Tag Archives: Missouri

Worst moments of 2022

31 Dec

The whole year was bad. Worse than 2021, which had bright spots, and despite constant work harassment, was one of my favorite times in my life. I loved quarantining with my family and working from home! 2022 was one of the worst years of my life. The only comparably bad years were: 1993 (had to switch classes bc of Courtney drama), 2005 (dealing with sociopathic Douche post break-up), 2007-08 (narcissistic discard at the Cabin-Mansion). I bought a book about how to deal with people who have personality disorders to hopefully prevent some of this in the future.

I know this list is long, so I’m going to make separate posts too. But we have to wait for DWMHT parts A-T and Quesion… 1-20 to finish posting. Anyway, on to this list of awfulness:

#15 Worst Moment

Our settlement from from 500 Move (Glendale, AZ) was $84 and contingent on an NDA

FUCK them. I’m going to tell the truth about them everywhere possible. My silence cannot be purchased for $84 measly dollars. That is literally not even 1.0% of the money wasted. This is only so low on the list, because after all this company’s $hit, I didn’t expect much in the first place.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/500-move-glendale

https://www.bbb.org/us/az/glendale/profile/moving-companies/500-move-llc-1126-4001288/complaints

#14 Worst Moment

We had tickets to see the Indigo Girls! We slogged through work, too excited to concentrate. We primped and got ready. Cool and I ate at a (terrible and overpriced) restaurant nearby. Then, we walked to the venue through the high humidity, sweating through our cute outfits. And nobody was around… Strange. There was no line. Were WE first? I walked up to the door of the venue, and a post-it was taped to the window: Indigo Girls was canceled. But we didn’t get the memo. So we walked back home. I guess somebody got Covid, but nobody had emailed us, or anything like that. And the event wasn’t rescheduled for 9 months so we were afraid it wouldn’t be…

#13 Worst Moment

Jogre was promoted to supervisor (insert LWYMMD, “What?!”)

I know for a fact that at least one other person filed an HR complaint against her. I literally have 49 pages (standard margins, font, etc…) of logged incidents (over 11 months) with date and time of bullying and harassment. HR and the EEOC both said the amount of micromanaging and communications she had with me was excessive. Yet, the company thought she needed a promotion. What nonsense. I hope I never have to deal with her again, but it is always a fear because we’re both still in the same department.

#12 Worst Moment

Cool got Covid during our moving ambush. 

While in our packing and calling frenzy, Cool got Covid. Before the move, we had been quarantining-getting everything delivered, going nowhere. In all the months Covid had been on the scene, she went inside one store, correctly wearing a mask–and got sick. Cool slept for 23 hours a day. She would try to get up and watch TV, and nod off in 20 min or less. She had a headache, aching legs, and a fever. She had a gray paler and couldn’t eat or think. For example, we keep Clorox wipes under the kitchen sink to clean the counters. While I was packing a box, I said, “Will you wipe off the counters?” And she said (after taking like a 3 min pause to think) “with what?” I about lost my mind. And she couldn’t help me with any of the moving logistics because she felt so run down. There was not enough time off from work for her to get her thinking straightened out, so she had to process claims in a Covid fog. It just exacerbated the stress of the situation. I can’t believe I didn’t catch it from her being inside the house (unventilated in winter) and sleeping in the same bed.

#11 Worst Moment

The fucking prices were bananas!

Sure, sure supply chain problems. But also corporate greed. Everybody out to make up for their two year losses, and demand from cooped up people remains high, so nothing has hemmed them in. I hate our extreme capitalism. Of course during our 1476 mile move, gas was in the $5 range. We are spending LESS than we did the last two and a half years, but struggling much more to stay financially afloat. Regular groceries jumped from about $200/mo to (same or less groceries) $800-it’s obnoxious.

#10 Worst Moment

Someone broke Jasmine’s window in our gated parking lot. 

So much for the security gate, I guess they either lived here or climbed it. And we never heard if anyone got caught–per the usual here. There was nothing to steal, actually, they took one thing. I had a mini Bath & Bodyworks hand sanitizer bottle in the driver’s side door. The lovely smelling B&B had long run out, but I had refilled it with generic hand sanitizer. And that had sat in the AZ heat plenty of times, so I’m not sure it was doing much. They took that. I hope they were disappointed. And I hope they touched their face with a germy hand.

But the window needed to be repaired. Unfortunately, this is a huge issue in the city so we were far from the only ones on the fix-it list. Safelight made us wait forever (Sept 13 to Oct 4) to repair the car window and we couldn’t drive the car in all that time. Then, when they finally put in a new pane, he couldn’t fix it completely. The window will not go back up if it’s ever opened. And shards of glass were left in the back of the car. To add insult to injury, we still had to pay our $85/mo parking fee.

#9 Worst Moment

My company skipped my raise when I went to a market that was desperate for help and again when I was advanced trained in that market.

It’s a slap in the face, because every meeting was all about how behind they were, and how the mandatory 10 hour/wk overtime was indefinite (and been in place for the last three years). It was difficult to find and train people for that market because it is on an entirely different platform than the rest of the company. Yet, they still shortchanged me. I had been emailing with HR, then they just dropped out of contact. HR ghosted me for a month! And when I emailed the head HR lady (I had her info from when we moved states) she said–it’s a lateral move to the same position. Which is egregious because we had to be trained from January to late March just to be able to adapt to the new system. She knows damn well that is a specialized position requiring more skill than the average analyst.

As for the advanced training raise, both Cool and I had gotten a pay increase every time we were further trained. Obviously, because our added skillset was valuable. But not in this new, desperate market. I was skipped over, and I knew it was a waste of breathe to even ask. But it sucks.

#8 Worst Moment

Someone broke the lock mechanisms off the doors in our apt storage units.

“Lock broken, slur spoken” indeed. I had felt safe because you have to have key fob access to get into the property, where there are cameras. And you have to scan at the door to get into the building, and pass through the lobby which has more cameras. You have to use your key fob a third time to get into the storage area. But apparently someone who lives here broke the actual lock fixtures off of the doors. All of our padlocks were locked and intact, but the doors were ripped apart. This person rifled thru every box. They climbed up to the top of our washer/dryer to open boxes stacked to the ceiling. I couldn’t get up there without a full size ladder because I was too heavy and was crushing things, so they must have been more petite than me. They unpacked things, putting them in other boxes, or in a different storage unit (sometimes one of ours, sometimes a random person’s). For example, they took socks out of the homemade draft protector box, and put them in the very back, 4 deep, bottom box in one of other storage units. It was disconcerting. They opened our snow shoes and put the bag in someone else’s unit, put the pole in the hallway, and apparently took the 2nd pole of out there because we never did find it. So many things were like that! They unpacked and mixed up nearly every box of every storage unit, strewing it around. But they also stole things. Weird things like one box fan, a window plastic kit, blackout curtains, shower curtains, and a security bar. But also things I will miss like my snowboard jacket, helmet, gloves, and heavy Sorel snow boots among other things.  They left Cool’s snowboard gear aside from goggles and gloves alone, and luckily didn’t take her nice waterproof jacket. We never found out if anyone was caught. It took the property manager a full month to fix any of the locks, and since we had put bicycle locks on our units, they skipped fixing ours. Not only did I lose valuble necessities, but I have to do another insurance claim. And I have to re-pack everything, which is a whole big thing.

#7 Worst Moment

I had to file the moving claims.

They intentionally make it as difficult as possible to discourage you from filing. It was time-consuming and retraumatized me every time I had to work on it. I honestly think I have PTSD over the whole situation. The whole thing took months to prepare! The moving company’s insurance would not accept emails, files, usb drives, discs, nothing–it HAD to be snail mail. And of course it was a lot of pages, with some colored pictures to convey the damage. Going to the UPS store was a disorganized nightmare, that took 4 times longer than it should and required me to go behind the counter in the back and help. It cost more to mail the claim ($100) than we were offered as a settlement ($84). Actual size of the finished claim components:

Surprisingly, only #6 Worst Moment

Gunfight right outside.

How can an actual gun fight (with automatic weapons) be in the middle of a worst-of list, you ask? That explains my 2022–it was one of my worst years ever. See my other post about how scary and weird the gun-fight was. And there are now actual bullet holes in my car, giving it a ghetto aesthetic. Here, are some comments from my community, which ranged from apathy, to unrealistic do-gooders, to gun-happy, to judgy.

#5.5 Worst Moment

My supervisor micromanaged my every click and berated me over hours

We did group work during the entire advanced training. So I was able to gauge that I was picking the information up the fastest, and doing the best of my team. The trainer also told me I was doing really well on the last day. The day after training reports went out (I’m assuming mine was good) codename MNarc started treating me dumb. She watched me process claims for 30 min one day and an hour on another day. It was more time than she spent watching my peers (according to them). And she was “helping” me with things I did not need help with–like reading the workflow. She kept saying I was getting ahead of myself in the workflow when I wasn’t and said that I needed to learn how to read them (I’ve been using workflows at this company for over 3 years). But also she was saying the workflow was wrong, couldn’t be trusted, and she never used it.

She was telling me things like not to take notes, and saying my personal claims tracker was a waste of time that I didn’t need. Even after I gave her 4 ways that the tracker helped, she didn’t want me using it. She also said not to open all the attachments, just one. She told me if the EOB was for a different member than the claim, just to say YES there is an EOB. She said not to read into boxes, just answer the question they write–is there an EOB, YES/NO? Which leads you to apply that coordination for the wrong person.

I’ve worked there for over 3 years, so I knew some of what she was telling me was bad advise. Her words were contradicting my training, my work over the years, Cool’s training, and everything Cool’s teams have told her. It was confusing, and I didn’t understand what had caused the major change in MNarc’s demeanor. I was afraid that I present myself as confused and flaky. Why else does this keep happening to me? Jogre and KDouche also treated me like I was stupid (despite having access to my production data, and my end of the year review, which was the highest you can get on every quantitative measure).

So I went to YouTube and asked why my boss thinks I’m dumb. In researching why, I found out MNarc, KDouche, Jogre, and my ex-mentor are narcissists. Everything fell into place (there will be many future posts on this topic)! But I also felt shock and had an impending sense of doom. Being targeted by yet another narcissist that was in a position of power over me made me maximally anxious, hopeless, and depressed. How could this be happening to me again??!

#5 Worst Moment

Processing Tests (slightly different/worse than the processing belligerence of before)

I had to process for an hour and a half and another hour in front of JFM under the guise of support. But each of the five of us on my team had to process on one screen instead of the normal two, while JFM watched silently, and took notes on what we did wrong. Leadership kept saying it wasn’t a test, it was help, yet they wouldn’t answer questions–they were just watching and noting. Which is exactly like an exam. As you remember from my Riverpoint days, I have major test anxiety, and adding the layer of narcissism over that made me nearly incapacitated by stress. But I used all of my best test-taking strategies. I took it slow, read every instruction carefully, and double checked my work. I did not change answers or second guess myself or overthink it. And I made sure to write things down, showing my work because that helps me not get lost (or forget the little things) if anxiety takes over. I even took a deep, cleansing breathe between every claim to calm down. It’s nerve-wracking to be watched. Once, I floundered, then got confused, and spiraled into anxiety and panic-confusion. But then I stopped myself, closed the claim entirely, breathed and started over. JFM kept insisting it wasn’t a test.

Except I guess my screen-sharing froze. On my side, it looked just as it had the entire 40+ minutes, and I hadn’t touched it or done anything different. I didn’t even know there was a problem until JFM said my screen was in the same place it had been for minutes. My screen said “stop sharing” which indicated it WAS sharing. But for some reason I think JFM thought I unshared on purpose? I don’t know what’s so hard to believe about technical difficulties at my job–we are constantly having them! But I think she tattled, because MNarc suddenly came into my meeting and her tone was so over the top annoyed that it was completely unprofessional. And she was condescending. She was like, “go to the top right and press share” but like in the shittiest voice possible. I said, “I did.” I tried to un-share and re-share, but that didn’t help. I don’t know why they thought I was too dumb to share, or was un-sharing (after 40 min) on purpose. When JFM had watched me do 8 claims over almost an hour. I could tell both of them blamed me for technical issues of my screen not sharing. I couldn’t stop ruminating about how rude and belligerent MNarc was. I was dreading the next session. I had no one to turn to. We know how last year turned out when I went to HR, the Director, then finally the EEOC. I felt hopeless. 

I went to IT right away, and they were able to see my shared screen. They could see it via chat, and within a meeting. And they said they would be able to tell if there had been problems on my end–and there hadn’t. IT said the issue must be on my leadership’s side of things. And I knew my leadership would not want to hear that. I didn’t know what to do.

When the make-up test was scheduled, my screen showed I was sharing, but JFM couldn’t ever see it. Again, MNarc came in to our session and sounded SO annoyed. I’m not just exaggerating, Cool sits across the desk from me, and works at the same job, different market–and she said it was really bad. This tone was not work appropriate. MNarc was insinuating that I was either doing something stupid or purposely not sharing my screen. So I sent screenshots of the “stop sharing” over the meeting chat to show that my system said it was sharing. She lost her shit when I sent pictures and roared, “Why are you sending pictures??! Talk! How can we help you if you won’t talk to us??!!” Looking back, I think MNarc was trying to paint me as insubordinate, but when I sent physical evidence that it was an IT issue, it foiled her plan and upset her. She abruptly hung up the call.

JFM didn’t say anything about it! I said, “I’m not used to being talked to that way.” There was the longest pause, and then she just said to go back to IT, because the problem was on my side. I even sent her the entire IT transcript from before, but since MNarc said the problem was me, JFM believed the problem was with me.

MNarc went on vacation, so I asked JFM to call me. I honestly wanted her advise on how best to deal with MNarc in order to not provoke her. JFM seemed to get along with her, so I hoped she could give me tips about what to do and what to avoid. JFM pretended there was no problem. I was like, “Are you really going to normalize what happened the other day?” JFM made excuses for MNarc. She said she’s just blunt. And frustrated. And really busy. On and on. And I told JFM she’s a mandatory reporter of harassment, yet she didn’t say or do anything. Then, JFM went from making excuses for the bad behavior to saying she hadn’t noticed anything–I was just oversensitive… I was so frustrated and disheartened I had no allies because this flying monkey was brainwashed or afraid or both!

#4 Worst Moment

My company gave me a 5% COL raise.

Except they took away our quarterly quality bonus. Without my reward for quality four times a year, it’s a $0.37/hr pay cut!!! But the company mailed us a candy bar, amIright?! It’s a slap in the face. When we complained in meetings they gaslighted us and told us that it WAS a raise. 

#3 Worst Moment

Our landlord ambushed us with 25% rent increase on renewal.

When we moved into the house in Dec of 2019, we hoped to be there awhile. And the landlord said, “I hope you stay for 10 years.” We are great tenants paying on time and in-full, not wrecking the place or upsetting the neighborhood. After all was said and done only $100 was taken off our deposit, and that was for the damage 500 Move had done, not us. I just couldn’t fix it, because our tools were packed in the truck along with everything else. Anyway, we had been planning to stay but couldn’t pay the extra $400/mo. He gave us 5 weeks notice.  being completely unprepared for a move, I negotiated 8 weeks with prorating bc we weren’t going to make it. Packing, moving, and logistics were chaos for months. I was not ready to leave Arizona. We hadn’t been to the Grand Canyon, Saguaro Park, or Four corners. We hadn’t really been anywhere, because as temps we got no time off work, then pretty much as soon as we were both permanent employees, Covid hit. We were pretty much home for the entire 3 years we lived in the state. Cool and I got to drive through Sedona on the way out, but had 4 cats in the car so couldn’t take advantage of it very much. The whole thing was horrible, and put us in a financial bind. Luckily, we had been saving to replace Cool’s car, or I don’t know what we would have done. I wish bad things for that landlord.

#2 Worst Moment

500 Move, 5555 N 51st Ave, Glendale, AZ

On loading day (March 11) the 500 Move foreman said the broker (who had not identified themselves as such) HOMESAFE TRANSIT put down “27 boxes” in order to artificially lower our estimate and secure our business.  We had more like 250 boxes, and the moving foreman said, “This is going to cost “thousands and thousands and thousands more”. When he said that, and when he berated me for a full 30 minutes, I knew this was a bait and switch scam.  But we were between a rock and a hard place. Our lease expired at that rental house the next day, and utilities were being shut off the 12th. If we weren’t in St. Louis in person on the 14th of March, our lease would be canceled and we’d lose that deposit. If we haggled or tried to negotiate, this foreman seemed like he was going to just take his crew and leave. I did not think I could find movers for that same day, or make accommodations to move all the items, my Rav4, and 4 cats to a different state within the time-frame.  In short, I knew that was scammy and a bad deal, sketchy contract, but felt I didn’t have any other options, so I regretfully signed.  I had to pay $5,000.00 that day in order for them to load our stuff.  And I paid $3797.00 to get them to deliver it.

We had carefully packed, for example, putting shoes in shoe boxes then tying yarn around the boxes so they would not open in transit.  The movers redundantly packed our boxes into larger boxes, taking no care at all with even the most delicate things.  For one example of many:  Cowboy hats were thrown into the bottom of 5 foot tall wardrobe boxes, and heavy furniture and boxes were thrown on top, crushing them.  I had staged all the boxes on the patio and in the living room, and even with their carelessness, it took the two movers 4 hours to load everything in their truck.

As I was going through the contract, I noticed it said the moving company had 45 days to deliver our belongings.  I said, “That’s not gonna work!  It doesn’t really take that long, does it?”  The foreman assured me they are a national company who works with Alaska and Hawaii so that timeline is for the longer trips.  He said ours would probably take 1-3 days (total lie).  I underlined the 1-3 days portion of the contract and initialed by that time-frame (instead of the provided line by 45 days) to indicate my expectations.  The contract asked when we were available to accept our delivery and we wrote we’d like them to be there on March 16th.The AZ foreman did not say that this date would not be guaranteed, or explain their process of storing, and combining our items with other jobs. Kenneth at Home Safe Transit had said we would just tell the movers the date we wanted our stuff delivered, and he promised we would have the cell phone number of “his” movers to allow frequent communication with the driver ( a lie). 

500 Move was completely uncommunicative. That was not the case. We kept calling to get a status on when the truck would be here and got the run-around from Lisa, the lady who answers the phone no matter what option you press on the phone tree.  Communication was nonexistent and atrocious, and Lisa just seemed annoyed when we kept asking for an ETA.  We were told (for the first time) that our items were being stored in a warehouse, on their property, until the truck was available. It had not been made known to us that our items would be stored, or combined with other moves.  Had I known this was their process I would have never used this company! 

Lisa was getting very ugly on the phone so I said, “We are paying more than double any other company, literally ten thousand dollars, and I would like to see better customer service.”  Lisa doubled-down on her rudeness telling me, “10,000, 30,000, 100,000 gets the same customer service!  She refused to tell us when our stuff would leave the AZ storage facility, and insisted that we wait for an email 24 hours prior to delivery.  I told her we had not received that email at pick up so how could I trust that we would receive it on delivery.  She hung up on us during any pause in the conversation.  We kept trying to find out why we were waiting so long for our belongings to be delivered.  Nobody ever explained the process to us, or why there was a delay.  Did they not own their own truck? Did they only have ONE truck???  We were promised 24 hours before delivery, but we had been promised that at pick up too, and it didn’t happen so I was not confident. 

We were in our new place with just what would fit in a Rav4 (not much). A comforter and pillows, jammies, workout clothes, and 2 outfits each. Our work laptops (but not the 2nd monitors). And the 4 cats and their carriers, bowls, food, litterboxes and that’s it. After a few days of sleeping on the concrete floor we went to Walmart and got an air mattress, a card table and kids folding chairs to work on, and a bed for the kitties. Remember, 500 Move had charged $10,000 which was pretty much all of our money and our credit card limit (I had to apply for a credit line increase to make it). We had to shop around the whole store for an extended time looking for the cheapest items. We finally got mini cutlery in the baby section. It was sparse.

On March 21st we got an email when the truck left AZ, but the next day we didn’t hear anything.  Our items had been in a storage unit in AZ for a full 10 days! We didn’t understand where the truck was, or why it was taking so long to get to us.  We called, and Lisa said they didn’t know where the truck was or how long before our delivery arrived.  500 Move kept us in the dark and would not reveal what was happening. We just waited, not knowing what was going on.

The driver said they would arrive Saturday, March 26 around 11 AM. But it was 1:30 PM and we hadn’t heard from them. Completely unprofessional and uncommunicative as usual. At around 2PM, the driver said he was 5 miles away and got pulled over by the police. They said he could not continue driving in this wind. The driver said they would be waylaid until tomorrow.

On March 27 (6 days after the truck left AZ, 16 days after packing day, a full 2 weeks later than we wrote on the contract) They were supposed to show up at 8AM. At 8:47 AM the driver called and said he just woke up [LATE,LATE,LATE]. He needed to have his coffee and go to the bathroom [TMI] then he would be along. OK… When the truck arrived at 9:37 AM, it was two men that looked over 50 ( if not 60) years old, both with obvious COPD (yet still smoking), and both terribly out of shape.  It took them about an hour (until 10:20 AM)  just to park the 18 wheeler, which was packed with six other customer’s items, as well (there had been one customer prior to us).  Before unloading, the driver demanded $75 more dollars, in cash for “75 foot long-carry,” which I felt was sketchy because we were paying for a 2nd floor move, but the building has an elevator, so I was paying for stairs already that they didn’t have to use. But like everything else, I just paid it because we had to have our stuff back.

Even though we had paid literally $10,075.00 for the moving service, I moved the majority of the 250 boxes and rubbermaid bins (probably 40% of all of our belongings). Since the movers took a 35 min lunch break, and a 20 min break, and they moved with no urgency, it took 6 hours to unload the truck (we finally finished at 4:30 PM). As items came in, Cool was doing inventory, checking box numbers off on a list provided by the company. When there were no more items in the truck, the sidewalk, the hall, lobby, or elevator, that checklist still had many boxes unaccounted for.  The driver brushed that off, and had us sign the original contract under the box count.  I told him their box count was different (240 vs 266) on different pages of their contract, and also didn’t match the box inventory that we had been marking in real time.  He said that was fine (another direct lie), but I had to sign.  I thought it was sketchy that he also asked for my carbon copies of the contract’s box count so we could both sign that. 

Many, many things were damaged by the moving company:

500 Move took no care at all with any items.  They also took no care with either rental upon packing up or delivering.  While loading, they wrenched the curtains by the sliding glass door so hard that the curtain bracket was ripped from the wall!  They bumped and left scrape marks on the walls of the loft while delivering.  Luckily, the floor of the loft is concrete or that would have been damaged the way they were dragging heavy items.

They had carelessly stacked very heavy items on top of these smaller boxes, instead of putting lighter items toward the top of the load. As a result, 7 medium sized rubbermaid boxes were cracked, broken, and unusable. A long, christmas tree rubbermaid storage box was broken to pieces, and those shards cut and sliced the contents inside of that box.

When the movers were staging all the items, I saw a Walmart 5 shelf bookcase in the apartment lobby that had the back piece folded in one corner, akin to the first fold of a paper airplane.  I was helping load items on the elevator and that fold was the only damage on that shelf by the time that shelf went in the elevator.  Some time between the elevator and the door to our loft (apparently 75 feet, according to our extra charge) the movers were so egregiously rough with that lightly damaged piece of furniture that it was literally ripped in half and unusable by the time it got to my door!

A large 5 shelf pantry was carried and stored upside down, and handled so roughly the back board became un-nailed along the entire top of the shelf.  Both of the cambers were ripped out and completely unattached at the top left side.  The bottom frame was completely ripped from the sides.  We tried to repair it, but the walls were now too wide to hold the shelves, and the damage caused the pantry to shift forward, dangerously.

500 Move Dug into Our Secured Boxes to Steal:

I had a paperwork box and tucked inside the bottom was a wallet.  Tightly inside the clear pocket of the wallet was my spare car key.  When I opened the box after delivery, the wallet was at the top of the box and that car key had fallen to the bottom of the box. The box labeled “Wii” had no tape at all on it anymore.  The box labeled “computer games” had tape but a round rip was near the center of the box as if someone put their hand through. A box labeled “mail” was missing a new book of stamps. I had a clear rubbermaid packed full of shampoo, body wash, and lotion.  When I packed it it was so full I had to strategically move things around in order to fit everything.  Upon delivery, things in that box were loose and rolling around because so many things had been removed. A small shoe box sized rubbermaid contained bar soaps, bath salts, etc…  was packed so tightly that nothing moved.  Upon delivery, the box was half empty!

The company does not seem interested in finding the items. We called at least 7 days in a row from the delivery date to report more and more missing items and ask for an update on the status of the search for any lost things.  The receptionist, Lisa and dispatcher, Stephanie, seem annoyed that we keep calling.  On the 4th day we called they said they still hadn’t talked to the driver (even though the driver called headquarters prior to and immediately after our delivery) and couldn’t get ahold of the customer who was right after us.  They keep telling us to just file a claim, but we actually want them to finish the delivery that we paid them to do and give our items back. They declined to give us any contact information for the elderly lady immediately after us in Nebraska, or any of the other customers who delivered before and after us. 500 Move stated they looked for the items in their truck and warehouse and called all the other customers that had been loaded on the truck with us, and no one could find anything.  That doesn’t make sense to me, because I saw the rubbermaid containing the items we were now missing on the sidewalk in front of our complex on unloading day.  If we don’t have it, none of the following customers got it, and it wasn’t held back on the truck–where did it go?  I suspect they are not making an effort to track down our remaining items, and I would like to motivate them to do their due diligence so we can rescue our items.

We were not getting anywhere by calling or writing 500 Move, or via all our complaints against the company.  So my mom, tried to call 500 Move to get information and try to get them to give all of our belongings back.  She did not have success either.  She was unable to get much more information, and Lisa would not allow her to escalate the call to the owner.  My mom was able to find out that 500 Move had not yet entered their warehouse (10 days after notification) to search for any of our things!  Lisa said the warehouse was too crowded and it was difficult to find anything in there, so nobody had been sent to look.

And just to show the kind of sketchy company 500 Move is, here’s a random call we got from them 10 days after delivery:

4/5/22 @ 2:38 PM:

Cool:  Hello?

Caller:  Long pause

Cool:  Hello

Caller:  Sound of typing 

Caller:  Is Charles there?

Cool:  You have the wrong #

Caller:  Oh OK well Just so you know here’s the story of what happened. somebody named Charles asked for moving quotes from AZ to WI and wrote down a number one digit off so you might get several calls.

Cool:  That’s funny bc I just moved and had called for quotes–What company are you with?

Caller:  500 Move

 Cool:  That’s who we used. But we’re having a bit of a problem with some missing items.

Caller:  Oh I’m really sorry to hear about that. Stephanie our office manager usually handles that. She’s on lunch right now but I’ll give you her ext so you can call her.

Caller:  Stephanie 8775006683 & ext219

Cool:  And who am I speaking to?

Caller:  Anthony at 6023317010 “cold called” for 500 Move

Caller:  Who am I talking to?

Cool: gives name

I still don’t know what they were phishing for, but the call, was NOT random. They were up to something, and it was weird and unprofessional.

We’ve contacted the BBB, FTC, Move Rescue police for both AZ and MO, the Glendale non-emergency police line, the FCMSA, the Attorneys General of Missouri and Arizona, Mark Kelly (AZ Senator), 6 members of congress on the housing or transportation committees, and abc15’s Let Joe Know. We really don’t know what to do to get those items back at this point.  Everyone we’ve spoken to indicates this business and contract seem sketchy, and scammy, but nothing they’ve done is illegal.  That needs to change!  This whole situation is egregious and needs more regulation.  This has been the most stressful, horrible experience, and it seems like no one is able to help us.

#1 Worst Moment

The kittens opened the bathroom drawers locking the bathroom door closed.

The day 500 Move was finally supposed to deliver our stuff, after 14 days of camping. One of us got up for the morning and headed to the bathroom to pee. The door would only open a teeny crack. The kittens have always slept in the bathroom so that the senior cats can eat, sleep, and go potty undisturbed. Goose is underweight and blind and needs full access to food at night. And Bison tends to bully C.L. for fun, so it works out better to have them separate while we sleep. It has always worked out fine, the kittens have their beds, water, 2 litterboxes, and it’s their habit.

But in the night (the 15th night we lived in the loft) the kittens had opened all the drawers of the bathroom vanity. Unfortunately, some idiot had built the bathroom cabinets so that the drawers opened immediately next to the door. Even more unfortunately, the bathroom door opens IN to the bathroom, with the hinges on the inside of the bathroom.

The door would hardly open at all. I couldn’t get my hand through. The kittens were purring and nuzzling, but obviously couldn’t help the situation. When Cool wedged herself against the wall across from the bathroom door, and pushed on the door with her feet, it would open just enough for the broom handle to be pushed through. But there was such tension on the door, that the broom handle broke in half.

We have to pee first thing in the morning. And have been living in this empty apartment for 14 days–none of our stuff is there. We have no tools, and even if we did they wouldn’t have helped. I didn’t know what to do. And it was urgent, not only because I had to pee really bad, but because now two live animals were trapped. There was no way to even put food in there, let alone water. I was panic-stricken. What were we going to do if we couldn’t get into the bathroom before the movers arrived??! We had 2 cats locked inside, and 2 cats out in the apartment. The door is nearly flush to the floor so we couldn’t reach under.

I said fuck the deposit I guess, and started kicking the door hard, hoping to break the drawers and get in. The drawers were too strong. I tried to use the broken broom handle to force the drawer back in so we could open the door. But because you had to push the door open in order to get the opening large enough for the handle, it put tension on the drawer, and it sat diagonally on it’s track, unable to slide. Since the drawer was askew on the rails, and there was pressure on just one side, it would not slide.

This was BAD, and I didn’t know what we (or anyone) could do. It was Sunday at 5AM so there was nobody to call. We had to get the door open before the movers came!

I have no idea how I got my hand through. It was pure desperation. I shoved it through and it pinched and scraped my skin off and hurt. It was squeezed so tight and I could barely move it. But somehow through the crack that even a broom handle barely fit when pushing the door in, I got my whole hand and arm through. I had pure adrenaline so I don’t remember the details of how I jimmied that wedged, open drawer in order to close it. After 45 minutes we were able to close the drawer to open the door!

My hand and arm were scraped and bruised, the broom was broken, the drawer is completely bent on one side, and the drawers don’t slide properly on their tracks anymore. But we got to let the kittens out and finally pee that morning. And we needn’t have worried about the time, because of course the movers were an hour late, and it took them a full hour to park.

P.S. We took all the drawers out and put them in the closet, because even if we got child locks to keep them closed I would have been paranoid. That can NEVER happen again!

Best of All the Places I’ve Lived

7 Apr

I’m taking all my favorite things from every place I’ve lived and making one great city with them:

 

Arizona

saguaros

red faced love birds

sunsets

Mercury WNBA games

Bitter & Twisted

Snooze AM

The Phoenix Zoo

no snow/ice in winter

Mill Street

Social Hall

the Hippy Store

Suns NBA games

 

Utah

the Jordan River Trail (especially the Rose Park leg) with all it’s birds & animals

ArtsFest

Tracy Aviary

walking from Wasatch to downtown

HS all-weather track (open 24/7)

all the different birds everywhere

Cheesecake Factory (w/in walking distance of our apartment)

Raw Bean (chiller = ice cream + espresso + flavor syrup)

Uptown Cheapskate

the Temple’s Christmas lights

Bourbon House

Squatters Brewery

Sundance Film Festival

Gracie’s patio (and Halloween costume contest)

kitty-rose

Jazz NBA games

Pride Parade

Wasatch mountains so close

the Temple’s spring garden (looks like Wonderland)

City Creek (especially at Christmas with the lights & fountains)

seasons

High West in Park City

Prohibition (restaurant)

 

Spokane

Green Bluff (you-pick farm conglomeration)

the community college all-weather track (open 24/7)

Grocery Outlet!

Steelhead

Flying Goat (goat cheese balls and D-street pizza made of curry and potatoes)

living next to a river

Riverfront Park

NoLi (patio by the river)

house sitting for the cousins

Julyamish powwow

my co-workers at the YMCA

proximity to Walla Walla & the Gorge (& CdL to a lessor extent)

 

Seattle

Freemont (especially the colored sidewalk art)

Melting Pot in Queen Anne

watching the Storm WNBA live

Basalu ham & cheese croissant (so good I literally dream of it)

The Ram (burgers & brews)

all the different coffee shops

Union Lake, Montlake cut, Gasworks Parks (all the good picture opportunities)

Theo Chocolate

Blue Moon Burgers

the troll under the freeway

Kerry Park

 

Missouri

all the concerts

cheapest gas prices in the country

cheap groceries

proximity to STL and KC (and Chicago)

Tropical Liquors (alcohol slushies you can drink there or take to-go)

Saki (Saturday)

Katy Trail (goes thru whole state)

PrideFest

Twilight Fest

9th Street video (indy DVD rental)

Shakespeares Pizza

proximity to other states

wineries

Flatbranch

 

Reno

Reno Balloon Races (& Dawn Patrol)

Wild Waters

the downtown ‘biggest little city’ arch & skyline

relatively easy freeways

outdoor shopping centers

 

Dayton

smell of sagebrush after rain

dark, dark nights

very quiet

less traffic

proximity to Lake Tahoe

 

Montana

beautiful sky

powwow in Arlee

huckleberries

Bison Range

Missoula

green scenery

Rich Hill: Sundance Was Wrong

2 Oct

I don’t think the documentary deserves the film festival’s grand prize.

I found the film to be overwrought and overly dramatic. A one-sided portrayal that preferred a melancholy look even during happy times.

I watch documentaries ALL the time–it’s my favorite genre, actually.  So it’s not like I just don’t get it.  But I almost turned this one off before the halfway point.  Nothing was happening.  We looked into lives, but there was no further analysis or explanation.  I figured the reviews and forums would note the same thing–but to my great surprise–people seem to love it.  And the one review (A) that wasn’t glowing, got a bunch of hostile comments (B).  Saying that the author of that piece was pretentious, and didn’t understand small towns.

I feel like the bleak story is garnering praise, not because the film is accurate, but because the middle and upper class urban audiences watching it feel guilty.  The viewer feels guilty about living amongst more people, having more, and thus getting a greater advantage in life.  What viewers don’t understand, is money doesn’t mean happiness.  And yes, there might be more opportunity for people with means, but it doesn’t mean having to aquiense to a dreamless, disenfranchised exsistance you can’t crawl out of.  Some people are happy, even in poverty, because they have family and nature and traditions.  There aspirations may not be the same as the affluent, but people in poverty aren’t as dire day-to-day as this film presents–there IS some real happiness.  Kids don’t remember presents or not having the latest brand name jacket–they remember LOVE.  It’s no accident the “good” kid in the film has both a mother and father.  Audiences are mistakingly saying the movie is a good one, not because it is, but because they feel the need to acknowledge small-town, poverty-stricken America.  Which IS important.  But that doesn’t make this a good film.

And don’t get me wrong–the story of poverty (and the stories about and by marginalized groups) are important to tell.  But the ACCURATE stories.  It’s not doing anybody any good to skew the facts in either direction.  We need to hear about, and understand these concepts, but in a manner which leaves the subjects dignity.  This film may aim to provide empathy, but you actually leave the film judging.  Why can’t Independence Day fireworks BE authentically happy?

I am from a small town, and there was joy.  Sure, I didn’t have access to AP classes, cultural events, or big corporate jobs, but my community is not suicidal because of it.  I think a real weakness in this movie is  how it took away their subjects decency–under the auspices of being candid, empathetic, and non-judgmental.  Instead of taking about what Apache’s mom does for work, how many hours, what struggles she may have to face–the camera scanned the filthy walls, and trash on the floor.  Also, this film may have shown what were supposed to be happy moments, but did so in a way as to make the happiness less-than.  The melancholy feel was pervasive throughout the hour and a half.  This one-sided film neglected to mention the teachers, the sports, the churches that are certainly predominant in rural America.  There ARE people trying to make a difference in these kids’ lives, and it’s a shame that the film-makers were so busy trying to show the misery they neglected the heroes.

I currently live under the poverty line, am on food stamps, and go without many things.  I live the mango scene almost daily–EBT does not buy over-priced produce that has a short shelf-life.  You have to buy Grocery Outlet sodium-infused cheap foods to make the money last.  But this doesn’t make life unlivable and depressing as this film would have you believe.  It does not mean you’re starving and hurting on a daily basis.  Poverty alone, does not equal total hopelessness, as “Rich Hill” purports.

I also can criticize the film because I lived in Missouri for 6 years (C).  So it’s not like I don’t know–as commentors were saying on the other critical review of the film.  I loved Missouri, actually.  And I’ve lived in Dayton, Nevada, Reno, Seattle, Spokane, and Salt Lake City, so I have places to compare it to.  Missouri is often made out to be this horrid Bible-Belt place where renecks spend every moment they’re not in church hunting or doing meth.  And this film helps play into those stereotypes.  Choosing Missouri as the location for a poverty film is cliche.  There are rednecks and losers in every state and city.  Missouri is not inherently poverty-stricken, or uneducated.  Like any place else, there are poor, trashy people, criminals, and hooligans, churchy people, and hunters.  But there are also scholars, progressives, and winners there.  This film would have you believe Missouri is squirrel-eatin’ country folk who caint do right.  It’s an unbalanced assessment.

The hugest weakness of the film, is the fact it gives no overarching commentary.  I don’t mean, they should tell us their opinions or make the movie biased, but information and context would make the film better (D).  I want to see a map of where Rill Hill is located in Missouri.  It should be stated or inferred that there is no way to make money because of location, it’s in the hotbed of meth, or it used to be a gold mine, but is now a ghost town.  Location would give the viewer an idea of WHY.  I want some context as to HOW the town has no jobs and adults have seemingly given up (or had no hope in the first place).  I want to know the population size, employment statistics, at the very least, an explanation about how the town named “Rich” Hill became so desperate.  I also wanted to know if the profiled families are the worst of it, or if this is the common way for people to live in this town.  The film offers none of that.  Only bleak long shots of toys strewn in yards, dirty walls, and foul-mouthed youth.

In the end, I accuse this of being an exploitation film, little better than The Kardashians.  Though the subjects of the film are at the opposite end of the spectrum, they are still being portrayed in a one-sided overly dramatic and frivolous light.  And that’s not fair.

(A)

Rich Hill

In his essay from the late 1940s entitled “Manners, Morals, and the Novel,” literary theorist Lionel Trilling stated that “pleasure in cruelty is licensed by moral indignation,” and would go on to claim the middle class as the group of people where such a strange aesthetic relationship often takes hold, designating moral indignation as their “favorite emotion.” Rich Hill exists in this space. Detailing the lives of three separate, impoverished teen boys living in Rich Hill, Missouri, directors Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos allow their camera to probe and linger in spaces of disorder and grime, but without any discernible purpose other than gaining access to lower-class spaces—another popular pleasure created through middle-class distance. Rich Hill is poverty porn, examining lower-class spaces with pity as its operative mode and engendering little more than a means for viewers to leave the film acknowledging its sadness.

The film, which won the documentary Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, unsuccessfully attempts to transform its subjects’ circumstances into lyrical lament a la David Gordon Green or Terrence Malick. However, Palermo and Tragos don’t have an eye for it; beneath aimless tracking shots of dilapidated buildings and an indistinct, almost temp-track melancholic score, the boyhood struggles of Andrew, Appachey, and Harley remain at arms length, primarily because the filmmakers confuse access with insight. That access amounts to “boys-will-be-boys” moments of cursing out the TV while playing video games, applying far too much cologne, and sleeping in Playboy Bunny bed sheets, juxtaposed with more aggressive behavior, such as when Harley bluntly explains his thoughts on sexual violence: “I got strong feelings about rape; I’m against it,” and concludes by stating that he would like to murder rapists. It becomes clear that Palermo and Tragos include his views to set up a later revelation: that Harley was raped by his stepfather as a child.

Child rape is a questionable “payoff” in any film, but remains consistent with Palermo and Tragos’s undiscerning insistence of revealing the depths of sorrow afflicting these lives—or it reveals their banal manipulation tactics and cognizance of what will outrage the middle-class viewers bound to see their film. They also feature lines from their subjects like “It feels good to have the bills paid for once” or “Me and my mom used to listen to this song before she got locked up” with little more in mind than piling on the pitiful sorrow. Of course, an entire socioeconomic stratosphere exists outside these communities, but Rich Hill makes no mention of it; it’s too busy wandering in and out of its simplistic aesthetic register, juxtaposing fireworks with arm wrestling and any other number of forced metaphors (wilted leaves barely hanging to trees in the wind is perhaps the most risible). Missing is the joyful peculiarity found in Louis Malle’s God’s Country and the devastating ethnographic urgency of Martin Bell’s Streetwise. Near the beginning of the film, a train chugs through the small town. The far-reaching grasp of industrialized expansion may have arrived in Rich Hill, but purpose or insight into this dynamic have eluded Palermo and Tragos’s grasp.

http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/rich-hill

(B) comments:

  • You are far too pretentious to critique this documentary.

    Speaking as someone who grew up poor in the foster care system, it was refreshing to see a story that wasn’t sugar coated and didn’t have a happy ending. Your critique exposes just how narrow minded, callous and pompous you are. What a whimsical little fairy tale world you must have grown up in, where magical pumpkins were a plenty and any hardship or strife was manufactured purely for the sake of drama. If only we were all as privileged as you.

    Wow….have you ever lived or been to rural America? That seems to be the issue with your review. Maybe, they didn’t convey the message enough for those of life of privilege? The documentary was right on for REAL America…be happy your life took a different path..It is ugly and unfortunately..REAL

    http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/rich-hill

    (C)  Comments that prove my points:

    • I’m looking forward to seeing this film, but not because I believe it will be a good film. I’m curious to see exactly how inaccurately this town, one that I have lived near for over 20 years and have family live there, is portrayed.

      The film makers told the community that this would be a celebration of small town life. Instead, they chose to take the three saddest stories they could find and sensationalize their plight. Two of the youths in the film no longer live in Rich Hill and continue their transient ways as many families in their situation do. They are not a product of the town, but instead found their way there, stayed for only a short time, then left.

      The community has been following the press releases related to this film for many months. All of them are very similar: comparing Rich Hill to a third-world country and making outlandish claims such as the people are disconnected from the world and that the local school has the best jobs in the area. Nothing could be further from the truth, even though I will admit that the town resembles nothing like New York, Los Angeles, or Sundance (and I am thankful for that!)

      As I said, I do plan to see this film for as cheaply as I possibly can. I refuse to line the dishonest film makers’ pockets any more than they already are. I truly hope that this “documentary” dies a quick death as many festival films do.

      I will not see this “film”, nor will I give it another thought after I am through typing this. I grew up in Rich Hill and I am thankful I did, some of my best memories take me back there, and I will cherish those memories until the day I die. I do not live there now, but another small town in fly over country and I go back and visit Rich Hill when I can. At one time in my life I had the privilege to be an active duty U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA and I was able to witness for myself just how “glamorous” certain parts of “The City of Angels” are. After reading the review, It seems to me that maybe these Hollywood “elites” should focus their lens on the third world, dirt-water areas of The Greater LA Metropolitan Area (especially Hollywood). You see, while I may have grown up in small town America, I have visited and sometimes lived in the big cities of America and around the world and you can find these stories any and every where you go.

    •  

      Snobbish filmmakers from California go to rural Missouri to make a reality film about poor people.

      This makes me sick.

      http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/rich-hill-sundance-review-673217

      (D)

‘Rich Hill’ review: Successes can’t hide film’s shortfalls

Updated 7:19 pm, Thursday, August 21, 2014

Documentary. Directed by Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo. (Not rated. 91 minutes.)

“Rich Hill,” a melancholic, impressionistic portrait of three impoverished youths in small-town Missouri, is both ambitious and unambitious.

What makes this elegy worth watching is the unfettered access to Andrew, Appachey and Harley, teenagers who are dealing with a hardscrabble existence in which role models are nowhere in sight. Throughout the film, we marvel at how directors Tracy Droz Tragos and cousin Andrew Droz Palermo capture the kids and their interactions with their families – it’s all very natural.

The cinematography is so beautiful, and the score so hypnotic, that the project threatens to come off as an exercise in trailer park porn (for the record, there are no trailer parks in sight, but you get the point).

Even though these talented directors for the most part walk a fine line between glorifying poverty and making a statement about small-town life, they fall short in providing context for the boys’ problems and in explaining why it’s so tough for them to find help. This is a big-picture topic, and we have big-picture questions.

Do the boys or their families reach out for assistance? Is there any aid available? Any mentor programs? Do people around them care? Are there a lot of poor kids like this in town? We don’t know – and we don’t see the boys or their families in many meaningful interactions with the outside world.

After the first five minutes or so, we figure out that these kids’ prospects are grim, and most of the subsequent scenes say the same thing, even though they are exquisitely filmed and edited.

As it stands, “Rich Hill” is a poetic statement about the sadness of rural poverty. It could have been a lot more.

BAD Blogger!

7 May

I just moved.  Moving is crazy.  This is my excuse for such a long post-drought.  This is my timeline for past moves so I can tell the stories of this last month:

14

And it’s not like I haven’t done it (moved) before, on the contrary I have moved so much it portrays a wanderlust or flakiness that doesn’t really fit my true personality.

Polson- enteranceWhen I was 4, my parents and I moved away from all of our extended family in Montana, to Nevada for job opportunities.  Montana is beautiful, but you “can’t eat the scenery.”

I grew up in small-town Nevada, going to the same Kidron's NV pics 050school for 13 years.  Which is good and bad.  I have well-established roots, and I always knew everyone and all my teachers, and everything.  BUT everyone always knows you and your business too, so good luck trying to live down embarrassing moments, changing/growing, or keeping anything on the D.L.

RenoI went to the same college everyone goes to my first year, which required a short move to Reno (an hour away) but tried to branch out instead of staying with my same ‘ol click as most of my small-town counterparts did.

I wanted more opportunities and was chasing my veterinary dreams so I took a HUGE leap and transferred to mid-Missouri, site-unseen, my sophomore year.  That move was big-time, but I was still somewhat protected by the insular world of college:Mizzou quad  I moved right into dorms and worked for campus dining services.  When housing, jobs, and school all line up–moves are substantially less stress.  And emotionally, I had already been away from loved ones before (moving from MT at 4) so I wasn’t lost or lonely.  Plus, school and work kept me so busy, who had time to miss anything?!  The move from Nevada to Missouri required a 30 hour drive.  I made that drive with my mom carrying a few dorm essentials.  I made that 30 hour drive with Douche, in a U-Haul.  I’ve made that 30 hour round trip by myself and a car-load of essentials and a dog.  I made the return trip by myself and 2 cats.  I HATE that drive.

265173_2208001644072_1368379309_32588356_2533618_nThen, my Saint George acceptance pulled me out of Missouri–which I really liked the 6 years I was there.  I had to make that 30 hour drive once more, with my dad, in a U-Haul.  Never again!  I’m not sure anything else aside from vet school would have compelled me to ever leave the midwest.  But veterinary school was calling, so I temporarily visited my parents and dropped off my cats that summer.  Nevada was just a brief visit.

Except Saint George fell through a week before matriculation.  Suddenly, I had nowhere to go, but obviously I wasn’t going to live with my parents–that was never the plan.  I had to choose where to go–and not being based on any acceptance, it could be anywhere that had a vet school.  I didn’t really know, and my parents dictated that I decide immediately.

I had been watching a lot of Frasier, wanted to try out a more liberal and city environment, and Frasier saturation increasedliked Washington’s veterinary program.  So to Seattle I (blindly) went.  Driving a car-load of essentials the 15 hours by myself.  I lived with my great aunt, which I always saw as a temporary transitional set-up while I looked for my own place.  I had previously gotten along famously with my college roommate, so I wasn’t discouraged Seattle housing prices negated living alone like I had in Missouri.

bedroom darkI moved to 12th Avenue, and soon saw what real-life roommates mean.  I needed out of that place ASAP because it was ridiculous!  Around this same time, I met Cool.  We hit it off, and sometimes I stayed at her shared housing situation, which was WORSE then my 12th Ave scene.  I don’t think I ever completed a full sleep cycle in Seattle.  I was always tired, always grumpy.  It made me HATE the city.  I needed my own space, without crazy roommate scenarios.  I needed a reasonable housing cost.

So we moved 6 hours across Washington to Spokane (with cats in Cool’s car and me driving a U-Haul).  And it was so much better!Fremont Fest 114  We could afford our own apartment without roommates!  Vet school didn’t happen for me, and the job market in Eastern Washington is horrible.  There was nothing there for us–Spokane wasn’t home.  We needed out, but Western Washington is out of our price range.

So I wanted to show you, I’ve moved.  I have left those emotional connections and everyone I know.  I’ve moved out of state.  I’ve had to find housing from a distance.  I’ve known the expenses.  Which brings us to 2015 and my latest move.

“Myspace Alicia”

13 Oct

I’m going through the 2014 albums while I study to write my end-of-the-year music blogs.  I know!  I haven’t posted 2013’s yet–but I’m still working on it.  Anyway, I got to Imogen Heap, and it reminds me very much of Douche.

the usual

It has been forever since I’ve written about Douche–mostly b/c I hate to think of that creep.  Also, because I finally accepted some people are sociopaths–no matter how well you thought you knew them.  Imogen Heap actually reminds me of Myspace Alicia, some 19 year old girl Douche attached to.  Imogen was this girl’s favorite and I know that because I used to scour her Myspace profile trying to understand.

At the time, I didn’t get that people played games.  I was naive that an older person (Douche) would hook a 19 year old just to show off how “cute” of a gal could be secured.  I didn’t get that Douche was maybe trying to make me–the world–envious.  At the time, I only looked and looked trying to see what the 2 could possibly have in common. . .

I hate Douche-still do, I’ll never stop.  I didn’t deserve that treatment, and didn’t understand where it was coming from at that time.  I had no idea you could be close to someone for 3 years but not know them at all.  I didn’t know there were sociopaths that adapted their personality to what they thought you wanted–did want–in order to manipulate.  And I didn’t know the extent people could play games after a break-up.  BUT knowing Douche did teach me lessons:  Don’t date someone b/c you feel shallow for not being attracted to them, if something seems too good to be true-it probably is, not everyone is going to be honest with you, not everyone has your best interests at heart, some people are just not meant to be understood, sometimes you have to let people (or the memory of who they were supposed to be) go.

I wonder if Myspace Alicia felt the same way in the end that I did–that it was a fake and a trick.  I hope Douche got (and is still getting) all the bad karma that is deserved.  Though I have no idea where that crazy is or what that evil is up to currently–thank goodness…

I like the new album even if it takes me back to that chapter of my life a little.

Scary Carl + Grades

15 Jun

We huddled together in my dark closet, apprehensive to make noise, and worried he would return and do something worse. My roommate dialed 9-1-1 on her cellular phone and told the operator in a wavering tone of voice that our landlord had assailed us by kicking in the front door during a fit of rage. The operator got the address to our secluded my missouribasement apartment and assured us she would send help.

This was just the latest in a series of escalating acts of harassment since 2004 had begun. Preceding this, I heard a sound in the living room and walked out of the bedroom to see my erratic landlord had used his keys to let himself inside without prior notice, or even a knock. I still have no idea what he was planning to do that day, and I began to use my chain lock regularly because I did not want to find out.

A few long moments after our frantic emergency call, the police arrived. They were so Sarah, me, Eileen 2005astounded by the profound damage to the door and the frame that they took pictures. Though the landlord owned the property he had destroyed, he severed the chain lock, which had violated our reasonable expectation of privacy. While the police were collecting the evidence and writing their reports, the landlord came back to the house to “fix the door.” The police arrested him, but a few hours after his release from jail that same day, our implacable landlord antagonized us by shouting through the living room window. It was at that point my roommate went to stay with her boyfriend.

I had nowhere else to go with more than a month left on my lease, and fall finals were commencing in one week. I was fretful the arrest had inflamed our fractious landlord even more and he would come in while I was showering or sleeping and do terrible things. I locked the screen door and the front door; not that it mattered, as he had keys to both. Then I took further precaution by barricading myself inside using the futon. After one sleepless night, I went to get a restraining order against my landlord. I was granted an ex parte that kept him from setting foot on the property but still, I was overwrought. I figured a piece of paper would do little to stop my volatile landlord from terrorizing me.

MizzouThis atmosphere of paranoia and chaos was not conducive to studying. At the time, aside from being enervated from fear, I did not realize I had any recourse. I assumed since the University of Missouri was closing for winter break, there was no possibility of taking my finals later. I felt I had no choice but to muddle through my exams and hope for the best. In my restive state, I bombed every test I attempted, probably dropping my grade about a full letter in each class.

If something extraordinarily aberrant like that happened these days I would inform my professors in The Quad 2an attempt to get accommodation on my final exams. Alerting the university of my predicament would be my next step, as I vowed never again to be reticent with my school when I am in crises. I regret that my grades suffered during that trying time, but this disturbing incident taught me the life lesson of not taking my safety for granted and how to utilize the police, the courts, and the university system in place to help people with such dilemmas. In combination with my more formal lessons imparted from academia, this upsetting episode helped shape me into the strong, resilient person that I am today.

Experience Summary: MU Vet [circa 2006?]

13 Jun

I volunteered 633 hours at Dayton Valley Veterinary Hospital. I was able to observe exams, diagnostics, and surgeries. When I was hired, my duties included: cleaning kennels, walking dogs, and maintaining the premises. I was able to observe exams, diagnostics, and surgeries during my time at Dayton Valley Veterinary Hospital.

We do not have certain duties at Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital. Everyone does everything. I do kennel work, diagnostics, reception, and anything else that needs done. I have been lucky enough to gain experience with small exotics and observe surgeries at my job.

thanksgiving milkingI helped care for dairy cattle being used in heat stress research. We milked the cows at 4 am and 4pm every day, which entailed sanitizing the milking equipment, milking, and re-sanitizing the milking equipment. I also helped feed, clean stalls, and bed the cows. I observed a biopsy while I was working with the project.

Dr. Greg and Terry Chapman took me to a hog farm to see the facility and observe the commonpig farm management practices. I was able to see the different stages of production as well as learn about waste management. I also went to Fisher Brother’s Hog Farm and toured the facility and observed the daily routine.

I worked as barn crew at Equine Medical Services, Inc. My main responsibilities were cleaning stalls, bedding, feeding, watering, and medicating the horses. I helped unload and load hoses in the trailers, caught horses for their pregnancy checks, and walked horses to paddocks. I also cleaned the six barns and maintained the facilities.

I spent six hours one Saturday helping Dr. Terry Chapman examine horses. We vaccinated the horses for West Nile Virus, Eastern & Western Equine Encephalitis, and Influenza (tuberculosis). The Coggins test requires that about 3 mL of blood is taken to analyze for Equine Infectious Anemia. I was able to actually pull the blood and vaccinate most of the horses we worked with that day.

At Noah’s Ark, we often get exotic small animals. I have force fed a chinchilla, trimmed bird nails and wings, restrained small and large birds, force fed ferrets, gave a turtle a baytril injection, and force fed a snake a pinky.

I volunteer at D-D Animal Sanctuary, where I help clean out tiger and panther enclosures. I have also bottle-fed a claf and fed an alligator among other odd-jobs. I have seen many different exotic species there and enjoy the experience I gain in a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

I was able to follow Dr. Sharp on his rounds at Charles River Laboratories, a research facility. He checked the feces of Cynomologus macaqus, Recess, and Marmosets to check for gastrointestinal problems. He changed food and prescribed medication as necessary. He also looked for gross lesions and possible research-ending health problems by the groups. I was able to remove sutures from a monkey and feed the monkeys graham crackers.

I also counted the 65 hours from my heat stress research listed in food animal.

I observed Dr. Minor working with wolves. I went to a private compound where wolves were used as security and helped her vaccinate many wolves. When one of the female wolves was very sick, she came to the veterinary hospital for two weeks. We gave the wolf supportive care and eventually euthanized her.

I worked on a dairy cattle heat stress research project. Rectal, tail-head, shoulder, and hip temperatures as well as the respiration rate of 18 cows had to be taken four times a day. Meticulous records on the cows had to be kept. The temperatures and respiration rates were recorded as well as the feed intake and output of each cow. I drew blood from under a cow’s tail.

I volunteered in the Organic Chemistry Stockroom mixing solutions, pouring chemicals into smaller containers, putting chemicals back on the shelves after labs, washng dishes, and checking lab materials out to students.

I can’t stand Ani DiFranco

21 May

She can’t really sing, has repetitive chords, her spoken word stuff sucks, and no one that THINKS they’re profound actually is.  Lame.  I think what really gets me is her lyrics and her spoken word crap.  I can tell she thinks of herself as smart and clever and that’s a huge deal-breaker for me.  I find her trite, cliche, and pretentious.

who is more hideousDouche loved her.  Probably because Douche fancied herself profound.  So I went to an Ani concert in Columbia, Missouri once.  And it was PACKED.  She has a huge following and I don’t get why.  At the concert, I was unimpressed musically–she offers nothing special, and may have been on some sort of speed.  And I never like to hear about celebrities doing drugs.  It makes me feel very disappointed in them.  Philip Seymoure Hoffman’s overdose made me feel torn.  I never want to support a junkie, but I felt sorry for him too.  And he’s still my favorite actor, because he does really good work.  But Ani?  I think she’s on drugs and didn’t like her in the first place, so it’s one more strike against her.

I CAN say she was very. . .  Shoot I can’t think of the word I want.  It starts with a c.  She had sort of a spark about her that drew people to her and made you like her.  And the woman and gays of CoMo really, really came out in droves and cheered heartily for her every move.  But I still don’t.  Like her, I mean.

Plus, it irks me that like Angelina Jolie (who I don’t care for either) she is this lesbian icon.  But is she even a lesbian?  I think she has a husband and child?  I’m not sure about that as I don’t follow the news about her because I don’t like her.

I don’t know what I saw recently that compelled me to start this draft, but I thought I would stray from speech & hearing and vet stuff that I’ve been covering a lot lately, and write something a little gay and a little music.

 

 

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Interruption: Riverpoint First Days Never Disappoint

14 Jan

You know I have to cut into the resolution-transformation month of posts to talk of my first day of school.  See previous most for all my struglasarus.  Take-home fact:  I’m ALWAYS out of the loop. I don’t really have a bunch of friends from class I’m always keeping in touch with–and the campus is disorganized and uncommunicative. As you’ve previously seen.

For the last 3-4 (?) semesters they have not posted room assignments anywhere online, instead opting to post a physical poster in the student center on the first day of school. I hate this! Because I am leaving work to go to class, and I don’t know where I’m going or how much time to allot. And in the Fall, I didn’t know where to find my classrooms, so I went to the help desk and they were all snarky, like Dud it’s ALWAYS posted over there! So this semester I was ready for that.

Of course busy Monday work made me leave late. And surprise! Only Fall 2013 WSU and Spring for EWU was posted. Where are MY classes? I can’t win. So I went to the help desk, wondering how the rest of my classmates always know things that I don’t. . . I gave the course numbers and she said my class was unassigned. Whatever that means. So she had to go to some supervisior-type important person. They looked, and looked, asked me what times my classes were and things. I was getting super-stressed and my lateness phobia was really kicking in. This was taking a long time. She asked my student number–which I have not memorized (need to do that!) then if I was an Eastern student. I was so agitated, I said, “No, Western.” Which is not a thing. And stupid. Anyway, it took a full 9 min for them to find my locations, and I was 1 min ahead of class start.

So first day, per the usual, did not run smoothly. Late and lost. Oh, and the teacher (my former advisor) told the class that we would not make good clinicians UNTIL we had our first child. I thought–Oh boy!  Note: Even in Missouri I never encountered that–at least not as an announcement. They took that knowledge for granted and it was implicit 😉 What the hell?!  And she added those with a 4.0 weren’t good in clinics either. You can’t get into grad school without the 4.0, but you’ll be $hitty in the profession if you DO have one–catch-22.  So awesome a mentality! Such a great start!

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(Unlucky) 13 Years of Veterinary Assisting

10 Jun

It should be kind of a cool milestone, and it would have been if I was a veterinarian.  13 years paid and 5 additional years of (substantial hours) of volunteering could be very useful to draw upon.  As a vet those 18 years of diverse experiences could serve me well.  I’ve seen things that work extraordinarily well, and failures.  I know what like, what I can live with, and what I absolutely hate in a veterinary hospital and staff.

Yet I’m not exactly proud.  In all that time, I worked really hard, but made little educational or employment progress.  I’m still doing the EXACT same job I’ve been doing since my first legit hire.  Along with this, I have not had time to hone ANY other employment experiences to beef up my resume–I can’t wait tables, type or do office work, or labor in a warehouse.  I can’t get even the lowliest jobs because of my strict focus on veterinary assisting.  So now that I’m not going to be a vet–those years hurt me.

So that’s why this milestone is more of a bummer than a cool deal.  It just shows I’m stilted in life, and reminds me to keep working at a brighter future.  I need to get a job where upward mobility is possible.  A job that pays me the wages I deserve and treats me like the hard-worker I am.  And it’s just not this.  I want MORE, that’s all.  It’s OK for some people, but I am an achiever and I want to feel my work is meaningful and I am actually doing something–not just cleaning up after another person/people.

But not to get down on myself, the title, or my current station in life, a fun fact for every year:

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13: Different veterinarians I have worked with (AT the hospitals where I was employed) over the years.  I liked the way four of them worked and liked six of them as people (outside of work).

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12:  Years that I was able to take off/get vacation/trade/finagle my birthday off of work.  The other one was a Monday (of crowded summer boarding, bath day variety) and yes, I think working on your birthday SUPER-sucks.

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11:  Really fun and different days (I’m estimating) where the work day was slow so I was sent to Starbucks, got to wash someone’s car instead of working, or the hospital had some sort of snow day or power outage that brought everyone together.  A few of those kinds of days are neat!

Tiger Plaza
10:  Literally 10 rejections from veterinary schools during my time as an employee at vet hospitals–and largely due to focusing on work rather than keeping a 4.0 GPA.

AVH posse'
9:  Co-workers I actually liked (some outside of work, but not their work ethic, a couple both in and out of work, and 1 at work only).

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8:  Major $$$ bonuses (over a thousand and more) during my employment [all from Noah’s Ark-thank you, thank you]

tiger by the tail edit
7: Years of higher education completed total, and while working.

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6: The number of different PAYING employers (not counting observation work or working interviews in which case 3 more would be added to the list).

komodo 4
5:  Times I have been the recipient of a veterinarian’s lost temper (inappropriate tone, language, voice levels, and even thrown items once) during work, and in front of co-workers, though luckily not clients.

jaguar sick
4:  Times I’ve ever called in sick.  Pretty good for 13 years, I say.  The two at Noah’s Ark were on the SAME day–because it was a Sunday and we had to be there once in the AM to walk/clean/feed/treat and once in the PM and I was vomiting the whole day.  Vomiting from drinking un-refrigerated non-dairy creamer.  The other two times were to the same hospital. One was for Cool’s bipolar issues (she couldn’t be left alone that day) and the other was phony in order to go to the zoo, because I HATED that job and everyone there, and was about to have some sort of nervous breakdown. And no, I don’t regret going to the zoo on work time at all–though I was paranoid all day someone associated w/my job would see me.

NFL teams
3: Different states that I’ve worked in-Nevada, Missouri, and Washington.

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2:  Years that I was eligible for vacation days!  At Noah’s Ark I was able to take off and trade a chunk of days and visit Austin, TX and at Cat’s Meow the 2nd year I was employed I got a week–which I split up to take several small trips.

The Quad 2
1:  Missed college graduation (my own) due to being scheduled to work that Saturday.  And because a co-worker was also graduating that same day and SHE already took it off.

gray over shoulder

So there you have it.  13 factoids about my 13 paid years on the job.  And I truly hope to exit the field and enter into the speech & hearing sciences sooner rather than later.  Must.  Get.  The grades!