tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Monday, February 26, 2018

Well, that last blog, nearly a month ago, was a downer, now wasn't it? Things haven't changed a whole lot. It's still a bit difficult to stay positive.

For the first time in my life, I have to pay in to the IRS. What the hell. And it's not a tiny amount.
God damnit.

Still working part time waiting tables, and still not in love with it, to say the least. Not getting enough hours (although I'd probably hate it if I were). Still not making enough money, although tips do seem to be getting a little better. But it's still not enough. It's "cliquey" there. I don't know of any of them that I relate to, or would (cough, gasp) trust, or really even befriend. I don't feel like I belong there. I show up, do my job, go home. Part of my frustration also lies with the empty promises... That I'd be full time, or at very least, 30 hours to start (I'm working 20-25). That I'd be bartending most of the events (I haven't done one yet, and there have been lots of them). I'm still trying to figure out if I should start another part-time job on top of this one (if I could find a day time part time job around this one). Knowing that at some point (hopefully sooner than later) I'd have to quit anyway, because I'm ideally looking for a full time job. If I could find a full time job.

I did get an offer from Petco for the grooming apprentice program. I turned it down. After much thought, I couldn't picture myself being happy washing dogs all day, being covered in dog hair, and nails, and ear goo, and anal gland goo, and cleaning up after dogs all day, and so on. It's a physical job that is harder than it looks. I don't think the gross, physical, difficult parts would outweigh the being around dogs part. And why jump into a career if I'm not sure I'd even like it? It would have been a really big commitment for something that I just wasn't sure I'd enjoy.

I've applied for a several others, with no results. One cool job, a marquee host at the casino. No word yet. I submitted my resume to a veterinary clinic who is hiring a "client services specialist" (fancy term for front desk person). I'd really, really like to get that job. That was five days ago. No call for an interview yet. I've submitted my resume to a few different law offices who were hiring receptionists. One even said they'd train the right candidate. Over the last few months, I've probably applied for 20 different office type positions. And no calls. I've got 16 years of bartending on my resume. I studied secretarial science at Beal (17 years ago, but didn't get a degree, almost, but not quite), and worked in an office "pre-resume years" ago. No matter how well versed I am, hard working, experienced with computers, or experienced in management I may be, who wants to hire a veteran bartender to work in an office? Sigh.

Speaking of bartending... I applied for several bartending jobs over the last couple months. These were places that were actually running ads for openings... Margarita's, Olive Garden, Longhorn, Ruby Tuesday, Ramada, Ground Round, Applebee's, Chili's, Bangor Beer Co/Oriental Jade, Four Points (at the airport), just to name a few. I got "thank you, but" emails from most of the corporate franchises without so much as a phone call first, and no response at all from the rest. HOW CAN THAT BE POSSIBLE?? I HAVE 16 YEARS EXPERIENCE (INCLUDING MANAGEMENT) IN THIS INDUSTRY!!
I don't understand. So. Fucking. Frustrating.

There's always still Wayfair. The call center job that pays great and has great benefits, that I'm sure I'd hate. Firstly, I'm pretty sure I'd be miserable. Secondly, and this has only been a recent train of thought... What if I do stick with it for a while, and hate it and want to get done, or what if they close down, or layoff, and I need/want to look for another job- then I have gained no more valuable experience to make myself more employable than I am right now. Time has gone by, and I have only gained more "customer service" experience (which I already have 20+ years of), and call center experience. I end up being no more marketable than I am right now.

I could always try to make ends meet on this job, and go back to school during the day. At least finish my associates in administrative assisting at Beal, so I'd be employable. I can't seem to find anything else I'm really interested in going to school for, nothing that wouldn't be a total waste of money. That administrative associates degree would be very practical. And although I don't relish the idea of being a desk worker, I could always look for a job at a business that I find interesting... a law office, or veterinary office, or a school, or something. But I hate the idea of borrowing more money. I looked at my loans the other day, and of all the times I've attempted school, I'm already $29,000 in debt in student loans. Holy. Shit. And no degree(s) to show for that. What an idiot I've been all these years.

And so, I don't know what to do. Keep applying to full time office jobs that I'll probably never get? Go work full time at some dead end retail job? Go try to make a career at a call center? Make a career out of waitressing? (Oh hell no) Suck it up and keep waitressing, and borrow more money to go finish my degree at Beal to hopefully become more marketable and get one of those office jobs?
Sigh. I don't know what to do. And so I just keep on keeping on. And stay stuck.

The boy spent the night last night. I was so tickled. I did have to bribe him, lol... It was in exchange for letting him order some stuff through microsoft for one of his xbox games. Hey, whatever works, right? I couldn't wait for him to come over. I was so happy to have him here. Even if he did primarily hang out in his room playing video games. I made him dinner, and visited him in his room. Chatted with him. And then it got about time to go to bed... He couldn't sleep. We tried benadryl. By midnight he still couldn't sleep. And he got upset. Said he was "homesick". I gave him a melatonin and tucked him in. He fell asleep shortly after. I lay awake crying for an hour... "Homesick".
He was overtired but otherwise fine and back to normal this morning.
I was hoping this might lead to more time, if he could remember it was nice to be around Mom, at Mom's house. If he could see that this was his home, too. But it certainly didn't seem to work out that way. I am so, so sad. I feel defeated. The most important thing in my life is continuously slipping further away from me, and there's not a fucking thing I can do about it.

At least there's the dog, right? Yeah, I did it again.
As if giving up the last foster (potential adoptee) wasn't difficult enough... You see, when I'm bored and drinking my coffee in the mornings, on the computer, I like to torture myself evidently, by going to and, and looking at all the dogs in the shelters. I do it every day, kind of like reading the morning paper.
And not that any one kind of dog is better or more deserving than any other, but I have always had a super soft spot for giant breeds (probably from raising great danes for ten years). And when I saw this mastiff listed at the Augusta humane society, I knew right away that I had to investigate. And so I called. Next thing I knew, I was driving down there, and then agreed to foster (again), with the potential to adopt (again).
You've all seen the updates on Facebook. He's got issues. He's one of the most nervous, anxious dogs I've met. He won't leave the driveway or the yard. He is hard to convince to get into the car (sometimes he refuses to go near it at all), and when he does get in, he refuses to get out. He is scared of everything and everyone. He growls at the cat, but then again, there are times when he lets her rub all against him, and even wags his tail while she's doing it. But most of all, he's just scared, of everything. His previous family reports he's always been this way. They described him as "skittish and moody and nervous around new people and new things". They gave him up because there was some fighting going on between him and one of their other dogs. He was not neutered, lived with three adults, two teenagers, a little girl, and three other dogs. No wonder he was anxious.
I'm afraid he'll never be the kind of dog that I can take walking along the waterfront, or into Petco, or out socializing. Which is a real bummer, because that's what I'd like to have in a dog. And given his breed and his size, he's a senior at age 5. So I'll have to be prepared for a short lived relationship. And he's stubborn as hell. But he is sweet. And he needs me. And at this point, I kinda need him. Oh hell, who am I kidding. Of course I need him.
He's so lazy. Sometimes I wonder if that's normal. I wonder if he's ok. Now that he's figured out that he can get up into my bed (albeit with a little struggle), that's where he prefers to spend most of his day. He comes out to lay near me off and on, but he likes my bed. He's sooooo lazy. If this keeps this up, he's going to weigh 200 pounds! And if he won't leave the damn driveway, how am I supposed to get him to walk it off?! He has really grown quite comfortable here in the last week, though. He has very closely bonded with me, and Phil, and even Dawson.
Now I just have to make it work. With scheduling, I'll have to figure out how to make it work. Whether I get a full time job, or a second job. Somehow, I'll just have to figure it out. And financially... I wasn't terribly practical in that aspect... he'll eat a ton, and he should have glucosamine supplements (which I have already bought), he could benefit from some anti-anxiety meds I think, and at his age and size his vet care will potentially be costly, at some point. Not real bright on my part. Not very practical or wise, financially. Shit.
I'll have to figure it out. Somehow.

I've probably blubbered enough for one day. I should go try to figure some shit out.
There is plenty of it for me to try to do.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

It's not Sunday, my typical day for blogging, but I still feel like doing it, so on with it.

I said goodbye to my foster dog last week. I knew I couldn't keep her, as much as I wanted to. Right now I'm not making enough money to keep myself afloat, let alone feed/take care of a dog. I'm going to have to start working two jobs to survive, full time or part time, and then I'll have no time for a dog. I should have known better. I dropped her back at the SPCA, and cried all the way home. I wrote up a page about her for any prospective families, so they would know what kind of dog she was, her quirks, her good traits, what she needed help with. She's already found her forever home. I knew it wouldn't be long. I suppose I should be happy about that, but all I can do is worry... will they give her the love and home that I could have?

Still trudging along with this new waitressing gig, and still looking for something full time with benefits. I'm only getting about 25-ish hours a week, and still not killing it in tips. And the bills continue to pile up. And I still don't like it. And here I thought I would want this job over the others. I've learned my lesson there.

Funny, it seems that life, or the universe, or whatever, teaches you that sometimes... teaches you that what you thought you wanted, may actually be what you don't want. Sometimes you learn it after the fact, when it's too late. But sometimes, you learn it before hand, and you're able to circumvent a potentially unhappy situation.
Anyway, I digress...

I interviewed with Petco last week for their dog grooming apprentice program, where they pay you to be trained and then employ you full time in the salon. The interview went well, and I wouldn't be surprised if I got an offer (although, I've said that about a few jobs, and then didn't get an offer, so who knows!). I somehow think I would enjoy grooming. I love dogs. I have a creative flair that does require an outlet. And this seems like it would be a good opportunity for a career path, rather than just a job (but then again, I thought I would enjoy waitressing!). They would send me to Portland five days a week for twelve weeks for the training. They pay for the hotel and food. I hate being away from home, so that doesn't sound enticing. But temporary inconvenience all for the greater good, right? But then I started reading the packet about the job description... and I got to one part that might prevent me from becoming a groomer... "expression of anal glands"... It sounds gross enough, but google a video on it. Ugh! Oh my gawd, I almost barfed! Yes, I have a fairly weak stomach. So maybe my weak stomach is going to prevent me from pursuing a career in dog grooming. What a shame. If only it weren't for that one damn thing... Gross.

There's still always Wayfair; the customer call center. Where I think I would be fairly unhappy on a headset all day, stuck in between rows and rows of other people on headsets, yet I would make very good money, have potential for raises and promotions, and get excellent benefits. I'll tell you, it's becoming more and more attractive every single day. I actually took a look at their health benefits (that my recruiter emailed me last month), and they are amazing. I'd probably be a fool not to go for that job. Everyone I've ever talked to absolutely loves working there, they love the company, say how appreciated they feel, yadda, yadda, yadda. They hire every month, so I could put in for it again. I may have to. Maybe I should.

I miss my boy, as always. And I worry about him so much. He's struggling in school. He's depressed and angry. His attitude isn't the greatest. I do what I can, but with him not being here, I can't do much. I keep in close contact with his teachers and guidance counselor. I take him to all his doctor's appointments; and we've talked about anti-depressants, but that still remains up to him. He sees a counselor fairly regularly, but it hasn't seemed to help a whole lot. I wish there were more I could do for him. He's been through so much for such a young boy. Life can't be easy for him. I wish I could make it so. And as always, I wish he were with me.  :(

Without him, life is pretty lonely. Because no matter how you look at it, I'm alone. It's just the way it is. Not that that's anything new, really. But I still haven't gotten used to it. I mean, I guess I've gotten used to it, I suppose. I've grown accustomed to an empty house, to being alone all the time with nothing but my thoughts or the cat or the television or facebook for company. I've probably gotten used to having things just my way, with no one else around here to mess things up. I talk to myself a lot, probably more than I should. I've gotten used to it. But I still don't like it. I'll never like it. I'll never find it enjoyable or fulfilling. In fact, there are times, often times, it makes me very, very sad. I can't believe that this is what life had in store for me, to be lived alone. At least, I certainly hope not.

And I still live with so much regret. And it seems that as life goes along, the more I regret. It's a poisonous thing, regret. It's not productive in any way. It doesn't serve a purpose. It's not like you can learn from it and do things differently because of it. Regret doesn't work that way. It's simply a painful reminder of the things you did, or didn't do, that you wish were different. That's all it is. Regret is not useful or advantageous whatsoever. It's a useless and hurtful emotion. And one that I could live without, please and thank you.

Well there, I've done enough reflecting for one day. Yuck. I should go watch some light hearted television show, or play mahjong, or read a book, or vacuum, or some other thing to keep me entertained until it's time to go to work. Oh dear, work. Ugh. I don't want to!!!

I recently read somewhere that in order to start feeling more positive, you should start replacing "I don't want to" with "I get to".

"I get to" go to work later.
"I get to" be a waitress.
"I get to" do my laundry.
"I get to" live alone.

It's not working.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Well, I've got the first week under my belt at the new job. About a week and a half now.
And I can't say that I love it.
First of all, it's a lot harder than I imagined it would be. And I don't mean the labor; I've never been afraid of working hard (and damn, waitresses work hard). But it's the multi-tasking part that gets me... (And all these years my cover letters always said what great multitasking skills I have... Ha!)...
One table needs desserts (which I have to put together), the other table is waiting for me to take their order, that other table needs to be set up and their drink orders taken, oh geez- I've got two giant food orders waiting at the window to go out to two other tables and the cooks are yelling my name- which tables again? who gets what?- oh shit- I've got to put their sides together (coleslaw, salads, veggies), another table is waiting on their bill, another table is waiting on their drink order that I have to get (and I have to make a milkshake for them somewhere in there), oh shit- the first table is still waiting for those desserts I have to put together..... Holy. Friggin. Shit. I. can't. Do it. I honestly don't know how those girls (and guys) do it. I really don't. I don't know if I'll ever be able to, with time, with experience, or whatever. It's just too much. I fall apart. I can't.
Secondly, I'm not making the tips I thought I would, unless it's a weekend. Weeknights I'm making very little. Not nearly enough. And weekends I'm working my ass off, and making more, but still not what I thought I would.
Thirdly, I was supposed to be close to full time, and so far my first two weeks I'll only be getting around 25 hours (yes Gayle, I know, I can hear you now...).  :)
Also, I'm working all nights, including Friday and Saturday nights. That's kind of a bummer. I don't have a kid at home anymore, so I don't have to worry about seeing him, but all nights is still kind of a drag. I never see my boyfriend anymore. Between his schedule with the kids and my work schedule, it's nearly impossible. If only we lived together. But he won't move up here (travel with the kids to their schools down there every day wouldn't make sense), and I won't move down there (because then I'd really never see my boy). It seems we're doomed. Sigh. Anyway... And forget about band practice. That's been impossible, too.
And so, the lack of hours and the lack of tips and my lack of excitement about it means that either I look for something else, full time, or I suck it up and stay there and get a second part time job.
Either way, I can't afford to keep on this way. And the only way to make more money is to take on more tables, or wait for the busy season to kick in. And with how difficult I find it now (and difficult is an understatement), I don't even think I can handle any more than what I do now.
I'm a great bartender, but I make a terrible waitress.

I knew eventually I'd wait on people I knew. And I always wondered what that would be like... Last night I waited on a woman I graduated high school with. She looked vaguely familiar to me. She knew who I was, even remembered my last name. We exchanged some small talk, the typical "how've you been", and suddenly I found myself needing to explain how I was managing the Brookside and how it closed, and how I got two other great job offers, but chose this because I was so used to the service industry... and I felt funny... embarrassed? As she talked of how she noticed as she drove by the Brook (on her way to their camp on Jacob Buck) that it had closed... And I thought to myself, here I am, 25 years later, and look how far I've come, I'm your waitress now.
I know, I know. Who gives a shit what other people think, bla bla bla.
But I thought it myself. I suffered that stigma myself. And I didn't like it. I'm pretty sure I'll never get over that. That will be a tough one to live with if I continue with this job.


The dog.
I've gotten kind of attached to this dog. Even though she's a bit of a pain in the ass. She's got more "quirks" than I care to work with, or even have time to. But I kinda like her.
The problem is, I don't know if I'll have time for her. If I start working full time, and try to continue with the band, and/or take a second job, how will I possibly have time? She'll live in her crate most of the time. How is that fair? And then there's the cost. I'll never make what I was making at the Brook; I'll be on a tight budget. I'm not sure I'll be able to afford much extra. Sigh.
Today is the two week mark. I'm supposed to decide whether or not I'm going to adopt her. They told me I could have more time. I'm not sure if that'll just make it harder for me to give her back, if that's what I should do. I just don't know. I shouldn't have done this in the first place. Stupid dog. Stupid me.

As always, I miss my boy. I find myself reminiscing every day, about when he used to stay with me, and how close we used to be. And wishing things were still like that. I wish things were different.

I find myself wishing and daydreaming about a lot of things.
I wish the Brook were still open. I wish my boyfriend would move up here. I wish my boy would stay with me. I wish I could afford and had time for lots of dogs.

If only wishes came true.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Well, we all survived the arctic air over the last two weeks or so. That was awful. Negative 20-30 wind chills.. Seriously. That's just not okay. Watching the forecast this morning, and I'm so excited! 30's today with some sun, it's going to be beautiful! 40's Thursday and Friday with some rain on Friday, so hopefully we'll get rid of some of this snow. I know the heatwave won't last, but it sure will be nice.

As most of you have seen on Facebook, I'm now officially employed again. Thank GAWD! Not only was I going broke, I was going crazy.
It's funny... I was getting so discouraged. I had so many resumes out, and had only had a handful of interviews. And then all of a sudden, I had three different job offers that I had to choose from. Who knew that would happen?! And wasn't it stressful! I took a few days to decide, and I had such a difficult time. I had to remind myself that this was not a lifelong decision. No matter which I chose, I could always look for something else if I ended up being unhappy. And the advice from all the people who know me helped as well.
My choices were: a receptionist position with Varney insurance agency, a customer service rep for Wayfair's call center, and a waitress (with potential for bartending shifts) at Dysart's. Each job had it's own perks... Varney had "better" hours; Mon-Fri, 8-5, holidays and weekends off and a great benefits package. Wayfair offered the highest pay with quick potential for advancement and raises, and an excellent benefits package. Dysart's only offered part time (30 hours) to start, with the option of quickly moving into full time, variable hours (weekends, evenings, etc), an "okay" (but not great) benefits package, but the service industry, which is what I'm accustomed to.
In the end, I knew I wouldn't be happy sitting behind a desk all day, or on a headset all day in a call center, even though those jobs were the most practical. Even as often as I complain about people, and as much of grouch I am, and as antisocial as I seem to be, I need that social interaction every day. I've worked in the service industry for 15 years. It's what I know, and it's what I enjoy.
I fill out all the employment paperwork on Thursday, and I expect to start training on Friday (I'll find out my schedule today or tomorrow).

I'm so nervous...
I haven't had to start a new job in a long time. New place, new people, new POS system, new job duties, lots of new things to learn... and I've never technically waitressed before. Am I going to be able to do it? I mean, I know I'll be able to do it socially. I'd make a damn good waitress, just as I make a good bartender. But physically, can I do it? I'm no spring chicken anymore. My hips hurt, my knees hurt, I'm lame and lazy. Then again, when I was busy at whatever bar I worked, I had no problem keeping the pace, and then some. Maybe moving around again is what I need. I just don't know.
And will I remember where the food goes? Who ordered what? What food goes to what table? Will I be able to memorize their HUGE menu? My mind is no spring chicken anymore either!
And what about that giant tray loaded with plates of food? Am I seriously going to be able to balance that on one hand while walking at the same time?!? Oh gawd, I see a potential train wreck happening there...
Sigh. I guess I'll find out.

As most of you have also seen on facebook, I'm currently fostering a doggy. It's actually a foster-to-adopt program through the local SPCA. You take the doggy for two weeks, and at the end of those two weeks, you either adopt the dog, or turn it back over to the shelter. Even if I don't adopt Hazel, it's still a neat program, because it gets the dog out of the shelter environment, and it gives the shelter more of a look into their personality and temperament for placement.
I don't know what I'll do at the end of our two weeks. I saw her on their facebook page, and I knew about their two week program, so I went to meet her. And then all of a sudden we were doing the two week program. Lol.
It's only been since Sunday, but so far she seems like a fairly easy dog. She does have some quirks. She is nervous around new people and things (it doesn't seem like she was ever properly socialized), she pulls terribly on the leash, she is a bit anxious, she is a pacer... She will get up and walk all around, pacing. I'm not sure if it's because she's anxious, or bored, or what. Perhaps a combination. She does seem like she would benefit from a more active home, someone who would/could take her walking a few times a day, or running, hiking or biking, or whatever. She is a busy body. She reminds me of Flash. Although she settles down nicely and lays with me on the couch, or at my feet (like now), as well.
I don't know how she is with other dogs yet, we haven't tested the waters there. Mom wants to bring her little ones up to meet her (especially since I have to babysit them next month, and if I adopt Hazel, they will have to coexist). Logan could bring over her boys too. I don't want to overwhelm her just yet. We'll see. But it would be nice to know.
I bought her a crate to use because I don't dare leave her to roam free while I leave the house. As soon as I set it up, she went right into it. She's gone into it to just lay down several times since. So obviously she is used to it from her previous home. That's a good thing.
It's good that I start my job this week, so that I'll really be able to see how having a dog will go with going to work and band practice. And then I'll have to figure out whether or not Hazel is that dog.
One of my friends raised a good point... do I really want to have a dog, or will it just end up being a another stressor for me? I think it's both?
Even if I don't adopt Hazel, I'll be glad to have gotten her out of the shelter for a couple weeks. And have had a chance to "try out" another doggy. And I know she will be adopted very quickly. There was a ton of interest on her post on their facebook page, I just happened to be the first one to act.
We shall see.


I've been sleeping like CRAP. And I don't know why. I do know that I can see from my facebook memories that I do it this time of year, pretty much every year. It seems to start around Thanksgiving. I'd like to know when it ends! This year seems worse though. At first I started waking up at 4. Then I started waking up at 3:30. Now I've started waking up at 2, and tossing and turning until I get up at 3:30 or 4. I am so over it. Ugh.

Logan came over to do laundry last night, so Dawson came over to visit too. It was nice having them both here. I still only see the boy when I drive him to/from school. I miss him so much. I know I say that every blog, but it's something I'll never get used to. Not having him in my home has been one of the worst things I've ever had to deal with. Just thinking/talking/writing about it brings me to tears.
I miss my boy.

Speaking of which, I have to go get him and bring him to school.

Be well.