Tag Archives: moving

You’re on Your own now, kid-each verse is 3-4 experiences present to past

30 Jan

This song isn’t quite a happy reminiscing. There’s both sadness and determination in the lyrics. The thesis is that Taylor has felt alone in every stage of her life: Her dad was MIA during her childhood either physically or emotionally. She was bullied in school at times. Her country label made her feel inadequate by creating her “perfect” alter-ego and hemming in her creativity. Dating men and being a beard made Taylor feel empty. 1989 Era was fun, but felt inauthentic and lonely and Taylor was secretly struggling. After the Kaylor breakup Taylor feels hopeless that she can ever genuinely love, because she sees it as problematic for her career. Currently Joe (her supposed partner) is absent. But because of all the loneliness and isolation, Taylor has honed her writing and furthered her career. Despite not being able to count on anyone aside from her mother, nobody can take away Taylor’s writing skills.

A lot of it has earmarks of the move to NYC and the 1989 Era, but I do think Taylor looks back further in time within the song. She talks about playing in parking lots when she was trying to get started. She may also be looking at her life as a whole and mentioning how she still feels like she’s on her own.

Theory: I hope I can explain what I’m thinking clearly. Taylor wrote the song in a chronological timeline (A-present day, B-1989 Era, C-Nashville, D-parents). Then, to obscure the timeline and subjects within the song she took the most recent (A) and made each line it’s own verse. Then she took 1989 Era (B) and made that the 2nd line of each verse. Then she broke the Nashville (C) into the 3rd line of each verse. And finally she made her childhood/parents (D) the final line of each verse. It’s possible each verse starts at the present (2022), mentions 1989 Era, goes back to Nashville, and ends with her childhood. Instead of AAAA, BBBB, CCCC, DDDD she mixed it to ABCD, ABCD, ABCD, ABCD.

For example:

A-Smoking with your boys could be her current situation with Joe. She’s in a house, not a home, alone. He’s off living his separate life, high like the night they met (Paper Rings).

B-The face Taylor wishes she could touch is Karlie’s but they’ve broken up.

C-The town Taylor wants to leave (for NYC) is Nashville.

D-The only one that can bring Taylor back to TN over a lifetime is her mom.

That might be loosely the formula Taylor used in the song. Does it hold up? See what you think…

Since the subjects of the song are unclear, and may change, and the timeline is not set in stone, I tried to think of all scenarios that could fit each line. Taylor didn’t call and tell me the specifics so I’m trying to gather the keys I do know about in order to get the gist.

Summer went away

Taylor doesn’t tell us the year she’s singing about, just the season.  Later in the song she talks about moving out of Nashville so I’m guessing most of this song is about 2014.

Taylor also mentions starving her body in the song and she was at her thinnest during the 1989 era:

Still, the yearning stays

Taylor also does not tell us what type of yearning she’s been feeling, or for how long:

A boy?

Her dad?

To be discovered?

Her family after she moved from TN to NY?

Gay love in general (or Dianna, specifically)?

The word can be used several different ways:

I play it cool with the best of them

I wait patiently

We know Taylor doesn’t sit back, waiting around to make music, or for her career to progress.  She takes action and proactively strives for more success.  But what then, is Taylor waiting for?

Her Dad?

Tolerate It:

Jake Gyllenhaal?

I don’t know if Jake was a real relationship or beard to cover for Jake’s sexuality and/or the Dianna Agron romance.  I used to be certain it was bearding, but when Red (TV) drudged up this decade-old relationship, and Taylor insinuated the red scarf did symbolize her virginity as Swifties suspected, I was no longer sure.

Dianna?

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

He’s gonna notice me

After I read this line I wondered if 2012 Taylor was looking back to the beginning of her career.  Is she remembering trying to break into the country music scene?  1989-Era Taylor could be thinking back to her start in country music because she was about to try to fully break into pop music.

Is HE $cott Borchetta or other music execs?

Is HE her dad?

Taylor could be talking about how her dad is always traveling for business, when she’s home, and how he stays home with her brother while she tours.  Her mom is involved in her life, but her dad is absent.

Is HE Jake Gyllenhaal?

Whatever they had together, it was on and off:

We are never ever getting back together:

Dianna Agron?

Of course, if Jake was just a bearding situation all of the above applies to Swiftgron.

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

We are never ever getting back together:

It’s okay, we’re the best of friends

Taylor wasn’t really best friends with studio execs, her dad, Jake, OR Dianna (they were very secret lovers) so I’m not sure this line is directly referencing any of the subjects that are options for the previous line.

If this line IS talking about the subject of “he’s gonna notice me” then I think Taylor is contrasting her parents.  Her dad doesn’t notice her, but that’s OK because her mom is her best friend.

If “I wait patiently he’s gonna notice me” is her dad and the best friend is her mom the song is describing how Taylor feels a hole in her life and goes to great lengths to put a bandaid over it by gathering friends and fans around her, and focusing on her music career.  She is saying because she feels a void in her parental relationships she has spent the time writing and making music which brought her all the friends and fans and fame.

My impression was that this line is doing two things:  Talking about the subject of the previous line and being used as a tool to put the story and the listener back in the correct timeline (1989 Era and The Squad).  For the latter, Taylor says it’s alright that HE doesn’t notice her because she has formed her own friend group that distracts her and makes her feel better.

Anyway

I hear it in your voice

Is Taylor saying this person is more dismissive when they’re with their friends?  

OR

Is she saying the voice literally sounds different when this person is smoking?

Tobacco:

Smoking weed could also change the sound of someone’s voice:

And it’s possible, but not a rule:

You’re smoking with your boys

I couldn’t find any evidence Scott Swift smokes.

I couldn’t find any evidence Scott Borchetta smokes.

I saw Karlie Kloss has NEVER smoked.

Is the smoker a lover/ex?

Jake-

He has smoked for movies, but he also smoked cigars and pipes at some point in time:

Jake G. also has been known to smoke weed:

Dianna-

She has also smoked for roles, and has been seen in public with a box of cigarettes: 

I couldn’t readily find anything about Dianna smoking weed, so if she does it seems she does it on the DL.

Joe-

He is the wrong timeline for this song, but I bring him up because Taylor talks about the beginning of her career in the song, so it’s possible she talks about a more current boyfriend/beard leaving her (emotionally) on her own as well.  

Joe smokes, but I think the Taylor Swift team cleaned up his image scrubbed the internet to be an appropriate partner for her.

Paper Rings could be talking about meeting Joe and his mates who were high.  It would  have to be his friends attending the MET Gala according to the most popular timeline of their relationship:

But also, Joe might be a is a cover for Karlie.  And that brings us back to the correct timeline for this song:  I think Paper Rings is for Karlie, and could allude to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show where Taylor and Karlie [supposedly] met.  Taylor could be talking about how the other models were high at that 2013 show:

I touch my phone as if it’s your face

This gesture seems too romantic in nature to be a studio exec or father.  Taylor could have changed subjects after the “he’s gonna notice me” line.  It also rules out beards, because she wouldn’t long for their attention-it’s a business relationship.  This line, possibly the whole song might be talking about a romantic relationship:

Dianna-

Come Back, Be Here (2012):

Karlie-

It can’t be Karlie because she doesn’t smoke.  She wouldn’t be smoking with her boys.  It would also require this line to be another time jump, because during the 1989 Era Taylor and Karlie were constantly seen together.  It wasn’t until later that Taylor was alone and longing to touch Karlie’s face.

I didn’t choose this town

Nashville?

It was Taylor who wanted to move to Nashville in order to break into the music business.  Her parents say they didn’t want to pressure her to succeed, so they let her think the move was their idea.

London or New York?

This could be interpreted two ways:  Taylor is talking to someone who lives in London in this song and says she didn’t choose this town (London).  

OR 

Taylor could be saying Karlie was the one who chose NYC, but she had wanted to move to London.

I dream of getting out

Taylor dreams of leaving the afore-mentioned town?

She never lived in London so she doesn’t dream of moving away.

Taylor seems to have loved NYC until her and Karlie split and she couldn’t bear to be reminded of Kaylor, so if she’s talking about NYC (not a town) it requires another time jump.

That leaves Nashville.  Though Taylor wanted/needed to move to TN to get a foot in the door to music, she tired of it quickly.  Taylor was bullied in middle school, and she felt constricted in the red state.

There’s just one who could make me stay

A romantic partner/ex?

Dianna-

After 2012, it looks like Dianna was traveling back and forth to Australia, living in CA, and also spending time in the UK.  It looks like “staying” isn’t Dianna’s strong suit, so I don’t think this line is about her.

Karlie in NY?

It’s plausible Taylor is saying that Karlie is the only person who could have kept her in the U.S., but I’m not sure because it’s not like Taylor adamantly didn’t want to live in NYC.  

All my days

This addendum made me think more about a blood relative, than a romance which is not guaranteed to last a lifetime.  Taylor talks about wanting to leave Nashville due to feeling restrained and trapped there.  But the one thing that can pull her back through a protracted timeframe is her mom.

Her mom in TN?

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

Sprinkler splashes brings to mind exuberance and warm sunshine fun.  Fireplace ashes alludes to endings.  Taylor talks about things burning down in many songs.  To her, fire and burning are something scary and awful that destroys.  A break-up, panic about being outed, a ruined career:

After this destruction, the ashes are the only remnant of what used to be.  

My Tears Ricochet-

Hoax-

In this line Taylor went from happy, sunny fun to the debris left from a fire [drastic cause of destruction].  She could be talking about a combination of things that tie the song together:  childhood fun with her parents, or the 4th of July parties The Squad attended, to break-ups.

Her dad?

Taylor’s relationship with her father started out admiring, and considering him a protector of her, “My daddy’s gonna show you how sorry you’ll be.”  Later the relationship with her dad was stalled–he was often absent from Taylor’s life.  Then he only tolerated her [sexuality?] and finally when he [maybe] cheated on her mom there was not quite estrangement, as he is heavily involved with Taylor’s career, but a schism formed.

$cott Borchetta/studio?

Taylor could secondly be bringing up her relationship with $cott Borchetta and her label at large.  Getting signed started out a dream come true, hopeful and exhilarating, ended in oppression, then ruins when he sold her masters.

Jake G.?

He could be an option here as well.  Taylor might have gone into it with optimism.  Whether she had comp-het and was trying to make a straight coupling work, or if she was thrust into a bearding situation, she seemed sincere in trying to make it work.  At the end, Taylor was jaded (either toward men or the bearding process).

Dianna?

She could also work here.  Swiftgron was red and passionate, but Dianna was gone all the time, and there may have been cheating on both sides of the relationship, until their romance was obliterated beyond repair.

The Squad?

The time period of this song seems to be mostly the 1989 Era so Taylor could be bringing up The Squad.  I think she hired them to distract from her boy crazy image.  The 4th of July parties looked mostly like photo-shoots to me.  Then after the 1989 Era put friendships in the forefront instead of boys, the group disintegrated and “we’ll never say that word again.”

Karlie?

Lastly, Taylor could be looking at all her relationships throughout her life and evoking how she and Karlie were both made of ashes at the end of Kaylor.

I waited ages to see you there

Taylor describes waiting for whoever she was talking about in the last line over ages.  Career-wise she could be talking about from the time she was a child to before she was a household name.  Taylor waited a long time, and also over many birthdays to be recognized as the musical prodigy that she is.  And the 1989 Era solidified Taylor’s place as a pop star.

Her fans?

Taylor’s father?

He never really came to her shows or awards.  Is she saying she waited ages for him to show up for her:

Jake or Dianna?

This line brings to mind, The Moment I Knew:

If Taylor is talking about Jake it brings up the 21st Birthday mythology that he was a no-show.

Dianna was not there a lot of times, which was a central issue in the Swiftgron relationship.

And if she’s talking throughout her life, Taylor could be telling Karlie that when she’s with Jo$h and not her, it wrecks Kaylor.

I search the party of better bodies

The party of beautiful people could be some sort of music networking thing that Taylor went to in order to get known and break into the industry, or even when she was trying to cross over to pop:

The party might be talking about any event Taylor attended with the models.  Is she talking about The Squad?

The party could be some awards pre or post party where Jake or Dianna attended.  For example Taylor, Dianna, and Lea Michele all went to the 2014 MET Gala:

Just to learn that you never cared

Scott Borchetta/her country label?

The Squad/fake friends/paid PR-

Jake G.?

All Too Well Short Film:

It wasn’t real to him because she was his beard?

But innocent Taylor was not on the same page. She saw a future with Jake, and was shocked when he suddenly broke things off:

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

I see the great escape

So long, Daisy May

Who is Daisy May, and what characteristics is Taylor trying to highlight?

Daisy Mae Scragg of Lil’ Abner comic strip-

Daisy Mae Dutten of video game Bullworth Academy-

Daisys that aren’t Maes:

Daisy Buchannan of The Great Gatsby-

Like Anti-Hero this may be Taylor’s critical side. She could see herself as these traits when she is in her self-hating mode.

Daisy Kenyon in the film of the same name-

I picked the petals, he loves me not

Or maybe it’s none of those characters, and Taylor (tagged as the daisy) is just referring to herself:

Something different bloomed

https://www.billboard.com/music/pop/taylor-swift-solo-songwriter-list-1235022983/

Writing in my room

I play my songs in the parking lot

I’ll run away

Taylor leaves painful situations to write and to focus on her career ambitions.

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

I called a taxi to take me there

She is saying she had nobody to drive her because she was on her own. Taylor had to pay someone to take her.

Where is Taylor at and where is she going?

Probably not TN to NYC-

She’s wealthy, but this seems like a long fare.

Maybe she means figuratively.  Taylor wants to be a household name, and she does this by bringing a personal touch to her listeners.  During the 1989 Era, Taylor called a Taxi company and made an account to pay for all of her fans to get to and from her concert.  Gestures like this make for a loyal fan base, which will help Taylor’s music career succeed.

I search the party of better bodies

Aspiring music writers/singers?

Taylor could be looking back at the start of her career during her juncture between country and pop music. She could also be talking about competing with other women for the crown of pop stardom.

Models and actresses joined the squad to bolster their career?

Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this

blood-

Sweat-

I really wanted to find out how long Taylor rehearses choreography for shows and tours, but this must be top secret information.  Despite trying for hours to Google different key words I couldn’t find anything that specified in any kind of detail how many hours.  I imagine it’s a long time.

A general example of rehearsals (not related specifically to Taylor):

Taylor’s purported 3x weekly workout and treadmill schedule:

Tears-

I hosted parties and starved my body

Taylor divulged she had disordered eating in Miss Americana.  I read in 2014 that she weighed 132lb.  This might not be accurate at all, who knows, but taking that number for an example it puts her BMI at 18.4 (underweight).  Also, I know BMI is a bit antiquated and depends on many variables that are not standardized to everyone.  But I’m trying to show some kind of quantitative example, so just go with it.  At 5’11” Taylor could weigh up to 178lb and be in a healthy weight range, per the BMI calculator.  

This is 1989 compared to Reputation:

Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss

In her country years Taylor had an idealized vision of what love should look like.  She seemed to draw from Disney and other fairytales in her youth.  

Kisses in Taylor’s songs:

As she got older, Taylor started dating and may have held onto some of that naivety.  It seemed like she thought a boyfriend could fix all of her problems.  She trusted these guys and seemed genuinely disappointed when they let her down:

Jonas brother-

Jake-

John Mayer-

Later, the boyfriends looked more fake (Tom Hiddleston) and some/all could have been beards.  To me, it looks like Taylor was pushed into these showmances and bearding situations (JJ, TL, JG, JM), but then she started hiring her own beards in order to “save” her career from her sexuality. Posing for a photo kissing a man would increase buzz around her music, make her more relatable, (and save Taylor from being outed?).

The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money

What money did Taylor take? 

Money from the studio to get started?

Money from fans who believed that Taylor’s genuine stories perfectly matched up with the PR narratives?

Money from celebrities who wanted to hide their sexuality under a beard?

Taylor is tying money to her dating life in this line.  She doesn’t like the boy-crazy jokes, BUT she took the money.  A definite possibility is that Lautner’s people, Jonas’ people, Jake, and even JM could have paid her for bearding services:

The gossip says that Jake is known for hiring beards:

A meme or a perceptive insight?

My friends from home don’t know what to say

Taylor’s friends are surprised that she is doing inauthentic things they know aren’t in her character in order to grow her career.

I looked around in a blood-soaked gown

The only thing that comes to mind is Carrie:

At first I thought this reference was out of left field, but after reading the following I thought it fit Taylor surprisingly well:

And I saw something they can’t take away

THEY can’t take away Taylor’s writing ability.  She honed her skills alone in her bedroom, practiced them in parking lots, and she will always have that.

‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned

The pages turned could be moving on to the next chapter of life, for example, the move from Nashville to NYC. This could additionally be talking about leaving relationships.

This is true about her writing/music too. Songs were cut or never added to the album for whatever reason (a lot were too gay).

Everything you lose is a step you take

With every new start something had to end.

Every song in the crypt contributed to the final product of the finished album [writing is editing!]. And those finalized albums are the stepping stones to the great fame Taylor enjoys(?) today.

Is Taylor talking about something specifically here?

Country/Nashville/home roots?

Jake G. (or men in general)?

It wasn’t working out, but that brought Taylor to the Kaylor relationship (women)?

If Jake was a beard, does the above apply to Dianna?

The Squad/fake friends?

So make the friendship bracelets

During the 1989 Era, bracelets were given to the crowd:

A fan gave Taylor a bracelet with pink and blue and purple beads with the word “pride” spelled out. She displayed it prominently in the below photo:

Take the moment and taste it

I don’t know that much about Buddhism, but there is a philosophy within that talks about living in the moment. And it applies a lot to worry and anxiety. The tenants have subjects of the spirituality be aware of their 6 senses (I think heart is the 6th?) in order to be present at this place in time. It relieves worry and regret which focus on present and past.

Less seriously:

You’ve got no reason to be afraid

You’re on your own, kid

Yeah, you can face this

Renegade-

You’re on your own, kid

You always have been

Where does all of this leave us?

I think Taylor is telling us she has a rift between her and her father. But her mom is someone she can trust, and Andrea loves her unconditionally.

Nashville, country music, and her label made Taylor feel constricted and trapped.

Moving to NYC felt like wonderful freedom and breaking into pop catapulted Taylor to the top of the industry. There was a price to pay for that though-starving her body for just one example.

Jake may have hired/(secretly regarded?) Taylor as a beard. Taylor either didn’t know she wasn’t a real GF, or didn’t understand how Jake could remain cold and detached when acting the part made Taylor catch real feelings for him. It’s also a possibility that Taylor already knew she was queer, and the breakup with Jake hit her hard because she was morning the loss of a straight future she would never have.

With Dianna, Taylor knew she needed more. She wanted someone to be present and consistent and loyal, or it left her unhappy. There could also have been the revelation that she could never fight the logistics to be with a woman. Taylor might have been so upset because her career and Dianna (or any woman) could never coexist.

The Squad felt superficial and empty. Even though Taylor was able to have all the friends she wanted as a kid, it wasn’t satisfying and didn’t last.

Kaylor breakup hit Taylor hard and she is still recovering.

Bearding/Joe protects Taylor’s career but she’s living an isolated life, unable to have a true love. That makes Taylor miserable, but she leans on her music to cope.

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!

Taylor Swift is Peter Pan

7 Aug

First a very quick lesson in (internalized) misogyny:

We live in a patriarchy, a sociopolitical and cultural system that values masculinity over femininity (Ferguson).  Misogyny is perpetuated by our surroundings even in subconscious ways, so we are saturated by the confines of gender. Since we are indoctrinated by underrepresentation & sexist representation, misogyny becomes an ingrained cultural norm.  Double standards are so embedded in our culture we often don’t recognize when we’re reinforcing them. A “boys will be boys” attitude and judging a women’s appearance more harshly than a man’s are two examples. “Even when we may be aware of the gender roles and stereotypes at play, we still can internalize some deeply-rooted misogyny from what we’ve been taught. We must make a conscious effort to reconsider these thought processes and undo the damage, ” (Gudenau).

In 2014, Taylor Swift made a conscious choice to become a feminist:

Swift told the magazine over her avoidance of the issue [of feminism] earlier in her career. “I think that when I used to say, ‘Oh, feminism’s not really on my radar,’ it was because when I was just seen as a kid, I wasn’t as threatening. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman.”  She continued, “Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality” (https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/taylor-swift-talks-feminism-misogyny-in-maxim-38970/)

Let’s Talk “Infantilization” in the context of sociology & women, in particular:

Infantilization starts, really at the beginning of history.  We won’t go into that here, or the Greeks and their “boy love” but I suggest reading up on it, as it’s very compelling history.  For the purpose of this post, we will start at World War II (1941-1945 for U.S. involvement).  When large numbers of men were sent to fight, it became common for women to take over what were considered to be male jobs so that the economy would remain stable and production would continue. Although this was framed as a patriotic duty, many women enjoyed the autonomy and independence that employment afforded them and were disappointed when they had to give them up after the war ended. 

Having proven that they were fully capable of independence during the war years, women presented a threat to male authority and were potential competition for employment. Treating women like children strengthened and perpetuated the notion that women could not care for themselves without a man.  It was a way of reigning in independent women and infantilization was in large part a means by which men could regain control of women.  

Television at the time (which often reinforces the social norms) portrayed the acceptable station of women by telling simple stories that portray idealized families in a safe and comfortable world. These shows produce a sense of nostalgia and a certain level of enjoyment, but look deeper and feel stunned by the ways in which the female characters are treated like children by the men around them.  The Adventures of Ozzie and HarrietLeave it to Beaver, and Father Knows Best all capture this sentiment well. . .  In the case of I Love Lucy, the series’ main character was often treated like a child by her husband, which included demeaning language and, in some cases, spanking.  For Lucy, and many other women during this era, infantalization was a means of controlling women and perpetuating the myth that without men (a father figure), they were incapable of caring for themselves or exercising autonomy.

(https://study.com/academy/lesson/infantilization-of-women-definition-significance.html)

Let’s move on to the song at hand:

We discussed how we’re overwhelmed with misogyny, even subconsciously, by living in a world that values the masculine over feminine.  We have internalized those ideas, and perpetuate them, even unknowingly.  We discussed how infantilization was used in the 1950s to convince women to leave the workplace because they needed a man to survive.  And we went over how, in 2014, around the 1989 era, Taylor Swift said she had previously unaware feminism impacted her, but she felt the pressures of it more and more as she aged [and achieved more power].

My assessment is that infantilization, which still acts upon girls and women in current times, was deep-seated in Taylor’s psyche.  Just as that social tool has been internalized by most all of us, women, and men.  She wrote a song about her life at the time.  It’s a nice little story, with a sentimental bent:

Your little hand’s wrapped around my finger
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter ’cause you’re dreamin’
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light  

Taylor emphasizes how comfortable and loved this child is.  They are tucked in and made to feel safe and peaceful.  This is a very idealized version of kids, and what it’s like to be one, with no tantrums or messes, no imperfect family life.  Only the good parts are mentioned here.  It relates to the 1950s television shows conveying a secure, comfortable home where men go to work, women keep house, and children are well-mannered.  Perfect.  

To you, everything’s funny
You got nothing to regret  

Taylor gives us examples of how children are carefree and innocent, with an obvious wistfulness.  Taylor wishes she could rewind time for herself.  These lines tell the listener that she has experienced the more serious side of life as she’s aged.  She has made mistakes she may regret.  It would be a lot more cozy and happy if she could go back to that comfy bed in the first verse.  The lines also convey that life gets more difficult as we gain awareness and make more social connections. 

I’d give all I have honey
If you could stay like that

Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up
Never grow up  

This chorus.  It’s the most obvious example of what I’m trying to say, infantilization is at play here.  The ‘never grow ups’ relate to the Peter Pan references later written in cardigan.  In the music video, Taylor follows magical golden glitter from scene to scene. It looks just like the pixie dust Peter uses to help Wendy fly off to Neverland, and conveys how beautiful remaining a child is is both Peter’s story and Taylor’s mind. And in Miss Americana, Taylor tells the audience that there is a saying that people get frozen in the age they got famous and she felt that applied to her, confirming her choice/circumstance.  

You’re in the car on the way to the movies
And you’re mortified your mom’s droppin’ you off
At fourteen, there’s just so much you can’t do
And you can’t wait to move out someday and call your own shots
But don’t make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she’s gettin’ older too  

In this verse, Taylor addresses an older child, maybe even herself as a teen.  She indicates adolescents want independence and freedom.  They begin to push away from caring parents.  But she reminds the teen that parents have feelings too, so have empathy.  She finishes the verse:


And don’t lose the way that you dance
Around in your PJs getting ready for school  

Taylor continues, to show the difference between youthful innocence and the shame that comes with being an adult.  She uses the dancing example after the ’embarrassed to get dropped off’ lines, to show that teenagers are beginning to be influenced by society’s perception of them.  They become aware of social norms and may repress their natural behavior to abide by the rules set for them.  Taylor is glorifying the freedom of childhood here just as she did in seven, “Before I learned civility/I used to scream ferociously/Any time I wanted.”  In both instances, Taylor misses the times when she was free to be herself and not have to abide by a patriarchal society’s conditioning.  

Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple  

Taylor is insistent in the chorus, growing up is worse.  And the lyrics, “when you are young they assume you know nothing,” could also tie back into the Peter Pan cardigan references.  It might refer to how, although Peter Pan and the Lost Boys could never grow up or fall in love, they still knew the magic of Neverland and its fairies, talking crocodiles, pirates, and all sorts of things that adults never could.   

And no one’s ever burned you
Nothing’s ever left you scarred And even though you want to
Just try to never grow up  

These lines are drawing on personal experience.  Taylor, herself, has been burned and scarred, now that she’s older.  As a child, she was protected from the outside world, kind of like the wives and children in the 1950s shows.  Father was the one who braved the mean, outside world and the family lived in a protective (if not restrictive) cocoon.  Taylor says as she gained the freedom of adulthood, she had to pay the price of being exposed to pain.  

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone  

This part is very sentimental.  It shows how young adults feel when they are leaving the comfort and familiarity of their childhood home and family.  It’s a very common feeling of fear of the unknown and reluctance to take the leap to independence.  This bridge is a reason many people gravitate to this song.  It’s their same experience as Seniors in high school, and Taylor captures the hesitancy perfectly.  It’s exactly these uncertainties exploited by infantilization.    

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It’s so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my nightlight on  

Now, Taylor brings the song to the first person and talks about her own situation directly.  She has finally gained the independence she had been longing for as a teen, but it’s lonely, and she has to soothe and comfort herself.  Nobody is there to tuck her in.  It’s not the freedom she had imagined as a teen, and she wants to reverse her aging process to feel that comfort again. She has fully embraced patriarchy’s teachings that women need someone to care for them.    

Wish I’d never grown up
I wish I’d never grown up Oh, I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
Could still be little
Oh, I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
It could still be simple
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh, darlin’, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And even though you want to
Please try to never grow up
Oh, oh
Don’t you ever grow up
Oh (never grow up)
Just never grow up

This song is a cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for.  Taylor took for granted how comfortable and free she was as a child when she pushed for more independence as a teen.  As she got more freedoms, Taylor was concurrently hurt like never before.  And when independence was realized it felt like a letdown, cold and empty.  The beginning of the song is warm and lovely, the end is cold and regretful.  Never grow up, she cautions, or you might feel this bad also.

Misogyny is internalized when women or men subconsciously absorb sexist beliefs through socialization.  Women, in this case, Taylor Swift, can also hold an unconscious bias toward their own gender.  Just as the 1950s television shows contributed to the belief (by both men and women themselves) that women were a generally inferior gender, this song shows aging and becoming independent is a perilous, unhappy event.  Internalized misogyny is projected onto oneself and others by all of us (Gudenau).  And I believe an overemphasis on the happiness and comfort of childhood combined with the doubt that Taylor Swift can be happy tucking herself in, is an example of another women succumbing to infantilization.  Society tells women they need a man to be comfortable and happy, thus we believe that. And knowing Taylor’s lyrical story, we know there were consequences for her getting stuck at the age that she got famous.  The line, “Peter losing Wendy,” in cardigan, evokes the song’s theme of losing someone because you can’t grow up.   Just as Peter had to lose Wendy since he couldn’t really love her, and she went to grow up without him, Taylor lost someone because she didn’t want to grow up, either.  Internalized infantilization had her stuck.

Luckily, as I have already alluded, Taylor saw the truth.  Society tries to convince women they’re more happy being taken care of as a way to reign in female power.  And now she sings The Man, a song about how her life would be different if she was treated like a man.

Moving to CO Logistics

14 Sep

When I get stressed out, I find myself making lists.  It’s an attempt to remember everything.  And an attempt to get organized and make a plan.  But mostly, it’s a (subconscious) way to gain control over a situation I feel is chaotic.  I’ve moved a lot and that’s one of the most stressful things in life.  Especially if the move is out of state–but always.  So here is an example of lists I made to prepare for a move:

Draft a plan and a budget for the job search and the relocation. Look at your calendar for a reasonable relocation date and set a goal. Give yourself enough time to conduct an extensive search for employment and find a home.

Make a list of EVERYTHING you want to bring with you to your new place

Make a list of everything you’re throwing away/giving away/donating.

—microwave, kegerator, chipped plates, orange coffee mugs, vacuum, TV, noodle strainer, blue cooking fan

-remember to cancel utilities like water, gas, electricity, internet, etc

–It is important to notify insurance providers – for example, if you have any insurance on your cars, home, life, health and etc.

Utility providers should definitely know about your change of address – phone and mobile providers, water and electricity companies, internet providers,

–Go to your post office as well – alternatively you can fill in an online form and send it to them through the internet. You can find the USPS form to complete here.

-print all addresses/phone numbers

-Have some cleaning supplies to clean up your old home after the move.

-Put together a bag pack of personal essentials you will need for the first day in the new home.

–toothpaste, towels, a set of clothes for each member of the family, some snacks and drinks

-Collect receipts for paid bills, contracts, birth certificates, etc. You need all this paperwork in one file for easy access. Keep it safe, always bring it with you during the move 

-Make a list of everything you need to buy before you move.

Make a list of everything you need to buy right after you get to your new town.

Make a list of everything that needs to be done once you’re moved in.

-go to NV and process my storage unit. Have a yard sale, organize and clean the unit.

-Find an apartment

–get temporary place/short lease 1st

—visit potential apt b4 signing a long lease & moving in

–washer/dryer IN unit!

–dbl pane glass

–hopefully 2 bedrm

–clearwire internet

CATS:

-get lysine powder

-get each cat 3 year vax

-get a health cert

-get sedative

-give Capstar during & at moving time

-get Frontline & apply it 2 wk before travel

JOB:

-Create a cover letter template that includes a sentence or two about your relocation plans. For example, you could write, “I’m currently in Little Rock, Arkansas. However, I’m relocating to Washington, D.C. within the next 30 days.” If you don’t want to confine yourself to a specific time or want to ensure you’re available whenever you receive a job offer, add “I’m available for immediate relocation to the Washington, D.C. area.”

-Spend one to two weeks in your desired location, following up on requests for informational interviews. Before your travel, you should have scheduled job interviews by letting HR representatives and hiring managers know your travel dates. If possible, devote most of your time to business — interviewing, sending thank-you notes, touring residential areas.

-later, drive most of my belongings to NV and put in the storage unit.

-have a yard sale in Spokane.

-Take 1 carload from Spokane to CO

-fly to NV, then bring a U-haul from NV to CO.

-fly from CO to Spokane to p/u cats, then back to CO

CARS

-Tune Up Rusty

–oil change

–new all-weather tires

-Registration refunds for the unused portion of your paid Washington registration are available, subject to certain provisions. Complete a Vehicle/Vessel Registration Refundand mail it, along with a copy of your vehicle’s new title or registration from a different state, to:

  • Department of Licensing
  • Revenue Management Unit
  • P.O. Box 9037
  • Olympia, Washington 98507-9037

-Apply for a new driver’s license. After establishing residency most states require that this be done within a set amount of time, usually ranging between 30 and 60 days.

-Apply for a new registration. This too must be completed within a set amount of days after establishing residency.

-Apply for new license plates. This generally coincides with the registration process.

-Notify your insurance company of your move and provide a new address.

-Learn if your new state requires vehicle inspections.

-you do need to take a trip to a local CO driver license office.

http://www.dmv.org/co-colorado/dmv-office-finder.php

-Check out our detailed instructions on driver licenses.

  • Surrender your current out-of-state license.
  • Provide proof of CO residency (utility bill, pay stub).
  • Provide proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (birth certificate, immigration document).
  • Provide your Social Security number.
    • If you do not have one, you’ll need to provide a letter of ineligibility from the SSA.
  • Pay the $21 fee.
    • The DMV accepts cash, personal checks, and money orders.
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Get your fingerprint and photo taken.
  • Provide your signature.

–Any vehicle purchased in another state and being registered in Colorado must have a VIN verification performed. You can get a VIN verification done at all law enforcement offices, car dealerships, and certain automotive care and repair businesses. There will be fees charged for VIN verifications, and prices vary from place to place.

-Changing your plates is a little more time-consuming in CO and might involve an emissions test if your new abode is situated in an ugly air zone. This is pretty much the entire Denver metro area and a few counties in the mountains.

–The following counties require emissions testing throughout the entire county:

  • Boulder County.
  • Broomfield County.
  • Denver County.
  • Jefferson County.

Counties that only require emissions testing in certain parts of the county are:

  • Adams County.
  • Arapahoe County.
  • Larimer County.
  • Weld County

-Gasoline vehicles model year 1982 and newer: $25.

-Your next stop will take you to a title and registration office to register your vehicle. We provide comprehensive registration and titling information, so you can maneuver through the procedures in no time.

-Obtain the maps to nearby places you will want or need to get to before you may know your way around town very well. Grocery stores, hospitals, libraries, post office, auto repair, schools, your job (lol!), other shopping, Starbucks (lol!), movie theaters, activities. Make a little book and keep it in your glove box

-Some of the common things forgotten when moving are the records of dentists, doctors, vet, etc. Use the opportunity to get advice for specialists in the area where you will be moving to

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

2016 in Review: The Bad–and there was plenty

2 Jan

what a shit-show

Lots of bad stuff happened all year.  Cool’s mom died which caused a cascade of bad reactions and terrible events.  Cool’s bipolar was off the heezy, up and down and up and further up–making life complex and terrible.  My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo surgery and radiation.  My dad was diagnosed with early Parkinson’s Disease.  Those events aren’t in my countdown, because even though they sucked–they aren’t MY events to claim.  But they did negatively affect me.

 

Here’s how 2016 started:  I had to work on New Year’s Eve 2015.  Of course either everyone else either planned ahead and took the day off, or called out sick.  But I was still in my first 90 days, so I wasn’t yet eligible for any time off.  So it was me and my supervisor for half of it.  Till she coerced another co-worker to come in by reminding him that he wouldn’t get paid for the holiday if he didn’t show up to the shift immediately proceeding it.  This was typical stuff for my work history–I was used to Noh’s Ark 20s-something shenanigans.  While I was at work, Cool was getting her drink on.  Mind you, we had been abstinent for 2 whole years.  And we had not discussed adding alcohol back into our lives–she just grabbed it impulsively.  And drank it.  Even though she was home alone.  Long story short, by the time I rushed home from work for the countdown, Cool had already over-done it, was tired, then went to puke.  And she vomited, not down in the toilet, but from above–so it got everywhere!  It was the bad omen that started 2016.

vomit

The year went on like that–one thing after another.  I spent a lot of time writing my music blog.  I spent a ton of time editing pictures, writing descriptions, and putting in order–my good moments of 2016.  These moments sucked.  I’m tired of thinking about them-tired of dwelling on them.  I’ll quick-write these and be done.  I’m worn down from 2016, and hoping for a very tranquil 2017.

 

 

 

 

Bottom Moments:

9-I got a flu.  For the first time I can remember–aside from childhood sicknesses.  My fever lasted 5 days!  I was miserable.  I lost a week of unpacking and errands.

8-I got the impossible raise by negotiating.  This one hurts because it should have been such a GOOD moment.  But then my boss ruined my moment by being an ass.  He doesn’t like me and makes no bones about it.  He wished his favorite employees had earned the big raise instead, and resented the fact my pay is so high now.  He said, “You got lucky.”  Ummm, nice.  What a douche!  Also, Cool ruined my celebration by picking a fight–one of our biggest fights ever.  Not awesome.

7-The moving process, because it is always a headache.  We had to hire movers because the washer/dryer unit weighs 240 pounds.  Nothing is simple when you are moving from a basement to a third floor unit 35 minutes away.  Cool works days and I work nights so we had to work alone.  And then, I hated the stupid, non-functional layout of the new apartment, and not being able to unpack.  What a money-pit.

6-Our cute neighborhood with so much potential suddenly went downhill.  It went from quiet with tons of potential to ghetto and dangerous in about three weeks.  A homeless family made camp in our apartment’s parking lot.  People started walked by, peering into our living room window, casing the joint.  The police started showing up to various units routinely (see blog).  Starting to feel unsafe walking from my car to the apartment when I got home in the early morning hours felt awful.  Knowing the owner didn’t care about our safety and wellbeing, and wasn’t going to do anything to improve the situation was frustrating.  And learning that no one else could help us, because it was private property felt hopeless.

5-Cool got in a 6x roll-over accident and totaled her car.  But she lived.  It’s a miracle.  Except it happened 1 week before we moved!  The timing for it was the worst.  And I had to call out sick twice as a result of the crash, possible head injury, then her anxiety about it.  And now, I have to do all the shopping, all the errands, and take her to the pharmacy and anywhere else she needs to go.

4-working with effing lazy people every day.  Doing way more then my share of the work–every day.  Seeing my lazy co-workers be–lazy.  Resentment.  Getting held hostage by slowness of coworkers despite doing all the work.  Going home late in every scenario.  Being tired all the time.  Starting the next shift tired, and doing all the work (tired) again, in the hopes of leaving earlier and getting more sleep.  Failing at this night after night.  Really got me down.

3-Working with Catty.  I started dreading work every Monday.  I didn’t want to talk at work.  I didn’t want to stand up at any time, lest be judged by her.  I didn’t want to turn my head.  I felt self-conscious.  We had to trade recs and it was horrible.  She was a bitch and made me feel small and edgy.  She was my boss’ friend.  She had been there much longer and knew everyone.  She hated me.

2-Cool ambushed me.  And I found out she had gone “Mean Girls” against me for quite some time.  I broke up with her and kicked her out of the apartment.  Then, I had to work with the bitch (the afore-mentioned Catty) who initiated the whole thing–every Monday.  Sitting immediately sitting next to her, and having to trade requisitions to verify stressed me out!  Cool was ridiculous, and everything was tumultuous.  Suddenly, I felt very alone in Utah–in the world.  I was furious, and knew she was being THE WORST, yet my heart hurt.

1-window harassment (because the fear lasted longer then Cool’s ambush).  When someone started harassing us by knocking on our bedroom window several times, it was time to go.  I lay awake at night listening, anticipating with dread someone coming back, and breaking in.  I heard sounds, saw lights.  I had to plan what to do if someone got in when we weren’t home.  When we were sleeping.  While I was alone.  When Cool was home alone.  We had so much dread.  It was awful.  And in a horrible year of a lot of big, awful events–it was the worst.  By just a little bit.

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-Good

1 Jan

I usually like to post all my reflections by December 31st and all my aspirations on January 1st.  Because of a full-time work schedule, and a holiday visit–it didn’t happen this year.  I’m setting aside more time tomorrow to write, but I did want to get something up on the actual 1st.  Even though I really didn’t have time because I spent the day rearranging the whole living room, organizing all the books, textbooks, class notes, and scrapbook items, and cleaning.  And that was a huge project, which was worth it because it looks so much nicer in here, there is more space (somehow, even though we added a bunch), and it’s less cluttered.  Anyway, so you’ll see the most important items in the countdown are unfinished.  But the post has to be posted on this date, I’m hungry, and times a tickin.  So I’ll edit it after dinner and after Cool goes to sleep, but for now–bare with me.

15-the relief of staying at the Missoula hotel at a halfway point in our move.

We hadn’t planned on spending the money.  Plus, the cats are generally horrible in hotels, and no sleep is had anyway.  But we finished packing, and loaded the Pensky in record time–like it was noon or something equally early.  So we decided why stay in a dusty, empty apartment when we could just shave off some miles.  We made a spur-of-the-moment reservation at our lucky hotel (lucky because they had an opening WITHOUT a reservation on Independence Day and saved me from a major allergy attack.  And from camping at pow-wow in the dust (and allergens).  The cats even slept a little that night and it made it a more bearable two day trip rather than one long haul.

14-getting a full-time position with a schedule that still allowed me to see Cool

You never know when homophobia will rear it’s ugly head.  I wasn’t sure if any work or housing protections are in place for LGBT people.  Besides, this is Utah–known for Mormons more than tolerance.  Also, work has a policy against spouses working in the same department.  Even though we’re not legal or married or domestically partnered in any way, if they want to make a case against you, they can usually find a way.  In short, asking for an alternative schedule to SEE Cool was a touchy subject.  With driving time, her job keeps her away from home from 8:15AM to 3:30PM and mine was supposed to be 4:30PM to 1:30AM.  We would see each other for 1 hour each day–while getting undressed from work (Cool) ready for work (me), and eating dinner.  It just wasn’t going to be enough.  And especially with bipolar in the mix and needing to stay apprised of the situation, it was going to be a major hardship.  I got brave and negotiated a good schedule, then it was promptly reneged (see bad moments blog).  In the end, work couldn’t give that other bitch Sundays, because that left Saturdays empty.  I was still not trained enough to take that day, and the other kid who could take it (and didn’t want Saturday, of course) is a lead–so he MUST work M-F.  So because they couldn’t move the lead, I did end up getting my schedule.  But not because they were doing me any favors.  Still, I’ll take what I can get.  And now I LOVE my schedule.  It’s really ideal.

13-Temple Square at Christmas

temple square christmas

Who knew Mormon Christmas festivity would make my top-of-the-year list?!  No, I haven’t been drinking the Utah koolade, it’s just that spectacular.  Around the temple, every tree, bush, and pond is saturated with lights.  There’s music and wreaths, and a really nice atmosphere.  Both malls have decorations, and all of downtown is dressed up for Christmas.  We took pictures, Cool stood in the middle of someone else’s marriage proposal, and we saw a fountain/light show to Christmas songs.  The best part?  We live within walking distance.  We did not have to fight for parking or make our way through the heavy traffic to enjoy it.  It’s so nice, people come from all over the state to partake.

12-exploring SLC, especially walking around the city

green haze

We didn’t move into this apartment complex to be downtown.  It just so happened that the ONLY apartment in our price range that accepted pets, AND actually called us back was practilly downtown.  We can walk less than a mile and be at both malls, the planetarium, the sports/concert arena, farmer’s market, the rapid transit–all downtown has to offer.  We took full advantage on the warm days, and even some of the freezing ones, walking everywhere this year.  And we’ve explored and taken pictures, and genuinely enjoyed this new city.  I can’t wait to explore more areas while increasing our step counts.

11-getting true weekends off of work

My whole working life I worked weekends.  Kennel work, of course, requires cleaning and feeding the animals.  As an assistant, I had to medicate animals as well.  In janitorial, those are the off-hours available to deep-clean.  I’ve never had a true entire Saturday, entire Sunday off.  Every weekend.  So when I went to a corporate job it was a really nice treat being in sync with the rest of the world (and Cool).  This only lasted for 3 months, but it was MY choice to work Sundays, and I exchanged it for Friday and Saturdays off and a late-start on Wednesday, so I’m still winning.

10-having a larger, brighter, more functional kitchen

kitchen

I knew I didn’t love the galley kitchen in Spokompton.  It was dark and unventilated and there was very little storage.  But I didn’t really how much I hated it until I got a huge, bright, super-storage kitchen that was more open.  All the kitchen stuff fits in it, AND there’s counter space!

9-getting a job in another state, before we moved

Moving is horribly stressful.  And it’s expensive.  I feel like it’s 2015, you should be able to secure jobs and housing online–but we are not there yet.  You pretty much have to be IN the state you’re moving to in order to get the job and housing.  Which is a major problme when you’re not made of money.  Because where do you stay in the meantime?  And how do you pay deposit and rent if you are not working (and you don’t know when you will be)?  It’s very scary and logistically almost impossible.  But, luckily, Cool’s Spokane company had openings within different departments in Utah.  So she couldn’t tansfer, but she was pretty well guarenteed a position in the company.  So she got a job.  Then, they had another opening in her company, and since I have a medical background and a minor in chemistry (and knew Cool), I got a job.  It was one of the greatest moments of my life because I was hired over the phone!  And it was a big relief because it gave some answers to questions and a safety net.

8-the entire Christmas visit to my parents’ house–especially the owl painting.

our owls--mine, Cools, Dad, Mom

We saw my parents a third time–a record–over Christmas.  It was special, because I’ve rarely gotten time off of work to go anywhere.  Especially over a holiday.  And Cool could come again.  So it would be the biggest Christmas I’ve ever had.  When I was growing up, it was just my parents and I because extended family lives in Montana where winter weather makes travel dangerous.  And after I moved out, vet hospitals got busy because everyone else was on vacation so where either boarding pets or using that time to catch up on their appointments, or bringing them in for Christmas-related emergencies.  So I always had to work, and be by myself over the holidays.  So it was special just having the 4 of us together.  But my parents had got Cool and I a surprise.  And they were so excited about  it.  And really building up the anticipation.  We were really worked up into a frenzy about what it could be.  At the very end, I guessed it was a painting session, and I was right!  So we were excited to try it because my parents had a good time with it previously–and you get to keep what you paint.  And my dad especially was all weird when we got there, because he was actually excited to paint, and for us to paint.  It’s a big deal, because he’s usually stoic.  The painting process was fun, and seeing all of our creations was a pleasure that lasted and lasted.  We gazed upon them, commented on their different personalities and styles, and looked some more.  We rearranged them and rearranged them again.  The whole thing was really the best from start to finish!

7-running on the trail with Cool

Aquarium with parents 134

Historically Cool HATES running.  And she’s not fun to run with because she slacks off, complains, and just doesn’t want to be there.  But this summer the stars aligned, she was in generally better shape, the weather was nice, and the trail new and beautiful.  We ran almost every day together.  She (mostly) actually ran, mostly without complaint too.  It was a time we could work on our fitness, then we walked back to the car together.  It was a really good time, being out and nature and having no distractions or screens, so we just caught up and talked to each other.  It was really nice times and now that our schedules are opposite, I miss it terribly.

6-Getting to see Brandi Carlile in concert

brandi and twins onstage

Duh!  Brandi always puts on an outstanding show.  Even though I wasn’t in love with the new album, I loved the way she performed the songs live.  She makes the crowd feel like family.  She gets me jazzed up and also moves my heart.  We weren’t stressed about standing in line or getting a good seat, so I was just able to relax and enjoy myself–unheard of for me.

5-Hope:  Moving to a better, cleaner city with better job prospects and working a job that might offer future (non-veterinary) prospects for me.

Spokane only offered so much.  We had sort of burned through what few prospects it had and were reaching a dead-end.  We didn’t want to get a Spokompton mentality or get stuck and be unable to move out, and unable to move UP in life.  So coming to Utah was amazing.  It opened doors and gave us options again.  Plus it’s a really clean, safe, walkable city where Spokane is not.

4-getting a washer/dryer

11739557_10207005138825348_509593602_n

This was a long time coming!  I had been doing coin-op since I moved out of my parents house in 2003.  And it sucked pretty much the whole time.  Taking your laundry out of your house is a burdan.  No matter the sute dorm bags, you still have to haul it.  And not just out to the washer.  You then have to leave the comfort of your house to change it to the dryer.  That’s if you trusted enough to leave it unattended in the first place.  Then you have to make a third trip to collect it from the dryer.  And good luck getting it dry–it’s never dry!  That costs a boat-load of money and forget any special care instructions or color-sorting.  That’s just not practical.  Also, think about if the cat pees on something.  Or you spill something.  Or after camping when everything is all icky.  You can’t always go to the laundry facilities at 4AM or midnight, so you then have to store that ultra-dirty stuff.  And it’s ick.  So getting a washer/dryer was AMAZING!  Now we are real people, and I love it pretty much every time I throw something into the laundry basket.

3-when my parents visited over the summer-especially the aviary day

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It took my parents 5 years to visit me in Missouri.  And we hadn’t seen them since 2010.  So when they came to Salt Lake City almost immediately after we moved here, I was really excited.  Even better, I had a training schedule at work that was only 25 hours per week–so I actually had time to see them.  We visited the aquarium and went to Cheesecake Factory, and showed them a lot of the same sights we had just barely discovered.  Nobody fought the whole time, which was a record!  That hadn’t happened in forever–we had gone through such tumultuous times.  So it was all really special and really fun.  The best was when the 4 of us visited the Aviary.  We got to feed Sun Canards by hand, watch a show, and just look at all the bird exhibits.  I love going to animal places normally, and including my parents and Cool was optimal!

2-when Cool and I had the exact same schedule, and worked together

It seems like Cool and I are always ending up on opposite schedules.  In Spokompton, I worked days, weekends, went to school, and pretty much studied the rest of the time.  While she worked swing shift.  We barely saw each other.  Then, when we got here, we suddenly had the same job, in the same department, and we worked the exact same hours.  We had the same sleep schedule, got to hang out together all day, then worked in the same room.  I loved those few months!  We could do all the errands together instead of 1 person having to suffer through it alone.  We could both clean the apartment at the same time, so it was faster and equal responsibility.  Our runs could happen together.  We had time to talk and hang out. . .  Then at work, it’s independent, but we could take our breaks together.  But then, Cool got an job offer doing billing in a cubicle upstairs which is more tailored to her personality, so in July or August, she went to the day shift and a different part of the building.  But being together was sure nice while it lasted.

1-DMB/Hot air balloons

Reno Balloon Races 065

We visited Nevada and had a great time with my parents!  My mom and I went in some historic railroad cars and got lost in Tahoe.  We were both very scared (we’ve seen the helicopters searching for unprepared stupids on TV many times) and despite that, we never fought!  Which is unheard of for us.  Especially when there’s no buffer person with us.  And very especially when we’re stressed.  So that was a milestone.  We also, on that trip, got to see Dave Matthews Band in Tahoe.  Which our seats were in the perfect spot, and it was fun to have my mom along–since she hadn’t been to a real concert in forever.  And DMB is always one of the best times.  But, the very, very best time was the balloons.  My mom and I had gone in 1994.  And it was miserable.  3 AM is too early, especially when you’re 9 yaesr old.  Even though it’s September, Nevada is COLD at that time in the morning, and we hadn’t dressed for it.  Also, back then, they didn’t sell blankets or sweatshirts, or warm beverages.  We got starving, and they didn’t sell food back then either.  My mom and I didn’t have a blanket to sit on, let alone chairs.  So the whole time we were tired, cold, hungry, cold, uncomfortable, cold, dusty, and cold.  It’s difficult to enjoy even the best things when you’re so physically uncomfortable–and I did not.  So ever since then I wanted a do-over.  I’d be prepared THIS time!  But September and college in no way work together.  Every time the Great Reno Balloon Race came around I was just starting school.  Or in Missouri, and getting ready for the first round of exams.  Or working at vet hospitals and unable to take a busy weekend off.  This year, I was only working a training schedule–and they had screwed me over on that PRN deal, so I didn’t feel guilty at all taking a week off.  I wasn’t in any kind of school for the first time in TEN years.  We could stay with my parents so it didn’t cost a bunch of money to visit.  I packed winter layers knowing I would be cold.  We made our own snacks and took hot coffee in thermoses.  We didn’t have chairs or remember a blanket, but everything else fell into place.  I was ready to enjoy myself this time!  We got a good parking spot and walked to the event, then stood/sat in one of the only empty areas.  We got to see the dueling balloons in the dark, and dawn patrol as the sun was rising.  I got great pictures.  Then, the BEST part was mass ascention.  We had unknowingly sat right down in the middle of the field, so all the balloons were blown up all the way around us.  We were right in the middle of the action!  And I got more good pictures.  It was even greater because my parents and Cool were there and everyone was in good spirits having a good time.  I had anticipated the event so much, and had previously been so disappointed, that this was AMAZING!  Now, I can’t wait to do it again.

our DMB posters

 

Overall, 2015 was a time of doubt and uncertainty.  But it was a very family-focused year and that salvaged things a lot.

 

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.