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Open Thread for Personal Stuff, 5/16 Bearcat Edition

Best Friends 4 Ever

A long overdue Open Thread for Personal Stuff. (There’s also one for non-personal stuff.)

As always, no trolls or MRAs. Let me know if any show up.

291 replies on “Open Thread for Personal Stuff, 5/16 Bearcat Edition”

@Alan Robertshaw
Always. Except when I have to work in a client’s office. (Joke.)

Anyway, I’ve loved that song for forever.

@ kat

I love that song too. You’re very lucky to have it. This is my hometown’s ‘official’ song :-/

(Actually I do like it, and yes, we did look like that back in the day)

We’re from Bradford! I’m totally on board with the spirit.

Are you in the photos?

@ kat

Note the emphasis on “not from London!” 🙂

Somebody claims to have spotted me (those are all my old 80s haunts) but I can’t see me. I do have some similarly embarrassing photos though. I’ll dig some out for you sometime.

Interesting. Over here in the U.S. it just refers to trousers. And to us trousers is a stuffy-sounding word that the British use. (I think some parts of US might say trousers, but here on the west coast it’s pants or slacks if they’re nice pants. If we’re wearing denim, which is most of the time because that’s acceptable business casual wear here, it’s just jeans.)

That’s even worse! Why is it warmer in Cape Town than London right now? Huh!? Who decided this!? How can they get away with this? There should be rules. Why aren’t there rules!? Meanwhile here in old Dixie, it’s 90 and raining…

If you’ll excuse me, I need to throw some stuff

*fans her face*

Can’t sleep. Still so hot, even when the night has cooled, ’cause now everything is trying to get rid of the heat stored.


Not related to anything in particular, but the fact that there are still some GooberGrops who insist that they’re not a massive collection of bigoted assholes really just makes me laugh and sigh and facepalm all at the same time.

@Shiriki: I’ve recently found that getting a good air circulation does wonders for cooling down a room at night, though it does depend on having a few fans and certain circumstances being right…

I’ve got my one fan in my room that I point out toward the hall, where another fan is aimed at the kitchen, and when the windows are open in there a lovely cool breeze constantly comes in through my bedroom window in the evening/at night.

It is a relatively small apartment and the kitchen windows are on the same side of the building as my bedroom window, though. And I can’t really close my door.

It’s not a perfect solution.


Normally I would do this, just open all the windows and balcony door and enjoy the crossbreeze.

Right now I can’t. I have no safety nettings anywhere, and I got two very curious mew-mews.

And yes, I am in process of getting that safety net for the balcony…

@Alan Robertshaw
When you get a chance, I’d love to see your punk era photos.

Occasionally it gets hot here in San Francisco. And we live on the top floor, which gets hotter than the other floors.

One trick I’ve used is to have two fans going while I sleep. One is in another room and is aimed at the bedroom. (Our bedroom has no doors. Yay for the open-plan apartment?) The other fan is right next to the bed and has a metal bowl filled with ice cubes in front of it. The fan blows across the ice cubes, which cool the breeze. And the bowl is metal just because it’s not going to break if a cat knocks it over. This works pretty well. Although there was a night or two when we left the front door of the apartment open . . . Yeah, it was that hot. On those evenings, our next-door neighbor would come home quite late. He preferred to spend his evenings in the air-conditioned bar down the street.

So, my family got a new puppy like two weeks ago, which we dubbed Tinkerbell. Grandma decided to put some flea medication (that we’ve used for years on our other dogs) on her, and she got really sick.

She stopped eating, she stopped drinking. We had to force her to get nutrition and water in her. She was so lethargic, where she was once so playful and energetic.

Tinkerbell passed away last night peacefully in her sleep. She was curled up next to grandma in bed, and when grandma woke up, she was dead.

Grandma blames herself for it, because she’s the one who put the flea medication on the dog, and the vet said that’s what made her sick. She couldn’t have known that Tink would have such a bad reaction to it, but she’s still really upset.

So, this, on top of our cat passing away is just a little much for me right now. There’s been too much death in this house recently.

Oh Paradoxy that’s so awful. Hugs to you; I know how shitty it is to lose an animal friend.

Keep reassuring your grandma though that she isn’t even slightly to blame. She was only doing what was best for poor Tinkerbell and she couldn’t have possibly known that would be the outcome.

Oh Paradoxy that’s so awful. Hugs to you; I know how shitty it is to lose an animal friend.

Keep reassuring your grandma though that she isn’t even slightly to blame. She was only doing what was best for poor Tinkerbell and she couldn’t have possibly known that would be the outcome.

@Alan – Sorry again for ghosting. Very busy, not feeling well, and generally avoiding things.

If I don’t talk about decisions, they don’t have to be made, right?
That’s how it works?

@ mockingbird

Hi. I’m just trying to do some risk/reward thinking. Need a bit of info from you.

What would happen, in both cases, if within a month or a year of starting suddenly the job fell through for some reason and was no longer available? What would be the consequences and do you have a contingency plan for that?

Not trying to be pessimistic here; I’m sure all will be wonderful whatever you chose. But I’m often paid to be professionally paranoid so just like to consider all possible eventualities.

No apologies necessary at all. That’s an entirely valid point.

With the J2, he’d have more management / project management experience in an enterprise-level environment under his belt and I’d have at least some recent work experience on my resume but he would likely not have any higher a clearance. This would hold true regardless of the (<1year) timeline. We'd be "in place" and wouldn't have to think about housing our children's school enrollment.
The contingency plan would primarily consist of…finding another job.
Absent unforeseen political or economic forces, this would likely be minimally difficult for him, marginally more difficult for me.

With J1, he'd have a higher clearance / higher clearances, several more high-demand certs, and more experience supporting a high-profile, enterprise level organization with minimal tolerance for downtime – all resume gold.
Given a horizon of ≥1 year, there's about a 50/50 chance that I'll be able to secure employment (chances fall precipitously as the timeline decreases). With ≥6 months, I'll likely be able to obtain at least one new cert.
If the job ceases to be viable, the hiring company is contractually obligated to either move us back to our point of origin or provide sufficient funds to do so (that amount is stated somewhere). We will (hopefully) have renters in our current house, though, so we would have to find other arrangements until that lease is finished. Judging by the aggressive recruitment efforts currently directed towards him with no / a minimal clearance, absent unforeseen political or economic forces, it is entirely likely that he'd have offers of employment in or around our home location before our household goods made it back.
We will likely be able to sock away some money (that amount increasing along with time in that job)…though that will be slightly curtailed by our seeing real, live castles, hitting every Christmas market ever, and making at least one trip to "Doctor Who Land" (as our eldest has only half-jokingly dubbed England).

*big breath*

Speaking of, I need to make breakfast for the kiddos.

@autosoma, @freemage, @anyone else who replied beyond page 3, @everyone who’s posted about their lives:

I’m going to have to wait around in a service station for-ev-er later today and plan to bring a laptop to respond / catch up.

(Zootopia just became available digitally, so I’m counting on our youngest being occupied by that 😉 )

@autosoma –

@Mockingbird. you need to ask yourself questions, what will your quality of life be like? What stressors (internal and external) will occur? Will the certification aid you outside of “Governmental” work (25 years ago I had to do DOD never used it since).

The money? from my understanding it two different jobs in two different locations, will the lucre be enough to support your current quality of life? What sacrifices will you have to make?What is the “community” like and the quality of life?

Finally, what is your vision (both of you) of career progression? How will J1 or J2 match your vision for the future.

You gave me a lot to think about.

re: certs: For J1, two of the certs are industry standard, one is DoD specific. I *think* that there might be another one that’s “encouraged” that’s an international industry preference (keeping things vague).
For J2, there will likely be no pushed certs, rather support of further higher ed (if he’s “rehired” at the end of the term).

re: quality of life: I’m really not sure where that’ll fall.
There will obviously be a huge push and the stressors accompanying an international move with J1, but – from what I gather from some people that we know who are already out there – it’s actually fairly laid back. There are hard deadlines and periodic late nights for system maintenance, but much of the time it operates as more task-based rather than time-based. It’s also a lovely area (despite my Mom’s fears about international terrorism) and…ohgawd…no traffic. Not really, not when compared to this area (where you plan what you’re going to do around traffic – a drive can be 20 minutes, 40 minutes, or 2 hours…you kind of don’t know, though you can guess based off of the time).

re: money: J1:It’ll be enough.
We won’t be like Scrooge McDuck diving through piles of money, but…

J2: It’ll be a slight bump from his current take home.

re: career progression: J2 seems like the slam dunk for me on this front. It might be, I’m not sure. It’s not a position I’m in love with, it’s just one that I know I can do. In fairness, if I can secure the most likely position with J1, it’ll be about the same but with a clearance and certs. (The same certs as Mr.) But there’s also a chance that I won’t be able to get a job. As an American living in Europe, my options will be limited.

Finally, Take it from me there is a third option, go somewhere else and find a job somewhere else, it may mean a dip in your career path but it could be for the good. Three years ago I quit being a senior manager in a City of London Financial Institution, on Tuesday I regain my former position, but on the South Coast of England 10 mins walk from the beach 25 mins walk from work. So maybe check out alternatives.

Yeah…that’s something that we’ve thought about, too.
We love the house we’re in (family home), but it was built when this area was mostly woods and farmland. That’s no longer the case.
There are many advantages to living where we live, but I’m not in love with the “mood” (Type A, Alpha-Dog, “What do you do?”), the traffic, and the crowds.
Almost any public activity (fair, etc.) is crushed by people to the point that we just avoid them.
But, geeze – the jobs. There are just so many jobs.
And my family lives here.
Iii dunno.

J1 would probably be “better” in terms of ease of relocation, if that’s something we’re adding to the mix.

@ mockingbird

Hi, did you see my bit about contingency plans? Obviously chances are everything will work out brilliantly anyway, but maybe it’s something to factor int the mix?

@Brony –


You talk a lot in your post about the difference in health insurance. If either of you has ongoing health issues, even relatively mild ones (like, say, controlled hypertension or diabetes), that’s almost sure to be what I’d look at in settling the dispute–that’s a finger on J1’s side, with the medical situation being what determines how hard it’s pressing.

I’m having an issue that’s probably not serious but is annoying / is affecting my quality of life. Currently (for me), that doesn’t rise to the level of plowing through our deductible and still eating all the copays until we hit our max with our current, crappy insurance.
Once it was established(ish) that this wasn’t something prone to progression (and after paying the f-ton of money it took to establish that), I was like, “OK, I’m good.”
But, yeah, it would be nice to have further peace of mind and/or a resolution/lessening of symptoms.

In addition, simply put:

You can always come home to the U.S. if you decide after a time that J1 isn’t working out, and may have additional skills to be even more valued in this market once you do. Getting an opportunity to live and work abroad, though, is not something you can rely on coming back up again. If that’s important to you, or if you think the experience would enrich your kids’ understanding of the world, I think that, too, would tilt the balance.

Also all true.

@Alan – I thought that I addressed that, though I wrote the last part and proofread with a toddler in my lap, so it’s entirely possible that I fell short.

I said, pretty much, “We’ll move back here and find another job / other jobs,” but perhaps you meant it in a more “shit has completely and utterly hit the fan” way with J1…?

Flee to a local military base, be flown to the UK in Chinook, and then back to the US on a cramped plane, all of our household goods lost.

I think I’m having difficulty putting a finger on the scope that you mean. Honestly, I’ve had a lot of upheaval in my life so far – I’m in no way where I thought I’d be at 18, 24, or 29 – and have started “from scratch” more than once. Short of losing my family*, I’m actually kind of…good?…at scoping out a situation and acting when things are time-essential. It’s actually easier for me than agonizing over details or vacillating between options when there’s “time to decide” (like now).

*One contingency plan that I do have: As long as we can get them back stateside, my Mom can house our pets if we couldn’t. Giving them up is the absolute last option for us. We’re paying an arm and a leg to transport them internationally and would eat the cost/debt to get them back as long as it was physically possible. I’m not someone who calls myself a “pet parent”, but they’re family members.

@ mockingbird

Ha, well I wasn’t quite imagining the last days of Saigon 🙂

It was more trying to put a ‘cost’ on having to relocate back home, both financial and terms of hassle. It seems, that there wouldn’t be that much in it between the two.

They’re really finely balanced anyway aren’t they? It’s practically a coin toss. The only deciding factor, it seems to me, is what you do in terms of a job. My gut feeling, and I must stress this is probably influenced by my own attitudes, is that it’s better to be in a position to ‘shop around’ than take a ‘guaranteed’ job when your heart’s not in it.

The whole point of this move is it’s a big adventure and a great new opportunity. You may as well go whole hog and see what exciting new possibilities you can grasp too. You’re really bright so I don’t see that you’d have too much hassle getting a job. Hey, you can stack shelves in the short term whilst you look around. Uncertainty can be a bit scary, but it’s worth it for the freedom it gives you.

@Brony – Echoing what Alan, others said re: how much easier it is to get a job if you have a job, though I know that it’s cold comfort.

re: your “only being able to argue”: I’ve told our oldest that that’s her super power. She’s such an arguer, a good one. It’s gotten to the point that asking her to do a chore or telling her not to do something has become like constructing a legal document. If there’s a loophole, she’ll find and exploit it*
When she was younger, I referenced Hercules (the Disney cartoon version). In it, before he learns to handle his power, almost anything he does leads to destruction. After training, he’s…well, the (necessarily) sanitized version of Heracles that Disney presented.
“Right now you’re like Hercules before he trained – you don’t mean to hurt people or make things harder when you argue,” I said to her, “You just notice the flaws in people’s theories, the holes in their explanations. That’s a gift, but it’s a gift that will do you no good unless you hone it and find the best ways to use it.”

The next job that you have probably won’t be a good fit for your gift, but options are out there.
If your primary talent is “arguing with people”, you’re likely someone for whom troubleshooting and analysis is second nature. (From what I’ve seen of you here, that’s so.) That’s valuable as hell.
How best can you apply it?

Oh, I forgot the *.

Here it is.

This seems silly, but it was indicative of what was to come:
One morning when she had just turned two, she was looking at a book while in her PJs. I said, “OK, time to get dressed, honey.”
*surly toddler face*
“Time to put clothes on! We have errands to run.”
She looked at me like I was the dumbest person to ever curse her short life, pinched her PJ shirt with her chubby little fingers, and said, “Mommy…what dis? It clothes. I dwressed.”
I took a deep breath and replied, “It’s time to change your diaper, put on an outfit, brush our teeth, brush your hair, and go.”

Probably a more illustrative example: When she was about 8, she began tying things to things. That’s intentionally vague because she would literally tie anything that could be tied to something whatever she could tie it to. This was problem both because it broke things – two ceiling fans in particular – and we had nightmare visions of finding her or her little sister choked to death on some random scarf she had tied to a bed. We issued the edict, “Don’t tie anything. Save your shoes when they’re on your feet [yes, we also had piles of shoes tied together], tie nothing to anything else.”
My husband walked in on her swinging from a scarf that appeared to have been tied around a doorknob.
“You’ve been told not to tie anything to anything else.”
“I didn’t! See?”
She slid a loop in the scarf off of the knob.
“I tied a knot and hung it on! It’s not tied to the knob. It’s on it.”

Over the years, we’ve grown remarkably specific with our directives, but she’s about to enter her teens.

Wish us luck.

@Alan – Was going to write something, but I’ve just noticed that I’ve been a negligent wench and the girls need to get up, eat breakfast, and get going.

Writing this so that you know that I saw your post and plan to respond.

@ mockingbird

No worries. As my mum used to say “Ooh, half past one and not a bairn fed or a pot washed” (That’s a northern quote that you could probably write about from a feminist perspective!)

@ mockingbird

No worries. As my mum used to say “Ooh, half past one and not a bairn fed or a pot washed” (That’s a northern quote that you could probably write about from a feminist perspective!)

Ugh, I hate to bring this up with all the other serious stuff that’s going on, but I needed someplace to bitch where it won’t be seen by anyone I know. I just really hate my job. I’ve been here for 5 years without a raise and they just keep throwing more stuff at me to do and won’t hire any extra help. (While constantly bitching that there’s no money, and why aren’t we making money?) It’s finally getting into our slower season, and I’ve just caught up on stuff that’s been sitting there since March. It wouldn’t be so bad if there was any acknowledgement of what I do or even that they’re asking me to do extra, but pretty much all I get is barked at for whatever thing isn’t how they wanted it that day. Before, I’ve been told get people scheduled, don’t wait, we don’t want to lose clients. So today I get in trouble for scheduling two things this week on the days that were open on the calendar because they were doing other things those days and didn’t mark the days off. It’s hard when you are told something one day, then literally told to do the opposite a little while later. And it happens a lot.

It’s partially also my problem how I react to things. I seriously internalize any remotely negative thing sent my direction and will gnaw on it for days (weeks, months, years.) Because of what happened with the scheduling this morning, I will be useless for the rest of the day because that conversation will be on a constant loop in my head. I know I do this, I just haven’t been able to figure out how to break my brain of the habit.

I live in a rural area and this is about the closest I could find something. Otherwise, I’m looking at a 70 mile round trip every day, which will send my gas budget through the roof and be especially sucky in the winter. And if I can find another job, it’s probably going to be minimum wage too, so I’ll be coming out behind. The only reason I can make this work now is because I’m living rent free in my grandpa’s old house.

Sorry, I think I mostly just needed to get this out there to kick myself in the butt to start doing something.

Ugh, chesselwitt, I’m so sorry. There’s a lot of what you said that I really relate to. I, too, take professional criticism much harder than I wish I would, and it makes getting anything else done really challenging. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m sorry your job sucks :(.

I don’t know if you wanted just to vent, or if you are wanting to hear some advice. I do have a specific piece of advice for your specific situation with the scheduling, but please ignore it if you’re not looking for that right now.

If you’re being punished for doing something the way you were told to do it (ugh, the WORST FEELING), one thing you might consider doing is going to your superiors/internal clients/whatever and saying “hey, I’m sorry that situation wasn’t taken care of in the manner you wanted. Could I ask you how you would like me to handle similar situations in future?” to which they will probably reply, “well, obviously I want you to do X.” “That’s good to know,” you say. “Would you mind throwing that in an email for me?” If they ask why you need an email, say it’s so you have something to refer back to when this comes up. You can also start the conversation in email format and hope they respond in kind. Then, you store that email in your “don’t get fooled again” folder.

Next time, you follow the instructions given in the email. If someone comes to you all mad because you didn’t handle it the way they wanted, forward the email. “I’m sorry, I was asked to follow the procedure below. Should we set up a meeting with my manager/other affected parties to change the procedure?”

I obsess like that over mistakes and conflicts. One way I can break it is by not allowing myself to see it as personal. I learned this when working customer support for years. When you’ve got the 20th parent of the day yelling at you because the store sold out of the thing their kid had their heart set on and now you’ve ruined Christmas, you learn to not take it personally. They’re not upset with you, they’re upset with the situation. I try to apply that to work, as well. My manager isn’t criticizing me, he’s criticizing the approach I took. Or in your case, sounds like your management is frustrated at the schedule filling up, not necessarily at you for filling it up. I don’t know if that helps.

If your primary talent is “arguing with people”, you’re likely someone for whom troubleshooting and analysis is second nature. (From what I’ve seen of you here, that’s so.) That’s valuable as hell.
How best can you apply it?

Coming in late on this: QA in software development is a good fit for those skills.

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