Sunday, January 11, 2015

The plans so far.

So I am moving.

My budget is less than the last time I took on such a task, this time I will not be hiring movers, even though I had a perfectly good experience with them the one time I did.  Currently I have a Uhaul booked for morning of the 30th, which I noticed after the fact is a Friday, damn it.  However, the current lands lords want the place empty by 1pm on the 31st so being gone and done early is fine by me.

It is only a 10foot truck, but the biggest thing I have to move is the bed and tv cabinet. The TV cabinet is more than able to hold many smaller boxes and even has room for my small book case.  Now I am partly packed, for no good reason, and want out of this dark place.  Come on month, be done with already.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A new place.

Greetings

This week I used my new semi power Decisiveness. The power partly comes from the tattoo.  So lets get back to basics, what did I decide on, a new apartment. I had already committed to moving on a stressful January first morning.  Over coffee I wrote my rent check, pondered, searched for paper, and wrote a short note saying I'm out of here.   This upped the already high stress level.  The first few days were spent collecting links and pondering when the perfect time to follow up on them would be. In the end I decided to just get on the phone at break time and work through a list of best of's.

The accidental winner was actually the least informative add. No pictures, a bare bones run down, third floor, with balcony, pet friendly with an address and rate.  On the map the location was solid.  The add was a little old, and I had serious doubts if it was still good or even if the place was worth approaching.  But enough on the details.  So I call the listed number, and arrange a viewing that evening.  I did not know what to expect, but looking even at a ejectable candidate is important.

The semi power slipped in as I saw the place. Neighbours in only two directions, a balcony with a view of mountains.  The poor mans hardwood, laminate flooring.  Sure the place needed paint it was clear it had just been vacated but it was properly empty so it was easy for me to check a long the base boards and see things were solid. The kitchen a walk through not a galley style dead end, bigger, brighter cheaper.  It dawned on me that this was going to be hard to beat. So I pushed for it.  I credit Lintilla with some of the decisiveness.

A tattoo of a crow accidentally named after a clone from a radio play version of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, is an odd place to get advice from but it works.  When I commissioned and later committed to the design, especially when I committed, I elected to have faith.  Faith myself, trust that I had learned enough to take on a risk and come away enjoying the results. When I spent those 5 long hours having the work done I gained a little something.  At its simplest I am now the version of me that was brave enough to get a tattoo.  Wise enough to choose wisely both the artist and design.   And so that already meaning ladened symbol helped me commit to a hasty move.  It made it easier for me to remember that I already know what I need and want, sometimes second guessing is the wrong thing.

So once again I commit to the second place I visited. This time knowing far more what to look at.  This time I am close to two skytrain stations.  The building is in a part of town less gentrified than others, in other words its a little poor and little more ethnic than some others.  This does not matter, nor is it any much different from where I live now.

The building is as you could expect a 3 story slab that was laid down some time in the 1970s or early 1980's as common as dirt around Vancouver. A couple improvements location wise. As said closer to sky train, but also isolated from bigger roads.  The side street it is on connects a few apartment blocks to a major road.  The other buildings are between me and the thoroughfares.  A marked reduction in street noise will result. Also dampening the voice is the walk through kitchen, the fridge is backed against an internal wall separating it from the living space, this should free me from the death rattle that scares me and my cat.

Now I have a new set of problems. I don't have enough furniture to make the place feel filled. Well I guess since getting a new home was easy, I should turn my renewed attention to hard things to better work.  I can make that place far more of a home.

So in the last week I did a scary thing, and found hope, I would say this is a good outcome.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Hard Things

Greetings.

This post has been fermenting since I decided to move.  I do not like moving, it has costs stress and risks.  It is a hard thing. And as it happens in the last two years I have had both enough of them and been avoiding them.

It is not that I have never done hard things, but too many of the things have been lacking the proper reward to justify the stress.  The last great hard thing was BCIT. 9 months of push push push, learning things that I could barely fit in my brain at pace I could not sustain. That project, despite its slow start was a success that landed me a job that proved to be a poor fit. It had its own challenges but it was a comfortable place.  I coasted there, not wanting to look for new work even as I grew bored and the company contracted.  I did not want to do the hard thing.

For a long while I drifted on EI, at first attempting to gain access to the field I had be let go from before realizing I had not liked the aspect I had worked and had no drive to return to it.  Before the stress be came crippling I retreated to faking it.  Applying even more half heartedly to fewer jobs.  In the end I took work with a Temp Agency because anything to dodge the application process was a win for me.  It was an easier thing.  Needed, but the non routine has become routine. I drift at the edge of nearly full time hours, alter for the next falter.  Choosing to move has upset that.

Electing to move was a decision made a long time ago but neglected. I have a craptastic level of comfort here. Living in a neighbourhood I have known for years, in an apartment of nearly 3.  It is the place I know.  I was holding on to it just, an uncomfortable erosion at my remaining wealth happened every bad month.  I was getting too little for my money and living too far from many of the things that now mattered.

So today I called several places, using the phone is in fact one of those things I find disproportionately hard.  And booked a view for an place at a site I knew next to nothing about from an add that said very little.  Now I don't want to talk about the suite.  If I get approved you won't here the end of it.  Pushing through to meet a goal, to have a clear goal again is something I have neglected.  It becomes easy for me to slip into the comforts of the default forgetting that better is an option.  Yet today, I proved in stepping just a little out of the comfort zone that better is possible.  Though I will not say much about the possible new home I will say, it is closer to all the things that matter, bigger and cheaper.

The cheaper is only a minor improvement, but the better is real. So this leaves me with the trouble should I stay on the path of living solo in a one bedroom, I will have start making more money again. The move will tax things and recovery will be slow.  This leaves me with the need to do a new hard thing, properly apply myself to improving my job prospects.  A hateful prospect in most times of life, but somehow I have to step away from the easy for awhile.

Dear job fairy get me a better wage so I can get more stuff.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A little news.

Greetings.

I got the flu in December. This cost me a week of work. The lose hammered home the fact that I can not afford to live here, my margins are non existent.  Therefore I did the necessary and scary thing.  I gave my one months notice to the land lord.  Consequently I have to scramble to find a new cheaper place.

I always told myself I would have the new place lined up before I gave notice but the sad truth became the cash for doubling up was not going to be there.  This is serriedly overdue and needed.  Though I have been able to cover my rent and bills, other things have been off the table for a long time.  I need to be able to afford fun things, and new shoes and pants.

So the quick run down on what I need. Pet friendly, ideally with in 15min of a skytrain station, with a useable kitchen.  Basement suites are more likely to be in my price range.  I am no longer committed to living in the Commercial Drive, or Hastings Sunrise neighbourhoods, and will gladly consider Burnaby or New West.

It is going to be a stressful month but so have many of the last few, but when the march rent roles around and there is something left, and it takes less the three weeks of my income to earn then I will breath easier.

So Thats the news.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A bad day

Greetings.

At the end of October I took a contract that, turned out to be a better fit for me than most of the work I have done for a long time.  On paper it was going to be three months at nearly full time.  As I am writing this in the mid afternoon of a weekday is evidence to the contrary.  The good news is it is not me.  There has been a slump in the demand for the service and as an expendable pawn I was first to go, typical.  This would sit better if the preceding weeks had came through on their promise of full time hours, but they have been hit or miss.

So once again being whipped around by the economy, leaves me in a mood.  Usually I write around these moods, I don't want to face them, or they suck the urge to write from me.  They go against how come off in public.  To publicly come across as bitter, angry, lonely or depressed is not how I choose to be seen.  I will be silent at home rather than be a burden at other people.  Yet they are common enough that they are part of my identity.

Today I am all those things.  The day began after another patchy night's sleep.  Worse, the day started with no goal, for me so much of what separates a good day from a bad is waking knowing what I am facing.  Or if waking with a few options a day can be ruined by simply failing to pick one, the rest is wasted waffling between choices.  So I awoke largely thinking fuck.  It was very nearly a productive day, I started cleaning, tossed out some odds and ends that cluttered my closet.  The energy fizzled.

A TV Show was watched while eating what would have to be the worst stew I ever cooked, made over the weekend with no plan or attention to detail. Despite getting some protein rich calories in me I still felt underwater.  That feeling you get when you have holding your breath too long and your body is screaming for you to come up for air, that feeling only in my brain.

It is the same impotent anger, at my life that I have seen time and again during periods of un and under employment.  It is worse now, because, I am running out options and ideas.  Commingled with frustration and capped of with anxiety.

Quite honestly I don't know how to get ahead.  Or right now stay where I am.  I want to work, I can work often I can be good at things.  Yet two steps into the process I clamp shut.  As I try to rewrite my resume or send off a soulless cover letter the rage kicks in.  Anger and anxiety at having to do it again, and again, and again.  Doing anything else is better than that.  I don't want to fail that way, but I don't know how to hold myself together while I do it.

Today saw me recycling those thoughts while lying immobile in bed.  A bed in an apartment I have not be properly able to afford since the EI ran out.  An apartment I feel trapped in, because I know moving can be expensive, and the prospect of giving notice only adds to this disabling cocktail of emotion.  

There is a reason why I call it an impotent anger.  It is anger at a life lacks the desired form, but I don't know how to get it bent back up.  It is the anger I have at dictionaries and spell checkers, to have and idea trapped in my head because I can't remember if the word starts with Th or D, and gods help me in trying to sort out the e's from the i's.

An ironic twist as to why I don't often write about these moods is that, as it turns out the catharsis of writing softens them, it can feel hypocritical to change tone halfway through.  Yet this alone is an important reminder, these moods are never permanent, and they can be managed and prevented.  The management is hard right now, underemployment does not cost any less time than the better alternatives.  And right now it is not wrong for me to unhappy about my life.  The trend of each job paying less than the one before somehow manages to continue.  Despite paying off my student loans, am struggling with the rest of my bills.

Once again I default to the conclusion I reached in the spring or summer, I have to move to get the costs down and manufacture some extra breathing room.  Breathing room where a lost work day does not leave me panicking about rent but simply reduces what I can do for fun.

Here then is what I want, a suite nearish to a skytrain line, in a pet friendly house.  Must have useable kitchen.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Better work

Greetings.

I have the day off, this is unexpected and largely unwelcome. However, it gives me a chance to write what I have been digesting for the last couple weeks.  At the end of October, after a month of scares work and excessive spending I took a contract with a office furniture company.  My agent at the temp office suggested it would be close to full time, the pay was better by just a bit than the last long gig.  This is still wages so low that if they were any much lower I might as well be paying to show up.

As work goes it is strait forward. I show up where they tell me to and I move things about.  The previous two days were spent disassembling a cubical farm.  It still remains unclear what you farm in cubicles. The running hypothesis is we are being corralled by dust mights as a food source, as the office is home to tens of thousand mammal days* of dust and dander.  Other variations include riding along with the delivery drivers to help load and unload the trucks.  All simple enough stuff, simple enough that my brain has a few cycles to spare and could almost work on writing projects.

The worse of this gig has been the variability in the hours, often I start around 7:30 or 8am, but have started as early as 6:30am and as late as 9:00am.  The 6:30 and 9:00am starts are the worst. The early starts at the warehouse nearly an hour away without a car. I enjoy an early start but at this cold dark time of year it is too much.  As for the ungodly late start time of 9:00am, I hate it for the simple reasons, I could have started something else by then, and it is very nearly time for my secondus. The late start leads to horrible situation, working past 4:30pm.
 
So I have a far from ideal job that, bounces my hours around, approximates full time, if and only if we don't get the work done too fast.  And yet this is the best work I have done in a long time, why. Because, despite continuing the trend of being a human forklift, I am not confined to a single setting and my role changes some with each day.  There are also things to learn, right now I am a grunt lacking tools and know how, but there are clearly far more things to learn than I saw at my last long running gig.  It is despite its physicality less demanding than the janitorial work I did in May, which still stands as the physically hardest work I have done.  The last thing about this work is that it is starting to remind me of the things I liked in my past work.

My career as a geologist was short.  We had a fundamental disagreement on lifestyle.  One element that I did enjoy was the site visits.  It is genuinely fun to change up where you work and have range of expectable unexpected.  What broke me was a mix of core logging drudgery and living in industrial accommodations.  Now doing site work around the city I find my self thinking, yes there might be more technical jobs around town I could do.  Not that I know what that might be or how to land one if I did.

I still can't afford my life as it is.  Paying off my student loans in the summer stopped the phone calls but did nothing to make life easier in any real sense.  The rent is too high for my crap income, I have very little faith in my ability to increase my income.  Moving was loosely planned to try to shave those costs down to something that would let me creep head in the money department.  The balance of having enough, time, energy, motivation, and money to make a move happen is a delicate one.  The problem is simply it takes a fair bit of money to move, to secure a deposit, acquire movers, and to the other things. Fearing I don't have enough I struggle to hold on to what I have creating the situation I dreaded.  That of treading water, just barely getting by, eroding any surplus when a small problem arises.

So I feel stuck, a little scared and angry at myself.  I knew I should have pushed in the summer to get out of here.  On those days where I am left alone in my head these thoughts build up.  As a habitually solitary creature I seldom get the chance to talk things out, I also dread the notion that I may need to ask favours of people, yet those are things that could help me get unstuck.  In place of talking to people I will write about it.

For a little good news, my cat is losing weight. She had gotten a little too spherical for her own health.



*Mammal day, the authors measure of millimetres of dust created by the average domestic mammal in a day.  Ideally used for describing the capacity of a vacuum cleaner.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hello again.

Greetings.

I have not had a good connection with words lately.  The disciple has slipped, and the habit suffered from long hours and the challenges of self care.  So what has been happening that has kept me from writing.

Lets see, from June to the first week of October I was working 40 hours a week, spending at least 10 hours out of the house to get to and from work.  The nature of the work mattered as well.  For the majority of those hours on I was working on the floor of the warehouse, pulling orders.  This is as dull as it sounds, making rounds with a cart and a checklist harvesting the correct amounts of items.  It is a simple job but it is not fault tolerant, miss reading a 6 digit code could quickly lead to an upset client.  I still curse the R383-004, not once was able to say that code without first saying R838, there were  a lot more item numbers starting with 8 than 3.  That work existed at an annoying middle ground, neither a stimulating endeavour on its own nor so mindless that it freed up the processing cycles that make writing after hours possible.  And so the summer flew by in a state of stimulus.

It was a good summer, one of the few times where I found my brain and body had the resources to spare for regular weekend adventures.  Compared to my years fighting Mapinfo and losing, this work was a joy.  I did not come home with my jaw clenched, thirsty for a beer to loosen it like WD40 on a old nut.  Was I tried when I came home often but it was earned, and the trip home cleared much.

The trip home became its own ritual and reward.  The job site was on a bike trail that lead directly to the Lions Gate Bridge.  Cycling the bridge was not attempted till late July, it was scary at first.  The lane is wide enough, the railings are high enough but it is a long climb, and a long time was spent doubting if I had the energy to pull it off. In the end it became easy, the 15km trip from work to home took no longer than the other options.  Cycling, while fun and a great way to decompress after a workday does not afford the processing time needed for writing.  Perhaps in the right context it could but I spend too much time playing in traffic to live anywhere but the now.

Fast forwarding from July to October, the job that defined normal for 3 months, with its cast of characters, some of whom earned the dubious distinction of donating character traits to my fiction, ended.  This was not a surprise, the company's timeline was largely followed and the demand for extra labour ended at the expected time.  As a Temp worker a gig that long is something thats best savoured and defended, as me four months puts it at fourth or fifth place on the list of long lived jobs.
October started with a fun and mad family visit, and drifted into an uncomfortable and bitter spell of being deeply under employed.  Attempts at writing were briefly made during that time, they were short lived and bore no fruit. It is a bit of a shame I would have liked to have harnessed that mood.

Or perhaps not.  It was an impotent form of anger. Anger at the world and at my body for not being just so.  A temper tantrum at reality.  Frustration at my perennial difficulty of landing a stable job was chewing at me as the calls from the agency did not come.  Useless anger at my body for deciding I should spend a month feeling like I had a bag of rocks suspended in a water balloon where my gut should be.

Things are looking better now.  After a little gentle pressure I got my agent to find me a longer term gig. I have three months of work lined up if all goes well.  The pay is slightly better than North Vancouver job, perhaps I will start braking the trend of each job paying less than the last.  As a near first in my adult life I have a family physician, I don't exactly know what was driving those symptoms but we know enough not to panic.  For the sake of sanity I did not google said symptoms.

As it happened the initial visit to that Dr brought me to another good thing.  As I was leaving the office I took a moment to step on the scale that was parked on the floor, I had not weighed myself since May.  92kg, or just over 200lbs, a long term low, it has been at least 10 years since I have been near there, and inline with pre birthday goals I had.  In the late spring when it dawned on me I would be 35 in not too long, I knew I did not want to face it being fat and lazy.  The notion of recreating the body I had at 24 after a season doing soil sampling was pondered and rejected, as I could neither spend that much time in the gym or afford to eat that much.  The outcome of my current lifestyle is a pretty good substitute, and I am enjoying the feeling of being energetic and powerful.  Form the look of things this contract will only add to that trend, there is a lot of steel in the products I am handling.