personal comments edit

This is going to sound pretty whiny, but frankly I don’t care. I’ve got some stuff on my mind and it’s time to either vent or explode. I choose vent. So I went this weekend with my parents to check out this condo they’re thinking of moving into at which point I - once again - questioned their reasoning as to why they’d want to move out of the freedom of a house and into an apartment-style living situation again. Dad’s big answer is that he wants to “pare down.” That’s Dad’s big phrase when he starts talking about his living situation - “We need to pare down.”

I’m not even really sure what that means. He’s got this ambiguous definition revolving around it, but the general gist is that he wants to lower the quantity of stuff he has in his possession. Why you can’t do that in your existing house is beyond my comprehension, but for some reason “paring down” always involves moving into a smaller place. (I don’t think he takes into account the fact that the majority of the stuff he wants to “pare down” is the knick-knack stuff that Mom decorates their place with; I don’t think it occurs to him that regardless of where they live, Mom’s going to fill the place up with decor.)

His other reason is that he “hates maintenance.” I’ll sympathize with him on this one. When (if) I get a house, I don’t want to mow the lawn. Jenn has publicly said she’ll do all the yardwork, so I’m holding her to it or paving the motherfucker over. Anyway, Dad doesn’t like maintenance. The funny thing is, four times out of five, it’s Mom mowing the lawn and stuff anyway. But let’s pretend for the moment that’s not the case - Dad doesn’t like the maintenance that comes with a house.

So he wants to move into a condo because it’s the silver bullet that will solve all of his living situation issues. Moving will force him to throw stuff out, and moving into a condo will mean he doesn’t have to mow the lawn. However, the place he’s looking at will charge him around $200 per month for home owner association fees that pay for the mowing of the lawn and other grounds maintenance. I think it also covers water and sewer or something. Fine. The thing I don’t get about that is, though, if you’re going to shell out $200 more per month than you’re already paying for a house payment, and you’re getting a smaller place, why not just hire a lawn service to do your yardwork for you at half the price?

Okay, so there’s that. I have tried to explain to him that he’s not going to like apartment life after living in a house for so long - you can hear the neighbors, you don’t have the freedoms you have in a house, yadda yadda yadda. He doesn’t believe it. This from the guy who loves to crank up the action movies on the surround sound. You can’t do that when you have neighbors attached to you, man. But the need to “pare down” seems to outweigh that.

Anyway, this weekend Dad decided he needed to get all of the stuff I own out of the house. Understand that this is a truckload of boxes full of toys, grade school report cards, and other crap that I don’t even know that I own. He told me that this desk sitting in their living room is mine - huh? I don’t recall that being mine, but I’m sure he’s just trying to shovel his shit into my apartment. There are chairs, there are boxes, there’s this desk… there’s a lot of stuff.

Now, keep in mind that a little while back - maybe four months or so - I got a storage unit because I don’t have space to keep both Jenn’s stuff and my stuff in our ever-crowded apartment. It’s ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. I hate my apartment and I stew about the distinct lack of space on a frequent basis. We’ve already pored through our stuff and donated or sold the stuff we don’t have room for. We’re at the end of our current space.

So what Dad tells me every time I see him, and continued to harp on this weekend, is that I need to take my stuff because they’re “paring down.” Every time I hear this, I tell him I don’t have anywhere to put it. We all know they’re not moving in the next couple of months anyway, so if he could sit on it until they move, I might have something better coming up then. This time he just wouldn’t let up, so it turned into a pretty heated argument that basically ended with me saying I’m going to have to trash most of my stuff because basically I can’t put it anywhere. Honestly, I’m at the end of my ability to store anything else. I just regained use of this second bedroom we have, and I guess I’ll just lose it again. Fucking great.

That’s just one of the things on my mind. Let’s see…

At work I’ve got too much shit to do and not enough time. I’m sure that’s the plight of every worker in a “right-sized” environment, but we were understaffed before we got trimmed, so now we’re really under-staffed. There’s a huge several-month-long project that I’m working on with some contractors and my name is next to about 70% of the action items. I’m booked. I’m going to training classes during different times during the project, which just means I have less time than needed to accomplish everything (though the training is the only thing keeping me from killing someone, since it’s the only part I look forward to). When I’m gone, there’s no “backup support” for me - when I come back, all I am is a week further behind. Nobody picks up the slack. And then my boss comes over and says, “Hey, you really need to think about when and how we’re going to work this other huge project to be completed during the same timeframe as this already overwhelming project you’re working on…” Yeah, buddy. Thanks. Because I’m not thinking about anything else right now.

At home I’m exhausted. I get up by 5:45a to take Jenn to work by 7:00a, which is a problem for me since I’m not a morning person. Now, when I say “I’m exhausted” that doesn’t mean “I really could use a nap and I’d feel better,” it means “I’m ready to cry spontaneously because I’m so tired I feel like I’m in a hellish sleep deprivation experiment where the scientists forgot to tell me I can sleep again.” I’m beyond beat. Going to bed earlier is not going to help - I’m not a morning person, so regardless of how much sleep I get, if I get up before, say, 6:30a, I’m destroyed. Any time before 7:30a and I’ll be tired, but I can sometimes pick up the slack on the weekends with that. Not so with this 5:45a shit. I can’t hack this.

Financially it doesn’t help motivate me that Jenn is technically unemployed - she’s working a six-week externship (reads: “volunteering”) that could turn into *gasp* a permanent position with the same suck-ass hours. (No, she can’t park at work; they don’t give employees parking permits unless they carpool.) Her last unemployment check for a whopping $130 or something comes in on Wednesday and we’ve got four weeks left of this volunteer work. After the externship, she’s got to find a permanent position somewhere (preferably not at ridiculous hours), so God only knows how long that will take.

The volunteer-work is really cutting into the budget; actually, the whole “sending Jenn through school” has cut into the budget. I’m glad she’s got a career coming up that she can grow in and love, but I was getting only about 30% help with the bills before, now I’m getting around 10%, and after this week, it’ll be 0%. So I’m supporting two people on a one-person salary with no end in sight.

We want a house, but I can’t save up any money to get there (and, in fact, I’m eating into the savings by living like this), so we live in an overpriced apartment, pay for an external storage unit to house the shit we can’t get rid of but have no place for, and I can’t get ahead. I love Jenn dearly, but from a financial standpoint, I was able to make ends meet a lot better when I didn’t have to support her.

So I’ve got the work issues, the home issues, and the financial issues all stewing in my brain. I don’t have the ability to turn that off; if I focus on something else, I’m okay, but as soon as I’m done with that activity, my brain reverts to stewing on that stuff. I wake up every morning with a sore jaw (I’m sure I’m clenching my teeth) and a stiff neck and back because I’m all tense…

I guess the whole point of this is that most folks I socialize with expect me to be “the rock,” the guy who always has it together and who, if all hell breaks loose, will help to pick up the pieces. What I’m finding, though, is that I don’t have anyone that I can rely on to help pick up the pieces if my shit falls apart. As it turns out, it doesn’t sound like I can rely on my own parents, which is disheartening, but I suppose I should have expected it. I’ve come to realize that the phrases “If you want something done right, do it yourself” and “Trust no one” have more than a little truth behind them. I guess I’ll just pick my stuff up from them on Saturday.

I’m waiting for some sort of nervous breakdown. Or maybe a heart attack. I can’t de-stress, because I have no one to rely on to back me up, and I can’t take a vacation because I can’t relax - all I end up with after vacation is more work to try to catch up on.

To top it all off, as I mentioned in my last entry, I got called for Federal jury duty. I’ve got training courses scheduled during the time I’m supposed to go, though, so I’ve got to see if I can get out of it. With my luck… well, let’s not jinx it here, shall we?

net, personal comments edit

Due to my utter insistence on knowing what I’m doing at work, I connived myself some training. I start Monday with a class Monday about “Building COM+ Applications Using Microsoft .NET Enterprise Services” or something. I’m not sure I’m really all that qualified for it, but here’s hoping. Either way, I’m looking forward to training - it’s always like a vacation.

No real plans for the weekend except for a barbecue we’re having for my dad’s birthday. His birthday was actually a couple of weeks ago, but he was out of town. Better late than never, I guess. I’ll probably go over early so I can wash my car. It’s really dirty, and I need to Rain-X my windows again.

Other than that, there’s nothing exciting going on. Work’s stressing me out enough that I can actually feel my own blood pressure and I don’t see any end in sight for that. Money’s tight because Jenn’s in the throes of her pharmacy technician externship (six weeks of unpaid work). I drank a lot of coffee earlier and had a pretty harsh crap. That’s about it.

Speaking of coffee, I really don’t like it, but with this getting-up-too-early crap that Jenn’s got me doing, I don’t see much alternative. The deal is, she has to be at work by 7:00a. If she takes the bus, it takes two hours to get there, so she’d be getting up at 4:00a to get ready… at which point I’d be up. She can’t park at work because they won’t give her a permit (if you’re not a full-time, permanent employee who carpools, you don’t get a permit), so she can’t drive herself. What does that mean?

It means I’m up at fucking 5:45a every morning so we can both be ready and out the door by 6:30a, getting her to work on time. Then I just continue on to work, and I get there by like 7:10a.

I’m not a morning person. I fucking hate the morning. I really start functioning around 11:00a or so - getting up early is not my thing. If the world worked swing shift, that’d be easier for me. Instead, I’m up too early and have started a coffee habit. Of course, it’s more of a luxury than a requirement or addiction; if I don’t have it, I don’t get headaches or withdrawals, I’m just more tired. Tired like someone who gets up too early. Blarg.

net comments edit

I’m out the week of May 5 and will return May 12. If you send me email… I probably won’t get it or respond. Too bad, folks. See ya in a week!

music comments edit

I’ve been pretty addicted to this Seattle radio station, C89.5, since my trip to Bellevue. Thank goodness they broadcast online.

I hate normal radio for several reasons:

  • Too many commercials. For every minute of music, there are like two minutes of commercials. This is worse during most morning shows, where there are three minutes of commercials for every minute of comedic drivel.
  • Radio “powers.” Songs that are considered “power” on the radio get repeated over… and over… and over… Most of the time I hate those songs. Who says payola doesn’t exist anymore?
  • I’m WHITE. Let’s be frank - most of the new stuff coming out is Ebonic-laden hip-hop. Admittedly, I can dig some of it, but not as much as is getting cranked out. Pronounce your words, people. And make it something I can hum along to. You can’t hum to hip-hop.

C89.5 overcomes all of these obstacles. It doesn’t play commercials because it’s a public radio station, run by a Seattle high school. It does repeat songs, but they’re songs I can get into and enjoy. I understand all of the words to all of the songs. And I can hum or whistle along. Added bonus - all the tunes are danceable.

So I’m digging it.

Anyway, they’re having a pledge drive because apparently the school has pretty much cut their funding and they have to raise their own. From what I’m gathering, they’ve had to do this in past years, but this year’s a little tighter because they’ve gone online and the funding has been cut (as is standard with school funding nowadays).

I started thinking about school funding. From what I can tell, they cut the drama departments and the libraries before they cut sports. That’s cool if you’re into the sports thing, but I’m not. I’m the guy the jocks picked on. I’m the guy who went to the library. I’m the guy who loved the drama department.

I’m pretty sure the kids in the radio broadcasting program want to be there. I wish my high school had run a radio program. I’d have been there. And I know that I’d be pretty pissed off to see that the assholes playing football still got to run around on the field where they’re learning no marketable skills while I’m trying to learn something and my program gets shit-canned.

So I went to the pledge site (which I encourage you to do, as well), checked out the different things you get for different pledge levels, and really wanted the custom dance mix CD… but didn’t want to pledge the $89.50 for it. I like the station, but I’m not going to single-handedly support the place.

Instead, I threw in $50 to get the t-shirt. You can get a “can-cozy” for $35, but… I don’t need a can-cozy. I’ll wear the shirt with pride, though. So a shirt it is.

I’m sure I’ll hear about this when I get home. We really are pretty strapped for cash lately, what with Jenn working pro-bono at her pharmacy technician externship. I figure it as an investment in something I believe in, though, and it’s tax-deductible, which is a Good Thing. (Of course, I don’t own a house or anything, so my contributions rarely actually make any difference on my overall deduction at the end of the year.)

Anyway, listen to the music, love the station, then go pledge. It’s worth it.

personal comments edit

The Ironic Email of the Day award goes to the spam I just received to advertise… anti-spam software.