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I triumphed over the never-ending stack of leases, after which it was a slow-ish day. I showed two apartments and I think some of the people who went on the tour will come in tomorrow to rent an apartment, so that's nice.

I also got a raise! Only a small one, but even so. And what's nicer is that it's retroactive to June 1 (because our owner is an organized human being, really, I swear...) so I have a paper check I get to cash tomorrow. Yay unexpected extra money!

In news from my other job, today I finished one of my two tax update courses, and have registered for three live in-person continuing education classes, one of which is tomorrow night. The other two are next week, and I need to ask Miss Cactus whether she's willing to swap my Tuesday shift for her shift on either Monday or Friday, since the courses all start at 6pm and I work until 7pm on Tuesdays. (Failing that, I will ask Mom Boss if I can leave early that day.)

Continuing education requirements for tax preparers are 18 credit hours per year, allocated as follows: 13 federal tax law, 2 ethics, and 3 tax updates. You can, of course, take more than the minimum. I have currently finished 2 credits of tax law and 2 credits of tax updates. The three live courses will knock off another 9 credits of tax law, I have the second 2 credit tax update course ready to do whenever (probably Friday or Saturday), and the ethics and another 2 credits of tax law won't be too hard to knock off.

Then, of course, there are the New York state requirements, but I will deal with those in November. :)
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So my work day started with two tenants coming in to say they'd locked themselves out of their bathroom, continued through twenty million leases to process, and ended with another tenant coming in literally one minute before closing to say they thought they had to fill out a form, maybe...? which was actually three forms, one of which I had to generate specially and then highlight the relevant sections because nobody ever fills it out correctly otherwise. *headdesk*

I mean, at least I will get paid for the extra twenty minutes I stayed? But holy gods, argh argh and above all, argh.

(The bathroom, incidentally, was an easy fix. All it takes is a judiciously applied paperclip! But I had to go apply the fix in person because apparently tenants are bad at comprehending verbal explanations at 9am when they really need to pee. (To be fair, I probably would be as well.))

...

On the bright side, I got a two-hour tax continuing education course finished before Mom Boss dumped the never-ending leases on me, so that's something.
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1. Yuletide nominations close in 6 hours. Get yours in!

I nominated the following fandoms:

-The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay - Ammar ibn Khairan, Jehane bet Ishak, Rodrigo Belmonte, Miranda Belmonte (this is my perennial request that never gets filled, dammit)

-Catherine Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire - Rocalisa Qox-Skolia, Jaibriol Qox III, Kelricson Garlin Valdoria Skolia, Dyhianna "Dehya" Selei (because I still want a story about Lisi)

-Daredevil (Comics) - Karen Page, Elektra Natchios, Kirsten McDuffie, Rebecca Blake (because even though I got two awesome stories about ladies in a previous Yuletide, I always want more)

I'm sure I will be able to find some other fandoms of my heart if I feel like making additional prompts, but those were the three I wanted to make absolutely sure were there, and contained the characters I want to request.

2. I have completed the hiring process for Not the IRS. Yay! (Also my base pay-rate is up from last year. Double yay!) Now I just need to complete my continuing education requirements, and take the test to jump up a level in the internal skill classification scheme. I mean, I have been doing level two and three returns since my first year -- they are not especially hard -- but the computer's auto-matching system doesn't suggest me as an option for anyone over level one, and also level two employees get a minor bonus per completed return in the totally-not-a-commission compensation scheme whereas level one employees get nothing. Hence test.

3. The rental company's renewal and switch period ended on Wednesday, and open rentals began Thursday morning. This week has been kind of crazy with tours -- I have not talked so much per day in months -- and we had people start lining up outside the office at 8:45am Wednesday morning. (We rent on a first-come first-serve basis, and lease commitments/payments must be completed in person.)

My paycheck this week was almost literally twice the usual, because I got a huge commission fee -- this happens when somebody I took on a tour rents an apartment I showed them, so opening day presumably went well. :D I also got an unspecified supplemental payment which may be a general "congrats on working here for a full year" bonus. Or maybe not; there was no explanation on the paystub. *hands* I was very surprised when I checked my bank balance this morning, but pleasantly so, and my budget will now be much less stressful over the next couple months. I might even be able to donate a little to charity!
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1. We have started apartment tours at the rental office: Wednesday was the first day, with three scheduled tours. (We do not have model apartments, so our tours go to occupied units and we therefore schedule them in advance so as to provide tenants with a day's warning.) Nobody showed up for the first tour, which was amusing since we have received phone and email inquiries about two-bedroom units. The second tour, for a four-bedroom unit, got about twelve people, and the third tour (a six-bedroom unit) got so many people we had to split into two groups when taking them in to the actual apartment. That is par for the course at this time of year -- the multi-person units go fastest because there are fewer of them, and some are much more desirable than others.

2. I had my appointment this morning and left with a one-month prescription for a Celexa generic (20mg dose per pill), which I picked up this afternoon while buying groceries. I will start taking the pills tonight with dinner. The nurse practitioner will call me to check up in two weeks, and we will do an in-person followup in a month. (That is not actually scheduled yet since the medical group hadn't created her schedule that far in advance -- she is apparently a newish hire so they haven't set a fixed pattern for her yet -- but the office will call me to set a date once they know her availability.)

3. This evening, pushing forward with my surge of "oh god please motivation again soon???" I FINALLY put in my Not the IRS applications -- one as a tax preparer and one as a receptionist -- so that process is now in motion.

4. Oh! And I got my official acceptance letter from TC3 a few days ago. So now I need to call the admissions office to see if there are any additional hoops I need to jump through, or if I can skip directly to setting up an appointment with a student success adviser to discuss the quickest way to complete an AA degree, because yay trained monkey papers. *wry*
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1. Tomorrow is annual employee evaluation day at the rental company. I escaped this circus last year since I'd only just been hired and there was no point in evaluating me after less than two weeks of work, but now I have to go downtown and have a fifteen-minute meeting/interview with our local manager, whom I have met all of... uh... twice, maybe? Possibly three times. Anyway, he is making us all fill out evaluation sheets about the other people we work with, and I am really bad at this kind of feedback, okay? Tell me how to do my actual job, and I will do it. But do not ask me to pretend I am in management and do management evaluations for you! *twitches, bites nails*

2. Tonight while we were out for the evening walk, Dottie surprised and attempted to chase not one but TWO skunks. Both times I was able to yank her away before the skunk in question sprayed more than a tiny warning trickle of stink, but seriously, what the hell dog, skunks are the LAST animal you want to tangle with. (...Unless the other animal is a porcupine. In which case, go with the skunk. But generally speaking, back the hell off and leave the skunk alone.)
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1. I totally forgot today was the eclipse -- I plead lack of sleep and also distraction (volunteering at the final day of my church's annual rummage sale) -- but fortunately I got my two sale rooms closed down by 2pm and was able first to see several pinhole projections other church members were using out on the sidewalk, and later to get a direct look through some glasses that Upstairs Neighbor E lent me while I was out walking Dottie.

It was pretty cool to see the moon take a bite out of the sun. :) It was also vaguely disquieting, because the sky went... not dark, you couldn't remotely call it dark... but noticeably gray. The color desaturated. Also, when Dottie decided that her midafternoon walk should end with a five minute relaxing lie-down in a sunny patch of grass, the direct sunlight was not nearly as warm as it should have been for that time of day and the ambient temperature. So, nothing dramatic, probably nothing I would have noticed if I hadn't been aware of the eclipse and therefore actively paying attention, but still. Pretty cool. :)

2. I called the doctors' office about getting a psychiatric evaluation/anti-depressant prescription, but was unable to make an appointment yet because I'm in a weird limbo where they're not sure if I count as a new or a returning patient, since my last appointment was apparently three years ago. The clerk who answered the phone took some information about my insurance and has sent an inquiry to their billing department. A representative should call me later this week, after which I will be able to schedule an appointment.

3. Three of my squash plants seem pretty definitively dead. The fourth (which was worst hit by the powdery mildew but seems to have escaped the wilting sickness that subsequently struck the other three) might be in the early stages of slow recovery. So I think I'll uproot the dead ones on Wednesday or Thursday and plant new seeds.

4. My church's rummage sale went pretty well, all things considered. I worked 12-4pm on Sunday, and 10-2pm today. The sale runs Saturday-Monday. Saturday is full-price, Sunday is half-price, and Monday is free with a donation box placed prominently at the exit. (We used to have Monday be 10-cent day, but that was immensely aggravating to everyone involved, so we swapped over to "free, but have you seen this donation box???" It turns out we not only save time this way, we actually bring in more money!) Monday is also the day we do preliminary breakdown, starting around noon -- first we start taking down a bunch of the shelving, and then we box everything up and cart it downstairs to the parlor so as to make things less inconvenient for the people hauling the unsold items away Tuesday morning.

(I think the unsold books go to the Friends of the Library book sale, but I wouldn't swear to it. The remaining fabric scraps probably go to one of the local sewing co-ops. I am also unsure what happens to the unsold linens and toys, though I think again there may be arrangements with various local charities. The rest... well, most of it goes to the dump. *sigh* But hey, it was going there anyway, and the sale does save an astonishing amount of stuff from being scrapped.)

5. Cornell classes started today, which meant that last week (and specifically Saturday) were the crush days for students moving back to Ithaca. And also students panicking and realizing they've forgotten to rent parking spaces. *wry* So the rental office was VERY BUSY -- in fact, Mom Boss and Aunt Boss came in to work from ~11am-4pm so we had four people in the office (usually Miss Cactus and I cover Saturdays alone), and that extra staffing was NECESSARY.

We will continue to be busy through... hmm... early October, probably? Here is why: A) people working out the glitches in their new apartments and returning their damage deposit inspection forms; B) the final parking rental rush; C) quarterly rent payments are due; D) people hurrying to pay for internet service after the free trial period ends; D) price listings for the 2018-19 year go up and we start apartment tours; E) current tenants get a couple weeks to renew or switch apartments before open renting starts; and F) open renting starts halfway through September.

But at least we're mostly done with key returns and sign-outs, we have the nice new folders for next year's leases set up, damage deposits and summer photographs are all done, and most of the giant packages in which people ship furnishings to themselves have arrived and been picked up. So that's something!
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1. Took communal compost bin to the curb for pickup. (I seem to be the only person in both houses who remembers to do this. I am not exactly complaining about that, but I do wonder who, if anyone, would step up to the plate if I weren't here.)

2. Sliced two chicken thighs and baked them in balsamic dressing.

3. Began summer apartment photographs and turnover inspections at work, which is interesting.

4. Called my dentist to ask when I would be billed for my May 15th appointment. Apparently the office manager has returned and sent all the outstanding bills earlier this week, so I should receive mine on Friday. It's not that I especially WANT another bill, but I was even less happy about the prospect of an unknown bill hanging over my head indefinitely.

5. Bought a zester/grater at Target.

6. Saw Wonder Woman, which I enjoyed a lot! Quick impression: vague spoilers, I guess? )

7. Bought groceries.

8. Paid my monthly internet bill.

9. Recharged my bus pass.

10. Cooked the first of three Blue Apron meals. More details in this post (poll and general comments) and also this post (pictures and recipe).
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Today's entry in the 'weird things I have acquired from tenants' department: a Blue Apron box.

The tenant left for the summer and did not cancel their subscription quite fast enough, so whoops, one extra box arrived. Fortunately this particular tenant is generally on top of things, and upon receiving the package notification email, promptly called us to say they weren't in town and we should just make the food ourselves.

Mom Boss and Aunt Boss were not interested, and I wasn't sure the food would keep long enough for Miss Cactus to choose any on Thursday, so I just carried the box home myself. (The whole mile and a half. Exercise is good for you! *flops*)

The recipes are as follows: crispy catfish & spicy vegetable curry (with charred lime); seared steaks & salsa verde (with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, & radishes); and Persian-style chicken & crispy rice (with zucchini, currants, & lemon yogurt).

They all claim to take only 15 minutes of prep time. Considering one of them involves mashing garlic into a paste, and the other two involve making lemon or lime zest from scratch (wtf), I call bullshit. I mean, I am game to try these things! They sound tasty! But I am pretty sure they will take about an hour of prep time each, plus the listed cooking times, plus slop time for cleaning dishes (I don't have the biggest sink, nor do I have endless counter space), so... I think two hours total per meal. Blargh.

Anyway, I have put the things that need refrigeration in my fridge, while the others are sitting in the box on a table, and I will probably attempt either the catfish or the steak tomorrow evening.
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1. Started making paper fruit for a new counter display at the rental office -- by which I mean I chose line art from online, copypasted it into Word documents (and resized and tweaked until I had about six iterations per page), and printed it out on colored paper. Miss Cactus already started cutting some of them out and adding detail with thin-point Sharpie pens. I am not sure whether I will arrive on Tuesday to a finished display, or whether I will get to do some cutting and coloring myself during any slow periods.

2. Acquired a new houseplant. See, a tenant couldn't bring the plant with them to their new apartment, but felt bad throwing a living thing away, so they brought it to the office and asked if we wanted it. I said yes. I then transplanted it from the dinky plastic store pot into the slightly larger ceramic pot the tenant had been using purely as decoration because apparently transplanting is hard. *sigh* Anyway, hopefully I will manage not to kill it.

3. Put three nails into one side of my oldest bookcase, to hold parts of my paperclip collection. (Context: I string paperclips in chains of ten onto keyrings, 25 chains per ring, and then hang them up for display. All the paperclips must be 'found' items -- I can't purposely buy them -- which is why it has taken me literally twenty years to collect a thousand paperclips. Well. A thousand and three, as of Saturday.)

more items under the cut )

18. Called Vicky and caught up for an hour or so. :)

19. Chopped onions, summer squash, and a large bell pepper and made a batch of veggie sidedish. Tomorrow I intend to bake some chicken.

All in all, I think it was a fairly productive weekend.
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1. Baked brownies for church coffee hour. Took them in to church.

2. Coffee hour clean-up. Over the past few years, I seem to have become the 'old hand' at this particular task -- probably because every time my hospitality team is up, I volunteer for it all four Sundays -- and I end up sort of haphazardly training a bunch of more sporadic volunteers how to run the sterilizer and where to roll up the vinyl tablecloths and stuff. I like feeling useful. :)

3. Washed two-thirds of my curtains, as well as my comforter and winter coat. I still have one load of curtains left, which I will hopefully get done tomorrow along with my regular biweekly laundry.

more items under the cut )

13. Attended my church's annual meeting, where we:

A) voted on the 2017-18 budget

B) elected people to the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee

C) voted on various proposed changes to our bylaws (which are, frankly, screwy -- they were written less as general guidelines and more as ultra-nitpicky sets of rules that weren't even internally consistent -- and which we have been rationalizing in bits and pieces for several years now)

D) voted on whether to adopt a covenant

E) voted on whether to issue a congregational statement of support for a New York state single-payer health care system proposal currently up for consideration in the state senate.

The budget passed (an attempted amendment to it did not), the bylaw changes passed (one attempted amendment was rejected as something that needs more study in the fall; another passed because it caught an error that had been overlooked in the editing process), the covenant was adopted (albeit with reservations on various parts), and despite a completely valid technical objection (namely, that we don't HAVE a procedure for issuing congregational statements about political issues and therefore shouldn't issue any such statements until we create one) the health care statement also passed.

I then stuck around to help clean up (there was a dinner attached to the meeting, you see) since nobody seemed to have organized an official clean-up crew and, well, that's something I know how to do! So I did it. *wry*

more items under the cut )

21. Snipped Hovera (a squash seedling) at its base so that Azer (its container-mate) could live and flourish.

...

I have also been kind of busy at work, since this is the time of year when students are leaving town (and thus vacating their apartments), and that generates a bunch of paperwork and ancillary organizational stuff -- particularly since it's also the due date for a whole bunch of quarterly rent payments for 2017-18 leases. We are also switching to a new key-logging system, which creates a minor extra layer of confusion when you have to figure out whether a summer subtenant should pick up their keys under the 2016-17 system (manual) or the 2017-18 system (digital).

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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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