My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for November 2010

As a general practice, I try to keep some things private or vague when blogging, just because it generally seems like a good thing to do. But right now, I just want to be utterly and painstakingly honest. I just need to be. On the very off chance that my husband happens upon this, I’m sorry if I revealed more than you are comfortable with.  But none of it is your fault, or something you should feel or be ashamed of. It’s life. It’s just honesty.

My husband was laid off today (along with several other members of his shift and some long-time office staff and truck drivers who had 15 years + with the company). He has been at this job since January of this year (10 months). He loved this job. He recently blacked out at work and could not wait till the doctors cleared him so that he could get back. (It turned out to be a medication related thing, not a seizure as initially thought). Prior to that he was employed by a local school system in the mechanic and landscaping departments. He began there in August and was laid off in April due to budget cuts system wide (this school system is now closing schools, laying of principals, teachers, and all other variety of staff). Prior to that he was at a trucking company for 5 years. He was laid off due to decreased business/budget cuts. They have since continued to lay off long time staff, some within a year or two of retirement.

His first lay off happened in January 2008. We had just bought our home in October 2007 (3 months prior). Our daughter had just turned 2. We just spent the last of our tax refund on planting bushes around our property line in the back yard. He spent 8 months, until August 2008, unemployed. At first, I was just sure he’d get something soon. I didn’t ask anyone for help, I just used our credit cards to pay bills and figured we’d be back on our feet in no time, pay it all down and off and move on. Thankfully I work full time and was able to put myself and our daughter on my insurance (decreasing my take home pay). We didn’t put him on my insurance. It was another 50$ a paycheck and we figured he would get something soon enough.

Once he found a job,  he took a 4$/hr pay cut.  He was miserable at the job itself. He had to have emergency gall bladder surgery only a few weeks into the job and was out of work for 6 weeks. Thankfully, my mom worked for the same school system (she’s now laid off too) and was able to donate her excess of PTO to him, so we didn’t have to go without pay for 6 weeks. Also, thankfully as a state employee, his insurance had already kicked in.

He had that job for 8 months. He was laid off in April of 2009. He did not get another job until January of 2010. That was 9 months unemployed. When he found this job he had to take another 2$ pay cut from his last job. That’s an 8$/hr pay cut from when we bought this house. that’s a $1200/month deficit. He had this job 10 months. Only one month longer than it took to find this job.

I have received a slight raise since this happened. We had to stop paying credit cards. They are in collections. Every single bill is late. We have 2 credit cards and 2 loans we are trying to keep up along with my car payment, house payment, car insurance, power, natural gas, water, internet ( I need for work), cell phones (we don’t have a land line), gas for our cars, groceries, and clothing/medical/misc. We’ve both looked for 2nd jobs. I have applied for and been turned down for mortgage loan modifications and the Making Home Affordable program (bet your ass I’m trying again). Thankfully my mother in law watches my daughter when she’s not in preschool. Also thankfully, my mother in law covers Natalie’s preschool tuition, as she used to get it free when my mother in law worked at her preschool and though she doesn’t anymore, she has still generously and lovingly offered to pay her MWF preschool tuition.

At some point and time over the past few years, our water has been cut off, our natural gas has been cut off, our phones have been cut off, our tv service has been cut off, we had a threat of our home being foreclosed, and of my car being repossessed. I’ve bounced checks and overdrafted our bank account (usually just to get groceries to cover until our next paycheck). Last year, right at the end of the year, we were negative in the bank and I seriously rolled quarters to get us to the next paycheck. Not to mention the endless phone calls of bill collectors. Our parents have helped us. Our friends have helped us. Our church has helped us. No one has much though. But they are generous and gracious. With the exception of one. I won’t be that honest though. There’s just no need. Just to say, I do have it thrown in my face that I owe money. Not just by bill collectors.

Somehow, we’re still here. But I’m really tired. Every month, I am hustling our money around, bargaining and begging and I’m just tired. I have no long term plan. I’m just trying to get through a week. I have, though, rediscovered my love of bargain shopping, goodwill hunting, consignment, and yard sales. I really do enjoy those things. Mostly.

I’m just dreading what’s coming. Because we’ve been here before. Everyone I’ve talked to has said “It’ll be okay”. And at this point, I don’t really doubt that anymore. We’ve come this far. I don’t really doubt provision. I’m just tired. I just don’t know what will happen to me between now and the time that it’s “okay”. I just want to be able to pay my bills. All of them. On time. I just want my husband to have a job he enjoys, that is secure, that he feels good about, that pays him what he’s worth. While I’m at it, I want a job that I feel good about that pays me what I’m worth.But seriously…

I’m dreading his job search. Him being home, bored, bummed, and no longer medicated. He’s on a medication for his OCD/anxiety that is 240$ without insurance. He’s going off of the medication now, since he won’t have insurance. He thinks it will be fine. But I remember. And it’s not fine. I may go fucking insane. Or become a day drinker. Either way…

I know we are blessed. I do not for a minute deny that. That doesn’t mean I’m not tired.

I cried for at least an hour in the car today. Like a maniac. The only thing that really made me stop was driving to the coffee shop (Caribou) to meet a friend. I parked behind the dumpster and gathered myself. I wiped my face, blew my nose for the millionth time and put on makeup. Slowly. Then I downed a muscle relaxer and a pain killer that were prescribed to me for migraines by drinking water from my daughter’s sippy cup, as it was the only beverage in the car and that pain pill was big. I took a deep breath, checked my bloodshot eyes one more time and kind of wished I smoked so that I would have some eyedrops on me and stepped out of my car and spent the afternoon there. I never made it back to work that afternoon.

It’s funny, something like this doesn’t make you want to work harder to keep your job. It just makes you not give a damn. What does it matter? If they need to axe people, they axe them, doesn’t matter how many times you came to work an utter mess, or how many times you gave up seeing your kid’s thanksgiving program, or went above and beyond your job description. There’s no real formula for success, except figuring out how to enjoy your life regardless of the bullshit.

On the way home, I bought him a bottle of Crown and myself a bottle of Skinnygirl Margarita (never had it before). I called my girlfriends. I went to the grocery store and bought junk food and a dog toy. I got Chinese for our dinner. After I played with our daughter and got her into bed, I spent 28$ on Amazon because I needed to buy the book for book club and it was 4$ with free shipping if I bought 25$ worth of stuff. So I got a Christmas present for my husband and one for my daughter and some kind of luminous lotion for myself along with the book. I drank and made him a  drink and I watched Without a Trace and he played xbox and then I made cookies and cheese sticks and gave him a back rub and he’s sleeping and I’m typing the longest blog ever. And still drinking.

I forgot to mention. We got a check in the mail yesterday from Jason’s insurance company from when he blacked out at work. It was out of network for some reason, so instead of sending payment to the EMS, they sent it to him. $1200.00. For us to pay the ambulance company. I told him and my mom (who was over when I opened the mail) that we should put that shit in the bank, use it as needed and deal with the bill when it comes. It’s not like we’re worried about messing up our credit. They said no. I told them they need to get on my level. The insurance company put the check in my husband’s name, with no indication of what he was to do with it (he found out by calling this morning). I say, that’s your dumb fault if you write checks to people and expect them to pay whoever with them. Really.

As of today, my husband and my mom got on my level. They said, in essence, pay bills with that shit. I said. Thank you. It’s about damn time.

Also, my husband finally decided to do without satellite. I grew up with only like 8 channels, so I’m okay with going back to tv minimal life. Between Netflix and Hulu, I think we’ll be just fine. Our daughter will be most irritated at first probably, but you know, she’s young, she’ll adjust. She probably watches way too much anyways.

He’s so bummed. I keep forgetting this is real. Like it’s a joke and I’m waiting for the punchline. He gets two weeks severance. He put in for unemployment already. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a “Welcome back!” message when he signed on. I know he’s tired too. He did start taking online classes a few months ago, for wildlife conservation. He has time to catch up on classes now…

Things like this do make you shake off the rest of the world for a minute. Kind of a “Fuck you, I don’t give a shit what you think or want right now” kind of thing and that’s relieving sometimes. Actually my true self is very similar to this, I just have come so far from that true self lately. It’s kind of nice to be there again, regardless of circumstances. Because the truth of the matter is this: not only is there no formula for success (besides finding a way to be happy in spite of the bullshit), but there’s also no way to really walk the line between giving damn and not giving a damn. Pretty sure Reese Witherspoon told this to Joaquin already, In “Walk The Line” but you know, I guess I try most of the time to keep some kind of middle ground. But you know, I’m tired. I guess what I have to figure out is what exactly it is I’m tired of and what’s keeping me from letting it go…

In the meantime…we’re a single income household again. We’re a drawing unemployment household with an uninsured adult male not receiving the medication he needs family again. Oh fucking well. Gotta roll with the punches, right?

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