"You gonna get another job?"...

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Possibly the only thing more torturous than working for a major accounting department is looking at resumes for India-based applicants for a major accounting department.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the resumes--it's just staggeringly alien and boring. I barely know what any of the stuff means when I do it, let alone what it means when someone lists it as a qualification.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
This year continues on its not-unexpected trajectory. To recap:

The 12 year old dog I had for 10 years died in March.
The 12 year old cat I had for 9 years died in June.
The 13 year old car I've had for 13 years needs about $1,000 of coolant gaskets.

That's largely my fault. 130K+ miles with no coolant change. Still, for the past 4-5 years all oil changes have been at the dealer. I kind of feel like when they do their X-point inspection, at some point they should've suggested a coolant change. Or it could be, you know, that it's got 130K+ miles on it. Stuff wears out.

So next is this laptop, which is something like 9 years old and doesn't get backed up near as often as it should. :/

On a different note, if you rent a house and it has a brand new--literally brand new--stainless steel refrigerator and 18 months later, when you move out, the freezer door has 3 pretty large and noticeable dents in it, with shipping and handling, a replacement door is about $530 coming out of your damage deposit (and that's if I don't charge for my time to swap out the hardware and install it). So it better be worth it.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Found out a cute girl from Oregon was in Kentucky a few weeks back and picked on her for not visiting with her husband. She said she might come back for Derby--and that she was getting divorced. And while I'd love to do dirty, dirty things to her (and of course one small part of my brain was excited--the part that gets excited when you hear Winona Ryder (or whoever) is single again) overall I was sad. They were a handsome couple. And of course I don't need a girlfriend who lives in Oregon. Really doesn't work. And I can't think of a tactful way to say "move to Kentucky and live with me." Shit, if she got custody of their dog and cat my life would be complete. All I'd need to do is win the dream home St. Jude Children's Hospital is raffling off and my life would be instantly complete. Shit. That's tomorrow. Imagine that. Me living in a modest abode in the blue collar part of town and owning a half-million dollar rental property.

If God gave me that--even some portion of it--it would restore my faith and hope.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I am currently conducting a 2 pronged approach of being sad about my dog (she and her husband have a crazy border collie) and blowing her mind about what houses in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville cost, compared to what a house costs in Portland Oregon. Of course it isn't nearly as crazy as it was 4 years ago, when you could get a nice house for $12K (but it would be in the War Zone on a block of boarded up derelicts).
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
TK appears to be down hard at the moment and I need to talk.

The Dog's death has freed up more than 2 hours every day, 7 days a week. Given me more flexibility to go out, do things around the house that would upset her (curse, use an alarm clock, etc). But LaffTV has been showing "How I Met Your Mother" in 3 hour blocs, 7 days a week, right around dinner time. They don't have a commercial break between episodes--they run straight from the end of one to the beginning of the next--with teasers for the next episode during the commercial breaks. This makes it very easy to burn up all the free time I've got with The Dog being gone. But yesterday they moved it to, like, 11pm. So suddenly I have 8 to 11 to get things done (and obviously I don't watch TV at 11pm). This has made me realize I really don't want to do a lot of the things that I haven't had time to do.

Years ago, a teacher said "You're the star of your own movie." The unspoken part of that is that everyone else is the star of *their* own movie, in which you are but a supporting character. So I try to keep that in mind and when I can, make them feel like the star. I'm probably not nearly as successful at it as I'd like to be, but that's another story. The other thing is...even the Bad Guys think they're the star. I recall Ricardo Montalban saying that was how he played Khan--as the hero. Shit, when Hitler got up in the morning and looked at himself in the mirror, I bet he didn't go "Geez, I'm a fucking evil monster." I bet he went "It's amazing, the sacrifices you've made to save and protect your people." Which brings me to the other side of *that* coin: Sometimes you're the *villain* of someone else's movie.

I forget if I mentioned it here, but my first renters broke their lease. One of their investors backed out and they were cutting costs to try to save their new bakery. So they were going to move in with the hubby's parents. They did not give me the 60 days notice the lease requires, they broke the lease at the worst possible time--mid-September. Finding quality renters in the winter is hard, I'm told. I'm also told I can hold them accountable for rent for every month the place isn't rented during the remainder of their lease, but I decided I wasn't going to do that. People have let me out of contracts when I was young and I could afford the loss of income.

Indeed, I've gotten shanghaied into working for my college friend again. It was supposed to go until September, at the latest, yet here we are, well into October with no end in sight. Kind of hard to work on getting a house cleaned up and rented out when you're stuck at a computer every hour that you aren't working your other part-time factory job (or binging nightly on 21st century sitcom reruns). And they did pay their rent on time every month with no hassles.

All that said, they didn't take great care of the place. They never changed the furnace filters. They used the fireplace--even when I'd told them the fireplace wasn't usable. Indeed, it doesn't have a grate for logs and the glass doors are painted black and don't have any handles. They never cleaned the gutters and the brand new stainless steel refrigerator I put in the kitchen has 3 pretty noticeable dents in the freezer door. There was also a dent in one of the doors that they told me they made while moving out. That's pretty easily repairable. Just build it up with Bondo and paint it. You really can't do that to a stainless steel refrigerator door. Well that door is discontinued but I was able to track one down from a third party vendor. With shipping and handling, it comes to something like $529.

Initially I'd considered using their deposit in lieu of charging the required October rent, but the more I thought about that, the less fair it seemed. But at this point it looks like I can honestly bill them for items that will use up the entire deposit. This is objectively fair and right and by the lease terms, I'm the injured party. But humans aren't logical. So while my move-out charge sheet clearly says $200 per load of trash left behind (for example), that charge sheet wasn't part of the lease paperwork (and even if it was, I'm sure they'd forget it). So I sit here and think about how, when they lose their deposit, they're going to just think I screwed them and put in inflated charges to eat up their deposit. If they hadn't scrambled to get out by mid-September they could've done a better job cleaning the place up. (Mid September really didn't do anything for me but that's neither here nor there.) In their movie, I'm the bad guy.

Of course maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they'll be happy anyway, but somehow I doubt it. I don't know. We'll see. At any rate, I shouldn't be on here whining, I should be putting together the bad news and sending it along. Rip the band-aid off and get it over with.

Still, you want my goodwill? Don't start fires in the fireplace I told you not to use. Change the furnace filter when it gets dirty (not when the HVAC stops working). Clean out the gutters when they get clogged. It the place had come back to me rent-ready, I could've had a chance to rent it this month instead of having it empty over the winter.

Oh, and I forgot to mention it earlier and I'm too lazy to try to fit it in now: While I'd rather be working on my real estate investing--and would absolutely NOT like to be working support or enterprise level accounting for a multinational corporation--I make more, part time, in a week, working for my friend than a month's rent. This has bought a new AC for my house, furnished the new bedroom, put a new roof on the now-vacant rental, will be replacing the thermostat and water pump gaskets on the Mustang, and still allowed me to sock away some cash to potentially allow me to own my next rental free-and-clear. That said, the real estate market has been crazy. When I moved here, 4+ years ago, you could buy a reasonably nice house in the War Zone for $10-12K. That is not a typo. Yes, 75% of the houses on that block would be vacant and boarded up, but you could literally buy a house that was ready to move into for less than a decent used car. Now there are actually houses in the War Zone that are outside my price range (that I'd pay for a nice 3/1 brick ranch with a detached 2 car garage in a quiet blue collar neighborhood). I was able to find 1 for $15K that didn't look like it needed TOO much work, but it's definitely not like it was in 2017.
****

Oh. And I'll say prior to, say 42, I didn't really cry. Cried a month or two after my Dad died. But at some point I'd get emotional over even little things. And The Dog just blew the fuse on that. Now I cry watching TV shows. I cry driving the car or at work. It isn't as much as it was back when it happened, but every once in awhile it sneaks up on me and I think about her looking up at me and smiling as we were on some adventure together and the feelings come back.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I have decided I do not do the "side hustle" well. It just doesn't work for me, to try and fit my work in around someone else who is paying me for my time. Like right now. I've got...35 minutes or so. I could work up an invoice, do some research on insurance, something like that. I could call a plumber or some other person. But I might have to leave a message. Then they call me back when I'm "on the clock" and it bothers me to be doing something for someone else (me) while being paid to do stuff for an employer. I mean, I do it, but it bothers me. Oh well. I've still got 30 minutes. I guess I should do something.
 

Oerdin

Member
Found out a cute girl from Oregon was in Kentucky a few weeks back and picked on her for not visiting with her husband. She said she might come back for Derby--and that she was getting divorced. And while I'd love to do dirty, dirty things to her (and of course one small part of my brain was excited--the part that gets excited when you hear Winona Ryder (or whoever) is single again) overall I was sad. They were a handsome couple. And of course I don't need a girlfriend who lives in Oregon. Really doesn't work. And I can't think of a tactful way to say "move to Kentucky and live with me." Shit, if she got custody of their dog and cat my life would be complete. All I'd need to do is win the dream home St. Jude Children's Hospital is raffling off and my life would be instantly complete. Shit. That's tomorrow. Imagine that. Me living in a modest abode in the blue collar part of town and owning a half-million dollar rental property.

If God gave me that--even some portion of it--it would restore my faith and hope.

Keep in touch with her. You never know what will happen after her divorce.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
AND! She's is (or was) a licensed Realtor in Oregon. She and her husband had a vacation rental on the Coast. I'll admit ulterior motives in showing her real estate prices in Louisville.

Well I didn't win the Dream Home. So I guess I've got to go back to The Plan.

One odd thing about how rentals are done in Louisville is that appliances are the exception, not the rule. In the rest of the world, a landlord would go: "If I put in a washer and dryer, I can charge a premium that will pay for itself in X months." Here leases will explicitly say "any appliances are provided as a convenience to the renter and are NOT a portion of monthly rent" (or words to that effect). I guess that way you're not on the hook if one breaks (there IS language that if the tenant breaks or damages an appliance they are liable for it). In fact it is common for renters to own their own stoves and other appliances in this town.

That said, the rental has an odd laundry hookup: Broad shallow utility closet in the kitchen. Big wide door like a master bedroom closet. Furnace and water heater are tucked into one corner. Thing is, a standard washer and dryer (like most renters are going to own) fill up the entire closet. Not only does this leave no place for mops and brooms and stuff, in order to service the water heater or the furnace, you need to pull the washer out into the kitchen. So today I got one of them stacked "laundry center"s. It's not optimal but it's better than the alternative. Renter can stick their appliances in the garage. Or if they're set on using their appliances they can stick mine in the garage.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Just a quick note and a few thoughts: Years back I dated a girl who said she couldn't picture me as a landlord. It had been my investment strategy at the time, although it took years after that before I got my first rental. Anyway I've mostly thought she was just someone who would never get ahead--classic Kiyosaki "Poor Dad"--she had a pretty prestigious job but she didn't actually have any money and I thought it was one of those times where someone tries to pull down your dreams because they're afraid to take risks themselves--misery loves company. But lately I wonder if she may have had a point.

I may be too empathic and compassionate to be a landlord. Maybe karma will reward me for this behavior, but Life certainly isn't. Since my renters that broke their lease are strapped for cash because one of their business investors backed out--and since I've been too busy to focus on getting the place ready to rent out again--I've been very forgiving on holding them to legal lease commitments. That said, the place was returned in (apparently) pretty good shape so rather than hold them to paying rent for October, I'd considered seeing if they were cool with me using the damage deposit toward this. *That* said, as you read that, you may get a feeling that this seems somehow callous and cruel. It definitely goes against Best Practices.

Anyway, the more I'm at the place, the less sympathy I have for them. And the more it looks like the damage deposit is pretty much used up on, well, damages. Now a thing about the damages: I'm going off a sheet I made up before I rented out any properties. But even so there's leeway in applying the damages. And it all kind of evens out. If you charge $200 for trash and that seems unfair, it's more than made up if you only charge for an hour's work cleaning. And them getting out by mid September really didn't help me at all. It isn't like that gave me time to do much with the place. Anyhow, I'd touched up the plastered over nail holes in most every room and started filling in the ding they made in a bedroom door when I found out about the condition of the air filters (well 1 air filter and another vent with no filter--even though I'd offered to put it in myself--the husband said he'd do it). Created a whole new mess getting them replaced and cleaning out the dust bunnies.

Yesterday I had to go over because a "laundry center" was getting delivered (them moving in made me realize a standard washer and dryer took up the entire utility closet and you had to move the washer to do any work on the furnace or water heater). Needed to use the bathroom while I was there and realized the bathroom door barely closed. Had to come back to replace the dented freezer door on the refrigerator and look at installing a gas fireplace (to add value and to (hopefully) keep future tenants from building a wood fire in the fireplace). In the process I discovered one of the panes on the glass fireplace screen was busted. The screen is old enough that I can't replace the glass so that's going to have to be replaced. So just for the fireplace screen and the refrigerator door they're out almost $800 of their deposit just on parts alone. Add in the fee for air filters, cleaning, painting, repairing the door, leftover trash and the deposit is easily gone. Decided the ducts needed cleaning. If they'd maintained the filters I would consider that out of my pocket alone, but as it is, I don't want to think about the wear and tear their neglect caused on a brand new HVAC system.

Oh! But the bathroom door! Obviously I needed to plane that down and get it closing right before I did any cleaning. As I was working on that I wound up having to take the doorknob off. Wanted to close the sink drain so I wouldn't lose any screws down the sink and discovered the sink drain stopper wasn't working. So I had to stop and fight with that. Planing didn't seem to be making any progress. That's when I realized the door was wobbling. The top hinge was loose. Tightening up the top hinge pretty much fixed the problem. How does the top hinge just get loose on a door? How does a year old faucet cartridge drip? How do you break the sprayer on a kitchen sink? How do you dent the hell out of a refrigerator door? I don't know. But the place is very beat-up. I'm finally (hopefully) to the point where I can get to cleaning today. But even that will be slow going. Oh, and I've got to decide if I want to leave the badly swollen laminate floorboard in the kitchen or try to cut it out and glue in a replacement. I don't feel too bad about them for that--laminate would NOT be my choice for a kitchen floor--but that's what I've got so I guess I'd better figure out what I'm doing with it. I should have some spare boards laying around and replacement seems like a relatively routine (if messy and time-consuming) chore. Of course I've never done it before sooo....
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
But bottom line is, even though I feel like I'm the injured party here, I dread breaking the news that they're not getting their deposit back because no doubt they'll feel THEY'RE the injured party. Had a teacher who would say "you're the star of your own movie." Thing is, everyone else is the star of THEIR own movie. And you're just a supporting character in it--or even the villain. So while they may be my villain, I may be their villain. I don't know. Maybe not. I guess I'll find out soon. And I guess it doesn't matter. I'm sure I'm the villain in at least a few other stories, where I maybe didn't even realize I'd done something wrong. Bah.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Geezus, Ayn Rand. Or, for that matter, "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns." The idea that, if you put in the time and effort to become exceptional and you expect other people to at least want to be their best, you're some kind of insensitive monster. I'm so freaking tired of 39 year olds who look like they're freaking 70. Yes, I've got good genes (apart from that I'll probably die of cancer at 79--but I'll look good up to that point) but I've also put in a lot of work for a lot of years to stay in shape and relatively young looking. I made the mistake of complimenting a 39 year old on a public forum for looking great. So of course someone pointed out how terrible and insensitive I was for not embracing fat slobs. I mean, those weren't her words, and on the in-shape/fat slob spectrum, I'll let you guess which side she leant towards, but still...

You know what? I'm sorry my opinions and preferences hurt your feelings. Actually I'm not. I'm sorry that your opinions and preferences hurt MY feelings. Somehow I'm not allowed to want, like, or appreciate something because someone else isn't it? Fuck you.

This is like Special K. As late as...fuck, I dunno, 2005? 2005, Special K cereal's branding was that it was healthy and could help you lose weight and maintain your figure. But in 2021 we live in a world where they put a fat transexual on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, so God forbid anyone point out someone could stand to lose a few pounds. Fuck it. Burn it all down. Bring the League of Shadows.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Helping my friend screen resumes for his open position in India. Missed the first meeting due to late notice, scheduling conflict, and a misunderstanding about time zones. So I looked at the resumes independently and came to the same conclusion my friend did. Then both our top 2 picks declined the interview offer. Had another round of resumes. I'm gonna go back to reviewing the resumes independently. He sent them out in advance but I'm already so busy and I figured "since we're having a meeting..." Mistake. First resume was 1 page. I made it maybe 1/3 of the way down before they'd already chucked it. Last resume was 4 pages. I'd barely finished the opening statement when they'd decided she should get an interview.

I mention these two because of the 5, they were the ones I had to go back and argue. Now I know tech people are accustomed to longer resumes. In management you really want to get a resume down to 1 page. So I favored her format off the bat. My friend's objection was that she lacked the "systems skills" he was looking for and I was like "Hold on a minute: Her undergrad is in computer science, her postgrad has a CS emphasis, she talks about writing SQL queries to solve a problem and working with Python and one of her major tasks on her current job is handling month-end close processes. 1) all of that sounds pretty "systems" to me and 2) all of that sounds a lot like what you guys do every day. Oh, and her resume was in PDF form. I find it sloppy and risky to send a .doc resume. You have no idea what version of Word is installed (or even LibreOffice or something) on someone's computer--or how it will render your fonts and formatting, so something that looks great when you send it could look like ass to the people reviewing it.

So the 4 page resume: It was a .doc. And right after the statement was 2 lines of blatant tags. And I mean, it literally had 2 lines of blue boldface text that said: "Tags: Business Analyst, Finance,Business Services, Accounting..." Now the rule of thumb is that there cannot be any typos or errors on a resume. I don't hold to that too closely, given that pretty much every job posting I've ever seen has at least one blatant typo, so it seems a bit of a double standard to me. Plus, English is a 2nd language for a lot of these people. That said, there were things like "de diligence" and "dodocument"; comma separated items with no space after the comma. There was a section where a bulleted list took up the whole line:
Skills: Accounting
Something else: And the lines weren't even lined up. Just random...I think they used "center" for the formatting or something

At one point it changed fonts and font sizes just about every other line.

Any technical things were worded: "Knowledge of oracle..." or "Exposure to SQL..." Under skills she'd not only listed MS Office (I take it as a given that if you're applying for an office job and have an advanced degree that you know how to use MS Office. That you list it raises a red flag to me), she'd broken it out: "MS Word,MS PowerPoint, MS Excel..." And later in the same list she mentioned being able to do vlookup and use pivot tables. That's Excel. If knowing how to make a pivot table warrants its own line, then what does it mean that you know Excel?

Then, later in her work highlight bullets, she'd include: "Bagged numerous mail compliments from users and staff..." For more than one project. When you've got a 4 page resume, you don't need to devote 2 lines to "Mr. Lundberg sent me an e-mail that I did a good job." Really, you don't include that on a 1 page resume. Maybe "Consistently recognized for..." But not "people sent me e-mails that I'd done a good job."

In conclusion, it was an interesting insight in how resumes may be reviewed. To tell the truth, more than one person has told me that if the resume doesn't get their attention in the first 10 second (or whatever the number is) they won't look at it any further, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. But it really does point out how subjective screening resumes is. And the fact that you didn't get an interview is as likely to mean the screener isn't qualified for their job as it means you weren't qualified for the position. (And who knows how many resumes we didn't even see because they got winnowed out by some HRbot?)

Oh, and it's interesting how many people in India have a head shot on a resume for an office position. Realtors, actors, and even military get reviewed on the basis of their appearance, but it kind of flies in the face of everything Equal Opportunity in America. A lot of them had their age and marital status on their resumes too. Hobbies, etc. Definitely a cultural difference. A lifetime ago, I sent off a comic book idea to Dark Horse Comics and they sent it back unopened because they didn't have a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) from me. Without an NDA they wouldn't even look at something for legal reasons. I've always understood it that screeners won't even look at a resume if it has any age, race, gender information on it. But maybe you have to make an exception based on the realities of dealing with people from less lawsuit-happy countries.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I need to feel sorry for myself a bit. My friend has pretty much used up all my goodwill. And energy. I do not have time for his project and my part-time permanent job and my business. I agreed to it because I was promised it was a very narrow project that would take a month; 3 at the longest possible. There was no way it would go past September. Now I'm administering a Sharepoint site and running queries on Oracle and other databases and tracking status updates and there's no end in sight. Yesterday all my time got used up on the resume screening.

They didn't have any work at the factory yesterday so after 2 hours they gave us the option of going home. Took advantage of that to bang out some chores that got neglected. And pretended I wasn't available because I'd worked that night in order to get more essential stuff done. Around 12:30 I debated logging on to catch up on the 500+ unread e-mails before hitting lunch or just having lunch and jumping in in the afternoon. Decided to log on. Immediately saw a request for a meeting and just spent an hour going over tasks in Wrike. He was wondering why I wasn't checking things off in Wrike. And I explained to him that 2 months ago I didn't even know what Wrike was. Or Tableau. Or Alteryx. I'd never administered a Sharepoint site or run SQL queries on Oracle databases and that there's only so much stuff I can pack into my brain on a part-time 3 month contract gig. Of course he ignored that.

Then we got back to the stuff I was theoretically brought on as an "expert" to do--although if you'll recall I fought like hell against taking the job and made it abundantly clear that I had no experience at all about the work. But since I was just polishing up someone else's work, for a very finite period of time, I did the best I could. Well now he's got all this new stuff that needs to be added. And I barely remember how to do the stuff I did a month ago. He's like: "They want an interactive data grid like that one Matt was demonstrating in the Tableau Office Hours." And I'm like "I have no idea what you're talking about." "That thing he demonstrated, where you could click on the [thing] and it updated the [other thing]. You were there." It's like, I read 'A Brief History of Time' too. But after 2 tries, I still only understand about 75% of it. The back of the book might as well be blank for all the good it does me. I used to watch a really great close-work magician do tricks. I still have no idea how he did them.

I'm pretty good at not quitting; at figuring things out the best I can and keeping at it, but I'm about to the point where it is very tempting to just sit down and play Solitaire or something. Hes' like "I need these 3 huge things done and I need them done by Thursday." OK. Great. That gives me less than 2.5 days. Add in a half day Friday to update the monthly calendar and someone who actually knows what they're doing would be very very busy. For me, it's overwhelming.

The other side of the coin is when he does home renovation projects. He'll fart around with vegan gluten free fair trade floor finishes for 3 months and I'm like "you can't do that. You've got to get it done in a weekend. Sand it, stain it, slap some poly on it. Move to the next thing. He'll paint a room and do the walls and then the ceiling. I told him to do the ceiling first and he didn't want to. Then when he was finally ready to do the ceiling he was bitching because masking the walls so they didn't get paint on them wasn't working (can't remember if he'd done the floors first too--probably). You do the ceiling first and you know how much paint from the walls is going to drip on the ceiling? None. Because paint doesn't drip up. So if you paint the ceiling first, the wall paint covers the ceiling drips. And once you're done with the ceiling and the walls, *then* you finish the floors. It's so much easier and faster. Don't fuck around with oil paint. It's nice but it's expensive and a pain to work with. Get the latex on and touch it up later if you need to.
 

Lanzman

No-one of consequence
I told him to do the ceiling first and he didn't want to. Then when he was finally ready to do the ceiling he was bitching because masking the walls so they didn't get paint on them wasn't working (can't remember if he'd done the floors first too--probably). You do the ceiling first and you know how much paint from the walls is going to drip on the ceiling? None. Because paint doesn't drip up. So if you paint the ceiling first, the wall paint covers the ceiling drips. And once you're done with the ceiling and the walls, *then* you finish the floors. It's so much easier and faster. Don't fuck around with oil paint. It's nice but it's expensive and a pain to work with. Get the latex on and touch it up later if you need to.
Jumpin' Jeebus. This is the kind of thing you shouldn't need to explain to anyone who's experienced gravity. Oy.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Yeah, but walls are fun. You get to pick a color and see how it looks with the furniture. Ceilings are boring.

It makes sense from my friend's perspective to keep me around. It doesn't cost him anything. I mean, it costs his company some money, but even with my limited abilities and availability, I probably save more money than I cost. In fact I know I figured something out for them when they were on a deadline where they would've been fined millions for noncompliance (or so I'm told). While he's short people, any work I can take off them makes his life less painful--even if he sometimes has to stop and walk me through something.

Meanwhile, it makes perfect sense that I want to get out of this work as soon as possible. I had a "battle rhythm" figured out; how I balanced my paid workload with my business development. This has thrown that tempo out the window. So I'm having to neglect certain things to make everything fit into the hours available. That said, while I don't enjoy this work and look forward to its end, the truth is, if both my rentals were empty right now, I'd still make more in 2 weeks of part time work on this job than I make in a month on my rentals. I just have to keep them from falling into disrepair in the worst case.

Well, should be going. After months of having nothing to do, this week I've got more than I have time for.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Bad news doesn't get better with age. I really need to give my former renters a heads-up that they're not getting their deposit back because they treated my house like a $5 Bangkok hooker. Well, that's an exaggeration. But they *did* badly neglect it and lie to me on at least one thing. Heck, just parts for the dented refrigerator and the broken fireplace glass are around $800. The lightbulb in the oven is busted off. If I can't get it out myself, I have no idea what a service call will cost. Probably $200 at minimum. That's even before we get into cleaning, handyman, filter replacement, landscaping, and trash hauling. Or the damaged door that they admitted to. I'm confused by that. I dunno if they genuinely didn't notice any of the other things or if they thought that by throwing me that I wouldn't notice any of the other things. I suspect the latter, as much as I hate to think it. :( Oh. And air duct cleaning, given how they neglected the filters. Even if I only charge them half of that cost (the ducts were almost certainly dirty to begin with, that, the filter, the fireplace glass, the dents in the fridge, and the broken off oven lightbulb pretty much eats up their deposit. Then we get into all the other stuff.

But somehow *I* feel like the bad guy for keeping their damage deposit.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Oh. It looks like I forgot my latest Census story: I recently got a call from a Census HR monkey. Wanted to know if I had 15 minutes to talk about an opportunity. With 2 jobs and a business of my own, I really didn't and really didn't want another opportunity, but I try not to say "no" until I know what the offer is. They wanted...I forget the term...we'll say field agents. Instead of a smart phone and a docket of 10 or 20 fifteen minute interviews every day they were going to set me up with a laptop so I could go do 2 or 3 two hour interviews every day. And they were going to fly my out to Philly for some training.

That said, the pay was significantly below even my entry-level factory job and WAAAY below what I'm making on the consulting gig. So truth be told, it was almost certainly less than I make on rental income. And it was still finite--the project they had me for would wrap up. Oh, there would be other projects, but not a steady gig. And the kicker was that it entailed going to visit households to interview them about their government benefits.

OK.

Where to begin?

I already covered the shitty pay and limited window of the project. Add in that I'm an introvert, so even doing a 15 minute interview is not my idea of a fun time. Talking to someone for 2 hours? Please. Talking to someone for 2 hours about how the Government can better serve them with benefits?!

I'm a pretty strict Constitutional libertarian. I'm not big on the idea of income tax or a standing army--although I understand the necessity of at least one of those. I certainly don't think The Government should be providing food or housing assistance. I don't think The Government should be providing healthcare. I don't think the Government should be stealing a big chunk of my paycheck for a retirement Ponzi scheme. If every dollar the Government stole from me to stuff in the mattress that is the Social Security fund had instead been invested in a no-load index mutual fund tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average I'd likely be a millionaire today. Instead there's a decent chance that, when I'm finally old enough that The Government decides I can start getting money out of some 20 year old kids' paychecks, there may not be any money left in the mattress. But that's another story. The point is that I don't like Big Government. So I definitely don't want to work for Big Government. Especially in a job where I'm working to help Big Government get bigger and more intrusive. The only reason I did the Census is that it fit my Plan. And it is explicitly in the Constitution that we do a Census every 10 years.

It would be hard to write a job description that appealed to me less than what this guy was pitching. But I thanked him for thinking about me and asked him to keep me on his list. Because you never know when something that wouldn't work at one time is now the right thing to do.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Had some interesting Dog thoughts just now. We had a lot in common in a lot of areas. Personality, being athletic, being smart... And I think 7-8 was her best time--which translates out to around my current age (is it all down hill from here?) She died when she was nearing 12--around 79 years old in Dog years. My Mom and Dad both died at 79, so I would not be surprised if I die around then (unless they make some great strides on cancer before then).

She died 7 months ago and I've been doing well, but had a big relapse of grief earlier this week--to the point that I did some reading on the Internet. Factors that make losing a dog harder are being older, living alone, being particularly close to the dog. Check, check, and check. It further goes on to point out that if you didn't really grieve past losses, a new loss can trigger all the things you haven't dealt with. Like my Mom and Dad and my favorite Aunt. So yeah. I'm so hosed.

But I'm OK and my reactions are perfectly normal right now.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
A little over 2 years ago I made an offer on what would've been my first rental property. I was using an agent who doesn't deal in rental properties. She was recommended to me and while I'm sure she's a great agent for people buying homes, she wasn't good at all for buying rental properties. Anyway, the place had tenants in it. I felt like the asking price was high for a place that has tenants (an empty home attracts more buyers--if you're buying a home, you can buy it. If you're buying a rental property, you can buy it and put tenants in it at your rate and under your lease. An occupied home, the only benefit is, if it's long-term tenants and the house is in good shape, you don't have to go out and find renters). But she argued that the listed price reflected a discount and that the place would be in the $130s otherwise. I trusted her and put in an offer at asking price that was accepted. But then we got a look at the lease. It was terrible. And around $200 a month below market--with 3 dogs to boot. And it was for multiple years. The home inspection revealed some issues as well so I made a counter offer--asking price but the owner would finance. IIRC, I was going to give them a pretty substantial down payment and pay a fair interest rate--a very generous deal. They passed on it. If I were doing it again, I'd have made another cash offer of 72% of the asking price (that's what my numbers indicated when I calculated ROI--in reality even that probably would've been high). They probably would've rejected that too.

After a few months they took it off the market. In July, they listed it again, around $17K higher than they'd listed it in 2019. They'd extended the same bad lease to the renters. They lowered the price. Twice, IIRC. Ultimately they got 80% of their asking price.

I forget the point I was making with this. I guess, be realistic when you're selling real estate. And when someone makes you a fair offer for a property that has problems, rejecting it will only leave you taking a similarly bad deal a few years later.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
You're not supposed to not particularly like your dead Mom. I mean, unless she beat you or molested you or something. But I don't particularly like my dead Mom. It's not her fault. She loved me as much as she was able to. And she probably saved my life when I was 3 or so and stumbled into a beehive on the ground by my grandmother's house. But dang...

[DISCLAIMER: Icky medical stuff to follow]

One of the products of her upbringing was that you didn't talk about anything that is going on between your knees and bellybutton. She was amazed and mystified that I was able to buy maxipads when I was taking care of her during her cancer. But that isn't the point. The point is that my butt has itched since I was a tween. Burning, itching, cracked dry skin. Would wake me up in the middle of the night to go down to the medicine cabinet for lanolin hoof creme. It got so bad that at some point I told my Mom about it and asked to go to the doctor. But again, you don't talk about anything going on down there, so nothing came of it. I learned to cope with it over the years.

Then, at some point in my early 30s, I made the mistake of walking in a college gym shower without any flip-flops and got athlete's foot. Later, when I started riding a motorcycle, I started wearing mostly leather above-the-ankle boots. And when I was living in the Pacific Northwest and got a dog that required 2-3 hours of walking every day 7/365 I had fungal infections of my toenails that, after around 5 years of fighting, it looks like I just might beat.

Somewhere during all that a lightbulb went on. I'd heard radio ads for treatments for "jock itch." And as an athlete in school, I considered myself lucky to never have suffered jock itch and pitied the poor bastards cursed with it. And as I dealt with my foot fungus and the itching and burning and dry cracked skin I realized I'd basically had jock itch for about 3/4 of my life. Who knows how different my life could've been if I didn't have a mother with hangups about talking about the crotchal region?

I also had allergies as a kid. I moved out. They cleared up. But when I came back to visit they'd come back. Coming home was largely miserable. A lot of this is because my Mom never ever ever, to my knowledge, changed a furnace filter. And to save money on heating she had an opening on the dryer duct that vented dryer air into the basement (albeit through the end of a nylon stocking, but still....). And she never ever ever vaccumed. And if she did, it was with a vacuum she'd had since the early 1980s. I mention this because I hate my 10 year old vacuum. But technically it still works. It works as shittily as it ever has, but it hasn't broken. So I kept using it. But the last time I vacuumed, I had miserable respiratory problems. Runny nose, itchy eyes, hacking cough, waking up in the middle of the night, struggling to breathe--a lot like when I'd visit my parents' house. And the lightbulb went on. Bought a new vacuum last week and the problems have gone away a bit.

I've been too busy with work and the vacant rental to clean weekly the way I'd like, so I'm still snifflying a bit, but I'm pretty sure I figured out a big part of the problem.*

*Although I think part of it is my body has an allergic reaction when the seasons change, until it gets used to the current assortment of allergens in the air.
 
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