a bird and fly over the earth and see everything. Feeling so free....” “Um, no. If you are flying you might fall.”

I guess the fear of falling is the biggest aspect for me. In one of my reoccurring nightmares I start jumping on a trampoline. I start going higher and higher with every bounce. Then I am bouncing higher than the roof. Then higher than the trees. Then higher than all the buildings. Then high as the airplanes. The whole time I have that creepy, nasty feeling in your stomach like when you drive at high speed over a bump in the road and it launches you in the air. So there I am bouncing. Bouncing and flailing my arms to be precise. Every bounce is harder and there is no end in sight. Just when I think I will land on the ground again, my feet become like super bouncy feet and I continue to bounce like I am at zero-gravity on the moon. Get my point. Not fun. It is about falling. I hate it. I guess I am a control freak.

So anyway, stupid Nikki, goes on the panic plunge first. I daringly strap myself into a harness in a seat that faces outwards and raises up a tall cell-tower looking thingy. It goes slowly up. I'm feeling ok. I'm looking around. Then I realize how high I am. Then my nieces (who are 8 and 9 and bravely went with me) start to whimper. I say “Wow, look at the parking lot and all the cars. They look so small.” Then I start panicking on the inside. “Christ almighty! Why did I do this?!?! I want off only I can't get off because we are still moving. Oh Dear God. Mother Mary of God!!!” We are still going upwards. I am getting sick. There is a noise. “What the hell was that noise?????!?!?! Aaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!! “ We are shooting, free-falling you might say at over 60 miles an hour to the ground. Plummeting to my death, just like I envision in my nightmare. I shut my eyes. I feel myself raise out of my seat but I am still propelling down-ward. Closing my eyes, not the smartest thing to do at that point. I open my eyes and it is not as scary. Being in the dark and falling is worse. I am so freaked out that my mouth can only open. No sound escapes. I think my heart may have stopped and I possibly pee'd my pants. Then click. We are back on the ground. I got off and wandered around like a zombie for a few minutes.

Before I had regained my composure I was whisked off to the roller coaster called “After Shock.” It would be more aptly named “Anxiety Attack.” I am so traumatized I can't explain it and give you the full picture and provide enough clarity to give the experience any justice. I think I blacked it out. I tend to do that in situations where I almost die. It helps me go forward by not remembering life altering events. Short story: Harnessed in with your legs dangling. Shooting backwards and forwards, upside down and this way and that and then stopping at a 180 degree angle to where I had once stood. Twice in this odd angle. Only it is over a hundred feet in the air and I was looking straight down at the ground with nothing in front of me except for a brightly colored foam shoulder harness and the other time, I was on my back, knowing I was at a direct angle from the ground. Never again. My friend's 11 year old had a panic attack and began hyperventilating. I would have but I secretly died for awhile so it wasn't so bad for me once I got off. The woman behind was crying before it even started. That didn't help matters at all.

Finally, I was bamboozled onto the Timber of Terror. Overall, not so bad. My 9 year was tucked securely in the cart behind us. My husband and I not so much. This cart is about 3 feet wide with a divider in the middle. Neither of us fit very well into our designated space. It was like trying to sit on a piece of toast and not overlap onto the crust. Not gonna happen. I would have fit better into the seat in the front of a shopping cart. My husband's extremely broad shoulders were encroaching into my small space as well and I couldn't hold onto the bar as his arms were there. The ride is made of wood so it creaked. Which is a good thing because it hid the sounds of the farts that were emitting with every bounce of the frickin' ride. Honestly, that comes after eating amusement park food and already having an upset stomach from previous panic attacks. Again, not fun. As we started heading up the first “ramp” my husband says to my son (who was starting to have a mini-freak out) “Put your hands in the air like this.” So my husband and I put our hands in the air to show what good sports we are. We are setting an example for our son to have fun. Don't be scared. This is fun. We paid for it. WTF! We round that first hump and stare at an 85 foot straight drop in seats we barely fit into. Our arms dropped so fast as we raced to hold onto the panic bar like teenagers running out of a kegger that is being busted. Trying to hold on for dear life was scarier than being on the ride. Slipping and sliding out of your designated area while on a roller coaster is about as much fun as running from a train.

My younger son is already planning our next trip back. Little does he know it won't be with me. Next “fun” vacation, we are going to do something that I know I like. We are going to a Lyle Lovett concert in a park and then eating at a fondue restaurant and watching a Broadway show. Now that is fun.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Week 1: Life is Good

Losing my job: Sucked.
Being unemployed for 6 months:  Worth it

This week I began my gainful employment with a company who shall remain unnamed unless you know me personally and then I will whisper it to you because I prefer not to say on the internet--now people actually search the web to see what their employees do/say/print/post/blah blah.  Must maintain mysteriousness.  So anyway, my new job = awesome.  I love it so far!!!!!!!  The best part = smiles.  I get to smile often.  I am expected to smile at people.  People smile at me.  Life is good.  Flowers and smiling are my two favorite things.  The only way to up this one is by working in a smiling flower shop.  Not gonna happen due to my stupid allergies.

I am still keeping an eye on job openings.  There are some promising ones in the planning field but I would rather be run over by a truck with a steamroller following behind it than be a planning director.  I now realize how  unfun planning can be.  The best thing that happened to me in a long time was being laid off.  I have my garden, a clean organized house, read books, went camping, swimming, shopping, walking but no singing because that requires karaoke and karaoke requires really being liquored up....

This weeks scam job:  One dorky get rich quick ad caught my eye so I went to it.  I clicked on it because the picture for it was a dumb looking dipwad with two thumbs up and he was super excited.  Upon further examination, I am confident he was also high on cocaine as no one can be that happy without illegal drugs or really heavy anti-despressants.... Since it is a scam, it must be illegal.  When I looked at the idiot's picture I drew a parallel to the Fonz which I jotted down on the screen shot.  After that....I realized it was more reminiscent of Steve-o's tattoo of himself.   Definitely not a way to make money in my book.  Looking/acting like a poser usual ends up badly....

The Fonz is cool
Steve-o's dumb-o tattoo
He is still cooler than the dorky stock investment guy....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Livin' it up

Now that I am aware that my days of leisure are about to come to an abrupt end, I am livin' it up.  Today I am headed to my friend's private lake for a long swim in the 85 degree weather.  Should be super fun.  Tomorrow?  Coffee and a crossword, maybe more swimming....The next day who knows?  Monday, August 2nd?  Work.

Update:  I wrote this yesterday before we went swimming.  Now I am experiencing stinging pain on my right shoulder.  My husband is in pain over 80% of his body. It is the first time in 5 years we have been sun burnt at the same time.  Matter of fact, it is the first time in 5 years that I can recall my husband being burnt.  Must be the meds he is on for his heart and cholesterol....Poor guy took off his shirt so his belly is the worst.  He looks like Mr. Crabs.  I look more like a patchwork quilt of pure whiteness with dots of pink and red.  The older boy has some red spots.  The youngest one, who resembles an albino most of the year, turned a deep brown.  I just don't get it....At least I don't have to work like this, yet.  Well--except for delivering now since one of the drivers abruptly quit without notice.  Just didn't show up.  Which is why our swimming adventure can to a quick end.  Ironically, it was a good thing.  How bad would it have been if I wouldn't have been called in to cover the little turd's shift?!?!  Every summer this happens in the July 20's.  I refer to it as a case of the july's (which may be related to snowboarditis).   I am sure it is related to the weather rather than job conditions.  As the temperature goes up, absenteeism rises.  I guess it was a good thing that I didn't have a job yet....

Friday, July 23, 2010

In Which I Get a Job - for real this time!!!!

After 6 frustrating months--2 weeks left until my unemployment money runs out--I received a decent job offer, which I happily accepted.  The job is not in the planning field.  Not even close.  It is actually one that may bring personal happiness through work.  I am looking forward to that.  It is a social work type job with an assisted living facility.  I like people.  I like problem solving.  This is the best of both. Hopefully it works out well and I won't have to be unemployed like this again.  While I did enjoy not working during the summer months, having plenty of free time, having a clean house and sleeping in each morning; the overall lack of money really sucked.  If I have to work in order to afford the basic necessities then at least I can work with something that provides some enjoyment.  

Granted it doesn't come close to what I have made hourly in the last 10 years either but I can work my way up and the freedom, flexibility and reliability are worth it.  Additionally, my friend (whose job I am filling because she quit to fulfill her dreams--and I wish her luck because that takes balls) says it is a wonderful place to work and she absolutely loved it.  I trust her because she is the most straight forward person I have ever met and if it were a crap-hole full of nasty politics and unhappiness like the last black hole of ectoplasam where we worked together, she would have told me and she would have worded it like a sailor and there would be no mistaking how she felt about it.  It was on her glowing recommendation that I even applied for it.  So props to you, Mare, you rock!  Hope you succeed in the next endeavor because I don't plan on giving you your job back should you want it again :)

What I learned:  I had no luck applying for jobs on craigslist.  Yahoo! Jobs, Monster and CareerBuilder all seem to be shams.  No luck ever--only scam jobs or job listings ripped from other sources.  In the end, good old fashioned job service proved to be one of two viable sources.  The other source was  I found a contract position through it however I don't want to move so that offer wasn't accepted.  

Finding work this late in the game was stressful.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do beyond August.  At least the feds approved the extension of unemployment so technically I could have received another 33 weeks of unemployment but still, it is not enough to live.  I will be happy to no longer qualify for food stamps.  I will be happy to have benefits.  I will be happy to a have job.   Now that I cashed in my retirement, I can go shopping so I can have nice new clothes for my nice new job.  Woot!  Woot!  Now that is also something to be happy about.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weed n' Feed

Sometimes being unemployed is a good thing.  Maybe not so much being unemployed but at least not being employed as a city planner.  Yes, that is what I meant.  Examples of such epiphanies include newspaper articles regarding zoning issues in the city where I used to work.  For instance, the hot button issue of current times is medical marijuana.  In Montana, it is legal to possess marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.  I will not get into the gist of what is required to obtain said card although I am sure the state legislature will be changing these rules as it seems that anyone can claim the need, with or without a debilitating illness (I know this for a fact as a number of the young men that have worked for my husband have received medical marijuana cards for “chronic pain.”  This “chronic pain” has never interfered with their ability to attend work, go folfing (aka frisbee golf), skiing, snow boarding, boating, partying, 4x4'ing, etc.  The only thing “chronic” about their pain is it is a pain caused by longing for smoking of the chronic.).

One controversial aspect of medical weed happens to be whether it is allowed by zoning.  Is it an agricultural crop?  Is growing it a home occupation?  Should dispensaries (stores where you buy medical marijuana) be allowed in all business zones the same as convenience stores and pharmacies?  Is it really a medical need drug – like Tylenol – or should it still be treated as an illegal substance (which by federal law it is still classified as such) –and if so, can it be sold in a store?  If my neighbor is growing it for others, do I have a right to now?  Should medical marijuana suppliers be allowed in school zones as it is technically not an illegal drug if used correctly with a doctor's endorsement.  The list goes on and on and on.  Not being required to answer those questions or really ponder the answers is another reason I am happy not to be a practicing planner.

Additional reasons for said happiness is that I no longer have to discuss the legal ramifications and “try” to explain all the issues to the general public at large.  Mainly, this is good because I no longer must spend hours speaking to mental midgets (and I am trying not be stereotypical here because I know many people who smoke out and are not mental midgets).  When a high person is in your office and is asking questions and spaces out during the answers and giggles every time you use the word “but” as a conjunction, it makes one's job rather difficult.  Also, I do not enjoy the smell of patchouli.  That is another reason I am glad I am no longer meeting with people about this issue in my office.  I am also not a fan of stinky dreadlocks.  Again, I shall reiterate, that I am not trying to be stereotypical as I know many who smoke and lead productive lives.  The truth of the matter is that every stereotype I mentioned is because I dealt with people like this will working as planner.  I also dealt with the people who wore those silly crocheted hats, the Rasta-kind I guess, you know what I mean, the kind that actually look more like a beret mixed with a hacky sack than a real functioning hat....

Bill O'Reilly was discussing medical marijuana the other day.  CNN brings it up constantly (which leads me to believe that they must have a number of staff members who are using medical marijuana as it seems to be a favorite issue of theirs, that and nasty ol' Lindsey Lohan).  Wal-mart fires workers who test positive even if they have a “medical” need for the card.  The issue is every where.  Well, everywhere except here since I really have no need to care anymore except for the fact that I am thinking about applying for a conditional use permit to operate an agricultural enterprise on my ½ acre to open my own ganja farm.  :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Old MacDonald

Week god knows what of unemployment.  No end in sight. Frustration lurks at times.  Pessimism pops its ugly head then optimism reminds me that I am unemployed in the summer.  I drown my sorrow in sunshine therapy while wearing my favorite sun hat, hair in pig tails and my cut-off dickies overalls (I'm a country bumpkin like that) and start diggin' in the dirt.  I borrowed a rototiller to put in a REAL garden this summer.  Not just the usual plants in pots like at my other house.  Tomatoes galore.  Heirlooms and hybrids.  Hopefully none are those genetically modified zombies.....

Raccoons have taken over my yard.  I am figuring out ways to rid the property of 8, yes 8, annoying raccoons.  While the little ones look cute, they want to eat my children and I don't like that.  My husband said I should sell them (the raccoons, not my children).  I am going to make that my job in the next few days by posting an ad on Craigslist.  There is no season on raccoons in Montana, therefore, I shall post that raccoons are for sale, $50 a pop, u-trap--  then I shall be a game guide and add that to my resume.

Still house-keeping part time.  Getting used to sweating under my boobs and not being able to change my shirt since I am working that hard outside the home.  That is soooooo sick.  Never, ever thought I would have a job that made me sweat under my boobs.  I have to wear a special cleaning bra.  I can't believe that I admitted that.  Will probably erase that part of the post....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Meat Jell-o

Yesterday I worked my ass off!  That is figurative as I have a big butt already and it would take a long time to really work it off.  So anyway, I worked f'in hard! I spent the first half of my day cleaning as a real bona-fide housekeeper at a condominium time-share resort.  The units are rented out fully furnished for a week at a time (this is also where I had been stripping temporarily which I now know is a much easier job and more fun too).  The unit inhabitants only have one week to mess them up then a crew comes in and wipes, washes and polishes all the nooks and crannies to ready it for another round of Canadians or people from Texas (I know this because the units have the visitors name and hometown info on the room cards and most of them are Canooks or Texans).    I went into it thinking it wouldn't be so bad since my stripping experience was rather like a piece of cake.  Cleaning = not fun = people are pigs.  

After one week in a clean slate condo people manage to spill all sorts of crap in the fridge and apparently feel no need to wipe anything up.  In every fridge I cleaned there was the inevitable goo under the produce drawer.  I refer to the goo as meat jell-o as I think it is most likely hamburger, steak or chicken juice/blood that drips off the racks and puddles under the drawer.  Not only is it gross to look at it--the junk is also stinky and sticky and takes way too much elbow grease and time to rub out.  Blah!  Wipe it up people!  WTF!  You were there one week!  What does your home fridge look like?!?!?!?!?!  Also, when staying at a hotel/resort, please tell your children NOT to take the tube of toothpaste and squirt lines off it across the bathroom mirror.  Someone has to clean that.  Someone else also has to clean the pine needles off the couch cushions.  Why were there even that many pine needles on the couch cushion?  Did you take it to Glacier National Park on a hike and use it to sit on the trail when you were tired?  I am still perplexed by that one.  

My saving grace of the day was pairing with an OCD maid who had a penchant for bathrooms (thank God!  I shall refer you back to my earlier postings about hairy toilets...) and wearing my red Dansko clogs (I love you Dansko.  You make my feet happy).  I did the front half which is the kitchen and living areas.  Wipe and dust EVERYTHING.  Clean EVERYTHING.  Polish EVERYTHING (even the pots and pans).  By EVERYTHING I mean each frickin surface you can see and can't see.  Much like cleaning an apartment or house for a new tenant--that kind of clean--except it is fully furnished and decorated with pictures on the wall that need dusted and the glass cleaned and silverware to boot.  Kicked my ass!  It was quite a work-out too.  So if you look at the bright side--which I do as I am usually an optimist--I got paid to work-out yesterday.  Woot!  Woot!  I will just keep telling myself that the cleaning gig is like that exercise boot-camp that chicks pay craploads of money to attend only I get paid to attend.  Next, I shall trick others into coming with me and start my own cleaning agency/boot camp and not only will I get paid by those I am cleaning for, I shall get paid by the rich bitches that are too stupid to realize that they are paying me for the opportunity to clean someone's house.  Oh yeah.. Now that is a plan.  I shall work on putting that into action....(I didn't realize I could become an entrepreneur until I typed that..I am so onto something here) 

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Lately I feel like a robot.  Honestly, I find myself speaking all mono-syllabic and moving hurky-jerky style.  I feel as if I lost the up in my giddy-up and I am locked in the ho-hum hum-drum of unemployment.  This totally sucks!  Five months and counting.  I have created a routine and I am rather sure I have mentioned my routine in earlier posts but I am too lazy to re-read it looking for it to link to it.  Robots don't do things like that.  They only do what is in their routines and what they are programmed to do.  I am programmed to get up, read the paper, look for jobs, apply for jobs, clean the house, do laundry, go to work with my husband, make pizzas, deliver the pizzas, come home, look at Facebook, fold the laundry I put in the dryer before the leaving the house, empty the dishwasher, watch a rerun of  "Cold Case" and fall asleep.  Then repeat.  

I wish someone would push reboot or reprogram me to do something different.  Last week I did do other things but even those other things were work like mowing the lawn, weeding the flower bed, raking, waxing the floor and unpacking those boxes of weird shit I can't figure out where it goes but I know I have to keep it.  Aaargh.  I want to enjoy summer but summer enjoyment apparently equals money which one earns by working outside the home which is what I don't do and in my job with my husband--it is unpaid so the business doesn't have to pay someone else, so what fun is that?  

I think I may have a nervous breakdown and start beeping like Silas does when he is nervous.  For example:  First day of school,  "Hi.  I am your new teacher.  What is your name?"  "Beep." *Me* "His name is Silas."  "Oh, welcome Silas.  Let us find your desk.  You are sitting next to Libby.  Do you know Libby?"  *Him* "Beep."  "Well, you must be a little nervous.  That is ok.  Second grade is going to be fun.  What is your favorite sport?"  *Him* "Beep."  I finally left him at his desk even though he didn't stop beeping.  He always stops eventually.

Robots get stuck in routines because that is what they are made to do.  Not me.  If I am stuck in a routine I want compensated for it.  Here are somethings I would like to be paid for:  working and working.  I am good at working.  Mother f***er.  Beep.  Does not compute.  Does not compute.  Beep. Beep. Beep.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In Which I Get a Job

Ok.  So it is not really a long term job however I did so well working temporarily as a stripper I have been asked to be a housekeeper.  Woopee!  This too shall be temporary and on Fridays but at least it is a little bit of income.  Plus, someone likes me and feels that I am employable unlike a bazillion and a half others (Wal-mart...).  The head of housekeeping said she missed me terribly on Friday and the new girl is not so good.  Yay me! So now I shall be cleaning and not stripping.  It is a step up and offers more pay. Now I can afford a new pair of sandals for summer and some new resume paper.  I am running out.....

In other news, a recent study shows that most professionals are unemployed after lay-offs for an average of eight months.  This means, on average, I should find a new job in about two months.  I will be ready then.  I will also be tanned and fit.  I love summer...What better time to be unemployed than when you can go outside without a parka or an umbrella.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just Whistle While You Work

Looking for a job is like waiting for my floor to dry after using Orange-glo. I enjoy the after effects of Orange-glo--the shininess of the floor reflecting the sunlight from the windows and the pleasant fake orange smell that lingers for a day or so. It is the waiting for it to be done part that drives me crazy. Inevitably I find myself in some desperate need to re-enter the kitchen early to retrieve something that I forget. If I give in, it is all for not and I must redo the floor within a few days. Blah! If I just sit and wait and let it cure then I can enjoy my handwork.

When I get antsy to apply for a job that pops up and hastily prepare my letter of application and materials, I can include some stupid mistake that could have been prevented if I would have just let it follow the usual course and took my time. That typo or omission is like the footprint I leave in the not-yet-dry-still-tacky orange-glo: it is there for all to see. Not only do I have to redo the floor but the errors in applications drag this waiting process onwards.

I have thought about hiring a maid since housework sucks. I can afford one right after I can afford a resume service to market my resume which will land me a new job. Until then, a little bit of elbow grease, plenty of orange-glo and a lot of waiting is the way to go.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Striking Gold

Wowsers.  I struck it rich on Craigslist today.  After a very long dry spell of any amusing job postings, I found two this morning-- ripe and ready for the picking.  La-di-da!

First up is a continuation of our old friend, Edwina, and her property preservation request.  I have no doubt that this has been posted by the same bottom feeders willing to pay a whopping $7.50 for a site visit!  (Gas is $2.89 a gallon right now, barely covers gas.  Idiots.....)  Funniest part is how they ended their posting:  "If you are insured, and honest, we should talk," as opposed to "If you don't have your own worker's comp policy and are a liar..."  Der....  That "we should talk" part should be a red flag that this is not the most genuine posting.  Maybe they should have ended it with "Lets do lunch, dahhhhling," in order to have a higher response rate since only a newb job hunter would respond to this one and, hey, free lunch!
Second idiot posting of the day comes to us from Sarah and Kent who feel that they have discovered the key to success and happiness and therefore must advertise it on Craigslist instead of late night infomercials.  They begin their post with an extremely annoying headline:  "Do you desire a change?"  Answer:  "No, I just look for jobs because I enjoy it."  "No, I just peruse job postings as a way of making myself feel better since I already have a job and want to laugh at the lack of good jobs available."  Why would they include that rhetorical question as their lead-in!?!?!?!  Of course I want change!!!!! Why would I be reading wanted ads online if I wanted to stay all caught up in the usual rigmarole of being unemployed.   For gods sakes alive!  This just really annoyed me but not as much as when I visited the website.  The website was so bad and I became so frustrated by the ambiguous phrases hinting towards financial freedom that I couldn't even post a screen shot here.  It made me so disgusted that I vurped.  I then took some Tums and only posted a screen shot of the ad.  Aaargh!!!!!!!!!

I am not sure if it is the weather, the moon cycle, my female cycle or the fact that I am entering into my 5th (yep, that is right) 5th f'in month of unemployment that is making me sound more like Maxine in those grouchy cartoons than sounding like myself (see dumb cartoon below).  I am also getting so distraught with my lack of leads that becoming an alcoholic or collecting disability pay for doing nothing is becoming more appealing by the minute.  If you are an alcoholic there are recovery services available for you and they will help you find a job if you go into "recovery."  If you are disabled, you can either get free schooling to be retrained or just collect money each month from your mailbox job.  You don't really have to be disabled in the usual manner of loosing body parts either.  You can just have a mental illness.  Mine is unemployment.  It is driving me crazy.  Grrrrr again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Welcome to Wal-mart where we only hire people who aren't you (as in me)

I have officially hit a new low in my job quest.  I am unemployable as a greeter.  I have to admit that it is true now that I have been turned down by Wal-mart.  Yep.  I was.  I can't believe it.  I feel like a tard.  It was the same feeling I had in college when my perfect 4.0 GPA (yeah, I was an over-achiever then) was marred with my first B.  I remember that I felt as if the world was ending.  The worst part was that my family laughed at me--much like my husband laughed when I told him I didn't make the cut for the Wal-mart job.  (I will say in my family's defense that they laughed at me because that B was issued in an art class, pottery nonetheless.  I sucked at pottery.)  I guess I suck at greeting people, being rude and dismissive and chasing carts, much like the people at Walmart except they get hired to do it.  

I suppose I will have to keep looking.  On the bright side, I didn't receive a rejection from Safeway (yet).    

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flooding Blues

It is pouring here.  The rain only stops intermittently for the last 10 days or so.  Today it is nonstop in downpours.  It makes me sad--not sad because it is raining but sad because it could cause flooding and I am no longer the floodplain administrator over anything more the property where I live.  This is the time of year that CFM's like me actually prepare for.  I don't want to say we hope for them but we do spend hours and hours preparing for action in times of flooding and yet there is nothing for me to do.  Blah!  I wish it was sunny instead and then I wouldn't mind being unemployed as much--although watching out my front window at the cars hydroplaning as they race by is a good way to keep my mind of it.  I just hope no one jumps the curb and hits my parked cars.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gottcha Where I Wantcha....

On Friday, while working at my condo-stripping job I was reminded of a series of horribly stupid, long-winded jokes that we used to tell as children.  Maybe you remember them.  The jokes all center around people staying in a hotel and checking out early based on scary voices they hear chanting mantras such as "Gottcha Where I Wantcha, Now I'm Gonna Eatcha," or "When the log rolls over we will die, we will die."  Usually a brave person tracks down the source which ends up to be an old women in a closet holding a bloody booger on her finger or a bunch of talking flies sitting on a turd that was left in the toilet.  Not the best jokes but they were funny to a 7 year old.  The funniest part is why my temporary job on Fridays cleaning hotel rooms would remind me of fodder that is embedded in my mind from almost 30 years ago.  Any guesses as to why??  Honestly, the truth would make you barf.....No pictures associated with this post.  I am still too busy trying not to vomit little bits in my mouth in order to draw what I have witnessed.

Note to Self:  While staying at hotels or resort, be sure to bring ample kleenex and not to use the bed sheets as tissue paper especially while suffering from bloody sinus pressure.  *Barf*  Don't get me started on the toilets again....  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hungry for Money????? This job is for you.

I saw an interesting post on Craigslist for a job that was titled Financial Sales.  When I clicked on the posting I was not really surprised to see what I consider most likely a scam type job.  There seems to be quite a few scam jobs listed at any one time.  The dead give-aways for scam jobs almost always utilize the word "self-starter" and/or "motivated."  This job didn't require motivation just a self-starter for selling something to public companies as opposed to private companies.  Not sure of the difference.  The other interesting thing about this particular post is they only want to hire a hungry person.  I am unclear whether they are referring to hungry for knowledge, work, money or food or if they mean all of those.... Hungry is not typically a word used in job postings unless the position is for a professional eater, food taster or restaurant mystery shopper.   For some reason it reminds of "Angry for Coins" with Coinbird  (which I still think is the most brilliant piece of crapanimation on the web--shout out to Will Smith, one of the funniest people I have ever met).  Also,  if they want hungry people I would recommend tacking the posting up on the bulletin boards at Weight Watchers meetings or churches where they have those TOPS meetings as well.   There are probably many hungry people at those diet meeting centers.....

Overall, this job posting does include the usual descriptive terminology one would list in a legitimate advertisement--yet it still reeks of direct sales such as Amway, Quixstar, Avon or Tupperware.  I am not clear which of those direct sales companies would be marketing public companies so maybe there is a new one that sells pens and pencils, printers, paper or other happy and interesting office supplies that will make your life that much easier with things you didn't know you needed before you purchased them.  The posting also uses double spacing between sentences which is a plus.  It lacked commas and hyphens where I feel they should be included.  The posting also leaves out pertinent information for contacting the poster other than the blind email and omits hours of operation or status as full-time or part-time.  I would grade this posting as a "B".  Good job poster.  This is a better than average scam job posting.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jedi Knight or Knight of the Sith?

Every once in a while you come to a fork in the road and you must choose the path you will take: the high road, the low road, the one less traveled, blah, blah, blah....I arrived at that fork today and I am still not sure which way I will go.  If anyone pulls up behind me, please just honk and I will pull over to the side so you can go around me.

I went out to lunch with some friends.  While we were leaving I saw an acquaintance who works in the real estate business.  We chit-chatted for a moment about my lack of gainful unemployment and my side jobs as a pizza delivery driver and stripper (aka housekeeper).  She began to quiz me in my computer application skills and experience with office skills, accounting, etc.  She then said they were possibly going to hire an assistant for her and I should bring by a resume.  Now this woman is super nice, super smart and actually super cool.  Not such a bad gig actually.  The quandary revolves around the profession of  real estate.    

In this world there are two types of people:  Planners (me and my kind) and Real Estate Agents (them).  Planners and real estate agents interact for a handful of reasons including arguing about allowed land uses and the impact of the zoning on the value; arguing about building codes and the impacts on the value; and discussing the specifics of planning/zoning/building law which apply to properties they are trying to sell and make a butt-load of money on for commission without typically doing any of the footwork or research (that is what planners do).   

My planning friends and I refer to the real estate industry as "The Dark Side."  I believe it may be a planning-wide joke as well because I have heard it at conferences too.  They are dark--we are light (or so I thought).  Now that the planning world has been reduced to nothing by the failing real estate market (much like the planet Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star) I must decide which force is stronger inside of me:  the planning side that is unemployed or the side that would really like a job to earn some money.  I wish I had Yoda nearby to help point me in the right direction.  
PS.  I know that Star Wars did not involve any zombies chanting something from the movie "Freaks" but I threw it in anyway.....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yellow River.....

There are certain jobs that I just won't do regardless if turning them down would disqualify me from collecting unemployment each week.  Those jobs as we have come to know most likely involve animals, poop and blood.  I suppose I had left out urine.  Here is an announcement from good ol' Careerbuilder about a job in my area--even though it was categorized as not a good match they sent it to me anyway.  I have posted it below as proof. I am not a doctor.  I will never be a doctor.  I have not ever been a doctor nor a urologist.  I don't work with the yellow kind of pee-pee and I don't work with men's pee-pees or women's hootchies.   This job is definitely not for me although it would be a good match for any urologists you may know looking for work especially if they are trained in the computer program listed.  

BTW--I used to have a job that worked with urine.  Not a fun thing to do.  I worked in a probation office and one of those "other duties as assigned" included watching females urinate in cups and verifying that they had not tampered with the urine about to be sampled.  Two people were required to do this for safety and liability--as you might suppose, it would be rather easy for a person to say someone acted inappropriately while watching them pee.  Strength in numbers.  In addition to watching a person pee or watching the person watch the person pee (I preferred to watch the watcher), I was lucky enough to be the one who packaged the urine samples and sent them off via Fed-ex.  This duty as assigned involved wrapping the pee in ultra-absorbent barriers so as not to leak about the box should the lid come dislodged.  The worst part was that while I waited for the Fed-Ex carrier to arrive, the pee samples sat on my desk.  Yep.  Right next to my coffee.  Good times.  I will divulge that the whole reason I went back to university was because of this job.  I wanted a job where I NEVER had to deal with pee again.  Now I just deal with the crap that comes along with unemployment.  Aargh!

In Which I Cry in my Car

Soooo, there was this really appealing job advertised.  It was with a company that manufactures mobile command units for emergencies.  They integrate GIS and GPS.  Perfect match for moi.  Here is when I mention my degree is in Cartography (map making) with my emphasis in GIS and plenty of GPS and remote sensing crap involved while I was in college.  As Ace Venture would say this job would fit me "like a glove."

This employer required Proveit! tests from Job Service. If you are not familiar with Proveit! tests they are tests that were most likely created by the devil and are typically utilized by companies who beat their employees or expect them to perform at a high level of efficiency with little compensation (same thing in my book).  Proveit! tests do not allow you to go back and change an answer.  You can not review anything.  If the little pop-up window comes up unexpectedly in the middle of clicking something else and you click the next question button, you are screwed.  You just answered a question and got it wrong.  These tests suck.  Bad.  You aren't allowed to repeat them.  Even the No Child Left Behind Act allows schools to retest where there were obvious errors.  That is a Bush-era mandate.  Even that administration saw the value of retesting....  Rant Finished****

There were tests for business English (in which I did not score so well...hmmmm), grammar, etiquette, ethics, Word, Excel, Outlook and typing.  They were obviously serious about who they hired as the only thing the company didn't require was a criminal background test, fingerprints, credit report, medical history, a copy of the book of poetry I wrote for the 1987 Young Authors Conference and my report on France that I wrote in the 4th grade.  Assholes.... 

Day 1: I go in and take two hours of tests and have to leave because I have an appointment.  Day 2:  I go in again and take another hour of tests and then in the middle of it....the power goes out.  Twenty minutes later the computers are up and running again but it messed up the test I was on.  As mentioned previously, Proveit! tests don't allow you to repeat or go back to questions so basically it screwed me on that test.  Oh well...Anyway, I finish the round of testing finally (another hour more) and go up to the help desk to retrieve my results and put in the formal application (as I was awaiting the required tests).  I have 4 hours vested into this job and I don't even know how much it pays...Out of the blue, a woman says to the guy that is helping me, "They closed that job early.  It was filled yesterday."  WTF!!!!!!!!!!  He was like "????" and I was like "????!!!!????!!!!!"  He says "I am so sorry. That job was posted to be open until June 6th."  "Yes," I reply "that is what I thought too. " *sobbing on the inside*

Side note:  The man was nice.  He praised my test results.  He said my typing was blazing fast.  I did 70 words a minute with 0 errors for 3 minutes.  Woot!  Woot!  I guess I can type.  :)  

Regressing a bit, after the initial let down I retrieved the phone number of the company who hired someone even though it said the job was still open.  I then went to my car and I called the company and informed them that the job was still listed as open and I had spent 4 hours taking the tests and they needed to fix it so it didn't happen to other people.  Honestly, the woman I spoke with was an unsympathetic beeeaaatch.  Not nice.  Not caring.  Probably because she has a job and doesn't know what it to be fricking desperate for a job.  I hope she gets laid off someday and learns what it feels like.  Maybe then she can be a bit nicer to the general public and at least pretend to care when she speaks to people via telephone.  After all of this was over that is when I shed a few tears out of frustration--I suppose desperation too, as some days I feel like I shall never ever find a real job again.  That is the central idea I refer to where I made an A.A. Milne-type reference in my grammatic pattern and entitled this "In Which I Cry in my Car."  

After a minute or two, I wiped my eyes, smiled at myself in the rear view mirror and went to Shopko to use a gift card I had been saving for some retail therapy.  It helped.  I felt much better and now I have two adorable black wrought iron lamps with micro-suede shades flanking the nightstands on either side of my bed. 

Follow-up:  The day after the incident in which I write about, I received a call from an employee at Workforce who had heard about what had transpired.  She apologized profusely for how it had occurred.  She also said that she had contacted the company with the job posting and read them the riot act as well about how it had happened.  She said it should not happen again.  There was one other person who also completed the tests the same day and suffered through the same hell.  *To whomever you are, we are united.  I feel your pain.  Good luck in your job search*  The good news is that whenever the offending company posts job openings Workforce will be overseeing them and will track it better so this will not happen again.  Hot damn!  Also, this lady said I should submit my materials anyway as I had completed all the requirements and they may have openings again in the next 6 months.  Blah.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


In all my years I never once thought that I would ever utter the words "I have been working part-time as a stripper."  To clarify the aforementioned statement one should realize that by stripper I do not mean I have been baring my naked body while dancing on-stage to Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and performing acrobatic stunts while attached to a stripper pole.  I am referring to stripper in the form of the action verb for a job which entails removing the sheets and towels from resort- or hotel rooms in order to prepare the room for the housekeeper to clean.  It is a good stripper--not a bad stripper.  

Unlike the other type of stripping where you are paid to remove your clothes, I am paid to remove toiletries, linen and foods left in the refrigerator--most likely from Canadians as they seem to be the only tourists still visiting this town with money.  I do not receive tips like the other kind of stripper either.  The tips that were left in the rooms go to the housekeepers who following my stripping the room of the nasties and unmentionables that guests leave behind.  I also get to restock the rooms with linens and towels to replace the ones that were used and change out toilet paper, paper towels, soaps, candles, dish washing tablets and other assorted niceties that one would expect in a fully furnished condominium unit that is rented weekly.

Luckily, I have not been stationed in the laundry room as I had expected.  That is good because I do not fold symmetrically very well.  In fact, I can't even draw a decently round circle (it usually looks more lopsided like almost an oval or a badly shaped cookie).   Assigning me as a stripper was a much more logical approach.  My initial feedback after my stint as a stripper on Fridays is that I am the best stripper they have ever trained.  I asked questions that no one had ever asked before and it made the head stripper pleased as I could understand the logic of why things were performed in a particular manner and therefore wouldn't make mistakes like other strippers.  I am still unsure of what mistakes others would make besides not being able to count.  It is a rather basic process to determine if you need flat and fitted sheets for twin and queen beds and how many replacement towels would be needed to restock a room.  There is even an inventory sheet that shows how many of each item are required to be in a room.  (Example:  A room requires 6 striped pool towels.  I count the towels that are still folded in closet.  There are 4 so I go to the supply van and retrieve 2 more towels to bring that number back to 6.  See.  Easy as pie.)  I suppose the compliment was also related to the foresight that we were low on pillow cases so I restocked the supply vehicle without being asked.  I was particularly pleased with the compliment about being the best stripper that had ever been trained.  I was also told that I learn quickly.  Yeah!  :)  That actually did make me feel happy inside.  The best part is since the head of housekeeping is a friend of ours she told my husband what an excellent stripper I am!  She also said this in front of others who may not have understood the context for which it was intended to be referenced and that made it all the better......

Being a stripper has also taught me that from now on whenever I stay at a hotel, I shall ALWAYS leave my towels and washrags in the bathtub so the housekeeper or stripper doesn't have to walk all over looking for them.  I will remove the sheets and pillow cases from the beds and place those in a pile that is also easily accessible.  Finally, I shall verify that all toilets are flushed and that I haven't left pubic hairs all over the rim of the toilet like I shaved standing over it.  YUCK!!!!  (I am very serious about that last sentence.  There were 3 units where the toilet rim had more hair than a 20 year old man.  Frickin' disgusting.  Who would do that?  What is wrong with them anyway and is genital hair loss really an actual reality or are these sickos actually shaving their junk over the toilet?)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Shoulda been a Cowgirl

Yee-haw Buckaroo.  Ain't much goin' on in the job market here.  Ain't much of nothin' nowhere it seems.  Only promisin' jobs are for a phlebotomist (works with blood - yuck), attorney (which I ain't), pediatrician (which I ain't for sure and won't never be since I hate blood and don't really like sick lil' ones), hotel workers (I am only doin' that as a fill-in--don't wanna do it full-time) and line cooks (not into that neither).  It's enough to git a girls saddle bags in a bunch.

Although, there was one job I saw posted at Job Service no less.  I ain't lying neither.  It was for a range rider.   This is Montana ya know.   No shit.  Someone to watch over the cows on the open range.  $1,600 a month.  Cabin provided.  You gotta cook yer own tender vittlens and pay fer em too.  Didn't say if there were a stove or a fire pit.  Did say preferred to bring yer own horse and tack.  Wish I had my own horse and tack.  Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, that ain't true.  I hate poop.  I like long showers, doin my hair,  smellin' purty, and sleepin' indoors under clean sheets.  Don't think I would do so great on the open range. It was a nice idea while it lasted.  

Too bad this job wasn't posted back in 1937.  My grandfather wouldda loved it.  Matter of fact, he had a job similar in Oregon territory (actually it was a state by then).  Only difference is there was no cabin and he slept outside and sometimes they ran out of food and he had to eat rodents like squirrels.  He loved riding his horse though.  See--don't think I'm cut out to be a cowgirl or at least not a real one. I do have some very nice and slick lookin' Ariats.  I am in LOVE with my boots.  I guess I am more of a poser or a city slicker since as I said before I hate poop and don't like bein' dirty.  I would like the range rider job if I could dress like Dale Evans and get pampered too (see kick ass image below.  Note: My mom was named after Dale Evans).  That would make it all worth it.  Happy Trails and happy job huntin....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things I Now Realize About Future Jobs

The last few days have been of tumultuous activities as I have had to sort through my life and earthly possessions while relocating them approximately 4 blocks away.  While it doesn't seem far to move, after 3 1/2 years in one place I have accumulated enough random crap to qualify for an early intervention on the A&E show "Hoarders." The big stuff is done.  The incidentals are scattered about.  I approached this move differently as it was not across 300 miles.  This time I had the ability to move room by room, cupboard by cupboard and sift through the treasures untold stuffed into the nooks and crannies of a house that I thought I would live in for the rest of my days.  Alas, it was not to be.  Losing your job can put a damper on many an aspect of one's life.  Dammit.  Oh well.  I have learned or realized more about myself in the process.

1.  I do not want to work anywhere where I have to keep track of crap at home for that job.  This means certification paperwork or copies of this test or that test or books or trade magazines.  I would rather have it all at an office not in my home.  A job that I can leave when I am not at my job.  This is perhaps the single most important aspect of my former profession which, although I am no longer practicing, I still carry around many tools of the trade.  

2.  I would prefer a job has nothing to do with the area where I live.  I do not want to look out the window and ask or be asked if my neighbor's have a permit for that....  Fill in the blank with fire pit, home based business, building permits, electrical permits, variance from setbacks, etc....It is all bullshit that I really don't care about any longer. 

3.  Jobs don't define people.  People define the jobs.  I guess I never really realized it until I stopped being a planner.  Since I no longer need/have a requirement to attend city council meetings, I don't pay as much attention to the daily bureaucratic BS of municipalities unless I notice something that isn't being done correctly.    

4.  I DO NOT WANT TO WORK WITH ANIMALS!  On this I shall elaborate a bit and regress some in order to provide a little bit of insight.  In Idaho we had some feral cats that lived on our rural property in order to reduce the seasonal influx of the common rodents.  When we moved to Montana, it was undeniable that we could not abandon these felines so we packed them up and moved them with us.  Upon our arrival we opened the cages and released them into the garage to move around as they had been caged for 9 hours.  The next day, once they were released into the outdoors, Beyonce ran away.  We never saw her again.  George Michael stayed around for a good year until Brittany Spears ran him off.  The only one we had managed to keep around was Brittany Spears.  She is an orange and white devil.  If she is not the devil, then she is possessed by the devil.  

   I decided that today would be the day to acclimate her to the new residence.  So while the cat was purring and rubbing against my leg this afternoon, I bent down and picked her up.  I walked her to my fully loaded Durango and proceeded to place her in the vehicle.  I then got inside the vehicle and shut the door.  That is when all hell broke loose.  As soon as I turned the key in the ignition switch, the frickin' cat had a major freak out.  Quickly, I came to realize that, maybe, it was not the best decision I had made.  I apparently should have thought this portion of the move out with a bit more thought such as borrowing a pet carrier or a box that I could use to safely transport her the 4 blocks (since walking the distance with a feral cat is not really an option).  I came to this conclusion due in part the reaction of the cat.  

   She began to scurry about the vehicle: jumping to and fro amongst the boxes in the back of the vehicle, to and fro about the front seats (one of which I mentioned I was already sitting in), and lunging for the openness of the free world via the windows (which were all closed therefore she really just jumped into the glass and landed back into the leather seats).  The whole time I was trying to keep my cool and spoke to her like I was Dr. Doolittle in my modest attempt to calm her fears.  It didn't really have much of an impact.  I also did not scream as she gouged all four paws and the dagger-like claws into the top of my thighs.  I also maintained my cool as she dug those knife-like claws into my breasts.  Out of options, I decided to gun it--like a bat out of hell I began driving down the street praying that I would not have to pull over and roll down the window so she could flee out of it never to be seen again.  Remarkably, she ceased the jumping about with her claws digging into whatever she landed on and she crouched in the passenger seat, back arched, tail drawn back, eyes wild, teeth showing and let out a god-awful hiss/scream that did not, in any sense, sound like the typical Meow or the even "feed-me meow" or "Let me inside Meow."  Nope.  It was more like "Damn" or "Die" over and over for those 4 blocks.  This odd cat sound did not even start with the letter "M" as most cat sounds begin. The sound channeled Beelzebub himself and it began with the letter "D".  It was a rumbling sound that would have made Jesus afraid.  I honestly don't know how I made it to the new house.  

   Once I was in the driveway, I turned off the engine and picked the cat up and tried to pet her as she hissed over and over again.  Once she stopped I held her in front of myself and exited the vehicle.  The plan was to walk her to the house and to her waiting food.  I made it about 6 feet before the assault with her claws began again and I just let go.  There was no fighting it.  She ran across the yard and within about one second was safely underneath the neighbor's deck (or I think that is where she went since it was kind of a blur).  I have not yet seen her again.  I am not too worried.  If she turns up at the old house then I will use a wild animal trap to capture her as I am sure she will not willingly allow me to pick her up for quite some time.  She will reemerge.  She always does.  She is a feral cat.  She does what she wants.

I have since applied neosporin to all of my cuts and scratches.  I hope I don't get cat scratch fever.  I also hope that I never have a job with feral cats.  I have also expanded that to include all animals as I can't get along with my cat, how could I do that for the pet of some stranger???

*****UPDATE******The cat ran away and showed up at the old house again.  I stealthily grabbed her and put her in a box with a laundry basket over the top of it (It was the best I could do at the time).  I again drove her to the new house and released her into the backyard. She ran away to the neighbor's again.  We could hear her moaning her evil "damn" or "die" or whatever the hell it was the entire night.  The next evening she emerged when my husband was outside.  She runs if she sees me.  Apparently, she has some sort of a trust issue with me now...

Monday, May 3, 2010