Author Archives: Mush

About Mush

I want to be a veterinarian because I love children.

Money and credit, poverty and fees

September 12th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Finance - (0 Comments)

In which I have rejoined the regular people.

Once upon a time, I was married.

My spouse, who said, “You don’t have to worry about money. We can always get more money,” and whom I believed, talked me into quitting my job. And then he quit working himself, so we lived on my credit cards for awhile (because he didn’t have any credit to live on, because he’d never filed taxes and basically didn’t exist).

Then, because there wasn’t any money coming in, well, some bills stopped getting paid. And some nasty collections agency took fifteen hundred bucks out of my checking account [illegally] and there was nothing I could do about it because I was broke and legal counsel ain’t free.

Shortly after, for various reasons, the marriage ended. Interestingly enough, although money is one of the top reasons for failed marriages, it was buried pretty far down on my list of reasons for leaving. I was exhausted by being miserable; being broke was merely icing on the cake. It’s not like I hadn’t been poor before. Only this time my debt was actually the debt of two people, one of which wasn’t going to help me pay it off.

I cashed out my tiny little 401k and drank heavily for a year.

When I surfaced, I tried to open a checking account. Nope, you’re listed at TeleCheck. Can I open a savings account? No, no, you can’t.

So I got a pre-paid debit card. It cost $1 to $2 per transaction to use it, but you can’t survive without some sort of bank account. Eventually I started paying the $69 annual fee instead of the per-transaction fees. And I just resigned myself to being poor forever.

Because when you’re below a certain line financially, everything costs money. Far more than it should. It costs money to use a debit card, it costs money to cash checks, it costs money to pay bills. Once you’re a certain level of poor, you pretty much stay there unless someone pulls you out of it, because you’re charged for transactions that are free for everyone else simply because you’re poor. I’ve paid hundreds if not thousands in “poverty fees” in my life and I know that being poor is expensive.

Well, that $1,500 judgement that overdrew my checking account and basically destroyed me financially was over seven years ago now, and I’ve paid off most if not all of those bills. So on a lark I applied for an Amazon Rewards card. And I was approved! AND the card came in the mail with my credit score, which is now, mysteriously, almost 700 printed on the letter.

Which means I now have a free checking account with free bill pay, and a VISA card that pays me from 1 to 5% just for using it. In short, I no longer have to pay for the right to use my own money. I get paid for using my money. Even though I’m no different today than I was two years ago, except I actually have less income.

I’m now one of them; and the only reason for this is that I haven’t had to pay rent since 2005. All those years of paying off my marriage’s debt and having zero revolving credit has made me a good credit risk again, even though I have very little income, and have historically earned very little. Which is to say, companies that extend credit? After all this? Still don’t give a shit if they ruin you by giving you too much rope as long as they get their fucking fees out of you.

Luckily I’m old enough now to have conquered most of my avarice; I won’t be buying things I can’t afford with my nifty new credit card. And I’m glad that using my own money is not not only free but earns me rewards, but I think it’s fucked that I spent most of the last decade paying for the right to spend my own paycheck.

Charging the poor for being poor is nothing short of evil. Especially since most of the poor are there not because they deserve to be, not because they’re ignorant or lazy or sub-par, but because they just don’t have someone to help them up over that invisible line.

Greed, I believe, is absolutely the worst of sins because of the endless misery it causes in the world.

In which I complain about things I don’t like. Because I’m spiritual and restrained like that.

Finance

I spend a lot of time on Amazon.com. I just do. I’m a Kindle owner several times over, I like ordering stuff online and not having to deal with stores or people or shopping, and it’s just convenient.

Recently while looking over the contents of my cart (I always keep things in there, but rarely actually buy them) I clicked on the AMAZON STORE CARD banner ad they’d been feeding me for the last year or so and applied.

In less than three minutes I had an account with an $800 limit, and thereby learned that while my credit it still so bad I can only get an $800 limit, it’s healed enough since the divorce that companies are now willing to give me credit again. Neat.

I had absolutely NO intention of using the account, not ever, because I didn’t need it and I’d read in the comments that the interest rates and fees were high.

Shortly after getting this Amazon Store Card account I bought an ebook from my Kindle Paperwhite and, noticing that my phone didn’t ding with a text from my debit card carrier, went into my Amazon settings and set my regular card as the default. (Amazon had automatically set the store card as the default payment method. I didn’t want to use it, so I set my regular card as the default. I know I did this, because my next ebook purchase shows up on my debit card.)

Well, Amazon set the store card as my default payment method again all on its own and weeks went by before I noticed, because I’m often not within hearing distance of my cell phone when I buy an ebook.

Today I closed the card. I ended up paying $120.72, all told, for no service whatsoever — merely for “financing” some ebook purchases.

Fucking usury. This shit should be illegal. I could bitch at the account carrier, but I did charge those ebooks and I didn’t make the payments my acceptance of their terms and conditions said I would. And I could bitch at Amazon, too, about being charged fifty bucks for nothing, but they didn’t charge me the financing fees and they’d just look at their logs and say, “Well, it shows here that your Amazon Store Card was set as your default payment method between those dates, so we’re sorry for your trouble,” even though I know their software set the card as the default. Twice! Both times without my desire or permission!

Adding insult to injury, the previous month I had opened a Paypal debit card at my brother’s recommendation. And I closed that shit, too, as soon as I realized it was going to cost $59.88 a year just to have the thing, whether I used it or not. Basically I had a Paypal debit account for a couple of weeks, never used it, and paid five bucks in fees.

The job market

Have you read any job listings lately?

Holy shit. These people are insane. There are companies who want to pay ten bucks an hour for contract work, even though working from home means the contractor has to buy and maintain her own equipment, pay her own utilities, and file complicated taxes. Who the fuck would contract for ten bucks an hour! It’s absurd.

Then there’s the jobs that say “Part-time receptionist” and start the third paragraph with, “In addition to Sales, the receptionist will be expected to attend local trade shows…” Because on what planet is reception a fucking sales position? Is it the planet where the receptionist also has to be an expert at bookkeeping? Not, like, “Sure I can do basic bookkeeping,” but, like, they want to pay somebody ten bucks an hour to be a receptionist AND literally file the company taxes.

Then there’s the “Make $1500 to $2000 a week being a massage therapist” postings. You merely have to be, and I quote, “easy on the eyes.” Because we don’t hire no ugly whores, yo.

I just went through all of the part-time postings in the Minneapolis area for the past two weeks, and over 80% of them are bogus. Not because they’re not real jobs, but because they want skilled workers to work shitty schedules for $8.25 an hour.

These postings wouldn’t exist if people weren’t desperate enough to actually take these jobs.

I applied to the contracting one, of course, but in the last paragraph of my cover letter told them that their pay rate was a pipe dream and that I was applying anyway in case they wanted to get in contact with me after their other applicants turned out to be disappointing. Because sometimes, people just need to be told.

Shit schedules, shit environments, and shit pay: this is what most part-time job descriptions contain. Is it truly impossible for, say, a grocery store to offer regular schedules? Is it written somewhere that these places have to have random scheduling? Is it further written that people working that hard and in such uncertainty and discomfort should be paid too little to survive on, and also that all such companies must instead spend that money on expensive anti-employee theft training modules? Why does reading multiple job placement ads give one the impression that companies really think people don’t mind utter scheduling insecurity? “Must be available weekends.” “Prefer applicants with open evening and weekend availability.” “The hours for this position are M-F but the successful applicant will also be available weekends.” Because we want to pay you nine dollars an hour to have absolutely no personal autonomy whatsoever.

Jesus Christ, things are fucked UP.

All I want is a part-time office job. I despair of ever finding a part-time office job. I guess I’ll just start looking for full-time work so I can be depressed about that, too, because I fucked up and decided to not be “easy on the eyes” or have an advanced degree in accounting, so I can’t make two grand a week or nine dollars an hour.

In other news, I’ll be working all weekend again. Which means I haven’t had the luxury of sleeping in with the man I moved two thousand miles to live with in over a month. And yeah, I’m pretty mad about it. You try being 45 and finding a job that isn’t either full-time career path bullshit or Walmart greeter. It sucks, lemmie tell ya.

Recipe: Easy Salsa

August 5th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Recipes - (0 Comments)

In which I was out of salsa but, believe it or not, had all the following ingredients on hand, so I made some!

Easy Salsa

Salsa

Ingredients
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
1 small onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 small lime
3/4 tsp. ground cumin

Method
Add all ingredients to a bowl or pot and blend with your trusty immersion blender until desired consistency is reached. Loosen with reserved tomato juice, if needed, and just drink it or pour it out if not.

Add salt to taste (most canned tomatoes are salty enough, so you may not need to) and refrigerate.

You can reduce the amount of jalapeno if you don’t like heat (or even omit it altogether and substitute a pinch of cayenne or three). The salsa will get warmer as it sits and the jalapeno has a chance to blend.

Optional: You can also add 1/4 c. of chopped cilantro if your boyfriend isn’t a hater. You can also also simmer this salsa to smooth out the raw taste and then cool and refrigerate.

Recipe: My chai

July 30th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Domestic Goddess | Recipes - (2 Comments)

In which there are a million chai recipes, but this one is mine.

Kitcheree and chai

My Chai

Ingredients
3 c. water
2 c. whole milk
3 black tea bags
2 whole cloves
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground true cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3 Tbsp.jaggery, or to taste

IMG_20140730_123223Method
Add all ingredients except jaggery to a sauce pan, bring to a simmer, being careful not to let it boil over and make a mess of your stove. Reduce heat and cook for about five minutes. Stir in the jaggery.

Strain and serve hot in large mugs. Enjoy!

Notes: For whatever reason, I rarely have ground cloves, so I use whole ones. If you have ground cloves, do use a pinch of them instead.

You can also use a chunk of fresh ginger, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks rather than ground versions of these spices, of course. This is just what I typically have on hand in my kitchen. You can use brown or even white sugar, but jaggery is so freakin’ delicious it’s totally worth finding some. If you don’t have access to an Indian grocery you can order it from Amazon.

In which it really doesn’t matter where you go, because there you are.

Recently, maybe within the past couple of years, the Inner Guru appeared. Or maybe, to put it another way, I became capable of delving into mySelf enough to hear what the seers tell us has always been there. Or by the Guru’s grace — certainly not through my own merit or work — I’ve gotten enough dust off the mirror.

I have no idea how this came to be, but there it is. I can’t even describe my wonder and gratitude nor how utterly close and familiar the Inner Guru is. It sounds exactly like my own thoughts, it just knows shit I don’t, and regularly, if I’m sincere about wanting to know, dumps very large, entire concepts into my skull too subtle to be codified in language. I’ll just be riding my bike with questions about how and why and what for, and BOOM, there it is: I now know something I didn’t a moment before. It’s heart-breakingly loving and sweet and awe-inspiring and miraculous, and other times I forget completely about it. Because I’m human. Which is to say, my ego is still ascendant enough to make it impossible to sustain the wonder that will eventually destroy it.

I work retail in a gigantic industrial building with concrete floors and beeping forklifts and cutting equipment and horrible lighting and multiple incoming lines that ring incessantly. It’s a mile away from my apartment, over a giant interstate overpass not really designed with pedestrians in mind, and I often have to walk both to and from work, as well as untold miles inside the building each shift. I’m in my mid-40′s and my feet never stop hurting and don’t seem at all inclined to acclimate to my non-desk status. My bicycle has a flat tire and I don’t have access to a compressor — well, I do if you count that gas station a mile away in the opposite direction, but I’m not inclined to walk the thing that far to fill it up only to discover it’s a fast leak.

Anyway, I’m being scheduled more hours than I want and my feet hurt and the roads are scary and indelicate and the job is loud and indelicate and I’m exhausted all the time and my brain is buffeted with noise and the ugliness of modern American values and my ego is all up in this trip about how much I’m suffering and how I’m not comfortable and not getting what I want but truth be told I actually like the job when I’m doing it and a lot of the people seem really great and there’s climate control and anyway you have to do something and I’m working on my humility and getting to serve and I’m trudging my tired aching body down these sidewalks on my way to a job I don’t want to go to that’s just going to make me more sore and more tired and more wiped out from the sheer volume of input and I’m spinning around and around in my head just trying to solve this whole suffering thing because it’s not lost on me that these are truly first world goddamned problems and finally about halfway across the overpass in the hot sunshine and choking exhaust I just give up and ask, “How the fuck do I feel better? What do I do?”

And the Beloved within promptly replies with, “Sit here [and on "here" there's the indication of the heart center], and let the organs of perception and action operate themselves.”

Sit in the heart and witness. Let perception and action do themselves. There are, after all, entire laws of nature that define their behaviors. You are not them. They are not you. Let them do what they do. Understand?

Well, yeah. I do. Sort of. I do know that. Or I know about that, which is not the same thing, of course. I’ve read the Gita dozens of times, in as many different translations. But I still don’t know what the fuck the three gunas really are. Or what my dharma is. I mean, lower-middle-class white chick who drinks and sleeps a lot can’t be Dharma, can it? Even in Kali yuga it seems unlikely.

And so I’ve been trying to do that for a couple of weeks now. Trying and trying. Trying to figure out how replicate that spacious, contented silence I experience around Amma, thinking a lot about dispassion and what it really means, trying to quit bitching at my boyfriend about my feet and my fatigue and irritation at being scheduled 35 rather than 20 hours a week (because I really do believe you should treat your lover better than the strangers that are your customers and coworkers), trying to step back from my identification with and habit of having preferences that are, essentially, random and irrational. Doing japa and trying to serve and trying, just trying. And suffering at the jitteryness of it, like a radio station out of range, at my inability to not feel so sorry for myself.

Remember Ram Dass? That book Be Here Now? I bought a used copy at Powell’s Books when I was in my early 20′s. It was even signed. I enjoyed reading it, and kept it for a really long time because I thought it brought me some kind of importance, having a signed copy of Be Here Now, for fuck’s sake, but really my main takeaway from it then was that drugs are okay and you need a guru but you’re not cool enough to, like, go to India and find one, because you’re provincial and you didn’t go to Harvard like all these LSD trippin’ Western devotees. I have no idea what I might take away from it if I were to re-read it now, beyond nodding energetically at the part where he says the guru comes when the devotee is ready. Hell, I’ve still never gotten to India, but Mother came to me.

Well, Ram Dass is still writing and still pointing the way, even after a stroke. I bought Polishing The Mirror and read it and the advice to just sink into Self, to just keep gently coming back when you lose your shit, reminded me of something really important. Mainly that YOU ARE NOT DOING WELL, LITTLE SEEKER, WHEN YOU ALLOW YOUR EGO TO CONGRATULATE YOU FOR STOICALLY ENDURING YOUR SUFFERING. You’re not purifying, you’re not burning karma, you’re just feeling smug that you have decided — because that’s what happened, you decided — you’re miserable and you’re not bitching about it. Is this really a good use of time? Of your life?

And today I had to get up earlier than I wanted to, and when that irritation started I just sank below it, didn’t judge it, just sat in my heart and let it be. And my feet still fucking HURT but instead of thinking “my feet hurt” I just observed that there was pain and that it was okay and I didn’t have to engage my ego in having preferences about it, I just let it be what it was. And I kept gently returning to the heart while doing my morning stuff of coffee and eggs, and didn’t get involved with the whole OH MAN I REALLY DON’T WANT TO GO TO WORK AND I’M TIRED AND MY FEET HURT AND I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME THAT I CAN’T GET A JOB MORE FITTING FOR A 45-YEAR OLD TECH WORKER, even though I certainly tried to get involved, oh fuck yes I did, habits die hard, and I sat in the heart while walking to work and didn’t do the martyr thing (much), and the weather was gorgeous and I nearly got lost in the flowers I don’t think I’ve ever even seen before in front of that giant Alianz building even though I’ve walked down that long block dozens of times. And at work I tried to see the souls inside the humans I interacted with rather than the meat.

And it was much less tiring. I mean, my hips and feet still hurt, but I’m just letting that exist rather than investing in it. It just is. And I came home and took a nap. And I have the next two days off to be quiet and NOT WALK TEN MILES IN SIX HOURS. And I had a few moments of really deep light and love, just walking around in the biggest of the big box stores doing my little job/doing my little practice/being here now/sitting in my heart, witnessing, letting the organs of perception and action operate themselves.

I mean, it’s not continuous, but it turns out you don’t try to do it, you just Yoda that shit. When you realize you’ve stood up, SIT BACK DOWN. IN THE HEART. That’s it. No judgement.

There are some great meditations in the book. There’s an expansive meditation that’s really great (reminds me in part of the original IAM technique), and the one on the breath I’m doing like japa, of course, because I rarely ever formally sit for meditation but tend to just do the techniques that attract me while engaged in activity, which Ram Dass actually discusses — maybe some of us just are spiritual debutantes by nature. I mean, it’s never been lost on me that it’s better to dig one deep well to get the water rather than a hundred shallow ditches, but I’ve never been able to want regular formal practice even though I would self-describe with utter sincerity myself as having been applying practices in earnest in non-formal ways at least since I meet Mother, if not long before (albeit in stumbling, sophomoric ways). I even ask Mother every year to help me keep a formal practice, and the desire just doesn’t arise.

But years ago I prayed to always be reminded to do japa, and my prayer was answered. There were many, many little nudges to do japa. Now it goes on by itself half the time I’m awake. It’s often going when I drift off or wake up. I also have a little thing I do to sort of… wipe thoughts away, but I don’t know how to describe it. It just occurred to me at Amma a couple of years ago, and when the mind-thing is just freaking out and chattering and not being at all useful I can wipe it clean. It’s often only for a split second, but that’s better than nothing. Especially when your head’s being a jerk.

And now I’m going to go drink wine and read period romances. Because I’m human. A human being, and a human doing. Dying the cloth, dying the cloth.

Om Namah Shivaya.


UPDATE: Here’s something I found today on meditation, and maybe it’s not always sitting with the eyes closed and the spine straight:

Fried foods

July 14th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Food | Whining | Work - (2 Comments)

In which there’s a snack orgy for Sunday dinner.

I worked all weekend, of course, because nobody gives a shit that I MOVED TWO THOUSAND MILES TO HANG OUT WITH THE GUY I LIVE WITH AND NOT TO WORK AT THE FUCKING HOME DEPOT. Working evenings and weekends sucks.

Yesterday evening my beloved came to pick me up from work at seven and then suggested we grab dinner from Chipotle since our coupon was about to expire, and that way nobody would have to cook.

As we were standing in the always-bafflingly-long line at the closest Chipotle restaurant, my beloved pulled out his phone and proceeded to show me a cheese and jalapeno samosa, which led us both to agree that we could sure go for some delicious Indian snacks…

…and then we left the line and drove to the Indian food store, where we bought five different kinds of frozen Indian snacks and two kinds of chutney — coconut and tamarind — to go with the mint chutney we had at home.

Then we came home and I fried a huge plate worth of samosas, pakoras, tikkis, and kachoris and we ate them for dinner. Indian snacks are fucking amazing. India’s been snacking for thousands of years and they have that shit DOWN.

And Oh. My. God., the aloo tikki is a puck-shaped tater tot stuffed with super spicy lentils and it’s AMAZING. Especially with mint chutney.

Oh, hey, I got Monday off.

July 7th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Life - (1 Comments)

In which there are unrelated things in a list format.

1 – Since blogs are dead anyway, I’ve returned to a klunky old theme I liked. I know it’s dated, but I’ve been blogging for 12 years or some shit and I can pull it off. I’ll probably never change the theme again.

2 – I made dal makhani yesterday, for the first time in my life. It was a project twelve or more years in the making, because I’ve loved the dish since the very first time I tasted it in an Indian restaurant in Fairfield. Urad dal, for the record, takes forever to cook.

3 – Snot. Ugh. #summercold

4 – I’m still applying for jobs whenever I’m home on a weekday. I hope the Universe decides to give me a nice, decent-paying, part time gig during normal business hours, because this retail bullshit sucks.

5 – I’m fuckin’ old. It’s so weird, the things my mind and body are doing these days.

6 – Our neighbor, Nita, gave us a plate full of homemade fried chicken and catfish!

7 – I want a coffee grinder but there’s basically no room left in the kitchen cabinets for adding additional items. I wish I’d followed my instinct and bought that funky $20 shelf thing from Goodwill that one time: it would have made an excellent microwave stand/cookbook storage/kitchen sideboard thing.

8 – I need to get my hairs did. Badly.

Shitty summer cold

July 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Health | Work - (0 Comments)

In which there are germs and self-pity.

Last night around eight I started to feel really icky. By ten I was passed out under three blankets on the bed. By twelve-thirty my beloved was force-feeding me Alka Seltzer cold formula. (Orange flavored and nasty. Like angry Gatorade.)

This morning I felt awful and called in sick to work. They were bummed because I was scheduled to close and they’re eternally understaffed, which is apparently deliberate and part of the business ‘model.’ Now my next check will be even shorter than it always is, because I make poverty-level wages. All of this sucks, but most of the other service desk associates have already called in sick on me, and I actually am sick, so I guess it’s a wash.

My throat itches. My sinuses hurt. My body aches. I’ve decimated a box of Kleenex. UGH, SNOT. Weirdly enough, my sense of smell is annoyingly strong and everything stinks. I thought I was going to have a fit when the grounds were mowed this morning and the scent of fuel wafted in through the open windows.

It’s beautiful outside. Green and mild and fantastic. Really gorgeous. And I have a malady better suited to October! I’m a huge baby and I want my money back.

I’m tired but can’t sleep. I’m hungry but feel too wiped out to cook. There are pans in the sink that need to be washed but the idea of standing there for 15 minutes makes me woozy. I want a mug of tea but there’s no milk. Somebody shoot me: I’m clearly made of stupid complaints.

My beloved came home on his lunch hour to check on me, and I only have a cold. He’s awesome.

I guess I’ll go try to read on the couch for awhile. Ugh. COLDS.

The only tomato soup recipe you’ll ever need.

July 1st, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Recipes - (0 Comments)

In which there’s THE BEST tomato soup recipe ever. You’re welcome.

There’s a recipe for homemade tomato soup online that’s written very strangely. It has half the necessary tomatoes and six times the olive oil and it confuses the hell out of people. I’m posting my adaptation of that recipe here, because prepared this way it’s my favorite tomato soup recipe evar!

Tomato Soup

Homemade Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

1 28 oz. can chopped or diced tomatoes
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 cups broth (I use water and a Knorr bouillon cube, but you can use chicken broth)
1/4 c. white wine (I just use the cheap boxed pinot grigio usually in my fridge), optional
1 large bay leaf, torn
1 tsp. dried basil
2 tablespoons butter

Procedure:

Preheat the oven to 450F. Strain the tomatoes, reserving the juice, and spread them onto a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

I don’t know if the roasting step is crucial to the deliciousness of this recipe or not, because I’ve never skipped it, but I do know it’s a good way to warm up the house on a chilly day. (I imagine you could roast the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic along with the tomatoes and skip the whole sauteeing step, below, but I’ve never tried that either.)

In a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic and sautee until softened.

Add the roasted tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, broth, wine (if using), bay leaf and basil. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the butter and stir until thoroughly incorporated.

Remove the bay leaf. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until very smooth. Return to low heat until desired serving temperature is reached, adjust seasonings as needed, and serve in warmed bowls.

Optional: For cream of tomato soup, reduce the broth by half a cup. Stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream after pureeing and reheat gently over a low flame.

My feet hurt so so so bad, you guys

June 18th, 2014 | Posted by Mush in Gadgets | Love & Marriage | Work - (0 Comments)

In which standing is apparently much healthier than sitting but it hurts like a bitch.

While I really enjoy my new job as I’m doing it, my feet hurt, the pay’s lame, and the schedule is horrendous. Don’t even get me started on the noise and the horrible lighting and the concrete floors, or the fact that everything is a three-minute walk from the service desk.

I miss my old newsroom gig. Wonderful hours, a pay rate that wasn’t an insult, and a feeling of accomplishment. Not to mention the relative calm and quiet of the office itself.

I honestly can’t figure out why people who are smart enough to do the service desk job in the first place stay in it for so long when the hours, environment, and pay are so comparatively bad. One of my co-workers has been there for fourteen years, I think she said. Maybe she’s making thirty bucks an hour by now; I don’t know, but there’s no other reason to be there. I mean, the people really are great, but I’ve worked a lot of jobs and there are great people everywhere.

So, in a nutshell, my 20-to-29-hours-per-week part-time job is now 35 hours a week (HEY GUESS WHAT! YOU’RE P/T BUT LOL YOU WORK NEARLY F/T AND HAVE NO BENEFITS!) with weird, unstable hours, and my man and I have been eating restaurant crap for lunch rather than homemade food because I don’t have the time or energy to cook.

I ate lunch at a Panera the other day. Naturally I expected it to be a total carb explosion, but there was sugar in the dressing they used on my goddamned sandwich. The next day, I grabbed salad bar from the grocery store and though I avoided their sugar-laden salad dressings and used vinegar and oil instead, there was sugar in the fucking cowboy caviar! Why does a bean salad need fucking sweetener added?

“Not having time to cook” these days is basically identical to WORKING ON MY CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE because everything is fucking toxic with sugar and various other hidden refined carbs. It makes no sense. There’s sugar in the canned tomatoes we bought, and in the canned black beans. There’s sugar in the Paul Newman’s salsa. What the FLYING FUCK is wrong with the food industry? I’m pudgy because I keep eating potato chips and making bechemel sauce; I do NOT need sugar added to everything else I eat.

Anyway, the weather has been milder than I expected. It’s warm and humid, yes, but not as swelteringly hot as I thought it would be by now. I hope it never goes any higher than the 80′s. That’d be perfect.

Home

We’ve had tons of rain, though. Lots of spectacular storms with thunder and lightning and hail! Half the state is under water!

My Kindle Keyboard up and died last week, so I treated myself to a replacement Paperwhite. I love it! Amazon makes such cute devices with such adorable operating systems! (The Paperwhite syncs to Goodreads, though, which offends me. Amazon should have partnered with the far more legit and nerdy LibraryThing. Word.)

Kindle Paperwhite

The person I live with is wonderful and amazing and fantastic. I’ve literally never been happier. He’s the best thing ever. (He’s working too much lately, too. So grateful we’re taking 4 days off next week to go see Amma in Chicago next week.) I love love.

New Crocs

There were random flowers in the living room when I got home from work yesterday, and my man had done the dishes. Best partner ever.

Flowers