Reducing My Carbon Footprint – Even If I Didn’t Plan On It

Published May 15, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

My work week generally goes from Sunday to Thursday,. This means I was at work on Mother’s Day doing all the cleaning (and grumbling) that goes along with my job.

When work was done I hopped into my little car to head home. One block from work it lurched, clunked, screamed and died. I called my roommate. She came and got me, we found a tow truck and had the car towed home. It was Sunday, so home was the only place to have it taken. Thankfully, the tow truck was close and home was 4 blocks away. That kept the cost down.

I know those sounds well enough to know the car is dead and beyond my finances to repair. I don’t know what to do with it. I pretty much don’t what to do over all.

You see, I am still paying for it. I have about 2 years of payments left. So here I have a car I have to pay for, but can’t drive, nor can I repair it. And while I was thinking about not having a car and the expenses associated with it, I was really hoping to do that on MY terms, not the car’s terms.

While I can walk to work, I don’t think my feet can handle the walk and the time on them at the job (as I wrote about before – my body isn’t doing well with my job). I don’t have a bicycle, nor would I have anyplace to store on inside. Not this will stop me from looking at bikes as a form of transportation around town, it is just another issue to deal with. Not to mention I live where it rains all the damn time, and I don’t own a raincoat of any sort.

So I guess I have accomplished reducing my carbon footprint, even if I wasn’t quite ready to take it this far. And I still have my rolling shopping basket cart thingie, so I can walk up to grocery store and have a way to get everything home without having to carry the bags. A small plus.

Today is a little bit upsetting, with a lot of questions that need to be answered. There are ‘phone calls to be made and research to be done. Whilst I won’t be at work, I still have work to do and the day will not be an enjoyable day off.

I kinda feel like God missed me, and smited my car. Thanks, God. Next time, take better care with your aim.

Spring is Sprunging – Sort of

Published May 7, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

Op-Spring-Cleaning

 

It is May. Time for spring to leap forth and the weather to warm up. At least on the west coast. The Mid West may have to wait a bit longer. My days of living in Minnesota taught me that snow in June was not an unreasonable thing to expect. Yeah, it was still unreasonable to freeze at night in JUNE. But let’s move forward.

My little corner of the world is still quite damp and chilly. Today was a sunny day, but the winds were coming off the ocean and they were cold. I think we have a little way to go before the weather is truly warm.

But today was good day to re-think my small space and DO something about what I perceive to be a mess.

Because this place is so small (and crappily built), I had several items of clothing in plastic tubs. This does not work for me. I began yesterday with the closet. ALL the skirts (and there are a lot of them) came out. Each one was appraised for size and frequency of wear. The same treatment was given to the jackets and the tops. The pile of things to leave got steadily larger. I had bought a set of sheets. I dislike the feel of them (they are microfiber and feel slimy, even after washing – ew), so they joined the discard pile. I cut down on shoes (again), keeping only the ones I actually wear often. Dresser drawers were pulled open, emptied, sorted and re-loaded.

Then I had to make it all fit without using the plastic tubs. With a huge pile of things to go away, this was easier. I re-arranged my dresser drawers to fit more things in the drawers (AND in a neater fashion than before). When I was finished, all my skirts, jackets, and summer tops were hanging up. My shoe rack had shrunken to fit in the closet (before this, it has been quite tall and outside of the closet), and the shoes I had left fit on the rack. The one remaining plastic tub now holds the extra hangers, and other odd and ends I rarely need, but want to keep. It is tucked under the short tops in closet.

The rest of my little room wasn’t spared. The blue end table I’ve had for the past 5 years was cleared off and given to a friend who needed it. Other odds and ends were sorted through and a box was set up for donations. Furniture was moved to new locations.  The carpet was vacuumed within an inch of its life.

I began sorting through family photographs and keepsakes. I am dividing them between my kids, and those will be mailed off over the next few weeks. It is time for them to have those things. It is time for me to let them move on.

I have a crap ton of stuff stored under my bed (limited space meant pressing the under-bed space into service). That is also on the chopping block. I haven’t gotten to all of it yet, but I will. Some of it will stay, but a lot of it will go. I just don’t ‘need’ all that stuff any longer.

Some the stuff went to a local thrift store, but all of my clothing went to a women’s shelter. I always try to give my clothing to a shelter. My roommate was going right by the drop point and generously took all those bags for me. I hope they help someone begin anew.

I am not finished. There is a lot to sort through. But I have a good beginning and I am happy with how things are going so far. There is something satisfying about putting your space in order and making it better. I suppose because I can’t do what I’d like to do, this better than doing nothing at all and being miserable.

Overall, today was a good day.

A New Career?

Published April 27, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

I am not particularly happy with my job. My immediate supervisor has no experience doing the job she manages. This leads some ridiculous scheduling, and impossible work loads to deal with. But the other day, whilst in the middle of cleaning a room, I had a thought.

Why not become a paid convention speaker and talk about housekeeping?

You know, basically get paid to shame the audience who traveled to the convention and is now staying at local hotels. All done with love and humor, of course. Sort of….well….maybe…okay – mostly with love and humor.

Just imagine – a convention for *insert your occupation here*, all gathered together to discuss all the ups and downs of working in the *insert your occupation here* field. When a one the colleagues takes to the stage to introduce the next speaker;

‘Ladies and Gentleman. Welcome the *insert your occupation here* annual convention. Tonight we pleased to have with us here tonight, a very special speaker. She is here to speak to you all about hotel housekeeping and hotel guests. Please welcome, Mind Full of Chatter.’

You can hear it can’t you? The murmurs of the audience as they think…

What the hell kind of name is Mind Full of Chatter?

Why the hell is she here at an *insert your occupation here* convention to talk about hotel housekeeping?

What on earth can be said about housekeeping? That’s kinda of boring, isn’t it?

And then the slow dawning, and fidgeting, of several audience members as they realize will be outed for being the worst hotel guests ever. Because no one wants hear about their own apparent inability to put trash in a trash can, change out their own toilet paper and flush their own toilet when staying at a hotel.

The Intentional Mess Makers will all fidget and cough. Some will try to sneak out. Others will suddenly be very interested in anything other than making eye contact with anyone else. A few will try to hide in their coffee cups and hope no one realizes they are the ones being spoken about.

The Unintentional Mess Makers will nervously laugh and spill their coffee. They will covertly glance around to see if anyone noticed they spilled their coffee, thus spilling more coffee and leaving drip marks all down the fronts of their shirts. They will then try to sop up the mess they made with a napkin, only to make a slightly larger mess.

The Neat Nics will look satisfied with themselves. Some will turn the person next to them to tell them all about the last tip they left. Others will simply smile and nod knowingly. A few will try to help The Unintentional Mess Makers clean up  their coffee spills.

Most everyone will laugh nervously (because I am hilarious) and glance around trying to identify whomever I am currently speaking about. In the end they applaud – because they don’t know what else to do.

And I will be paid to shut up and go on my merry way, leaving the audience of the *insert your occupation here* convention to go back to their hotel rooms, clean up their messes, change out their own toilet paper, flush their own toilets, and leave a tip for the housekeeper so they don’t feel so guilty about their own poor behavior.

Sounds like a win win to me.

 

Eyebrows And Hairy Legs

Published April 22, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

As some of you may remember (although why you would, I don’t know), I decided to stop plucking my eyebrows in some keeping up the Joneses (or perhaps Kardashians) shape and let them be plain old eyebrows. I discovered along the way that eyebrows actually take a long time to fully regrow – up to 65 days, sometimes longer, and in a few cases never.

My eyebrows are looking less odd and more normal. The patchy spots have mostly regrown, and the odd little stripes I had on each eyebrow are almost gone completely. The hairs are now all growing in the proper direction and not trying stick up or swing backwards. They are a mix of dark and blonde hairs with a few white hairs tossed in fun. I have been better about keeping the outer edges looking nice, so all is going well in the eyebrow department. They look pretty darn good.

Now the legs. I hadn’t shaved them in ages. It was cold outside, I wear long pants at work (per uniform requirements) and I have no one to complain about them being fuzzy. Plus my shower is the size of small telephone booth making shaving a challenge even for a professional contortionist. So I just let them go.

I had a look at them the other day. Summer is coming and I don’t need to be fuzzy legged in summer dresses. The hair had gotten to be about 1/2″ long. But what is funny is how it now growing in. The backs of my legs have no hair at all. They are smooth and soft. The hair is mostly growing on the front over my shin bones. The sides are patchy with hairless areas here and there. My knees are as hairless as the backs of my legs.

Too bad the fronts can’t follow the backs and give up growing hair. That would be nice. It would be even better if my armpits would take up the no hair mantra. But so far, they aren’t cooperating.

If the hair had grown in blonde, I may have left it alone and gone on my merry way. But it was dark (though not scratchy at all and kinda soft) and showed up very well against my very light skin. So I squeezed myself into the shower and managed to shave the fronts smooth once again. I will say having to shave only the front half of my legs is wonderful. This is far easier than having manage knees and leg backs.

I hope that the fronts come to see how useless growing all that hair is.

 

 

I Need An ‘Older Person’ Job.

Published April 12, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

All is sort of well in my world. I found a job, hated it, so I found another job. The new job pays more with more hours. To top it off, I got a $1.00 an hour raise after a week on. I thought it was because I was awesome. But it turns out they are raising the hiring wage, and decided I ought to be at that rather the old rate. I guess I’m no so awesome after all. Damn it.

I am back to working as a hotel housekeeper. But this particular hotel was built to be condominiums. This means ALL the rooms have full on bedrooms, full bathrooms and full kitchens. This not some run-of-the-mill hotel room. This requires more work per room, and my body isn’t having any of it.

We usually work in teams, and that helps. I love my teammate, but they aren’t letting us stay as a team. She is officially the new housekeeper trainer. This means I am getting dumped to work on my own or with one of the other housekeepers. I don’t really care for the males, and the other females are Hispanic and speak little to no English. The language barrier would make working with them impossible for me since my Spanish is pretty much over after ‘hola’ and ‘buenos diaz’ (unless you count the song about beating chocolate I remember from high school Spanish class, though I can’t see that as being relevant in housekeeping).

My very first day was a 10 hour day. I still find that to be a ridiculous first day in a housekeeping situation. My second day was close to that. My teammate and I had 28 rooms condos that included 11 checks outs, 7 of which were two bedroom rooms condos. That is an exhausting amount of work, even for two people.

This place keeps wondering why they can’t keep housekeepers. Hmmmm…let me mull that over a bit…

For those you are not familiar with how hotel housekeeping works, ALL the rooms (including those with people staying more than one night – called stay overs) are supposed to be finished by check in time. Check in times varied hotel to hotel, but you can see how this puts pressure on the people who actually do the cleaning.

We also have what is called metric time. This the amount of time we are given to completely clean a room. This includes cleaning the bathroom(s), changing the bed(s), re-stocking linens and soaps, cleaning the kitchen, removing all the trash and cleaning the floors. Every check out is completely cleaned. The sinks and tubs are scrubbed, all the counter tops are cleaned, carpet vacuumed, hard floors swept and moped – in short, the works. And all done within a certain amount of time no matter how dirty we find the room.

Stay overs have a shorter metric time, but still certain things are done. This depends on what the guest wants. If the guest is not in the room, they get beds made, bathrooms cleaned, fresh towels (if the towels are on the floor), dishes put away out of the dishwasher (remember, these are condos), dirty dishes loaded and the washer started, floors swept and carpets vacuumed. We also re-stock soaps, coffee and the like. Some guests want the beds made fresh every day. Because they make their own damn bed at home fresh every day, don’t they. Whoops. Uh, snark alert?

This is why I have written before about those guests who are pigs and leave huge messes. It makes our day longer and tougher. We don’t need your mess to have a job. We get paid for cleaning your room, even if you are heavenly and leave it neat. But the big messes put us behind and make us work a lot harder than we already do. Oh, and tips are always highly appreciated.

Which brings me back to my complaining body.

I hurt. My feet hurt (yes, I have compression socks and proper work shoes). I am exhausted most days. My body simply isn’t catching on to the workload. Instead it is demanding sleep and hurting. I slept a total of 18 hours my last day off – not good. I am grumpy and tired. This time around, my body is just saying – NO! Or perhaps it is more along the lines of ‘What in the hell do you think you are doing?!?’.

So I will stay on until I find something else, or my body gives out. I’m not a money hound, so I can stand a cut in pay.

I know I need something more suited to a slightly chubby 58-year-old.

 

So, What’s All The Fuss?

Published April 6, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

I really want know why men are so afraid of women having complete equality. Why do we scare you so much? Why can’t we make decisions regarding our own bodies? What have we done do have to still be fighting for our rights in 2017?

Now if you are one the many women who don’t see there an issue, that fine. You can go read something else and I won’t be offended. Nor will I try to cram my point of view down your throat. We are all good. We both entitled to our respective opinions.

Me? I still want to know what the problem is. I want to know why men (in particular) are trying so hard to keep women from having the same total control of their bodies as they have of theirs. Am I not a grown adult as you are? Is there something about being female that prevents me from making my own decisions about my own healthcare and reproductive choices? Why don’t I make as much money as you guys do for doing the same job? What the hell?!?

(side note – this not about abortion. If you are against abortion, fine. Just please leave others out of your personal choices and I’ll do the same. Okay?)

For centuries women could not own property, own a business, carry money, vote and numerous other things that were for men only. If a women owned land, it became her husband’s land as soon as they wed. If she owned valuable jewelry (including inherited jewels), they became her husbands as soon as they were wed. Did you know that a married woman didn’t even own her clothing? That too, belonged to her husband.

Why? What did women do to men to make them put us all under the floorboards and keep us there? Why were we denied the simple right to own our own things, to be taught to read (Yup, few women were taught to read. Upper class women were taught to read, but were not permitted to read newspapers. ‘Cuz, you know, they may learn something), to simply have a say in our lives?

Women were used as chattel to create ties for kings. A ‘good match’ was far more important than a good marriage. Women were told ‘look to other way’ if her husband had affairs or a mistress. Stay home. Raise children. Don’t make a fuss. Do as you’re told.

I hear the women who think we are all fine. We are equal. We get all the same goodies. But we don’t, do we. Not really.

We have (mostly) men trying to tell what kind of healthcare we are allowed. We are being told what is best for our reproductive choices. We are still told rape is our fault. That skirt was too short, why were you were alone?, the street was dark, did you have a drink?, did you take any drugs?, were there any witnesses?, are you a credible person? In short – what did you do to get raped?

(side note – I was once held up at gunpoint outside of a nightclub. I had parked under a street lamp, not in the dark. The first thing I was asked? Did you have a man walk you to your car? Yes, I did. They robbed him as well)

Our pay is still less than a man’s pay for doing the same job with Hispanic women coming in last. Because, you know, your ethic background is an indicator of how well you do your job.

So I want to know.

Why did women do to men to make them so damned scared of us?

 

Happy Birthday – Again

Published March 26, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

birthday cupcake

 

It seems as though you just had your birthday, and another one comes barrelling around the corner. This isn’t so when you are a kid and your birthday take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to come ’round again. As an adult (especially us who are gettin’ up there) they seem come faster and faster.

For my birthday this year I got myself a new job. The job I had, had too many issues for me to happily accept and just work without being bothered by them.

It was in retail, which in itself can be both horrible and fun. But the store I was working in was dirty and cold. No one put misplaced items back in their proper places, and there were too may empty pegs throughout the store. This is the fault of the corporate office not allowing full-time employees (this store is ‘too small’ for full time employees), along with not allowing the manager to schedule someone to do everything that needs done. An example is having only 1/2 an hour after close to do put backs (things customer decided against purchasing at the register), and cleaning the bathrooms. Yeah, this corporation is too damn cheap to hire cleaners. And it shows. They also check your purse (which has been in a locked locker all shift) before you leave after your shift. So thanks for trusting your employees. I spent every shift listening to customers complain about the cold, the mess, the disorganization.

The other issues were are squarely on management’s shoulders. My training was awful. I asked about pay periods and never got a straight, full answer. I was scheduled once to work in an area I’d hadn’t been trained for and was told ‘Someone will show you how in the morning. Then there will be a manager on all day so it shouldn’t be an issue.’ Even though everyone else had days of training beforehand, I’d be fine with just a quick run through. Breaks were not given in a timely manner. We were told at training meeting to check ‘the tour’ sheet so we could ask for a break. Why? The manager admitted being bad about breaks. This would have been okay, except my last few shifts had a blank tour sheet out. The names and shift times were on it, but no breaks. I had to ask three times to get my break times. I was once an hour and 15 minutes ‘late’ going to lunch because no one was ‘available’ to break me (this happened because the first lunch break was forgotten by management and then was taken late). Then I got quagmired by a customer with 123 items and too many coupons. The register locked and neither the assistant manager nor the manager could figure it out. My lunch break lasted through my second schedule break. I came back with 1 hour and 15 minutes left on my shift. I never got the second break I was promised. Not that it mattered. I would have gotten a 15 minute break half an hour before my shift ended.

Oh, let’s not forget the tissue that remained on the floor for a month before I finally picked it up (it was one those ‘how longer before anyone else notices’ kind of things). It was there when I came for an interview, and still there 4 weeks later. Even though the closing manager supposedly does a store walk through each night. I’m still not sure what they look at during their walk throughs. Apparently it isn’t the crap all over the floors, unfolded shirts, merchandise in the wrong areas, disorganized sections…you know, the things one would think were important?

And, in spite of stating clearly in my interview that I didn’t want to stand around doing nothing, I spent a lot time standing around doing nothing. But I can say my front sections were clean and well organized (and well swept).

So I found a new job. It pay $2.00 an hour more. It is in the town where I live and not up the road 20 miles. It will be harder work, but I won’t be standing around watching the dust drift.

So put another candle on my birthday cake. I’m another year old today!

And I got a new job.