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Friday, April 28th, 2017 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Saturday, April 29th, 2017 01:30 am
So I know they close at 6 pm. The guy did not even call me until 5:40. He said that they now knew what the problem was and we needed to set up an appointment next week to fix it. ??? I thought we were doing that today... In fact, didn't - at our last call - you say you wanted to fix it tonight?

WHATEVER. At 5:30, I had decided to chill. Whatever whatever. I'd get a Car2Go for swimming. Life's too short. So I wasn't all fractious.

When he called at 5:40, he said that my car was ready to be picked up. I said I needed someone to come get me. He was not happy about that but sent a really cute service guy in a very very snazzy brand new Mercedes. The guy got overtime. I got a sweet ride. Cudda been worse.

I paid $186 for the diagnosis. The fix will be $800. He said it was safe to drive and if the function completely failed it was still safe. So why in the heck am I paying a grand to fix something that is not critical?? I didn't ask. I was afraid my chill would break. I also told him it is likely some other maintenance is needed as well since it's been so long. Like maybe the Needs Maintenance light is broken.

So on Tuesday, I'll take it back at 7 am which I can maneuver to be on the way home from my swim. And he promises to fix the broken and do all the maintenance in one day. It's going to be pricey but it needs to be done. I'm keeping this car forever.

They say, the most vibrant color of your entire experience is the last one used.

My car was not only washed. It was washed totally, including the wheels and the inside was vacuumed perfectly AND dusted!! I think the car was smiling. I know I was.
Friday, April 28th, 2017 11:16 pm
"The diagnosis should take an hour. I'll call you when we know the details and we can work out what to do from there." That was at 10 this morning.

By 2:30, I hadn't heard a peep. I sent a text asking for an update and letting him know I needed a car this weekend.

By 3:15, no answer at all so I called and got voice mail. I left the same information.

At 3:45, he called "I got your text and your voicemail." GRRRRRR Had you responded to the text, you could have saved yourself a voicemail and a call... jes sayin'.

He repeated what he told me at 10 this morning. He did make noises that he thought he could fix it today but if not, he heard my concerns about having a car and would 'see about a loaner'.

At a minimum, I do not want to donate my Saturday and Sunday morning swims. I could likely find a car to go but am not delighted to tack another $75 probably only what will already be, I'm sure, a hefty bill.

So... now it's 4:15. Still waiting.

I did watch a strange but interesting little movie - Anesthesia - that has been on my TiVo for a while. It's one of those that is a little less interesting while you are watching it than the thinking you do about it after.

And I made a tiny cat out of a cat print fabric. I'm not happy with it, particularly, but I know what I need to fix and I did make a pattern so I can fix what needs to be fixed.

And I finished a bear.

Friday, April 28th, 2017 06:07 pm
My time in Southern Pines was really excellent and a little odd. I had a great house and a fascinating set of fairly close friends and a nearly embarrassing number of romantic involvements.

I knew a few people when I moved there and they introduced me to Gene. Gene was a furniture restorer. He actually lived above his shop. He was a nice guy and I learned a lot about furniture, wood, restoration and historical perspective. He dumped me. I think he actually ended up with a woman named Susan and now lives on a remote peninsula northwest of here.

I remember another guy I dated one Summer who had a sailboat and a massive ego. He had fun friends and, frankly, was pretty amazing in bed. But otherwise kind of boring.

Then there was the single father who had no teeth (he wore dentures). This guy was all kind of weird and must have been more interesting than my memory of him. He had a boy who was about 10-ish. The big lesson I learned from him was shopping economically. I was taught to be guided by price per pound - especially on stuff like meat. He, on the other hand, made his buying decisions on price per meal. We did a lot of 'see I'm right' shopping and, in the end, I realized that there are many situations where my way was the clear wrong way. Shocking.

But the one guy who is the reason for this entry is one I had not even remembered. My brother reminded me of him yesterday. He was a great guy. Really good looking. I mean really. He was black in a white town in the South and wore it like it was nothing. And he was one heck of a sharp dresser. His thing was creases in jeans. They had to be Watch Out You Will Cut Me sharp and jeans without creases were like dirty underwear to him.

I didn't buy it. I didn't care about creases. So before we went anywhere, he would iron creases into my jeans.

This parade of men was welcomed and celebrated by my rich circle of non boyfriend friends. Cindy and Keith both worked at a nearby prison and were sweet and fun and adventurous both socially and otherwise. They were comfortable. I still hear from Cindy once in awhile.

Janet was an artist. A serious artist who wanted to make art for a living and, the internet tells me, she did. She gave me two paintings. One is a small watercolor sketch that hangs in my bathroom, The other is a large wonderful watercolor abstract of the sea kind of. She and I matted and framed it and just this past January, my brother, at my request, moved it to a better spot where I can see it easily. She also gave me a contract for this painting. The contract, signed by both of us, outlines my responsibilities as an owner and hers as a creator. She was always thinking big.

Susan was my first friend who lived in a mobile home. Since I first saw one on TV when I was a kid, I was enamoured with mobile homes. Susan gave me my first cat - named Christmas. Susan was from Key West, FL and towards the end of my Southern Pines stay, she moved back home. I agreed to help her drive here stuff down there.

It was August in the South. In a U Haul truck with no air conditioning, towing a VW bug whose windows were down with tennis rackets tied on like window screens because it carried a cat and her kittens. We were quite the wagon train. We were nearly to the bottom of the mainland when we got the news that Elvis had died (August 16, 1977).

I stayed in Key West for a week and loved it. Such great food. Such great architecture. Such great people. So many bugs!!!

Before my Key West trip, an old friend in Charlotte, NC had introduced me to a new guy. An older guy who worked at the newspaper there. He would soon be my husband and my life as a seamstress/needleworker in Southern Pines would draw to an end.

To Be Continued
Friday, April 28th, 2017 05:22 pm
I bought my Smart Car from a Smart Car dealership. Then Mercedes bought Smart Car and my dealership got sucked up. But, the Mercedes dealership was wonderful. They were sharp and classy and fun and interesting and a great place to hang out while your car was getting fixed. Then the owner sold the dealership.

And, apparently, put me on their special Customers We Spit On List.

There is no other place in town that works on Smart Cars. There are a couple of Mercedes dealerships in nearby towns and I have seriously considered going out of my way just to avoid the local shop (which is about 1.5 miles from my house so hateful but convenient).

Every time there is a problem, issue, snub, something fucked.

Today I roll in and a very nice woman greets me and I tell her I have an appointment at 10 and she can't find it. I sit and wait and finally, after about 5 minutes she comes back to tell me that my appointment was yesterday. I did not call until 11 am yesterday so that would make a 10 am yesterday appointment a little silly, now wouldn't it?

Every fucking time.

On the up side, the Smart Car service manager is nice and reasonable-ish. He listened to me explain the issue and said it sounded like an exhaust feature that generally kicks in when the car is cold for fuel efficiency. Getting a diagnosis will cost me $165. No telling how much a fix will be. But I was comforted that he at least appeared to recognize the issue. He'll call me with the details once they diagnose.

And then, when I got home, I got a text from him with his direct phone number which was a nice touch. I assume calling the number will get the dealership or service desk but it is nice to have what appears to be a text option.

The only saving grace is that really the car has been fairly maintenance free. I do hope this is not a signal of the end of that.
Friday, April 28th, 2017 12:27 pm
So, last night, we came home at, I dunno, 9:30 or so, turned on the hall light as we came in--and it flickered and then went out. Light was dead.

So naturally, I decided to try to change the light.

For a bit of background, we moved into our current place 14 months ago (or so), and it has 9-10.5 foot ceilings.

So...the first question was whether we had a ladder tall enough to hit the lights. It turns out that our normal 6-foot ladder, standing on the highest safe step (ie, the one made of hard plastic), I can -just- reach the ceiling, and thus have enough height to -just- change the bulb. So with bravery-aplenty, and not much forethought, I started doing just that.

The first problem I ran into was that I couldn't figure out how to remove the cover. I didn't take pictures, but our hall light consists of a metal plate, with a big glass bulb on the bottom--with no knobs, dials, or screws in evidence. Of course, I tried turning the bulb in different directions, but when I did, the whole thing twisted (against the wall). So...after much struggling (but not even -close- to the amount that happened later), I eventually had the whole lamp hanging from three wires, each spliced using plastic wire nuts. With this as my starting state, I decided (this was one of the correct decisions involved in this whole process) to just remove the lamp entirely and figure out how to remove the glass cover once it was safely on the ground, and did so -- carefully removing the huge disc of fiberglass foam that had been lodged behind/above the lamp.

Of course, [personal profile] drcpunk attempted to make sure the light switch was off (and to be sure, also that the dimmer switch was on the lowest setting, since with the bulbs out there was no way to be sure the swich was Actually Off unless we'd marked the on and off sides, which we hadn't.

As it turned out, the glass cover -was- easily removable, by twisting it counter-clockwise and lifting it (or letting it fall, when it was on the ceiling). However, since the lamp was attached to the ceiling by two screws, which were locked in place by...twisting the lamp counter-clockwise...this was no easy feat to do without dislodging it from the ceiling.

Now it was time to wire the lamp up and put it back onto the ceiling.

As it turned out, this was a bit more difficult than I might have anticipated.

First, of course, there was the matter of wiring up the three wires -- positive, negative (whichever was which; they were, strangely for the slipshot manner the entire thing was constructed, pretty well color coded), and a very clear ground wire connected to the body of the lamp and unlike the others, uninsulated. The first charged wire went fine; the second had the complication that on first touch, I could tell it was live (with one wire connected, this was noticable; presumably the circuit needed to be nearly complete for it to matter, since I wasn't about to short out the circuit by touching the charged wires as a test; I guesss I could have used a light bulb), without getting more than a tickle of electricity (thank you, self-installed dimmer switch), and got Lisa to turn off the light. After that, the second wire nut went on just fine.

But the third wire? The one that had a ceiling wire connected to the uninsulated wire from the lamp? Well, that one was a bit more complicated. It seems that that combination of wires was quite a bit shorter than the other wires, so I needed to hold the lamp up higher to screw it on, which complicated a one-handed attachment between two very unlike wires that would -not- line up, and there were several false starts and offers from [personal profile] drcpunk to "help" by providing more light (useful, mostly) and provide a book to stand on on the ladder (very much -not- useful; I did not need some way to make it more likely that I'd fall of the ladder and get seriously hurt). But eventually I was able to attach the third connection. It was now time to re-attach the lamp to the ceiling. Also, my arms were very tired.

This was where the trouble really started.

The problem was that it was impossible. The two screws the lamp twisted on to were just long enough to enter the holes, but they were in a cradle that wasn't firmly anchored on its own (although it was firmly-enough attached to the ceiling), so they'd sway and rock and slide as you tried to tactically push the lamp into them. Plus, it was super clear from how the lamp left the ceiling in the first place that those screws needed to be tighter than they started or it wouldn't stay up. I did try borrowing a mirror to see what I was doing, but this was useless; the lamp body blocked out any sight of what was going on, and the result was my arms getting even more tired but nothing getting done.

Eventually -- and I do mean eventually, it occurred to me the screw holes were plainly visible and accessible when the cover of the lamp was off and the bulbs removed. So (with a rest for a minute or so since the lamp could hang from the three wires--well, one wire, really, since the ground was so much shorter than the others, and without the glass cover on, without a -real- risk of something tearing and there being broken glass all over the floor), I got to work. This wasn't as simple as I'd hoped; there was a -lot- of screw, so it took a while to extend the screws, although I could do it by hand, and once I'd done so, one of them went through (and was able to twist in place, making it -much- easier to take periodic rests without fear of something going wrong), but I think the screws were a touch too narrow for their holes; not enough not to lock, but enough that they were at slightly different angles. So I tried to find the other one to no avail for a while, with much gnashing of teeth; involving another rest, and eventually returned, extended the loose screw enough to put the lamp on that one -first-, and was then able to lock it to both.

Of course, with this much standing on a ladder with my arms over my head, I -really- needed a rest, but there was much more to do--still, I thought if we could, we should really find the electric screwdriver rather than spending many minutes turning the fully extended drivers back to the point where things were nicely locked down. Which involved looking through the tool shelf (I should really get rid of useless stuff and compact that down to a tool case plus maybe an appliance or two) fruitlessly, then a few other places we sometimes put tools, then [personal profile] drcpunk suggested it might be in one of the chair-stools we put things in when we had a housefilk, so she resolved to look in the easier one and I looked through the harder one in the corner (where it wasn't), but there were keyboard ephemera on top of the "easier" one, so [personal profile] drcpunk declined to try to figure out how to move it; eventually I finished up with the far box, opened the nearer one, and...there it was. And my arms weren't quite as tired either.

So I used the electric (it's kinda amazing how much better simple battery powered motors are at turning screws than muscle power, really; we're super good at big motions, but simple tiny motions tire us out nearly as much and we're much less efficient and fast with them) and was able to lock down the lamp nicely, put the bulbs back in (tested them, because you always test them), swapped the dead bulb that had somehow got among the live bulbs and replaced it, and put the glass cover back on, twisting it in place. All good.

At which point, the entire lamp twisted, and came loose from the ceiling again. And I saw a golden wire peeking out, indicating that the ground wire (which, you'll recall, was shorter than the others) had finally snapped under the strain.

So, -much- faster than anything else went, I removed the cover and the bulbs, tried to loosen the screw that had attached the ground wire to the lamp (and failed) and decided to just tie it to one of the loops hanging up from the base of the lamp instead (metal be metal, for ground), took cardboard lying around and made -shims-, loosened the screws on the ceiling and put the lamp on them and then tightened them again (this time all with the electric so it went fast), shimed the screw holes so the lamp wouldn't twist off them without the shims being removed,, put the bulbs back into the lamp, tested the lamp (and determined that one of the bulbs was a cfc didn't work great with the dimmer switch, flickering like mad when it was dim, so swapped it out for a cfc that was fine with our dimmer), put the glass bulb back on, and -now- were done. Only, oh, an hour and a half after I started trying to change a light bulb.
Friday, April 28th, 2017 01:00 pm
Four more PT appointments scheduled, two for next week and two for the week after. That makes two appointments for me, two appointments for Cordelia, and the election on Tuesday to deal with. I think that I'll wait to go vote until Scott gets home. There's unlikely to be a line at any point during the day. The only thing on our ballot is the sinking fund millage for the schools, and I'm inclined to think that functional plumbing and roofs that don't leak are important things for schools to have.

The week after next will have three appointments for me and one for Cordelia plus Cordelia's class trip to Cedar Point which will require getting up extra early. Two of my appointments that week are the same day and in the same building but at least two hours apart.

I ended up taking a cab home because I was too tired to deal with staying out any longer than I absolutely had to, not even to get myself lunch out.

And the troll has sent me six or seven new comments, still all on the same story. I haven't looked at all of them, but the ones I did were complaints about YMMV aspects of the story, specifically characterization. If those had come first, I might have assumed a genuine desire for conversation or at least no ill will.

If this goes on, these comments will contain more words than the story. It's also very clear when the troll has leisure time. The last two days, there haven't been comments before I left for my appointments but were when I got home. Two more arrived shortly after I got home today, so it seems to be a two or three hour window.

I'm kind of beyond the pointing and laughing stage. This is tedious.
Friday, April 28th, 2017 04:02 pm
The car noise was 10 seconds shorter this morning and not as loud. Maybe it will heal itself. It may need to if they can't find the problem. My confidence in these people is pretty low but they are the only game in town so I deal. I bitch and I deal.

I got no response to my kitchen counter top email I sent to Amy. Oh well. It might have ended up in her spam and I could send it to her directly or call but I'm not sure I want to deal with communications issues out of the gate on top of kitchen counter issues. Plus, I'd still have to go somewhere else to buy the counter. I think I'll just go to a counter place. There are several down the street here and they all have a pretty good average in the review game. Once I get the car sorted, I'll go counter shopping.

I'm still waiting on the bill from the lung doctor visit in March and the electrician earlier in the week. I hate having to wait to pay - especially having to wait to even get a solid figure of what is owed.

No big plans for today other than get the car fixed. The baseball game is in Cleveland at 4 pm and it does not look like it will be rained out which is lovely.
Friday, April 28th, 2017 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)

open thread – April 28-29, 2017 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, April 28th, 2017 08:52 am
Yesterday was my last OT appointment, and it was shorter than my scheduled time because we'd covered everything on my list by forty minutes in. I got advice on a couple of things that are not currently problems but were big issues when my hands were at their worst. I thought I'd ask just in case they're ever issues again.

Blue Cab seems to be doing a better job of running the A-Ride than Yellow Cab ever did. Every pick up was within five minutes of the start of the scheduled time (they set a half an hour window), and the cabbies were all friendly. The policy has changed from the drivers having no obligation to help passengers reach the cab to them being required to provide assistance from door to door if it's needed. They're not allowed to go inside, but they're not dumping mobility impaired passengers in awkward places.

Today, I have what might be my last PT appointment but also might not. I rather suspect not. My current intention is to take a cab there and the bus back. I think that I'll take the inbound #23 and transfer to the outbound #22. The stop for the #22 is about 2/3 the distance from the house as the stop for the #23 and doesn't require climbing a steep hill to get home. It'll add about half an hour to my trip, but as long as things don't change, I think I can handle that.

I had anxiety issues yesterday afternoon and evening that I couldn't explain except that maybe I felt guilty for not managing to fit in all of my PT exercises. Some of those require lying on the floor, and I didn't want to do them within an hour or so after eating and really couldn't do them while the cleaning lady was here. I probably could have fit them in after she left and before dinner, but by then, I was having reflux issues that made lying down very unappealing. I did do most of the exercises that I could do sitting or standing, though.

I woke this morning with a headache, but food and caffeine seem to have gotten rid of it. I haven't done any of my PT yet because I want to have all of my energy for going out. I'm still very tired and kind of groggy. I don't think more food will help, and I don't have time to make more tea or coffee. I know there's a coffee kiosk somewhere in Taubman (or there used to be), but I don't want to do the walking required to see if I'm remembering correctly. Plus, there's no guarantee that more caffeine would do anything but make me need many visits to the bathroom which would be pretty inconvenient during an hour long PT appointment.

The GSA at Cordelia's school is doing a reading of I Am Jazz for the 4-8th grades today. It's a picture book, so the reading shouldn't take too long. They'll have a panel discussion afterwards. Cordelia's really looking forward to it. She'll be reading the book. I'm not sure if she'll be part of the panel or not. I don't know if any of the kids are out as trans, but with forty to eighty kids in each grade and nine grades, there's pretty sure to be a kid or three somewhere in the school who is trans even if they're not out. My guess is that the reason for having only 4th through 8th is a combination of space limitations and the attention span for the panel discussion and probably also that explanations that suit five year olds aren't going to work for thirteen year olds. That last probably could be dealt with by an experienced presenter, but this is all kids ages eleven to fourteen who've never done anything of the sort before.
Friday, April 28th, 2017 07:06 am
Someone is vigorously bathing in my lap to make sure she looks lovely for her new human. :)

furiously grooming!

Barring disaster, we'll be transporting her in two weeks! And then she can get as much petting as she wants:

Thea getting lap scritches
Friday, April 28th, 2017 10:03 am
I went to the Senior Center yesterday and played some pinochle. I have not played in over 20 or so years. I really just went to watch and see if I wanted to do it for fun, and ended up filling in. Met a couple of nice people, there were only 4 playing yesterday. It was fun and I remembered more than I thought I would. Something different.

Water aerobics today, odds and ends. Bridge tomorrow. I don't have a lot planned for today, so that is good.
Friday, April 28th, 2017 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Men with long hair and interviews

My husband is agonizing over whether or not he must cut his hair in order to get a new job.

He was laid off recently due to a reorganization and cutbacks. He works in accounting, which is typically a more conservative field, but had been working for the last few years at a small, laid-back company. He had very short, professional hair when he started working at his last job, but decided to grow it out while he was there (there were other men with long hair, women with untraditional colors, very casual dress etc.) He had wanted to grow it out forever, and it is now to his shoulders and when he was at work he would usually wear it pulled back in a neat, low bun.

He has started the process of applying for jobs and has a few interviews scheduled. Since we’re financially secure for now, he has the luxury of being somewhat choosy and he is applying mostly to companies that seem to have a more laid-back environment (like the accounting departments at local restaurants, art schools, etc.).

Most of our friends say that he will need to cut his hair in order to get a job. That sounds so retro to me! He is in his 30s, and is well spoken and handsome with clean, smooth hair and a very nice professional wardrobe (and a great resume). I think as long as he pulls his hair back neatly for interviews that he will look professional enough. Our friends think that my perspective is skewed because I’ve always worked in creative industries. So, do you think that a man has a better chance of getting a job with short hair? Is it possible for him to look polished with long hair? Will interviewers see him as some sort of unreliable dirty biker because of his hair?

Totally depends on the type of company he’s applying to and the geographic area. There are definitely still places that aren’t cool with long hair on men, and accounting is indeed a conservative field (although that may not matter if he’s applying for in-house accountant jobs rather than at accounting firms). In general, his prospects will probably be broader in that field with shorter hair, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places that won’t care.

2. I almost hit a coworker with my car

I was backing out of a spot and almost hit somebody, and was so freaked out that it didn’t occur to me to get out and say something. Then I saw them at a meeting, and afterwards, I realized who it was. Of course, I want to apologize. How should I approach this?

Be direct! “I’m so sorry — I think I may have almost hit you when I was backing out of a space yesterday. I should have stopped at the time, and I wanted to apologize now.”

3. Offering to work for less to offset a lack of experience

I am out of work and have been job searching for several months. I’ve had a handful of interviews, but no offers. I’ve found a position that I’d very much like to apply for, but I’m lacking some key experience (related to activist organizing). I genuinely think I could succeed at this job with a bit of a learning curve.

The job pays far more than I expect to make at this point in my career, nearly twice as much as most other positions I’m applying for. Would it be appropriate to mention in my cover letter that I would take a pay cut to offset my lack of experience? Or am I better off letting this one pass me by?

If they’ve listed the experience as one of only a few key must-haves and you don’t have it, you’re probably not a strong candidate for the job. If it’s one in a long list of qualifications, it’s possible that you’d be plausible if you’re strong in other areas, and in that case I’d still apply. But don’t offer to take a pay cut; they (hopefully) want the best person for the job, not the cheapest. And if they do think your experience would warrant a lower salary, you should let them bring that up.

4. Company offered me a job without checking references

I applied to an opening with a company, one where a family member of mine had a personal connection with someone very high up in that organization. My family member connected with that person and got me an interview. The process continued on normally from there and they have extended a job offer … without asking for references.

They did not ask for references from me at any point and did not say that the offer is contingent on good references. This puzzles me and makes me a little nervous. My family member waved off my concerns, says that their connection knows them really well and probably fast-tracked my application without references since family member vouched for me.

I want to accept the offer but should I be concerned with this? Should I offer or ask about references? I don’t fear my references saying something bad and the offer being withdrawn so I don’t mind giving them. Is it normal for vouching from a personal connection to override references?

They should be concerned with it because it’s a bad way to hire (especially if they’re just relying on the word of a family member), but I don’t think you need to worry too much about it. Some companies don’t check references. It’s weird and they should, but not everyone does.

If you’ve done your due diligence on them and are otherwise convinced that they have their act together, I wouldn’t let this give you significant pause.

5. Writing “yup” in work emails

My boss is frequently cc’d on emails to outside tech support people because he helped create many of the systems I am working with. (Also, he apparently needs to know *everything* that goes on.) Today, and once or twice previously, he called after I sent an email to one of the support people I am working with, and told me that I should never use the word “yup” (or a similar casual word) in an email. Is he out of line or am I just being a bit too sensitive?

In the vast, vast majority of work cultures, “yup” (or “yep” or so forth) is perfectly fine. I suppose it’s possible that your office culture is so formal and uptight that “yup” is truly out of place, but there’s a better chance that your boss is just weird in this way. That said, he’s asked you not to use it in work emails, so it makes sense to stop using it in work emails. It’s not a big enough thing to expend capital pushing back on.

men with long hair at job interviews, I almost hit a coworker with my car, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 08:15 pm

Without much ado about nothing,

  • Selling our old house. The deal hasn't closed yet, but it seems unlikely that there will be any problems now that the inspection period has ended.
  • Getting closer to buying our new house on Whidbey Island. We could still turn up something fatal during our due diligence period, but we have decided to stay with Whidbey in any case.
  • A mortgage close to getting approved.
  • Enough income, even in retirement, to get a mortgage.
  • Good friends close by our new house.
  • Retirement. To be honest, I am not entirely thankful for this; I will greatly miss being surrounded by brilliant people. Ask me next week.
  • My family of choice. In which I include not only my sister of choice but my darling wife. Both of these amazing women have chosen to live with me. I'm not entirely sure why, but I'm going to shut up and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 08:09 pm
Mostly because I have one again. I've been on antibiotics since Tuesday night, though, and it's responsive to decongestants again. Progress!
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 05:37 pm
And I got three more troll comments on that one fic, all with the same signature and all three claiming that my use of the Zero Room contradicts canon. I can only shake my head and laugh because there's almost no canon about the Zero Room to contradict. I mean, I could say that turtles left in there too long turn purple. There's nothing in canon to say that that doesn't happen, so I should be golden, right?

Seriously, go be pedantic about a canon that doesn't contradict itself six ways about every bit of canon relating to technology and the made up history and culture. Shoo!
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 08:36 pm
I went down to the car about 10:15 in hopes that it would be cold enough to replicate the same start I got this morning. It was and I did not imaginate (a word my brother created when he was little) the noise. It's absolutely there for 55 seconds total. I captured it with my phone but will get a much better recording of it tomorrow morning when there will be no outside noise.

So I came back up here and called the dealer's service. I actually got a guy who was very patient and helpful. And he set me up for tomorrow morning at 10. They will shuttle me home after I drop the car off. So whew. And, they sent me a $100 off coupon not long ago which, I not only saved but remembered. It's not in my purse and hopefully they will honor it. Also hopefully they will find the problem and fix it tomorrow as opposed to keeping my car for a weekend.

The Mariner game started an hour late (rain) but so far hasn't been horrible. There's still time, of course. We're only in the 6th inning but it's Mariner's 1, Detroit 0. Ok game is tied now. I'm hoping their bull pen sucks.

I canceled my Universal Yums and started Snack Crate. The first Snack Crate arrived today and it's USA. So far, not bad. I'm going to give it another month. If same or worse, I'll probably cancel. I really don't need random calories from around the world.

I have not heard from Amy about the kitchen counter. But, I have researched other options in case she doesn't come through.

I made two more creatures. I'm enjoying trying different things.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 03:03 pm
We are planning to do a code push late this weekend, at approximately 8pm PDT / 11pm EDT / 3am UTC on Sunday, Apr 30 (or May 1 for you transatlantic types.).

I don't have a list of changes for you yet, but most will fall into the following categories: things users have complained about to support volunteers, things support volunteers have complained about to developers, things [staff profile] denise has complained about not working the way she expects them to (and as we all know, The Boss is Always Right), and things that were printing warnings over and over in the production server logs, making it hard to spot when less frequent, more urgent errors were being printed. Oh, and also all the unused code I ripped out at the roots, which if you notice that, I did it wrong.

To sum up: we are rolling out a bunch of requested changes, so thank you all for your feedback!

If you're new to Dreamwidth and interested in tracking our development process, our commit logs are published to [site community profile] changelog and [community profile] changelog_digest, and every month or so, one of our volunteers will translate those often-cryptic entries into witty, informative code tours! The most recent one was published on April 1, so we're about due for a new one. Hint, hint.

We'll update here again to let you know when the code push is imminent!
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 04:35 pm

You know, I've been going back and forth on how bad I feel about the way we got Finn. Right now I'm firmly back on the "not bad at all" side, because apparently the kids told her that he got out while they were bringing in groceries, and instead of catching him or chasing him (and as an older dog, he just doesn't move that fast, even when people do bother to trim his toenails so they aren't digging into his feet!) they decided to finish with the groceries first. This task must've taken quite a while, because it was a good 45 minutes between Finn arriving at our door and them arriving at our door to ask if we'd seen him.

Honestly, it seems this is the bare minimum of responsible dog ownership. Just a day or two ago, I caught somebody's dog for them. The dog bounded into my arms, and I held her still as the owner trotted up. That woman had chased after her dog for three blocks! But they couldn't bother to get their not-very-fast dog before they brought in the potatoes? Potatoes don't go anywhere!
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 04:21 pm
Dogs can really streamline my after dinner clean-up. I've long since been in the habit of tossing meat scraps at any cats lucky enough to be in my vicinity as I put away dinner, but now I have furry disposals for veggie scraps as well. (Yes, I know, dogs - especially small dogs! - should only have a small amount of human food. But I don't think a few bites of plain boiled potato is going to kill them. I google everything before I let any animal near it, and anyway, if it's more than a few bites I put it away in the fridge.)

Finn, thus far, has proven himself quite enthusiastic about plain boiled potatoes, tomatoes (only in tiny quantities, which means I now have to hide my tomatoes away), green beans, and sweet potato. Moonpie is enthusiastic about... dog treats. Sometimes. Well, there's no accounting for taste!

We want to get Finn fattened up so he can have his surgery, so anything healthy that he's eager to eat, we're happy to give him.
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 07:09 pm
Enough with working for The Man. It was time to try my hand at my own business. And get the fuck out of Podunk aka Greenwood. I decided to cash in on my sewing/knitting/needlework skills. I would make clothes for people, fix their clothes and finish their needlework. I had some friends in a little town in eastern-ish North Carolina called Southern Pines. It seemed to be the perfect spot for my plans.

It was full of retired, rich golfers with a rich, after links, social life and money. It was small but big enough to have a weekly paper. And the advertising rates in that paper were cheap. So I packed up my toothbrush and sewing machine and hit the road.

I rented a little furnished apartment in the middle of town, placed an ad and opened up shop. Business was pretty good. I got to do a lot of different things that I enjoyed doing and I was getting paid for it. Pretty sweet. I wasn't making a boat load but enough to feed me and give me enough time to make and enjoy friends.

One of my customers was a woman in real estate whose husband was a mortgage banker. They found and convinced me to buy an adorable house. A couple had retired there in their 60's and had just recently died in their 90's. Their kids didn't want the house or anything in it. It was on an acre of land and probably 1,400 or so square feet. They wanted 25,000 for it furnished or $23 for it unfurnished. My friend said to offer $23,000 and ask for all the furnishings. I did and I got it!

Since I didn't have a real job with a steady paycheck, the bank required that my Dad cosign. I agree only on the condition that after I made 12 payments on time, I could remove his name from the contract. And, more importantly, Daddy agreed to cosign.

I paid $500 down. For some reason, out of all the stuff I've tossed over the years, I still have my mortgage book from that house. Here's a snap of the first page.

Every month, you took your mortgage book in and paid your mortgage and they stamped your book with the receipt. OR you could mail your book in and they would stamp it and mail it back to you for next month.

The house had everything. It was fully furnished including linens, silverware, dishes and ferns. It was really a marvelous house. And the yard. OMG. I bought it in winter. That spring, as the weather got warmer, the yard came alive. Every day, I go outside and find something else sprouting or blooming in the yard. It was amazing. I think that retired couple spent 30 years doing yard work.

The house had 2 bedrooms - one for me and one for sewing. It also had a basement and a garage and a wonderful front porch. bill_schubert even came to visit once and painted my bathroom and I think a couple of other rooms while he was there.

The house was great for my business and I added macrame classes to my repertoire. It was really a lovely lovely time with lots of good memories.

On my way to find something else, I found this picture of me from that time. The black and whiteness is a blessing since I clearly remember that vest being orange and the blouse being green with orange and white flowers. Someone gave me the fabric and I made what I thought at the time, was a very sharp outfit. I'm fairly sure now that it was now.

To Be Continued
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 07:00 pm
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 05:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I had a wonderful phone interview that lead to an in-person interview. Both went extremely well and the job is one that interests me.

However, at the end of the interview, I was asked for a ballpark salary requirement, which I gave along with the standard caveat that I would want to consider a complete compensation package. The hiring manager suggested I spend my weekend thinking about how “low I was willing to go.”

I bit back the urge for a snarky reply that they should spend their weekend thinking “how high they were willing to go.”

Needless to say, I sent the requisite thank-you letter and am continuing my search with other companies. Is this a new style of salary negotiating?

I don’t know that it’s a new style — there have always been companies that are pretty open about trying to lowball people — but it’s certainly a crappy one.

This isn’t a job you want (unless you are extremely desperate, and even then, you would only want it for as long as it takes you to find a better one).

Good employers do not pressure people to work for the absolute lowest figure they’d find tolerable. Good employers understand that in order to attract and keep good employees, they need to pay a salary that feels reasonably fair and in line with market rates, and that if they are blatant about their desire to cheap out on salary, they will reap the results of that in low performance and high turnover.

All that said, there’s one scenario where I can imagine an interviewers saying this without it being so outrageous: If you asked for a salary range that’s wildly above market range in your field but then added in that you’re willing to be flexible, I could imagine someone saying, “That’s pretty outside our range — we’re thinking $X to $Y. Will you think about how far you’d be able to come down and let me know?”

But if that wasn’t the context, then yeah, these people just told you that they want to cheap out on salary. And since money is probably the reason you’re interested in working in the first place, you’re pretty safe in declaring this organization Not High On Your List.

my interviewer asked “how low I was willing to go” on salary was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 09:16 am

Right Now You should try to do one thing around the house that’ll make Future You happy. Dishes? Take the trash out? Procrastinating You knows what it is.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Remember the letter from the person dealing with a bird-phobic employee who pushed another employee in his effort to get away from a bird in the parking lot? The second employee was seriously injured and was refusing to come back unless the first employee was fired. Here’s the update.

There was a police investigation because Liz was injured by a vehicle. Both the police and the driver’s insurance company found Jack to be 100% at fault for what happened, based on multiple witness accounts that Jack had extended his arms back and then out when he pushed Liz and didn’t just lightly bump into her. Liz agreed it was Jack’s fault and not the driver. One of the mirrors on the vehicle was damaged when Liz was hit and Jack paid to have it repaired as a resolution with the driver, and everything between the driver and Jack has been settled. Jack has not been charged with anything. (It is still a possibility that he might be.)

HR and Jack had attempted to keep in contact with Liz after she got out of the hospital to see if there was any chance of her coming back but she never responded. Eventually both Jack and the company received a letter from a lawyer asking that they not contact Liz again. She never asked for money to pay her medical bills, didn’t file a workers comp. claim, and didn’t take any legal action against Jack.

The legal department and the outside legal counsel who HR got a second opinion from had told Jack and the company to prepare for a claim and other legal action and advised all to settle because Liz had a strong case. Her letter stated she had decided to not take action and just wanted to move on for her own well-being. She now has another job. Our company was not contacted for a reference or employment history. I don’t know if Liz told them what happened during the interview but our industry in this area is small and I know for sure she has now told her new job everything that happened.

After what happened, Jack told me he decided to take a break from therapy and look at his options. I was surprised and he volunteered that information without me asking. But since I am in a management position over him, I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to comment or tell him that.

His work is still excellent and he has had no disciplinary or work-related issues.

Note: Due to how out of hand the comments on the original letter got, all comments on this post will go through moderation, which means they may not post immediately.

update on the bird phobia letter and the employee who won’t come back unless her coworker is fired was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 02:56 pm
1. The electrician - $200-$300
2. The countertop - $200 - $3,000
3. The car? - $$$

The painting's done and, it looks very nice. When I went to get touch up paint yesterday, the paint store lady asked me a bunch of questions I couldn't answer - which of their brands it was, was it eggshell or 3 other things, etc. PLUS. the wall itself was originally painted more than a dozen years ago. Would new paint blend in seamlessly? The answer to all is yes. I even dabbed at a couple of dings elsewhere on the wall and today you can't even tell what is new and what is old. Purple walls for the win. AND an additional outlet. Nice.

There's woman here in town - Amy - who has a handyman (woman) business. I've used her business before for small things. She shut it down last year but then, at the end of the year, revived it. Her website mentions kitchen remodels at the top of the list so last night I sent her an email with photo and asked her to come look at fixing and/or replacing. I also spent a fair amount of time learning how to measure/price countertop replacement. I'm armed and dangerous.

Then this morning, I turned on the car and heard the weirdest car sound ever. It sounded like turbine wind engines roaring. It lasted nearly a minute. And then went away entirely. It was freaky. Not a peep from the dashboard about any problem. I have one of those gizmos plugged in that reads car data - no issues recorded there. When I got to the gym, I turned it off and turned it back on. No noise. After my swim, I started the recorder app on my phone and turned on the car. No noise. Not a peep all the way home hmmmm - was it something else? Maybe something from the apartment building across the street? My imagination?

I parked it at 6:30. I'm going to go down about 10ish or so with my recording app and start it up. I'd go ahead and take the car in or at least make an appointment but I hate those people so much. And I'd really like to not have to spend the cash if it's not necessary. But it is Thursday and I don't want to be car-less over the weekend. This is the debate I had with myself while I swam this morning.

The Mariner game yesterday was as good as the one on Tuesday was bad. But there have been way more bad games that good so it's going to take more than one. Today's game is at 10 am which is just nice and handy.

I feel another critter coming on. But, first, I have to put the sewing room back in order and all the paint stuff away.
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 02:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

This is a really tough one, so I’m throwing it out to readers to help with. A reader writes:

I’m writing to you seeking help about a sensitive circumstance that has taken place at my work. My coworkers know I am writing to you and there is agreement about my submission to you.

At the beginning of February, the wife of one of my coworkers gave birth to a premature baby, 16 weeks before her due date. A collection was taken up for him and his wife because the baby was in intensive care and it was a stressful and draining situation for them. A manager deposited the money in the bank and was to write a check for him and his wife (a confidential spreadsheet was kept of the donations and everyone signed off on the amount that the check was to be for).

The next day the manager who was supposed to write the check was killed in a car crash. We hate to even be thinking of this, but we have no way to access the donations and only her family can access her bank account. It was a significant sum of money (over $1,500). The crash made the news and her family has started a fundraiser to pay her hospital bill and funeral expenses as they cannot cover it on their own.

Our question is how we can tactfully ask them to give us the money so we can donate it to our coworker who had the premature baby as intended? We don’t work for a large company with the funds for another check, it’s a small business. Many people here dug deep to give a donation and no one can really afford to do it again. We don’t want to upset or hurt her family but that money wasn’t hers. None of us want to offend her family because they are struggling too.

Oh no, this is terrible. I’m so sorry for everyone involved.

I hate to say it, but I don’t know if there’s an easy way to get that money back. Her family may not even be able to access her bank account yet.

And then of course, there’s the sensitivity around approaching a grieving family and asking for the money back — that’s a tough thing to do, especially when they’re in the middle of raising funds themselves.

I’m stumped on this one. What do others think?

we raised a lot of money to help a coworker — but the person holding the money died was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 08:35 am
My physical therapist says that I may need more sessions and that he thinks I'm likely to do well because I have a good attitude. He wants to get me to 50% less pain from the tendinitis because he sees that as a point at which what we're doing would clearly be working. He gave me a set of more general fitness exercises, and I'll have to figure out the best times for those. Before breakfast would be ideal from one point of view, but I don't see a way to do that unless I get up with Scott. The exercises themselves wouldn't take that long, but right now, I get up about an hour and fifteen minutes after Scott does. I can sleep in that window, but I can't if I decrease it at all.

My gynecologist is going to talk to oncology about my test results. Neither she nor I think that there's anything to worry about at present, but the endometrial thickening is something to monitor because it can hide things. It's just that it's not an uncommon thing for women my age on Tamoxifen. She said that I shouldn't consider this a factor in my decision about whether or not to go back on Tamoxifen.

On the assumption that I won't be restarting the Tamoxifen, I scheduled a uterine ultrasound for early August (not, thank goodness, a hysterosonogram this time). I need to set up a return visit with the gynecologist for after that.

I had lunch at Totoro after the appointment at UHS and then took the bus up to the hospital. I discovered that, if I walked really slowly, the tendon didn't start getting cranky nearly as fast. I had hoped to do some Ingress, and I did, but not as much as I'd expected. The Ingress servers seemed to be having problems so that, half the time, I couldn't see anything at all in terms of portals. When I could see portals, it took minutes, sometimes as long as five minutes, for a hack to process. I ended up taking about half an hour to walk the four blocks from Totoro to the bus stop.

My phone ended up with a reasonable charge at the end of the day, and I'm pretty sure that the slowness of Ingress was a factor. I had a charger with me. Of the two I found, one worked, and the other didn't. The one that didn't has Scott's company name on it and was, if I recall correctly, some sort of swag for days without accidents or something of the sort. Scott's of the opinion that it was very, very cheap and that the surprise is that it ever worked at all.

Scott put more memory in my laptop last night. That means that I'm going to spend some time this afternoon seeing whether or not it gets cranky when I try to run certain programs. Messages is still rejecting my AIM login, though, which is probably not surprising but is annoying. I suspect that this also won't help my problems with trying to access IRC with Adium (I don't like having to run Adium for AIM and Colloquy for IRC at the same time).

I ate a turkey (lunchmeat) sandwich for dinner last night around 7:00 and started having reflux issues around ten. Given the way my body was acting, I'd have thought I'd eaten bacon, a lot of bacon. I put off doing anything but eventually took an Ativan. That helped; the problem went away entirely, so I only lost about an hour of sleep instead of the three I'd have lost if I'd taken Tums and sat up waiting for things to resolve. I'm still inclined to make myself more black tea to see if that makes me more alert.

I've got two hours now before my cab comes for OT. Since it's Thursday, mostly what I'll be doing during that time is household chores. I want to run the dishwasher and make sandwiches for Scott and Cordelia and move all of the things that shouldn't be out when the cleaning lady comes. I should be home at least an hour before she comes, but I might as well do that now as later. Most of it takes very little time.

I'm very glad that the Not Prime Time moderators decided to make the requests public. I've seen a few things in fandoms that I wasn't planning to offer that I'm quite sure I could write. I can tailor my offers pretty carefully. If I understand the sign up form correctly, one need only offer one character grouping. I hadn't looked at those fandoms at all because I felt that the requests were likely to be entirely things I couldn't write due to the size of the canons in question. These groupings fit into corners that I know reasonably well and/or could review quickly. I need to settle on two more fandoms to offer and to figure out what I want to request. Once I know what I want to request, I can write my dear author letter and then sign up.
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 05:06 am
We have found a possible home for Thea and, although it's not definite, it's pretty likely and it looks like it will work out WONDERFULLY for everyone involved. \o/
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 11:41 pm
Don't tell anybody, but I love the sound of the foghorn. I could never move inland at this point, because I'd feel weird on foggy days with no foghorn.


Scientists develop fluid-filled artificial womb to help premature babies (Well, we knew this was coming sooner or later. I'm nervous about the effect it's gonna have on reproductive rights legislation, but hopeful about the effect it's gonna have on premies.)

How do you eat your chocolate bunny? Vast majority prefer to start with the ears (If I waited until next year, I'd forget it.)

Why Do We Have Blood Types?

Why the Roots of Color Printing Are in Limestone

Rare color photos document the festivities at a 1941 state fair

First malaria vaccine to be widely tested in Africa next year

New York Superhero Pads

Mapping Where the Lights Are Brighter, And Where They're Going Dark

He Was Searching For Intersexual Pigs And Ended Up Finding The World’s Rarest Dog

New Survey: Most Millennials Both Pay For Streaming Services And Use Pirate Streams When Content Isn't Legally Available (Duh.)

The Genesis of the Gang (This article is a little dated, but worth the read.)

US colleges confront a new era of sometimes-violent protest

'I took someone’s life — now I am giving back': In California's prisons, inmates teach each other how to start over

More wrongful convictions are being overturned than ever before, thanks in part to witnesses coming forward. But in New Orleans, recanting witnesses are facing perjury charges, creating a chilling effect that could keep innocent people behind bars.

The Volunteer Dentists On the Front Lines of Ukraine’s War

First molecular genetic evidence of PTSD heritability discovered

How Flight Attendants Are Set Up to Fail

Want to rescue rural America? Bust monopolies.

Telecom struggles to block 22 social media banned in Kashmir

Turkey Arrests More Than 1,000 In Massive Purge Of Its Police Forces

Tough court on immigration serves as model for Trump plans

Senate Russia probe flounders amid partisan bickering

At least global warming may get Americans off the couch more

Rescuing the Last Two Animals at the Mosul Zoo

During Argentina’s military dictatorship, some 500 babies were born in secret torture centers or kidnapped. A group of grandmothers spent the next four decades searching for them, becoming activists, then icons. But hundreds remained missing. One of them was named Martín.

Who are the new jihadis?
Thursday, April 27th, 2017 01:56 am this normal poodle behavior?