last night around 1am my new census assignments came in: 98 cases, a bunch around where i live, a bunch southwest of my location. each grouping was anchored by an apartment building about 20 units each. i checked the case notes on those apartments and it was inspiring. i was the second to enumerate, so all the easy addresses were already finished, i was left with those who didn't answer the first time. if i couldn't get either units, that's about 40 cases right off my case list, leaving me with too few. i was hoping the list would expand a bit like it normally does, but was surprised to see no change this morning. so i called up the census bureau office and asked them for more cases. my list then ballooned to 169 cases, nearly double what i had before. be careful what you wish for!

a few cases were third attempts, and i knew it'd make me look for 3 proxies. so after sorting out my addresses (that was before they doubled my case load), i did some research on a few addresses. pull up property records, look for the owner names, look for a phone number, maybe a rental agency. one particular apartment building was near where i live, 18 units total. case comments said it was impossible to get into the building and the real estate agent was no help, so many people have been calling her that she stopped answering census calls. i looked up the address online and noticed it had its own website because apparently these were luxury rental apartments starting from $3000/month for a 540SF loft upwards of $10K/month for a 2500SF single family home unit. i noticed in the listing that not only was there a regular real estate broker, but there was also a chinese language team as well, with a different number. so i decided to try that number. the woman i spoke with was super helpful, she gave me occupancy info for all the units. this was possible because most of the units were empty in april due to the coronavirus. in fact, only the penthouse and the single family unit were occupied, while all the other units remain vacant, a fact that she didn't outright say but i figured out pretty quickly.

i actually spent an hour calling and researching, even contacting the census supervisor hotline for some guidance as to what to do with some weird cases. i finally finished by 10:30am, and quickly took a trip to market basket to return some cans and get some groceries. i also went to star market because they had a sale on seltzers but only two flavors (lime and regular). i never seem to have enough before i had to leave for work, and today was no exception. i almost didn't have time to eat, and decided an instant cup of noodles was my only option while i left it to simmer on the counter while i quickly took a shower. i was getting dressed, filling up my water bottle, collecting my equipment, and eating all that the same time. with the work i put in earlier this morning, i could've started a bit later, but if i started enumerating at 12pm, i could be done early by 7pm.

the cases i had today were not very good, crap addresses. i wasn't expecting to get a lot of interviews, if any at all. but i got lucky, always found a way to get into large apartment buildings, and found the right people to talk to. another large apartment near where i live, i managed to find the superintendent who had detailed knowledge of everyone who lives in her building, a perfect proxy that allowed me to complete 5 interviews (and a 6th that wasn't even my case). on top of that a added 4 more interviews, so i was already above my interview completion quota for the day.

today was a hot day but dry with a strong breeze. i didn't bother with a hat even though i could feel the sun burning into my scalp whenever i stepped out of the shade. it would've also been a good day for sunglasses but as a regular glasses wearer i don't have that luxury.

i visited that luxury apartment building that i got all the info from the real estate agent this morning, just to see the place for myself. sure enough, it's built where the intercom isn't even inside and you need to know the person's name in order to find the apartment unit, very unfriendly for enumerating. but i was there right when a contractor was going in and he allowed me to go inside. i figured i could knock on the doors of the few units that were occupied, but someone from the office stopped me before i could do that. he was very evasive, works for the owner but not in any official capacity, more like helping out a friend. i asked for the owner's contact info and he wouldn't give me (it's not a big secret, later i went online and found the info for myself through a property database search), but instead asked for my info, which i know i'd never get a callback. he almost didn't give me his name, but finally relented and gave me only a first name. he could play secret all he wanted but i already knew all the answers: these luxury apartments were nearly all empty, and if potential renters found out, it could devalue the property even more.

things were going well enough and i had enough energy left over that i decided i could work a little more tomorrow morning. i've never worked the census on a weekend before, and never in the mornings, so it'd be a new experience. there's also another informal outdoor meeting at noon, so i go to that as well, i could string together 4 hours of overtime census work, earn some grocery money for the next few weeks.

one of my final enumerations were in a large apartment block. this was one of the buildings i was afraid i couldn't get in but i was lucky and the third person on my list buzzed me in. i soon realized despite having nearly 20 cases in this building, it was a lost cause because they were all repeats, as the place had a weird hyphenated building number. i got a lot of people to open up their doors, but they had all filled out their census. i was ready to quit but decided to go through my list anyway, even though i knew i wasn't going to get any interviews, but at least i could definitely close these duplicate cases. i did interview a woman even though she said she'd already filled out the census months ago. i had a feeling this was a duplicate case but i did the interview anyway just so i could get one more interview for the quota, i wasn't proud of that. all subsequent respondents who answered when i knocked i marked as proxies for duplicate cases.

i stopped working at 7pm as promised, but i still had to input the data for the 18 vacant luxury apartment units. i learned how to use a keyboard shortcut for faster entry, but it still took a long time. at first i did it in front of the building itself so the census app could get the gps coordinate and match the address, but it was taking way too long, and it was a proxy enumeration by phone anyway, so i briefly stopped by my community garden to water before returning home and slowly punching in all the info into my census app. i was finally done by 8pm. so much for finishing early today.

i still had 110 active cases left, but i closed 35 cases, with 24 inactive cases. i don't think i ever closed that many cases before. a lot of them were wrong addresses or duplicates, which don't qualify for the bonus quota.

i decided to make some rice porridge with the leftover rice i had in my fridge. while that was simmering, i took a shower. i don't eat a lot of rice porridge here at home, but back when i lived in chongqing it was a dinner staple. that's just because there are a lot of side dishes to find where i lived, but here not so much. i made some pretty savory rice porridge if i recall, i'll need to dig up my recipes, or at least look at some photos to see what kind of stuff i put in. my final rice porridge for tonight had a weird consistency because i was using partially cooked rice. i also added some pickled mustard greens, some fried shallots, some scallions, and a bit of minced ginger for flavor. it tasted pretty good all by itself despite the weird consistency. i used 4 cups of water based on my mother's advice, but had to add an extra cup when the porridge started to look a little dry. i ate it with some pickled bamboo shoots and chinese glutens.

have to go to bed early tonight, so i can get up bright and early and enumerate.