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Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm officially unemployed

Today was my last day of work at the Firm. The morning was filled with
moderate-high levels of stress as I tried to tidy up some loose ends
and last minute emergencies before leaving. I find stress a great
motivator in professional and academic settings, and I actually work
very well under stressful conditions. So my last morning was filled
with last minute accomplishment, which is a good way to go out, if you
ask me. Then the whole Firm went for a farewell lunch at Ruth's Diner
up Emigration Canyon. Well, the whole Firm except the perpetually
golfing member, who I don't think ever liked me very much anyway.

Actually, it's only been the last month or so that I've felt like I
fit in at the Firm at all. I mean, I'm a great worker, and have always
done a good job, but my personality never quite seemed to gel with the
vibe of the Firm. So while I enjoyed my job on the whole, I didn't
really feel sentimental about leaving.

But this last month things have been different. People would actually
have conversations with me, as if I'm a normal human being and not
some socially retarded freak, which is how I often felt. I felt
misunderstood a lot. Ian says I didn't give them a chance to get to
know me, but I feel like the way I behave toward others reflects the
way others behave toward me, and I wasn't given the chance to make
myself understood.

I don't know what flipped the switch, but I have felt better
understood and less freakish this last month. So now I am a little
sentimental about leaving after all. Also, training my replacement
helped me realized just how much there was to learn at the Firm. I'm
really glad for what I learned over these past three years at my job,
administratively, jurisprudentially, and socially. This job was also
definitely influential in my decision to go to law school, so I guess
I have the Firm to blame. Er, thank, I mean.

Well, I never wanted my job to be a defining part of my life. I don't
think what you do should be who you are. But I guess in a way
everything you do becomes part of who you are. And I'm glad for this
part of me. In the end, I really do feel better for it all, and I do
feel supported and appreciated, like I have some friendly colleagues
rooting for me as I depart on this adventure. And these days where
employees are often little more than a number, I think that's saying
something.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WE HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE!!!

Ecstatic am I.

We have a place to live!!

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Words and onomatopoetics cannot fully express the elation I feel. You would have to see the stupidly unnatural grin on my face. >:D

Our luck is finally turning.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Good to know

This email I received just cracked me up a little bit:

Starting in 2010, the US Department of Education will be requiring significant changes in the way educational institutions collect and report race/ethnicity data. Accordingly, on July 19, 2009, LSAC changed the race/ethnicity designation in your LSAC account.


Your previously reported ethnicity, Caucasian/White, has been changed to the subcategory Other Caucasian/White under the category Caucasian/White. Please log in to your LSAC account to view/update your race/ethnicity designation. Additional categories have been added, and you may select multiple categories.

Apparently my new subcategory of whiteness is "other". Glad we cleared that up. Now if only "practically transparent with a few freckles" were a subcategory.


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Checks, FedEx, and Doctor's Appointments

This entire month has been like a bad John Candy movie. You know, like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, where everything goes wrong for our poor protagonist, and the audience laughs at his pain. I can't stand movies like that. What About Bob? is another offender. I think I'm the only person who hates that movie. I feel seriously bad for Richard Dreyfus the whole time. Everybody just loves Bill Murray, because he's quirky, and lovable, but really, his character is a waste of space that causes nothing but bad ju-ju.

Well, yeah, this entire month it has felt like we're Richard Dreyfus, and Bill Murray is playing Lady Fate who's weaving, plucking, cutting, strumming, and tying freaking knots all up in the strings of our fate. In short, nearly everything we've tried to accomplish this month has gone wrong in one way or another, hence my single sentence month-cursing blog post earlier. I seriously hate this month. What a freaking tool July 2009 is!

Pretty much the only thing that has gone right logistically (and I'm absolutely grateful that it has), is that my loans were correctly certified by my school, and so my finances are handled for this year. Halle-freaking-lujah!

So do you want to hear the stories that have made our month a nightmare? I may have hinted at some of it. You've heard how we lost the first apartment that we thought we had because the moron receptionist of the complex incorrectly told us it was available one month before it is actually available. While infuriating, that could be an honest mistake. But after the ordeal we went through trying to get our deposit check back, I'm convinced that this receptionist is actually mentally deficient.

First off, she sent our $300 cashier's deposit check - which is practically the same thing as cash, since we exchanged cash to get it, and it wasn't linked to either of our accounts - via regular mail. No certification or tracking whatsoever. No way to prove she sent it or anything. And after a week with nothing showing up in the mail, we were getting nervous. It does not take a week for mail to travel from PDX to SLC. We checked the mail day after day, and nothing ever came. Ian was pissed off, and I kept trying to calm him down by saying that they were giving us our money one way or the other, even if we had to small claims court their asses, but in truth I wasn't looking forward to having to deal with that in addition to our move and my starting school. Still, principal is principal, and I was willing to do what it took.

Then, nearly a week since she claimed she mailed the check, and a week and a half since we had asked for it back, the check shows up in the mail. The dumb bitch had written the wrong ZIP on the envelope, and it ended up being routed to Bountiful. At least it was the same state, but god, how irresponsible. Lucky for us the Bountiful postal workers were willing to do a little research and figure out where the envelope ought to be routed. Postal workers are not always so willing. They can be rather disgruntled, you know.

And finally, the waste of space had already endorsed the god damned check. Fuck. How fucking stupid can you be? (Is my irritation comely across clearly enough?) But she sent it with a letter apologizing for everything that had happened, and Ian took the check to the bank with the letter, and the teller had to get managerial approval, but they were able to cancel the check and give us back our money. Which is good. Because, if we would have had to send that check back to that cretin so she could cash it and issue us a new check (which arguably she should have done in the first place), I may have started to launch fiery daggers out my eyes. So furious was I.

Story two. So, we have this other rental that we are applying for. It has been a long time since I initiated discussions with the manager, but I spent the better part of last week freaking out because our applications and application fee were trapped in the death limbo that is FedEx's Adult Signature Required delivery option. For future reference to any of you who use FedEx. NEVER SELECT ADULT SIGNATURE REQUIRED!

NEVER!

I simply can't stress this enough. You won't find this anywhere on FedEx's website (I know, I looked, and if it is actually buried on there somewhere, it is so obscure it might as well not even be there), but when you select Adult Signature Required, you are effectively forfeiting your right as the sender to control anything that happens to your package.

For instance, a married couple manages this new apartment place. The wife was out of town on vacation when I shipped the package overnight (which, might I add, is not cheap), and I knew she would be, but I didn't know her husband wouldn't be around during the day to receive the package. He works, apparently, which is reasonable, but you know how some managers are full time managers, and all that. I thought that was the case. So after the second misdelivery, I called FedEx and asked them to remove the signature requirement. I put it there, after all, so I thought I should be able to remove it. I'm sorry, ma'am, this is an Adult Signature Required package, and once you put that on there, we can't remove the requirement. Fie upon you, wench! But fine, I called the manager and left a message, letting him know the package was in town trying to be delivered. Then I called him again in the evening, and got him on the phone. He let me know he works during the day, and I said, great, I can have it forwarded to your work address. Fantastic, he says. Call FedEx again, get a very friendly call center associate on the phone, and he's extremely apologetic when he tells me that because the package is Adult Signature Required, he cannot forward it for me. Why (the fuck) not? Just can't. If it were Direct Signature Required, he could do that, but not Adult. Well, hell, I didn't know that. To me Adult Signature Required says that if a 7 year old answers the door, you are not to deliver it to him, but to wait for mommy or daddy to come home. It doesn't say Ha ha, your expensive package is now completely out of your control! Ha ha!

So I hung up the phone, sehr frustrierend, and then went to cry to Ian. He thinks, aw shit, they gave the place to someone else, and through my sobs, I tried to explain that it wasn't a big deal, everything was going to be fine, there's just another little road bump. Now I have to call back this poor manager, and explain that I'm a tool, and I have to make him go out of his convenience and pick up the package. I hate making phone calls (telephonophobia, if you recall), so all this has been bad enough, but now I have to make a very unpleasant phone call. So I get my tears under control, and dial the numbers to get it over with. I explain the situation, and am terribly apologetic, and the manager says, it's ok, these things happen, I can pick it up. I'll call you when I have it.

So the next day he calls, says he's got the package, and I am relieved. But now, since it only got to him this Tuesday, presumably they are still processing our application, and I don't know how long it will take to find out if we have a place to live or not. If it doesn't come through for some reason (really, it ought to, but after what happened with the first place, I don't feel secure in betting on it), then we are just gonna go up there and get an extended stay hotel for the first little while. And I suppose, now that I think about it, that I will try to remember to pack my law books in my car, so I will have access to them. Here's hoping we just get the damn place.

Third story. Completely unrelated to all this moving nightmare, but it was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I just can't handle more stuff going awry. So I had a routine doctor's appointment on Friday morning at 11:AM. I arrive at 10:50, check in, pay my copay, and patiently wait in the waiting area like a patient patient does. I even managed to not become irritated when a fellow patient sitting next to me decided to engage in a rather personal cell conversation, despite the no cell phone signs that litter the reception area. I'm a little irritated thinking about it now, but at the time, all was well. So, after a few sessions of Drop7 on my iPod Touch (terribly addictive game), I noticed that people who came in well after me were being called back well before me. Dub-tee-eff? I thought. Then, a nurse lady calls "Sra", and I get up and walk toward her. "Did you call 'Sra'?" I asked.

"Sra Rogerson?" She said.

"No, Sra Tree," I said.

"No, I need Sra," she said, at which point I was about to point out that Sra was indeed my first name (my last name is also a first name, as many people in my life have oh so helpfully pointed out, and this seems to confound people more often than it should, but maybe that's just my intellectual superiority complex showing through again), but I decided against it since I knew she had a different Sra's chart anyway.

Waited around many more minutes. Noticed a sign on the wall that said if you have been waiting more than 20 minutes, check in at the front desk to inquire about the status of your appointment. It was now 11:40. I had been here 50 minutes. Glanced back at the line at the check in desk, which was long. Decided to wait a little longer.

Nurse comes back out and calls Sra.

"Sra Tree?" I ask, standing up, "Sra --- Tree?" I say again. Thought it might help to really spell out who I am.

"Sra Rogerson, is that you?"

"No, Sra Tree."

"I need Sra Rogerson. You are my witness, I have called her, what--"

"--At least three times," I finished. "I wish I would be called."

And she walks away from me, unconcerned with my plight.

I sit down, wait a few more minutes, and then the front desk finally clears. So I approach the receptionists.

"Hi, I've been waiting a really long time, can you tell me what's going on with my appointment?"

"Oh, dear. Were you here to see Dr. Blake?"

"No, Dr. Jay," I said. "The name is Sra Tree."

"Oh..." another receptionist chimes in, "The wrong Sra came back for your appointment, I'm so sorry!"

"Ok." I mouth to her with a pissy smile, and go to sit back down.

"--We'll get you in as soon as possible, I'm so sorry!"

Come on, Sra, let it go, you don't have to cry, come on. So I'm trying to hold it all in. Dammit, I've been all waterworksy this entire month. I swear, I'm not usually so emotional, don't really cry all that much, but it's just been one thing after another, and I'm just so sick of it. I want it to let up, I want whoever is fucking with my fate to leave me the hell alone for a minute! Why? Why is it me this month, who did I wrong karmically?

So luckily they take their sweet ass time calling me back, and I have a few more minutes to compose myself. When at long last I am called, the nurse gives me an apologetic smile and says she is so sorry about this mix-up.

I say nothing in return, firstly because I'm not one to say something is ok when it isn't, and secondly, it may have just caused me to tear up again. I wanted to just get this all over with. We do the weigh-in (status quo - way to go!), take my blood pressure, which seemed a little higher than my usual, probably because I was so distraught, and then she finally left me in peace to wait for my doctor.

Dr. Jay is a really cool guy. He has a way of making you feel like you're not being molested while he's feeling up your boobs for irregular lumps, and sticking foreign objects in your VIP lounge. So, miraculously, I felt better after his exam.

But I still snubbed the receptionist when I picked up my prescription on my way out.

Oh no. You'll get no "It's ok" from me. People always say they're sorry until you say it's ok, because they feel like they need to hear it before they can move on with their lives. But sometimes, it's just not ok.

This month? Totally NOT.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Dear July 2009, Go to Fucking Hell, Yours Sincerely, Sra

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Training Wheels

4:16 AM. Can't sleep. I keep dreaming that I'm at work, training my
replacement, which is what I do during the day, and I'd really rather
not do it at night. It's more exhausting than I thought it would be.
We worked together a couple hours in the morning all last week, and
this week we've been working together full time. Tomorrow's only
wednesday and already I feel like I've worked harder than I do in a
regular full week. So pulling overtime in my sleep is less than
desirable.

My job isn't really hard, there are just a lot of things to know in
order to do it properly, and imparting all that information is time
consuming, and it's difficult to do so in an orderly fashion. There's
the added problem that people learn differently. My brain is kind of
an information dump site. I tend to internalize information very
rapidly, usually remembering things after having been told about them
once, and being able to quickly sort out what information is important
and what isn't. Other people learn better by letting things soak in
over time through repetition. I'm a mental note-taker, and I trust my
brain to retain information I will need, or to be able to understand
what questions to ask should I forget. Other people need to write
things down, not being able to trust their brain to filter and retain
information.

I'm having a difficult time not getting frustrated over these types of
learning differences. I'm trying to be very patient (not a virtue that
comes naturally to me), and I'm trying to cater to my replacement's
needs as best as possible, but it isn't easy. I've made tutorials on
economizing one's efficiency when preparing letters and paperwork,
because there is a lot of repetitive information that needs to go into
those documents, so I prefer to type it once and then program shortcut
codes to streamline repeat typing. It saves enormous amounts of time.
But I'm finding that what is obvious to me is not necessarily obvious
to others, so even though my tutorial is very explicit, it seems to be
creating unnecessary confusion and complexity.

I've also been making diagrams illustrating the big picture of patent
and trademark prosecution. I find that without proper context, it is
difficult for me to function. I need to know the big picture in order
to understand what questions need to be asked. Without a big picture,
things don't make sense to me. I remembber when I started at the Firm,
I spent a lot of time being confused because I was being trained on a
small, uncontextualized level. "When you get this in the mail, you
draft this letter. When this pops up on the docket, you prepare this
paperwork." etc. I wanted to know why. I think the people that
trained me wanted to not overwhelm me with details. But I needed a top
down approach, and details generally do not get in the way of my
understanding, but rather they assist in it. If I knew the big
picture, I would understand what questions to ask.

So now I'm trying to create this big picture for my replacement and I
think it's not working for her. She seems to be more bottom up. "When
A happens, do B." Like a computer. It's just such a different tact
from the way I see things, and I find that hard to reconcile.

We will be working together until my last day, which is thursday next
week, and I think it will be the longest week and a half of my working
career thus far.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Not yet

I've had lots of questions about whether we've worked out our apartment situation yet. The answer is no.

We still have a prospective place that we are applying for, the managers know we are applying for it, they are holding it for us for another week, but the application materials are still on their way. I sent them via fedex with an adult signature required to receive the materials (there is money and sensitive financial information in the package, after all), but so far no one has been home to receive the package when they've tried to deliver it.

I have left a message on the managers' voicemail letting them know it is in town trying to be delivered, but I'm still on pins and needles about the whole thing. I regret sending it via fedex. Should have just risked it with regular mail, since most of the time it gets delivered just fine.

As soon as our ink is drying on a lease, I will let y'all know.

Meanwhile, send a little oxygen my way, because I'm forgetting to breathe over here.



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Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm too HOT for this shirt

I don't like to wear white. Let me just start by saying that. I don't have anything against the color, or non-color, as the case may be. I think white can make people look fresh and airy, and if that's something you'd like to go for, then white is the way to go. But white pants have a tendency to attract dirt, spaghetti sauce, and pen markings, and they also sometimes allow innocent passersby to see the pink and teal polka-dot underwear you've got on. No one needs that, friend. White shirts also tend to attract the aforementioned stains, plus they usually develop an unsightly yellow staining in the pits after several wearings. Finally, I see no way to keep white clothing white, short of washing in pure bleach. So, in short, I have exactly one white shirt, and it's a sweat-wicking hiking shirt, generally worn only for heavy physical activity to keep me cool.

Every other shirt I own, with very few exceptions, is either black, blue, brown, red, or purple. I noticed this fact recently, and decided that I need to expand my color palette, but that's hard to do when you are drawn to certain looks and know that certain colors look good on you. I don't particularly enjoy shopping for clothing and trying things on. Part of this has to do with the fact that clothing out there is not made for normal sized people like me, so most things really don't flatter my form. But I'm also pretty lazy and can hardly manage to get myself dressed in the morning, let alone put on and take off several things in a dressing room.

So anyway, I'm wearing a black shirt today, in the middle of July, no less. This is not an unusual thing for me to do. I don't separate my wardrobe into winter clothing and summer clothing, generally. If I wore white shirts, I'd totally wear one in the middle of winter like you're not supposed to do, according to that labor day rule that no one can ever seem to phrase correctly (because who the hell really cares?).

So I was walking back to my office after enjoying my lunch today, and I was just minding my own business on a street corner, waiting for my light to turn, when this stringy fellow on a bike, balancing an awkward rolled-up carpet on his handlebars, rode up to the curb next to me. I did my best to pretend he wasn't there, because I'm one of those mean people who ignore fellow pedestrians, avert eye contact, and generally behave like they're very busy and have no time for congeniality.

He must have noticed that I was trying not to notice him, because he rode over closer to me, and tried to initiate conversation. "Isn't it a little hot to be wearing black?" He asked, in a rather hickish Luke Wilson type of voice.

I looked at him from behind my sunglasses, raised my eyebrows high enough to clear the tops of the sunglass frames, so there would be no mistake that I was not amused, and mutely and slowly nodded my head.

He shrugged sheepishly, and scooted back over, nearly tipping over from the weight of his awkward carpet.

I got the impression that he had wanted to strike up a conversation with me, because I'm a female, and, hey, he likes females, but he didn't think through the fact that criticizing someone's choice of clothing is probably not the best way to get them to engage in conversation with you.

I'm actually pretty used to being criticized for my clothing and other things about my appearance. "You wear boy's T-shirts," I've been told. Well, if they made girl's T-shirts with awesome designs and a material that won't disintegrate upon first washing, I'd go ahead and buy those. Don't think I don't know they flatter the female form better. But god created sewing machines for a reason, you know. I have the power to adapt boy's T-shirts to a more flattering form. And there are a lot of really pansy and sissy girl's T-shirts out there. There are some girls who have non-lame taste, I'll have you know. Besides, boy's T-shirts aren't really boy's T-shirts. They are generic unisex adult T-shirts. I never even saw a girl's T-shirt until the early 90's. Nevermind that I don't actually remember much before the early 90's, since I was 8 years old in 1990, but I swear back before then T-shirts did not discriminate based on gender.

So the lesson to guys trying to strike up conversations with ladies: I know it's hard to figure out what to say. Most of my social interactions at one point or another involve me staring blankly at someone because I don't know what to say. But leave the fashion advice to Stacy and Clinton, mkay?



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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dear Universe, Why do you hate us?

So you know how I said I wasn't going to relax until the ink was drying on the lease of the apartment that was all but ours?**

Well, I relaxed, and I shouldn't have, because it fell through.

The apartment at our price level, which we were told was ready for an August 7th move in, is now not ready until August 31st, which is well after school starts. But they had a nice $900 apartment all ready for us. Maybe I'd be willing to do it if this place covered some of the utilities, but they don't cover any, so our monthly living expenses would be more like $1100. We can't manage that.

So we asked for our deposit back, and then Ian cursed and threw something against the wall and stormed out of the apartment, and I started to cry while opening up craigslist to start this goddamned search all over again.

Seriously, Universe. Can you cut us a fucking break? I thought we had one less thing to worry about, but now we still have that thing to worry about, and time is ticking out.

I really didn't think it would be so difficult to get a place. This is killing me.


**Scanning down through my recent posts, it seems I might not have said anything about the fact that we found a place, applied, got accepted, and paid our deposit. All we had to do was sign the lease. I remember blogging that I wasn't going to relax until the ink was drying on the paper, but maybe I'm just going insane. I sure feel like I'm going insane. I feel like I could break at any minute.

Update: I'm not going crazy! I did write about how we got a place, but then I only kept it as a draft and never posted it. Weird. Ok, I guess that is a little crazy after all.

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