After work every day I would go to Jennifer’s house and open the gate to the pool. Eric and Jennifer and Dan, Eric’s biological father, had built a fence around the pool with four to five feet high of wooden board fencing. I had a Rubber Maid chest full of the pool supplies I needed to keep the pool running as well as chemicals to keep it clean. I had bought a vacuum and various other items. I liked to stand there and watch the water whoosh out of the out take and into the pool, sweeping any debris that floated to the top. The humming of the pump was soothing and the sound of the rushing, swirling water was comforting. When I had back washed and was tired of sweeping the bugs and any leaves that still lingered on the surface I closed the gate and headed back home.
In January of that year I was told that I had lost my job at Aegis Communications Group and was receiving unemployment checks every week. The amount of the checks were more or equal to my regular pay check and I enjoyed my time off. I searched for but didn’t find another Job until July. Jennifer had applied to USA 800, a local call center, and was assured I would be able to get on there too since it was the same type of business I had been doing for the last 3 ½ years at Aegis. Callers would call the center for ads they had seen or heard on the radio and television as well as newspapers and we would screen them, taking the information and passing it on to the company they had originally called, which were our clients. I barely passed the typing course but was good enough to get hired. I had just applied for an extension with unemployment for another 3 months and due to school starting in September opted to wait and apply again in October. On October 17th I reapplied and was hired. The building consisted of an aged old apartment building downtown on the fifth floor. There was an old elevator that quit working off and on. Breaks were only 10 minutes long, it took 3 minutes for the elevator to rise to the fifth floor leaving 7 minutes for a cigarette break, 3 of which you had to use waiting for the elevator to come down, pick you up and rise to the fifth floor again. Then of course you had to go to the bathroom in that time as well, be back on the phones and take your calls without being over the ten minutes allotted from the time you signed out. These calls were easier to handle than the ones I had taken at Aegis. We had a few clients, not many then, and when call volume would go down a mandatory go home list was assigned. I lived alone with a nine year old boy then so I would get mad when they would send me home. Sometimes there would be a “Go Home List” that wasn’t mandatory, if you had your name put on it then you could go home and wouldn’t be charged any points against you. Points accrued when you just left early on your own without “call volume” being the reason, if your child was sick, you were sick or for some other reason than “the list” you would accrue a ½ point for leaving before your scheduled time off. If you called in sick and used your sick time then you wouldn’t receive any points, but if you didn’t have enough “sick” time to cover your shift and were gone the whole day you would receive a whole point. When you received 10 points it was cause for termination. Jennifer and I caught onto this very quickly and whenever they asked who wants to be on “the list”, we knew what they were talking about and made sure our names were on there. I couldn’t go as often as she could. She had a husband who worked making good money at the plant in Atchison, Midwest Grain, so she left me there a lot to suffer out my shift when all I really wanted to do was go home or to the pool and watch the water swirl around. She’d leave five minutes after she got there sometimes if they called “the list” right after we started. While she was there, we’d laugh and talk about the calls we were taking, some of them were really funny but on Sunday mornings at 5A when we’d work from 5A-1:30P, the pranks and the perverts would come out and disgust us to no end.
In January of 2004 we moved into a new building off Mitchell St, Mitchell Woods as it was called. No elevators and everything was on ground level. We had a huge parking lot in the back that was level and easy to get to in the winter time. This lot was eventually widened and made bigger to extend even further to the east and as the company grew a new addition was added to the building. Jennifer didn’t get to see the improvements they made as she quit in April of 2004, one month after Kelvin got out of prison.
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