billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
Although I'm sequeing out of the HR liaison role at work (glacially slowly), or at least becoming the oversight team leader for our newly formed group of three that will be handling HR administrivia, I get sucked into the issues that keep on happening in our little custodian group.

It's a doomed situation.

For years, the theatre tagged off the Physical Plant pool of custodians, in which we were charged a flat rate per year, which included all the supplies for the theatre. Back then it was only about $65,000 a year. The custodians (who I never ever met) worked nights, cleaning up after theatre events, occasionally giving the offices a trash emptying, that kind of thing. Decisions were made that since we weren't able to schedule these employees ourselves, we really needed to have our own custodial staff. I was skeptical, as the numbers guy.

That's where the trouble started. This must have been about 2007 when we made the switch.

Every staff custodian we've hired has been an utter failure, with lots of drama involved. We've been through five full time so far, each with a rasher of bizarreness (is that a word?) culminating in their eventually having to leave. None have been fired, but should have. Of course, the pay is abysmally low. $10 per hour plus (theoretical) university benefits. But why can't we hire someone stable?

We add student custodians in the mix, but in general, those have all been quiet hires and not much happens in that group of people.

This past year, we created a Lead Custodian position, paying a couple dollars more per hour, and having supervisor skill sets needed.

Yesterday, I got a call from our admin assistant after I left work, a voice mail actually. Rachel wanted to fill me in on a situation that occurred there yesterday afternoon. I didn't catch the call until about 5:30, but she told me what was up. It wasn't what I thought (there was a developing issue that morning between our operations manager and the assistant tech person I figured has blown up again).

About 4:30, 4 UNM police showed up and asked for Scott Palmer, our lead custodian. The escorted him (with or without handcuffs, I don't know), down to our development officer's work area and grilled him about an issue. From what I understand, he was taking some class or other and a handwriting analysis was involved. His writing sample has some incendiary language in it, referencing his military background from long ago. Whatever it was, freaked his professor out and she filed a complaint.

After that, he was escorted out of the building by two of the UNM police and the others held back to give a small briefing to Rachel. Scott's supervisor, Billy, was called.

So we don't know if we have a lead custodian right now. The 3/4 time custodian we had for two months quit on Feb 7. Two of the student custodians that were hired never even started working; they found other jobs somewhere else. It's a mess.

Scott's hire history with us has been a mess in itself, although he's been a reliable, hard-worker for over two years. Originally, he was hired in as a student. When he dropped a class, putting him below 6 credit hours, we had to scramble and found out he could be hired as a UNM Temp. He was paid that way for 6 months, but you can only temp 6 months before other arrangements have to happen. We rehired him as a student, since he had enough credit hours that semester (the guys is in his 50s, btw), but after two months, student employment suddenly terminated him--when I was on vacation, my sub entered 32.1 hours for one week in his pay time entry, putting him over the maximum a student can work. There was no recourse. We scrambled again and after a time got him back on as a Temp, although there were TWO months where we had to pay him through our Stage Labor contract as an independent contractor. THAT could have been weird.

After that last Temp position was ending, we decided to create the Lead Custodian position to fix the inequity situation that was created when two equal custodial staff hires were on, but one had scheduling duties with no pay difference. Then the shit hit the fan. We found out that Scott had a criminal record that went back years ago. There was a huge hoohaw over getting him hired into the LC position, with another background check. His supervisor Billy insisted that we hire him though. Again, over the nearly three month gap before he was hired as staff, he was paid through the Stage Services contract (which doesn't really have custodial authority).

I just can't wait to go into work to face what's going on in today's staff dramas. We have the Wilson Phillips concert tonight and Mark Twain Tonight! with Hal Holbrook tomorrow night and potentially a patched together custodial crew if Scott has been terminated or put on suspension outside of our control.

Oh, and now our custodial costs all told are over $120,000 a year.
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
I guess this is Phase 3 of our long-term remodel of the house.

Phase 1 started in 2004 when Danny and I redid the downstairs ourselves, plowing through our learning curve. Lots of electrical, drywalling, tiling, cabinet installing, but when that part was done over the course of a couple of years, we were generally pleased with our efforts. A few things, done by 'contractors' were awful, like the conversion of the carport to a garage and adding a deck. Both need to be redone.

Phase 2 was from October 2008 for about 4 months, starting with Danny completely gutting the kitchen--in effect, every square inch of the upstairs has something done to it. Most of the upstairs work was done by hired contractors, and except for a bunch of plumbing issues, the results were quite nice. But of course, we were both so over the process by the time we finally moved back into our bedroom and the rest of the upstairs in late Feb 2009, all the little unfinished things stayed unfinished.

Phase 3 isn't so much remodeling, but doing a lot of deferred maintenance things to ready this white elephant of a house to put on the market. New gutters, new shingles on the roof, replacing the badly made deck, fixing the roof in the garage, scraping and repainting all the trim (again). A whole bunch of small projects that will end up costing a bunch, but will be needed for a quicker sale.

Jim Bailey and I bought this house over 20 years ago, so a lot of memories have been accumulated here. The house is oversized for Danny and me, though. Although it's not a big hindrance, I am tired of climbing up and down the stairs, since we use large parts of the house for our daily activities. I don't use the downstairs for dancing anymore, although that was one of my Big Ideas when we first saw the house.

We have two dedicated guest rooms, rarely used. We have a 'crafts room' which is right now just storage for a lot of garage sale items. We have two large living areas (which I'll miss having), a large dining room, a large kitchen, and we have a walk-in closet that was formerly a bedroom. It's on 1/3 acre with a lot of yard maintenance that shouldn't need to happen (lots of tree trimming, leaf raking, weed killing), us being in a severe drought in a high desert environment.

Phase 3b will entail getting rid of a lot of the furniture that's filled this house up over all those years. I got rid of a lot when Danny moved in back in 2002, but we've accumulated a lot more. We've been purging small stuff for awhile; now on to the big stuff.

The plan is to have this house staged for a sale, move into an apartment somewhere, then look for a nice single-level house about 1700 square feet here. AND buy a vacation home in another city.

Yes, I could stay here forever, but I think an actual move might get me kickstarted in thinking of my own Phase 3 of my life and what to do as I enter my retirement years. Part of that goal is to live life for me and not put so much of my time into maintaining the house.
billeyler: (Brokeback reflection sheep)
I didn't realize until I looked at the calendar this morning that YESTERDAY was the 3 year anniversary of my mom's death. I don't think it even entered my mind last Tuesday that 9/4 was 3 years from the stroke that brought on her death 5 days later.

Time does heal.
billeyler: (Richmond house)
The first week of May here is when the color starts to pop. By June, most of this will be gone.

The smoke tree in a small garden plot. I love the effect when the sun shines through it. Only 4 years old, hoping for a much large tree in a few years.


Planted last month in the "patch of doom," sweet broom. I extended the drip system here, so we'll see if these survive. Nothing else has.


Not a good year for the purple iris, only a few blooms this year, but very magestic.


The yellows and variegateds are just now getting started.


Mexican primrose peeking through the Margo Koster rose, just starting to bud.


One of the two peony plants to remind Danny of a proper English country garden. These amaze me in the heft of the blooms.


Chocolate flowers, remnant of a former 1995 roommate's gardening. It's volunteered around the area, happily.


Looking west into the terraced area. The iceberg roses have gone nuts again, but the small roses mixed in with them are just now starting to bud.


Looking east into the terraced area.


And now for the veggies. I just planted 3 different tomatoes. I haven't planted any of the winter starts in my little incubator--all those are still in the house. Danny is happy I haven't planted 9 like I did last year.


My first attempt at rhubarb. Both of the starts have come up, but it will be quite a while before we can pick the first stalks.


The newer garden area. Brussels (under the cups to protect them from the squirrel--a live one, not the little statue), eggplant, red and green bell pepper. More to be planted in this area from the incubator in a couple of weeks. In the evening, we put a large plastic milk crate over two of the Brussel sprouts to protect them. We'll see.


Looking west toward the house from near the cottonwood tree. The 7 year old deck hopefully will be rebuilt in the next year.
billeyler: (Albuquerque at dusk)
This tells me it's really Spring in Albuquerque (besides the fact it was really strongly breezy last night).

billeyler: (japanese katakana bill)
Hope your 51st is a good one and that you're in good health and heart.
billeyler: (Albuquerque)
For years, Mesa del Sol has been touted as the next big new community in Albuquerque. It's only 11 minutes to the south, just south of the airport. Danny's been wanting to see what the homes are like there, as a possible move-to destination. So this morning, there's a 'big grand opening' of a few model homes in Phase I.

Remember, we live in a desert. If you look in the median, you'll see one of the two ENORMOUS rattlesnake art pieces that was commissioned on this new University Blvd extension a few years back.



The area with a few model homes. Pulte, Rachel Matthew and Ray-Lee have the only models so far. Apparently, over 40 years the community expects to have up to 37,000 homes here! It's nice that the garages are all in the back of the houses, there is going to be a lot of communal garden spaces, bike paths, walking paths. It just feels a bit early days right now.



Leading into the area, there are solar manufacturing companies, multiple sound stages for the (nearly bankrupt) Albuquerque Studios, and this building, where the university film studios are now located. It's sort a central business park area, or the beginnings of one, just across from the model homes. There are dozens of little tents set up for the 1000s of people they expect today, but it was pretty sparce since we went at 10am. The weather is GORGEOUS though, with a high in the low 80s expected today. Palm Springs weather again!



Another view of the few model homes there. I hope this community DOES happen, but the way we see it, the touted views will be non-existant in a few years after all the new 2 story construction is finished. But it was a nice, short drive and a good thing to see.

billeyler: (tulips spring)
Touches of green are showing here and there. The back yard this morning.

Nearly

Mar. 26th, 2012 05:31 pm
billeyler: (Albuquerque at dusk)
Touches of green are showing here and there. The back yard this morning.

Day 2 or 3

Nov. 6th, 2011 01:54 am
billeyler: (Airplane)
After 28 hours of very little sleep, flying from ABQ to Chicago to Zurich to Istanbul, we're here!

I can't remember if this is day 2 or day 3. Three I think. But we had a wonderful walk around old Istanbul last night to get our bearings. The city is touristy, but not in the in-your-face Disney like way, more like, 'this is part of our culture, we're Turkish, and we always will be" kind of way.

Really, the flights and customs were effortless, but since I was approaching zombie-like state anyway, it was just as well that we just went here and there and it all just happened.

Danny is in heaven with halveh everywhere! We're at the charming Hotel Tria right in the thick of old Istanbul. The rooftop view (just above our room) has a 360 degree view of the Bosphorus, the Blue Mosque, Haggia Sophia (sp?), and much of the old area. It's tiny little two way streets built for donkey carts at most, very exciting! The city is lit up at night, which was our first views.

As the breakfast this morning (included, [livejournal.com profile] bearfuz), we chatted up a charming Irish couple who was leaving today. They gave us some more hints on things to do in our 1 1/2 days remaining. This is just a way stop for them; they've been here many times and always come to this hotel. They are on their way to India, then Cook Islands for holiday. Wow!

Not feeling jet lagged at all here, with the sun shining in through our Bosphorus facing hotel windows and a solid 10 hours of sleep behind me.

Off to our adventures!

Day 2 or 3

Nov. 6th, 2011 01:54 am
billeyler: (Airplane)
After 28 hours of very little sleep, flying from ABQ to Chicago to Zurich to Istanbul, we're here!

I can't remember if this is day 2 or day 3. Three I think. But we had a wonderful walk around old Istanbul last night to get our bearings. The city is touristy, but not in the in-your-face Disney like way, more like, 'this is part of our culture, we're Turkish, and we always will be" kind of way.

Really, the flights and customs were effortless, but since I was approaching zombie-like state anyway, it was just as well that we just went here and there and it all just happened.

Danny is in heaven with halveh everywhere! We're at the charming Hotel Tria right in the thick of old Istanbul. The rooftop view (just above our room) has a 360 degree view of the Bosphorus, the Blue Mosque, Haggia Sophia (sp?), and much of the old area. It's tiny little two way streets built for donkey carts at most, very exciting! The city is lit up at night, which was our first views.

As the breakfast this morning (included, [livejournal.com profile] bearfuz), we chatted up a charming Irish couple who was leaving today. They gave us some more hints on things to do in our 1 1/2 days remaining. This is just a way stop for them; they've been here many times and always come to this hotel. They are on their way to India, then Cook Islands for holiday. Wow!

Not feeling jet lagged at all here, with the sun shining in through our Bosphorus facing hotel windows and a solid 10 hours of sleep behind me.

Off to our adventures!
billeyler: (dancing bear)
If you want to see New Mexico through the eyes of someone who captures the essence of the area in his photography, check out [livejournal.com profile] dukecityjim!
billeyler: (dancing bear)
If you want to see New Mexico through the eyes of someone who captures the essence of the area in his photography, check out [livejournal.com profile] dukecityjim!
billeyler: (snow cold penguin)
Granby Colorado is just a few miles from the Snow Mountain Ranch we stayed at for the Denver Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus flyin. I'm so glad it was the first weekend and not the second weekend of October we were there!

Oct 1-2 high temps 78 and 75 dry and clear

Oct 8-9 high temps 34 and 37 with snow

Whew!
billeyler: (snow cold penguin)
Granby Colorado is just a few miles from the Snow Mountain Ranch we stayed at for the Denver Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus flyin. I'm so glad it was the first weekend and not the second weekend of October we were there!

Oct 1-2 high temps 78 and 75 dry and clear

Oct 8-9 high temps 34 and 37 with snow

Whew!
billeyler: (Bill CPA party)
Well, I AM home alone, aren't I!

Random shots from the week:



Due to a freezer mishap while we were off camping, we had to cook up some of the meat that had thawed some. This is a "Full English Breakfast" or a good approximation thereof. I had about 10 of these breakfasts when we went to England in 2004.



The garden this morning. It's a chaos of colors and textures, featuring the wild sunflower "trees" that volunteer every year. The birds love it! All the zucchini I had planted here and there died, but there's one 'Early Girl' tomato that survive and is growing massively, nearly ready to bear. The 8 tomato plants in another part of the garden have been bearing happily and steadily for weeks.



One of my favorite houseplants. This is only the second time it has bloomed in the 4 years I've had it, and it's just the one bloom (there are 3 plants in the one pot). It's usually in our bedroom in a dimmish corner, but I brought it out to celebrate the bloom.
billeyler: (Bill CPA party)
Well, I AM home alone, aren't I!

Random shots from the week:



Due to a freezer mishap while we were off camping, we had to cook up some of the meat that had thawed some. This is a "Full English Breakfast" or a good approximation thereof. I had about 10 of these breakfasts when we went to England in 2004.



The garden this morning. It's a chaos of colors and textures, featuring the wild sunflower "trees" that volunteer every year. The birds love it! All the zucchini I had planted here and there died, but there's one 'Early Girl' tomato that survive and is growing massively, nearly ready to bear. The 8 tomato plants in another part of the garden have been bearing happily and steadily for weeks.



One of my favorite houseplants. This is only the second time it has bloomed in the 4 years I've had it, and it's just the one bloom (there are 3 plants in the one pot). It's usually in our bedroom in a dimmish corner, but I brought it out to celebrate the bloom.
billeyler: (work Popejoy accountant)
After 10 years and 3 months of having a payroll deduction of what is now up to $45 a month for the privilege of having a parking spot at UNM two or three blocks from the theatre, I did the deed. Today, I walked the 6 blocks over to the parking office and turned in my pass to the surly-as-usual clerk working there. He had me sign a form to remove the payroll deduction, then cut up the pass, stapling part of it to the form. And it's done.

I feel so free!

But I've also committed to walking or biking to work now, or begging Danny for a ride on those random yukky weather days. There is a bit of a perk; I can park in the theatre loading dock area with our in-house pass (free) when I really, really need to drive a car here.

Over 10 years, I paid UNM about $4,500 for my A-Lot parking permit. Wow. This time of year, with school just starting, it's nearly impossible to find a spot to park unless you get to work about 7:30am. There were a couple of times I had to park about 7 blocks from the theatre, more than 1/3 of the way back to the house!
billeyler: (work Popejoy accountant)
After 10 years and 3 months of having a payroll deduction of what is now up to $45 a month for the privilege of having a parking spot at UNM two or three blocks from the theatre, I did the deed. Today, I walked the 6 blocks over to the parking office and turned in my pass to the surly-as-usual clerk working there. He had me sign a form to remove the payroll deduction, then cut up the pass, stapling part of it to the form. And it's done.

I feel so free!

But I've also committed to walking or biking to work now, or begging Danny for a ride on those random yukky weather days. There is a bit of a perk; I can park in the theatre loading dock area with our in-house pass (free) when I really, really need to drive a car here.

Over 10 years, I paid UNM about $4,500 for my A-Lot parking permit. Wow. This time of year, with school just starting, it's nearly impossible to find a spot to park unless you get to work about 7:30am. There were a couple of times I had to park about 7 blocks from the theatre, more than 1/3 of the way back to the house!

A question

Aug. 1st, 2011 03:36 pm
billeyler: (hokey pokey)
Now that 2/3 of the people I know who actually post on their blog have moved over to Dreamwidth, do I also see responses that people make to cross-posted Dreamwidth -> LJ blogs? I don't know it's the whole shake-up recently because of the DDOS issue that I see so many postings now that have zero comments; normally SOMEONE comments on some of these individuals.

I think I'm just a bit confused on the uberworld concept of posting the same thing on two different blog sites. I know that if someone comments on a Facebook crossposting while on Facebook, I won't see it here on LJ.

Hmmm.

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