NoJoMo 2

  1. Describe your year to date.

I’ve been thinking about the best way to approach this one. I also realize that I screwed up the first writing prompts entry. I’ll have to juggle things a bit. My HTML skills are rather rusty, and copypasta from wherever I wrote those originally didn’t quiet work as intended. Probably because of that, the Election Day prompt is now set to fall tomorrow, instead of the proper Tuesday. Hmmm. I’ll juggle as I write next new days.

Anyway, back to this year. This hasn’t been a good year, at all. There’s still some hope it’ll get better before it ends, but I’m not holding my breath. Please to be ignoring the bad paragraph structure, as I’m just going to write what I can in blocks by month.

A bad year started with some promise. Having removed myself from the driver’s seat on account of my failing eyesight in late 2012, I finally sold my car, which had been marooned with my mother, between Christmas and New Year’s. While I didn’t get nearly what I thought it was worth, the buyer seemed like a nice enough guy, exceed to have it, etc.. The cash infusion provided some comfort, but there was still an unresolved problem that kept me from spending the proceeds. With the community event to help save the market across the street in the middle of December, it looked like they were going to be able to stay open. I loaned one of my powered antennas to the owner so he could watch the playoffs while he worked the counter, trying to keep the store afloat. Things with HR Geeks were moving along, but I hadn’t gotten a ticket to Shmoocon, so I figured I wasn’t going to go. I was a bit disappointed by that, but after the 2013 one, I really wasn’t too broken up about it. So, toil away at my thankless job, instead of taking much of the scant leave I had available. Perhaps by subconscious choice, I don’t have the slightest clue what we were working on at work. Whatever it was, we were doing it shoddily, in the name of meeting wildly outrageous schedule promises. This was kind of par for the course, and I’d been thoroughly reminded that, because I was such a lousy professional minesweeper player, didn’t have a ton of connections on LinkedIn, we would meet whatever stupid schedule we’d been committed to, and I wouldn’t say that it was impossible. I wasn’t qualified. So, despite my dissatisfaction with the job, I was going to stay and do it until…? My wife also was about to start school, which I thought was kinda cool. Being on campus with her for the new student orientation had me feeling very out-of-place as a spouse in amongst a ton of parents, but I was excited for her. We’ll stay in Norfolk until she finishes, then go wherever. With that attitude, out of the blue, around a week before Shmoocon, a longtime friend came through with a ticket for me. Schweet. Even better? Free of charge. So, the trip would cost me transportation (Amtrak to DC, various cab fares), and whatever a hotel room cost. I confirmed with my boss that things were in order through the end of the Federal fiscal year, and asked whether I could, despite not asking well in advance, have the time off to go to the conference. Yes. I can totally deal with that. The conference was great. I wasn’t angling to land a gig. t wrote vociferously. I ate good food with friends. I made it home feeling tired, but somewhat excited about where things were going. I didn’t work MLK Day, using it as a day to recouperate after an eventful weekend. I went to the market across the street, and, no, they probably weren’t going to make it after all. Damnitsomuch. Tuesday I went to work. And was informed that I was being laid off next Tuesday. Perhaps I should have been more upset about it, but it honestly felt like a relief to get out of there. Nope, the little market across the street is closing. Again, damnitsomuch. We tried to help. For me, busses and trains to the Employment Commission, filing for unemployment, etc. Carrying home PBR on public transportation in my hipster acetate-framed glasses, etc. If I’d had a velvet blazer, and a mesh condom on my head, I probably would have looked more the part.

Snow. Lots of it. Few bites on my resume. More bus trips to the unemployment office. Seminars telling me what I was doing wrong. Started thinking about seeing what it’d take to reopen the market across the street. I finally, and officially, resolved the aforementioned outstanding issue. Got home from the post office, started playing with my phone, and noticed I couldn’t read really any of the text on the screen. Maybe I’m just exhausted from being out, hoofing around, etc.. Rest for a bit. Nope, vision is still blurry as hell. Great. Call the neurologist’s office. Uhh, we’ll talk to the doctor and call you back. A few hours later, back on the bus to the neurologist’s clinic for the first of three days of Solu Medrol. My wife got out of class, and met me there. I also started angling to maybe reopen the market across the street. I had a decent working draft of a business plan, but probably not enough startup capital to make it go.

Involvement with various startup agencies. Other stuff, digging through emails to see…I was trying to help my wife through Calculus. Started considering applying for jobs with the Federal Government, something I never had seriously considered before. Totally surprised my wife by conspiring with her mom and sister to get a white, ice cold, Twilight-themed ice cream cake. Saw the neurologist, who decided to keep me on Tecfidera, after the Solu Medrol had taken care of my flare. My wife and I had decided to stop paying COBRA from the four-letter company, which was running us better than $1400/mo.. Essentially, same vision and dental, with medical insurance from a local provider for roughly half the cost.

HR Geeks came back to Norfolk from its monthlong exile in VB. On the way up, my wife was almost run off the road by a couple of police who were probably street racing at the end of the afternoon rush. My wife was pretty shaken up after a cop yelled at her out of the window of his cruiser for not getting over in bumpter-to-bumper traffic. While waiting at the restaurant, I called and opened a complaint about the cop. More seminars about starting your own business. More applications.

Not a lot I’m seeing in my sent items, other than trying to get setup for startup stuff. I chose to go ahead, and open up my own business, not the little store across the street, focusing on kind of my technical and analytic strengths. Bank account? Check. Business license? Check. Registered for this Chamber of Commerce seminar on starting your own business for early June.

As I continued setup activities for my company, I found it tough to avoid the temptation to try to do things myself, manually. Trying to setup basic services and infrastructure is just something that seemed to come naturally to me. Well, sort of. I still really suck at some of it, and am unwilling to spend the money to do it correctly. So? Take my own damn advice, and find a third-party provider. Unfortunately, I scheduled a bunch of sales calls with things like bandwidth vendors, one of which, after still keeping the conference after knowing they couldn’t provide what I wanted, caused me to miss TEDx at ODU. I tried to watch some of it, and while there were some good points, I still thought the speakers I watched were sort of missing the point. I finally got my drunk-looking-dude discount for the bus, as well as my Schedule A letter.

I registered to be a part of Hatch Norfolk’s 1000-4 program, hoping it’d generate some business leads for me. Started attending their meetings, going to social events, etc.. The premise is sound, though I think some of the ideas are a bit off-the-wall, but I’m sure they think the same of my idea.

I applied for jobs, and got referred for several positions locally, and in DC. One of those referrals was for a pretty sweet-sounding gig as a GS-13. On a whim, in order to keep my unemployment benefits coming in, I applied for a very low-level position dealing with a system I’d worked with previously I ran out of unemployment, and money was starting to get tight..

One of the things I haven’t written much about in this tome is my struggles to find adequate dental care this year. The dentist I’d been seeing since 1996 finally closed his Norfolk office when the building he was in was demolished. He was only keeping hors on Friday down at what had been the first of three offices he opened. If/when I needed anything major done, he’d see me at his larger, modern office half an hour north. (where I’d seen him since high school) I went to one of the local larger practices while I was working for the four-letter after I’d lost a filling. The guy I saw had dollar signs in his eyes, then his office staff screwed up the billing. I messaged my primary care doc, and asked for a recommendation. His verdict? A friend of his up north of ODU. I went for a cleaning, had trouble wresting control of my records from the money-grubber practice. He fixed a small issue I had, then recommended I go back to see the guy who’d done all the work on me. Pfft. I scheduled an appointment with the old guy, which required a trip up with my wife, basicallly costing her an entire day. While I was waiting in the dental chair, I got a call from that thing I’d applied for months earlier. They needed me. As soon as possible. So, I took the gig, and cancelled the next two HR Geeks meetings. I also went to the Start Norfolk event, blew my pitch, and only attended about half the conference, being exhausted from work, etc..

Still at this job. Not happy about it. Still digging hard on GS jobs, though I still haven’t gotten an interview. Now five have been cancelled, and twenty-some applications outstanding.

TLDR; it’s been a pretty lousy year, overall.