Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dreamin' is free

My husband, who has been keeping us afloat financially for the 3 years we've been married, lost his job early last week. He's only told a couple of friends. He hasn't said anything about it on Facebook and asked that I wait to mention it until he does. My mom and a couple other people I haven't been able to avoid know, but otherwise I've been keeping radio silence. It's been just over a week now. Hence me typing in this box.

We'd both been eagerly contemplating both of us having Real Jobs. He had been talking a lot about how great it was that we had built up our savings again. In fact, he'd been talking about it so much that it was making me nervous. For my part, I'd been spending hours writing in this box about how part of me still badly wanted to have kids but another part, a surprisingly loud, anxious part, did not want to go back to worrying about money so soon. I didn't post any of this for fear of sounding materialistic, or like I wasn't sincere about having a baby.

He'd left that morning at about 8:45, and I'd stayed in bed and conked out again immediately. Then I heard him come back in and I thought he had forgotten his inhaler or something, not realizing I'd been asleep for half an hour. So I murmured something like "What happened?" into my pillow and wasn't even looking at him when he told me. My loyal, supportive, loving response was "Are you fucking kidding me?!"

I've been on an emo roller coaster ever since. He said he almost replied "thank you" when they told him, because he had been abso-freaking-miserable there. I knew he wasn't happy--a week or two earlier, he'd politely but firmly told me I wasn't allowed to ask him about work--but I had no idea how miserable it was making him. So in the first minute or so, I was happy, even excited. I didn't cry until I remembered all the prescription bottles in our bathroom. But at the end of the day I felt all right. I went to meditation that night and on the way home I left a message for my therapist saying that this was the worst possible thing that could happen, I'd thought, and it wasn't really all that bad.

My thoughts have changed slightly since then. We still don't know what COBRA might cost. I've been on it before, and it was exorbitant. I was excited about the 65% subsidy until I read that it was allowed to lapse by Congress. By Democrats in Congress. On one hand the premiums were still so high that relatively few families were taking advantage of the subsidy. On the other hand I feel like my team deserved to lose if it is that completely incompetent, and in a weird, circular way, that makes me feel less horrible about the elections.

Spouse was looking forward to taking a little break and was hoping we could get by on unemployment. Unfortunately we live in a lousy backwards Southern state. Even if he gets the maximum level of benefits, Spouse will receive less than half of what he'd been earning. I successfully represented clients in unemployment hearings in another state as a law student. This summer during my internship I did research for a couple of unemployment appeals. In other words, I am supposed to know something about unemployment. Yet I was blindsided by the fact that the benefits are capped in my state, and at a ridiculously low sum. Of course it's better than nothing. A lot better. It's not enough to live on for very long without exhausting our savings, but at least we have savings to exhaust.

I am STILL supposed to have an second interview at the place that hosted me this summer. I got that confirmed today and am waiting to hear about scheduling. This is a good thing. When you've gotten used to having zero prospects, you can get a ton of mileage out of having one.

I am studiously avoiding Christmas and will be doing well if I can get our Thanksgiving scheduled without crying. That would be a new thing for me. Three houses to hit + plans coming together at the last minute + one of the houses being 45 minutes away + baking for Dad's birthday + stuffing, at minimum, for Mom's house + Mom's having surgery the week before + Spouse's delicate tummy + my various neuroses = an overly complicated Turkey Day situation.

Spouse has just suggested we host something HERE, since we both have some time on our hands, and I just told him he might as well go to a certain part of town that has a number of pawn shops and buy himself a shotgun. Because Oh MY GOD.

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. I hope this is one of those happy-ending stories where he finds a new job that he loves and that pays way more than the old one too.

    Paul was out of work for awhile and I remember how surprisingly low the unemployment checks were---especially since we then had to pay income tax on them. But they made it possible for me to support us on an $8/hour paycheck.