Thanks A Lot, Dad

, , , , , , , , | Related | November 26, 2020

I was laid off during the health crisis. I receive an offer for an even better-paying job, but it will take me out of the country and will take a long time to process my paperwork. As a result, I have to take another job to get me through the time period between the two positions.

The position I end up taking moves me from Michigan to Hawaii. The pay is substantially less than what I was making in Michigan but I figure that the experience working for the government is still very helpful for my career plans; plus, I get to live in a new place that few people get to experience.

While I know that living in Hawaii will come with its own unique drawbacks, the reality of the situation turns out to be worse than I anticipated. I’ve gone from having my own two-bedroom apartment to myself and putting thousands into my savings account every month to sharing a townhouse with two girls half my age who came to Hawaii to drink and party.

I am disappointed with the low pay rate offered by my subcontracting company. I manage to talk them up a little bit, but the rates they offer for mid- and senior-level positions are still unusually low for my field. I figure that not all contracts are created equal and maybe the government just isn’t paying them that much. Oh, how naively trusting I am. I talk about my pay rate with coworkers with fewer qualifications working lower roles and they ALL make more than me. It turns out that I have a really cheap staffing agency.

I still have plenty of savings, but I’m cutting costs to stay within my temporary budget because I’m trying to save my money. This also means that I am unable to return home for Thanksgiving.

All in all, I am really not liking life in Hawaii. I’m talking to my dad, griping about my life, and discussing holiday plans.

Me: “I’m going to splurge this week for Thanksgiving. Instead of my usual five-dollar frozen pizza, I’m going to splurge for a ten-dollar frozen pizza.”

Dad: “We’re going to be having yams, broccoli casserole, stuffing, prime rib… a pie…”

Me: “Well, Dad, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving and a hearty f**** you!”

My dad just laughed.

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As If Pregnancy Wasn’t Stressful Enough!

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | May 20, 2020

After a job contract is up, we’re moving back home from Honolulu to Seattle. My husband is wrapping up the last bit of work in Hawaii while I fly home with our two-and-eight-ninths kids. That is, I’m a couple of days away from being thirty-six weeks pregnant, nearing the end of the time airlines and obstetricians like pregnant women flying. I’m very excited to get back home.

But it seems like everything is working against it. Part of the highway is closed to film an episode of Hawaii 5-0. The line to check in is way longer than anticipated. And there’s a line to check that we’re not exporting exotic flora. And there’s a huge line for security. At the end of this line, I accidentally leave a carry-on bag, not realizing until I’m halfway to the gate, so I have to go back. And of course, my husband was unable to get a gate escort pass, so he can’t help.

I end up running as fast as an eight-month-pregnant woman can, pushing my two-year-old in a stroller laden with carry-on bags, dragging my four-year-old, both kids crying, my glasses slipping down my nose from sweat; it’s hot in Hawaii, and our trek includes an outdoor walkway. 

Fortunately, the plane crew knows we’ve checked in and a flight attendant is holding the door for us; they close it as soon as we’re through.

Out of breath and flushed, we make it to our seats, where the flight attendant and the passenger in the last of the four-seat middle row kindly help us stow our carry-ons and fold up the stroller. I notice the passenger’s eyes get big as he sees my obvious pregnancy bump.

“Don’t worry,” I reassure him. “I still have a month to go, and my older two weren’t early. I have no labor symptoms, even after running through the airport, and I really, really want to get back to the mainland. If I start labor, I’m crossing my legs until it’s too late to turn back.” His relief is palpable!

We make it back with no new passengers arriving, and a flight attendant even helps me from our arrival gate to baggage claim where my parents meet us. I get her name and let her supervisor know.

My youngest is born three weeks later, well after my husband has rejoined us.

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Signing Yourself Up For Friendship

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 8, 2020

(My two preschool-aged children and I are taking the bus home. Both have speech issues, so we use some sign language as well as their gradually-improving English to communicate. The speech therapist says that signing is a great way to help them out; rather than not communicating at all, they just have trouble talking, which is resolved a few years after this story happens. I’m signing to them when two young men catch my eye and start signing to me. The following conversation takes place in American Sign Language. In ASL, it’s common to have name signs to avoid spelling out a person’s name every time you need to reference it.)

Young Man #1: “You three sign? Is one of you deaf?”

Me: “No, we’re hearing, but the kids are still learning to speak, so we sign in the meantime. I learned to sign in school, so at least this way they can tell me what they need!”

Young Man #2: “Oh, I see. Good thing you sign. It’s nice to meet you; we almost never see people signing!”

(Both young men spell their names and show their name signs.)

Me: “Nice to meet you, too!”

(I introduce both of my children by spelling their names and giving their name signs, and I introduce myself by spelling my name.)

Young Man #2: “Do you have a name sign?”

Me: “Huh. No, they just call me ‘Mom.’ I haven’t needed a name sign!”

(We didn’t come up with one for me and I still don’t have a name sign, but the young men and I got a good laugh out of my neglecting to think of one.)

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Password Blurred

, , , , | Right | February 2, 2020

(I work as a service coordinator at an MSP in Honolulu. We reset passwords, work on networks, etc., for dedicated companies)

Client: “Hi, I deleted my file with all my passwords in it and I don’t know what to do.”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, we can recover that file for you.”

Client: “Oh, no, that’s too much trouble. I just want to know what to do if I forget my password.”

Me: “You want your password reset?”

Client: “No, I know my password but what if I fall asleep and forget it?”

Me: “Well, we can always reset your password, or we can recover the file with your passwords on it so that you have a copy of your password.”

Client: “No, I want to know what I should do if I forget it. I’m really afraid I’m going to fall asleep and wake up and forget the password.”

Me: “We can reset your password in that case.”

Client: “But then what if I forget that one, too? What if I fall asleep and the next morning I can’t remember it?”

Me: “Let me transfer you to a technician, ma’am.”

(He ended up resetting and advising her to call in when she forgets it.)

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Your Strong Opinion Is Not Strong Enough

, , , , , , | Healthy | May 1, 2019

(My one-and-a-half-year-old needs a TB test — for the curious, it turns out negative. She’s always been very strong, and I know it’s going to be tricky to get her to hold still for the jab, so I offer to help the technician.)

Me: “She’s pretty strong; would you like me to help hold her?”

Tech: *eyes rolling and voice dripping with sarcasm* “I’m just sure she is. Every parent says that.”

Me: *stepping back* “Okay, have fun.”

(For the next few minutes, the tech finds himself unable to do the quick little jab because my daughter is able to fight him off. Finally, he admits defeat.)

Tech: “Could you hold her, please?”

Me: *sickly sweet* “I’d be happy to.”

(I wrapped my arms and legs around her tightly, and it was still a struggle, but the tech administered the test. If he’d just humored me instead of being condescending, it would have been much easier for him!)

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