atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2704: Chore day is done

Around 10 this morning, after I fed the cats, I called Wal-Mart to check the status of my RXs. To my surprise--even though I ordered them Thu evening and my doc is out of the office on Fri--they were ready! Holy smokes!

...so I went back to bed.

Slept until after noon, then figured I might as well get up and go get my pills. By the time I'd assembled myself it was after 1:30, and I ended up getting to Wal-Mart about 1:50.

Pharmacy: closed. Because it was the pharmacist's lunch break, 1:30-2:00. Groaning, I checked my watch, and saw that it was now 1:54, so I only had about five minutes or so to wait. Fine.

Shrugging, I looked around the housewares section to see what they had for crock pots, since the old one went out with the trash a couple weeks ago and I knew I'd need one sooner or later. They had one on sale for $17, so I grabbed it, and then browsed around their electronics section a bit before heading back to the pharmacy, which was just opening. After paying for everything I hit Wendy's for a double combo; I ate it in the Wal-Mart parking lot because I was too hungry to wait.

Got home, washed the new crock pot, and started a batch of beef stroganoff; then I changed clothes and cut the grass.

* * *

Thursday night, when I was in Rantoul, I hit Wal-Mart (which was quite literally a stone's throw from my hotel, provided the stone was thrown by a star NFL quarterback) to get Pepsi, and I ended up buying a box of Crunch -n- Munch--basically, caramel corn. I had some last night while Ormus was farming Arch; just now I finished the box (but for the crumbly bits) while typing this.

People are telling me that I look thinner now than I did earlier this year. I suppose it's possible that I've lost weight, though I for damn sure don't know how that could be when I'm not watching what I eat. Anyway I'll take "looking" thinner regardless of the actual numbers, because I'm a big guy and my job at Target put some muscle on my frame, so I look fatter than I actually am to begin with. The potbelly is the most noticeable sign of being overweight; absent that I'd just look like an ex-weightlifter or something.

Whatev.

* * *

Og had people freeloading off his wireless router.

If you use wireless, secure the damn thing. Sure it's a pain in the ass, but if you want to have all of your bandwidth available for your use, there's not much else you can do about it unless you want to string Cat-5e all over your hourse.

* * *

I am too young to have had a real chemistry set of my own. What I had was a hand-me-down from one of my older siblings, and it was old enough that it came in a metal case. Most of the reagents were in plastic bottles but a couple were in glass, and I can't even remember what was in it now.

But at least it contained chemicals. WTF.

You can't sell a chemistry set like that these days. Can you imagine? The damn thing would have to come with a book about the size of a Sears catalog (the big annual, I mean, not the Christmas catalog!) that would be nothing but legalese and dire warnings and MSD sheets and "Warning: this product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause..." and all the other bullshit.

You can't because some asshole kid might use a real chemistry set to synthesize something like nitrogen triiodide and blow his head off. (The hard part? Getting relatively pure ammonia and iodine. Most of the video is devoted to purifying reagents, and the actual synthesis consists of mixing one reagent with another. Cripes.)

* * *

The only real chore I have left--other than taking care of the dishes--is to do a load of laundry. This coming week shouldn't be like last week, where I put everything off until Monday evening and then had to run around at top speed for three hours after getting home from work. (Shit, no wonder I couldn't get to sleep.)

I can't believe it's already May. Before you know it, it'll be October again....

* * *

One of the things I'm now worried about vis-a-vis work is: what if they want me to sign a contract?

It seems inconceivable that they would, but you never know. As far as I know this is an hourly position; it doesn't look like I'm going to have a desk (much less an office or a ccmputer) and it's kind of hard to call that a "professional" position, like engineering or something, when your "office" is on the factory floor and your "desk" is a robot cell.

The most ludicrous thing I come up with is the idea of a "non-compete" agreement (NCA); but if we were to part ways a few years down the track I fail to see how they could justify keeping me--contractually--from finding another robotics job. Maybe a clause to keep me from being employed by a company which makes the same sort of products [employer] does--that's what a "non-compete" clause is supposed to be for. An NCA makes sense when your job revolves around the development and employment of trade secrets, but mine really doesn't, and probably won't for quite some time. It's become obvious that most of my time will be spent doing all the assembly, construction, etc, so the other guy can write programs. An NCA would make sense for him, because he knows how to make the robots do the things that the company needs done. Even after I've been there a few years I don't expect to be doing what he's doing, except as backup.

I don't know at what point, job-wise, a NCA becomes reasonable. When I was living in Iowa--in September of 1997, shortly after I moved out there--I interviewed with a company that made me an offer of $11 per hour to do on-site computer service and they expected me to sign an NCA. WTF, that's ludicrous.

Though I'm making more than that at [employer] I don't see that it matters; what matters is what I would do with the experience I gain there if we were to part ways. (For whatever reason. The factory burns down. Illinois outlaws their business. I get a wild hair in an unlikely place and decide to move to Wisconsin. Whatever.) Normally an NCA is pretty specific about limiting the ex-employee's employment opportunities, in order to keep him from learning how the job on Business A's dime, learning how they do things, and then going to Business B--their competition--with all that knowledge and experience.

So for the place in Iowa, it made sense (in a highly limited sort of way) to keep their computer technicians from getting trained to whatever standard they had, and then quitting after six months to take a job with a competitor. There were lots of on-site service providers and even being an "in-house" tech was considered "competition" by that NCA. (Which is bogus, of course. Okay, Rockwell-Collins didn't compete with these guys, so why should a hardware tech job there count as "competition"? Particularly when R-C had all its tech support in-house anyway? R-C wasn't ever going to call these guys up and have them send a tech out, so how is it in competition with them? Yet that's how their NCA worked. Stupid.)

I would have signed the paper and taken the job for $15 an hour, and I would probably still be working there because I don't job-hop; when I take a job, I stick with it. (I think I've quit two jobs in my life. Both were retail.) $11 was a slap in the face after all the rigamarole they put me through for the interview and such. In fact, though, about two weeks later I signed on as a contract tech for R-C and was making $15.50 per hour, so it's just as well.

Anyway, it's something else for me to worry about, which is typical. A contract bothers me only because I realized today that I am not tied down and have some freedom of movement. I can live here as long as the place remains unsold; I can rent a smallish place in Rantoul and spend the week there with my cats; I can commute; I can give up and become a hobo; I can do whatever I want, within reason. If [employer] slaps a contract on me, then I have to worry about what that contract says, and it means I have fewer options.

* * *

Half of my problems with all of this has come from the fact that I have no choice about accepting the job. I need a job; this is a good job with good pay and the only serious downside is how far it is from home...and that may mean moving or having two residences or whatever, but I don't like being forced to do things any more than most people do.

So if I have to take the job and I have to move and I have to take care of this place and I have to have to have to--it's like I'm being forced into something I don't want even though it is a good job for good money. I mean, if the place was a half-mile away it would have been a no-brainer, and I'd have been so thrilled about it I would have been incontinent.

But that's just it: I have to take the job; I don't have a choice. But I don't have to move if I decide I want to make the commute work. The bunker is not going to be sold anytime soon; we haven't even had the first cleaning session yet and we can't put it on the market with the attic and garage clogged with junk.

(By the way, on the way home Friday afternoon I counted no fewer than nine "for sale" signs in front of houses along Main Street. Nine. That's one segment of one street, about two miles long--and it's ten if you include the place that's for rent. The housing market is saturated. It's not a seller's market.)

And I believe I can make the commute work. I'm not a stranger to a long commute; I used to do it every day, from March of 1990 through April of 1997--sixty miles each way, plus back-and-forth between work and school, plus driving for work. I bought a Thunderbird brand new in October of 1992, and by 1995 it had 92,000 miles on it--and it had been out of commission for several months, here and there, because it spent so much time being repaired after three accidents. Absent those, it would have been over 100k easily. In three years.

One other factor: after the summer of 1992 I rearranged my schedule such that I basically ended up working and going to school four days per week most of the time. It gave me more time to study and do my own things while getting my degree and paying my bills, so it worked well. And since I'd signed on to my job as a part-timer anyway, most of the time I was only working as a tech from 8-noon; if I'd been working full time, five days a week, the mileage on the T-bird would have been even higher!

So when I say "if I decide to make the commute work" I'm not just blowing smoke: I've already got the tee shirt for this one.

...there was some discussion at the interview about the place going to two shifts. If they do that, I'd immediately request to be either on the second shift or be allowed to start later than seven AM to support operations after the other guy went home. (Assuming he continued to work from 7 AM, which probably isn't a given...*sigh*.) That would take care of the worst aspect of the commute, which is having to get up at 4:30 to be out the door by 5 to get there by 7. I have never been a morning person.

* * *

And now it's 6:30 and I still need to get some stuff from the store, so I'd better move my ass.
Subscribe

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments