Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, December 29, 2014

My New Year's Resolution

If I'm lucky enough to get a job, but not lucky enough for it to be in ABQ so I can live at my mom's house, then I will not hang pictures in my apartment.  It's a hassle to take off the bubble wrap, place them, and hang them -- just to do it in reverse when I eventually leave, plus cover up all the holes.

Mind you, I'll already have these pictures in my storage container.   I mean, it's not like I'm going to buy any more wherever I end up.  And, since I have them already...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

It Feels as if I Never Left

My apartment was quiet when I got back to Tulsa after visiting my mom for Christmas.  It was quiet when I called her.  It was quiet when I went to the bathroom.  It was quiet when I turned on my computer.  As soon as I clicked to play my favorite game, though, my next door neighbor turned on his loud music.  (You don't suppose he was waiting for me all this time, do you?)

Monday, December 22, 2014

It Was the Best Time. It Was the Worst Time.

I got a phone call this morning, to set up another interview (different employer) in Albuquerque.  Yay!  The only day they are doing interviews is December 31, the day I will be moving (either loading items into my storage trailer or in transit).  Boo!  Here's hoping I'll be in a decent frame of mind when the call comes.  (I chose the first time slot in the morning, so I should have the rest of the day to do what I already had planned.)

I haven't heard back from either organization I've already had interviews with.  Even though Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to inhibit work relations at this time of year, I still figure I would've heard by now if either place wanted to hire me, or at least to have a second-round interview.  This new call boosted my spirits a little.

Here's to Good Friends. Tonight Is Kinda Special.

The other night, I was awakened at 3:19 a.m. by unexpected noises.  It kept repeating, so I couldn't fall back asleep.  Once my brain was fully awake, I recognized the -- shall we say "rhythmic"? -- nature of the sound.  (Then I really couldn't fall back asleep.)

I thought new neighbors had moved in upstairs, because I had never heard that sound before, for the entire year and a half I've lived in this apartment.  The apartment manager, though, says that no one will move in there until January.

Where did the noise come from, then?  Could it be from next door?  I know a college-age couple lives there, but, as I said, I'd never heard that nature of noise before.  You'd think they'd be going at it like a couple of college kids.  Why did I hear them that one night only?  Maybe they were celebrating graduation?

Movin' Right Along

I have requested the storage/shipping container for my move, to be delivered a week from now.  (No sense paying for it to sit in the parking lot any longer than that.)  The friend I called -- to see how he's doing, not to ask him to help carry furniture -- hasn't replied, so I wonder where I'm going to find someone to help me carry furniture!

I've packed up some more nonessentials*, so I can take another carload of stuff to my mom's house and be with her for Christmas.  (We have nothing special planned, but at least I have a gift for her.)  I'll then have a few more days in Tulsa to pack what I'll need wherever I end up moving, and my furniture.  I'll be taking down and wrapping the rest of my pictures today.  I think I can get most of them in my car this trip.

* It was good to get my owl figurines and books home already.  Now I'm finding things to which I'm saying, "Why on earth do I even have that?"

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fun and Commentary

Get your own time lord name from the time lord name generator!

Your time lord name is: The Teacher

Your original Gallifreyan name is Rosochanghuladrexdavor, or Rosoc for short.  Back on Gallifrey, you led a dull and uninteresting life, working as  a member of the Chancellery Guard – but now, you travel Time and Space in search of adventure!
Your Type 46 TARDIS is currently stuck in disguise as an ATM cash machine,  and your latest travelling companion is an Indian call-centre worker who has always dreamed of seeing the world.
Get your own time lord name from the time lord name generator!

I chose the "random" feature of this internet widget, and I can tell that there was absolutely no attempt to figure out any part of my personality.  1) I dislike the thought of being a teacher.  2) An ATM is a terrible disguise, since any number of people are likely to approach it, are likely to be frustrated by it not spewing out cash at them, and are likely to kick or otherwise abuse it in response.  (And that's not even taking into account that I can walk into a police box easily but would have to bend in half to enter the typically sized ATM.)  3) Given my repeated frustration with call center workers who do not speak English as a first language, that's about the last companion I would choose (although s/he would fit through an ATM-sized door fairly easily).

A Busy, Empty Week

As I mentioned in my previous post (oh, so long ago, it seems), I had set up a Skype interview, for which I would use my friend Gimpy's computer.  Hence, I drove from Tulsa to ABQ on Sunday then from ABQ to Las Cruces (stopping by to visit Betty in Socorro on the way) on Monday.

Five minutes before the interview time, I put on my shirt and tie, checked my hair, and sat down in front of the computer.  My mobile phone rang.  (I had left it in another room, so as not to interrupt the interview.)  "It can't be her calling already," I thought.  "I'm just logging on."

As I found out later, it was the interviewer.  Long story short:  I was five minutes late for the interview because the atomic clock I had looked at was five minutes slow.  (Yes, Gimpy's chaos power is so great that he can slow down clocks that are supposed to be always accurate.)  On top of that, Skype wasn't connecting.  After much grumbling, Gimpy determined from various friends that Skype was connecting in Deming, NM and El Paso, TX but not anywhere in Las Cruces.

The interviewer had left me a voice mail, stating that they had moved up the interview after mine and suggesting that we try a phone interview in an hour.  She said I could reply with a text, so I explained we were having trouble connecting and said yes, a phone interview would work for me.  She confirmed the time, and when the phone rang, Gimpy had finally figured out that the problem was with something internet-related throughout town, not anything with his computer.

For all that, the interview went fairly well.  At the start, I apologized for missing the scheduled time and explained that Skype was connecting in other cities but not ours.  The interviewer expressed group appreciation for my diligence and thoroughness.  (Big smile there.)  I also left them with the impression that I can think around obstacles and extrapolate from limited data, but I don't know if that will be enough to outweigh my ignorance of the actual job requirements.  (I don't know if I want to live in Denver, anyway, since it snows there.)

I was scheduled to drive back to ABQ the next day, and to Tulsa the day after that.  It didn't happen, though.  When I got back from my dinner run, Gimpy said that our friend N's father had died.  I promptly called N, who said that he was in ABQ (where his parents live) and asked if I'd be able to come from Tulsa for the services.  "Well..." I started.

Anyhow, the viewing was scheduled for Friday, and the funeral for Saturday, so I wouldn't return to Tulsa until Sunday, four days later than anticipated.  No, make that five days, since our first winter storm passed over on Saturday night/Sunday morning.  There wasn't much snow (3" at my mom's house, less in the lower elevations of ABQ), but considering 1) the likelihood of little or no snow removal at the mountain pass, 2) the continual eastward movement of the storm, and 3) high winds with and after the storm, I thought it wise not to drive that day.

I finally made the return drive on Monday, since which time I crammed completing my viewing of Doctor Who DVD's borrowed from the library, and listening of audiobooks borrowed from the library (I wouldn't have had to cram, if my scheduled hadn't altered, but comforting a friend is more important than TV), so I could return them on time yesterday.  (And I walked to the library at one of the few instances during the day that it wasn't raining.)  Now I can catch up on blogging and e-mails I missed while I was away.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Bread and Water

I went to the bank branch inside my closest grocery store this morning, and I verified that my tax refund (less the $0.75 fee) did transfer to my checking account.  I then withdrew a bit of money to set aside for a haircut, the toll fee for one way on the turnpike, and a loaf of bread.  (I then bought the loaf of bread.)

I did not buy the milk I had wanted, though.  It turns out that the Skype interview I mentioned previously will be this Monday afternoon.  Great!  I don't have a microphone nor a camera on my computer.  Not great!  My friend Gimpy does, and I've used his computer once before, for a Skype interview.  Great!  He lives in Las Cruces, NM, though.  Not great!  Hence, I will drive to Albuquerque on Sunday and stay at my mom's overnight then continue to Las Cruces on Monday.  I'll then make my return trips Tuesday and Wednesday.  I figure there's no sense buying milk today if I'm going to be gone for four days.  I'd like more variety than tap water, but I'm getting used to it.

As for my breakfast cereal, it turns out that I also had instant oatmeal in the cupboard, so I've been having that for breakfast, instead.  I'll definitely need milk when I get back to Tulsa, though.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

This Doesn't Make Exercise Enjoyable, Either

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

All for the Good

Here are some positive things from the past week.

1) I had an in-person, job interview while spending Thanksgiving week with my mother in Albuquerque.

2) I received an e-mail about setting up a Skype interview for a job in Denver.

3) While comparing my checkbook register with my monthly account statement, I noticed that a miscalculation on my part means that I have more money in my account than I thought.

4) Also while checking my statement, I noticed that a charge I had entered was actually from my credit card, which means that I have more money in my account than I thought.

Living on Reserve

While I was at my mom's for Thanksgiving, I called the debit card company to learn how to transfer my tax refund to my bank account, so I can actually use the money for something.  (My prediction, in my previous post, was correct that I had to speak with someone for whom English is not his first language*.)

Now that I know the problem (that the prepared script he was reading off a computer screen was incorrect), I can't even tell him what was wrong.  All right, I suppose I could call back and ask for a supervisor or something, but that person is just going to think that the person who took my call must have misspoken, rather than admit that their prepared script might contain mistakes, so why bother calling?

Anyway, what the guy told me was that I would have to call back and enter my card number then my PIN.  "What PIN?" I asked.  (Yes, it goes downhill from here.)  Well, the PIN that was supposed to be sent to me in a separate mailing, of course.  Unfortunately, since I wasn't in the city where my mail is delivered, I couldn't see if the PIN had arrived since I left town.  "Just tell me the rest of the process, and I'll write it down, so I can do it whenever I get my PIN," I requested.

That's where the second SNAFU happened. After entering my Social Security number and zip code, the guy told me that I would have to enter the amount I want transferred.  Then the voice mail system would ask me to confirm the last four digits of my checking account number.

"Wait," I asked, "How is the system going to know the account number, if I haven't yet told it my account number?"  Of course, "Alex" didn't know.  He was just reading what was on the screen.

I learned the answer to that dilemma this morning.  That step was not in the process at all.  I entered my routing and account numbers myself, at the end of the process.  Mind you, that was after I dealt with two other problems.

First, I saw (in remarkably large print on the mailing which contained my card, which means that it's important information, which I must skip over) that I had to call a toll-free number to set up my PIN in the first place.  (Sorry, Alex, but you got that wrong, too.)  Doing so was remarkably easy and error-free.  The voice mail system even told me how much money was on the card.

Second, I made the call to transfer the balance to my checking account, but I mis-entered my Social Security number and couldn't correct it.  Not only is this the first voice mail system I've encountered that doesn't repeat what I've entered and give me the options to accept or to correct it, but it's the first one that wouldn't tell me that I would have to hang up and start over.  (It asked me three times to proceed, ignored my ranting, and finally disconnected the call by itself.)

When I called back to try again, the real problem started.  The system claimed I didn't have sufficient funds on the card to transfer.  "But you just told me the amount!" I argued (not that it does any more good to talk at the phone than it does to talk at the TV).  Hang up and start over.

This time, as I proceeded through my option-pushing, I heard the voice system tell me that there would be a charge, taken from my balance, for transferring the funds to a bank.  (I must have been ranting during the previous call, so I didn't hear this the first time.)  However, the voice did not say how much the charge would be.  (That would have been helpful, after all.)

Hang up.  Reread mailing.  See (in small print, on the backside of the mailing, toward the bottom) that there is a $0.75 charge to transfer funds to a bank account.  Sigh and grumble again.  Redial the toll-free number and push-button myself through the process.

This time, I entered the balance of my card, less the $0.75 fee, and it worked!  Really?!  Seriously?! Even more of a miracle, this is where the system started repeating the numbers I entered and asking me to confirm or correct them!

So, I have my money now -- or I will, in two days.  I have enough food to go on with, but I'd really like to buy myself some milk for my breakfast cereal, and to have something other than water to drink.  Oh well, at least I'll be able to go to my bank branch inside the grocery store to verify the transfer then pick up a gallon while I'm there.

* A helpful hint to all telemarketers in non-English speaking countries:  You may say your name is Alex, but that's not going to override your accent.  Starting off our discourse with a lie is going to frustrate me even before I state my problem that you're unable to help me with.