Expectedly Unexpected Expectortant of the Exasperated
Posted by Euroranger on November 2, 2009
It’s been a few weeks since I posted last. Much has transpired since my last post. In no real order I:
- Had a birthday.
- Experienced a losing-of-my-job.
- Got screwed and robbed by my former boss.
- Got a new job.
- Took a business trip to Mexico City.
And amongst all of it, eLuncher (my hobby/business that I mentioned here) has begun to take off on its own. So, yeah, to say “it’s been busy” would be an understatement on a level equivalent with “the Pope might be Catholic” or “omnipotent deities appear to take offense at Euroranger possessing more than 3 continuous seconds of peace of mind”. It’s around this time that I make observations on how ridiculously complicated life can be when you’re someone who looks remarkably like me. But after the amount of time that I’ve been me, I’ve come to accept this as my normal state of being and have no real expectations that I’ll either become not me or have this trend reverse itself anytime soon. No relief in sight, in other words. So, let me amuse and entertain you with the moderate trainwreck that is my existence over the past two weeks.
Item 1: I had a birthday. Of all the events, this is the most underwhelming. I’m now somewhere between the ages of 42 and 44 and once you’ve done anything this many times, the novelty has long since worn off (except for that thing Johnny Law gets all bent about when you do it in public and “public” happens to be near a school bus stop…that never gets old, right?) and you simply succumb to the inevitability of it all. It’s gonna happen whether you want it to or not. I didn’t get any good loot for my birthday because a mere 3 days before that I lost my job…but more on that in a moment. My folks who had been travelling in Canada and around the middle U.S. came back in the nick of time to give me a gift of a 12 pack of Maximum Ice (a Canadian beer that tastes like it was filtered through underwear worn by a moose and with roughly the same inebriating effect as drinking a gallon of nitromethane) and a pair of underwear with a picture of a moose on them. I believe I have reached that age where I have enough crap that people don’t want to get me more crap, I don’t wear a tie to work so getting me one is a complete waste, and I have become difficult to buy for. This sucks. I did go out on the following weekend with the lovely and talented Mrs. Ranger and a couple of friends to a nice Brazilian steakhouse down in Atlanta and ate way more than I should have. We then went out to a bar where I drank way more than I should have. I guess “excess” is the one thing I can get on my birthday anymore. One day it will be an “excess” of tapioca, Depends and analgesic creme. So much to look forward to.
Item 2: I was fired. This event started out okay and then went completely into the shitter. Now, while it’s never a good time to lose your job, this job…well…sucked. I’ve mentioned before how the boss (now to be known forever more as “Dickhead”) had hired Dumbass pretty much sight unseen and Dumbass was a complete fraud but Dickhead was too much of a clueless Dickhead to know it. Well, apparently, Dumbass and Dickhead had formed a rapport as around the beginning of October, I began to have exceptionally little to do and even less contact with them. This did not disturb me overly much as I had repeatedly told Dickhead that I was ready to do whatever work-like tasks he had at hand and if he wished to pay me to sit on my ass in between the small tasks I was given to do…well…I was okay with that. So, one day in the midst of a conversation, he says “I have to let you go”.
Now, I thought, because he was driving around at that moment and speaking on his cell phone, he meant that he couldn’t continue the conversation and needed to call me back. This is on a Friday, a day after I was supposed to be paid but had not been. In fact, our conversation had just touched on whether he thought that he might get around to paying me (a rather common issue for this asshole) when he decided , right in the middle of the conversation, to fire me. The call didn’t start as a notice to let me go…it just kinda evolved that way. It was unusual to say the least. One moment he’s telling me how much the customer liked my work and how they were going to get more customers and the next he’s telling me he can’t afford to pay my salary, that he doesn’t yet have a working application with all the features he’s had yet to enumerate or even describe after FOUR WHOLE MONTHS of development (despite the fact that I’ve received exactly zero instructions on what he specifically wants or vaguely wants or thinks he might vaguely want in a specific way but isn’t sure about yet). Despite his ineptitude I did produce a functional app that his first and only customer successfully used in their election campaign in September and which that customer’s campaign manager said was a delight to work with and was very effective. I guess that wasn’t what he was looking for. Anyway, I find I’m out of job. So, I ask “can I get you to commit that in writing?” not knowing that that would be the stepping off point for the dickishness (new word and I’m copyrighting it) that would ensue.
Apparently, in Bumfuck Alaska (where Dickhead is from) writing is the infernal product of the devil or it causes genital herpes or is done only by people commonly regarded as witches or other unnatural sorts of creatures. His reaction for my asking for my termination notice in writing (no preceding warnings or even any mention of disappointment with my work product or habits either mind you) was received as though I had asked him to imagine himself having an actual set of male external genitalia and then further imagine that someone did something terrible to his newfound wondrous gift. To describe his reaction as “suspicious” doesn’t convey the depth of his baffled disbelief that I would request such a thing to be committed to words either electronically or “on paper”. However, he covered himself rather quickly (after only a matter of a few moments of silent pause on the other end of the line to consider the ramifications of my incredible request) and asked “do you intend to apply for unemployment”? When I answered that that was really my business and that would depend on my personal situation apparently that meant to him, through the magic of massive ignorance, that I would be retaining an attorney. God help me but if a retroactive abortion bill ever gets suggested, it will have my definite support.
Item 3: (Got screwed and robbed by my former boss) is actually an adjunct of Item 2. Long story short, no notice, no severance, no 2 weeks pay in lieu of notice. Neither did I receive vacation pay I was entitled to, nor my paycheck that I had earned. In addition, I discovered he hadn’t been paying my state income taxes either…so he arbitrarily decided to make me take zero allowances and then informed me he was withholding $1600 for Georgia taxes. I have no faith that while he had remembered the IRS that he had forgotten about Georgia…so I’m guessing the little fucker hasn’t paid my withheld federal taxes either…and most certainly hasn’t paid anyone for the unemployment taxes he withheld (by his reaction to even the remote possibility I might file for UI). All in all, I was owed around $4200…of which I was given less than $750…and NOW I have an attorney. Oh, and his initial emails saying that he was letting me go because he was running out of money? Yeah, that’s now been changed to “fired for cause” along with a listing of 3 causes, 2 of which are patently false from things he himself said in emails and the third is an entirely fabricated event for which there is zero documented evidence. He’s decided my termination is “for cause” because his “attorneys” (aka: something he found via Google) told him that “for cause” terminations can’t file for UI. Which is handy because he likely hasn’t paid any UI. What makes this whole episode so laughably pathetic is that he actually forced me to sign an employment contract…and he’s violated it around 6 different ways and those are in addition to not paying state taxes and UI, not sending me a pay stub since July, chronically paying me late, and now making up deductions from my salary. My attorney will likely have a “lawgasm” when he gets into all this later this week. Suffice to say, while I’m normally a pretty mild-mannered guy, I doubt I’ve ever wished hot death on another person like I do on this piece of drain-circling human excrement.
Item 4: Got a new job. For those of you who’ve ever lost a job by surprise you’ll recall the rather anxious realization that you’re out of a job and won’t be getting that regular paycheck that you live by each week or two. In most cases, you do get that severance and at least some notice so you can start looking. Me, I got zero notice, no severance and couldn’t even get the pay I was owed. I was experiencing a little angst. However, I was able to comfort myself knowing that I did good work and have always done good work and that people have always been pleased with my work product. Facing that though was the prospect of finding a job whilst the unemployment rate is around 10% and I was losing sleep, most definitely.
Anyway, out of the blue, one of my old contracts emails me. This is 6 days after the “uh, I think I’m firing you” phone call. This is a company I did some work with back late last year and up through February of this year. Good folk and they paid me very well and, amazingly enough for some folk, on time. Anyway, the first contact I have with this fellow is less than a week after I’ve been left dangling above the financial abyss, is completely unexpected and is rather surreal. I reproduce our email exchanges via the magic of “cut and paste”:
Him: How is your Spanish?
Me: Esta asi asi. No habla mucho pero yo etudie espanol por 4 anos en la escuela. 🙂 It’s okay. I won’t claim to be bilingual (I actually speak better German) but I studied Spanish for 4 years in school and lived in Florida for about 20 or so. I can get by when needed. Why?
Him: Wanna go to Mexico City next week? Paid vacation…
Me: Oh? What’s going on there. I am free.
Him: Will call in a second, otp (on the phone)
This was the beginning of me getting a 6 month contract to do conversion work for this company on behalf of their upcoming client in Mexico. Excellent rate of pay, lots of hours and my own schedule. Obviously, the deities were gearing up for Hallowe’en because they completely missed this piece of good fortune in the midst of all the deluge of shit I had been bathing in for the previous week. So, from this email exchange, a phone call or two and a mad effort to get my passport updated in less than 3 business days we move to…
Item 5: Took a business trip to Mexico City. I have only visited Mexico twice before and only briefly. Once to Matamoros when I was a kid with my folks and again as a stop on the cruise the newly minted Mrs. Ranger and I took for our honeymoon. I’m going to devote my next blog entry to this trip as I have things to say and pictures to show but suffice to say for now that I had a rather hellish 2 weeks for the end of October 2009 that ended up okay. It’s like a cat getting pitched out an apartment window a couple of dozen floors up and lands on his feet and walks away. But it’s only like that if the cat gets petted as he’s tossed out the window, falls through the spray of someone emptying a chamber pot, spontaneously ignites on the way down, bounces off a couple of window ledges and lands on his feet in a puddle of vomit…and then some anonymous Dickhead blames the cat for it. Actually, no, it’s not like that at all…it just felt like that kinda.
We should all be really glad that my imagination isn’t a true reflection of what actually happens. In fact, Dickhead ought to be the gladdest one of all…otherwise he’d be the strawberry jam-like smear in the smoking cratered aftermath of a direct hit on Jacksonville Florida by a dreaded turd meteor from outer space. Hm…THAT’s going on my Christmas Wish List. I’ll never get it, of course…but then people play the lottery all the time knowing the odds are ridiculously small. Gotta have a dream, baby.
My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.