"You gonna get another job?"...

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Coming up on half a year after my dog died and I'm still working through it. Today I went to church the first time since the 'rona, Saw an old neighbor who had a dog about mine's age and personality. Wanted to tell him, but I lost him when the service ended. At this point I've somehow linked love to crying and there was a lot of love in the room so it was hard not to cry. Then, since it was a long weekend and it was too wet to mow, I decided to make another trip to the Dog Park. We'd go there most Sunday afternoons so I wanted to tell a few pet owners who knew her that she was dead. And there were at least 3 pubs I wanted to eat at that I never got around to because I had a dog with me. It was good. But sad. Beautiful day. Lots of great doggos out all over. So of course on the way I looked back and imagined her in her usual spot in the backseat and how excited she'd get when we got close to the dog park and that made me a mess too. I have to let her go. But I also refuse to forget her. So balancing the two is a tricky thing I haven't worked out yet.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
This is a straight-up Facebook post. I'm at war with FB over its pushy, intrusive and tone-deaf feed. They make their money selling my personal information to companies and selling access to me to companies so as they've failed to provide what I want--a way to stay in touch with friends and relatives--I have removed any marketable content about me. At this point my profile is my name, my birthdate, 63 friends, and a couple dozen pictures of my dog and cat--that I delete out once I'm done using them as background pics for the next 2 years (they each get a year of pics. The Dog died first, so when her year is up, I move to The Cat.)

I tried Parler. It can't remember my logon info for more than a few days, says my cached password is wrong, and I can't be assed to try to look it up or reset it. I tried Gettr. It is impossible to type a status update without it, for some reason, putting about the 5th letter from when you start typing out of sequence. I guess I could see if MySpace still has any kind of social network functionality, but I really don't feel like creating yet another fucking account. Still... I have stuff I want to say, so here it is.

I'm getting old. Other weekend, I was able to bang out most of my weekend chores on Saturday. This weekend was 3 days long and I've still got stuff to do.

Part of the problem is, it rained Saturday and Sunday. The lawn absolutely had to be mowed, and since I'm mowing over an acre with a push mower, it's basically an all-day affair. OK. I did get done with enough time to read e-mails, do bookkeeping, dust, and wiped down countertops. But after mowing an acre of yard with a push mower, all I'm capable of at this point is drinking fluids to hydrate and then going to bed.

In my defense, I did go to church Sunday. And to the dog park to see if one of my dog's human friends was there to tell him that she'd died. And I watched the BSG miniseries again. And I needed to do non-productive things for a change. But that kind of put a dent in my getting things done time.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
GoDaddy was once a good company that provided a valuable service. They did have a tendency to upsell but in recent years that's all they're about. They don't see their customers as valuable other than as giant walking dollar signs. It has been years since I did any business with them, but they managed to talk me into paying for my domain names to the point that I still have them (I really should sell one of them that is marginally worth something). Along with a domain name, you got a free e-mail. After my falling out and disillusionment (my new domain is registered with--and hosted by--someone else) I changed my address for any mail I still wanted to get but kept getting assorted Oregon-related junk at the old address.

Well, in keeping with their mission statement of squeezing every possible dime out of their "customers" awhile back they decided to provide "added service" by discontinuing their free e-mail and switching to Microsoft-365. It's actually entertaining to read their increasingly desperate e-mails to me because I'm not cutting them a check so I can keep my "free" e-mail. Why is it that companies inevitably lose sight of what made them valued and flush it all down the toilet?
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Bah. My friend says the cat is doing well but remains incontinent. Puts him in a hard place, in that you hate to put an animal down that is otherwise functioning, but you also don't want to ruin your floors and have a house that stinks of cat pee. I guess she's largely living in the backyard for now.

With 20/20 hindsight, the think to do would've been to quietly and humanely kill the cat while I was taking care of it and just say she got out and ran off or something. But truth of the matter is, I'm getting to soft in my old age to be able to kill things (other than mice, ants, hornets, flies, mosquitos, etc). An interesting thing in the Bond novels is that he never particularly enjoys killing anyone and the older he gets, the more averse to killing he gets. By the later books at least twice he hesitates on killing people who clearly need to die and very nearly winds up dead for it. And even in the early books, when he knows he's going to be killing a lot of people, he gets very drunk before and after.

Another Bond novel thing that relates to my friend (and I think I've mentioned it here before) is, in the books, there's maybe 1 or 2 cases a year that merit Bond's involvement. The rest of the time he just comes into the office and reads reports, does his hand-to-hand combat and firearm qualification/training, and waits around for a job where they need his particular set of skills and abilities. During my last gig I mentioned that to my friend and he said "they don't have jobs like that anymore." But that's pretty much exactly what this job is at this point. The thing they hired me to do is done. The timeframe they hired me for is over. But they just lost their intern, they just started training up a new-hire and getting her all the hardware and software she needs, and haven't even posted the other open position yet. So he's keeping me around and paying me to be handy to help out where I'm needed and can help out. Meanwhile I monkey around with the work I got brought on to do, fine-tuning it, and read e-mails and pass the time until I'm needed.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I've got about 3 different things I want to say. But I think I'll start with the one I've rolled around in my head for a few weeks. and didn't have anywhere else to say. I'm not a dirty, creepy old man. Well, I am, but not with friends and family. If I can help it.

My friend, by accident or design, may have figured out how to shield his lovely daughter from the predations of boys and men. There's all the convent/shotgun jokes about jealous dads, but he's raised a very lovely young lady--who is also very smart and very confident--and likes science, technology, D&D, Magic: The Gathering, Dr. Who, and Star Trek. Most boys are going to be frightened and confused by her.

I do feel a little bad for her, that she might grow up a lonely misfit, but it's mostly worked for me so I guess I shouldn't complain. Too much.

And the funny thing is, for as well as he's raised her to be smart and geeky, you can't crush out all the girly-girl things. She didn't quite know what to make of the neighbor's horse(s). The big Arab is magnificent--and a little intimidating--he knows what he wants and isn't afraid to ask for it (this is usually butt-scratching, but it can be fresh grass/clover or whatever). He scared her the first time, but when they were getting ready to leave she showed up to pet him. We also went to the Kentucky Derby Museum. When we were leaving, she announced that she wanted to go because she wanted to get all dressed up for it with a fancy hat and everything.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Oh, I remembered one of the other things: Ye gods. Leviticus is painful reading. I'm a Catholic, which means I've lived half a century as a Christian without ever actually reading the Bible. I tried as a...teen? Got to Leviticus and lost interest. A few years back I heard it was easier to start with the New Testament and I made it through that. Started on the Old Testament and am once again stalled on Leviticus. Sleep with your neighbor's wife? Here's how many livestock you need to sacrifice to atone and how they should be prepared. Only flirt with her a little? Then it's a couple doves. Here's how they should be prepared. It just goes on and on and on like that.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Gah. I had to clock out from my contracting work. There's nothing to do. That isn't entirely true. I could find stuff to do if I wanted to. But it isn't like there's anything obvious, routine, and with a due date. So I'm doing "when I get time" personal things.

Look for a girlfriend. Gah. In principle I'd like someone to share my life with. I like sex and I'd like to have at least 1 kid. But in reality, I've got my life figured out and running smoothly right now. Adding another human to the mix would upset my calm routine. On top of that, I'm not really sure how to make myself interesting to another human. Talking to my neighbor's sister this morning as she helps out while my neighbor recovers from knee surgery. She asked me what my interests are and I realized I don't really have interests. At least not interesting interests. I read when I get a chance. I watch a couple TV shows. I fix up houses and, until recently the rest of my time was spent doing stuff with my dog and (to a lesser degree) my cat. And I BS on the Internet. Not exactly riveting stuff.

Got my DMV stuff done--new address on my drivers license, renewed the registration on my vehicles. Ordered a new battery for my phone. Hopefully that cures its current flakiness because I don't like any of the new phones out there. Even the 2.0 of my current phone, it doesn't have a removable battery. If I could get a 5g Android with a removable battery that is 3x5" or less, I'd be happy. Updated my mailing address for property taxes and asked my roofing guy to see what a shingle-over on my one rental is going to cost me. Then on to more miserable "fun" stuff.

My Mom didn't have a will when she died--even though she knew she had pancreatic cancer. So it was fun, trying to deal with the probate court in Wisconsin while I lived in Oregon--and my brother in Wisconsin's approach to unpleasant tasks is to just ignore them and hope they'll go away. Since, if I die without a will, all my stuff will go to my brother, and I literally don't know and don't want to know how much money he's pissed away over the course of his life, I really don't want him to blow in a few years what I've spent my entire life building up. So I plan to divide it up among my cousins. Our extended family is kind of like a split level house. My Mom's oldest sister got married at a fairly common age and had a fairly big family. My Mom didn't marry until 35. So I've got a batch of cousins who are, say, 8-20 years older than me. They all married and had kids so I've also got a batch of cousins say 8-20 years younger than me. The Plan is to basically divide up my estate among them. BUT!...there *are* a few wrinkles. I did inherit a few things from my Dad's side of the family. Grandma's China, an old old photo album, etc. Those should probably go to my brother. And then there's things like my artwork, my comic book collection, and memorabilia from my military career that probably shouldn't be just auctioned off. So I started getting all those notes together for my attorney--and hoping there's some slick, painless, and inexpensive way to carve out those niches and still keep the will fairly straightforward.

At that point I realized I would be e-mailing this along, so it could go out after hours. I had other stuff that needed to be done during business hours. So I called up USAA to look into health insurance and getting a VA loan on my home. Now those are 2 very different areas. And they confused the crap out of the call system robot, so I eventually wound up with an auto insurance broker. When I explained what I was trying to do, she transferred me to their health insurance person/company. Had that talk. And the fundamental stinginess of me has a hard time coming to terms with what the monthly insurance rate is for someone my age. Somehow I don't get hung up about it for homes or cars, but the idea of shelling out hundreds of dollars a month in case I get cancer or get hit by a car is a very hard pill to swallow (pun not entirely intended). So I copped out when the guy offered to e-mail me the info. Of course he wasn't going to be able to transfer me back to the VA Loan people. And I envisioned the difficulty the conversation about qualifying for a VA Loan would entail--once I successfully called back and negotiated my way to the proper authority. So I decided to take a break to write this.

And as I was typing, I realized the other miserable task that wasn't on my list: Last November I learned that a police department in Illinois, up near Chicago, recovered one of my guns that was stolen a few years back. Repeated telephone calls have gotten "don't call us, we'll call you." So I really should send a certified letter stating my claim--and possibly look at retaining an attorney. Heck, even if the police department WANTS to return it to me, I'm not sure it is legally possible. Because even though, practically, the police have recovered stolen property of mine, technically they would need to transfer a firearm in Illinois to an out-of-state resident. I might have to try to track down a local (Illinois) gun store and see if they can give me any insight on how this gets done.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Yep. That went about the way I expected. Allegedly taking out a mortgage on a home you already own is a "home equity loan" and they don't do those. For that matter, the VA probably doesn't do them either. And I'm almost certain the VA doesn't do loans for rental properties. So I guess it is time--once again--in my life to say "Fine. Fuck it. I'll figure it out myself."

Although you know what? Fuck it. The guy I talked to must not know what he's talking about. Because you can refinance a mortgage. You can buy a house with a "hard money" lender and then get a mortgage on it. So there must be a way to do this. I just gotta figure it out. Shit. Time to get out the newsletter and look at the lenders in it. I just wanted it to be simple and easy. :(
 

jack

The Legendary Troll Kingdom
Coming up on half a year after my dog died and I'm still working through it. Today I went to church the first time since the 'rona, Saw an old neighbor who had a dog about mine's age and personality. Wanted to tell him, but I lost him when the service ended. At this point I've somehow linked love to crying and there was a lot of love in the room so it was hard not to cry. Then, since it was a long weekend and it was too wet to mow, I decided to make another trip to the Dog Park. We'd go there most Sunday afternoons so I wanted to tell a few pet owners who knew her that she was dead. And there were at least 3 pubs I wanted to eat at that I never got around to because I had a dog with me. It was good. But sad. Beautiful day. Lots of great doggos out all over. So of course on the way I looked back and imagined her in her usual spot in the backseat and how excited she'd get when we got close to the dog park and that made me a mess too. I have to let her go. But I also refuse to forget her. So balancing the two is a tricky thing I haven't worked out yet.
This is an amazing post.
 

jack

The Legendary Troll Kingdom
Oh, I remembered one of the other things: Ye gods. Leviticus is painful reading. I'm a Catholic, which means I've lived half a century as a Christian without ever actually reading the Bible. I tried as a...teen? Got to Leviticus and lost interest. A few years back I heard it was easier to start with the New Testament and I made it through that. Started on the Old Testament and am once again stalled on Leviticus. Sleep with your neighbor's wife? Here's how many livestock you need to sacrifice to atone and how they should be prepared. Only flirt with her a little? Then it's a couple doves. Here's how they should be prepared. It just goes on and on and on like that.
I studied (basically memorized) Deutronomy. That's a horse of a different flavor altogether.
 

Oerdin

Member
You can still do the marriage and family thing. Get on dating apps and find a girl under 40. Under 35 is better. You have to have the will to do it though. It is worth it in the long run but no one will do it for you so you have to make it happen, man.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Years ago I heard about a Catholic dating site. Tried trying it out yesterday. It is the classic...bait & switch?...dating site--they ask you your sex and ZIP code. Then they tell you how many singles are in your area. Then they make you go through the entire process of completing a profile (and it is so miserable I almost walked away a few times). Once you've done all that...they hit you up for $13 monthly membership before they'll let you see who's out there.

But wait! There's more! This morning I have 3-4 e-mails from women in my inbox. This is the hook to get me to pony up the money.

Amazingly, they actually let you into some functionality and just now I was able to see that the closest girl, geographically is like, 3 hours away. Bah.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Actually coming back to the premise of the thread title, the contracting for my friend is getting harder and harder. My brain is starting to burn out on it and I have an increasingly hard time remaining engaged. Again, a bit like Bond in the books, where he becomes more averse to killing the older he gets.

I'm working with these programs that I barely understand (although when it gets down to it, I understand them as well as just about everyone else--they're just that complex and idiosyncratic). I never know if something isn't working because I don't know what I'm doing or because there's a bug in the program.

And the new hire (in Ireland) is working on something hot that we've decided is almost certainly a bug (there's a company wide clinic/working group/office hours every Friday morning). So while the call is going on and they're trying to figure it out, he messages me to work with her on figuring it out. First of all, the girl seems smarter than me--or at least as good at the troubleshooting. Second, I've got a 10 hour YouTube tutorial and 3 months of hands-on fighting with a project as my qualifications for getting things to work. But he wants me to do it, so we got our heads together and did it.

That said, this brings me to two points:
1) No one is 100% certain what to do next. We all improv and make it up as we go. I mean, some things like walking or reading are fairly routine and certain, but beyond that it boils down to looking at what your options are and selecting the best option--along with developing contingencies if your best option isn't what you wanted--and making a decision.
2) That's what I bring to the game--at the end of the day, what's the best way to get as close as possible to what is needed. The software was displaying one way on the desktop version but when we'd upload it to the server it would cut off the captions for a bar chart at the bottom of the page. The girl did a few troubleshooting steps to confirm it was a bug and we were just about to hang it up and put in a trouble ticket when she tried making the bars go horizontal instead of vertical. Both of us figured it would truncate the bottom of the graph--but it did not. SOOO...
We found out when the deadline was for the deliverable and confirmed that the horizontal graph would work as a deliverable if a solution couldn't be found by the deadline. We published with the horizontal graph and put in a trouble ticket with the developer and planned to work on the issue more on Monday, before the deadline.

Again, Winston Wolf in "Pulp Fiction" is the relevant example on this. The only thing he really brings to the situation is that he has a contact who can dispose of the car. Other than that everything else he tells Jules and Vincent is stuff they could've figured out themselves--stick the body in the trunk, clean up the car, cover the inside with blankets, and change clothes. All common sense. But apparently a lot of people can't look at a problem and apply common sense. Well, gotta go. Gotta get ready for my other job.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Tired today. At first I didn't understand it, because I like to help people and solve problems. I've got a house coming up for rent and my contract with the company my friend works for is moving into it's 4th month of a 1-3 month contract--with no end in sight. But then I realized I like to solve *new* problems. I despise having to revisit problems that I thought were solved.

I've got a house to fix up and find renters for that I thought would be rented until July of next year--at minimum. Instead it's going to be coming up for rent at the worst possible time--the holidays. Now I have to accept Section 8 tenants--and a host of other limitations our wonderful city council saddled us with last March, and I'm just waiting to see what the place looks like when I get it back. I like my renters and think they have good intentions, but they maybe aren't as competent as they think they are. Like I said, for 6 months they didn't realize their toilet was running constantly. And when I fixed it, the husband immediately monkeyed with the valve, creating a leak that made me just give up and buy a new $99 toilet from Home Depot. They made decisions with their business that, when I heard about them, I just had to bite my lip and hope they'd work out. Ah well, there are people who've had worse tenants.

Meanwhile, an acquaintance in real estate just posted that she bought a house that was listed on the MLS for $99,000 and got it for $60,000. It needs $10,000 in work and she expects to rent it for $1,100 a month. If I'd made that deal I could stop working and just manage real estate. But I didn't. Because I'm stuck at the company computer in case there's something they need me for. To be fair, I might not have made the deal. I have pretty specific criteria for purchases. And it never would've occurred to me to make an opening offer of $50,000 on a $99,000 house. I also haven't lined up my financing yet. Although at this point if I could find a deal like that I could just about buy it for cash.

Add to all this, pretty much everything I've attempted so far this morning has failed and I kind of want to just go back to bed and hope tomorrow will be better. But pretty soon I need to put calories in my face-hole and go to the factory and tighten a screw every 17 seconds for 8 hours.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Oh, forgot the other thing that makes me tired: When you give someone advice and they decide to ignore your advice and a few months later exactly what you told them would happen happens--and then somehow it's YOUR fault.
 

Oerdin

Member
Tired today. At first I didn't understand it, because I like to help people and solve problems. I've got a house coming up for rent and my contract with the company my friend works for is moving into it's 4th month of a 1-3 month contract--with no end in sight. But then I realized I like to solve *new* problems. I despise having to revisit problems that I thought were solved.

I've got a house to fix up and find renters for that I thought would be rented until July of next year--at minimum. Instead it's going to be coming up for rent at the worst possible time--the holidays. Now I have to accept Section 8 tenants--and a host of other limitations our wonderful city council saddled us with last March, and I'm just waiting to see what the place looks like when I get it back. I like my renters and think they have good intentions, but they maybe aren't as competent as they think they are. Like I said, for 6 months they didn't realize their toilet was running constantly. And when I fixed it, the husband immediately monkeyed with the valve, creating a leak that made me just give up and buy a new $99 toilet from Home Depot. They made decisions with their business that, when I heard about them, I just had to bite my lip and hope they'd work out. Ah well, there are people who've had worse tenants.

Meanwhile, an acquaintance in real estate just posted that she bought a house that was listed on the MLS for $99,000 and got it for $60,000. It needs $10,000 in work and she expects to rent it for $1,100 a month. If I'd made that deal I could stop working and just manage real estate. But I didn't. Because I'm stuck at the company computer in case there's something they need me for. To be fair, I might not have made the deal. I have pretty specific criteria for purchases. And it never would've occurred to me to make an opening offer of $50,000 on a $99,000 house. I also haven't lined up my financing yet. Although at this point if I could find a deal like that I could just about buy it for cash.

Add to all this, pretty much everything I've attempted so far this morning has failed and I kind of want to just go back to bed and hope tomorrow will be better. But pretty soon I need to put calories in my face-hole and go to the factory and tighten a screw every 17 seconds for 8 hours.
1) Section 8 renters can be good but you have to be EXTREMELY picky. Try to find a stable family or at least a single mom with a really good work history. The law here is that no one can simply reject an applicant because they are section 8 but, at least here, it is not unusual to get 20-50 applicants on a single opening so I make sure to charge an application fee to cut down on the punters and groupers. You still can effectively pick the applicants you like as there are so many applicants.

You should definitely buy the house and seek financing in order to preserve capital. Nothing is as worthwhile as cash on hand after all. It will be a pain to try to rent to a place during the low period, especially in a low demand market, but it can be done plus the low prices of the market mean you can pay off the entire places in 10 years or less. BTW don't quit your job, maybe try to find a higher paying job, as you are in your prime earning years and it is easier to earn in your 50's than to run out in your 70's or 80's. More money in the piggy bank is always better plus you will have some years to compound it.

You should be able to finance a house at 2.5% - 3% and get 8% or more on your saved capital. You are buying low and getting a great ROI plus capital appreciation on the asset so of course you want to do that. Any good businessman would.
 
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Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I have other things worth mentioning, but right now I'm just fascinated in the idea of burn-out. Watching it happen in me while observing it externally like a spectator. I'm pretty much done with this work for my friend. I mean, there's stuff to do. Plenty of stuff to do. But I just have no energy or willpower to do it anymore. I know I'm a principled, hard-working, smart person. And I can do the things that are needed. But I just am unable to do anything. I just sit like a bump and procrastinate. Well, I should get going. Do something.
 
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