Friday, June 30, 2006

The continuing story

Of a quack who's gone to the dogs. Brownie points if you know where that's from.

(Lifted from my personal blog) (Knitting content to resume soonish)

Let's talk about housing and life changes shall we? The chaos that comes after deciding to drop out with a masters (sorry, leave early writing a long thesis to graduate with a masters). The rush to write a document summarizing a year and a half of work in words big enough to impress people who have the degree you were supposed to get. The hurry to finish experiments and analyze results and make charts that make sense. Finding the right grade of paper and quality of printer to avoid any confrontations at the research library. Edits. Revisions. The thesis that never ends.

Combine this with a job hunt. Research companies, rewriting your resume, coming up with a cover letter that balances selling yourself without sounding full of yourself (or other things). Signing up for job alerts, perusing the listings, applying like it's your job (don't let anyone tell you looking for a job isn't a job in itself). Waiting.

Add in nannying. Staying up late doing research and job hunting, getting up early to drive kids to school. Coming home from work early to a small room with no kitchen to switch bags to go pick up kids from school. Trying not to go crazy listening to teenagobabble on carpool days and listening to whatshisnames awful "So you've had a bad day" song or the new Green Day b/c they like it. Shudder.

Then the interviews and job offer. Accepting the offer. Looking for someone to replace me at the house. Looking for housing of my own.

I want to pause here and comment on the lack of intelligence of some of the replies I got to my ad on Craigslist for my place. If I say that you MUST be a UCLA grad student and that driving kids is NOT optional, do you think I'm going to reply to you when you tell me you're not in school and have a job that isn't flexible enough for you to be able to drive? Right. Probably not. So stop emailing me.

In short, it has been insane. And rather emotional. Graduation, whether I admit it or not, is a big deal. Even though I'm still working at UCLA (today's the last day), it's the end of an era (I think 8 years of education qualifies as an era). No more walking across campus to check out a book (or 40 in my case - I need to return those....). No more laughing at the undergrads walking by the window, having to turn off the 'A/C' so I can hear on the phone. No more late nights waiting for an NCA reaction to finish. No more working my own hours. Additionally, no more being poor. I won't be well off, but I'll be able to live on more substantial food and not feel like a charity case anymore.

It hasn't hit me really. I've been so busy worrying and stressing over finding a job and housing that I haven't realized in less than a week I'll be earning a paycheck. The housing hunt was awfully depressing. Not until you drive around to you learn what the different areas of the Valley are and which you should avoid. Then you realize why rent was so cheap when the interior looked so nice. Be prepared to slap down your life's savings and firstborn to get on a list of the desperate for housing. It's been such a struggle to find a place without a paystub. I know that there are some less than honest people out there who lie about their employment. But I'm not one of them. I have a job (actually 3 right now). I would put down an extra deposit just to get a place until I have a paystub. But no. The search went on.

Luckily, I had found someone to move into my place. The mom called her references to finalize things yesterday. The new nanny's apartment manager asked if she gave the new nanny a bad reference, would she get to keep her as a tenant. The mom told the manager she felt the same way about me. And, by the way, did they have any openings?

Turns out a studio had just come available that day. The mom called me, I called the manager, and I raced up to Sherman Oaks to get in an application before the girl the manager talked to could FedEx one in. What a nice surprise. Good area, gated building, gated parking. Within walking distance to Trader Joe's. Within 2 miles of Target, Costco, and BevMo (for the alcoholic in me). 500 square feet (4 times the space I have now), lots of cabinet space, built in shelves. Air conditioning. A bath tub. A FULL KITCHEN. Pool, sauna, gym, huge laundry room. And no problem about no paystub - she trusts me (as she should).

I was able to sleep.

In the last 10 days, I have interviewed, been offered a job, accepted a job, finished the final chapter of my thesis, made samples for our collaborators, found someone to take over my place, and found a place of my own (unless the credit check falls through).

Busy, no?

(From cleaning out my old class notes in my desk at work. Today's the last day)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Life in the city

I have seen can I put this....TERRIBLE places to live. The apartment hunt continues. I know I'm staying close for some of the wrong reasons. But I'm not sold on living in Thousand Oaks just yet. I'm aiming for Sherman Oaks for now.

The thing that bothers me is the high percentage of concrete. I am going to miss grass. The place I saw yesterday in Sherman Oaks was probably the best (except for the parking - not gated). Unfortunately, someone put down a deposit on Sunday. Even though I had an appointment to see in Monday, no one told me (or showed up to the appointment for that matter). Sigh. I have to say I'm getting very discouraged with this housing search. I've seen neighborhoods with bars on the windows where I'm the only person who gets sunburned. I've seen a place where the previous tenant died in the room. I've seen hotels for WAY too much money. I've seen holes in the ceiling that are "being patched." I'm terrified I'm not going to find anything - leading to stress, problems sleeping, upset stomach, nonstop talking about apartment hunting. It's going to be much harder to look at apartments when I start my new job next Weds - I'll be working all day, when will I have time to view places?

Luckily, it looks like the family has found a replacement for me that they like. I think they're just waiting to call her references. Also luckily, her move in date is flexible, giving me more time to find a place of my own.

I am learning all the surface streets and 'bad' streets. I have mixed feelings about living in gated complexes. I've never done it before. But where I've lived safety was never a huge concern. I'm hoping that the place I saw yesterday pans out - there's a chance another unit will open up. Pretty good location (near Target, Costco, Bevmo, 99 Ranch, Ralphs...), upstairs, AC in both living room AND bedroom (at least in the unit I saw). And a middle unit will be cheaper than a corner unit. And I have excellent credit. And the guy likes me and said not having pay stubs yet isn't a problem.

I've talked myself into it.

So cross your fingers for me. I'm going to be working my butt off the rest of this week in lab, doing ad rating, and trying to find a roof. No knitting for awhile....

Friday, June 23, 2006

I haven't been knitting....

What an insane week.

Mon - cut hand. Get tetanus shot. Get phone call about interview on Tues with biotech company through contract agency. Make monomers. Go home.

Tues - wake up 3 am with chills and fever. Damn shot. Pile on blankets, take warm shower, fall back to sleep. Go to interview, find out they want someone more immediately available. Go back to LA, decide I'm too sick to work in the lab, go home and sleep.

Weds - talk to the mom (not my mom) about prospect of moving out early July. Worry about getting out of current housing and closer to biotech company. Go to interview in Pasadena. Like the company, not the job. Talk to contract agency, find out biotech company wants to hire me for 6 months. Think on it.

Thurs - frantic calls to parents and friends about whether or not to take job. Decide to go for it. Get a call 2 hours later from biotech company about my application for fulltime positions. Damn it. Post ad for current housing on Craigslist. Receive 20 emails before midnight. Many from people who didn't read the ad. Stay up late working on thesis.

Fri - Go into work early to set up more reactions. Reply to housing emails. Call housing ads. Go to minimeeting. Field calls from people to see my place - show it to a musician. More chemistry. Get a call from biotech company from an engineer in process development who's doing phone interviews. Asks questions about units and things I haven't worked with. Sigh. More chemistry. More apartment showing.

I'm still here in lab. Totally drained and thinking of putting my stuff in storage for awhile to ease the stress of finding a place to live before I generate a paystub. It's been a crazy week. But at least I'm employed :)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Taking the plunge

After years of knitting from patterns, I'm finally trying to design my own. I saw a girl wearing a cute cardigan/jacket the other day and decided to start on one. Because I don't have enough projects going as it is. Or another thesis section to write. Yes, the thesis was filed, but my committee wants me to add more about poly(amino acid) degradation to compare my material with other materials currently being used. And let's just leave it at that.

Continuing my blue funk, I'm back to working on the socks from Knitting Vintage Socks and the sweater in Vintage Knits (both navy) now that I've finished the Somewhat Cowl (also navy). That and another pair of socks, Claptois, a third pair of socks, some fingerless gloves, and a knit tee from the other Vintage Knits. No, not too many projects at all. I haven't been able to work on them because I'm having problems with my wrists again - when I massage my arms I can feel it shoot up into my hand and tense up. Not sure what to do besides take a break from knitting for awhile.

Maybe do some reading :) Happy Sunday all!