If there was ever a time when I needed to practice better money discipline now is the time. For all too many years I have spent money like a drunken sailor (didn't hurt that I had a lot of experience being one for a time..) but now that credit cards and a fat paycheck are clearly out of my life I have no excuse engaging in "retail therapy" on a daily basis just to get myself out of the house. I have all too many other things I could be doing but I have been finding all too much pleasure cruising the aisles of Goodwill and all the other local junk stores in search of treasures that give me momentary pleasure. That is, until the next all too necessary fix...
Work. Hmm. I spend most of mornings "working" online. Actually, my routine is pretty dependable and fairly comfortable. The cat walks on my chest anywhere between three and six in the morning. Depending on my disposition (and the amount of wine I might have consumed the night before...) that will "start" my day. Better if it's closer to six, because then I have an excuse to put on a movie. Better if it's closer to seven or even eight because then I can start my daily in somewhat realistic fashion. Eight is a good time to be up and out of bed. Eight is good time to fire up the news, the stove. Eight is late enough in the morning not to startle the new neighbors next door when I stumble out the back door in my whitey tighties and throw out yesterday's coffee grounds. Eight is a perfect time to stretch, brush teeth, scratch, all that.
A daily routine is important if you want to stay on track, if you want to seriously want to get back on track once that proverbial ship comes steaming in. I wake up to old news in my head, but know that new news is awaiting me down at the computer. What's good is that I get to work online before the bandwidth is sucked up by the local branch library. I believe we share the same cable service. Seems when their doors open my computer slows waay down. Coincidence? Imagination? I don't know for certain but it is somewhat uncanny when it takes me a half hour to move through a couple windows.
No matter. Me and the state of Idaho have become good friends. I use a variety of on-line services for job searching and let me tell you, the hour that they give job searchers down at the local library isn't near close enough to find meaningful employment. Almost every application I have fired off over the last four months has been online. Without a reasonable expectation of two to three hours to search, work through applications and download a resume (let alone build one) if you are just using local library facilities you can expect be looking for work far longer than your unemployment benefits will run.
So my mornings are spent searching, but my afternoons have been largely spent hanging out with my pal The Hot Dog King. I have a small spot of concrete that I warm next to his cart and have gotten to know his clientle over the last few months. It's been a gas meeting attorneys, sheriffs, watching the court action come and go, especially the family and drug court folks who come around on Fridays. The "1:30 Follies" are especially enlightening. It's a "but for the grace of God go I" kind of thing. Helps to keep me in line and thankful. Every day.
So, the newspaper says "10 percent unemployment" My friend says it's closer to 17 percent when you figure in men like me who are out there looking for work outside the realms of their chosen profession, men who are happy to be applying for jobs that pay half of what they were making before just to keep the wolves at bay. The other day I said that I would never consider library work again. I know that I keep plugging away at Idaho, keep looking at working a desk in Boise or Pocatello or wherever as a Workforce Consultant. The longer I keep looking for work the more I realize my skills are needed in that agency to help folks like me find work. Let me tell you, it's a bitch, truly.
That library job I mentioned a moment ago? A branch library manager, Delta, Colorado. I wasn't looking hard for that job, let me tell you, but it was there on the Colorado library job line. Wrote a cover letter this morning. Will run to Gig Harbor Peninsula branch tomorrow to print out an application, send off a package Monday. Why Gig Harbor? Seriously? Can you see me getting within shadow's distance of my local branch?
The realities, though, of my life are that for all the anxieties about work I am pretty happy. Things could be better, sure..my house could have sold, I could be in Boise with my kids right now. Could have made better sense of my life while I was here, made better choices, kept my words to myself, all that, but hey, you guys voted me Best Blog. Had to keep up the faith by writing, sharing, wearing my heart on my sleeve, all that.
Oh, and for those of you who know or have the priviledge of being able to see MJR let her know that I need to talk to her. That we need to sit down and share a cup of coffee. It's been a year since I've seen her face and even then it was only in passing. And, if all goes well with this job search business, know that I'll be gone soon. That should be a plus, as far as information to pass along to her is concerned. Let her know that she needs to call me, okay? Ah, where's a good "broker" when you need one?
Okay, keep your body and soul together, chillin's. And know to keep your words and emotions to yourself, otherwise you, too, will learn to appreciate the joys of filing your weekly claim at midnight on Sundays.