Tag Archives: money

Anti-Valentine’s Post: Going Global

13 Feb

As you know, I hate that fake-a$$ holiday, and have been really good about writing an annual blog post about all that’s wrong with it. This is my eleventh? such post, I think!!!  Even when I’m terrible about writing anything else throughout the year. It’s important to me to get it done.

And yes, I am still a lazy writer (in my blog) and do not treat this as a college research paper. BUT given this era of opinion-pieces, unsubstantiated “alternate facts,” and plain ‘ol made-up nonsense, I’ve tried to at least indicate my sources. Is there a proper citation with bibliography-no! Can you tell I just didn’t pull the information and figures out of my a$$–I hope so.  Here we go my annual why Valentine’s Day is detrimental and shouldn’t be celebrated:

"The Models Go Green" -- The models POSE FOR A photo shoot of the negative effects of smoking on AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL on The CW. Pictured: Janet (Cycle 9) (902) Photo: Mike Rosenthal/The CW ©2007 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

“The Models Go Green” — The models POSE FOR A photo shoot of the negative effects of smoking on AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL on The CW.
Pictured: Janet
(Cycle 9) (902)
Photo: Mike Rosenthal/The CW
©2007 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Fear sells products.

Just ask the beauty industry. First step-Put great emphasis on a women’s physical appearance. Socnond, Insinuate that’s WHO she is (beauty), Third, indicate that beauty is the only way she derives all her power. Finally, make her afraid she’s losing looks and beauty through aging. Sales of lotion and makeup boom!

Sex sells.

angel-3

Look at any magazine, poster, or label. Nakedness abounds. People are more interested if there’s a hint of sexuality. True story.  Does there really even need to be persuasion here?  I hope not.  I will assume no, and move on.

Combine fear WITH sex and you have capitalist gold. Thus, Valentines Day.  And why a Catholic tragedy is even a current thing at all.

money
And with stock-markets demanding quarterly growth, more and more corporations are looking to foreign markets to increase sales. Advertising DOES have an impact on culture. Other countries do look to the United States, a world power. So it makes sense that America’s ad campaigns do dictate cultural change around the world.

cambodia-map-for-introduction
One example of the negative influence of America’s capitalism, specifically the notion Valentine’s Day must culminate in sex, is Cambodia. The country is in Southeast Asia, near Thailand and Laos. Cambodia has a tumultuous history, with the Brits colonizing it for awhile, communists taking refuge there for a time, and Americans bombing it (just the commies though!  *sarcasm*  obviously) during Vietnam conflict. As a person with an American education, I’m not sure of the whole history, or what Cambodia’s politics are today (or honestly, anything about them), but I know the treatment of women there is not that awesome.

Cambodia is apparently dramatic about romance. They have a concept called “sansar,” which means something like, Valentine or true love, or the person I want to marry. And this Sansar notion is heavily associated with Valentine’s Day. The people Combining the Valentine’s Day money = love = sexual reward with Cambodia’s ingrained notions of gender has resulted in a phenomenon of under-aged sex. In Cambodia Valentine’s Day is their prom–the expectation is to have sex.

The ministry of education in Cambodia issued a statement Tuesday imploring teachers to impress upon their students that Valentine’s Day is not about losing one’s virginity. Chuon Naron says in the statement “Cambodian students take Valentine’s Day to mean ‘sweetheart day,’ and they buy flowers as a way to convince girls to give up their virginity.” An exacerbating factor,”Cambodians have no idea about sex and their sexual rights because the sexual health education curriculum remains unimplemented.” (1) Education Minister Hang.

The quantitative survey on Love and sexual relationships found that 12. 4 percent young people state that they will be able to have sex and 14.3 young people in a couple state that they will able to have sex with their sweethearts on the upcoming Valentine’s Day. (2) Valentine’s Day in Phnom Penh in 2009.

Even worse? It has been reported that this sex will happen whether or not every participant is ready, whether or not they’re in a trusting, committed relationship, whether or not permission is given. Yes, not only has American-economy-driven Valentine’s capitalistic hedonism caused the sexualiziation of a “holiday” it had contributed to rape culture.

According to United Nations research (*A) one in five Cambodian men admit to raping a woman at least once. Half of that number started before the age of 20. (4) And nearly two-thirds said they had raped their partner, or more explicitly, their songsar. The figure rose to 34 percent when asked if they had committed physical or sexual violence against a woman. (3) 2013.

Jesus.

Public health specialist, Tong Soprach, conducted a smaller study of this trend from 2009-2014. He interviewed 715 Cambodians, aged 15 to 24, and what he found was staggering. In 2009, roughly two-thirds of young males said they were willing to force their partners to have sex on Valentine’s Day. [What??!] That number dropped some by 2014, but was still alarmingly high: among 376 male respondents, about 47 percent. (4) Phnom Penh Post, 2009.

National Police spokesman, Lieutenant General Kirth Chantharith, agrees that education is key to putting a halt to this abuse. He pointed out that most of the youth don’t understand the concept of Valentine’s Day, adding that “a lot of boys want to use this day for sex and to exploit girls”. Just how culturally accepted it is to engage in non-consensual sex is illustrated by the fact that half of the women interviewed for the UN study believed they couldn’t refuse to have sex with their husband. Two years ago, according to Chantharith, the police noticed a significant increase in sexual violence and rape among the capital’s youth on Valentine’s Day. “There are many young men going to the guest houses late at night with a girl – sometimes a group of boys with a girl – and they commit sexual violence,” he said. “So when we see a girl alone at night, leaving a bar with a boy or a group, we intervene.” (5)  On the whole, though rape and sexual violence isn’t only endemic in the southeast Asian country, but is treated by many as the norm, meaning perpetrators largely go unpunished.

So there’s that. Thanks U.S. Capitalistic fake holiday.  Obviously, this is one of the more horrible consequences that stem from constructing a holiday about “love” but really about money.  I think as citizens of the United States, we can admit Valentines Day is contrived and exploited in order to sell products.  Fear of being alone and single are combined with terribly impractical idealized romantic images, which are not really a thing aside from February 14th.  As a leading country, we need to be careful what we support and how we portray ourselves.  Our country (like it or not) is a role model for other places.  And our capitalistic patriarchy combined with a worse-for-wear undeveloped countries norms has lead to disastrous effects on women.

 

Think twice about what you support.
_______________________________________
(A)
http://www.partners4prevention.org/sites/default/files/resources/p4p-report.pdf

(1)
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/archives/on-valentines-day-a-deep-generational-divide-77963/

(2) PAGE 14

http://soprach.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/love_sexual_relationships_valentine_quan_study-14_eng.pdf

(3)
http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/02/11/cambodia-valentine-s-not-virginity-day.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

4)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/12/the-country-where-valentines-day-is-the-most-dangerous-day-of-the-year/?utm_term=.e7eba904a65f

5)
https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/cambodia-valentines-day-rape-consent-phnom-pen

Trump Terror

11 Nov

I was actually happy when Trump got the Republican nomination.  I thought Jeb Bush, with his family-backing, and Texas oil money, and far-right support was more of a threat.  I highly doubted anyone would take Donald Trump seriously.  I mean, all he had going for him was money and trash-talk!  I felt voting for him was akin to voting for a Kardashian.  They’re in the same camp–you know their names from the stupid stuff they say and do on television, but you don’look to them for any serious leadership.

And I knew if nobody took Trump seriously (because HOW could they!!!) that whatever democrat was running would be a shoe-in.  I wasn’t sad to see it was Hillary.  I had actually voted for her over Obama in the primary that first time around when she ran.  I knew her face, thought she worked really hard as Secretary of State, and yeah–I wanted a woman in the White House.

But I thought women’s rights were farther ahead than they actually are.  I really think if Hillary were a man, things would have played out differently.  It would have been an EQUAL assessment of two candidates.  Not just a singular attack on one and blind-spot toward the other.  They would have dug into her dirty laundry–sure–that’s part of the political game these days.  And believe me, they ALL have their share of dirty laundry.  The political machine is so caught up in money now, that ALL candidates that make it to a certain lever most certainly made back room deals to get funded.  They all owe somebody.  Every politician has to water down a certain policy they care about, because a special interest group contributed to their campaign.

That makes them all lairs.  They all manipulate.  Every politician is shady.  I expect it.

But they would have used the bad stuff to equal disadvantage, apples-to-apples.  They didn’t.  When people called Hillary a liar, I was like–yeah.  Of course.  But what I didn’t expect was to people to hold that against Hillary in a militant way, when they didn’t hold the male politician to the same standard.  I would challenge that every accusation, every piece of dirty laundry found on Hillary was used against her in a more drastic way then it is used against any man that has run or held office.  People were a LOT harsher on Clinton then they’ve been on most males in politics.

The patriarchal double-standard reared it’s ugly head.

Even so, I didn’t think the country would go for Donald Trump.  How could they?  He is a caricature.  He’s all fluff and propaganda, and realty TV!  He has no political experience, no solid policy ideas, only hateful sound-bites.  His business dealings were murky.  The guy claimed bankruptcy and didn’t pay taxes.  He wavered on issues, and lost all three debates.  His supporters were the trashiest, most backward, belligerents in the country.  He got caught candidly admitting his penchant for sexual abuse.  Americans would not get behind any of that.  We might like to see the train wreck on TV, but we expect more decorum and have higher standards for our president.

The leader of our country–the leader of the world.

I was in absolute shock when we didn’t.

This week was difficult.  I felt suddenly scared and alone.  I knew every person from my small town voted republican.  I felt since Trump is against many of the minority groups I belong to (women-in social standing, impoverished, gays) that my Utah work managers were also.  My hometown was also.  My Facebook friends were also.  My parents were also.  I was suddenly marginalized.  Cowering at the fringes.

And my groups are actually dominant groups OF the marginalized groups.  The illegals, people of color, transsexuals, Muslims–all have it way worse.  If I felt scared and alone, how must THEY feel???

I saw many Trump supporters come across my Facebook feed.  And they shut-down dissent by telling anyone liberal or sorry about the win to “get over it.”  They discounted their opinions, silencing their views.  I try not to make waves on Facebook.  Or at work.  I know I am more progressive then my small-town peers.  I understand I have lived in more states, have more education, watch documentaries and learn about issues.  I’m a moderate, but a progressive one.  That sets me apart from most loud political views.  I get that people that just don’t know, don’t necessarily hate, but they are ignorant.  I can let some things go.  And I am usually quiet.  I scroll past the politics that are opposite to my views, the hate-memes, and ignorance.  Because these people are family.  Or they are my past.  I grew up and went through every year of schooling from kindergarten to senior year with some of these people–it’s just not worth it.

But when people started hassling Cool on her Facebook page, I stopped to think.  She was upset and posted why.  People wrote long diatribes, personally attacking her.  People told her to shut up about it.  People said to “move on.”  And in a society that just accepted what Trump stands for, and voted him in the highest office–I decided we could no longer afford apathy.

A lot of the reason he got voted in was because people didn’t like either candidate so they didn’t vote.  A whole, big section of youth, and moderates, and democrats just didn’t vote.  Which left privileged people to make our decisions.  People whose lives look nothing like mine.  People who don’t have the same problems and worries as me (or other marginalized groups).  It made me think a lot of that Holocaust quote, which I will not directly quote (because I’m too lazy to go search for it, and I already have more tabs open then I like) so I will sum the sentiment up:  They took the criminals, and I was not a criminal so I didn’t say anything.  They took the gypsies, and I was not a gypsy so I didn’t say anything.  They took the Jews and I was not a Jew so I didn’t say anything.  So when they came for me–there was nobody to speak for me.

We always have to remember how the Holocaust started so nothing even remotely similar can repeat itself.  It’s not just about some tyrant stealing power–it’s the apathy and silence from the real majority that allows that to happen.

And Cool and I spent a very large part of the year watching WWII (and everything around the periphery of that) shows, interviews, and documentaries.  I know what apathy can lead to, I know how things got started in Germany back then.  So I felt motivated to stand up where I could in my own life.  I made a new policy that I would not be silenced by the privileged few.  I would not stand down as a woman.  I will not hide as a gay.  I will not let my poverty minimize my power.  And I wouldn’t stand by and say nothing when others were hassled–not anymore.  I will act with integrity and stand for what I believe in.  Even if it causes confrontation.  I will deliberately show my ethics and speak my morals.  I have to counter the negativity and hate that was just sanctioned by a vocal majority by stopping the silence and apathy.  First in my own life, then maybe even on a larger scale.

Here’s what I wrote to Cool (and her frenemies on Facebook):

hypocracy

 

And I wrote to her (and those frenemies of hers):

“Words of wisdom: I will not be shut-down or silenced. I will continue to voice my ethics and let my values guide my actions. Hate has no place here. Don’t let societal pressures make you falter. Speak your mind. Speak your truth.”

Because right now it’s super-important for all those just marginalized by the ignorants and the haters to have a voice.  Remind people we’re here and we’re just as valid.  And we have dreams, hopes, and rights.  We deserve an equal chance.  We deserve respect.  That dissent is not unpatriotic.  To speak out for injustice is as American as you can get.  It’s what this country was built on.

I also got brave and wrote from my heart on my own Facebook page.  Knowing I was outnumbered by right-wingers.  Knowing there was hate for my groups just under the surface.

“I try to keep politics off my page. Nobody really wants to hear it–you’re not changing anyone’s mind. And I don’t identify with either party. I think with all the money, and lobbyists, and Super-PACS all candidates that make it that far have to be corrupt just to be in the game. But I am in shock and dismay.

For me, this 2016 election result is not about red or blue, winning or losing, it’s about standing for my values, and modeling my ethics. I will not be shut-down and I will not falter in defending my morals for fear of antagonism. It’s not about, “move on, get over it.” Trump’s values do not align with mine. And friends/family I hope I know you well enough that Trump’s quotes/feelings are not in your heart either.
This is a country of immigrants, mentally ill, minorities, women, gays, impoverished, of “other.” Big-Money shouldn’t have the largest and last say in all matters. As a proud American I recognize how fortunate I am to be born here and at the status that I hold. But that’s all it was–luck, completely out of my control. I will raise my voice to defend the little people– outsiders like myself–because that’s the kind of person I am.
If you can’t respect that, if you are ignorant to the sentiment of this message–mostly I feel sorry for you. And a little afraid. For myself, for the others like me, for this great country, and for you. God bless, and may the universe be kind to you and yours.”
I was disappointed I only got 3 likes and one comment–none of those from family.  So the fears and isolation are real.  Those people on my Facebook WOULD turn against me.  I have to watch my mouth and watch my back.
But I will not be silenced.  I will not go down without a fight.
I took my new personal-policy of not being silenced to my job yesterday.  Crissy bought us ice cream.  She got 4 different flavors of candy bars.  Derick the Douche loves Reese’s PB cups best, so she specifically got ice cream in that flavor for him.  He claimed it before he saw it.  The rest of us decided which flavors we wanted.  Derick then saw the ice cream, and saw his flavor was smaller then the rest.  He said he wanted oreo instead (it was the biggest).  But an Indian gal had already picked that one out.  White, male, privileged, dominant Derick the Douche wanted it, and pushed for it.  She conceded.  I spoke up–“No Siama already chose that one.”  And I like PB, and didn’t particularly care which ice cream flavor I ate (I love ALL ice cream!) so I told him to take the Twix one I had picked.  He pouted and tried to take hers anyway.  I put my foot down.  Which, I never would have done before.  He’s always that way.  It was none of my business.  But under my new policy, I was not going to stand by and let him bully a minority and take the (perceived) better ice cream away from her.
I used my policy a second time in the same night.  A chronically slow, co-worker, who is always late, always lagging on his buckets, and actually disallowed to do basic tasks because he messes up, ruffled my feathers.  I always do the document imaging at work.  My co-workers don’t like to.  Everyone is supposed to do it.  We even have it assigned to a certain color.  But I do the lions share-no matter what color I am assigned.  Night after night.  Because I am a hard worker.  I’m motivated.  And it needs to be done.  I’ll do the scanning–ALL of the scanning.  Night after night, month after month, year after year-I do the majority of the scanning.  To the point, they don’t even know HOW, some of them, including the boy in this story.
For once, Crissy (who is just a sub and usually doesn’t work) was helping with the scanning.  She got stuck and didn’t know what had gone wrong, and this kid (Josh) was near so went over to help her.  But since he never scans, didn’t know how.  And they all just KNOW that I’m the scanning bitch at work.  In an accusatory tone, he called my name–like ‘YOU fucked this up, now come over and fix your mistake so Crissy can finish our work.’  That’s what his tone and body language said.  And he’s used that tone on me before.  Usually I let it go to keep the peace.  Even though it’s a totally inappropriate tone for work, and completely condescending.  I usually let it go.  Even though it makes me mad and makes me feel ‘less than’ I let it go.
But last night I called him out on it.  I said, “Are you asking for my help or accusing me of something?”  And he still looked agitated and a little hostile toward me so I continued, “You don’t need to use that accusatory tone on anyone at work–especially when you’re asking for their help.”  Turns out, I had not messed anything up.  But even if I had–so what?  And um–scanning is not MY job.  They are supposed to be doing their share and they never do–so don’t come accusing me of anything regarding scanning!  Anyway, Crissy had pressed something wrong, and it was no big deal, I simply showed her how to fix it, and we went on with work.  But my defense had made the kid mad.  He was storming around, slamming his stuff, and had a shitty demeanor for the rest of our shift.
But I wasn’t silenced.
And that felt good.  In a week where shock and horror ruled.  So I will continue on, living ethically, not hiding behind fear or apathy.  I will act with morality, defend those without a voice, and stand up for my beliefs–because they’re just as valid as Trumps, and those who voted for him.

The Security Breach

24 Oct

We had to move to our apartment (in a new state) sight-unseen.  We have 2 cats.  And a strict budget–especially at that time, b/c moving is expensive!  No one called us back in Salt Lake City.  Everyone who responded at all, never even read our out-of-state situation, and invited us to a showing.  When we couldn’t make a showing “tomorrow” they just didn’t correspond with us.  It was everyone.  How nice for realtor’s in SLC that it’s a seller’s market.

Bottom line:  We pretty much had to take what we could get.

It was OK.  The apartment was a little larger and better then what we had in Spokompton.  The neighborhood was quiet, but had tons of potential.  The park across the street was not like the ghetto-homeless situation of Mission Park near our apt in WA-state, but largely empty.  And quiet.  And they did lawn maint like 4 times a week.

But recently things have slowly started to change.

Every once and again there will be a homeless person sleeping it off under a tree in the park.  Someone parked their shopping cart 5 blocks up on the sidewalk next to the main street.  Nothing big.

The change from quiet to icky came with this homeless family.  A man, woman, toddler, and dog lived in their car.  And parked the car in our complex’s parking lot.  Like, every night.  Nobody seemed to notice, and they stayed under the radar for 5-6 weeks.  Everything started sliding downhill after that:

8/17/2016:  Wrote in the apartment portal that homeless people were living in the car in our parking lot.

9/2/16:  Texted the manager that the homeless people were still parking/living in our apartment’s parking lot.  Was informed the manager was out of town and instructed to call police about it.

9/13/16:  We came back from an out-of-state week-long trip and suddenly the homeless family in the car weren’t around anymore.

Wed Sept 28:  A knock on the bedroom window at 11 PM.  Cool had turned on the bedroom light to change for bed, and the knock came.  Then there was the sound of some tool trying to pry open the window frame.  She didn’t want to call 911 only to find it was a squirrel not an emergency (and she was still a little manic) so she she ran out of the apartment, to the entrance of the back alley.  She held up the flashlight app on her phone, but our window is toward the 300W street-side more, so the person she saw was not detailed.  She DID see a person in black clothing, holding something red (a cigarette or a pen light?) and at our window!  She called 911 and they sent 6 police officers and a dog.  They did an official sweep of the apartment, holding up guns, and calling for intruders.

I wasn’t too, too concerned though.  Because I thought it was probably a crime of opportunity.  There is an apartment on 300 W, and its parking lot is behind their building.  It ajuts to the end of our (dark, abandoned) fire alley.  They must have had problems with prowlers because they no longer park cars behind the building, favoring the side of the building, which is visible to the street.  They also installed a bright light in back.  The light illuminates a portion of our fire alley, but the first window in the dark is ours.  So I figured someone just went to the first dark window they saw.  And the person must have been dumb or not sober.  Because Cool had just turned on the light when she heard a knock–and who breaks into an apartment when the light is on, meaning someone is home?!  And a bunch of cops came in about 5 minutes, so I figured whoever it was went along their way.  And would never be back.

Fri/Sat, Sept 30:  The next door neighbor fixed the hole in the fence between the dark parking lot behind the next apartment and our fire alley.

Sat Oct 1:  I closed the black-out curtains, tucking them between the dresser and the wall.  We are watching a movie in the living room, and there are a lot of people outside their apartments talking, smoking, and drinking.  I hear what I think is Goose fussing with the curtains, trying to get in the window sill to look outside (it’s his fave thing to do).  Thinking he might pull the whole suspension bar holding the curtains down (and holding my dinner at the time) I ask Cool to go in the bedroom and check on him.  She reports someone is knocking on the back window.  I’m scared–who comes back a second time?!  I was too scared to open the curtains and see who it was.  I would be face-to-face with them, and that’s too much!  My adrenaline was pumping from the fear and I banged (3+ times) on the inside of the window with my fist, hoping to scare the would-be intruder away.  I banged a 2nd time (3 loud knocking sounds), while Cool was on the phone with 911.  Whoever was on the other side of the window. . .  Didn’t startle away–they knocked again.  This told me about their frame of mind and made me even more afraid.  I knocked on the thin wall of our bedroom, hoping to get help from the neighbor.

Bronco ran out to the fire alley, but all was quiet.  A police officer arrived about 20 min after our call, and stayed a long time, hearing our story, the neighbor’s opinions, and offering suggestions:  Lights in the alley.  Remove the abandoned/broke-down cars b/c they are a thief/vagrant attractant (and a fire hazard).  Put razor wire along the top of the fence surrounding the alley.  The police officer did not seem impatient or eager to leave.  I could hear calls on his radio on a busy Saturday night, but he made sure to get the whole story and he made sure he answered all of our questions.

We were afraid all the time at this point.  It felt like we were waiting with dreaded anticipation for someone to come back and try to get in.  I was afraid to open the windows.  I didn’t want to shower when I was home.  I was afraid to sleep and let my guard down, in case someone tried to break in.  I checked every noise to make sure it wasn’t someone trying to get in the apartment.  Every time the cats jumped in or out of the window, I was alarmed.  I listened for footsteps in the alley.  I felt stressed and unsafe.  Cool became crazy.  She started hearing things.  She wouldn’t go to sleep when I wasn’t home.  When I finally coerced her to sleep so that she could make it to work in the day, she wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom.  She had all the lights in the apartment turned on all the time–even while she was sleeping.  She started bothering the neighbors, asking them to check the alley.  We were scared in our apartment.

Sun Oct 2:  We were also scared about being away from the apartment for 11 hours, because someone could get inside.  So I took 1.5 hours of vacation and left early (forfeiting some of my weekend double-time) to go guard the house.  We bought a bat, a strong flashlight, and strong, locking bars to block the window and the door closed.  After work at 6:30 PM we inspected the fire alley (carrying the bat) and saw a broken bench was propped up on the chain link fence.  It looked like maybe someone had attempted to throw it away at the dumpster across the parking lot–just my theory.  And someone else came along and dragged it over to use as a step-stool over our fence.  We pushed it away from the fence and it folded in half, making a crunching/squeaking sound.  It ended up about 2 feet away from our fence and folded sort of in half (because it had already been broken).

Mon Oct 3, 1 AM:  I awoke to hear that same bench being moved.  It happened only briefly.  No one came to our window.  In the daylight I checked, and the bench was still away from the chain link fence.  I wasn’t going to mention it to Cool, because she was already freaked, and I wasn’t 100% certain (just 98%), but Cool mentioned she had heard it, so I know it happened, b/c we had both heard it.

Wed Oct 5 a pack of stray cats were eating from our bird feeder and making a tapping sound on the window.  Cool thought it sounded like the knocking of before so she knocked on our neighbor’s wall.  We absolutely know the first 2 incidents were a person though b/c the first time Cool had run outside and actually seen a person.  And the 2nd time, I had banged HARD on the window.  Hard enough that my knuckles were bruised the next day-and I never bruise.  No animal would have sat there for that banging.  And I had done it multiple times, twice.  It would have startled away any animal.  And after I had banged, someone knocked back at me.

Thurs Oct 6, 12:30 PM:  A man was sitting in Bronco and Cough’s parking spot, which is directly across from my living room window.  My curtains had been open.  I took a pic, but his head was down.  He stood and looked into my apartment so I called the non-emergency police line, but before I could complete the call, the man meandered to 300 W.  I asked for police patrol.

11PM:  heard walking in the fire alley and a quiet jangling (like keys in a pocket).

10-6-16:  Texted the apartment manager asking when any safety measures will be taken–never got a response.

10-6-16:  Wrote in official apartment portal-

Someone tried to break into the bedroom window this last Wednesday (9/28) at 10 PM. On that occasion, a person knocked on the window, then used some sort of tool to try to pry the window frame apart. Luckily one of us was home and called 911. We also reported the incident to management the next day, but so far no additional security has been completed. Saturday (10/1) at 8 PM, someone came back to the bedroom window and knocked. I pounded the window to scare them off–and they tapped again. We called 911 a second time, and the officer gave us some tips: 1) The cars on the side of the building are an attractant to burglars and homeless people. Some are also in violation of fire code. 2) Get a motion sensor light. 3) Put razor wire along the top of the entire fence, because someone is probably climbing over. 4) Consider a gate on the back side of the fire alley. I need to feel safe in my apt–please make some changes soon so we don t have to move.

Sat Oct 8, 5 AM:  Saw flashlight through blackout curtains (through sleep mask while sleeping).  But for certain.

Sat Oct 8, 5:10 AM:  Thud on bedroom window.  Goose ran behind curtains and stayed, so it may have been a cat.

Sun 11 PM:  tromping in fire alley (may have been police patrol).

Mon 1:40 PM-police drove by front of apt.

Tues 10/11, 3 PM:  marked police car was sitting on the street next to the park.

Wed, 1 AM-ish:  I got home from work, and the homeless car was parked street-side at our apartments.

Wed 3:15 PM:  the same man that had been sitting in front of the window last Thursday slowly walked past our window toward 300W.  He was with another guy, and they walked slowly, looking in the apartment.  The neighbor also came outside and commented how the two guys had been leering into his apartment–so it wasn’t just me that noticed.  I called the police just to make a report.

Wed 4 PM:  The apartment manager (Royal) was leaving and we caught him.  He has been on the job 4 days Bryson left in Sept?, a woman took over for a week, Dusty was with us for a week or 2, now this guy.  We asked for locks or lighting or safety measures and he said the management company couldn’t do anything–it was all up to the owner.  He was defensive and scoffed in our faces as if we were being hysterical and unreasonable.  He kept saying they are not the police and cannot have 24/7 security.  I tried to tell him there were things that could be done–such as the police suggestions.  Lights for starters.  I also said we were coming from a place of frustration, b/c we were living in fear, and no one from the apartments had even acknowledged our requests/complaints.  And no action had been taken.  He told us he/the management company couldn’t do anything because everything was up to the owner.  We don’t have contact info for the owner.   Royal said the owner wouldn’t do anything–and didn’t have to.  He also told us the housing association doesn’t regulate apartment owners.  The conversation escalated to a confrontation for sure.

Wed 4:30 PM:  The police called back to get a full report of all the incidents.  I recounted the 4 incidents we called about and offered the other 2 that I thought/hoped were the police.

10-13-16, 12:45 AM:  Noticed homeless car parked street-side at our apt as I got home from work.

Oct 15-16:  Started looking for a new apt.  Contacted several options located around work.

10-16-16, 1 AM:  Someone moved the bench.  We then heard footsteps in the back alley.  After an hour, finally called the non-emergency police line to report it.  While on the phone with the dispatcher, flashlight shined in the bedroom.

10/16, 2 AM:  2nd flashlight swept across bedroom–assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/17/16:  Went and looked at a unit in a different apartment complex.  Turned in our application for it.

10/17/16, 2:30 PM:  A homeless man and woman with a bike and a sleeping bag were on the walkway directly above our apartment waiting for the neighbor to get home.

10/17, 12AM:  Possibly homeless car parked street-side by our complex.  Looks slightly different than the homeless car that I remember before, but still the same size and color.  A woman was outside of the car, and stuff was on the complex lawn outside the passenger side.

10/17, 12:35 AM:  Flashlight through bedroom window and footsteps, assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/18/16:  Application for new apartment approved.  The new landlord just needs a reference from our current apartment.  She calls and calls, but cannot get through.  Cool makes a dozen phone calls to random places because our management company has no evident contact information, and we never had contact info for the apartment owner.  Finally, a different complex managed by the same company gets in contact with the regional office who gets in contact with Royal, our apartment manager.  He is annoyed anyone is contacting him.  When Cool asks him to contact this new apartment landlord, Royal off-handedly mentions how our current owner contacted him and said they didn’t want to renew our lease.  We are out at the end of December.  Also, his demeanor on the phone was annoyed/rude.

So I’m not sure,

  1. why, out-of-the-blue the owner (with whom we’ve had ZERO contact) would terminate our “lease.”
  2. I’m suspicious our confrontation with the new manager, Royal, where we asked for ANY security such as lights or removal of concrete blocks and broke-down cars from the fire-alley had everything to do with this given the timing.
  3. We don’t have a lease until December.  The only lease we ever signed for this current complex was the first one when we moved here.  It was for 6 months, and ended October 2015.  That lease specifies that if no other lease is signed, it defaults to a month-to-month arrangement.  And month-to-month is an additional $100/month.  I’m sure we just slipped through the cracks, because it’s been a full year since our original lease expired and no one asked us to sign another lease–or raised our rent price.
  4. I am concerned about an eviction.  I don’t want it on my rental history.  And WHY?  We just passed on info from the police about amping up security.  We’ve paid all our rent, have been quiet, and clean.  We’re actually great tenants.  We just demand things like hot water, flushing toilets, and ask for ANY security measures.
  5. I’m SUPER concerned once they find out we don’t actually have a lease through December, they will put us out in 15 days, without cause, per our original lease conditions.  That’s October 30.  Our new apartment isn’t vacated and available to us until Nov 15. . .  And that’s before any carpet replacement or painting that they will surely do, driving the date back.
  6. We had to band over backwards to contact the manager–and he had already known about our non-lease renewal–when was he going to mention this to us??!
  7. I’m so, so, so glad we were all but in a new apartment at that point, because this news would have REALLY flipped me out if we had to start from scratch.  It’s not always easy to get into a new apartment.  Especially with cats–and he have a price range that can’t budge b/c we had absolutely no notice or time to plan/save.

later that day (10/18/16) I typed up a formal notice of termination for the current apartment.  It asked that we get a walk-though in order to redeem our deposit, and that we leave last day of December (or mid-Dec if they are willing to pro-rate rent).  And I typed it into the apartment portal online.  There is no formal address to mail it to, and that makes me nervous.

10/19/16:  Dropped formal leaving letter off where we drop rent, since we have no contact info for the management or owner, and there is no formal office for anything, and we can’t even send it certified mail.

10/20/16:  Paid $400 deposit at new apartment.

10/21/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.

10/24/16, 12:30 PM:  A group of 3-6 people dressed in rags had a bike and shopping cart and bags on the sidewalk between our complex and the studio property next door.  They seemed to be hanging around, and I wondered if that was a new bus stop or if the park was doing some kind of maint and asked them to step off that property for a time.

2:35 PM:  When Cool got home from work the group was still loitering around on the sidewalk.  We closed all of our curtains b/c where they were standing had a direct view in our apartment.  After we did our afternoon workout, about 3-ish PM, I looked out and they had moved along.

10/25/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.  Cool called a lot of numbers trying to see what recourse we have if they just never respond.  Because I don’t want to go and get slapped with abandonment fees.  No one knows–everyone just gave her more phone numbers to try.  We texted the number for the apartment managers and heard nothing.  So Cool called the number.  Royal is no longer our person.  Now we have Brian.  This is the 5th manager we’ve had since August (2 months).

10/28/16:  Still haven’t heard anything about our lease (they think we have), and acknowledgement of our end date, or a walk through.

10/29/16, 5-ish PM:  Saw the police go to apt #2, two doors down.  Eddie, who lives there, said someone in a red hoodie had banged on his front window (blinds closed) and shouted his name.  The police and Eddie came to our door, because we were peering out our (blinds open) window, and since we had had trouble with banging on our window.

10/30/16, 3PM:  The homeless car parked inside the laundry area.  Looked they’d been in our apt complex for awhile and were very comfortable here.

11/1/16, 10:38:  Noticed the homeless car in the complex parking-lot by the laundry area.

I’ve Been In Utah a Year!

4 May

Hey, hey hey!

U district

Once I stopped being a student, I pretty much stopped writing.  Though I like blogging, my daily run is more important to me, and aside from working full-time, sometimes that’s the only thing I do all day.

It’s weird to think how different I am as a person now.  I don’t have long-term career goals at the moment.  Not in a depressed, sad way–and (hopefully) not in a loser way.  My priorities are not really my career, and only my career any more.  I’ve come to the realization I must work to live, but it’s not EVERYTHING.  Also, the barriers into my career were crazy.  And that drags me down.  For instance, I’m pretty down on big-university and I’m not sure I’ll ever attend one again.  All I got was a huge amount of insurmountable debt–and nothing really to show for it.

The vet thing–didn’t work out.  And it’s too bad it kept working out that way, because I would have been the most wonderful, dedicated veterinarian.  But they didn’t want me–time and time again.  So I eventually (after literally 10 attempts) I had to learn when to say when.

Audiology:  Unlike veterinary medicine, which I know a plethra of (unfair) politics, issues, and reasons why I wasn’t accepted, I have no idea why Audiology didn’t want me.  I had a 4.0 GPA and I forgot my GRE scores (they are in this blog somewhere) but they were good.  Here is what the university published,

UU AuD class stats

The minimum GPA requirement for admission is a 3.0. Our average admission profile for an incoming Au.D. student for Fall 2015 was a 3.74 GPA and a GRE score of 311. These are only averages, and we admit candidates above and below these values.

So I met that, did extra-curriculars, worked during school, and tutored students in my program–what else could they want?  Maybe they give preferance to Utah residents–and I didn’t become one until too late.  I really don’t know.  But I certainly didn’t try nearly as hard as I did vet school, once they wait-listed me.  I only applied the once, then kinda felt thankful that I didn’t have 4 more years of school I couldn’t pay for.

So those things changed my perspective, and now I may SEEM lazy.  But it’s not the case.  I’m just sort of on hold for now.  We are living in Utah to save money.  Because Cool and I want our lives to be in Colorado.  It’s just too expensive for now.  So I’m working at a company (we both are) that we can make direct transfers to when we move.  And I don’t trust the management, or love my coworkers, but I’m hanging in there.  Because the peace of mind of having a job before you move, and moving and starting work when money is tight–is totally worth hassle now.

And I figure, I can’t make concrete plans because we are leaving, so I’ll just have to start over anyway.  This is a 3-4 year period of saving money and focusing on things besides my career.  My health for one.  Relationships.  Enjoying nature.  More easy-going types of things, for sure–but not less important than career stuff.

I was singularly focused on my career my whole life.  And what did that get me?  Thus, I’m changing my outlook slowly, and I’ll refocus on the career once we’ve settled in Colorado (last move ever!).

CO 169

So I’m alive, I’m well.  I just don’t make the time to write like I used to.  And maybe another post won’t happen for awhile–but I’m not stressing out over it.

Moments of 2015-Bad

31 Dec

I see today (New Years Eve) as a day for reflection.  And I can’t say I’m sorry 2015 is over.  It wasn’t terrible, I’ve had much worse years.  But it wasn’t what I wanted either.  I like to know where I’m going, and in 2015 I never did.  I didn’t know if I would continue with school, and I didn’t know where my career would take me.  In the past, I’ve been severely disappointed when career objectives didn’t pan out, but this time I felt a calmness and grace about the situation.  Still, there is a dissatisfaction.  And now I’m left to really contemplate what I want in life.  But that’s a story for tomorrow, New Years Day, a day for goals and new beginnings.  Today I’ll post a few blogs about worst moments in 2015.  Which isn’t just picking the scabs of wounds, it’s thinking and it’s learning.  Seeing the worst times allows me to rearrange the circumstances to make next year better.

And again, I’m posting for the sake of time and forgoing a lot of re-writes.  I’ll edit later (maybe).

12TH WORST TIME OF 2015:  -Bob, at my new job, introducing himself as the janitor.  Trying to be funny, but offending me.  Insinuating of course he was much better than a crummy janitor.  He’s some client services administrator–big deal.  When he didn’t know that janitorial had been my very last job, and my father had been a custodian for 20 or 30 years.  What a D-bag.

11.  -Human drama at the YMCA.  Deb being all weird toward me because ???  and holding a grudge.  The churchy gal acting like a bitch and treating me like a lowly janitor.  Just coldness and unnecessary drama from people with nothing to keep their minds busy.  It was stupid, but even though I wasn’t invested in the drama, I noticed it, and had to DEAL with it.  Lame.

10.  -Rusty’s doors remaining half open in the winter.  Primarily because it rendered my remote start useless.  And obviously I NEED that.  I hate being cold.  So much so, that I had bought my own remote start and fought for them to put it in my manual–which is a liability for them and usually against the rules.  And I had always loved starting the car from inside the warm building.  But now it set off the alarm, because the doors were open just enough. . .

9.  -The unwelcoming, frosty environment at MSCL for my first 7 months working there.  NOBODY acknowledged me, talked to me, or anything.  I felt awkward and alone.  Those duds and douche-bags were the WORST!  Here’s an example:  I walk in as a brand new employee–and nobody (even my boss)  says hello.  Or I sneeze–and nobody says bless you or anything.  It was as if I was invisible.  I guess it’s because they have high turn-over, and they were change-averse.  And because it’s a lab, so people don’t have great any social skills.  But it still made me feel like it was ME.  And that brought back horrible memories of veterinary social problems that plagued my work life previously.  I had wanted new beginnings and to turn a corner in a new field–and this was not the start I’d hoped for.

8.  -Not getting into the UU AuD program, despite getting the 4.0, having extracurriculars, and working very hard on my application.  Was it the gay-themed activities I put on my application?  Bad interview answers?  Being from out-of-state?  I really don’t have any idea, and I feel like I should be in there.  Easily.  But this is toward the bottom of my disappointments (and the top of this list) because I’ve grown as a person, through my veterinary sagas.  I had to future plan, which wasn’t cool.  I still don’t know what I will do career-wise, which is scary and reeks of failure.  But I didn’t totally fall apart this time.  I took it in stride.  I do wonder how in the heck I didn’t get in that class, because I feel like I really deserved it and would have done an excellent job.  But I’m putting it on to them, not beating myself up over it.  And I’m not sure it’s what I want anyway.  I’m very disillusioned by the costs of school.  And I haven’t gotten ANY return on my undergrad investment.  And the forums scared me off of audiology a little, because they said Hearing Instrument Specialists can do almost exactly the same job, with NO school.  And they probably get paid equal or MORE than actual audiologists.  Also people talked about it being kind of a dead-end career, that’s highly redundant.  And I didn’t know if paying for 4 more years would even be worth it in the end.  But I’m still undecided, and haven’t closed the audiology door all the way.  Perhaps being 14th for a class of 12 was actually a favor to me. . .

7.  -When my parents insisted I call Dad’s chiropractor’s son about getting IN at Costco audiology–NOW, at the same time I frantically trying to complete a heavy-duty YWCA-UT job application and get ready for work at my current job.  They get overwrought and crazy and over-emotional, then there’s nothing for me to say or do to stop that crazy-train.  Unless I do what they say, when they say it, things fall apart quickly.  The whole thing just reminded me of every other time my parents tried to control me.  And how they were probably disappointed in me.  And that’s how the big horribleness of 2007 Cabin-Mansion had really kicked off the first time, so I was scared there would be a big blow up and subsequent melt-down of the relationship we had worked so hard to forge.

6.  -The meeting where work reneged on the full-time schedule, hours, and pay we had negotiated 3 days prior.  I had finagled the best schedule for my weekends, sleep, and time with Cool.  Everyone at work had left the meeting satisfied and happy.   They got coverage on a Sunday, which had been difficult to secure, I got Fridays and Saturdays off and a late-start Wednesday.  It was absolutely perfect and I commended myself for taking a chance and asking.  But 2 days later, they called me back in and told me I’d have to take the legit schedule I had applied for.  Because a girl (previously a bitch to me) who had more seniority, and was better at the job wanted to work Sunday.  And trying to please everyone, instead of defending me and the schedule they had promised me, they gave it to her.  So I felt betrayed (again) and like I had a much worse schedule.  But I also felt trapped.  What else would I do?  I needed this job, or it was back to veterinary assisting.  So I had to just accept it and deal with–while being really angry, frustrated, and un-trusting toward management–and that bitch.

5.  -When Cool picked a fight just 2 days after my good knows of getting a full-time job.  Cutting short my celebration.  Depression strikes this time.  Out of nowhere, Cool knocks the figurative wind out of me by acting like a major jerk.  It was awful, because I had just talked to my proud parents and had been super-ecstatic about my new job, and Cool knocked me down to a miserable level.  I was really sad about it, because I’m ALWAYS supporting Cool and she just didn’t have it in her to even pretend to return the favor–her depressive episode made it all about her.  Again.  I wished she could be supportive and celebrate with me, but instead her bipolar and selfishness ruined it all.  The memory of my new job is still tarnished.

4.  -Getting stuck with all the moving logistics, work, and most of the payments, because Cool went manic and in so doing abandoned me in a time of stress and need.  Which was the WORST because moving sucks anyway.  And there is so much to do and plan, and so much heavy physical work.  It wasn’t fair and I felt alone and unsupported.  Mental illness is the WORST sometimes.  It’s hard not to blame Cool, and that’s not really what I signed up for.  Cleaning the Spokompton apartment by myself was awful.  It was messy and there was so, so, so much left to do.  And it wasn’t fun, and I felt resentful that Cool had already started her job and couldn’t come do her share of the work.  Especially when I was cleaning things SHE had messed up.  Driving Rusty, alone, and wanting to come home and relax very badly, after such a tiring trip and no sleep.  Then walking into a messy house full of manic shenanigans, with a Craigslist ill-fitting futon we hadn’t talked about.  And dealing with having to clean and reconfigure everything, while dealing with a belligerent, unreasonable, manic person.  It was BAD.

3.  -Finding out I was just PRN (after they promised me something different in my interview).  I had interviewed over the phone for the job.  They said I was technically applying for a PRN job, but soon, they were posting a job with more regular hours.  That job was the same duties, but it was a year of guaranteed hours.  This PRN job, which had been posted was 25 hours a week for training, but then was substitute only.  Not stable, and not really what I wanted.  So they hired me during my phone interview, but told me they would call me when (slow) HR got around to posting the year-long job.  Then, I was to apply for that to make the paperwork legit, and that job would be mine.  I waited for the call to tell me that year-job had been posted and to complete that application.  And waited.  When I finally got the phone call from MSCL, they were wanting me to pick a start date for the as-needed job.  And pretended not to remember promising me the more stable-year long job.  I had written it down!  And the way my supervisor acted was callous–and I knew she remembered, but had just reneged.  But I had to take the lessor job, because what else was I going to do?  I needed an income after moving to a new state.  And sure enough on my first day of work, I found out they had hired a coworkers daughter for MY year-long job.  Nepotism had been at play, and as usual I got screwed at work.

2.  -The fear-phobia really, of being offered a job at a veterinary specialty hospital.  I had a sense of dread and sick feeling.  I should have never applied to veterinary hospitals, because my resume is just BUILT for them.  But I was feeling a little insecure and desperate about my guarenteed training 25 hours per week becoming true, as-needed.  I HAVE to work a minimum of 25 hours just to meet my bills, and that was soon to end.  And it’s my policy to ALWAYS interview for the practice if one is offered.  And while I know my veterinary experience is a major advantage in that field, I didn’t anticipate them loving me quite so much and being offered a full-time position on the spot.  The trouble was, it did seem like the best case scenario veterinary medicine could offer.  It was ONLY speciality referrals.  It was the BEST veterinarians in the state.  The hospital hirarchy was set up so there was a legitimate office manager and head vet tech to answer to–not the impulses of vets.  There was a true support system and everyone was on the same learning curve and truely didn’t leave you alone to fail.  And they seemed nice.  And said they didn’t yell–and I believed them.  And the technology was AWESOME.  They really had it all, not just the Idexx lab and digital x-ray.  Like ALL the toys, including MRI, and anything else spectacular.  But I had just such bad memories.  And I knew the schedules and the overwork, and the under-pay.  All the pit-falls, that really, I could no longer live with.  And it’s not what I want in life.  And the delimma was feeling like I HAD to take it, because I really had nothing else to fall back on, but feeling STRESS at the prospect of taking it.  In the end, I made the very, very difficult decision on not going backwards.  It was really hard (and brave) leaving veterinary assisting jobs in the first place, and I had done it for good reasons.  I had to keep up that bravery even when times got tough.  So I declined, but left the door open.  And they liked me so well, that they said to call any time I wanted a job.

  1.  VERY WORST 2015 MOMENT:  Thinking Goose might have thrown a clot to the leg, and worrying about his impending death, and worse, knowing there wasn’t a lot I could do to prevent it.  He randomly fell off the couch twice, and didn’t have use of his back leg.  It was too short to be a seizure (maybe) but didn’t have the pain of a thrombosis.  But my reference point was when the screaming cats had been brought to the vet.  Maybe there were precursor incidents at home that hadn’t been painful, and had gone ignored by owners–I didn’t know.  So of course, I thought the worst.  And I remembered the vets at Cats Meow preparing owners if there were any heart abnormalities.  Telling them to just make the decision to euthanize now, before emotions were involved, because once the clot was thrown, prognosis was grave.  And I remember the cats coming in-just screaming in horrible pain.  And owners saying it happened out of nowhere.  One day, the cat was fine, the next down in back and just SCREAMING.  It was awful to imagine that for my Goose.  And it’s still in the back of my mind, because he is a Maine Coon and they are notorious for heart issues.  But I’m hoping he was just being a clumsy dink, since it’s only happened twice, and the episodes were brief.

Why Don’t You Just Move?

18 Dec

Well, ask any Katrina victim–moving isn’t always an option–no matter how much you want/need to.

So yes, when a woman got stabbed to death less then 100 yards from where I had to park Rusty–it was unsettling.

BUT

uploaded june 030

When we moved to Spokane from Seattle–it was sight-unseen.  Try finding an apartment when you’re living in another city (6 hours or more away) and see how impossible it is.  Real estate is apparently based on in-person visits.  The agents aren’t super interested in returning calls, and online information is surprisingly limited and antiquated.  Finding a prospective place isn’t that easy, then convincing the landlord to trust you over distance?  Also not that practical.

But because money and work schedules disallowed several visits across the state, that’s what we had to do.  The places that will accommodate that?  Hungry for business ie not very nice.   You have to do what you have to do.  And actually, it was still an upgrade from the frat-house roommate situation we had been living in.  As shabby and old as the apartment was, it was OURS.  And it was close to downtown and school.  And (mainly) we could afford it.

So when bad things happen there–you can’t just jump ship.  Even if you’d like to.

Moving costs money. First, last, and deposit is easily a thousand dollars. Plus any fees for the old place, and any U-Hauls for the big stuff.

Rent would be higher. And I can barely afford my half of the rent working part time (for school) now. I couldn’t pay any more.

And where would we move? IS there an affordable safe place in Spokompton? Seems like every place I go has at least one dilapidated building, strung out junkie, or graffittied wall. Where would we even go?

Moving also takes planning.

Also, when would we have the time to do the physical moving? I’m in the middle of a (difficult) semester where I needs all A’s. Also, Cool works nights and I have work/school during the day. WHEN could we move our stuff and clean up the old apartment?

There are a ton of logistical concerns too.

How about the Spokane police do their job and make it safe to stay here?!

Anyway, so that’s why we stayed in our same apartment in Spokane after terrible things were happening and it started to not be so great.  But it makes the move to Salt Lake City so much better.  We yearned for it, saved for it, planned it, and executed a move.  And now we are enjoying the rewards that much more.  All the moving difficulties and expensive?  Worth it!  But would we feel that way if we had hastily left Spokane?

I don’t think so.

Saga of the Desk

16 Dec

This is taking me 8 months to write, because that’s how long this saga FELT at the time it was unfolding!

I can’t unpack 10 boxes (TEN!) until we buy a desk.  Right now, those boxes are lining the front wall of the living room.  Expensive items lined up right in front of a window.  In the main area of the house.  First thing you see (and trip on) when you walk in the door.  The cats jump on the important files and computer accessories.  This is not optimal.

I’m super-motivated to get a desk to finish unpacking.  I would have been finished after one week, if only I had somewhere to put office/computer/school items.  BUT I don’t want anything too big.  This desk has to fit in the living room, so it can’t be too bulky.  It also can’t be too heavy.  Because there is one LAST move in our future.  So it has to be light enough for Cool and me to carry, and a non-awkward shape that can also fit in one of our cars.  And since the rest of our cheap, WalMart furniture in the living room is black–it has to match.  And it would be ideal if the desk could fit in a corner–and store a lot.

Needless to say, this is a tall order.  And I didn’t want to settle on the wrong thing just to unpack quickly.  So we looked and looked.  And I found a really nice, black corner model.  And it was composed of cubes.  Which we have 3 cube shelves in the living room.  It provided 12 storage cubes and a desk space.  And best yet, this same desk was on Amazon, WalMart, Office Depot, and Target–widely available.

But I didn’t order it right away.  You see, we had just moved.  I had all the moving expenses on my debit and credit cards, and the same day we were looking for a desk–I bought a washer/dryer.  The latter purchase has been my ultimate dream-fantasy since I moved out of my parents’ house.  Coin-op is no way to live.  But it was nearly $2,000.  So I had to give my psyche (and wallet) a rest before making another big purchase.

No big deal.  The desk was in at least 4 places–a week’s wait would mean nothing.

So I waited a week.  Then when I went to the WalMart (cheapest of the 4 sites) to buy it–they were sold out!  Oh no.  But that’s OK, it was just a little more expensive at Target.  The black?  Sold out also.  What?  How could it possibly sell out at different stores in one week?!  But the white was available.  Not perfect, but maybe we could paint it?  Never-mind, nope.  That one was sold out too?  Office Depot had been pricey, but it wasn’t an option anymore either–sold out.  Why was there a run on our desk???????  Normally, I trust Amazon best and they have the best customer service and return policy–but the desk had always been double the price there.  It was through an outside seller.  Did we want it bad enough to pay DOUBLE?  No.  Not after moving.

We tried to forget the desk.  Couldn’t.  We tried to find something similar.  Not a thing.  We went to the manufacturer website.  They don’t make it anymore?  We though about building the same desk ourselves.  Cost of tools would out-price Amazon–then we’d have to store and move them.  Ugh this desk.  This dream desk. . .

The boxes remain unpacked. . .

So we decided this desk was the perfect desk and we couldn’t get it out of our heads, so we were willing to bite the bullet and pay the Amazon price.  This desk was PERFECT.  So I bought it from Amazon–at double the price, because that’s the only ONE we could find anywhere.

Then a week later, out-of-the-blue I get an e-mail from WalMart:  The desk is back in stock.  WTF?!!!!!!!!!!  At first, I didn’t even want to open the e-mail and look.  But then I knew the price was bound to be lower.  And sure enough, WalMart’s price was even lower then it had been the first time.

This time I could not hesitate.  I bought the WalMart desk at the discount price–I knew Amazon would do a return/refund.  I even had WalMart ship it to one of their stores in the hopes someone could even build the desk for me.  Then, I went to pursue the refund and was happy to see the Amazon desk was “preparing for shipment.”  It had NOT been shipped yet!  Lucky me.  So I merely canceled my Amazon order before it even went anywhere.

Relief!

Was short-lived.  I get an e-mail the next day, “Your item has been shipped.”  And it wasn’t WalMart is was Amazon.  Mother-fucker!  They had shipped my item even though I canceled it.  Now I would have to deal with the shipping companies-ugh.  The seller e-mailed me an apology (I’m suspicious they kinda on purpose didn’t see my canceled order) and told me to just refuse delivery.

Easier said than done.

But I didn’t know what carrier they used.  If it was USPS things were going to be stupid and slow.  If it was Fed-Ex, they would fling my package on my stoop and run before I ever got to the door. . .  I waited for the tracking info, but it never came.

When I checked my spam folder, I saw it was Fed-Ex–oh no.  I hate their service–Fed-Ex doesn’t care.  They rush and over-extend their employees so much that they just try to do the fastest thing.  I would never have a chance to refuse delivery.  I had to create an online account.  My desk was supposed to be delivered the next day.  So I changed the order so it would be held at a certain Fed-Ex location.  And I got a confirmation e-mail and everything.  Now, I could just call and refuse delivery, then get my refund.

But that’s not my luck.

I came home from work to a desk delivered to my apartment.  A giant, heavy desk.  I think the specs on Amazon said 140 pounds.  This was not going to be easy.  And for me–nothing ever is.

Ugh–now Fed-Ex had disregarded my instructions and I would have to deal with wrapping, carrying, and paying for this giant thing to be sent back.  It would be a real hassle, eat up MORE money, and I didn’t want to deal with it.

I e-mailed the Amazon seller and asked if they could just give me the lower price.  Because now, not only did WalMart have it in stock, Amazon itself had 9 of them–at the WalMart price.  No sense in jumping through hoops to return it when everyone else had it for the lower price anyway.  The seller said they just weren’t big enough to accommodate the prices that huge companies like WalMart and Amazon could do–which is understandable, but unfortunate.

And then there was this.

I didn’t want the cats to knock over the humongous box and squish themselves–it weighs a lot.  So I laid it on the floor.  And when I did I noticed a WalMart receipt?  Did the Amazon seller get the desk from WalMart then re-sell it to me?  Nope, sure enough there was a WalMart.com return address.  What happened?  Could this have coincidently been shipped to my house (instead of the store, and a week early) on just the day Fed-Ex was supposed to deliver my Amazon desk to the apartment?  Certainly not. . .

But it did!  I knew this because then the Fed Ex desk came–from the Amazon seller.  Now I had TWO desks.  Heavy, heavy desks.

I complained to Fed Ex.  They said sure enough they saw my “hold at office” request, but ignored it and delivered it to my door anyway.  Delivered and ran–before I could refuse it.  They didn’t care.  I complained to the Amazon shipper again.  To his credit, he made things relatively easy on me by arranging for Fed Ex to pick the desk up at my apartment.  At least I would not have to haul the heavy thing anywhere. . .

When the (same) Fed Ex guy came to pick it up, he said he saw the “hold” request, but his boss said to deliver anyway.  WTF?!  And he hauled the desk away.  And I got the very expensive price refunded.

But the story is not over.

We had to build the desk.  And as soon as I opened it, I saw it was CHEAP.  But after all that trouble, we were keeping the crummy thing, dammit!

So I start following the sparse and convoluted picture instructions.  It said glue this to this, and glue that to that, glue, glue, glue.  But the glue was CHEAP.  And messy.  And even when you held things in place for a good 5 minutes, they came right apart when you let go.  Or came apart while you were gluing the next items.  I supplemented with Guerrilla glue or some-such superior product.  Then I noticed the camber (whatever the lock-screw thingies are called)  hanging out.  The directions were written in a backward way!  No wonder the cheap piece of crap wouldn’t stay together–it should have been cambers first, then glue just for added insurance.

I had to rip apart everything I had done (for like 2 hours) and start over.  AAARRRRRGGGG!

I tried to take it apart without damaging the cheap, cardboard-like pieces.  Which was too easy in most cases given the time it took to glue it in the first place.  And start over.  By this time I was over it.  And those camber things are always a frustration.

So I started the assembly over.  And did I mention I was OVER it?!  So it wasn’t built carefully and with eye to detail.  It was forced together in the way it should have been from the start.  But everything about the desk, the instructions, and the supplies were cheap.

So what did we end up with?  A black cubby desk that looks nice (from afar) and matches the living room, that allowed me to finish unpacking.  Is it functional?  NNNoooooo.  Don’t put any weight on the desk–it’s unsturdy.  Don’t touch it, because the glue that was supposed to hold on prominent pieces was crap.  So if you come close to the desk, try to put something on the wrong shelf, or heaven-forbid try to move the desk–you quickly see/feel it’s hanging together by a thread.

It’s not going to make another move, that’s for sure.