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Sometimes things happen. Coincidences. Synchronicities. They tend to happen quite often in my world, and it's why I'm Pagan.

A day or two before my surgery, I did a one-card draw from my Goddess Oracle deck, and received Abundantia, a Roman Goddess similar to Demeter or Ceres. Abundantia is more along the lines of the bounty of the harvest whereas Demeter and Ceres are the grains themselves. I'm always a tad skeptical when I draw Abundantia because money is always scarce.

I worry constantly about money, about what will happen if I lose my job, or we go broke, or can't pay the bills. I lived in poverty for the first 20 or so years of my life, and it's sort of embedded in my mentality and emotions. Lexapro kind of helped me break out of the cycle of actively worrying and having cyclical money anxieties, but that starving wolf is always lurking in the background of my mind. Granted, we usually have enough money to cover the necessities, and Rob's folks do help us out when we are in dire straits, but we live pretty close to the bone for the most part. Going out to a fancy restaurant, or going to a show (yeah, right, as if I would actually go to any of the shows out here - the average ticket price to see even a mediocre comic or magician is around $60 per person. Whenever I do fork out money for a 'show', it's a concert), or the movies usually means sacrificing groceries, so we don't do it.

When I was preparing for my leave of absence, I withdrew myself from the active Union roster so they wouldn't try to pull dues out of non-existent paychecks. At the same time, they sent me a form for disability benefits. I had my doc fill out his part of the form, and I filled in my part of the form. The top section of the form was for the HR representative to fill out. It consisted of my name, employee ID#, dates of my leave and I think my social security number or something. To save time I filled it in, even though it said 'for office use only'. When I took it to HR, the agent refused to accept it because I had filled in the top part. Oh fucking well, I screwed up. I didn't really have the time or inclination to request a new form, have the doc fill it out again, and make the trek back to work - and I was a little pissed off at myself and the HR rep. Rob tried to push me into it, but I was like, "fuck the HR rep & the horse she rode in on, so I lost out on some smidgen of money that I probably won't see til my leave is over". End of story.

Whenever Rob or I use our health insurance, we get these Explanation of Benefits forms that tells me exactly how much money the medical visit or procedure cost, how much the Union covers, and what my share to pay is. They very rarely contain any pertinent information, and they're not bills. I've gotten so used to seeing these things that most of the time, I just throw them away. I've been opening them recently because when Rob went to the ER, we received a bill for the entire amount, and later received an EOB stating the event wouldn't be covered unless we sent in the ER reports (my insurance wants to make sure any visit to the ER is 'medically necessary'. In other words, if I or Rob go to the ER w/gas pains, thinking it's a heart attack, I have to pay for that motherfucker). So since we're still getting Rob's bills, I've been opening the EOBs instead of chucking them. As a result, I've had a stack of them sitting on my desk for the past three or four weeks that I just hadn't gotten around to opening.

I had to reinstall McAfee last night, and the Dragon Cave was down for regularly scheduled maintenance, so I had some downtime. I started going through the EOBs. One looked kind of funny because instead of saying 'Explanation of Benefits' it said 'Explanation of Disability Benefits'. I tossed it in the trash can & then had a "Wait, what?!" moment because when it landed in the trash it landed check-side up. Needless to say, I started opening and actually reading those EOB forms & found another check for the first week of my leave.

Some way, some how, my disability benefit request was filed and approved. I don't know how or who, but it occurred to me that the card with the Goddess Abundantia was still sitting on my nightstand.

I get the feeling that I've been praying to the wrong Gods my entire life.
perzephone: Wednesday Addams as played by Christina Ricci (be afraid)
It's like I have some genetic curse or something. In this particular lifetime, to my knowledge, I have not encountered any gypsies, so I can't have any pissed off enough at me to curse me personally. I'm not a cheap bitch who haggles merchants down to the last cent, nor do I try to cheat people out of money. There is no reason why I personally cannot get ahead of things just once or twice in my life. It's got to be something an ancestor of mine did - and my ancestors were horse-traders and embezzlers. Someone I'm related to may very well have pissed off a whole troupe of gypsies, probably intentionally.

As a result, I don't do overtime.

Any time I make extra money - be it overtime, a holiday gift, the tax return - something catastrophic happens. It's a proven fact in my life, not an exaggeration or an overstatement. Any time we have any money whatsoever stashed away, a huge money-costing event will come along and destroy it. Some people would think the universe was somehow protecting me from financial ruin by making sure I had money when catastrophes happen... but the catastrophe never happens before the financial windfall comes along. No, it waits.

Over the past month, I have been forced to do overtime. A part of me was thinking, well, with my impending hysterectomy, maybe a little OT would be ok. I was paying bills ahead of schedule so the 6 weeks of no work for recovery time wouldn't have such a huge impact. Of course, Rob wanted to stash some fundage away. It was then that I knew something catastrophic would happen.

Last night, as I was trying to go to work, when Rob attempted to start the car, all it did was make a clicky thumpy noise. The lights, radio & A/C came on, so it's not the battery or alternator. From everything I've read so far, it's the starter, the solenoid... or a computer or computer relay somewhere. Fuck! (cha-ching!) Rob called his mother, who came & picked us up & took us on a death-defying ride to my job.

About an hour after I'd been there, Rob calls me because he is bleeding intestinally. He's not in pain, but he's bloating & the blood is fresh. So he calls an ambulance (cha-ching!) & his mom meets them at the hospital. Last night, my relief was off so I couldn't rush out of work - I did my best to get out early, but still. So that was two expensive taxi rides, one for Rob & one for me (cha-ching!). The hospital didn't know why he was bleeding - they couldn't give him fluids because his blood pressure was elevated, but they gave him a CT scan (cha-ching!) that came back inconclusive, other than showing he doesn't have any tears or ruptures. Yay. The last time he had a colonoscopy, 2 or 3 years ago, the dr. found a benign polyp, so it could be another one of those, or his blood pressure may have caused a hemorrhoid to burst, enough to make him bleed enough to panic, but not enough to cause a noticeable hole on the CT scan. So he had to make an appointment w/his regular gastro dr. for another colonoscopy (cha-ching!).

Because Las Vegas is still relatively primitive when it comes to public transportation, we had to rent a car (cha-ching!) so I could get to work for the rest of this weekend.

Now, I'm not begrudging Rob his ambulance ride or CT scan or anything like that, even though it seems that way. Bleeding fresh blood from anywhere unexplainable is a problem, one that can't be overlooked or shoved aside. Even if we didn't have the money, we wouldn't have done anything differently in that situation. We have insurance that will cover about 80% of the hospital bill & CT scan, but that $800 ambulance ride is alllll mine. And Rob's not going to die anytime soon, he didn't have to go under the knife for exploratory surgery or anything like that, he was able to come home this morning. I'm not missing any work (and uh, my attendance has me pretty close to the firing range) this weekend.

It doesn't stop me from being pissed off at the money thing, though.
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I'm trying to understand something about financial culture.

I don't know why, but I have this strong aversion to haggling and negotiating prices and money. Rob's folks like to haggle. When I first met Rob, he tried to follow in his father's footsteps. Unfortunately, Rob has none of his father's charm, so Rob mostly insulted people when he'd try to haggle with them. Rob's dad will haggle in Sears over missing buttons. He will haggle for better seating in a restaurant. He negotiates tips. Rob's mother is a complaint-haggler. She will find so much wrong with something to work the price down that you wonder why in the Hell she wants whatever it is in the first place. I've quit going shopping (especially car shopping) with these people because I get uncomfortable and then progress to embarrassed & mortified.

I don't have any strong memories of any of my relatives haggling over anything. Even when we went to swap meets, farmers' markets & yard sales, my relatives just paid the price. They never seemed to give the impression that they expected anything for free. They never talked anything down to get a better price, never complained about how far they'd driven or how much inconvenience they'd gone through to get to the market or sale. I remember a couple of times where my dad asked if someone could 'do anything for him'... but he never got angry or escalated the issue if the price was set. Usually it had to do with trucking equipment - engine parts, tires, that kind of thing. I'm sure my relatives did haggle over big-ticket items - cars, boats, houses, that type of thing. I mean, no one wants to pay sticker price on a car, but realtors & vehicle salespeople are prepared to negotiate when it comes to selling their wares.

I've been asking people things like, "have you ever tried to get better prices on your groceries by haggling w/the cashier?" & "Would you haggle with Wal-Mart?" Rob says that in his part of upstate New York, there was a large Hasidic population and being stuck in a line behind one of them was an exercise in patience. They would indeed haggle over groceries - the kind of thing where they'd bring a single stick of button from a pound package & try to work out a deal - "but I only need 1 stick of butter, not a whole box. You can still sell the other sticks - and can I get a lower price than 1/4 the cost of the package because it's been opened?" I think I'd have to smack someone on principle, but the idea of walking up to a register at any typical retail outlet & trying to make a deal with a cashier seems so foreign to me. It would never occur to me to even try it.

At first I thought maybe my relatives just had stiff necks - they were too proud to haggle over anything. Maybe it implied they didn't have the money or something (my mother's family were horse breeders, too - and horse breeders do haggle - I've seen it in action - but in my mother's family it was limited to the horses and horse supplies). I started asking other people only to find more & more that most people don't haggle over every little thing they buy. Some of the people I've asked even say it's embarrassing or makes you look cheap. I've been having trouble dealing with hagglers at work, and I still don't know how best to approach it. I don't really know what people expect me to do when they start asking for lower rates or upgrades - other than to just hand it over on a silver platter. I can understand asking if a place has a senior, military or AAA discount. I can see just breezing it by, "what's the best rate you can give me?" But the people I get at work spend so much time trying to get a lower rate for everything that I want to ask them after the minutes roll by if it's really worth it?

I found that when Rob would get going at some 'open market' style place, it was just best if I walked away. I would go shop in a different area and let him come find me when he was done. After a few years of me leaving him, and a few dozen car purchases, Rob's even stopped haggling. "It's not worth it - they never want to buy for the price I want to sell, and they never want to sell at the price I want to buy", "It's easier to just pay whatever is on the price tag & be done with it". He's also tired of shopping with his dad because he has to haggle via proxy. His dad can barely talk anymore, so Rob does all the interpreting for the sales clerks. He hates it now, hates feeling like a tool.

It's something I'm going to keep working on, try to find a way to beat it...

In other news, I'm being pigeonholed into being a night auditor again.
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Family & friends, of course. There's nothing in here that says I can't give it to my husband ;)
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Most people dread this time of year... anxiously waiting for those tax forms to show up in the mail, reading the forms, trying to understand the forms, trying to find the forms, the decision of diy taxes or paying a professional... I also give the IRS more than it asks for throughout the year so I won't owe at the end of it. I've only had to pay the gov'ment once & I swore, never ever again! Not having that extra $20 bucks a month is so worth it.

I tell ya, sometimes being broke is cool. No investments, no CDs/IRAs/bonds, no mortgages, not self-employed - 1040EZ, baby!

And, the best part of all - I don't have to sweat it out at the post office because I'm eligible for free online filing. Complete with the direct deposit option. Took me about 20 minutes because I shopped around a little first. :P

Woohoo, woohoo! Woohoo, woo-hoo-hoo!
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I've got to apologize to anyone reading this who is expecting a card or gift this year...

Cards will be late, gifts will not be forthcoming. We are so incredibly broke. I didn't think the pay cut I took when I started w/the County was going to have this much of an affect on the finances, but $2 an hour can make a big difference at the end of the month.

It's weird that a part of me wants to go back to the Excalibur, simply because the abuse was so familiar and I much prefer working nights to day shifts. I was also hoping my spirits would lift a little since Yule, but no...

We've started letting Chelsie stay out of my bathroom at night. Her nightly pooping has stopped and I have a puppy in my bed all night. At least my bed isn't up against a wall where Chelsie can brace herself against the wall & push me out of my bed like Ripley used to do. It's also extremely unfair because when my alarm goes off & I have to get up, the lazy beast stays in bed. She won't even get up to go pee. This morning Chelsie stayed in my bed & Rob staggered down the hallway to join her. Rotten bastards!

Yes, as a matter of fact I was raised by wolves and I am one of those people who like sleeping in a bed full of dog, even one who is a space-hog and sleeps in. I want another dog because the bed seems kind of empty with just one. I would have been perfectly happy as the dog-groom, sleeping in a stable full of hounds & horses, warm & fragrant with hay.
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WAMU got seized by the government today at some point. Why did they have to do this the day before payday?
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Tonight I went through & cancelled all but two of our credit cards. Yay me! It was fun, in a way. I called Bank of America - told them I wanted to cancel my card, asked about some way of lowering the interest rate, all in all it took me about 5 minutes to close the account. Called Chase Manhattan - took maybe 3 minutes to close the account.

Then I called Capitol One. No hassle my assle. The first person, Duke, spent a good deal of time trying to cajole me out of closing my accounts and ended up hanging up on me. So I called back & got a girl. I explained that I had already heard the 'don't close your account' speech and that calling them was like trying to cancel an AOL membership. She ended up transferring me to a recording that would not recognize either account number. So I called back again & got disconnected. Called again, same thing. It was kind of funny how I got disconnected after punching in the last four digits of my social security number... almost as if someone looked at their phone, saw those four digits and said, "Oh hell no..." So I called back again & got another girl. I asked to speak with a supervisor. She said she needed to know why I was calling because chances were she could help me, since she was, after all, a Senior Account Supervisor. I told her I had already spoken to two Senior Account Supervisors who could not honor my request, so obviously I needed someone with a little more authority. She kept wanting to know what I wanted to do - I told her all I was trying to do was close my accounts. She immediately launched into the spiel that I'd already heard - twice. I interrupted & said, "Look, I'm not trying to yell at you, I've worked on your side of the counter and I know how it is. But I've talked to two Senior Account Supervisors, been disconnected twice, your computer won't recognize my account number and I've wasted like, a half hour of my time so far. I called Bank of America, asked them to cancel my account and they did - took like 3 minutes..." and then I found myself telling hold music about Chase Manhattan. She had transferred me - somewhere. The woman who picked up the phone cancelled my accounts, both of them. Took like, 33 minutes to get to the person who could help me. I never once yelled, used profanity or raised my voice, either. But I was annoyingly persistent - being on the other side of the counter has definitely taught me a few things about receiving service.

Rob kept trying to take the phone from me, but he just didn't understand how badly I wanted to speak with those people again... I mean, I really wanted to talk to them. Hell, I would have kept calling all night if that's what it had taken. I'm glad they realized that I would keep calling before I actually had to.

Then I called Lane Bryant. Their account cancellation process is all automated. I didn't even have to talk to a human being. I wish I had called Lane B. before I called Capitol One. Then I could have told the last girl, "Look, I just called Lane Bryant and didn't even need a human being to close my account!"

Now it's all paying & no spending. Yay.
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This morning at some point, I dreamed I was praying to the Great Mystery in thanks for the rain. It woke me up, saying to myself, "Why am I thanking the Great Mystery for rain? It's not..." & then I went, "Ohhhh, it is raining!" since I heard it plinking off my Amityville window & heard the rainsong on the aluminum porch roof - it's not exactly rainsong on a tin roof, but it's close, and just as soothing. So I said thank you in real life & went back to sleep.

It's been a beautiful day, really - overcast, raining continuously. Gorgeous.

It's going to be a tight month financially. No work this week or next week so far. Ah well. I knew December would be bad - at least my tuition for Spring is paid & the car insurance for December, & the in-laws will always help w/groceries. There are always things that can be cut from the budget. Hopefully when the rodeo comes in, we'll all be working. I made my choice - time over money, and I have to live w/the new parameters I've set for myself. I did get a lot accomplished - finished my ecology project (on colony collapse disorder), finished my business proposal, took both my A+ finals & read yet another chapter of my ecology. Wish this guy would quit giving tests already.
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That's all, no more no less. One word meme.

1. Where is your cell phone? Bedroom.
2. Describe your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/lover? Dork.
3. Your hair? Comfortable.
4. Your mother? Dead.
5. Your father? Dead.
6. Your favourite item? Book.
7. Your dream last night? Odd.
8. Your favourite drink? Tea.
9. Your dream car? Solstice.
10. The room you are in? Dark.
11. Your ex? Imaginary.
12. Your fear? Living.
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Retired.
14. Who did you hang out with last night? Rob.
15. What you're not? Whole.
19. The last thing you did? Typed.
20. What are you wearing? Flowy.
21. Your favourite book? Imajica
22. The last thing you ate? Elavil.
23. Your life? Ephemeral.
24. Your mood? Annoyed.
25. Your friends? Serpents.
26. What are you thinking about right now? Sex. (Thanks, whoever I stole this from :P)
7. Your car? Truck.
28. What are you doing at the moment? Typing.
29. Your summer? Fiery.
30. Your relationship status? Married.
31. What is on your tv? Darkness.
32. When is the last time you laughed? Earlier.
33. Last time you cried? Moons.
34. School? Skipped!

I'm currently working on my Web Development project, and I think I gave myself more tedious busywork than I intended. I wish I could get away w/using PageMaker or DreamWeaver or some other web design program. I finally decided on an Insider's Guide to Las Vegas, with mostly tips for choosing a hotel & enjoying your choice. One page is a directory, which is basically a list of hotels from the What'sOn magazine, including addresses, basic location, phone numbers & links to the web pages for the individual hotels, along w/some shopping, attractions, dining, etc. You get the bland, basic picture. I have discovered, though, that making tables is boring. Especially when it's got 84 little boxes to fill in. It's all so very, very repetitious & cut/paste is only good for one thing at a time. I'd like a macro that just inserts non-breaking spaces into my lines for me. And line-breaks, too. Little buttons I could push that just say "Insert Non-Breaking Space" & "Insert Line Break". And I wish that my notepad would auto-fill in the rest of the tag for hyper-links, not just being able to copy/paste web addresses & having to add all the other crap myself. For some reason, my table is also off-center to my background. I've got a narrow margin on the left & a wide margin on the right.

We pretty much gave up our entire tax refund so I could get this knee surgery - and we still are going to owe an ass-load of cash. Our credit cards are constantly maxed out & I'm taking time off work, too, which means short paychecks when I go back. But I just never say anything to Jody other than, "Sorry I can't help, hon". If I complained even once, she'd launch into an endless tirade about Rob not working, and I hear enough of that crap from his mother. Me & Rob are at this odd standstill. We'll never get ahead, and I never put forth any effort to save money because I feel like if I show him how disciplined I can be with money, he'll have even more of a reason to stay at home on the couch. I just always complain to him about the bills being so high, wondering where the money goes, etc... and when he talks about getting out of here, I tell him it'll probably never happen because we just can't afford it. I've even mentioned the possibility of us giving up & agreeing to buy this house from his mom because we're probably going to be stuck here til she dies. In fact, she'll probably outlive us both so we'll just be stuck paying her rent til we die, but at least my social security & pension from the Union should be enough for Rob to get by on til then (as long as I go first). I know, it's a lot of passive-aggressive gameplaying, and nothing ever gets accomplished, but I just don't feel like being a nag. Nag, nag, nag. Go to work, go to work, go to work... nagging til the day we're both bitter and hateful, and still not being able to get away from each other.

I did have an odd dream last night (well, yesterday afternoon, back on the grave shedule after a week of drugged hiatus). I was working in a small convenience store. No one expected me to wipe down counters or stock or count cigarettes, so I know it was a dream (I worked one day in a Rebel gas station - oy!), but this woman (who I think was Jody) came in to buy cigarettes. She was bitching that we didn't have her brand & she only had 60 silver, when the packs we did have were 1 gold, 60 silver. (Obviously, Warcraft has colored my monetary system to an extent). Anyway, she hollered out the door to some guy in a car that not only did we not have her brand, but we were overcharging her for the ones we did have & she needed more money. I remember thinking that out of all the horrible polyester work uniforms I've ever worn, this gas station's was the most comfortable because it was basically an oversized smock & black cotton biker shorts.

Every time I've called or talked to Jody in the past coupla weeks, she immediately launches into this tirade about not having any money, how their bank account is being closed down, how their car is going to get repossessed, they have no food or groceries, she's lost a bunch of weight because she's starving so Brad can eat... and I keep telling her, "Sorry, I'm broke, too". (I'd have no problem going & buying them some groceries, but I'm kind of incapacitated right now & Rob hasn't gathered up the balls to go to the grocery store himself yet). Then she starts talking about wanting to go back to school to get a psychology degree... but of course, that's on her list of many things she can't afford. I don't think at this point she could even do the work, especially not with on-line classes. Since she's been taking all these muscle relaxants & pain killers, most of the time she's even more incoherent than she's always been, she's gotten shaky and she can barely spell or type. She needs so much help just living her daily life - she needs a nursemaid or something, and neither me nor Terry can give her what she really needs. Yeah, grabbing onto Rob like he was some sort of flotation device to get me out of her house was not the best one of my decisions, but thinking about it now, there's a strong possibility that I'd still be living with Jody, only now I'd be taking care of her full-time. She'd also probably still be living with Tom, & Jamie & Miranda would probably both be in the big, sinking ship with them, instead of making it out alive to have their own lives.

I'm just getting tired of gambling, really. This knee surgery became even more of a gamble once the doctor decided on the microfracture method instead of the transplant. All the time & money I'm dumping into school is seeming more & more like a bad investment. I don't know if I'll be able to recoup my spending once I have the degree... so many places want more than a piece of paper, they want experience backing it up, and I'm stuck at the Excalibur, where the only experience I have is in Excel. I'm still getting older, too, and if my leg doesn't heal right, I'll be crippled on top of it. At least the rest of my body isn't so sore & 'sprung' from the crutches.

Ah well, dark nights of the soul always happen on Tuesday mornings at 5am. Unfortunately, Blizzard started weekly maintenance at 3 this morning, so my dark night of the soul started a little earlier than normally scheduled. Back to "a href'ing" my way across Las Vegas.
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Everything went well today. The office was terrifically un-crowded. It's a combination office - gynecology, urology & some other -ology. Oncology? Internal medicine, maybe? I don't know what the third & fourth doctors did, but it isn't too important, really. What's important is that I was in & out of there in an hour. Hopefully, this woman won't move to some other state within the next year. Considering my family history, she started pushing for me to get a mammogram - I was like, hey, hold on there - I've got a little over 2 years before I'm 35 - I can wait to get my breasts squarshed into pancakes.

I asked about the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccination & the doctor informed me that they only give it to girls & women from ages 9 - 26. Weird. However, I did ask for the test, which is a new addition to the PAP process. I just read a coupla articles that said in order for the vaccine to be effective, one cannot have had previous exposure to HPV - even if one didn't catch it.

Jody called today, wanting to know about & Every suggestion I made to her was countered with 'I don't have interview clothes', 'we have 4 NSF's - I don't have a clothes budget', or 'it's unfair that every job runs a credit check, we have 4 NSF's'... In other words, she wants $$$. I'm already running my life on Keynesian economics, I can't support her, too. A Wal-Mart gift card isn't going to do it for her right now - she needs money for her rubber check problem. I finally told her I wasn't going to sit & listen to her whine about being broke & told her to go to some of the temp agencies because they usually don't care what you look like as long as you're willing to cough up half of your first couple of paychecks.

CCSN sent me a nice form letter to let me know they are concerned with my educational future and want to see me succeed. It's nice to know I'm more than my student number for them **coughsarcasmcough**
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A well-informed patient. With huge hemorrhoids. And the outcome of all Rob's pain & suffering? It will continue until he can get the swelling to go back down. The dr. doesn't want to proceed until he sees that the condition isn't improving considerably. Typical. And this guy is the only colo-rectal surgeon left in Vegas that is covered under our insurance. The Teamsters' insurance plan is slowly but surely sliding downhill. It just gives me more motivation to seek different employment. But, much like everything else in my life, I'm exhausted and I have no time.

On a lighter note, I now have a collection of rubber suction-cup bugs, bats & lizards gracing my computer screen. There is something inherently comforting to me about rubber suction-cup creatures. Rob took some to play with in the tub. He had his first bath in 20 years last night, and since it did offer him some relief, he's more open-minded to the whole bathing experience. Now me, I can soak in a tub for hours, or at least til the water gets less than lukewarm. Usually, I fall completely asleep & get nothing productive done, but that's beside the point. If I sit still for too long anymore, I fall asleep. Running on a sleep deficit takes its toll. The greatest benefit to me of Rob in the tub is that he's happily watching some movie on his DVD player & I can sit here & listen to music. 

I enjoy opening credit card statements that say 'Current Balance: 0', 'Payment Due: 0'. Of course, on the opposite side of the spectrum are the bills I open that make me go "OMFG! WTF! BBQ!" That's the price of consolidation right there.
Ah well. Another work week starts, another three chapters of history to pore over during the next week... life goes on. 


Mar. 16th, 2006 02:11 am
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Well, I've got 2 job interviews for Clark County next week, both for LOA (Legal Office Assistant), one possibly for LOA II (it starts at $28k a year as opposed to LOA I's $26k a year).

Now, as we all know, I would dearly love to get the fuck out of the Excalibur. Taking a position at LOA I means I only really lose out on $300 a month, and there is always the possiblity of a raise popping up there.

I did our budget tonight, and even with Rob not working, if I actually pull my 40 hrs a week, we're not doing too bad. We survive. This truck isn't too much more for insurance, but it is a lot worse on gas. We're looking into buying a smaller car from Jeff - I think it's a Nissan, Rob says it's a Datsun, Jeff hasn't e-mailed me back so I won't find out for sure til Friday (if he shows up and if I can pin him down at all).

I'm just kind of looking things over because if I am offered the chance at one of these positions I don't want to have to haggle for more money and possibly sour the deal. I just want to be able to take the job. Now, in all truth, since that is what I'm concentrating on - truth, I won't be offered the job. These are both full-time positions, and the County really doesn't like to put 'outsiders' in full-time slots. They'd rather do lateral promotions and work their most loyal pt/hrly's into the full-time positions. Or I'll go to the interview & they'll tell me they're hiring two or three pt/hrly's & would I be interested in doing that? Call me pessimistic, but we'll all know for sure when I post an update next week. Not only that, but the County loves to do multiple-person interviews, where a board of administrators sit & interview you as if you're going before a parole board meeting or something. I never know who to make eye contact with, or for how long, or who to try to impress most. It's a lost cause.

Tried a new cake out tonight. I mixed some raspberry & cherry pie fillings, added dark chocolate chips & slivered almonds & made an upside-down cake w/devil's food cake... It didn't come out of the pan cleanly because the chocolate chips had melted into a cohesive layer of semi-solid chocolate. Once I did get it all out of the pan (non-stick my arse!), well, it looked like bloody, chunky iron-rich diarrhea. Once I got past the disgust, sitting there looking at my plate & thinking I've seen more appetizing-looking aborted harlequin fetuses on & ogrish, well, it tasted pretty darned good. However, I don't think I'll be offering it to my coworkers for our St. Patty's (aka Damballah's) Day potluck. Rob wouldn't even eat any of it.

Two Firsts

Feb. 18th, 2006 08:02 am
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So I went to my interview yesterday, did the dog 'n pony show... Sometimes it's good just to whip out your interview skills & dust 'em off.

Yesterday was the first time I've ever been offered a supervisory position. Lead non-gaming audit clerk. Granted, it's an intermediary supervisory position, and I'd be one of four leads, but still - they offered it to me.

It was also the first time I've ever had to turn down a job.

What's the difference between a union hotel job and a non-union hotel job?
About $6 an hour. The non-gaming audit clerks start at $9.50 an hour. Leads start at $10.50. I could have probably taken a $2/hr paycut, but $5? Drop my salary by one third? Maybe if Rob was working.

At least now I know why the non-gaming audit clerks at the Excalibur are so bitter and nasty - they're making the same money as the Mandalay Bay people are. And from what I understand, MGM/Mirage people make even less, so the MGM, rather than bring their people up to the level of Mandalay Bay Resort people, is bringing Mandalay Bay employees 'in line' with the MGM pay rates. That is such bullshit.

Just Stuff

Feb. 16th, 2006 07:19 pm
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I am fucking tired. And my knees hurt.

I have a job interview over at Mandalay Bay tomorrow - non-gaming audit. Rob's already whining about the possibility of me changing jobs, says I still like my co-workers & it's not a 'bad' job, per se, and moving into non-gaming might mean I'd be stuck in a little room all day with people I can't stand. I try to tell him what it's like, how much I hate my job, how I can barely stand putting on the uniform, how my skin crawls, how night after night I just want to lay my head on my desk and sob... how I can't even get away from my job in my sleep because my subconscious replays my day in my dreams. I think I may just be one of those people who needs to switch jobs often. I think I've just plain been at the Excalibur too long. Moving to Mandalay Bay might not be better, but it would be different. There's still a lot of chances that I won't get the job - I expect to NOT get it more than I expect to get it. And that's ok too.

Filed taxes the other day, actually had to break down & go to H & R Block because of the whole tuition/loan thingie. I guess they don't count the loan as income because I have to pay it back. We paid the extra hundred bucks for the rapid refund. It's always nice to have $2k in hand. Can't do anything with it because, well, we need a new car. It's already starting to overheat if we're out during the day. No a/c, no heater... it sounds like a creaky ship when Rob cranks it past 50mph. It makes ghostly 'hooooo'ing noises when it's low on gas & we go around a corner.

Let's see... Got Clive Barker's art book, 'Visions of Heaven & Hell'. Mostly work from his Abarat books, intermixed with a lot of ink splotches & phalli. It's primitive stuff, but full of color and movement. Read Stephen King's 'Cell' yesterday. It was ok, too - just a good, ol' fashioned zombie story. Telepathic zombies. Now I'm working on Miranda & Stephen Aldhouse-Green's 'The Quest for the Shaman'. Sometimes I think archaeologists read too much into things. There's this whole debate over a petroglyph from the Iberian peninsula about feetprints painted on a cave wall. Some are obviously where a barefooted person stepped in paint & stuck their foot on the wall... others are where paint was blown over the foot. The big debate is over images of shoed feet (or probably sandaled or mocassined feet) that have a horizontal line separating the heel from the rest of the foot. All these archaeologists say it may indicate someone who was hobbled or deformed & therefore considered a person of power. When I look at this rock painting, it makes me think of the painted dance steps on the floors of Arthur Miller Dance School or something. It looks like a stylized shoe print. And another thing was carved with the 'head of an elk' according to the archaeologists. Rob saw a giraffe, I saw a horse. It's clearly a horse head. One of the takhi horses with the high, stiff manes. Wonder what that would do to all the archaeologists' symbology of the area if one of those Neolithic people came along & said, "It's a horse."

Wargh. Formatted my computer the other day & now I'm downloading 184MB worth of WoW. But my monster does seem to be running better since I gave it the almighty digital enema.

Got to mention K. T. Tunstall. I'm so in love with her!
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Once again, time has come around for Rob to start bugging me about a YuleBirthversary present. Because of how much his computer & the WoW games cost, he wants to pool together all the holiday money to get me a present.

Every year we go through this. And I hate it more & more every year.

I buy myself crap all year long... mostly books & CD's, granted, but they're all I really want anymore. Books & music. And since I've discovered Kazaa Lite & Limewire, the CD expenditures have gone wayyyy down, and since I already owe about $1000 to a bunch of bookclubs, the book purchases have gone wayyyy down, too.

I don't begrudge Rob his computer one iota because the guy really doesn't ask for much of anything financially wise. He's happy as long as he's fed on a regular basis.

So we're set to score about $300 between mutual birthday & Christmas presents from the in-laws & he wants to spend it on me. I cringe. For lack of anything else aside from an Alien Popping Thing, I said, "Yeah, Rob, let's go get my tattoo worked on."

To be perfectly honest, yes, I would love to get some more work done on my snakes, get rid of the patchiness where it scarred up, even the color out, add some background so it doesn't look like I've been rubber-stamped w/a couple of snakes. Get my gold stars added so I can be a star-bellied sneech...

But when it comes down to it, it's the money. I can think of about 10 different bills that could use $300 more than my tattoos. I do know how to stall, though, and I can hem & haw around making any tattooing commitments until we're broke & have to use that money as a last-ditch effort to pay the electric bill or something.

My sleep sched got all frelled up last night - slept til 9pm, up til now playing WoW & going to accounting class. Yeeeesh.


Nov. 8th, 2005 06:41 am
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The Brick bought a home! It's quite stately in a creepy sort of way. I wish he had sent better pictures - he basically sent me a copy of the realtor listing. I've gotta go get him a congrats card.

In other news... I finally got my student loan! Woooo! We don't have to starve til next Friday!
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Oh. my. Gods! It rocks, totally & utterly. There are undead & skeletal horses you can buy as an Undead (for a mere 80 - 1000 gold) - they look so incredible. And my Taurean (they're basically minotaurs) is quite the cutey. I decided on a female character this time around - I normally play bruising male warriors named Zane or crafty shapeshifters named Coyote Bob... but I went w/Zhaan (it's sort of a feminine Zane) - she's a hunter, and she can carry a fucking gun!!! It's too cool! I've been watching her little butt run across the plains since I finally got my video card in gear last night (by that I mean Tuesday night). I seriously considered skipping my accounting class this evening so I could just sit & play. Rob was wandering around in Undercity - the Undead world. The graphics are just gorgeous, there is a fantastic graveyard there - and can't forget the horses! I'm gonna have to create an undead something just so I can get one. I feel like a little kid at Christmas: "I want a pony! I want a pony!"

In other news, I'm still sick. I don't know what I've got, but I've got something. It's like a combination of cold & flu - I've got the nasal/upper respiratory/scratchy throat of a cold, and the body aches & exhaustion of a flu... and a deep tightening in my chest, but I'm not sure if that's from being out of b.p. meds or part of the fluey coldy thing. It reminds me of when I had pneumonia once - there is someone very heavy sitting on my chest & I'm walking through deep mud. Rob thinks he's coming down w/whatever it is that I have, but we all know Rob's brain controls his immune system. I've never known anyone who could just think themselves sick. It's pathetic.

I sent a friend a business proposition - in a way, it would benefit two people who are totally not myself, which is bizarre for me. I'm into long-term investments, obviously - I've been waiting how long now for the in-laws to kick it?

Oh, yeah, my accounting professor told us about something called i-bonds tonight. Apparently, they're government issued savings bonds w/a 10-year maturity. The current interest rate is about 6.5% & is based on the going inflation. The starting interest rate will change after 6 months, but damn! If I had a thousand or so dollars sitting around doing nothing, I'd buy one. He says once a month he & his wife buy 2 for $500 each & he's got it set up automatically through his bank account. Cool, huh?
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I think I finally got my student loan. I'm not entirely positive, though... I can't exactly tell, and there doesn't seem to be any kind of instructions on 'What do I do now that I think I have my student loan?'...
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Yeesh, I was about to start another blog on the psych site I visit when I realized I've already got 2 blogs here that I barely use, other than to post results of quizzes and song lyrics that are probably in violation of some kind of copyright law somewhere.

Anyway, I started to think about why I might actually be schizoid or schizotypal, avoidant, anti-social, all that good stuff... took another quiz that told me my RPG alignment was 'Neutral Evil' & realized all those questions were almost exactly the same types of situational questions that makes me come up as schizoid/schizotypal/avoidant/anti-social... so maybe it's not a personality disorder - maybe I just need to get my frontal lobe realigned.

At work, they (meaning the people from MGM-Mirage-Mandalay Resorts, Inc.) are having all these motivational meetings. The latest one was 'Keep 'Em In the Castle' - trying to garner employee suggestion on how to encourage guests to stay more than 2.5 days without spending any money on making any real improvements in the hotel. More of that 'treat the customer like royalty & they'll keep coming back!'. In all actuality, these people don't care how you treat them as long as they can get a room for under $50 a night. And the worse you treat them & the shittier their accommodations, the better, because it usually means they'll get their next stay for free, as well as getting free stuff while they're there. I read my job description (which was written in June of '00) & it is actually in my job description that I'm supposed to help these people increase business by offering helpful suggestions. I'm apparently also supposed to keep track of changes implemented by other hotels & offer helpful suggestions on keeping up w/the Wynnses. Yanno what would happen if I actually requested to speak w/one of the new managers about innovations in hospitality? They would point, laugh & ask me if I thought I'd get o.t. by staying later to speak w/them. I'm gonna have to make a copy of the official job description & post it here. It's a hoot.

I have to say, I do my best to avoid all motivational meetings. I hate team-building projects involving people I don't know & will most likely never see again who are most likely illegal aliens who don't speak any English & talk amongst themselves about the English-speaking Americans at their table in Tagalog or Esperanto. Yes, I am slightly elitist. I don't fraternize w/the maids or the internal maintenance crews... I only know a few people at the hotel that I'm not directly involved with, like the Chinese bread guy (he speaks English), the Phillipino porter (who speaks English w/a thick accent) & a few assorted housekeepers. :::stepping on soapbox::: I'm not racist or singling any one cultural group out - but learn to speak English & use it when you're working in America w/Americans. If I was working in another country w/a different national language, I would learn to speak it. But I was born in California, taught English in California's schools & I feel it's wrong that I am a lingual minority in my own workplace. :::stepping off soapbox:::

There are people who work day shift at the front desk that I've never met, and I like it that way. The less I see or know of them, the better. I am the enemy, after all - I am one of the pseudo-suits like the surveillance people. (I'm one of the only hotel employees who ever sees surveillance - & that's only because I'm wandering around in the corporate offices at 4 - 5am w/my paperwork while they're on breaks. They're even more elitist than I am, but they're not even allowed to fraternize & they wear plain clothes & don't eat in the EDR - room service delivers to the door.)

I'm thinking more & more that I ought to go see a psychiatrist, a real head shrinker & see if my paranoia & delusions can become an advantage somehow w/out landing me in an I-love-myself jacket. I mean, I'm really getting to the point where I loathe other humans. Don't want them to look at me or talk to me & most definitely don't want them touching me. That's the strangest paradox - being so completely soul-horny it's embarrassing, wanting a lover, wanting a good, deep fuck - but not wanting to be touched by anyone else.

Walking from the employee entrance to my office, from the office to the EDR & back, going to the annex to get my pinks, trying to deliver my paperwork in the morning & leaving again is like running a gauntlet. Drunken lost tourists who all need to use the restroom line my path like paddle-wielding frat boys at a hazing. And then management now all have to work 9+ hours to 'conform to industry standards' so I have even more of a gauntlet to run in the mornings... let's see how fast I can get my paperwork delivered & go back & hide in my cube before all the managers & supervisors come in... (damn, I just poked myself in the eye. good thing it's not the one I'm using right now) Rob dragged me to the mall the other day in an effort to distract me w/Lane Bryant so he could shop for a Hallowe'en present for me & it completely skeeved me out. I saw how packed the food court was & just wanted to turn around & run. I get this horrible feeling when I'm in public (even when I'm out of uniform) that some drunken moron is going to accost me, put their arm around me & ask, "Where's the shitter? I gotta puke!" I back away from over-enthusiastic sales people like they were infected w/bedbugs.

I did score a Sesshoumaru (yeah, I know it's probably misspelled. Sue me or make fun of me for being a noob to anime or something - I saw a site where they called him 'Sesshy McGethy) keychain, tho (it's gotta be older - he's got both arms, but his eyes are very well detailed) & a matching set of keychains of Ed & Al from FMA. I scanned the picture from the backing & am using it as my new Trillian icon, & I'm thoroughly pleased I can announce my allegiance to the Elric brothers this way.

Oh holy crap, I started reading the Uncyclopedia's entry for zombies and almost poked myself in the eye again when I got to the bottom of the page.

I've been having these weird ups & downs. I mean, I'm still down, but not as down as I was this (well, now it's yesterday since it was about 24 hours ago) morning... I came home & just wanted to stay in bed. In the dark. With a pillow pressed tightly over my face. Thinking about how I feel like such a schmo when I'm in my accounting class, and a complete dork in my computer class, and I can't keep up w/my math class. I'm wondering why I even started this - we owe $500 to the allergy clinic because no one knew I was supposed to pay a copay every time I got a shot until last month, we owe $200 to the chiropractor because all of a sudden the yearly deductible is $250 per person on the plan instead of $250 for both of us like it was last year... Either that or Rob didn't go to any doctors last year, or maybe his Incident with the Scorpion took care of it & I didn't realize it at the time. The student loan is taking forever to process & I'm thinking I probably won't even get that money back & I've wasted it on trying to go back to school when we should have just kept that tax return $$. I should be out trying to find another job right now instead of wasting my time on classes. I've also got to start training someone for vacation time once the shift bid's official & I know who I'm dealing w/on grave. Maybe I can train Jimit & start up some kind of no-touching affair w/him. He's Hindu, he should know the Kama Sutra by heart.

I've got a potential stalker or possibly a flamer on the psych site, though, which always spices things up a little.


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Rainbow Serpent Woman

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