January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
Driving to work this morning, I heard the familiar sound of anxiety and disappointment. If you are unfamiliar with this sound, it sounds just like bare brake pads grinding when coming to a stop, and you are so broke that the thought of anything going wrong with your car makes you want to vomit, because you know how expensive anything car related is. Were I not crippled by anxiety and dread, I would have found the energy to pull the car over and walk to work, but instead my “go forward” plan is to drive the car until my brake pads are so non-existent that either my car fails to stop, or stopping creates sparks causing my car to catch on fire. On the bad side, that means my car becomes a ball of flames, on the good side however, I get to walk away slowly from my burning car as it explodes, like Will Smith gets to do in all his movies. Though it will be a quick moment, I’m pretty sure it will be an amazing one.
This past weekend I saw “True Grit”, which is a great movie. Spoiler alert! There is a part in the movie when a horse that Jeff Bridges is riding is so tired that he stabs the horse to keep it running (this was the part of the movie where I screamed and hid in my coat while Paul whispered to me over and over that it was just a movie). And yes, it is just a movie, but did that horse know it was acting? I think not, and I was traumatized. Sometimes I think that maybe life would be easier if we could all ride horses instead of cars. So many stupid things seem to always go wrong with cars. Did you know that you had to monitor the air in your tires on a regular basis!? I didn’t. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I was told my car isn’t a low-rider and shouldn’t be riding so close to the ground on 5lbs of tire pressure. Cars are confusing and high-maintenance and, as everyone knows, all high-maintenance things aren’t worth the hassle, unless of course they are good in bed (inappropriate sex joke, nailed it!). It wasn’t but a few months ago that my car needed a bunch of new radiator hoses ($700 worth to be exact) and it wasn’t but 6 months ago that I needed 2 new tires. Now, I again need 2 new tires and new brake pads! Are you kidding me!? Car companies should have figured out how to make cars indestructible by now.
Apparently the financial world doesn’t care that Paul lost his job, that we just got married, or that I am already in debt….nope, instead it keeps messing up my plans to become a millionaire. Hell, I can’t even manage to be a hundred-are and often have to wait until a windfall of unexpected money to be able to bail my laundry out of dry-cleaning jail. But I have a new plan, I am going to get rid of my car, be it through a glorious blaze of exploding flames or through something less exciting like Auto Trader, and I will take my shillings and buy the finest horse that $5.99 can buy. My horse will live in our 2 car garage (mathematically speaking, I believe 2-car garage is the modern day version of a one-horse stable) and my horse, who shall be called Ned, will be my primary mode of transportation. I assume we will be able to take the carpool lane, qualifying somehow under the 2 persons rule or the motorcycle rule and when I am at work, Ned will work part-time at the daycare facility giving small children rides in a circle. On rainy days, which are limited since I live in California, I will carpool to work with friends and Ned will take the day off to watch People’s Court and Price is Right with Jack and Charlie. When Ned has a sore foot I will take care of it until he heals, I don’t anticipate his tire pressure will ever get low or that he will need new radiator hoses and I certainly don’t expect that he will need annual registration stickers or expensive gas. So, that’s that. Once my car explodes, I am going to walk away from it in slow motion straight into the loving embrace of Ned.
June 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
The first thing I did when I found out Paul lost his job was Googled, “what to do when your fiance loses his job”. I figured Google can always answer the most obscure of my questions, it was sure to have an answer for me in this situation. All I found were stories about how wives were pissed that their husbands lost their jobs and spent the day playing “World of Warcraft” instead of emptying the dishwasher. So, like the one time I looked to Google to tell me why the nail on my third toe fell off, Google was useless and it’s answers irrelevant. Because Paul doesn’t play World of Warcraft and I haven’t walked barefoot in sewage.
Even before Paul lost his job, I knew the basics of how not to react in such a situation. This included: crying, falling to my knees and shouting, “why God, why!!?” as loud as I could while shaking my fists at the sky, asking what he did to deserve it, and declaring to him in a community theatre voice, “the role of bacon winner, will now be starring me!” To make our situation even more complicated, I struggled with how to be supportive when he’s been laid off three months before a wedding we’ve only paid 1/10th of.
After Google failed to answer my question, I looked to another trusted source…magazines. I should have been suspicious of magazines before expecting them to solve my problem. SELF has promised me I would lose 5 lbs in a week and has failed to do so thus far. US Magazine tries to convince me that “stars are just like me!” because they shop at the grocery store and play with their kids on the swings. But they lie, because I’ve seen no stars with a shopping cart filled with mochi ice cream, carrot cake and apple pie. So, stars are not just like me, unless stars worry about how they are going to pay rent or rely on their spouses unemployment check to buy groceries. So, magazines are liars and Google is useless.
One magazine article said, “job-loss is a time to reconsider your career path-to get back to doing what you love or what you were meant to do”. It went on to say one should think about what you wanted to be around 7-10 years old because that is when you weren’t consumed by adult thoughts of doubt, money worries and status, and that is your true calling.
This may work for some people, but all that tells me is I’m meant to be a professional Cadbury Egg eater or a ballerina, both of which are in direct conflict with one another. I once dated a guy who dated a professional ballerina before me, this was disheartening for both of us. He made his disdain for my birthing hips and ice cream thighs clear. I’m not ballerina material and I certainly cannot put away Cadbury Eggs like I use to…for a myriad or reasons. So, this article was pointless for me and inapplicable to Paul, since he cannot remember ever forming thoughts of what he wanted to be beyond James Bond.
I need an article that has the magic remedy and necessary steps to take that will help Paul find a job in 2 months or less. The exact time needed for us to still be able to financially pull off the wedding with little damage done to our honeymoon budget. So, I’ve had to learn to navigate this time on my own, without the help of the internet. Thanks a lot Al Gore, your invention is useless to me.
What I ‘ve learned is it comes down to trying to make things feel as normal as possible. In a way, we are playing house. I leave for work everyday and start his cup of coffee while he struggles to wake up, Paul hated mornings even when he was gainfully employed. I still make lunch for him everyday, even if he is just going to sit and eat it on the couch while he watches Judge Judy. And when I get home I resist the urge to grill him on how many resumes he sent out, what exactly he did to pass his time at Starbucks and question him about why no one is calling yet to schedule interviews. He may be unemployed, but he is still an adult, so I should try to be an adult myself and not pepper him with a counter-productive line of questioning.
For men, job loss is emotional. It’s a swift kick in the nuts to numb them just enough before completely castrating them. Men identify with their careers, they define themselves by what they do, so it makes sense that when they are laid off, they’re lost. Luckily, I have found this state doesn’t last forever. At first, it was traumatizing to see him so defeated. And, it was a little annoying that he assumed he would play the role of, “incessant worrier and pessimist” without even checking with me first, to see if it was okay that I had to give up a role which I played so expertly. But after 2 weeks the clouds cleared and he began acting like himself again. His determination to make this into a positive experience and a good process is growing stronger with each day. Luckily the money we saved for the wedding is being redirected to more important things, like making ends meet while we are in this situation. A honeymoon after the wedding would be nice, but not so much worth the trade off for our current residence.
The hardest part about job loss for someone you love is to trust the process. To have faith that everything will work out and be okay. To hold onto the idea that I love him because he is hard-working and determined and trust that he will fight this obstacle with as much determination. And on other days, when he is worried or sad or it is just too much…it’s okay if he plays video games for an hour or two, after all what fun is being unemployed if you can’t enjoy it while it lasts?
December 9, 2009 § Leave a comment
We’ve had a good friendship. I say “good” because there have been a few transgressions over the course of our friendship that has given me pause. I thought I should write this letter to get a few things off my chest so we can move on and go our separate ways. It is time.
Citibank you came into my life years ago when I was still a teenager. I moved out of the house and you were with me. You were there to buy me things to furnish my new apartment, to buy groceries when I was short on cash. Citibank you were even there to lend me money for pizza when it was my turn to buy for my roommates. You made me feel rich Citibank…you made me feel like no matter what, I was taken care of.
And Citibank let me set the record straight and remind you that I never abused you. I never used you to buy shoes, expensive purses or extravagant items. I was realistic and frugal in our relationship and only leaned on you to make ends meet or in emergencies. I can’t tell you how many times you rescued me from car troubles, Jack’s surgery and every once in a while you were there to help me buy Christmas presents for friends and family.
Don’t get me wrong, we had some good times. Remember that one time we went to the bar together and I left you there! Man, I was so scared that someone else would have taken you home and I rushed back the next morning to go and pick you up. Luckily you were still there waiting for me. If I hadn’t said so before I am really sorry I left without you, that was definitely not something a friend should do to a friend. On a good note though I didn’t leave you completely alone…you did have my driver’s license with you for company.
The thing is Citibank we did have fun but as I grow older I realize, maybe our friendship isn’t the best thing for me. It seems like you give to me, which is nice, but you ask for so much more in return. Remember the pizza you let me borrow money for? Well, as it turns out in an odd way I am still paying for it! I know it sounds crazy Citibank, it did to me too, but I really am still paying for that pizza I bought 10 years ago! That’s because every dollar you let me borrow, you asked for like $3 in return!
That made me start thinking, what kind of friend does that? A friend wouldn’t ask for 3 times more in return for every nice thing they did for someone. That is, at least the kind of friend I try to be.
I realize I have done my part in this friendship and I have to take ownership but Citibank I don’t want to be your friend anymore. From this day forward you are no longer invited to go to dinner with me, I will not be interested in going to the mall with you…I don’t even want you around this Christmas! And don’t even try to lure me back by promising to pick up the tab…because Citibank every time you have offered I end up paying for it anyhow.
I am onto you Citibank. Every time I have tried to sever our friendship you promise you will ask for less in return. You tell me that instead of asking for 15% you will only ask for 12%…some people never change! The thing is you are a liar. You tell me you won’t ask for a lot in return and then I take you somewhere- you lend me money you turn around and ask for 30%. It’s just not fair Citibank, I don’t want people like you in my life anymore.
I realize I owe you a lot Citibank. I will repay you over time, because that is the kind of friend I am. But do your best to understand that I have more important friends in my life-like rent, groceries and the gas company who I will choose to hang out with and spend money on WAY before I spend money on you. Because unlike you, they bring something of value to my life and I am thankful to them for that.
Oh and one more thing, if you call me don’t be surprised if it goes straight to voicemail.