pikestaff: (Pony Marine)
Lately I keep having weird recurring dreams where I'm left feeling helpless and terrified. Things like losing my job, or being tugged around and forced to move again. You know, stuff that has happened to me before and that apparently has imprinted myself into my subconscious as some sort of post-traumatic-stress thing.

Wish I was self-sufficient and could control my own life! Oh well. There's a part of me that thinks I'm actually happier being a semi-leech who only works 25 hours a week and doesn't have to pay rent, because it allows me to work on things like writing and is probably better for my social-anxiety-riddled mental health in general. I can't decide if it's bad/irresponsible to think that or not.

Anyways the same old is up with me. Work is still the same. I'm still jobhunting for something better, to no avail. I'm barely keeping afloat with money but saving up is extremely difficult. It seems like I always need more money for something. I need to see the eye doctor because my eyesight is getting worse and I need new glasses, I need new tires on my car, I need a new computer because this one is starting to fall apart, I need to get a passport and visit Huxley, I need I need I need. First world problems, I guess. Pretty high-on-the-totem-pole first world problems (cause things like eyesight and transportation are pretty important), but still first world problems nonetheless.
pikestaff: (Applejack - Thinky)
My search for a new job is now in full swing-- it's nice to have one while I look, but between the hour cuts and other issues I'd like to get off of the sinking SHC ship as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, finding a job that hits the trifecta of "pays well", "has decent hours", and "won't stress me the hell out" is proving to be a real struggle. It seems like the best I'll be able to do is pick two of those three options. So which two do I pick?

There is a big part of me that is thinking "Steph, just man up and apply at Wal-Mart already." Everyone says that Wal-Mart has some sort of crazy entry-level pay ($10.50 or something) and would probably be the most likely to accept it if I said "Hey can I have evenings and one weekend day off?" seeing as they're open 24/7 anyway and can probably deal with it. But I don't know if that's the best idea for me seeing as one of my biggest panic triggers (for lack of a better term) is being surrounded by a lot of people. Plus, the Wal-Mart application wants about a million references and I pretty much don't know anyone.

pikestaff: (Discord)
Yesterday my dad drove me down to that aquarium place that I'd been playing phone tag with about a month back before giving up because we never seemed to be able to catch each other. After about twenty minutes of searching, we finally found their building, and as it turns out... they were closed. The manager was there, however, doing work, and he recognized my name from our phone conversations and also apparently recognized me from PetSmart-- which hopefully is a plus.

He told me that they focused on mostly saltwater aquariums there but they had a (small) freshwater section and what he needed was a freshwater specialist because all the people there were saltwater nerds. I told him that I'd worked with freshwater fish five days a week for three years and that I was currently a bit rusty but that I was sure I could jump back in. He gave me an impromptu quiz-- what sort of pH do discus like? How many lakes are African cichlids from?-- and I got both questions correct even though I probably sounded a bit unsure on both, due to, as I said, being out of the loop for a while.

He gave me a quick rundown of their freshwater section and asked "What's that? What's that?"-- you know, to quiz me, and I just started naming fish left and right and I think he liked that, too. He asked why I wanted to get into the aquarium business and I told him that I had all this knowledge lying around so I'd might as well use it. I also told him I love solving customer problems-- I love teaching people about the Nitrogen Cycle and I love when people throw a bag of water at me and ask "WHY ARE MY FISH DYING" with no clues to go on-- which is all true, and I think the manager was impressed.

He asked if I was looking for part- or full-time position and I said either though I'd love full-time if he had it. Finally he asked what sort of pay I was looking for. I said $10/hour. He gave me sort of a surprised look and said "Well... we start lower than that." I said I'd go down to $9 and he gave me the same look. Bah. I'd forgotten that the minimum wage here in Montana is an arm and a leg lower than it is in Washington.

Anyways, after the whole impromptu "interview" he told me to come back on Wednesday and added "If we can work something out with pay I think we can get you something here," which is probably code for "If you'll work for $7/hour you're hired." He also asked me to brief myself on saltwater fish before coming back (even if I became the "freshwater specialist", 85% of their stuff is saltwater, so.)

My dad and I were talking about it later; he mentioned to me to keep in mind that since the place is a fairly new mom & pop sort of store, they probably don't offer benefits like insurance and stuff. He also told me to take into consideration the fact that the place is 10 miles away (although honestly after doing the 27 mile drive for a year, 10 miles is nothing), and that would mean six or seven months of driving all that way on the snow and ice every year.

So I have some stuff to think about. It sounds like I've got a job if I want it, doing something I enjoy, but there are a couple of big cons.

I've got a couple other places to follow up on as well, so maybe I should just see who offers me the best deal in terms of hours/pay.


Aug. 19th, 2011 11:31 pm
pikestaff: (Pinkie Pie - Bounce)
I'm copypasta-ing this from G+ so feel free to skip it if you follow me over there.



Aug. 17th, 2011 09:59 pm
pikestaff: (Rarity - Wat.  Ew.)
Tomorrow marks one year to the day that my world turned upside down. It's... not the best anniversary to mark, I guess. xD

So: As some of you may know, I very recently got tired of being, well... here, and decided to focus my efforts on jobhunting back in Montana, with the plan being to move back within a few weeks. I even told my current job I was moving, although I didn't give them an official two weeks notice yet (their reaction upon learning I would be leaving-- a sort of passive disinterest-- left me feeling pretty... not-needed and somewhat jarred, I'll admit).

And so of course while I'm working on finalizing all of this I get a phone call from the Office Max in town (a place I applied at several weeks ago and promptly forgot about) and now I have an interview with them tomorrow. So, suddenly, I might be staying here after all, depending on what I can swing.

I'm going to come right out and be honest and tell them that if they plan on scheduling me for less than 25 hours a week, ever, I'm not going to take the job. I'll probably be starting at minimum wage (It's $8.60 or so here in WA) which is a good two bucks an hour less than I make at Sears on an average day, so even with the gas savings this will only be worth it if they give me decent hours. If they're willing to make that work for me, then I'm willing to stay here in a place I'm not very fond of.

Otherwise, I'm serious about going back to Montana.

Either way, it's time to actually start making money again. I'm tired of the fact that I have one good pair of pants that I wear every single day because I honestly can't afford clothes. And those are starting to look threadbare.

IN OTHER NEWS, I've written 2,669 words in my latest book today, which brings me to a total of 21,492 words total so far this month. Pretty behind; I need to be at about 26k :( I think I might see if I can hit 22k today and then hit up an early bedtime. I'm kind of nervous about the interview tomorrow, because so much hinges on it. I do apologize to Huxley and anyone who has to put up with my nervous BS lately... <3 I hope it all gets better soon.
pikestaff: (Giddy Snaps)
General update for anyone not following me on Facebook/G+ :

I've been doing Camp NaNoWriMo (that new summer NaNo I was touting all spring) since August 1; today I hit exactly 13,000 words. Which is still a solid three days behind, but I'm feeling optimistic about catching up, especially now that I've discovered a secret method for motivating myself, which is to allow myself ten turns of Civ inbetween every paragraph of writing. This is a very surprisingly solid motivator and if it continues to be so then I don't think I'll have any problems catching up. Also, the scene I'm currently working on is fun as all heck.

Jobstuff - hours have been cut pretty much department-wide; it's kind of scary. I've essentially given up looking for a job here and am now looking around Bozeman, sending out emails and the like and hoping I get a bite from someone who will understand that I can't exactly waltz in for an interview. I'm hoping I can get something to that end sorted out within a few weeks, and then I can move a few weeks after that and be back all warm and snug in Montana before winter hits.

My life is really scary these days with money and stuff but I've kind of quit caring about that. I'm far too busy with other things to concern myself too much with "OH NO I PAID ONE OF MY BILLS LATE IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD". I mean, they're just gonna have to deal. It's not like I'm the only one having money issues right now.
pikestaff: (Applejack - Thinky)
So I guess I never update LJ anymore! It's probably a cross between my life being boring, and having mostly been hanging out on G+ these days.

Sooo yeah nothing really is happening. I've applied for a couple of jobs in town; one has been calling me so hopefully that turns into a lead of some sort. I'm (very slowly and painfully) plinking away at Camp NaNoWriMo.

One of my cherry barbs is on his way out :( He's one of the fish that I've had for years and that survived two moves, including one all the way out here to Washington. I'm sad about it.

That's pretty much it. As I said, boring life.
pikestaff: (Default)
I went to PetSmart yesterday to pick up some guinea pig food and a couple of otos for my tank. As is usual when I go to a pet store these days, I felt a weird sense of dissonance about being a customer and not an employee. I worked with these animals as a job, 40 hours a week, for three years. I can tell you the eating, breeding, and behavioral habits of over one hundred species of fish; I can tell you what makes a syrian hamster tick as opposed to a dwarf hamster, or a Chinese dwarf hamster, or a Roborovski hamster; I can tell you where a conure's favorite place to be scratched is; I can tell you why beardies are picky eaters and when they'll stop being picky eaters and I can tell you what a greek tortoise's favorite color is. And I should be teaching people all of these things and be on that side of the fence! Not over here on the customer side.

So as usual, it weirded me out.

I thought about asking them if they were hiring but a.) I've asked them like two or three times before and they've always turned me down, and b.) that would only lengthen my commute, so it's really not a good idea.

Anyways yeah.

Sears is cutting my hours like mad so I am in dire need of a new job; too bad there's nothing out here. Hrmm...
pikestaff: (Giddy Snaps)
A few weeks back I dropped a couple of hints about a potentially major change happening; well, it seems to be fairly set in stone so I'll detail it here. It... really isn't as exciting as I probably made it sound. xD

Basically my mom's boyfriend is going to sell his house and buy a new, larger one, and he wants my mom (and by extension, all the rest of us) to move in with him. This would be great, because he's fairly well off, and so this would mean no longer having to scramble around for rent, no more heatless winters, no more wondering if we're going to have power/water the next day or not, actual food, and that sort of thing. The major downside is that the houses he's looking at are all even farther away from my job than we already are, and I simply cannot add more to my commute-- the gas and car wear and tear is bad enough as is-- so, this means looking for another job.

The other problem is that there's really no set timeframe on this; he could sell his house tomorrow, or it might not be for another six months. So basically, we're moving, but we're not sure when.

Now I mentioned in the last post that there were two potential outcomes to this. One is, of course, the one I detailed above. The other possibility is moving back to Montana to be with my dad (and a lot more job options, by way of knowing a lot of people over there). This is the route I would probably take if it got close to moving day and I had absolutely no job leads over here. I talked to my parents about this and both have assured me that if this turns out to be the case, they will do everything in their power to help get me back to Montana.

ANYWAYS, that's what's up. Really, I would be happy with either outcome-- either is miles away better than the situation I'm in now. I think it's hard for my sisters... the thought of suddenly having a nice-guy-who-is-not-Dad being the father figure in the house is weird to them, and understandably so! But for me, personally, I think I would be happy with it, especially if it makes my mom happy. And if I have to move back to Montana, well hey, I've been wanting to do that for a year now anyway! So. Time to up the ante on the job hunt, it looks like.


In other news, I think I'm going to start making a lot of my "shorter" life updates over at Google+ instead of here. LJ is just sort of dying overall, which is sad because it's still my favorite of all the social networks I've tried, but yeah. Anything super long and rambly (like this) will probably remain over here, though! I know a lot of you have told me that you do read even if you don't post <3
pikestaff: (March Hare)
So, some interesting developments have happened lately in my life. I'll refrain from details for the time being, lest they not come to pass, but there's a good chance that there will be some pretty big changes in my life happening sometime in the next few months and either of the two probable paths that will likely emerge from said changes are A-OK with me. More details on that later!

Still looking for a new job, though, with little results. At least I'm getting enough hours/sales these days to barely keep me afloat.

So yeah! Other than the fact that I'm currently terribly sick with some sort of cold/flu bug, things are going better than they have in a while.
pikestaff: (My Little Pike Pony)
I called K-Mart back, hoping to set up an interview time or something. Instead, I got this short conversation:

"Hi, you currently work at Sears, right?"
"You were thinking of switching jobs to this because of the commute, right?"
"What sort of hours are you working right now, and how much are you getting paid?"
"About 25 to 30 hours a week, and I'm on commission."
"Okay, well, you can come in for an interview if you want, but I'm going to tell you right now that you'd only get about 17 hours a week and you'd start at minimum wage."
"...oh. :("

And that was that. Back to square one, I guess.


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One of my favorite books EVER when I was a kid was called "Sam the Cat: Detective". It was a super witty parody of film noir and pulpy mystery novels, and the characters were all cats. I read the living DAYLIGHTS out of that book. So, let's say they keep all the wit and charm and humor and turn it into a Phoenix Wright-esque game.

Hi guys!

Jun. 13th, 2011 11:18 pm
pikestaff: (Photo Finish)
So I just spent three hours getting a really, really ancient Linux port of Alpha Centauri working! Because, you know, that's what I do when I'm too lazy to spend two minutes hopping over to my Windows partition.

I think I may have just epitomized geekhood.

ALSO, after work today I checked my voicemail and I had a message from the human resources person at Kmart. She wants me to call her back tomorrow! Presumably it's to set up an interview. Which has me far more nervous about it than I probably should be. I guess I just have to keep calm, stick to my requirements of hours/wages (not gonna take it if it's sub-25 hours a week, I think), and continually remind myself that I have never NOT been hired after making it to the interview stage at a retail job.

This is exciting! As much as I'd LOVE to get out of retail, because the dealing-with-people thing is tough on me, I want to get out of this money hole first. If this job offers me ~30 hours a week and at least $9/hr (small potatoes, but this won't be commission, after all), that + gas/car wear & tear savings should be a moderate help.
pikestaff: (Twilight Sparkle - Sadface)
According to my mom's friend, who fixes cars, I need new tires.

Tires are expensive. I can't afford new tires.

...of course, I also can't afford to NOT have new tires.

I'm feeling at a complete loss; I've applied to so many new jobs lately and I'm not getting anywhere. Guess I just gotta keep on trucking. If all else fails I have an emergency "out": namely, about a week or so back at work, I applied for a Sears credit card as part of a joke with a coworker (looong story). I figured I wouldn't get approved, because come on, my credit has sucked for the last couple of years. So that was part of the joke. SURPRISE! Approved. So now I have another credit card, which I promptly decided I was NOT EVER GOING TO USE because I REALLY don't want to get more in debt and I REALLY don't want another monthly payment but if my tires go out I may have no choice. (At least I'd get an employee discount for using it at the Sears automotive place, right?)

Sorry for the whine! I'm honestly trying not to whine in LJ so much lately but it seems like this crap just keeps happening.



But yeah anyways I guess I just gotta:

Speaking of which I'm going to play Alpha Centauri for the rest of forever
pikestaff: (Rainbow Dash - Not Impressed)
So the bank that I applied at never called me back, and I'm too chicken to call them (I'm not sure who I would call, anyway, since I applied for a "put me at any of your branches" position), so I guess that's out. I sort of think the next step is to apply at Wal-Mart, though I'm sure the chances of that working out aren't very high because they must get about a billion job apps a week, on top of the fact that they aren't actively hiring right now anyway.


I reeeeally wish I could move back to Montana; from what my dad is telling me the job market is a lot better over there so long as you're willing to settle for retail, which I am at this point. Truthfully, the ONLY thing keeping me from moving back right now is that I've got some large pieces of furniture that I would have no way to get over there, and my mom does not want me to leave them here, and I have no idea what else to do with them. They're too large for me to take to a secondhand shop, and the idea of using Craigslist or something terrifies me. So I'm pretty stuck.

I wish that either I or my dad had enough money to get a moving truck over here, but I don't think that's going to happen. Le sigh. Either way, I think it's time to start going through my room and dumping a lot of my smaller stuff. I've moved so many times over the course of my life, and the last five years especially, that I feel like my whole "physical" life is just a mess, filled with things I don't need, duplicates of things I had at one point and can't find, etc. So a mass cleanup is in order. Maybe then I can figure out how to deal with the furniture.

Edit: K-Mart is hiring! Sears and K-Mart are basically the same thing after they merged so maybe I have a shot at this. Definitely applying. I'd save so much on gas.

It begins.

May. 27th, 2011 11:13 am
pikestaff: (Giddy Snaps)
I applied for a job at a nearby bank this morning and it looks like they like me and are going to set me up with an interview at some point. I'm aiming for a consistent 32+ hours a week. If they can't provide that and are going to give me 20-something or whatever, I'm going to see if I can work for them Mon-Fri and then keep my current job as a weekend job, at least for a few months while I get back on my feet.

I'm kind of nervous about this whole thing for a couple of reasons. First, I hate job interviews to begin with. Second, if this actually happens, then I'll be talking to my managers about it, which I also hate doing. Third, if I do end up having two jobs, you probably won't see me for a while, because I'll be getting 40+ hours a week and thus I'll be gone ALL THE TIME. But, in that case, between the new hours and the gas savings, I'll probably be making close to double what I'm making now and that'd be pretty great. So I have to keep looking on the bright side!

Anyways as much as I don't want to do all of this it's something I HAVE to do. A lot of bad stuff happened to me-- some of it was my fault and some of it wasn't-- and now I'm in a pretty deep hole and I have to get out of it all on my own because I won't have any sort of help (and I'm not asking for it-- that's just how it is), so I have to man up and do it and deal with it.

Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll be out on my own again before I'm, I dunno, THIRTY YEARS OLD. Then, I can finally work on more important things, like kidnapping [livejournal.com profile] azuhuxley_daioh and getting him over here~
pikestaff: (Applejack - Thinky)
At my current job, on a good sales day, I'm making about $11-$12 an hour. That's really not bad at all, and makes the long drive (barely) worth it. Still, between gas prices and only averaging about 22 hours a week... I'm barely pulling even, and all it will take is another week or two of particularly low hours (since I never know what I'll get, week to week) and I'll have to start doing things like canceling my phone and "forgetting" to make credit card payments. Which I'll do if I have to, but I'd really rather not.

So I've been looking for a job again that's actually in town. It'll probably end up being minimum wage, and as such I'll have to significantly up my hours to match the $12-ish I'm making now. Well, maybe not significantly, since I'll be saving so much gas money. But! Still. And to make a long story short, finding a job around here that's not part-time is next to impossible, which is why job hunting isn't going particularly well.

So then I thought... maybe I should be looking for jobs around Bozeman, too. Sure, it's 600 miles away or whatever, but if I said "I can work starting August 1" or something, that'd give me some time to get over there. If I'm jobhunting in two completely different towns-- since my mom is here, and my dad is over there-- that doubles my chances, right? Or is it not gonna work because they'll want interviews and stuff?

Anyways, it was just an idea. I'm mostly just rambling now because I'm somewhat bored and it's too early to go to bed... eh, I think I'll go to bed anyway. Ni-night!


May. 6th, 2011 10:04 am
pikestaff: (Pinkie Pie - Bounce)
Dear [Pike],

A forbearance has been applied to your FFEL account(s) through 28-Apr-2012. Your next payment will be due 28-May-2012.

Okay, so! I have one year to figure out my money situation. Let's hope this isn't turn into a repeat of last year, where within months of having "one year to figure out my money situation" my entire world turned upside down and I had to restart from scratch.

So long as I can get a better job before the end of the year (which means to start looking NOW) I think I'll be set.

In semi-related news, I got my paycheck today, so I can let out a big sigh of relief after running around with an empty bank account for the last week. It's not a particularly "big" paycheck, but it was just about spot on in terms of what I need, plus there's a bit left over to apply to my credit card so I'm not just making the minimum monthly payment.

Welp, I'm off to work~

Rant Time?

Apr. 17th, 2011 08:34 am
pikestaff: (Rainbow Dash - Not Impressed)
I'm feeling pretty claustrophobic and trapped lately. I really want to be back out on my own again-- setting my own schedule and making my own mistakes and not worrying about everyone else's problems on top of mine (because that's just how empathic I am. If you are in the same household as I am, I will worry incessantly about your problems. It was MUCH easier when it was just, well, me.)

I don't mean this in an angsty teenager sort of way... or maybe I do. I 'unno. I was joking the other day that my angsty teenager period of life seems to be showing up a decade and change late (I was too busy playing Zelda, Goldeneye 007 and Pokemon the first time around, apparently), so who knows!

But really I do love my family, it's just hard when you've been living with them on and off for the last 27 years. Ya know?

As I'm sure most of you know by now, this period of living with them was supposed to help me shore up money to move out again, but with the divorce and the moving and having to quit my stable job and everything that all sort of... crumbled down around me pretty quickly and now I feel very stuck. I don't want to be stuck anymore. Really, I need to start working on my books again, and also locate a job that's closer to home so I don't keep flinging money at the gas station every week. Easier said than done on both counts, though!

I think moving back to Montana is a pipe dream at this point unless I either stumble across a large cache of money or someone at least donates me a U-haul truck and gas money for it. So now I think the plan is to just get some sort of job here, make as much money as I can from that, and then GTFO this gorram island as quickly as possible. I don't care where I go-- somewhere where there's a better chance at a job. I'll probably inch closer to Seattle. Closer to the city = more jobs = more money!

And writing, writing, writing... Windshifter needs to be edited again. I know exactly what I need to do, I just need motivation to do it. I also need to pick up that kids' book I started writing around Christmas time and finish that because I think it has potential and would be easier to market to agents than anything else I've got so far.

Welp, sorry for the rant. Just had to get it all off of my chest. I'll be fine; don't worry about me too much~


Mar. 18th, 2011 11:51 am
pikestaff: (PikaRaichu)
I'm tired of my life sucking because I'm scared of everything. I mean, I can't stop being scared of everything, because that's just sort of how I am, but I've temporarily pushed it aside and put down an ultimatum before, and I want to do that again.

I'm giving work two, maybe three weeks to see if my hours improve. I don't need 30-35 hours a week like I was getting around and immediately after Christmas (though it would be nice), but I definitely need something closer to 25 as opposed to, I dunno, the 15 that I've been getting all month. The reason I'm giving work a couple of weeks is because anytime I've raised concerns about hours they pacify me by talking about how I'll get more hours in the spring when people come in for lawn mowers and tractors, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for a moment.

But if my hours don't improve by then, I'm putting in my two weeks notice and going back to Montana ASAP. I've already talked to my dad about it. We're not sure if we can wrangle me getting all of my stuff back over there, so it may just end up being me, my computer, my pets and a suitcase full of clothes and books and video games in my car as I drive back. But as he was telling me, don't worry, we can arrange new furniture and everything upon my return.

If it comes to that, I'll call PetSmart as well before heading over and see if they can at least give me something part time (25-30ish hours a week) because frankly I could probably pull that off as it would mean I wouldn't have to dump $120+ a month into gas as I do now. I don't know if they'll have an open full time slot anymore, as they're pretty limited (I was one of the very few full-timers there), but they love me and I'm 99% sure they'd at least make room for me part-time.

I'll also be looking for other jobs, of course.

Anyways that's my plan. The reason I'm typing this all up and posting it in public is to give me more incentive to stick to it and not chicken out like I've done with so many other tough things in my life. Everyone's support and encouragement would be lovely and appreciated. :3

Tax Refund!

Feb. 9th, 2011 03:22 pm
pikestaff: (March Hare)
Federal refund + Montana State Refund (WA doesn't have one, apparently... they do Sales Tax instead) equaled out to about $1300, which was deposited into my bank account today.

With the money I promptly got an oil change for my car and bought a birthday present for my sister, and also invested in a Sony Reader which happened to be on clearance.

It looks exactly like this:

I bought it partially because I've wanted one forever, and partially because I owe like five different people NaNoWriMo Draft Read-throughs and I figure this way I could just upload them here and read them wherever I want... say, at work, for example. Or on the bus, which I need to figure out, since work is doing things like scheduling me six days a week and putting 300 miles a week on my car is stupid when I could just man up and figure out the bus.

The rest of the money is going straight into bills/savings. I've sort of turned this "whittling away my debt" thing into a game; it's fun to put a little more than the minimum into payments so I can see how much smaller the minimum payment is the next time... and then do it again.

I'm still in dire need of a job that is more than 30 hours a week, and that preferably does not require a full tank of gas each week in mileage, but until then I at least am staying afloat, and that's a good step to climbing out of the hole I dug myself into. I won't make the same mistakes again.

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