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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.

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.

 

Questionable New Employment

Published October 14, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

I recently landed a seasonal job at one of those pop-up Halloween stores. The job is fun, but the hours are few and the pay is tiny. I have been looking for a regular job for a while, so this seasonal job is a good fill in. A little money is better than no money.

That little seasonal job was ready to promote me to a manager position for the rest of the season when I got a call from a housekeeping job I had applied for a while back. Whomever she has hired hadn’t worked out, so I was on deck for try out. It is part-time, but it pay a little better than the seasonal job. When going back to my seasonal manager, we realized I can work both jobs by working evenings at the pop-up shop. I won’t be a manager, but I’ll have a wee bit extra coming in for a little while.

But my first day at the new housekeeping job was a trial in itself.

The day was going okay until the end. There were extra rooms to clean. They were sort of divided up between all the maids. The lady I was training with was told she could go home (there was good reason behind that), and I was told to go help make the beds in the one remaining room.

Now, understand, this is my very first day. I don’t know where anything is, what procedures are, or much of anything else for that matter. I wasn’t even told where the schedule was.

The room was trashed. One of the beds was full of poop. Yes, you read that right – poop. Apparently the bathroom had poop all over the place as well. Thankfully, I wasn’t cleaning the bathroom. One gal cleaned the nasty bathroom, I stripped the beds and remade them, another gal emptied the trash, picked up all the trash on the floor, and cleaned the furniture. I was asked to vacuum.

And they all left and went home while I was vacuuming.

I was left alone on my first day of work. All alone. All the managers had gone home as well. There was no one around to help me with whatever would have happened next. I only knew to come in again this morning, because I saw the schedule by accident. So I signed out and left. If anything was done wrong, too bad.

I was supposed to come back with a paper I had forgotten at home, but that manager was gone as well. No one had said anything to me. She never told me she was leaving and to bring it so-and-so. So I didn’t go back. She will get that paper this morning.

There wasn’t very good communication (rather an understatement). This was a horrible experience for any new employee. I am not sure this is a company I want to work for, but I HAVE to work here until I find something else.

And all of this is complicated by the lack of money and the way the paychecks are falling. I can not pay my bills at this point. I may lose everything before the money actually gets to me. I have things for sale, but no one is buying. I have a dying dog who needs certain care, and how do I provide that care now?

I have a job. In fact I have two jobs. And my world is still collapsing.

 

 

‘Tis The Time For Halloween! And Seasonal Employment.

Published October 5, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

halloween

 

October it here. Where I live it was ushered in riding on rain and overcast skies. This is a nice break from the heat we have had of late. The leaves are beginning their change. I see sweaters and boots making their early fall appearances. I often need a light sweater in the morning.

Gus is still chugging along. I can see some decline here and there. I know that time is running away from us., but we are still here, still together, still wishing Artemis knew what personal space is (Artemis is my second dog. She grew up with Gus, often sitting on his head, his back, his haunches. She has no clue about personal space). I changed his diet a bit and his appetite has improved.

I have snagged a seasonal job. This means I have to make changes in Gus’ day to day routine. I am no longer here to let him out every two hours. So now I have to plan to triple pad him and make sure his bladder is empty when I leave for work. I have asked for 4 – 6 hour shifts, explaining to my manager the situation. My manager is a marvelous, understanding young man. He has scheduled me for 8 hour shifts with an hour for lunch so I can come home and take care of Gus. I repay that kindness by working harder.

The job is a retail gig at a pop-up Halloween shop. Pop-up stores are so named because they pop-up for the season only, then are gone as fast as they arrived. I am on the floor helping people find their costume, accessories, and make-up. My theatre past has already made me the go to person for make-up and costume ideas. I stock, keep aisles clear and put back things that have wandered to the wrong section.. My organizational skills have also been noticed, and I am often asked to re-display a wall of items to make more sense and have a better presentation.

I hurt from head to toe, though that is passing as my body gets accustomed to the new found exercise routine. My feet are not liking all the walking, but they t00 are getting the hang of it. And I bought a little tub to soak them in when I get home. I must be kind to my feet. My managers are great people. So far, most of my co-workers are good to work with. Overall I am enjoying it.

I won’t make much because they don’t pay much. Surprisingly though, they pay a little better than some of the permanent jobs here. It is part time as well, so again – I won’t make much. I am hoping it will cover my living expenses for October so my only worry will be November. One worry at a time, eh?

I have applied at the post office for seasonal work there as well. I am worried about the hours there. They begin between 2 and 5 A.M.. That will be a struggle for me. I am no night owl, and I find sleeping during the day very difficult.

I won’t know for a while if I even have that post office job, so until then I will just worry about tomorrow.

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Where To Go From Here

Published September 18, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

Lately I have been painting little skulls I found at my local dollar store. I painted a couple to be sugar skulls, posted them online and ka-boom!, people wanted them. For now, this is my source of income. My only source of income. It is not much, but I will be able to pay my current bills.

My GoFundMe was pretty much a flop, as expected. A few wonderful people donated (THANK YOU!!), but many more passed it by. Again, I find it funny that if the 282 people who viewed it had donated a simple $10, I would have damn near made my goal of $3k. I know that money is tight for almost everyone, and those who want to give choose carefully. And, as usual for me, there was a disaster almost as soon as I began my campaign. I should take that as a sign.

I have filled more applications. I spent over an hour filling out one for the post office. Their online application is tedious and you can not copy and paste information onto it. Who made that decision? It took a lot longer to fill out because every single form space had to be manually typed in. Including work history and duty descriptions. Sheesh.

Tomorrow I will go apply for a job I don’t want, in an industry I don’t want to work in. Why? Because I have to. I need a job, or income that covers my bills. At the moment I have neither.

I friend steered me to website for seniors looking for jobs. It was a very nice thought, but either the site does not work, or there is nothing at my end of the country on that site. I filled in all the spaces, hit go and got a lot on nothing. Not even one of those little notes that pop up to tell you there is nothing matching your search (I used to get that message on dating sites – *lol*).

Today I will continue to fill my dia de los muertos craneos orders, take the dogs to the park, and keep the wheels turning.

Have a grand day as well.

PS Gus is still with us. He is having more issues with his back and hind end control. Overall, he is doing better than I expected him to. He is still pretty bright most days, and still wants to go with me in the car. I changed his food a little and he is eating better, though on occasion, he won’t eat first thing in the morning. I think his stomach is upset some days, but I feed him a little later and he is fine.

 

 

 

Over 55 And Faking It.

Published June 3, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

I recently read an article about women over 50 and their lack of income. The article outlined how women fake it. They still dress nice, go out with friends and by all appearances are doing well. The fact is, they are not doing well. They hide it. And I hide it from people every day.

I am 57 years old. I have no retirement, no 401k, no CD’s, no nest egg. I am one of millions of women who didn’t work to stay home with children, or didn’t work because a significant other didn’t want me to, or worked part-time to have time with family. Because of that, I will also have very little social security money. It is tougher to find work, and I find I can’t do work I used to do.

I also rely on the SNAP program for groceries. I listen to lots of people complain about people on food stamps. How they don’t work. How they are lazy,. How they are losers. They do not know without food stamps, I would not have enough to eat.

I rarely go out with friends. I can’t afford it. When I do, I order inexpensive appetizers and drink water or tea. I save up to go to the movies and for movie rentals.

I have the world’s cheapest internet. It is slow, but it works. I lived without internet for months, and I may have to give it up again.

I don’t get manies/pedies. I often cut my own hair. I don’t buy jewelry. My clothes come from the thrift shops.

I don’t have a tons of debt. I am working to pay off my one credit card (with a low balance). I have a car payment. I have a cheap cell phone service. I stretch my pennies.

I have my dogs. I have been told to get rid of them. I have been told I have no right to have them. What people do not seem to understand is my dogs keep me here. They keep me looking to tomorrow. They give me a reason to get up every morning and fight to survive.

I have no safety net. No spouse. No significant other. I do have a handful of real friends who have been a huge help when I needed it. I am so grateful for those friends, I can not express it.

Think about this the next time you go to lunch with your best friend and notice she orders appetizers only, no drinks and politely turns down sharing a bottle of wine. Think about this the next time you hear someone complaining about food stamp recipients. Think about this when you realize one of your friends no longer has fancy nails and high end hair cuts.

She may be faking it. Right along with millions of other women.

 

 

Who Is This Person

Published May 15, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

Boring

 

I find myself in sort of an identity/mid life crisis, though I do not really want to live to be 114. The Me inside seems to be thrashing about trying to make sense of of the world and how I fit in. Or don’t fit in.

This is not really a new thing for me. Over 16 years ago, I remember telling my then partner ‘ I just want to go home, and don’t where home is.’ Needless to say he was baffled by that statement since we were in the living room of the house we were renting. In short, we were at home. Little has changed in the years that have passed. I am one of those people who never feels like they have found ‘home’. I just make home where ever I am. But it is never a permanent home.

I know I am tired of scrambling day to day to make ends meet. I work full time and can barley get by.  I don’t carry a ton of debt, or live in a high rent apartment. I don’t have cable, my new internet is about as cheap as it gets (local company), I rarely go out. I have to go to a laundromat to do my wash, but I wash my smalls at home to cut down on trips to do washing. I just can’t seem to make enough to survive with any ease.

I understand why people are homeless. Some are addicted to things that make them unable to work, some are disabled or mentally ill and can’t qualify for programs to help them. A few are homeless by choice. And some have lost their job and can’t find a new one. They end up in their car or on the streets. Once you are there, getting out is simply harder.

I have suddenly found myself at an age where finding a job is tougher because my work experience and work ethic do not over shadow my age. Employers are often wanting the younger person thinking they will work more years. This is odd because it has been shown time and time again the average employee stays an average of 4.2 years.

But in all this is my own struggle to find, or create, ‘me’. I have spent a good portion of my life being who others expected me to be in one way or another. This not a new thing. Everyone is expected to do or behave in certain ways.

But I am tired of it.

I have friend who once proclaimed (with love) that I am a gypsy at heart. Perhaps that is my problem. I am a traveller, a gypsy and wanderer who has been tied to the wrong life.

I want to live whatever I have left of my life on my on terms. Whatever those terms may be.