As I sit here this morning drinking my coffee and smoking a cigarette, I ponder my day. I look out the back porch windows watching the windmill, pointing due South, whirl madly, pushing dry heat north.
Remy and I have grown lazy this past year. I tell myself each morning to get on the stationary bike or pull my yoga mat out or do my stomach crunches on my large bouncy ball, but here I sit, oatmeal drying in the bowl looking at my surroundings for some kind of inspiration.
It is hard for me to believe, in two weeks time, it will be one year since I moved my belongings into storage. How very naive I was to think I would have a place of my own within a month or two. The oil and gas industry is booming (if there is a larger word for booming, insert it here) and every available habitable space is spoken for, twice, if not three times. I make it through each day, each week, each month by telling myself “I am here for a reason.” I must be patient. All good things come to those who wait, right? In reality, I want to scream most days. In truth, I could live with my Mother quite contentedly, but when you add her husband into the mix ….. let’s just say I’m not use to being monitored and he feels it is his right. Unfortunately, Mom takes the brunt of his questions and she protects me, and my independence, fiercely.
So, as I sit here on this hot, dry July morning my eyes wander to the different size cutouts I printed because I have decided to get a new tattoo …. a tribal turtle. I’m in the process of finding the right artist to create the ink and continue to wonder where she will reside on my body.
I guess I’ll pour another cup of coffee and play with my cutouts.
As I sit here this morning drinking my coffee and smoking a cigarette, I ponder my day. I look out the back porch windows watching the windmill, pointing due South, whirl madly, pushing dry heat north.
Saturday morning, 13 March 2010, my Mother had a massive heart attack. Eleven days later I am drunk on the back porch with the Dearborn showing all the colors of her propane glory. Remy is standing guard, ready to go to bed, and I am trying to ignore her. I am drunk tonight because instead of a fruit pop Beloved Red chose fermented mashed fruit instead, code for open the wine you picked up in Pampa Monday afternoon. Check.
Saturday, March 13th was the culmination of 6 weeks of work with the Swimsuit Contest, I was co-producing. I received a text message from Big Brother urging me to contact him when I received the text. It was . . . mmmmm . . . 9:30ish . . . BB never texts’ me. I call immediately. He laughs at the quick response then gets down to business. Our Mother is being LifeStar’d to Northwest Heart Hospital Emergency in Amarillo. I am thirteen hours away driving seventy miles per hour. I am told there is nothing I can do until RD (Mother’s husband of twenty years) calls from the hospital. My heart aches at the thought of him being left behind. He is eighty-five years old. Fortunately, I learn later, a concerned neighbor drove him to Amarillo. He is the VFD Chief and heard the call on his scanner. Before I leave for the event, I post “I’ve just learned my Mother was lifeflighted to Northwest Hospital in Amarillo. Please say a prayer,” on Facebook.
While the Harley-Davidson event is swirling around me, I keep checking my phone. I realize it is possible the next time my phone rings I could be told my Mother has died. I cannot concentrate, but duty calls. At 12:51 p.m. I receive a text from Big Brother saying, “Just talked to Mom. She is fine and no pain at all. Will be in hospital a few days for observation.” My brother’s way of getting me through the day. It is not until 8:00 p.m. Saturday night when I finally talk to RD that I find Mother has had a massive heart attack and she is in ICU. I am fortunate my son and his posse are in Corpus Christi for the contest and he props me up. The two of us stay up until 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning drinking beer and talking.
He wakes me Sunday morning and his crew needs to get on the road. I have one of the worst hangovers I have experienced in recent years. I start packing and making plans to head north. It takes me most of the day. I have no idea how long I will be gone and make plans for a friend to get the keys to The Flat. Thank goodness for this foresight. I arrive in Amarillo, having hit snow flurries in Spur, Texas with two pair of flip flops and my rain boots for foot apparel with only a light jacket.
I arrive in Amarillo Monday evening and check-in to the Amarillo Inn/Best Western, get Remy settled in our new digs and head to the hospital. Mom is receiving the first of three pints of blood. She looks fragile and has dark red circles around her eyes. She looks tired, but she is smiling. Bob looks exhausted. I have not slept in three days. I am running on pure adrenaline. I practically crawl into the bed with her. There are tubes running everywhere and I am afraid I will hurt her. She has a horrible hematoma on the top of her right hand running up to the elbow. It is ghastly looking.
Then she shows me the cath site where they entered her body to place the stent in her left ventricle. This feels like a bad horror film. The cath site bruise extends from her right hip bone across her pubic bone down her right thigh to the knee. This is where the blood is pooling, and why she needed three pints of blood. I think of lividity in a dead person. Tears well in my eyes. How can this be happening.
Tell Me About It . . .
Mom looks terrible. She has round, red circles around her eyes, she has tubes everywhere . . . and bruises. Horrible bruises. In this moment, I am so happy to see her, I cannot register what all of this means. She is in ICU, yet I walked right into her room. Through tears and laughter, I ask, “Mom, what happened?” She tells me, “We got up to pee around 8:00 o’clock and I decided to go back to bed for awhile.” She stumbles on the way back to bed and RD helps her. She considers taking a baby aspirin and goes back to the bathroom on her own. When she gets back into bed RD asks, “Can I do anything? Do you need to go to the hospital?” Mom responds, “I think you better call the ambulance.” She is experiencing a feeling of a million tiny needles in a circular area below her left shoulder blade and both shoulders ache. She feels as if she cannot move, yet she can. She is coherent. She is processing.
Les Leach, veteran Paramedic from Miami (pronounced My-am-ah) Texas, and twenty-four year-old Matt, are the First Responders. By the time they have her in the ambulance, performing the fourth EKG, Les makes the call to LifeStar, the emergency helicopter for the High Plains. Mom will not make it to Amarillo via I40. I learn three weeks later, LifeStar is already in flight to Shamrock for a burn victim and he is deemed less critical. LifeStar is diverted to the Mobeetie Road Side Park/Texas Historical Marker for Fort Elliott. Welcome to the Panhandle . . .
Mom is conscience the entire flight. She remembers being confused and having a difficult time remembering answers to basic questions. I am crying again. She is alive. I touch her again, kiss her forehead. I finally acknowledge RD. I give him a long hug. He seems frail. Fraught. I tell him everything will be okay. We talk about my trip, the price of gas . . . I cannot take my eyes off of Mom. I walk back to the bed. “Why are you so bruised?” I ask. Her right arm from her wrist to the elbow is purple. I wish my huge veins into her tiny body. She tells me her hip is bruised. I lift her gown and try not to gasp. From her right buttock across her pubic bone down through her labia and further still towards her right knee cap all I can see is bruising; purple, blue, green, yellow, dark, ugly bruising. There is a lump the size of two fingers running along her pubic/hip bone. This is the Angio-Seal site and it is larger than it should be. You can barely see the catheter site incision. I want pictures but now is not the time.
What do I think . . . ?
Les’s call to LifeStar sets in motion events which lead to Belgium born Dr. Marc Moreau waiting in an operating room at Northwest Heart Hospital in Amarillo. His team immediately inserts the cath, injects dye, discovers full blockage in her left ventricle and insert a stent. Mom cannot say the word “stent”; she says, “ . . . flint. No, that’s not right.” I tell her, “stent.” “Yes, yes,” she says; flustered. Mom is diagnosed with a Non-ST Elevation MI with 70% damage to her anterior wall. She has been in ICU for three full days. Orders are issued to remove her oxygen tubes. Her upper lip looks raw at the tube sites and she wishes for softer Kleenex rather than the cardboard-like product Georgia-Pacific sells in large quantities to hospitals everywhere. The nurse comes in to check the last pint of blood. I ask Mom if she had seen the doctor today. She tells me, “no.” Dr. Cardio shows up around 7:30 p.m. He says hello to each of us, shaking our hands in turn. Mother tells him who I am and where I have driven from. He asks me what I think. I am taken aback. He is asking me what I think. I want to tell him I have an English Degree, he is the Cardio Doctor. I quickly realize he is asking how she appears to me. I tell him she is floundering for words, something she has done for the past two years, perhaps longer, but it is worse. Other than this, I tell him, “to look at her, I would not know she had a massive heart attack three days ago. Dr. Cardio orders a Brain Scan in the morning to rule out the possibility of a stroke. He thinks the cognitive issues revolve around the blood pooling at the cath site and hopes to see improvement as the three pints of blood re-oxygenate her brain. He decides to consult with an Electro physiologist, Dr. Desai. Dr. Cardio appears to not be concerned, he wishes us a good evening, shaking each of our hands, telling us goodbye. I think of a thousand questions after he leaves.
Monday night ~
Jilly calls me Sunday evening and invites me to dinner Monday night, and if the weather holds, we will run the dawgs. We head to Oso Bay around 6:30 p.m. with wine, cell phones, a flash light and a 4 wheel drive Dodge Ram pickup truck with a Hemi. 🙂 The City of Corpus Christi is building a new nature walk and the initial infrastructure makes for a great place to walk, and when appropriate, unleash the dawgs. We are 3/4’s of a mile into our walk and I see Remy 50 feet in front of us, rolling, thrashing really. It’s dusk and while we can still see well, shapes on the ground are just that. I shine my flashlight. I think it’s an empty bag of fertilizer. Jilly notices Jaws rolling on the opposite side of the path. Jaws has an interesting way of mimicking Remy, and, thankfully, halfheartedly. It’s another bag. I kick (BIG MISTAKE) the bag Remy rolled in and we see fish carcasses. There are more bags that we can see. Bastards. By now, I am gagging and crossing my legs trying not to pee with each gag reflex. Remy and Jaws are in stink heaven. Did I mention the temp is dropping and the wind is howling and I don’t have gloves or a hat (and thank Gawd, ’cause they would have been stinky, too)? As this is all happening, I notice a car off the trail and suggest we head back. It’s not flashlight time, but getting there. The dawgs are running around us, literally "stinking to high heaven." I’m gagging, which I normally DO NOT do. I can take blood, guts, vomit … whatever. I’m a Mother. I quickly make the decision that Remy will ride home in the back. Jaws is not trained for this and has to load up in the back seat. We roll the windows down. I’m grateful I poured us to-go glasses of wine. I light a cigarette.
We pull in the drive and Remy spots a cat. She minds and waits until I get the leash on and let the tailgate down, but when I do this, she freaks on the cat and I slosh wine all over the left side of my jacket. Great. Off we go to the greenhouse for baths. I end up bathing Remy three times. We hose the wine off my fleece jacket and throw it in the washing machine. <I am shaking my head and laughing at the memory> The smell is awful. When we get the two of them bathed, Rogelio pours us more wine and we go to the patio to smoke. I still smell the stink. Jilly thinks it’s in my nose . . . and then I smell my nylon jacket sleeve and almost puke! It’s on my jacket. It comes off and goes in the wash. I’m back on the patio. I still smell dead fish. I smell the leg of my yoga pants – contaminated, those come off very quickly . . . shoes and socks still on. I take off my shoes and socks while Jill gets me pants to put on. Then I smell my socks. Then shoes. All contaminated. By now, I am down to my panties, bra and shirt and we are laughing so hard. I am exhausted with laughter.
We eat dinner, watch a little of the Olympics and Remy comes up to touch base and I smell dead fish. I start sniffing. It’s her collar. And because I did not wash her collar, her neck needs to be washed again, so back out to the greenhouse we go. She is tail tucked and not happy. As I’m washing her and the collar, I realize her leash probably stinks too (it does) and wash it, as well. The last of the wine is poured, most of my clothes and tennis shoes are in the dryer by now and the dawgs are all laying in front of the fireplace . . . being dawgs.
It was one of those excellent drawn out comedies, and while the intent was to simply run the dawgs and have a meal, which was delicious BTW, we will talk about this dawg run for months to come. Remy is blissfully snoring on the sofa as I type this.
Ahhhhhh . . . it is so rewarding to have a dawg daughter who achieves her ecstasy by thrashing about in ripe death. Bonus is all the clothes I was wearing needed washing and Remy needed a bath.
Author’s Note: This short story started out as an email to a friend in Iowa who, apparently found it so deliciously funny (especially the part where I’m gagging and trying not to pee) he read it numerous times. His response was, “You have got to put this story somewhere. This is one of the funniest stories I have read in a long long time. I have read it three times and I still laugh when I read it.”
I never thought you would find me signing up for an on-line dating service. I am not the type, and besides, the Craig’s List killer is all too fresh in my mind. It is a dangerous world, but one night two and a half weeks ago, I drank too much wine and got on-line. It is all a little fuzzy. I think my original idea was finding someone interesting out there to converse with – one of the first times in my life to experience true loneliness. I do not remember signing up for the service until I log on to my email account the next morning and there are three “winks” in my inbox. I have to ask the service to send my password – not a clue. It was a very good bottle of Pinot Noir.
The first winker caught my eye. I looked at his profile and he had all the information filled out. He likes fishing, outdoor adventures, dancing, he is very tall and a retired professional cowboy. Oh my. Now, when you read that “Oh my” to yourself, I want you to say it like Susan Sarandon says it to Kevin Costner in Bull Durham, after he tells her,
“Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.”
Each day brings new winks, and with each wink I check out their profile, wink back or respond kindly with a yeah or nay. In these few short weeks, I have come to realize there are some messed up men out there, which begs the question, “what kind of messed up women raised these types of men”? The men that do not post pictures get little enthusiasm or consideration from me. Not that I am a “looks” gal, it makes me feel safer. The ones with profile characteristic 180 degrees from mine make me wonder why they wink. I specifically state I am looking for someone in the Corpus Christi area, but guys are winking from New York, Dallas, Houston, East Texas, West Texas, Indiana, Oklahoma and then there is this cowboy, who is daily writing me a little note, answering the questions I ask in a thoughtful, endearing way.
He tells me it is harvest time and his profession is 24/7 until the last grain has left the Port of Corpus Christi, but he has taken the time to be honest about his life and his desires. Very little bullshit. He lists his politics as Conservative, and I am arrogant enough, in the beginning, to suggest he is throwing darts. He reassures me.
“not throwing darts, I saw your profile, you were close and I wanted to know more. You didn’t really state much, didn’t know what you were lookin for….”
I have friends who own a beach house in Port Aransas and it stays booked from Spring Break through Labor Day Weekend. Occasionally there will be an opening and we try to take advantage of this time, which happened this past week. I threw together mine and Remy’s beach bags and we headed to the island around 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. There was a wait at the ferry line, but I never mind. At this point, I am on island time. We finally make the ferry and as I am cruising slowly down Cotter Street, I notice a young boy, maybe 10 or 11 years old, running in the same direction I am driving, but on the opposite side of the street. And then he darts in front of a suburban and as they slam on their brakes to avoid hitting him I see his face for a moment. In that instant, I realize he is not running for fun, but his face is filled with terror and tears are streaking down his sweaty, red face. Now he is running down the center turn lane and I am slowing down watching this scene unfold. He, again, jumps in front of an oncoming car. They barely miss hitting him as he runs across traffic in front of me. I pull over looking for my cell phone. I realize I am holding ferry traffic on Cotter, but they can all see this drama unfolding as well.
As I move my car to the edge of the road, I am dialing 911. People in the cars behind me are stopping to ask if I am calling the police – “Yes”, I answer. As the 911 dispatcher is answering, I see an elderly woman hurrying down the street towards the boy and she is trying to get him to come with her. I tell the dispatcher what I am seeing and explain that I am witnessing a young boy trying desperately to do himself harm. My heart is pounding. All it is going to take is one person in a vehicle driving towards the ferry not paying attention and this child is going to purposefully hurt himself. I am determined to prevent this.
As the dispatcher assures me he will report the call, the older woman has the boy cornered in a driveway and an older man is quickly walking in their direction. I leave my car running (Remy is with me) and cross the street. The young boy makes a break for it and the older man grabs him. As I get near the three of them, the young boy sees me and begins screaming at the top of his lungs, “someone help me, someone help me”. As he is struggling against the mans grasp, they fall to the ground and the man lands on top of him. As he rises, he places his knee in the boys back and pulls his arms behind him. I can tell it hurts and I also see he is in a sticker patch. When I finally get to them, I tell the young boy to please stop struggling, to sit down, I have called the police, they are on their way. If he will just sit down, calm down, take some deep breathes. When I have his full attention, I tell him I will not leave him. I will stay until the police arrive. The man and woman are not explaining to me why they are doing this and I am not asking. I am focused on the boy. The man is telling the boy he is not going to let go. I am so calm I am beginning to wonder what kind of Goddess is channeling through me.
I am looking up and down the street to flag down the responding officer and I see a contractor from one of the condos who has come to investigate and he kindly agrees to move my car from the other side of the road to a driveway. I explain I have given my word to this young boy that I am staying until the police arrive and if I get in my car he may fill like I am abandoning him.
I finally see a Constable car. He pulls into the Dairy Queen, gets out of his car, and goes in. I am not sure who is going to respond to the call or if anyone will.
A woman (the mother?) and young girl show up. The woman is pissed and telling the boy how embarrassed she is that he is doing this. She is his mother. The older woman tells Brian’s mother I have called the police. She glares at me. She tells me they are leaving. She asks me if I am going to stop them. I tell her what I told Brian. I am not leaving him until the police come. Period. She tells the older woman I cannot stop them. The mother is talking to Brian again, saying, “we’ve been having a good time, right. Why would you do this? What is wrong with you?” She is not mothering him. She is berating him. She is standing in front of him three feet away. The older man is still holding him on the ground. I look towards the Dairy Queen and the Constable is getting in his car. As he approaches Cotter, I realize he has not seen us, he is turning away from us. I wave my hand in the air and he sees me. This is almost over. A total of 15 minutes has passed. It is very hot and I feel like everything is in slow motion. The Constable pulls up in front of us. I step to the side. He asks Brian if he is okay, but before he can answer, his mother starts talking. I step further away. I want to hear what Brian has to say, but realize no one, including the Constable, is going to let him speak. The Constable seems satisfied that everything is okay. He does not seek me out as an eyewitness. He does not ask for any type of identification. He gets back in his car and drives off. While he is talking to the Mother, the older woman has walked back to the restaurant to get their vehicle. She pulls up next to me. She walks around her suburban to where I am standing. She is very upset and begins telling me Brian has been like this since he was a baby. They have had to put special locks on doors, she is crying. I hug her. Then I see Brian and he is walking towards me, saying, “I’m sorry.” I open my arms and he comes close to me. He lets me hug him and I quietly tell him how much he scared me. I tell him life is hard, but never so hard that we have to harm ourselves. He tells me again he is sorry and he thanks me for caring for him. As he pulls away from my embrace, I place my cupped palm on his chubby, tear-stained, right cheek, make sure he is listening and making eye contact, and then I ask him to “please do great things with your life. I can see you are special and I do care. Know that, Brian. I care.” And then he is gone and I drive to Casa Azul and mix a pitcher of Mango Margaritas.
I never intended to get a tattoo. The idea of having something permanently inked on my body just did not fit my personality. Over the years there were discussions of “what if . . . . ?”, but I never seriously considered myself a candidate. For my forty-first birthday I did, with a push from ex #2, do a little body modification that would embarrass my family were I to discuss it in detail here – it is a little too intimate. I will say, however, this modification is but one of the reasons I have not flown fearing setting off alarms and having to strip down to explain the reason, but the tattoo . . . . . stupid.
I had the brilliant idea while visiting friends in Nacogdoches during the Christmas 2004 holiday season. It was the perfect storm – Pat, a tattoo artist and friend, was available, alcohol was freely flowing, as it always seems to do in Nacogdoches, and ex #2’s birthday was looming. It was a spur of the moment decision, not a lot of thought behind it, just a blind pursuit to prove my love, permanently. In hindsight, I suppose my thought was I would be with this man for the rest of my life so what would be the harm in PERMANENTLY inking his name on my right hip. Never say never or forever and ever.
What man in his right mind would not love to be honored in this fashion? This was my declaration of undying love, but thinking back on the actually “unveiling” there was a lack of enthusiasm. Where I thought there would be applause and cheers, this small piece of ink art was coolly received. And since there was no pre-planning involved, I had a lot of ink transfer to my white panties – warning: if you are planning a tattoo stupid, wear loose clothing and be prepared to go naked for at least twelve hours after if the art is in an area where clothing will rub and irritate.
As I have continued to emotionally process the divorce – the move to The Flat, photographs for the last fifteen years, the memory boxes, and on and on and on – the last item to deal with was the tattoo. The tattoo was draining my energy. It had an “ownership” attached to it. Duh. It was time, well past time, to proactively address the ink and potential possibilities for modifying.
I had a moment of fear late yesterday afternoon when I began having a throbbing pain around my right ear. As the pain grew my thoughts turned to the worst case scenario — I may have a brain tumor, possible aneurism or something of the sort. I do not have a tendency towards hypochondria, either. My fear comes from living alone for the first time and wondering what would happen should I have an accident or, Goddess forbid, die in The Flat. I started having these thoughts after first moving in and slipped in the bath tub. I was not hurt, but what if I had been? I am not working right now, so no one expects me any where at any particular time, and my friends think nothing of NOT hearing from me for several days. So I decided to make note of my symptoms in the event something happened and no one found me for a few days.
This is what I wrote:
If anything weird should happen, today (7/02/09) I have been having pulsing pain around my right ear. Not like a headache or allergy/sinus. It is intermittent, not constant, and has grown worse as the day has passed. It makes me wince and the area of pain seems to be growing larger, surrounding the right ear area.
I am not trying to be dramatic. I am thinking about Eugene Satani. I did not know him in person and only have second hand knowledge, but I did live, for a time, in the house where he died. My understanding is that Mr. Satani was a violinist for the Houston Symphony Orchestra in the 1980’s. I do not know if he was still performing when he died, but what I do know is the morning after moving in, my grandfather’s fiddle, which was packed in a box in its case, was laying on the dining room table. I questioned everyone involved in the move and no one owned the "joke". My son was old enough for a prank of this magnitude, but he was freaked out. I, on the other hand, was fascinated. Was his ghost lingering? I put the fiddle back in the case and never had anything of the sort happen again in the two years we lived in this home. I did, on occasion, pour an extra glass of wine and leave it for him, more in tribute rather than a serious feeling of him lurking.
So why am I telling you about Mr. Satani? He died alone, in the upstairs bath tub, and was not found for several days. He had a dog. The dog got hungry. Need I say more?
So while this pain in my head is growing worse, I wrote my note and then sat down for a serious conversation with dawg-daughter, Remy. In all seriousness, I asked her to please not eat me if I die in The Flat. We went over how to open her food container and, in this instance only, she has my dying permission to stand at the dining room window and raise holy hell.
I finally ended up taking four Advil and by the time I went to sleep last night, the pain had subsided, but as I sit here typing, I have noticed its return. Very mild, but still a painful pulse that concerns me enough to make note of it should anything occur.
It makes me realize, while there are many advantages, there are certain hazards to living alone and I need a plan.
In defense of my Dawg Daughter, Remy DuBois, she had a tragic beginning. Having made this statement, I am going to reveal one of her disgusting habits. Drum roll, please . . . . . . . . she will eat (almost) anything. She will NOT eat her own, or other dog, poop, and she will NOT eat anything dead unless it reeks to high heaven. Having said this, let us reflect on our Monday morning walk at Cole Park.
One of the things I love about The Flat’s location is its’ proximity to the park. Cole Park is one of the nicest outdoor venues in Corpus Christi hosting an amphitheatre where during the summer we enjoy live music on Thursday nights and movies on Friday’s. There is a skate park, a playground, a fishing pier, picnic tables, bar-be-que pits, wide sidewalks to cycle or roller skate, or walk the dog, and best of all, Corpus Christ Bay. On those rare, crystal, “Sparkling City By The Sea” days, you can see Sandpiper and Seagull Condominiums on Mustang Island. The only danger in this adventure involves crossing Ocean Drive.
Remy and I do not walk there every day and, in her mind, it is a special occasion when she chooses that direction and I relent. During the summer, transients sleep in the park and if it is early, I would rather avoid the opportunity to rouse these non-tax payers and let them know the police are on the way. Officer Ed checks most mornings around 7:30 a.m. But Monday morning, the day after Father’s Day, we headed to the park with a spring in our step and looking forward to starting our day on the bay. Yeah, right. Our walk turned in to a mine field of chicken and rib bones, I kid you not. Everywhere, every foot, every turn, another bone.
It is near noon on Tuesday and I have been searching all morning long for positions suited to my skills. With each passing week, the situation is looking bleak. I am, above all things, an optimist, but my optimism is beginning to waver.
This morning when I checked to see if my Request for Payment through the Texas Workforce Commission had been deposited to my debit card, I did some quick calculations on my remaining funds and I must find work and quickly. President Obama, of you read this, if this post ends up in your Purple folder – could we discuss the aspect of extending my benefits due to the shell shock of the lay off and my depression. It has taken me a while to mentally and emotionally hitch my britches up. Like hundreds of thousands of my fellow Americans, I was not prepared to lose my job. I came out of an unwanted divorce the end of last July with a dog, furniture and a pickup truck. If not for my family, I am not sure where we would be right now and it is getting to the point of eyeing some of my treasures and wondering what they will fetch on eBay.
I know I need to revisit my local Workforce Solutions Center, but since the "registering for school" debacle, I have been very resistant. I know, you are thinking, "what ‘registering for school’ debacle”, right? I have been holding on to this story for way too long. Live and learn.
One of the requirements upon signing up for unemployment (this may only apply to Texas unemployment – not sure) you must attend an orientation at the "Solutions" center, which I dutifully did. During this orientation, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was presented and I fell under the "Dislocated Worker" category and, from all the information gleaned from the orientation, eligible for funding to return to school.
I must say, at some point, how dismayed I was when the presenter, who would become my counselor, took a personal cell phone call smack dab in the middle of the presentation to discuss lunch with his wife. There was a room full of the unemployed hanging on his every word and he takes a personal telephone call. He did it again during one of our one-on-one sessions – same scenario, his wife calling about his lunch. Cell phones in a professional setting are rude. Just plain rude. There is nothing more important during these meetings than ME, or YOU! Certainly not him! He has a job. A government funded position. My taxes . . . . blah, blah, blah.