The Worst Email Scam Ever

Howdy!

I’ve been gone a while because my life has been absolutely, totally, and bamboozlingly insane. My writing (and by extension, this blog) has been on the back burner of my mind since I’ve been looking for work. While I hope to find time to write a bit more about the specifics of what’s been happening lately, I wanted to share a particular gem of a communication I had with someone who wanted to employ me.

A little background: I’m looking for a job as a nanny and using some online resources to do so. The other night, I got a text from a man who we’ll call “Derek” because that’s his name. He had gotten my number off of Care.com and was looking for a nanny for his four-year-old twins. I emailed my resume to him as requested, and this is the response I got back (annotated by yours truly)

Thank you for your response,I live in Chicago but we are moving to your area on 25 th of this Month. (Fantastic….do you even know what area or month you are talking about?) I will need a caregiver, Do full time or part time work for you. (Is that a question? What kind of work does this guy need?) More importantly,My son is currently placed on a wheelchair due to an accident he had some weeks ago.he can walk a few distance though but the specialist advised he uses the chair for a while. (Oh boy, I love how this bot doesn’t understand capitalization or punctuation. I’m glad your son can walk “a few distance” and that you’ve seen some nebulous “specialist”) The rate is $15/hour.My son is 5 years old and i really need a honest and responsible care for them (So somehow the four-year-old twins grew into a single five-year-old boy who is still referred to in the plural. And they think I might be the “Honest and Responsible” they need.) This could be a temporary/permanent job. (Interesting how it can be part-time, full-time, temporary, or permanent depending on what I want. And yet the payrate is fixed at $15…well under-market value for Silicon Valley.) I am planning on getting him a powered wheelchair and have contacted a seller. (This is pertinent to me how?)I will let you know as soon as we finalize issues. (Uhh, what issues?) I will like you to send me your complete details.

NAME:,

ADDRESS:

CITY:

STATE:

ZIP CODE:

CELL PHONE NUMBER. 

AGE :

(Not that this isn’t all on my online profile…except for my address…and why on Earth would you need that?)

This could be a temporary/permanent job. It depends on what your schedule looks like but i do like to be sure if you are available the first month would like you to know more about me. (Wat.)

I am a single father and I am only 45 years of age while my son  is 5 years old. (Only forty-five? Why do I need to know this?) I am widowed since the birth of my little angel and we have been living together happily ever since without a urge for a new mother. (Ummm…) I have my own business(Self Employed) which is based on the development and cancelling of the deaf people in the community. (I have to agree with him here. The deaf people in our community definitely need to be developed, and promptly CANCELED. Those people need canceling…uhh…) i attend the catholic. (Charming) You will get to know more when we meet. (I don’t think I want to…this sounds like a bad dating profile.) Kindly include in your email your PICTURE if you have one, your complete NAME, ADDRESS and CELL PHONE NUMBER in other for me to be able to text you in case i need to pass an urgent information.

Thanks

**

I don’t think I want any part of the urgent information he’d be passing. Pretty sure that if I emailed him again, his next email would reveal that he’s actually a Nigerian Prince. You have to wonder what scammers think they’re going to get out of unemployed childcare professionals by offering them $15 an hour for their work. At least most of the junk mail I get promises to enlarge my genitals to unprecedented sizes or turn me into a millionaire overnight. My job hunt has pretty much been a comedy of errors though, so this just feels like the piece de la resistance. I’m just hoping I’ll be able to find a job that doesn’t require me to care for disabled twin-morph toddlers.

-Audrey Joy

If a Novel Were a Math Problem

Watching the vast majority of my non-artsy, analytically minded friends go into computer-science and mathematics makes me jealous sometimes. In their field, there’s such a thing as a right answer.

That’s attractive sometimes. As a girl who’d rather draft another two novels than spend a few months editing the one she has, I’m not too enamoured of revision and fine-tuning. I tend to catch myself thinking in binary ideas, and dismissing everything that can’t be described in yes-or-no terms. Is my novel drafted yet? No? Then I better keep working on it until I can say YES! Editing does not have the same simplicity, because you can always do more editing. No matter how thoroughly you go through a piece, there are always stylistic improvements to be made. Even once the plot is solid and whole thing feels complete from a macro-view, sentence structure and word choice can be nitpicked ad infinitum. That’s why I hold myself to such high personal standards when drafting in the first place. Some authors have a blissful anything-goes mentality about a first draft, but my approach is to end up with a product that requires the least amount of editing.

Editing is, for me, the greatest drudgery associated with crafting a book, simply because it never ends. You never solve for x, you never find the solution. You just keep going until it’s “good enough.” Maybe that would change if I had a really professional editor helping me with the process, but until then I have no idea how to polish my manuscripts well enough on my own.

Of course, the upside to this is that there is always progress. Once you have a novel drafted, no matter where you are in editing, you can show someone a finished product and just admit, “it’s still a little raw.” Others can help you finish editing, too. There’s no such thing as being proud of a half-solved math problem though, or letting someone solving the last three steps of it. As much as I wish I could sometimes just declare, AHA! I have the right answer, and forevermore am done with this challenge, it’s really probably for the best that I’m never given the opportunity to bang my head against the wall and question why I still haven’t gotten “the” answer yet. Baby steps and little progress will have to suffice.

You Have To Be Crazy: Summer Writing

I thought I was going to get so much writing done this summer. I did manage to crank out a sixy-two page thesis that convinced my advising professor that I could have a future as a literary critic and send off a lot of (admittedly, rejected) query letters. Even still, summer always used to be a time of creation for me since there was so little motion and change associated with the season. Back when I was in school, it was the only time that I wasn’t juggling homework and quarters, shifting from social season to social season. Summer was about taking a break from academia to live.

It gets a little different when you don’t show up to classes and your entire life seems to become for integrating work and whatever it is that you want to do with your life.

Travelling, graduating, moving, and job-hunting have taken a lot out of me these past three months, but I’m always reluctant to let myself believe that’s a valid excuse for not doing more. My boyfriend’s always telling me that people do, in fact, have upper limits of what they’re capable of, and I’m always telling him that shouldn’t matter. I continue to cycle through my manic moments and burned out recoveries. As frustrating as the process is, so far it’s the only thing I’ve found that allows me the headspace I really need to create. Lately, I’ve been more moderate. No extreme diets or sugar binges, no staying up past midnight or getting up after nine. Exercise, sleep, food, and even sociality have been coming in carefully regulated packets in the interest of seeing if this really does help me stay sane. It does, but I go crazy slowly as I realize that this strategy reduces my creativity to the same tiny packets. I can’t do substantial work like that. This whole summer I’ve hardly written five-thousand words of the story I’ve been working on. A hard blow for someone who likes it best when NaNoWriMo has got her churning out ten thousand or more words a week.

It’s hard to realize that you have to be crazy to get anything done in this world.

Responsibility-Hiccups

I like to justify everything in my bubbling little literary career with the opinion that artists are all a little scattered brained and unreliable. I’m very reliable in all other facets of my life, but when it comes to my loyalty and dedication to myself, I’ve been known to have some responsibility-hiccups.

I think we all have though, haven’t we? Has anyone actually sent out as many query letters or written as many words as they said they were going to after those first few weeks of embarking on the epic project of writing a book or publishing one?

I think the important thing to remember is that fouling up and taking breaks is a vital part of keeping your sanity in this game. I know how I push myself when I’m “on” a project and in the zone with it…and I also know that’s its just not humanly possible to go on like that indefinitely. I’m trying to get in the habit of taking modest, manageable breaks from querying and long-form fiction projects so that I don’t end up pushing myself to some breaking point where I feel I’ll never be able to return to the pursuit again…until I inevitably do.

This week I’m finishing a thesis, but after that I think I need to get on top of my querying again so I’m in a flow before I start my new job later this month. I also want to finish the novella I’m drafting on before work starts up so that I don’t feel caught in the middle of any long-term projects as I begin adjusting to post-academic life and working 45 hours a week.

So the moral of my relationship with writing is one I’ve been attempting to apply to all facets of my life: don’t panic. Even if it has been so long since you blogged that WordPress changed its GUI and you no longer have the comfort of a familiar interface.

GISHWHES 2014 Story

For Lyssa Norton, a GISHWHES 140-Word flash fiction up at my site: http://www.audreygreathouse.com/writing.html

Mischa Collins was a gifted professional actor, something that was advantageous in his day-to-day life as well as his career. Even still, he could not hide the injured pain he felt when told that Castiel was being recast. On Her Magesty’s Royal orders, Collins’ character would now be portrayed by an elopus. “I don’t understand!” he exclaimed, flabbergasted and unamused. His head hit the bar, but his hand held to his brandy glass. “Think about it from the producer’s standpoint,” Eric Cripke volunteered, “if you were in charge and the network was leaning on you for even higher ratings, and then you get publicly denounced by the Queen of England for not even bothering to portray elopuses…elopusi…elopuses? What would you do?” Collins downed his brandy, knowing he simply couldn’t fight an #elopusrepresentation Twitter phenomenon started by dear old Elizabeth herself.

Solstice Graveyard Picnic

It’s really strange to try to fathom how much my life is going to change once I’m in California, my little brother will go to college, and my retired parents move to Orroville (which happens to be the one point in the state farthest from any interstate highway in Washington state.) I’m trying not to think about how melancholy it is that this chapter of my life is quickly coming to a close…that a year from now if I come “home” to Seattle there isn’t going to be a home for me to come home to.

It was the solstice yesterday though, so my family decided to celebrate by picnicking in a graveyard. This is actually kind of a long-standing Greathouse family tradition. Back when we were in West Virginia we used to go to the graveyard all the time because there were so few other parks in Morgantown that were good for walking around. We would park at one end, walk across it, and get Hostess cupcakes at the store across the street to eat on top of nice gravestones. It kind of desensitized me to death at a young age in some ways, and it was weird when I went through this period as a pre-teen where I didn’t want to be in graveyards because it suddenly dawned on me how weird it was. I’ve since recovered from that stigma and made a bit of peace with my own mortality, so I’m good to eat and laugh on graves again.

We had a crazy picnic. My Dad ate nothing but grapefruit, which is kind of par for the course these days, but the rest of us managed to pack balanced meals. We looked around until we found a nice name, and then spread out our picnic blanket over Crispina Tiberi. Most of the time these days, we go to graveyards when we think the parks will be crowded. In Washington, the first (nice) days of summer are always people-traps since the novelty of warm weather and clear skies is fresh and exciting again. The graveyard we were in was over by the University of Washington, so we could see the dorms my friends used to live in and the Space Needle to boot. Dad brought his binoculars. Afterwards, we did a stroll through Ravenna Park. We headed home, and in a strange reversal of sociality, Dad and Hasdrubal both had people to see and a party to be at. Mom and I stayed home and sorted the whole house, helping me pack a kitchen, gather spices, and make peace with the emblems of childhood that will vanish as she and Dad pair down their belongs and prepare to move into a cozier house somewhere in Eastern Washington. My life is packed up in cardboard boxes now, making a faint existential scratching noise from inside.Image

Dad unpacks a camera, while my little brother Hasdrubal spreads another blanket.

My Final Days: 8 Days and Counting Until the Move

I figure that the best thing I can do with this evening is to make (and start fulfilling) a summer resolution. Summer resolutions are always easier than New Year’s resolutions, because it’s just a simple fact of life that it’s easier to get things done when there’s nice weather egging you on. I should get in the actual habit of blogging. All the really interesting people I know keep blogs and keep interesting blogs at that, so why shouldn’t I?

I worked today, but it was an easy day for little nanny me since I only had to put in a few hours, and while the baby was still asleep. It was virtually high-paid house-sitting. I plowed through the last of the work for my online courses, marveling at the reality that I will never have to take another class again. Eight weeks from now, my thesis will be turned in and I’ll be done with school for good. I installed Skype on my computer and finally got it working for the first time ever; I have someone who wants to do a video interview with me for one of the nanny positions I’ve applied to down in Palo Alto.

Considering that last week I put in three times as many hours at work, spent an eight hour day with my friend Nick, got lunch with Alison, went to both Claire and Hannah’s 21st birthday dinners and following celebrations, took my CLEP placement test for credit, had dinner with Sean, drove to Leavenworth and back with Magi, went to dinner in Bellevue with the family, saw Little Shop of Horrors at the ACT theatre in Seattle, visited all old high school teachers, and wrote two papers for my finals…I think I deserve an easy down day. I’ve only got eight days left in town before Zaq and I pack up the van and move down to California together. I don’t want to be running myself ragged everyday. Tonight I wasted in the best way possible, just walking up to the woods to go play on the St. Edward State Park swing set and watch the sunset over the trees by the seminary. It was really beautiful, and with the right soundtrack, it was perfect. I love MP3 players, man.