Thursday, June 19, 2008

Economy is how to spend money without enjoying it...

And Economy is soon going to be how I must live if I want to have enough money to live on since UK has apparently decided that its Staff are not important.

Now first, just let me say that I love my job. I really do. I love what I do and I love the people I work with. What I don't love sometimes is the University that seems to take things over from time to time. UK approved its budget for the 08-09 fiscal year the other day and let's just say that things did come out well for the Staff among us.

First, they are freezing salaries this year, which means no yearly raises. Now I guess that's not really a huge deal until you consider that the cost of everything is going up these days. My muffin mix from the grocery store has gone up from $0.79 to $1.29 these days. That's a 63% increase in just a couple of weeks! And that's just one thing. If my entire grocery bill went up 63% I wouldn't have the money to eat at all. Not to mention the $4.00 a gallon gas that I would need just to get to the grocery store.

And it's not just the cost of groceries and gas that is rising. UK is also raising the cost of parking for the upcoming year. I now get to pay a whopping $372.00 a year to park my car at work. Yea for UK! Let's cut pay but raising parking fees. Then people won't come to work and we won't have to pay them. In fact, the only thing that's not going up this year is our Health Insurance Premium. At least that is staying the same.

UK also decided to eliminate 188 positions. They make that seem like no big deal since all but 15 of those positions were vacant anyway, but when you consider that we've been under a hiring freeze since January 1, the 173 empty positions make more sense.

UK has also decided that in order to save money, they need to decrease the amount of time we have to use our vacation time. Previously, our vacation accrued starting July 1 of every year until June 30 of the next year. After that, we had 15 months in which to use our vacation time (so you had to use it by September 30 of the next year). Now they have shortened the time is which we can use our vacation from 15 months to 12 months. Not a huge deal, but still something of a crappy move on their part. You aren't giving us a raise, at least let us use our vacation time.

Now, the real kicker is this: The University doesn't have enough money to give us a raise, but they have enough money to give our President (who already makes $300,000 a year) a bonus of $150,000 this year. That's 50% of his salary! Who gets a bonus like that? I don't get a bonus at all. Grandly, President Todd only kept $90,000 of his bonus and gave the rest back to the university, but really, who needs $90,000 extra on top of a $300,000 salary? I could live well for 6 or 7 years on $300,000. And $90,000 is more than I will make in two years. Why couldn't they have put some of that money toward UK's staff.

UK has 11,000 staff. Why not give each of us a $100 gas card. That leaves $4,000 for the "bonus" which is still way more than most people I know get as a bonus (if they get a bonus at all). Or just give the money to the parking division and not raise our prices this year. Either way, I will be happy. You can't expect those of us most hurt by the lack of our yearly raise to be understanding when you give someone who makes more than everyone in my lab put together a bonus that is more than our yearly salary. Really, that's not cool.

Okay, I promise I'm off my soapbox now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Better Late then Never.....

I just wanted to say Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, including my friend John who became a brand new dad at11:43 pm on Saturday night. His little boy Elliot is quite possibly the cutest baby on the face of the planet (although I might be just a touch biased). Congratulations John and Beth!

Also, because it was Father's Day, I should probably mention that I have by far the best Dad on the planet. Sorry if you think that's wrong, but he is. He loves me and puts up with all my craziness and never even blinks when I call him at crazy times demanding things like "Fix My Car" or "Make the Bugs Go Away" or "What are You Going to do with Your Other Daughter?" despite the fact that he lives 2 hours away. He just tells me what to do and walks me through it until I calm down and start to make sense again. I guess 25 years of putting up with me has given him just a little bit of experience to go on.

He's been a little tied up in building his new house lately, and I haven't gotten to see him as much as usual, but he is doing a better job of making time for me and my sister these days(after I called and laid a huge guilt trip on him). At least the huge new house is almost finished and by the end of this weekend, they should be all moved in. Maybe. Somehow I think this house will never be done.

Friday, June 6, 2008

We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics. ~Bill Vaughan

The quote in my title is from Bill Vaughan, and is very apt these days since for the last week I have been at war trying to keep my apartment free from bugs.

Now before you get all "ewwww, gross" on me, let me first say that these bugs are not of the nasty variety (ie. cockroaches) or the terrifying variety (ie. spiders, millipedes). They are of the OMG they are taking over my room variety. Yes, the insect which has chosen to make its assault on my apartment is the Springtail which is the single most prolific insect known to man. They can reach numbers of up to 100,000 individuals per meter of topsoil. I think they reached nearly that number on the window sill in my bedroom.

Once I noticed the problem, I began spraying the sill several times a day with pesticide, which seemed to kill the bugs there at the time, but did nothing to keep new ones from appearing. Soon, they had claimed the window sill as well as my blinds and curtains as their 0wn. This prompted a call to the apartment office to see if they would have the BugMan come out a spray. They assured me someone would come out first thing Monday, and I figured that I had won the war.

Not so! BugMan sprayed Monday, but Monday night there were more than ever, and now they were trying to claim my bed! Not Good! They had also taken over my balcony. Apparently, spraying for bugs only made them angry. Tuesday I called the office again and got a very lukewarm resp once. "Give it a few days," was the best they would do. I don't know about you, but when I have bugs in my bed, I don't want to give it a few days. Tuesday night, I started sleeping on the floor in the living room.

Wednesday, I decided that a trip to the office was needed as the bugs were still increasing in numbers. I waited until the office opened at 9 and then went to pay them a visit. After much cajoling and refusing to leave until they did what I wanted them to do, I convinced them to call the BugMan again and have him come out and spray the inside and outside of the building. I also went and bought about $30 worth of bug spray myself at Lowes and treated my bedroom, bathroom, and hallway as well as scrubbed down and sprayed my entire balcony. This seemed to have worked pretty well on the balcony, but did little to help the situation on my bed.

Thursday, I asked the office to have the BugMan call me when he arrived so I could ask him a question or two, but they failed to relay that information. Instead, when I arrived home, I found that nothing had been done. This time, I looked up the BugMan myself in the phone book and called them directly. The lady on the phone was very nice, gave me all the information I needed, and even had the BugMan come out that day while I was home so I could show him what was going on and have him spray everywhere.

So, as of today, the bugs seem to be grudgingly giving ground, although they are still present in my window and on my bed. At least they seem to be losing numbers. I am going to give it until the end of the weekend to get better before I start making phone calls again. I will not lose my house to the bugs!