The tree tally

Earlier this summer, I introduced the dead tree of spite.

It’s still there, and still looking very much dead.

But this year has been an interesting year for trees. (There’s a sentence ya don’t use much… lol)

First in regards to my one original tree… in spite of this being a really really hot and really dry year, it seems like the little tree hit itself a growth spurt and never looked back! Seems like it went from tiny to good sized while my back was turned!

And then, this fall, it had another trick up its sleeve… it turned red!! Previous years the leaves have just been a darkish brownish… something that was a contrast to the neighbors nearest tree that turned a pretty orange. But this year…. instead of going straight to dark brown…. they are stopping at a pretty dark red!

(this was mid-change… almost all of the leaves are the darker red color now)

No idea how exactly that happens… wonder whether it means the tree is healthier, or has too little water, or who knows what. Maybe the leaves just dropped too fast in previous years… as it’s not in as big of a hurry to shake them off this year either where last year they were gone almost as soon as the green left.  But very cool!

Also very cool….

Where this summer was so hot and dry, the lawn died really early… like june instead of august… and then came back to life about the time school started.

So, I wasn’t mowing very much during the main part of the summer…. but when I was, it was hotter than normal, and I’m not a fan of weed eating and trimming anyway, so it got skipped a lot more than it ideally should have.

I mention this to explain how I could walk outside in September and notice that I have volunteer trees growing against my shed that were nearly waist high!

They’d sort of mixed in with the weeds earlier in the year when they didn’t get chopped off, and then when all the grass died, I wasn’t out there messing with things to pay attention.

They’ve grown about a foot since I first noticed them…. making the tallest two only about 18 inches shorter than the dead tree of spite.

There are two of them growing right next to each other right at the corner of the shed that faces the back of the house, and then on the other side, there is one in about the same spot on that corner, and one a little in front of it closer to the entrance of the shed. This last one is the one I’m not sure how well it will do… but the others seem to be doing great.

Not the ideal places I would have planted them…. but then, the shed gives them some support from wind and such….
And this is an old beat up shed that leaks bad from hail damage and was supposed to have been replaced with my awnings after the insurance company had paid for them, but my stepdad decided not to. So, I’m not too concerned about any damage the trees might later cause it… as it can’t hold anything that can’t get wet anyway and already needs replaced.

And then there is my bush.

You didn’t know I had a bush? Well, neither did I.

Again, this was a sparse year for weed eating. I’d chopped off this large weed several times last summer… and it was one of the ones with a strong stalk to where it was hard to get to chop.

So I didn’t spend too much time on it at the start of this summer. I was aware it was there, but not too concerned.

Nor was I really bothered when it was about halfway to my knee.

When I noticed it had gotten big and was about knee high, I sprayed it with weed killer… knowing it was a pain to chop. But failed to notice that it failed…

Until one day I went out there… and found myself looking at a large chest-high bush!!!
(This really sounds bad for my skills of observation and my back yard… but really… it grew very fast!!)

It too apparently likes low water and warm temps.

Which made me wonder…. was this something that was supposed to be there? Maybe it was an intentional plant that I was a doof and just kept killing each year instead of letting it grow.

Because this sucker was huge!!! And no other weeds in the yard were even remotely close to being halfway to knee even…

So asked around… and found out that this is polkweed. Some consider it a weed, but then, some places sell it as a normal plant from a nursery.

So, since it was the only thing green in my yard by this point, I let it stay. Well, plus, it was a lot easier than figuring out how to deal with this giant thing!

So I now have a random bush against the garage. It got berries on it a while after this pic was taken.

So my yard has been thriving in the way of large vegetation… even in the middle of a really hot and dry summer.

But I have one more tree to introduce to you… this one belonging to my stepdad, as mentioned in the dead tree of spite story.

A family member of mine has renamed this tree “the dead tree of karma”

Delays and weirdness

Today was supposed to be my orientation at job A.

Instead, 4 of us arrived only to be told that they’d decided to change things and do one large orientation session instead of multiple smaller ones…. so it won’t be until next week… and we should have been called.

No explanation as to why we weren’t… just a sort of “oh well” tone.

Not the best impression on how things are organized for the seasonal workers… both the abrupt change and the failure to notify… even before the tone.

Hoping this doesn’t end up being a really long feeling 2 months.

But two interesting things happened before we got to that point.

First, somehow, I had a feeling something was off. I don’t know really why, but I’d been feeling nervous about it at home… enough so to make a point to grab my paperwork in case I needed to show I was supposed to be there today… and was actually really relieved to see the other two people waiting when I walked in, feeling like at least I was in the right place at the right time… before it turned out we really weren’t.

Just sort of a weird thing… but maybe just a nervous thing.

But the second thing that threw me off a bit was as I was walking to the door, and someone asked me if “you are open yet”. (Yes, they were open…)

I’m dressed in their uniform… I’m going into the employee areas… it’s a normal question that I knew the answer to… and yet, this totally threw me for a loop for some reason.

I eventually answered “I think so…”, which probably seemed like a really bad answer to him coming from someone who he thought was an employee. Because they ARE an employee.

Hopefully this is just a needs-time-to-sink-in thing. But it’s still a bit weird.

The choice to hope?

I’ve mentioned a bit about the two part time, seasonal only jobs I’ve been hired for.

And then I mentioned the other day about the really good job that I interviewed for.

The type of job that pays well and yet requires much easier work… and has much better rewards than anything else I’m even qualified to be considered for on most days.

Of course I really want the job.

But I’m scared to set my hopes up at all.

I mean, most places won’t even hire me right now unless they know it’s only for a couple months… that doesn’t give me a whole heap of confidence going into what I’m sure is a very crowded battle for the two spots open.

Even with the past experience, and knowing I did well on the various tests that they required… and with the interview going decent… I’m having a bit of a hard time even hoping I make it into the next round of consideration.

Do I let myself go there, knowing theres a good shot it may end in tears?

But as I’ve prayed over the possibility… it’s come back to an entirely different question.

Do I really believe that there is a plan? Yes, though I can’t say I have much of a clue what it is right now.

Beyond that, do I believe the plan has a positive outcome on this side of death?

Easy to say yes on the surface… but when you really come down to it in this scenario… do I really?

If I don’t get the nice, comfortable, well paying job that I can easily do… am I able to really believe that this was the best outcome for my life?

Even as instead I’m doing much harder work with much less pay at two jobs that don’t even want to keep me long term at this point, and just trying to make ends meet surviving rather than thriving?

And I find myself drifting into a different sort of doubts… doubts that I’ll get the good job not because of anything about me or about my competition…

but because that’s the way the road seems to go. Certain and comfortable are rarely words that seem to be in my life anymore. Uncertain, rough, tight, blind faith requiring…. these have become much more familiar.

Do I really believe that I won’t get the job just because it is a decent job? Honestly… a bit.

And I don’t really like admitting that to myself… because I know it’s not what I believe logically.

And it’s not what I want to believe from my heart and emotions either.

I want to believe in positive things being in the plan… the whole “not to harm”, “prosper”, “future and a hope”…

But I’m at a point right now where things have been rather dark… and for quite a while.

And where lights in tunnels are seeming more likely to be yet another train rather than a sign that the end is near.

Though yes… even at this point I still realize that each train has a purpose… a point that its supposed to achieve in my life… a lesson to teach as it runs me down again and yet I survive and continue on beyond where I thought I could.

But I think when I really dig into it… I’m getting to a place where I’ve pretty much just assumed every light is a train, and hope has gone more towards hoping I’ll be lucky and it only hits an arm or a leg this time…. instead of being able to hope let alone expect that maybe this time there really is a brighter day ahead close enough to be in sight.

Even if I logically know that eventually there will be. Eventually.

I know that I need to have faith that there is positive… hope for the sun, undeterred by the trains that seem like they never end.

Ask for a parent for fish, you wont get a stone…
but when you’ve been getting a lot of liver and vegetables and other stuff that isn’t a stone, and you know is good for you, but still isn’t a fish…
it starts to become easier to believe that you shouldn’t have hoped for fish in the first place and would have better luck trying to somehow make yourself feel like liver is your favorite food like you know nutritionally it should be.
And start wondering if you should feel bad about wanting fish in the first place… knowing how much better liver is for your health…. and you should be more grateful that it’s not the stone that you deserve.
And starting to doubt you will see fish, even though you know what you are getting has more nutrition and that the menu has your eventual best interests in mind.

But why can’t whats good for me BE the fish sometimes?

Not sure how much the pile of random analogies makes sense to anyone else… but thats kind of the weird path I’m at right now.

It’s not that I’m not glad about getting the short term jobs… I am… they will really help things for right now.

just trying to fix why it’s becoming hard to let myself hope for much more right now.

Breathing room

Sometimes small things can end up being such a huge help.

The work program gives a bonus stipend for successfully starting a job… about a bonus two weeks if you’ve had good attendance, reduced some for each absence or discipline problem.

I’d been told this was put in after your first day of working the job… to make sure you actually are going to go through with it. Which then gets added to the pay period, and given on the next paycheck. Meaning, mine wouldn’t be until the 4th.

I’d actually been specifically told mine would be on the 4th.

Except… it showed up today… having been put in when I got the job and trusting that I would be serious and follow through.

Maybe seeming like a small difference…. but when the budget is really tight… and I was wondering how things were going to work out on paying for gas if things were timed poorly on first paychecks…
(if pays every two weeks, and doesn’t have a short time between hours going in and check coming out, could be up to 3 or 4 weeks before money in hand catches up with hours being worked)

Sometimes a little bit of trust, giving a lot more breathing room to make things work, seems like a big gift of mercy!

Not even sure which of the staff people to thank on this one… but maybe that’s best, as right now I’d be overly gushy till they’ll probably wonder what my deal is.. lol

Direct and abstract interviews

So, yesterday I had two interviews… both for retail positions.

One was the second interview with the company that I had mentioned last week… and I got the job! 🙂

It’s another seasonal position, so it’s only for two months. And mostly evenings and weekends, where job A is mostly mornings, so they should fit together well to almost be close to a full time amount of hours… even though job B pays right at minimum wage, and is less hours (15-20), and says they aim towards 2-4 hour shifts so that everyone stays “fresh” lol.

The difference in mentality going into both of these interviews was really noticeable. So much easier to relax a bit when you already know you’ve been hired for another part time short term job, so the bills are likely to be able to be paid for the next few months regardless of the outcome.

But then today, I had an interview for a good job. What some around here even go as far as to call a real job…. as opposed to retail etc.

It’s actually a pretty similar position to a job I had 5 years ago.

Except that one was a half hour drive away…. and this one is less than 2 miles away.

And this one pays better…. would be the highest I’ve been paid for a job by about 2 dollars an hour. Plus has good benefits.

Plus the obvious perks of being both non-seasonal and full time… which very little else that has been calling me back has been.

But I was more than a bit amused by the completely different approaches for the interviews.

Most of the “good job” interviews I’ve done have been years back… so I’d sort of forgotten a bit how much different the questions are.

“Make ends meet” job tend to be very practical questions.
Do you have reliable transportation?
What experience do you have doing this sort of task?
How well have you gotten along with past coworkers?
Have you ever been fired?
Do you have any issues with criminal background or passing a drug test?
What would your past manager say about your work performance?

But the better jobs… are so much less connected to any sort of real connection to the tasks of the job.
How do you define “dependability”?
What traits distinguish a good listener?
What 5 traits do you see as most valuable in interpersonal relationships?
If diversity is valuable to you, why?
What characteristics define you most as an individual personality?

There were others… but those were the ones I remember offhand from today’s round. Overall, it went ok. Not great, but not awful either.

Very very different mindset than these retail interviews I’ve been going on lately. Not too far out from one’s I’ve done in the past… but it’s been a while… and took me a minute to get back into the groove as I hit a brief moment of panic remembering how rough some of these questions can be when you are someone who tends not to be the best at organizing things verbally while still trying to process ahead mentally.

But slightly amusing to me was that in each type of interview, I had a question where I accidentally forgot what sort of interview it was, and answered with an answer that works better for the other type… and got asked to clarify.

On the retail interview, it was a question about how many absences do you consider to be too many.

I gave this nice several sentence answer about how it varies some on the circumstances, and that if you are sick enough to have your work performance be seriously impaired it is probably in the best interest of all involved that you not be exposing coworkers and hindering things from being accomplished, but these should be no more than is truly necessary.

I then got asked what that would be as a number. LOL

On the other side of the questions, I fumbled the define dependability question, by simply answering that to me it meant ability to be counted upon without concerns. And promptly got asked to elaborate.

Ah well. A difference to remember when future interviews come. 🙂

Of course it’s wonderful, this time.

So I mentioned the school pic battle.

And how I caved and let her wear what she wanted… even though it seemed ridiculous… and I wasn’t expecting much out of the pics… and had gotten a really small package.

And so… I’m sure you all had already realized the way this works out… long before I did… and that they would turn out being her best school pics ever.


Of course they are. LOL

Last year we disliked them enough to let her get retakes, which she liked even less. The year before’s were sort of blah with a fake almost snoody smile… of course the ones we expect to be a joke turn out to be pretty!

Volleyball ones came out pretty well too… only qualm being that they show how bad her lips were chapped and damage from where she kept biting them.

So that’s what mom gets for thinking she knows anything about choices for school pics. LOL

And thus means I’ve probably lost any battle over next years clothing choice before I’ve even started the fight.

Tiny papers of power

This week I have gone entirely through my filing cabinet, closet, bookshelf, and large dresser… completely moving every possible item.

I couldn’t find my social security card… which should have been in a specific place, but wasn’t.

Last time I would have needed it was back in 2007… so it’s had quite a while to be misplaced.

But it’s needed… for an interview tomorrow that wants it up front because they run extensive background checks (in this case are justified ones..), and for starting the seasonal job next week.

And so now it’s nowhere to be found… which has been stressing me out majorly.

As it turned out, when I went in this morning, I was able to order a replacement easily…. even without all of the extra documentation it says is needed and that I didn’t have immediate access to, as apparently they already had mine on file from previous applications (it’s been lost once before… just before I was old enough to start working and need it…)

But it amazes me just how much power tiny pieces of paper can be given.

Would people a couple of generations back have ever believed you if you’d told them that you could be kept from working at a job you’d been hired for because you’d lost a small piece of paper? Or that you could be blocked from getting any official job without it?

Or even how many hoops have to be jumped through anymore to even be considered at most places. There are still people my parent’s age who have never had to have a resume… and some who’ve even never had to sit down and fill out a formal application until now, or had a lack of high school diploma be an issue.

Let alone have done the background checks for even basic retail jobs, and credit checks even when not working with large sums of money, and drivers license record releases on non-driving jobs, and pee in a cup tests…

The more you stop and really think about some of these things… and life before them in the not so distant past.. the more I begin thinking our world has gone a bit haywire. and in a hurry at that.