Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Unemployment Diary Day Four: Chatterbrain

My severance money was supposed to be deposited in our account overnight and it wasn't. I tried to tell myself that it was just some simple snafu, nothing to get all in a tizzy about, but holy cats, the voices in my head know just when to unleash the madness. I fell asleep four times last night to Margaret Rutherford and her many precious chins playing Miss Jane Marple in a swinging 1964 version of Agatha Christie's Murder Ahoy.

And I still don't know who did it. Heck, I still don't know who was murdered. Toss, turn, toss, turn. Worry and fret.

I got up at 1:20 a.m. and checked our account online. No money yet. Do I need this added stress? I asked myself. No I did not, I answered, which is worrisome enough, in and of itself.

Will I survive this latest bump on the road of life? Of course I will, but it certainly was making me twitchy.

MathMan got up to go do something private I shouldn't write here (Okay, he peed.) It was 4:00 a.m. I checked the account again. My last paycheck was in, thank goodness, but not the severance. I told myself to calm down, it had to be some simple snafu. Simple snafu, simple snafu. I liked the sound of it as it echoed around in my brainpan. It was oddly calming. Perhaps it was the alliteration. Simple snafu....

I finally fell asleep and stayed asleep until my alarm shoved me into MathMan at 5:15 - that's a.m., not p.m.

I checked the bank account. My last paycheck was still there, but no severance. I sent an email to the person I knew who would either know what was happening with it and who might be able to fix things. I tried to remain calm. Money issues can certainly make a person cranky.

I took a Prilosec.

It's not just that I had some bills very screamingly due - electric, water, but we were running low on groceries. Gin, vodka, olives, tonic, red wine (it's winter, you know?), but what really drew me up short was the fact that now I also had to worry that I'm turning into my father who lives by the credo "expect nothing, you'll never be disappointed." Except I was giving the pessimist knob just one more twist to the right so that it rested on "Expect the worst, then you'll never be surprised."

I'm telling you, People of the Internets, it's mighty tiring to have your facial muscles all cattywampus with your eyebrows up into your widow's peak in a constant state of shock. T-i-r-i-n-g.

To make matters just a bit more, um, intense, the kids needed money for school lunches and drugs (we'd scraped the bottom of the barrel for packing lunches), there was the little Toys for Tot gift to purchase as admission to Sophie's Chorus concert, and the Pussies for Peace had issued incredibly stern warnings threatening to become The Felines In Support of Eating Their People in Their Sleep if we didn't get some cat food into this house.

I had an instant where Calgon or some other agent of our current Nazi-Socialist-Commie regime could have taken me away to Bellevue Mental Hygiene Clinic and I would have been okay with that. Welcomed it, in fact. Treated it like a friggin' vacation, okay?

Then I remembered my vow to hold it together and I took a deep breath. And then another. Hang on a sec, was that me? I looked around to make sure no one was watching and sniffed my arm pit.

Dang, stress sweat is the worst.


  1. You know, I don't believe in fairy tales, winning the lottery or finding buried treasure ... so many things can become bear traps and land mines ... it just isn't fair - I wish I hadn't used the word "fair" because I remember telling my kids, "Fair? Where does it say life is fair?"

    I will not mutter the typical blogger cliches about this predicament ... you will find a way to survive simply because you must.

  2. Lathering, rinsing, and repeating what Bill just said. No cliches, just the understanding (I hope) that you know you got fans rooting for you, and your whole family.

    Peeing at four a.m. might be MathMan's way of dealing with stress.

  3. Woman, you can stress out as much as you desire or require - but for god's sake don't twist up your face like that unless you have some sort of scientific evidence that facial contortions improve skin's elasticity.

    Priorities, priorities.

    It probably feels like there's a 500 lb bear on your chest squeezing the air out of your lungs. Maybe in January you can run all the way up to New York with your hair on fire. I heard once on NPR that's what writers in the south love to do: run screaming to New York with their hair on fire.

  4. Yup, we're rootin for you guys. Bring on the silver lining!!

  5. Ugh. Has it been deposited yet? If not, you should threaten to go all lawyer on their asses.

  6. Update: The money is supposed to be deposited by midnight tomorrow. It was an issue with the bank that does payroll. Glad to have that settled. Simple snafu, simple snafu...

    Oh, PENolan - I'll stop cattywampusing my face.

    Thanks, gang, for your kind words. You guys are the best!

  7. Very relieved to see your updated comment, I know when I'm expecting $$ I want to see it(damn it).
    Take care.

  8. Well I do hope the check comes through tonight. Money issues can be so stressful. I will tell you what you have to look forward to....menopause sweat is worse than stress sweat.

  9. I'm glad that you updated us on what's going on. I was starting to panic on your behalf.

  10. Lisa-
    You are hilarious. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your tagline...better w/ more cow bell? A Will Farrell fan I presume? Best skit on SNL, hands down...but would have been a little better w/ more cow bell!

    You are a fabulous writer only I am sorry you have to report on such stress. Red wine and vodka should be food pantry staples in this day and age of such high unemployment.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog. I really appreciated your thoughts.
    And in true Will Farrell style I'll leave you with this: "I'm in love, I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!" (Guess what movie that's from?)

  11. You are WAY more sane than me. Here's my most recent internal dialogue:
    "What's the plural of bacteria?"
    "Bacteria is plural. Bacterium is the singular."
    "Oh, right. But you never see just one."
    "Yeah, they are like your in-laws, working together under cover of darkness to spread their own weird little system. They enable one another and never work alone."
    "Except the good bacteria."
    "Yes. Those are nice. But your in-laws are more like serial killers. Enabling the crazy, not working alone."
    "I don't think I'm thinking about bacteria any more."

    I hope they give you your money soon. I have not seen that version of Miss Marple yet, so thanks for the tip.

  12. Glad you heard about the money, now I want to know when it really gets there.

    All will be well, that I trust.

    And thanks for remarking on my FB update. I am elated. It is no money, but it is money. If that makes sense, I think it will!

  13. Keep calm and carry on, indeed!

    I'm rootin' for you and yours, Lisa!

    I know that life isn't fair but Jee-Bus! I think it's time to cut the Golden's a break.

    If I win the Lotto, you'll be hearing from me. Then maybe we can go and have that much needed drink! ;)

  14. Oh yeah; I conquer with CDP.

    Time to lawyer-up!

  15. i like this word "cattywampus" and will try to work it into a sentence tomorrow at work.

    love ya

  16. I too got the axe on Friday, so I can relate. The freedom is balanced against the anxiety and financial insecurity.

    What a world, what a world!

    Great to hear from you, and keep your chin up - we'll get through this!


  17. I hope the money was finally delivered. Thing is, the lackey who is responsible for handling the matter doesn't realize how important it is to you. That blows. Wish I could send you good luck.

    And I see you got an answer. Hope that it is finally resolved.

  18. If they don't pay you your severance let me know. I'll take care of them.

  19. Check with BOLI- the bureau of Labor there may well be absolute deadlines in which the employer MUST pay the x employee-- or the state will go after them w big teeth- fines n penalties.

    If anything, if they keep farting around having the State give them a call might just be the fire they need to cut the crap & cut a check.

    Get right on top of filing for unemployment darlin..... they have a few week waiting period before the cash begins to flow.

    Also another tip... (because the husband lost his job just before X mas last year & was unemployed for 6 months).......

    Do NOT take the pseudo credit card they offer for unemployment $.... they charge fees just to check the balance!!!

    Have them deposit it right into your bank account.

    the wise wise husband decided to let them take taxes out up front,. I was not inclined to do so... thinking we ned all that $ now..... but come tax time, I am going to be glad we will not get our asses nailed for all those months of untaxed "income".

    If you lost your job due to economic downturn, you maybe might qualify for displaced worker college classes.... but there is a whole lot of red tape involved.

    Anyway all this stuff is practical advice.....
    the husband is a workaholic & was going stir crazy.... finally turned him loose w a paint brush & half the interior of the house got painted. I was not here so I was not bugging him pointing out the places he missed!

    What scared the hell out of me was the possibility of losing the house.
    we tightened down the budget sooooo tight & any extra cash beyond necessities was socked away for future mortgage payments.

    Knowing we had a roof over our heads was real peace of mind for me.

    I was willing to hunker down financially............... to ride out the storm.

    I'd gladly eat rice & beans in order to keep the house.

    Best wishes, dear I hope you are the next rags to riches author we learn about!

  20. Bellevue is in NYC. I'm just sayin...

  21. This is Fran, writing from work, so not appearing as myself... I heartily second so much of what Fran (hi other fran!) says, especially this:
    "Do NOT take the pseudo credit card they offer for unemployment $.... they charge fees just to check the balance!!!"

    Direct deposit of unemployment is the only way to go.

  22. Next time you're stressing, another factoid to remember is that sometimes bank databases are on automatic cycles for updates, like once every 12 hours or once every 24, so even if a deposit is made when it's supposed to be made, it may not show up until the following day. Or longer.

  23. Have you thought about learning karate? You learn it so you always have to use it, I think that's how it goes.

    Oh crap, lessons cost money, don't they. Maybe Kane will wander through Georgia.

  24. Sorry to be away without leave, Lisa. My bad. Blue Gal told me the news, and I'm so sorry for you (and welcome to the unemployed club).

    You might want to check your state laws on this, but you might still be employed until they give you the final check. This is one of the reasons why most HR departments insist on a final, face-to-face meeting to hand over the final paycheck and to have you sign any legal documents. They usually call it something like a exit interview where they really want your feedback, but it is actually a CYA and don't-sue-us meeting.



  25. Lisa, I hope you get the news of a deposit soon--like now, during waking hours, so you can rest easy tonight.

    I'm so sorry about all the crap you are going through right now. I do think you are going to find a perfect fit kind of thing for yourself soon, but in the meantime, the "in-between" time sucks. Not very eloquently said, but you know what I mean.

    You are one of several people I know right now who is transitioning in a painful way to something better. Makes me wish for a magic wand or something to do the quick fix for you. That, and a heap of money to send around to tide you (and a few others) over for awhile....


  26. Fingers crossed, knees bent, and hopes high that everything works out on schedule. Wish I could remember "who did it" in the Agatha Christie movie. At least that would be one thing off your mind...

    Hang in there. We're all thinking of and cheering for you!

  27. Hope the money has arrived. On a brighter note, this is giving you lots of bloggable topics ....



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