Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saturday is tough, Sunday tougher

Weekends are tough I’ve decided. Both days are devoted to errands, spending time with Marc while maintaining relationships with my friends, blogging/journaling, catching up on bills, emails and blog-rolling. But having the job and being able to pay the bills are important too.

Have I mentioned that I think I could like this job? I got through a whole week and the only disaster was something that carried over from my last day of training. Traffic’s traffic and I just have to remember to not go too fast, just keep up with traffic. Of course, when you’re going 65 in a pack, it just feels safer to go 70 and be in front rather than in a position where you can get rear-ended or be the person doing the rear-ending. But god made cruise control for a reason and I guess that’s it. Going 70 makes me too nervous about a ticket and only decreases the commute by maybe 5 minutes, so I know it’s not worth it.

There are two people in the office realm who come from this area but there’s no chance of ride-sharing with either. One works in the HR dept. and has let me know that she keeps the two worlds entirely separate; the other works between 55-70 hours a week. I paid $2.999 for gas today, most of the stations in town are now at $3.029. I got 32 mpg this week or about 2 gallons (maybe a little more) per work day. I’ll continue to bring lunch at least 4 days a week in order to keep the costs of working in line.

I must admit to spending money, however. I ordered 3 pair of pants and 2 tops on line last week and they came yesterday. I ordered petite because I am constantly having to take up my pants; only 2 of the 3 pair need to be shortened – a really nice change for me. I went to Liz Claiborne/Elisabeth on line – you spend a few dollars more but the fit and the quality are worth it. I will order some more work clothes again in a couple of weeks. I do have to get to a shoe store though.

Yarn is my budget undoing this week. I was in Emily’s (the lys) this week and found 2 balls of Rowan Calmer in case I want to make Donna another cap – in deep purple – one of her favorite colors. I had ordered the swatch cards for Knit Picks cotton yarn, but the Calmer has a softer feel with some elasticity and I think it’s better suited for the Odessa by Grumperina – assuming the gauge will work.

I got my Cabin Cove yarn Thursday and fell in love with Dave Daniels (the person behind Cabin Cove). Dancing Violets colorway lace weight yarn. I’ll insert the picture here if I can through PhotoBucket.
Every color violet is represented here and I just love it. I also got some of his Cabin Cove colorway sock yarn for Marc. Nice rich chocolate with teal and gold/yellow. Yummy!

I’m just about finished with my onesies socks – used feather and fan for the first time – it’s a really easy lace type stitch and I’m happy. I’ll use the stretchy bind up for toe-up socks and have another pair of socks in my drawer.

The weather is miserable; chilly, mid 40’s(about 5-c) and raining. The weather forecast calls for it to be like this through mid week. It’s not freezing and you don’t have to shovel rain, so as long as I can drive without a problem, I shall not complain. But I actually did light the wood stove – first time in about a month.

I’m off to finish laundry and try uploading to Photo Bucket. Have a good week!

Blessings on all who pass this way. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Life Continues (thanks be!)

Well, I have now completed 5 days at the new job; three days last week with the woman I am replacing and two days on my own. I’m feeling more confident and am, indeed, getting used to the commute. There’s a lot to learn at this job, and I am not afraid of it. It’s basically like housekeeping – you see what’s in the pantry, you know what you want to keep on hand, you see what’s being planned for current orders and you get your supply of stock back to where you’re comfortable again.

The data systems are IBM product based. The data processing system isn’t friendly – it’s something called bpcs – an AS400 based system which is not windows based and has been around for about 20 years. When the company was acquired last year or so, they even had to get rid of Microsoft Outlook for Lotus Notes – I’m surprised they have kept MS Word and Excel instead of going for the entire Lotus Office Suite. I had forgotten that IBM even had an Office Suite – they acquired Lotus some time ago.

The biggest drag is the one-hour for lunch. There is a very tiny lunchroom where the factory people eat and where the vending machines are. I have no problem sitting with the factory folk – most of them are very nice – but it’s uncomfortable and Spartan. I could stay at my desk I guess but since it’s decent weather I’ve been eating my sandwich and orange in the car while reading or knitting. It won’t work in the cold weather or in the hot – a blacktop parking lot in the full sun won’t be comfortable; nor will it work when I want to nuke a frozen delight (Lean Cuisine). I don’t want to get into the habit of taking the car on a short run to the shopping areas and fast food places at noon. It’s bad for the mileage and will cost me money – it’s already going to cost me about $40/week for gas so I need to economize.

I’ve also learned to be frugal about stuff like that. I don’t need to spend $7/day for lunch - $35 a week plus gas means I’ll be working a few hours for that $75 plus taxes. Uh uh. I can use that money for my savings nest egg and yarn budget!

Somehow I managed to mess up the feather and fan leg of my socks on Sunday night. I found it at lunch yesterday and didn’t have spare needles with me to take them off the magic loop and fix the problem. I seem to have done the pattern row on sock 1, side b and sock 2 side a – duhhhnnn – then knit another row (maybe a row and a half) around each sock in plain knit. I was too tired last night to work it so need to go now and tink (knit backwards).

I’m waiting for the sample cards I ordered last week from KnitPicks and a book so I can plan another project. I also ordered some gorgeous hand dyed yarn from Cabin Cove. I read Dave’s blog each morning – he’s done some great dying, excellent knitting, has a lovely cat (Miss Lulu Kitty) and seems to be a really nice guy. I ordered some Cabin Cove Colorway sock yarn and some Dancing Violet lace weight. I would really like to make myself a lacy stole/shawl and think the 880 yards should make something of a good size.

So, that’s my life in a nutshell. Job might prove to be enjoyable, Marc and Perry are doing well, knitting continues. Life is good. Of course, I ask you please continue to pray that I win PowerBall or MegaMillions or MegaBucks. I really do want to be financially secure and free to NOT work :)

Blessings on all who pass this way. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

First Day on the New Job

First Day on the new job today and it really seems like something I’ll like. It’s varied, it has responsibility, and there are nice people there. The travel’s a bore, and there’s not going to be a whole lot of chance to make “friends” with co-workers due to the layout but it’s very much like the job I wished I could have had at my last place. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have that job because the VP Finance wanted to have her own private personal/administrative assistant and wouldn’t consider moving me. But now I have a chance and I don’t want to blow it.

I need some new dress pants – I have only 2 pair and haven’t wanted to purchase any due to finances so I’m off to go shopping on line.

Say prayers that I enjoy and do well at the job and that I win the lottery, ok? I only need 5-million (giggles)

Blessings to all who pass this place. I’ll write more this weekend.

May Day (M'Aidez!)

I had a first time knitting experience the past few days. I knit withEXPENSIVE yarn – specifically with DiVe’s Orientale, a polyamide ribbon with gold foil flakes in the blue shown in the middle of the display. Pretty esoteric, huh? I had made Donna a chemo cap in cotton (if I had any sort of internet connection I’d be able to upload the blinking photos!) and was planning another one using Grumperina’s Odessa pattern. We were at Emily’s to take advantage of her 10th Anniversary Sale. Donna had said she would pay for the yarn and we went in there thinking Rowan Calmer or a similar cotton type yarn but since Emily didn’t have any yarns like that in colors Donna liked, and since Donna fell in love with this, what the hey. It was $18.00 a spool – 60 yards/spool. I have never knit with anything that expensive before. I also had never knit with ribbon before. Donna was lucky – she pulled a 25% discount ticket out of the grab bag at the register. I got a lousy 10% for the book to which I treated myself.

The cap’s a very simple one with such blingy yarn. I don’t think it would have worked for a fancy cap although I may be mistaken. Again, if I had a camera I’d take a photo; so I’ll try to scan it. It came out on spot to gauge and if I had been brave enough to add some length to the directions and gone an extra 4 rounds (instead of the extra 2 I did) I would probably have not had any yarn left at all. This is the pattern I used. I have a scan of it, but since I don’t have an internet connection that doesn’t suck 6 kinds of cat poop I can’t upload it to Photobucket or here.

So, now I’ll go back to my socks. I took a few days away from them after having to tear a bunch back because I was mad at myself. Knitters may not like math, but it really does work better if we USE math. I was trying a new heel and thought I was at the right point to start making it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t and in order to use the sock I would have had to cut off my toes… If I had bothered to see how many rows I needed to make to get all the increases in, and then had checked that by my rows per inch, I would have seen the heel would have turned about 1.5” before the end of my foot. I only got to the point where all the increases were made and hadn’t actually made the heel turn yet. And, most fortunately for me, I had used enough forethought to have strung a lifeline at the point where I started the heel increase. There are some good points about being lazy and I knew if I had to rip back I would have not done it evenly. Don’t forget, I knit 2 at a time so…

On the job front – I wasn’t offered that customer service job in Sunderland. I did the drug test etc for a temp that “may turn perm” job in Westminster. The pay’s better, it’s closer to home and the hours are 7:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. I don’t’ know how I’ll react to getting up at 5:30 to leave at 6:15 but getting out at 3:30 sounds great to me! Let’s just hope that the job doesn’t go back into a holding pattern again, shall we?

It’s May Day! In many places of the world there are celebrations in favor of Labor. The May Day Labor Celebrations actually started in Chicago in the 1880's or 1890's. They've been adopted by the rest of the world, but here we tend to discount the labor movement. We work more hours per year than any of the more civilized countries. Of course, our health care is pretty poor too - unless you're rich. Today the immigrants are marching – not just Latinos but Orientals, Hungarians, Poles, Russians, Iranians....

There’s a local election today; nobody’s running opposed but there’s this ballot initiative to conserve open space by raising our taxes for consideration. Since my little town is 80% open space – owned by the damn Department of Conservation & Recreation – why the hell should we agree to a tax increase to preserve open space? The selectmen say it’s to provide eventually for low cost housing so our elders can stay in town. Well, excuse me, but we also have 2-acre minimum zoning so no “low cost housing” is likely and being rural there’s no municipal sewerage so putting up an elderly housing complex is highly unlikely. Just another excuse for higher taxes and to let the head of the select board exercise his already inflated sense of self importance. I wrote in the smae of an ex-selectman just for the heck of it. At least he had a "corporate perspective" and did what was best for the town, not just what tickled his fancy.

I’m sending wishes to heaven for my friend Anne who was born on this day so many years ago. She was my best buddy – we vacationed together, talked about boys together, her father used to call me up to try to get some insight into her, we conspired to coordinate her move across the country to get away from home and start a life of her own. She was back in the area for my wedding, visited us as many times as Marc and I her. She died before the age of 40, having made a life for herself and realizing some of her dreams, but still too young. I miss her still -- can you tell?

Blessings to all who pass this way. Happy May! Happy Spring!

Long time, no blog

It’s been a long time since I blogged. I’ve thought about it numerous times but haven’t been able to get to the keyboard or just haven’t wanted to drop my knitting and come in here to the den and do it. SO, let’s do a quick recap of my life the last month.

I’ve been depressed. The unemployment has only 2 more weeks left before it runs out. I’ve been looking – seriously looking but have only managed to accumulate a collection of letters of application with a few replies of “thanks, but no thanks.” Many – make that most – places don’t even give you an acknowledgement. It costs money to process and postage so I can understand it. (Note to self: if ever in the position where I am hiring, do send out the acknowledgements.)

Donna’s chemo cap came out fine. It’s worsted weight cotton and she likes it. As she says it’s large enough to hide her stubble but not so large it flops over her eyes. I’ll try to do another one but will have to get the money together for yarn. Patterns are free on the internets.

Is it “internets” or “internet”? I’ve read both lately and don’t know which, if either is preferable.

I had an interview yesterday for a temp to perm in a town near Amherst. I’m not crazy with the idea of the commute in the winter unless I cross through Sunderland and pick up Interstate 91 North in South Deerfield. That will add about 14-16 miles on to the trip but it will be well maintained in the winter. Otherwise, I get my choice of a couple of wickedly steep and curvy hills on a 32-mile trip (approx). The winter hours are 9:30 to 5:30, which means coming home around 6:30 and diving right in to getting dinner ready. I cannot eat crock-pot or roasts every night and Marc doesn’t cook. In short, I’m not terribly crazy about the hours. But it would turn into a full time job with benefits. It’s not been offered me yet but I’m ambivalent about taking it if offered.

Office Team has also contacted me about a temp job in Westminster, a 23-mile trip all on major state road. The pay is a dollar/hour more than the temp to perm. I took the urine test today and completed the background screening authorization form. Yeah – for a temp job no less. The hours are shift hours – 0700 – 1530 running from Sunday through Thursday. I’d get up around 0500 to leave around 0600. It takes 15 minutes to get to Exit 16 and then another 20 minutes or so driving. The place is absolutely huge (it’s in an old Digital Equipment facility) and parking seems to go on for a couple of acres.

So, I can screw myself with a job that I’m not wild about or screw myself by going with the temp job that may or may not turn permanent. I’m so messed up.

A realtor contacted us about selling some property we hold in Western MA. I told him to send me the paperwork. We might end up netting about $3k. I sent in the paperwork to cash in my 401k two weeks ago. I was let go about 3 months before it was vested so won’t get a bunch – especially after taxes and penalties.

Last week we had Marc’s appointment with the nephrologist – and today he got a sonogram of the kidneys as well as yet more blood work. At some point within the next couple of months, he’s going to have to go see the cardiologist again and then the three docs are going to have to fight about what meds he should take. Nephrologist doesn’t like him on lasex, Marc’s BP was down in the low range on the Lisinopril so the gp took him off and is now up high again, the gp wants him on meds to control the gout – which the nephrologist doesn’t want him on necessarily either. Life will become a balancing act of expensive medications and I just don’t know how it will work out.

I finally knit up the Fleece Artist yarn Kerry gave me last autumn. I think I mentioned it in a prior post. I had divided it into two balls so I could knit both socks at once and the stuff really knit up funny – you’d never know it was the same skein once you get past the feet. One shank is like the feet – a variegated brown/gold with reddish tinges. The other is flashes of light goldish brown and red brown. I used a US size 2 Addi Turbo as a magic loop and knit comfortably 10 stitches to the inch. Normal gauge for this weight of yarn is 8 per inch I found when I saw I was going to run short on yarn for the shank length. If I go really loose I can get 9. I don’t think I knit tight; it doesn’t feel tight, it feels like a nice serviceable fabric, but at 10 stitches per inch it doesn’t go as far as it should and I had to use different yarn (from prior socks) to add the final 1-1/4” inch to the top of the sock so it would be long enough for Marc to like.

I started another pair of socks for me and am trying to be looser (9 stitches/inch). The alternative is to use a Size US3 but then the fabric is just too loose. These will be different socks as I found two onesies balls at Emily’s – one is light gray Blauband and the other is a Lorna’s Laces variegated where the green fades into the same shade of gray as the Blauband. Each skein was half-price; Lorna’s is usually about $9 and Blauband $6 so the pair will cost $7 plus my time. Too bad there’s not a size 2-1/2 (metric would be 2.75) needle.

There you have it – my life in a nutshell. If you want to give me any counsel on the job, please feel free. I shall continue to look and am even thinking about looking for 2 part time jobs.

Medical Horror Stories

Doug, friend of BlueGal, has a blog that I’ve been following lately. He has some really decadent food entries and political leanings that are like mine (surprise, surprise!) and – what the heck – if he’s smart enough for BlueGal to like him he must be ok. At any rate, he is also a medical doctor and has a little contest going asking for “Medical horror stories, medical success stories, hearsay, can-you-believe-its”. So I figured this would be time for two of my favorite medical stories.

First Medical Object Lesson: Doctors can be greedy bastards.

It’s January and we are getting ready to move to our new house. The movers are coming day after tomorrow and it snowed last night so after work we get to go out to the house and shovel the driveway. All is well and good until I hit the top of the drive where the down slope begins. It’s icy underfoot and I go down. Wrist hurts like hell so I sit in the house on the floor while Marc finishes shoveling and we stop at St. Francis Hospital on the way home.

The orthopedic resident on duty is called to the ER and he sets my broken radius and cracked ulna and thumb base. I am instructed to call a specific orthopedic surgeon for follow up, which I do. Eventually the cast is removed and then I get the Explanation of Benefits from my insurance company. Being a na├»ve soul, obviously, I called the surgeon’s office about the line item “Emergency Room Care”. I didn’t see the guy until 3 weeks later at his office. I’m told that since he assumed responsibility for my care he is entitled to the fee.
I felt this wasn’t right. I wrote a letter explaining the time line of care to BC/BS and the state medical society complaining about Dr. X’s collecting a fee for Emergency Room Care. Eventually I got a letter telling me he had “reconsidered collecting” the fee. Greedy bastard.

Second Medical Object Lesson: Doctors can be heartless bastards.

When we lived in Nashua Marc had a prolapsed intestine – it’s like a hose turning inside out on itself and is (1) painful as hell and (2) deadly. If your intestine cannot function you get gangrene and die a slow and painful death. We went to the area hospital and sat for about 3 hours in the ER. He was in pain and started going into shock – clammy, pale, shivering. I went to the nurses’ station and made someone come and triage him since he had only talked to the check-in clerk. He made it into a treatment room ASAP (score 1 for me).
Then the doc ambled in and tried to reduce the prolapse manually (Marc’s had an ileostomy since 1948 – the intestine is accessible). He didn’t administer any painkiller or muscle relaxant – just tried to manhandle it. My husband is in pain, shocky and scared and this guy is rough, gruff and tells him to “be a man, will ‘ya?” I sailed around that curtain and laid into him so fast he didn’t know I was coming. I demanded he leave the room and another surgeon be sent it. I was NOT allowing this person to treat my husband. 

Within 15 minutes another doctor appeared. He sized up the situation medically, started an IV antibiotics and pain meds and then talked to me. I told him the entire story of our experience at the hospital up to that minute. He reassured me and sent me home. Marc was going into surgery immediately. He called me after surgery and told me not to come in to the hospital until that afternoon, but to get back to sleep and come see Marc when he was awake.

I found out from the nurses that afternoon the second doctor was the head of surgery and the president of the hospital board. The first doctor was his brother. I was a local hero because the first doctor was a known prick who was only complained about – never taken down. Heartless jerk bastard.

Moral of the above stories? Stand up for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t let “the establishment” kick you around.

I have a couple of good medical stories but they’ll have to wait for another time. I have stuff to do today – like go to a different agency in the hope of finding some work. This is getting really tedious and I wish I could win the lottery so I wouldn’t have to worry about our finances. Poor investments make for a poor lifestyle. Of course, who knew that our stocks would decide to tank?

Blessings on all.

p.s. I know not ALL docs are greedy or heartless. In fact I've had the honor of being treated by and of working with some really fine docs and nurses. But these two came to mind first and I'm in a hurry. Remind me to someday talk about Winsted Hospital (Winsted CT) and Dr. Richard S. Dutton, Dr. Johann Bratt, Dr. Lydia McLure, Dr. Ken Patterson....... Have a good one!