Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

Overwhelmed

April 29, 2009

I mentioned I had carpenter ants in my bathroom in a previous post.  Well, as the weeks passed I saw fewer and fewer of them.  Then on Sunday, the temperature went up to 90 degrees.  That morning, my parents came over to help me put up my Ikea blinds that I had bought 5 months ago.  Then I went to brunch with some friends from Hampshire, then I wandered through Prospect Park with Manny and our friend Sam for the rest of the day enjoying the weather.  A red tailed hawk flew right over our heads and we saw a black and white warbler.  Then I got home that evening, I opened my bathroom door and saw dead ants everywhere. On the floor, tub, floating in the toilet, in the sink, windowsill.  They were everywhere.  And they all had wings, which I thought was weird.  So I consulted Google, which told me that many people confuse winged carpenter ants with winged termites.  Google told me that winged termites swarm during the first warm days of spring.  Google told me that if I had winged termites in my house, then I have a problem.  

So, I freaked out.  The next day I called my building management company, declared that I had swarming termites in my bathroom and demanded they send over an exterminator.  And the lady on the phone was all like, yeah ok you really don’t have termites and you need to calm down.  But she obliged and called the exterminator.  So the exterminator came, took one look at a dead insect on my bathroom floor and informed me they were just carpenter ants.  He squirted some peanut butter smelling ant bait in little cracks and crevices and behind my shower head, declared the situation under control, and left.  Three days of stress and fear of swarming insects resolved in less that 15 minutes.  

Why can’t all the issues in my life be resolved so quickly and easily? 

I was accepted into both U of Michigan and Hunter College here in the city.  Michigan has offered me almost a full scholarship.  But just this week they told me I have to take 4 prerequisite classes in order to go there – chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and calculus.  It is even possible to take all these classes in one summer?  Plus, most of deadlines for summer semester at the community colleges in the city have passed.  Plus, some of these prerequisites courses also have prerequisites – for example in order to take calculus I need one year of college math.  In order to waiver this college math requirement, I have to take a test, which I will surely fail because I’m a terrible test taker and particularly suck at math.  So… what do I do? 

I don’t need any prerequisite classes for Hunter, as far as I know.  Going to Hunter is clearly the easiest choice.  I get to stay in the city and not go through the stress and heartache of up-rooting my entire life and being separated from my significant other for months at a time.  While Hunter may not be as prestigious as Michigan, it is still a well respected institution.  And I do really want to go there.  Hunter has been my first choice of school, that is until I was accepted into Michigan.  Is a masters degree worth all of this?  Isn’t what I do with my degree more important than where I get my degree?  But,  I should not just settle on a school just because its the safe and easy choice.  I should go the school of dreams, right?  Up until 2 weeks ago I thought that was Hunter.  Now I’m not so sure.  I want someone to just tell me what to do and how to do it.  

By the way, everything has to be decided by May 5th.  In case you didn’t realize, that’s in 6 days. 

I started reading The Great Bridge last week, a book about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, but it was not entertaining enough to distract me from my school dilemma. So I quit reading it.  I’m sure its a good story and one that I would like to hear, just maybe I’d rather watch a History Channel documentary about it instead of a read a 600 page book about it.  So I started reading Another Roadside Attraction which has been sufficiently entertaining and distracting so far.  I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Tom Robbins but never read anything of his, so I wanted to fix that.

I Heart Unions

December 12, 2008

I’ve been following the auto bailout business via online videos of Rachel Maddow’s show while updating spreadsheets at my nice, stable, unionized job.  The Republican arguments against the auto bailout are disgusting and make me sick.

And apparently I have no clue how to post videos, so, listen to this and get mad with me:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/28184849#28184849

That republican senator needs to get slapped in face.  Look, unions aren’t perfect, there are some really bad, filthy corrupt union bosses out there, to be sure.  But why are people so disillusioned that they think unions are not necessary?  Aren’t there still unfair labor practices?  Don’t workers still get abused by their employers?  Just last week, here in NYC, which is practically a union sanctuary compared with the rest of the country, two restaurant owners were arrested and charged with 400 (!) criminal charges, including violating minimum wage laws for their employees and falsifying business records to cover it up.  Also?  Over the summer, state investigators exposed a sweatshop in Queens that was making clothes for Banana Republic, Macys and Victoria’s Secret.  The factory owners paid their employees $3.79 per hour for working six days a week for over 60 hours a week. 

But yeah, I’m sure the need for unions has come to end. 

Yes, I take this issue personally.  To my family, a bunch of rowdy Irish people from Brooklyn, unions are life savers.  A unionized civil service job was their way out of Brooklyn and into the middle class.  One of my great grandfathers was a member of the Typographical Union and when he died my family couldn’t pay for a headstone for his grave so the union paid for it and he was buried in the union plot.  (An alternative version of this story is apparently this great grandfather was a Native American, and hated by the rest of my family so they refused to pay for his grave.  But no one wants to say yes or no he was an Indian because no one in the family wants to talk about him. One my uncles is going to do some cheek-swab DNA test to see if he has Native American genes.  Weird stuff.)  But also, my dad is a retired FDNY member and was actively involved in the fire unions when he was working here.  And now he’s involved with the international firefighters union in Washington DC.  Not to mention my uncle the cop, my other uncle the transit worker, my other uncle the HVAC worker who all have pensions and health care and were all able to send their children to college all because of unions.  And myself – my union job guarantees me paid sick leave, prescription drug coverage, tuition reimbursement for graduate school, free eye exams and eye glasses, and other nice things. So, we love unions in my family!  Maybe the era of unions paying for your grave is over, but the era of employees organizing against unfair labor practices is most definitely not over.  And maybe will never be over.

Anyway, happy Friday!  And thank goodness for Rachel Maddow.