Monday, December 8, 2014

The Unemployment Follies - Final: The Pets' Lament

Thanks for hanging in there with Thermionic Emissions through this most interesting time (all three of you).

As you might have noticed, this is the final installment of The Unemployment Follies.  This can mean a number of things: 1. I'm going to shoot myself (or someone else), 2. I somehow managed to become employed.  As amusing an idea of shooting would be, I'm going to have to go with number two; I somehow managed to become employed.

This blog is nothing if not logical.  Now follow this logic: as we know, I'm am information security guy. And as we've all read, there are tons of hacking incidents happening all over the place, each worse than the previous one. Therefore, there is a huge demand for security people, so I should get a job very quickly.  While this blog is logical, little outside of it is, thus the five month desperate search for a new position.

My wife is very supportive. She's been dealing with everything well but for some reason lately she's been reminding me (constantly) that I only have one month of unemployment compensation left. It's not that I didn't appreciate the rather frequent, panic-filled reminders, but I was somewhat well-acquainted with the impending date. No pressure, of course. Mowing lawns and McDonalds were starting to look good. And you know about my almost paralyzing fear of mowing. Not to mention my almost paralyzing fear of eating anything from McDonalds.

I started looking outside my specialty. Interviews started picking up. I spent hours each day looking for a job. My in-laws were holding prayer vigils outside the house at night, complete with candles that kept me up until daylight. The neighbor's children added me to their school's prayer list. Two people read my tarot cards and put me in a job before the end of the year. A friend said I was working way too hard and to simply ask for a new job within forty-eight hours, also writing it down on a piece of paper.

One, some, or all of the above held a conference, wherever these types of conferences are held and laid one on me. Within a few hours, someone called about a job. Within a week, I was provisionally hired. When I say provisionally, I mean that they have to do a little snooping around in my past. You're thinking that I'll be back on the unemployment rolls again, aren't you? I wish them luck - since I can't remember a bunch of it, perhaps they'll have better luck (and tell me a little about it). Hopefully neither of us will discover what I did with the bodies.


There will have to be many adjustments made after me being home for such a long time. The ones affected most would be the poor pets.  Not that we weren't bonded well before this but now I have two quadrupeds almost physically attached to me all day.  Since I'm not exactly an athletic guy, this means there are two pets fighting for lap and sofa space all day. If one lays against my leg, the other one hops up on my lap. This is less than optimal, as there's usually a laptop there. The damn dog can do things I can't do on my laptop, with just one paw. I suspect my wife will have to take them through some sort of Pet De-Attachment Program. They won't know what to do without Daddy sitting around the house all day.

Inter-species same sex sibling relationships are the best.

The humans will have to make adjustments too, like having electricity and heat. Ok, more like having better chocolate and paying bills. I have a genuine fondness for paying bills. Well, maybe not a genuine fondness and maybe the wife pays the bills, but you get where I'm going with this.

Speaking of the little four-legged darlings, the cat has taken to peeing on a mat by the kitchen sink. Even after I've just gotten up, the mat does not resemble his litter box in any way, shape, or form. Now picture my sheer delight when washing the dishes, to discover I'm standing on a mat made wet by cat urine. Serves me right for not wearing shoes when I wash dishes. Or for having a lovely little furball who decided not to use his litter box that particular time.

The dog, not to be left out, has decided I take too much time to let him in from outside. Today I had to apologize for him having to bark twice before I let him in. I looked at the cat and asked him why he couldn't let his brother in - after all, he's a very bright cat. Of course he's bright... he gets ME to open the door.


Once in every decade or two comes an event so spectacular as to defy belief.  Yes, we started cleaning the house. Marshall was especially grateful for us removing all of the clutter that had deposited itself on the dining room chairs. This allowed him to use a chair as a step stool, gaining access to the table itself, whereupon he proceeded to eat the remaining half of a fresh cherry cheesecake. Let this serve as a lesson to each and every one of you: DO NOT CLEAN. EVER.


Most of you know Starbucks as a place to get overpriced, over-roasted coffee with a whole lotta smug appeal. Did you know it's also a great place for a sociology lesson?  Someone asked me to meet him there last week, in spite of my begging and pleading to go anywhere else, even Denny's.  While I waited in the parking lot, I observed the following:

  • Some genius in an SUV pulls up to the NO PARKING HERE sign and parks (with a half-full parking lot).
  • A BMW driver getting into his car with his double espresso half latte nonfat cream. He closes the door then opens it again and proceeds to pour out his old coffee onto the parking lot.
  • A sixty-something with dyed black hair and boots so high she couldn't walk in them, attempting to navigate the lot and somehow open the door.
  • Two more people spilling old coffee onto the lot.
  • Several other people randomly inventing their own parking spaces, again with a half-full lot.


Speaking of paying bills, it became important to pay one bill immediately, as in now; and when I say now, I mean yesterday. I was advised to use Western Union, Moneygram or Wells Fargo. So I went online and did the transaction with Western Union. A day later, I realized that Western Union had not only not bothered to complete the transaction, they hadn't bothered to let me know they didn't complete the transaction.

So I called Western Union. Apparently the transfer was on hold. Apparently notifying me was on hold too. The nice non-English as a first language speaking fellow told me that it could not be completed. So I asked him why and he didn't know. Then he told me I could go into any Western Union office. I informed him that if I wanted to go into an office, I wouldn't have called him in the first place. He suggested I try online. I already tried online, using two operating systems and four browsers. Online help told me that people were having trouble online and to use the phone. Are you following me still?

He promises me a coupon. I don't want a coupon, I want him to put the damn transaction through. It was like the Cheese Shop sketch:

You are Western Union, right?
Yes, sir.
You send money, correct?
Yes, sir.
You have been around since long before I was born?
Yes, sir.
Are you telling me you can send money for everyone but me?
Well... let me check.  Ok, I checked and we can perform the transaction again. All I need is all of your information over again. And we're processing. And it has rejected again.
What has rejected - Western Union or the bank?
Western Union.
So you're telling me that Western Union cannot send money.
I didn't say that.
But you can't send my money.
You can try again but not for twenty four hours when our computers reset.

So I tried Moneygram online.  Oops, they don't have the correct receiver number - have to go to one of their locations. At their location I set up the payment, got my transaction number, went to the counter and POOF - they couldn't take credit cards for wire transfer.

My friend looked at me in wild-eyed wonder.

This morning I decided to go straight to Wells Fargo bank, as the money was being transferred to Wells Fargo anyway.  I called to make sure this was ok and off I went. After giving them cash, they took the opportunity to mention that the payment wouldn't post for up to three days. At this point my eyes were rolling like a slot machine. My ears were buzzing and the voices in my head were telling me to do things that were quite illegal, immoral and generally Not Nice.

The bank's staff were incredibly helpful and set out to find out how to let another division of Wells Fargo know that this division of Wells Fargo got a payment for them.  After another thirty minutes, we all discovered, to our shock and surprise, that it was faster to use Western Union or Moneygram than their own branch.

Since I will pull all of my own body hair out, one by one, before I visit Western Union, I opted for Moneygram. Within three minutes, the money had transferred. Two entire days to pay a bill by wire transfer. My brain hurts and there are still pieces of my cranium on the ceiling at Wells Fargo.

I'd like to close this merry missive with the words of the latest email I received:

Love the Monkees? Don't miss this!!!  
When I opened the email, it was an ad for an Aretha Franklin concert.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your recent re-employment, you lucky bastage!

    I'm still surviving on charity from family and friends and large credit card advances at 0% interest for 12 months. Currently hovering about $50K in debt. I'll be climbing out of that hole sometime in the not too distant... never.

    At least my cats don't have to go through the trauma of me going off to work everyday and leaving them here all by themselves in this lonely, empty, cold, dark (but 100% paid for) house.

    I wish you and the wife and the pets all the joy and financial stability you can stand, Lefty.

    Have a Merry, Happy, Fun, et cetera.

    ~Eric, your unemployed biker pal