In the ten weeks I’ve worked at HoH, I’ve had a few upset customers. I’ve even had one that Lóng Nǚ¹ pissed off even worse, causing us to lose her as a customer forever. But I think this one might have been beyond the pale. (Fortunately, I don’t know this woman’s name, so I don’t have to worry about getting in trouble. And the way she treated me tonight, I don’t care if I do!) I’ll call her Latina Bitch, or LB for short.
I’ve seen LB before. She came in a few weeks after I started, mention she’d worked there for fifteen years and greeted Lóng Nǚ warmly when she brought out her food. Not so, this time. (LB didn’t even come in…she sent someone else. But when she called to complain, I knew it was her because of her accent and the way she trotted out the fact that she worked there for fifteen years.)
I’ll spare you the inane chat that usually brings us up to thing point (yes, even complaint calls involve a few traditional lines from each party) and bring you right to: “There were only two [teriyaki] chicken sticks in my order.”
“Only two come in an order. How many did you order?”
I don’t remember her response, but I think she said something to the effect of, “I remember when four chicken sticks came in an order.”
“I sympathize,” I said. “When I was a little girl, six potstickers came in an order. Now there’s only four.” (Lóng Nǚ has slowly decreased the number over the years…it didn’t just jump from six to four.)
She then complained that the person she sent after her food was told “fifteen to twenty minutes” and had to wait an extra half hour. I apologized, saying that it was only Lóng Nǚ and I working and we could only go as fast as the cooks would let us. I told her that we only had two cooks, as our prep cook had quit two weeks ago and hadn’t been replaced.
“That’s not the customer’s problem!” Blah blah blah, something about needing to fix things…blah blah blah, “I worked there fifteen years”…blah blah blah. (I’d directly quote her, but I honestly can’t remember what she said. Nor am I entirely sure I heard everything in the first place.)
So I went straight to my go-to line: “Do you want to talk to [Lóng Nǚ]?”
“No. I tell her what’s wrong every day!”
(Awkward ending that closes with me hanging up on her.)
Squeal tires on pavement² for a moment. You worked for Lóng Nǚ for fifteen years. You know how she is. You also (must) know I’m a hostess. Exactly what do you expect bitching at me to accomplish? You know I can’t do anything for you! Either bitch at Lóng Nǚ or bite the bullet!
The next time she tries to pull that shit (and she just might, if she’s that much of a disgruntled former employee), I intend to say something like, “You know I can’t do anything for you. So unless you’re willing to talk to [Lóng Nǚ], go tell somebody who cares!” and hang up.
(L, one half of a darling, darling couple that works for us, suggested that next time, I ought to hand her over to C. C’s not nasty in any sense of the word, but I’m sure she’d be delighted to take LB down a notch, given half a chance!)
¹ Chinese for “The Dragon Lady” (a nickname more than a few customers have given her!) [Long Ny-eew] I almost used “kunoichi”, which is Japanese for “Dragon Lady” (and also the term for a female ninja), but I decided that since I work in a Chinese restaurant, I have to be linguistically appropriate.
² That’s what my Grandpa Prescott used to say the “stop” on stop signs meant: Squeal Tires On Pavement. Sometimes I use that instead of just saying “stop”.
@TheCrowandPheonix has been blogging like crazy and I…have not.
So. Something must be done about that.
When last we left our heroine, she was embarking on an intrepid (potential) career, the likes of which she had never attempted before.
Yeah. Like that worked out!
I’m not going to go into the details. Too painful. Too annoying. Too…I don’t know…is redundant the right word?
Let’s fast forward to where I’m working at my favorite Chinese restaurant and only have ten calendar days left before I’ve been there a month.
I have a love-hate relationship with my job, but my mom tells me that’s normal. (I figure as long as the “love level” is 50% or better, I’m in business. It’s when it drops down to forty-nine that I’m in trouble.)
I’ll be the first to admit that my boss isn’t easy to work for. In fact, I’d wager that if I hadn’t been eating at the restaurant for about twenty-three years¹ before starting, loved the food, the atmosphere and everything else, I wouldn’t have the “armor” it takes to work for Ms. H. Somehow, even when she’s being strict(ish) or disagreeable, I always seem to know just when to shut up and stop trying to get her on my side. And I know it’s not just me–S quit yesterday, because he felt like Ms. H was nitpicking him to death and even C asked me last weekend if I was okay² after Ms. H was disagreeable about something. (I gather I had [to use something my mother said once], “clouded up” and looked like I was “about to rain”.) But so far, the only tears I’ve shed have been at home, over the stress of the job in general. (I think the bulk of the stress comes from the fact that–in addition to two weekdays–I work Friday through Sunday and even though the weekend slows down day by day, it still tends to wear to me to a frazzle.)
I have a partner, D, for weekends; but D tends to put her leisure activities (especially her boyfriend) over showing up for work, so I’m often alone. (Which doubtlessly contributes to my stress levels.) Ms. H doesn’t seem to care…in fact, last night, she seemed envious of the kind of man D had landed!
And somehow…somehow, in the melee of all the jobs I’ve ever been in, I managed to attract the attention of not one, but two guys! G is easy on the eyes, but quickly goes over the top with flirting–always calling me mamacita, making kissy faces and saying that he loves me. (It’s amazing that some of the other guys in the kitchen haven’t tattled on him/us, to be honest.) About the time he began to crank it extremely high, I noticed F. I’m not sure if F had paid much attention to me before, but I kind of wiggled my way into his good graces. Last night, after I walked out, he actually came out from the kitchen entrance, walked around the building and came to say goodbye to me! I thought he might hug me or even kiss me, but he settled for shaking my hand (safe move!) and asked me for my number. I gave him my cell and landline and told him he could text when he asked, but so far, nothing. (I feel like a lovesick little schoolgirl waiting for him to text. And I’m not even crazy for him!)
I am so good at putting writing projects on hold, it’s not funny.
Last November, I put Breathless on hold for a prequel to The Blessing Way, called Broken Road.
I got tired of Broken Road earlier this year (and was getting frustrated), so I went back to Breathless.
That only lasted a few weeks before I wrote a fan fiction piece called League of Lost Souls.
No sooner had I finished that, then I started the push to finish what I needed for my poetry anthology, entitled Barefoot on the Couch.
Until the other day, I was plugging away on the anthology. I had placed all the accompanying photos, decided which ones warranted notes/explanations, had written the first few notes pages…and then I decided to take a giant leap and release Meet Ophelia to the general public. (I think it was inspired by a dream I had the other night…which kind of gave me fuel for a sequel…but I am so far from that, it’s not even funny!)
About the time I re-uploaded Meet Ophelia and was ready to re-release it, I decided to release Broken Road the way I’d written it, only with some minor corrections and in paperback.
So that’s where I am now…formatting Broken Road for paperback (and later, Kindle) while I wait for my brain to churn out the last few paragraphs needed for the epilogue (or to decide that I can leave it where I was when I left off a few months ago).
That done, I’ll go back and finish Barefoot on the Couch and format that for hardcover and Kindle and publish both of those editions.
Then (and this is only a maybe), I will finally be able to finish my massive revision of Breathless and try to get it to a traditional publisher!
¹ A customer tried to tell me today that I was too young to have been eating at my workplace for twenty-three years. I said, “I’m twenty-six. My parents started taking me here when I was three or four.” (She admitted that I looked about twenty!) When I mentioned that to another customer, she said, “So basically, you’ve been here your whole life.” I’d never thought of it that way, but yes. Yes, I have.
² Not too long ago, after Ms. H said something to me, C had a moment and asked, “What did she say to you?” My (honestly) bewildered reply: “When? Ms. H tells me so many things in one day, I can’t remember them all!”
Hello, hello, hello!
I have a new Twitter follower who is actually having conversations with me (yay!) and has been reading my blog, so I thought I’d write a new post to update on everything…just as soon as I reviewed my most recent entries.
(Sidenote: My new follower’s name is Mari and for about thirty seconds I thought my mother had joined Twitter, since she spells her forename the same way. But only thirty, because my mom would never join Twitter [it was enough of a hair-pull to get her to join Facebook!] and even if she did, she’d have a handle like “HikerLady” or “StorytellerLady”.)
Re-reading my statement of support for the SAG-AFTRA merger, I’m still incredibly glad I wrote it–especially since the merger went through. I don’t know about the National Writers Union (maybe sometime in the next few years), but I’m already pretty excited to join the United Utility Workers of America and I know that if I ever teach psychology one day, I’ll join the professors’ union in a heartbeat.
Book Notes: Broken Road is in development hell and I haven’t gotten Breathless off the back burner since finishing League of Lost Souls. (More writing updates shortly.)
The Top Nine Women I Think are More Beautiful than Julia Roberts kind of started the ball rolling on my crush. I mean, it was already rolling to some extent, but I think that kept my mind on the subject. (And it only took two months after Eric’s first appearance on The Finder for me to sit up and take notice! *headdesk* (Oh, yeah…and I tweeted Maddie that she’s on my list, so she probably thinks I’m a psycho, now. xD )
On Words with My Words: It worked out. I wrote a crappy song and then trashed it. Then I tried not to write poetry and came up with I wish...Despite “breaking up” with Eric (more on that in a minute, too), I’m keeping the poem and it will appear in my upcoming poetry collection Barefoot on the Couch.
Tuesday, I went online and filled out approvals for my background check and my drug tests and received the paperwork for the latter the next day. There was a lot of stuff to sign or look over (mostly PDFs that I saved to read/skim later) and I was even able to submit a picture for my employee ID via email. (I never received a response, so I guess the resolution was alright.)
I had to do a urinalysis and a hair test and the company gave the poor nurse? Technician? about a billion things to package everything up with, chain of custody forms, you name it. And this is all for working in a call center! Funny, I don’t remember it being a quarter of this level of complication the last time I had to do a drug test…but there’s a huge difference between working for Walmart and working for Consumer’s Energy, too.
Mari told me that she’d been reading my blog and that she was sorry that life seemed to be leading me away from my goals. It seems like that at the moment, doesn’t it? I replied that all I knew was that I didn’t want to end up like my father–he spent nearly thirty-five years at General Motors because he felt like he couldn’t leave the pay/benefits/etc. that came with being an employee. (But he also dropped out of community college whereas I have a bachelor’s degree and I’m pretty sure he never cherished an ambition to leave the state, much less the area.) (I can walk to where my dad grew up. It’s a mile away or less. Does that tell you anything?)
But it’s something I can’t give up, either. I’m four months into my twenty-sixth year, I live with my dad (as I have been for the last seven and a half years), I don’t own my car and I’ll all but broke. Conversely, CE is offering me $12.27/hour (with merit raises every six months, plus shift premiums and extra money for overtime–and there is overtime right now), medical/dental/vision insurance, profit-sharing, 401k, tuition reimbursement and having me join my first union. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I call a “big girl job”. And since I lost my first chance at a big girl job last year, I can’t do it again. I don’t know how I can convince myself that I have to stay on whenever it is that I decide that I hate it (and at the best jobs, I usually do), but I have no choice. I’m less than two years away from my ten year class reunion–I can’t not have a big girl job.
To paraphrase my mother, I just have to “let go and let Goddess”. It’s a lot on my mind right now, but I know it’s all part of the gods’ plan for me…just like when I spent time in the hospital last year.
I kind of went crazy over him.
Like “saving a few pictures to my computer and watching every music video he’s ever been in (except that hard rock one)” crazy. (I was even going to clip out his lines from “Smack That” so I could watch/listen to it repeatedly. (Even though I’ve recently discovered that I have his voice memorized.)
But the other day, it finally crashed. And I let it crash publicly:
Now that the sad news is out, I don’t mind shouting: HEY WORLD! I HAD THIS GIANT CRUSH ON ERICROBERTS AND I DON’T GIVE A FUCK IF ANYONE KNOWS! ‘Cause the flame is fizzling…and just when I decided to ignore him and leave well enough alone, Fox announces that they canceled “The Finder”. Great…that will make my recovery a whole lot easier!
(Unfortunately, Finder’s cancellation left three separate cliffhangers; but on the other hand, I have the comfort of knowing that Shadrack will never succeed in forcing Willa to marry Timo!)
When we’re younger, I don’t think we take our crushes quite so seriously. If they’re hot, then we latch on and swoon over them and so on and so forth. But I guess now that I’m an adult, my policy is “if I can’t imagine dating him in real life, I don’t want to have a crush on him”.
Let’s see…he’s vegan, the quotes on his website are confusing (but that may just be the person who wrote them!) and we don’t like the same actors or movies. (I don’t think I’ve seen any of the movies he lists, to be honest.) We probably don’t like the same music or television shows, either. (I know that he watches The Voice based on his tweets…I dropped out after the first half hours of auditions in season one.) Not to mention that he’s crazy as hell for his wife. (Look around…Eliza is everywhere!)
I know whether or not they’re married doesn’t matter when you have a celebrity crush, but the rest of that stuff does–at least to me. I don’t know…I guess just thinking about all that stuff (plus one other thing that I have no proof of validity for) is a turn off.
Oh and one last little nitpicky thing? He never said shit when Finder was canceled. I know he was only on two of the episodes, but come on! Show some respect! Nice to know that that was just a “gig” for you! (This may only be intuition talking, but I bet if Jamie was on Twitter or Facebook and a show he was on was canceled shortly after he was on [Numb3rs comes to mind], he’d say something!)
Mondo revise on Breathless…that’s probably why I’m procrastinating.
I went through what I’d written before and made a new outline (and I hate outlines!) with all the corrections/changes/additions and everything else I wanted to do to the manuscript…and then I started fresh.
But it’s going to be better. I know it.
I’ve been collecting my poetry for a couple of years now. Most of it has been culled from the web (I posted my poems on a few different sites from junior high until halfway through high school), but there are quite a few new pieces that I’ve written since I started the collection. Anyway, it’s called Barefoot on the Couch and I’m getting close to being…okay, halfway ready for publication.
My goal was fifty poems. I have forty written, seven more planned (about the different sabbats, to accompany the one I wrote last fall) and three more to come up with before I can publish. Not to mention deciding whether I want pages discussing/describing the poems, pictures or both. (And all the other self-publishy stuff.) And I’m also going to look into making the move from Lulu to CreateSpace. (I’m thinking of doing half and half–hard copies from Lulu and digital through CreateSpace. That way, at least one version of it is on Amazon.)
When I had “Words with My Words”, I mentioned League of Lost Souls, but I never went into detail on what it was about!
LLS is the first fan fiction piece I’ve written in nearly two and a half years and it’s in the Finder universe. Willa meets a “cousin” who tells her that she was able to escape having an arranged marriage because she was the heiress to her clan. Obviously, LLS strays from the normal realm of “finding” and goes off on a side course to find Shadrack’s missing brother (and introduces his not-so-missing brother) and prevent Willa’s marriage to Timo. I won’t go into detail, because I hope y’all will eventually read it (http://www.fanfiction.net/~JamiesFanGirl is the address to get there), but someone dies and Willa’s ending is bittersweet.
There are times where you have to choose between what you want and what you need. When faced with that decision last year, I chose wrongly and got neither.
I think it was about this time last year that I went to Jackson National Life to take some pre-employment testing. They turned me down at first, but a few months later, I got a call saying that they’d reconsidered and they would like to interview me. I was thisclose to getting a position in the call center (or so I think), but instead of accepting, I started crying (*headdesk of mortification*) because I hadn’t heard back from Pepperdine on whether they were going to accept me into their psychology graduate program. So–of course–since I couldn’t make a commitment, they turned me down.
This year, I made the cut at Consumer’s Energy for a position at their call center (providing I pass the drug and background checks, of course). With starting pay at over thirteen dollars an hour, benefits and hours currently running into overtime (not to mention the possibility of being called in for any and all storms that pop up in the state of Michigan), this isn’t a position to sneeze at. But it comes with a price.
I’m currently registered for three classes–Editing Legal Documents on Mondays and Wednesdays, Paralegal Career/Ethics on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Introduction to Forensic Science online. If I keep my classes, I’ll have training eight hours a day, five days a week (for six weeks); class two hours a day, four days a week (for three-ish months); plus the online class and homework. Between getting up at five-thirty in the morning, coming home at eight and going to bed at ten(-ish), I’ll be a mess. If I didn’t cry (and/or have a panic attack) on the first day of trying to manage that combination, I’d be shocked. So I guess I’m going to drop out of school.
My mother was surprised that I was going to drop out of school, but that I could do what I want. Well, no…I can’t do what I want. School won’t pay my father back, school won’t give me benefits, school won’t let me (finally) buy my own car, school won’t let me (finally) move out. But working for CE will do all that for me. I want to become a paralegal (since all my other career aspirations didn’t work out), I want to move out to California, I want to have the life I’ve always dreamed of; but I can’t. I won’t have time to go to school (working ten to twelve hours a day will certainly put an axe on that), CE only serves Michigan…the only thing I’ll still be able to do is write novels. If I even have the energy for that!
I never thought I’d see the day where I’d have to drop out of school because I can’t go to work and go to school at the same time, but shit happens. Life happens.
…on my sausage muffins…
(Yeah, you know I hate coming up with titles.)
Bet you thought I’d never blog again.
(I was starting to think so, too.)
But I needed an outlet, so this is it.
(I ought to write in my diary, though, too…I can’t tell you if I’ve put anything in there since coming back from Pine Rest.)
Here I am…twenty-six years old and facing the distinct possibility that I will be filing disability before the end of the month. But then I never thought I’d apply for food stamps or be in a mental hospital and here I am…food stamps intermittently for a couple of years now and a week in Pine Rest shortly before Halloween.
I’ve had medical coverage up until this point. Had to borrow money for copays and prescriptions more than a few times over the years (especially last year, being out of work for so long), but otherwise, everything has been okay.
But I’ve finally aged out of the system. The contract that GM/UAW has with Blue Cross states that after a dependent turns 26, their coverage expires at the end of the month (or something like that). UAW offered me COBRA, but they want seven hundred and fifty freaking dollars A MONTH! Isn’t that insane?
I would buy my own insurance, like a big girl…except Macy’s let me go at the end of the year. (I actually worked two weeks longer than I was supposed to.) And I applied for a position selling cosmetics, but I “didn’t have enough sales experience”. (I just checked again last night–there’s nothing open.)
So I applied for Medicaid. At the time I applied, I told the receptionist, “I’m mentally ill. I’ve been in a mental hospital. Do you want me to turn in a copy of my file?” She said no…I’d get a chance to prove my case.
I received a letter about three weeks after I applied, saying that I was denied because I was in the age gap, not disabled, not blind, not pregnant and not taking care of anyone who needed medical care. Plus, they’re “not enrolling right now”.
I called my caseworker and left her a voice mail. A day or two later, I sent her an impassioned email saying that I need my meds, therapy, etc., because I’ll be going back to square one (without the meds, at least) and be back to the misery that started on October 23! I called her again this past Wednesday and she said that the decision wasn’t hers and my only other option–outside of disability–was applying for the Barry-Eaton Health Plan.
So I called the health department and get jack shit on BEHP. I’ll spare you the details, but I seemed to run into a major dysfunction of the phone system. (Only thing I learned was that, as of November, they have limited spots open each month. So my chances of getting in were probably slim there, too.)
I had one more chance (I thought). When I got out of PR, my counselor gave me the name of a group called the Justice in Mental Health Organization and told me they could help me with things that I couldn’t get elsewhere. I called JIMHO after struggling with BEDHD for a while and the woman they transferred me to said that they prefer to stay out of the mess that is Medicaid. If I wanted their help in filing an appeal, that was fine, but otherwise, they’re just there for housing help and that sort of thing.
I was crying by that point. All I want is the continued assurance that I’ll be able to get my medications and survive in this life that I’ve carved out for myself since leaving Pine Rest, but I get balked at every turn. I’m twenty-six. Do you really think I want to file for disability? Do you really think I want to proclaim to the world “I can’t work” (even though I can [as long as I’m taking my medications] and this is actually the only option I have to get continued health coverage)? Even though I keep telling myself, “This is your chance to try to make it as a novelist without having to try to make a living in the meanwhile”¹, it feels like the end of the road for me.
I was all ready to go in and reapply for Medicaid, this time marking the box claiming disability (because that’s what my caseworker said to do). And this time, I was going to go in armed–files from my counselor, a copy of the paperwork Pine Rest sent to her, a copy of the part of my doctor’s file saying she treated me for depression back in June, a copy of the hospital files saying that they treated me in the ER for a panic attack…whatever it took. (Sadly, nothing from my psychiatrist…I’ve seen her “a la carte menu” and it’s something like $300 for her to help you file for disability. And insurance doesn’t cover it.) But my counselor told me that she wanted to discuss it next session, especially since she’s had a lot of experience helping people file for disability. So I wait for Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the thing on top of my mind is school.
I’ve been thinking strongly of dropping out, because there’s no sense in training for a career if I won’t be allowed to work.
But it occurred to me that I might want to see the semester through, because with LCC’s new refund system, I might not get all my money back otherwise. And I want my money…I want/need a new laptop, I want to get my car painted (the replacement hood is red and there are places on the front bumper where the paint was stripped off in the accident), I want to go to the eye doctor next month (and may need to get a new prescription for my glasses) and I go back to the dentist in May. (Among other things.)
As I’ve been working on this post, however, I think I might come to a compromise and drop all but one of my classes. There’s no sense in re-certifying in CPR/BLS if I’m not going to become a nurse, I don’t think I’m getting pharmacology and I don’t think my grasp of microbiology is all that great, either. But I wouldn’t mind staying in Human Growth and Development. It’s a psychology class, after all, and I do enjoy my psych classes. (And I just remembered that staying in class will keep the student loan people off my back, as well. Double bonus.)
I don’t know why I’m hesitating to drop my classes. Even if my counselor helps me get healthcare without filing for disability, I’m still leaning away from continuing my nursing studies. I’d love to practice medicine, but once again, I’m facing obstacles–I think I’m going to fail pharma (either via the math portion [which can kill your whole grade] or via theory…or both) and I’m unsteady on my feet with micro. I’m starting to think that medicine is just like going into the military–it’s something my heart wants, but there are far too many obstacles for me to reach my goal. So if I am able to work, I might become a paralegal instead. Yahoo keeps listing it as a high demand field, after all. (I thought about medical billing and coding, but I’d have to take med terms over again, since I failed them at JCC–and that class was hard enough the first time!)
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the gods have planned for me…
¹ I realize you can get your disability taken away if you work too much/earn too much money, but hopefully that will correlate with me making enough money between advances, royalties and everything else that I feel that I can afford healthcare on my own. Believe me…if I find that I can eventually make it as a novelist, I’ll get off disability…I have no intention of cheating the system.