Okay, where to even start?
We moved in to the crazy community house in San Francisco on August 1st. It seemed awesome. The house is incredible; it's a beautifully preserved and restored Victorian mansion, with original flooring and woodwork everywhere. I'm totally in love with it. The people for the most part seem pretty cool, and the first week was exciting as we got to meet all the new housemates.
Apparently the people organizing the house didn't like us as much as we liked them, because they told us on August 6th that they didn't think we were a good fit for the community they are trying to create and they'd like us to move out. They offered to let us stay for the month of August rent-free while we look for a new place, but other than that it was non-negotiable. We were both pretty shocked and upset at first, but as the last couple weeks have gone by I'm more and more on board with the "we are not a good fit" assessment. I think we had expected a community house in which people hung out together, cooked dinner together, had interesting conversations about the structure and nature of society, etc... and what we have instead is sort of a house in which no one is ever around except for an hour or two late each evening, and then they talk about their startup businesses and how awesome they are and how they are going to modify this incredibly beautiful Victorian house to turn the basement into some kind of hostel. They don't communicate well. They don't seem to have any regard for other human beings. They seem to be happy to be at the top of the financial pyramid, and their only concern is how to climb further upwards. It is extremely frustrating to have moved into a community house in California and to realize that the people inside it are capitalistic and competitive. Seriously. How weird is that?
So anyway, we found a new place to live. It's extraordinarily expensive - like four times as much as we were paying for our 1-bedroom in Ypsilanti - and it's a studio loft. So it's basically a living room with a space for a bed above, but hey, we spend all our time on our computers anyway, so it's not like we need a lot of space... The good news is that it's extremely conveniently located. It's a very easy bike ride to work for me, and it's right next to the BART station on Market Street, so Jim can get to work in Oakland really easily (assuming he actually gets this job).
Speaking of jobs... Jim went to LA last week for orientation and training, but still doesn't know if he actually has the job. Apparently this company is having trouble getting Jim's last employer to verify his exact employment dates. Maybe they keep their records on cowhide or something, because otherwise I don't see how this could possibly be a difficult fact to verify.
My job is really good. I like my new lab and I like the research. I'm working with a German postdoc, and he's got a great sense of humor and has given me a ton to do, so I feel like I'm starting off hitting the ground running, which is nice. I've only been here two weeks and I can already do a large portion of the things the lab does. I am getting up to speed really quickly.
The negative part of the new job has been all the HR stuff. All the official paperwork and security and benefits stuff has been one long nightmare. First I had to get a university ID card, which I couldn't do until I had a California driver's license, because my Michigan driver's license still had my maiden name on it. So two trips to the DMV and one trip to Santa Cruz later (there was a saga involving the loss of the original certificate of marriage, so I had to drive to Santa Cruz to get a new one), I have a temporary CA driver's license that has my married name on it, and the university finally issued me an ID. Of course then it took another WEEK to get me access to the building, despite the fact that I had completed all of the online safety training... I actually got access to the animal facility before I got access to the building itself. This building is so secure you have to scan your card to use the elevator, so I actually got trapped once trying to get from the animal facility back to my floor, because the elevator wouldn't let me select the correct floor.
So now I'm trying to sign up for health insurance and shit, and I log into the stupid university website with my social security number and my birthdate, like I'm told to, and it comes up with my maiden name and tells me I'm not an employee. WTF? Some digging around shows that my last W2 form (wait, why do I have one?) was issued in 2005. Oh right. I worked as a TA at UCSC my second year of college... in 2005... so I have technically been an employee in the UC system before.
Further digging reveals that there has been no mixup with names or employment dates. The problem is not that I existed previously as my maiden name. The problem is that the person in HR responsible for putting me in the system last week typed in my social security number wrong. So there are now two accounts for me in the UC system - one from 2005 with the right SSN and wrong name and no current employment info, and one from last week with the right name and right employment info that I can't access, because it isn't attached to my SSN. And no one in HR is answering the phone this afternoon. ::headdesk::
Apparently there is now internet available at the House of Awkward, though, so I'm about to head home and see if the rumors are true. It will be nice to have internet access again!