Tales From the Edge of Reason
Updated: Apr 21, 2020
It's been a week, folks. Heck, it's been a month. Where do I begin? Well, begin at the beginning, right?
First, I was born
That's not the beginning. Ignore that. I'm feeling punchy tonight.
The Refrigerator is Dead, Long Live the Kegerator
I swear, if I ever catch a break with refrigerators, it will be a frigging miracle. Our newest fridge, an all-refrigerator (no freezer) died rather abruptly after less than three years of service. Thankfully, it's under warranty. However, due to our current circumstances, hello COVID19, we had to wait a week to get a service technician in to look at it, and now we get to wait another THREE weeks for the part to get here. Apparently there is one lone human in a warehouse responsible for picking all of the orders for Frigidaire parts. So, until he picks it and sends it, we are making do with a tiny mini-fridge/kegerator. The shelves have been long since lost, and it's crowded and hard to retrieve stuff from it. But hey, it works, so life goes on and I don't get to hoard fresh veggies and meat like I normally would.
I Now Work for Amazon and No, I Can't Help Expedite Your Order
I have shopped at Amazon for years. Let's face it, Amazon is an introvert's dream come true. Not sure if something will be in stock at your grocery store or pharmacy? Find it on Amazon. You never have to leave the house, it comes straight to you!
And when our Airbnb and my cleaning biz went belly-up in the face of the most traumatic world crisis and lockdown I have ever seen in my life, I was suddenly without income and trying my best to pivot. And I happened to get ridiculously lucky.
Amazon, reeling in the face of an unprecedented rise in orders, decided to hire 300-500 new customer service reps. They put the job up for ONE DAY and received over 20,000 applications in less than 24 hours. I happened to be one of the top 2% of applicants who were chosen. Sheer dumb luck, and great scores on their initial assessment test and I was in. And Amazon, needing bodies worse than they ever have before in their existence, were like, "That four week training we do? That's now a week-long training. Get to it!"
And today I graduated, along with 15 other folks. We were among a handful of groups receiving the initial training and the top of the class - go Team NEVER YOU MIND! (Nope, that's not the real name)
Sorry, sorry, that false sense of enthusiasm combined with a strong Amaretto Cherry Margarita just affected me for a moment. I felt almost patriotic or something.
It's bad, folks. I mean really, we are a hot mess of a shit sandwich. We can barely navigate, the Knowledge Center is a massive database that we struggle to find answers on. And so far, all I can say is folks are a little out of touch. I've had the grand luck of being put on actual chats with live customers (with little or no support from our trainers besides a "didn't you do xyz training"?) and most of them are clueless wonders "WHERE is my stuff, I'm a PRIME member and I'm having to wait ELEVEN days for my pool cleaner. I NEED it Monday!"
So far, I have managed to hold off from barfing in their morning coffee or asking "COVID much, motherfucker?"
It isn't really that bad. Really, it isn't. I hope I made you laugh. God knows, I'm laughing. It's really better than the alternative, don't you think?
I read something today that got me in the feels. I'm going to paste it here for you...
I get it – never before has something from the daily news come home to affect our daily lives so much. Grocery stores are cleaned out, people are wearing masks, and you probably have friends who are currently unemployed, or sick, or both.
But in this situation, it really helps to understand the big picture of what is actually going on. The world is not ending. The air outside your windows is not a swirling cloud of certain death.
All that has changed is that we are in a self-imposed economic slowdown that has been created purely to save the lives of our most vulnerable people.
Which is one of the most compassionate things our society has ever done. To me, this is a remarkable and wonderful moment and I would not have guessed that such a capitalist country would ever have the balls to do it.
That was Mr. Money Mustache. I really loved reading that last paragraph. And it gets me in the feels. Especially when I received the news from my dad's nursing home that he had been moved into Isolation after his temperature spiked. He's probably fine, but getting a call at 5 a.m. was a little disconcerting.
I AM Made of Teflon
My kid that I'm not supposed to talk about or mention in any way because it pisses her off that I would dare to even discuss her (control freak, much?) once said, "Mom, you're like Teflon. Shit just slides off of you!"
By the way, "Hi Danielle! Remember to wash your hands and all that! Stay safe!"
She wasn't wrong. I AM made of Teflon. I've learned to let a lot of things go (adult children who fabricate "facts" when truth just doesn't have the necessary effect, trying to have a relationship with a father who is manipulative and mentally abusive, letting go of a business after 15 years of operation, or waiting a month for my fridge to get fixed). I could sit there, fume about it, cry, or do my best to rustle up sympathy, but honestly it does no good. The kid is still gone, my dad's a real booby prize, and the kegerator works well enough for now.
In the end, if I'm completely honest, I'm actually not freaked out about money, not at all. I've got a decent job that will completely replace (and exceed) the income I was making cleaning houses. Yes, I now work 160 hours a month instead of just 45-50, but I get to stay HOME. Which, really, is an introvert's wet dream. Seriously, it is. I LIKE being at home. It's my happy place! Yes, we have taken some huge hits. I've also walked away from those hits and learned powerful lessons...
Pivot, find a different line of work
Continue to fight for my dreams
Learn ways to protect ourselves financially even more than I have and do them NOW
Get into shape!
That last one? COVID19 is making everyone FAT. We are sitting around, stress eating and guzzling alcohol. Even I am drinking more than normal. That drink every 3-6 months? It's now like a daily thing. And my husband and I are both great cooks, the pounds have been piling on. But since I started my training with Amazon on Monday, I've been walking on my treadmill every day. Today I shot up to 14,000 steps by mid-afternoon Amazon time. So if I don't lose weight soon, I'm going to fire my under-the-desk treadmill!
A short note of explanation on the time, by the way. Amazon time is Pacific Standard Time. Our schedules are all on that time. The Amazon-provided computers are on that time as well. So every day, it feels like I'm moving time zones, repeatedly, throughout the day. Training was from 7am-4pm PST this week, which meant I worked from 9am-6pm all five days. I picked a 10-4 schedule, on purpose, so I'll be working Sunday through Wednesdays from 9-7:30 PST.
I originally thought I'd try it because I was hoping to keep my cleaning business going. At this point, after seeing just how much Amazon is going to be demanding of me, I think that I'd be insane to do anything past working for Amazon. Besides, if I do get any overtime (and they are saying it will be mandatory), I'll get paid 2x my already increased rate (they are paying all reps $17/hr instead of $15/hr through the end of April), so $34/hour above and beyond 40 hours. I briefly wondered what I would do if Amazon lays me off after COVID19 dies down, and I figure I'll worry about it if it comes up.
This schedule, it's enough for now. And honestly, I think I could potentially grow with Amazon, build my 401k (I'm starting with a 15% contribution rate), and work for a few years there. No more up and down income, although I will dearly miss my clients.
Still, having the 10-4 schedule will mean a full three days off - Thursday through Saturday, which I really like.
I Saved the Best for Last
I'm writing again. Not a ton, but it's regular. And that's gold, right there. Who knew that a more regimented schedule, one which significantly limited my ability to write, might actually end up being what I needed to get the writing done?
During training, I ran with this schedule...
6:30 am - Wake up, drink coffee and talk to my wonderful family down in the front parlor
7:00 - 8:00 - Read emails, do financials, read the news, and Facebook
8:00 - 9:00 - Get dressed, get a small bite to eat, stretch/yoga, talk w/Em about her studies and prepare for my day
9:00 - 6:00 - Training with Amazon, walk on my treadmill (exercise and work together!)
6:00 - 6:30 - Have dinner with the family
6:30 - 8:00 - WRITE
Now that training is done, and I'll be starting an hour later, I'm going to try and handle financials and emails only after I've written my 500 words for the day. After all, I'm going to be getting off work at 9pm at night, and I am NOT a night person.
The numbers work out like this: 500 words per day x 365 days = 182,500 words per year.
My books tend to hover in the 85k range, so that's two books a year. I think, with this schedule, I can produce two books a year. So far this week, I've written around 1,800 words. But I know I can do better. And I will. It also feels wonderful. It's flowing and at this slower pace, I think I will honestly accomplish more, as strange as that might sound.
I'll try to update soon, but for now, I'm working on one of the sequels to G581: The Departure. I'm pretty sure they are going to take form as G581: Mars, G581: Earth, and G581: Zarmina's World - three independent novels that are interwoven.
Stay at home, peeps. Stay healthy. Cook good food. Watch good shows and read good books. We will all get through this.