Monday, April 30, 2012

Money ain't for nothin'

Man, the government doesn't mess around. When they want your time, they're not shy about it!

I spent the morning and part of the afternoon today at the local office for the Texas Workforce Commission, attending a mandatory orientation of their services plus two additional seminars. I then came home to another 2 1/2 hours of filling out more data on the Work in Texas website (making a total of 3 1/2 hours spent on it so far). With about two hours left in my "workday" I took a break to eat some prunes (yes, I like prunes. Get over it) and decide what to do next.

After flushing the toilet (because I was on "break," not because I ate prunes) I decided to get back to my writing and give Texas some alone time.

Lucky for you!

Tomorrow morning I will go down to another government office, the warm and fuzzy Social Security Administration. Because I do not have a social security card. 

Never have had one.

Didn't need one.

For my I-9 forms for new jobs, I always used my birth certificate, and then later my passport.

In fact, it's illegal for employers to demand a social security card. You only have to show one proof of work eligibility, and it does not have to be the social security card.

BUT, we're dealing with the government. (I mentioned that, right?) In order to apply for help with schooling (the surgical technology program), I must present either a birth certificate or passport, PLUS the social security card. 

Not either-or. Both.

For exactly what purpose, I have no idea.

The way I see it, either I'm an American citizen having been born here and having a US passport, and therefore being eligible to work here, or not. And that's the rationale for the aforementioned federal I-9 rule.

Ironically, the program in which the state pays for job training is actually a federal program, the Workforce Investment Act. Yet the state doesn't have to follow federal law in administering the federal program.

Well, no one I know ever accused the government of being either logical or efficient, much less operating within the law!

So tomorrow I get to go down there and waste who-knows-how-many hours at a federal agency in order to meet a state requirement so that I can get a federal benefit. Say that ten times fast!

By the way, today's seminars were given by actual teachers, not random bureaucrats. Well, they may be bureaucrats...they're just not random bureaucrats. So, thankfully, the 5 hours went by pretty smoothly and even included a few laughs. (Who knew bureaucrats had a sense of humor?) Since the prospect of finding a job in this economy is daunting for many, I must give the bureaucrats at this particular state office (the ones I've encountered so far) credit for their knowledge, good humor, and willingness to help.

And they didn't even know they were being reviewed! Five stars and two thumbs up!

Whew and yawn...tired and sleepy...need nap...must...stay...awake.

Wow, looky there! Quittin' time! As a former coworker of mine would say, "Yaba daba doooooo!"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

For want of a horseshoe nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost. 
For want of a shoe the horse was lost. 
For want of a horse the rider was lost. 
For want of a rider the message was lost. 
For want of a message the battle was lost. 
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. 
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

This ancient proverb has been going through my head the past few days. Only this is my actual version:

For want of a box of dryer sheets my ziploc bag is lost.
For want of a ziploc bag my laundry card is lost.
For want of a laundry card my floor is lost.
For want of a floor my organization is lost.
For want of organization my sanity is lost.
For want of sanity I'm lost.
And all for the want of a box of dryer sheets.

When I moved into this apartment, the complex gave me a card which is used instead of cash in the laundromat. Within a few months I (or one or more of my cats) had misplaced the card. Eventually, after repeated unsuccessful attempts to find the card, I slinked into the office to get a new one. It cost $10, plus whatever amount I wanted to put on it. Sigh.

Cringing my teeth, I wrote the check.

Since one of the prominent traits of my ADD is the inability to keep up with things unless they have a definite home, I came up with the brilliant idea to store the laundry card with my detergent and dryer sheets. I put the dryer sheets and the card in a gallon-sized plastic storage bag. Even closed tightly, the bag emanated the distinct scent of flowery-rainy-cottony freshness. Now, I thought, there's no way I'll lose it. And even if I do, I'll be able to find it by the smell alone.

I haven't done laundry in about seven weeks.

Except about two loads I washed in the bathtub.

And I don't even have the fresh scent of the dryer sheets to stuff in my not-quite-dirty-enough jeans.

I live alone with my kittehs, who are absolutely rotten and too smart for their own good, but I doubt they were able to hide the gallon-size bag with the dryer sheets beyond my senses of both sight and smell. Although, it is possible, I suppose, that they shredded the bag, scattered the dryer sheets under some furniture, and rolled around on them until the smell was thoroughly dispersed, and then disposed of the shredded plastic. And, somehow, they did this in less than one day, on a day I happened to be out of the house long enough for the particular chemical changes to occur which would render the evidence undetectable.

Nah. I must have buried it under something else by mistake in my decluttering frenzy.

Oh shoot, decluttering! I wonder if I didn't accidentally throw it away! That's what I get for getting organized. See? This is why I don't clean. If I didn't clean, I'd still have a laundry card and therefore would have clean laundry and a clear floor and I wouldn't have to clean.

Yes, I admit it. I have a problem. But I'm not messy. I'm just domestically challenged!

Friday, April 27, 2012

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

"To be, or not to be..."

No, wait, someone already wrote that. Let's try:

"Call me Ishmael."

Nope. How about:

"Once upon a time..."

Um...not just "no," but...well, you know!

But I digress. (Really, how many trite literary references can I include in this, my first blog post of My New Normal?)

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Stardate 2012.03.15. Commencement of maiden voyage of USS Self-Employed across the known universe. Mission: to seek out new opportunities, explore strange new worlds, forge new alliances with unknown entities, and not get eaten by aliens.

Thus far, my voyage has been nominally successful, at least as far as not being consumed by undernourished extraterrestrials is concerned. Everything else? Well, let's say it's a work in progress. Yeah, I'll go with that.

Seeking out new opportunities: I've applied to countless job postings, even had a handful of interviews. What I really hope to do is to finish the certification program in surgical technology that I began a few years ago, and THEN get a job. Let's hope the State of Texas agrees with my goal.

Exploring strange new worlds: I've decided to finally write that book! (Yes, really.) I've joined a meetup group which examines authorship for fun and profit from the perspective of, well, profit! I'm currently in the process of dissecting literature which targets my market (young adult), choosing a main theme and plot, and developing my characters. In this vein I've read two thoroughly engrossing books, Daniel X, Alien Hunter: Game Over (by James Patterson and Ned Rust) and The Scorch Trials (second of The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner), both of which I plan to thoroughly analyze and plunder over the next three days.

Incidentally, I have written a tentative first chapter. But since I'm not yet sure where the book is headed, no, you can't read it.

Forge new alliances with unknown entities: I'm so excited that I've found a concrete way to be involved in music again! I've attended several rehearsals of the Dallas Women's A Cappella Harmony Group, for which I will audition next Wednesday,  May 2, 2012 to become a regular member (really, really hoping I can fool them into thinking I can sing!).

These are the milestones thus far in my journey- aside from various and random brushes with harm and destruction, plus a few other networking organizations which have dared to cross my path. If you've read this far: seriously, dude, you need to get a life!

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of, "Career Trek." Same bat-time, same bat-channel!