Friday, January 05, 2018

The Friday 56

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it.
From X by Sue Grafton. If you're a fan of the "alphabet series," you know that the enjoyment doesn't only come from seeing a mystery solved. We've also all come to love Kinsey and the cast of characters we encounter every time we curls up with one of these books.
And so I'm going to toss the spotlight on an exchange between Kinsey and her landlord, Henry. As she tries to get to the bottom of a tangled web of deceit, he searches for innovative ways to conserve during one of California's punishing droughts.
From page 56: Henry glanced at me with a wry smile. "I made a discovery today. You know how Ed (the cat) has been getting out?"

"No clue."

"Dryer vent. The tubing came loose and I spotted the hole when I was crawling through the bushes, checking the water lines."

"You close it up?

"I did. He'll probably find another way out, but for now, Ed is housebound."

Apparently Henry hadn't noticed the cat at his feet, and I made no mention of him.

Well, this sucks

I contacted Will today because I had a hard time finding the 2018 schedule for our Classic Movie Meetup. Well, guess what: there are no meetups scheduled for 2018.

Meetup raised their prices. The venue where we meet nearly doubled their prices. While he never looked at this as a revenue generator, he can't afford to lose money on our screenings. In 2018, Will just can't make it work at $5/person.


I did a little research and found a venue that will let us meet there for $100/evening. While we wouldn't have a big movie screen, we would have a good-sized flat-screen TV. It doesn't have the free parking our previous place did, but it's far more accessible to public transportation. And while $100 is cheaper than the room we'd been using will be in 2018, it's still too expensive for Will at $5/person.

I told him to raise our ticket price from $5 to $10. I mean, REALLY! A cheap matinee movie ticket is now $6.50 and the average price of a movie in Chicago is over $13. I don't think $10 for a movie, and the insights and conversation Will brings to it, is at all unreasonable.

Will is going to try to negotiate a lower price. The meeting room for rent is usually only in use during the workday. Maybe Will can convince him to reduce the cost because the room is just sitting empty in the evenings and this would be incremental income.

I also found a church on the northside that rents out their meeting rooms for not-for-profits. I couldn't get a price for Will, but I gave him the info. I'm hoping one of these pans out ... or at least that the faith I have shown in our movie group will propel Will to work harder to find a new place.

He's been so depressed about the precipitous price increase at our previous venue. It's a community center right in his neighborhood and he thought it was being a good citizen by supporting it. Then, after nearly five years, they suddenly jack up their fees and price him out.

Hanging in there!

I saw Napoleon and his human, Randi, today!  They were sitting on their usual street corner. Cold, very cold to be sure, but she reassured me they were OK. The diarrhea that plagued Napoleon before Christmas is now a thing of the past. The shelter they have been frequently, which usually charges $23/person for a shower and a place to sleep, has lowered their price to $15 during this coldsnap. On the worst nights, Randi and Caleb and Napoleon have stayed there.

But here's the thing: colder weather means fewer people out on the street to help them out, so if they can bear it, they still sleep in their tent. She explained to me that it's really not so bad, except in the morning they find themselves uncomfortably wet. Their breath turns into condensation. I don't have any extra blankets -- this condo runs to the warm side -- but I do have some nice, serviceable bath towels to share. She enthusiastically said they would be most welcome and sort of explained how the towels would help. I didn't really follow, but didn't ask her to elaborate, either, because I know she doesn't like to just talk about her situation. She appreciates it when I relate to her as another woman, not as a "homeless woman." So when she asked about my Christmas, I told her about how my Florida bug bites swelled up and I ended up in Immediate Care last week. I also mentioned that I prayed for them in church on Christmas Eve. It had been almost three weeks since I'd seen them, and I wanted her to know they'd been in my thoughts.

This evening I packed up the three bath towels and gave them a spritz of Downy. After all, they've been in my closet for years and I don't want to give them anything musty for their enclosed tent. I also tossed in an Ann Rule paperback I found at the Little Free Library, since I know Ms. Rule is Caleb's favorite author.

It feels good to get out of myself and my own head a little bit, and think about Napoleon and his peeps.

And so it begins

On Friday I will meet members of our sister agency in St. Louis. Our hour-long "meet-and-greet" will run from 11 to noon. In the invitation, I'm introduced as part of the Chicago team that "makes the magic happen."

As it has been explained to me -- officially, not rumor -- St. Louis is handling one (very large) portion of our client's monolith business, while here in Chicago we will continue to service a separate and much smaller division.

My boss assures me this is all there is to it. I am not so sure. Without boring everyone beyond endurance, there's a financial aspect to this that makes me wonder how having two agencies under the same corporate banner will be profitable. And, since we're the smaller element, if one side is going to swallow the other, it makes sense that I'm the guppy.

On the other hand, they are meeting with us. And I'm now included in correspondence on the topic (instead of being reduced to surreptitiously reading "confidential" decks abandoned on the printer).

I just wish I was looking back on this, and all this attendant stress and drama.