Saturday, November 04, 2006

Miss Allaney

I was chock full of good intentions to do the laundry, and I even got so far as to gather it up and take it downstairs, but, of course, one of the four machines is out of order, and the other three are in use. I'll do it tomorrow--I have other sheets and towels, and I don't have to wear chef clothes tomorrow, so it's fine.

I'd been coughing a lot in my living room, and I was thinking it was paint fumes, or paint dust, or whatever, but I've decided it's more likely because it's dry in here, so I dragged out the vaporizer last night. I can tell I'm going to spend the winter with (a) the vaporizer cranking away and (b) the windows open; I might even get a second vaporizer. I have radiators for heat, and, I suppose because it's such an old building, they don't really turn all the way off. Again, not a problem, just an adjustment. The radiators in the last place had similar issues, so it's not even an adjustment so much as a calibration.

The deities of scheduling apparently decided I should work at the bakery on Monday and take off on Tuesday, rather than my usual other way around. The FedEx package with my latest copyediting job didn't show up at the bakery today; some screwup means it'll show up on Monday, when I don't normally work at the bakery. (I had it rerouted . . . because I'm not usually at home when it's delivered. The building manager has been putting the packages in my apartment--for which I am extremely grateful--but it's not her job.) Of course, I can't actually work on the copyediting until after I receive it, which, as noted, won't happen until Monday. In addition, they're apparently going to be working on--perhaps even finishing the work on--my living room on Monday. All things considered, it seems to make more sense to work Monday, get the package, let the workmen do their job without me around, and have my day off on Tuesday instead, when I can get my apartment back into order and do my copyediting. The RFP I need to review for the other client arrived today, so I have something on which to work tomorrow.

I wish I had the energy (and courage) to commit to writing a novel in November. You commit to writing something like a thousand words a day, I think. If I were a Better, More Courageous Person, I'd try it--as they say, it doesn't have to be a good novel. Actually, if I thought I had more time I might even try it. I give my evening hours over to vegetation (or work, if need be), and I don't much want to give them up for what would eventually feel like a fruitless effort (yes, I know, I've talked myself out of it already; two of my friends keep nagging me about that). What I am saying (or writing) out loud for the first time is that I am committing to spending time writing the (non-fiction) manuscript I have in my head--not every day in November, but for parts of November, anyway. I keep saying I'll do it when I finish this or that free-lance job, and then another job shows up, and I am sure as hell not going to say no to work. When I have six months of expenses in the bank (Hah! I say, and Hah! again . . .), sure, I'll say no to the occasional job, but I don't even have next week's expenses in the bank. (I'm waiting for a copyediting check, I get paid at the bakery next week, and I haven't invoiced for some writing work because some of it is still in process, just so you don't think I'm in dire straits.) But work or no, I really want to spend some time writing what I want to write.

Of course, today I committed to getting Jefe's website in order, so there you go. Right now it's a shambles. The guy he originally hired owes him hours of work, but Jefe doesn't know what to tell him to do and doesn't have time (or the ability) to do the writing himself. He probably hired the wrong guy--this guy claims to have algorithms or whatever that increase the likelihood the website will show up in searches. But Jefe's customers already know where to find him, and, really, a bakery is a local business. Jefe doesn't need to come up on a search engine in Arkansas, you know? Anyway, the copy is lousy, the navigation sucks, the pictures aren't actually of Jefe's stuff, and a lot of the information is out of date. Jefe's newer computer guy claims he's going to fix this or that, but doesn't actually do a damned thing. This guy provides internet service for local businesses, I think, and he installed a bunch of security cameras for Jefe, at least a quarter of which aren't working at any given time. He's not going to fix the website any time soon. Jefe said the old guy will do anything you tell him to do, so it's really just a matter of writing copy, getting some photos, doing the navigation, etc. Jefe will pay me for my time, and I think he really needs a functioning website, so WTF, why not.

Today I was contemplating the varied rates of pay at which I work. I realize we're not supposed to talk about what we earn in this society, but I don't give a shit. I personally think that's part of the conspiracy to keep workers divided against each other. At the bakery, I make $9/hour, and $13.50/hour for anything over 40 hours a week. The copyediting varies--it's usually by the page, which means it can be as much as $25 or so an hour if I'm efficient and the text is well-written; it's usually around $15 to $20 an hour, I'd say. The writing for my old boss pays $75/hour. That's more than he was able to pay me before, when he was at other organizations, when the rate was usually about $50/hour. (He knows that I'm fast and that I won't pad my hours, so, in the end, I'm probably cheaper than someone whose rates might be lower.) In other words, in one hour, I can make anywhere from $9 to $75, depending on where I am and what I'm doing. When I'm wiggling my fingers in one way, shaping croissants, say, it's the lowest amount, and when I'm wiggling my fingers in another way, typing, say, it's the highest amount. I don't have any grand conclusions from all of this, mind you, I just thought it was kind of interesting. If I could figure out how to get even 20 hours/week of the higher rate, I could make a bunch of money--$78k a year, for those of you without a calculator handy. Even 10 hours/week--i.e., I'd still get a day off each week--would be substantial, and more than I'll make at the bakery for four times the number of hours.

So, speaking of croissants, today I came in and . . . my plain croissants have disappeared. Not the baked ones--the first thing I do after I punch in is check out the baked croissants on the rack to see how they look and to make sure there are enough of them. (Friday I came in and found a pan of unbaked ham and cheese croissants in the walk-in--I asked Phil to bake them, and he said they'd baked two pans--two dozen--for the store, but I said, well, we're selling a lot of these, so let's bake these 13, too. Damn if we didn't sell them before 1:00 pm.) Anyway, I knew I had put several pans of 36 in the freezer yesterday, but they were nowhere to be found. Turns out, one of the night bakers burned 16 dozen of them. Jefe dug one out of the garbage to show me, and it was a charcoal briquette. Apparently the guy forgot to set a timer (he's a good baker, so this was a complete aberration) and just killed them. Luckily I had enough in the freezer so they could bake enough for the store and for the markets, but I had to rearrange my shaping plans for the day. I also found a piece of dough in the walk-in that I apparently overlooked yesterday (easy enough to do, given the racks of crap in the walk-in by Friday evening), and I suspect tomorrow's croissants will not be pretty.

And, yes, I made pizza today, albeit with Phil's focaccia tapanade rather than sauce (the delivery guy never got me sauce) and with half whole wheat flour in the crust. I liked it better, but it was late coming out of the oven, so there was a lot left at the end of the day--less now, because some is in my refrigerator. I've been using a few Spanish words with the dishwasher--days of the week, temperature (hot or cold), one more--and trying to pick up more from what I hear, but it's not enough. We have a new intern who is truly fluent in both Spanish and English (she's Puerto Rican), and I'm hoping to get her to teach me the verb forms and such. In any case, the dishwasher likes me, despite the language barrier. Apparently, back in the day, he was eating a slice of pound cake every day with his coffee. Brad, in his inimitable way, bitched about the cost of that, so now Leon gets a doughnut out of the freezer to dunk in his coffee (as Jefe said, it's hard to say whether he's warming the doughnut or cooling the coffee). I think he knows that's safe to eat, so he sticks to that. But I give him stuff, too, when I can--the pizza, certainly, and, last week, a croissant that I'd cut to check the lamination, and a day-old pecan roll. So yesterday I grabbed the bowl for the 20-quart mixer so I can mix the pizza dough, and Leon makes it clear that he'll wash it for me in the pan washer, which he then proceeds to do, thus saving me the time of washing the thing. The great thing for me is that he'll teach me the occasional word in Spanish, and, even more interesting, is how much we manage to communicate despite the barrier. I guess he makes me think of the lessons I learned from my father--that there's no shame in any job, that everyone is worthy of respect (at least at first; people like those "serving" in the current administration are a special case)--Golden Rule things, basically.

And that, really, is where I think notions of social justice have to originate. It's why I think we should all have access to the same health insurance to which our Congresspeople have access. Today I asked Brad if he always used the ricotta in five-pound batches--I'd thought to make a three-cheese pizza, with ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella, since I didn't have sauce. Brad said that he did always use five-pound batches, so I said, oh, okay, I won't dip into it then. He said what he has said before--it's too good for these guys. And before I could stop myself I said, "I really hate it when you say that." I didn't elaborate, and I didn't make a scene, but jeez, you think he'd've learned something from getting picked on as a kid. Apparently not the right thing--but I'll work on him over a beer sometime; it's just fear on his part, and that's never a good basis for deciding which action to take.

This made me laugh out loud:
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Because, you know, it's completely accurate. Dave used to say that he could tell when I was talking to family on the phone because my accent used to become much stronger. Of course, I don't think I HAVE an accent . . . but who does? I completely freaked out one of the not-quite-down-and-out guys who occasionally does deliveries and paints our paper signs for us by asking him whether he was from Philadelphia or Baltimore. Thanks to Orange for this one.


Blogger Orange said...

I was worried that the accent quiz would get me all wrong, but apparently I answered everything correctly because it assigned me to the most normal accent. Who are these people who think "feel" and "fill" are pronounced the same? Pfft. They talk funny.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

I agree with you on feel/fill, but apparently not on a number of other things. I took the quiz out of curiousity, and I really did laugh out loud when i saw the result--I didn't expect it to get it so right. I'd be interested to know how they came up with their algorithms for this.

9:52 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Hey, the quiz pegged me, too!

I had a bad feeling about redirecting that package. Similar things have happened before.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Eh; it'll work out okay, maybe even for the better. This way, the workpeople can finish the painting and such without me (a) being around or (b) being forced to be not around.

8:08 PM  
Blogger That Brazen Tart said...

Passed your email on to a coworker today. He needs some writing done for his website. Don't know if you'll hear from him or not, but didn't think you'd mind the reference. We'll get you that 6 months in the bank yet.

Cool quiz. I talk like someone from in Inland North! Not news to me, but I (also) didn't think the quiz would know. Though, oddly, we always called carbonated drinks "soda" in my house growing up, but I have switched to "pop" over the years so as not to call attention.

12:12 AM  

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