"You gonna get another job?"...


Zombie Hunter
That has happened several times with our cat. Eventually he has always came home.
Oh, in case I didn't mention it, he didn't come In before I had to leave for work--and there was a 100% chance of heavy rain that night. He was waiting at the door when he heard the car pull up.


Zombie Hunter
...and now for something completely different:

Back in the...80s? [fiercely Googles] Yes, 1989, General Gray, USMC, created The Commandant's Reading List. That was the Golden Years of the Marine Corps--Gray, Mundy, Krulak--when we thought strategically and actually had a plan and a vision. But I digress. "The Commandant's Reading List" was a list of books that the head of the USMC deemed important to a Marine's professional development. It was organized by rank and was added on to each year. At some point they started curating it--taking books off as well as adding them. That's when I lost interest. I've got a circa 1999 version that I've been working through. I'll probably never finish it. Partly because there are so many books and partly because they are increasingly hard to find.

When I was in Quantico, it was easy. There was literally a bookstore that existed to have books from the Commandant's Reading List. Pick the one you want and go buy it. When I was in Portland in the early 2000s, Powell Books was still not poisoned by woke PC and they had an excellent military section. There were even out of print books from the reading list that I couldn't get anywhere else. MacArthur's "Reminiscences" for example. But Powell's got woke and gutted their military section. And I moved. Louisville has something akin to Powell's, Carmichael's. But not really. It is an independent bookstore, but it's really more the size and selection of an airport gift shop bookstore. So I nibble at the edges, reading whatever I can find for free online. I might buy some online, but I think of Amazon as the place to go to buy books and I fucking hate Jeff Bezos, so I refuse to buy from them.


Zombie Hunter
Holy crap. If you were going to be intentionally incompetent and screw over your customers, you couldn't do a better job than USAA. Screwed around on a claim so long and low-balled the settlement so I said "You know what? I'll send the money back. Just cancel the claim." They told me how to do that and I did. So last night at 7:21pm they texted me they were sending me another $400. I tried to call them but of course got a message that their offices are closed on Sunday nights. So I posted to their "Communication" Center "NO! NO! NO! ...I WANT THIS CLAIM CANCELED!" and "Osama" got back to me that, once an adjuster has gone out, a claim can't be cancelled. At that point I asked why I've been told for the past 3 weeks that a claim can be cancelled and that I should mail a check for the amount that had been paid. So this morning I got to talk to their contracted claims adjuster who had no idea what she was talking about. When I got off the phone with her, I called USAA and got jerked around by them. At this point I just want to get the claim closed so I can get a competent insurance company but I can't. It's like the Hotel California: "You can check out any time you want but you can never leave."


Zombie Hunter
Feeling competent tonight. I recently bought what I hope to be my last property. I've been working on it the last few weeks. Focus was on renovating the interior. Shouldn't need a lot of work. Deep cleaning and a coat of KILLZ to deal with the heavy smokers that owned it, probably new counters in the kitchen, a little relatively minor drywall work, and figuring out wiring in 1 bedroom so the switch controls the ceiling light instead of whatever it controls right now. Then paint and flooring.

But the grass was pretty tall so I needed to work outside. And to mow I kind of needed to clean up some of the junk, take down the handicapped ramp, etc. Also, having seen the housekeeping, I knew I had to clean out the gutters. I was right. They were literally so full of crud that they'd added extra screws to try to keep them from pulling off the eaves. Between carpet, desks, and other left-behind items, yard waste, and trash bags and boxes that had been piled on the back deck, I'd just about filled up a 2 car garage with junk--and I hadn't even finished cleaning up the yard or getting everything out of the house (the house is at about 98% or more). So I pulled the trigger and ordered my first dumpster.

Usually, I'll just truck the trash back to my house, put it in a shed, and add it into my trash week by week, but I decided that was way too much farting around this time and got a dumpster. Talking to the guy and he's asking me how big I need. "I don't know, big enough for a 2 car garage worth of stuff." We eventually decided on a 10 yard dumpster--which looks pretty damn big the first time you see it. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

When I bought the place, I knew the roof was old. But cleaning the gutters, I saw just how old it was. Decided it needs to be done ASAP. There's also a pair of maples in the front yard. Seems to be what they did in the late '50s, when they built a suburban house--plant a brace of maples in the front yard. One is disturbingly huge and one is dying. Had the huge maples at my old house trimmed back and the tree company dropped a log on the roof. Better to drop a log on a roof you're replacing than on your new roof, so I got the tree guy scheduled.

While all this is happening, I got a part-time job night-stocking for a big hardware store. Memorial Day is coming up. So the week I have a dumpster and a tree removal scheduled--as well as a roof estimate--I'm also pulling extra hours at the hardware store.

Dumpster got delivered this morning, while I was asleep from a busy night of hardware stocking. They decided the driveway was too narrow so they parked it on the street. Finally got out after 5 to start loading it. Thought it was absurdly large. Whoops! I'm still ahead of myself. In ordering the dumpster, I was told that there were additional charges for anything over...3,000#? I think 3,000#. A lot of the stuff I had to load was metal--wheelchair ramp, filing cabinets, modular desks, etc. Metal is heavy. So are concrete pavers, which I also have a wealth of. We'll come back to them. Called the scrap guy. He was happy to come get what I had--although he's pretty busy this week, so he told me to set it all aside and he'll come for it. As far as the pavers, there's a big ass deck and I decided I can stash the pavers under the deck.

OK. Now I think we're caught up. The dumpster was impressively large. I was happy to see it had a gate end so I wouldn't have to heave couches and carpet up over the 6' high side. And the reason they like to put them in the driveway instead of on the street is control. When I opened the end, I found someone had already chucked a bag of trash and a few Amazon boxes in. Stopped to chat with my neighbor before getting busy and even she said "I just worry someone will fill it up on you." So tonight I tried to clean out as much of the garage as possible.

At first I thought I'd ordered way to big a dumpster, but as I worked, I realized it was a good thing I'd set aside the metal stuff because I was certainly going to fill it up--probably before I finished cleaning out the garage. I wanted to get all the big and bulky stuff loaded tonight in case someone came by and dumped their stuff in my dumpster, but I had to stop around 11 because I didn't want to piss off the neighbors. And 1 bookcase is way back behind a pile of crap.

The other reason they don't like to put the dumpster on the street is fucking hobos. I'm wrapping up for the night and getting ready to go home when fucking Shaggy from Scooby Doo shows up. 11:30pm, pedaling aimlessly down a residential street while smoking a stubby little cigar. He asks me if there's "anything good" in the dumpster because he wanted to climb in and rat-fuck it. And there's so much to unpack about that that I don't even know where to start. And it even deserves a thread of its own.

So first off, what are you hoping to find in a dumpster? The Ark of the Covenant? $50 million in Nazi gold? Well if you dig through enough dog piss cigarette smoke and water damage carpet, busted electric wheelchairs, tree branches and other random shit, you might find a couple audiocassettes of '90s country. Or a deer hunter video game on 3 1/2" floppy. But even if you find something "good" what are you going to do with it? You're on a bike. With no bags or racks or anything. So what would happen is this fuck-stick would rat-fuck my dumpster to maybe lug of...I dunno...a shitty Wal*Mart particle board bookcase? Then I'll show up tomorrow and find shit strewn on the street and dragged around so he could go through everything.

Anyways, I already cleaned out anything nice. Now, people not in real estate will be like "you're throwing away a perfectly good trash can? TV? Couch? Box of official TRS-80 5 1/4 floppy disks?! You could sell that on eBay." Yes, yes, I could. But I'm not in the "sell crap on eBay and deal with flakes" line of work. I'm in the "fix up and rent out houses" line of work. So a "perfectly good" trash can or CRT TV is just something I need to get rid of quickly. Shit, I wouldn't even be fucking around with the scrap metal if the dumpster was big enough. That said, I did set aside a few things. I think I'm going to at least stage this property a bit. So there was a nice lamp and an end table and a desk and a few other things I'm keeping at least until I get the place rented. And, since the guy (the dead husband) was a radio geek, I actually found a nice 4' whip antenna to go on the A-Team van. And a camera tripod. When I found these, I decided that was God, telling me to grab a few things so I have some Creedence tapes. I have more tapes than I should have. But I found "Cosmo's Factory," and a Janis Joplin tape and some other things that I decided to grab.

So anyway, right now, I feel like I know what I'm doing and I'm on the right path.


No-one of consequence
When we renovated our house, before we laid on the Killz we washed down ALL of the walls with Pine Sol. It made a difference.
When I cleaned out my house in southern Maryland prior to selling it, I filled up two dumpsters of the size you describe. Or more precisely, I filled up one, they took it away and dumped it, then brought it back so I could fill it up again. Whether it's your house or someone else's, you just don't realize how much crap is there until you have to move it all. :D


Active Member
I am a bit frustrated with my local county property tax assessor's office. The first of two bi yearly payments was due back on March 15th, which I duly paid via their online web portal as it saved me paying for stamps, risking a clerk fucking it up, or getting it lost in the mail. It is all 3lectronic and automated so they can't screw that up, right? Wrong.

I did four separate transactions enter the different parcel numbers and addresses for each transaction just like their online form required. Each was accepted, money 2as taken out of my business checking account for each (I had to call the bank before hand so that they knew I was making four large payments via my debit card that day, and I got a confirmation number for each property tax payment for each property.
Fast forward to today when I get four late notices, one for each property I own, telling me no payments were received and that a 10% late penalty was being assessed on each. I check my bank records and easily find the four payments made on the due date then call the tax collector's office. Get put on hold for 25 minute only to have it disconnect me for some reason. I call back but get an automated "all agents are busy now, please, try again later" message. So I wait 10 minutes then try again... Four more times.

Long story short, when I finally get throw, give them my confirmation numbers, they tell me all four accounts are paid but their accounting department hadn't manually entered my payments yet so it set off an automatic late payment notification. I paid that shit in March and now it is almost JUNE! Why does an automated payment need to be manually entered by their accounting department to begin with and why does it take 2-3 months for them to do it?

Government sucks, dude, they just suck at everything.


Active Member
BTW the lady who finally picked up my call was very nice, I don't blame her, but she told me the county was still using the same basic system from 1993! That shit is 30 years old. I doubt most of the software on those ancient machines is even still supported. Why not update your network once per decade?

I mean what are they using? Windows 3.11?


Zombie Hunter
Went back today to finish up the dumpster. Of course Shaggy came back as soon as I left last night and ratfucked it, so I got to spend a half hour restacking it so I could fit what was left. Been piling the scrap metal to one side, which was good because I pretty much filled up the dumpster without the scrap metal. Got a guy that is going to come get it next week; the week after. Decided to text him to see if he'd take the refrigerator and chest freezer. As I'm nearing the finish line, guy rolls up with a Ford Ranger with assorted scrap metal in the bed and a 2 wheel trailer with a water heater on it and asks if I have any scrap metal. I look him up and down and decide a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush and whatever other proverb you can come up with and lead him back to my cache. He backs that trailer down my treacherous narrow little driveway as slick a snot and starts loading up. Meanwhile, scrap metal guy #1 texts back that he'll take the fridge and freezer. I think tomorrow I'm going to have to text my other guy and say "y'know, the damndest thing. Showed up this morning and all the metal was gone."

Now, I'd have sworn there was no way he'd get all that metal in 1 trip, but damned if he didn't. I did wind up kind of hostage at that point because I couldn't take any more stuff out to the dumpster while he was blocking the driveway, but he was a fun guy to talk to and we killed some time. Eventually I realized I could get to work inside, pulling nails and taking down stuff that I'd deferred when the dumpster showed up. As he's wrapping up, he asks if he can ratfuck the dumpster. I'm not thrilled with this, but give him the go-ahead. (I'm way past when I'd planned to go home to walk The Dog and have dinner by this point.) As I'm working inside, I see a sketchy bearded guy on a bike (a nice mountain bike this time) show up to also ratfuck the dumpster. After my guy left, I really needed to get home. Looking to button shit up and come out to the hobo, rummaging the dumpster. I'm like "OK, you've got to go now." Got him out without too much mess, and got the end closed. Go in to close up windows (trying to air out smoker reek) and turn off lights and when I come out, there's another sketchy bearded dude on a bike (this time a BMX bike) asking if he can ratfuck my dumpster. I'm like "No. Go away. And if I catch you I'll break your legs." It's like fucking urban raccoons or something. With any luck they'll both come back and kill each other over extension cords.

I've still got stuff to get rid of and space in the dumpster, but I work tomorrow night and at this point I just want to get the fucker out of there so sketchy hobos on bicycles will stop coming by in the dead of night to look for treasure while pissing off the neighbors. I will say the hobos here are very polite and ask permission apologize if they make a mess while you're standing right there. Of course they'll come back as soon as you've left, but at least they weren't like Portland hobos, who'd probably throw all the shit out of the dumpster as they ratfucked it.


Zombie Hunter
My life is not scalable. I could not take what I'm doing and triple it--or even double it. I'm approaching my limits. But that's OK. Because if I can get through the next few months successfully, life should switch to autopilot--barring any unforeseen emergencies.

Working on the new rental. Not that much to do but still, progress is maddeningly slow because I'm a 1 man band. And I have other responsibilities. Like I said, I got stuck there last night because a guy showed up looking for scrap metal (funny thing, the guy I originally called and that might not have made it out for another week, just called this morning so I had to tell him it had disappeared overnight). While I was there, my neighbor texted me that some boards on the fence for her horse pasture had fallen and asked if I could fix them.

I got home 4 hours after dinnertime--and had to walk The Dog first because I was probably 6 hours behind on that. By then I'd forgotten all about the fence (and the boards are really overkill because there's a wire mesh behind them, so the horses were fine). Checked my phone this morning so I got up instead of dozing a bit, threw on some clothes...and realized most of the primary tools I would use were over at the renovation house. I had a spare hammer in the garage but didn't feel like unlocking and opening that up so I found a big old pipe wrench that makes a nice hammer. Ordinarily I'd use the screws but there is no way I was going to try to drive screws with by hand--with a Leatherman. The screwgun was at the other house--along with the screwdriver. I have a spare screwdriver--in the garage with the spare hammer. Got out there and got things cobbled up as best I could. I should just fix it right. One of the rails had fallen off previously and been "good enough" fixed by me. Wouldn't even take that long. I just never find the time.

On that note, I should get going. Memorial Day Sale weekend coming up so we've got an extra truck coming in tonight and I should run down to the house and make sure the dumpster is ready for pickup (no bums ratfucked it overnight and no one parked in front of it). But first I must walk The Dog; maybe eat some lunch.


Zombie Hunter
Dog blog. (Warning: There will be groundhog murder in this post) Rationally, I know my dog has a great life and I spoil her rotten. I spend 2 hours a day, every day, letting her take me wherever she wants to go (within reason, not into peoples yards or any terrain a human can't navigate) and let her hunt all manner of rodents--while I wind up getting bit by a few woodticks every week. But emotionally, I feel bad when she doesn't get to celebrate her kills as much as she'd like.

I mean, if she'd drag them out to the back pasture or bury them or something, it would be different. But she insists on having them lie in state right near the back door. She got one pretty quickly on tonight's patrol. Big one. But we were close enough that she decided to bring it home. Then she laid next to it in the backyard, sometimes even using it as a pillow, and regularly smiling and looking at me where I was eating dinner on the patio. But after an hour I had to leave for work. And tomorrow is Trash Day. Sooo... since I don't want to bury ANOTHER groundhog--in such a way that she can't dig it up--and I don't want a dead groundhog laying in the yard for a week as we go into June in Kentucky, I chucked the bugger in the trash.

I was like "It's OK. It's fine. Dogs forget things quickly. She'll have probably forgotten about it. Nope. Dogs don't remember things the way WE do, but they remember things based on stimulus, so as soon as I got home, she ran out to where she'd left her trophy and proceeded to patrol the yard, looking for it. Poor girl.


I *may* have made progress with USAA. They actually covered the cost of the electrician. If their service wasn't so fucking terrible I might be tempted to get my roof guy in and actually fix my roof properly. But I'm also underwhelmed with my roof guy of late. He really wasn't on the ball as I was working through this insurance claim. And I gave him the roof on my new property to get me an estimate on and I haven't heard anything back all week. I hate when someone good turns shitty. I hate having to find a new competent person.


I think I mentioned, the dumpster was rat-fucked again--no, I don't think I did. The dumpster was rat-fucked again last night. After the first night and having to chase off 2 hobos last night (who obviously came back) I decided to just have the dumpster company come pick it up--even though there was still some space in it and I still had stuff to put in it. Ran down to make sure everything was OK--the area in front of it wasn't obstructed and no bums had thrown trash out of the dumpster. They hadn't, but they had figured out how to open the gate--and couldn't figure out how to close it all the way when they were done. I'm sure the driver would've caught that, but better safe than sorry. It also gave me a chance to fill it up with some more stuff.

As it was pretty late in the business day and I didn't know if they'd have a driver for pickup today or not, I realized I had a shit-ton of carpet tack strips to get rid of, so I went and pulled them all up and spent a good deal of time making sure the entire dumpster was evenly covered with rotten sticks full of rusty nails. I was almost disappointed when the driver showed up. Almost.

I've still got a decent amount of stuff to get rid of, but I think I can manage it the old way--load it in the van, stick it in a shed at my house and work it into the trash as space is available.

I do have to have some discipline and get to work on the interior in earnest. It's tempting to continue to fuck about with the exterior, but I can do that after the inside is done and the property manager has listed it. Well, I should be going. There's a guy showing up tomorrow at Noon to cut down a tree. And I don't know if I need to pay him in cash or he'll take a check. We'll see.


Zombie Hunter
Dog blog: Had to cheat her with a short walk this morning so I could get down to the new house to pay the tree guy. Went out for the afternoon patrol, planning to give her 2 hours. 5 minutes in, she got another groundhog so now she's carrying it around the yard.

USAA actually came through with something approaching a reasonable settlement. Almost tempted to try to get the roof fixed right, but since it looks OK right now and keeps water out, I may just let it ride. Anyway, my roof guy is not impressing me. He's supposed to be getting me a quote for the new house and I haven't heard from him this week.

Well, should get going. Gotta work tonight; lots of things I should be doing in the mean time.


Zombie Hunter
Huh. Turns out this is going to be right on the original topic--but completely in a different thrust than most of my posts. And it may go off on some tangents. I dunno.

In principle, I don't hate my part time job. In fact, I kind of like it and it is scary how much previous slacker jobs have prepared me for it. To recap I spent my life--up to around age 39, trying to land my "dream, grown-up" job--and managed it. IT contractor supporting job sites for a major national construction company. In the Marines I did deployed IT support and planning, so providing telecommunications to organizations in...austere...environments with no infrastructre right up my alley. In fact my last job was for an Engineer Support Battalion, so I even had experience on the construction side. But it only lasted 6 months or so. The company I was employed by wasn't really what they said they were and the company we were working for really hadn't bought into using contractors--and was completely not structured to do what they were trying to do. My boss gave me a different role for awhile but the writing was on the wall.

So when I got a job offer out of the blue--literally days after I got laid off--I took it. I'd applied for a management job with a marketing company earlier. They didn't have anything but they wondered if I wanted an entry level job. It penciled out to about the same amount as unemployment and I feel like it would be bad karma to pass on an unexpected job offer when you're unemployed so I took it. Retail reset merchandising for a major West Coast supermarket chain (again, as a contractor). I was part of a team and we had 20 or so supermarkets we supported. Every month we'd get a new list of store categories--toothpaste, cheese, chips, etc--that were being updated and we'd go to each of our stores and reconfigure the displays overnight. Eventually this transitioned into my second *almost* dream grownup job--actually designing the categories on a computer for the reset teams--but that's another story.

When I moved to Kentucky, I took a job with UPS. Started out loading trailers that go to the intermediate delivery hubs. So, say, Carhart would ship all their packages to our location and then from there they'd go on trucks to Chicago or Iowa or San Diego or wherever to get eventually loaded onto the delivery vans. They made me a supervisor pretty quickly and I wound up in a capacity to training employees how to stack packages better so more boxes would fit in a trailer and less boxes would get damaged in transit. I was quite good at it if I say so myself, but the culture changed and eventually it was time to move on.

Did manufacturing for a couple years. That really isn't relevant other than it teaches you how to hustle and work top speed for a full shift. Wouldn't have left that except that the hours got miserable--they went to 3 shifts on our line. Since a day is 24 hours and a shift is 8 hours, they cut out our unpaid 30 minute lunch and you were supposed to work 8 hours with a 10 minute break and a 20 minute break. The kicker is, since they hadn't hired and trained up a 3rd shift yet, they were requiring an hour of overtime. So 30 minutes of break during a 9 hour shift. I was making about enough that I decided to leave and try retiring. That pretty much catches us up to the start of this thread.

Well a month or two ago I decided I really wasn't making enough from rentals yet, so I looked for a part time job that wouldn't require too much commitment. Reapplied with my old retail marketing company but didn't hear back from them. Applied for a merchandise reset position with the other big box hardware chain and didn't hear back from them. So I applied for a night receiving position with the other big box hardware store and got hired. Of course the day after that I found another house that I was able to buy so--once again--I find myself trying to balance a job, a personal life, and renovating a house where just weeks earlier all I had on the plate was playing with my dog.

I do like the job. The company has a nice mix of a lot of the things I've liked about previous employers without a lot of the things I disliked. And I get to help people and solve problems. BUT... I have to deal with the other employees.

I'm getting ahead of myself. About 3 days a week, around the time the store is closing, a truck shows up loaded with a mix of inventory. I come in, clock in. Take a quiz or two on the computer and read a couple e-mails about how the store is doing on sales and then I go help unload the truck. There's a collapsible roller rack that unrolls into the truck to load product on to send out of the truck. There are pallets laid out on the receiving floor and other people take the boxes from the end of the rollers and put them on the appropriate pallet, based on the sticker on the box. Sometimes there are palletized items, so we collapse up the rollers and move them out of the way to unload with a forklift. As pallets fill up, other workers use pallet jacks to take them to the part of the store where they are sold. Once the truck is empty, we all get little tablet scanners and go around for the rest of the night, opening up the shipping boxes and stocking the shelves with product. All in all, the work appeals to me. BUT...

It is frustrating, because I'm the smartest person on the team, with the most experience doing what we do. And the truth is that a lot of people in this kind of job really don't give a crap about doing a good job. Or they haven't had training on how to unload a truck or stack boxes. And you might think "how hard is it to stack boxes?" It isn't. But there is a whole art and science to stacking boxes *well* so that the stack doesn't fall over when you move it and you can load a lot of items into a finite space. Literally, there's at least a dozen steps to it. I used to be able to recite them from memory, but that was years ago. But I still remember the basics. Most people will just set a box the closest, easiest place on the pallet. This screws up the pallet and makes for a teetering unstable mess that you can't fit a lot of items on. Some people just don't know how to stack boxes. I've actually moved boxes around to create a better load, only to come back with a new box to see people rearranging the work I just did into a worse setup. They don't know how to unload a truck efficiently either. That wasn't my area at UPS, but we were trained on it and as a supervisor I'd have to help out in that department on occasion. They don't set up the rack right, which causes the boxes to jam up. They don't keep the rack close to where they're working, and they don't use a load stand to reach items at the top of the trailer. And since I'm an entry-level new hire, I don't have the authority to teach anyone how to do any of that--or compel them to after they've been taught.

Shit, even stocking the shelves. I'll grab a shopping cart and throw as many boxes as I can into it. But there's a science to that too. You take a minute to look at the pallet and if there's a number of the same item, you grab all of them and get them all done at once. You try to group the stuff your taking so you aren't going back and forth between aisles. I've watched people take 1 or 2 of something and a different item and then have to come back and repeat the whole process multiple times (the little tablet thing has a scanner and the shelves have barcodes so you check items into inventory as you load them onto the shelves). You load items into your cart so the barcode is accessible. A guy that got hired with me was "helping" me last night. And I like the guy. He works hard and has a good personality. But he's not very smart--I mean, like he can't figure out how to clock in and out (to be fair it is on a computer with an employee # and password, not a badge and punch-clock). So I'm loading up a cart to put away merchandise and he "helps" by loading in boxes--and he consciously and intentionally turns the boxes as he loads them into the cart so that the barcode is facing down and is unscannable without having to pick up and move the box. To be fair, this isn't entirely his fault. They gave us a ton of training, but the training isn't really geared towards what we do. A lot of it is customer service, shoplifting, using the computer systems, HR, emergencies, etc. If it were my place, I'd skip a whole lot of it and focus on efficient unloading of a truck, loading pallets, and then transferring items from the pallets to the shelves.

But it *isn't* my place. And I don't want it to *be* my place. I just want to do my job, do it well, get paid, and not have the hassle and responsibility of managing other employees. Kind of the John Galt school of employment. Is it bad that I'm working at a capacity below what I'm capable of? I don't think so. Because I'm not in the business of building a career in hardware--or anywhere else. I just want to make enough money to pay bills until I have enough passive income that I don't need to punch a clock ever again.

Whew. That was long. But it didn't really ramble or go off the rails much. I write good when I try. Well, that said, I see I should've had lunch an hour ago, I have to walk my dog before lunch, I've got lots to do this weekendm and I'm still in my jammies. I'd better get going.


Zombie Hunter
Tempted to start another thread for this, but I'll just stick it here for now. The reason poor people are poor in the USA is not because of some eeeevil White patriarchy, keeping them Down. It is because they make shitty decisions. And they willingly give their money to people who make good decisions.

I'm renovating this house. Good house. Nice house. Charlie Brown Christmas Tree house. Pretty much just needs paint and a new floor; new kitchen counters, to be a nice house. But getting to that point is so goddamn much work. Mowed the lawn today. The Plan is to focus on the interior, because my property manager can start showing it when the interior's ready, while I fix up the exterior. But the lawn needs to be mowed. Tomorrow is supposed to rain and I really didn't have much time to switch to interior work after mowing. And there's so goddamn much exterior work. So I worked on getting that to at least a baseline point.

Although mowing took longer than planned. Because I kept finding shit as I mowed. Wrappers, plastic, junk. Mowed a spot that had been littered with planters. Had to stop repeatedly because the mower would hit planters and pavers that had been buried under a layer of dirt that had been under a layer of planters and pavers. Had a 5' tall stack of random pavers that I added 2' and 3' stacks next to before I stopped finding random pavers. Actually, that's not true, but I'll get to that presently.

Next was the firewood. Now, they have a gas fireplace. And they're behind a fire department. But apparently they must've had a firepit. Actually they had a few firepits. I threw the rusted out one on top of the one made from landscaping logs(?!). But once I'd raked away 10# of ash, I found another one on the concrete driveway (on top of...wait for it...concrete pavers). Once I got that gone, it was time to tackle firewood. I didn't have a place to put brush. bark, leaves, and branches today, so I raked it all into a pile with the ash. Then I gathered up the bits of stump and random logs. These had all been lying so long they were grey-black, mostly rotted away, and turning into dirt on the bottom edge. There was also a selection of 3-5' long firewood that I didn't have space for. Finally, there was quite a nice stack of hardwood--a bit like a Jenga game--only about a 4' cube. What the actual fuck?! What do you need all this goddamn firewood for?! It was all on top of...wait for it...more concrete pavers, but it had been there so long that dirt had formed up past the paver height and fucking trees were growing in the dirt on the concrete driveway.

They went to great expense to put in a redneck above ground pool. Then a storm collapsed it while it was being filled so the husband said "fuck it, we're writing it off." At some point the wife...the latch apparently broke on the front storm door. So I guess she went and bought all the parts to fix it. But then she found out the parts were the wrong size. So she threw them away and tied a piece of string to the door.

At this point I've cleaned so goddamned much garbage out--after it was already cleaned out--that I'm almost getting to the point where I can start attacking the effects of 16+ years of heavy smoking on the interior of the place. When I'm done, I should have quite a nice little place that is worth a lot more than I paid for and put into it. And it isn't unrealistic that I can own it free-and-clear within a decade. Meanwhile, they lived there for 16+ years and got $7k for selling it, because the rest went to the bank since they never paid down the mortgage.


Zombie Hunter
Yesterday I had to mow the lawn at the new place. Supposed to rain today. Focus is getting the interior done so I can start showing it-work on exterior while lining up a renter--but the reality is that there's so much to be done outside just to get to baseline standards that I wound up working outside the whole time I was there--and far longer than I'd planned.

I also neglected to do desk work. As an introvert, personal interactions are unpleasant enough. Difficult personal interactions are very easy to put off. I need to find out why my roof guy hasn't gotten me a quote yet and I need to try to get my USAA home claim closed out.

I also have some bookkeeping and personal housekeeping that should've happened over the weekend, but part time night shifts are wreaking havoc on my productivity.

The Cat has been Out for over 36 hours. He's been Out longer. Nevertheless, I always worry a bit.


Zombie Hunter
A little bit of a dump. Been working on the new rental. The Plan is to work on the interior so my property manager can start showing it and do the exterior after that. But of course the lawn needs to be mowed every week or so. And it is easier to mow the lawn if there isn't crap piled all over. And, as mentioned above, the gutters needed to be cleaned out because they were so full of crud that they not only weren't working, they were pulling away from the eaves--despite extra added screws. When I was up there I saw the condition of the roof and new I needed a new roof ASAP. I also had a dying tree in the front yard. And since it is better to have a stray branch fall on an old roof than a new roof, I wanted the tree out before the roof went on. Meanwhile, there were piles and piles of crap in the driveway. Theoretically firewood for a rusted out firepit, but really piles and piles of crap. Oh, and there was this...well there was a big black metal wheelchair ramp that came out right away, but there was also this plastic fantastic white vinyl railing all around the front porch. Now let me say, the front porch is only maybe 8" higher than the yard. And there are raised plant beds around 90% of it, so it really doesn't need a railing. Heck, there's even a concrete step on the side abutting the driveway, so clearly the intent was to be able to step up onto the porch from the driveway.

Now I need to step back and touch on colors. Roof was (maybe) dark brown. Eaves, gutters, downs, and shutters were dark brown. Windows, pillars, and porch railing were white (because white vinyl is like 1/10th the cost of any other color). Siding...I thought it was tan, but actually looking at it, it was a kind of banana/custard color. And am I gay? Because when I talked to both the female neighbors about what I was doing I used terms like "cream" and "banana" and they'd interrupt with "yellow." And not, like, "light yellow" or "pastel yellow," just yellow. Anyway, when I realized this, I also realized that 95% of houses, the gutters and eaves match the windows. And if I painted the brown white (which will suck a little), it would totally change the look of the place--for the better. I made the call to put grey shingles on the roof that would match what I envision the house to look like, not what it currently looks like.

I also took down the horrible plastic railing. And with that much less white in the scheme, the brown trim worked better; to the point that I almost called my roof guy to change color of the shingles back to brown. My roof guy was annoying me, but when he comes through, he comes through. Said he'd get this done this week and it was done less than 24 hours after we agreed on the work. And it looks bad with the grey shingles and brown trim, so I'm stuck having to paint white over brown (probably more than 1 coat). Should've went back to brown, but spilt milk and all.

But where was I? Oh! Yeah! The interior. Which was *totally* The Plan. And I've totally neglected it. I did manage to clean windows. But on the outside, so that only kind of counts. (The outside of the windows are actually linked to light on the inside, so they are kind of "inside".) Today I finally got started on the inside.

Again, house was occupied by smokers. And pictures of this house would put any sane person off smoking. Pretty much every room has a wallpaper border. Under that, the walls are white. Everywhere else they are a mottled beige. So is the ceiling. After scrubbing the ceilings and 2 walls of 1 bedroom with a bucket of bleach, trisodium phosphate (TSP), and water, I was telling myself that the ceiling was actually beige and that the reason the walls under the border were white is because they were primed but not painted. But then I see the spot behind the floor length mirror that was agressively screwed to the wall and realize that, no, the walls *were* white. But cigarette smoke made them beige to the point that bleach and TSP cannot remove the stain. So the plan is to go over the entire inside of the house with bleach and TSP. Then go over it *again* with vinegar and Pine-Sol, then paint everything with KILLZ primer before painting. And just to jump back to exterior work for a bit, after I unload all the wood in the trunk of the Mustang, I've only got maybe 2 more trunkloads of wood before the driveway is clear. I mean, there's a ton of landscape logs and piles of brush, and about a 10' tall (no exaggerating for effect) stack of concrete pavers, but one thing at a time.

Oh, and fences. What is it about poor people and privacy fences? The house has a very small and cluttered lot. But there's a big beautiful field out behind it. So naturally they put up all kinds of fencing to obstruct the view. And when the fencing didn't do a good enough job obstructing the view, they screwed all kinds of extra boards to it to make damned sure no one could enjoy the nice view out the backyard.

In unrelated news, The Cat has been Out for the better part of the week. Logically, I am not worried. Emotionally, I am becoming concerned--not that there's much I can do, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Now that I'm working part time some nights, this has screwed up our established routine and he wanted to go Out one night and wouldn't come back In before I had to go to bed. Usually, he'll be waiting at the door for me within 24 hours--and he's only been Out overnight a few times. This time it has been days and days with no sign of him. Now I know there are water sources around. And I know he knows how to hunt. And take care of himself around other cats. And avoid suspicious humans. And probably animal predators. And, like, the day before he disappeared I'm pretty sure he discovered that the animals he kills are full of delicious meat (The Dog murdered and partly disemboweled a little baby bunny and left it on the deck). There was also a story in the news today about a dog that was missing for 5 weeks and turned up and should eventually make a full recovery. And cats are much more independent than dogs. I had a cat that I had to give to friends that disappeared for a time but eventually turned up Ok. So logically, I shouldn't be worried. But I feel like he likes me and The Dog and likes laying on the couch and eating cat food whenever he wants, so I'm a bit worried about his continued absence. That said, there's basically nothing I can do, so there's really no point in worrying. He has a microchip. Animal control is so busy they barely pick up stray dogs, let alone cats. But I wish he'd come home. I write this partly because I've already prayed and every time he's Out and I post here, he immediately shows up, so maybe posting here is more effective than praying.

Well, I think I gotta work tomorrow. And I have plans for the weekend. So I may not get back to house renovation until next week.


Zombie Hunter
Life is never boring. And rarely goes according to plan. The Cat went Out Monday night and hasn't been back. He's chipped and there isn't a lot you can do beyond that, so I've just been waiting and praying.

Worked last night. Work again Sunday night. Have a big to-do 2 towns over tonight. Need to leave in a half hour or so. So I walked The Dog this morning. She found an abandoned kitten with an injured front leg under the bridge the bum hangs out at. At first I was like "fuck it, not my problem," but of course then The Dog decided to loiter around under the bridge instead of continuing on her patrol like she always does and the whole time the kitten limped around near us, mewing, so I said "fuck it, come here" and picked her up and carried her home. Dropped her off at the house while I finished the dog walk. When I got home I did NOT do any of the things on my agenda for today. Instead I got out the car and drove over to the city animal shelter to drop off the kitten. This took an hour and a half. By the time I could finally go I'd cleaned most of the boogers off from around her eyes, nose, and mouth and she was dozing on my lap, purring. Told them that I'd be interested in fostering her after she was recovered. Meanwhile, the lady next to me had seen a cat like her daughter's on the Website so she was waiting to see if it was their cat. So when I got home, I checked the Website and there was a cat about the same age and description as The Cat who'd been brought in right about when my cat had gone missing. So I've got to follow up on that ASAP.

So I got everything ready for tonight and got a start on walking The Dog almost an hour behind schedule, but 5 minutes into the walk, he got a juvenile groundhog so she brought him straight home and is laying out in the shade, celebrating her trophy. So I'm actually a bit ahead of schedule. I'm tempted to head back to see if the shelter has my cat, but they may or may not be closed already (their phone says they're closed but the Internet says they're open)--although this would blow my schedule for the night right down the toilet. And my cat is chipped so it seems like this can't be my cat. Anyway, if it is him, he should be able to wait until Monday. I hope. Gives me some time to pray that it is him.


Active Member
Unless you registered the chip then they won't know your info. It is best to at least check. The last time our pet cat went missing for two days we found him at the local animal shelter even though he was chipped. A shit bag neighbor turned him in even though he knew the car was ours because he was mad the cat went into his yard.

It is a cat. Cars roam around.


Zombie Hunter
So I went to my thing. It turned out the way I should've expected it to instead of the way I hoped it would. But I don't regret going. Was running so late that I couldn't stop for food so I thought I'd hit Denny's on the way home. I take the exit with the Denny's sign and it's in a truck stop. There's a handwritten sign taped to the door, saying "use the front door after 11pm." So I grudgingly trudge to the gas station entrance but am happy to see a "Cinnabon" sign, because it has been years since I've had Cinnabon. So I ask the counter monkey where the Cinnabon is and she looks at me like I'm from outer space. "What?" "Cinnabon." "What?" "CIN-NA-BON. There's a 6' tall sign *right* next to you, for God's sake." "If we have any, they'll be on that shelf, by the pole." Great. Fine. No Cinnabon. Not even any Cinnabon-branded truck-stop pastries. At least there's still Denny's. So I go there and see a handwritten "closed, we will reopen at 7am" sign, taped to the "Please wait to be seated" sign. Whoever heard of a 7-11 Denny's. So I get back on the road.

Oh, and in my rush, I also forgot to throw a T-shirt and jeans in the car, so I'm driving around in a tuxedo. Eventually I see a Perkin's sign. That's like Denny's for the Northern Midwest. So I go there. They're closed. There's a Waffle House, but damn, I can barely go to a Denny's in a tux, the idea of going to Waffle House is absurd. There is an Outback Steakhouse across the freeway, so I head for that. But then I realize how much more annoyed I'll be when I get there and find it closed so I whip a U-turn and head for the freeway. The car coming towards me lets me go, even though he's got the right-of-way, and then gets right up on me. Sure enough, cop. But when I explained my situation he let me off with a warning. Never did find a restaurant that was open--or even a gas station with hot dogs or donuts or anything, so I wound up paying $3.99 for a goddamn tiny bag of Twizzlers.

Got home and The Dog had to go out to do whatever she does with juvenile groundhogs that she kills and the third time I checked if she was ready to come in, she did--with The Cat. After chowing down on his cat food, he's like "yeah, what?" So now I have to decide whether I'm still obligated to foster this kitten when her leg heals or not. As it happens, she did not actually help me find my cat back. She just burned up a huge chunk of my day. But she was cute. And purred and took a nap on my lap, while I cat-washed the eye-boogers off her face with my thumb as we waited at the shelter.


Zombie Hunter
Surveying The Cat this morning and he has some wounds to his legs/paws. Significantly healed already but both inside rear toes have some damage as well as the upper pads on the front paws (like up where dogs have a dewclaw). There's also a nice scratch/laceration across one front leg. What happened while he was out? Who knows. Will it cure him of wandering/sneaking out/not coming when called? Probably not.


Zombie Hunter
The Terrible Mother Post--OR: The deferred awesome mom...

I had this window open to post something mundane about life. But I've been drinking and playing Sudoku and it reminded me of a story from a few years back.

Now I'm smart. Scary smart. Not a genius, maybe. But as close as you can be without actually being one. For various reasons, people knew this as early as 6th grade or so. But for reasons unknown to me, no one ever bothered to tell me this. I don't know why people wouldn't tell a kid they're scary smart. Fear? They're too stupid to know what to do? Who knows? But apparently everyone but me in my community knew I was smart.

Over the years I started getting hints and inklings. Having conversations and realizing I'm always 3-4 steps ahead of anyone else or that the person I'm talking to just doesn't get what I'm saying--even when I've tried my best to "dumb it down." One day I needed help with some Marine paperwork and a peer (Chief Warrant Officer I went to war with and was in a course with) was an admin guy, so I had him go over my paperwork. As he's rifling through the sheets he pauses to say "Wow, sir. You're smart." So it's starting to dawn on me. But still not entirely there.

Well one day, for various reasons, I'm on a plane. Now that SkyMall isn't a thing anymore and they no longer serve meals to the proles, all that remains is the airline magazine. This usually mostly sucks, but it also usually has a Sudoku or 3 near the end. And 3 Sudokus can just about eat up a flight. Well I'm working on the puzzles and a Mom and her kid(s?) is/are sitting next to me. One of them--probably the kid--asks me what I'm doing. So I explain the rules to solving a Sudoku. When I'm done, the Mom explains "and this is why he's smarter than us."

Now, I'm smart. My school knew I was smart. So they almost certainly told my Mom I was smart. BUT! She never told ME I was smart. I can't even conceive of the missed opportunities around this. Meanwhile, decades later, some random Mom on a plane basically tells her kid (s)he and her are stupid, compared to me. And it seems stupid and mundane, but years and years later, it means so much to me that Mom told me I was smart. It may not have been my Mom, but it was a Mom. Is it bad that she told her kid he wasn't as smart as me? No, as I type this, I dont' think so. Maybe some day the kid could be as smart as me, but as a little kid, he couldn't be as smart as me. Hell, the kid will probably turn out alright, with a Mom that isn't giving him trophies for just showing up.