Category Archives: Work

  • Work Update

    Wow, just like that and another summer month is over! Thankfully, July ended on a great note! Sparky’s mom came to get him last Wednesday, and she was so pleased that she wrote me a 5-star review (without me even asking). Woot, woot!! Bubs and I enjoyed a day with Martin solo, and then on Thursday, the German lady brought her long-haired whippet Carla for daycare. In contrast to Bubble Boy, Carla is a breeze. She can go outside unsupervised; she eats everything and anything (she’s a good Hoover to my messy Martin who leaves food all over the floor); no hand-feeding needed; and she gets along with all the dogs we encounter at the park. On top of that, her owner is a serious power playa (the first woman CEO of a German media company and current tech exec) who’s super nice and flexible to boot. Rover is working out great!

    Add to that, a little side hobby/exercise of mine where I research/wonder about the lives of my Rover dogs. So far, every owner has been on the high end, power player side (yes, I look them up on LinkedIn), so I always imagine that their dogs are just living it up in the lap of luxury at home, you know in their hoods of Palo Alto and Los Altos. What do their dogs tell Marty? Do they tell him he’s missing out on the good life?? Haha. I know, I’m a nosy stalker/freak.

    Anyway, the German booked me for two weeks of daycare in August after I return from BlogHer. August is shaping up to be a crazy month. J and I are both traveling a ton: we’re headed to LA next week for BlogHer (he’s just tagging along), where btw, Kdash is a keynote!! Hurrah. I’m curious to see how she comes off as a speaker… Then, Bubs is headed back East to handle matters for his parentals. I’m gonna hit up Palm Desert with my friend M (fingers crossed I don’t get heat stroke) for a quickie weekend getaway, and then for J and I’s big 20-year anniversary, we’re hitting up Aspen, CO! We love Denver/Boulder and have been several times but Aspen will be new! Yeah, kinda a lot of traveling but heck, why the fuck not? I gotta earn my Southwest Companion pass somehow some way, right?

    As for the real estate… With all the Rover work and travel planning, real estate was starting to fall to the wayside. At the same time, I realized that my test/school anxiety was cropping up big time, and I was like procrastinating about taking the exam for the second class. Then on Thursday, I called myself out on that bullshit: I mean, I was letting my fear and lack of confidence run me off the path! And if I’m really trying to give real estate a go, how can I possibly assess this career if I do NOT get the damn license? Time to fucking buck up. So on Friday, I woke up determined to take the test. Somehow other shit got in the way (we counter-offered on the Maryland townhouse… but it fell through), but after noon I got all my shit organized, and I sat down to go through the review questions, study guides, and practice tests. What was intended to be a 2-hr review ended up turning into a six-hour study session. And then I said to myself, “Ok, I’ll take the exam Saturday.” Oh, hell no! I was not going to let myself push this exam back another goddamn day. Can you see this internal struggle? Ugh. So I started the test at 8p, finished about 10:15p, and bam: passed. What a huge fucking sigh of relief. Two classes down, one more to go. After that, I’ll be eligible to apply for the license exam. Gotta get ‘er done.

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  • Spurring Action

    Years ago, I read about some study on crying, comparing how frequently women cry compared to men. I think the number back then was six times per month for women compared to only once a month for men. I remember that at the time, immediately on hearing the stats, I scoffed. Big. time. WTF, people. There is no way I cry that much in 30 days. And in typical fashion, Bubbey stepped right in to challenge my reaction: “You definitely cry six or more times per month. You cry just watching things on tv!” Say what? That shit doesn’t count!!! Ok fine, if watching something on tv counts, then fine. Yes, sometimes I get emotional when triggered.

    Fast forward to now, and well fuck, last week was a rough one. I must have doubled the monthly average. My trigger(s)? Four days of the fricking Democratic National Convention. Admittedly, since my days at FMF (when I was just a young pup in my 20s) I’ve def stepped back A LOT from politics. When I was at FMF, I was all in: I wrote for the organization’s daily news wire; I crafted letters that constituents emailed to their elected officials; I petitioned in front of the Capitol calling for greater access to emergency contraception and broader abortion rights… I was in it hard. But those days, every time I saw my parents, we argued (mostly about how damaging Republicans were for women and minorities). I was angry every. damn. day, and I was always fighting with someone about something (Johnny was also living with John and me at the time). I even had heated email exchanges with haters who wrote into the organization, complaining about my advocacy emails and other stances to which they disagreed. Back then, I cared so much that it exhausted me. After I left FMF and we moved to China in 2003, I realized just how much I needed that break and distance. Now that I’m forty though, I’ve realized that I’ve shifted to the opposite extreme, to the point of not even wanting to debate politics with friends.

    So last week, I watched most of the big DNC speeches… So many of them moved and inspired me. I’d been comfortable in my stepping away and in NOT engaging, but as I listened to Michelle Obama and Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren and so many others, a part of me couldn’t help but feel ashamed by my inaction and lack of participation. Our voices DO matter. And change happens powerfully when people who have less at stake join in supporting and advocating for people who have everything at stake. So how do I re-enter this treacherous zone without losing my shit? I honestly don’t know. But after I got over feeling disappointed in myself (yet again), I decided that I need to start volunteering again. Last time when I was unemployed for an extended period, I helped the local job center with training and computer lab support. When I lived in China, I used to volunteer with animal rescue orgs. When I lived back East, I taught English to adult immigrants. What happened to that person who cared AND acted?

    So I contacted the local day labor center to learn more about volunteer opps with teaching and tech assistance. Even though this isn’t a direct way of defeating Trump in the upcoming campaign, I’m going to view it as a beneficial first step towards reconnecting with things that matter to me.

    Meanwhile, some interesting articles I’ve read:
    Re: Hillary Clinton for President. Sexism is REAL.
    Reconciling the differing roles of spouse vs. daughter: Melania and Ivanka
    A reminder to be less judgey

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  • My Rover Record

    Man, my sleep continues to be all kinds of fucked up. I dunno what my deal is: I just can’t stop thinking about shit. Need to get back on that Calms Forte stuff for sure.

    I was up early this morning, bc I heard Bubble Boy moving about in the living room. Yeah, for someone who is deaf, I can always hear the doggies. Marty just has to shuffle in his bed, and I’m up. So I took Sparky out to pee. Yeah, Sparky is kinda a lot of work, bc if you just let him out back on his own, he gets all into the far corners of the yard and starts digging in the mulch. And that damn schnoodle (schauzer-poodle) fur is like felt– it picks up everything. SMH. After he peed, we came back inside. I went back to bed. Thirty minutes later, he came into the bedroom and jumped on the bed. Weird. He hardly ever comes into the bedroom. We shooed him off and then he proceeded into my bathroom and started barfing. WTF? Then he walked down the hallway and puked again. Huh? We never even deviated from his special diet!! He went outside again and then seemed mostly fine. I entered into the kitchen and holy fuck, there was urine by the kitchen door. Seriously? The day before his last day and all at once?

    I started getting worried, like maybe he’s sick? Thankfully, he was back prancing around on our walk to the park. I texted his mom to report the odd behavior. I was a little worried she’d pepper me with a ton of questions, but she just said sometimes he gets an upset tummy, pukes, and returns to normal. Ok then! The rest of the morning, he’s appeared fine. Whew! I can’t be marring my Rover record, you know? :)

    In other news, my Big Brother system is working out great with the parentals. I check in periodically to see if they are out and about. The renovations are done at the townhouse, so the house listed today. Goddamn, housing in Maryland is cheap! I’m a little concerned bc a lot of properties in that range and area seem to be bank owned or foreclosed, which kinda brings the values down. But we’ll see. We’re pretty happy with the reno work: not too expensive and more importantly, on time! Woohoo!

    I’ve been meaning to report back on the SmileDirect Club stuff. I was almost ready to do it. I still need to video the animated treatment plan, bc that shit is what nearly sold me. In the end though, I talked with my friend/esthetician G and she seriously thought I was mad. She kept asking to see my smile and my teeth… she was like, “you know, we all have our hangups, but to me, it’s completely unnecessary and like borderline ridiculous/crazy.” The thing is, I hate my smile. Not just bc my teeth are crooked, but bc my nose is too big and my lower lips expose the entire mouth full of teeth. If you study beautiful smiles (which I have), you’ll notice that only the upper teeth show and the smile doesn’t compete with other overpowering facial features. Anyway, long story short, I decided to pass for now on the aligners bc even if my teeth were straighter, I’d still be unhappy with my smile. Pretty much, I would need a face job to fix that shit.

    Of course, to compensate for the inaction with repairing my smile, I moved forward on my tatted brows. I had gotten microblading done years ago when I was in Shanghai and I loved it. My brows are super sparse (bc I’m practically hairless) so the added color and definition works wonders. For the last several months, I’d been hand drawing/enhancing that shit and honestly, I’m getting sick of the day-to-day inconsistencies with the arch and thickness and whatever. So I had done some research on local vendors months ago, and then I found a Groupon deal and, I moved on it! Last week I was all set to do it, but then as I talked to Bubbey and some friends, they all sounded really apprehensive. Like, are you sure you want to go to a Groupon lady? Even her regular price of $300 seems way cheaper than other places that typically charge $500 and up. Why is she so cheap, they asked with suspicion? So I booked the appointment and figured I would just talk to her first and assess on site.

    Well, on my way over to the appointment, I started getting all stressed in the car. What if the tattoo is fucked? What will I do for the next 1-2 years? Maybe I can cover it up with concealer, blah, blah. I was freaking myself out. Then, when I arrived at the salon, it was essentially a coworking salon space, so there were a ton of stylists and all the customers were old white women. Like grandmas!!! Oh shit!!! She emerged from her room 30 minutes late for the appointment (the previous appointment ran over), but when I saw her, she was this cute and pretty little Cambodian lady. Hey man, first impressions are legit. Her brows were kinda sharp/angled and they were filled brows not microbladed, but dang, she had a beautiful face and very pretty eyes! She was all frazzled about running behind schedule… In the end though, it all turned out fine. She said I had done an excellent job penciling my brows (!!!), so she was going to basically follow the same shape. She penciled in the area first. It looked fine. I was trying not to be too perfectionist and overly obsessive. I lied back, she spread on the numbing gel, and she got to work. It wasn’t really painful, but the pressure on the brows is intense and the scraping noise is a little unnerving. Scrape, scrape, scrape and then she does heavy wiping of the area with a damp napkin. Repeat. Not very gentle for the tender eye area but I think it’s necessary for her to distinguish where there is hair and not. Then she started explaining how there’s a lot of variability with people’s face muscles, like depending on your dominant eye and how you make expressions. I was thinking: man, beauty is already so subjective and then to throw in all these other factors: shit, this is a high stress job!!! Should she spend more time studying my face muscles? I started to worry again. Then voila, my right eye was done. She moved onto the left eye… the pressure felt stronger and the lower part of the brow felt super sensitive. And that damn scraping… fuck man, the things we do for vanity!! She said my left muscles are weaker so I was bleeding more. She applied more numbing cream.

    She paused and gave me the mirror. I brought it up to my face. OMG, that right arch is high!! Shit. Is that arch a little high, I asked? She said she followed my pencil. Uh…. Then I sat up. Thank fucking god. Much better. Since I was lying down, my face was pulled back a little. After I sat up, much better. I mean, the arch is still quite distinct, but mostly bc she cleaned up the under brow area big time. We continued. After about 40 minutes under, all done. And then my brows started stinging like a mother fucker. Burning. The new brows are def dramatic and dark (the color will fade 20-30% in the coming weeks as the brows scab over) but I’m pleased. For freehand work, that lady’s got skillz. I go back next month to touch up the color and do any minor tweaks. What a relief it all turned out!

    It’s now been a few days and the aftercare just involves dabbing dry after washing and then applying Vaseline. I am digging the permanent makeup thing. Not that my brows took that much time in my routine, but it’s cool to just have them consistently low maintenance. Of course, the next day, what did I do? J and I took the convertible up to San Rafael, and we hung out with his sister S and her buds, eating oysters along Tomales Bay. I fucking sunburned my forehead really bad. Fucking blazing red. Been icing and putting on lotion but that shit is still red. Hope the skin calms down real soon.

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  • Cody the Cuddlebunny

    I’m such an extrovert/introvert split personality. Sometimes I get into homebody mode, where I can stay on the Houseboat for days on end without leaving the premises. I can’t quite explain it, but I do this odd dance, bouncing from one extreme to the other: on one hand, there’s the comfort and complacency of being home. Like yeah, I’m just doing my thang: internet research, listening to my real estate podcasts, cooking my meals, blogging, Pinteresting, OnStarring, and chilling with the dogs. It’s kinda nice and peaceful and quiet. When I get out of unabomber mode though, I like to catch up with everybody– host parties and email/call/visit with all my friends.

    Last week was one of my more extroverted weeks. I met up with two of my former university interns (separately). Sometimes, if you can believe it, I actually like young people. Haha. No, it’s kinda cool getting the scoop on their summer internships and learning what they’re hoping and planning for the future. It was always really important to me to be a good boss. After all that shit I’d read about leadership and influence, plus having my own fair share of jobs with shitty bosses, I really wanted their internship with me to be organized, interesting, and positive. It’s been about six months since I left, so I was pleasantly surprised when they reached out and wanted to meet up. One intern is working a 9-5 summer job for the first time ever. She’s struggling (like so many) with the rigidity of that arrangement. That said, she’s gaining more clarity on what she wants to do in the future– hello, social media!! The other intern just graduated with a masters in computer science, so he’s been on an aggressive job hunt. We talked about networking events and job strategies… I’m planning to reach out to some of my tech contacts to see if they have any advice for a new grad seeking opps in UX/UI. Overall, I had a good visit with both students.

    In other happenings, my retired buddy T recently invited J and me to scope out his new digs in Sunnyvale. He’s going through a divorce so for the first time since forever, he is living solo (well, with his dog) and LOVING it. T is one of the chillest dudes I know. We worked together at the gov agency, and he was such a great yin to my yang: no matter what I was fretting about, he was consistently positive, level-headed, and just plain relaxed. In his retirement, he’s continued to stay super active: playing racquetball, biking, kayaking, going on poker cruises. He’s a real role model for J and me, who have always struggled with balance. Anyway, his apartment community is a great spot in Sunnyvale that’s totally his style– a little old school in that the structures are probably from the 70s/80s, but his one BR apartment was recently renovated and the property is tucked away under a big canopy of old redwoods. It’s a beautiful, quiet setting that’s also walking distance to the Caltrain (he hates to drive). It makes me so happy when my friends are living comfortably and doing well.

    Back on the Houseboat, things were getting a little crowded with Bubs being home again and with Sparky the Bubble Boy schnoodle joining the crew of Martin and Cody. Sparky is 14 y/o and well, he’s a good dog but clearly he’s quite coddled. I’m so fascinated by the broad spectrum of pet parents: they really run the gamut just like with human parents! When Cody arrived, his parents gave me like three lines of instructions. By contrast, when Sparky arrived, he came with pages and pages of detailed info, ranging from directions on hand feeding him to limiting his sun exposure to frequently refreshing his water bowl. In the owner’s defense, Sparky is older and more fragile, but still… When I supervised him in the backyard, it was a bit like witnessing a kid going to college for the first time: he really enjoyed the new surroundings, but he didn’t seem to know to stay out of the flower beds and to not dig and make a total mess. Which might explain why his parents was so adamant about him being restricted and limited so much outdoors… Kind of a vicious cycle, right?

    It makes me a little sad, bc my brother comes to mind. He was so over-coddled and over-protected that as an adult, he never really developed responsibilities and common sense for basic survival (like doing laundry, washing the dishes, taking out the trash). It’s too bad, bc you can see that Sparky has personality and some zest, but it’s all rather muted bc he isn’t allowed to be free.

    On the other hand, Cody is a total rambunctious bundle of energy and joy. Admittedly, there are differences in age and breed but with Cody, he also engages regularly with other dogs. He’s been in people’s yards. Like, he has the experience to know adult dog etiquette, you know? Man, in ten short days, I got so damn attached to Cody. Yup, I fell for him even harder than I did for Ramona. When his family came, I held it together just long enough for them to load up and get into the car. Then, it was meltdown central. Full on tears and wailing. I know, I am ridiculous. Thankfully, 1) I made Bubbey do a photo shoot to add to my Cody album and 2) I’d already experienced the heartbreak from Ramona, so the sadness didn’t linger forever like it did before. I do miss his spunk and playfulness though. A few days after he went home, I followed up (of course) with a text to see how he was settling back in. I was super stoked bc the owner says she’ll call on me again the next time they travel. Yay!

    Btw, did you know all the area animal shelters are doing their #cleartheshelters campaign this weekend where adoption fees are waived? Sometimes I daydream about getting a second pooch, but you know Bubs: he doesn’t want to be tied down. For now I suppose Rover is satisfying all my needs. And Marty is loving it also: his appetite has come back full force. J is placing bets that Martin will make it to 17!! We’ll see.

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  • Don’t Boss the Boss

    I’ve been back on the Houseboat now for a week, and well, the reassimilation has been challenging to say the least. Immediately, I had a Rover client scheduled for the day after getting in. Cody is a corgi, so with that breed comes some strong characteristics: he was very sad to be separated from his family (for two days, he slept by the door, hoping that they would come back), and he’s super sensitive to noise. I guess J and I kinda got used to being with deaf oldies who NEVER ever bark, so having someone alert us to every little sound was initially, quite disruptive. But there are also endearing qualities that make Cody quite loveable. He’s super attentive: he always keeps an eye on me, and he loves to play. He chases balls and even entertains himself chewing on that thing long after fetch is over. It’s Day 9 and I have to say, he’s even got Bubbey wrapped around his little midget paws. I came down with a cold on Saturday night (I ALWAYS get sick near/around my visits with family!!), and after that, Cody was pretty routinely making himself comfortable in the bed. Yes, the human bed where dogs have been prohibited for YEARS. Goddamn, he is super soft though. And those wet puppy kisses are irresistible. I mean, I still have a soft spot for my first Rover Ramona, but the big advantage of Cody is that he doesn’t have an ounce of odor. For reals. Even his breath is fresh. Seriously, you have to see to believe.


    After two days of being mostly bedridden and sweating my brains out, I am finally bouncing back from my sickness. Just in time for another Rover client who is coming tomorrow. The poodle mix Sparky is much older and I expect him to be more high maintenance, esp given the detailed instructions I received from his parent. Seven days. We’ll see how things go!

    As predicted, Marty is doing so great with these other dogs. What a testament to the power of social connections in promoting health! He likes having a buddy.

    What else. Oh, on Friday, I met with a power player German woman who is seeking M-F daycare for her senior whippet. She was very happy with our meet and greet (hee, hee), and I was ready to proceed, but as soon as she left, Bubbey started getting on my case about booking all my time and no longer being flexible for our summer travels.

    That’s the thing about Bubbey and me. We are always off in our timing. When I’m not working, he’s starting a new gig. When he’s not working, I’m starting a new job. For the first time ever, we are both not working. But he has all these grand ideas about hitting the open road and traveling… All while my plan these last few months has been to get my license and start practicing real estate in the fall. And as a chronic travel commitment-phobe, he’s super frustrating to pin down when making plans. When I ask for specific dates, he never gives them. So I just started booking plans for Rover, and he got all annoyed about my lack of consultation and how my work plans are eating into his “unplanned” plans. WTF, dude?

    Yes, we had just talked the other day about trying to rent an RV to try out the nomadic lifestyle. But before, he told me all the RVs were booked for the summer. And we can still RV for three days on the weekends. Frankly, until you can put concrete dates in place, I’m going to keep working and booking Rover! I dunno: maybe there was a miscommunication. I was thinking summer was out except for the weekend quickie trips. Argh, fine! I went back to the German and told her I’m not as available as I had initially stated. I mean, it’s ok: I agree it’s rather silly to be housebound for just a $30/day gig, but I’m just saying, don’t make me turn down work and then we end up doing nothing at all.

    Speaking of Bubbey, this last week being home together was somewhat frustrating. Since I’ve been back, he’s gotten on my case every damn day about studying for real estate. How much studying did you get done today? When are you going to take the class test? How many pages did you read? WTF, dude? I do not need to be herded. You know the deal. Yeah, I fell off the wagon while I was back in MD, but um, can you blame me? Did you see all the bullshit I had to deal with? And now I’m just getting back into the swing of things, and you’re harping on me about my study schedule? Not cool. Go put yourself on a schedule first, and then we can talk. SMH. Marriage. It’s a lot of work, man.

    In other news, the reno work on the townhouse back east is progressing swimmingly. The realtor just sent me pics today: new kitchen flooring, new lighting throughout, paint touch ups, new appliances, granite countertops, etc. The construction work is right on schedule, and we’re expecting to go live with listing this weekend. Woohoo. Goddamn, I love it when people know how to manage projects! I could see myself getting into construction project management…

    What else. Oh, my parents booked their trip to Taiwan for the fall, so that means I’ll be booking our trip there soon. My dad suggested that we visit for 10-14 days, but I think I’ll keep it short and sweet given my last great experience. Also, I’m super stoked that my childhood friend N is coming to visit in mid September. It’s been many years since she’s come to California, so it’ll be great to have her out again. She’s getting antsy in NC, so I think a big change is on the horizon for her.

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  • There is a God

    I met up with my former work crew (from the university) earlier this week. We were celebrating the next one to escape, a writer on the team who’s starting a new gig in San Jose. It was good to see everyone: I find it curious though how despite all the changes and turmoil, so many things still remain the same. Like that drama character T. She cracks me up. She got a swanky new car and then near the end of our lunch, she ran out of the restaurant all frantic, claiming that someone had broken into her car. Yes, her car that was parked right up along the sidewalk, where there’s tons of foot and car traffic in broad daylight. Of course, the car was fine. Just the shade from a tree made the window appear open/broken. And she received some joke/prank text from her hubby at the same time. Or something. She had also made a few mentions about my dog sitting services. She said she looked at my profile but saw that I only took old dogs (her dog is 1.5 y/o), plus she can’t afford me. Sure. Whatever. Yesterday, she texted saying she had a question about dog sitting. Um, how about just text the actual question??? Jesus people. It’s like voicemail 101. Don’t just say, call me back. Tell me what you’re calling about. Specifics!! I was out biking/having dinner with a friend, so when I replied three hours later, no reply. Wishy to the washy, for reals.

    The biggest news though out of my old workplace is that the tyrannical AVP (who applied for the permanent job even though she repeatedly said she had zero interest) DIDN’T get the gig. Holy. fucking. shit. There is a God!!! T told me she had reported the AVP for some uncool interactions. I like to think that T’s report, coupled with my scathing exit interview doc, played some minor role in making the decision makers think twice. Goddamn, that woman was a royal beotch. SMH. For someone who was always pushing training and learning and improvement, it’s amazing she never took social skills 101. Seriously. She was the oddest, most inept anti-soc ever. And I have encountered my fair share of them!!

    Then again, given all the other bullshit that’s happening in the world, her asshole behavior is quite minor. And yes, I’ve definitely asked myself why I haven’t lost my shit with the more serious daily injustices we are witnessing day in and day out… Honestly, I don’t even know how to respond. When I think of people who have lost their lives to senseless violence, it makes me so sick. But I feel speechless and paralyzed. What is there to say? How does change happen from here? These are truths that perhaps many have known since forever, and now to see them exposed, to see the systemic racism, it’s freaking scary. And Donald Trump. Ugh. As “unlikable” as people say Hillary Clinton is, how can anyone be as unlikable as that con-man ass monkey?!?!? It’s fine to be anti-establishment, but shit people. Open your eyes. Don’t let your purported patriotism bring a Hitler to power. It’s crazy how he is singlehandedly desensitizing people to inflammatory, hateful, fear-mongering rhetoric. Part of me that is glad my parents are moving back to Taiwan. This shit is getting bad really fast.

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  • Channeling Anger

    Last week, I met up with M, the lady who replaced me at the university. I headed out to Los Gatos to check out her big side hustle operation spiffing up free/old/beat-up furniture and then reselling it. Yes, I am drawn to scrappy people! Her house is super charming, filled with many of these treasures. It was a damn hot day, but that didn’t stop us from first venturing out on a hike. I’m super out of shape, so I barely kept up between the trail elevation changes and the fricking high heat. Of course, I’m sure it didn’t help that my blood was boiling during our walk since we gossiped about our former workplace. By the end of the hike, I was physically exhausted but emotionally agitated. The rest of our visit was nice though. We hung out in the shade, drank wine, and ate snacks. She showed me her elaborate workshop and supplies.

    Still, when I got home, I just couldn’t shake my annoyance about my former employer. Trying to find a way to channel my anger, I hopped onto Glassdoor. And I drafted an entire review. But before posting, I just kept hearing John’s voice: “Why are you dwelling on the past? It’s time to move on. You need to focus your energy on what’s ahead.” I paused. Then I did some research. Unsurprisingly, the consensus from job experts pretty much aligns with John’s stance: shut up and move on. The primary reasoning behind that advice seems to be that you don’t want to stir the muck and create trouble for yourself, like you don’t want to be blacklisted or whatever. You left that toxic place for you. If other people don’t leave, it’s not that bad for them, and why should you be their advocate?

    To be honest, I feel like it’s such shitty advice to tell people who know something and who could share the real scoop about a workplace, to just be quiet and pretend everything was fine. Isn’t that partly how all the violence and harassment and abuse in this world just keeps happening unfettered? People see something and know something and yet, they remain silent. I mean, sure, we’re talking a different level of severity but still. There are parallels.

    And you know me: I like to consider expert advice. Ultimately, I make my own decision, but I don’t make it in a vacuum. On one forum, a commenter basically asked someone else who was considering writing a negative employer review, “What are you wanting to get out of your public review?” Good question. And now I don’t even remember his reply. But for me, I have always valued the truth. It’s some kind of compass that’s just deeply ingrained in my person. Like when people pose questions about infidelity or whatever. “What you don’t know won’t kill you,” or whatever bullshit people say. Well, I don’t want to continue in blissful, pain-free ignorance… at least not when it comes to the most important relationship in my life. I WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH, however damaging and heartbreaking. Even if the indiscretion were short-lived or over or whatever. I want to know, and I will choose the truth every. damn. time. Otherwise, I’m just stupidly living in a foolish fantasy. So tying it back together: I guess I feel a similar stance with these asshole employers. Like, hey you’re not going to behave like jackasses and not get called out on it. Maybe I struggle with this notion that bad people are “getting away” with things. Sure, I might feel differently in cases where my personal safety or the safety of my family is in real danger, but with an employer, is it really THAT bad to burn the bridge? Why do I feel so strongly one way and most other people feel strongly the complete opposite way?

    Then I researched how Glassdoor handles negative reviews… there were a ton of claims that people’s negative reviews got removed or shoved to the bottom or manipulated in some other way to have less of an impact. WTF? Is every fucking thing in this world rigged??? In the end, I saved a copy of my review and just closed everything down. Enough negativity for the day. I mean, in the past, there have certainly been plenty of times when I DID speak out and say something and in the end, not a damn thing happened. Just like with my exit interview at the public agency. Just like my exit interview at the university. Both instances of inaction suggest that it’s not that people (at least internally) don’t know the truth, it’s that they don’t give enough of a shit to do anything about it. So then, which is worse? That said, there are still the prospective employees. I use Glassdoor when researching companies, and has it swayed my decisions before? Yes.

    Anyway, in other news, Bubbey’s back pain has been getting progressively worse. I am both annoyed and frustrated that at 40, he is having these kinds of debilitating issues. That said, annoyance and frustration doesn’t serve anybody, so I’ve decided to focus on measures to lessen his discomfort. For the last year, Bubbey has been talking about those new foam mattresses that are recommended by his podcasters, so after I finally realized this purchase would be different from his usual impulsive buys, we ordered the Casper. The mattress arrived and we set it on our “arrangement.” You see, since moving back Stateside in 2006, we’ve always put our mattress on top of a grid of big Rubbermaid storage bins. In the beginning, it was due to space constraints: we didn’t have storage, so we put our crap in the bins and then did a double duty, using them to also support the bed. But then I was reading about how the foundation for the mattress is just as important as the mattress itself. Probably just a sales ploy, but at this point, his back pain is so bad, we just need to pull out all the stops. So I ordered a slatted frame. And last night, I went through the bins. Most were empty but I did uncover my high school prom dress (a tight squeeze but it still fits– then again, I wore shit looser when I was younger) and my red wedding dress (Fucking A, it no longer fits in the bust… really?!?!). I was thinking to get rid of both, but Bubs says I should keep the wedding dress. Back to the mattress. I don’t know that I feel a difference between the frame and the tubs as the foundation, but we’ve had the new mattress a few weeks longer. Even though I’ve been getting to bed super late, after I fall asleep, I do think I am sleeping more soundly. We’ll continue to evaluate the product. Maybe quality sleep will help me better manage my negativity.

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  • Budding Business

    Surprise, surprise, I’m feeling pretty good today. Marty is on the upswing again (See? Despite my earlier reservations, he made it past my bday! Who can ever know when the real end is near?), and I’m getting some decent bites on Rover. Yesterday, I met a 7-y/o corgi named Cody. I had received an inquiry from the owner last Friday night while I was at the HOPR, and of course, like a true internet junkie, I had to reply right then and there. I scored a meetup yesterday, and bam! The client booked ten days in July. Yup, first time ever getting an inquiry for a month in advance. And the lady showed up with her son. Their fam just moved from Singapore a few months ago, so we had the Asian connection going. She was super nice, and honestly, I haven’t met a cleaner dog. Cody’s coat was super luxe. The owner said she wipes him down twice a day with some lemongrass spray.

    I am so excited about picking up business on Rover. I mean, Cody’s going to be with us for another ten days, so you know what that means: I’m gonna be an emotional wreck again when it’s time for him to go home. But seriously, this side hustle is working out great! Partly, I feel like my fast response time serves me well. Often when people are already looking for care last minute, they’re blasting a ton of sitters and I’m sure getting back to them faster moves me up in the queue. Also, I think the meetups at my house are a great selling point. For one thing, they meet Marty. Old but super sweet and chill. And as soon as I tell them he’s 16, it’s all over. I mean, pretty much EVERYONE is impressed. Why? Bc I MUST take amazing care of him for him to make it this far, right? Yes, I know. I can’t take all the credit (genetics, blah, blah), but I’m just saying, these factors influence dog owner decisions… Then, they see his homemade food (set on top of a mini table even), and now they know that I’m not afraid of high maintenance. Finally, my frickin yard sells itself, man. The doggies that come over immediately hit up the backyard, and their owners also love that we aren’t apartment dwellers. Oh and being two houses down from the park is totally money. It’s a pretty sweet deal for the pooches!

    In other entrerpenuerial news, I sold the iPad. It didn’t sell for as much as I had wanted, but eBay is doing this interesting thing where if you set the initial price based on their recommendation, they will guarantee that your item sells for a certain minimum amount. If the item doesn’t sell for the guaranteed price, they’ll issue an eBay credit. Cool idea, so I tried it out. Maybe bc WWDC was yesterday but my item sold way low, and I got a $90 credit which I promptly used to score a new with tags Tacori cuff bracelet I’ve been eyeing for years. Yup. Not that you care, but shit, I gotta share the deets: Bracelet retails for $990. I saw it posted for $400 OBO, and after seeing all the other stuff for sale by that seller, I figured I would negotiate the price. Frankly, would a busy high-volume seller really care about one lowball sale if he had a gabillion other items to offload? So I went in at $300. He countered with $350. I countered with $315. Offer accepted this morning. Woot, woot! Score, baby!! Kinda a “non-delicate” style, as Bubbey said. He’s not a fan. But whatever. I’m gonna try and rock it!

    In other deal news, I’m continuing to tear it up on my Upromise account. Sometimes they’re a bit flaky with issuing the cash back, but thanks to my detailed tracking and record keeping, I will call them out on that shit. Back in January, when my dad was visiting, he asked me to research a new laptop for my brother. I recommended he buy the SurfacePro. Months later, Upromise kept giving me the runaround about my missing cash back. Little do they know, I am a tenacious mother fucker. Today, they finally emailed that I will get $65 cash back. I mean, sure, it takes multiple emails and phone calls. Some people say it’s just $65, but fuck man, that shit adds up (I have earned $800 to date), and I’m not above hustling for it.

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  • Kidney Bean

    Last week felt like a busy one. On Tuesday, I started my very first Rover stint. Yes, for a very long while, I was strongly prejudiced against little dogs (they can be so fucking yippy!), but after dog sitting Helix and Joey, I’ve been warming up to the idea of these compact and portable pups. So we’re about a week in now, and truth be told, Ramona has very quickly melted my heart. She’s so independent and sassy (like my Bembo), and despite being 13 y/o, she still likes to play. Even J was commenting that Ramona really has been quite the ideal Rover. She’ll well-behaved, doesn’t bark/yip, has excellent bladder control, and is just so darn cute without being overly demanding. Her pudgy body is so tiny too, I call her a little kidney bean, esp when she sleeps in fetal position (and snores like a mo fo!). I’m already feeling sad that she’ll have to go home next Saturday. As for Marty, he is doing better again: eating well, tracking me around the house, and he gets so happy about going to the park… The two pups don’t interact much, but I’ve noticed that for Marty, simply being in the presence of other dogs seems to lift his spirits.

    In work-related news, as you know, I started applying for jobs at real estate offices and property management firms. I heard back from the one commercial outfit regarding their entry-level position. We had a good phone interview, but last Tuesday they decided to proceed with others. I was ok with it: after all, I did feel like being a receptionist/front desk person was not exactly my speed, even if only for a short period. Interestingly, I also heard back from a local realtor’s membership organization for their education coordinator gig. I interviewed with the head of PR and Comm on Friday afternoon. She was a very impressive lady, super well-connected and active in the community; we had a great conversation, but by Saturday, I decided joining a realtor’s association would only delay my entry into practice after earning my license. She was very kind, and responded immediately with a very personable reply, saying she had arrived at the same conclusion. She also noted that she was really impressed by my level of research and prep for the interview. Hee, hee. If only she knew: research is practically my middle name. Ha! Regardless, it was cool to get these two interviews under my belt. I will say, I’ve been pleased with the response to my applications. Initially, I was attributing the interest to my re-vamped resume (chronological now instead of functional format), but Bubbey suggested that since real estate is oftentimes an industry for encore careers, the hiring people are much more curious and open to people with different backgrounds. Makes sense. I’ll take it!

    In other news, I am making progress with the townhouse in MD that I’m planning to get on the market in mid-late July. I had a call Friday with the selling agent, who’s proposing some minor renovations to get things ready. I’m going to move forward on those to see if they’ll get us a higher sales price. I’ll be checking in on the project in person in July. At the same time, I’ll be helping my parents with posting/selling their furniture/possessions/furnishings and cleaning out their primary residence. I’ve booked 7 days back home around the July 4 holiday, and frankly, I’m dreading the trip…  John will stay back on Marty duty so it’ll be yet another unbuffered session with the parentals… I know, apparently the Volcano likes to play with fucking fire.

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  • Volcanic Eruption

    So yesterday evening, shit blew up on the Houseboat. One more goddamn straw, and the volcano erupted. As you know, for the last month, I’ve been going to the JCC for my Groupon. During this time, I’ve suggested to Bubbey numerous times that he cancel his membership to 24 Hr Fitness and try out this swanky gym. It’s only 6 minutes away and lots of people go late at night, so maybe this can be our evening activity after he gets home from work. For weeks, he agreed to try it out, but he kept procrastinating– he had to go to his London trip, then there was Best Life, then DC, blah, blah. Fine. Mind you, I’m only on the elliptical for 30 minutes. This is not a huge time sink. So he returned from DC on Sunday. On Monday night, after he got home from work and we finished dinner, I suggested we get ready. He was feeling too full, blah, blah, blah, so we took Marty for a walk at the park. In my head, the intention was to walk Marty, get the digestive juices flowing, and then go to the gym. After we home, I got my things ready and once again, no. Too tired: I just got back from DC. Whatever. After all the bullshit of recent weeks, I had had it. As I left, I said, “Fine, but next time, I’d appreciate if you’d stop offering to do things that you have absolutely no intention of following through on!” Oh, what do you mean? When has that ever applied?

    Are you fucking kidding me? This same bullshit has been happening over and over again. I slammed the door and left. While driving over to the gym (six minutes), I was stewing like a mother fucker. I’m surprised I didn’t rear end the slow ass drivers in my way. I was gonna call him and blow this shit up. Excuse after excuse. Repeated prioritization of everything else before me. And I’m not even needy! Shit, I have hung out with so many friends who make/ask their partners and spouses to do every little thing. Fuck you! I was so pissed.

    I stepped on that elliptical and sweated my brains out. Afterwards, I sat in the sauna and continued to stew. I mean let’s be real. Best Friends was his idea, supposedly a gesture for me but as the whole trip materialized, it was just a ton of planning and work for me. And then anytime I needed help with any aspect of the weekend, he either dismissed my concerns about the logistics, or he totally ignored any part that was important to me. For example, he hardly even sang for karaoke (and then went to bed early); then how many times did I mention the goddamn photo booth and in the end, only two test pictures; and then to make me throw away all those recyclables that I had collected throughout the weekend?!?!?! Not cool. Where there is a will, there is a way. I’m serious. And what, in the end, all of my irritation was just supposed to wash away bc 1) he had returned from London the day before departure and gotten ingredients on Friday morning 2) he grilled up dinner Friday night and 3) he mostly fought off his jet lag to be social with our friends for three days? Puhlease.

    I got home from the gym and was still so stinking mad. I went directly to my office and started doing my own shit. The house was dark, so I assumed he went to bed already. Typical Bubbey M.O. whenever we fight. I printed crap out on the printer, went to his office to retrieve my printouts and turns out he was lying on the floor there in the dark. And he looked so sad. So then I caved. In a more controlled manner, I told him I was upset he was going to be away for my bday. Usually, bdays are just bdays, and who the fuck cares. But this was a big one. And I felt like last weekend when I was trying to price out tickets to join him in NYC, he never responded to my questions or email about dates and whatever. Then, bc he was so busy with family matters, we weren’t able to sync up much, and when we finally did, he couldn’t offer any clarity. You know I hate that indecisive bullshit, so then I just abruptly said fuck it. He finally came clean and admitted that he’s been feeling overwhelmed between all the work travel and family stuff, and now the company’s future is uncertain… I mean, admittedly, there’s a lot going on. So I piped down. But fuck man, he def deserves crap for 1) never apologizing for cutting London so damn close to Best Life and leaving me hanging with details and 2) never apologizing for missing my bday. I swear, sometimes I really have to spell shit out for him.

    I know he loves me very much. But still, sometimes his effort just feels so damn half ass. And his actions really come across rather inconsiderate and thoughtless. I have played the scenarios over and over in my head. Am I over reacting? Am I asking for too much? Am I missing something? being short sighted? How would a truly mature adult handle this situation? Honestly, I feel like every single one of my friends would be annoyed by the same things, if not MORE things, and I can’t say that they would just let that shit slide. Yes, marriage is a constant work in progress. Just when I feel like things are easy and our relationship is coasting along in a strong steady state, shit happens to really bite me in the ass. Yes, I know I have the memory of an elephant and I don’t let shit go. In my defense though, why should I let shit go if you don’t admit any responsibility or wrongdoing in hurting my feelings? That’s just not gonna fly no matter how rational your reasons may be for why shit HAD to get prioritized above me.

    Anyway, the other takeaway was that I need to get back to work. Like, I need to have my own shit going on, my own activities and social circles, and life. Thankfully, things are finally starting to come around. My first Rover client arrives tonight for 11 nights. Then, I just got another request today for June 9-19, so maybe my old doggie boarding business is gonna pick up steam!

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