You know, as in “When it rains, it pours!”
In July, I lose my job due to “corporate restructuring”. That’s just a fancy way of saying I was fired, dismissed, laid off, pink slipped, told to skedaddle, or basically told to hit the road. I have had job interviews out the ying yang via phone, Internet, in person, you name it. The economy is tanking, and I am panicking because we’re into October–I’m truly afraid that nothing is going to happen until after the first of the year because of the economy, the election, the holidays, and the fiscal year end of many of the companies.
So if you had asked me to make a list of everything that I thought could possibly go wrong in my life once I lost my job I would have had things on my list like ‘mom gets sick’, ‘grandmother gets neurotic and is in the hospital again’ (check, actually happened), ‘car blows a gasket’, things like that. Never in a million years would I have expected the things that have happened over the last four weeks to have been anywhere near the top 50 on that list.
First, I was cleaning house in preparation for Sunday dinner. I was vacuuming. Nice, right? Clean up all the wayward dog hair before the girls arrive to dinner? Only I have a senior-aged dog. One that isn’t afraid to lose control of her bladder when she gets excited or scared. The vacuum cleaner? Well, that terrifies the bejezus out of her. So in the midst of vacuuming I have to clean up puddles. Get the dog outside, and realize that the only piece of flooring I have that is covered with carpet was also the unfortunate location of the dog’s attention, so I sprinkle the absorbent powder stuff on it in order to clean it up and eliminate the odor. I think that was when I lost my karma. Instead of vacuuming up the mess, the vacuum cleaner exploded and spewed dirt and dog hair and who knows what-all else into the house. Great. Since that was actually a replacement vacuum, I pull out the old one that I love but that is on its last leg. Well, the motor burns up and in response to the unwanted labor demands decides that it is going to spew as well. So here I am, in a house that is about 80 degrees (and we all know I don’t do hot weather), trying to clean up all this stuff. I’m in a rotten mood, trying to cook dinner, and also have people showing up to eat. One was supportive, the other was even more supportive but in an annoyingly perky way that just rubbed me wrong. I didn’t want jokes I just wanted to get the damn carpet clean. So I end up on my hands and knees under the dining room table with the upholstery attachment (a 3″ wide gizmo) trying to vacuum the carpet. I then use the wand to clean up the rest of the house. And I’m pissed because the house still smells like the absorbent powder that I used for the dogs mess. Oh and did I mention that I’m allergic to the perfumes in that stuff? Normally it’s not a problem because I vacuum it up so quickly, but after two hours of it lying around it was making me severely ill. The night ended with the girls convincing me to get in the shower and relax while they Swiffered the kitchen with both a wet and dry cloth to make sure it all got up. It was not pleasant. So now I have no vacuum cleaner and a dog that is responding to the changing seasons by molting. This was unforeseen moment #1. (But on a positive note, my pork roast didn’t dry out and was actually quite yummy!)
Fast forward a week. We get about five days of rain. Great news, because we haven’t had much all year, and we need the rain. Only I look outside one day and realize that my gutter on the back is leaking again. I’ve fixed it a few times, it’s like the two pieces of gutter like to fall out of the connecting joist just enough so that the rainwater comes out at this juncture instead of making it all the way to the downspout. Of course, the extra water pressure means that the joint is forced apart even more. I have a nice puddle right in front of the under-house access on the addition side of my house, making for a nice spot for mold to grow. This isn’t the problem. The problem comes in that the water, as it is escaping through the joint in the gutter, tends to pool between the vinyl siding and the actual side of the house until there is so much water that it forces the siding to pop off the track and hang loose. So I’m losing the siding off the back of my house. My father’s advice when I asked him what the next solution should be? Replace the gutters. Right, with that big fat check I get from the unemployment commission. I’ll get right on that. Unforeseen moment #2.
So then last Saturday, I had a busy day. I was out in Charles City for two days, which is not exactly centrally located for me. I got home early enough on Saturday that I was able to check out the new Saturday night church service. Got home around 8pm. Did some stuff around the house and decided that for a change I’d try to go to bed like a normal human (i.e., before midnight). Was pretty excited–I was tired enough that I thought that I would actually be able to get to sleep before 2am. Very nice. I get in bed and hear an unnatural cracking noise. Then I realize that my head isn’t where it should be, it’s about eight inches lower than normal. My bed, my solid cherry California King sized bed, was broken. The side rail that runs on the right side of the bed had cracked. Not just any old crack, mind you, but split lengthwise down the entire center of the panel. Impressive, actually, if you think about it, but not conducive to sleeping. So I then have to dismantle my bed. Of course, being a small house, I actually store clothing under my bed for the winter season, so I had to find a way to life the mattress and box springs by myself in order to pull those boxes out. Instantly start sneezing because the dog hair somehow managed to produce a liter of chihuahuas without my knowledge, but I do manage to get the boxes out. Then I have to unscrew the slats and dismantle the bed. Did I mention that it was a solid cherry bed? A very HEAVY solid cherry bed? And that the door had to remain closed because of the air conditioning, which meant the dog and the cat were trapped inside? And that I essentially have room for a bed and a dresser, that’s it, so trying to lift and twist around a CalKing mattress and two box springs was very difficult? By the time I was done I needed a shower and it was almost four in the morning. I looked at my alarm clock and realized that there wasn’t a chance in the world that I would be able to get up at 730 to make it to church in the morning, so I just slept in. I slept like a log, but wasted half of my day. The good news is that I went to church the night before, had a mattress and box springs on the floor in front of a headboard, had the footboard propped up on the opposite wall and was still able to open the closet door a few inches, and the slats were all in the hall. Unforseen moment #3.
To make matters even more fun I had my fifth interview with a particular company this week, which if it had been last week would have probably been much better. Instead, the poor man had just lost several million dollars in the proposed Citibank/Wachovia buy out and really didn’t have his mind on business. After over an hour, his last words to me were “Good luck in the job search”. Gee, thanks for nothing. I get to start over on my job hunt when this one was supposed to be a lock by interview #5. Unforeseen moment #4.
With unemployment comes loss of insurance. My shoulder, which has been giving me problems off and on for over a year, is now bothering me to the point that I wake up in the middle of the night from pain. It’s not a rotator cuff, as I can still lift my arm over my head. (And I’m only 35, I’m too young for that!). The doctor said it’s just a strained muscle, it would heal in six weeks. That was oh about nine months ago. The massage therapist said that she feels some deep muscle problems, but I can’t afford $60/session to fix it with no income. Plus, you have to understand that I don’t wake up for anything. Not to use the bathroom, not for a fire in the building (true story–twice!), not even when a helicopter landed not 20 feet outside of my room. Honey, I can sleep. I don’t wake up for much. So when I say that I am just as disturbed by the fact that I am waking up in the middle of the night due to shoulder pain as I am by the fact I even have shoulder pain, trust me it’s an issue. It’s not intolerable yet, just uncomfortable and annoying. But oh yeah! I lost insurance as of October 1! Yep, moment #5.
Then I look at my hand. My right hand, upon which I wear my class ring. I received my ring back in July–it had been back and forth to Minnesota for repairs since February 2007. Finally fixed. Then I realize that the crest is moving around on it’s own and has come lose from the stone. Call the company, said my name, and they just said “it’s NOT!” without me explaining what was wrong. I laughed, and am sending it back today for repairs again. I swear, if it takes another fifteen months I am going to ask for a 24K watch to match at this rate. Moment #6.
Then this morning came my favorite. I love to cut the grass, it’s very therapeutic for me. When I woke up two hours early I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to get outside and cut the lawn, allergies be damned. I get all the gear on (face mask, gloves, long sleeves, etc.) and I go to fire up the motor. No go. Can’t figure out why. Has gas, was primed, just won’t start. Don’t feel like fooling with it any more (and the rip cord is aggravating my shoulder, you see), so I call my neighbor to borrow hers. No problem, come and get it, enjoy. Bring it home, and guess what–theirs won’t start either. Has gas, was primed, not like it’s rocket science. I think it is a sign from above that I shouldn’t be doing yard work. So I call it quits and come inside to catch up the blog and just let the grass that is in the former tomato bed turn to hay. It’s certainly long enough. This would be moment #7.
On the positive side, I have a car that runs, food in the freezer, and I have paid my mortgage for the month. I remembered to call my brother on his birthday, will be driving about 90 minutes to celebrate my next door neighbor’s 40th birthday tomorrow, and have a part time job. I spent 90 minutes on the phone with the unemployment commission yesterday and am finally straight on that. I was able to help out a friend for her anniversary and took my grandmother to dinner. I went to lunch yesterday with 14 other corporately restructured people and had a blast. So while these unforseen moments aren’t exactly planned, my life is still pretty darned good. As long as I can find an oversized umbrella, let it just keep on pourin’!