Life After Lay Off: Week 8

You know those days when you wake up and it's pouring down rain and you'd rather stay in bed than go to work? Those days when you're at work and it's raining out side and you meet someone on the elevator and they say, "This is a perfect napping weather" and you agree and wish you were home under the covers instead of on that stupid elevator? 

Well, today was one of those days and when the alarm went off this morning I turned it off.

When you've been laid off you learn to appreciate even the tiniest of blessings.

Life After Lay Off: Week 7

Photo Source: http://anonymityno-identity.deviantart.com/
Dear Anonymous Hiring Manager,

I am writing in response to your job posting in the August 8th edition of [my local paper]. I am actually perfect for the position you are trying to fill. Not only do I meet all of your basic qualifications (proficient in MS applications, experienced, excellent oral and written skills etc.) which, really? Shouldn't all of that go without saying in this day and age? I mean who isn't proficient in MS apps? After all, it is 2010 and unless you still use a corded phone and correspond only by snail mail you pretty much have all that down. I'm pretty sure even kindergartners are capable of doing Power Point presentations these days.

However, in addition to all the basics, you "preferred" someone with experience in [obscure legal billing program] which is what I had been working in for the past 10 years until the shareholders of the law firm I was with lost a big case and got scared their bonuses might not be as big this year and spontaneously decided a 20% reduction in force was necessary. Don't get me wrong. I'm not bitter about having been laid off after almost a decade of loyalty because I can appreciate that it must have been terrifying to them to think they may have to make personal cut backs or sacrifices. The idea of having to give up one of your homes, forgo the annual family safari, lose your family's private box at the new concert venue, or *gasp* drive last year's model of  SUV and park with the commoners (rather than in your $15k a year alumni space) at your Alma mater's football games - well, that would certainly cause even Mother Theresa to lay off her devoted assistants. Right?

But back to the program experience you "prefer". As I said, I have extensive experience with that program because ours was one of the two (clearly, yours was the other) companies in the entire western world who actually bought and used that program. Hell, I can even do that program in DOS!

Not only that, but I really really (did I say really?) need a job because it's been 7 weeks without an income now and since I am the sole support for myself and my son things are looking pretty bleak. I mean, I've used up the tiny savings I had; cashed out my 401K; and nearly maxed out all the (previously zero-balance) emergency credit cards.  Rent will soon be due again, and while my unemployment is just enough to cover the cost of our shelter I'd sure like to have electricity and water also.

Economics aside, I'm also pretty bored with noting to do all day. My house is super clean, my closets are organised and I've even polished the blades on the ceiling fan in the dining room. It's getting pretty hard to fill my days. For example: I have this chair I inherited from my grandmother which is about a million years old. It's wooden back has a really intricately carved floral design. Yesterday I got out the Murphy's and some Q-tips and polished every tiny crevice of every flower and leaf in its carved wooden design. Yes, you heard me right. I spent over an hour polishing a wooden chair with Q-tips. That's how bored I am.

So, I'm sure you can clearly see how desperate my situation is - in addition to being highly qualified for the position you are trying to fill. But here's the problem ...

In your job posting you asked that I send in my resume along salary history, references, and cover letter; and you asked that I send it to an anonymous PO box via the newspaper. Basically, you want me to send you all of my contact information, employment history, income data and a list of my friends and former co-workers; yet you are unwilling to even give me the name of your company?!  I'm sorry, but I'd have to be all kinds of stupid to send that kind of information to an undisclosed recipient. I wouldn't even want to hire someone who was that stupid and I'm not sure why you would.

So, in conclusion, I'm sorry to have to break up in such an impersonal and public way, but you've left me no choice, Anonymous Company. We probably would have been great for each other, but you had to go and ruin it all. Our brief relationship has been entirely one-sided because you were too selfish to give of yourself. I wish you only the best and hope that someday you find someone who is right for you. But when you do, you will always know that your new employee is one who will blindly dispense very personal information to complete strangers and thus you'll always have to worry what they may be saying about you. I hope you can live with that.


Yellow Dog


22 Reasons I will Always Love Double D

1. He gets just how cool robots really are

2. He can be Ward Cleaver when he has to

3. He answered some of the "hard" questions during LD's preteen years

4. He still rocks the bass

5. He still remembers the sharkskin suit we bought at a thrift store in 1983

6. He stood in the front yard in the rain with me the night my cat got out and let to me cry it all out - even though he doesn't even really like cats

7. Even though the kids went through a phase of standing outside the bathroom door to harass him every time he went to do his business he never killed either one of them

8. He really does love being a dad

9. The kids and I can still easily embarrass him

10. Even though the bitch neighbor complained every single day he refused to quit parking in front of her house solely because that's where the shade was. And when she cut her tree down just to spite him he didn't flaunt his victory.

11. He always has exactly what is needed no matter how obscure. Firecrackers in December? Check! Emergency drain snake? Check! Black spray paint? Vinyl copy of an obscure album? Door handle for a 50 year old Buick? Probably! I'm pretty sure he even had a Midol in his glove box one time when we were out and I was bitchy.

12. He can drive a station wagon with 2 screaming preteens in the back seat and completely tune them out.

13. He actually cared enough to learn how to properly launder a bra

14. He remembers to make sure the car has gas if it's gonna snow overnight

15. He loathes camping and sports as much as I do

16. Even though he might say, "that's weird" he'll still usually do it

17. When he's being a complete dick you can usually turn him around with cake

18. He's fallen completely in love with his dog - to an almost ridiculous eye rolling degree

19. He can be cleared from any room by simply uttering the word "tampon"

20. Two words: Bell's shoes

21. He loves our weird little family just as much as I do.

And most importantly:

22. He's willing to share his daughter with me!


Fireflies and Memories

A friend of mine sent me this video and I had a lot of fun watching it and laughing at how many times I thought to myself, "I have one of those too!" 

I so want to be in that room and play with those toys!

Watching this video also made me really nostalgic for LD's childhood. My baby boy is pretty much all grown up now and will be going away to college in less than a year. It really really doesn't seem that long ago that our house was cluttered with Lego creations and action figures, and the back yard looked like a Little Tykes delivery truck had exploded over it.

Of course there are still robots, dinosaurs, planetarium lights, wind up toys and crazy kitschy things in my house today. That's just a part of who I am. But when LD was a little boy I wanted his room to be his own magical place - with clouds in the sky, airplanes flying overhead, faux fireplaces and pretend picture frames, chalkboard walls to draw on, and assorted other whimsical touches.

Clouds on the ceiling, a Kite flying, furry animal masks on the wall and hand puppets on the bed posts. His sheets had to have cowboys on them and his pillow had marching red hens and French numbers. You can also barely see the mobile of the planets that hung from the center of his ceiling.
Tiny chairs, a puzzle rack, planes flying across the ceiling, a lamp that projected rotating stars on his ceiling as he slept, a framed Pinocchio print and a couple of framed vintage Dick & Jane Illustrations. The closet door was chalkboard and the curtains made by Nanna. It doesn't show, but he also had a big rug that was designed to look like streets and highways for his toy cars to drive on.
He wanted a fireplace of his own - just like the one in the living room. RB & I sketched it out with chalk and then painted it all in one afternoon. The little chair I bought when I was only 16 and dreaming about the children I would some day have. The drawer pulls on the little chest were made from tree branches LD picked out in the yard.

He still has a pretty cool room, but now it's filled with bookshelves, comic books and vintage camera equipment - a reflection of his tastes as an almost grown man, rather than the little boy who used to act out storybooks for me every night before bed. It was a precious time, and while I am overwhelmingly proud of the young man he has become, I still kind miss my little boy in Osh Kosh overalls, with his pockets stuffed with Lego's and marbles, who would loudly sing me my favourite songs and dance in my arms.

I miss those times filled with imagination and innocence.

And I really do miss that room.


For Dev and Muller!

Also the only goat to ever grace the hallowed halls of the University. 

The Pony Pasture! It was worth falling asleep drunk in Muller's bed in the barn-house just to be able to wake up and see this beautiful sight in the morning.

That's Polly - the coolest Cobb in the pasture - and her baby, Veronica with Amy (?) and Tom - the Bart Simpson of horses who used to chase me and try to bite my ass!

Rev - the pony that tried to kill me! Yes he did! Shut up Muller! I still keep his shoe over my front door to remind me of my narrow escape from death.

Am I correct that this is Rev too? I think it is, but I don't remember.

The only time Muller and I have EVER exchanged harsh words was when trying to load a pony in the trailer and Muller got mad when I let go in order to keep from amputating my right arm. I don't remember which horse, but I know it was a looooong and silent ride home in the truck that day. It was also the LAST horse show I ever offered to "help" with. Sorry Muller, but Tony's right - you can be a bossy bitch!

Life After Lay Off: Week 6

Photo Source: http://www.gardendigest.com/concrete/cvp244.htm
Random Crap I've Learned While Job Hunting:

1. There are some surprisingly complicated jobs out there that only pay crap and some ridiculously easy ones that pay a huge salary. You will be considered "overqualified" for the latter. 

2.  The guy who euthanizes the animals at the city shelter only makes $32k a year and is not a veterinarian.

3. It apparently acceptable to expect an Office Manager for a non-profit to, not only have a Master's, but also to work for only $28k a year.

4. It is extremely difficult, though not impossible, to get hired as a public school teacher unless you majored in education. If you majored in an obscure humanities related field it ain't gonna happen at all. Though you can teach at a Junior College with only a BA as long as you're willing to work for peanuts, a PhD in Linguistics does not qualify you to teach English to first graders.

5. The person whose job it is to light some kind of very dangerous drilling related pilot lights in remote locations during subzero temperatures only makes $29k

6. Five years litigation experience makes you a very sought after legal secretary. Four years of the same won't even get you an interview because five years is clearly the magical turning point at which you become qualified.

7. There is no such thing as a secretary any more unless you work for a 1960s ad agency.

8. They really do audit you when you're on unemployment because apparently making 1/5th of your usual salary, being uninsured,  and having no reason to get out of bed in the morning is so fun that people are wiling to lie to do it.

9. Being the Children's Literacy Program Director sounds like an awesome job until you find out it will involve driving the bookmobile.

10. One of the great ironies of the universe is that you must have a great credit score to work as a collector.

11. Police officers and firefighters don't make crap.

12. All those "unavailable" caller ID entries you used to come home to are actually bill collectors looking for someone named Joyce.

13. The sunlight across your wooden floors at 2pm is really really pretty.

14. Programmable thermostats don't care if you're home all day and cannot be reprogrammed to cool your house on week days when your lazy ass should be at work.

15. It is possible to break a sweat from worrying.

16. Even though you are completely averse to sports you will still contemplate applying for the position of Stadium Manager. Especially if it does not require 10 key by touch!

17. Your resume is actually no reflection at all of who you really are or what you're capable of doing.

18. House Hunters is on TV all day. Every day.

19. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization.

20. Job Hunting sucks worse than the worst job you've ever had.


Life After Lay Off: Week 5

Part my job used to involve talking with random people who would call the firm because they wanted to to sue someone, so I’m fully aware that we live in a litigious society. It still came as a surprise the number of attorney friends who suggested I file a wrongful termination suit.

It seems that laying off someone over forty, while retaining younger employees with less seniority is frowned upon by the EEOC. The fact that everyone else in my office who was laid off was also over forty left the firm vulnerable to a discrimination claim. And then there’s the fact that the day before lay offs they hired three new kids – one just out of high school. These were “favour” jobs, with no real duties, given to the sons and daughters of Shareholders or important Clients. It’s always been a tradition to hire kids like this, but you’d think that when you're also laying off people with families to support that tradition might need to end.

But you know what? It’s not worth it. Lawsuits are a pain in the ass – trust me, I know. And taking on one of the largest, most prestigious firms in this state would not exactly be a cakewalk. I figure karma will work it all out without my help.

I do, however, have to laugh when I hear a certain local political candidate preaching a platform addressing unemployment when I know for a fact that the firm that just laid me off donated at least three times my annual salary to their campaign.

For the first time in my life I may vote Republican.

Life After Lay Off: Week 4

You begin to try and embrace the lay off as an opportunity, but even though you know you will eventually find a job you love, and that you will likely make much more money; you still have to face down the pile off bills that arrive daily.

Unless, like me, you find it all too much and shove all of your unopened mail and scattered paperwork into a box which you then shove into the corner by your desk.

When your cell phone beeps with new messages you don’t want to face you toss that into the box too. Eventually you dump the contents of your purse; the grocery receipts, unread newspapers, the note your neighbor left on your door, appointment reminder cards, the shopping list, and your planner into the box too.

The box becomes your enemy.

You discover that Law & Order is on some channel at almost any time of day and there are actually still episodes you’ve never seen. You start watching The View. You try to watch Rachel Ray , but turn her off mid-show and wonder why the hell she is so popular. Your cats start avoiding you because you are too needy even for them. You surf the internet and lose hours of your life to learning about obscure cultures and people you will never meet. You avoid the grocery store for so long that you eat frozen peas for dinner more than once. You play with your robots, organize your photo albums and rearrange your closets.

Anything to avoid real life.

Finally your son gently points out that you haven’t left the house in over a week, so you get dressed and go to the grocery store.

But you’re afraid to spend money because for the first time ever it’s a finite resource. You grab the necessities like milk and bread. As you’re heading for the check out you pass the peanut butter crackers. You used to keep these in your desk drawer for those days when you worked through lunch. Your tears catch you off guard.

Suddenly everything in the whole freakin’ grocery store reminds you of work. Pop Tarts you bought because a co-worker liked them, the bakery where you  used to pick up the birthday cakes, the orange juice you kept in the work fridge for those afternoons when you were sick of caffeine, , even the magazines you used to justify buying because you knew all the gals at work would enjoy them too.

So you budget your necessities and carry out a single re-usable bag rather than the dozen you're used to loading into the trunk. You look at the gas gauge and decide that even though you have less than a quarter tank left you're not going to stop and fill up. You consider it money saved. On the way home you stop by the cell phone store and switch to a cheaper plan.

You pass the intersection by your house where the bums sit with signs and solicit money from the cars that have stopped at the red light. You wonder if just anyone can sit there, or if bums are like hookers who lay claim to a specific street corner and have pimps who will beat you for working their territory. You wonder if anyone would recognize you if you wore a wig.

Something has got to give!