Of late, I have been dealing with a mouse problem in my apartment. Every now and then I see one racing across the kitchen floor from the basement toward whatever secret portal they have carved out underneath my sink. This leaves me reluctant to enter my kitchen, supposing that the mouse is now lying in wait for my feet to appear specifically so it can race across my toes.

Last time this happened I found that I could not walk back into the kitchen without scanning floor, walls and ceiling for suspect movement. I do not actually think the mice can scale smooth walls, my mind just couldn’t cope with all the space flagged “unknown” just above my head. Every time I tried to walk back in, it’s like I could feel my skin recoiling in an effort to drag me back the other way.

I’m not sure what I was expecting. Mice rappelling from the ceiling? Possibly an enormous spider wielding a mouse?

I think this actually started near the end of August. I recall finding a bag of Skillet’s dog food with the corner chewed away – so I started storing it in a plastic bin and assumed that would be that. But now it very cold and there are trails of mouse smell leading them right back to my basement. I live in a fairly old building, so the basement “walls” are essentially stacked rocks covered with crumbling plaster. I can’t imagine this provides much of a barrier to any small creatures wishing to gain entrance.

At least it’s not fruit flies. There was a period last summer where every piece of fruit I purchased managed to rot and erupt into a cloud of fruit flies within 24 hours. While perhaps not as potentially hazardous in terms of disease as mice are, they were certainly more present. Just a constant source of aggravation hanging out at the entrance to my kitchen.

We have already had apartment maintenance here to address the problem. They gave us a bunch of traps and poison to set out, and said it would be a good idea to leave the poison out indefinitely – mice are a thing you just have to deal with in an old building due to random gaps in floorboards and whatnot. Also, they replaced our garbage disposal, which had been leaking. This provided a small drinking pond under the sink for the mice to enjoy. Leaking water is apparently just as much of a draw to mice as open food.

Given the plague-like nature of my recent woes, I would just like to put this out there: If you are a gypsy, and I have somehow offended you or a favorite son or daughter of your clan, I would like to formally apologize. I assure you that any slight to your bloodline was wholly unintentional.

Should your scrying reveal this post to you, please do hit me back and we can talk this out. It ain’t gotta be this way.

Status Update

So, I had a job interview recently at this place: Netsmart. It is possible that I applied at this place just because I feel the name settles in nicely with the likes of TruSecure and Cybertrust, which are company names already on my resume. If I get hired there, it will be like I have collected a set of something, like a trilogy. Or an evolved pokemon.

In related news, I am no longer working at Cisco. I was unhired due to the recent workforce restructuring. Not to worry though, the job offers are already rolling in.

I freaked out for about five minutes when I got an email from my boss saying she happened to be in town and wanted to take the opportunity for a face to face meeting – historically this is the sort of thing which precedes a firin’.

I didn’t really feel much loss connected with leaving the job itself, and I have to wonder if that has to do with the way I worked. I did not go to an office very often, as Cisco is good enough to allow employees the option to work from home. Pretty much all interaction with my co-workers was via email and chat. So not a whole lot has been different, except I have 10-12 hours a day free that I did not before. I have become quite skilled at Starcraft. And by skilled, I mean competent. I’m not ready for the Korean league or anything.

Also, a fat severance package has a somewhat calming effect on the nerves.

I saw a couple of articles like this one encouraging former employees not to sign the general release required for the severance package:

” . . . the severance amount may not be sufficiently paying you for what you are releasing. Consider the resources, the lack of work life balance, the time you have dedicated to Cisco. Is the severance fair?”

Maybe I should have sued?

What would I even do for a year in Canada?

No, probably not.

While there was often a lack of work/life balance, I imagine there was at least a chance that I could have alleviated that had I bothered looking for another job. I doubt being too lazy to explore career alternatives is reasonable grounds for a lawsuit.

Anyway, job searching is on hold for the week for jury duty, since a job interview is not a valid reason to miss a day. That seems reasonable if you have already been selected for a case, but thus far I have just been taking up space in the jury pool. So, instead of going to a job interview this morning, I watched half of a shitty movie that kinda looked like a remake of The Great Outdoors. It had Adam Sandler and the fat guy from King of Queens in it.

My old phone contract went away with my old job. This required a new number and fresh 2 year commitment to Verizon. It also provided me with an opportunity to snag a new phone. However, any phone that looks even a little bit like it might have a touch screen requires a data plan at this point – except this one:

Everyone seems to hate this phone – and as it was originally marketed, that’s totally understandable. It’s a phone with no apps or other significant smartphone features, but they tried to attach the same data plan required for say, a Droid. It was billed as a smartphone for teens, and so was not supposed to need all the apps. It was instead meant to integrate with social sites, such that you would more often be checking your friends’ Facebook status and uploading pictures with this phone, rather than texting or calling people.

I would not have paid $150 plus data plan for this phone. It did seem to be a pretty excellent deal at $0 and no data plan, so I think they have found the sweet spot, pricewise. And the phone itself has a decent amount of hardware features, it’s just that they are not used for anything in particular. It has wi-fi, which was the biggest reason for getting it. It also has a GPS chip (used for geotagging in one iteration of the OS). Here are the full specs, if anyone is interested: KIN Hardware Specs.

So, it’s like they’re basically expecting you to install a new OS on it, right?

My car got mugged.

Saturday afternoon I walked outside and discovered my car sitting amidst the glittering confetti of its own busted window. Apparently someone saw that I had a couple of phone chargers and an auxiliary cable plugged into the dash and simply couldn’t resist such a bounty.

I console myself with the knowledge that the cracked out fuckwit that stole my stuff was probably unable to sell it for much, and still had to blow some dude in an alley to support his habit. Fingers crossed that he also had to to endure the ordeal with a bunch of safety glass embedded in hands.