Which is what I feel I should be yelling, considering how I have neglected my poor blog of late. I also apologize for neglecting your blogs ... I've missed your humour, the insight into your lives,the things I've learnt from you all, the inspirations I've found, the friendship that most of you give, just to name a few.
I think for the last 17 months or so, I've been existing ...sort of swimming upstream through a river of liquid cement, and being pushed under by a flotsam of shipwrecked dreams, sinking hope and boatloads of stress.
What follows now is a rant. I really don't know how long it will be ..I'm just going to let it flow. Hopefully it will give me a little clarity and release.
Right now, apart from mind numbing fear, the emotion I feel most of, is anger. I am so angry ! There are a number of descriptive words that I could use, to describe that anger, but I'll be polite and just leave it as 'so angry'.
As many of you may already know, My husband was laid off, from his job, 17 months ago. It was on 12/1/2008, to be exact. I think when I die, like Mary Tudor and Calais, that date will be found engraved on my heart.
Since then, he's put in many applications, sent out resumes, knocked on doors. He's either heard nothing back (they'd be the majority) or he's received polite letters of what is basically a refusal, couched in various terms. Looking at the stack of job applications, resumes and refusal letters, I could save a bit on paint for my living room...I'll just paper them with the stack, instead !
To say it's been difficult, is probably somewhat of an understatement. It's also been an education, in a way ...I've learnt inventive ways to stretch a pound of meat ... and I'm getting to be an expert at pleading my case to the utilities company, phone company and so on. I've been my husband's cheerleader through all this ...finding ways to pump up his flagging self esteem, encouraging him, trying to be the one steady thing he can cling to in the storm. Wonder if I can add those new found skills to my resume??
A miracle happened, a couple of weeks ago. After months of being rejected, he found a job !! It's a good job, one I think that he will enjoy doing.
However, that's when the pot of anger, that had been simmering, came to a full boil. That anger is well peppered with frustration and fear and outright panic.
The job is out of state. In Southern California, to be exact. He's going to be working for an army civilian contractor, doing security work at Fort Irwin, just out of Barstow, CA. It's fitting in a way. He started his working life off in the military, as a Marine. He will be hopefully ending it, back in the military, albeit as a civilian. When he left the Marines, he was a Sergeant in charge of a security platoon. This job also involves security for the military. Lot's of coincidences :-)
The decision to take the job was pretty much a no brainer. After being out of work for so long, plus jobs being hard to find here and unemployment benefits close to running out, there really was not much choice but to take a deep breath and say yes.
That's when the fun really started. Being unemployed for so long, our savings are exhausted. That left the problem about how we were going to find the money, get him down there and pay for a place to stay, plus feed him and put the gas in the car to get him back and forth between Barstow and Ft Irwin.
Just when I thought that things could not get worse, his unemployment checks stopped. The emergency extensions bill ran out on May 31st and so far, the Senate has failed to pass the bill that would extend those emergency benefits to the millions of Americans that are employed through no fault of their own. That situation has sent the mercury on my anger meter, right through the roof. More on that later.
One would have thought, that when someone who has been on long term unemployment, as a result of a lay off, that was directly due to the current economic climate ... that when they finally found a job, there would be assistance to ensure that they were able to take it, if there was financial hardship.
Think again ... If you are single, pregnant and already have a parcel of kids .. there is help. If you are a drug addict, etc .. the raft of help to get you back on your feet is a true miracle. If you're a minority person ..open arms on the help front. If he was going back to school ... grants,benefits and low cost loans are almost limitless. If we'd been hit by a natural disaster and a state of emergency was called ...help pours forth. And so on. Wonder if I could wave a magic wand and turn him into a unemployed, recovering drug addict, pregnant with 6 kids, minority person who was going back to school and had just had their house flattened by a tornado ?? Nahhhh..he's still a 57 yr old,sober, white male, no sign of six kids and neither of us are pregnant and NV doesn't get tornadoes....
I've called various government departments and been told that they know of no programs to help the unemployed get back on their feet. I've also been told that in our case, there probably would be no help as 'We don't extend assistance to those that make a personal choice to relocate.'
HUH??? Choose to relocate??? I don't think so. We are relocating, but it's not much of a choice !! We live in the state, Nevada, that now has the country's highest unemployment rate, currently standing at 14% !! For every one job, even the lowest paying, there are 100's of applicants. While my husband has a great resume and is well qualified in his line of work, he is 57 and he is long term unemployed. While it hard to prove age discrimination, it's obvious that it's happening. There is also the disturbing trend, of employers either stating in ads that only those with a current job need apply, or telling employment agencies that they will not consider the unemployed.
It's either relocate or go completely under water. Not really much of a choice...
Then there is the personal cost of relocating. We'll be apart for a year as I will be staying here in Reno. He has a year's probationary period with this job, and we don't want to sell our home here, until we know his job is secure there. We will also be leaving our friends here, who have been my support system through all this (I truly love and appreciate you guys)and the life we have built for ourselves here. It's not an easy thing to do, or something we would have chosen to do in this way.
We have been struggling to get the money together to get him to the job. Currently, I have some of our possessions up for sale on Ebay..so far I've made enough for gas to get him down there and getting him back and forth to Ft Irwin, supposing that he can find somewhere to stay in Barstow or close by. I'm still working on getting enough to give him a place to stay and enough to eat, until his first pay check at the end of July. I've had a some help from friends, which I appreciate more than words can say. It's a situation that I never though we would find our self in ..sadly we are not alone, there are millions of other unemployed Americans that are treading the same rocky path.
In many ways, this is a disaster .. not a natural disaster, but an economic disaster. If millions of Americans were put out of work, lost their homes, could not feed themselves or their families, by a flood, wildfire, earthquake, or some other natural disaster, then a state of emergency would be issued and help would be forthcoming from all sorts of sources.
This is a disaster, an economic disaster. The people who are caught up in it, are there because of no fault of their own. They had no control over it. I also don't think that many ordinary Americans have really caught up with what the repercussions could be, if something is not done soon. If you take into account that there is something like 1.2 million Americans, whose emergency employment benefits have now come to a shuddering halt, you can then add in maybe another 1.5 million Americans who are also directly affected ...in the shape of spouses, children and other dependants. That makes for a lot of angry people and the numbers are growing..
All that flows on .... as people on unemployment do pay taxes, buy food, clothing, pay rent and mortgages, pay utilities, etc. This in turn keeps businesses going and people in jobs.
How can this not be a disaster??? Put yourselves in my shoes and the shoes of others in my situation...and I can tell you right now ...this is a huge disaster.
I'm currently listening to the Senate on TV. It's the first time I've ever done that. It's been an eyeopener. Many of the Senators have absolutely no empathy or clue, as to the effect that their inaction is having on people like me. I've gotten so angry at times, that I've had to walk out of the room...it was either that or put a fist through the TV..
Because of their inaction .. this next month or so, is going to be really scary, especially for me. In all probability, because of the loss of those last weeks of benefits, I'm going to have my power, phone, etc cut off in a couple of weeks. The though of being here, on my own, without the security of power and phone, is pretty frightening. Not to mention the fact that it's currently in the 90's here, so there will be no means of cooling the home. Any money that I can manage to scrape up has got to go to ensuring that my husband gets to this job, that is the one thing , the one hope, that's keeping me sane right now..
As to my situation... well there is always candles and the camp stove !!
I just can't believe that in a country like America, that this is happening to hard working people like us and others like us.
My husband is a Veteran, someone who as a not quite 18 yr old, chose to voluntarily sign up with the Marines, during a time when America was at war. He knew that on all probability he would be sent to Vietnam. However, he had pride in his country and was prepared to give his life for the protection of his country and the freedoms that so many of his fellow American enjoyed and are still enjoying, thanks to men and women like my husband. He is one of America's Heroes.
How dare the Senate let down American Heroes like my husband, other unemployed Vets and unemployed Americans in general. How dare they use them as pawns in their political game. How dare America turn it's back on people like my husband ..how dare they !
I just want you to know, though, that my anger is not being directed at my readers... I know that you are all good, caring people. :-)
But nevertheless, I am angry, frustrated and as I said, a couple of times, scared.
All I can do now is pray ... pray that this is going to turn out okay ... pray that help will come from somewhere... pray that we will come out of this storm somewhat intact and with our boat still afloat, if somewhat leaky.
There is so much more I want to say, but I need to keep this rant reasonable short..
Please include me in your prayers, I'd really appreciate that..plus thanks for listening ..oops ..reading!!
I guess one thing in all this, and the one thing that has kept me going ..is that I still have my sense of humour. It's kind of battered, but it's still there...
Have a Happy 4th !!
Oh, and if anyone has any contacts in the Barstow area and knows of a really cheap place to stay ..like $300 or so a month, please let me know !!!
3 hours ago