Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Gig Work

 When all was said and done, and Nightingale gave notice at work, the plan expectation was for us both to be unemployed for a little while.  We would use the time to get the house in order and exercise every day after getting the kids to school.  

As luck would have it, I landed a contract job that started on her first day of her being unemployed.   It's doing one repeatable task that doesn't require a lot of brainpower, but the pay is decent and there is overtime if I want it.

It's been a long time since I was paid by the hour.  The contract goes until late January but given how the work has slowed down, I wonder if that end date will come sooner.  

I'm not sure what to say about this project.  From conversations with the other two contract consultants, I'm vindicated that:

  • the data isn't well organized;
  • the workflow could be improved;
  • and the PM is a flake.

I admit that I'm bringing with me the Ghosts of Jobs Past and I'm trying not to let it cloud my judgment.  I'm not always successful.


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Friday, November 5, 2021

so we moved to the South

I’ll skip the whole I want to blog more and sorry I haven’t blogged in such a long time diatribe.  I’ve literally been so busy with other things and so much has been going on that I had paralysis when it came to writing.   

We didn't decorate as much as back home

In June we came down for a visit and Nightingale got the idea to buy her folks' house so they could downsize and we could enjoy a lower cost of living. 

Obviously, I wasn't crazy about the idea.  But I didn't have a new job, our house had some warts and our school system wasn't the best.  Also, Nightingale was hating her job more than ever, and not just her lousy commute.  She supported me when I chose the Portage Park neighborhood, which we grew to love.  It was time to give this a chance.

Of course, we did it in the highest difficulty setting possible.  We had to scramble because they start school earlier in the South, because of the weather.  We had to keep the move a secret because Nightingale couldn't quit her job before we closed on the house and once that happened she felt she had to give as much notice as possible so as not to burn bridges.

There's so much more that I'm leaving out and I hope to write more in bits and pieces so that I can look back on these in the future.  Meanwhile, I'm hitting the publish button so that I can write more mini-posts now that the scene has been set.


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Monday, April 26, 2021

Feeling powerless and out of control

 sometime in the middle of the night, I realized today would have been my 5th anniversary at Big Audit.  Alas, that didn't happen thanks to being laid off 10 months ago.  I had wanted to make it to at least Year 5 because that is when the full 401K matching investment kicked in.  As most Corporate America entities write their benefits packages, if you separate from the company even 5 minutes before a milestone year, you get prorated benefits.



I'm still going through some depression and PTSD, the effects of my office nemesis.  He really did a number on me.  Looking back through the lens of time, I see things I didn't notice at the time, that I should have done a better job of confronting things head-on and standing up for myself.

It's been a rough few months in the land of job seeking.  I've probably talked to over a dozen recruiters.  A few have brought promising opportunities only to ghost me after I send them my resume.  Sometimes I get feedback like "strong on client-server technology but not on apps" or "not enough Cloud Experience".  

In my industry for my particular skill set, you either worked at the No-Name Software or were at a company that was an early adopter of their software solution.  If you couldn't make it work at No-Name (say for instance you were not part of the cool clique) you found work at a Partner integrator company or a law firm.  All these people use to call me at the support line asking for help and I got them the answers they needed.  But now suddenly I'm not good enough to work for them.  

I once said that dating and job interviewing are similar in that you can have a great first, second, nth date/interview, but until someone gives you a job, you got nothing.


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Monday, March 22, 2021

Something is always breaking around here

 In what I call the Parlor, which is really just the backend of our long living room, we have this full-length mirror covering one wall.  It's obvious that at one time a window was here, looking out on our neighbors' gangway.  I'm sure there was a practical reason for covering it up with a mirror inside and siding on the outside.




Last Sunday it broke.  We don't know how or why.  That is to say, we cannot pin it to anything.  Just one moment it was fine and the next we noticed a crack.  We did have Katness' kids over, as well as our neighbor's girls, but they all appear as shocked as we were and at their respective ages, lying isn't quite a thing yet.  



I don't think anyone was the explicit cause.  Maybe a large vehicle drove by and caused some vibrations?  or maybe it was just the mirrors time.

The irony is that when we first bought this house, I said I was gonna see what was behind that mirror and even get rid of it.  Instead, we put a bookcase in front of it, and then later my secretary desk and called it a day.  As we got rid of furniture and as the kids grew, it was nice having the open space.


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Sunday, March 21, 2021

A touch of Spring

Over the years we have had some makeshift furniture.  We started out with a patio set I got on clearance from Bed, Bath and Beyond when we still lived in the condo.  I was proud that I had waited until just before July 4th to nab these because they were discounted by $100 and with the 20% coupon, it was such a deal.  



After those bit the dust, we made do with various chairs and lounges and whatnot.  Mostly because every summer might have been our last here.  And it wasn't always the best outdoor space.  But since getting the railings fixed and finding a more permanent pergola solution, our outdoor space is cozier than ever.  Also, now that our kids are older and play with the girls down the street almost every day, that deck is gonna get a lot of use.



Last year, I watched for sales on patio furniture.  I missed the window and everything decent was sold out.  This year I decided to act sooner.  I thought it would be a hard sell to Nightingale since I'm still unemployed and we don't know how much longer we will truly live here.  But then we realized that we are gonna use that space every nice day possible from Spring until late fall and even beyond.  And while it will not increase the value of the house, it will stage the home nicely to show that there is a cool deck that everyone can enjoy.



I showed Nightingale a few links and she picked one before I could refill my coffee.  It arrived last week and it took the better part of an afternoon to put together.  It isn't high end but it isn't cheap stuff either.  I'd say it's just below the middle of that spectrum.  We should get at least two seasons out of it, but I'm counting on more.  

I also bought a sunblock shield from Walmart and replaced the canopy that came with the Aldi's pergola.  I didn't take them out of their packaging until Saturday but was pleasantly surprised to see that they match.  I still need to figure out a good way to tie everything down for windy days so that nothing gets destroyed.  And we probably should get an outdoor rug just to make it look pretty and keep little feet from getting burned on the composite deck.


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Monday, March 15, 2021

Attic Stairs painting project

I've wanted to paint the stairs that lead up to the attic for some time.  So I finally knocked that project out last week.  Previously, they were painted white but the paint was fading and the stairs looked dingy and dirty.




I used a grey-colored paint called Cyberspace (SW7076) from the Sherwin Williams shop a half-mile away.  Shop local.  Even with my 30% discount coupon, it still cost $30 for a gallon, of which I used maybe two inches from the top worth of paint.  On the plus side, I did not need a second coat.  




I didn't think it would take quite as long as it did.  In fact, I probably could have knocked it out in an afternoon if I really pushed myself.  But the window of opportunity requires kids to be at school and no other distractions or errands.  After doing the top stairs and the landing, I called it a day that first Monday.  



The second day I got a few more stairs done but was tired.  I skipped the next day and then finished up on Thursday.  If I had prepped better, the painting might have gone smoother, but sanding in that tight space isn't really an option because cleanup would be difficult.  And again, it's just an attic access.  Other than my Facebook friends, no one is gonna judge.



I thought about doing nice, neat lines of caulk where the grey meets the leftover white meets the purple walls but I'm not a nice, neat person.  

NoteI had typed up this post when my computer crashed before I could hit save.  This post is a shell of what that post covered.  

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Spring Thaw

It's been a rough February, weather-wise.  We got a whole winter's supply of snow in pretty much a two-week period beginning with a Groundhog Day snowstorm.  As soon as that snow was put under wraps, we got several more days of snow which disrupted our normal routine.  As snow does.  In Chicago, and I imagine most big cities, they plow the main arterial roads first, then the side streets.  


Also, the city does not plow alleys.  There are legitimate reasons for this.  If you see an alley plowed, it is what we call an anomaly.  Someone paid a private resource, or is related to the aldercreature, or has pictures of the aldercreature doing weird things to a goat.  


If your brother's girlfriend's, uncle's cousin's, baby momma's doctor who lived next door to an old class mate's mailman says "they use to plow the alleys back in the day," remember THEY use to do a lot of things back in the day that aren't done today.



We are very fortunate to have a driveway that we were able to shovel and keep clear so we could go out that way.  After the first snow event, we were able to come in through the alley and leave through the driveway.  The second time we had to back out of the driveway because the alley was just too high.  Garbage and recycling pickup was skipped last week.  I'm assuming Garbage will be picked up this week but they are skipping recycle (it comes every two weeks).  

 In about 2 1/2 weeks daylight savings time starts – March 14, and less than a week after that is the first official day of spring – March 20 (the equinox)! Yay!

Honestly, like most parents of small ones, I abhor  DTS.  There is really no reason for it.  But we just cannot get rid of something once we invoke it.  Electoral college anyone?


The Job Hunt:  since being let go at Big Audit, I've had about a half dozen interviews or so.  In my industry, the options are law firms, financial firms or consultants.  I have been told by a bunch of incels that I'm not good enough to work with them.  These are the same people who use to come to me for the answers.  The same people who, if I were still working at Big Audit, would be begging me to hire them for our next upgrade project.  

There was one position I probably could have gotten if I had shown more enthusiasm but they were a screaming hot mess and I would be miserable there.  They wanted Associate Director level work at Manager level salary.  That is the reason they were looking in 2019 and their hire only lasted a year.

I'm trying not to get too down about it.  Trying.

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