Grateful for … silence

November 23rd, 2017, 7:52 AM by Goddess

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. … Matthew 6:1-34

I had a friend who threw a couple of ugly-looking plates of food at the homeless on Thanksgiving. Plates made by his wife who couldn’t cook anything pretty to save her life. A wife he complained about every minute of every day. One he had no problem cheating on.

We aren’t friends anymore. I suspect a lot of those stories about her were lies anyway. In any event, I’m not concerned about them. But I am so glad I do not have to hear about the fucking four plates of ugly-looking food that he bravely walks outside and delivers to the first four people he sees on the streets.

The first time he told me he liked to give out Thanksgiving meals to the homeless, I was charmed.

Wasn’t sure why he told me, though. As I don’t really tell anyone when the spirit moves me to do a good deed. Although I did tell him about a good deed I did around that time. You know, to bond over being raised right.

But this one, man. He wrote blog posts about it. Odes to himself. Not a word about the wife slaving away in the kitchen to make that ugly-looking stuffing and dry turkey and canned cranberry. But reams of poetry and social media posts and photos of the ugly meals.

I mean, yeah, it’s noble. Like I said, I was charmed. Mom makes me pretty meals but we only cook enough for the two of us and the cat. And the cat ends up eating off OUR plates, so there are no leftovers. I mean, you can only make a half-pound tray of ham and a half-pound tray of turkey from Honeybaked only go so far.

And most of the homeless in my town are junkies fresh off a heroin high because they probably live in one of those fake recovery houses that only wants their insurance money. But still. Even if I did do something nice for a human (I prefer ducks, squirrels, cats and turtles, and pretty much anything with a beak), have you heard about it here? Nope. And you never will.

In any event, I used to try to say to this person, hey, I like to keep my charitable whims private. (Hint.) Or, gee, that’s really special and something that can make you feel good inside about because it’s your little secret. (HINT.)

Yeah. Whatever.

In any event, today I am thankful for not hearing that annual pat on the back for something he probably hasn’t even done in a couple of years.

Sweet November (and a little sour)

November 23rd, 2017, 6:48 AM by Goddess

One of my favorite movies from my younger years, “Sweet November,” was on HBO last night.

It’s still hard to watch Keanu Reeves. He’s too jerky to be believable as the leading man/love interest. But like Trump, he has a job and I don’t. Which makes me loathe them more.

But it was one of those things I needed to see when I saw it. A dying girl who takes life one month at a time. He was her November. And she walked away in December, leaving him with a broken heart and beautiful memories.

It made me think back to all my Novembers. The best was six years ago when I landed the job that’s now ending. After 11 months of barely getting by with freelance work, I knew this wasn’t a dream job. But it sure saved my life. And I gave till it hurts in return to show my gratitude.

The worst November was when we lost my grandfather. Thanksgiving 2006. It was one thing if old age got him. But the VA killed him and there’s nothing we could do about it.

The second-worst November was the first time I was jobless. 2004, I think. I couldn’t afford the gas to go to Pittsburgh to see my family. Seriously mapped out ways kill myself. My Calico kitty saved me just by refusing to leave my side.

Third-worst November is clearly when assclown tRumpy somehow was elected by the Russians and 74,000 stupid fucking Americans last year. I might even say that was the worst November ever because it fucking ruined the country and not just my year. Lost a lot of friends over it. Losing tax breaks and a whole lot of other shit. Losing my shit still. And that fucker is at his gaudy beach estate down the street so I’ve also lost the ability to drive around town. Fuck him. Die. Just die.

Then there’s this November. Which should hands-down win “worst November ever.” I mean, your landlord tells you to move out … you lose your job because you work for people who can’t manage a company or hire competent help … your car shits the bed in the middle of one of America’s busiest freeways … you pick up a virus you just cannot shake … your cat’s sick and your mom’s sicker … and yet the orange fuckface up the street, no matter how much he taunts North Korea, still can’t get them to drop a nuke and end it all.

But … it’s not the worst.

Apparently my decision to believe in Santa isn’t the funniest thing ever.

  • My landlord said, look. Get your life together. Find your next job. I’ll worry about selling the condo next year. Breathe. Oh and hey, I may know someone who’s hiring.
  • My tow-truck driver saved my life. SAVED. MY. LIFE. My mechanic took quick and excellent care of me. And I have a no-limit credit card so I can deal with the money part later.
  • My company owner said please stay till year-end.
  • And I wouldn’t say I have a job prospect by any means. But I met a really cool dude who knows people. Who knows people who like me. Maybe there’s a love connection, maybe there isn’t. But there is the hope.

Look. Things ain’t perfect. Or anywhere close. But compared to electing Trump, losing my grandfather and sharpening a knife I wasn’t using because I couldn’t afford food, this November is almost sweet here too.

Adventures in awkward

November 21st, 2017, 6:42 AM by Goddess

As if it weren’t bad enough that we are selling assets to my old company and I am working with people I left behind anywhere from 7 to 10 years ago …

Now I get to dazzle other people who are lucky enough to have jobs. Reminds me of when I was interviewing begging for this job. Looking around and trying super-hard to not recognize that I could outshine any of them, if only anyone would give me a chance.

I got some good news yesterday. The owner personally asked me to stay on an extra month. So I am very happy and relieved to have two more paychecks than I planned.

(I mean, I planned on being employed for as long as I wanted to be. So this is just meeting my expectations for 2017. But still. Consider that expectation bar on the ground, or perhaps in a ditch, for next year.)

The owner also asked me to make a Sophie’s Choice and pick just one helper. The answer was easy. But I feel sad anyway.

And not only did my newest boss (the guy who promoted me) get walked out of the building yesterday, but I ran into my immediately previous boss at a cocktail reception.

Jesus Christ. The guy who unfriended me when they put him on the curb. In the flesh.

I spent the evening avoiding him. But he came up to me at the end and we made peace.

Seeing him killed me. The man’s been out of a job four months and counting. FOUR MONTHS. From the same role I am wrapping up. Am I in for another 11-month stretch without a job like the last time?

To be fair, he wasn’t a fit for the role and he knew it. I love to manage. I love the day-to-day. I hate writing because this field has killed my love of it, where he still holds on to that love.

We could have been a good team if we had been in each other’s roles.

Seeing him jobless and hearing that another colleague I liked is also still on the unemployment line killed me

And none of this really felt real till 30 of us were standing around the (mercifully) open bar at a cocktail reception. Some of us clamored for the attention of the basically three people who didn’t have an opening per se but who were humoring someone important and meeting with us orphans. Most of our employees huddled together, watching the rest of us with wide eyes.

I told the HR director at the hosting company (an old friend of mine, although not sure how much that helps me) it was like the Puppy Bowl. I walk well on a leash and I love car rides and going to the park. Pick me, yes?

The good news is, I knew the hosts and it was good to catch up. (And I hope they took my dinner suggestion — they would love me.) I tried to introduce my folks and say a nice thing or two. As if my reference could make a difference.

I couldn’t sleep after that. I mean, the wine (very good pinot noir. Go, Marriott) knocked me out for two hours. But Kadie had me up at 3 a.m. yesterday. so I consider that as appending Sunday night’s fitful slumber.

I dreamed that Mom was healthy and happy and out of pain. We were out doing something fun in the sun and I said, momma, you’re keeping up with me! She said yes, honey, isn’t it wonderful?

I went to pay for something in the dream and realized holy shit, I do not have a job and zero prospects for one.

That’ll get ya out of bed at 1:12 a.m. Just sayin’.

My agreement to stay is also a devil’s deal. I can’t leave if I get a good offer. Or a bad offer. Or any offer, really.

What I’m hoping is that the universe will work the way it always does, and I’ll get 10 offers because I can’t walk out when I’m ready.

The owner says he knows I’m going to get multiple offers. Don’t take the first offer, Goddess, he told me yesterday. Make them compete for you.

I just hope the money comes. Offers have always been fairly easy to come by. Offers that keep you above the poverty level, not so much.

And looking around at people who gave 10, 20, even almost 30 years — thinking this was where they’d gain seniority and maybe retire from — just makes me sad that there are so many of us with the same wish.

Sadder still that this probably isn’t the last layoff we’ll ever endure, if we can even get through this one in the first place.

Well that’s one way to look at it

November 19th, 2017, 9:14 AM by Goddess

I won’t lie — I never felt “safe.” Not even working 75 hours a week, juggling more projects than my five counterparts on the other side of the company who collectively did ONE of my jobs.

It was a shitty review (how do I get 2s out of 5s for dependability and output. HOW?) and the death of a friend (no doubt from overwork) that helped me scale back to 60 hours.

Still, I fretted.

Then the person who would have fired me left, and I got promoted. Go figure. Someone who judged me on reputation alone (obviously by everyone else’s view) would be the one to elevate me. Best decision they ever made, probably.

I still never felt safe, though.

And now that living in my car is all I want for Christmas, because that implies the car is still running, there’s a certain level of relief. They can’t hurt me any more than they already have.

I mean, yes, now the worries are much bigger. But it’s not like staying two extra hours these days will save the whole operation. Too late to make a difference. If it ever did.

And call me crazy, but I’ll find relief anywhere I can get it.

My glass is full … of shit

November 15th, 2017, 6:29 PM by Goddess

That time when you lost your job, your apartment, your mind AND your car.

And when your car died in the middle of 95 and you could literally SEE YOUR OFFICE as the cars whipped around your dead fucking fuel pump ass.

And when you called AAA and said yes this is an emergency and OMG I AM NOT IN A SAFE LOCATION and they still had you wait an hour.

And when you called Florida Highway Patrol to give your coordinates and say please please please send a squad car to hang out with me OMG GONNA DIE HOLY SHIT YOU KNOW HOW FLORIDIANS DRIVE and they say call us when there’s a real accident.

And when you CRAWL OUT OF YOUR SUNROOF and jump onto the truck bed so you don’t get kilt on the fucking highway.

And when YOU FEEL YOUR PERIOD START as you grab your coffee and laptop out of your passenger seat as you kneel on the not-so-strong hood of your car.

Meanwhile you’ve been coughing up a lung for a week and a half. And you busted both your big toes wearing new shoes to Disney two weeks ago and the nails look like janky eggplants.

And when you have to pay over a hundred bucks to get towed to your mechanic BY YOUR HOUSE 30 MILES SOUTH omg why did I leave the house whyyyyyy.

And when your mechanic’s discount still sets you back a grand.

AND YOU STILL DON’T HAVE A JOB OR A PLACE TO LIVE so you pay it because you’re about to be living in that fucking vehicle.

So you’ll have to forgive me that I’m a little focused on the negative right now when I know I should be grateful that I lived … that no one hurt poor Stewie … that I had a terrific AAA driver … that I have an awesome mechanic … and that I didn’t have to look at those sad sack motherfuckers inside that building, although I did end up fighting with the one idiot all goddamned day long because he has never been able to follow instructions and, with two weeks to go, doesn’t apparently plan to.

I tell everyone we can either tell a tale of fear or triumph. This is all setting up to be one of those stories that no one will believe I could (eventually) overcome.

Right now, unfortunately, the only one who is unsure I will overcome all this bullshit is me.