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Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.

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Witness the CikNis [Oct. 27th, 2014|07:42 pm]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
As Joel has already weighed in with his opinions on the CikNis, I feel it is my turn to express my viewpoints on what was probably the largest project any of us had ever undertaken.  To build a haunted house of our own seemed like a fanciful idea—not really even an idea any of us had thought of before.  As much as we enjoy haunted attractions and the whole Halloween season in general, the most zealous of us all has long been Joel, and usually most of his wayward ideas and projects are done solo with the rest of us merely being outside participants or mere readers.  But, back as early as July, Joel and Cikalo discussed the idea of converting Cikalo’s garage into a haunted attraction for a Halloween party.  At first, I thought the idea was silly, and I was overly skeptical that such an endeavor could ever get off the drawing board.  After all, the project seemed too large, too technical, and too cumbersome to begin from scratch, even if the plans were on the drawing board over three months before the party.  On Saturday, October 25, the party took place, and the CikNis, as the haunt became known as, was a success.  Future suggestions, ideas, and criticisms of our own haunt will be posted separately.

We’ve all been to dozens of haunted attractions near and far, and we knew the most obvious pros and cons of such attractions.  We are often critical of some haunted attractions that we deem flawed, poorly conceived, overpriced, or lackluster.  Our main task at hand was to covert Cikalo’s average-sized garage into a haunted house that would impress, excite, delight, and even scare our friends when they would pass through at the party.  The garage was cleared of all items, and hundreds of pounds of particle board were brought in and painstakingly cut, assembled, and painted black in the garage.  When that initial stage was done, we had four main rooms and numerous winding corridors of various widths and heights.  One corner served as a smaller room, and the ceiling and outside walls were covered with black plastic film.  With no lights on, the place was pitch black.  There was only one door on the side of the garage, and that served perfectly as both an entrance and exit, with a hinged door closing off the exit until swung open.  The whole thing was held strongly together with caulk, brackets, braces, and countless screws.  The music set-up consisted of a small speaker hooked up to Cikalo’s laptop tucked away in the attic, and without that streaming music, the haunt surely would’ve lacked a major element.

Upon entering the haunt with Madison serving as the impromptu doorman, the blue siren provided the only light until one meandered to “the lab” in the corner.  The lab was a fitting setting since it included the only small lot of shelves and cabinets in the garage.  The table held a myriad of tonic water mason jars glowing under the lone black light.  The walls were littered with various chalk drawing in the form of mathematic symbols and equations.  The lab was occupied by Jason, who played an eccentric, self-loathing, angry, and growling scientist who caused the “CikNis” and was furious at his inability to find an antidote.  He lured visitors to his lab and gave them an alcoholic potion that may have contained either the CikNis or a possible antidote.  He would then kick them out of the lab, as he continued his work.

The guests meandered through the “noodle hallway” that consisted of many pool noodles decorated to gleam under dual black lights and splatted paint on the walls.  It served to set the tone for the upcoming “retard room,” which is where my character dwelled.  My small room was skewed with trash and dirty clothes, while the ceiling was covered in helium balloon and dimly lit with a small, multicolored disco ball.  My décor consisted of several crude drawings taped to the wall, a mini-shopping cart filled with empty cans, and a small toy box with a few childish items—most prominently George, a small monkey hand-puppet.  My character was a well-balanced mix of schizophrenia, autism, manic-depressive actions, and violent fits, as I tried to befriend my visitors, while seemingly clashing with George and also the visitors with a dual personality.  I would send them off after initiating a game of hide-and-go-seek, in which in angrily vowed to find them and win.

The guests then traveled through increasingly smaller, strobe-lit hallways into Ashley’s red corner, where she offered shots to her visitors.  She was well dressed in Goth attire—dressed more than any of us to fit the mood.  She would force her shots on her guests, even if they didn’t want any.  Her room was decorated with a red lamp and a candle set covered in spider webs.  It was a nice lead-up to Joel’s room right around the corner.  The hallway leading to consisted of several hanging baby dolls that immediately provided a creepy element.  His small room was filled with dozens of baby dolls of various shapes and sizes siting on the floor and on three shelves.  He had several larger dolls hanging from the ceiling, where he jumped out of to unsuspecting visitors.  His room also housed a rather large doll house that had a strobe light inside that provided the only light other than several glow sticks spread out among the dolls.  Joel amused and frightened his guest with his vaudevillian-like ventriloquist character named Gerkin, complete with a suit and tie, face paint, hat, and cane.  With a falsetto voice, he surely caused an uneasy and creepy sensation for those in his room, as they gazed at dozens of awkward baby dolls.

One short hallway led to Cikalo’s room, where he played the scarecrow in what I considered the coolest room in the haunted house.  He had the largest room, and it was filled with dozens of cornstalks—some of which were fastened to the side walls while several others were supported with wood in the middle of the room.  This created and almost maze-like element, as visitors stepped on ears and husks and pushed their way through the eerie cornfield.  The scarecrow would jump out and hide behind these stalks, and it truly spooked many visitors.  His room was only lit with orange flame-lights strung around the perimeter of the ceiling.  The exit was hidden.  Where a small cabinet once stood, the doors were removed, and guests had to crouch down into it once they found the exit, which was obscured with plastic film.  This would spin them around into the next hallway.  I could hear many guests asking with shock, “How do we get out of here?!”  Once they found the exit with the scarecrow bearing down on them, they entered the “crouched hallway”—the only section with a lowered ceiling that stood about four feet high.

As they felt their way through the pitch-black crouched hallway, unable to find the hidden exit (which was a closed door on their left), they travelled closer toward the dead end.  For weeks, we contemplated what to put for an end to this hallway, as the easiest choice would’ve been to just have the guests bump into the end of the hallway and feel scared and confused as to where the exit really was.  A last minute addition brought me back into the scene when I discovered the dead end hallway would open up into my room.  I built a very small trapdoor that would allow me to squeeze through my room and lie in waiting at the end of the dark, dead end hallway.  Those crouching through the hallway would eventually bump right into me at the very end, as the real exit was at the midway point in the hallway.  When they bumped into me, as I silently waited, I blinded them with my flashlight and jumped in joy at having found them and won my game.  This came as a great surprise, prompting one guest to comically throw her drink everywhere.  With me on one side and the scarecrow on the other side, they bumped heads again until eventually finding the exit.  When they exited and were now able to stay up again, they turned to see the final scare—Cikalo’s brother Brian.  He had rigged up a jumpsuit to literally hang himself from the opening where the attic door used to be.  With a red light glowing behind him, he shouted and thrashed as if he was trying to get down.  It was a great last scare.  The guest then pushed open the hinged door to head back out the same door they entered.

The haunt, in our opinion and in the opinion of the guests, was overwhelmingly positive.  While we acknowledged there were some things that could have been better, the guests didn’t seem to notice these trivial things, and they were amazed at the acting, the décor, and the fact that all of fit into Cikalo’s garage.  Nothing caused any disruptions in the show, and I’m not even going to mention any of those things at this time since I don’t want to take away from the true amazement that the CikNis caused for our guests and to all of us who “worked” the haunt.  As we mingled for several more hours in the house as the party went on, we were all complimented and congratulated on putting on such a good show.

The show was mostly character driven, as we obviously didn’t have the time or resources to scrounge up fancy decorations or things like that.  Many of our decorations were things Brian dug up from dumpsters and Joel bought at the thrift store.  It took dozens of trips to the store to get construction supplies, and at times, our architectural and craftsmen skills (or lack therefore) were exploited.  But, in the end, nothing went really wrong.  No lights failed.  Nothing came unplugged or unexpectedly stopped working.  No walls fell down.  The music played perfectly.  I hope a bunch of people got sick, because it doesn’t seem like the CikNis will be cured any time soon.  Yes, the haunt will not stand forever (after all, it is his garage), but last time I checked, Halloween happens every year. 
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Blah, that kid over there means, blah [Jun. 29th, 2013|11:41 am]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.

For the first time in a long time, I can say that my finances are on the increase after what seems like an eternity of barely getting by.  Ever since probably two summers ago, I never seem to have any money.  When I hinged my income on things like substitute teaching or minimum wage jobs, I wasn’t doing too well.  My credit score plummeted; my savings were nonexistent; and even certain necessities were ignored while I seemed to pay bills whenever I could.  For the past year now, I’ve been making $9.00 per hour working in a factory through a temp service and supplementing my income with a few hundred bucks a month substitute teaching—a “career” I ultimately decided wasn’t worth my time anymore.  I still plan on holding that occupation, and for the next school year, I will work in a similar capacity: probably one day a week with the default “do not give a fuck” attitude.  My $9.00 per hour job is also disappearing.

For the past year, I’ve been doing “monkey work” at a place called Ammex Plastics.  Nobody knows what that place is, but it’s on Ternes Avenue down the road from Cracker Barrel in the industrial neighborhood.  I call my job monkey work, because if they could train monkeys to push buttons and shuffle parts, the place would be filled with monkeys.  They make plastic parts primarily for automotive industries.  They make some of the simplest parts, such as the vent caps for transmission fluids, plastic components for shocks, door panel brackets, and other parts too numerous to mention.  Some of the parts are as small as a dime and are shipped out in boxes by the thousands.  There are about 12 machines, or presses, that make the parts.  My job was to essentially sit in front of the machine, wait for it to spit out a part, open and close the door, and sit there.  It was tedium to the highest degree, and there are a few dozen other people that do the higher-up work.  But, my services in that department are no longer needed.  Through the temp service, I have been officially employed by the company beginning Monday, July 1.  I will no longer be a “press operator” at $9.00 per hour, nor will I be working the midnight shift anymore.  Never again—unless I have nothing else to do—will I be a monkey.

I will now be—insert fancy title—a “material handler/logistics operator” in the same building, and I will be starting off working the first shift from 7:30–4:00, although my shifts will change and vary once I’m fully trained.  I will also be entitled to company benefits, such as health insurance, 401k, paid vacations and sick days, profit sharing, and a starting rate of $12.00 per hour.  That rate is more than most other starting positions within the company.  If I was officially hired in as a monkey-working press operator, I would’ve made probably $10.00 per hour.  The reason I was chosen for this position is because production is constantly on the increase, and they knew I would be capable enough to handle this position—a position that will mostly include shipping and receiving, final inspections of parts, and labeling and organizing pallets.  It was a job formerly held by a guy named John, who was fired about a month ago for a long run of poor performance.  I will be the first person that the company has hired in about eight months, and my temp job will be replaced with the next primate on Advance’s list of candidates in need of a job.  Ammex rarely hires anyone directly, and anyone employed through the company most likely came from the Advance temp service.  I am one of the few who have clung on long enough to the same company to be brought in as an employee, even though I’ve been working at Ammex 40 hours a week since I first started about 10½ months ago.

In that time, I’ve only called off once and left early on one occasion.  I only showed up more than 30 minutes late on four occasions—each one because I simply didn’t get up on time to make it in but lied and said I had car troubles.  My punctuality is lacking, as I tended to show up 3–4 minutes late almost every day to the point where some were shocked if I showed up even a minute early.  But, that didn’t really matter, and I’m sure with a higher rate and more responsibility, I will be more punctual, especially since the supervisors and owner will be there when I come in.  Unlike any other job I’ve ever had, the supervisors—Mike and Ryan—and owner—Dave Jr.—are very nice and friendly people, and I look forward to working for them.

The $3.00 per hour raise I am receiving is by far the biggest income increase I’ve ever had.  I’ve never made more than $9.15 per hour at a job before, so $12.00 per hour is a huge jump.  That equates to $480 per week or $2,080 per month (about $1,600 after taxes).  That is about $400 more a month in my pocket, and that will definitely help out a lot.  I’m not jumping into spending any of that money, but I would like to live a little more comfortably.  I’m doing okay now, but I don’t have anything saved in case something goes wrong.  I have a little bit of money in case my car fails again—something that cost me around $270 last month.  I also seem crimped on my finances form having recently moved and taken a trip to Chicago.  I don’t plan on moving or going back to Chicago soon, so I should be okay.  There’s not really anything I need at the moment, although a few luxuries would be nice.

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blarg [Apr. 19th, 2013|10:10 am]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
Yesterday was probably the busiest day I’ve had in a long time.  Seeing as how time is running out for Wendy and I to take care of everything since we have conflicting schedules, we took a Thursday to take care of two important things: going to the courthouse to apply for our marriage license and apartment hunting—both of which were successful.  In the midst of that, I got a flat tire and got dumped on by rain while driving around all day.  The tire that went flat innocently lost its air while I was sitting in a parking lot, and a quick change to the donut and a $68 charged stop at Firestone remedied that problem with little hassle.  That tire was the last of the old tires I had.  The guy at Firestone said they didn’t even make that brand of tire anymore, and I estimate that tire was probably 6–7 years old.  The courthouse process was rather simple, as we joked it’s easier to get married than it is to find a place to live.  A simple $20 application will provide us a license by next week, and we’ll pick a date within the 30-day timeframe to get stamped at the courthouse.

As far as apartment hunting, it seems like the ordeal is over.  While we’ve only minimally looked in person because of our inability to find time—plus since no apartment complexes are open on the weekend time when we could visit.  We did extensive research online, but everything seemed so pricey.  I wanted something in the conservative range of $450–550, while Wendy seemed easily awed by places in the $600+ range and some distances away.  We researched several centralized Downriver cities and even curiously look in apartment hubs like Belleville.  We essentially wanted a location between Detroit (her location of school) and Monroe (my primary place of work).  As far as what we desired for such an apartment complex, I simply wanted a pool to lounge around at in the stifling summer.  Wendy wanted an accommodating laundry facility—a basement washer/dryer and not a mile-away community laundry room.  We made one attempt to land an apartment that provided a washer/dryer in the unit, but that $619 a month complex in Riverview had no available units for the first of May.   I checked out a list of maybe 10 viable apartment complexes and visited several of them on my own accord.  Many of them didn’t have anything available for our projected move-in date, while some provided unrealistic prerequisites to live there.  Many factors were against us, such as my weak credit score, my insufficient individual income, her lack of income and credit altogether, and the amount of paperwork she needs to prove her existence.

On Thursday, we visited two of my highest-ranking locations—meaning they were cheap, had available openings, a pool, and were in desired locations.  The first of which was Fountain Park–South in Southgate right behind the tall PNC building in the southeastern corner of Southgate.  It is in a great location and an approximate 25-minute drive to Monroe.  I saw it on my own last week and then brought Wendy to see it.  I liked it and was leaning toward wanting to live there for the fact that it was only $499 a month, and I was losing energy to look at many other places.  For some reason though, the complex’s strict pet policies prohibited rabbits.  When I asked why, they said, “We’ve had too many issues with rabbit’s before.”  That was a huge letdown since I know my rabbits have never stained, chewed, or destroyed anything.  Wendy also expressed discontent in not having direct access outside in the form of a patio or balcony.  They also had a complicated application process that would’ve cost us $100 just to apply with the chance that our security deposit could be as high as $748.50—or us being denied anyway.  After being there for over an hour, we ultimately decided to continue our search.

We then left to Bridgewood Apartments—listed in some places in Flat Rock but technically in Brownstown Charter Township.  I’ve frequented this complex before.  It was the location where I essentially squatted at their pool in the summer of 2012 when I had no job.  I went there for hours a day and read, soaked up the sun, drank alcohol, and swam while never once being questioned if I had a pool pass or was a resident.  My initial issues with this complex were that the buildings themselves are somewhat older, and the complex is a lengthier 30 minutes to Wendy’s school.  Hopefully, she will have her own car by September.  But, it is closer to my work and in a good location near the commercial center of Woodhaven.  At a price of also $499 a month, their application fee was only $25 total, and their security deposit was a set $350.  Their application process was much simpler than Fountain.  Wendy seemed pleased by the model unit we saw, and we would get a second floor unit with a balcony.  After being there for about 15 minutes, she agreed to fill out an application.  We paid the $25 but could not be approved in a timely manner since Wendy didn’t bring her Visa with her.  She needed her Visa number so the complex could run her background check so she could be a co-leaser.  The lady was very friendly and ran my qualification check and found that I qualified to live there all by myself if I wanted, and that was a huge relief.  Of course, Wendy’s going to live there too, but the complex has formalities and needs to run a background check on all potential residents.  When we got back to Wendy’s dorm a few hours later, she called in her Visa information.  Since it was almost closing time at the office, the lady said she would run the information the next day.  Wendy has no blemishes on her record, so we’re set to move in to Bridgewood Apartments on 01 May if the last steps are completed.

In order to move-in, we need to pay the $100 holding fee (as soon as Wendy gets accepted), which will be taken off the $350 security deposit.  In addition, the first month’s rent needs paid before we move in.  Renter’s insurance isn’t required, but I’m going to look into that anyway.  We just need $424.50 each in order to move in.  I hope to have around $1,200 in my savings account by that time, and she seems to have an endless supply of money.  I estimate that I will need around $300 a month to pay my share of the bills.  The only real necessity we need as soon as we move is a bed.  Anything else can come at later times if needed, and I have a good amount of supplies, such as kitchen appliances and electronics.  We will also need to immediately get internet (and a wireless router) since she needs internet for school, which she will be taking online classes in the summer.

The good things about this apartment complex:
1.  It’s only $499 a month for 755 square feet.
2.  It has a balcony, which means we can have the sliding door open without risk of someone breaking in.
3.  It has a nice and clean pool.
4.  Our heat in the winter is provided by gas, which is cheaper than electric heat.  We will get both an electric and heat bill.
5.  We don’t have to pay water at all, nor do we have to pay for hot water, which means we can take hot showers and run the dishwasher five hours a day if we want and not have to pay anything.
6.  I can bring my rabbits with no additional fees.
7.  It’s also closer to my substitute teaching job.  The nearest school I can work at is one stoplight over.  It’s also much closer to my gym.
8.  I get to see Wendy everyday!  I don’t have to drive 40 minutes to see her.
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Perhaps on the move.... again [Apr. 10th, 2013|11:56 am]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
This month has been very pressured and somewhat stressful, although simple planning and organizing seems to always make things better.  I tend to stare at the same spreadsheets over and over again, as I spend way too much time trying to get things right.  Right now, I’m budgeting what could be a potential move in the near future—hopefully as early as 01 May.  I tend to make planning of this nature much more complicated than it needs to be for the simple reason that I have little extra money.  Plus, my pending move is rather hastily planned, and my savings account doesn’t have a high level of money in it.  In the two prior cases where I moved out, I moved out with absolutely no money saved up.  In October 2007, I moved after having not worked for seven weeks due to a broken foot; with no money and few possessions, I did okay.  In August 2010, I moved after not having a job for almost the past two months.  I got a job just in time to put the first two paychecks toward moving, while other bills piled up.  In that case, I did fine too.  In both cases, I was never at risk of missing rent, even if I had roommates I never depended on for money.  As long as I have a steady source of income—easier said than done—I am always okay.

Right now, I will probably have around $1,100 in my savings account by our projected move-in date of 01 May.  I’m not too sure how much she will have, but in most cases, we will just need first month’s rent, security deposit, and application fees.  One place we looked at online in Riverview costs $599 for a one-bedroom with a low $99 security deposit and what I figure will be a standard $25 per person application fee.  That would amount to $375 each upfront, which would leave me some money in my savings account for certain necessities.  I would like to keep a small amount in my savings account for emergencies.  I’m working to reduce a few of my bills in order to have extra money.  The fact that I pay around $100 a month for my car insurance seems very high for my old car and clean record, and my $96 a month phone bill is also very annoying.  I might see if Wendy and I can get on a “family plan” in order to split a phone bill.  If necessary, I can defer a $104 a month student loan payment for the summer months.  If her and I moved into a $599 a month apartment, my estimated total monthly bills for everything possible—including gas and food—would amount to around $1,100 for me.  It would be much cheaper for her since she doesn’t have most of the individual bills I have, even if she has no income.  And, if I can’t manage to make $250 a week, something is wrong with me.  My substitute teaching job will disappear during the summer, so that’s why I would like to reduce my bills during that time in order to not feel a decrease in income.  When September comes, I can resume that job if needed and work as much as I want to bring in extra money.  Lately, I haven’t been subbing as much as possible since I haven’t had the need for the extra money.  I will continue a search for a better job when the summer approaches, such as my continuing futile search for a teaching job or if I can find a better (perhaps closer) job to replace my Ammex job.

The place we looked at online, Pennbrook Place in Riverview, looks really nice.  They have a larger pool, free heat, and the elusive washer/dryer included in each apartment.  When I lived in Woodhaven in 2010–2011, I had an apartment without such an amenity, and doing laundry was always a daunting and inconvenient task.  I would love to have my own washer/dryer, and Pennbrook is the cheapest place that has such an amenity.  Many apartments simply don’t provide a washer/dryer in the individual units, and it’s a wonderful convenience that you don’t often think about until you have to lug baskets of laundry to a community laundry room and pay $3–4 for a small load of laundry.  But, the $599 a month price tag at Pennbrook is a little intimidating, as I would like to keep the rent nearer to the $500–525 range, which includes a good number of apartments.  However, none of these apartments have a washer/dryer included.  A lot of apartments offer move-in specials as well, and if we can score something like “first month free” or “no security deposit,” that would be great.  My only preferences are to have a swimming pool and free heat.  I don’t want to worry about the cost of running the warm furnace during the cold winter.  Of course, the cheaper rent is just my way of penny-pinching, and perhaps it would be more worth it to pay a few extra bucks to have the laundry convenience.  It is also something Wendy would like to have since she knows all too well the hardships of lugging around laundry and always needing quarters for laundry.  There is another nearby apartment that has washer/dryer hookups, but those appliances don’t come cheap (although I’m sure used ones on sites like Craigslist can be found).

While most apartments will freely rent to anyone, I’m concerned that Wendy’s financial situation might cause some issues that will need to be explained by the complex we chose to reside.  I don’t necessary make enough money to convince a leasing manager to give us a $599 a month apartment.  I doubt I individually meet the income requirements.  She has no job, but she receives money from her parents in the form of school and living expenses.  She’s assured me that she will be able to afford her share of around $350–400 a month for the apartment and utilities, as her parents have paid much higher for her previous apartments and her dorm.  But, she has no way to prove that to an apartment complex.  Solutions, as I’ve suggested, might be for her to pay a portion of the lease in advance, which she said she might have upwards of $1,500 by the time we move.  I’m pretty sure that if we walked into an office and dumped maybe two grand on the table, the leasing manager will throw keys at us.  I have no intentions of having or allowing Wendy to pay for any of my own portion of the lease.  Wendy is financially organized, and I intent to openly show her where our money is going.  I will most likely pay the bills online through my bank account, which is what I also did when I lived with Jerry.  Our shared bills would include rent, electricity, water, and internet.  I have no use for cable TV since it’s something I don’t want to pay for, but internet is a must since she needs it for school.  Internet can cost less than $30 a month anyway.

As far as apartment items we would need to buy, the first and foremost thing of importance would probably be a bed.  My mattress on the floor will not suffice anymore.  Wendy doesn’t take up much room, but we discussed at least getting a full-sized bed.  If we can get a platform and mattress for around $300, that would be great.  It’s been at least 2½ years since I’ve actually had a real bed since I’ve had no need for one.  We might try to get used furniture from Emily, and that would include living room chairs and maybe a desk and table.  I have a good amount of kitchen supplies and electronics but no real bedroom furniture.  I probably don’t need a dresser since I usually hang my shirts and have baskets, but a small dresser costs only $30.  I have a TV, TV stand, DVD player, video games, VCR, and an array of other appliances.  Wendy doesn’t really have anything since she lives in a shitty dorm, but we don’t need much anyway.  I don’t plan on buying much more than maybe Emily’s furniture, a new bed, a dresser or two, maybe a cheap dining room table, some bathroom necessities, and other small items.  When I lived in my last apartment, I lived pretty minimally since I didn’t want to go in on shared items with Jerry.  But, with Wendy, it’s more probable that we would split the cost of things for our apartment.  She would need to buy a car before the Fall semester so she can drive to Detroit (about 25 minutes away), so for most of the summer, she will probably sit around the apartment.  She intends to take a few classes online, and I’m sure I can provide transportation anywhere she really needs to go.  I will be driving 25 minutes to Monroe every night to work, and this will increase my gas costs somewhat.  But, I’ve been finding myself driving a ton of miles going back and forth from Detroit (where Wendy currently lives) several times a week.  Last weekend, I drove 255 miles since we went a bunch of places.  When her and I went to Frankenmuth a few weeks back, I drove 440 miles in the course of four days.  I commend my old car on its uncharacteristic durability during the time I’ve known Wendy.

In addition to moving, her and I are hastily getting married before that happens.  While we joked that the main motive for our marriage is because her parents won’t let her live with me unless we are wed, we have continually expressed our desired to be together forever.  I love her so much, and since the feeling is mutual and we share the same future ideals, we should get married and not wait many more months or years for it to happen.  The process of us getting married is relatively simple.  Even though she is a non-citizen, my status is all that matters.  She just needs identification verifying her name and age, which she has in the form of her California driver’s license.  She also has other valid documents that state her legality for being here—even though that’s not required, as any U.S. citizen can marry an alien non-resident.  So, her and I will probably be wed by the end of April, even if we are going to get married rather unceremoniously.  It seems like the process of leasing an apartment will be more complicated than actually getting married!  And, at around $40 to get married, it’s a lot cheaper too.
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The year of Fu [Apr. 2nd, 2013|09:58 am]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
It’s time to take a more serious tone to my otherwise pointless or ranting LiveJournal posts—a form of social networking I tend to only use when I want to write something in private and linked only to those I want to actually read it.  Right before the New Year, I met a girl online, and of course, that’s not unusual or the point of this post since I’ve met a high number of girls off the internet over the past few years.  This girl was far more unique than any girl I’ve met, and my initial thought was that she would just disappear quickly, as the vast majority of internet girl will tend to do.  This girl is Chinese; never before had I engaged in online communication with such an ethnicity.  She is not a citizen of the United States—also a first—and is simply living in Detroit as an international student in college.  This girl is Wenyue Fu (傅文玥), otherwise known as Wendy.  She is 28 years old and from Hangzhou, China.  We soon added each other on Facebook and exchanged phone numbers, where we began texting and calling regularly.  We met for the first time on Sunday, January 27.  While this wasn’t a “first date” in a technical sense, we took an immediate, yet slow liking of each other.  I didn’t hug or kiss her on this first meeting.

In my mind, several “issues” came to the forefront in determining if I wanted to date this girl.  First off, that decision would depend on if she wanted to date me.  Also, her currently living situations were something I had to put into consideration.  She wasn’t a citizen and therefore couldn’t get a job.  She lived in a dorm at her college in the New Center area of Detroit, which is 40 minutes from where I live.  She had no income, and I myself always seemed pinched in my finances.  Despite living in a dorm, I could still freely come visit her, and her dorm room was a cozy place to hang out—whenever her controlling roommate was out of sight.  Her parents finance her college expenses, and she merely lives in the dorm out of necessity.  She has no car and doesn’t really need one, and as long as my car can trudge to Detroit when necessary, I would see her whenever she wanted.  Well, because of her school schedule and my work schedule, seeing each other on the weekends seemed the only feasible time.  We began seeing each other at least once a week—Saturday or Sunday—and we mostly went out to eat, watched movies in her dorm, or drove around to places she had never been before.  She never really got out and went anywhere.

After a few weeks, I began developing feelings for her, and our affection increased.  If I could find the time and gas money, I saw her twice a week.  While her dorm regulations permitted me to spend the night there, her bossy and rude roommate refused to let me stay over too late, although I did at times when she was not there for the night.  We eventually began generically discussing relationship ideals, and after seeing her for five weekends in a row (usually 10–12 hours at a time), I decided in my mind that I wanted Wendy as a girlfriend.  She told before that she would like me as a boyfriend, so that hastened my decision to officially ask her.  Over dinner on Saturday, March 2 at the Applebee’s in Allen Park at around 8:30 in the evening, I asked her if she wanted to be my girlfriend.  As predicted, she consented.  Soon after, we exchanged the verbal “I love you,” and we were both so excited.  It is my first official relationship in over four years, and to my assumed knowledge, it was her first official relationship ever.

While we started our new relationship, we still struggled to spend time together and always looked forward to the weekends where we could be together.  Nothing else seemed to matter as long as we were together, and we would constantly lament when we were apart.  Most of our time spent together consisted of the same: dinner, watching movies in her room, cruising around, ice skating, and simply enjoying every moment together.  Cold weather prevented us from doing anything at all outside.  We fell in love so quickly, and we saw no end to the amount of love we had for each other.  Two weeks into our relationship, we spent the night near Frankenmuth on a mini-vacation, and it was a great time.  Her roommate was gone, and Wendy and I spent four days together.  Since even before our relationship, we discussed the possibility of living together.  These conversations became quite common as the weeks progressed.  Soon, the word ‘marriage’ came up as well, although we both acknowledged that as something in the far-off future, as our relationship, despite strong and solid, was still in its infancy.

At the end of April, Wendy’s semester at school is over, although she still has over another year of college left before hopeful graduation.  When the semester’s over, Wendy’s won’t be living in the dorm anymore during the summer.  She wants to live somewhere else—with me.  I certainly want to move out of my parents’ house again, and after having spent so much time with Wendy, I want to live with her.  My only real conditions to this would be that we wouldn’t live in Detroit, because I hate the city and it would be way too far for me to drive down to Monroe to work.  I don’t want to spend $300 a month in gas for my aging car, and I can probably get a job closer to Detroit if we ultimately end up residing in the city.  My suggestion to her is to move somewhere Downriver in the middle between Monroe and Detroit.  Nice apartments in that area can cost as low as $450 a month, while livable dwellings in Detroit unexplainably cost in the range of $800 for a place with optional windows and walls.  Wendy and I discussed in length how we could feasibly move out into a shared apartment, and she seems willing to let me pick where since she doesn’t really know the area.  I suggested some place at least 20–25 miles from her college, in which a daily commute for her would be feasible, but she would need car—maybe not right away but at least by time she started the next semester in September.  It is possible for her to go all summer without transportation since she wouldn’t need to go anywhere and would take any classes online during that time.  I would continue working 42½ hours a week and not substitute teach during the summer.

My income would be the only money coming in, and I’ve expressed my concern with having to pay the rent and bills in their entirety, as well as financially supporting her since she has no job.  She can’t have a job since she’s not permitted to work.  She said her parents would fund her bills, as they currently do in her dorm, if she decided to move out into an apartment.  However, her parents would not finance her move if she chose to live with me.  Her parents, who I’ll most likely never meet, disapprove of her living with me unless we are married.  While that’s not unusual, time is running out on whether Wendy and I can live together or not.  If she can’t find a place to live, she will have to re-sign to live in her dorm for another year, and she does not want that.  I don’t want that either.  Her dormitory is very small, inconvenient, crowded, and lacking of many basic living necessities like a kitchen or nearby shopping facilities.  She also can’t have a dorm to herself.  If Wendy wants the money from her parents for us to live together, we would have to be married.  Her parents would surely fund a place for Wendy to live on her own (with me coming over as much as possible and perhaps contributing to some expenditures), but we both said we want to at least live together on a full-time basis at some point soon.

Now, we are both in a very pressured situation.  Is it feasible for us to be married—or more appropriately in this sense, eloped—after having been in a relationship for one month?  Is it possible to skip the engagement period altogether and sign a license to get married, while postponing any form of ceremony or celebration in order to be wed as soon as the end of this month?  Wendy and I have fully discussed the possibilities of getting married since even before we began a relationship.  It is something that both of us want, and if we both want that for ourselves and our future, can we reasonably get de jure wed for the sake of necessity and convenience?  It would also serve as a “green card marriage” for her and grant her automatic citizenship with minor legal finagling and paperwork, therefore allowing her to work and increase our income and reduce her dependency on her parents abroad.  I’m not at all concerned with what others think, and I’m sure I’ll be questioned on my decisions to possibly marry Wendy.  Her parents want Wendy to get married, because for her to be an unwed, 28-year-old Chinese girl is somewhat disheartening to her parents.  Although her parents know nothing about me aside from what Wendy told them, she says she has “permission” to marry me if she chooses.  I confess I don’t know anything about the legal processes toward getting married, especially to a non-native.

I told Wendy awhile ago that I would like to wait “at least 5–6 months” to make a declaration of engagement, but perhaps, the opportunity should be taken as soon as possible.  As far as I’m concerned, we would be married for convenience and in law and would plan for some form of real wedding much later in the future.  I don’t believe at all that I’m doing anything wrong, but I definitely feel like it’s rushed and very pressuring.  But, if it’s something the two of us desire for our future, why should anyone else care?  After all, Wendy and I are very much in love.  The three months I have known her have been very loving, wonderful, and enjoyable.  I’ll probably never find another girl like her, and I have no intentions of looking for anyone else.  I love Wendy, and the two of us have confessed innumerable times that we would like to be together forever; ‘til death do we part?
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LiveJournal on life support [Mar. 22nd, 2013|06:13 pm]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
[Current Mood |lovedloved]

While I’m sitting at work doing nothing, I realized it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything of value on here.  Yet, I’ve said that before, as no one tends to use LiveJournal anymore at all.  I figure it’s because people don’t put the time in to actually writing anything anymore.  A quick tweet, an Instagram picture of one’s breakfast, or the reposting of political memes is about all the intelligence people have anymore.  As an avid writer, general social critic, and exploiter of ignorance, I’ve been trying to pull myself away from the online social world—only occasionally logging on to my own Facebook to chat with friends, post my own snide updates, and sometimes well-meaning pictures.  I can only hope that someday Facebook will also go the way of LiveJournal and MySpace.  Surely though, newer forms of mundane social media will be created and appeal to the lower masses.

I gave up making life updates on LiveJournal, because my life was seemingly stagnant, if not on the decline.  I’m continuing to work two jobs, and I’ve been working around 48 hours a week.  For awhile, I was working 52–55 hours a week but saw no value in that since it reduced my ability to sleep and, for the most part, eliminated my social life.  I only substitute teach 1–2 days a week, because it quite frankly isn’t worth the money.  Some weeks, I didn’t sub at all.  Long gone are the times where I would sub five days a week with modest enthusiasm as my only source of income, as I scraped and clawed my way up the educational hierarchy at apathetic school districts that should probably be taken over by the state for their absolute lack of value and quality educators.  Yet, here I am subbing at this exact moment—having voluntarily taken a night off from my equally-paying midnight job since there was nothing to do there.  Substitute teaching has evolved from an attempt to show off my educational skills and introduce myself to varieties of new and unique circumstances into merely a money-making scheme for an extra hundred bucks or so a week for doing as little work as possible and working whenever and wherever I choose.  I seek no thanks or acceptance for this job that can barely be considered a valuable occupation.

In whatever free time I have now, I’ve been playing soccer (two nights a week), going to the gym at least 2–3 times a week, and spending as much time as I can with my new girlfriend Wendy (Wenyue 文玥).  I’ve known her for almost three months now, and we’ve been officially in a relationship for three weeks.  While that doesn’t seem like much, she has become a very important part of my life.  I hope I can always make her happy.  Considering my phenomenally poor and unsuccessful dating life, having someone as sweet, nice, and beautiful as Wendy has made me so happy.  While we typically only see each other once or twice a week due to our busy schedules, I cherish every moment I get with her.  We recently spent four days in a row together since she had spring break (and I took two nights off work), and it was one of the most enjoyable weekends of my life.  She is a very smart, talented, and caring person who happens to love me a lot.  What more can I ask for?  I love her so much, and she has made such a great impact on my life already.  Knowing I get to see her on the weekend makes the weekdays fly by with anticipation.

While I don’t have a ton of money, I am slowly improving my finances and savings.  For awhile, whatever extra money I was making went to a backlog of bills and other things I needed to pay for.  Now, my savings account is steadily starting to grow, although other bills still linger that I can hopefully eliminate soon, such as a few small credit cards that I don’t use anymore.  Wendy and I have even discussed possibly moving in with each other, although she has obstacles to overcome if she wants to make that happen.  Unfortunately, I most likely cannot afford to support our living expenses entirely on my own, and with her school and inability to get a job, finances are on the forefront of things we need to work out should we choose to live together—something we both have said we would like in the not-too-distant future.     
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Valentine's Day [Feb. 14th, 2013|10:24 pm]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
Valentine’s Day has to be without a doubt the worst ever concocted consumerist holiday imaginable.

The presence of flowers, candy, chocolates, teddy bears, and many other pieces of heart-shaped crap cluttering the shelves at the store makes me sick, and if you give into the marketing ploy and purchase any of those products, you are a moron—a pawn and a damn fool for thinking you are “less of a man” for not buying your “sweetheart” some novelty merchandise that will quickly be consumed or hidden away in storage in preparation for receiving more things the next time the calendar says so. If you think for one second that you have to buy something on Valentine’s Day, you’re an idiot. And women, how dare you expect something on this stupid holiday? I’m not disparaging someone for wanting to do something nice for the person they love (or as people like to misuse the term ‘chivalrous’ grossly out of context), but what’s the sense in getting someone something they are expecting. In my reclusive opinion, getting flowers and candy would be much more enjoyable and a surprise if you received them on June 21 instead of expecting them on February 14, like a snot-nosed unwashed child running under the Christmas tree for things they sneaked a peek at weeks earlier.

The woman should never ask, “What are we going to do for Valentine’s Day?” If she asks that in the first place, you are already a spineless sperm and money dispenser. And, oh no! Don’t you dare say you’ll get the poor girl nothing or express even the slightest anti-holiday feelings, because society will put you down and depict you as a soulless, unlovable, greedy bastard. Men are expected at a minimum to buy flowers and take the woman out for a nice dinner. Quite frankly, Valentine’s Day has turned into an excuse to show love and spend money—obviously, love in today’s society is measured by the amount you spend. You could spend three hours handcrafting the sweetest homemade letter and suggesting a night in with moderate drinks and a movie—a poor man’s holiday. But no, you’re a poor miserable man if you do that, because your bitch wants the consumerist propaganda in the form of a giant bouquet of flowers, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, a steak dinner, and all the other fucking bells and whistles you see on TV—all the while being shuttled around like it’s her damn obligation as a woman to be treated like a queen. And, why don’t the men deserve anything in return? Women already get enough undeserving royal treatment in this fucked up society. If you’re in a relationship, think about the last time your woman treated you or did something unexpectedly special for you besides microwave dinner, clean, and spread her legs.

If you ever see me walking down the street with a box of candy and a bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day, rob my ass and throw me in the ditch. And, if I’m in Detroit, go ahead and shoot me and steal my car too. Love should not be measured by your actions on Valentine’s Day—same with any other holiday. I will never give into the consumerism that has overtaken seemingly every holiday from Christmas to Administrative Professionals’ Day. I don’t care how much money I have. It’s the principle belief that I would not turn into a pawn for the candy and flower industry that makes a mint on these manufactured holidays. The last time I bought a girl flowers was on December 15. Was that a holiday? Was that a special occasion? No, it was just a regular day. You can’t rely on holidays, such as Valentine’s Day or the horribly conceived Sweetest Day, to express love and do things for your significant other. Grow a spine and do things on you own without the calendar and TV telling you that you have to spend spend spend. And, I’m sure there are many other reasons why I’m single, but so what?
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Day 20 [Jun. 14th, 2012|05:52 pm]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
I’m on about my 20th day of not working, and I can’t complain too much.  I’ve been getting to sleep in all day and stay up all night, relax and do very little.  I’m not even concerned about my money, because I have two options: get a job or collect unemployment.  Choosing the traditional American path, I filed for unemployment and am slated to receive $201.00 a week.  But, I won’t start collected for several more weeks, and I should be able to make more money.  That figure is based off of my substitute teaching job, which I officially lost on June 1.  Wendy’s, where I worked at up until about six months ago, is trying to withhold paying me unemployment.   For the longest time, the rumor was that substitute teachers weren’t able to collect unemployment, but I think I broke that tradition by actually making enough money doing it and officially being terminated just in time for the summer anyway.  It’s like it worked out too well in my favor.  I’m getting paid from a job that pays its normal employees nothing during the summer.  $201.00 a week isn’t great, but for not working, it sure seems nice.  I’m just worried that technicalities or my own errors might compromise that.  

I was supposed to be hired in at Wendy’s–Taylor effective at my orientation on June 21, but if I choose to work there, I won’t get my full unemployment benefits.  I’d have to work at Wendy’s 27 hours a week to make the same as unemployment.  If I work minimally at Wendy’s, I can still collect unemployment, but I’m starting to think I shouldn’t even bother.  If Wendy’s didn’t take so long to hire me, I might not be in this situation, but I’m going to just tell them something else came up.  I don’t want to drive 30 minutes to make $7.40 per hour, when it looks like I can make just as much sitting on my ass for awhile.  Saving the gas money alone seems worth it.  It would be different if the job paid more and had a more reliable schedule.  I know Wendy’s well, and working until 3:00 am on any given day for the pay they give is just criminal.  If I can find a good job through the unemployment job bank, then I’ll do that.   

Of course, I’m not going to live off unemployment forever, because I can’t.  I intent to find a job at some point, but the Wendy’s–Taylor job isn’t exactly what I’m looking for.  When the next school year starts, I don’t even know if I want to substitute teach anymore, which I’ll have to do somewhere else.  But, I might get in somewhere else and work minimally while getting a job somewhere else.  I would like to get a more stable job, and the outlook on that might be to take the course to be a certified nursing assistant.  I just need at least $700 to take the course and the test.  There are also a lot of other things I need to take care of; working, even minimally, at Wendy’s, isn’t going to cut it.  I just need to get some bills off my back, which wouldn’t be hard with a little consistent income.
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Softball 2012 [May. 10th, 2012|11:19 pm]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
I finally had a chance the other day to play on what I considered to be an actual real softball team.  My cousin Glen, whom I’ve seen maybe once or twice in the past decade, invited me to be a sub on his team for their first game.  I initially Facebook messaged him a few months ago about a position, but he has consistently had the same team and was unsure of needing new players at that time.  But, a few of his normal members couldn’t make it, and I was invited.

My excitement came from the fact that I would be on a “real” team of athletically able and efficient players—at least that was my initial thoughts.  My Woodhaven team last year, which I managed, was unquestionably the worst softball team ever conceived.  While a few of my players had abilities, it couldn’t balance out the abysmal performance of some players, such as my brother’s .074 batting average, some people’s inability to know what to do with a softball once they got it, simple base-running errors, poor attendance, and several players with a complete lack of any athletic ability whatsoever.  We finished 0–18, and on only one occasion did we make it past the mercy-minimum fourth inning.  A few people stood out valiantly, but with a team batting average of .344 and a skyrocketed amount of simple errors, we were destined for failure from the start—despite a high level of optimism.  

I know my downfalls when it comes to softball, but I would consider myself a better-than-average player due to my competitive nature, physical abilities, and knowledge of the game.  I can’t hit for power at all, but I can outrun most infield hits.  For that reason, I don’t try to hit for power.  I’m prone to making defensive errors, but some of those came from my positioning at 3B or SS to fill a defensive hole in our lineup.  However, my defensive plays made overshadowed any error I made.  My biggest attribute is probably my speed on the base paths.  But, as manager, it was impossible to have any positive attitudes toward the team we had.  There was no saving it, no improving it—no hope, as we disbanded following the season’s end.

I was asked by high school friend Brett to play on his coed team for this summer, and while I won’t lament on that team at this time.  We’ve played two games so far, and we lost the first game 3-17 and the second game 1-19.  Our team is probably worse than the Misfits team I had last summer, but time will tell on that.  Our team sure does have some weak players, and quite frankly, I’ve lost my desire and competitive edge on this team.  So far in two games, I’ve gone 1-for-3 at the plate, scored one run, and committed one inconspicuous error at right-centerfield.  Brett has no managerial sense, and is too “nice” to the players, especially the girls he thinks like him.

I was a tad nervous to play on Glen’s team, because I was afraid I would be easily trumped in ability by his players.  I wasn’t sure if I would field a position at all, because I was just an extra.  But, in the doubleheader at the old Woodhaven fields of last year, I would be expected to bat proficiently.  He had 11 people show up, so that made me the DH for the first game, which I was fine with.  I’ve never played a sole DH role, and I batted 11th.  I observed the game play in progress and helped myself to a few beers from Glen’s cooler.  His team did bat very well.  His players were large physically and hit long balls with ease—most of which were caught.  I batted in the second inning, but I swung at the first pitch and hit a lazy pop up to the shortstop.  I batted again in the fifth inning, and I hit a swift groundball directly at the third base and no throw was made by the baseman.  The next batter hit a fly ball that just sailed past the extended glove of the left-centerfielder, and I cruised all the way around to score, where I was praised for my blazing speed on the paths.  Those were my only two at bats.  Lamentably, we lost the game 5-15 after the sixth inning mercy rule went into effect.  Glen’s team didn’t mope and down their heads—sometimes throwing things like my Misfits team would.  They held their heads up, blaming their batting, and quickly took the field for game two.

One of his players decided to sit himself out for game two, so I took the catching position—also a position I’ve never played, but it was simple enough.  In the second game, our bats woke up.  We never led in the game, and we did lose.  But, we played all seven innings—something I’ve never done in a softball game—yet lost 14-17.  I batted three times in this game.  In my first at bat in the second inning, I hit a ball that split the gap between the third baseman and shortstop and safely made it to first while taking a hard round in case the ball was bobbled.  I ended up making it to third base on the next hit by the batter, while he remained at first.  On the next ball, it was hit far enough to the outfield for me to walk home.  The defense on our team remained solid, and that’s why I was kind of glad I wasn’t placed in the field.  Only a few slight errors dogged the team.  In my second at bat the very next inning, I unfortunately fouled out after having used up all my strikes and ended the inning.  I batted again in the seventh and last-call inning.  With two outs, I made it to first on a bloop single.  The next batter hit a ball to mid-centerfield but slightly over the head of the centerfielder.  Once the ball hit the ground, I rounded second and stopped at third—a hard round toward the plate.  The shortstop, serving as the cut-off man bobbled the ball ever so slightly.  I sprinted home and slid in as the catcher lowered his glove to catch the ball.  I beat the ball by a foot, but it did roll to the backstop anyway.  The next batter ended the game.    

The fact that I went 3-for-5 in a doubleheader, while scoring 3 runs, is probably my best ever performance on a softball field.  Obviously, I made no errors since I was DH and C in the games, but errors with me are usually few and far between anyway.  In any other games I’ve played, the bottom of the lineup bats usually once.  I feel very comfortable at the plate, while my defense can sometimes be nervous or discouraging when I see others failing.  A few players on Glen’s team his homeruns, and others made what I could consider to be magnificent defensive plays.  The ball was hit to the outfield without nervousness of a Charlie Brown error that pop out of someone’s glove.  There were no balls hit in the infield that slowly rolled between someone’s legs.  There were no throws to first base that sailed 10 feet over the baseman’s head.  There weren’t 10 walks issued by pitcher.  It was amazing just being able to watch and participate in a game where both teams were proficient and knew what they were doing.  A few errors were committed, but for the most part, the games were solid.  

I’m not looking too much forward to my game on Sunday with my Monroe team, the Ballbangers, just because the team lacks any real competitive edge, despite a few players that are proficient, such as Jeremy and Justin.  I don’t feel it my nature to complain (at this time) or even make suggestions to help that team.  We will lose every game.  And, while we lost both games on Glen’s team, I feel I contributed in a good way.  I’m not a member of his team, because he does have his own players.  I was just an extra, and if he needs me on any Tuesday, I will be there.
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I guess this is what a complaint letter looks like... [Apr. 22nd, 2012|11:50 pm]
Я не † имею 卍 никакой ۞ жизни.
Monday, April 23, 2012

Superintendent Pickell,

I would like to thank you in advance for reading for my letter of concern regarding a day where I substitute taught in one of your schools.

On Wednesday, April 18, I subbed for physical education at Memorial Elementary.  It was only my second time ever going to Memorial, and the only previous visit there was over 1½ years ago for a half-day assignment.  I have been substitute teaching full-time for 3½ years, and I have been to my share of “new” schools.  There is always some apprehension going to an unfamiliar building, and I have worked for 13 districts and dozens of schools since I graduated from college.  I have subbed in every imaginable classroom setting: preschool to twelfth grade, special education, long-term, and specials classes.  The vast majority of my current subbing assignments are for Lincoln Park Public Schools, but I also occasionally and rarely work in Riverview, Wyandotte, and Southgate.  I often regard Riverview as my favorite district ever, and I have worked on many enjoyable occasions at Forest Elementary and at the high school.  But, I have some issues with my day at Memorial on April 18, and I’ll keep it brief, as I know your time is valuable.

Mr. Patrick—Memorial’s gym teacher—has to be one of the nicest and most personable teachers I have ever met.  He was in the gym when I came in early in the morning, but he was taking care of other school-related business and needed a sub.  He was very friendly and went above and beyond to make sure my day of subbing in his gym was enjoyable.  When I told him I had never been to Memorial before (with the exception of one ½ day), he did his best to praise the school and show me around the general area until he had to go.  And, the day did go great until the very end, when I met Principal Holloway.  I had no idea who she was when she came into the gym right after school; she introduced herself and immediately brought up several “complaints” about my teaching of the day.  According to one complaint reported by a health care paraprofessional, I was very rude to a first grade girl when she asked if I could tie her shoe.  I told the girl to hold on a second while I was giving instructions to the rest of the class, but she asked again.  I stopped what I was doing and tied her shoe.  I’m not sure why the parapro thought this necessary to report in her own words, as she sat on the stage for the duration of this gym class and did nothing but occasionally utilize her cell phone.

Mrs. Holloway said I was very rude to the girl, and she began questioning my credentials and teaching history in what I considered to be in a very insulting way.  She asked if I knew “how to handle first graders” after getting the impression that I did not, and she accused me of being “too hard” on the kids without actually making an appearance at all to the gym that day to witness my teaching firsthand.  She also apparently got the impression that I “did not want to teach first graders” and was therefore inexperienced in doing such things, even though my times subbing in a first grade class of any capacity would be a list much longer than this letter.  She asked if I was trained to be a teacher, in which I told her I have a secondary provisional certification from Eastern and graduated in 2008.  I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she didn’t know me.  However, if she wanted me to recite my résumé to her, she could have done so in a much politer manner.  She justified her questioning of me by saying she had previous substitute teachers in her building that weren’t actually teachers and did a poor job.  In every other case where I have gone to an unknown school, the principal would’ve introduced him or herself right away or in a timely manner and made a more noticeable presence in the building to an unknown substitute teacher.   But, that’s not the issue at hand, because I’m very adaptable in any situation and never need assistance from other staff members or administrators.

Knowing I was a secondary certified teacher, she asked, “So, you sub mostly in the secondary level?”  I responded by telling her that the majority of my subbing in the past 3½ years has been at the elementary level.  She then asked, “Do you only sub gym classes?  Have you ever subbed in a regular elementary classroom?  How well can you manage younger kids?”  I thought her questions were interrogating in nature and much unappreciated, especially from someone I’ve never met—and after what I considered to be a great subbing day.  When I told her I worked mostly in Lincoln Park, she said, “Oh, I see,” in a manner that seemingly degraded their school system.  She closed by saying, “Well, we encourage positive behavior here.”  I felt very insulted by her questions and vague perception of my abilities and experience.  I wasn’t going to argue with her or repeatedly reiterate my qualifications and experience, because it seemed like a one-sided conversation, as she harangued me and quite frankly insulted me.  I have subbed hundreds of times in dozens of schools, and I am a very competent, reliable, positive, and energetic substitute teacher.  I don’t need a pat on the back when I do a good job, but I certainly don’t need to be immediately insulted and unappreciated by someone I’ve never met based off a few opinionated and unobserved allegations against my teaching.  I am constantly called upon for subbing assignments at other districts.  I take one day off from my usual schools to visit Memorial in a fantastic school district.  I anticipated and met the most important person in the school, and I get treated like it was my first day ever stepping foot into a school.  I take these kinds of negative comments very personal, because I take my job extremely serious.  It left a bad impression in my mind, and it may affect my decision to return to Memorial in the future.

I was wondering what your protocol is in dealing with such complaints of this nature, as this is the first time I have ever written a letter of this nature in my 3½ years of substitute teaching.  It is rarely my nature to complain, because things rarely ever go wrong when I am in charge of a classroom.  There is never a situation that is out my control.  I would greatly appreciate it if you investigated this matter.  If you would like to contact me for a follow up and any further questions, feel free to contact me by mail or email.  

Thank you for your time,

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