i'm so tired of being here

It really shouldn't be possible, how much anger I still have. But every single day there is something to remind me of you and what you've done to my life. I wish you could look in the mirror every once in a while and feel guilt, and I'm angry and ashamed I have such ignoble feelings. If you've said to yourself "it wasn't so bad - I didn't really mean it and she's probably getting along fine" I want you to know you're dead wrong.

Dead wrong.


there's straw for the donkeys

But not for me.

Listen, Employer:

I know legalese can be hard to understand at times. But the Federal and State laws regarding overtime for non-exempt employees is really very clear. A child could understand them. Here it is:

"no employer in the commonwealth shall employ any of his employees in an occupation, as defined in section two, for a work week longer than forty hours, unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of forty hours at a rate not less than one and one half times the regular rate at which he is employed"

Easy, right? For each 40-hour workweek, if I work more than 40 hours, I am paid overtime for those hours in excess of FORTY.

Here is what my Employer did for a year:

All employees are salaried and there is no overtime - meaning not only is there no 1.5 time compensation, but you are not paid AT ALL for hours in excess of 40. OK. BUT this was only true when they benefited. If you did NOT work forty hours - let's say you had to go to the doctor's and it took two hours - you were docked pay for every hour you were out of the office. If you had no sick time left (out of the five days a year you were given) then you were out of luck and not paid.

So: salaried employee when it works to their benefit, hourly employee when it works to their benefit.

Finally an attorney straightened them out on the exempt/non-exempt thing. The attorney also attempted to explain overtime. But since the Employer pays every two weeks, they decided that if you worked 39 hours in one week and 41 hours the next week, that canceled the overtime out.


And no, I'm not just griping. I have been actively seeking another job for some time. I continue to do so. But this is frustrating. After a year I still have not received the promised raise (no explanation at all on that one) and am still not being paid correctly. Just grrr.


a little place in Aspen

Well, we made it through the high-pressure sales pitch. I only went because I wanted my $20 back...they made me give them $20 when I checked in, and I had to attend and listen to them drone on and on to get it back. There was breakfast, of course, but on my swing through the line there were no eggs or home-fried potatoes, and the eggs were long in ever showing up. Still, we were fed.

Then came the sales pitch, this time given by a poor gal with a heavy Latin accent - I had to constantly say "what?" because that, combined with the background music and general sound of sales clamor (and my deaf ear) made it nearly impossible for me to understand anything she said. Then the tour, to see the great FIVE-bedroom unit. Me, and my son. I've already made it clear that this is my entire vacationing family, and I'm not planning to add to it. Plus, I don't even have the salary requirement to even be considered a time-share owner. Yet they are determined to find a way.

After the tour, the real sales guy shows up and he and our Latina start their thing. It really is a "thing," I'm quite sure it's scripted, as the tour-guide-level gal/guy looks baffled that the big sales guy/gal is able to give us SUCH A DEAL. Looking at the numbers, however, it really kind of IS a deal...gah! run! they've put something in the foooooooooood!!!

I escaped, as I have every other year, without surrendering a cent to the sales guy. This year, I actually was given $60 in cash for listening (plus my original $20), which pretty much made it worth it (in my opinion; I don't think the Boy feels quite the same...yet: I'll split it with him...well, $40-$20 anyway...I should get more because they weren't pressuring HIM and, after all, he didn't start pitching a fit when I asked him to so we could bust out early.)


some fruity little drink

There is only one answer to dealing with fourth-grade homework and a fourth-grader whining about it, and that answer rhymes with "frisky."



massachusetts: determined to tax you one way or another

So...my good friend Steve gave me a car. Yes, gave - as in free, gratis, no cost, not a sale. Thus, according to every law regarding sales tax, the value of this car is not taxable because I did not buy it. My good friend wanted to give me this car.

In case you're not aware of how sales tax works here in Massachusetts, you can "buy" a car for $1.00 and have to pay 5% sales tax on whatever the Commonwealth declares the car is actually worth. So, if you buy a 1988 p.o.s. that smells like old liverwurst and has rust through the floor and if MA says that car is worth $1,000 you're gonna pay $50 in sales tax.

Even rabid tax-drooling lawmakers know that a gift is a gift and you can't assess sales tax on the value of the item given; if they could do that, Massachusetts would soon be taxing those wonderful art projects your kid brings home from school on Mother's and Father's Day (oh wait; they are! Let's see, little Johnny's coffee-can pencil holder is worth...$200! Please fork over $10 in taxes immediately, payable to your school.) Anyway, they know they can't tax a gift, and it drives them insane. How, oh how, to feel better and get something for nothing???

I know! A fee! We'll institute a fee on every car given as a gift - but only if they register it! That way, we're not actually taxing the gift, but just adding a fee at registration. If you don't register the car, you'll never pay it! Sure, that makes us feel better!

It's true. In order to register this gift car, I have to pay a $25 - and this is verbatim - "Sales Tax Exemption Fee for Gift."

In order to NOT have to pay sales tax, I have to pay a "fee."

This can also be stated as: because Massachusetts can't find a legal way to tax me for this car, they're going to assess me a fee that will replace the sales tax. True, the fee is less than the sales tax would be (I think - the gift car is a 1994 Ford Escort with 109K+ miles on it) but it is, essentially, JUST ANOTHER TAX.

I hate Massachusetts sometimes. I really do. I cannot wait to leave, which will happen when my son leaves home. Until that time, I have to stay here because of custody issues. Or I would be planning my escape right now, instead of just dreaming about it nine years down the road.


california smarts

"California courts have held that under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children."

Read the stories? Here it is in a nutshell: stemming from a single case where a child was possibly being abused (one of eight siblings filed a complaint), California DCFS tried to get a judge to rule that all eight kids had to go to public school so that teachers might be able to spot signs of abuse. A juvenile court ruled, however, that the parents had a constitutional right to home school their children. The DCFS appealed and the case landed in appellate court...where the above ruling was handed down. Basically, the parents of 200,000 homeschooled children in CA face penalty and criminal action, unless they obtain teaching degrees (and, if their child is in middle or high school, teaching credentials in EVERY subject.)

Are we still living in America? Of course, public school teachers are applauding this decision, and we're hearing things like "whether home schooled children are receiving a quality education at home is not the issue; these children need to be socialized with their peers" and similar nonsense. Or, shall I say, CRAP. Is school the only place children are socialized? I think not. Libraries, playgrounds, sports, arts and crafts activities, camps, FRIENDS...all these provide socialization.

Get out of my house, Government. Unless I'm neglecting or abusing my child, stay out. Stay out of my bedroom too. Stay out of my church. Stay out of my car, for heaven's sake!