Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Can Now Haz Homz?

  1. Move back to Hippyville: check!
  2. Find a (n awesome!) job: check!
  3. Find a new place to live: …ummm…

Finding a job was hard, for sure, but I’m shocked to discover that finding a home has been almost as big a challenge! Plus I’ve got a much smaller window to do this – if T.E. comes this summer it will probably be in early July. I will need a couple of weeks to get boxes unpacked and things put into some semblance of “away” before he arrives. So I’ve got less than a month or so to find the totally perfect place that I want to spend the next year or so of my life, talk the landlords into loving me and figure out where to find the money for all the stinkin’ moving-in costs.

In Hippyville there’s really just the one resource to find a home – my good friend Craig and this list he has. At first I’d check the craigslist about once a day. Then it was more like a couple times per day. Right now I’m clicking that little “search” button every ten minutes or so. Frantic? Me? Crazy talk…

I used to use all the filters too, but I swear to you there was stuff that was getting erroneously filtered out. Who knows what amazing, 4 bedroom house with beautiful yard and granite counters and built-in genie who grants three wishes I missed out for in that time? Whimper, whimper… It is interesting, though, as you start to build your lists. I’ve got three lists right now: the “must haves”, the “must NOT haves” and the “gosh, that would be so awesome…” These lists, for ME, look like this:

Must Haves:

  • Two bedrooms
  • At least one bathroom
  • Takes my two wonderful kitties
  • Less than a specific dollar amount (which I will keep to myself, but it’s a HEALTHY NUMBER)

Must NOT Haves:

  • Too far away to bike to work
  • Shared yard – I don’t mind a duplex, but I would prefer the option to never actually MEET my neighbor
  • Acres and acres and ACRES of yard. I want a yard, I do, but I don’t want to be a professional mower of my lawn. (after all, I have a job now!)
  • Don’t be… creepy. (you guys who have checked out the creepy places know of what I speak.)

Gosh, That Would Be So Awesome:

  • I love porches. I want somewhere to sit and watch the neighborhood not bother me
  • Hardwood floors. No amount of cleaning ever make someone else’s carpet not a little ucky
  • BIG. The shiny apartment in Metroworld was a big size, especially for an apartment. I’d rather not take a step back if I can help it?
  • There are some older neighborhoods in Hippyville which give me the happies. They’re also the spendy neighborhoods, where every house has character and nobody even knows what crack is, let alone how to make or sell it!
  • A yard would be cool. A fenced yard would be cooler. A fenced yard with something like a deck? So cool you could store fudgicles in that yard!

I’ve been on the hunt for about a month now, and I’ve had some awesome options snake right by me. I’ve had some people rent a place right out from under me, and had some landlords decide, for no reason I ever hear, that they’re not even gonna let me see the place before they skip me and give it to someone else. (it’s possible I have smells that I cannot smell, or that I type my emails in exactly the same way that serial killers do.) But one of the biggest annoyances? The SCAMS.

At this point I’m kind of the cops for my local Craigslist. I have some regular offenders, or ‘perps’ as we call them in the biz, that I know on sight and I’m lightening fast with clicking those “BAD PEOPLE!!!” flags up in the corner. Are you someone from some totally non-here state posting pictures of a place from totally non-hereville where you live? CLICK! Are you crazy people who post these pre-fabricated addling-things saying people could rent a house for a dollar eighty plus the lint from their sock, and rent to OWN no less? CLICK! Do you tell people you are this service that will FIND YOU A HOME for no money that will be perfect and ‘don’t you worry, little people, we’ll do all the work and you’ll get the most awesome home ever…’? CLICKITY-CLICK!!

Then there are the sneaky people. They post an ad that looks potentially good – much space, wood floors, new appliances, house could be made of gold, etc. But they just happen to leave out any indicator of where the heck it is. No address, not even a neighborhood. This is where they getcha, because that’s the question everybody will ask when they email. Oh, and email they will. These people always use the Craigslist email addresses and never use a name so you have NOTHING to identify them. But still you’re hopeful – it seems so danged too good to be true! So even though you know it has to be hooey, you email.

They reply over a day later with a pile of information you so don’t need or care about: approx. age of the house, nice views, name of the tile pattern on the floor, how many times George Washington might have slept there, etc., etc., etc. But they won’t give you any info on the location because, well gosh, “I’ve been burned by scammers in the past.” (seriously, lying sacks of very bad stuff!!!) Oh but hey, they’d just LOVE for you to move forward pursuing their amazing house of gold and famous sex! And its so EASY! Just reply w/ some info (single or not? What kind of job? Left-handed or right-handed?), your contact info and, while you’re at it, please just click this itty-bitty link that goes to this totally reputable credit report website. And they always say the same thing: it’s ok if you have bad credit! This is just a pesky little formality to make sure you haven’t had more than 2 evictions ever, because if you have had more than 2 they just will have to pass. Sorry.

This is all multi-layered levels of crap. CRAP I SAY! These are bad people, who want to do bad things. I don’t know if they’re hoping to get people’s SSN’s from the bogus credit report site or if it’s just one of those websites that says they’re free, but in reality once you sign up you can never find the place to make them go away and they nickel and dime you to deeeeeeeaaaaatttthhhhh… Either way? BAD PEOPLE! AND CRAP! FIE, I SAY!

The first couple of times I got caught in this trap (and by ‘caught’ I just mean I believed their initial ad and sent an email asking for location) I just threw away their ridiculous email and moved on with my life. But as I’ve run into more and more of these douchebags my patients has… oh, let’s say ‘worn thin.’ Now I send a reply back that states this:

“Oh, I see. You are a scammer. You’re a bad person trying to take advantage of people who simply want a nice place to live. You’re one of those bottom-feeding parasites who identifies situations where people might be vulnerable and you exploit them. You are a pile of crap. Well, now that you’ve identified yourself as such I’ll be flagging your ad as a scam. Good day and I hope you die.”

…and then I mail them one of my patented bags of flaming poop.*

In the meantime I’ll keep clicking that “search” button every ten minutes or so and doing whatever comes next, whether that be calling on an awesome prospect or shooting a bad guy what wanders through my town. ‘Cuz it ain’t big enough for the both of us…

*patent pending, although I've never filed a patent. I'm pretty sure that the patent should just be implied due to how much I talk about flaming bags of poop.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Can Haz Employments!

I got a job. Actually, I got an AWESOME job! It’s doing something I have always thought I’d be good at, and which I’ve done as part of other jobs. It’s something I can TOTALLY market myself doing for future job hunts. It’s something where the everyday tasks DON’T make me want to kill the folks with whom I work hardly at all!

But more than the job, the PLACE is also very awesome. It’s small – I like small. (don’t tell that to T.E.) It’s focused on what you need to do, NOT “be here for 8 hours every day, regardless of your workload, just so we know where you are.” There’s the opportunity to work from home pretty much anytime I want to, and there’s days off! Sanctioned, approved, “no really, we do think you should take time off” days off! And the people I work with are ALL. TOTALLY. GROWN-UPS. I manage things, but I don’t have to manage people – the people are grown-ups and they want to be grown-ups. The culture is one that rewards grown-uppy behavior. It mocks those who want to be baby-sitted. We’re one step away from arming the staff w/ behavior-modification squirt guns, except that we don’t need to because everybody has such adult behavior!

I <3 my awesome new job.

I’ve been there for just over a week, so right now I’m in that place that I hate, where I’m new and don’t know anything and can’t really contribute. Every time I think of something else I could do I run forward until I’m jerked back, ‘doggy-in-a-Looney-Tunes-Cartoon’-style by the leash around my neck that is “I have to go get someone else to show me how to do this before I can actually do ANYTHING…” Which sucks. It gets better and better, though. On the first few days I could only go about 3 feet from the stake by the doghouse door, but at this point I can get all the way to the back of the yard. I’m hoping by the end of the month I’ll be able to give the mailman a good growling-to!

Once this awesome job hit my radar (the process to get hired was VERY long and drawn out. Many conversations. Many emails saying “I’m still here and still awesome. Just sayin’…” Plus also the company had the whole “I need to hire someone because I’m overworked, but I’m so stinkin’ overworked I have no time to do the work to hire someone!” conundrum going on…) I also started reading this business book. Now, let me start by saying I totally hate business books. For all of the many reasons that one could hate a business book, such as that they’re boring and condescending and chock full of lies and all anecdotal (oh wait – I already said ‘chock full of lies’…) and soooo boring! I’ve had to read some in the past and I got through them, but then when it was over I blotted out all the info from those books as a terrible dream that was, as I’ve mentioned, just chock FULL OF LIES…

But this book? This new book geared toward the people in business? This new book is cool. Stinkin’ cool. And it’s not really just a business book. It’s a book of wisdom and smarts! It’s a book of ‘here’s how to do something that EVERYBODY HAS TO DO ALL THE TIME IN LIFE.’ It’s all about how to make changes. It’s subtitle is “How to change things when change is hard” and I always think “when the heck is change NOT hard???” (Answer: never. It’s always, always hard.) I’m half-way through the book and I’m actually retaining information and, even more shocking for me, spitting these knowledge nuggets out to other people! Heck, I’m borderline annoying in the way that I’m always quoting this book. Next annoying step: when I start buying this book as a gift for others, even though they never asked for it and probably also hate business books because all reasonable people do.

I don’t know that I’ve ever promoted a book or CD or anything on this blog before. This is a first in 5 years of blogging. Feel free to hear a drumroll in your head, or even make the drumroll sound with your fingers on your desk. Or with your mouth if you have the skills. (dirty) Ready? Here it is, my first ever pitch:

Read this book: “Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard”, by Chip and Dan Heath.

Tangent: yeah, I know, I had the same reaction. “business book writing brothers? Really? Named ‘Chip’ and ‘Dan’? Really too? But now that I’m more than half-way through the book I think of them as the witty, brilliant Hardy Boys of business book writing. In my head I even heard the voices of Shawn Cassidy and Parker Stevenson talking to me about how to affect change. Just makes it all that much more awesome… End tangent.

…where was I? Oh yeah – I haz a job and is getting up in the morning again, which is hard, but I’m loving it, so it’s totally worth it. Next stop: place-to-live-ville!!!!