Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Year of Living Erroneously 3

I was invited to meet Tori at Downtown Disney where she was going to buy me an early dinner. Since my income had completely stopped and my unemployment benefits had not yet kicked in I was thrilled to be getting out of the house and not have to worry about where the money was going to come from to pay for my entertainment. Sitting around the house was starting to depress me so I was pretty excited about getting to be Disneyland adjacent.

It was a warm and beautiful day. The sun was still shining brightly as I left the house. I was less than 10 miles away from my house doing about 45 mph approaching an intersection. I had a 2 second fleeting thought that something was wrong but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and before I knew it (insert ominous music here..) I had plowed in to the back of the car in front of me.

In slow motion I heard my breaks screech, I felt my head turning away from the explosion of the airbag in my steering wheel, I inhaled the powder that is inside of the airbag, I heard the sickening thud of my car hitting the car in front of me, I heard glass breaking, I heard metal bending, I felt my head snap forward and backward and the next thing I knew I was standing outside of my car. My first thought was that I was very, very happy that I was standing up because that meant that A. I was still alive and B. Apparently I wasn’t gravely injured. Then I realized that I had actually hit another car and I could have killed someone. You just don’t know the relief I felt when I saw the person in the other car get out and walk over to the sidewalk on her own two feet. I had never before in my life seriously thought that I might have killed someone and it’s a thought or feeling I do not ever care to have again.

My shaky, wobbly legs carried me to the sidewalk and I walked up to the woman from the other car. She literally greeted me with open arms and embraced me saying, in broken English, “I’n sorry…I’n sorry.” I asked her if she was injured and she said no. Any further conversation was going to be very limited because she didn’t actually speak English. Out of nowhere a father and his teenage daughter were suddenly standing by my side asking me if there was anything they could do to help us. As if by some miracle the daughter spoke fluent Spanish and was able to confirm that the other driver was not injured and did not need medical attention. The girl told me that the driver was asking me to not call the police because she didn’t have a driver’s license. She said that the car wasn’t hers but she was insured to drive it. I asked the father if he could help me to dial my phone because I had made about 10 attempts to call my sister and IMOM who are both on my speed dial but I was such a nervous wreck that I couldn’t make my phone work. It was a total out of body experience when I heard myself telling Tori that I wanted her to come and get me because I had just totaled my car.

I tried several times to call my car insurance representative and wouldn’t you know it…when I was finally able to successfully make the call the police showed up. So all at once I was trying to answer questions from the police officer and talk to my insurance agent. Neither one wanted to yield to the other so I had to hang up on the insurance guy. The police officer asked us if either one of us were hurt at least 5 times. He offered to call an ambulance if we thought we needed one. We both assured him that we were fine and he separated me from the woman in the other car and we both gave them our version of what had happened. When he asked me what caused me to hit her I had to tell him the truth…”I have no idea…” Sounds just as lame today as it did last year.

I was able to get the insurance people back on the phone and requested a tow truck and answered all of their questions. I had finally been able to calm myself down enough to realize that my right inner arm was on fire. I was wearing a tank top and thus there was nothing between my skin and the exploding airbag. My whole upper arm was burned. Not so bad that I needed medical attention but bad enough that it really hurt.

Tori arrived just in time to help me try to get some of the stuff out of my car before they towed it away. Mr. Paul was there to offer his help and Jake was doing his best to run around in the intersection in an effort to show us exactly how he felt about his trip to Disneyland being thwarted. People who know me well know that I pretty much live out of my car. I keep clothes, shoes, blankets, cds, food and everything but the kitchen sink in my back seat. As Tori and I dragged object after object out of the car the tow truck driver grew impatient. I asked Paul to carry a 13 lb. bag of cat food over to his mom’s car and he assured me that it was too heavy for him to carry but he was sure that I could do it just fine. Finally the truck driver told us that he had to get my car to the tow yard and that if I wanted anything else out of it I would have to get it later.

I will never forget watching my smashed up car go off in to the wild blue yonder, Jake still having a cow because he still wanted to go to Disneyland, cat food still sitting on the sidewalk because no one has picked it up, arm on fire because it was attacked by an airbag, the relief that I didn’t hurt anyone and thanking God that this mess was only as bad as it was…and thinking that my life couldn’t get any worse than this.

October 14, 2010


Thursday, August 18, 2011

My year of living erroneously part 2

I spent most of September sleeping in, (Yay!), looking for a job, and worrying my head off. (Boo!) Apparently I shouldn’t have been spending so much time sleeping because one morning as I was snoozing on the couch I didn’t get up soon enough to please Lorenzo and he started a riot among the masses of felines in my home. I was trying to ignore Mr. Idiot Foolish and his minions when all of a sudden one of the cats came flying over the back of the couch and touched off on my face. I got mad and yelled at them to “knock it off!!” (Yes, I was yelling at a deaf cat.)

In the long run Lorenzo won because I got up and gave the kitties food so they would stay the hell away from me. After I fed them I resumed my snooze fest on the couch.

Annnnnd when I woke up..I looked like this:

Now, who wouldn't want to hire that beautiful woman?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Year Of Living Erroneously part 1

My blog has been sorely neglected for the last 12 months and it isn’t because there hasn’t been anything going on in my life. Much to the contrary. .. it seemed like for a while there it was whammy city. Every time I turned around something major was happening. Some things were good…some things…not so much. I hope I can remember everything that happened so I can share it with you. If not…then this will teach me what the consequences are when I don’t blog about things as they happen. Let’s sally forth, shall we?

In August of 2010 I was sitting at my desk in the Legal Affairs office of the major institution of higher learning where I had worked for the last 4 years and 9 months when my boss came out of her office looking like she has seen a ghost. Her voice wobbled as she said, “I have some very bad news for you.” My mind immediately thought that something was wrong with someone in my family and I just about had a heart attack on the spot. She just stood there looking at me with tears in her eyes. It seemed like 5 minutes had gone by but in reality it was more like 10 seconds before she told me that the powers that be had decided to restructure our office and I was going to be let go. As my boss blubbered over the news she had just delivered I sat there dumbfounded. W.T.F. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Although I never did like my job in that office I was a very dedicated employee. They had absolutely no reason in the world to justify letting me go….except for the fact that it was determined that my office would surely parish if they didn’t get a paralegal in their midst immediately. A paralegal who also does clerical scut work. A paralegal who also does scut work for less than $20.00 per hour. F.M.L. After learning about the details of my pending departure it was ME consoling MY BOSS and it was me telling her that everything was going to work out just the way it was supposed to and that I’d be fine.

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. I am a home owner. I like to eat. I’m fond of my much used medical benefits. Everything wasn’t going to be fine! This country is in one of its worst recessions in history and I was about to have to go out and find a new job.

Upon hearing the news of the loss of my job...Amanda, Tori and my mom all assured me that if need be I could move in with them. IMOM told me that my bills would get paid and I was not to worry about money. These were all wonderful assurances but I like to pay my own way and take care of myself. It was going to be very difficult to accept all of this help.

They gave me one months’ notice and boy was it made perfectly clear just how nice they thought they were to have done so. I was told about another employee who was a friend of mine who was given about 5 minutes’ notice of her imminent departure on the very same day that I was given the news that I was going to be gone in 30 days. So as much as I wanted to tell them to stick their 30 days where the sun didn’t shine I guess it was better than getting no notice at all. I spent the next 4 weeks searching the internet for job leads. I kept my eye on the campus employment website. And there was just nothing out there. I applied for a couple of positions through the edjoin website but I couldn’t even secure an interview. As the days went by I was determined not to let my boss know that I was devastated over the pending loss of my job. I wasn’t even going to ask her for a letter of recommendation. If she wanted to give me one then she could just offer it to me. (Yeah, maturity reigns when I’m mad.) By the end of August I had wizened up a bit, swallowed my pride and decided that my resume looked pretty lame with letters of recommendation from to 2005. I braced myself and sauntered in to my boss’s office and asked her if she would write me a letter of recommendation. Well…if I was stunned to hear that I was being let go…imagine how I felt when my boss told me…”It is against company policy for us to write blanket letters of recommendation. Tell me where you’ve applied and I’ll give you a letter that is addressed to them exclusively.” I was so taken aback that I just said, “Oh, ok…I’ll let you know”. But it didn’t take me about 2 seconds to decide that I wouldn’t take a letter of recommendation from that woman if it arrived tattooed on Jackson Browne’s ass! (I called the HR office and asked them if there was indeed a rule about writing letters of recommendation and of course no one knew the answer but if the legal counsel for the entire university said that was a rule then they were going to err on her side.)

Just before my time in that office was up I saw a posting for a clerical position at the offices of the campus church. The job description was almost exactly the same as the job that I had been doing for the last 4.5 years so I applied for it. The interview went wonderfully and I waited for about a week until they got back to me. The reverend who interviewed me called me personally to tell me that the position that needed to be filled had been empty for quite a while and there had been a temporary office worker at that desk for the last several months. Even though they pretty much knew that they were going to give the job to the temp worker they still had to post the position and conduct interviews. They thought their temp was a shoe in for the permanent position….until they interviewed me. The reverend said that she just loved my spark and my sense of humor and she especially loved that I had been doing the same job only in a different office for almost 5 years. I thwarted their plans to just hand the job over to the temporary worker. However, after much prayer and deliberation they decided that it just wouldn’t be fair to the temp to not give her the job. Urgh! It would have been so nice to just seamlessly transition from one office to the next without any down time…but no…it was not to be. The reverend went on to tell me that she was so impressed by me that she had given my name to a reverend friend of hers who had a church in Garden Grove that was looking to hire a clerk. I thanked her profusely and even though I didn’t get the job she managed to make me feel pretty good about myself. BTW..I wasn't interested in working in Garden Grove. If I couldn't work at the university I would be looking for a position much closer to home. Beggars can't be choosers but it would have been really foolish for me to take a job any further from my house.)

My boss was going to be at a seminar on my last day of work so there would be no awkward goodbyes and that suited me just fine. I was going to walk out of that office with my head held high because I knew that there were better things on the horizon just waiting for me. Instead as the clocked ticked 5:00 on my last day I grabbed my purse and started to tell my co-worker good bye and I blubbered like an inconsolable baby. Although I had known for 4 weeks that I was losing my job it wasn’t until that very moment that I seriously, truly, honestly realized that …whoa shit…I don’t have an income anymore.