locked in. locked out.

Today in the office: Tim, who sits two pods over, apparently did not make it into work on Tuesday morning because his garage door froze shut and he got stuck INSIDE of his garage. At least that’s what Sarah told everyone on Tuesday morning. "Tim is stuck in his garage. The garage door is frozen shut."

Today, Tim is here but Sara is not. Throughout the day I have overheard Tim say at different points around the office, "I was not locked INSIDE of my garage, I was locked OUT of my garage…"

over. and over. and over.

Bombogenesis is here. Cyclone bomb. Snow thunder. Winter. Snow.

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how things look from here

With the northeast in a deep freeze, I can say that the view from here looks surprisingly optimistic. Lots of walking with the dog down the dirt road now packed thick with ice and snow. The dog gets me outside. The dog gets me moving. The dog likes to run up and down the road. Into the woods. Over the snow banks and the buried logs and the stumps and around the frozen waterways. He loves to go. And I love to watch him go.

I’m worried about JC though. He’s eating more than ever, and ever, and ever. And I watch him eat. I watch him take such large mouthfuls and I wonder what it is that he is trying to feed. What part of him is so hungry. Worried that somehow I am the cause. I want to help him. I want to help us. But I do not know how. So maybe the outlook is not so good, but it is. The sky is blue and the ground is sparkling with crisp white crunchy snow; all the leaves have fallen and the trees stand tall against the frozen landscape. I watch the dog run over and through and around it all and I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. Maybe I can bring JC with me. I will try.

I will not make or break the holiday

So, we do not have a tree here in the cabin in VT.

Yet.

JC has been traveling for a week and my hope is that after he gets home around midnight tonight or so, and gets some sleep while I wake up before six and go to to work, that tomorrow night… tomorrow night  when I get home, maybe, maybe, we will decide to get a tree. In anticipation of this revelry, I unraveled strings of Christmas lights and tacked them along the edges of the bookcase, wrapped them around the base of the standing lamp, and between the stockings nailed to the wall above the gas stove. This is not like me. Historically I’ve been home alone on Christmas. There was of course the dedicated years, ten or twenty or so ago where I would drive from relative-house to relative-house to relative-house and ring-in the holiday with extended family, nieces and nephews and the like. It was nice, but here’s the thing: at the end of the Christmas Day, I always felt pretty empty.

The opposite of full.

It was as if spending time with all my siblings and their families—ringing in some new tradition—left me feeling more alone and more alienated from the holiday than ever before. I’m an adult, and technically I am not a part of these new families: I am an interloper, a relative that hangs on the periphery whether I show or not—the new traditions will go on. This is the hardest part of all. Because despite my siblings’ best hoorays of, “We would love to have you over the holidays!” the end is the end and that is: the holiday will go on with or with out you. No one is depending on you to make it so.

I do not make or break anyone’s holiday. Not even my own. For this I hug the periphery.

Let’s see if we end up with a tree here in the cabin.

 

Today

Today the new dog woke me before 7am. At first I was not sure what day it was. Sunday, or Monday. For a moment I was caught between sleep and the new day and wondering if I was late for work. While the feeling of being late for work is not a pleasant one, it was still somehow bittersweet because at long last after ten months of unemployment, I finally had a job to go to.

I have a job. I am employed full time.

The road from having a job to not having a job is a terrifying one. It is a dark uncertainty, a dismantling of everything you thought certain: humbling and dreadful.

About a year ago I was laid off from my former job. What I did not know at the time was that the job loss would be the start of a series of sudden endings that would drop like dominoes across my path and leave me to struggling to move forward, sideways, any which way just to get out of the way as ties to the familiar and safe in my small life severed tendon by tendon.

After losing my job I moved out of my home. A year later most of my belongings collect dust in a self-storage facility. Even my trusted coffee maker short-circuited. Then my old dog died. Then my sturdy vehicle had a series of breakdowns; flat tires and worn out front brakes. I kept thinking, if I can just get through this, every thing will be okay. If I can just get new tires, charge the $800 on a credit card, I will figure out a way to pay for it later on. I began mortgaging all that remained against an unknown future.

“Do you want your dog to be cremated, would you like to have his ashes?” The vet tech asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“There are two different cremation services,” she offered. “With the less expensive option, you receive an urn but he is cremated with other pets.”

“What if I want just his ashes?”

“That’s a bit more expensive.”

“How much?”

“About $1,000. We do have a financing option.”

Another $1,000 charged to a newly opened credit card account. How could I do it any other way? My old dog was my best friend for ten years. I had spent more time with him than any human including family, friends, co-workers. He and I were comrades. My heart was broken. My soul defeated. I didn’t have much left to give, but I was certain he was not going to be tossed into a crematorium atop a heap of other animals. He barely tolerated other dogs, not to mention cats. I didn’t have much, but I still had an excellent credit score.

the day that was, yesterday

Yesterday I woke up in what could only be summed up as an awesome mood. The world seemed possible again. I had two interviews scheduled for Tuesday, and I was certain a job offer would come in this week.

One of the interviews was for a work from home customer service position (at $11.50 per hour). But, hey, it’s something, right? Being able to interview for the position was contingent on the phone company installing an upgrade to our internet service. Monday morning I waited for the phone company, but they never showed up. I called the phone company, their response: oh, sorry, we’re not sure we can perform the upgrade at your location, the technician will not be coming to your house today.

Me: okay, when can we reschedule this appointment?

Phone Company: we are unable to schedule the appointment for you at the moment.

Often times, I will stare at the ceiling of my room.

 

Today

My car broke down while turning in the key to my old PO box. After handing the pair of copper keys over to the USPS representative, I cried. I’m so fucking weak. There’s no answer to my dilemma, which is this: how do people survive when they lose their job? How do they live? How do they buy food? 

On average I send out approximately three to four resumes per day. Not just the same resume, but customized word for word to match the language of a specific job posting. There’s the grant writing resume, development director, project manager, teaching, tech support, customer service, instructor, registrar assistant, copywriter, editor, and even package courier resume. Each resume is accompanied by a custom cover letter. My applications do not receive a response. 

I understand this is how it is. Yet I do not understand. 

Everything I’ve known is lost.

Everything I’ve loved is gone.

No job=No value.

I am disappearing.