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comment by cgod
cgod  ·  106 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 27, 2023

Hey Hubski!

Guess I'm doing an end of year check in, or a beginning of year one.

I'm back in school. I've got a bunch of college credits that never added up to anything and am going to school for something non of those credits apply to (ok, I had 8 credits worth of past credit). I'm doing eighteen credits this semester, which is more than I've ever done at one time but I'm thinking it's gonna be ok. I'm working three days a week on top of all that. I'll go down to two days if I have to but that third day I basically the day that gives me any fun money so I'm not inclined to give it up. Hopefully I'll have an associates and a professional certificate in my hands in four semesters if I keep up the pace.

I'm studying water and environmental technology, so basically water and waste water treatment and distribution. I want a to do something different. The program is taught by just two guys with a few pickup classes on the side. Work hard and they will do everything they can to get you placed in the job you are interested in. It's kind of wild in that I'm studying chemistry, biology, math, mechanics, civil engineering and a big slice of water specific shit all at once. I've never studied so broadly in my life. Lots and lots of excel, which I've learned two other times in my life but never so intensively.

It's an hour long drive in traffic to community college that hosts the program, which just sucks, but it also means that I'm not going to have much competition to get hired in my area because most the people in the program live closer to the school than I do.

There is a wastewater plant about ten blocks north of my house. They don't call it wastewater anymore btw, it's a resource recovery plant now. The Portland Oregon plant pays more than any other facility in the region, the only other place that comes close is working in high purity water for Intel but even Intel isn't as generous. Intel is trying to hire seven out of the thirty one people in my class which puts even less competition in the job market but that job is about an hour from my house. Lots of retirements in the industry right now, easy for a responsible person who can pass increasingly hard cert exams to move up. Starts at around $32 an hour but with great benefits and it's not hard to get up to $40 in five years. There is a strange regulatory incentive to get people to pass certification tests, which increases a persons pay, no more fighting for a raise. four day weeks with lots of overtime if you want.

After I sold my coffee shop I didn't really know what to do with my self, I just kinda kicked around aimlessly for a year. I had an opportunity to buy a decent bar with a partner but realized my heart just isn't into drug dealing any more. I haven't been a regular bar patron for about twenty years, I pretty much stopped going when started bartending. I think being a bar regular is kinda sad. I don't want to spend the rest of my life with sad people. I watched this documentary a few weeks ago, it really enforced the way I feel about that life.

That being said my three day a week job is of course bartending! Where else am I going to make that kind of money without bootlicking and dick sucking. I'm working a little blue collar neighborhood joint. I almost always have fun, I try to see that my customers have fun and stay reasonably safe every shift. I have enough in the bank that I could leave at the drop of a hat and not worry about it, so I take no shit from the owner or the customers but I don't take that shit with a glad heart so everybody seem pretty happy with me. Being able to quit your service job is amazing, it really changes everything. I go to work to have fun and make money, not because I have to pay this weeks rent. Makes the whole thing more pleasant. I've never worked at such a blue-collar joint. They tip much better, they are very appreciative that you are trying to take care of them. I've tended for punks and white-collar people before and they just aren't as generous.

The downsides might be that working people love cops a lot and I really hate the cops in this neighborhood. Policing is a divisive subject in this town, what you think about the mayor and the DA are popular topics around election time. You might have heard that Portland has a homeless problem, they hate the homeless as well, we all hate the homeless but they aren't very progressive in their hatred. A few big Trump fans but not too many. They love to tip their bartenders as well, it's all good. It's a bit rougher there than anywhere else I've worked, generally not physical but sometimes. A month or two ago a guy that I had never seen before overhand point blanked a pint glass into my face, never had any shit like that happen before. I had a bloody mouth and fat lip but otherwise I was fine.

I live on a peninsula. People get trapped on a peninsula. If you are going to move the likely hood that you don't move that far is much more likely when you only have one direction out. Everyone here knows each other. It's strange everyone knowing everyone as much as they know each other here, like no where I've lived. It's a racially diverse bar where every one knows each other from high school or their cousins dated or a million different little ties going back for generations. Every where is unique in it's own way I guess but I think about the effect that living on a peninsula has on the people that live there a surprising amount, it's like an island in a way.

My kid has been playing guitar quite a bit. It's made me play more guitar than I had in ages. They showed themselves to particularly careful analyst of strumming patterns, their fierce precision is in contrast to my sloppy carefree playing. I was impressed enough with their keen sense of rhythm that I offered to buy them a drum kit for Christmas, which they took me up on. They have been playing daily and have a handful of beats at the ready. They would like to get a little band together for the school talent show but it's not going to happen, the other kids just don't care enough, probably something will come together in high school.

The kid is also doing well generally, for them at least. We had several years of unmitigated horror with them. They struggled with intense mental illness for many years, all the help we got from the medical community was of the lowest quality. For so long every road was a dead end. There are many people out there who will help you make a chore chart and charge you two hundred a session but there are very few who seem to be able to come to terms with a nine year old who's trying to kill themselves. I feel like we spent about five years in a constant state of fear, it was very bad for us, I think we still don't understand the damage it wrought on our family, relationships and minds. We finally found a good councilor, who found us a good psychiatrist, who has found us another councilor now that the first good councilor has run their course. Good help is as profound as bad help, it makes just as much a difference. I feel like we must have been swindled out of many thousands of dollars by people unqualified to help our kid and all those people are patting themselves on the back about what great healers they are.

My kid is mostly failing school. They passed everything last quarter but it's not looking good this quarter. I couldn't care, their mom cares, the school cares. They are a chip off the ol' block, I could never get in line at school, I never learned a thing I didn't want to my whole life, I don't suspect they will either. They are going to a special school for bright kids and many of the other kids look down on them, even call them the dumb kid. I think it's the last year for that school. My kid has asked to go back to their neighborhood school next year and I think it will be the right choice. Smart kid school was good for them before the academic rigor really came to the fore but it's probably not the best choice anymore.

While I do have money set aside, I need to get those union benefits. Paying for this kids heath care is slowly digging out financial grave. My wife has a great job with good pay but terrible benefits. We are paying a lot for very little. It would be revolutionary to our budget to stop paying for so much shit out of pocket.

The other enormous drag on our pocket book and to our lives is my sister in law. She has lived in a van for years, travelling all over the U.S. and having a blast but that's all coming to an end. She's got a bunch of tumors in her head and is in constant agony. The doctors are reluctant to operate for a bunch of complicated reasons but mostly because it's likely to paralyze half her face and ultimately not solve the problem. She lives in our driveway in her cute little van with her cat. She is trying to get on disability but it's a long byzantine process and it her lawyers say it will take at least ten more months. We basically pay all her bills and she eats our food and uses our power and what not. I've often not gotten along with her but now that she is so sick I feel nothing but compassion for her situation. She can't hold a job but she pitches in on housework, uses her food stamps to make dinner a few night a week and is good for the kid. I have at many times in my life lived in poverty. It's strange to me that I'm going to pay my sister in law about what I used to live on in year to just sit in my drive, but hell she needs a phone and tampons all the other things a person needs to live in basic dignity. I'm horrified that it's very likely that I'm going to watch her slowly die in my driveway.

In all pretty decent year, not looking forward to the next one. I suspect that 2024 will make us nostalgic for 2023 but I hope to be wrong. I'm feeling happy and enthusiastic for my personal life, looking forward to doing new different work, and becoming a bad drummer. Hope you are all well, I miss the Hubski that was but perhaps I need to show up for that four or five times a year.

lil  ·  104 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This report was amazing. Thanks for showing up.