Friday, April 04, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - My apologies for the lack of update last weekend; I was busy working on my Flight of the Red Balloon review in addition to picking up some extra hours at the State Theatre in New Brunswick (yes, I still usher there, at least whenever they really need staff for a show).

Thus I hope this update will suffice, even though this weekend might bring its share of busy-ness as well: in addition to finally delving in-depth into the recent Criterion DVD release of Godard's Pierrot le fou (maybe I'll fully embrace the film wholesale this time instead of loving its first hour and admiring the rest of it from a dispassionate intellectual distance), I figure I'll probably have to file at least one of my 2007 tax returns (I'll probably do the state return first). Shouldn't be too much work for me---it's not like I own a lot of property or a small business or anything---but we'll see...

Anyway, a brief life update this weekend rather than another one of my solipsistic examinations of my movie taste.


First: starting next week (barring any last-minute surprises), I will officially become a full-time employee at The Wall Street Journal instead of the regular part-time worker I am now. Though I will still be working my usual day shift, starting next week I'll actually be staying all the way through the first Europe lock-up, at 4:30 p.m.

For the first few months at the monitor desk, I didn't really mind working part-time; I felt like I was getting enough time outside of work to do my reading, music-listening, movie-watching, etc. Maybe I've just been accomplishing less of that lately---it's been probably a week since I cracked open a book---but these days, whenever I've left at 3:30 p.m., I've felt weird about doing so. Perhaps I've become so attached to my job that I almost can't bear to leave it just before the Europe paper locks up first. It's more likely that my willingness to become a full-time worker comes mostly from the realization that that extra hour at home hasn't really transpired into anything particularly productive recently. So why not go full-time and pick up some extra money?

Really, though, the main reason for jumping to full-time status was for practical reasons: I found out that, with the Aetna health plan I picked as a regular part-time employee, I wasn't eligible for prescription drug benefits. I could have picked another available plan, but that other plan required you to seek referrals from a primary care physician---and I found that a sufficiently annoying prospect (I can pick my own doctors, dammit!) that I decided that it was just time to become a full-time employee.

I'm actually rather lucky I was able to go full-time so soon. At Dow Jones, if you want to jump from part-time to full-time in the same department, you have to wait until someone else leaves; then the department manager will place a listing on the company's internal job listings database, which will allow a part-time employee to apply for it. (Side note: this process is apparently called "posting," although that has always confused me; I've always associated "posting" with the putting up of a job listing, not of applying to one.) As ever in life, it isn't as easy as saying "I wanna work full-time now" and that's that. (This is business, people!) Lucky for me, someone left the monitor desk a lot earlier than I expected, which left the door open for me.

Now there's something to be fairly happy about...


...unlike an argument at home that popped up between me and my mother over---not future plans, not job issues. No, it was about our family dog.

Readers, Dusty, our beloved shih tzu, is still peeing around the house randomly. And even after the floors have started to get a little sticky and the house has started to smell like piss, my mother refuses to get him checked out by a veterinarian. "Oh, he's just getting old," my mother has said repeatedly. "Not much you can do about it."

Well yes, he is old---about 10 years old. But if a human were relieving himself uncontrollably around the house, wouldn't you get him checked out by a doctor to see what may be the problem? If there isn't one, then okay, we'll deal. But I figure, at least get a professional opinion; that's what a doctor is there for. Why should it be any different with a dog? Because he's a dog?

Personally, I'd rather find out if there was problem than passive-aggressively clean up his sticky, smelly messes nearly every day. I'd much rather not keep stepping in sticky residue and smelling piss every day.

Apparently my mother is willing to do just that. Is it possible that she is so damn unwilling to spend her time and money to make an appointment with a veterinarian that she'll just rationalize it away and suffer the consequences? I don't have actual proof that that is her way of thinking---but I wouldn't be surprised, having lived through her extremely frugal ways for, oh, 22 years now. If this is actually the case, then I can't help but think that her frugality has reached a new peak.

That's what we argued about earlier in the week: I kept (gracelessly, I'll admit) insinuating that he should be taken to a vet, and finally my mother got fed up with my insinuations. "Why do I need to take him to a vet?" she said. "He still begs for food; he doesn't look sick. He's healthy!"

It seems my opinion counts for less than ever in this house. So what if he seems normal in every other respect? If it's a urinary tract infection, for instance, would that affect a pet's appetite?

This just frustrates the heck out of me: I feel like, in this matter, I'm the only sane one around. (My dad, as usual, refuses to argue with my mother about it, and my youngest brother remains indifferent to it all.) Honestly, it's the kind of thing that might make me move the hell out if---well, if I wasn't a) so afraid to live out there on my own, and b) so bent on trying to save as much as possible right out of college.

What do you say readers: am I being too irrational here, to think that a trip to a veterinarian wouldn't be too daft an idea? I mean, maybe he/she would basically confirm what my mother has been saying all along, that Dusty is too old and he just needs to be fed less water or something like that; but I'd rather hear it from a professional than from an arrogant mother who seems to distrust most doctors in the first place. Or is she being arrogant at all? Is she, in fact, being reasonable? (Everyone I talk to agrees with me; my mother, of course, said, "Of course they'll agree; they don't know the real situation.")


Finally, on a more positive note, that Flight of the Red Balloon review I worked on last weekend? Read it here. Feel free to leave me feedback over at The House Next Door or here, if you wish. I'd love to hear from y'all!


Anonymous said...

Its really great news that you will be working full time at the WSJ. Great opportunity and great for the resume!! As for the dog, I do agree with you; if the peeing all over the house is a new behavior than something is wrong and the dog should see a vet. Maybe you should just bite the bullet and offer to pay for it yourself? At any rate, a visit to a vet is in order and its really cruel to do otherwise. (Cruel for the dog and for your house too!). So if she does not agree, then tell her you will take him in yourself. It does not sound like she will listen to reason. That's my opinion.

Kenji Fujishima said...

Maybe you should just bite the bullet and offer to pay for it yourself?

I think it may come to that. I mean, isn't it mightily hypocritical to be reluctant myself to take Dusty to the vet on account of money reasons even as I complain about the possibility of my mother being reluctant for the same exact reason?

Yeah probably.