Saturday, January 25, 2014

In this update, I am going to bright side everything

Just call me the queen of spin.

Okay, first, the good news.

I got a house! Hooray! It's a beautiful two-bedroom ranch, has a good-sized kitchen with decent storage, it's bright and didn't need any major work done.  I had the inside painted (the former owners painted the ceilings off white and in one bedroom tan).  I had the old, scuzzy carpet replaced with beautiful strand bamboo flooring I got a good price on.  The windows were new. The roof was in good shape. The siding was good. It has a dry basement (the house lot is on an incline, so no water issues).  It's in a nice neighborhood. It's near conservation land. It's not on the ocean (the ocean is a great location in the summer, but come storm season and you start to worry).  It's 960 square feet which is the perfect size for me.  The former owners left me the washer, dryer, lawn mower, leaf blower, hedge trimmer, and yard implements.  As well as some firewood (yes, there is a fireplace). It has gas heat. It is perfect!

Now, here's some more good news to repeat to yourself when you finish reading this post.
  • I am available for lunch pretty much anytime now.
  • I am providing business to various local businesses.
  • I am getting to know my neighbors thanks to unusual circumstances.
  • I have had the time to do things like unpack, replace some of the electrical switchplates, and take care of other small, niggling things I need to do around the house. 
I'm sure you can guess where some of this is going. But you may not see the second part. Hold on to your hats.

I passed papers in November, on Thanksgiving week. In mid-December, I was laid off.  Well, awesome.

Granted, as the time drew near, I had some clear indications and started making preparations. It wasn't that much of a shock to me.  I was calm when it happened, because I knew my finances were in order, I had a cushion, and I had some resumes out. I'd be okay. It would be a pain, but that is life.  Life is risk, I moved and bought close to a job I planned on sticking with, and well, the odds didn't work out that way.

My former supervisor has been a great help--she wrote me a wonderful letter of recommendation, is providing a reference, and passes along job leads.  We are still in touch. The only reason why I was laid off was money--no one wanted to do it.  They needed me but my job wasn't "essential," and the organization was in a situation where this difference mattered.  So I have nothing but good things to say about my former boss, my former director, and my former coworkers. I also have nothing but good things to say about the organization, which is a great place with a worthy mission and good people.  My old coworkers and colleagues have been very helpful in my job search. My family has been there for me. One thing this situation has shown me is that I am fortunate to have such wonderful and supportive friends and family.

I was already busy with my job search--anyone who thinks being unemployed means it's all leisure time is sorely mistaken. It's a full-time job, looking for a job.

And then, one night (I wasn't in the house, thankfully), my neighbor's son had what sounds like a mini-seizure and crashed into the front of my house.  He hit the front wall of the master bedroom. There isn't a hole in the house, but the wall and the supports need to be replaced.

I am now sleeping in the second bedroom--my furniture is there.  He is okay, thankfully. Insurance is covering this. I am glad no one was hurt. He and his family feel awful about this.  But it was an accident. A terrible accident. The important thing is, no one got hurt. It's a pain (and I'll admit, I freaked out when I came back and saw what happened) but it's not the end of the world.  On the upside, I met two of my neighbors from this. One saw the damage and left me a note and her number.  She came by to check on me later that day.  The father of the guy who did it apologized; I told him I have no hard feelings or ill will towards him or his son--and his son did report it to the police and he did file a claim with his insurance company. I rear ended someone once; I had been careless. She was gracious and kind, and I have to tell you, I never forgot that. So I won't get nasty especially when someone does the right thing and takes responsibility. (The father was also nice enough to clear my driveway during the last snowstorm; I'm going to have to bring something like this to him and to the other neighbor who helped in the aftermath.  Or maybe some nice chocolates for my other neighbor).

And you know what? Even if it wasn't a straight up accident--even if he had been careless or drunk or texting or just horsing around--then I would hope this was the wakeup call he'd need.  I can be sanguine about this because (I'm repeating myself here) no one was hurt and insurance is paying for it. I probably wouldn't be so philosophical about it if one or both of those things were not the case. So don't mistake me for a shiny, happy, positive saint.

It sounds like a hard luck story, doesn't it? But I have a house for someone to hit with their car. That's something. I have a cushion. I have had interviews. I will eventually get something.  Even if the job is in the city and my commute is long, I'll be working (also, I won't be driving, since I can take the bus into town and take the subway to where ever I need to go).

I have had several interviews. I have had a lot of meetings with a contractor. I have been very, very busy. I am also still trying to plan my garden for next year. And I resolved to start updating this blog again on the regular, because I enjoy it, and I missed it.  I've tried and done things since I last updated this (including using my pressure cooker successfully. . .now I can pressure can and pressure cook!).

What have you all been up to?


  1. Nice to see your are blogging again.
    Good luck in 2014. You deserve it!

  2. Glad to see you back! Good luck on the job search.

  3. Wow Pamela, you've had a lot happen to you since you've been gone.

    I'm sorry you were laid off and that you had relocated to be closer to this job. I'm sending you new job vibes and hope you will get a new job sooner rather than later.

    And I'm sorry to hear about your neighbor's son having the seizure and crashing into your house. You are a kind soul and how wonderful that you are being so kind to them about this. You're right, it was an accident after all.

    I'm so glad to see you back posting!

  4. Hi Pamela,
    Your life has been turned upside down, inside out and all around! I'm so sorry life has been difficult for you. But, as you said, you're prepared, you're in good health, you have a roof over your head -- you will survive this. You'll land a new job soon. In the meantime, you are fortunate that you have a bazillion frugal skills. It wouldn't surprise me if instead of tapping into any savings, you were able to live well below the unemployment insurance, and put more into savings!

    How scary for your neighbor and his son. You've got a good attitude about it. I hope the repairs can be made very soon, and you can put that behind you.

    I'll look forward to updates on your life in coming weeks!

  5. It's good to have you back. Congratulations on finding a house but commiserations on loosing your job. There is a lot of it about here too. Good to hear that the boy was not hurt.