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.

I’ve Been Unable to Write Anything

About the international shitshow we’re all watching, and we still have no idea how it will end. I’m hoping someone will be served a tasty cup of polonium tea by one of his nearest and dearest and put us all out of his misery.

As for Republicans (and the Fox News watchers who honestly don’t know WTF is going on): No, the Former Guy would not have prevented this, except in the sense that he was doing everything in his power to gift wrap Ukraine to deliver to his Master with a big sloppy BJ, so they wouldn’t have been armed to defend themselves against an unprovoked invasion.

I had another one of those brief, awkward conversations with my 80 y.o. neighbor about this yesterday. His opinion: “This never would have happened if our country was still strong.”

Okay, he’s 80 and a sweet old guy, so I wasn’t about to delve into exactly how we got to this state of weakness where we have to rebuild faith with the international community, especially with a neighbor I actually like and keep an eye on. I don’t think he’d have been ready to grasp how President Biden and his people have been rebuilding relationships that were shredded by TFG and got everybody on board with delivering crippling financial blows to Russia. I’m not sure most Americans realize what a fucking amazing thing this administration has done to unite the world.

He did ask me how I thought things were going, and I said I follow experts who are alternately hopeful and not so hopeful, but the world is uniting in support of Ukraine and that’s wonderful. We shared a head shake about “peace talks” like Ukraine had anything to do with this invasion. He agreed that Ukraine’s position in “peace talks,” should be “JUST GO AWAY.” That was a common ground, and I took what I could get.

Meanwhile, while all this insane international drama is taking place, I do have a surprising bit of amazingly good news: I accepted a new position at the Place Where I Work That Does Not Pay Me. I’m going to be an employee. After SIX years of contractor status and at nearly 64 damn years old, they are going to start paying me their own damn selves.

Seriously, I am still processing this. It’s WAY more money – I had hoped it would at least meet my current income, but holy shit, it’s like 30% more – a ton of PTO from day one, great insurance, 401k match, all sorts of goodies. I’m…stunned speechless. My new manager will be someone I worked with in the past who emailed me and told me to apply. When the hiring manager tells you to send a resume, you send a resume.

I know the job will not be easy, but I haven’t had an easy job in…let me see…EVER. To be able to pay bills and take vacations and have holiday weekends and afford to do home repairs and save the max for retirement, do all that normal shit people do – I honestly can’t quite believe this will happen yet. I expect a comet will hit the Earth by Friday.

I spoke to HR and gave a verbal acceptance, emailed my future boss to tell her I accepted and thank her. Then my current supervisor IM’d me and then called, and he’s sad to lose me but happy for me. My current supervisor joked that he was going to tell my future boss I’m awful, OMG, you don’t want her, then told me how I had been the least stressful part of his job since he took his position. Everything is a juggling act, but I never brought him any problems.

I gave full credit to the outside contractors I work with and our internal project managers, we’ve all been throwing ourselves on the fires and handling them. I truly like him a lot and don’t want to leave him hanging, but really, there was absolutely no way I wouldn’t take this other job. It’ll still be a lot of work and deadlines, but I usually won’t need a fire extinguisher three times a day.

We’ll work out my transition between roles somehow, but after doing this job for two years, seriously, good luck with that. I didn’t know what I was getting into. My new role won’t be a walk in the park, but compared to the 50+ emails a day of questions and emergencies and project stopping dumpster fires of now, it will be more stable.

So anyway, we’re on the brink of WWIII and I have a great new job! Figures.

I FINALLY Made it to the Festival of the Arts.

God, February has been a slog. Work is insane, I don’t have time to take care of any of my personal business. I did manage to line up the toilet and garbage disposal replacements; that’s happening on Tuesday. Homeowners’ insurance on the “investment property” is still unaddressed. I have got to deal with that. Taxes aren’t done. I still don’t have a window replacement figured out, and storm season will be here soon.

And the weather has been shitty EVERY weekend. Weekdays were gorgeous and sunny and perfect, while I was chained to my desk. Every weekend for the last three weeks it was cold (legit cold, not just Florida Whiny Cold) damp and shitty.

I made a reservation for Epcot, and this time the weather cooperated. It started gray and dreary, but not cold or raining, and the sun did come out. It was the last weekend of FArts, so it was very busy. I wasn’t there for the rides, and none of the food booths were a Must Do either and the lines were insane. I just walked around the World Showcase looking at art.

And I found a new-to-me artist, and it’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking my way around the World or I might have spent a car payment. I did buy this:

This is Merida, as painted by Heather Edwards.

For you non-Disnerds, Merida is the fiercely independent Scottish princess in Brave. She does not look like this in Pixar animation, in the movie she’s a Pixar cute cartoon. That’s why this just blew me away – she captured Merida and turned her into an actual living girl, wild hair, pointy little nose and all. Heather Edwards was there signing prints and told me that the first time she sold this painting at a fantasy con, a guy went crazy for it and said she’d captured her hair perfectly. He was the guy who did Merida’s hair for the Pixar movie.

And I’m already kicking myself for not buying this print too:

Wendy, sewing Peter’s shadow.

All of her art was I MUST HAVE for me – I didn’t get a shot of her Lady and the Tramp eating spaghetti. It was so sweet, they looked like the characters but also like real dogs.

I wish I could be a rich grandma and create a guest room in my big (fantasy) house, and decorate it with lovely Disney themed art like this. Unfortunately, right now a $45 after my discount print was as much as I really could spare.

I’m taking Wednesday afternoon off to catch up on life shit. The plumbers are booked, they’ll be here on Tuesday to replace the 40+ year old toilets and the dead garbage disposal and the crusty old shower head. I’ll attempt to work through that, I don’t have too many online meetings.

Wednesday afternoon is for me. I need to figure out what to do about the homeowners’ insurance – I’m resigned to having to replace that fucking roof to get coverage, when I’d much rather put money into windows and plumbing there too. I have one window replacement company lined up, but I need to get a couple of other quotes and also figure out what our dipshit condo board does about this. Because when the windows get changed the paint will have to be touched up, and I have NO idea how that gets done.

Work has been too insane to even make a phone call or two to catch up on this stuff.

I really need to win the lottery.

Tink said Hey.

I’m Sick of Adulting. I’m Going to the Festival of the Arts.

So, much life stuff is happening. I am finally, belatedly (a year overdue) getting new glasses from my favorite magenta-haired eye doctor. Seriously, I’ve worn glasses since I was 8, I had retina damage (now healed) after my brain aneurysm, so much drama, and until I found this doctor I had no idea WTF the doctors were doing while staring into my eyes.

She does a running explanation while looking at your retinas, “There’s stuff on the back we can’t see unless we dilate and shine a bright light,” and then mixes the directions “look up to the left” etc, with “Looks good,” and also explained the changes in my prescription: my close vision is worse because my distance vision is actually slightly better. She showed me the images, explained. My eyes are healthy, my baby cataracts are no worse, all cheerfully explained in plain English in a few minutes. I want to clone this woman for every medical specialty. She’s the best, most concise “explainer” doctor ever.

She’s the same doctor who looked at me like I was insane when I asked about computer glasses: “Nobody told you we can just adjust your progressives?” No, nobody had. I’ve had the best glasses ever since I found her.

So I bought a new everyday pair from Lenscrafters (she works for the associated practice) and then picked new try-on frames for a backup pair from Warby Parker, because I’m blind AF and if God forbid my everyday glasses got broken, I’d be unable to function at all.

I also have a fresh haircut and found the perfect shade of hair color am feeling somewhat reborn.

The weather was glorious this week, while I was chained to my desk – cloudless skies, not too cold, not too hot, just Florida Perfection.

This weekend is gray and damp and dreary, but at least tolerably warmer. Unless it takes an ugly turn overnight, I plan to hit FARTS tomorrow. The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is one of the shorter duration festivals, compared to Food and Wine and Flower and Garden and the Holiday Season, but it’s a really lovely way to spend an afternoon. There are tons of artists’ booths around the World Showcase with all sorts of Disney themed (and not) arts. Some of it is playroom cute stuff, but other things are really elegant, classic Disney suitable for grownups. It’s fun to browse.

And there are food booths, musicians, it’s just a great way to get the fuck out of my home office/insane work life and pretend I’m on vacation for a few hours.

Next weekend we plan to hit Magic Kingdom for the first time in forever. It sustains me.

And Just Like That…

I got a notice of non-renewal of the homeowners insurance on the “rental property” aka the house my daughter rents from me, the house she lived in since middle school, the only home the Dancer has ever known.

FUUUUUUCK!

Yep. I did not need this.

It’s not canceled immediately, I have until May to fix it, but I’m pretty sure that “fixing it” will require a new roof. Not that there’s anything wrong with the roof; it’s older but in good condition, but policy non-renewals for “aging” roofs are a thing in Florida. An aging roof is anything over 10 years old. Seriously. Have I mentioned lately how much I fucking HATE insurance companies?

Remember how I refinanced my condo to redo the 40+ year old master bathroom and replace the 40+ year old toilets and replace the windows? I’ve been dragging my feet on these projects because I really wasn’t looking forward to the mess and stress of ripping out half of the master bath, the mess of the tile work, etc. And mostly I was waiting until the omicron variant stopped running quite so wild. It didn’t seem like a great time to have workers tromping around while I’m working at home to avoid catching it.

And once again, procrastination saved my ass. After reviewing the “poor people options” for rebuilding my small master bath shower, I was not impressed. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s directed me to a company that does a solid surface remodel, not traditional tile. I just did not like it. I had a vision of clean white subway tile, not faux stone. It was just too over the top and would make that tiny shower space feel claustrophobic.

I thought about project managing my own bath remodel, and then I thought about the joys of a bathroom project and the tile dust and all the mess that goes with it, and I started talking myself out of redoing the tile. I lived through a major bathroom remodeling many years ago, and if I don’t have to go that far, I really don’t want to. It truly sucks, especially if you’re also working from home in online meetings, etc. The noise, the mess, the inconvenience, the situation is not that desperate.

The bathroom project is now scaled back to two nice new 21st century toilets (one in each bath, what were you picturing?), and in the master bath a nice new shower head with one of those hand held wand thingies, new lighting, and a new shower door. I’ll paint, I don’t need a 16 ft. ladder to do the bathrooms.

That cut my bathroom remodel cost by about 2/3, and that’ll help with what I’m pretty sure will be a new roof on the house. That account I was going to put aside for a new HVAC for here when it’s needed? Yeah, that’s gonna be a roof on the “investment property.” Oh well. I’m actually not complaining, I’m grateful that I can handle this expensive curveball.

The windows have to happen, though. They are atrocious. I can’t open them because they may not ever shut again. We are doing winter this week, and boy do these windows leak cold air, especially in my bedroom. It’s as drafty as a Dickensian garret. I have broken out the shawls. I’m losing A/C most of the year. Replacing the windows and the old toilets will save money every month.

We aren’t talking about a lot of windows but they’re all quite large and probably custom sizes, and the sliding glass doors are not little 6 ft. standard patio sliders. But whatever, it has to happen before storm season. They are the definition of borrowed time. Unlike the roof on the “investment property,” which is perfectly fine.

Now that I have a date to return to the office it’s lit a fire under me to get this shit done. I’m grateful for the flexibility of this crazy return to the office plan, and my new manager is a super nice guy so I don’t think rearranging a bit to be here for plumbers and window guys will be a big deal. This week I will get this show on the road.

February is going to be wildly productive, and I’m motivated. More on that soon.

We’re Doing Winter This Weekend.

It was 27 degrees when I took Gidget out for her first walk this morning. I’m so glad I couldn’t bear to part with the red sweater I made for Murphy all those years ago. It fits Gidget perfectly and it’s thicker and cozier than any store-bought version. She did a fast and efficient potty at 7am and got back inside and onto her down filled blanket on the couch, where she will stay until I drag her out to potty around noon, before supper, and before bed.

People reading this in the Northeast are now snickering as they look out at the results of the last blizzard, but seriously, 27 and a high of around 50 is freakishly cold for Central Florida. Most of us don’t own the appropriate clothing for it. My heaviest jacket is basically a dressy looking sweatshirt, and some years I only wear it once or twice. I don’t own things like sweatpants and wool sweaters. We aren’t prepared for this.

I was planning to go to Epcot today for the Festival of the Arts, but then I thought of temps in the 40s later and the cold breeze blowing off the water at the World Showcase and rescheduled for next Sunday, when the high is supposed to be 68. That’s still on the cooler side, we are usually in the 70s-low 80s in winter now.

I know canceling was the sensible thing but I’m disappointed, because it’s another weekend of nothing to do but responsible adulting. I’m fucking sick of responsible adulting.

The place where I work is sending us all back to the office starting February 21. Not full time – they’ve cooked up some crazy rotating schedule with floating seating and no more than 50% occupancy at a time. We have to haul not just our laptops but our keyboard and mouse and phone back and forth each day, too. Yeah, that sounds fun and extremely practical and realistic.

I’m totally over the job, but the mortgage company insists I keep working.

So anyway, this means February will really be a crunch time to lose a few pounds, because I currently have a limited wardrobe of the things that still (barely) fit, and it’s mostly jeans and t-shirts. While we do have a casual workplace, ratty jeans and faded tees would be pushing the dress code a bit. Over the past two years, “business casual” devolved into WTF-ever.

So I’m all in on sticking to my diet for the next few weeks. No snacks. No wine. No fun. Story of my life these days.