my supervisor did say that our case load would begin to diminish as cases start to dwindle, but only 6? when i had 80 yesterday? there must've been a mistake. or maybe i'm not efficient enough with my closings and more cases were assigned to better enumerators while i got some local scrap. our supervisor also told us it'd be no use complaining to the main branch office to add more cases, because they didn't have enough; what you got is what you get.
i was all at once hurt, angry, and relieved. not many enumerators last until the census deadline, since the scope of enumerating changes. enumerators might be asked to work in other towns if they want cases, or if they have additional language skills, they might be relegated for language assistant needs. it's just too bad i'd calculated out how much money i'd be looking to make based on working 40 hour shifts all the way to the end of september. i realize now that's an impossibility.
i was relieved too, because it meant i had most of the day off. suddenly all my fantasies about not working could be realized. i could vacuum the house. do some laundry. organize my pantry. clean the fish tank. but the old adage holds true: only when something is taken away from you do you begin to miss. in this case it was my daily 8 hours of grueling census work. it wasn't the work i missed though, it was more the paycheck. and why couldn't it have been yesterday, when the weather was crap? that would've been a good day to miss work. instead of today, when the weather's nice, and i looked forward to being outside?
instead of beginning my short shift around noontime, i wasn't in any hurry and decided to work at 2pm, which is the recommended census time anyway, when people are most likely to be home.
so i started my day with some vacuuming, the house always feels much cleaner after a vacuum. i only got as far as the living room and entrance area when i called my father letting him know i had most of the day free and was planning on taking a short trip into chinatown and if he needed anything. he told me he needed to go as well and came by my place at 11am to pick me up.
we first stopped at chinatown cafe to get some takeout before going to ming's market. unlike last time, chinatown cafe has moved their whole takeout service back inside the restaurant. and unlike before, they no longer accepted credit card and was now cash only again (fortunately i had some cash on me). at ming's market we looked for roselle flowers for our sour plum drink but they didn't have any. had i come here on my own via bicycle, i would've gone into chinatown proper to find roselle flowers at the chinese medicine shop.
on our way back my sister texted me that my mother needed some bean sprouts. so we stopped by market basket briefly, where i ran quickly inside to grab 3 packets of charsiu powder and some bean sprouts. afterwards my father dropped me off back at home, 12:30pm.
i ate half of my salt and pepper porkchop rice for lunch (saving the rest for dinner). i felt a little antsy being at home and not working, felt like i was wasting my time. so instead of waiting until 2pm, i headed out at 1:45pm.
the 6 cases i had were softballs. they all required proxies, but even so, i figured 10 minutes per case would be more than enough time, so maybe an hour of work at most. factoring in the walking travel time, maybe an hour and 15 minutes maximum. but if i only had 6 cases, i was going to milk it for all they got.
the first case was a single family designation when it should really be multi-family units. the notes said as much, even spoke with a tenant who told the previous enumerator that this was a multi-unit house but the enumerator never closed the case. i rang one of the doorbells and a tenant came out to confirm what the note had already said, that the house wasn't a single family.
my second case was a house across the street from the divinity school. the tenant wasn't home, and i tried the other 2 units in that house, and they were also not available. i then tried a next door neighbor, but they too weren't home. after 3 proxy attempts the case closed. i thought about making more proxy attempts, but the people who live in the same house would best know about the missing tenant, so i opted to stopped searching.
i spent the longest time on the third case. large 2 unit house, with plenty of neighbors for proxy attempts. the unit didn't respond to my knocking, i tried the next unit, no one answered, and attempted to find 2 more proxies. one woman told me that the landlord lives in one of the units, but she didn't know how many people lived in the other unit, but did say they hadn't moved out yet. the 3rd proxy neighbor was a house next door to the case address; even though the car was in the driveway, nobody answered when i knocked.
i could've given up, but there were so many proxy options, there had to be at least someone who saw something, so i went ahead and opened up a 4th proxy attempt. the woman i found who lived across the street from the case address was more helpful, she had a friend who was a census supervisor, so she was sympathetic to the cause. she'd seen people going in and out of the house, but didn't have an exact headcount. she did however know the e-mail of the landlord and sent him a message. just at that point somebody came out of the house, a young chinese woman. i quickly ran across the street to speak with her, she ran back inside the house, something about getting a mask. when she came back out, i tried asking her questions, but she pointed to a UPS truck and i thought she was trying to flag down a package, but realized too late she was chasing after a shuttle bus, and had no intentions of answering my questions as she boarded and disappeared.
i went back to proxy 4, apologized for running off earlier. while she waited for the landlord to return her email, another person came out of the house, a young man this time. i ran back across the street and started interviewing him. he was very hesitant to answer, but by that point i was so annoyed that i wasn't going to take no for an answer. he finally did give me a head count, age, and gender of the occupants. i went back to proxy 4 to tell her the good news. while filling out my report, proxy 2 came out of the house. she was looking for a feral cat, which i actually saw earlier, a scruffy looking black cat.
walking to my fourth case, i spoke with two elderly gentlemen sitting outside on the porch of a house smoking cigarettes, enjoying the nice weather. one was white, one was black, i chatted briefly with the black gentleman. he was missing teeth so slurred some of his words. i realized the house was some kind of low income senior assisted residence, because at one point somebody came out of the house to see what was going on. "we're making pizza tonight, you want any?" the man said to the black gentleman. he grumbled refusal. once the young man went back inside, charlie (that's his name) told me that the man only came out to spy on him, that he was being nosy. charlie wanted chinese food, his favorite being pork fried rice with a side of shrimp. i told him my favorite was general tso's chicken and recommended he should try it one of these days.
my fourth case resulted in an interview, but not how i intended. since i knew the address was proxy eligible, i actually decided to do the proxy interview first when i saw a neighbor across the street coming out of her house to walk her dog. "that's far enough," she told me, as i made my way to cross. we ended up shouting questions and answers to each other from across the street. she was friendly enough, told me the current occupants were in europe, and thought that a norwegian family of 5 had lived during back during april. i was going to enter the data she gave me into the case when i tried knocking on the door, more out of formality as i knew there wasn't anyone home. goes to show you how neighbor proxies can sometimes be unreliable, as not only was the house occupied, but the tenants had been there since april 1st. when i told them about the norwegian family, they confirmed that there was in fact norwegians there, but left before they moved in. they also told me they filled out their census already online, but i managed to convince them to do it again, in case there was a glitch with their submission.
the fifth case was one of those where not only was the case address tenant not home, but so was every other person in that building. i ending up going across the street for the 3rd proxy. an elderly gentleman greeted me, told me that the unit in question had been vacant in april because it was being renovated. before i left, i asked him about the very mysterious street growing across the street that bore fruits that were like soft potatoes about the size of apples that fell to the ground. he told me it was a horse chestnut, and revealed that he and his wife used to live in one of those units across the street and remembered when the city first planted that tree nearly 50 years ago. i picked up one of the fruits as a souvenir.
for my sixth and final address, it was a case where the tenant was home was refused to answer the door no matter how much i rang the doorbell or knocked. i knocked so hard i think i bruised my knuckle. i knew the occupant was home because i could hear her talking on the phone. that case didn't even ask me for a proxy, went straight incomplete after i tried the case address, but i knocked on the next door neighbor anyway, but nobody answered. sometimes when the tenant is home but doesn't answer, it makes me annoyed enough that i want to proxy every single person within eyesight of said address, just so i can close the case without any help from the case address respondent. it's like saying, "okay, you might want to play your little games and ignore the census, but i'm going to embarrass you by letting all your neighbors know that you didn't fill out your census and ask them personal questions about you that you didn't want to share with us. one way or another, you're going to be enumerated!"
so six cases, instead of taking up an hour to complete, i ended up taking 2 hours and 15 minutes. so i really milked those cases. i don't think i'm slow, more like i'm deliberate. i wait after i knock or ring the doorbell, and i wait again after i knock or ring the second time. i also choose my proxies wisely, find proxies that are potentially occupied instead of knowing pick places that i know are empty. each of these cases is like a puzzle, and sometimes it takes a little work, but with persistent the answer can always be gained.
even though i only worked 2 hours instead of 8, i don't mind the smaller case load. it affords me time to better work the case, something i can't do if i know i have a whole lot more cases i have to get through today.
when i returned home i started a load of laundry before jumping in the shower. that was the extent of my errands, never got to organizing the kitchen or cleaning the fish tank. one of those i'll do tomorrow morning (most likely clean the fish tank, or at least give it a quick water change).
when evening rolled around i finished my porkchop rice from earlier, heating up the leftover porkchops in the toaster oven while reheating the rice in the microwave. afterwards i ate two kiwis and washed it all with a glass of sweetened cold ice tea.
there was no call to work overtime this weekend like there was last weekend. not sure what will happen next week. there were still enumerators talking on the group chat this evening, they seem to be the heavy hitters who are still getting cases.
i bought a friction-mounted pull up bar tonight for $30. amazon still charged me taxes enough though it was tax free weekend (i purchased it after midnight). it's been a life long dream to have a pull up bar in the house. i did try one of those behind the door frame mounted device, but the molding around the door frames in my house are too thick. it's due to arrive on thursday, the same day my laptop table will arrive.