songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
I'm scheduled to take the job test on Saturday, for Chemist I for the big, super good local water company. I'm really excited - the job is much more what I want for the long term and the pay STARTS at $6700/month. (Let's not do the math comparing that to my current rate of pay, shall we?)

If I get the job (which is unlikely, really, at my level of lack-of-experience), I'll be abandoning my current job so fast their poor heads will spin. I'll feel bad for them, but if they want to keep good people, they should pay them well.

Anyway, I don't have a lot of information about what'll be on the test. There are sample tests online for other jobs at the company - there's one with basic maths and meter reading, but the only information I have is from an email from the guy setting up the testing. There'll be:

General Chemistry
Lab Procedures
Lab Instrumentation
Sample Collection and Processing
Quality Assurance
Data Analysis
Chemistry Calculations
Water & Wastewater Science

Um. UM?

Okay, it's been a long time since general chemistry. Will I have to balance equations? I have NO idea what they're going to ask. Lab procedures will probably be about whether or not to lick things. Maybe? Lab instrumentation is what the instruments do - that question I can answer easily.

Sample collection and processing is a bit harder again. I assume they don't mean the type of samples I'm getting at my current job, but they might. The processing is most likely what I'm doing now. Quality assurance is using blanks and such, that I can deal with.

Data analysis I haven't done at my current job, but I think I can answer questions about it. Chemistry calculations is ... sketchier. Without information, I'm at sea. Water and wastewater science... what are they looking for? How to produce biosolids and what they're used for?


I think having a test for this position is new. They'd originally posted the job and said they'd accept the first 125 people with the minimum qualifications. I applied in a hot hurry, then got an email saying that they *had* to open the job up to 350 people, but those who'd made it into the first 125 would be automatically included, and did I want to schedule my test on the Friday or Saturday?

In other news, Merrie is working at my company now, in Sample Control. They'd hired some dude just after me, but he didn't work out. The job was too hard for him, both physically and mentall. Merrie, on the other hand, finished the 'week's worth' of reading in two days (it took the other guy the full week), and is now two days into Actual Work and has already re-organized and cleaned up both of the big walk-in freezers and learned more than half of the regular tasks.

I'm not at all surprised at this. There was a reason I kept insisting they interview her for the job and it's that she's sort of perfect for it. We haven't told them that she's fucking off to Sweden the second her resident's visa goes through.

I'm doing decently in my training as well, I think. I've passed my compentency tests (all of them, and Officially, so I'm good to go for a year without any worries), and I've had the chance to load a couple of instruments and make several actual working sample batches.

I'm going to go see if I can find out more about how the water company collects and processes samples. Good night!
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
It's been a couple more weeks and I'm learning new things at work every day. Some of them are interesting but others are annoying.

Training is a joke )

In body news, mine still isn't quite right. I haven't had a chance to get to the hospital to have the oddity in my abdomen looked at, which is annoying. Also, I'm still steadily gaining weight and I'm tired of it. I don't like having to keep buying new clothes, I don't like the way I feel sluggish and bloated all the time ...

At least the awful cough is getting better. It's not gone, and I'm not sure why not - I've been taking the proton pump inhibitors daily. I'm still eating cough drops like they're going out of style (LOTS of menthol is the only thing I've found which can suppress the cough) and I seem to have reached a plateau. I'd like the damned thing to be gone, though.

Good night!
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
So, I took the job. It's not perfect, but it's a job-in-the-hand and I'm not foolish enough to pass that up, especially at this point in my career. I'm well warned about their work practices, and I'm very much an adult who's worked in toxic places, so I'm comfortable going into what might not the the most excellent job situation.

Really, though, right now I'm just delighted that I have a job finally, and that I'll be able to go back to paying my own bills and stuff. I'm so tired of being a Kept Woman, oh my gooooood.

I start May 30. The shift is Tues-Sat, 1-9:30 pm. It's always against commute, and I'll be coming home when it's cooler (it gets HOT where the job is). Oh, and the title is Volatiles Analyst, so I'll even have something reasonable to put on my resume later.

I'm hoping that Geordie and I will be able to go on a short trip between now and the 30th, to celebrate.

songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
We're watching the Great British Bakeoff. It's as good as people said - the first two seasons were fun, and now we're watching the last one. It makes me quite pleased that I'm not on the show, though; seriously, they're thrown into the deep end from beginning to end, aren't they? Yikes.

Merrie's up in Seattle, at ECCC with friends. Geordie and I are enjoying the time on our own. We like having her at home, but it's funny to be just the two of us.

He and I have spent lots of time together alone - we have gone on weeks-long road trips together, literally just the two of us and no one else. Someone at his work said something about knowing people who, when they retired, had to learn how to spend time together without anyone else and that some of their relationships didn't survive the retirement. Geordie and I don't have to worry about that!

Which is good, because he's just been laid off, sort of. The company he worked for ... two years ago, I guess, was bought by a company which immediately was bought by a large computer company. The middle company wasn't really working out, so their product sort of stalled... which made the large company decide to cut its losses.

So, they've laid off half the staff in the group, which is about 120 people, including all of the salespeople for that group. The layoff is unusual: they're still nominally employed until May 1, and if they don't get a different job before that date, they get the full total of their vacation pay, and they get both the stock options vested immediately and the full quantity of the 4-year bonus program that they'd originally been offered.

They're being paid for the period between now and May 1, they're welcome to come into the office and have as much of the free breakfasts and lunches as they want, and they can still ... work? (only, there aren't any tasks for them to do). I think we'll be going on a trip in these next couple of months.

He's been looking at jobs in other parts of the country, both in the Portland Or area and maybe up in New England. He'll really like New England, although I'll freeze for the 6 months of winter. I prefer the Pacific Northwest, myself. I fit better into the culture and I love the mystical redwood forests.

I've been doing lots of knitting, and I think I forgot to post there that I finished the Hobbit fanfic that I'd been working on for over two years. I'm super proud of it; I'm still writing side bits of the story, but I'm honestly thinking of finding out if I can print it out and get it bound, so I can have it on my own shelves. I can get Scrivener to compile it to ebook format and then use Lulu, maybe? It's nearly 300K words, though, so it's fucking massive.

Anyway, there's lots of work to do, even though I don't yet have a job. Ugh.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
It's been a nice few days. I've made bread a couple of times - I tried a no knead recipe and it's okay, but it's not good. It's soft and it only works well if it's baked in very small amounts, like buns or rolls. I've gone back to my usual basic bread recipe, but it stuck a little to the bread pans. Geordie's ordered me a pair of silicone bread pans. I'm looking forward to using them.

I made lemon curd, as well, and orange curd. I've done some plotting and outlining for a couple of original stories I'm working on.

I only have one chapter left in my ongoing Hobbit fanfic. It's been two and a half years and I sort of don't know what I'll do with myself on Friday nights now that it's over.

I've been working on things to sell on etsy, but I just hate the advertising and marketing part. I sort of wish I could do the sewing and drawing and such and then someone else would just come along and do the photography and posting and stuff for me. *sigh*''

I've also been working on tidying up the house. Geordie bought a new Braun chopper/blender/thingy which means I could move the blender and food processor up to storage. This means the counter is much clearer, which is nice.

So tired...

Feb. 3rd, 2016 11:17 pm
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
Okay, so I took two midterms today. In one of them, the teacher asked four questions about something he hadn't mentioned at all. At first, I thought it was my imagination, but two other students said the same thing. We're all going to email him about it. It's 8 points off the test at the bare minimum. Also, he included several scenarios for us to analyze as part of the test, but none of the scenarios held together - there was wildly contradictory information in all of them. When asked about the contradictions, he gave weird, confusing (and confused) answers. He's never wrong, of course not.


Anyway, it looks like I'm making a new friend, a girl who was in my PCR class last quarter and is in two of my Criminal Justice courses this quarter. I've accidentally managed to convince her to add a second major, so she'll be biochem as well as biology with forensics. She's a couple of years behind me, graduation-wise, I think.

Anyway, she's funny and bright and we'll see if we end up friends.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
Well. I've survived both the midterm and the job fair and I'm here to tell you: it's nicer on this side of both of them!

The test was hard, but I spent literally 5 hours before the test studying with several other students in the class. I think we all learned stuff - I know I did. I don't know yet how I did on the test, but I'm pretty sure I passed it.

The job fair was much better than I expected. I wore a new skirt and top with a bright red lightweight cardigan and Merrie did eye make up for me. (She was very pleased to be able to help!)

Anyway, I got there early and spent some time before the "Plenary Session" (FFS, why would they call it that? It was a presentation in which people who work in the company told us what it's like to work there and how to apply for jobs. I mean, sure, it was a meeting in which everyone who could attend, did so, but it's a pretty pretentious way to say general meeting, no?)

... right. So, before my Plenary Session started, I spent some time talking to employees manning the tables with information about the different departments. I learned stuff about the types of jobs available (LOTS of plumbing jobs, as would be expected, and lab jobs). I saw a couple of people from my school - which reminds me.

The reason I knew about this was because students and recent grads from my school were allowed to register early for the job fair. I immediately signed up - even if I'm not interested in working there, it's a possible job and honestly, it's practice for the whole Job Search process.

Anyway, I only saw two people from my school. I expected to see more - there are a LOT of kids in the biochem program and I know a lot of them. I was surprised that so few were there.

Then, the Plenary Session ... um, sessioned. We were told several times (more than once by each person who discussed specifics) that it is important to check one's grammar and spelling, and to answer the question asked, rather than wandering off on tangents.

The six Sample Employees talked about What They Like About Working At EBMUD and How They Got Hired and What They Do For/At EBMUD ... it was amusing and interesting and I did learn things about my water company.

One woman is a Wastewater Operations Supervisor; she discussed wastewater treatment, recycled water programs, and mentioned that they're dealing with more food waste than they had been before. During the Q&A bit, a couple of people asked questions about benefits and stuff, but I asked if 'recycled water' is 'grey water' and if so, how they connect the systems and what sort of uses they have for the water ...

The woman who'd mentioned it looked at me and I could see the moment she shifted from General Polite Interest to Focused Attention - her whole *self* sharpened suddenly and she answered half the question and handed the other half off to someone who had more complete information. I thanked them and considered my question answered.

After the Plenary Session, the group separated into three groups - Veterans, The Trades, and Admin/Professional, for more job-type specific information about the application process.

You'll note the divisions, yes? Now, I'm not a Veteran (they're a separate group because they have different application specifics), and I'm not a Trade (plumbing, machinist stuff, vehicular stuff). However, what does Administration/Professional mean to you?

It includes Laboratory and Engineering - in the 'Professional' heading - but it's not obvious (to me) that it does. If the heading had been Admin/Engineering, that would have been clearer, but 'Professional' is ... less clear.

Anyway, I trotted off to my group meeting. I seemed to be the only one who was there NOT for admin work. The whole meeting - an HOUR or more - was about exactly what sort of admin stuff they could expect to be doing and what sorts of admin jobs there are in the company and then, oh god, a series of screen shots of the application process.

After that was all done, I mentioned to the HR woman that the Admin/Professional pairing is a bit odd and confusing (it's the first time they've done this and she specifically said she wanted feedback about the process and set up, so I gave it to her. There were other things I could have mentioned, but I stopped there.)

While I was talking to her, I noticed that the woman I'd asked the question of in the Plenary Session had come into the room and was standing nearby. I assumed she wanted to talk to her co-worker, so I stepped away from them and ... the Wastewater Operations Supervisor squared up to me, grinned broadly and said, "So, what job are YOU here for?"

I goggled for a heartbeat, then introduced myself and said that I'm here for a job in a lab. She lit up, declared that Wastewater Processing has a lab, gave me her *personal* work number and her hours and told me to call and she'd get me a tour of the lab and the plant.

I, uh. I seem to have become visible. I'm going to update my LinkedIn Profile and call her. I'm kind of excited about it. I mean, what fun, right?

Then I came home, changed my clothes, and Geordie and I went out for a nice salad dinner.

Today we've been out looking at cats at the local pounds - Geordie calls them Kitty Prison.

I've finished a couple of pairs of knitted mitts, I have two sweaters I'm working on, and honestly, all I want to do is just knit, draw, and write.

I have to write a lab report for one of my classes and find something I wrote in another class so I can type it up to post online for that class.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
So, Buttercat's been increasingly ill. She lost a lot of weight a year or so ago, suddenly and drastically, and was always STARVING, but I took her to the vet and they said there was nothing wrong. However, she's been declining - eating less and generally just not as happy as she'd been.

Merrie set up an appointment for her today. Turns out she had catastrophic renal failure - one of her kidneys was HUGE and the other one was just teeny. Her blood numbers were all way off as well - her phosophorus was more than twice what it should be, for example. One thing was so high that it wasn't even measurable.

Anyway, we had her put to sleep, poor little thing. She was purring, right before the whole thing, which she hasn't done in days. Poor Merrie just cried and hugged Butter's little body. It was NOT nice. (Not that it should be, but, well. There you go.)

The vet has a cremation service, so we'll get Butter's ashes back in a couple of weeks, in a nice engraved cedar box with a "slot for a picture". It was a nice thing, when we thought we'd have to bring Butter's body home and try to figure out where to take her for cremation on our own. The price wasn't bad at all, especially since it means we don't have to worry about anything.

So, after bringing Merrie home, I went out clothes shopping. I'm going to a job fair for EBMUD this coming Saturday and I need a wardrobe for professional stuff. All I have - all I've had for more than ten years - is casual stuff. Jeans and tee shirts, with 'dressy' being a nicer shirt and my fancy cowboy boots.

That's not going to cut it, so I have to procure "nice" clothes, and sort of in a hurry. I hate clothes shopping. I'm short, I have a "difficult" figure, I have a limited budget for this, the clothes have to be "appropriate" for biotech (NOT quite the same thing as Business Professional), and I just can't ever make that damned Venn diagram work.

Figure-wise, I do go in at the middle, but I'm so small that nothing is cut right, and since I also have a bit of a tummy, some things which 'should' fit, don't. My cross-shoulder is 12" (shirts can go up to 14" on me, and jackets about 16", but even at that, the shoulder seams are starting to drip down my arms), my back-waist is about 12" as well, but my bust is 40" if my bra is basic. (If my bra is doing a good job, my bust is 41" or 42".) My waist is about 36", and my ass is 42" on a narrow day. My inseam is 24". Pants should be hemmed at about 27" for daily wear in flats, or just a bit longer if I'm going to wear heels (I usually hem my jeans about 28" inseams.)

What this means is NOTHING FITS ME. And, it means that after hours of hopeless searching, I can find a couple of shirts, at most, and maybe a skirt? Skirts are better than pants - they're easier to fit (they don't need to go round my crotch, which eliminates the snug-front action that my large butt makes common in dress pants), and they're easier to hem, hence easier for me to quickly tailor.

It's incredibly demoralizing to look at so many things and just be *wrong* for all of them. Everyone always suggests I shop in the Petites section. Unfortunately, "petites" often assumes not as much shape as I have, so I'm stuck there, as well.

After one thrift store run and two stores today, I have three skirts, two pairs of pants, three shirts, and two light buttonless cardigan thingies, all of which mostly go together. I have black tights as well, but no appropriate shoes.

Anyway, I came home and we went out to sushi dinner. Merrie loves sushi and she deserves a treat. We stopped off for flea shampoo for the other two cats - they've been itchy and we've found a few fleas which the back-of-neck treatment didn't seem to be dealing with.

After an exciting time bathing both cats, I had to do schoolwork. I've finished both homework sets for Instrumentation, but I haven't looked at the lab work I need to finish. There's just so much to do and I'm so tired.

Bed soon, I think.
songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)
The first week of school has been interesting. My schedule is self-selecting, oddly. Mondays and Wednesdays are all Criminal Justice, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are all Science. M/W my classes actually run from 10:40 - 2, but I get there at about 9:30 to make sure I get parking. On Wednesday, I have a 4 - 5 pm class. Super light day.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'm in class from 8:20am until 6pm. There's a gap of about an hour and a half in there, in which I eat lunch and absorb as much coffee as I can. It's pretty tiring, honestly.

I did manage to add the Independent Study to my schedule, I think, so that'll add another unit to the quarter total, and a bunch of studying to my actual course load. I'll be mostly learning the real ins and outs of reading FT IR spectra and analyzation of HPLC readouts. The project itself is studying the possibility of bioremediation of the waterways downstream of an old mine near Sacramento, which has been spilling horrors into the waters for years.

I'm hoping I can stay with the project long enough to see it really work out - it'll involve things like fishing and then dissecting the fish and analyzing their tissues (liver and brains and stuff) for heavy metals.

This coming week is very light - all my CRJA courses are taught by one teacher. They're finally hiring new teaching staff, so most of Monday he'll be doing an interview. He asked one of the classes if they liked the idea of an All Day Interview and I refrained from saying, "So, like most Software Engineer interviews?" (I've already been deliberately obstructive enough in his classes, I think.)

Anyway, so the first class on Monday is cancelled entirely, then most of the second one is cancelled, except for the last hour, in which the interviewee will be giving a guest lecture. Woo.

If I remember correctly, on Wednesday, the same teacher's out of town being an expert witness in a trial in Maryland. So, this week is exceptionally low-work. I'll be using the extra time to do my homework for Instrumentation (both that due this week and that due next week) and make sure I'm Very Ready for Instrumentation lab.

On Wednesday, Geordie and I are going to a showing of Blade Runner on the Big Screen. I'm looking forward to it.

We've finally seen the new Star Wars and, while it was fun and I really enjoyed seeing it on the big screen, it's very much a re-telling of the first movie, isn't it? I have other thoughts about it, but I'm not sure everyone's seen it yet. I'll write them out, maybe, and put them under a cut in a separate post.

I'm still writing the Hobbit fanfic, over on AO3. It's been more than a year of regular Saturday updates without any gaps or skips. Go me!

Lastly, dammit, David Bowie died. Well, fuck.


songscloset: Me with the sun flare on my face. (Default)

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