Friday, August 11, 2017

No Work This Week

... and I'm heading back to bummed out.

Let's recap:

  • Four days on set in January
  • Zero days in February
  • Two days in March
  • One day in April
  • Zero days in May (out of town for three weeks because of it, or vice-versa?)
  • Two days, mid-June
  • In July, I volunteered all those days because I needed to fight Depression by being on set. It was great, but I wasn't filling our coffers while doing it. Then, in mid-July, I booked one day... and then three days...
  • and then three more, the first week of August
So, starting with those two mid-June days, rolling into the volunteer days and the rest of July, it felt like maybe #JustMaybe the industry might be turning a kinder eye to me. I'd started doing stuff at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, working with the Voiceover Lab and volunteering some time for screenings, too. Getting out of the apartment is always a good thing.

Which is why I'm getting bummed out again. I have booked no work this week in the industry (altho I did have a main booth VO session and a screening to donate my time to yesterday).

Most of my week has been spent seeking employment at the pet supply chain where Stephen works.

You read that right, kids. He's been transferred again, back to Burbank, leaving his last boss more severely short-staffed than she'd ever have chosen to be. She needs help out there, in Encino. She already likes me, and my schedule is wide-open (although she's willing to "work around" my acting schedule, which means I'm willing to work a heavy weekend kind of rotation for her, which is a win-win).

So on Monday, I fulfilled the background check requirement, and picked up the application. On Tuesday, I turned in the application and had a little chat with the Boss. My background cleared on Wednesday, so I went to a private lab to pee in a cup for my pre-employment drug screen. At this point, the Boss is just waiting for those results (anywhere from 24-72 hours later, depending on the workload of the lab), so she can offer me a minimum wage part-time position and start date.

Which means I will be employed again, soon. And I'll end up learning almost as much as Stephen has, about the care of your pets. And I'll be working for a woman who completely "gets" that I'm likely to be a fantastic asset, as long as everyone treats me like a temp. I may end up "temping" there, part-time, for the rest of my life, or at least until they try to transfer Stephen back to her. It remains to be seen, obviously. Maybe my VO career will become a "thing", and I'll have access to a good recording studio, and that'll be my "industry" gig, and the pet supply company will become my career! For now, though...

I just need to Book. Some. Work.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Stupid Shit We Fight About

Stephen and I just had a fight. Then, because it was over stupid shit, we resolved it. Yay, team!

As you may know, if you've been reading here for any time, Stephen works for a local pet-supply retail chain. He was first employed as a part-time retail dude, working in the Burbank branch, because that was the job opening, and it was convenient for him to get to work.

He then earned a "promotion" to full-time hours, at the same Burbank branch. Kewl.

His next promotion to Floor Supervisor also included a transfer. The new branch is in Encino. Not quite as convenient a commute, and definitely a different "vibe" from Burbank, but still the same company. We moved from Burbank to North Hollywood around the same time he got transferred, so while the commute wasn't as convenient, it still wasn't horrible.

He gets paid every two weeks, with Direct Deposit. This is very convenient. His pay stubs get delivered to the store, so in most circumstances, I have it in my hands so I can enter the details into Quicken within a day or so of the money being in the bank.

Two weeks ago, Stephen was transferred back to Burbank. Kewl! Better commute again! Buy another bike to replace the one that had been stolen! Get some exercise and sunshine! Don't spend more than an hour waiting for buses in either direction! Kewl!

... except ... the pay stub from two weeks ago was delivered to Encino, instead of Burbank. We'd immediately brainstormed ways to get it into our hands, but none of the ideas we had had been followed up on.

Flash forward to today: I had paychecks for myself in today's mail, and I was trying to tidy up my filing by doing the Quicken data entry, etc. I had Stephen's most recent pay stub to work with, but I still don't know the details from two weeks ago.

So I suggested that someone in Encino throw a stamp on it, and have it delivered to our mailbox. <^<^THIS is the stupid shit we fought about today. My POV was, surely someone in the office at Encino has seen this envelope addressed to Stephen and would like to not see it anymore? Why has no one else thought to either inter-office or mail or fax or something to get it out of their office? What I said was, they can just mail that paystub to you here. Stephen's response was, "I'll take care of it", and then we were suddenly both repeating ourselves until it got out of hand.

What Stephen heard was, emelle has to be in charge and this needs to be done her way. When I stopped contributing to the argument and he calmed down enough to ask if I didn't understand his POV, the fight moved off the high heat flame and went to a back burner to simmer. I wasn't able to answer that question, because if I said that I did understand his POV, then clearly, I did want this thing done my way. That wasn't true. But also, to say I did not understand his POV would mean he would attempt to rephrase whatever I wasn't getting, and frankly, I just needed to process what I thought I understood.

It was an apples vs. oranges argument. My frustration was that no one other than me seemed to care enough to do anything about this stupid-but-important document. He'd said he'd take care of it (two weeks ago), but he hadn't. It had fallen through the cracks, and now his frustration was with me, because it was obviously more vital than he'd first known it to be. No.
Grr. Argh.
Once I'd figured out exactly what my frustration was, I tried to calmly explain it. Then I explained what I thought his frustration was, got corrected, re-explained it, and we both Got It.

Then Stephen got on the phone, spoke to the Assistant Manager, and requested that a coworker pick it up when he was in that store for training, so he could bring it over to Burbank. Yay! Taken care of!

... unless the action falls through the cracks. That'll be a fight for another day, I guess. ;)

What Stupid Shit Do YOU fight about?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Travel, Part the Fourth (of Four Parts)

Kelli had to zip outta the house early today for work, and she knew she'd not be back before we left, so those goodbyes were said last night,

This morning, it was just me de-testosteroning the house. I was supremely unsuccessful. But Stephen made coffee, and I ate cereal, and we pretty much all just hung out. I did a funky dance move, asking all the boys in da hous to send out their "send auntie emelle to work" positive vibes. They made me do the move multiple times. I was happy to, if it meant we'd all be thinking about booking me on set!

Then Bill had to go run a work errand, so he took the ruggest of the rats with him, and YN and I took a little walk over to Target to "window shop" a new swimsuit for me and any potential toys for him. Stephen and ON stayed in, doing #GodKnowsWhat. *Who's Who, ICYMI

Bill and the ruggest were home by the time YN and I returned, and we really weren't gone all that long, ya know? So we all hung out some more. More Paracord Bracelets were made, some movie trailers were watched, laundry and dishes were begun (I think), and we repacked our bags. Also, I discovered I was on hold for work for tomorrow! Yay! #FunkyDanceMovesWork

'Round 4:00-ish, Stephen and I hugged YN and ON goodbye. These were some serious goodbye hugs. Them are good boys, Brent. Bill packed us and the ruggest of the rats into his truck and off we went to the airport, to arrive in plenty of time to board our 6:20 flight out to Oakland.

Unfortunately for us, just about every Southwest flight arriving in Boise was delayed, which meant just about every Southwest flight leaving Boise was delayed. Ours definitely was, by roughly half an hour. Which meant that our layover in Oakland was not going to be a leisurely stroll through the terminal to board the next leg.

Oh, no. We had 8 whole minutes to run the half mile (ish?) to the other gate to come back in to Burbank. Thankfully, we made it. Then we had time to wonder if our bags had also made it, since we'd checked them (knowing that the first leg was full and we were boarding near the end of everything; no overhead storage meant, um, let's check those bad boys). I also had time to get the details for my gig tomorrow and confirm it. Whew! #SetLife #MyLife #ILoveWorking

Oakland to Burbank is a truly short hop. We deplaned out the back, found the restrooms, found our baggage carousel. Yes, our bags had made it. Yes, for whatever reason, the TSA had decided that our two little rolling carryon bags needed inspecting. No, there doesn't seem to be anything missing. No, they don't appear to have broken my laptop. #GoodThing!

Found our way over to the Lyft pickup area, and Stephen requested a pickup. Unfortunately, the app was being seriously wonky, and would not allow him to add our home address, which meant that frustration was building, and we didn't know if we'd even get a ride at all. He spoke on the phone with the first driver, who said "I'm here" but was not, in fact, at the airport. Huh? Eventually located the driver Lyft sent in her place, who was a little frustrated himself, not knowing where he needed to take us.

He was patient, though, and he got it sorted enough to be able to add our address in his app. Which meant we'd get home, and Stephen knows what he needs to say in any communications with the folks who run the app. Also, he got five stars and a five dollar tip, because who knows what we'd have had to do, if Arman had given up on us?

So, we're home. The furbabies are very happy to see us. We've plugged in our phones; I'm blogging (#DUH); Stephen's already checked into a video game and back out of it, working towards bedtime. We both get to go to work tomorrow. It was a good visit, and now we only have to plan the next one (with any family, in any "home town")!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Part the Third: Floatin' Down the River

So, just in case you couldn't tell from the title, we did some river rafting today. There were six of us (youngest, a.k.a. "ruggest of the rats", at least as I like to call him, had been left at MIL's house for the day). The menfolk yesterday had purchased 6 cheapo inner tubes, so we could each just floatfloatfloat down the river, separately but together.

Our adventures outside the house began with taking two vehicles in the direction of the parking at the bottom end of the river... by way of dropping off the ruggest of the rats at Gramma's house, and lunch for the rest of us at the taco place... and then transporting all of us with our tubes from the end-result parking lot in one vehicle to the jump-into-the-river parking lot.

Shopping at the dollah store for cheap sunglasses, cords to hold said specs on faces, flip-flops, and backpack-style nylon bags to transport stuffs down the river. Lunch. Parking lot. Collect. Second parking lot. Gather. Coordinate. Venture into the river, which. was. COOOOOOOOOOOLLLLD.

My "buddy" was older child. Stephen's "buddy" was younger child. Bill and Kelli were each other's "buddies". Originally, Kelli wanted the kids to "buddy" with the parents, leaving Auntie and Uncle to "buddy" together. But, ya know (or maybe you don't, in which case, I shall inform you), nephews see the parents all the time, so they'd rather buddy with the visiting relatives. So Kelli acquiesced.

Older nephew (henceforth to be known as ON) and I created our system pretty quickly. I had my little backpack bag slung over a shoulder, and he was wearing a life vest. So, to stay "connected", either I'd hold a shoulder of his vest, or he'd hold a fistful of my bag. We worked together to stay facing downriver as much as possible, or to paddle (with our arms) or kick away from either shoreline, carefully traversing any rapids together.

One of the first rapids we hit, ON tipped out of his tube. But he held onto it, and he held onto the bottle of water in his hand, and I had a good grip on his life vest, so once we were over it, we were able to get him back up on his tube. He was soaked and cold, but he'd survived that tipping, and our lives were pretty good.

Kelli and Bill kept unbuddying, and over the course of the entire river, they managed to lose just about every "extra" thing they had on their persons. Kelli had a kayak paddle that broke on her, and for a short time, even lost her tube!

ON and I unsuccessfully attempted a maneuver around a very small island. I ended up getting caught going quickly downstream to the left of the island, and ON got beached on some rocks to the right of it. I grabbed hold of low-lying tree branches, holding on for dear life, shouting his name, which he couldn't hear over the rapids. He was no more than 10 feet upstream of me, and he couldn't hear me calling his name. #ResponsiblePanicSetsIn

But he'd managed to stand up, carrying his tube across some not-as-fast shallow water, and when I found a place to beach myself, we reacquired each other. Whew! On the opposite side, he'd been passed by Stephen and YN (younger nephew, #duh), who'd indicated the loss of Kelli's tube, but were also at least a bit concerned at our separation. Once we'd taken a little breather on the rapid/deep side, ON and I reseated ourselves and let the current drift us back downstream.

Once we were back in the center of that part of the river, we passed Stephen and YN, who'd intentionally beached themselves on a small (actual) beach. They both seemed in good spirits, and relieved that ON and I were back together, so we waved as we passed, and then we focused on whether Kelli would have somehow made her way past us, or if we'd be the first to "land" and get to gather the rest of the group. We'd traveled a pretty good distance, but we had no real concept of exactly what that distance was. According to Stephen, our two beaching incidents happened about five miles downstream of the entry point, leaving only about a mile to the exit.

For Stephen, that was #TheLongestMile. The beach where he and YN had chosen to stop and worry had taken a feat of strength that sapped his energy. Just getting beached drained him. The water was very cold, and very rough, and worry about any lost members of the party were just too much. And then, getting back into it was just too awkward, and he ended up with most of his body submerged in the cold water, with only his arms and head (through the hole in the tube) out in the sunshine. He had on cheap flip flops, of course, so his only hope of getting properly reseated was to encounter a shallows that wasn't fast. That didn't happen. The shallows he went over were too fast to stand up, which meant his poor body got dragged that remaining mile.

Kelli had at least regained her tube from some other rafters who'd collected it once they saw it floating riderless. Yay. Bill kept solo floating. The "lone" buddy, on purpose.

So ON and I made it to the off-ramp. Other tubers lent a hand to help us escape the current and beach at the beach. So once we were secure, we did the same. We helped others land, by grabbing hands, feet, or paddles that were outstretched. We got to be heroes. It was cool.

So we pulled Kelli in. And other rafters.

Then Bill. And more rafters.

And more. And more. And more. Where the heck were Stephen and YN? Some of the other rafters indicated that, if we were waiting for the two inner tubes (yes), that they were, in fact, on their way, but they weren't doing too well.

Stephen was essentially hypothermic by the time we pulled him and YN out of the water. He lacked the strength to stand, so I plopped him down onto his tube up a few feet on the beach. He was shaking from the cold, so we removed his t-shirt, and even though I wasn't particularly warm, I tried to share my body heat with him by straddle/hugging him. His hands were completely numb, and had somehow turned yellow. Both nephews accompanied the 'rents up to the vehicle to bring back towels, and then the 'rents went back to the first parking lot to bring back the other car.

Everyone was gone long enough for Stephen and I to try to get him warm. Other rafters offered assistance. We had him drink some water, honestly not knowing if that would help or hinder. I kept blowing on his cupped hands, and trying to hug him warm. Eventually, he got the strength to stand, so we walked up to where all the inner tubes had been collected, as the nephews returned with towels.

We moved all the tubes into a patch of sunshine, and we waited. Stephen propped himself against a lamppost, like a bear scratching against a tree, because it was some warm-but-not-too-hot metal for his skin. We waited. We saw Bill and Kelli drive up. We waited. We waited. We waited. Finally, they walked up, and everyone was as recovered as we were going to be, so we headed up to the cars and came back to the house. Three in each vehicle, rehashing the events of the event, and coming to a few conclusions.

Future reference:

  1. Groups of six who choose to "float the river" in inner tubes should divvy up as three-n-three rather than 2x2x2. Had one parent and one child and one non-parent grouped, we'd have all felt more secure in the safety of each other.
  2. Waterproof walkie-talkies, if divvied up. If one group has any issues, they can radio to the other group the situation, let 'em know to keep going and we'll meet up at the end, and also indicate "rapids ahead" (hang onto yer butts!), "shallows ahead" (don't drag yer butts!), or "you suck, we rock" (you suck, we rock!) types of lively banter
  3. WATER SHOES. Flip flops or other sandals Just. Will. Not. Do. You need shoes that will immediately drain but also have amazing traction, to help you get in and out of the water on slippery rocks.
In spite of what may seem like a buncha negatives, a Good Time Was Had By One And All. I've got a cut on the top of my foot and a rubber burn near my right elbow (from frantic paddling). Stephen's got a scrape or cut on his ankle, a cut on his knee, and probably more cuts and/or bruises all over that I'm unaware of. Bill Zonked Out when we got home, and even though everyone is officially in bed or headed there already, he's had like three naps since we got in. The boys have been making Paracord Bracelets for me and Stephen. Kelli's been working on some Continuing Education credits for her job, and the ruggest of the rats has been, well, a two-year-old. He had a good time with Gramma.

Have you had this sort of adventure whilst vacationing on a long weekend with family? Tell me about it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Part the Second

We went to bed in the 11-ish hour last night, expecting to still get something like 7 - 7.5 hours of sleep, and also expecting the house to be noisy, pretty early, because we're sleeping on the "living" level of the house, so, ya know, kitchen stuff and boys. As it happened, I didn't drag my full bladder to the bathroom until EIGHT a.m. in the dang morning! 8.5 - 9 hours of sleep! #WhatTheWhat?

So... after all the coffee and smoothies had been made, poured, and consumed, SIL Kelli decided we needed to hit the park. Between the moments of deciding to leave and actually leaving, I got cold in this house, so I sat my butt out on the back deck, in the lovely sunshine. Then we went to the park, with snacks for the boys, and two blankets for the ground, and camp chairs for up to five people.

At some point in the day in the park, Kelli was urged to go visit Whole Paycheck again for some important things that had been missed earlier, so I went with her, and we left all the testosterone at the park! #EstrogenPower #YeahBaby So we had not a Costco #WalkingSamplingLunch, but it was a #WalkingSamplingLunch, nonetheless.

When we'd killed plenty of time, the navigator took us around both of our asses to get back to BIL (Bill)'s elbow in the park, because frankly, there were road closures and detours the navigator was unaware of, so we essentially got lost. Da Boyz was gettin' hangry... talkin' about takin' an Uber home (even though WE had the carseat in our vehicle for the youngest, so no, not really).

Got back to the park; everyone munched on the newly-brought munchies, and we chilled out until it got too hot to do so. Came back to the house; Kelli cooked up a fab dinner after many peoples napped; we walked around a local trail after dinner.

The boys are all in bed; the adults are hangin' out in the living room; we had time to watch & discuss Fragile Storm; we're off to bed at a reasonableish hour again tonight. Tomorrow's a new day, kids!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Travel Travel Travel, Part The First

We flew outta Burbank this morning at 8:30, after a lovely Lyft ride with our driver, Aspet. The hop over to Oakland was just short enough to disallow any kind of napping. The layover was just long enough to make hopping off the plane for a short stroll through the airport a necessity.

Here's the thing: the temperature in Burbank, upon leaving, was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 70º - 75º. In Oakland an hour or so later, it was 55º. I SHIT YOU NOT. We lost 20º in an hour! The reason it's hard for me to fathom this is two-fold.

  1. The other day, in an hour driving towards the set I was on, my external temperature went up 10º.
  2. My BIL, Bill, had informed us we'd be arriving in Boise to #HotAsHell temperatures, much like those we'd be leaving in Burbank.
55º is fucking COLD, y'all.

So we were happy to continue on to Boise. Our second leg of the trip was full; we had someone aboard with a peanut allergy, so no peanuts served. Since I hadn't napped on the first short leg, I opted for coffee on the second leg. We arrived in Boise at Gate B-17, which gave me a good earworm to take me to the welcome party. (Almost no one I encounter anymore is even remotely familiar with the tune; those who did recognize it when I was singing it "remembered" it being sung originally by a man, like BJ Thomas, maybe?)

Bill brought the two older nephews who knew and remembered me and were my primary reason for this visit; we stood in the terminal and #HUGGEDhuggedHUGGED. SIL Kelli was at home with the youngest nephew who'd met Uncle Stephen but hadn't yet met me. I rode in the Suicide Seat for the drive to lunch and "home", between the nephews, in the back seat. We had a good time, catching up and stuff.

When we got to the house, the boys and I came inside; Stephen and Bill went to visit with their mom, who doesn't do well with too many people. Kelli was putting youngest son down for a nap, so I basically explained the entire film industry to the older two. #AspiringAuteurs #InquiringMindsWantToKnow #IfOnlyTheyWereOldEnoughToReadMyBlog! #ArchivePerusalAnyone?

Kelli came downstairs, and about the time that the menfolk returned, youngest child was awaking. So we discussed "activity" options, and all of us came to the conclusion that investigating the new local ice cream shop was the best option... and because my entire life mantra is "if dessert is worth eating, it's worth eating first", we did exactly that... making ME a #Hero, and leaving us not particularly hungry for "dinner", even after a nice little walk nearish to the zoo, and next to the river-on-which-we-will-likely-be-floating in the next day or so.

So we came back to the house after a not-so-quick stop at Whole Paycheck, and Bill made popcorn, and anyone who was hungry for more than popcorn fended for him/herself. There's been so much visiting and catching up going on, I'm cool with "activities", but I'm also cool with "jus' chillin' with the fam"...

The youngest took a little while to warm up to me, the only stranger in the house. He just now came looking for me and Stephen to say good night to, and although he's not quite ready for hugs and kisses, my logic that "good night needs at least a high-five" seemed reasonable to him.

So. Day One. Successful in-law visit Day One. G'nite high fives for everyone!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I AM a Money Magnet!

ThankYouThankYouThankYou!

I've been blessed to book three days of work this week! #ThreeGoodThings:

  1. Tuesday night, I worked on a popular (?) television show, booked as a rush call replacement for someone who called out. All I can really say is, 8 hours of pay for 5 hours of work, excellent treatment by a great crew and cast, fun shoot that I was able to WALK to (Yes, I got my steps in that day)! #Fun
  2. Yesterday, I worked on the US unit of a feature film that had completed its filming in Ireland. It was waaaaaaaay far away, and the producers/ADs/PAs really didn't seem to know the normal workflow processes for wrangling background, so there were some miscommunications. Nothing major, though, and even though I sustained an injury, there was a set medic hired, who treated me immediately with ice, ibuprofen, and respect. We did the appropriate paperwork to add to the production report, and in spite of it all, I was able to work through the eight hours and got recalled for today! #Fat$
  3. Today, I get to return to the same disorganized set, but since my character is "matching" yesterday's work, I don't have to lug any excess stuff (clothing, props, distractions). We're shooting in a remote facility that has no wi-fi, so my downtime will be spent chilling with the others who've been recalled, free of electronics. I've got some penpals who deserve a letter; maybe I'll take some of that with me. #Fulfilling
And Then TOMORROW, Stephen and I are travelling to Boise, Idaho, to hang with his brother, SIL, and the nephews. There will likely be one visit to his mom; that will be sad for whomever does that (she's not got Alzheimer's, but she really doesn't seem to remember anyone anymore).

It's only a four-day trip, so it'll be very different from my three weeks with Daddy. I intend to blog it anyway. I've missed you kids. Have you missed me? ;)