Saturday, March 24, 2007

and it was terrible, too

Sister-san and her family arrived Thursday night to spend a between-homes week with me. They’ve vacated their place in Phoenix but don’t take possession of the new house in Duluth until the end of the month, so Sensational Acres is serving as a way station for a few days.

The Cutest Niece Ever is here, of course, and although I did not think it possible, she has gotten even cuter since I saw her at Christmas. Word up, yo. 100% adorable.

Aged 30 months, she is also a textbook example of the Terrible Twos. Her answer to almost every request is “NO!” If you tell her to sit down, she jumps up. If you tell her there’s no hitting allowed, she swats at you with all her might. If you say, “Don’t grab the kitty’s tail,” she’s got a fistful of fur in a millisecond. She’s testing limits, sussing out rules — and finding out more than she wanted to know about Mean Auntie Kim’s Voice of Grown-up Authority.

Although I have no children, and indeed could not be moved by any amount of money or pleading to have any, it struck me yesterday that I’ve been through all this before:

  • complete self-centeredness
  • deliberate contrariness
  • “How much can I get away with?” slyness
  • unwarranted pouting
  • careless mess-making
  • casual destruction

This is exactly what being married to El Pendejo was like.

Except CNE has somewhat better aim in the potty and a better memory for where she left her toys, generally smells better, and will eventually grow up.

My mother, CNE’s grandmother, is appalled by the little one’s behavior. (She was appalled by El Pendejo, too, but that’s another, much more profane, story.) Neither of her children — your humble narrator and her Sister-san — ever behaved in such a fashion, she assures me. Her girls were never intentionally naughty, even during their twos.

I finally had to remind Grandma that normal toddlers do test limits and do have kickingscreaming tantrums and do make it appear that a hurricane has torn through one’s home. Her son-in-law has not spawned a hellchild. Normal children simply are not as dreadfully serious and careful as Sister-san and I were as tots.

My guests are actually out of the house until tomorrow afternoon to visit and spend the night with some local friends. This gives me 24 hours to buckle down to some projects that have gotten put off over the last few days, and to bake a batch of monster cookies for Chef Jeff’s birthday.

So — to work!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

the pursuit of happiness

Mac & cheese omelette.

The End.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Partial Employment Chronicles, Chapter 20

Long time no blog. I've been spending a lot of time lately trying to find clients and projects — and not enough time attending to the ones I've got. So after a morning of networking, the afternoon is for actual working.

A few more developments on the employment front:

  • The Grail job is no longer available. That company decided to hire from within rather than contract with someone outside (like me), so I guess I won't get that one after all. Bummer.
  • A two-week assignment from the staffing company has also fallen through due to the client flaking out. Sigh. The staffing lady says she'll keep trying to find me something, but I've got enough part-time work lined up right now that I'm not sure I could accept another assignment. It would really depend on the scope and duration.
  • I had my first meeting at the U this week and got keys to an office on campus.

    An office? D'OH!

    Yep, looks like I'll be working on-site, on campus, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at least for a while. I'll also do some work at home, probably more and more as time goes on and I become more familiar with their systems. So . . . cool.

    I have to admit, however, I was a little disappointed at first, since I've gotten really, really used to the idea of working from home pretty much all the time. Yes, I'm spoiled. Or working on spoiling myself, anyway.

    Super not cool is the parking situation on campus. The U will not supply me a parking permit, nor cut me a price break for parking on campus, nor get me a discount on public transportation, nor anything else. If I choose to park on campus, I will pay through the nose for it — an immediate penalty for finding a job. So I need to figure out whether I should take the train, or where I'm going to park the car so I can walk to the office, and whether I should consider parking far enough away that biking from car to office would be a good idea, or whether I should take my bike on the train . . .

    In the meantime, I have a large U document to read and mark up in beautiful red ink — one of the tasks I intend to begin today.
  • Speaking of red ink, I'm considering getting some red pens with my name and contact info printed on them to use as promotional freebies. Good idea or not?
  • I've designed and printed some very pretty business cards. If you ask nicely, I'll send you one.

    I've been printing the cards myself on card stock bought at Office Max. That's convenient, but the card stock ain't cheap, nor is ink for my printer. Today I tried to upload my design to a website where I could get vast quantities printed for pennies, but it didn't work. Something to do with the dimensions of my PDF. I'll spend some time later figuring it out.
  • As I mentioned a post or two ago, my website, www.kimhusband.com, is up and running. Check it out. It's still more of an online resume than a product/service-marketing site, so amping up the sales factor is another thing on my to-do list.

    There's also a page on my site for the Lemonade Factory, an organization I'm starting for people whom corporate life has handed lemons. We'll get together and make lemonade. How? Get yourself invited to a meeting and find out! Hint: E-mail me directly from the website.
  • Next week I'll have my first meeting and probably get my first assignment from Online U (different from the U).
  • The U and Online U between them account for 30 hours' steady work per week — but not at quite the hourly rate I'd like to be getting. This means I need about another 15 hours' work at that rate, or 10 hours at my preferred rate. Hence the continuing search for clients and projects to fill that gap.
  • A friend said last night that she might be able to hook me up with some work for her employer. Cool! Thanks, Lynne!
  • I came away from today's networking meeting with a referral, too. It would be nice if that one panned out, too.
  • This morning I had a coffee chat with a woman I met at a networking thing last week. She'd said she wanted to learn more about me and my business, since she's also an editor, and maybe we could trade tips. Sounds good, right? But it turned out that what she really wanted to do was introduce me to the marketing company she's part of. I hesitate to cast aspersions on this scheme without knowing all the details, but if I were to assign a shape to it, I'd say "pyramid."
  • Obviously I've been doing a lot of networking, and I'm thinking of becoming a full member of the organization whose meetings I've been checking out. I need to find a chapter in my area that meets at a reasonable time of day — i.e. not 7:00 a.m.. I've got a few more chapter meetings to visit, and I've been asked to substitute for regular members a couple times already, so that's in the works. I'm still hesitant to fork over the dough for dues, but members assure me the volume of referrals I'll get from the group will more than pay for my membership.
  • On the advice of my career coach, I've been working on applying for a business license, tax ID, and bank accounts for my editorial services company. It is not going well. I can't find the relevant information on the websites she pointed me to, so I'll have to do further research to find what I needed.

    I hate it when I make up my mind to jump through some bureaucratic hoops, only to find that the hoops are not where they're supposed to be, nor have any useful signs been posted to help me find them. This is one of the monumental pains in the ass the Lemonade Factory will help ease — once I learn what I'm talking about.

OK, time to stop talking about work and start doing some.


Friday, March 09, 2007

a site for sore eyes

I've finally got my website, www.kimhusband.com, up and running, so please stop by and check it out. I'll be using it to promote my editing/writing business and want it to be as groovy as my feeble webbin' skillz can make it, so don't hesitate to point out flaws.

NB: Not all the links work yet. But they should by the end of today.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Partial Employment Chronicles, Chapter 19

Maybe you're getting tired of hearing this, but I'm not: I got another job offer today. It's another part-time gig I was really interested in — editing and posting online materials for the U of M's Learning Technologies Center. I'm going to campus on Friday to take care of paperwork and maybe collect my first assignment.

In other news, I've been too busy working and networking these past few days to get my website going — GRR! But I swear I'll have something posted by the end of the week, even if it's only a basic home page.

Actually, that's it for today's bloggage. I have to write up an interview I did this afternoon (as journalist, not job seeker). Then I have to make a run to the grocery store for my new favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream: Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream. Taste the truthiness! And after that, my rich, creamy boyfriends Ben & Jerry & Stephen and I are going to watch a movie together.


Monday, March 05, 2007

The Partial Employment Chronicles, Chapter 18

It's been a pretty good day so far. I made some phone calls bright and early and am waiting for calls back. Behold the glamorous life of the freelance journalist!

A recruiter called me about a job that turned out not to be a fit for me, but it might appeal to a friend of mine. I left her a message about it. I doubt it's a match for her, either, but she might connect with the recruiter for something else.

Then the staffing agency called with a potential assignment for me for later in the month. Huzzah! I warned them that I might be out of town for a couple of the days they're asking for (helping Sister-san move), but it turns out I won't be. I called back with that information, so hopefully I'll get a couple weeks' worth of work out of this.

Then I spent some time fooling around with the online office suite that came with my newly registered domain name. It's a slightly crippled but fully web-hosted version of Outlook, which I think I'll use mainly for (A) its snazzy e-mail address and (B) the Task function. I have a to-do list function in Entourage, which came loaded on my iBook, but I don't use it, so I might as well use Outlook's familiar Tasks.

I haven't figured out how to set up the actual website yet, as the instructions my hosting company provided are all for PC/FrontPage users, whereas I am a Mac user running Dreamweaver — and Dreamweaver's Help menu doesn't say jack about starting a site from scratch. But Eileen is going to set me straight tomorrow, so I should have a shiny new home page to show off in the next few days.

Around noon, I went to see my tax guy, who delivered the good news about this year's refund. The news was so good, in fact, that I ran right out and bought a widescreen plasma TV. But it wouldn't fit in the Subarushi for the drive home, so I returned it and got a Mint Oreo Blizzard instead. Yep, Dairy Queen is open again. It's a sure sign of spring.

Now I'm back home, watching last week's Lost — a low-impact Hurley episode, and I do like the guy, but the "dramatic" moment at the end could hardly have been more forced — and still waiting for calls.

I also spent half an hour loading my calendar with the logistics of Sister-san's family's move, which happens at the end of the month. No one but a master organizer like her could have put this project together. My sister could keep the Space Shuttle flying on time.

Later: classes.

For a Monday, this ain't too bad.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Guest star dims

I never thought I'd have to say this, but Christopher Guest has disappointed me. I just watched For Your Consideration, and it was . . . well, DULL. And I think that's because it was a very Hollywood movie — a picture by, for, and about Tinseltown. Oy! Even Fred Willard wasn't that funny. He was trying way, way too hard.

Heck, they all were. The Guest gang has been doing the same unscripted comedy together for so long, all their characters have become predictable. The improv isn't improv any more, it's just the same schtick they did in the last movie, or the one before that. Like the part where Willard spouts non sequiturs, or where a hopeful suitor hits on an oblivious Jennifer Coolidge, or where Eugene Levy is clueless, or where Parker Posey is just this side of normal. It's all the same. Not even the needless introduction of Ricky Gervais into the mix helped.

How dull was it? While watching this movie, I also:

  • made an omelet, sausage, and toast for dinner
  • scrubbed pots
  • emptied the dishwasher
  • refilled the dishwashser
  • paid my cell phone bill
  • watered the plants
  • played with the cats
  • flossed
  • did a load of laundry
  • composed this blog entry

At first I was offended that a movie by one of my favorite directors went straight to video, but by the time this one was halfway over, I could see why it bypassed theaters. I was so disappointed, I didn't even watch the special DVD features. Sigh. Maybe Guest has simply used up his allotment of wackiness for this lifetime.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Partial Employment Chronicles, Chapter 17

Oops, I did it again. Got work, that is.

The best part of waking up is not, as is commonly believed, Folgers in your cup. No, it's e-mail in your inbox from a former colleague who needs a hand with a freelance project of her own — and the suggestion of more to come if this one works out. So huzzah to that.

Yesterday also brought encouraging news on the search for the Holy Grail, by which I mean a job I could do from home, and enjoy, that offers health benefits. A recruiter contacted me about just such a gig, and our conversation was positive enough that he's going to present my credentials to the hiring manager. I imagine I'm looking at another lengthy chat/wait/chat/wait cycle, but that's all part of the game.

If I got the Grail gig, I'd have the 10-hr/wk dissertation editing, plus my handful of regular clients, plus the odd project from that former colleague, plus a full-time job. Not bad, eh?

I'd need them all, actually, because the Grail doesn't pay enough to support me by itself. But I'm good enough at managing my time that I can work smaller projects into the gaps.

Yesterday I also spent a few hours surfing craigslist.com. There are plenty of writing & editing jobs listed in cities around the country (and probably around the world, although I didn't look that far afield). Because I am a HUGE GEEK with time on my hands, I figured out how to create searches for writing & editing jobs in all the major cities, then have Bloglines (my news aggregator) read the RSS feeds from the searches. So depending on how often I check Bloglines, I can see new job postings almost as soon as they're listed. Cool, right?

And let me tell you, some of those jobs are crap. This category attracts huge numbers of ads with headlines like "Work from home! Make billions of dollars in your spare time! Perfect for stay-home moms and students!" And those are the legitimate offers of $10/hr data entry sloggage. There are also plenty of "Get paid for taking surveys!" and "Ask me about my secret formula for making money without working!" (The formula: Get people to pay you for your secret formula.)

I tried one of the survey things just out of curiosity. I was promised a $500 Victoria's Secret gift card if I would take a survey online. Sound too good to be true? Yep. You know what comes next. I spent 20 minutes supplying a huge amount of demographic information, then got to the "almost done" page.

But you can't be done, and therefore can't qualify for your gift card, until you "participate" in a certain number of "sponsor promotions." Which of course means buy crap from their friends the crap dealers. (Not craps dealers. That's in Vegas. I had a friend who was a craps dealer in Vegas once. But I digress. And believe me, the digression is the best part of the story.) I signed up for seven "free" CDs — for which I had to pay shipping and handling — and bought several Dr. Seuss books for cheap (to have on hand when CNE visits, or when I'm jonesing for green eggs and ham).

Alas, I was supposed to participate in four promotions to qualify for the Victoria's Secret card, and there just weren't four sponsors selling anything I wanted. So I cut my losses and skipped to the end. Sigh. I should know better by now.

On a much more practical note, this week I downloaded some business card templates so I can design myself a good one. I also bought some card stock so I can print them in the back room, just like counterfeit $20 bills. And I signed up for six networking events over the next two weeks so I'd have somewhere to distribute these new cards. Settling on a design and doing some printing are my tasks for tomorrow. That, and studying the sample materials for the dissertation editing gig.

Did I mention that I went to Goodwill on Wednesday and bought myself a leather laptop bag to replace the one that was stolen last year? I did. It's a little scuffed but otherwise sound, and it has pockets for paper files and small objects (which my cool messenger bag, alas, lacks). For $6.99, I'm not going to complain. Maybe I'll try spiffing it up with one of the black shoe polish kits Mother Media keeps giving me.

But for tonight, I'm done. It's movie time. I need to choose among the four flicks awaiting my viewing. Which would you pick?

  • Batman Begins
  • Beavis & Butthead Do America
  • For Your Consideration
  • Groundhog Day


Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Unemployment Chronicles, Chapter 16

Today marks the end of the Unemployment Chronicles and the beginning of the Partial Employment Chronicles — because today, I landed a part-time job.


It's just 10 hours a week, for much lower pay than I would be able to accept for full-time work. But this is a gig I wanted, doing the kind of work I want, for an organization that seems pretty decent. Therefore, it is good.

I've also decided this is a sign that the kind of projects I want are beginning to come my way. Sure, I'm going to have to scramble for a while. Getting a new business off the ground isn't going to be easy. But the success has begun.

I promised myself a reward for getting an offer, so now I have to decide between ordering a new CD and ordering a pizza. Considering the blizzard raging outside, I think the CD will arrive sooner.