Category Archives: The Day Job – A Necessary Evil

A girl’s gotta work for a living, ya know!

Absentee Blogger -By the Numbers

I know, I’ve been absent all week. And honestly. through May, the blogging might be slim to none. I know I’ve said this a lot this year, but it’s true – it’s the day job. Been a kick-butt year and the end is still not in sight.

For those of you not familiar with what I do 9-5, I work for a school service agency that provides psychological evaluation services for children in surrounding school districts who may be in need of special education. My job is mostly writing up the evals. I also do some day-to-day admin stuff, like bills and Federal aid/grant applications, but by far, the biggest job for me is taking the evaluations that the school psychologist and special ed teachers do and compile them into a report. We normally do about 110 of these a year.

We’re right now at 120, and we have 30 more to go.

I did the math this morning. I should never do the math. You see, an average psych report is about 20 pages long. 20 x 30 = 600 pages. When I write a manuscript, it normally turns out about 300 pages. Double spaced. In the next month, I have to write 600 pages single spaced.

No wonder I’m tired.

Now it’s not like I have to plot to write a psych report, and some of that page count is taken up by charts, but the sheer amount of work is weighing on me. But at the end of May, we’re done. Then I can breathe. And write. Maybe.

Yes, I’d love some cheese with my whine, thank you.

BUT –

In good news, the lovely ladies over at Literary Nymphs gave Let’s Dish their highest rating of 5 Nymphs! Thanks, ladies. And Let’s Dish is now available in the UK! That’s pretty cool. Then again, I also found it pirated at a couple sites. Grrrr.

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Filed under Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?, The Day Job - A Necessary Evil

Release Week

It’s here. Let’s Dish releases this week. I should be jumping up and down with excitement. My first book is coming out. Instead? Well, I’m a little tired.

Okay, a lot tired.

This week I will be guesting at two blogs and will also contribute to the Samhain main blog and the Samhellion.  And of course, you’re all invited to join me to chat on Monday Night at 9 PM Eastern at Romance Junkies.  Two other Samhain authors are joining me, so it promises to be a great night.

So that’s not too bad. In fact, it sounds like a lot of fun. So why am I tired? The day job is kicking my butt. We have a ton of evaluations to complete before the end of the school year, and new referrals keep coming in all the time. I have to tell you, after writing psychological reports all day, it’s hard to come home and find the energy to write fiction. But I am working on a new project, and summer’s coming soon, so I’ll have more time to get words onto paper.

Yes, I would like some cheese with my whine.

But this week I need to make a point to stop and smell the book release. It’s my first one.  So come on along and help me enjoy it, folks. I’ll be updating you as the week goes on as to where you can find me.

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Filed under It's A Writing Life, The Day Job - A Necessary Evil

The Co-op – A Sitcom

I’m starting my eighth year at my job at an educational cooperative, or the Co-op as we call it.  There have been a lot of rough times, and a lot of good times. The best part is we’re a little family all our own, especially under the current boss. The former boss – well, life was different then.

A few years back in the midst of another laugh-so-you-won’t-cry day, my coworker came up with an idea.  We were having a group therapy session after the boss left for the day. Now some people could say we were bitching and complaining. Not true. Three of us especially formed a bond over those afternoons and if it weren’t for those sessions, none of us would have outlasted him. But that’s another blog.

We were blowing off the pressure when my friend looked at me and said, “You know, you should write a sitcom about us.” We’ll set aside for a moment that I couldn’t write a screenplay to save my life. She had a point. We’d compared ourselves to the three main characters in 9-5 so often, they’d occasionally started calling me Dora Lee.

We had it all: a sexist perfectionist boss who wore far too much cologne (though he was a perfectly wonderful person outside the office – go figure); a smart, organized, skilled woman who was trapped under a glass ceiling; a young and pretty professional with tons of brains and a flaky streak; and a quickly-approaching middle age mom with childcare issues and a sarcastic mouth.  Add to it a revolving cast of characters as therapists and teachers came in and out of the office, and we were set.

Come on. You could totally see this on TV.

I borrowed (and elaborated on) an event from real life for one of my books, in fact. It had to do with a water fountain leaking, my boss’s reaction, and the lack of janitors.  There would be something new every week, and we’d come up with our own little plots. There’s something to be said for the idea of writing a book about this place someday. Not now. I still have to work here.

But we thought life dulled after the old boss left. Trust me, we’re a much more relaxed bunch now. But the comedic factor seemed to wain.

And then this week hit.

Maybe I’m the only one who’d see the humor in this, but we have been trying to get ready for three major trainings next week with a copier on the fritz and a rapidly dwindling paper supply with no  delivery of more in sight. The boss lady and I were in rather maniacal laughter over that yesterday afternoon. So I planned a trip this morning to go get more paper.

Keystone Cops, look out, ’cause here comes Cate.

On the way out of town, I get a call from the boss. She’s got produce for me! Yum! So we meet in the parking lot of a local grocery store and do the South Dakota version of the drug hand-off – trading cucumbers. So we both head out of town, going the same direction. I start out leading, but then she passes. Then my phone rings.  She’s calling. Not that I can hear her, because the reception on that particular highway sucks.

I finally make out she wants me to let the pickup behind me pass. Okay. Odd request, but whatever. So I slow down only to find out that the pickup is driven by none other than old boss. So we all play this weird game of leap frog until I pull into my destination.

I need to get four cases of paper from our “parent” school, so I head that way – only to be detoured about five times by construction. Can’t get anywhere near the front of the school, so I park by the gym. I go in, but can’t get to the office because they’re waxing the floors. So I go around outside. Try another door. Wax. Try another door, and so on.

When I finally get to office, the guy in charge of the paper supply is gone. But they’ll let me have it, I just have to get the car in front of the school. Illegally. Going through an alley. Which also involves squeezing my not insubstantial van between a massive crane and a dump truck. Paper gets loaded, and I head home.

Get to the campus where our office is located and try to pull up to the loading dock, only to find it blocked by a massive shipment of books for the library. Park in the nearest lot (about 1/2 block away),  and go to find the janitor to help. Sure, he’ll help, but we need to bring the load in at the far side of the building because they have a load of toilet paper blocking the nearest door.

By the time I finally got to sit down at my desk today, I was thinking again about that sitcom my friend wants me to write. Hell, I think I have a half hour’s material there. And, if you’ve made it this far, you probably skimmed. God bless you for sticking with me.

But if you throw in a few zingers here and there, I totally think it’s an episode. What do you think? Could we give The Office a run for their money? Or am I the only one cracking up right now?

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Filed under It's A Writing Life, The Day Job - A Necessary Evil

Work At Home Mom?

As all three of you who read this blog know, I work outside the home. One could argue that I actually make my living writing, since I take cognitive (IQ) tests and academic tests that others have administered and turn them into a cohesive report that hopefully makes sense to the parents of the kids we work with.  My normal day starts at 6:30 AM, kids to school by 7:45 and me to work by 8:00 (ish). I work until 3, get the kids, and then do the mommy thing for the rest of the day.

Yeah. Not this week. Wednesday morning went something like this:

6:30  – wake up to snow. A LOT of snow.

7:40 – leave the house, get stuck in snow, get out wihtout too much trouble, get kids to school

8:00 – in the office – our whole traveling staff starts calling as schools are running late and start closing

9:00 – local school district closes at 10:00 – frantically put a whole bunch of report folders in my bag to take home to work on for the afternoon – had thought about bringing kids back to the office, but I don’t THINK so!

10:00 – pick up kids from school, try to drive home, get stuck in alley

10:30 – finally dig out and get unstuck, start down the alley and get stuck AGAIN

11:00 – finally actually get home, but car is parked in a bad spot where the plows come through and tow my butt

12:00 – feed starving kids, shovel out driveway, actually get car in driveway

1:00 – get to work for a few hours, actually getting more done than I would at the office with the stupid phone

3:00 – shovel and snow blow again so husband can get into garage

4:00 – more work

5:00 – make dinner

6:30 – um… work

8:45 – done with work for the day, but still have more work? What the…

It went like that for THREE DAYS. We have been snowed in since Wednesday! I’ve been writing reports, shoveling, and using the snowblower for three freaking days. Yesterday was the worst, with the snow drifting the driveway shut with a four foot drift. I actually had to feel around for the front sidewalk because I couldn’t see it. The snowblower folded yesterday afternoon, but I’d gotten almost everything done by then.  I’ll get to do the last of the clean up this morning, but that’s going to be pretty light work. All this time, I’ve been home with three kids who are getting progressively more obnoxious. But somehow, I’ve gotten a surprising amount of work done!

Amazingly, I managed to get everything I brought home done. I brought almost everything in my In box, though there are a couple of things I can’t do here at home. Still, I think I might actually be a tad ahead when I get to the office on Monday. See, I shouldn’t blog that. That means I’ll get to work and find a ton of crap I forgot I had to do. Did I get any housecleaning done? Umm… no. Did I get any writing done? Yeah, no. Nothing. I am a total loser.

So today, I get to clean house, shovel the last of the snow, start building some Pinewood Derby cars with the kids for Cub Scouts… and, oh yeah, try to WRITE SOMETHING. Maybe it’s a good thing that the kids have been getting me up just after six the last three days. Not enough hours in the day, and apparently they want to make the most out of every minute. The most arguing, the most whining– you get the picture.

I’ll share pics of my over-my-head drifts later. Right now, I’m just happy as a clam to see the sun! YAY!

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Filed under Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?, The Day Job - A Necessary Evil

Busy, Busy Bee

Not going to be around much this week, I’m afraid. The Day Job is going to be about all I can handle. Along with being mother of the year, that is.  We’re getting ready for school to start and it is crrrraaaaaazzzzyyy!

In writing news, figured out how to get the murder weapon into Isabelle’s posession and wrote close to ten pages this weekend. I love it when the juices just flow! Unfortunately, they tend to only do that in spurts these days and where I once wrote 50,000 words in a month, it has now taken me about three to get just shy of 19,000 out of me.

They tell me I will find more time when the kids gorw up/school starts/the world comes to an end/etc., but I doubt it. No, I think like dragging my giant tuchus onto my elliptical everyday, writing is a discipline and I just ain’t that disciplined lately.

So off to work. Have a great week!

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Filed under It's A Writing Life, The Day Job - A Necessary Evil

How To Relieve The Stress Of An Office Job

Here at EDJ (Evil Day Job, for those of you non-writers out there) we order our office supplies from a catalog company that, quite frankly, is generally dirt cheap. To sweeten the deal, they occasionally offer treats and premiums when you order specific items or have an order totaling X amount of money. We've gotten everything from movies to Mrs. Field's cookies.

As I was flipping through my catalogue this morning, though, a new, fun premium jumped out at me. It seems if I buy a bunch of envelopes, I can get a vibrator.

Um, excuse me. Personal Massager.

Who am I kidding? It's a vibrator. Complete with six attachments (some of which look decidedly NOT business like– well, not our sort of business, anyway), a swivel handle and a head that adjusts to four positions.

Somehow this frightens me. Cookies I can see. Label makers, cool. Even a stuffed teddy bear here and there is a cute little extra to put in with your Post It Notes, White Out and laser printer cartridges. But a vibrator? Apparently said company thinks us office workers are a little too stressed out and need some tension relief with our envelopes.

Makes me wonder about the laptops I was looking at buying from them. Wonder what I'd get with that.

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Filed under The Day Job - A Necessary Evil