Posted in Events Purely Photos

Hubby at reception

This beats everything.

At the reception/dinner thing! Much love to Vince and Lisa (and of course my hubby).
#luckyslife

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts

Last Words

It has been a rough month since my dad passed. The funeral, the family issues, the constant driving to Bellingham. However, I am a very very lucky person, I got to speak to my dad as he was passing away.

There are no real lost words or expressions of love. We have always told each other that we love each other. While my childhood had a lot of problems with poverty and alcoholism, there was never a lack of love. That includes actually saying it and showing it, not just an “unacknowledged” understanding.

Jello and I were fortunate though. Jello was able to talk with him on the phone before my dad lost the ability to talk that way. I know Jello wished he could have made it up to see dad, but the surgery results wouldn’t let him travel that far.

I was fortunate as well. While I was up visiting my mom as she and the rest of my family watched over him in the last week. I went into the bedroom, hugged him, kissed his forehead and told him that Jello and I loved him.

As if from a zombie movie, his eyes shot open and focused on me. There was a bit of shock on my part, he had been unconscious all day, hadn’t really even responded to me earlier. He grabbed my head and lifted himself up to kiss me, hug me and tell me how much he loved Jello and myself and how proud he was of us.

We talked for a few minutes more, but he was so tired and exerting so much effort that I just laid beside him for a minute and told him it was ok. I was there. He went back to sleep.

That was the last time I talked to him. I know he woke up and talked a bit with the rest of my family, and when I came up the day before he passed I sat with him for hours holding his hand as he slept. He would  respond if I told him I loved him by squeezing my hand. I probably could have pushed him to come up again, but he was finally resting, no pain, no trouble breathing and he was calm. So I just held his hand.

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts

Update 1 – Burial Plots

Yesterday went well, got to see my dad and help take care of him a little. My sister and brother are really working hard at helping them as well.

We purchased the burial plots. Honestly they are really nice and in the older part of the cemetery near a lot of the large maple trees. I will post photos after I go up next.

The plots ran $3,428. It was expected and worked out fine. I had enough on my credit card to pay for it for now. The one thing I was not expecting is you can bury 5 cremations on top of the casket so each grave could hold up to 10 people if 8 of them wanted to be cremated (which funny enough is what my spouse and I would prefer). It means though that I can take care of any family, friends or others that want to be cremated.

I am trying to avoid pulling any money from here until he passes. The grave liner and opening/closing the grave fee is about $1,600 in addition to the burial plots (and the funeral services will probably be close to $4k) and I am hoping to not have to withdraw the donations until that point in time.

I don’t think I can thank people enough. The outpouring of not only financial but emotional support has been huge. I don’t even know what to say about it except we are touched.

Thank you for everything. I have attached the picture of the purchase. I think it is incredibly important that people see exactly where the money went and what it was for. I realize most people do not do this (and it probably isn’t needed) but I always want to make sure people know what is exactly happening when they have been this kind to us.

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts Memories

Dad is in hospice

Sometime in 1998

Saw my dad yesterday, he is in the final stages of hospice, but he is at home in bed and comfortable. He will pass anytime now, but we got to say our goodbyes, hug, and he talked back to me. I probably will post specifically about that later, it was important, but don’t have the words. I am going back up there regularly, and especially after he passes I will need to help make arrangements and help my mother.

I was trying to come up with a simple phrase to describe him and who he was. I thought about all the things he did in the Vietnam War, how he grew up a bastard in Oso and was the black sheep of the family. His historic run ins with the law, his running with a motorcycle MC or Miami Vice like incidents. How he loved his kids and wife and how he had trouble with alcohol.
However, while I was thinking about that yesterday, I think the one thing to talk about to describe him was that everyone in the neighborhood loved him.
We had several neighbors from upstairs apartments, across the street or who called across the state who wanted to talk to him and say goodbye. They were crying, they were going to miss him.
I think that is the best way to describe him. Not the badass tv action series that his life would be (probably at least 4 seasons of exciting stories), rather it was the fact that everyone loved him, and are going to miss him. I think the tears on the neighbor’s face asking when he could come visit is probably the best testament to him.
I am not good with words right now, once he passes I probably will write a lot about him and my mom. Until then you folks get weird fragments from my consciousness.
Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts Photo Gallery Purely Photos

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad

DATE NIGHT:
Where: Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Hobo Inn
Links: MRSR (http://www.mrsr.com/) Hobo Inn (http://rrdiner.com/)
Date: July 31 – August 1st, 2015.

See the gallery and short video (all the short video clips I took) under the post below.

I have been really bad about posting our date nights (Jello and I). Well in this case it was a date overnight at the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad in Elbe Washington. This would be the first time we have ever spent the night with just us, and not with a bunch of our friends at a hotel. Originally we were going to ride one of their steam trains, but sadly the week before the train broke down and we were riding a Northern Pacific train that starred in the movie Runaway with Jon Voight in 1985.

Northern Pacific #7012A, the train from “Runaway Train” starring Jon Voight.

I wasn’t sure at first, it was a small disappointment. However, that all changed when we we got off work that Friday night. We had decided to stay in the Hobo Inn which was a motel that used train cars as rooms. The disadvantage of the train car was the small bed. It was double in size, but shorter, so my legs hung off. We didn’t stay in the room long because we were both hungry.

This is the room we rented at the hotel that rents out cabooses next door to the train.

There is also a restaurant that is attached as several train cars. We sat and ate buffalo burger and an elk burger. They were fairly tasty, the lady was nice who served us and the sunset lighting was pretty cool. She explained that the drought was killing them, the lake that is right off the site was empty of water. Huge tree trunks stuck straight out of the ground, and the waitress was in awe of how dry everything was.

Dining Car

What we didn’t expect during our trip was no cell service, therefore no internet service. That made our night a little surreal and a throwback to the 90s. What took us back even further was the small 13 inch tv with a built in VHS player and a bunch of old videos. We ended up watching Fright Night… on VHS… Honestly it was a lot of fun.

Yes, this is the Fright Night VHS tape.

We woke up the next morning, walked across the main road that goes up to the pass and got coffee and the small store, along with some snacks. We wandered back to our room and watched Scream on VHS while waiting for the train time (the Hobo Inn is literally across the street from the train station and sits on the rail line the train uses).

Early morning outside the caboose.

We picked up tickets later that morning, and found that they were out of collector spoons (which made Jello and I both sad). We hopped on the train car and prepared for the ride.

Tickets!

The ride was fun. I have never been on a train and it was definitely fun. The train takes a person up about 8 miles (45 minutes to an hour) and stops at a mining area and train depot. There they have a museum with a bunch of trains that we wandered around for an hour. Even with all the children around it was fun.

Oldschool train

We then road back to the main station. The whole time we enjoyed the rocking of the train, the forests around us and the cool breeze in the hot summer. When we got back we climbed in the car and on our way home we noted the huge tree trunks in the water. We decided to stop and take a picture. If you look closely in some of these pictures you can see people standing behind them.

Evidently it hasn’t been this dry in living memory. Look closely in the middle of the picture and yes those are humans standing by the trees.

 

Short Video:

DATE NIGHT GALLERY!!!

Posted in Events Internal Thoughts

Welcome to Night Vale

Yesterday was date night. Jello and I went to go see Welcome to Night Vale live production at the Neptune. I put up a gallery of the few photos I took here: Welcome to Night Vale.

First I have to say that the show was awesome, it was absolutely worth the time, and of course I enjoyed being with Jello the most.

The date started at Panera’s (Jello’s favorite place to eat at the moment). We had dinner while we chatted about stuff. We then rolled into Seattle and went through the “find a parking spot” ordeal. Of course this wasn’t new to us, but it is always a headache.

The one thing I never understand about some people is their desire to take an hour to find free parking. Both Jello and I would rather pay for parking, know our car isn’t sitting on the street waiting to get side swiped and not have to worry about it.

We had thought we got there too early. Both of us are anxious about being late to things so we ended up about two hours early (the show was at 7, we got there by 5).

Actually we lucked out, we got into line fairly quickly and pretty close to the front, within 30 minutes (still 90 minutes before the show and 30 minutes before the doors opened) the line wrapped a full block down and around the corner. We knew it would be popular, but that was more than expected.

We got into the show and took a seat second row back. It was a little to the side, but honestly we had a great view. I won’t talk much about the show, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who might want to get it from their store when its over, or if they are going to see it. I can say there are a couple of guests/actors from other shows that showed up for this one.

We got out about 8:30 and headed home. It was a nice drive home and we realized a few things.

  1. We loved going out. We definitely want to do more things like that.
  2. We will make sure to get to shows early from this point forward.
  3. Some people are rude in line and leave garbage on the sidewalk like little pigs.
  4. We are old, we don’t like to stay up to late so we will try and hit early showings of shows.
  5. It doesn’t matter what we do, we just enjoy being with each other.

Hopefully we will have a lot more date nights.

 

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts

Sad Weekend

I posted Marmalade’s last official post on Facebook last night. He passed away Friday night. It was quick and unexpected and he was found on his way to the food bowl and it appeared in no pain. We have never had human children, but our animals are our kids. I wanted to share it here because I am having a hard time with my own words.

I passed away today. I had a great life, with the two bestest dads ever (Jello and Lucky). I ate all I could, I slept on my humans and occasionally would run around. I got healthy, gained weight and lived years longer than I would have before my dads found me.

My bigger dad will hopefully update this with my pictures, he was supposed to do this months ago but was busy. I think he was going to do it now, but I think he is crying at the moment and can’t do it yet. I hope it wasn’t me that caused it.

I worry about the two of them. Right now they don’t have anyone to watch over them, so I will stick around for awhile and do it as much as possible. I think I especially will miss watching over “shower time”.

I had always meant to have dad update this and do more videos, but dad was always too busy working on his other things. That’s ok though, I love both of them anyways.

I will always be here watching over the shower time, dropping off kibble when they hurt, and I hope someday they will let more vigilant kitties in to their house. I am not the first, I won’t be the last, but I won’t ever be forgotten.

#alwaysvigilant

I am sorry if you folks are stuck with lots of marmalade pics/posts in the next few weeks.

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts

Possible New Job

I am pretty excited, the Department of Defense wants to interview me for a Defense Contractor Auditor position. Meaning I get to audit defense contractors for the DoD. I have a coworker/friend whom I worked with at the State Auditor’s Office and she really wants me to work with her here. She feels the auditors have more teeth and do more help for DoD then they do for SAO. Evidently if an auditor finds the contractor did wrong, the contractor often times has to repay large sums of money, instead of ignoring the auditor and continuing what they do.

If the interview doesn’t work out on Monday though, I won’t be too sad. My current job is pretty cool if albeit a bit lower on the income spectrum. Either way though I am still stuck at getting up at 4:15am so I can commute almost an hour (the DoD is slightly further). However, hubbie will graduate in June then we can move a lot closer. So six months of commuting hell (either way) then to a normal life.

Just a quick work update 🙂

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts

First day of work

Well today was my first day at my new job. My official title is Underground Economy Auditor (Tax Specialist 4). Basically I am responsible for investigating and auditing businesses that are not registered with the state or are not paying the proper unemployment tax.

I do have a quota system, meaning I have to do five audits a month (but no money recovery requirements, I just have to investigate at least 5 a month). The things to look for are businesses that seem to have more employees then they report, or new corporate officers that they haven’t waived their unemployment insurance (or a dozen other types of things). Casual labor I guess is a big thing.

Now, the commute initially is about 1.5 hours in each direction. The job itself is only 27 miles away, but the traffic is so bad it takes about three times longer than it should. This is one of the biggest things that was worrying me, it means my 9 hour day becomes a 12 hour day due to traffic (8 hours plus an hour lunch).

My superior though was awesome though. After being very warm and friendly she immediately approved that my work schedule switch from 8-5 to 6-3. Now it does mean I still have to get up at ungodly early (430-445) I save almost an hour each way in commute time. I should be home before 4pm instead of 630 or later.

I also found out (and this is the coolest thing) that once I am fully trained I get to telecommute three days a week. I will still have to drive a lot, but that is directly for auditing and is directly towards my time at work (as opposed to 3 hours a day before and after work). The idea that eventually commuting only two days a week to the office made my day.

I guess I am the only UE Auditor in the Tax office I am at, the rest of the staff are TS 3’s and they are responsible for investigating claimants and businesses that are officially registered. They get a list of places and people to audit. I have to find my own people/businesses (after all I am looking for people who are either not registered or haven’t registered changes, not something that the office knows about).

It does make me a bit nervous, but I am told that the UE Auditor for Seattle has found enough leads in his area to “last a 100 years”. So evidently it won’t be hard to find places/people to audit. I am a bit uncomfortable that I get to choose and then audit prospective problems.

It isn’t that I can’t handle it, but rather a bit nervous about that kind of power to determine who to audit (an example given to me is a restaurant that seems to have a lot of employees and when I look them up in their registration they have registered less employees I can then consider auditing them). I don’t think I would abuse that ability, but I worry others would.

I have stopped looking for other work at this time. There are a few fed jobs I would take though. I would happily audit for the DoD, or work as an IRS agent (btw this job is perfect work background to get into the IRS), but other than that I think I will try this job out. The perks seem pretty cool, a good work/life balance. The only downside is a 25% pay decrease from my last job. However, Jello and I can get by until he graduates, then its party central baby!

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts

Changes Abound!

I know I haven’t been around for awhile, just a quick update I was discharged before my probationary period. Mainly this was because I wouldn’t adjust how I handled things for my new employer. Unlike a private business, a governmental agency has a lot of rules. There is a lot of leeway for those rules, but having been an auditor for almost five years I have some very strict lines about how things need to be done, and I won’t look away at other things.

This doesn’t surprise me. If they had waited another 45 days or so they wouldn’t be able to get rid of me as then I would be full time union member. Now, they do still supposedly like me, the Controller was basically crying when she let me have the news. She actually remarked that it was awkward that she was crying and feeling bad and it didn’t look like it bothered me at all.

Honestly, the only portion that bothers me is waiting to hear if I get unemployment or not. I hated that job with a passion, I hated the politics involved and I hated how the group I worked with treated other people. They would routinely say the most catty things about the other department staff. A few of the comments had to do with the fact that “our group” had actual four year educations while the rest of the department didn’t. Coming from a blue collar family (or poorer) that really bothered me. The amount of entitlement that they all had was rather galling.

There is a huge amount of issues I now feel like I can talk about, and I will probably start rolling them out (now that I don’t have to worry about keeping my job). I think my most frustrating item at the moment (and the reason I think I will get unemployment) is they say now that I don’t meet the performance needed for my position. The sad fact is my first month review said I had two small items (just things I wasn’t used to) and the second month review said I had cleared that up, that I was working perfectly and there were no issues. The third and fourth month review were that I was doing better than expected and they were happy with me. Then five months went by with absolutely no review, but talking in general there were no problems at all. Sure there were questions I was asking, mainly because I had never done accounting duties before (auditing is not the same as accounting contrary to popular belief) but they all were good with my questions and when I asked if my performance was ok then said absolutely.

Then my nine/tenth month review (first one in five months) gets pushed back a couple of weeks. I know this is a bad sign and I already am applying at other places now. This is right after a short period when I told certain departments that they couldn’t do certain things. It was against GAAP, GASB (different accounting requirements) and in one case against RCW (state law) and County policy. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t any big whistleblower moment, nothing was an actual clear violations, but they were in the grey areas and I told them that I wouldn’t do those duties in the grey area and that in my professional opinion they needed to follow the actual procedures.

Now to go back to what I was saying. This last review I step in. I have already cleared out my desk over the last week (no one noticed as I slowly moved things out). I had a gut feeling since my probationary period (where I am allowed no grievance with union support) was ending. She sat me down and said “well it just didn’t work out and they would be letting me go” (at least with a couple week severance package, enough to keep us going for awhile). I smiled at her, I did comment that this is out of the blue and no one told me I was doing poorly. She seemed taken aback (I was nice about it). Then again it’s not like I had any training (and after three weeks of being there I wasn’t allowed to talk to the previous accounting analyst for help because she was in a turf war with another analyst). She did say she would give me a reference for appropriate jobs (she thinks I am a great auditor, but I suspect she wouldn’t recommend me for a straight up accounting job… sorry I don’t hide things in the books). It won’t effect me too much, I am really only looking for audit/inspector type work at the moment anyways. I decided I am not really cut out for adjusting how I account for things depending on my boss, there really is only one way that it should be done, whether or not there is grey area.

I am hoping to hear about unemployment this week, but if that doesn’t work Robert Half (a specialist accounting firm) can get me temp work while they look for permanent work for me.

That’s it for now, will talk more later. I have a lot more (not just work related) to talk about.