The hardest decisions

I don’t know how to tell you about this, or even if I should tell you.

I have your basic American male fear of failure. I would sooner eat aluminum siding than tell you in this WordPress blog of how I have failed miserably. I want to keep my mouth shut. Nobody has to know about this. Nobody wants to know. It would pollute Our Internet to tell of it.

But since there are those who would wonder about me and worry about me, I need to tell about it anyway. I am coming to the hardest decisions I have ever had to make about material possessions and creature comforts and which of these I can afford to keep.

The one that will have the biggest effect on you, my friends, is my Internet service. I cannot afford to keep it. Insight will pull the plug on me in the next few days for nonpayment, and there is nothing I can do about. it.

Another thing that will have a big effect on my locally, is I have come to a decision about my apartment and my car. It’s as plain as the nose on my face I cannot afford both. So, I have chosen to keep my car. I have a feeling I can more easily get somebody to help with shelter than with wheels. I’m not sure if I have made the right choice, choosing car over apartment. I should never have to make such a choice, but I do, and I would feel better once I have charted my course clearly.

By Saturday, I will have done my last work for the U.S. Census. I have not lined up another job to replace it. The unemployment office is having some issues about how much benefits to pay me in light of the inventory job that I work, and I need to fax them a pay stub to prove that I work there. They have held three benefit checks to date. I can’t expect anything from them in the next ten business days.

I’m telling you about this as matter-of-factly as I can, stating only the straight facts. And with that, I must bow out for a moment, and continue to try to do the best I can with what little God has given me.

End of Census NRFU

The Non-Response Follow-Up phase of my work for the U.S. Census ended Tuesday. I performed well at it, and I fully expect to be called back in a week or two for verifying vacant and deleted addresses.

The paycheck I got Wednesday was good, and most importantly, PNC Bank did not find any tiny fraction of an excuse to take any of it. A surprise charge from Intelius People Look-up had me 98¢ overdrawn over last weekend, but I disputed that as an unauthorized charge, and PNC reversed that, and the overdraft fee that it caused.

I agreed to make a car payment to Santander Consumer for Wednesday, and I spent Wednesday chewing my fingernails almost up to the second knuckle. The confirmation email I got that morning had me thinking that the payment would go through before my pay was safely out of that digital limbo called a pending queue. Fortunately, the Santander payment didn’t show up until today.

Sadly, out of work is out of work. There was this career fair going on at the Aladdin Shrine Center yesterday, but I willfully missed that and did two loads of laundry instead. It would be wasted effort to go there with my clothes reeking to knock a buzzard off a gut wagon.

Ooo Shinee is fueled up and ready for the upcoming week of inventory work, and I believe I’m set up well for paying the rent next Wednesday. All is going to plan, and I did the best I possibly could, and got the best I could possibly hope for.

After that? Well, I don’t quite know. Kindly keep me in your prayers.

RGIS and Census

Non-Response Follow-Up will officially end after tomorrow. We’ve been directed to bring back all our questionnaires and binders, done or not done, and report to their office Sunday morning at 10:00. After that, we will begin verifying vacant addresses.

RGIS Inventory, dead silent until today, burped out a full slate of six inventory counts for the week ending July 2. I was thrilled to see this. In confirming my schedule, I wrote back, “Woo-hoo! I’m ready for all of it. Bring it on!”

Ooo Shinee is home

Yesterday, I successfully brought my Pontiac GrandAm home. And it’s looking good. And it felt good for all of three hours. The first thing I did before driving Ooo Shinee home was take the Census placard down out of the rear window. Methinks that placard may have turned my car into a target three weeks ago. I’m sure the folks who made it were thinking of my safety, but you might as well mount flashing lights and a siren on that car for all the good that placard did me. It made me look like a damned Federal government rat.

Having the car with me enabled me to visit all the houses I had left in my clipboard in just three hours. And I conducted enough interviews to cut that number in half.

It looks very much like I’m going to get that two-week furlough that the Census Department will give me before the final push to verify vacant addresses. This morning, I had realized that all I brought home yesterday was an excuse to berate myself for not searching for a new job. Seems I never ever give myself time to celebrate my achievements.

Things seem to be going to plan. Just barely. Keeping a close eye on my checking account—and simulating in a spreadsheet what is really happening to it—has thus far avoided the overdrafts that I saw this time last month.

And I was barely able to squeak out enough money to keep my cable services going. At least I think so. I’ll know a little better after midnight tonight.

Update on Ooo Shinee

I finally got some news on my car that was disabled last Saturday night.

The body shop where it’s being repaired has a special webcam that gives me pictures of  the car as it’s being repaired. As you can see, they’ve removed the bumper, the left taillight, and the left rear wheel. According to Nationwide Insurance, we are at step 3 of 10 in the process of repairing the car, that of disassembling it. The first two are submitting an estimate and getting it approved by the insurance company.

The body shop has given no estimate on how much damage was done to the car in the hit and run collision, but they have given a projected delivery date of June 11.

The next thing I need to do is answer some questions some of you may have about this situation. I was not carrying loss of use coverage at the time of the collision, so Nationwide will not pay rent me a car until then. The body shop does not have loaner cars either.

Next, I shall tell you about some actions that I am taking. I bought a 7-day bus pass for transportation to get me to the neighborhood that I am canvassing for the Census, and this will be reimbursed by the Census Bureau. I am  also actively looking for a 10-speed bicycle to use until I have my car back. The neighborhood that I am working in is small enough that I can service it with a bicycle. Speed limits being what they are, I can’t drive much faster anyway. A bicycle is important because as you complete questionnaires, the remaining addresses you have to service become fewer and farther between and impractical for working on foot.

Well, those are the straight facts about what’s happening. Can’t say anything more without going all drama llama on you and producing dreck that is not fit for Our Internet. Keep me in your prayers.

Ooo Shinee hobbled by hit and run driver

Lately, I’ve been having to deal with a series of overdrafts at the bank that seem to come in a vicious cycle that almost feeds on itself. I even got an overdraft charge even after I spent $32 to put a stop payment on an auto payment. The bank completely ignored it and put the payment through against insufficient funds anyway.

I wasn’t going to tell you about that because moaning about misfortunes like that is simply not good for the Internet. Nobody likes sob stories. Nobody likes pathetic cries for help. Let us have no more bad news about me. Unless I can somehow tell of my own untimely demise and how it saves the human gene pool from blood tainted by utter loserdom.

But this one I have to tell you about.

Approximately 10:00 PM last night, more or less, I heard a loud bang. I got up from my computer and went to the window to see what might be going on, but since there were no voices or yelling, I dismissed it as not much.

Then I tried to drive Ooo Shinee to church this morning. A grinding noise came from the back. I got out and I found this:

A hit and run driver had struck Ooo Shinee as it was parked along the side of Shanley Drive, opening gashes in the driver’s side part of the rear fender.

Gashes in the fender I can take, but take a look at the low-swooping strut going into the left rear wheel. That wheel is horribly out of alignment, and the tire is grinding against the wheel well. The car cannot be driven in this state. The offending driver had to have been clearly over the 25 MPH speed limit to kill the wheel like that.

And right in the middle of a desperate race for the June rent. And I’m still overdrawn. Can you say “Lost wages”? Can you say “deductible”?

You just can’t blame this on my mental illness. Ugh!

Good fishing

Seems like my experimental two-word previous post has not attracted any of the spam bots that I suspect tried to hang over two thousand comment spams to my page that I recently renamed “Security Policy”.

Morphicon got going right on schedule today. I was not there for most of it today. The U.S. Census job is not working out too well. My problem is not one of performance, as you’ll see a moment, but one of showing up to work. I’m way too good at finding other things to do. Case in point, working as a precinct election official May 5, and stopping work early to take myself and two other people to Jewel’s house to assemble convention booklets for Morphicon and stuff them into bags May 9. Yesterday, my Morphicon staff work again trumped my Census work. I had to drive Wolfdog and his puppets and sound equipment to the Holiday Inn Worthington.

He has no car of his own. Funny how he can throw money into that crap and not think of getting wheels of his own. Well, very wroth with myself over how I was courting disaster by not earning enough money over the past few days, I decided to put in a some serious hours of Census work, Morphicon or no.

What the folks at the Census call “efficiency” I refer to as taking your boat to where the fishing is good. And on Alwine Road, just off of Westerville Road just south of Morse Road, the fishing was indeed good. There I filled out questionnaires on two senior citizen residents and talked to a man there who not only lived alone (makes for a fast, easy write-up) but also told me that the houses on either side of him were vacant. Tonight’s haul was nine completed questionnaires to show for 4¼ hours of work this afternoon. 2.12 questionnaires per hour.

My supervisor Heather called it “super”, but I’m not sure she should have. Her bosses are looking for two completed questionnaires per enumerator for every hour of work. My performance today just barely passed muster by their standards. It may not be right to give me a big head over something that is merely adequate.

To make matters worse, the higher-ups are very unhappy with the rest of Heather’s team. They’re ordering us all to work all weekend to bring our collective average back up to the required two per hour.

That’s not going to please Wolfdog very well when the time finally comes to transport his gear back to his apartment Sunday afternoon.