It isn't every day you find out which crack your life slipped down twenty years ago.

A change-of-address form. Which either didn't get sent, or wasn't noticed if it did, who knows at this remove. But it turns out that that was why my college never contacted me to explain What Happens Now after I took some time off to regroup; no exit interview, no here's where you could go from here, and no by the way this is the paperwork for a $500 loan you may not have been told that you actually received that you'll have to settle at this point Because The Reasons.

You may be getting an inkling of where this story is going.

Contact was reestablished at least one intervening move later, by which point said forgotten loan was in collection and we wrote to ask College why we were getting letters about that when neither of us could recall seeing paperwork to the effect it had actually gone through in the first place. Oh, College said, we can't lay hands on your file, it might have been for this? (But I never did the this.)

We went into the office. College still couldn't find the file to sort out whether this was even my loan. So the question sort of... got left there, Eh, well, paperwork, what can you do. And there matters stood for a couple more moves, and twenty-two years, and $1200 in penalties-and-interest, until I finally got annoyed enough at having to explain this in response to the periodic collection letters that I went all the way into Mum's files and combed through the actual College paperwork such as we had myself.

And found the loan. Or at least something resembling it in the right amount on one obscure printout. And we went into College's office again, and they produced my file at long last, and in the file was the original unopened undelivered this is due now please letter that anyone could have shown us at any time since we started asking about this in 1994.

Some days it just does not pay to chew through the straps.

I'm not sure where this goes from here; we're talking to College about how to resolve this, starting with why didn't (several-finance-officers-ago) actually explain HOW to clear this as a disability case, which is where I'm currently hung up trying to figure out who my medical chain-of-command to prove any of that even is. (To sum up: Plan dropped $DOCTOR, I dropped Plan, New Plan said 'sure, have $DOCTOR', and then assigned me someone who's not $DOCTOR. Cue phone-tag hell...) I'd just go ahead and pay it off if I was remotely in any position to; College does seem willing enough to shoulder some blame for the part of the fees that have accrued since we originally tried to resolve this 20-odd years ago (the most recent offer from Collection is in the neighbourhood of $1200 instead of $1800 -- do other people's lives get so wrecked over amounts a CEO wouldn't even wipe their arse with? Or is that a stupid question these days?). But right now I'm at a spoonless ebb just trying to think about which thread of this to start unpicking first...
The car is home. Final damages to the Other Guy's insurance: about $4500, and another grand for the rental. Not to mention that I have my fingers crossed that it's really going to be as nice out this weekend as has been promised, since apparently they washed it inside as well as out and it stinks so bad that Mum had to roll the windows down from it. But, the car is home, and that's a thing.
robling_t: No, seriously, bollocks (bollocks)
( Jan. 29th, 2016 03:13 pm)
...More than $5k damage estimated to the car, not to mention several days of work lost already because it's taking forever to sort a rental. As I've seen people saying, could somebody turn 2016 off and back on again to see if that would help...?
On today's episode of "Mum's Adventures In Driving", she parked the car, went inside to pick up the delivery-job, and came back out to find that a guy from the company she was picking up at had backed the sticky-out-bit of the back of the company's truck through her back window.

They are allegedly going to pay for this.

I think that if they don't SHE WILL FIND THEM, ifyouknowwhatImean. She's a bit stressed.
I would really like to make it a requirement of "So You Want To Become An Economist 101" that these bozos on Wall Street who think they know how the world works should have to make something with their own hands and then spend a day sitting behind a table trying to sell it. Just Fucking Saying.
So, YarnCon... could have gone better, there was some sort of conflict with the parking that had attendance drastically down from the last two years, but at least I am not in the red from the exercise, which is always a worry for these things. Doing another Craft Type Show Endeavour this coming Saturday; there will be a petting zoo, which should make the vendors feel a bit less like exhibits, but there is also inevitably a parking issue. Bah.

Had a last-minute question of display-space to resolve for said next show and went to Container Store on Sunday, where we not only found something in the clearance corner that was exactly what we had in mind, but by sitting through a presentation on elfa closets, Mum won a $25 giftcard so we were also able to pick up a couple of "this would be neat to have RE displays" bits as well. Score, and makes up somewhat for the disappointing sales tally at the previous day's efforts. And the best part is we didn't have to go to IKEA.

This coming Sunday, 10/10, is that field trip, remember:

[Poll #1627445]
On to be a vendor again at this year's YarnCon, which means scratching up $100 for the fee and then worrying about inventory... If this were a real business, or more to the point a real economy, this is the sort of thing that should be covering itself, and actually it does, in the Grand Scheme Of Things, it's just the part where it's only after-the-fact that's annoying. (It would also have helped if the entirety of last year's net hadn't gone to repay Gareth-that-was-Gaius's medical bill, but then again at least I was able to repay Gareth-that-was-Gaius's medical bill, which I suppose is something.)
ME, reading through inbox: Email from Whole Paycheck, hm, cherries are $1.99 tomorrow... {goes to wake Mum back up} Hey, cherries are on sale at Whole Paycheck, pick some up on your way home?

MUM, who has actually not fallen asleep yet, but is in permanent state of HEY YOU KIDS GET OFF MY TECHNOLAWN: ...Where did you hear this from?

ME: They emailed me. Yeah, cherries email me, the car emails me...

(I could get around to setting her up with her own portal to the Wonders of the Intarwebs, but since we still haven't really ironed out the part about "step three: getting the damn Intarwebs to work on that side of the wall" yet, I'm having a little trouble getting myself arsed to plug the rest of Gareth-That-Was-Gaius in for her. Not least because it would involve remembering how to set up a subordinate account on the damn thing so she doesn't get into my old... stuff.)

In other developments, the Census sent along a sheet of paper that I would need for telling Unemployment that the Census gig ended for lack of further work. I am now mulling over whether there would be much point going in to try to file a claim, all things considered. But I suppose it's the thought that counts, or something.
Census gig now officially over with the turning-in of the badges and, alas, the satchel. (I suppose they don't want George running about impersonating a wodge of enumerator questionnaires or something.) Less concern for the original contents of the satchel, though, so I had the bitten-up pencils off them for a souvenir. They can have back the rest of the paperwork, I'd only have been tossing it in our recycle bin eventually...

Also? Basically, this, yes...
robling_t: (Default)
( May. 26th, 2010 02:59 pm)
The latest semi-flightless avian to terrorise the neighbourhood is what appears to be an adolescent robin.
Are you my Mummy? )
It's been outside complaining about being kicked out of the house for the last two hours. At one point it wandered under the shade of the deck above our living-room windows, where Snip promptly hopped up to read it the caution. It's currently griping from a height of about ten feet somewhere, so I'm not too worried about it since it obviously can fly even if it doesn't want to.

The grapevine, BTW, has it that someone alleging to be Foul Ole Ron's next-of-kin finally caught up to him a week or so ago and repatriated him to a coop somewhere, which would tally with my not having heard him in about that long. I have heard some subdued crowing from the garage two doors down since then, but that was definitely the more well-spoken one Ron had been having the argument with. So we still have chickens about, just not as free-range. Given that next door's are well-enough behaved that we weren't aware of them until Ron turned up, I can live with this state of affairs. So long as Ron doesn't bust himself out and come back looking for trouble.

Census operations seem to be winding down in general, as the Starbuck's where my Tuesday-night knit-group meets, which was so infested with enumerators being debriefed the first week that the knitters found ourselves having to shout, played host to a grand total of two last night, who appeared to have been turning in their assignment-books in defeat. As of the last paycheck, bank account is now $75.94 + tax short of a proper computer. Which is about what they 'accidentally' took out for Federal withholding on two of the weeks after I'd asked them not to. Bother.
robling_t: (yarn)
( May. 22nd, 2010 03:29 pm)
Placed a small clutch of yarn with a Local Yarn Shop as an experiment in talking like a businessdrone negotiating retail markups getting more exposure for the Alleged Day Job. The fun part of FTF sales is always getting home and trying to figure out which ones those were to take them off the etsy listing... {sigh} I'd number the skeins or something, but as dyslexic as I am I kind of doubt it would be an improvement over matching them up against their mugshots anyway. (Which... I have discovered are not current as I seem to have dyed a batch of yarn somewhere along the way that was never listed. The upside of which is at least I didn't have to unlist a couple, Y/Y?)
Census gig may have just ended in a confused whimper of " let me get this straight, the problem is the Gummint being too efficient?!?"; having hired more people than originally planned, they are now more or less out of stuff for that many people to productively occupy themselves at already, and whilst I could theoretically have spent the weekend putting in an hour or so each day trying to track down the same handful of stubborn cases I've been chasing after since day two of the fieldwork part of this, it makes more sense to hand those cases off to another pair of hands while I'm Out Of Town (hey, Rosemont's out of the city limits...) and see where they may or may not have got with them by the time I'm available again. So... yeah, my sense of things is that I'm probably closing out here at a final score of $1k, a satchel, a hat and a t-shirt. Which is okay by me in the respect that my primary thought going into the census test was, ironically, "it would be nice to have $1k before the damn computer breaks again", so as far as having dealt with the perennial issue in my adult life that having one thousand dollars all together at the same time represents goes, I'm good. It's just all that other pending crap that would have been nice to catch up to...

Some observations regarding the process:

  • Single most helpful thing that the census bureau could have done to make my life easier: "brown" as an option for race. Srsly, this was the question that at least half of my cases got hung up on. Most common solution was to list a nationality instead, which isn't quite what we were after. And for the record, I did suggest "human" when people seemed particularly stymied, although nobody took me up on it.

  • Laugh-line question, that really shouldn't have been: "Is (NAME) Male or Female... choose one or the other". It was a good icebreaker, having to explain that we had to ask, but I only ran into one person who grasped the potential Issue here, and quite a bit of oh, right, you crazy Americans might not know, I've heard about this place from more recent immigrants. Official!Transphobia!fail, FTW, somebody's actually managed to make LiveJournal look good...

  • Language And/Or National Origin Bingo Tally (partial): Gujarati, Russian, Turkish, Thai, something I couldn't begin to guess at that might have been to do with the Balkan war, Korean, Pakistani, Cambodian, Japanese, Filipino, miscellaneous other Indian subcontinent, and lots and lots and lots of Spanish, including Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, some names that had to be conversos, and actually-from-Spain. Considering that I was only dealing with about 45 cases across three blocks, one may begin to get an image of the diversity of my neighborhood. I was actually kind of surprised on the one or two occasions when a white yuppie answered the door thinking I was the cable guy.

  • The foreclosure crisis meant I was "interviewing" a lot of condo-neighbors over building intercoms to discover that the unit I was trying to find out about had been vacant on the first of April. Saved time when I could find someone who knew, but very depressing.

  • Worst "Fetchez la vache!" moment: calling a realty company to try to get information about a unit in a building with a "flat for rent" sign on. Got voicemail the first time, and when I connected with someone at the second try, they accused me of wasting a business's time with "all these calls", asked if the census would pay them for wasting their time with me, kept repeating "people live there, go talk to them", and finally hung up on me. The irony here being that if they'd calmed down enough to answer my questions rationally they wouldn't even have been on the phone with me that long, as when I finally did get hold of a guy next door to the unit it took about two minutes to determine it wouldn't be resolvable because the people had cleared off. I suspect the realty company has a number of apartments in the area with issues and they're not realizing that they're getting calls from six different census workers, but, dude.

  • I have bigger balls than I would have suspected so far as dealing with strangers goes as long as I can hide behind the official cover of a clipboard. This may be an actual clipboard or binder, or it may be a horribly suggestive bratwurst, but apparently the principle holds.

And now, some fun with statistics about the statistics:

  • Census-enumerators'-households enumerated: two. One of whom initially told us we smelt of elderberries. Hilarity Ensued when their enumerator got home, I gather.

  • Places I was sent to that didn't actually exist: two.

  • Places I was sent to where the mailman had screwed up putting the forms in the boxes: also two, not the same two unless you count a nonexistent flat as having borked some numbering.

  • Places I was sent to where someone had mailed the form and the census hadn't gotten it: at least four, one of which turned up while I was trying to catch up with the unit in question so I was okay with that.

  • Places I was sent to where someone had filled out the form and they handed it to me when I got there: one, the procedure for which is to make them fill it out again with you there to verify that they match. It was a big family, too.

  • Places I was sent to where someone had filled in the form as if they were living somewhere else: one. There is an equally confused enumerator wandering around in another state trying to find these people.

  • Places I was sent to where I couldn't complete my business because somebody had just died: one or six, depending on how you want to count trying to sort out a multi-unit building where I hit that roadblock trying to get information from its management.

  • Doors slammed in face altogether: one.

So, um, other than that how was the play, Mrs Lincoln? It was kind of fun, actually, a break in my usual routine that I was getting paid for, and while getting glimpses of other people's sordid little lives is enough to turn the more sensitive viewer into a raving Marxist regarding how we expect anyone to live like this, I'd say the census gig is something that every citizen of wherever should have a go at at least once in their lives, if only for the sense of Civic Participation and all and not the allconsuming nosiness. And I still have my fingers crossed they can scrape up a few more hours for me at it, 'cos I'm still down an iPod...
Worries now that the census operations are actually going too well because they hired so many people and we may be running out of stuff to do already. Currently sunk in gloom after having made the mistake of totting up my score RE hours-already-worked times payrate and having it come out to only about 3/4 of that desperately-needed new computer so far, much less also being able to compensate for the sudden census-related demise of the iPod. {sigh} Fingers crossed that more hours turn up by the time they cut us loose altogether...
I console myself with the thought that I have done far stranger things for money.
Survived second day of Tramping About Harassing People For SCIENCE! Went less well than first, as I'm through the last couple of fresh entries and on to the "...So, are you home NOW?" stage of the process. Tomorrow will be the "...So, Mister Dude In Taqueria Downstairs, do you know anything about those flats?" stage for this group of cases, so I foresee more Hilarity Ensuing, unless a couple of those side trips into Voicemail Hell looking for building managers pay off before tomorrow morning. (Thursday is pencilled in as "We found someone who sort of speaks Gujarati" day.) The good bit is that I'm close enough to home with this batch that I can run back to have a pee and re-sort my materials in peace and comfort every so often without it being a Big Honking Deal. Not to mention that as I am Technologically Deprived this is also where my phone lives, so this is where calling building-managers' useless voicemail has to happen anyway.

I can't help but wonder, every time I've had anything resembling a Real Job, how anything actually happens in this country when nobody ever answers the phone.
Survived first proper day of Census service in the field. Annoyances were many but tolerable enough after the Gujarati Incident (I do have a couple Gujarati speakers, but scattered), and I could have scored a plateful of dolmades if I'd had anywhere to carry them. (The one I ate there was good, though.) The day mostly started going downhill when I got home and threw my work clothes into the wash, because about five minutes into the cycle there were Sudden Ominous Noises which quickly led into "...WTF IT'S NOT WORKING AND THERE IS NO REPAIR MONEY".

We got the wet clothes bundled together to take over to the laundromat and happened to bump into All-The-Way-Upstairs on the way to the car, so with my newfound reserve of cheek from two days of knocking on strangers' doors I begged a favor and went up to put my wash in their machine. (BTW, apparently the water-heater's thermocouple wasn't the only thing in the building that's nearing the end of its life-cycle, everyone's washers and fridges are starting to pop off...) I came back down and decided to bail out the washer so at least it wouldn't be sitting there stinking until we could afford to call in the repair guys...

...And discovered the actual casualty of this tale:

...Crap. )

It had been in my shirt pocket, because this Job involves writing down times and I don't have a watch as such... and I never wear shirts with pockets, so I only cleared out my trousers when I loaded in the wash. And it was just the right size to become wedged between the agitator and the tub, alas, which was the Sudden Ominous Noises of an agitator that was no longer agitating. The silver lining here is that it was nearing the end of its useful lifespan (as in just Friday I was having issues again with the buttons breaking down, in fact) and was already slated to be replaced with the money from the aforementioned Job, so as degrees of heartbroken go at least I'm not having to replace the entire bloody washer/dryer combo. And at least it was the old one and not his as-yet-theoretical replacement.

And since nobody ever did figure it out, Emil was, of course, mint-green.
Census enumerators are issued a flashcard with fifty languages on it to assist in clarifying situations that need to be referred to a translator.

Gujarati is not one of these fifty.

Guess why the first five cases hadn't sent in their forms...
robling_t: (Default)
( Apr. 27th, 2010 02:27 pm)
Survived the first day of training proper without being thrown out and/or asked to step into the van by the Nice Men In The Jackboots, so job is apparently going okay so far. Session was basically the "The first rule of Census is you do not talk about Census" lecture about keeping people's identifiable info private, which means that if, say, I happen to find out that there's a celebrity living in my neighborhood I don't get to tell anyone. Not that I would imagine this is a neighborhood where that's likely to come up, or at least everybody knows which one's Blagojevich's house already from it being on the freaking news. So, instead of Celebrity Hijinx, have some candid shots from the nature preserve:

In Which I Remembered To Bring The Camera For ONCE. )
The census decided to run an extra day of training today to have us Fill Out Forms and get fingerprinted, which turns out to have been a good thing because it took six bloody hours. (Six bloody hours for which I Get Paid, so no serious complaints overall. Especially having remembered to wear black and not bring my knitting.) So now I am on file with the feds, I suppose in the event that some redneck census-resister dumps me in the river and it's the only way to identify my remains... I keep having these flashes of HOSHIT NOW THEY KNOW WHERE TO FIND ME, but then I suppose so does the Post Office.

Also, since the pool of enumerating talent is drawn from the neighborhood, the conversation while we were waiting (and waiting, and waiting) to have our prints taken turned somehow to the subject of OMG HAVE YOU HEARD THE FREAKING ROOSTER. So now I have Foul Ole Ron's address, which is "under the bushes in front of ($house on next block)", and the further information that he's a squatter and they would like him out but they haven't been able to catch him. From the description, it does appear that Foul Ole Ron was the rooster at large in my yard, and it's probably a good thing I shooed him out before he could get too comfy in the bushes outside my bedroom window, as I can hear him halfway down the next block in the mornings as it is. His origin is still unclear, although I have noticed a couple of live-poultry places since I've been looking out for them -- about a mile away on the other side of the river, though...

Wildlife sightings aside from Ron were a redtail, another turtle, and some little brownish bird with a cap of orange feathers that might have been a chipping sparrow, but I am not an ornithologist nor do I play one on TV. Other wildlife sightings from miscellaneous ramblings include a real-estate notice offering at $99k a unit that I know damn well has a river view... I should not be as amused as I am by this.
robling_t: (UNIT)
( Mar. 31st, 2010 01:40 pm)
Um, so: apparently I am qualified for the position of Faceless Gummint Minion, 'cos the Census guys just called to see if I was still interested. Which was nice of them, since the phone's been ringing with hang-ups about every hour for the last two days and I'd actually yelled at this ring to fuck off... Training is in a month, which gives me a month to put together something resembling "Business Casual" out of the ruins of my wardrobe. But hey, for $18.25 an hour even I can find the motivation to go try on some shoes... and pants.

Note to Self: they will need bank info for DD of $$, which should be on checkbook.

Note to Self: Find checkbook.