Tough Decisions

I’ve been doing some thinking, I’ve actually been thinking about it for a long time, and I think it’s time to try to go on disability. I’ve thought about it on and off for a few years and every time I put it off thinking I’m not really that bad, and then I get worse. Part of the reason I lost my job earlier this year was because I sick (long story and I signed paperwork saying I wouldn’t talk about it). I’m pretty sure the reason I’m having trouble finding a new job is because I go into interviews and by the time I’m in there for a few minutes I start forgetting things, lose my train of thought, and generally start blabbering like an idiot.

But it’s not just about work. Most days it’s all I can do to wash a few dishes, make dinner for the kids, read a few emails and get up and down the stairs once a day –  forget about showers, laundry, cleaning, exercise or the other 101 things I should do. The things a “normal” person does in a day. Some days I don’t even get to the dishes, dinner and emails.

Here I am fighting to find a full-time job and I can’t even handle being up and about for a full day. The only thing I’m sure I can do full-time right now is feel like hell, so maybe it is time to look at all options. Part of me knows it’s a logical, practical and totally reasonable decision. Then why do I feel so bad about it?

I know that there are people on disability (both through employers and through the government) who…embellish the truth, shall we say. People who are perhaps a little more abled than claim. I just don’t understand. I guess I can understand the allure of having no work responsibilities on a daily basis, but I don’t understand how you do it without feeling awful about it. I have put off even pulling up the webpage for months because I felt guilty even thinking about it. I’ve pretty much been working at least part-time since I was 19 – not just because I needed to, but because I wanted to.

I spent the better part of the last 10 years being the either the main or sole source of income for my family. I’ve worked really hard. It got to a point where all I could do was work, I didn’t have the strength or energy for anything else. It’s been ingrained in me from childhood that you work as hard as you can until your last breath. I can’t help but wonder if I’m giving up.

Am I the only one who feels like this? Has anyone else gone through this kind of thing? Am I just loosing my mind?

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Ring Around the Blue Collar

gautier steel mill

gautier steel mill (Photo credit: macwagen)

I come from a long line of steel mill workers, assemblers, miners and other manners of true blue collars. Generation after generation working their way through the ranks at the unions. A few became “White Hats” (supervisors) along the way. These were men and women who worked hard their whole lives. Most of them didn’t finish high school — they dropped out help support their families. They were and are tough. I cannot be prouder to continue their legacy.

Labor Day has become about the end of summer. About parties, and pools and picnics. It used to be a little more about the men and women whose blood and sweat literary built the United States. The people who died in dangerous jobs to create a better world. To remember and honor those who fought for safer work environments and to establish the laws we take for granted today.

This Labor Day I want to thank the people out there doing the tough jobs I couldn’t do. Thank you to the people fighting for workplace safety and equality and making sure the laws are followed. Thank you to anyone whoever put in a hard days work on the production line, or down in the pit, and thought that what you did didn’t matter. . .

You see, it did matter. Because if it weren’t for my mom and dad, and my aunts and uncles, and my grandmothers grandfathers, and my great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers who worked those same lines I wouldn’t have been able to go to college. I wouldn’t have been able to learn video production or to tell stories the way I do.

Thank you to everyone who helped build the United States of America figuratively and literally.

United States of America

United States of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He Got the Job, But We’re All in it Together

My husband got the official call last night, he’s got the job! No idea on start date yet, but isn’t that amazing? Since neither of has worked since February it’s freaking spectacular! He hasn’t worked full-time in 9.5 years (he’s mostly been a stay-at-home dad) so it’s a little scary and nerve-wracking for all of us too.

But that’s ok. We keep telling the kids, and have since I lost my job, it’s alright to be worried, or scared, or angry. Mommy and Daddy are sometimes too. But as long as we stick together and lean on each other we’ll be ok. If we learned nothing else by leaving our hometown and moving to a different state it’s that we can stand on our own and depend on ourselves to get out of whatever mess we get into. Some sort of help may arrive eventually, maybe, more often than not it’s too little too late. But the four of us can get through anything as long as we talk things out, are as honest as possible and stay together.

And I have a feeling the changes aren’t over yet. The job is over an hour, and over a mountain, from where we just moved. Which isn’t horrible in August. But come a Pennsylvania winter in our ONLY car, a small engine Ford Focus, it gets more…complicated. I personally was in a car that spun out and ended up in a ditch at the very top of that mountain in a snowstorm late one Christmas Eve. It gets ugly fast up there.

Of course there’s more than one way over, or around any mountain. Or problem. There are short-term and long-term solutions. Like buying a second car, if we can find one we can afford. Or moving back to our hometown which, strangely enough, just so happens to be where his new job is located. Or any number of other possibilities yet to be thought up and explored.

Both are valid ideas with differing degrees of do-ability under the current circumstances. It’s going to mean taking some time as a family and talking. Figuring out together what’s best for all of us, we’re all in this together.

So About Starting Over…

A few days after my last post I lost my job. The good paying, decent health insurance coverage, sole-support of my family of four job. Yes, it was also the job I hated, the job that was taking a huge toll on my physical and mental health and generally making my life a living hell, but it was a JOB! I have a family to support and complicated health issues to try to manage and it becomes very difficult to do that when you suddenly have no means to do that.

All of my plans on taking time to think about what I wanted to be and where I wanted to be were scattered into the wind while my family have gone into survival mode.

IMG_0396Not that we haven’t tried to look at this as an opportunity for us. When I told the kids I lost my job that this was our chance to do anything. Where did we want to live? At first they picked London. But given we don’t know anyone there, had no job opportunities there or means to get there to look for job, they agreed that might not be the best idea. Instead we decided to move back to western Pennsylvania where my husband and I grew up and most of our family still lives.

I’ve been doing some freelance work, combined with the severance package we made it through seven months, longer than we thought we would. My husband’s gotten a part-time job working retail and is on the verge of getting a full-time job, which is great. But the benefits won’t start for 90 days, and we’re can’t keep paying for COBRA (well maybe we could but that would be pretty much his whole check). My next freelance project that I was told to clear the end of July, all of August and some of September for at a full-time level of effort has suddenly been put on hold, so I now I don’t have work (or money) coming in.

But, if there is one thing I know, it’s that things tend to work out the way they are meant to. Whether I like the way they turn out or not. I’m trying not to worry, because we all know that worry only makes health problems worse.

For now, the kids are registered in school. The oldest has started her Freshman year of marching band and having a blast. The youngest is looking forward to starting a new school far away from a bully problem we couldn’t get rid of back in Virginia.

As for the blog, I think I’m back on track. If for no other reason than giving me a place to put some thoughts….and things…

So stay tuned. You should be hearing a lot more from me!