Saturday, 19 October 2013

In which everything seems to happen at once

Things are going faster and faster and I'm just trying to hang on and cope as best I can...

Had a grant due this week that took over my life (as they tend to do) and pushed everything else aside for a while. The stupid thing is that it's for Yale, which doesn't work out that great in the grand scheme of things, life-plan-wise. Still, I never get these things anyway so it is probably moot. What happened was, I applied for similar funding last year - or tried to - with someone in London. One of my referees did not submit their letter and I couldn't contact them, so in the end the grant never went in. Horrible situation. Anyway, I agonized all summer about approaching the London person again - I have one more shot at Canadian postdoctoral funding as they give you two years after finishing - and finally got up the courage to email her. Sadly, she couldn't take on another person in her lab at that point. (Or else she thought I was an idiot and was just being polite - hard to say). She suggested a former student of hers as a back-up supervisor. The former student was interested, and we got most of it written - and then her institution said the salary amount would not be enough to meet the minimum standard for postdocs! (Note: the salary award would be more than I make now. Apparently British institutions are far more generous).

So there I was, with a grant but no place to take it up - and it was due in a matter of weeks. I asked a colleague at Yale what to do and he offered to take me on if I got the grant - but then we ended up totally changing the entire thing a week beforehand, and then four days beforehand I had a sudden epiphany about methods and rewrote the whole works once again. So the original idea was not to waste an opportunity to submit an already-written grant even if the location of tenure wasn't the best - and then we ended up basically writing two new ones anyway. Whoops.

Then the latter part of the week was crazy because we ran bucketloads of participants, mostly kids with ADHD and Tourettes, including one this morning (Saturday). Tiring. It takes a WHOLE lot of energy to get a twitchy, jumpy, bored kid through a long and boring EEG task. (And a whole lot of stickers for bribery purposes). We had one little guy with Oppositional Defiant Disorder - that was fun - and today's was lovely but VERY hyperactive. I think the constant injunctions to sit still were actually torture for him.

 I did manage to squeeze in a visit to the seamstress on Chapel Street armed with Mom's/Grandma's wedding dress. I was hoping she could alter it to fit me, saving a lot of trouble looking for a dress. Alas, the fabric is too fragile to alter (and my hips and shoulders are too big not to alter).

"It's too bad your mom didn't take better care of her dress," she told me. "Oh well, the lace is still lovely. It would make a lovely christening gown for a little girl!"

(and I'm thinking, hold up lady, they haven't even managed to drag me to the altar yet!)

I could use the lace to make a veil and it would be awesome, but not sure if it's worth the destruction of the dress. The seamstress did point out a lot of spots where it's torn and stained, though... she didn't think it was really wearable even if I was Grandma-sized. Still, it's really disappointing. Definitely would have been happy to give the ol' girl one more wedding outing. (The dress, not Grandma).

So yeah, now I have to add "finding a wedding dress" to my to-do list. 

I also joined a mentoring program this week through Women in Science at Yale, just for the heck of it, and now have two Ph.D. students from Public Health to mentor. Not sure how much use I will be as I've taken an EXTREMELY non-traditional route, but it will be fun to try.

But the main crazy stressor this week was housing. This is a long and stupid story, as so many seem to be.

Basically, the (jerk) landlords sent me a letter in September claiming to not have received September rent. It was quite a mean letter full of eviction threats. I called and emailed (I had sent the cheque mid-August) and nobody ever replied, so eventually I went in person, with printed evidence that the cheque had been sent in hand. However, because I was worried about these eviction threats, I also sent another, replacement cheque (with REPLACEMENT in large letters on it).

I spoke to the accountant, who claimed never to have received the original cheque but who promised to destroy it if found.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Three days later - bam, two lots of rent taken out of my account, plus a bonus extra lot of October rent (which I sent early due to the accusations and threats from September). She blatantly put through the original, "lost" cheque.

I went back in to discuss and she said it would be applied to November. Then, in passing, she asked if I was renewing the lease (ends at the end of Oct), or was I leaving? Well, no, I said, you've just taken November rent. But I could sign a lease until the end of February. Oh, no, we don't do short leases or month-to-month.

But the lease I signed says that's what happens.


But I will check if you can do a short lease.

So I sent several emails to follow up and finally got one back saying I could sign a six-month lease. I wrote back to say I can't do that as I'm leaving in February. I asked if they'd be willing to do that.

No answer.

Follow-up email, no answer.

So now I'm left totally uncertain whether they will try to evict me in November (for which they took rent via cashing the cheque when they promised not to) since the lease is up, or what. If they hold firm to "six-month lease or nothing' I am kind of screwed. So... ALSO spent the week on Craiglist looking for short sublets. I found a Russian dude called Nikolay who is willing to sublet from Dec-Feb. The place is tiny and furnished, so I would have to spend November downsizing and packing. Still, I would be free of ridiculous landlords who won't pick up the phone or answer email. (Never rent from Pike International). That said, I am a bit worried they would try to hold the damage deposit hostage, despite the fact this is clearly illegal in CT. Argh!

So yeah. Opinions? Current plan is to try once more with Pike to get some sort of clarification on how firm this "six-month lease only" thing is. Then, if they won't tell me or refuse to let me stay till Feb, I guess Nikolay it is. I could live without another stupid move, but if I have to I will.

No comments: