February 3, 2018: Lord of the Rings Marathon for Liesl

It’s the weekend.  Liesl got up and played Steam the moment that she was out of bed.

This afternoon I ran to the library here in Carrollton and borrowed the other two Lord of the Rings movies that we had not seen yet just before the library closed.  It’s great, they have a decent movie selection there.  We’ve never used the library for movies before.  It’s a very cool idea.  Dominica has recently started using them for audio books, too, although we are having terrible luck with those as the CDs are so abused that they tend not to work.

So this evening turned into a Lord of the Rings evening.  Luciana decided that she didn’t want to watch with us, so is saving watching the movies for some other time.

Liesl had to watch the last half of an hour of The Fellowship of the Ring because she had missed it last night.  Then we went directly into The Two Towers.  After that, Liesl still wanted to keep watching, so we sat and watched The Return of the King as well.  Liesl nearly did a full Lord of the Rings marathon as a nine year old!  Not many can do that. She did manage to do it in two days, but nearly all in one.  But it wasn’t the extended editions, which we have in storage somewhere.  Sometime we will do it all again with those.


February 2, 2018: Starting the Lord of the Rings

Friday. Just a normal work day today. Was productive, but things were slow, which was nice.  Wasn’t too stressful, which was good as there are so many other things to take care of.

The cleaners were at the house in Peekskill today all day getting it cleaned and cleared out and the last remaining broken things fixed around the house.  In theory, we get to set the closing date on Monday.

Dominica and I have finally gotten around to catching up on Sherlock on Netflix.  We are ready for season four, after today.

This evening, we decided to make a movie night of it.  Luciana saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on Netflix and asked if we could watch it.  Dominica and I had already decided that we wanted to just make it an easy night of Domino’s pizza, so that fit well.

So we set up the living room, I added a box of firewood under the television on the hearth so that it would be at a proper viewing level, and we fired up the movie, ordered our pizza, and settled in for a nice evening.

The girls really liked the movie. Unfortunately, only the first one of the trilogy is available on Netflix right now, so we can’t continue the series.

January 27, 2018: Finishing Our Binge of Harry Potter Movies

Saturday. I got up around seven thirty this morning.  I got up and went to the office and did some work before anyone else got up.

Dominica got up not too much after me and went straight for the Steam machine so that she could play Dragon Age 2 today.  She got started first thing in the morning and played for nearly the entire day.

The girls got up and spent the morning with their iPads hanging out together in our bedroom.  We’ve had a lot of family time the last couple of days, so they were ready for some quiet time on their own.

This afternoon, Dominica and I watched Assassin’s Creed, which is the movie based on the video game.  It was, okay.  Worth sitting through, but nothing special.  Certainly not on par with the story telling or production value of the video game.

Liesl played Skyrim for a while this afternoon.  Luciana played some Octodad, Red Ball 4, and finally The Sims 4.

Then this evening we did our family movie night.  We watched both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  That’s five hours of movies, so ended up taking us until half past midnight.  Such good movies, the girls really enjoyed them.

January 26, 2018: Harry Potter Family Day

Friday. It was a busy morning as one person was out of the office today and we just let someone go yesterday so I was helping to cover the shortfall and that kept the morning pretty busy.

The Certificate of Occupancy for our house in Peekskill was issued late this morning after a morning scramble of getting the house unlocked for ConEd to get the power turned back on.  That should be the last real barrier to selling the house.  The buyers are doing an inspection tomorrow and seeing if they want us to clean it out or if they will just take it as it is.  Fingers crossed.  We really want to get this wrapped up.

The girls slept in late, then got right into school.  Dominica did that with them for a few hours but we talked and decided to wrap up school on the early side today and get right into some family time.  It has been a busy, stressful week and we figured that this was just a good idea.  Plus we don’t know how long we are going to have HBO Go, so we need to use our chance to see the movies that we want to see.

So in the late afternoon we settled down and finished the last half of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that we had started last night, and then we watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince which we had just finished reading two nights ago.

For dinner, Dominica decided to just make a cake.

After our second movie was finished, Luciana decided that she had had enough of the movies and did not want to watch anymore at night time, because they are a bit intense, and she wanted to save the last ones for tomorrow instead.  But she still wanted to read; so we settled in around seven thirty and I read until half past midnight.  We are now sixteen chapters into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Luciana asked to sleep in our room last night because she didn’t want to “stop family day” by having to go sleep in their own room.  So the girls stayed with us.  It was a really fun day, getting to spend nearly the entire day together as a family all bundled up in blankets on the Ikea couch in our bedroom.

We will probably finish the Harry Potter movies tomorrow, because we want to be absolutely sure that we get through them all before they are not available to us any more or it will be a big pain.  We own them all on BluRay, but we don’t have a BluRay player anymore (and have not for many years) nor do we know where any of our BluRays are stored (a natural thing to happen when you don’t have a player for a very long time.)

One of the things that has been awesome is going through these movies and both girls constantly pointing out how the movies are so short, so cut, and so modified from the books.  They have been paying unbelievably close attention as we read the books and are acutely aware of every, single discrepancy that happens in the movies.  Luciana especially is appalled by the movies’ lack of accuracy and completeness.  There are so many scenes and events that she wanted to see and they are just gone.

We have spent a lot of time talking about all of the bits that get missed and it is really evident just how enthralled they are with our reading time and how engaged they are with the stories.  It shows how important that time is.  Luciana says how much she prefers the reading time because she gets to “watch all of the story in her head.”

January 25, 2018: Ramping Up with Harry Potter

Thursday. No word today from my filing with the Texas wage board for my lack of salary yet.  I was really hopeful that they would reach out this morning, but I have never dealt with anything like this so have no realistic idea how long it will take before they respond, and even less idea how long it will take before anything practical happens.

I got a nasty note from the company trying not to pay my salary, though, and they said to stop discussing the lack of pay with them.  So that removed any last qualms I had about following the Texas Payday instructions of filing the report with Homeland Security.  They had recommended Tuesday, when I had spoken to them on the phone, that I file with Homeland Security which handles Immigration and Border Control to let them know what was going on and to flag them trying to leave the country. I hadn’t wanted to jump right to that, but it seemed reasonable; it is just a report and immigration can make what they want of it.  But I tried to reach them all day yesterday and they refused to respond and then sent a nasty gram today about not wanting to hear any more about their refusal to pay.  So, today I filed the report.  I called and called trying to talk to them about it, I can’t help it if they’ve decided that they have no interest in working it out.

Had a long work day today, had to let someone go who has been not showing up to work when scheduled a lot; and works from home so the number of excuses that there are for this aren’t many.  But now there is dealing with that to do; and it means that there is more work to cover.

Our house in Peekskill finally got inspected today and would have passed right away except that there was no power.  As it turns out, our renters turned off the power before they moved out and were not paying their final power bills.  So the power company, not knowing what to do, shut off the power to the house yesterday.  So, between the inspector taking two weeks to get to our house instead of two days like it is supposed to be, and with the renters screwing us over on the power, we couldn’t get our certificate of occupancy cleared.  But the inspector said that everything else was fine, including the idiotic placement of the carbon monoxide detectors, and that if we can get the power on, he will pass the house.  So Dominica dealt with getting the power turned back on today and they are, in theory, going to turn it on tomorrow.

We watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban this evening together as a family.  We had so much fun and the girls were so into it that we went ahead and started watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  We finished that and gave an attempt at Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Halfway through our final movie, Luciana decided that she had had enough movies for the day and that she wanted to save more for tomorrow.  But she wanted to do our Harry Potter reading right away.  But the girls needed to take a shower, too.

So we talked them into taking a shower and I sat in the bathroom on the floor reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to them in the shower and then reading to them in bed.  We ended up getting through six chapters tonight before everyone turned in.  It was a fun night.

We are trying to read the final Harry Potter novel as quickly as possible, because we want to get as far into the book as possible before we start watching the movies which might only be available to us for a few more days.  We have nearly managed to finish reading the entire series before going to the movies.

January 24, 2018: Filing an Unpaid Wage Report

Wednesday. This morning was mostly normal work.

Found out that the City of Peekskill lost our paperwork for getting our house inspected, which explains why we’ve been waiting for weeks without hearing anything.  We had even followed up with them and they had confirmed that they had had it weeks ago.  And at that time, they didn’t confirm until nearly five days after USPS had reported that they had received everything.

But at least now things are moving forward, they know that they screwed up and they are going to rush us through, now.  So things should happen tomorrow.

Today, for the first time ever, I got to spend a bit of my time filling out a report with the state for an employer not paying my wages.  All kinds of fun there.  This is, as you can imagine, very stressful.  In total, it is 4.5 months of unpaid wages that have to be claimed.  It’s a hugely impactful amount of money.

Tonight we watched the second Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as a family.  The girls are really liking getting to see the movies. They have been so into the books now for so long.  Harry Potter has really gotten them into literature like nothing else had before.

After we finished the movie, Dominica went to bed and the girls and I had our normal bedtime Harry Potter reading time and we ended up reading four chapters of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince so that we could finish the book tonight.  Lots of really intense stuff at this point.

January 23, 2018: Only One in the Meeting

Tuesday. So after my meeting on Sunday to find out why I was not getting paid for over four months of work, we were supposed to have a meeting today with everyone involved to go over the situation.  But, as expected, no one that was supposed to attend the meeting showed up.  Same pattern as always, it is just a stalling tactic.  This is a perfect example of how everything that they are claiming is exactly the opposite of reality.  There is no question that it has been a scam all along and they never had any possibility of running  a real business.  No one can even be bothered to show up to work.

So after calling, emailing, texting all day and finding out that not only did they not show up for the meeting, but had shot off their phones, too, there was nothing to do but put in a call to the state and discuss my legal options for dealing with months of missing pay.  The conversation with the state went really well and they felt, at least by the quick conversation on the phone, that it was an open and shut case and that there was zero grounds for them not paying and that they would have no problem collecting from a company, even one located overseas.  The state did recommend to me to file a report with the Department of Homeland Security about the situation, as it was an obvious scam and they had admitted to me that they had set the whole thing up with the intention of never paying me from the beginning (a surprising thing to have admitted) which means that they admitted to at least a portion of the situation having been an attempt to defraud from day one.

So that was my day, mostly dealing with stress and problems with the job.  At least we have closure that it is absolutely over and done as far as the work goes.  But, now dealing with getting paid is already turned into a nightmare and it has only just begun.  At least the state feeling super confident that there was nothing at all to worry about is a good step in the right direction.

This evening we decided to start watching the Harry Potter movies on HBO Go together as a family.  We are starting at the beginning and going to work our way through them since they are all available currently on HBO Go.  So tonight was Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone.

The girls were very much not impressed by how inaccurate and sloppy the movie was and the ridiculous amount of stuff that was cut out of the book to make it all fit.  Going back now, having just read the books, the movie feels so incredibly rushed and does not convey any of the way that the book makes you feel.  The focus is on so much goofy action, Jason and the Argonauts style special effects, and scenery that the characters and the mood are totally lost.

After our movie, it was time for reading.  The girls and I are still working our way through the sixth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  They are loving it.  We’ve got only a handful of chapters left to read in it after tonight.