I haven't posted much--or at all--but I do have reason; abruptly in January, my job transitioned to a new testing methodology called Agile, and everything went to frantic, high stress hell. Then I entered dental hell in March, which if you know about already you just winced and if you don't, you can guess. Note: never try to do all your dental work in two and a half months: you will still be putting off the last two appointments after the horror of May. Which I will not discuss because holy shit.

However, now I am a.) in the middle of an allergy attack and b.) at home noting how rain really does exist because after the last couple of years it felt more like a legend. Also, I'm about to move.



The thing is, I didn't expect a.) the first place I applied would have apartments available, b.) I'd get approved in less than a week, leading to c.) instead of doing this over a few months of prep, I got six weeks before move-in and owned no lightbulbs or living room furniture.

I feel like I've been in the pre-moving stage forever now and holy shit this is exhausting (note: it's only been four weeks). It hasn't helped that there have been massive issues with the new release that has to do with our change in testing methodology; basically, all my weekends and evening shave been working or guilty because I'm not working.

(Also, related; my middle sister is also moving (er, this last weekend), as Mom finished refinancing the mortgage and both she and my sister and BIL have paid off needed debt. So it's been 'whee finanical solvency for everyone' the last couple of months.)

My mother and sisters have both said I'm bar none the first person they've ever met who is moving with everything they could need bought first; most of it is still unassembled in boxes in my closet, wrapped in plastic in my closet, in the living room in boxes and/or wrapped in plastic, or being held for me until the day after I move for delivery. Some of it I've had for months slowly accumulating, but most is recent as I assure I am overprepared like I'm conquering a foreign (apartment) country.

I'm not sure any of them get why I am treating this like an Apartment Test and I'm getting an A, and I can't really explain because I'm not sure. My Spreadsheet of Moving has several pages just for budgeting for my furniture and houseware and my three month budget for bills. I have kitchen things I'm not even sure how to use and like, three kinds of short turners and two can openers: why? Who can say? I took a small loan out against my 457 retirement to make absolutely sure everything I could pre-pay, I pre-paid, everything I needed that could risk my monthly budget was bought, and I had a cushion against emergencies or if I made a mistake in my budget math. Now I just had to worry about my impulse control, which is why everything that can be taken from my account automatically every month will be before I even check my balance in my account.

(The only thing I compromised on was buying a washer and dryer; I really needed to get those and event to myself I had no idea why, just I had to buy them. My bff finally used small words to explain--and a lot of them, I feel bad now--that a.) I will not lose points on my score for renting, b.) why am I doing this when no one sane does unless they plan to live in that place for five years because it's expensive to move it, c.) I would be responsible for damage if I bought but the rental company is responsible if I don't (I checked this, it's true) and d.) stop being crazy no one is going to judge your laundry choices and it's not like you care! Rent and instead buy a good mattress instead! Yours is older than your son!)

(That is...possibly true.)

I do get part of this; as I learned finally after years, I am not and will never be the prudent person who is always in budget and rarely impulsive and will make sound financial decisions; I am an enthusiast and either I'd live the rest of my life very poor in terrible jobs I hate or make my own fun (this is how crazy cheese tricks became a thing when I was twenty and worked fast food). My retirement account for my income bracket is really good but not for normal reasons; this is not because I am prudent, it's because I go through phases of being incredibly fascinated with stocks and bonds, and I'll make ridic complicated spreadsheets and I'll up my contribution monthly until suddenly, I wake up one month and realize I have no disposable income (there was a terrifyingly hilarious point where I literally was putting away thirty percent of my gross income in just that because I got super excited watching my balances on my spreadsheet and had to quickly drop my contribution for living reasons; tax free, sure, but holy shit I had no money after bills. I've repeated that cycle twice now, because I also don't learn well). When I first got into buying stocks, very smart people counseled me to a.) pay off my debt and b.) create a good savings account becuase this stock market thing would never work out well for me.

I didn't laugh but I wanted to; I can't leave money where I can get to it. I won't pay off my debt, what kind of crazy is that? I'll use it for new computers and really awesome shoes that I desperately need for reasons. They weren't wrong, but they assumed--like most financial advisors--that controlling my hindbrain is a matter of will. It's not; I could have lost money in my stock accounts but it still was better than savings; I can't get to it. It takes a minimum of a week to dissolve stocks and transfer the money (sometimes two), and then I have to go through the horror--and it is horror--of updating my private spreadsheets that show me how well those stocks are doing and how much in dividends I'll be losing when I do this and it's weirdly traumatic. And it will bother me for months if that stock starts rising in price after. I am still bitter about selling Bank of America seven years ago. I could be losing money in my account and it would still be saved money because if it wasn't there, I would have bought another tablet, thirty needed tank tops (I've done it before, in all the colors), or solid state hard drives that newegg has on sale to rebuild my server again. I do that; telling myself not to is a lot like whisting in the wind when there is money I can get to; I need barriers is what I'm saying.

(My mom has a lesser version of the problem; hence, she has a Smartypig account for vacation or major purchases that she contributes to for the last few years. It takes about two weeks to get the money and she curses it only when withdrawing; otherwise, it's a magical place that keeps her money safe from her.)

So when my mother said "but you're just moving, you don't have to buy everything right now--" I'm like, "Oh God I do. Left to my own devices I will build two new servers and have no furniture. Right now I am desperately interested in having a home that doesn't look like a cliche of a hacker; I cannot guarantee this will last long. Right now, I care about lightbulbs; do you want to see your daughter live in the glow of her laptop and tablets?" I literally bought a multicooker because the buttons on it fascinated me; I can roast and make soup! This will assure I cook for quite a while because I have to try all that functionality at least once and it's programmable. I won't wander to the corner store--which is like a two minute walk--for breakfast tacos for dinner every night.

(Note: my nineteen year old son is worse; between us we'd live on ramen and cheese sandwiches without caring until scurvy commenced. He's gamer; give him an X-Box and a Playstation and internet access, he gives no shits.)

This may have been brought home a little recently when I impulse bought an Amazon Echo, which is awesome (oh my God, it is awesome) but was not in the budget but I made it fit. My mother kind of regarded it warily while I made it answer random questions and learned I could buy light kits it could control (this is how I made lightbulbs interesting and became committed recently to energy savings, and also live my life like I'm in Star Trek, I live in Star Trek people), and said, "That wasn't in your budget you refuse to so much as vary from other than to research how to save a dollar on spatulas".

Actual conversation:
Me: It was this or a 4K TV that just went on sale and no food but rice for the first two months at my apartment.
Her: You don't watch TV. You download.
Me: I know.
Her: When is the last time you even turned on your TV?
Me: When my server crashed and I couldn't SSH in, so I hooked it up to the TV.
Her: You're not even getting cable, just internet at your apartment.
Me: I know.
Her: Then why....
Me: It was on sale and really big and shiny.
Mom: *looks at the seventy inch 4K Samsung TV that's on the wall she bought on impulse at Costco last week and then me* Oh.
Me: Alexa, play "Smells like Teen Spirit".
Mom: Oh God.

Later (about a week):
Me: *breathless* I will be able to control my entire apartment with Alexa. I have a smart home budget now. These are Philips Hue lights. Watch.
Mom: Oh God.
Me: Alexa, turn off the bedroom lights!
Alexa: *turns off bedroom lights* Okay.
Mom: *in the dark* Oh God.

(Note: I also ordered a smart thermostat, since the apartment said I can install my own provided I replace it with theirs whenever I move out, and same with smart locks. So I am looking at smart locks. No idea why, but I am heading this under 'energy efficiency' and being able to use the trigger phase 'Enterprise, open the door'. This is going to happen.)

(I already enrolled an Alexa programming course and started building my own Amazon Dot. Instructions here for the curious. Anyone does, tell me: we can be Dot buddies!)

One week, four days to go: washer and dryer rental complete and will be delivered September first. Electricity transferred, internet company contacted this week. I still need a mattress.
ratcreature: RatCreature is confused: huh? (huh?)

2016-08-15 09:34 pm (UTC)
Wait, you can rent washers and dryers? I don't think you can do that here. (I mean, some apartments come with them, or have communal ones in the basement, but I never heard of anyone renting appliances separately.)
ratcreature: oh no! (oh no!)

2016-08-15 10:18 pm (UTC)
Washing machines are kind of a nemesis for me. I'd really like a new washing machine (mine is over twenty years old and doesn't quite work right anymore), and I could even afford buying a new washing machine without much problem. I mean, yeah, it would be an appliance sized budget hole, but my savings would cover it. However getting it into my kitchen would be a ridiculous hassle.

Because there is a roof support beam in the middle of my kitchen, and it is right in front of the washing machine (because of the water lines for the kitchen sink and no room in the bathroom that was the only possible place to install one), so you can't just slide it in from the front. You have to remove the cabinet next to it. Which would be bad enough, only I now also have a larger refrigerator/freezer combo than my first one, which protrudes just slightly more into the entry. So a standard washing machine would not fit without also removing that appliance first. Basically it's all a logistical nightmare, with added Tetris elements.

And I would gladly pay quite a bit for somebody to just take care of everything, like emptying and disassembling that stupid cabinet, handling the fridge issue, removing the old and installing the new washing machine, but I have no idea where to hire such a service, because all the places selling washing machines only seem to offer standard removal and delivery, and the only other thing seems to buy an entirely new kitchen which will then be installed, which I don't want either. So currently I kind of hope my washing machine won't ever die completely, because otherwise I'd have to face exhausting negotiations and explanations with appliance vendors, possibly involving drafting floor plans. I get anxious just thinking about it.
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

2016-08-16 02:27 am (UTC)
And I would gladly pay quite a bit for somebody to just take care of everything, like emptying and disassembling that stupid cabinet, handling the fridge issue, removing the old and installing the new washing machine, but I have no idea where to hire such a service

Ooh, ooh, I know this one! Or at least, I know the answer for here in the US, and it might be the same for you.

You're not looking for an appliance sales/installer -- you want a general handyman. (Not a general contractor, who mostly handles bigger jobs and a larger crew, but a handyman, although some GCs also do handyman work to fill in the gaps -- my dad would do everything from 'replace that wobbly step on your back porch in two hours' to 'double the size of your house over four months', usually with him and one other guy.) Sounds like it'd be a one-or-two-day job for a two-person crew -- one day if the Tetris gods smile, two days if it's a lot of shuffling. You'll buy the appliance and have it delivered to you, they then show up and do the install. (Alternately, if you find somebody who does the handyman/GC gamut, they might be able to get you a better deal on the appliances, but really, 90% of the time they just go to Home Depot and buy it there.)

The one caveat: if you have to remove the cabinet, and you want it to go back in when you're done, it will never fit. (Nothing in a house is fully square, and cabinets are usually a case of "it shouldn't have fit there in the first place".) If you're cool with that, it shouldn't be that hard.

Finding that person: in the US, the method I generally suggest is looking at Angie's List for Handymen, look for a small/family business with good ratings. (Ideally, one who's been doing this for a while and who does do more complicated jobs and not just minor home repairs, because they'll have more experience and be more able to solve any problems that happen.) If you have a similar service, try that? Or, ask around your neighbors and see if anybody's had any work done, which is the other method I usually suggest.
ratcreature: Procrastination is a Lifestyle. RatCreature in a hammock doing nothing. (procrastination)

2016-08-16 10:50 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'm not sure how much of that method could apply here. "Handymen" in the US sense are not really a thing in Germany because all trades are organized and regulated in the three year apprenticeship model that originated from the guilds and such, and working in a trade without being a tradesperson will be fined quite heavily. Sometimes a janitor or janitorial service may do minor repairs that don't require special skills, but generally if you need plumbing or electric work or carpentry, even minor stuff, like replacing a switch or cleaning a blocked pipe or fixing a creaky window, you will need to get a proper electrician or a plumber or a carpenter, and if something needs multiple skills you will need multiple people.

But the real obstacle is obviously that right now my avoidance of the problem is still possible, because the status quo is a glitchy washing machine that sometimes won't finish its program and you have to restart it again, but it more or less washes stuff, and that continued low level annoyance seems less of a hassle than bothering with the logistics, heavy lifting, disruption and everything involved in organizing the replacement. I suspect I will work it out somehow once my alternative is not having a washing machine and having to use a laundromat, because then my motivation to deal with it suddenly skyrockets.
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

2016-08-16 11:00 am (UTC)

Ah, yeah, I know that "the activation cost of dealing with this problem is higher than the annoyance cost of living with it" tradeoff very well!

I didn't know that about Germany. I can see both upsides and downsides to that way of doing it! Easier to know you're dealing with someone qualified, harder to deal with a job like yours that straddles trades. Is there a central licensing authority you could call up and be like "hey, I have this job I need to get done and it's kind of weird, which trade should I consult for the project?" when you're at a point where you have to deal with it?

ratcreature: RatCreature blathers. (talk)

2016-08-16 11:43 am (UTC)
There is licensing authority ("Handwerkskammer") but they don't do things like referrals for customers afaik. They are more like an interest group/lobby for the trades, I think.

None of problem really arises from any skills-issue (not even the cabinet stuff, because my kitchen is just an IKEA one that I assembled myself, and left an empty slot where the washing machine can fit under the counter, nothing with it requires special skills).

What ups the annoyance factor so much compared to the initial that unlike the first time my fridge is a problem too (I knew that when I bought it, but was unable to find a fridge that wasn't deeper than my previous one, and still met my other requirements), and while my kitchen is opening to the hallway where you could move it temporarily, you aren't supposed to move fridges without turning them off/on and letting the cooling agent settle etc. so that aspects adds another layer of hassle, heavy lifting and food storage time without a working fridge/freezer to everything. (Incidentally my last fridge died not long after different repair people had moved that one in my absence because they needed access to the wall behind and didn't bother with proper procedures -- it was creaky before but I suspect that didn't help.)

Nothing about this is impossible, at the worst I'd have to do the kitchen cabinet (dis)assembly myself, empty and turn off the fridge/freezer in advance, organize covering for my hallway wood floor to protect it against the temporary fridge presence, and arrange with the kitchen appliance store in advance that the two people who will bring the washing machine will also have time for the finicky washing machine position and to move my fridge back and forth in their schedule, because it is too heavy for me to move for them. Since the washing machine will have to be carried up five floors on a spiral staircase in the absence of an elevator, they will hate me anyway regardless of my tip and moving my fridge on top of it should not tax them much more. (Though actually the poor delivery guys who brought said fridge were actually surprised when I tipped them, apparently it is uncommon here for appliance delivery, even if your apartment is high up.)

Nothing in this is really hard as such, my dream solution would just be to have somebody else deal with everything entirely, while take a weekend vacation elsewhere and would not have to manage any of it in the details. But that level of complete, no-worries service would only be on offer if I paid for something like an entirely new kitchen be installed, and probably not of the cheap IKEA kind, LOL.
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

2016-08-16 02:45 pm (UTC)

Yeah, that sounds like it's all far more annoying than it should be! I'm sorry -- if you were closer I'd just lend you my dad, heh.

blueraccoon: (Default)

2016-08-15 10:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, Agile. How much fun you are not.

Also, my teeth sympathize with yours. I celebrated after my last root canal because I literally have no other teeth that can have root canals at this point. They've all been done, or crowned, or...yeah. I'm putting off the restorative work because I don't want to go back to the dentist.
blueraccoon: (Default)

2016-08-16 03:36 pm (UTC)
I don't know if you have Ops teams or how your setup works, but have you moved to DevOps in addition to Agile? Because we're moving to that and it's...interesting. Devs really hate being on-call.

A friend of mine got hired at my company at a pretty high level to teach some of our engineers how to be Agile. I have no idea how she's doing on it, but they desperately need some kind of help. But, I mean, she's doing actual training, which it sounds like you got none of D:

My own training is in ITIL but I have a different focus than testers - I do incident and problem management. ITIL is kinda fun, though.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

2016-08-16 08:41 pm (UTC)
I have recently decided that my Hacker Name is "UAT Crash".
nestra: Jim with his hand on Blair's chest (Oy)

2016-08-15 10:57 pm (UTC)
Yes, that was my immediate response. Ah ha ha ha Agile.
out_there: B-Day Present '05 (Default)

2016-08-15 11:07 pm (UTC)
I understand the money in the bank doesn't stay there thing. I am terrible at savings accounts (it's just money to raid when I need it) but I'm good with paying down debt. Santa make me feel uncomfortable and vaguely guilty, so disposable funds can be sacrificed within reason to make me feel better.

Sympathies on the dental pain. *hugs*
jamafanta: (Default)

2016-08-16 01:03 am (UTC)
I just moved 5,120 km (3,181 miles) for a job that I love (previous boss made me feel tiny) and oh god the logistics. First time in over 20 years that my spreadsheets didn't make me happy, because there were too many unknowns to properly rejoice in them.
msilverstar: (dom dork)

2016-08-20 10:53 pm (UTC)
I'm contracting at a company doing Agile, at least in terms of frequent small updates, and I love it. Waterfall sucked so much. Still problems, but just NOT saving everything up for one massive deployment is clearly a good system.
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