Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I surrender

Seriously. I give up.

I know when I'm beat. I know when I should just walk away.

It's becoming pointless to look for another job because no one will hire me anyway.

I know my days are numbered at my current job, so I've become "dead man walking."

I don't know what I'm going to do anymore.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

No calls, please

It's apparently been a while since I spewed some bile all over this blog. Fact of the matter is, I hadn't had the time or energy to even consider putting anything here. However, I think it's time yet again to tackle a subject that, much like the 1,000-pound elephant in the living room, can't be ignored and must be talked about repeatedly until it goes away.

Yes, that subject is being on call.

I can hear most of you now. You may be saying it in your head, or screaming it at your monitor. Just screaming, "It's only about one week a month, you big pussy, man up and just get it over with! What's the big fucking deal, anyway?"

I'll tell you what the big fucking deal is.

Picture yourself working twenty-four hours straight. Stretch that our over the course of seven days. Seven days without the chance to unwind, not really able to get anything done on a personal level, always shackled to your telephone which could ring at ANY MINUTE, any time of the day, forcing you to leave your home, your bed, whatever, and go do something that might be either a true assistance call or some non-essential bullshit that you STILL HAVE TO DO.

That's why I hate it so.

There's no time to relax. I usually end up getting up early each Saturday and Sunday that I have call, because I know there's a call coming but I don't know precisely when it's going to start. It's kind of like squirting a whole tube of Astro-Glide into your rectum, knowing you're about to be anally raped, but unsure of the exact moment it will happen. Best to just bend over, spread wide, grease up, and brace yourself.

I'm also turned off by the number of "abnormal" calls I get when I have the duty. I've never heard of anyone else getting calls from other home medical companies looking to see if we can give them the supplies they don't have so they can set up their own patients, nor does anyone else really get called to do a suction setup in the most far-flung reaches of the area.

Oh, and if you're reading this, and you work at a major medical facility looking to procure home medical equipment for one of your patients? Remember this little gem of advice: Just because we occupy the same major city as you, it doesn't mean that my branch services your area. So, I would greatly appreciate it if you wouldn't get snippy with me over the phone when I tell you that no, you need to call the branch that actually takes care of your area.

On a related note, major medical facilities: Don't get all snarly at me just because I won't drop everything I'm doing at the moment you call, like setting up oxygen for another one of your patients, to hustle my ass all the way across town to drop off a commode or a walker to a patient you want to discharge right this very moment. Your call will be handled, but there are other things that take priority. Oxygen and other respiratory equipment? High priority, be it a set-up or a troubleshoot call. Commodes, walkers, or other durable medical equipment? Way down the list, but will be handled as quickly as I am able. Helping someone breathe better is of more importance than helping them shit.

I also wonder how much stuff is just being dumped on me for no real reason. It seems that each time I have to take call, there will inevitably be a liquid oxygen setup waiting. Once is a coincidence, twice is a conspiracy, and three times is fucking absurd. I'm waiting for number three to happen within the next few weeks.

Let's look at things. Besides me, there is another liquid-trained driver that can drive the liquid oxygen truck and do the set-up. Does he get an after-hours liquid set-up? No. Of the remaining three, any one of them could ask us to pre-fill a liquid oxygen vessel so they could bring it to the patient's home, a process commonly called "milk-canning." Do any of them get a liquid oxygen set-up after hours? No.

But me? You fuckin' betcha.

There's also the problem of running personal errands. I need clean clothes, which entails a trip to the laundromat each week. I normally go early on Saturday because the place is empty and I can get in and out of there quickly. When I'm on call, however, I'm constantly watching the timers on the washer, then on the dryer, hoping that the accursed phone won't ring, necessitating me to go somewhere right in the middle of the laundry cycle. Forget grocery shopping -- if I lived alone, I'd be eating out all week long with no food in the house and no time to cook anyway.

Those, my dear readers, are the reasons I hate being on call. My only hope is to find another job that has no such thing, and to find it quickly, so I can release myself from the hell I've been sent to.

PS -- I only took this job because I had to. Living under a bridge had no real appeal to me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

That didn't take long...

Just as a reminder: if you came here looking for Happy Smiley Fun Time, with lollipops and cute cuddly things scampering hither and yon, and unicorns pooping rainbows all the live-long day, you are definitely in the wrong fucking place.

Let's flash back to September of last year. I was preparing to make a major transition, both in where I lived and where I worked. I had no definite leads for a job, I knew no one in the area I was moving to, and had absolutely no idea how things were going to turn out. But, despite all of that, I was happy. You know why?

I was finally leaving the job I loathed. After close to two years of spirit-breaking, mind-numbing stupidity, I was finally breaking free. And I felt as if a great weight was being lifted from my shoulders.

Now, let's jump ahead to December. I had a temp job that was only coming through sporadically (not enough to pay bills on a consistent basis), and was offered another temp job through a different company. The downside is it was for the job I loathed. The upsides were it was with a different company, and would only be for a month. A month of guaranteed income while I continued to look for something else was much more desirable than no income at all, so I accepted it.

Now, we get into February. No income at all, looking desperate, and guess who comes calling? Yup, the people from the temp job for the job I loathed. They have an opening, they know my qualifications, the manager seems decent, so, against my better judgment, I accepted the position.

So, here we are at the end of March. The good manager left last week, the area manager's not the type of person I would want handing me toilet paper, much less overseeing my job functions, and to top off the sundae of regrets, today I was told ...

... you ready for this? ...


See, there's this thing I do at most of my jobs, where once I learn a skill or task, I can usually do it fairly quickly, getting things done in a more timely fashion. Most employers like this, as that means they can train me in other areas or have me do other things once the main job is complete.

Nope, apparently here, productivity is frowned upon.

I had no idea, and wasn't expecting, to be completely demoralized in only a month's time, but here we are. There's no more care to dredge up from the very bottom of Giveafuck Bay. If they want me to stay out until almost quitting time doing that one task, so be it. Sorry, I'd love to help you all out, but I can't work any faster because it violates company policy, apparently.

A month into a job is too goddamn soon to be marking the days until you get out of it. But, such is how things stand now.

I need some sleep. And another job.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lots going on, now to write about it

So, I did get that job I'd been obsessing about. I jumped through enough hurdles and crawled through enough red tape, and have been at work for about three weeks now. And no, it wasn't the easiest of starts. But, it's a job, and it pays fairly decent, and it's good to have at least one income so we can continue to have a roof over our head and food on our table.

The only real problem continues to be the truck. There is no way we can get the truck fixed to the state standards for it to pass inspection, repairs would be more than the damn thing is worth, and the problems we're having with it are only getting worse. One of these times it's not going to run at all and we'll be totally screwed.

So, it's time to send the e-mail I've been dreading sending for the past couple of months now. If I can only get the nerve up to do so...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fix It Or F*** It

Guess there's no sense denying the inevitable, but if you will, permit me a moment of reflection.

I bought the truck in July of 2004 to replace a car that was slowly falling apart on me. The car was free, and it lasted for three years before it came time to replace. Little did I know how useful the truck would be a month later when my marriage finally dissolved. I was able to carry most of my stuff away in one haul and had a place to store it while I sought a place to stay.

For over five years the truck continued to serve me well, moving me first west, then eventually south, with a lot of winter driving in between. I've hauled all kinds of things in the truck, from wood for or fireplace to the entire contents of my life to cute fuzzy chinchillas. Maintenance was performed when I could afford it, not when it was due (unless it was a dire emergency and absolutely HAD to be done).

And now, it's come to this: there's a problem that I can't diagnose, nor can I afford to get fixed; there's a host of other problems that need to be corrected to get the truck worthy enough to pass the state inspection; and there's no guarantee that any fixes would be long-term in nature until another major part fails.

Every week, I've been playing the "Fix It Or Fuck It" game, maybe clinging vainly to a false hope that the truck can be fixed and all will be well until we really can afford to get a new-to-us vehicle. Only problem is, the longer the problem goes untreated, the worse the truck seems to be performing, and the more likely we'll have no choice but to sell it for junk, get whatever we can for it, and put that toward another vehicle. But, no matter what, something has to be done by July.

I guess it's time to see what we can scrape together money-wise, and look around to find a decent vehicle that won't bankrupt us too horribly.

You served me well, Nissa. And thank you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

... and a few dollars short.

Yes, it's a midweek post, and so what? I had a lot going on this weekend and didn't have the time to really sit down and do an update to a blog that nobody really reads anyway.

I'm undergoing the vetting process for that job I interviewed for, and had written off because I hadn't heard from anyone. I think I have also identified a sticking point in this process, and it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that it's my last employer in the Frozen Tundra. Sadly, I don't think there's much that can be done since everything is done at the corporate level in Californee, and what do they care, they HAVE jobs. I think I provided adequate information for a workaround, and will follow up tomorrow to see if in fact I am to report in on Monday.

The issues with the truck continue with no money in sight to affect repairs or replacement. That is all.

Oh, and cabin fever sucks. I'd like to get out more; I just wish I could afford to do so and had reliable transportation.

More next week, sometime.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The wait is the worst

True to form, there was no call on Monday, so I made the phone call to see where my application stood after our interview last week. Turns out they needed a filled-out application, which no one had me do, so one was emailed over and filled out in near-record time, and immediately dispatched back.

I called again on Tuesday, and got no return call. Okay, I prepared to cut my losses and started the search anew. Hopefully with a brand-new medical card and a driver's license from this state, more doors should be swinging open. Yes, there is still the issue of transportation, but the less said about that, the better.

On Thursday, I got a phone call from a different guy about the job I interviewed for last week. He was going through the application I submitted, verifying job history and not seeing any major gaps in employment, which to him suggested a fairly quick and smooth vetting process. The only thing they needed was actual signatures on a couple of the pages. Now, had I been smart, I would have only printed out the pages he needed, signed them, and faxed them back. Being the true idiot I am, I printed out the FULL application, signed both places, scanned the ENTIRE application back in, and cursed as my scanner crapped out in the middle, losing all that I had scanned previously. Two reboots later, I managed to get the thing scanned in and faxed back. And now, the waiting process begins anew.

In the midst of all this waiting, it's a good thing that I got my federal tax refund back quicker than I had anticipated. I'm still waiting for the state refund from where I used to live, but I should see that in a little while, so I'm not overly concerned.

It is now time to make you all wait until the next update. Seeya next week.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bobbing and Weaving

Things are holding fairly neutral at the Little Lair In The Barrio this week, so this should be a fairly simple and potentially brief update on the state of the lair and the inhabitants therein.

Still nothing major happening on the job front at the moment, although I did get a call this week that surprised the hell out of me. Remember that temp job I did, and how the location manager at that site submitted my resume (with my blessing) to a more local branch that was looking for someone, and how I never heard back from this location and had essentially written them off?

Guess who called on Tuesday. G'wan, guess.

We set an appointment for an interview for Wednesday, and off I went. It was the typical interview stuff -- about me, about my past, and my plans and hopes for my future. It seemed to go well, and the boss was pretty impressed that I was more than willing to not only figure out a bus schedule to get to work, but to do so that would have me arriving early and ready to go.

I found out that this company doesn't pay for an employee's DOT physical exam, and when the time came to renew, it was the employee's financial responsibility. Guess who's physical expired on Monday? Aw, g'wan, take a stab in the dark.

Anyway, things seemed fairly promising, and I will need to send off an email to let this guy know that I'm still available and quite interested in the position, and that I have a current medical card and am ready to go.

I had the physical done on Friday, and I am quite pleased that it didn't cost as much as I was fearing it would. And, as it was pouring down assloads of rain and I didn't much care to stand at the bus stop and get drenched, I opted to fire up the truck and take the chance that it not only would get me there, but would get me home again. Now, on Thursday, before we went shopping, we put the fuel injector cleaner in the tank and topped it off with some good gas from a place I'd been to many times before without incident. The ride up went fine, with only small hesitations. Coming home, the start of the trip was a tad dicey, but smoothed out as I got closer to home.

I passed the physical, by the way, in case you didn't infer that from the fact I have a valid medical card again.

Keeping the positive vibes going, we opted to take an even riskier gambit, and have me go to the laundromat to wash the clothes we hadn't been able to do a proper wash job on in a couple of months now. Since there was no bus that would put me anywhere close, I had to drive. The truck actually seemed to be performing better -- nice and smooth on the ride up, only a few hiccups on acceleration on the way home, and for the first time since the breakdown I could get the engine over 3000 rpm. I'm still kind of fuzzy on the reasoning that it only acts up after it's been run for a while and everything has warmed up. You would think that if it were bad gas it would have been constant once the vehicle was started. I don't know if warming things up affects the injectors all that much, either. So, I'm leaning either toward a bad sensor or problems with the catalytic converter. We may not have to scrap it after all.

So, with any luck, I can stop bitching about my lack of a job, and begin a new chapter where I incessantly bitch and complain about my new job.

Let's hope so, anyway. The latter is better for my pocketbook.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

All the GOOD overpasses are taken

Yep, it appears to be Bile-Spillin' time once again, so let's get right to it, shall we?

As I had correctly predicted in my last post, I never got a call back from the eye doctor's office about the driver position. I also have not received any calls about temp jobs in this area, so the official forecast is for mostly screwed with homelessness likely by April, unless something comes through in the meantime.

Applying for jobs is tough when you have to figure out whether or not they're located along a bus route, and as it would figure, most of the decent jobs that I am more than qualified for are not, or they're on hours that the buses don't run. It's the old runaround: truck needs to get fixed, but need money to do that, and can't get money without a job, and job requires a reliable vehicle to get back and forth ... which needs to get fixed.

The good thing is tax time is here, so I can put the refunds that I should be getting toward rent, so we will at least have a roof over our heads through the end of March, and if there's any extra, I might see what I can do about getting the truck fixed. By "fixed," I mean getting it in decent shape that it won't threaten to die on the side of the highway, and once I'm able to get more money I can get it fully repaired (or save enough for a down payment on a newer vehicle). Either that, or I see what I can scrounge off of Craigslist or something.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but I'm hoping one of these tomorrows will bring the offer of a job.

Thus ends this week's effluent discharge. More next time.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Last call

I got paid for last week on Thursday. After setting aside for rent, paying insurance on a truck that should very well be sitting in the scrapyard right now, and buying groceries, I might be able to afford a haircut so I don't look like a total slob when I go out job hunting.

This is the end of the line. I have no more income to carry us through.

I interviewed for a job on Thursday, and based on what I was able to interpret, I'm not going to get the position. Granted, it was a major drop in what I was making, and not even full time. But, right now, any money is good money. I even got a call from my old supervisor at the temp job, who informed me of a position with their company closer to home. She said she'd submit my information and I should be hearing from them soon. As you can guess, not a peep. I'm guessing the position has already been filled.

The plus side to rock bottom is that there's really nowhere to go but up. Unless, of course, life hands you a sharper pick and tells you to keep digging.

Hopefully a happier tale next week, folks.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Didn't think it could spiral any further down...

Greetings, and time once again for the Weekly Wrap-up of Woe, in which I detail the events of the past week and put my own deliciously negative spin on everything, possibly making you re-examine your life and seeing it's not as bad as you thought. All this is done as a public service, no need to thank me yet, but there will be a pledge drive later on.

We'll start from Monday at about 2:15 am. This is the point that Bitey Thing (one of our cats) learned that maybe it's not such a brilliant idea to attack my feet while I'm trying to get some much-needed sleep. I will point out that no cats were harmed in the making of this blog post, and add that cat bowling in the living room at 2:17 am does wonders for helping one get back to sleep quicker.

Work progressed about as I thought it would, and when Thursday rolled around, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that work would soon be ending. Turns out I was correct. It also turns out that (naturally) the temp agency has nothing else in this area, so I am once again unemployed and back to pounding the pavement looking for some form of stable employment.

One of the ups for the week is that I finally got my Texas driver's license. I am glad I made enough money to get the fingerprinting scheduled (I do that on Tuesday) and that will be one less worry for the next five years, when I have to go through it again. Maybe by then I'll be working.

All week long we'd been hearing about the extreme cold snap coming into this area, and on Wednesday night it finally arrived, along with a nice coating of ice for the highways to make Thursday's commute even more interesting and exciting. It took me two hours and fifteen minutes to get to where I fill the truck with liquid oxygen, about double the time it takes normally. I lucked out in that the roads were starting to dry out once I got past Irving, otherwise it would have taken me even longer. Thursday was a fairly light day for the route, and I was even able to get a couple of catch-up stops done on the way home to boost me to a full eight hour day.

Now, on to everyone's favorite part of this blog: the status of the truck. Since starvation isn't really one of the best options, and because we had no other choice, we took the truck out to do the shopping. It started and ran fine, and started acting up once we arrived at the store. The way home was pretty dicey, but we did make it. I posted to a forum about auto repair and was told that it could be as simple as bad gasoline, clogged fuel injectors (the cheapest fix, maybe no more than 10 bucks for the cleaner), low fuel pressure (pressure regulator being the easiest and cheapest to replace), bad sensors, or vacuum leaks (about $400 for a new intake manifold). Add the fact that the computer hasn't worked right since I bought the truck (another $400 part), and it does appear that the truck should be put out of its misery and we should get something newer. Only thing is, most people want to be paid before they just go handing vehicles over, and being without job (and steady source of income) sort of limits payment options. And no, I still haven't hit the lotto.

That's where things stand: out of ideas, out of money, out of luck. I was able to get some leads and references, and I'll be putting those to work this week. Lord knows something around here should be working in our favor for once.

Stay tuned for another thrilling update next week.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Surprise! Early posting

Looking back over things that have been happening, I found that there's more than enough for an update this week. So, why don't we just get right to it so we can get back to more important things, like waterproofing that canoe with your boogers?

As I mentioned in my previous posting (which you'd remember if you were paying attention), I am working a temporary job. This Thursday, I will find out if that will be ending or continuing for a couple more weeks. In the meantime, I need to get my license converted over (and will need to find out how much that's gonna set me back), make sure I have cash on hand for the train ticket home (since I have no vehicle of my own to use -- more on that next paragraph) should I need it, and start papering the metro with resumes once again. I'm hoping I can at least make enough to put money aside for rent and still have some left over for groceries.

Now, on to the vehicle. I have a 15-year-old pickup truck that's been serving me well, until the beginning of last month when it died on me coming home from work. I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, or how much it's going to cost to fix, or even if it's fixable. I'm thinking it's a problem with either the oil pump, or maybe the fuel pump. Either way, it'll be a bitch to get fixed and I can't afford even a decent used vehicle right now. That's something else to look into when I have more free time on my hands.

I also found out that my Aunt Anne (my grandfather's sister) passed away on Friday. She wasn't looking all that great at Grandpa's funeral, and she was in her 90s, so it wasn't a huge surprise to learn of her passing. I'm just thinking there was a better way to find out rather than reading her obituary in the online edition of my hometown paper.

With that, we close this update and prepare for next week's diatribe on what totally sucks in my life and how it's never gonna change.

Seeya next week.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Shall we get this over with?

It has been my experience that any time someone starts a new blog, they always make the first post an introduction to themselves and an explanation of their quirks and foibles. Since I am all about following the herd, I see no reason to be different about this. That being said, let's get on with it, and then we all can move on with our lives.

I reside in a part of the country nowhere remotely close to you. I am not your neighbor or your friend. I am someone that has lots of free time on their hands, and will have even more once my temporary job ends and I once again have to start scrounging the dregs of the want-ads looking for something even marginally gainful in employment. My life is slowly transforming into a giant pile of dung, and you're here reading about it. Aren't you thrilled?

My master plan is to update this thing at least once a week, recapping things that have gone on in my life during that time. I think Sunday will be a good day to do that, so Sunday shall be update day. Besides, nothing really happens to me on Sundays since I'm able to stay at home and hide from everyone and everything.

Still interested in sticking around? You poor sap. Oh well, it's your time to waste. See you on the 10th.