I had a short workweek- just 15 hours over 3 days. And I’m thinking it’s good to be starting slowly! I’m working for a very small firm. There are currently three of us in the office. And I’m the only one on the 2nd floor. I was wishing for peace and quiet but you know what they say about being careful what you wish for! I have a big office with a desk, file cabinet and bookshelf. And a fireplace. It’s very nice, but very empty and devoid of personality at present. I think I will buy a plant this weekend.
My co-worker and boss (who is at least 20 years my junior) are nice. It was a fairly slow week, with most of my time spent doing paperwork, reading about current projects, and reviewing RFPs (requests for proposals) to see if any available work matched our skills and services. Not much billable time – time spent that could be billed to a client – which is to be expected at this point but makes me nervous regardless. I was laid off because there wasn’t enough billable work at my old firm. Returning to work after such a long hiatus is strange – I’m eager to get back into the working world but at the same time it feels very constraining and oddly, a bit boring! I expect that will change over time, especially as I get involved in actual projects – or better yet bring in new work to manage.
I will get my first paycheck July 28th, but my unemployment will likely end as soon as the folks in that department receive the form I sent in today. I’m making less money now than at my last job – about two-thirds of my old salary – but still, working 15 hours earns me as much as I received in unemployment benefits each week! The difference is that once taxes and other deductions are taken out my net pay will be less than the unemployment check. As you know that is the only benefit we’ve signed up for aside from Medi-Cal for my children. I will have to check and see what happens to the Medi-Cal coverage – since I’ll have even less money I think we will still be covered.
The good news is I have a small amount of money from friends and – we sold our old trailer! We have to pay double rent and electric for a week but we’ll still have a little left over to register the new trailer and pay for gas and other incidentals (we are pretty stocked up on food right now). Since you’ve seen the new place I thought I’d show you (now that we’ve moved out and at least minimally cleaned) where we spent the past two years – one adult, 4 children, 2 dogs and one cat!
My oldest slept on the dinette, making it into a bed each evening and a table each morning, my middle daughter slept on the sofa, which was seldom in sofa position (photo shows it with the pop-out in but it only extended partway), my son slept on the floor in front of the door (we also had a bookshelf against the back of the dinette), and my youngest daughter and I slept on a foam mattress on a platform behind the camera. There wasn’t a lot of space.
We are very happy to be in a bigger trailer, although there is a lot still to be done and I’ll admit I was somewhat torn while sitting at my desk this week, thinking about the painting, and serious carpentry necessary to make any of the storage places useable. The pantry is one big hole, the closet in the bathroom – which should be spacious storage is useless until a new floor is put in and shelves built in one side with the other left open for the laundry hamper. My very narrow bedroom closet is in similar shape with a dangling hanging rod. So I was sitting at my desk working but being teased by thoughts of all that was to be done at home! Right now we have piles of clothes, books, and other possessions all over my nice new floor and it is an irritant (not to mention it made it even harder to find something to wear each day). Speaking of which it turns out the office is very casual so my kakhis are acceptable.
So in the next weeks as I get acclimated to work – and the children get used to seeing less of me and having to do more for themselves (I think they’ve gotten spoiled in at least that way in the past two years) – I’ll be filling my spare time trying to get us organized and settled at home. I will need to hire a competent handy-person to do the carpentry as I was greeted by my daughter this afternoon with the news that the shelf I’d tried to put in the pantry had given way under the weight of the canned food! The walls are very thin plywood. I’m thinking about screwing some hooks in and just hanging bags of various kinds of food in the meantime!
While I am rejoicing to be back in the working world again, the unemployment and jobs numbers this week are not good and I have not forgotten the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are jobless and struggling. We are blessed by our good fortune, by the support of our family, friends and blog readers, and by the kindness of our neighbors. Even though we live in circumstances many people consider unenviable (or even as one commenter once said, dismal) we aren’t disheartened. In fact, these days we’re pretty rejuvenated! But at the same time I, at least, am very aware of just how close we still are to the edge of the slippery slope, resulting in joy tinged with butterflies in the pit of my stomach. I feel the weight of knowing that I have to make it at this job, I have to succeed.