"You gonna get another job?"...

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
OK. This is going to ramble too much for Facebook.

First off, having apparently ruled out alcohol as the main reason for me waking up at 4am and not being able to get back to sleep I'm on my 3rd cocktail right now. I'm not proud of that, but it is what it is.

Second is the exchange from "Office Space" (hey, that's the movie the quote in the title of this thread is from--topicality!) with Peter and his neighbor on the "What would you do if you had a million dollars?" hits me.

I don't want to be a data analyst. I don't want to work on an assembly line. I don't want to be a landlord. Maybe I want to be an artist or work in stagecraft (set design, construction, lighting, etc), but not totally. (Actually, no, yeah. If I could work on a team building sets for a theater company and put enough money in my pocket to keep food on the table and a roof over my head, that would be a good life.) As I look at my house, I'd love to do staging and/or interior decorating. A couple weeks ago I realized--I've got a lot of things I need to do on this house still, but the interior more or less looks the way it should--except the back entryway is either dark or too bright from the overhead light. I realized I needed a funky floor lamp in that corner to finish the interior space. They had one at Wal*Mart for $15 that wasn't perfect, but I could make work and it makes me so happy to see it now. I put it next to a plant that was already there and realized it needed an end table next to it and remembered the mailbox cluster from my Dad's old post office that was collecting cobwebs down in the basement. Pulled it out, cleaned it off and it looks quite nice.

Anyway, I'm rambling. The point is that I enjoy making interiors look nice. I say I'm a "house whisperer"--I can find a neglected, rundown, unloved house and, like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, I listen to it and give it some love and what it needs and create quite a nice space. There are a couple problems with monetizing this, though.

The first is that doing anything for money seems to suck the joy out of it. I've been watching an old A&E series, "Sell This House" on Dabl. It ran for something like 11 years, and by the end you can tell the stager/designer/technical guy is burning out. Get out all the clutter and weirdness. Clean everything. Figure out ways to tie everything together, tell a story, and minimize the things that bothered people in the initial open house. It gets to be a rut. The other thing is the personality of the work. And my organic nature of approaching it. I live in a place and over time I see what it needs. People generally love what I do. But it is different if you're doing it for someone who is in a house and wants to stay there. You work with their personality and their needs. And the goal isn't to appeal to the broadest denominator, it's to create something for them. Or if you're in staging and it IS to appeal to the broadest denominator, it's resisting the temptation to paint everything grey with white trim and grey vinyl planking.

Wait, what were we talking about again?
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Ugh. Karma's a bitch. I've managed to keep my mouth shut about how lucky I've been during this 'Ronapocalypse (for the most part) until this week. Now I wake up with a low-grade fever, aches and pains, and a runny nose and sore throat. I mean, it *could* just be a regular cold or the flu. And I guess the treatment is no different. Still, not happy. Got too much stuff to do to take a day or two off.
 

Lanzman

No-one of consequence
Careful, dude. I've had a flu since basically Christmas Eve. It's down to a persistent cough at this point but for about a week it was no goddam bueno at all.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I kind of wonder if it might be food poisoning. They all have similar symptoms and I was fine when I woke up. Milk was 3 days past its "best by" date (although it smelled and tasted fine). Rest, a couple aspirin and some cough medicine and I seem to be feeling OK right now.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
So. Thinking about putting a gas fireplace into the rental. The theory is, that way a renter won't try to build a fire in it. Or if they do they'll blow the place up and I can get the insurance money. But it's $1,800. I guess it isn't terribly high--and it pays for itself in a year if I can raise the rent $150 or so--but it still annoys me. And both quotes I got, they want to go out of the crawlspace and into the chimney from the outside. Seems clunky and stupid. Now that I think about it, I need to go back and have another look myself. There's a cleanout for the chimney--trap in the hearth and another trap at driveway level on the base of the chimney outside. Sweep your ashes into the trap and shovel them out in the driveway. Gotta look in that and see if the front is brick or concrete. Both plumbers tell me they can't drill through concrete but they can through brick. That really doesn't make sense to me. Anyway, I feel like it is mortared cinder block, not solid concrete foundation (with a skim coat on the outside). I might have to keep shopping. It's a hard decision though, because I definitely trust the plumber that gave me the second quote, so it's kind of stupid for me to say "I don't think you know what you're doing and I know better."

I've also got to call an insurance agent for an unpleasant conversation. I just use USAA for all my insurance but one of the local gurus suggested (in his book) that I was paying too much. So I went to one of the local insurance guys, jumped through all the hoops, and they were able to find me a quote...that was just about exactly the same as what I'm paying USAA. But he wanted to "explain" it to me and since he did the work, I guess I at least owe him the call.
 

Oerdin

Member
Careful, dude. I've had a flu since basically Christmas Eve. It's down to a persistent cough at this point but for about a week it was no goddam bueno at all.

It very well might be omicron as it mostly manifest itself with flu like symptoms for most people. I suspect it is what my extended family caught over Christmas but we didn't test as the hone tests were all sold out and I had no desire to wait in an eight hour line with plague victims. The symptoms were gone in two days or so though my wife, the eldest son, and I were triple vaxxed and the youngest double vaxxed.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Yup. Schroedinger's Virus. I can never get the 'rona if I'm never tested. And knowing is a moot point. Whether I get the flu, the 'rona, or food poisoning, I've just got to ride it out. Aspirin, cold medicine, plenty of fluids and rest.

News said the positivity rate in...Kentucky? I think Kentucky--so Louisville is probably higher--is almost 28%. Does that mean what it seems like it means--that more than 1 in 4 people you meet tests positive for the virus? It seems like this thing's gotta burn itself out one of these days.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Bah. Fever close to 100 at bedtime. Woke up around 3am and it was normal. Hoped I might be out of the woods and my Mutant Healing Factor had dealt with the problem, but woke up achy and 99 degrees. Not horrible, but just enough to make me know I need to take it easy, which is frustrating because I set aside Thursdays for getting personal business work done. Last week people who don't know how to drive on snow forced me to miss a meeting with my attorney. Today I was supposed to talk with a Realtor at a social function. I probably have to cancel that. And driving to any of the property management comanies that I couldn't get through their voicemail on over the holidays. I do need to go have a closer look at the chimney on my rental and don't know if I should risk that. Can probably make a few phone calls at the least.

That said, I'm that trippy surreal kind of sick; where you're tired so you nap a lot during the day. Then you're tired enough that you go to bed early but not tired enough to get to sleep easily because of all the naps. But then you get to sleep and you're out like a light and sleep in. Once you can't sleep anymore, you get up, have some breakfast and fuck off online but after less than an hour it's like "you know what would be good right now? a nap."

[edit: Oh, another annoyance: I was just starting to see progress in my fitness/weightloss efforts. And that is all out the window now. Wednesday was run day. Instead it was sleep day.]
 

Oerdin

Member
Yup. Schroedinger's Virus. I can never get the 'rona if I'm never tested. And knowing is a moot point. Whether I get the flu, the 'rona, or food poisoning, I've just got to ride it out. Aspirin, cold medicine, plenty of fluids and rest.

News said the positivity rate in...Kentucky? I think Kentucky--so Louisville is probably higher--is almost 28%. Does that mean what it seems like it means--that more than 1 in 4 people you meet tests positive for the virus? It seems like this thing's gotta burn itself out one of these days.

No, it means 28% of the people who went to go get tested where positive. The problem is that is a self selected group, people who were sick or thought they were exposed, and so it is a nonrepresentative sample.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Bloggy post: Thursdays are for my business. Last Thursday a blizzard (more accurately people who don't know how to drive in a blizzard) screwed up my plans. This Thursday a cold/flu has screwed up my plans. After many naps my temperature is down to normal but I've got a scratchy throat a runny nose, and just really feel like taking lots and lots of naps, so best to stay home for another day. I've got to go over and have another look at my chimney and crawlspace on my rental (I'll come back to that). And I was able to make some phone calls.

Phone calls are funny, because sometimes you've just got to keep at it until you talk to the right person. August 2019 my house got burglarized. Professional job. In and out in an hour with one busted window lock on a Sunday morning while I was out walking my dog. Looking for guns. November 2020 I got a call from the police department that a department up near Chicago had recovered one of my guns. I've been calling them periodically since then to try and get it back. The only number they list rings to a consolidated dispatch. Dispatch forwards me to a front desk that takes down my info and says "we have your info and the officer has been notified, don't call us, we'll call you." Well today I was actually able to talk to a person. I mean, they still couldn't help me, but the said they'd look into it and call me back. Which is less exciting now that I type it out, but at least it's different from every other call to date.

Recovering a stolen firearm that is in possession of a police department is not a fun task. Within a week of the burglary Louisville police (I'm in a suburb that has its own police) recovered one of my guns. It took nearly a year, pestering e-mails, and visiting police stations to eventually get my gun returned. And even then it took a full day to get it out of evidence. So this one...I'm not optimistic. I only have the one phone number and there isn't much leverage I can apply to a town that is a 6 hour drive away. And while it is my gun that was stolen from me, I shudder to think what it will entail to get a city in Illinois to return it to me. It's probably illegal for me to possess it in Illinois so there will be some horrible catch-22 to get it back.

So yeah. Now I'm stuck. I'd like to go over and look at the chimney but my phone needs recharging and I don't want to risk missing that call.

The more I think about this chimney estimate, the fishier it seems. (I think I already mentioned all this, but it bears repeating here): I got 2 estimates. Both plumbers said they needed to run a gas pipe outside the building to come in from the back of the chimney to install a gas fireplace. This makes no sense to me. If you can punch a hole in a wall to get outside, why not just punch a hole in the wall to get inside the chimney on the crawlspace side? The plumber I'd be going with told me it had to be rigid pipe to be to code for a crawlspace. But 5 years ago a plumber from the same company took OUT rigid pipe and installed flexible hose for a fireplace. Has code changed? Am I being conned? And again, coming back to not being able to punch through on the inside. Same company connected my current house to the city sewer. To save on trenching they ran the main along the wall in the basement and then punched through the wall in the front of the house where the sewer hookup stub was. Punching through a wall wasn't a problem then. And again, why can they punch through the wall to get to the outside so that they can punch through the wall again to get to the chimney instead of going straight to the chimney? And like I said, the chimney has a cleanout so you can sweep ash down a trap in the hearth and then scoop it out another door at the base of the chimney outside. So it isn't like it's a solid mass of brick. Bah. It annoys me, when I have to second guess things like this. But so much of what I was told seems like BS that I really don't have another choice. Get a 3rd estimate? I dunno.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Jesus, what an exhausting and unproductive day.

Had another look at the chimney. Reluctantly concluding my plumber has the best suggestion for the work. [And I'll admit I just don't know enough about chimneys to make an informed decision without professional advice.] But also noticing fresh "efflorescence" on it. This chimney was a huge unexpected expense because it had some spalling of the brick and it was clear that water was getting into the structure. That's what causes the efflorescence--water liquifies salts in the structure, which then migrate to the exterior, where the water evaporates. Over time this will cause a chimney to fail. Spent more than I'd like to admit remediating the problem, only to learn that it still exists. Is the water getting wicked up from underneath? I don't know. Probably.

It's also "open enrollment" for health insurance. The ads tell me how quick and easy it is. And I foolishly trusted them. Filled out the form. Got no quotes. Instead my phone rang every 90 seconds with robocallers, trying to sell me insurance.

Look. I don't want to talk to you. That's what forms are for. Send me some quotes. If they interest me, then we'll talk. But I don't want to sit on the phone and go through this whole dance and the high-pressure hook at the end that I've learned is what insurance salesmen do. So now I get to deal with phone calls and e-mails for god knows how long.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
No, it means 28% of the people who went to go get tested where positive. The problem is that is a self selected group, people who were sick or thought they were exposed, and so it is a nonrepresentative sample.
So if I'm understanding you correctly, what the statistic actually means is that almost 3 out of 4 people who think they have the 'rona actually do not. Jesus, I don't know why I don't trust my government or the press anymore. :marathon:
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
This is stream-of-consciousness, brought about by getting over a bug (and I mean "in the process", not "out of the woods") and also having too much booze after being dry for a few days whilst fighting said bug. I got to thinking about friends that you didn't realize were friends. And in retrospect they were better friends than some of the people you considered friends.

Guy I was in the Marines with. We'll call him Mark. Kind of ugly. Prematurely bald. Definitely of a higher social class than me. Didn't really associate with him, although we were in the same classes together and then wound up at the same duty station. But he was a smart, funny, charismatic and connected guy. I don't even know how it fell together, but my roommate (who was my roommate in comm school and was a manipulative sociopath--but that's another story) wound up "pumping out" for a MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit). The Marines send out combined task forces for 6 month stints to sail around the ocean--literally looking for a fight. I forget, there always used to be, like, 2 MEUS out, 2 getting ready to go out, and 2 getting back. Anyhow, I needed either a new roommate or a new place. Since I'd just picked up 1st Lt and paid off my car and uniform loans (Marine officer uniforms are NOT cheap--even after they got rid of the dress whites and the requirement of owning the "boat cloak") I was "rolling in dough." So I was going to get a hip Bohemian studio in town--until I was hit with the realities of rents even in early 2000s San Diego area.

Well Mark lived in "The Lieutenant House." It was a...townhouse? No, not really. It was an apartment complex, but it had a townhouse vibe. And if NBC was going to do a sitcom about 3 company grade Marine officers living in SoCal in the early 2000s, they couldn't have come up with a better set than this. It was in Oceanside, but right on the edge of trendier Carlsbad. You had parallel buildings on a driveway. The really expensive ones faced the beach. The one I was in faced the street. But you had a key to the Ocean. You know when you live in an apartment and you have a key to the pool? This place had a key to the Pacific Ocean. You came home from work, hit the garage door opener, parked your car, closed the door, changed into your wetsuit, grabbed your board and your keys and got in an hour or two of surfing at the end of the day. The surf wasn't great in front of the apartments, but bad surf virtually on your back door is better than the best surf that you spend 4 hours in bumper to bumper traffic to get to.

As for the place, it was a split level. The garage was below road grade. You had an entryway a few steps up and then a few steps above that was a cathedral living room with a gas fireplace. Half a story above that was a 1/2 bath, a kitchen, and a dining area that overlooked the living room. Above that were the bedrooms and the master bath. We also had broadband, which is passe now, but it was amazing at the time.

So what happened is, 3 Lieutenants/Captains rented this place God knows when. One would rotate out or get new orders and the other 2 would bring in a friend. Who knows how long this had been going on, but Marky-Mark brought me in to fill a vacancy. And it was awesome. Used to go out to the local Irish pub with the cute female Marine we were all trying to get into her pants of. He invited me skiing with him and some friends, up at Mammoth Mountain. Rented a cabin. Stuff I'd have never done--or even thought of.

Again, a much better friend than I ever could've asked for and I hadn't even realized it.
 

FBI parte due

Folces Weard
So if I'm understanding you correctly, what the statistic actually means is that almost 3 out of 4 people who think they have the 'rona actually do not. Jesus, I don't know why I don't trust my government or the press anymore. :marathon:
Why would you assume that the set of people who get COVID tests and the set of people who think they might have it are the same? Lazy thinking.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Well there are also the social justice virtue-signalling hypochondriacs, I guess. But I guess, just myself, why would I get a COVID test? Because I was bored and didn't have anything better to do than drive somewhere and wait in line for someone to stick a Q-tip up my nose? Not so much. It would be because I thought I might have the 'rona.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
This is going to be random whining/rambling.

I was just going to talk about this cold/flu/general ennui, but new developments unfolded as I typed this.

So. Yeah. The cold. Fever broke the other day. Down to a scratchy throat, runny nose, and the need to get lots of sleep. By bedtime I felt pretty much cured. Woke up in the middle of the night with sinus congestion. Realized there is no crime in taking cold medicine for cold symptoms--especially if they're keeping you from sleeping--so I did. Then as I was typing this, a marble-sized gob of crud worked loose from my sinuses and I spit it out. Still feeling a little run-down, but not sure if that's the cold, my physical condition from letting myself get out of shape, or general ennui from the cold grey weather and the shitty year I've had.

At this point my idiot renter pings me to ask if he can pay the rent via PayPal again. Now, when he asked about paying with credit card last month, I was planning to use PayPal (this was before I realized how much PayPal soaked you for on transaction fees). The day I was getting ready to send him a bill, he pinged me to ask if he could pay by Venmo. I don't use Venmo. But I went through the fire drill of trying to get it set up. Turns out you can only use it from your phone--not from a laptop--and the interface isn't the easiest to maneuver on my tiny phone.

So today he asks if I can send him another PayPal invoice. I tell him that I've got Venmo working. He asks if he can just do PayPal again--because he doesn't *have* Venmo.

OK. First off, all I need to do is scroll up to see you asking me last month if you can pay with Venmo. Do you really think my memory is so short? And second, I can *see* your Venmo profile. So why lie? Just tell me you'd prefer to pay by PayPal. I don't understand why, but such is life. But why lie on things that are so easily caught? Is it a control issue? Does it make him think he's somehow putting one over on me?

Well, I guess I should get moving. I lost about 4 days this week to this bug. Gotta play some catch-up.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
"Poor soul, he was just too high-strung."
-Doc Holiday, after killing Johnny Ringo,
in "Tombstone."

I feel more and more like Johnny Ringo. I think I've talked about the Boyd Cycle/OODA Loop here enough. If not, Google will answer your questions. These days my OODA Loop is shot to Hell. I attempt to get up and get moving, but just want to curl up in a ball and do nothing. Now the things I'm going to complain about are relatively trivial, but at this point a cumulative effect since March or so has beaten me down to the point where the slightest unexpected thing makes me like "fuck it, I'm done. I'll be playing Sudoku if you need me."

Woke up this morning to a text from my Idiot Renter. Last month he wanted to pay January rent by credit card. I'd figured out how to bill him via PayPal, but before I could, he asked if he could use Venmo. So I jumped through hoops to get Venmo set up, but was having problems, so we just did PayPal for January. Turns out PayPal gouges the shit out of you, taking almost $25 for the "service" they provide. He said he'd cover it so I said I'd add it to the February bill. Meanwhile I got Venmo working, so when he asked me Sunday morning if I could bill him for the February rent I told him I could now do Venmo. His reply was that he didn't have Venmo.

"Bitch. Last month you *asked* me if you could pay with Venmo. I just have to scroll up this text thread to see it. Plus I'm looking right at your Venmo account as I type this." But I didn't say that. I said "Fine." And I billed him via PayPal, with the PayPal service charges tacked on--and everything itemized.

This morning he texts me to ask why the rent for February is almost $50 higher. I explain it and this goes back and forth for a half hour or so before he finally ends with "Ok." So I'm literally starting my week with a fight.

When I finally log onto my work computer, I find a meeting in process that got called 2 hours earlier--got on just in time for the end. It was about..."The New Month-End Checklist." Now since I'm doing the Month-End Checklist, you'd think I would know something about there being a "new" one. But apparently not. As I clear out the 200+ automated e-mails in my inbox, I see other "New Checklist" meeting invites, with one of my friend's regular employees scheduled to lead the meetings (but she didn't arrange the meetings--some project manager that isn't even in our direct chain did). There's also a tasker that, before I publish the month-end checklist (like I did Friday afternoon; like I do every 15th of the month), I should meet with her and my friend/boss to go over it. Riiight. It's over 2,000 items long. What are we going to accomplish, "going over" it?

Meanwhile, I had some data I needed to pull and compile that lost its connection 2/3 of the way through on Friday so I just put the computer to "sleep" (or did I tell it to shut down? I can't remember. I was still kind of loopy from my cold) so I could resume it this morning and get out the updated data. Logged in this morning to find the computer had shut down so I would have to start the download all over again.

In 20 minutes, it will be time for lunch before heading off to my factory job and I don't even want to think about all the property management chores I have to do this week--really 2 weeks ago, but between a blizzard, being sick, and part-time jobs, I haven't made any progress on them.

Life needs a "pause" button.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I thought I was being a pussy, but no, God/Karma is definitely trying to beat me down, demoralize me, and destroy my confidence. The simplest things are impossible. Today, in a nutshell:

Had some bills to send off. They were late because apparently some days the mailman just decides not to come out. And other days he does. He might come at 9am. Or 10. Or 6:30pm. Or after 9pm. It's just random. Yes, I know, today is MLK Day, so no mail delivery. Yeah, well, I saw him delivering mail on Sunday morning and they don't deliver mail on Sundays either, so who knows? Took the letters out to put in the box and noticed a fresh tire track. Opened the box and sure enough, he'd already been by today--on MLK Day.

I already ranted about the renter and the job, so flash forward to after lunch. Got 10 minutes before I need to leave for work and the plumbers have been pestering me basically daily on if I wanted to put in the gas fireplace, so I figured I'd call them and get it set up. Of course the scheduler couldn't find my file. And I had to spell my name about 3 times before she finally got it. Then she needed to talk to someone who was on the other phone so she'd have to call me back. So I failed at that. I explained I was leaving for work and would call Tuesday and then headed out.

Got to work and yes, we had MLK Day off. You never can tell what days they'll give us off. It's odd. Anyway, trying to make lemonade, I looked up the address of the property management company that hasn't been returning my calls and made it there 15 minutes before they closed. Of course their door was locked but I thought I heard people inside, so I pushed the Ring doorbell...and stood around like an idiot. Eventually the lady I'd talked to on the phone and left a bunch of unreturned voicemails with opened the door and we talked a bit. Unfortunately the person I need to talk to is in Montana on a ski vacation, so it was a partly wasted trip. But also, I found out they have as hard a time finding good tenants as I apparently do and maybe my flaky, dishonest, difficult renter isn't so bad after all.

Now I'm home and I see the plumbers sent me some stuff to e-sign, so instead of calling them, I guess I'll head off to get groceries so I can hit the ground running tomorrow.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Stuck at the desk, babysitting a data load so that the computer doesn't "sleep" and screw up the file transfer. Got roped into a chat.

The end of the month bookkeeping processes are currently tracked by a massive SharePoint table. People put in tickets to have this "Checklist" updated. So each month, when it's time for a new checklist, you make a "template" off the previous month's checklist, reset the "completed" dates and some other fields, and then go in by hand and update the due dates. This checklist is about 2,000 items long with hundreds of people accessing it.

When something is due is broken down by frequency--monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc, and by when it should happen: Mid-month, 15th Day of the Month, Workday 3, Workday -1, etc.

Well because they've got Alteryx and Tableau creating a "dashboard" to track progress, some of that doesn't work. Tableau doesn't know what to do with "Mid-month." So the directive was to convert everyting to WDs.

OK. First problem: Mid month, 15th of the month? WD15, right? Wrong. Because there are weekends in there. So you've either got to have the 15th be WD11 (and be willing to be off a day or two) and confuse everyone about it being a mid-month activity, or you've got to call it WD15--in which case it will happen on or around...the 21st.

"Don't worry. Just get it all changed over." "Well what about '1st Weekend' and 'Last Calendar Day'?" "Those will have to stay the way they are."

:bang: 1) That defeats the whole purpose of trying to shoehorn all the other stuff in if you still wind up with things that the software can't handle. 2) My brain just can't handle this level of complexity in a 2,000 plus copy of a copy of a copy ad infinitum document.

Then, while typing this, I got into a "who's on first" call about items from the previous checklist that haven't been signed off yet. See there aren't actually monthly checklists. It's a big Sharepoint...database(?) But a human brain can't handle that, so we apply parameters to the database and filter "December" to be anything in the database that happens between November 15 and December 15. The problem is, there are things that happen on the December checklist that happen on December 27. And meanwhile the January checklist has been created--say December 15-January 15. There are things on the January checklist that happen on December 27. So now that the January checklist items have been created, they show up on the December checklist--even though they don't happen until January. (Just for added fun, the December Checklist takes place primarily in January and the November Checklist happens primarily in December.

So by lunchtime I never know which way is up.

The fun thing is, this is about the most simple and straightforward aspect of this job.

[THEN, on top of THAT, when you ration up your strength to go in and fight with this monster some more, you get freaked out because it looks totally different and some stuff you're sure were crossed off is now showing up and you realize you switched from "checklist view" to "admin view," which changes how the data is filtered. :/ ]
 
Last edited:
Top