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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

In Which I Update You On December And Forge Ahead

I'm just going to jump right in and Flex My Writing Muscles with a Spontaneous Post. December was a long and arduous month, and just getting through it felt like a Full-Time Job. Wouldn't it be nice if Christmas could be during the summer when zipping around is easier and you're not all bundled up like a first-time mom's new baby in about a hundred layers so that when you try to do anything you're rolling around, or worse yet, waddling? Ugh.

And yes, I know, not all of you are reading this in the grips of The Polar Vortex.

Anyway.

December.

1. Not Merry: On December 1st, Rick was fired. Long story short, the company that recruited him to start up and run a new division decided to all of a sudden not have that division. They gave him no severance. Then they contested his unemployment benefits (of course, it took all month for that to be deemed meritless).

2. Nance Meltdown: Needless to say, this was not something I was ready for. Without getting into all the boring minutiae of my health, let me simply say that it was a concern for both Rick and me. The strain of worry about finances, both immediate and long-range, was enormous, and no amount of reassurance--from anyone--could help me.

3. Living Together: I am used to being home alone (with cats Piper and Marlowe) all day long. There is a certain ebb and flow to my days, and I am a creature of habit. It was extraordinarily difficult to share that time with Rick, who would wake up, come into the living room where I was silently having coffee and reading the paper, and turn on the television (loudly) so that he could watch the morning news. I felt edgy and...watched. As if I had to Have A Plan. "What are you doing today?" he would ask innocently. My first reaction was to feel bristly and almost defensive. It was Completely Insane, and I knew it. I was on a hair trigger; things were Not Normal, and it was all just Fear.

4. Projects: Aside from Finding A Job being Rick's job, he tackled cleaning out his area of the basement, which gave him plenty to do and kept him safe from me. I also continued my own Throw It Out projects, expanding my reach to several of my bureau drawers, a storage closet upstairs, a section of my closet, and next on the list is my upstairs linen cabinet, home to all the bed linens for the house.  And there was also the biggest project of them all...

5. Christmas: This year, we plundered our stash of Secret Money and had a Cash Christmas. Nothing on the credit card to pay off in January.  Rick and I did all the shopping together as well as the wrapping.  I cancelled the Big Family Christmas Eve Open House, traditionally held at my home for the past 30 years. I knew the stress and workload would flatten me. Jared and Sam came over and we had wine and heavy appetizers and relaxed. On Christmas Day, Zydrunas came too, and we hung out, resurrected Wii Bowling, and watched Z destroy a toy. On the 26th, Rick and I took down all the Christmas, put the tree on the curb, and took some deep breaths.

6. Wine Therapy: Although I am not one to recommend drinking as a medication, I will say that our wine cellar played a large role in my December Survival. Without it, I would have spent the entire month brittle, fragile, tightly wound, and probably never smiling even once. Bonus: I am even more adept at food and wine pairings now.

7. Saving The Best For Last: Today, Rick started back to work. In a rare and truly wonderful twist of Fate, he is working at the company where he was previous to the one that fired him. He left there on good terms; his boss knew that Rick had been given an opportunity which, at the time, was one he couldn't pass up. He's been welcomed back with such warmth and good cheer that it's overwhelming.

And now, I am done sharing all that Unpleasantness. Certainly--and I know this for a fact--we are not the only ones to have had this hardship, and we are in much better shape than so very many people who have been--and are still going--through it. I am grateful for our resources and know how fortunate we are.

I do think, however, that it's Important in this Age Of InstaPinFace to put some Real Life out there once in a while. My December wasn't picture perfect with each day bringing its own little Christmas Miracle. Some days were good, some...not so much. Some days I had to Just Let Go and hope things would get Better. As many of you know, that's a tough one for me.

But here I am.  And On We Go.

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43 comments:

  1. What a miserable mess! I am so glad your husband fell on his feet and that the worst stress is over. Must do my own this was the year that was post ... you are some inspiring.
    Be well and have a good year. Virtual hugs to you and husband.

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    1. Mary--It really was a sort of mess, but I'm sure I made it worse with my worry. But honestly, what a way to top off an already shitful year. Sigh.

      Thank you for the hugs. Those I will always gladly take.

      I look forward to your return to your blog.

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  2. Happy New Year, Sweetie...Sorry to hear about your emotional roller coaster ride, while going through this already stressful time of year...The Arctic Vortex doesn't help anything, or anyone at all; the cold hurts every little part of me, lol...I am so tired of the cold, trying to stay positive on sunny days with a cheery 'At least the sun is shining', has gotten old fast...Wishing I was a bear so I could hibernate, and feeling like a bear - grumpy, grouchy, and snarling - from being so isolated at home for so long...I'm planing on going out tomorrow - it's Senior's day at Joann's, 20% off your total purchase and the yarn I need is on sale at about 50% off...Win-Win, right...I'll be donning my Nanoock of the North coat, rated at -35, it makes me tired wearing it - it's so heavy - but, boy does it keep me warm, lol...Keeping you and the family in my prayers...Stay warm and take care...

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    1. Denise--Thank you, and same to you, dearie. And I know exactly what you mean about constantly trying to Be Positive. That's not in my nature, really; I'd rather bitch and get it off my chest first!

      I'm going out as well--dr. appt.--but I need a couple of things at Joann's too. I'll look for a tired crabby lady in a big coat, and you look for a snarky lady in a black hooded coat with fur trim who looks as if she might shiver apart.

      Take care.

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  3. I'm glad Rick was able to find work so fast, that's HUGE! What a weight off both of your shoulders. Stress is always bad but at the holidays it seems magnified when standing next to the joy that seems to be all around us that time of the year.

    I love that upside down snowman! That's how I feel about the Arctic Vortex. Even my teeth are cold!

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    1. Jean--We were both relieved; that's true. December is a tough time to be unemployed: lots of places aren't going to staff up until January; lots of hiring managers and upper-level managers are taking accumulated vacation and aren't available to interview or make decisions; and, Rick's field (construction management) is normally slow this time of year anyway.

      Your point about stress this time of year is right on. I felt very much the sore thumb, so to speak.

      I know Michigan is getting the same treatment as NEO with lake effect and waiting for the darn water to freeze over so we can stop worrying about batteries of snow. This winter is killing us!

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  4. So very glad it worked out in the end, and glad you found ways to cope as you went through the tough times. Happy 2018

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    1. Rose--Thank you. And I certainly hope 2018 IS happy, for us all.

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    2. Rose--I hope that seeing you here means that all is well with your recent foot surgery. Best wishes for a quick and optimal recovery.

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  5. Aw man, and here I was bitching about my own petty crap. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that! A job loss out of nowhere is brutal, and at that time of year to boot. I am so thrilled that Rick was able to regroup so quickly and had someone on his side willing to offer another shot.

    After all of that, if you don't want to answer my email, I totally understand! I think I would want to hide under a blanket for a bit and breathe deeply. Well, not too deeply under the blanket with its limited oxygen supply, but you get my meaning.

    But, I am never too busy to "chat" with friends.

    I know too, that the cold weather for most of the country will not ease up for a bit yet. :(

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    1. Gina--Hey, everyone has her own Crap, and it's all bitchworthy. It's not a contest. And, as I've found with friends, sometimes it's a relief to talk to someone about Their Crap so that you can stop obsessing about your own.

      I'm glad to answer your email and value our correspondence. This is a St Patsy Maintenance Week in addition to my other regular stuff, so don't think I've forgotten about you.

      The cold weather is definitely not just a NEO thing; that's for sure. I know there's a joke in there about Hell Freezing Over and 45*, but I'm too cold and too irritated to try and make it.

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  6. So happy that your Christmas miracle happened in time to start off the new year without the horrid worry about finances. Stay warm, Nance! I don't know how all of you folks up north are surviving. It's cold here, too (20's), but compared to your neck of the woods, more like a spring day. And so far we have not had ice storms, which is what Texas usually gets. Sidebar: I am happy to report that Mr. O. and I are *both* throwing out a ton of stuff these days. It's a long term project because we have *years* of crap that has accumulated (most of which is in the attic). But it's a good start to the new year. And good for the soul. :-)

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    1. Ortizzle--Oh, me too, me too. Worry over money is always what kills me most profoundly. I'd call it Scarlett O'Hara Syndrome, but I'm not scheming and cutthroat enough as a symptom.

      We have not seen even 20 degrees since December 26th. Yesterday, we never saw the teens. Schools remain closed, extending winter break, due to below zero wind chills and temps in the single digits. Friday, our high is 5. This finally breaks on Sunday, when we see the 20s.

      So glad you are shedding some stuff and feeling lighter and less encumbred. It's a process, and it does no good, I've found, to rush it or do it under duress. Hooray for you both! It's so therapeutic.

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  7. I have replaced the usual seasonal greeting with "Doesn't Totally Suck New Year" or "DTS New Year". I'm not even optimistic about the possibilities of that, but it's easier to believe it's possible.

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    1. Our reorganization/simplification plan has involved selling a rental property. That however involved evicting a tenant of 16 years (never raised her rent). She was not able to buy our house, but signed a purchase agreement elsewhere the day after the big Northern Ca fires (nearby BTW) Since then we have been putting lipstick on a pig, dealing with a small amount of mold, electrical issues, paint inside & out, (got break on the weather to do the outside) finding the long hidden, by wall to wall carpeting , hardwood floors.(we had never actually seen them) AND it turned out subterranean termites had long ago munched their way through most of them. The good news, is there house is mostly redwood which termites eschew. So now they are being replaced, (the floors, not the termites) then the furnace died and most likely needs to be replaced, It took 2 weeks to get a call returned from an hvac person to even make an appt to even LOOK at the situation. Longer to do anything. The hardwood floors are mostly in, and will likely have to be altered to fit the new furnace.... Outside of that, and back spasms, ...

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    2. Silliyak--I'm sorry to hear that you've been dealing with such frustrations yourself. It seems we all could use some relief.

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    3. Actually it's like a relief where things make sense, consequences seem natural, ends are in in sight, things that need to be done rather than watch the news...

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    4. Sillyak--You make such a good point in your statement here. And I think that's why so many people are finding solace in Doing Good Works. We can see a positive result of our efforts, it's the right thing to do, and above all, IT MAKES SUCH CLEARLY GOOD SENSE when little else has/does. Great point.

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  8. As they say, when it rains, it pours. I'm glad Rick's situation was quickly resolved - phew!

    #3 really speaks to me. Couples who say they wish they could spend all their time together are either a) weird, or b) lying.

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    1. Bridget--I need My Time. And after having it for 6 years, it was a big disruption and adjustment, especially considering the stress. I'm glad you Get It.

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  9. Wow! What a crapola month for you! So glad Rick was able to get back to his old/former company (similar but different thing happened to me about 5-6 years ago). Onward to a MUCH better 2018. And, I will say I am a firm believer in #6.

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    1. Vera--re #6: Thank goodness we were able to stock up in October.

      And yes, I am very much hoping for a better 2018, or at the very least, JANUARY!

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  10. I’m so sorry that happened to you guys! It’s always shocking when this kind of thing happens. At least my company gave me severance & said they wouldn’t fight my unemployment.

    When I worked from home, Mike and I did very well in the house all day together, but that was probably because I was mostly in my office working during the day. Now that I’m working outside the home again we’re having another kind of problem - he’s Very Chatty & Full of News when I get home, whereas I need to spend some time alone in the corner.

    Yesterday was my first day at the new job. It was 9 degrees here (in FRICKING NORTH CAROLINA!!), and I got a flat tire on my way to work. Called Mike, who came to the rescue, sending me on to work in his car while he stayed behind & changed the tire. My hero. I guess he can chatter at me if he wants to.

    I seriously hope that 2018 is SO MUCH BETTER for all of us.

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    1. Bug--Thank you for your kind sympathy. Shocking is absolutely the word for it. I really was shocked. Rick was sort of suspecting that it was a possibility--them giving up on the division--but thought he'd get some notice so that he could start looking. He was completely blindsided, especially that they did it with such unfounded nastiness.

      I see that South Carolina got 2 inches of snow today, and there is terrible wintry weather coming up the east coast. Even Tallahassee got snow! Good thing you have a lot of hand-crocheted woolies to keep you warm in this hellacious weather. I bet your relatives are blaming you for bringing Ohio down with you.

      So sorry about your First Day Troubles! Tell The Professor that I commend him on his Chivalry. ;-)

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  11. Glad everything seems to be working out. I always tell my kids when leaving any job (regardless of the "level" or length) to leave on good terms; never burn your bridges. You never know who will remember you and your professionalism, and will keep you in mind for the next job.

    I think I've had it with this good weather here in Hudson...although I count my blessings, watching all the news stories about the warming centers in Cleveland opening up and the poor animals being found outside. I think I can't watch anymore; THEN, I think, get the hell out and do some good. So, I'm off to the local animal shelter today where I volunteer.

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    1. Elle Clancy--That is sound and sage advice, and it is the same advice we have given to our sons. It's the same way Rick has left his jobs, and it has paid off more than once.

      This terrible winter has truly tested everyone's fortitude and patience, among other Virtues. That's beyond its toll on everyone's physical and emotional health. After a while, people get belligerent and have to take a stand against it! I'm glad yours was to contribute some Goodness to the world.

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  12. Oh Nance, I haven't followed your blog for long, but I feel like you are a kindred spirit, and I'm so sorry you've had so much stress. But of course you have, because it is the good people who suffer in the strange universe we now live in. My daughter and I are trying to take things day to day, because the future looks so ominous, but day to day there are many moments of love and comfort...even though 4 a.m. is a bit of a challenge.
    I lived in Montana for a long time and learned how to deal with the cold, but that doesn't mean my heart doesn't break for all the creatures left without resources. Well, the world needs us, so take care of yourself and know that many hearts are with you.

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    1. Kate--Welcome back to the Dept. I've been to Montana, and I can't imagine winter there in Big Sky Country, once that wind gets going. Yikes.

      It IS very much a strange and oftentimes ugly world we are living in, for those of us who revered the US Presidency and its history, the rule of law, the civility of public officials, the code of ethics among people, and the idea that there is a value to being kind, polite, mature, honest, and intelligent. And you're right--it's up to the citizenry to carry on with and reinforce these ideals that the so-called leadership have sullied or outright refused.

      Thank you for your renewed support. I hope you've returned for a good while.

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  13. I am so sorry to hear about your December and happy to hear that you survived it all. And glad you had wine! I’ve had some wonderful and absolutely exhausting days, and I’m currently relaxing and self-medicating with a chocolate bar :-)

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    1. Mikey--Oh, thank you. Yes, I'm still here, fighting my way back up. Why can't Life always be wonderful and happy and Just The Way I Like It? It all seems terribly unfair.

      I'm a big fan of chocolate myself, but the prices for it are rising exponentially. Even the humble Hershey bar (my favourite grocery chocolate) just went up another 50 cents for the big bar.

      I see where In-n-Out just added hot chocolate to their menu, and it's Ghirardelli, which ain't too shabby!

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  14. I'm delighted that Rick wound up on his feet after the disgraceful and ungrateful actions of his company. My husband worked for a company for about 7 years once and he had a company car. The day they let him go they said if the car was not back by 5 P.M. they would report it stolen.As if, after all his loyalty and hard work for them, he would try to keep a car that was not his. That company must be a branch of Rick's old employer..

    I know exactly how you felt the first day Rick was home during the day. I couldn't think straight about what I wanted or needed to do with my daily routine (Like watching Judge Judy) all changed because Roy was home all day. I told him that I had married him for better or for worst, but NOT FOR LUNCH.

    But now it sounds as if your life is back on track with Rick Working again and the house safely in the hands of you, Marlowe, and Piper. Here's hoping for the very best for you in 2018 and beyond.

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    1. Nancy--I'm glad we've seen the end of that place. They even called Rick and asked him for a "quick update on the jobs that were still in process", etc. He reminded them that he no longer worked for them and that they should have thought of that before they dismissed him with no notice. It was a small satisfaction, but it was at least something.

      It's funny that you mention Judge Judy: Rick loves that show, and I rarely would watch it unless I needed to sit down for whatever reason. Sometimes I would put it on to get a jump on some knitting. But he became very fond of all the courtroom shows like People's Court, Hot Bench, and Judge Judy!

      Thank you for your kind support. It's so very much appreciated, believe me. And I am very happily back in the security of my Old Routine at home.

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    2. Sadly, I’m a Karma fan. With time to think, I would have asked the former employer to make an offer as to how much the update would be worth to them.

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    3. Sillyak--Oh, what a great idea. Too late!

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  15. I love Judge Judy but if I had a real grievance to settle I wouldn't allow her near my case. She is so mean and will never consider any extenuating circumstances..I would rather have it settled by Judge Marilyn Milion.Ask Rick what he thinks...

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    1. Nancy--We concur. We think Judge Judy often is in conflict with the actual Law many times. Judge Milian is a better judge but not as entertaining (and Sam says she is easier on the eyes when he stops in for lunch every day).

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  16. Yowsers, Nance. You earned several adulting merit badges last month - kudos for setting boundaries and getting through a challenging time.

    But #3? Ooh, I feel you. I LOVE YOU WHY ARE YOU HERE?

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    1. Becky Brown--Welcome to the Dept.! Thanks for the kudos, and I will take them.

      It's silly that there is so much truth to that old cliche of being home with the husband, but there it is. As to why I'm here, well, I work at answering that question every single day with varying success.

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  17. I am so happy that your husband has a new job quickly! A little wine is a good thing!

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    1. kathy b--Hi, and welcome to the Dept.! Thanks for the encouraging words.

      I'd love to stop in at your blog, but I can't seem to find out how. If there's a Secret Code, and you'd like me to visit, please email me at the address in my sidebar with any Instructions. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  18. What a mess. I'm so incredibly sorry that this happened, and at such a stressful season, when all we want is for it to be great, and life gets in the way. What I wish, which cannot happen, is for you and Rick to know ahead of time that it would only be a month. If you could have known that, you could have enjoyed the month off, instead of the stress and pain that reality gives us. Every time I've been out in f work, or Ted is out of work, we spend the entire time stressed out and worrying about money and driving each other crazy. I'm so sorry you had to go through it, and I hope now that the stress is coming down, your health issues will get better too.

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    1. My stupid keyboard died, so now I have to cope with the iPad touchpad, which I will use to explain my typos. Also why my blog is on hiatus. I was going to buy a new one, but my brother said he would send me one he has laying around. (or is it lying around? I'm an idiot.)

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    2. J@jj--Lying around. And you are, I hope you know, far from an Idiot.

      I detest typing on an iPad. It is terrible. I even went so far as to buy a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad so that when I travel, I can just take my iPad rather than my laptop, but still type like a Real Person. It is better, but not ideal.

      Thank you for your very kind sympathy, and I completely understand exactly what you mean. It was (and always is for me) The Great Unknown that completely destroys me. You've been through the same situation, and you get it all too well. And add to it the complete unfairness and outrage of it all, and that puts us right over the edge.

      I'm happy to say that things are a zillion times better, and I'm feeling lots more Nance-like. What a relief.

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