Monday, February 1, 2016

Where Are We Now: A Life Update

I bet you thought that after months and months (okay, years) of listening to me prattle on and on about the horrors of unemployment and my husband's seemingly never-ending search for a job, that my 'radio silence' must mean that we moved forward. WRONG! C'mon, guys! Have you read any of my previous posts? Ever? Well, if you had you would know that--as one of my best friend's always says--if we didn't have bad luck, we would have no luck at all. Now, even for all in realist like myself, our life has taken a turn even I didn't expect as I never thought that being unemployed 4 times in just over 5 years could ever be trumped and yet trumped it was by something far more insidious and, frankly, way beyond our comprehension. Our son, the boy who never got sick got diagnosed with leukemia. Before everyone gets crazy, this post will not devolve into a pseudo-Caring Bridge update as those are far too painful to write. Instead, on Day 64 of hospitalization (no, he cannot come home between treatments), I give you one of the most interesting facts about living at the hospital that I discovered.

Interesting Fact: Check any thought of privacy at the door--Seriously. You certainly don't come here to rest regardless of your diagnosis and, frankly, the worse the diagnosis, the faster the door to your room becomes a revolving one.We have a hem-onc (hematology/oncology) team, an infectious disease team, the dermatology team, the ophthalmic team, nurses, lab techs and housekeeping, not to mention the social worker, the bone marrow transplant team and their social worker, their special nurse, the nutritionist, the teacher, the tutor and the physical therapist. All coming in and out of the room and various times throughout the day, most times without any warning or even so much as a knock on the door and remember, a hospital is 24/7 so don't get any designs on actually sleeping because these teams know no time restrictions. Have I mentioned the bathroom door doesn't have a lock on it? In and out, in and out, all day and night long. If your diagnosis doesn't make you crazy, this just might. I know it is definitely doing a number on me.

So keep following along for these pithy little updates as I blog to try to recapture some of the sanity I lose on a daily basis during our hospital life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Back in the Saddle

Hey! I'm back! I must admit that I have intentionally refrained from blogging these past few months because I basically did not want to bore you to tears as our life is the same--only worse, though I never thought that that could be possible. My husband is still unemployed (it will be a year come about scary!) and we are still circling the drain trying to figure out how to get him noticed by potential employers and to finally end this seemingly never-ending journey of joblessness. Which brings me to why I am back to blogging today. I read an online article from a reputable source with one of those catchy "Top Something or Other" ways to improve your chances of being noticed and getting hired. Never one to turn down the chance to find a better way to help my husband in his search, I figured I might learn something new. Wrong! Oh, so wrong. Instead, I spent the better part of ten minutes venting to my poor dog, Phoebe, who had done nothing more than walk over to me to find out why I was making such a fuss. So, for your reading pleasure (and for an attempt at a cathartic vent on my part), I give you the author's top three things my husband and all those in quest of that elusive job should be doing to 'get noticed.'

1. Make contact by telephone. OMG I LOVE this one. Hey, author, have you checked out the new online system of applying for a job? Are you aware that things have changed dramatically since 1972 when you looked in the newspaper for job listings and actually called a real person to apply? There are no phone numbers to call anymore on job listings, heck, you are lucky...and I mean you hit pay dirt...if there is even an email contact anymore. Most of the gazzilion listings I have come across in recent weeks offer only the online application--with lovely little red asterisks near those items you cannot skip (hmm, what day did I graduate high school???) nor can you move forward if you do not answer. Since I am aware that at least one of my bosses has died, I am certain that the same is probably true for husband as he is so much older than I am (wink, wink). So much for providing those phone numbers.

2. Utilize social media. Honestly? This is a new, hot tip from the author? My husband and I must really be 'cutting edge' thinkers to have been over-dosing on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and my myriad blogs in order to get him noticed and to best leverage any networking opportunities all these months.

3. Leave an electronic calling card behind. Okay, so this is definitely my personal favorite and it simply underscores just how out of touch the author is with the subject of her article. At first, I thought that the author meant to leave this USB, chock full of your personal information and yet another copy of you resume after your interview--which I find curious enough given that I cannot imagine any interviewer bothering to look at this USB in the first place. Add that to the fact that the information is redundant as you have already submitted a resume online (probably) already, handed one to an administrative person and handed one to the interviewer. BUT, no, I was mistaken. After re-reading the passage, I discovered that the author meant that you should go to a company of your choosing where you would like to work and leave this little gift to be passed along to the hiring manger. Oh sure! This is practical. I am certain approximately less than 1% of those USB's make it any further than the circular file each and every day.

Yes, I am ranting and it may seem funny, but it is anything but to me. I am trying desperately to help my husband find a job...not a hand out, but a place to work where he can start to feel like his old self again. I honestly don't know what the issue is and why he has not found something yet as he has literally tried everything (and then did that again and again). The author of this article is just so simplistic, so simply out of touch with the reality of the unemployed--her topic, whether chosen or assigned is irrelevant--that it bugs me, really gets under my skin. I would have loved to have read some interesting ideas about making a candidate stand out form the crowd. That would have been useful. I suppose, in the long run, reading this article was useful for me as it gave me a laugh and I could really use more of those these days. The worst part though is that the author got paid and all I got was the laugh.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Holy Golf Balls!

Last night, my son had a lacrosse game. Nothing new there except that once we were at the field, we received a weather notification about a severe thunderstorm heading our way. Again, living where we do, this was not extraordinary news either. For the past 7 years (as of today), I have grappled with why people would choose to live here for many reasons, none the least of which is the extreme weather. Trust me, as soon as people discover I am from NY--my accent, it seems, gives me away every time--they cannot wait to bombard me with the reasons why they could never live in such a 'big, bad city.' But, I digress. So, we are at the field and my son is playing one heck of a game, when we hear a few rumbles of thunder. Long story short, the game gets called (did you know that goals made in such a game are not counted toward a player's stats? WTH) and we head for our cars. I am heading toward home with my son and daughter, while my husband has our other two boys in his car, when a few drops of water start falling on my newly washed car.  As if that is not bad enough for this neurotic car owner, the very next moment we hear what sounds like gun shots but in reality are golf ball sized hail cracking against my windshield and bouncing off my hood. Not only could I not see two feet in front of the car, but my daughter was having a panic attack in the back seat, my son was doing an amazing job of trying to calm her down and I was trying to hold myself together knowing that my not-yet-year old car was definitely getting damaged by this hail on steroids. Yes, I was also terrified that we are on the road during this crazy storm. I have never experienced anything like it before--the noise was deafening inside the car and there was no escaping it, no shelter at all. Being the fanatic about my car as I am (wash it more than once a week, no eating or drinking in it, clean the windows more than once a day...yep, a tad crazy), I was heartbroken to assess the damage this morning.

So, why the earlier digression about people not being able to understand how people could stand to live in NY? Because for me, living here is so much harder than anything I have ever had to deal with back home. Sure, it wasn't all rainbows and good times back there either but golf ball sized hail? Nope! The 'best' part is that the giant hail falls in the summer! Don't even get me started on the winter woes, the impossible road construction, the never ending building of housing developments (all looking exactly the same)--my list is endless.

As I sit here waiting for the refrigerator repairmen to arrive to fix our ice maker (on the 1.5 year old referring, mind you) along with waiting for the roofing contractor to choose a color for our new roof (courtesy a previous storm), I now need to add calling the insurance agent to my 'to do' list for the damage to our cars. Let's not forget helping my husband find that ever-elusive job.

Maybe I handled the storm all wrong last night.  Perhaps I should have jumped out of the car hoping to be knocked on the head by a piece of hail and maybe then I could have woken up to have all this craziness be just a dream (okay, a nightmare). That would be lovely.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

It Just Keeps On Going and Going...

Basically, I am not having fun and before you start thinking that I am in charge of my own destiny and that I should be making my own fun, stop right there.  I can prove that these thoughts are mistaken as I would so not be choosing 'this life' if I were the master of my destiny. Oh, not in the least. Please don't get me wrong, I have amazing children (at least I think so most of the time), a good husband and the fluffy dog I always dreamed of having when I was a child. I am grateful for them each and every day. I have the most selfless and wonderful parents, too. So what's the problem? Life has been handing us lemons for the past 5 years and I have dutifully been making lemonade out of them, however, the lemons won't stop coming and all this lemonade is giving me a sour stomach. My husband calls me his biggest cheerleader but I have been cheering for him to land a job (one that sticks instead of ends 6 or 10 or 12 months later) for so long now, that my pom poms have lost their fluff and luster. I have grown weary of the search and the rejection and all the ego bolstering I need to do because no matter how difficult this is for me, I know it is infinitely more difficult for him. I am mentally exhausted from 'dancing as fast as I can' so as to keep the children's lives happy, busy and fun--a 'faux-normal' so that they do not spend too much time stressed about our seemingly never-ending unemployment. Most importantly, I am beyond sick and tired of saying 'no' to them because we cannot afford to do things.  I feel especially guilty that their childhood has been plagued by our lack of finances and that their memories are colored by this year after year.  

Adding insult to injury and speaking to kicking someone when she is down, we have had no hot water since last night as it seems we have an issue with our newer water heater.  I have been up all night ruminating about the cost of getting it fixed but even more so, agonizing over what we will do if a part needs to be ordered and we will not have hot water for a few days. Could it be worse?  Of course, but it certainly could be a hell of a lot better, too.  Trust me, unless you are a Polar Plunge devotee, an ice cold shower in the morning does nothing to chill an angry mood. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Resume

I debated for a long time about how I wanted to start this post given that despite this being my own personal forum, I still vacillate between the sharing my true thoughts and providing a more watered-down and socially palatable version of my truth.  Since by now (if you have been following along), everyone is well aware of our situation dealing with long-term unemployment--and the fact that I am not in a particular good mood today--I figured I would put my filter aside and tell it like it is for me today.  Unemployment stinks and dealing with it over the course of months and years is truly unbearable.  It permeates each and everything I do each day. While I want to believe that there is more to life than money,  it is important and necessary and not only for the big things like keeping a roof over our heads, but also for the small things, the things others take for granted like getting frozen yogurt for the children or going to the movies or, dare I say it, taking a vacation (a thing we have not done since 2006).  Finding a job is so all-encompassing that we live, eat, sleep (I don't but my husband and the children do) and breathe job search. All day, every day.  So, I have come up with the top three reasons why my husband needs to find a job sooner rather than later...

1. If he asks me to edit his resume one more time, I will most definitely scream.  Not one of those little girly screams, mind you, but a full on, blood curdling scream, the likes of which horror movies are made of.  Talk about 're-arranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.' How many different revisions can one make on a single resume?  I think we are on #255,  but I might be off. It could be higher.  Do I know what is missing from his resume that he is not getting interviews?  Nope, because trust me, if I did, I would have added it already in revision #2.

2. My children need to feel 'normal' again meaning that they need a dad who goes out to work in the morning and comes home at night and complains about how hard he is working and what he had for lunch and all those good things.  They need to know where they are going to be living and that we can plan to do something fun in the near future and that they do not have to hear we need to 'wait until Daddy gets a job' anymore (because if I say that phrase again, I will scream the same scream I described in #1).

3. Selfishly speaking,  I. Am. Done. I am exhausted from cheerleading and revising that resume.  I have had enough 'transition-speak' to last an entire lifetime and well into the after-life. Networking?  Don't even get me started on that topic because my husband has networked with more people than a politician and still here we sit unemployed.  I don't honestly know how to try harder or what to do differently or what we are doing wrong.  What I do know is that it has gone on for far too long and it has taken my sense of humor and my patience along with it.

I would love to conclude by saying that I am hopeful things will change soon, but since I decided to 'tell it like it is' today, doing so would be a lie.  At this point, the snapshot of my life finds me frustrated, agitated and cranky and the only cure for my ills is for my husband to be employed.  How I wish there was a prescription for that.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Joke Is On Me

April Fools!  I honestly don't get the fun of trying to trick someone into believing something or pulling some other type of prank on this day.  I suppose it might stem from my Type A+ personality that craves control and hates being surprised because that means I would need to be out of control for a moment. Of course in recent years, my distaste for today stems more logically from my distaste for April 6th, which we affectionately refer to in our family as the day of the Boston Debacle.  For those new to this blog, the Reader's Digest version of the events leading up to that day go something like this--husband out of work for two years, gets job allowing us to move back to the east coast (my dream), put house on the market, drive to Boston to have our children test into schools and to look at houses, return home and on April 6th (which just happened to be Good Friday that year) get a call from my husband saying that due to corporate restructuring, he was let go--again.  The grand total of time he had worked for the company was 5 weeks.  Yes, 5 weeks, and, yes, I am still bitter.

I would love to say that the Boston Debacle marked the end of our seemingly never ending bout of unemployment, but I can't which is why I have not been blogging. We have been through two more jobs since then and are currently in the same position we were three years ago--unemployed-- which is the same position we were in two years prior to that.  So what's the deal?  What have we done wrong that we has landed in this uncomfortable and frustrating position so many times?  Lack of effort?  I certainly don't think that is the case as we have networked ourselves to a point where people don't want to talk to us anymore.  We should place our own ad to the tune of  'currently seeking networking friends who will help us land meetings with elusive hiring managers.' Maybe my husband's resume is the issue.  That said, it is in its 569th revision but perhaps that just isn't enough these days.  Lets face it, we cannot change his age, education or background, but since we are willing to work with just about any opportunity that arises including underemployment to relocating, I was hoping that he would be perceived as a 'steal' to anyone who might consider hiring him.

So, there you have it, the reason why I am have off the grid with this blog is because I really have nothing new to say.  Hopefully soon, I will be back to sharing and sometimes even making you laugh, but for now, I have lost my mojo and my sense of humor, too. Apparently, the biggest April Fool's joke is on me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hello, Anybody There?

I have not written a post since last month and I have to admit that I probably would not be writing one today except that I am out of control cranky and I need to do something with the the 'stuff' in my head or I swear my brain will explode like an over-filled balloon.  If truth be known, I have refrained from writing because I seem to be caught in the unenviable position of loving the writing process to help me put things in perspective and not wanting those things in print because there simply is no good perspective to put them in anyway.  Basically, I just want to run away from myself but try as I might to escape, no matter where I run, I keep showing up, just like a bad penny.  I cannot seem to find a way to turn my brain off even for a few minutes.  I am like a computer with too many tabs open, working overtime trying not to crash.

The long and the short of it is that I am beyond being able to manage this seemingly endless job search any more.  I feel like a two-year old stomping her foot and having the worst tantrum ever (in the existence of life itself).  In the almost 7 years we have lived here, we have been unemployed 4 times and I am sick of it--exhausted from the worry, tired of having to plaster a smile on my face so as to not make the children any more anxious than they are, wiped out from the financial stress but most of all, confused and frustrated as to why we spend month upon month with no interviews in sight.  I know I have regaled you with my husband's networking prowess and his never ending optimism before.  He feels that 'you just don't know who someone you meet might know' and how a job might come from something so simple as a casual introduction.  At this moment in time, I think we have as much chance of winning the Powerball as we do an interview being scheduled--neither is happening.

Optimism was never my strong suit as I am much more of a realist.  I tell it like it is--often to my family's chagrin.  While I don't know what tomorrow will bring...uncharacteristically leaving room for a little optimism there,  I do know that today I could just scream.  Perhaps I will as I have heard it might be even more cathartic than writing--though much less socially acceptable I would think.