23 December 2006

So so funny!

When we bought our house back in May the house still had Christmas lights up, and we were so busy we didn't get around to taking them down. It jsut wasn't a priority.

We put it off for months, and even joked about doing it right before Christmas and here we are, two days until, the entire neighbourhood decked out with lights, plastic reindeer, Nativity scenes, and there's Tannah on the ladder: he ripped them all down in about five minutes. No, he didn't take them down, he destroyed them, literally ripping and cutting them from where they hung on the house. It was hilarious, people actually slowed down and gawked as they drove by. They must all think we're anti-holiday.

20 December 2006

Having fun but it's a tower.

So close to holidays, I've completely lost motivation. Most of the shopping is done, it's cold, the Palms has Christmas-themed decorations up and when we go into the food court for lunch it just feels...laid-back. And what makes it worse is that after the New Year, we'll probably go to 10-hour days...I'm just not a fan of working more than a 40 hour week. That's okay though. I should just stay in the moment.

One thing that sucks about towers is it is extremely repetative. There aren't any changes except perhaps the last floor or so, where the suites are. There are pretty good snags starting out, the first few floors, and then nothing but going off memory for the rest. It gets to the point you don't even need the prints, actually. I already have layout down. Just some of the roping I forget. But it's all there in the Bible.

We're having serious issues now, trying to catch up. We still aren't of the 8th floor...and that's the one we started on. Back in the 13th. And we're supposed to done with a floor a week. Part of it is that no one is following a set of rules. It's all being roped differently, and I came up with a method to mount the boxes for the bathtubs quite awhile ago...however, it's a little awkward, and no one wanted to do it that way. So they did it their own ways, and one day we came in to work and all but mine were torn out, and had to be redone. It interfered with the plumbing. I mean, if we had something to keep it all uniform, it would go much more smoothly. Maybe everyone just needs time to adapt. After all, I've never come in at the begining of a tower. Maybe this is just how it is.

17 December 2006

Pretty cool deal here.

So, it's been a week. Sharkey is a great journeyman. He teaches, he's patient, and he's fun to be around. I missed that so much. There's nothing better than being able to laugh on the job. It makes life great. Our foreman's name is Trevor. We swear he's a tweaker, he's like a little hummingbird: flitting from place to place, talking so fast he actually stumbles over his own words. He keeps making us aware he just started as foreman, so that when we have a question he can't answer, we just know we should try to wing it. The thing is, though, that so many of our crew aren't doing anything, at all. They just kind of stare listlessly and wonder.

The crew is divided into teams, each team to a room. The main problem was that we had no suitable prints. There were tags on the floor, and all the boxes laid out, but no elevations. Or direction as to which boxes would be connected together. Some boxes weren't present at all, and we didn't know if just ours were missing, or it had been deleted, or...

Very frustrating. However Sharkey stood back and looked objectively, and tackled one thing at a time. We actually went through it logically, and got quite a bit done, except for questioning the missing boxes and some connections. The layout foreman, James, seemed pretty impressed and bestowed upon Sharkey and me his "Bible"...the complete prints and layout plans. It showed us everything we needed. And finally, we could really get on it. (It turns out that Trevor was supposed to give everyone on the crew a Bible, but he hadn't gotten to it yet. He's nice but kind of spacy.) So James was helpful, and he was also patient with me, taking time to explain things to be separately so that I'd actually know what I was doing, instead of just imitating my journeyman. I really like him.

It turns out that, also on site, are Wes Wynn and Dan Gouker. I worked with Wes at Red Rock, and Dan used to be the director of the JATC. They're both good to me. I love coming to a new jobsite and actually knowing people. So things are great, I'm happy at this job...I mean, it is a tower but I'm liking the people so much, it's worth it. Unfortunately I missed a class last month and had to leave early to make it up...I'm sure that looks great to the foreman. But Marcel left too, so maybe it'll be overlooked. I'll just have to bust ass to make it up.

15 December 2006

Nothing pisses me off quicker...

...than intolerance. I sent an e-mail a month or so ago that was really a news article. (I posted it on the blog dated 18 November.) Basically, it was talking about how Wiccans are denied a pentacle on their tombstone when buried at veterans' cemeteries. Atheists, Hindus, Christians, everyone but Wiccans. So, being that this nation purports to uphold freedom of religion, I sent the article and info on how to be involved to have it changed to a few people. Mostly family but some friends too. And I got a reply back basically saying that it doesn't matter, their rights, because they're all going to burn in Hell anyway.

There's so much wrong with that, too much to even go into fully. I can't stand such ignorant hatred, and in the name of Christ...

13 December 2006

Now at the Palms.

It's almost funny, I can hardly keep track of where I've worked recently. But that's fine, it could be worse. I could be unemployed, waiting for the Committee to get involved.

So anyway, I got the notice to appear at the Palms...I can't express how elated I am. The Paris job was awful. It didn't have to be; I liked most of the people I was working with. I couldn't stand Bombay, the arrogant fool that he is, and I further hated that I was the only one chipping concrete on a daily basis. Breathing in the marble and concrete dust too, and the black mold particles, definitely didn't help. So when Tito told me I was being transferred, I couldn't help but smile for the rest of the day, and...well, I have quite the rude streak in me, so I did my best to irritate Bombay at every chance presented to me. I was talking to another apprentice about meeting up at the Palms today and he told me to get my shit and leave. I didn't even acknowledge him. I kept talking, knowing there wasn't a damn thing he could do. He just stood there, staring at me. As soon as he turned away, I began getting my tools together, and that's when he stood behind me, likely watching to see if I took any company tools with me. I let him watch me but I went so slowly, inspecting each tool and sighing repeatedly. Is it wrong I had so much fun?

Three of us got transferred to the Palms: an apprentice named Jorge, a journeyman named John (but he goes by Sharkey), and me. Oddly enough, Sharkey and I went to middle school together. We didnt know each other, as we had different circles of friends, but I remember the name. It turns out Jorge went to the deck crew, and Sharkey and I went to the rough-in crew. He seems pretty okay as a journeyman; we'll see, I guess.

When I got onsite, I was ready for my drug test. I'd had like two cups of tea and a bottle of water before leaving the house, so by the time I arrived to the orientation area, I was ready to go. I mean, ready. All three of us waited for a good 20 minutes before a few workers (who had already started on their work day) told us we had to meet at the trailer. I love when transfer slips are outdated...at least I wasn't the only one. So, another half hour outside the trailer, and no one could find the keys. I was really hurting at that time but knew if I alleviated some bladder pressure I wouldn't be able to properly take the drug test. I wound up waiting another hour, through the entire orientation meeting, before I asked when we were getting tested, and it turns out this site doesn't do drug testing. I could have cried. Really.

12 December 2006

Meh...feeling blank.

December this year is pretty stressful. Last year things were so incredibly fucked up that this year, both Tannah and I keep thinking this is our first Christmas as a married couple...insane, isn't it? It is our first christmas in this house, so maybe that's contributing. Just...I know we're spending way too much, in years past we could really go all-out for gifts and this year we can't. I'm not working time, we have way more bills (including medical which I still haven't paid!) and also, I see baby toys and stuff and think of Gabriel. It's aggravating.

Possies because I need them:
1. Thai tea
2. Taro tea
3. Tannah's patience
4. Our doggy
5. Got transferred today
6. God
7. Logan...even though he can be an ass he listens
8. Friends who understand me (and accept me too)
9. My family
10. I got a raise

10 December 2006


I got this, and just this, in an e-mail from Logan:



I mean really...I can honestly say either someone got into his account or he's been smoking something interesting.

In other news, we saw TSO tonight, my tiniest sister's first "grown-up" concert. (She saw the Wiggles and stuff a few years ago.) As always, very Christian, and it puts me in a proper mood for Christmas. We were lucky to have Anna Phoebe again, I was really happy about that too. This year Adam came with us, and he really liked it, though it was at the Orleans and not at the Aladdin, because the Aladdin (having far-superiour acoustics) is being remodeled to the Planet Hollywood. And yes, we did go to Geisha House, the one we always go to, and it was nice. They changed the ambiance so it was...not the same. But not bad.

07 December 2006

Good sentiment.

Totally copied from a friend, who I'm not sure wants to be credited with this or not:

"If after watching the news and reading the papers, learning about children starving to death or being beaten by their own parents; wives and husbands being abused by their own spouses and turning against each other, using their children as pawns; boys and girls being forced into prostitution and overlooked as our society wishes to pretend it "doesn't happen here;" people losing their jobs over what they write in their journals and for what church they do - or do not - go to; children killing children and selling drugs to elementary school students; kids having sex at younger and younger ages, WANTING to get pregnant at 12, 13, 14, and thinking it's okay to wear skirts that show their rear ends and pants that hang down to their knees; parents who think children with mental illnesses should "just get over it" and don't care if they're out until 2 in the morning doing God-knows-what; and the entire world focused on lies and deception as well as crying out to each other that we just don't care about anyone except for us, you still believe that the problem that is the worst in this world is what parts happen to be in the pants - or skirt - of two consenting adults in a loving and consenting relationship, you, my friend, are part of one of the world's biggest problem, and as long as you live, you will never find a solution."

Rock on.

06 December 2006


Aïssata, 22 ans, a subi un mariage forcé au Mali il y a trois ans. Elle a fui le pays pour revenir en France avec ses deux enfants afin d’échapper à une vie qu’elle n’a pas choisie.

«Mes parents m’ont gâché la vie». C’était il y a trois ans. Ses parents l’ont envoyée au Mali pour passer des vacances alors que son propre mariage l’attendait.

Comment ça s’est réellement passé ?
J’avais 18 ans, je voulais être comme toutes les jeunes filles de mon âge. Mes parents étaient trop sévères. D’autant plus sévères après le jour où ma grande soeur a ramené une grossesse à la maison. Nous sommes musulmans et avoir des enfants en dehors du mariage est une honte pour la famille. Mes parents n’ont jamais pardonné à ma sœur. Pour éviter tout affront, mes parents lui ont présenté un homme, un homme beaucoup plus vieux qu’elle qui voulait se marier. Ma mère disait que l’homme allait bien s’occuper d’elle et de l’enfant. Ma sœur a fini par accepter car elle était enceinte et seule. Elle n’a jamais été heureuse. Depuis ce moment, c’est devenu insupportable pour moi. Il fallait mentir à chaque fois pour sortir. Je leur je disais que j’allais chez ma cousine alors que j’allais voir mon petit ami. Un jour ils ont su la vérité.

Et ensuite ?
Mes parents m’ont envoyé en vacances au fin fond du Mali dans leur village appelé Mopti. C’était la première fois que j’allais au Mali. C’était difficile pour moi au début mais je me suis fait des nouvelles amies. Vers la fin des vacances, j’ai cherché mes
papiers et mon passeport partout, je commençais à paniquer. Mes parents avaient tout prévu. C’était un coup monté. Je vivais loin de la capitale, Bamako, il m’était impossible de fuir. Mon cousin me surveillait tout le temps. Quelques jours après, une dame et un homme étaient venus voir ma grand-mère et mon oncle pour demander ma main. Un homme de 35 ans déjà marié et trois enfants. Ma grand-mère me dit que je lui plaisais et qu’il aimerait m’épouser. «Tu verras, c’est un homme de bonne famille, il est PDG d’une entreprise, tu seras heureuse avec lui. Tu vivras comme en Europe» disaitt-elle. J’ai tout fait pour éviter ce mariage, mais toute ma famille était contre moi. C’était un mariage forcé. Un mois plus tard, je me suis mariée et j'ai emménagé chez lui. J’avais ma maison et... ma coépouse aussi. Mon mari venait me voir assez souvent au début puis c’était deux fois par semaine.

Quelle était la relation avec vos parents, après ce mariage ?
Je suis la deuxième femme de mon mari et je n’étais pas heureuse avec lui. Mes parents ne m’avaient jamais soutenue. Quand je racontais mes problèmes de couple à ma mère, elle me disait que c’était la meilleure chose qui m'était arrivée et que je menais une vie de dévergondée en France. Elle ne savait pas à quel point j’étais malheureuse. Elle me disait que mon mari avait de l’argent et que c’était un homme mûr et qu’il s’occuperait bien de moi. Pour ma mère, une femme devait obéir à son mari, quel que soit le problème elle devait toujours le satisfaire. Je n’avais pas mon mot à dire. Mes parents disent que mon mari m’avait changé la vie. Ils étaient contents pour moi, malgré ma souffrance, je ne leur disais plus rien. J’attendais juste un miracle. Ils voulaient toujours contrôler la vie de leurs enfants. J’aime mes enfants, et une chose est sûre, je ne leur ferais jamais une chose pareille.

Comment avez-vous fait pour revenir en France?
Mes parents m’ont gâché la vie en me forçant à me marier avec un homme que je n’aime pas. Pour eux, le bonheur s’arrête à ça, même si je ne suis pas heureuse dans mon foyer, ce n’est pas n’important, du moment que j’ai la santé et les enfants, et un homme aisé, cela leur convient.

Un jour la femme de mon oncle est venue me remettre mes papiers en prétendant qu’elle les avait retrouvés. C’était le plusbeau jour de ma vie. J’attendais cela depuis tellement longtemps. J’ai prévenu une amie, qui est la maîtresse d’un ami de mon mari, nous sommes très proche. Elle vit à Bamako et vient de temps en temps chez son copain à Mopti. Elle est venue nous chercher quelques jours après, tard dans la nuit. Elle a beaucoup de connaissances au consulat de France à Bamako. J’ai pu refaire un nouveau passeport avec mes enfants dessus. Au bout de deux semaines, nous sommes revenus à Paris. Je vis pour le moment chez ma sœur à Bondy. Mes parents ne nous adressent plus la parole, ma sœur n’a jamais été d’accord avec eux. Mon mari a voulu me reprendre les enfants, je suis allée voir l’assistante sociale. Lui et mes parents ne peuvent plus rien me faire. Nous sommes dans un pays de loi. J'ai trouvé un travail il y a un mois en tant que vendeuse dans un magasin de prêt-à-porter, je ne gagne pas des millions, mais au moins je ne dois rien à personne.

(par Essi Gnaglom)

05 December 2006

Work-related death.

Today a guy at a construction site died, a labourer hauling concrete. I didn't witness it but either he stumbled or someone bumped him and he fell five stories near the elevator shaft. And aside from thinking about those horrific moments of fear he must have had I can't help thinking about the little things, I guess. Who had to call his wife? Who had to gather up his tools and lunchbox? Who went through his wallet for ID? And it's sad. No one goes to work thinking they won't come home at night.

And it happened at 11h00...what was I doing then? I was thinking of calling my doc at lunchtime and deciding whether or not to go to the Mexican market after work for some chorizo and queso fresco. We all get these ideas about, "Later I'll do this..." I'm sure he had those thoughts too, but he never got to do any of them. Maybe he had plans this weekend. Maybe he was working an extra shift for the holidays coming up.

I don't know why I torture myself thinking like this, but it's the normal, mundane stuff that gets me. I remember getting off work at 14h30, thinking that his wife might not even know yet. OSHA hadn't arrived, and the coroner takes so long....


I hate that I used to work in a mortuary and think of this stupid crap. Sorry it's kind of icky, just everytime a guy at work dies it kind of gets to me.

03 December 2006

St. Andrews Night

St. Andrews' is traditionally celebrated in Scotland on 30 November, but that was a Thursday, and Adam's birthday was Friday, and then we went out with him Saturday...so I had my family over on Sunday.

Bastille Day is far easier to prepare for: I don't know if just French food is more prevelant here or what, but I was having such a hard time finding recipes I could make with foods and ingredients found here. There's plenty of recipes for soup, but my dad tends to think of soup as an appetizer, rather than a meal in itself. Therefore I made steak with Drambuie sauce. I think Drambuie is perhaps the most awesome alcoholic beverage, ever. The Scots certainly know how to do it right.

I was nervous, as I always am when trying a new recipe, and I think the Drambuie sauce needed a bit more cream perhaps, but my family did enjoy it. I also played them a version of "Scotland the Brave", and explained to my sister the signifigance of that song, and how St. Andrews Night relates to her (our) heritage. I can't tell if she didn't quite understand what I meant, or if she just was more interested in other things to care. After all, she is only six.

It felt good, honouring the Scottish aspect of my culture, especially after the talk I had with my dad. I felt really liberated in so many ways. I told them about Edinburgh Castle and being awestruck at viewing the Royal Honours, and reminiscing with Tannah on the wynds and pipers and the kilt factory, and the lovely honey-scented yoghurt...

My family wants to go , now, to Scotland. I hope they do. I can't wait to show them around. :)

02 December 2006

O, hark! Birthday joy cometh.

We did Adam's birthday (family-wise) on the actual date, Friday. It was great, because my family came and got to have really awesome homemade Korean food: Bulgogi, kalbi, chicken, rice (of course), mandu, crab cakes...I love it. So did everyone, Tannah's mom is just such a good cook. Saturday we were supposed to go out (friends-wise) to Hofbräu Haus but Helix (!!!) was renting it out for a company party. Damn Helix. So we went to the Pink Taco at the Hard Rock instead. Way too trendy, way too expensive. I give it an "F", unless you're single and think Mexican food is a good way to get yourself laid. Decent cocktails, however.