Still Alive. New Job Tiring.

Worse than the old job, but for about 30% more money and far better benefits I’ll adjust, but after staring into multiple computer screens all day, my eyes and brain are just too tired to post much.

I will not speak of politics because my brain is already strained. I’ll just say that Republicans are worse than even I thought, and I’ve always had a really low opinion. The midterm elections are down to democracy vs. fascism.

Anyway, in the interest of my blood pressure:

I had a lovely Mother’s Day! My daughter scheduled a visit to Animal Kingdom, our mutual favorite park for relaxation. We and The Dancer had a lovely day, though it was hot AF by the time we called it a bit after 4 p.m. (The Florida Weather Gods of course gave us the finger after Sunday, because today was an absolutely drop dead perfect spring day, high of 84, low humidity, and I was in a conference room for a meeting for six hours.)

Sunday was over 90 degrees by the time we agreed we had to go home and do adulting and “kid prepping for school” things. But it was a lovely day.

It was a busy day, because it was Mother’s Day and also a weekend day, so I popped for the Genie+ for the first time. We really wanted to do the safari and the wait time was well over an hour, and because it was Mother’s Day and this was the high point of our day, I popped for the extra cost. I don’t think it’s necessary at every visit. It’s the first time we’ve used it, and I do have to say it’s smooth and fast. We walked onto the safari in minutes. Even the old fast pass system had a longer wait.

It also let my daughter get basically a walk-on to Everest, which was also about an hour long wait. I wouldn’t say you have to do this to get on anything, but if you want to leverage your time, yeah, you might as well.

We all had the option to ride Everest via Genie+, but I’ve kind of sworn off that coaster. Not because it’s scary or dangerous, it’s a lot of fun, but because for me it’s just sort of unlucky. I always seem to get off with something banged up, usually self inflicted. Last time I rode it I left the lap bar one click too loose and my ass slid all over the seat, so I braced a foot to steady myself. By the time I got off my bad left knee was angry, and I limped the rest of the day. Sometimes I bang an elbow. It’s not the ride’s fault, it’s just me.

To my surprise my granddaughter was also not feeling it. She’s been on it many times but was just eh, she’d rather not. (We had eaten lunch not too long before, and she was full.) We waited in the spot where the trains come down for the big swoop, but still missed seeing her mom ride. I’m not sure why this was a big thing because we’ve all been on it together many times.

We saw many animals, we ate a delicious lunch at the very tasty and IMO very underrated Harambe Market. It’s open air seating, but the food is reliably delicious and there’s plenty of shade. Animal Kingdom has some high class quick serve options. I don’t know why anybody settles for pizza in a park with so many better options, but they have pizza and burgers and stuff for picky eaters who must have theme park food.

We ordered bowls with grilled chicken (me and the grandkid) or ribs (my daughter), cilantro rice, salad, and both a gingery dressing for the salad and a fresh pico de gallo sort of topping. Delicious and also reasonably healthy and quite filling. Sitting outdoors in the shade with African music nearby and the general sound of the passing crowd, and the train to the Conservation Station pulling in to the Harambe station, it was just relaxing and lovely.

We went to the Conservation Station, we hadn’t done it in years! (Seriously, you can go to Disney all the time and still not do some stuff for years. There’s just that much.)

There’s a petting zoo with goats and pigs that when it’s not so hot, wander around hoping somebody will grab a brush from a bucket and give them some lovin’. They were mostly napping because we were getting into the afternoon heat, and you of course can’t pursue them if they’re napping.

There’s an indoor exhibit area with lizards and insects and a whole veterinary space where, if you time it right, you could get to see a tiger get his teeth cleaned or something. On Sunday afternoon nobody was getting any work done, but we’d missed some sort of exam on an exotic pigeon that had happened at 10 a.m. They also do a drawing lesson, but we hadn’t signed up for that. Another time.

The dancer was drawn to this elderly cow at the petting zoo area, grabbed a brush and began grooming her. Other people saw this and by the time we left, the old girl had a lineup of kids and adults with brushes at the ready. The CM said she was very old and very sweet, and she’s spending her golden years as a petting cow, and loving it.
She’s a very sweet old girl, and was very grateful for the humans chasing away the flies.

So, it was a lovely Mother’s Day. I owe my son a longer chat, because he texted me while we were in the park, then the work week started. Oy, this job is a learning curve, not because I don’t understand what’s supposed to happen, but because the systems are, um, different? It’s not bad, it’s just…seriously? THIS makes sense to anybody? I’ll adjust.

I Need a Reset.

Nothing about windows or Disney or my job here, just life stuff.

At some point in the last few months I came across a motivational speaker named Mel Robbins (no relation to Tony). She has a couple of podcasts on Audible, she’s on YouTube, she has written books, and I like her a lot.

This is a very unusual thing for me, because I normally have a visceral dislike of “motivational speakers” as a species. I blame this on my real estate development past; many years ago I worked for a builder that “treated” us to a day of Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, et al.

It creeped me out to see an arena full of grown-ass adults jumping up and shouting motivational “salesy” phrases on command. It was mortifying just to watch; no way in hell could I fake that shit. I claimed a sudden headache and left after an hour. The headache was real. So it’s safe to say I don’t do motivational speakers.

I’m not sure what caused me to try one of Mel Robbins’ podcasts on Audible, but I’m glad I did. She’s different. She delivers practical, motivational ass-kicking, not about sales or business but about life in general.

I’ll tell on myself here: over the last couple of years my world shrank, not just from Covid, but from mild depression. Waves hands at everything. Little by little, my hobbies got set aside, my ass expanded, I went from feeling younger than my age to feeling even older than I am. I want to get my shit together, and I’m not going back to “normal” without putting in some work.

I’ve rejoined WW, where I was depressed to see that it had saved my weight since 2020 and I wasn’t imagining that I was over 12 lbs heavier. I discovered ashwagandha last year and it really works to balance my mood, but I need a plan and a friendly ass-kicking to develop habits in line with my goals.

So I was noodling around on my phone this week and Mel Robbins popped up on Facebook Live talking about a quick free program she’s offering next week: Spring Reset. And I listened to her and then signed up and downloaded the accompanying pdf, and I’m looking forward to it because damn, I need a reset. The timing is perfect. Serendipity.

About the Latest Disney Drama.

God, the Stupid Hot Takes on this on social media are just exhausting!

“Disney should just move!” Yeah…right. They should abandon their half century investment in billions of $ of infrastructure, roads, hotels, and of course the theme parks themselves, because a governor who got elected by about 30k votes is aiming to run for president as the even more ruthless Second Coming of Trump. That’s not going to happen. People saying that are just ignorant and should be ignored.

What does this Reedy Creek thing even mean? Florida has lots of special taxing districts. They have various purposes, but in the case of Reedy Creek, it means that Disney self-funds their infrastructure, like water and sewer and roads and trash collection and fire and rescue and a lot of other things, in exchange for a tax break. They still pay millions a year to the counties, they just do the operational infrastructure themselves and fund it by taxing Disney property through Reedy Creek. They do it in a partnership with the counties where they own property, which is why you may see Orange County deputies with radar guns on Western Way, which is the back way into WDW off the 429. (Pro Tip: PAY ATTENTION to that speed limit drop to 35 as you get closer to the signage for the resorts/parks.)

Anyway, and ahem. The point: Disney doesn’t take a lot of services from the counties, because the counties couldn’t possibly cover all the expense of running Disney infrastructure without massively raising taxes on everybody else. Disney still pulls county building permits and stuff, that’s how people on the Disney media beat keep track of new development. It’s not a secretive corporate cabal, doing mysterious things. They pick up their own trash and manage their own wastewater and stuff via contracts, and it’s complicated but way cheaper than shifting that burden to the counties where WDW sits.

This isn’t a weird thing unique to Disney, a lot of large developments have similar taxing structures. The Villages has the same kind of deal, but because it’s very Republican friendly nobody’s considering taking it away. If you’re a big developer going in to develop thousands of acres this is actually the way it gets approved, because the counties are not going to approve expanding water and sewer and roads and stuff for land that isn’t going to be able to pay it back for decades.

Disney does it next level, because Reedy Creek is actually a legal entity that runs its own fire and rescue service and sewers and other services. It’s basically a municipality. My former neighbor worked for RCFD, he may be retired by now, but anyway, this is not some secret corporate tax dodge thing, and anyone who says so should be ignored, along with the dipshits saying “Disney should just move!” These are people who have NO idea how huge WDW is, and are picturing a Six Flags or something. Yeah, Disney World won’t be going anywhere. DeSantis, OTOH….

And why is this happening now? Oh, no, it’s not because Disney pushed back on the “Don’t Say Gay” Republican idiocy. Not that this is also not a real and infuriating thing that will be challenged in court, but the timing was just the distraction. This was the real agenda:

https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2022/04/21/florida-democrats-stage-sit-in-on-house-floor-over-congressional-redistricting-map/

Annnd…NOPE. Probably.

Okay, I absolutely LOVED this window company’s guy. He was sweet, personable, knew his shit, explained everything very well, even Gidget came out of my office while we were sitting in the dining room going over things. She kept her distance, but she too thought he was a very nice guy.

Only problem: Those windows, fabulous as they are, are FOUR TIMES more expensive. They offer a concierge level experience, they deal with the condo approval, they deal with stucco repair and repainting after the installation (this is my first question because it’s a thing that is part of window replacement and it costs money.)

If they’d been even half again as expensive, maybe even nearly twice the price of the other guys, I’d have gone with it just for not having to project manage all the other pieces of the job. But there is no way I can rationalize those window prices. This is a nice, solid, high end Toyota/low end Lexus of a neighborhood. It doesn’t need Rolls Royce windows.

If I had a single family house worth upwards of half a million, I’d totally go with them. But his patter about improving my property value with this investment fell on cynical real estate ears. My property value is governed by the market, especially in a condo. I don’t need the most expensive windows in the neighborhood, I would in no way recoup that investment. So, sorry, charming, personable, truly excellent young salesguy, the numbers just don’t work for me.

As I’ve said over and freaking over, I want new windows that open and close properly, and keep the weather out and the AC in. That is all. This is a condo, so they have to match the standard window style in the community.

He DID know his shit about windows and gave me good advice. When I flinched at the price, he actually suggested I skip doing the giant expensive sliding doors to the balcony and just get them professionally serviced, because they aren’t exposed to the worst of the elements on my screened balcony and spending eleventy billion dollars to make them super-duper hurricane proof really isn’t needed. That would cut the price quite a bit. Ditto the garage window – get Lowe’s to do that sucker, save a lot.

So I’ll do this one more time with one more company, then decide what I’m doing. All I really want are windows that don’t leak and do open and shut. And as this is a condo, all those innovative window styles are wasted on me, because they have to look like the rest of the neighborhood. I know my windows are larger than standard and I was prepared to bite the financial bullet for the size differential, but OMG, I had no idea it would be this insanely hard.

So…tomorrow…

is going to be my first paid day off in six and a half years. It’s so weird, I feel almost guilty for taking it when I could be working?

I’ll get over it. I’m very, very grateful that this has happened, because it’s just starting to sink in how very fucking HARD the last decade really was, and how lucky I was to get through it and reach what appears to be a level of financial stability.

Back to the windows saga.

So, I reached out to another company about an appointment. Made appointment for this Saturday. Assumed my part was done, as I am, yanno, the CUSTOMER.

Oh, no. I got called early today to confirm Saturday’s appointment. I couldn’t pick up immediately, because yanno, job, but I called back within minutes. I got a child receptionist who told me she couldn’t confirm my appointment herself, and nobody was picking up the phone, so somebody would call me back.

Nobody called me back.

I did get a text from the company, asking me to call to confirm my appointment.

The guy who answered was very nice, but also could not confirm my appointment.

More terrible hold music, finally a perky woman answered and did, at last, confirm my appointment, and grilled me about the details of what I wanted from them.

Windows. Bitch, I just want new windows that will keep the weather out and the AC in! You guys do windows, right? I want you to show up and take measurements and give me a price for new windows. This is your business.

It’s like they’re screening for customers, putting us through a challenge to see if we are worthy of their time. I’m just baffled by this shit. I know I need windows, I want windows, I just want a company with a standard level of professionalism that makes an appointment and doesn’t make the customer make four extra calls to confirm their appointment. If you can fucking text me, you can fucking confirm the appointment via text. WT Actual F here?

This is torture. I had no idea it would be this ridiculous.

OTOH, I have my first paid day off in years tomorrow. I will focus on that.

How was your Monday?

Mine was an unexpected shitstorm, and I mean this literally.

I am mourning the loss of Rosie, my (inexpensive, thank God) robot vacuum.

I did my pre-Rosie picking up and launched her this morning, then was in my office for the next couple of hours. I walked down the hall and smelled a faint…odor…it smelled like…OH… FUCK… NOOOO!

Yep. Though Gidget had walked and pooped at O-Dark-Thirty, she had made use of her emergency spot in my bathroom at some point while Mommy was in a long meeting. I leave potty pads for her in the master bath area for just this purpose, and she faithfully puts her occasional small deposits in only that location. I didn’t know she had, I’d been in a long meeting as part of the job I cannot leave behind yet.

Rosie…found it. It was…very fresh. Yeah.

There are tons of Tik-Tok videos of dogs in trouble with their moms and horror stories of poop spread throughout the house. This, fortunately, was not that dire. I don’t have carpet and the only victim was Rosie.

Rosie didn’t just pass through it. She obviously did her best to clean it all up. One very small poo went in circles around the bathroom, but I have hard floors so cleanup wasn’t a big deal. Cleaning Rosie? Something I’ll have to think about. Is it worth it? She’s going to sit on the balcony until I have the mental energy to decide. Because that’s going to be a lot of work.

The new job will be good, I think, once I get it all together in my head. What I did before was very, very different, though in the same company. But the money is way better, and after things settle down in a few weeks, I think I’ll like it.

So, that was an interesting start to the week. Hoping to talk about non-shitty things soon.

Miscellaneous Updates.

The Window Struggle Is Real: First company sent a total flake. I suspect she may no longer be employed there, but I never heard from her manager either, which is a pity because I liked him and liked the windows.

The second company stood me up completely. After 45 minutes of no-show, I called their office. A woman told me that “they” were actually doing an “open house” and was I sure I wasn’t supposed to take my own measurements and go there?

I was quite sure I was not supposed to do that. She looked it up and said that Tiffany, Brittany, whatever, had indeed booked an appointment on a day that she shouldn’t have, because open house at showroom. She really was nice and empathetic when I vented at her that I was ready to buy windows and can’t find a damn window company that has any basic professionalism.

I made it clear that I didn’t blame HER at all, I was just venting, and she got it when I said I was not ready to reschedule with them, because Jesus, I lost half a Saturday Waiting for Window Godot. (If you got that, you might have been an English major.)

Seriously, this should not be this difficult. I am not remodeling, I am replacing. I am far from fussy. I want windows that keep the weather out and can open and close. That’s literally IT. I want to buy windows, I am ready and willing and able to buy windows, somebody please sell me some windows, FFS.

Homeowners insurance on the “investment property,” otherwise known as the family home my daughter and granddaughter live in, the only home granddaughter has ever known: Former insurance company says they’re not renewing, so I’ve been in search of new insurance in my ample free time. NONE of the local agents could help me, but a friendly Farmers’ Insurance office in North Florida did reach out and quote me something reasonable, and gave me good advice about getting inspections.

So. I have insurance lined up, we had a really nice and helpful inspector come out and do the wind mitigation and 4 points inspections, everything is fine, but it’ll cost more to insure unless I can get somebody to do a “third nail” wind mitigation upgrade. (I’ll spare you the details, but the roof attachment wind mitigation requirements have been upgraded, and that’s fine, I certainly want the roof to stay in place, but we are not on the coast. Yet, we apparently have to do it too.)

And so far this “third nail” mitigation fix – which is literally a third nail added at connections to keep the roof on the house, the equivalent of the straps required in new construction – only seems to be available on the coast. I’ve contacted three companies so far and asked if they covered my county. Crickets.

I’ve owned homes in Florida for nigh onto 40 years. I’ve never dealt with shit like this before.

And this is my “free time” stuff. I’m starting my new job on Monday, YAY! But because it’s still in the same company where I’ve been contracting for six years, my old job is dragging behind me like an anchor. I’m annoyed. If I’d found a new job outside the company, or won the lottery and retired, or fucking DIED, they wouldn’t be able to ask me to do two jobs “for a while” until they filled the other position.

This isn’t rocket science: find a person with relevant experience, pay them what they deserve, make them an employee with all those great benefits: problem solved. Instead, it’s going to be another contractor position and they’ll sift through hundreds of irrelevant resumes hoping to find someone I can train (while doing my new job), and in the meantime I’ll be divided between two entirely unrelated roles.

I’m going to talk to my new manager and discuss boundaries. I will of course help out as needed, but as I keep saying, “What if I’d been hit by a truck? You have NO backup for this position!”

So, anyway, that’s why I haven’t been updating much. Life is a bit full, and exhausting. Hoping it will slow down a bit so I can write about other things I want to do. Like knitting. And yoga. And using my camera regularly. I am sick of crisis mode.

Exhausted.

Extricating myself from my current job is…challenging. I have to remind myself that it’s the company’s damn fault that they have no plans to replace people – it’s damn crazy that this is the case considering that the people leaving are contractors! We Are Not Employees! OF COURSE we are going to jump ship if we get a permanent job elsewhere! Yet, they put critical functions into our hands, then freak the fuck out when we get other jobs?

It’s not just me, the group I work in lost another long time contractor (we’d started with the company within a couple of weeks of each other), she went to an outside firm. Another former colleague already was an employee and got a better job within the organization.

So I’m creating some barriers: I will get things in as much order as I can in the next 7 working days. I’m available going forward for issues that arise on things I’d worked on, but going forward, best of luck to y’all, I didn’t create this issue.

I do feel for my supervisor, he’s a super nice guy and he didn’t create this issue either. He’s making his case up the management ladder that this “critical role” can’t be in the hands of a contractor, it should be an employee position, and there has to be a better support system in place. As I said to him in exasperation when we met on Monday “What would you all do if I got hit by a bus?” Would everything just grind to a halt? Yes, yes, it would.

I’m looking forward to my new position. Not because it will be easy, not because it isn’t responsible or important, but because I will have more control over how things unfold.

I wish I could share specifics about the insanity but it’s too industry specific. Let’s just say we had a screwup for which I was about 10% responsible, along with 2 or 3 other people who were also maybe 10% responsible. The rest of the screwup was entirely beyond our control. Like, waay beyond, like shit nobody could have even suspected was possible. Yet, this being Corporate America, we had a discussion where managers said helpful things like, “We can add a checklist!” Right. Let’s also add a checklist for UFO crashes on job, because that’s how rare this was.

I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last two years, and I swear it’s all work related stress eating. I’ve been making an effort to get myself together, but then something happens like today (the first snafu since I took this position) and we had a meeting with people who barely understood the issue. And I truly, deeply needed chocolate. And wine.

7 more work days in this role. Then they can figure it out for their owndamnselves. I’ll help out with what I can, but seriously, I came into a mess and muddled along for two and a half years and kept it all going and apparently did a great job with it, but I’d never done this shit before in my life. Now I’m like their expert? With two years of figuring it out as we went along?

Maybe it should be a real job you respect and you hire people with this specific experience? Crazy, right? My supervisor gets it, totally, I love him to pieces, but he’s currently Sisyphus, pushing this crazy boulder of an idea up the management chain. People who have ZERO idea of what the job entails are pushing back. I just…cannot even. We compared stress notes. I’ve gained 15 pounds, he’s gained 40.

I’m always amused by people who think Corporate America is some sort of all-knowing monolith. All they have is money. I’ve worked in several Big Name Companies in my long and checkered career and I swear, get past the public image and there’s a sea of earnest middle managers and oceans of people like me trying to keep it all moving.

Windows.

Okay, so I’m not going to call out the company I met with today, because it was a “trainee” salesperson, and she was accompanied by a manager. I will question why they would ever think this trainee was ready to meet the public, but Bless Their Hearts for giving her a chance.

She called to say she was on her way, and would be there in ten minutes. Great! 30 minutes later, still no salesperson. She and her trainer/manager showed up about 40 minutes after her 10 minutes away call. Okay, so, no biggie. But, it went downhill from there.

I don’t like to slag another woman’s appearance, but I kid you not, a saleswoman for a window company was wearing heavy black liquid eyeliner, ridiculous inch long VERY fake eyelashes, over an inch long sparkly fake fingernails, dark lip liner with pale lipstick, lank dyed blonde hair with too much product, painted on black eyebrows. Her clothing was equally inappropriate. She looked like a cartoon character, though I’m not sure what sort of cartoon.

And still, this would have been a personal quirk, tolerable though very unprofessional, I’d totally not comment on her bizarre appearance if she really knew her shit. She did not know her shit. At all. It was painful. Even her sample window was assembled all ass-backward, she couldn’t reassemble it and her manager had to step in and fix it.

Her trainer/manager stepped in and saved the day, and the company is actually not out of the running for the windows. His presentation was professional and the company is good, though they will have to correct the estimate she created, because after I reviewed her scribbled poor handwriting I noticed that she’d left out the larger quarter round fixed window, so yeah. There is that too.

As they left she begged me for the sale and told me to give her a good review. I nodded and smiled and said I was getting other bids and check back in two weeks. I did take her manager’s card, if I do decide to go with them I’ll call him, though I do have to question the judgment of any company that thought she was ready to represent them and their product.

I am not a salesperson, God knows. I tried it briefly and hated it. I know how hard it is, especially if you are new. I never felt prepared enough, and over-prepared for everything, and it was stressful and I hated it, so I’ll give any new salesperson a lot of leeway for nerves in a presentation.

But she walked in entirely unprepared (though WAY over-prepared in makeup), and was even unable to demonstrate the sample window she’d assembled all wrong. It was a bad comedy skit, and if she’d been there alone I’d have had to politely ask her to leave. But her manager was nice and professional and fixed and demonstrated the window, and the windows really are awesome, so the company is not out of the running.

This took two hours out of my precious free time. I have to do this two more times before I pick a company, then run the condo board gauntlet, then the actual window installation timeline won’t be until late summer. This is fun.

I’m going to Magic Kingdom tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ll even get on any rides, I may just walk around and eat lunch and clear my head for the coming week.