How I spent my Labor Day Weekend

I spent it making the rounds at local retail and service job establishments.

Applying to a pet store; I tried a local restaurant and pizza place; there is a “help wanted” sign in the window.

He told me they are not hiring. “Is this for you?” I said yes. He said he’d keep me in mind.

I cannot believe I am doing this. I can’t seem to catch a break with anything office. I told you all that I am convinced they don’t want anybody smart or anybody with any clue of a brain. I can’t figure out why nobody’s said yes.

I need money and I need it now and I may wind up begging these establishments to let me work there.

Did something i never thought I’d do

I did something I never thought I’d do: go to somebody in authority in my town to see what he can do about my out of work situation.

He told me there were no jobs, just crossing guards and other more or less day workers. He referred me to social services – I only went because he asked me to go.

This was a big sacrifice of dignity and pride: I have lived here my entire life and I own a home and I am “pretty well known”. It is still a smallish town and lots of people still know each other.

She told me to apply for foodstamps and that I could use the food pantry. She told me there were a lot of people in town with homes that are on foodstamps. I don’t see how. This town doesn’t have a “poor section” — it’s mostly middle and upper middle class homes and a fair amount of condo developments. I don’t know how many people are subsidized or section 8 but anyway — that is what she told me to do.

She is in charge of “finding jobs” for the townspeople. I had no idea she was given the task; the last person who had the job was the woman who never called me after I left her my resume; long story with that and I got into a battle with her because she didn’t call me. I guess that makes me a terrible person. Ha. Who cares.

My situation is compounded because a sibling owns this home with me. (for the record: we did not purchase this home, unless you want to count the $1 we bought it for from an uncle) Curious chap; 54 years of age going on 12. He has never grown up. He lies constantly, he tells stories and when he’s caught in his lie, he screams at you because you’ve found out the truth and he does not like it that you did.

He has been trouble for years.

He does not live with me he has the apartment upstairs.

He also has not given me his half of the money for property tax, homeowners insurance or the water bill and has not for a good 6 years. The payout stopped when he wanted to apply for Chapter 11 and that never happened. That payout stopped in 2007, right around the time I started that job.

He works retail and I told him years ago – at least 8 years ago — to get a better job because there is no way he can keep up with expenses on this home on a shit per hour and commission.

He’s had his car repoed twice – when he had the other car – and his credit is so bad he pays $350 a month on a shitbox. He’s in debt up to his eyeballs (I know how; don’t ask) and 6 years back he wanted to apply for bankruptcy. Don’t ask me about the war I got into with him over that one. He’s had a chronic (and pathological) spending problem. I don’t understand how that is — despite the enablement, the both of us were taught how to save a dollar. It never worked with him.

He’s got a problem and a spending addiction. This is heavy shit and I am in the middle of this disaster. And I don’t know how to get out of it.

He has not paid me money for taxes or anything we share expenses on (homeowners insurance and water) for about 6 years. This is all up to his unemployed sister to pull the load and hold the damn bag. He’s a baby and he’s got zero character. How dare you do this to somebody.

We grew up without a father and he’s been stuck at emotional age 12 since chronological age 12. I don’t know if it was the fact it’s no father in the house or my mother enabling him when she was still alive or what, but he’s a mess and I cannot stand him right now and I do not wish for him to live here any more in MY HOME. How dare you leave me holding the bag and not give it a thought.

Everybody from classmates to teachers to the school principal has used a key word to describer him: baby.  The principal expressly said that to my mother when she went to the school for a conference. And you know a conference with a principal is bad news indeed.

PECULIAR CHAP, as I have said.

As you can see, I have my hands full. I don’t even know where to go or what to do.

I asked social services if I could get help with keeping my health insurance. She said no. I asked about other expenses – big deal, chick: I already knew about calling the gas and electric’s special number to get assistance with paying that invoice.

The last 2 interviews I had was last week. No great shakes. One place was paying $15 an hour; I knew this was a hole in the wall so I dumbed down my resume and sent it — I asked for $18. Maybe the owner doesn’t like the fact that I asked for 3 bucks more and that’s why this place was a no.

And forget the other place. This was the outfit where the guy who interviewed me abruptly lost interest at the 3 minute mark; I was kept 10 whole minutes.

I tried to get a therapist/counselor 2 or 3 years ago; no luck and no success. Maybe I will see what my health insurance carrier has in the way of therapists or mental health people. I can’t take this anymore. We could lose this home — I was told by the guy in authority that “they don’t just take a home away from you; it takes a long time.”

Really? In 2011 we were behind 4 quarters and in November I got a nastygram from the tax collector telling me that if I didn’t pay up the whole 9 grand by the middle of December the house would go up for auction. Gee, I guess he doesn’t know that. (Sarcasm here)

the only thing that will save this mess for me is a job offer like TODAY.

OR for me to win a big big chunk of change totaling a couple of mil or more in a state lotto drawing.

OR for a former employer to rehire me or for somebody who interviewed me in the past to call and offer me a job right now.

This is a mess and a big one. I don’t know what to do; time is running out. The guy in authority said he’d speak to tax about not having this place go south? Sure. I’ll bet that can happen.

I have a sinking financial situation and a nutbag of a brother to boot.  If this place goes down I will never ever speak to his ass ever again.

There has to be a way for me to recoup the money he owes me — I am going to contact an attorney to see if I can’t sue him and/or have his wages garnished.

In the past I have been told the only 2 options to get Bro out of my hair are Buy Him Out and Sell The Home and Part Ways and move on. Neither is possible and neither is an option.

I am tired of having my bank account drained, tired of his lack of character and tired of being the good time Charlie that’s footing all the bills here, all because he isn’t finding a way to pay what he is supposed to pay.

What’s happening here: I am being taken advantage of. He can go and get a job on his mornings off and his days off — and use that money to help pay what he owes. OR better yet, yeah, he needed to get another job when the getting was good.

“A Shot across the Bow”

About  a week ago, so we’ve been told, the Syrian government deployed chemical weapons against its own people in several villages east of Damascus, killing several hundred.  On Monday, our Secretary of State, John Kerry, looking like an unshaven bum in his expensive suit, called it a ‘moral obscenity’ deserving of American military retaliation.  (And this is the same John Kerry who ran against Bush for President in 2004?)

Why don’t I believe this narrative?

I’m reminded of the runup to the Iraq war in 2002, when we were told that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world, when it seemed clear enough, even in 2001, that we were looking for a pretext to fight Iraq so that the younger Bush could avenge where the older Bush had wimped out.

We’re against the current Syrian government, when we were OK with them until a couple of years ago.  We’re now arming the ‘rebels,’ some of whom belong to al-Qaeda, which, I thought, was the enemy.

President Obama now proposes ‘a shot across the bow’ to send the Assad regime “a pretty strong signal, that in fact, it better not do it again.”  Perhaps that’s meant to be reassuring, but I’m not reassured.

A literal shot across the bow is a warning measure (not intending to accomplish actual damage) taken against a warship in a context that makes that ship a legitimate target.  Obama proposes cruise missile strikes against Syrian military installations to actually destroy them: if that’s not an act of war, I don’t know what is.

Last year, Obama indicated that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be a ‘red line’ that would trigger severe consequences.  So now either the narrative of last week’s attacks is true, and we need to follow through on our word and retaliate, or else visibly wimp out; or the narrative is fake, and we’re setting ourselves up for another pointless military adventure.

I don’t believe that even President Carter would have been that stupid.


The failed economy continues: in hock for alimony…

and lots ot it, in this gent’s case.

To recap: he had a job at a brokerage house and once made over a million a year but then he lost his job and exhausted his savings paying what is a small fortune in alimony. 100K a year, to be exact.

I don’t boo hoo this guy. A million in salary these days is nothing, especially if you live in the area I live in. You need a 50K a year salary to afford even the most meager of apartments!

I have a friend who is divorced. she and the xH have 3 kids.

They were divorced about 15 years ago.

He paid child support for awhile and then he got the fantastically great idea to pay for an apartment in lieu of child support. He got the okay from the courts and then that’s what he did: paid for an apartment.

But then he lost his job and somehow for nearly a year until he found a job — and not one as good as the one he had; he is in IT — he STILL paid for that apartment. The rent isn’t cheap: it’s about $2500 a month, maybe a bit more.

The gent who is going to jail PAID what he owed, for as long as he could. To me that’s a show of character. That doesn’t count for anything if you owe child support.

That child support needs to be “revisitied”. Christ knows WHY she needs such a large sum of money. Send the kids to a public school, calculate the cost for their expenses — school, docs, dentists, clothes and lodging and food — and readjust it. 20 grand a year would be more like it, not five times as much!

CBS? What’s That?

For the last three weeks, CBS (Channel 2) has been unavailable on Time Warner, the local cable TV provider for much of New York City.  Not a problem, I said to myself: if I actually want to watch a CBS program, I’ll dig up the antenna that I last used when Sandy hit and the cable went out.

It’s been three weeks now, and I still haven’t hooked up the antenna.  I also haven’t felt the need to try to watch CBS over the Internet, although I understand that CBS has blocked access to its television programming on its Web site for Time Warner customers.

Yup, they’re really that useless.

In fact, there are only two programs that I watch on the broadcast networks anymore: NBC Nightly News, because I feel I have a duty as a citizen to see the mainstream media take on the world (not that I necessarily believe it anymore), and America’s Funniest Home Videos, on ABC, because, well, it’s funny.  There are a couple of favorites on the cable networks, but the only show that I make it a point to watch is Ice Road Truckers: when that finishes in a few weeks, I could probably give up on television entirely.

My wife mostly watches the half-dozen Korean channels available on cable.  Much of the programming has English subtitles.  (I’m ashamed that, after being married twelve and a half years, I can still only say about ten things in Korean.)

The other night, we watched a documentary about a railroad line.  The video takes us from town to town, interviewing people along the way: the athletic young couple traveling cross-country on bicycles; the old ladies who live by the station that recently closed, who watch the trains go by; the local market that’s not as busy as it used to be because the young people prefer to shop at the supermarket.

It’s sweet, and it’s human, and nothing like it is on American television.

I’m sure that Time Warner and CBS will make up at some point, and Channel 2 will be back on cable.  After all, in the fall, it isn’t a proper Sunday without NFL on CBS.

Or maybe they won’t.

I don’t care.

Dr. Bob

I first met Dr. Bob as a college intern in 1981.  I was pretty sure what I wanted to do in my life at that point, but the internship served to confirm what I had already believed.

Dr. Bob ran a series of classes in the technical minutiae of my craft.  Before I joined the group as an employee, I had the opportunity to take two of the classes at once.  I found I couldn’t quite manage that (even as a 23-year-old, one’s energy is not infinite), so I stayed with the more advanced class, which Dr. Bob himself taught.

When I joined the group as an employee, Dr. Bob was my boss for about a year.  From him I learned how to be professional and have fun at the same time, in a business which is deadly serious.

I left the company, and then returned in the 1990s as a manager.  Dr. Bob was still there, this time as my subordinate.  We worked together on a number of projects; for several years, I taught the classes he started.  He retired from the group in the late 1990s, but stayed busy; I looked forward to meeting him at professional gatherings.

About two weeks ago, he passed away.

I normally don’t bother with funerals, but in this case I had to make an exception.  Moreover, his son had called me, asking if I would attend the services.

The funeral was last Wednesday.  When the church service began, I shut off my phone, resolving to live in the moment until I was back on my way home.

His son and daughter told the story of a man who had lived his life in full.  He had faced cancer a few years ago: he lost weight but came back looking better than before.  More recently, he faced another serious illness: he could have accepted the treatments, which would have precluded many of the things he loved to do.  So he spent a last, peaceful few weeks at his summer home: the alternative, to him, would not really have been living.

One of Dr. Bob’s friends read a quote from Walden:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life….

I was not as close to Dr. Bob as many of those present, but I knew that this was how he lived his life.  It seems so different from the modern trend of pointless thrill-seeking under the banner of ‘You Only Live Once.’

We went to the cemetery, where we tossed back a shot of whiskey and said our final goodbyes, and then to lunch.  Dr. Bob loved oysters: his son, who made the arrangements, made sure that we had plenty.  I had interesting discussions with Dr. Bob’s son, his in-laws, and some of his friends.  I was surprised, though, that I seemed to be the only person from Dr. Bob’s professional life who showed up.  (Many of them had visited at the wake, but none at the funeral itself.)

Perhaps the others were too busy.

But you make time for the things that really matter.

Where do they GET these people?!

Here’s another reason why the hiring process is shot:

Because of what companies permit to answer the phone in their facility.

Why is it that every person I’ve spoken to about a job that’s open in their company is rough around the edges, rude, cannot communicate or just YUK?

You can tell this is an uneducated bunch.

Put 2 and 2 together: if this is what’s getting the phone, this is also what will be HIRED. I have never seen it fail.

How can we win, really? HOW?

When one loses hope forever

I am feeling down tonight but no I am not suicidal. In fact this isn’t about me at all but the sad reality of what happens when people lose hope.

On Friday night there was a train crash near my house where someone was killed by a train. I had heard so many rumors about this one from the person was okay to they died to everything in between. I then heard that yes the person was killed but also heard everything from being a kid to an elderly person. Being that this was in town and being there was no car nearby I wondered if I knew this person.  This was on Saturday when I heard about the crash and on Monday I got some horrifying news. Monday night I got an email from the head of the American Legion group I am active in and turns out the guy killed was someone who was active in the group like me. We spent a lot of time together and I really liked him because he was cool. I didn’t agree about his politics (he was still a huge Obama fan)or his religious views (he was atheist)but liked him. Often me, him and Fred A-Stare (I love that)the guy I am interested in would hang out after events.

Turns out what happened (or what I have heard so far)is he was living with his sister because he was long term unemployed and had a hard time finding a job. He did freelance artistic work but couldn’t find a full time job doing this. Him and his sister were fighting and he was planning to move in with Fred and his mother because they have an extra room. However last Friday he got drunk and got into a fight with his sister. He happened to walk outside as the Amtrak rode by and jumped in front of it. For a few days they couldn’t even identify him but eventually they did.

I am stunned even now. When I first heard about this my first thought was about Fred because he has been depressed lately and last week got a DUI. This guy was not the one I would have chosen to do this which makes it worse. I am waiting find out when the funeral is happening and yes I am going. I hope he finds the peace he never found here. I know he was bitter about being unemployed but I figured he would get over it and continue to truck on. Sadly he will never have a chance for things to get better.


You Haven't Signed Yet

Today is President Obama’s birthday, and over the last week, the Obamoids have sent me about a dozen messages urging me to sign the President’s birthday card.  I’m creeped out: it seems something more fitting for a country with a Dear Leader, rather than a President.

*          *          *

My birthday was last Thursday, and for the last week, my bank’s ATM has greeted me with ‘Happy Birthday!’  As far back as I can remember, one had to supply one’s date of birth when opening a bank account: I’m not wondering how they knew it was my birthday.  But I question the wisdom of displaying a birthday greeting on an ATM.  Some people don’t want to be reminded of their birthday.  For my part, it’s not really upsetting, but it’s creepy in a Big Brother sort of way.

*          *          *

Why are we giving foreign aid to Egypt?

We’re broke, after all, and we have a law that says that a government that has perpetrated a military coup is ineligible to receive foreign aid.  And regardless of whether we believe the Egyptian military was right or wrong, the fact remains that a military coup has taken place.

Senator Rand Paul pressed the issue in the Senate.  His proposal was defeated, but what’s telling is why it was defeated.

Aid to Egypt is essential, we now understand, because if Egypt is sedated with foreign aid, it will be less of a threat to Israel.  Then again, if we don’t help the Egyptians, maybe the Russians will.

Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain argued, “This is a question of whether the senator from Kentucky knows what’s better for Israel, or if Israel knows what’s better for Israel.”

Of course Israel knows what’s best for Israel.  But Israel has no inherent claim to American tax dollars.

Or do they?

When bad things happen to bad people (or ha ha my former employer is getting it)

I often mention I worked for a corrupt company but rarely mention the name. The obvious reason of course is I don’t want trouble but screw them I am revealing everything now. The name of the company is Metra. Many of you probably don’t know about this organization but everyone in Chicago does as they are the government run railroad commuters use to get to and from the city to the suburbs.

I have mentioned before that I was abused and bullied constantly but what I rarely mentioned is that the HR was a “friend” of local politician/minister/race baiter James Meeks. This guy is a horrific person and just look at some of his comments online, such as making racist comments. Remember the whole Rev Wright comments? they are tame to some things he has done. He’s also close friends with the Jackson family (the politicians, not the music icons). It was intended that members of his church Salem Baptist would take over my department and sure enough it happened. My boss was fired, and so were me and most of my coworkers. The psycho nutjob of HR Gail Washington told me she intended to ruin my life and she sure did by making up stories such as claiming I beat her up which was weird because it allegedly happened on a day I wasn’t even there.

So yeah to say I have no love lost with these nuts is an understatement. I still believe I lost jobs because of them. It also changed me from a Democrat to a Libertarian because I saw all the waste such as lobster dinners while they refused to pay non union managers what we were worth (though union subordinates were paid more). A couple of years ago the CEO Phil Pagano killed himself by jumping in front of a train instead of face a jury.

This brings up to today. Apparently the new CEO Alex Cliffords (never dealt with him)quit because he didn’t like what was happening in terms of the hiring process, such as incompetent people with political clout. Apparently speaker of the house (and should be in prison)Michael Madigan was getting people jobs and according to some articles someone was paying off people. The board is being asked to quit and there is a lot of things going down. The thing is I have known this for years and no one paid attention to me. Just one article of many. 

I often wonder what would have happened had I taken one of the other two jobs I was offered at the same time. One of those jobs was at a top public relations firm in Chicago that tends to promote from within and the person who took the job got promoted to a vice president position and maybe that would have been me. The other was teaching communications at a local college (incidentally where the Bears train)and that was closer. I can’t guarantee I would have liked either job but the people who ended up taking the jobs I turned down both were there for years (not sure if they are now). Instead I go on interviews for garbage jobs where I have to explain my situation at Metra and have to lie a bit (which I hate doing).