Hi, Honey, I’m HOME!

Well, I’m back. Back online again at home, and though I don’t quite know how I’m going to do it, I’m by god gonna stay here!

I’m still desperately unemployed, still scared I’ll lose my house, but I’m digging in my feet and saying NO!

I haven’t given up on finding a job, but I decided to bite the bullet and go on Social Security. It’s not much because it’s an early retirement, and quite a bit shy of what I need, but it’s a start.

I also do have a job, of sorts. I am now a copyeditor for Caliburn Press, a small, multi-imprint press now based out of Madison, WI, owned by my soul-brother Alan, his wife, and my soul-sister Kendra, and her soon-to-be husband Scott. I’m learning lots, scrambling to learn more, and turning around what I learn to apply to what I’m writing myself.

What’s been going on?

Well, I have two more cats, bringing the total up to six. I inherited the two new cats from my friend Cynthia, who died in January of this year–very unexpectedly, and while I was present. To be honest, I still don’t know what to think or how to feel about that… But the cats are doing well.

The big boy cat, Trjegul (named after one of the cats that draw Freya’s chariot) has settled in nicely and has lost a significant amount of his timidity. He even plays with the “kitten” (in quotes because she’s a Big Girl now, just that she’s still less than a year old)! The other, a mid-sized girl named Eowyn, is not timid per se, but she is VERY intimidated by my two girl cats, Roxy and Leili. She and the kitten, Pandora (Dori) seem to get along reasonably well; Eowyn doesn’t freak out when Dory pounces on her, whereas she goes into full-on psycho screaming escalation mode with Leili. For some reason, Ziggy, the roomie-and-ex-roomie’s indoor/outdoor cat, does not excite any issues with her, despite how ill-tempered he can be. Go figure…

I’ve been humping my computer back and forth to the library for the past couple of months so I can get online and find a job. See, what happened is this: When I lost my job back in May of 2010, I took two years off and did a two-year curriculum online for Health Information Management and Technology so that I could get a job back in the healthcare field. I liked working in that field because I feel it is very important. Has to do with helping people, don’tcha know. Even though I’m not the kind to get all hands-on and healy with people, I feel that being in the support system for those who do is important. The Doctors and Nurses and EMTs and all the rest can’t do the appointment scheduling and paperwork and records management as well, so we who do are freeing them up to do the important stuff. Anyway, that’s my take on it.

Problem is, the jobs I was hoping to have access to after I graduated just aren’t there. For every position that’s offered, there are LITERALLY 50 or more applicants. So I’m $20k in debt and sinking fast… and there’s the house, and the health care, and the… you get the picture.

After that, I was living on my retirement funds. Those are long gone. Then I was living on my father’s retirement funds, while he was in a nursing home and after he died in 2013. After he died, the funds were administered by my brother. I never really had much of an idea how much money was there. And what with his health problems, one thing and another, we never really communicated about things. So this year when I got new eyeglasses, and it was going to make the month really tight, I asked if I could get some extra money. His response was, do you want me to just transfer what’s left?

That was one of those frozen-in-time moments, you know? That was the end of April. There was enough for the May transfer, and about half that left over. And my mind is going — but I don’t want to say it to him, because I don’t want to fight and I don’t want to get upset but I AM upset — I don’t want to say it, but I’m hurt, and I’m thinking, When were you going to tell me that there was no more money? In June when I call to find out why the transfer didn’t come?

I love my brother, I have a great deal of respect for him, for his knowledge and his ability and all that, but just like with my mother and father, I just don’t measure up for him. I get no respect in return, like I’m not worth thinking about.

Sometimes I’m so frustrated I could cry.

So here I am going to the library looking for any data entry, receptionist, medical or other office position, or maybe copy editing or proofreading.  I actually had a job — for a whole 9 1/2 days. Learning to be an emergency roadside assistance dispatcher for Allstate. Helping people, all I’ve ever wanted to do. But I ran into one of my ghosty health problems and was let go while still in training. I fall asleep. At first, I thought it was because I was on benedryl for a sinus/allergy problem, but then I stopped taking it. And there was the sleep schedule change — I’m a night owl, and had to change back to a day schedule. But no, that wasn’t it either. Then I thought it was sugar crash. I’m diabetic, and they were passing out Jolly Rancher candies like crazy, and I can’t resist flavored sugar. But no, I quit doing that, and still was falling asleep in class. I finally realized what was happening — but too late, they’d already made the decision. See, what happens is this: When I focus hard on something (like in a class!), well, it’s really IMPORTANT that I learn this, because I NEED this job, so I’m REALLY paying attention. Which means I am focusing all my energy into what I’m doing, what I’m trying to learn. And when I’m doing that, I’m sitting really still. I’m sitting forward in my chair, arms folded, watching the video or the teacher or whatever — and I stop breathing. I’m SO focused that my breathing gets shallower and shallower and shallower. I’m paying attention, I’m paying attention, I’m paying attention — I’m gone.

Shit.

It took me YEARS to figure that out! I’d done it before, more times than I could count, at more than one job. It just wasn’t as frequent, because it was at those stupid monthly or quarterly meetings where some talking suit is droning on and on about something that has NO-FUCKING-THING to do with what I do for the company. It never happened when I worked at the Eye Clinic, it never happened when I worked at the Retina Institute, because I was always MOVING. Even if it was a desk job, I was getting up for this, bending over for that, reaching for something else… but when I sat still, just typing or moving a mouse? Z-ville.

The real pity of it was, if I’d made it through that last day I’d have been fine. Because the next week we were going to be on the phones, jacked in with another worker. I’d have been doing the data entry part while the other worker did the phone stuff, and I’d have been moving and breathing and talking in between.

Well, water under the bridge. Looking at other options now, and hoping for the best. I WILL NOT let this all stop me. I WILL keep trying. I’m writing again, and I’m nearly finished with my first draft of Book One. I’ve got a line on an online data-entry job that I hope will work out, and I am STUBBORN AS HELL. Wish me luck!

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