A Year in Review (Better Late Than Never).

I have been debating about this entry for a while. I haven’t really wanted to write over here, actually. I’ve been told that all I do is “complain.” Even though I have a little caveat on the side bar that clearly indicates that is the point in this entire blog, I’ve been keeping myself away even though I’ve been at near-explosive levels of irritation and rage in the last month alone. I’ve also been accused of using this blog to belittle and angst at people. Again, I have to point out that it clearly states on the side bar that if you don’t like what I have to say here then don’t fucking read it. With that, let’s talk about this passed year.

There is no other way to put it: 2012 sucked for me.

For almost the entire year, minus the month of November, I have been unemployed. Most people would assume that being unemployed would be “fun.” I’ve heard people discuss the whole unemployment thing like it was a game. “A bit of time off to get your head in order and then you find a job.” The reality is that unemployment is extremely boring and beyond terrifying. For months on end, you are endlessly hunting for something to replace the last position you had, at a similar pay rate and with similar hours, only to find that there are twenty people in line with you for the same position for the same reasons. And invariably, you don’t get the job and you’re left angry, depressed, and beyond upset at the callousness of your situation.

It may take a while but the “joy” of having some time away from work is quickly replaced with nothing but negative emotions that you have to try to constructively get rid of, otherwise you’re bound for depression town with no way out. Medication is all well and good, but to remove yourself wholly from the depression, you have to get out of the situation causing said depression. How do you do that when 7% to 9% of the entire country is in similar boats? There is, unfortunately, no quick fix for these situations, either. The government keeps going on about how they’re “fixing it,” but the reality is that most of the unemployment numbers are as low as they are because people have lost their benefits and are no longer eligible for any sort of assistance outside of state welfare programs.

I bet if anyone stopped to look at the numbers of welfare programs, state by state, we’d see the reality of the unemployment numbers. I wrote about this in October or so, in which I wrote about my frustration and angst. I was lucky, unlike a lot of people in that situation. A job opened up with the temp agency I had been “working for” since August and I was able to actually take it. For a glorious month, I knew where the money to pay my bills was coming from. But then, the unemployed thing happened all over again, only that time, I wasn’t eligible for state unemployment benefits.

What has made our situation all the more devastating is this fiscal cliff shit that has been going around and around. I watched as the unemployment aid that TH was receiving completely dried up. That’s right; for the last half of December and thus far into January, TH has not had any unemployment benefits either. In all honesty, I think unemployment for construction workers, painters, and other trades should be calibrated differently than other workers but they aren’t. So, we have been literally living entirely off of what is left in my savings account. It got us through Christmas; it got us through no state aid in health insurance, food stamps, or cash assistance. Every now and again, I think ruefully of being denied Head Start funding for my son and wonder, if things had been this dire in August, would we have gotten more help?

Throughout the entirety of 2012, I have felt very much as though a large round mill stone has been around my neck in one form or another. Aside from constantly going to interviews – success; someone wants to talk to me about my qualifications – I have had more rejection E-mails than I can count. All of that has really added up to fray up my confidence. I’m not exactly the most self-confident person in the world, so in either receiving the “thanks, but no thanks” E-mails or no responses at all… it’s added up. I’ve constantly felt as though I am completely inadequate, unable to take care of my family, and just a complete failure in every sense of the word.

What really irritates me about this whole situation is that I have only, ever, applied to jobs that I felt I was qualified for. Occasionally, on a whim, I would fill out for jobs I had no business looking into. Mostly, I’ve been looking in the customer service sector since I know that job backwards and forwards. And for the most part, I’ve been informed that since I don’t have a college education, I can’t possibly get the job. Since customer service really has no business being a college course, I’ve been at a complete low ebb, flowing from anger and irritation to depression and inadequacy.

In early December, I loss a childhood friend who was very dear to me. I’ve written of this friend before. She was “BFTX.” Since she started her path into Christianity, I’ve been waiting for the inevitable fall out that would happen between us. I am distinctly pagan, specifically polytheistic, in my practices. I’ve known that there would come a time when I would lash out or she would. I tried very diligently in giving her advice regarding her “darker moments” and I had tried very hard to maintain a friendship that was slowly falling away into a crumbling heap mess. I won’t get into the specifics, if I ever will. But, the loss of my childhood friend because of a difference in religion really hit me square, center over my heart.

I always thought that our friendship would slog through every possible hook that could be thrown our way. We past through hell, ten times over, together and we managed to come out, not whole, but at least relatively safe on the other side. We stopped talking to one another quite a few times since we started our friendship at eleven, but no matter what, we’ve always managed to pass through the sinkholes and come out all right. In this one, however, I don’t really think that could possibly happen. She’s since blocked me on Facebook after claiming to have apologized for being a bit of a jerk regarding our differences in opinions. Since the words, “I’m sorry I was a dick,” have not reached me, I don’t consider anything she has had to say on the matter properly closed.

I have yet to heal from this loss, in all honesty. It still tweaks at me in ways that I cannot convey. When it comes to soul mates, you just think, Forever and ever, but that’s not always the truth of it. There must be reasons why we are constantly searching for the soul mates. And even sometimes, it doesn’t really matter what the situations are… maybe you find them and maybe you don’t. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be with them forever. Fairy tales have passed out of this world for a reason and reality is a lot of things from happiness to pain. In this particular instance, pain is what I’m learning and what I will, hopefully, one day be able to recover from.

In the mean time.

This past year has been literally awful in so many different ways. I’ve felt, very often, misunderstood, unwelcome, disliked, and unqualified for various reasons. I have felt like a complete failure in religion, friendships, family life, and on a personal level. I have felt as though everything was going to fall down around my shoulders and without my being able to fix it. I think after time goes by and I move further away from this past year, I’ll hopefully be able to look at it more subjectively than I have in this entry. Right now, I simply can’t. There has been too much heartache and too much pain for me to look for all the good things that have happened. Good things have happened in various ways, but the overwhelming feeling of 2012 has been a complete nadir.

As everyone else in my situation has said, or people giving advice to me have said, it can only go up from here.

The Reality of the Unemployment Situation.

I called a friend of mine up in a panic today on my way home from submitting applications and feeling true despair at the totality of my situation. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to panic. We would brain storm about things later together. And then she said to me, “Just don’t panic; you can go on Don’t Panic, but you can’t actually panic.” So, here I am.

Yesterday, I received the news that I knew was coming from the office of unemployment. I was no longer eligible for unemployment benefits and now, I have to become a “welfare bear” in the hopes that my family and I can survive the harsh reality of our situation. I cried. There’s no other words for what my reaction was. I just cried. I cried and I cried and I cried. And I can’t help but wonder how many other people are in my situation, crying their eyes out as they try to find something that allows them to survive in a country that has “no jobs” and is itching to cut the very benefits that will keep people like us alive? I can’t help but be angry at the situation – it sucks – but in reality, I feel very betrayed and disenchanted with everything this country is supposed to stand for.

We hear the politicians talk about how unemployment rates are lower than they were. All right, yes. I’m sure the rates are lower, but the only reason is because people have passed their extended benefits and are no longer eligible, whether they are employed or not. The break down isn’t discussed. You just hear this magic number (I believe it’s 7.8%) touted about and everyone pats each other on the back. “Look what we did! The unemployment rate is down!” But how many of the people who have fallen from unemployment are still looking? How many of those people are living off of state aid in an effort to stay with a roof over their heads and food on the table? I seriously doubt I’m the only person in the entire country facing this crisis.

Did you know they did away with the third tier benefit? And that’s probably the real reason why the unemployment rate is so low.

When you’re filing for unemployment or are living off of the state assistance programs, they actually make you go and take classes at your “local career center.” This is a euphemism for a dark, shadowy place of imprisonment that has absolutely no desire to help you find a job. They tell you about the classes they have and they tell you about using their computers and they update their job postings every day! These are half-truths and outright lies. For example, I have applied for the same job three times via their resource list that cut off hiring in August. In August. (I keep applying because by the time I get that low on the list, I’m drunk with typing and thinking.) Their computers need to be signed up for days in advance, but that’s no big deal. And the classes? They’re typing 101 and they’re how to write a resume 101 and all the next levels to these classes. How are they supposed to get you a job?

Why not have a class about what to wear to an interview? How about a class on proper E-mail etiquette when you’re fishing for a second interview? What about a class on how not to feel like a complete fuck up and loser while you’re going through this crisis? Why not offer counseling services for your mental and emotional well-being instead of all of these “skill set” classes? For the most part, I have to assume that they get enough students for the classes. And I have to assume that they are well received by the local and federal governments because the local career centers are still getting aid at the state and federal levels. So, obviously, this is all well and good in the eyes of politicians who don’t understand what it’s like to have to worry about where the next meal is coming from and what’s more important: gas in your car or toilet paper for your ass.

I am so angry and frustrated all the time. I hate feeling this way. I really feel very similarly to how it was just before MEH and I officially broke it off. I am angry. I am frustrated. I am hurt. I am bewildered. I am scared. And always the same advice from friends and family, “when the doors closes, a window opens.” What they forget to tell you is that you didn’t bring a flashlight, the window is probably a thousand miles down some tight corridor, and you have to find it in the pitch blackness of reality. I hate that phrase right now almost as much as I hate the phrase, “have some hope.” Have some fucking hope?

Everything is wrong and evil and stupid and I am so fucking angry. I am beyond angry. I want to hurt that company so badly. I want to stick it to them. I want their pens to dry up; their computers to be attacked by viruses; their questionable fucking practices investigated on a state level; and I want them all to suffer. I want everyone who threw me under the boss and everyone who still works there and everyone who kisses ass over there to hurt and be angry and know what it’s like to be thrown under the bus after nearly two years of committed service. I want every single one of them to know what it’s like to get interview after interview that lead to nowhere. I want every single one of those selfish twats to see me crying as I panic and worry and have anxiety attacks about how I can’t possibly raise or take care of my family.

And I hate feeling this way.

I’ve worked a very long and hard time to gain adequate control over my emotions. I’ve probably taken that control a little too far, to the point where crying actually physically hurts sometimes because I just… don’t. But I prefer to be in complete control over my emotions instead of being the insane raging beast that I used to be. I much prefer this to that, in all honesty. And the fact that I am always angry, hurt, bewildered, scared, anxious, and panicking drives me fucking insane. All of this drives me fucking insane.

The politicians who think they’re doing a good job.

The people who think they can give advice when they really don’t know the situation well enough to give me advice.

The people who offer me the same old platitudes.

The people who aren’t around to watch me suffer.

The people who did this to me.

I am so fucking insane with rage that all I want to do is shake someone or something all the time. (I suddenly understand BFMA’s intense desire to throw shoes at a door whenever she gets upset on such a better level now.) I don’t do this. I scrub the counters. I scrub the toilet and the bathtub. I do load after load of laundry. I sit down and I fill out endless applications. I sit and I fret, but I don’t shake anyone or anything. I don’t throw shoes at a door. I end up crying instead and have panic attacks.

This is the reality of unemployment, people.

Keep that in mind, too, when you vote on November 6th.

P.S. In case it’s not clear, this isn’t some random “VOTE FOR ROMNEY” ad or anything. Romney can eat a bowl of dicks. I lived in MA when he was governor and he was next to useless. His stance on things like Planned Parenthood, abortion, and his belief that his “business savvy” make him ideal of president are laughable. What I’m saying is DON’T VOTE REPUBLICAN.

Yet Another Week of Feeling Like a Loser.

Note: I’m just venting, so I really don’t want to know if I hurt your feelings.

I put it off as much as I can. But, I know that sometimes, something is going to happen that means I have to call the people in charge, so I try not to put it off too long. I find myself sulking and depressed whenever I click on the link. It gets to the point where I just don’t want to. I keep telling myself, this week, I’ll have the job I need and want, whenever I click the unemployment link. But, you know, each week I apply, I still don’t have a job. And I still feel like the world’s worst loser in the shittiest lottery contest known to mankind.

And whenever I talk about it with other people, employed people, they tell me lots of things that are meant to make me buck up and get on the horse. They’ll remind me that the entire nation is going through a shit time with employment thing. They’ll remind me that I just have to have hope. They’ll tell me that I did pass down some jobs since I’ve been hunting for one. They’ll tell me to suck it up, grow thicker skin, just keep at it. They give me loads of advice. I appreciate the fact that they’re still willing to give me advice when I get so very, very, very low about this job hunting thing. The fact that I haven’t scared them off with my depression regarding my unemployment is an amazing thing. However, I have to say? There are lots of days where the advice fucking sucks.

I don’t really give two shits about how the rest of the country is fairing. Just because I, logically, know that I’m not the only asshole in the entire state going through this at this moment in time doesn’t make it any easier. I’m not going to reach out to Unemployed Jane Doe and Unemployed Joe Blow and commiserate over a bunch of beers. I’m not going to sit around and join some forum for unemployed assholes. I’m not going to do any of those things, so why keep reminding me that this is a country-wide pandemic? Again, I have to say that just because I consciously know that the rest of the world is fucked economically and that like 8% of the whole country is also unemployed, like me, and probably not even for “terrific” reasons like myself, that doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve mentioned this in my religious blog and I’ve said this to my friends: MY PROBLEMS; MY MISERY; MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYONE ELSE.

It’s not that I’m trying to be an asshole with that statement but just because we know that someone else is going through similar situations doesn’t mean that it will impact how we feel. It doesn’t mean that we’ll magically get better. It doesn’t mean that we’ll end up feeling better about the entire situation. When it comes to our depression, our misery, and our pain, there is nothing greater than our own misery. This is intrinsically true with teenagers – I’m thinking of a certain lady who reads this with a teenage daughter. And it doesn’t make any difference later on in life. The misery we experience is the only misery that matters because it’s the only kind we can feel. Sure, we might feel sympathy or empathy for people going through a similar experience to our own. We might be able to understand another person on the same level because of the similar experiences, but just because Person One and Person Two have gone through similar experiences doesn’t mean it’s a bonding experience. It doesn’t mean that things are going to look brighter tomorrow. It just means that they’ve both been shit on in similar situations. But the core concept is still the same: the misery of Person One is more important than the one of Person Two, and vice versa.

I know in this economy that passing down of a job is pretty taboo. How could I dare to have standards? But it’s not really that. Some of the jobs that I’ve talked about have all had issues with scheduling. In effect, they’re at night. I guess I’m biased or stupid here, but I want to be able to raise my child. In one of the instances, TH’s mom told me that if we had to do sleep overs for R over at her house so that I could work late, then we’d do it. I appreciate the offer. I appreciate everyone’s offers of assistance. But, call me a bad person for wanting to raise my child. Call me a horrible asshole for wanting to be there with him, at night, feeding him dinner and arguing about whether he’s taking a bath. I guess I’m just a bad person for wanting to be his mother and not letting other people raise him. Sure, right now, TH is out of work. So, I could go back to work and I could work nights. But I remember those days at Greed, Inc. Before I became a manager, I worked second shift and I never saw my child. Or, if I did see him, I was too tired to do much more than the basics. That seems wrong and horrible. It impacted me relationship with my son and it impacted my self-worth because everyone under the sun was doing the raising and I was just some background noise.

It’s really different being unemployed when you have a child.

But, I think the worst is when people tell me to have hope. They tell me to buck up, chin up, keep on keepin’ on. I understand the viewpoint. And yes, I am still doing that. I’m still going around and doing the applications, sending out the resumes, sending out scouting letters and all of that lovely stuff. I’m on the websites that I use to job hunt between three and eight hours a day, depending [on whether things have been updated or not]. I light my candles. I pray before I send out these things. I hope. I have faith. I constantly tell myself that this will be the week that a job comes my way. I have all of those things, but you know, sometimes I just have dark points. I cry and I rage and I feel like my worth is in the negative range. It’s not because I don’t do the praying and the faith-ing and the hoping. It’s just hard. It’s so hard to maintain a one hundred percent positive outlook when everything always seems so bleak.

It’s just hard.

And today, I got to file for unemployment again. In the next two weeks, I’ll have to sign up for another extension, and I think it’s the final one. And I have to hope that something comes my way sooner or later. I’m at the point where DD and its minimum wage is looking appealing because, maybe, I can go in for the six in the morning shift. But is even that worth it? Is going back to work at minimum wage worth it if I’m not sure I can pay all of my bills and rent and maintain a good household and keep on keepin’ on? I make more on unemployment than I would working a minimum wage job, but it’s starting to look appealing because I’m almost desperate.

And I hate the feeling of desperation.

I just want to raise my kid. I just want to make enough money to live. I just want to be able to succeed somewhere. I just want things to look positive for once. But it’s hard because, at least four times week, I’m too busy feelin’ like a loser.

I Was Fine Until I Had That Dream…

For the most part, I’m pretty much over how badly my ex place of employment shat all over me. After having watched so many other employees get tossed out on their ear for little to no offense, I’m at the point where it is what it is. I knew how things could end and didn’t do anything about it. However, there is a small area that I tend to still get caught up in that I don’t know how to handle. The one part is that one of my employees still works there and I loved this woman. She was like a mom and she was one of my best employees in the history of ever. I never had to worry when she was working. I don’t go into the stores of the company that I used to work for because, well, why would I want to do that? But, there are nights when I know she’s working and I want to visit. I don’t know how to handle that.

The other part that still bothers me is the part that my Ex-Corpified Boss played in when I was fired. I’ll reiterate what happened.

First, this man hired me. He was the guy who gave me a break after I had been stuck working in a laundry facility for six months. He was a good boss. He was the kind of guy that you could talk to if the need arose. We used to joke around and say he was the father of the store and the employee I spoke about above was the mom. It was a joke, but some of us took it more than others. When he quit, we were all thrown for a tailspin. He had a good replacement – she knew she couldn’t actually replace our boss so didn’t try – but we still missed him. He’d come in to check on us. We all were friends on Facebook. We had a farewell party for one of our mutual coworkers when she moved to another store and became a manager in her own right. He was… well, he was a good replcement father-figure for me.

In the weeks leading up to me getting fired, I would call or stop by his office to talk to him. (He had been re-hired as the training manager about six to nine months after he had quit.) I was having issues managing the crew I had been set to manage. I had plans for what I wanted to see happen – get rid of some of the worst employees and get a good crew going, mostly – but I didn’t quite know how to implement it. I was also having troubles with certain strong-willed employees who thought that they could run the store more effectively, even though they had stepped down as a manager of another store months before. So, I needed his help with handling the multiple personalities. I was stupid, however, because I still trusted him implicitly to help me.

And considering the environment we were both employed in, this was my big, huge mistake. Part of the thing that people would do to keep their jobs was to throw someone under the bus. I saw it happen all the time in different instances. I watched as one manager would toss another under the bus. I would watch as people in the office did it to one another, over and over and over again until someone was finally fired for some imagined offense or some lie that someone else made up to keep the heat off of them. And while I’m sure the amount of money I got paid was part of it, and I’m sure my less than reverent attitude to the Stiff-Necked Jerk that ran the company was a part of it, and I’m sure my refusal to bow to the pressures of the President of the company over an illegal tobacco sale, and I’m sure that the new VP wanted to get rid of me because she wasn’t helping me as she said she would… I’m sure all of those were contributing factors. But after months of thinking about it, I am beginning to think that my ex-manager had thrown me under the bus.

You see, he was there the day I was fired.

The security officer came in to do their job and he got sent to my store to take it over since they were firing me in the middle of the day. He didn’t look at me. He didn’t speak to me. He didn’t so much as say a single word to me and he worked very hard not to meet my eye. And that hurt. I don’t think I’ve been able to convey how much his lack of acknowledgment hurt me. I went home and unfriended him on Facebook and blocked his number from my phone – that’s how much his lack of caring hurt me.

So, the reason I bring this up is because on Saturday, I went grave-tending in the very city he lives in. And I saw him driving his car. I saw him immediately because whenever I see a blue Saturn, I always look, just in case. And there he was wearing the blue shirt that the company mandates all employees wear. And I turned my head as I drove by, hoping he wouldn’t look at me.

That night, I had a dream about that boss. He was the head of a shell company, akin to Bain Capital’s various companies that bought out others and destroyed them. The shell company had an intent of taking over Greed, Inc or something. He apologized to me for throwing me under the bus and he said he always felt awful about not so much as looking at me that day. He said he was hiring me to make amends but that he was also doing it because he knew that all of the shit that they said I “did” was a complete lie and I deserved a chance. And I woke up in tears.

Interview.

So, I have an interview today. In all honesty, I’m rather ambiguous in how I feel about getting this job. (A) I need money coming in that is not unemployment. (B) I worry that I will lose out on the important stuff with my son, as I feel I did when I was working at my last job. (C) I worry I will lose all my forward progress with my religion.

It seems really pathetic that my pro is about making money.

So, I shall put on a power suit, practice my best hire-me smile, and wear makeup as my armor.

Squee!

Since I need to “squee” in as many venues as possible…

So, last year, I had a job with a company with questionable ethical practices. The company liked to fire people for no reason, keep the people who stole from the company, and was just generally a soul-sucking void of ethical dilemmas. They had no problem throwing money at a problem to make it go away as long as that problem wasn’t keeping the good employees that were necessary to run the company. Then, they’d just fire them, try to deny them unemployment on their trumped up charge, and hire someone at a lower pay grade who did twice as much work as the last employee.

I know this for a fact since, you know, I was one of those sorry employees who was fired on trumped up charges.

So, for the last year, I’ve been job hunting. I’ve been spending a lot of my time combing through as many job listings as I can in a day. Last week, I saw something on CL that I thought sounded okay. I applied for it, but didn’t hear back. Since I’m pretty much used to the no response, I assumed I was off the list… until this morning when I was called by the Union Station Manager at a local college. He apologized for the short notice interview, but for once, I have a babysitter to hand. So, I went in.

The guy called me because he remembered me from that soul-sucking hellhole I used to work for that I whimsically refer to as “Greed Incorporated.”

He, too, was also one of those employees who had been fired on trumped up charges. And if I’m not mistaken, it was around the same time as I was fired, actually. He landed on his feet and managed to get a job in a similar sector – we worked in various convenience store chains although he has longer experiences with it than I do – with the local college. I could possibly be landing on my feet if I can pull in enough familial and friend marks to get a babysitter because some, if not all, shifts will be at night.

And that part kind of sucks, but…

A JOB. AND WITH SOMEONE WHO KNOWS THAT WHY I WAS FIRED WAS A COMPLETE LIE.

So, the moral of the story is that networking does, in fact, work.

Letting Go; Moving On.

One of the things I’ve been up to since I got fired is working on myself. This has been exceedingly difficult since it always feels like I have one [mundane] crisis after another to contend with. I had the months of having to fight for unemployment. The trying to sustain a life on said unemployment. I’ve been, kind of, waiting for an even keel to get into the work I need to do: forgiveness, letting go, working on my soul. But while I was so busy waiting for that even keel, I was getting hammered with more and more until it spewed out in blog-vomit. This was the turning point; the moment I got smacked upside the head and realized, the even keel is never coming.

So, I forged the path. I’ve been forging the work anyway. And one of these particular issues is, of course, what happened to me at the hands of Greed, Inc.

It’s been almost a year and I still don’t have any reasonable answers. One of the things I’ve wanted more than anything is to know why this happened to me. I’ve known the reasons the company has given me, which have been proven fallacies. (As evidenced by the fact that I received unemployment.) But the fallacies have all I ever received by way of an answer. With the working on myself, I realized that getting a legitimate answer from Greed, Inc will never happen. As much as I say that’s all I want to know, I would also like to know what the point in all of this was…

And after some card readings and working on myself, I know.

For months and months, I felt trapped and unable to move on. I was working a job that was slowly, but surely overtaking my life. It was difficult. While I consciously knew that finding a new job was in my best interest, I was too scared of uncertainty to do more than a few cursory looks in the newspaper. The money, I felt, outweighed the horror story that was the company that I worked for. I was so focused on the lifestyle I could pay for that the fear of job-hunting wasn’t worth it. What if no one called me back? What if I couldn’t find a job that paid as much? I was exceedingly materialistic.

And what was happening was that the company was destroying my soul, my spirituality. Me.

The other day, BFMA said that I was very rich in faith. I believe I laughed in her face when she said this. But it did sink in after a while. Spiritually speaking, I guess I am pretty rich. I never thought of myself this way, but as I got to thinking about it, I could see it. This… richness… is what I was trying to work towards before I lost my job. What I discovered was that my job was getting in the way of that wealth of faith. In fact, it was killing it a day, an hour, a second at a time. And I wasn’t seeing that, at the time. I was so busy seeing the things that I could give myself and my family that I didn’t care about what sort of side effects the job was doing to me. Greed, Inc is not an ethical company – as the circumstances behind my firing is evidence of – and that ethical ambiguity was destroying me.

But, I wouldn’t do anything about it.

Sometimes, if you are unable or unwilling to make the changes yourself, the universe steps in and fucks shit up. The thing is that, no matter what steps I had taken or could have taken, it wouldn’t have mattered. I would have lost that particular job anyway. It was fated. No matter what I wanted, could have tried, or magicked out of my butt, I would have lost the job. It was destroying me and either I would have broken or the job would have. In the end, the job broke first and I’m grateful. I don’t think I would have liked myself if I was a soulless automaton.

I’m Not Good at Decision-Making.

One of the things that I’m not overly good at is making big, huge, life-shattering decisions. I dither. I hem and haw. I’m not the kind of person who flies by the seat of her pants, which is funny. I used to be that kind of person, more than I can possibly say. If you ask my mom, that’s how I lived my life up until moving back up north with TH, TS, and starting “over.” However, I’ve learned the lesson often enough for it to actually stick: look to the facts. Unfortunately, my biggest issue with looking to the facts is the fact that I look at so many fucking possibilities that I lose my shit over all of the big, huge possibilities. I end up losing my shit so much that I end up in a crying jag, overly depressed, so depressed that getting up from the couch is a major process, and nothing ends up getting done. Unfortunately, I’m at the point where I have to make a decision and nothing is easy. And honestly, all choices are pretty much shit on top of shit.

One of the things that worried me the most about my ex-landlady selling the property was the possibility of a rent increase. In our area, all of the tenants are paying shit in comparison. I’m not sure about my upstairs neighbors (since I don’t know them, don’t want to know them, and am in the middle of a parking space war presently) but my immediate neighbor next door pays $450/month for her one bedroom… that she’s rarely in. She claims she can’t afford a rent increase and I know that I can’t either. I’m paying $600/month for a “two bedroom.” Note the quotations here. As the [new] landlord commented when he brought me notice that he was going to do a rent increase, we’re really living in a 1.5 bedroom. By legal standards, my son’s room isn’t even a room because there is no closet in that room. So, paying $700 for this place is a huge, hard, big pill to swallow.

It’s not worth that much.

The other issue that comes up and that I’ve refrained from blogging about due to shame is that we suffer from a severe bed bug issue. When I first discovered the black markings on my box spring, I had a hissy fit because I thought mold was growing in my bedroom. When we were living in TH’s parents’ basement, the bedroom we were using was incredibly moist. Mold grew all over everything in that room. I had to throw away pictures that I cherished because of the mold problem. I had to toss out the black leather jacket my mom got me when I was 17/18 because of the mold problem. (Also, it didn’t fit but I was keeping it for “the day I got skinny.” Funny, right?) I started spritzing the bed with one of my organic lemon cleaners because that cleared up the mold issue in the first place. About two months later, I realized that it was worse… and flipped to TH about it. “Honey! The mold is back!” He went into our room and looked things over and said, “That’s not mold.”

We did a lot of research and it was pretty clear, from the get-go, what the problem was. I ignored it. I didn’t think about it. I had about eight crying jags the first month we realized we had bed bugs. I felt guilty. I felt dirty. I felt disgusting. I lurked on a bunch of bed bug related forums, trying to come to terms with what was going on and figuring a way to fix it. I called Terminix, myself, even though I should have called the landlady instead. The reason I didn’t call her is because I honestly felt that she would have evicted us for “bring the infestation.” The thing is that TH and I are pretty sure that one of the upstairs neighbors was responsible for the infestation and after they moved out, the bugs that were still alive slowly but surely came downstairs to where we were. There was a good six month time span where our family was the only family living in the complex. My next door neighbor was pretty much stopping in to get away from helping out her ailing mother about once a week, so we were the only food source for the bugs.

So, we never told the landlady. I have no doubt in my head that the woman would have evicted us, blamed us. And I’m almost positive she wouldn’t have done anything about it, either. And I also can’t help but notice that when the pest control officer who had to do the inspection prior to the selling of the house… He only checked out the basement. When they said that a pest control officer was coming in to look, I was overjoyed. I didn’t have to open my mouth about the problem. But, he only checked the basement, even though the bed bug infestation along the eastern seaboard is along pandemic proportions. (I’m not fucking joking. I’ve been watching the news. There are libraries that are having the issue.) There was a mattress downstairs for months upon months after everyone moved out, leaving my family the only ones in this house. It was still down there up until a few days before the inspection process began. I can’t help but notice that the guy only went in the basement… and the mattress was gone before that.

With the rent increase hanging over our heads, TH is at his breaking point with this. He’s been having severe issues in regards to the bed bug problem anyway. He hardly sleeps. I understand this. I go through phases like this myself until exhaustion overtakes me. I lay awake at night, crying and worried that I’m a horrible, dirty person. I also felt that by opening my mouth to my ex-landlady, I was asking for whatever happened to us. One of the things that I’ve been debating with the new landlord is telling him about the bed bug infestation. He doesn’t seem like an asshole (rent increase or otherwise). And I think he’d do something about it. He wouldn’t be happy, but I think he’d fix the problem instead of blaming us and evicting us. (Illegal though that is, I’ve been reading a lot of horror stories of tenants who are blamed for the infestation and the courts uphold the eviction process. It’s fucked. It’s all fucked.) But with the rent increase, TH is blowing his stack.

When I called him to tell him about it, he instantly shut down. He went into “angry” mode. That was it. I told him that the landlord was offering us a deal. He’d knock between $50 – $75 a month if we mowed the lawn for him and shoveled the walks in the winter time. I think the deal is a good one. Since he’s bought the place, I’ve been on the lookout for a new place, but there aren’t any. In our price range, there is nothing and there is nothing. I used to get huge lists all the time whenever I would look on Craigslist when I was still working last summer. Now? I’m lucky if I get 10 hits in the last month in our price range. So, when I told TH about the deal, he said, “Well, I’m going to have to say ‘no’ to that. He can fix the place up before I start doing shit.” And he just completely shut down. He was intolerant to anything I had to say on the matter. I was getting frustrated so I hung up on him after telling him that when he wanted to discuss it, he could call me.

He ended up coming over and we “talked.” Yes, that’s a euphemism for yelled.

He said that he wasn’t going to pay a red cent extra to this landlord until the bed bug problem was fixed. He also made me feel guilty for never having said anything. I think he forgets that he was the person who cautioned me when I wanted to tell the landlady in the first place! The entire time people were looking at the place, he could have said something. He didn’t. It’s like I’m the adult here so I have to make the decision. But when I did go to make that decision, he told me to be cautious with this because we were liable to be kicked out for no reason whatsoever. And while that’s not a good reason to have to put up with this bullshit for pretty fucking close to a year now (we figured out our issue some time last summer, I believe), it’s something that has stuck with me. So have all of those awful stories from tenants who were treated like they had the plague because they told the landlord what was going on, as they should have. I’m haunted by all the people who have said, “They only came to spray at my place, but there’s an entire complex; couldn’t they come back in?” Or the people who said, “And now I’m looking for a place because I’ve been evicted for something that isn’t my fault.” Haunted. Haunted.

This whole situation sucks.

This whole apartment sucks.

I’m living in a tiny ass apartment, trying to raise my family on an income that doesn’t work. I know what to do – go back to work – but I have to wait until BFMA is back to normal. I keep knowing what my goals are and then watching them get pushed further and further back. I want to rage. I want to cry. I want to make a decision, but I don’t know what is in our best interest.

At this point, I see things as having various possibilities, which I’ll list.

1. We can take the deal and have a roof over our heads, with only about a $25 – $50 increase.
2. We can try to find a new place, though prospects are few and far between.
3. We can stop paying rent and get evicted.
4. We can take the deal, have a roof over our heads, tell him about the bug problem, and see what happens.

TH pointed out to me when we were “talking” about things that there was no way we would be out on the streets if we got kicked out of here. I just kind of looked at him and every moment of living in his parents’ basement rushed over me. I told him that as selfish as it sounded, I couldn’t go back to living there again. I just… no. I was so miserable and angry there. I’m still pretty miserable and angry but I’m more able to handle both of those emotions in a positive and constructive manner than I was when I was living there. I told him that I just couldn’t do that and he just stared at me like I was crazy. It was at that point that he demanded our landlord’s phone number. “I’ll call him and tell him about the fucking bed bugs! He won’t get a damn thing from us extra until it’s taken care of!” I refused this request, which is when he left. I told him that he’s so busy feeling and reacting to the news that he would be a complete asshole to our landlord. I told him that he had to stop and he had to think and he had to act with purpose.

He sat staring off into space for about 10 minutes before he left after I said that.

So, this whole situation sucks such monkey balls. The sweatiest. All I want to do is cry.

It’s Choice – Not Chance – That Determines Your Destiny.

The above title is taken as a quote from Jean Nidetch.

Since I entered the world of unemployment, I’ve had a lot of issues to deal with. The biggest has been the lack of money feature. This is a new thing for me since, entering the employment drone force of Greed, Inc I was making more than enough money to survive. Hell, when I first started there, I was making more as a new employee than I currently am on unemployment. Each week, I’m having to pick and choose what gets paid and what doesn’t. This has been teaching me, a little more, about money-saving and just what it really is like to be the “working poor.” As my mom mentioned to me on the phone last night and as TH has told me about his mother, there are times where licking the bowl of the mac and cheese is all a parent gets. All day long, I make sure that TS is fed and happy (even though he eats ALL DAY LONG) while I wait around until about supper time before I end up eating something as well. I’ve watched as my cabinets have grown into what we used to call, “Mother Hubbard cabinets.” I’ve watched as bills jump from workable to outrageous because I just didn’t have the funds to pay that bill, another bill, and get some necessities at Wal-Mart. I’ll tell you this: I sure do envy those people with cash assistance.

But, while everything is difficult and hard, I’ve had a lot of other things to deal with besides just bills and food and the worry both of those engender. (By the way, I’m not writing this so that you’ll feel bad for me or anything. I don’t want you to pity me because I’m between a rock and a hard place.) Some of the other things I’ve had to deal with is going from the sure-fit knowledge that I know exactly where my life is going to the fact that I have no fucking clue whatsoever where things are heading. I went from knowing intrinsically that I was going to be a manager of retail places until I was old enough to retire (or assuming thus, anyway) to the knowledge that I’m lost and adrift on a sea that is only partially my own making. After all, maybe if I had really done the college thing, I wouldn’t be in this boat in the first place. Then again, with the country in the throes of pain and unemployment that it is now, there’s no telling if I had graduated college if I would have a job that I would enjoy and desire. Hell, maybe after graduating, I would have ended up going into the retail/gas station industry anyway because the job that I wanted wasn’t available. After reading an article about the highest unemployment rates in various degree programs, I found out that the two degree programs I was interested in are fairly high for unemployment (history and anthropology). This has knocked out my overwhelming desire to go to school.

And that leaves me adrift, again.

I’m at the point where I have to make a choice about things and not just because it’s “time.” It’s mostly just because I can’t really handle all of this anymore. Sure, I’m doing a lot of work with my religion and I enjoy that. And I get to spend so much time with TS that I get sick of him. (HA!) But the thing is that I have this overwhelming drive to take care of things and fix things. I have this overwhelming drive to see something come of all of this. And while religion is find and dandy, my religion is anything but mainstream. It’s not like I’m going to be able to do much with it any time soon since I still have a lot of things to work through and sort through. And besides, while working with it is giving me something indefinable to focus on, which is a nice treat from constantly worrying, I have finally come to the point where my constant whining, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up,” is getting on my nerves. So, I can only assume the same is being said in quieter circles when I’m not around. And I can only assume that it’s finally time to figure shit out.

In the last day or two, while I talked to BFMA about her job (she’s working at a local gas station, so this is humorous to me and it helps her because I know her job and can help her if the need arises), I kind of began to get this little epiphany thing. Really, the start of all this happened when Devo and I were discussing my situation, in real depth, the last time it came up. I began to realize that while all of these job possibilities are out there, maybe, and while I can do any of them, I’m at the point where really, really, really… I just want to write. What I was hoping would happen with MEH was that I would get my history degree and start writing in earnest, with him supporting me. Childishly, I hoped the same would arise with TH, but I’ve come to realize that with his job being so cyclical, this isn’t possible. I can write all I want and desire, I can finish and unfinish whole manuscripts, and I can want something so badly, but really, as much as I may want and desire something doesn’t matter. What matters is that TH and TS are taken care of. It might sound silly that I, a woman, is getting ready to plunge deeply into the taking care of aspect by making the money, but you know what? I’m glad TH does what he does. It’s possible that in the next twenty years his industry will fail or it could bounce back again. While he was happier, methinks, as a plumber in Texas than he is as a painter for the union in Massachusetts, I know it’s not what he really wants to do. And I know that dream and I share that dream and I want to see it happen, one day, for him.

The thing is… I have to start taking care of our family before any of that can even remotely happen.

I’ll admit that all I want to do is write for my career. I want to pound out books (under a pseudonym, preferably) and hope to the gods that I make something from it. I don’t want to be some Big Name Author like Charlaine Harris has become or Sherrilyn Kenyon, though both of them are in the category of books that I am currently writing. (Sort of, anyway. They’re more of a romance thing and I don’t do sex in my books.) I think even a small check of five hundred bucks would be fantastic and wonderful. Anything; something. That’s really what I want to do with my life. I want to be able to say that I’m going to work by locking myself in my office, turning on some music, and working towards a deadline. (I’m giggling here because whenever I think of deadlines, I think of this quote by Douglas Adams, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”) However, in order for that to even remotely happen, I have two things that I have to consider first. 1. I have to consider how to finish the monstrous manuscript in progress (and find someone to read it for mistakes…). 2. I have to pay the bills I have now and save money so that I can get that office with the sound system and the sign on the door that says, “If you disturb me, I will hex you.” (I don’t know if they make this sign yet, but I want something like it.)

So, now it’s time to think about what Devo said about her Four AM writing friend. And it’s time to put such a plan into action. Hopefully, if I do find a job in some outlet that will hire me, I will make enough to live off of as opposed to hand-to-mouth.

In a Mad World, Only the Mad Are Sane.

The quote as the title of this post is from Akira Kurosawa.

I think I’ve just about lost my mind. In the last week, I’ve had some serious thinking going on, which has left me up until late at night… It gets to the point where I sit bolt upright to pull myself out of that twilight sleep phase that happens just before you really fall asleep. I sit upright and stare around my room, trying my best to pull my thoughts away from the things that make me feel useless, uncertain, and low. I mean, there’s always something that I can think about just before falling asleep, which will lead me to staying up even later just because I can’t get my mind out of my ass and keep harping on shit. It’s so fucking annoying. Lately, it’s been a toss up between where to send TS to school this year (UGH) and how the fuck I am going to continue to live on such shit money, or when unemployment will run out. It’s driving me fucking insane. And it’s not like I need any help in that area, either! I’m already pretty damn close to bat-shit!

So, last week, I took BFMA to a local gas station to pick up an application. She’s been having house guests who don’t pay for shit, so she needs to get another job ASAP. (Her last one petered out because her boss was big on sweaty ball sucking.) She mentioned that Greed, INC was hiring in her area. I pretty much told her to get a life because there was no way I was ever going to let her turn in an application to that place. Then, I got serious and explained that, even if she were given an interview and hired, there was no way she could handle the training program. It’s about a week long and expects you to pick up everything in that week time. I’ve always said that it’s not long enough for people who haven’t worked in a gas station setting previously, but what do I know? Anyway, I also reminded her that Greed, INC likes to hire people for a “specific store” even knowing that the person in question needs that store because of lack of a ride (such as BFMA) but has a tendency of shoving them out to other stores because they’re retarded and think they can do whatever they want. BFMA nodded sagely and said that I had a point since she could only work at that particular store, probably couldn’t make it to the training classes at the office, and would freak out in the middle of training since they expect the world of you in the first day. So, I took her to the gas station across the street, which was hiring for a part-time position.

And this has been in my head ever since. Pretty much, it’s because of this that this happened. And you know, I decided I was going to be fucking retarded and go to the head-hunter site that one of my ex-bosses gave me. (This particular ex-boss, actually, worked for the company in question for many years.) And I looked up the company name and they were hiring for a manager-in-training at the store in Ludlow that BFMA filled out for. And wouldn’t you know it? The manager-in-training notice went up on the day that I wrote that entry about being retardedly insane. Yep, yep.

I’m at a crossroads again and I don’t really know which way to turn.

On the one hand, I need to go back to work. I’ve long since realized that my hopes and dreams of not running the household and being the bread winner are me just whining about just desserts. I’ve always wanted to be that retarded idiot who stays at home with a “cool job” (in other words, writing) and not have to actually go out and make the bacon, so to speak. I loved my mother and I loved that she worked a job that afforded us the ability to do a lot of things (even with her as a single parent), but I remember how cranky she was after working all day. And I remember how much she hated to spend her weekends doing all of the cleaning that never got done during the week because of school and work and eating and having two kids who are slobs. I never wanted to be like that, but unfortunately, I have TH who is in the construction business. And whether we like it or not, no one wants to hire a decent painting crew when they can get shitty service at half the price. So, I have that going at me.

As well as the basic feeling that, you know, the house buying and the ability to buy another car so that we have two vehicles again. This both bothers me and excites me: the whole materialistic thing. I can buy books without having to pinch pennies in other areas and I could take TS wherever I want, whenever I want. I wouldn’t have to scrimp and save to take him to the Lupa Zoo again (he’s been asking to go). And if I made enough money, I could slowly but surely integrate him into that fancy-pantsy school in South Hadley that I’ve been whining about for years now. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. All of these things are all double bonus points when it comes to the whole getting another job thing.

But, then I have to sit around and wonder about what exactly I’m getting myself into.

I have a complex about the manager thing. I think I was a good one and the few ex-employees that I still speak with claim that I was pretty good at the managing thing. But, even though I have these people tell me that I was a decent boss can’t possible completely destroy the feeling that I failed miserably when I tried it out the last time. I keep thinking that it was my failure that ended me in that place. Sure, I know that the company is shit to work for and I know that ELD was the reason behind it with her bullshit and her lies (speaking of, I’m pretty sure she no longer works there). However, I still have the whole complex thing going on for me. I have it in the back of my head that I “sucked” at the whole manager thing. And so, this fear really kind of gets to me when I start contemplating going back to work, especially in a similar environment.

And really, that complex more than anything is the reason why I am currently hemming and hawing… per usual.