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When Spam Repeats on You

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No, not that kind of Spam. Although, that also tends to cause stomach upset on occasion.

Everyone thinks technology is so great.

Except when it isn’t.

I had a job at the end of 2014. It turned out the job was not a good fit (in every conceivable way) for me, but I tried to stick it out for a short while. During that time, I got an email to go to a website and look at documents regarding benefits. Benefits I wasn’t going to enroll in, but since I got a reminder in my personal email about every third day, I wanted to take care of it. But my password didn’t work. I tried to contact someone about it. They reset it. It still didn’t work. The emails, with a due date of 8/4/14, wouldn’t stop coming. Then I left that position to become a famous author (I am still working on the famous part).

I thought, “Well, at least those emails will stop coming.”

I was wrong.

These tasks were due in 2014. It is now 2017!!!

These tasks were due in 2014. It is now 2017!!!

Censored not to protect them, but to protect ME from getting sued by them.

They still come, every three days, over two years after I left that job. They still have a due date of 8/4/14. It is an international Fortune 500 company. You would think that they would purge that stuff every now and then. It makes them look very bad.

There is no way to opt out or stop the emails from coming, since I have no way to log into the site they come from. I am no longer an employee, so I wouldn’t have access to any inside way to stop it. And that didn’t work even when I was still an employee. So, I set them to go to my spam.

Which is probably bad for that company, which happens to be in retail, when they want to send advertising to actual customers, and I have marked them as spam. But I had to.

But it doesn’t stop there. When I periodically check my spam, there they are, all sitting there, mocking me. They remind me of a very unhappy, unhealthy, and chaotic time in my life that I would rather never think of ever again.

And they force me to think of it weekly, putting me back into that horrible state of mind, even if just for a few seconds. I should sue their asses for mental anguish. I have PTSD from that position. I wanted a clean break, and it was in every way EXCEPT FOR THE EMAILS!!!

It bothers me so much to still receive them that I am writing a whole damn blog post about it! Using up my personal space just to rant about their stupidity!

Interested in spending time in my headspace during that time? Check out this flashback post:

iNsTaBiLiTy: a poem

Eight days after that post, I put in my two weeks notice. And I really only gave them eight and a half more days; I could not even make it to a full ten.

troll-gurl-teaser-2

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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2nd Shift is a Cruel Mistress

My husband has big dreams. But for now, the draw of a steady paycheck keeps him tied down to the manufacturing industry. That means he doesn’t get to pick his own hours. So, he is stuck with the three shifts offered, which are pretty similar across most plants.

But, you do have more energy because work hasn't had a chance to wear you down yet today. So there's that...

But, you do have more energy because work hasn’t had a chance to wear you down yet today. So there’s that…

Before we were married, I worked 9AM-5PM hours, while he worked 2nd shift, usually a 3PM-11PM situation. He liked not having to get up early. He likes to stay up late. So, it worked for him. If I wanted to see him during the week, I had to stay up past 11:30PM when he got home, which, seeing as I left for work at 7:00AM, left me sleep deprived. But I was in my twenties, so who wasn’t, right?

Then we got married, bought a house, and could finally have the dogs of our dreams. I worried about them having to cross their legs for long periods of time. But with our work schedules, they were only alone for typically 4 hours a day. We were being good parents to our canine kids, even if we still never saw each other.

After 10 years of service, he eventually got laid off when his plant closed. He is a hard worker, always shows up on time, doesn’t constantly play on his phone. Since then, he has been steadily employed for the last 4 years, but not at the same place. See, for those unfamiliar, manufacturing is not a real steady business in Michigan in the 2010s. He did have the opportunity to get on first shift at one place (it was even a 4 days/10 hours schedule), but then shortly after that they went out of business.

So, once again, we are stuck with this second shift shit. Which, at this point, isn’t completely horrible because it is good for our childcare needs.

But, it still sucks.

Sometimes it feels like we lead separate lives. I feel like I have no support. When you live with a 2nd shifter, you can always count on them not to be there. What is even worse, is that you know how much they want to be. They miss sports, parent-teacher conferences, events.

Don’t even get me started on 3rd shift, which my husband has also done for limited periods of time. It totally fucks up your circadian rhythms. And should a bat choose to fly around your house in the middle of the night, you have to have your BFF and her husband drive a half hour to exterminate.

troll-gurl-teaser-2

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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What I Learned This Week – 3/20/16

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This week I learned that GOOD CHARLOTTE is coming out with a new album!

The Good Charlotte boys, back in the day.

The Good Charlotte boys, back in the day.

Have I ever told you the long story about my Good Charlotte obsession? Well, it’s long and will have to wait for another day. Suffice to say, they are my boys! More specifically, the Maddens who, even though they bulked up, I still love.

I have all their previous albums. The still-untitled new album will be out this summer. This is great to hear, but, um, could you be more specific? Why not wait to announce it until you have a title or a date? That would be like me saying, “Hey, I have a new book coming out Fall of 2016. It is similar to my previous writing, but also new and different.”

Well, they got me to write about them, didn’t they? ❤ Those boys. I think I have seen them in concert at least four times.

This week I was looking for an item that is very special to me and that I thought would help inspire me while writing my latest book.

Of course, I couldn’t find said trinket (Jack Sparrow’s voice says that in my head), but I did find a collection of bookmarks I have had for 30 years. I’m sure for other people bookmarks come and bookmarks go. But to me these are special, especially an Amelia Bedelia one and one from my local library.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

I think I was in 4th grade when a real live author, Peggy Parish, came to our school and talked to us. I had never heard of her and I didn’t read her Amelia Bedelia books. But she was maybe the first celebrity encounter I ever had. (For more, please check out my page When Stars Align. You will find GOOD CHARLOTTE there.) It didn’t matter that I wasn’t her fan. I was a fan of what she did. SHE WROTE BOOKS. Words she wrote were in libraries all across the country (I was kind of clueless about bookstores back then. That would change in time as well.) with numbers on the pages, bound inside of covers with pictures on them, printed by some publishing house.

It is not a memory that I regularly revisit, but maybe it placed the notation into my head somewhere that it was a possibility for a career someday.

Speaking of possible careers, the bookmark from the local library was the winner in a bookmark contest many years ago. I kept it all these years because it was created by my asbestos friend! She has a book coming out September 2016 (the cover is featured below). Obviously she took the sentiment from her bookmark to heart: books can brighten your life. At a young age it also must have been imprinted into her that writing was a worthy pursuit.

I surmised (correctly, as it turns out) that my asbestos friend no longer possessed a copy of the bookmark herself. I decided to frame it, so that it would survived the coming years better than the previous ones. I decided to add a few of her other writing achievements into it as well. I think it turned out nice. She seemed happy with it, even hanging it on the wall. Now even if she doesn’t like it, she will have to hang it back on the wall every time I come over so my feelings aren’t hurt. Ha. (I think…)

The Evolution of E.A. Comiskey's writing life

The Evolution of E.A. Comiskey’s writing life

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It CLICK HERE TO WIN!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

What I Learned This Week – 1/17/16

What I learned this week was that working in an office outside of my house is exhausting. But, I got my first week down. Hopefully, even more things will click into place next week and I can rock it.

Here’s hoping…

This week I also learned that the same guy who co-founded WD-40 also founded the Fotomat.

Now, I’m sure after that statement that you have many questions.

A Fotomat back in their heyday

A Fotomat back in their heyday

What is the identity of this wonderful man who created one of the three items that must be found in every tool kit?

What are the other two items?*

How the f*** did you discover this?

One at a time, please.

So, I had been thinking about Fotomats.

Let me back up.

I had a dream a year or more ago (yes, I remember dreams long term. I used to keep a diary of them. For more on that, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/11/01/dreams-part-one-dream-journal/) where a boy I had a crush on in school was poor and homeless and living in a Fotomat in a nearby parking lot. This was weird for many reasons. The first being that I don’t think we even had any Fotomat overnight film developing booths in our area. Second, Fotomat’s went out of business in the late 1980s when every drug store installed a one hour photo machine. And last but not least, said crush lives in a very beautiful house that is much nicer than mine with his wife and kids.

But the dream deeply upset me, seeing anyone in that circumstance. I was reminded of that dream this morning when I yet again dream about the same boy from school. This time he was making me tacos. Yum. Then he took off his shirt. I am sure my subconscious did a bit of a photo-shop on his 40 year old body, but who am I to argue with my subconscious.

So then I looked up Fotomats. They were founded by Preston Fleet in 1965, who just two years earlier co-founded WD-40, our favorite lubricant. Well, maybe second favorite… At its height around 1980, there were over 4,000 locations across the country.

Did you know that Fotomat was one of the first companies to offer movie rental–ON VIDEO CASSETTE TAPES?! I know, right? It was like the stone ages or something. They started the service in 1979. Customers picked a title out of a catalog (almost exclusively Paramount titles), then the customer would return the next day to pick up the movie, pay $12 (!!!), and return it five days later. When local video rental locations started popping up providing movies quicker and cheaper, the service was discontinued.

When I think of starting a business, I think of great businesses that have run for over a hundred years like A&P and Coca-Cola. A&P is defunct now (I worked at Borders. I know who ran A&P, then came came over to run Borders further down the toilet. Just sayin’.) In my head, I just assume you have to have a successful company that makes the same product that will never become outdated. But Fotomat was popular enough to be on the stock exchange. Fotomat was acquired by Konica in 1982. It served a very needed purpose of its time. Sure, film developing and VHS rental are foreign terms to a lot of young people these days. But maybe the key isn’t to predict the next big thing. Maybe it is to learn how to meet the needs faster and cheaper that consumers struggle with today. Afterall, that is how Fotomat ended up replaced.

Hmmm… Now I must be off to my thinking seat to come up with a great business idea.

And now I’m hungry for tacos >:-)

* A good tool kit needs only three items: A hammer, duct tape, and WD-40.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

My Christmas Gift

My husband got me a rather extravagant (for our household, anyway) Christmas gift.
He got me a Kindle. I had told him how I had accumulated a handful of eBooks, but I just couldn’t make myself read them on my laptop. After all, I do enough of that when I am writing and editing my own books.

Hmmm...that book looks good.

Hmmm…that book looks good.

I made him sad when I unwrapped it, because I didn’t open it right away.

Number 1: Because I knew I should return it and buy a new cell phone, as mine no longer has a functioning camera, and the on/off button sticks, causing it to enter a restart loop that I have to pump the button to stop. When trying to get a job, it is kind of important to have a little thing like a phone.

Number 2: Our Internet quit working three days before Christmas. With no WiFi, I knew I couldn’t get it set up anyway.

Christmas depressed me, so the day after I decided if he wanted me to have my gift of a Kindle, then I was going to keep it and open it. Our local library was closed due to the holiday weekend. We decided to park outside McDonald’s and use their free WiFi. We didn’t want to go in because then my son would want something to eat, and fast food was not in our non-existent budget at that particular time.

The first book I read on it was a short story by Neil Gaiman called How to Talk to Girls at Parties. I had never read anything by him before, only shared his quote memes on Facebook which always struck a chord with me. It was good.

Next I read Pride & Prejudice. I know, probably an unconventional choice. But right after I watched the miniseries (date), I got the eBook to read. Since my eyes had been opened that P&P was the romance standard by which most modern tales seemed to originate, I wanted to read the source material. But, well, I had only made it a few chapters in on my computer before I had abandoned my previous attempt.

So, with my Kindle in hand, I tackled Ms. Austin. I was glad I did. I was also very glad that my Kindle has a built-in dictionary function, because I used it often, even if not all of the old-timey British words were in it. I wonder what other classics I should be reading?

My first eBook I read taking place in this century and located in the United States of America was Holding On by Rachael Brownell. Rachael organized an awesome event I attended last fall called Great Lakes Book Bash. If you are an author or a reader, you MUST attend the next one, coming fall of 2017. Holding On was a great book. I loved that it took place in Michigan and Tucson. I am not much of a traveler, but Tucson is one of the only two places I have ever flown to (the other being Phoenix). The characters were well developed and I cared about them and their circumstances.

Next I read Chasing Rainbows by Linda Oaks. I really meant to only read a few pages. I was waiting for something to download on my computer and had just a few minutes to kill. But, as in usual fashion with me, I found myself compelled to finish it the same night. Linda’s writing really meshed with how my own thoughts rattle around in my own head. It felt awkward to me that the main character of Addie was involved with three different guys all in the length of just one week. But, maybe I am just jealous. That is pretty ambitious for a high school girl. And the first week of school too! I bet she got absolutely no homework done. I am glad that she ended up with the right man in the end.

What will I read next? Hopefully my own Be Careful What You Wish For. Need to finish up work on it.

After that? Probably Frozen Dreams by Cori Williams, A Place to Stand by Meg Farrell, Wolf Spell by M.R. Polish, A Reliant Love by Taylor Lavati, and something by Casey L. Bond.

I am in the midst of starting new employment. It is terribly scary and overwhelming. My anxiety has been working overtime lately. The fact that Southeastern Michigan was like the land of the eternal gloom over Christmas break didn’t help matters (or my Seasonal Affective Disorder). I put a solar light in my front yard. Literally, the damn thing never lit up at night until just two days ago. There had not been enough sun for two weeks to recharge the solar battery. Even with just the two days of sun (plus a few other factors), I am feeling slightly more like myself. But reading is a great escape from the stress of reality, even if just for a little while.

My Kindle is just a basic model, 7th generation. While I feel a little deprived of the bells and whistles of a K Fire, I also know that I am constantly tempted to check my Facebook as I am reading. Which I cannot do on it (or, at least I haven’t figured out how yet), which is good because then I keep reading.

The verdict? A Kindle has certain advantages, but it is just not as good as having a print book in my hands. A highlighted Pride & Prejudice just cannot compare to my underlines and stars in my hardcover copy of Twilight (autographed by Peter Facinelli!), but it is way better than trying to get lost in a book on a reflective screen while sitting at my desk.

A Kindle is just way easier to take to the bathroom than my laptop ;-D

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

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