Workin’ for the man, or ladies…

Well, a couple Months ago I saw a job on CraigsList, 40 hours a Month, $12 an hour, just a couple miles from my house, and I had extensive experience in the “facilities maintenance” field that they were hiring for. So I spent a few minutes tossing together a resume and emailed it off.

resume1I got a call to come in for an interview. Wow, first resume I’ve sent out in almost 20 years and I get a call back. Amazing. I go in and the interview goes well and I’m told to report for work the next Weds. That’ll teach me to seek out employment.

The next day there is an epic snow storm and the new boss asks me if I can come in a day early and do some snow removal. Nobody can find the key to the snow blower so I spend a few hours with a shovel and clear the paths.

CIMG0696I am assigned to care for “Cranberry Ridge”, a 5 person Sr Housing unit, dust, mop, vac, take out the trash, lawn care etc. Standing on my head type easy shit. I meet the residents, most of whom seem quite nice, and one of whom already knows my name, an old friend of my sisters. Sweet, this is going to be easy money. (I’m sometimes a bit of a Pollyanna optimist)

The second day on the job I start to find out some of the details…the unit is under a board of directors, there are 3 separate units and each has it’s own board and the three boards seem to have some trouble communicating. I’ve seen this before, in the Army, several units assigned to a small base and they can’t seem to get along, it can become a command nightmare quickly.

I am told by my Boss, “MO” the second day that I am “not to make friends with those people” as they might then take advantage of me. What? Wait…I carefully tell “MO” that I am a friendly person, that if people are nice and seem friendly to me than I will be friends with them, and that one of “those people” is already a friend of the family, so she will just have to deal with my people skills. (I actually used poor people skills as I leaned menacingly across the table and said something about being a Sgt in Infantry Divisions for 10 years and doubting that I might be easily manipulated as she was backing up).

Welcome to Stalag Cranberry, please don’t feed or nurture the inmates.

Second week, One of the residents asks that I take a large number of old VHS tapes off the shelves, they are hers and nobody ever watches them. I fill two boxes and take the tapes home, my neighbor is a Video collector, a SERIOUS video collector, and she buys us a large bag of dog food and a bag of cat food because she is a kind person and knows we are having a hard time making ends meet, I give her two boxes of video tapes and she is delighted. The main topic of conversation seems to be the new facilities worker has a haircut! Yea, I wait till AFTER I get the job to clean up, give a little, get a little.

I contact the Food stamp office and inform them that I am now employed and they email me a form for Employment verification. I give the form to “MO” so she can verify my employment. The next week I am informed that my food stamp benefits are being cancelled for failure to return the employment verification form. We are also no longer eligible for the Critical And Acute Medical program that was paying for my wife’s Doctor appointments and cancer/diabetes medicines. (around $500 a Month).

I have never been a big fan of math, I always suspected it was just not natural in some manner. But I none the less did some basic cipherin’ and came to the conclusion that at 40 hours a Month at $12 an hour I was making around $480.00 minus deductions. I had lost $450.00 in food Stamps and $500 in medical so this job was now costing me around $470.00 a Month.

The next time I report for work Housing and Urban Development attend the board meeting and inform the boards that they are FUBAR (fucked up beyond all reason) and that they are demanding the immediate dissolution of two of the boards, this meant that I was no longer under “MO” as my employer, I was now under “ER”,  I went back to the Food stamp Office and told then the sorrowful tale and they FAXED the employment verification to my new employer. as of this date I still have not heard back from the Food Stamp office.

(Update:Saturday, Food Stamps are back! reduced due to my being employed but back, tonight we feast!)

My new employer informed me that I was now the proud facilities maintenance person for Mid Valley Manor as well as Cranberry Ridge, 5 more people, double the facilities care, no raise in pay and no additional hours and I would now be reporting to “W”, who was hired after I was but was hired by “their board” and I was only really being kept on “as a courtesy”.

Why is it that so often shortly after I become involved in some new project the FBI enters the scene?

While I am asking about the possibility of getting my meager paycheck a week after payday I find out that the bank account that they had been using to pay bills had no money in it. Why is it every time I think I have found a bed of roses it turns into a gator filled swamp?

While all of this minor drama was unfolding the State of Alaska deemed it proper to remove my driving privileges for 16 Months for not maintaining proper Insurance. (some gal that was already up shit creek with the State of Alaska for trying to break her boyfriend out of a Fairbanks jail ran into the back end of my car, of course she had no insurance either so she basically told me to go fuck my self as far as getting anything from her.) Plus $100 fine and 80 hours of community service and 90 days in jail (suspended). If I had been caught driving drunk I would have only had to give up driving for 3 Months and spend 24 hours in jail.

Prosecutor: I can only find one minor incident from 1976 on his records your honor, I’m recommend the minimum.”

Next time instead of buying insurance I’ll buy whiskey, it’ll save me money in the long run.

OK, I was working for a civilian with a superiority complex, but I could deal with that, now I am employed by a Marine who has me working under a squid (ex Navy), I am thinking that at least with three military veterans at least things might start working somewhat right around here.

“Research indicates that, at the subconscious level, the mind has a tendency to focus on the optimistic while, at the conscious level, it has a tendency to focus on the negative. This subconscious bias towards the positive is often described as the Pollyanna principle.”

“W”, as it turns out, seems to be somewhat inept at performing his duties, and seems to expect that I share in his ineptitude without question. I accept that the fates have decreed that I should be here amidst this seeming quagmire and knuckle down to the tasks at hand. I triage my work orders and try and balance those tasks that are of benefit to the community as a whole with attending to broken toilets and leaking faucets and dusting pianos. “W” wants me to attend to doing a complete tools and equipment inventory. I drop the non essentials like weed eating, mowing lawns, watering the lawns, trimming the hedges, removing the gravel from the entry ways, repairing broken shit and dedicate several days to doing a complete inventory.

“W” decides to go off and have a heart attack, he is out for a week and I try and pick up some of the slack even though I am not actually assigned any of his duties. “W” returns to work the next Monday against Doctors orders and wants to know why I’m not there working, he has to be reminded that I am only paid to there Weds and Thurs for 5 hours a day. (as a courtesy to me)
“W” reprimands me for coming in and fixing a shower for “P” on Saturday.

“Myopic, shortsighted, lack of foresight or long-range perspective”

“W” calls me into his office and want’s to know why so many work orders are backed up, he wants me to attend to getting all of the back work orders taken care of, he has to look good on paper for HUD. I spend the next few hours of the day clearing up around 20 work orders, then with all of the tasks complete, all of the vacuum and dusting and sweeping and mopping and window washing done I go in search of “W” to see if I might get a water hose so the residents on the East side of Cranberry Manor can enjoy some green grass and water their small flower gardens. I am told that all his hoses are in use  but i can borrow one from out where he has been working on some landscaping.

CIMG0757As I am passing “Blueberry Pointe” (I think the “pointe” to be a bit pretentious for Alaska) I notice that there seems to be several hundred feet of hose dedicated to watering the rock gardens. Fool that I am I decide ask “W” if he might be able to spare one of the sections of hose so the other building can have water as well. I am informed, quite irately, that they are his hoses and I am not to question him, and as i am trying to ask a question he is consistently talking over me to prevent me from doing so. I finally put my hand up and say “Will you stop talking long enough for me to make my damn point?” CIMG0755I am told that I will not talk to him in that manner, he is told that I will talk to him him in any God Damned manner I want to because I don’t work for him.

So now we have no food stamps, no CAMA, no transportation and I’m out of a job and the electric company wants $500 dollars tomorrow and I don’t expect to see my $200 final pay check for a week at least. Doing the right thing sure did me wrong. But WTF, at least I’m not in Texas.


I do hope the FBI has better luck at the Mid Valley Senior Housing Center Inc. then I did, I knew it was a “non profit” organization but I didn’t realize that “non profit” applied to me as well.



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