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Oh, LJ. How I love you. You make me feel that I am still flexing my creative muscles. You make me hopeful for the future of the written word. You make me see how big and how small the world is, all at once. However, you are also a tasty distraction from certain realities, and I've tried to relegate you to the status of being my reward for a real life job well done. I've had mixed success with that. There has been so much real life lately, that I wonder if the job will ever be done, well or otherwise. Silly question. Of course it won't. Still, I feel I should let y'all know what's happening, so that I can check something off my to-do list.

I've joined the pink slip revolution.

It's not a particularly lonely revolution to be part of, let me tell you. My Best Friend From College (BFFC) was laid off in November, as were
a ton of our compatriots, all journalists. I've been working for the same outfit for 22 years, as a 3/4-time telecommuter since McDiva was born. This past fall was a surprisingly profitable period for the whole company, and my division in particular, so in December it all seemed pretty copacetic. Come January, the bottom dropped out, and it hasn't really stopped dropping. My company had to lay off one third of the people in our (already small) department at the end of February. I was lucky enough to get a bonus prize with my layoff: I've been transformed into a vendor, at a vastly higher hourly rate than I received previously. There's no guarantee that my clients will serve up enough work, though. Nobody else got even that much of a soft landing, so I'm truly grateful. My exit interview consisted largely of me consoling those left behind, who are totally freaked out, and kept mentioning that they could feel the bullseye on their backs, that I was lucky to get out now, and a whole raft of other ghastly sotto voce terrors. It was all very surreal. However, I stopped by the Ghirardelli factory store across the street afterward, and picked up enough superb discount chocolate to calm myself for weeks! (ETA: It lasted for 2 weeks, which was pretty dang good. I shared, too!)

Since the word came down, I've hosted troublesome relatives, in town for the memorial of my last grandparent. I just can't understand going to a place, and broadcasting your disrespect for the values of that place. I don't go to their home and start talking about how distasteful I find the rampant racism, homophobia, general paranoia, and corrupt elected officials in their corner of the world. I refuse to contribute to the divisiveness, and I don't laugh at the not-funny jokes, but I don't come in with guns blazing, because, hey, we're all flawed and I try to look for the good. So, why is it so hard to return the favor, in reverse? Don't even bother trying to answer that, LJ. It is what it is...

I've also been running around like a crazy mama, trying to get MiAmor, McDiva, and myself all checked out, from teeth to toes, just in case the COBRA premiums become too arduous. Which, thanks to Mr. President, Sir's economic stimulus plan, may not happen right away. Thank you, Mr. President, Sir (and all your advisors), for helping out us non-working families by picking up part of the tab for health insurance for the recently involuntarily unemployed! I had no idea this subsidy was going to happen, so it was new glasses, new fillings, and brand spankin' new colonoscopys for everyone, while we still had coverage!
It's been a hell of a party around here! McDiva's braces are newly paid off, and everybody has as clean a bill of health as can be expected, for which I am even more grateful (to our respective gene pools, I guess) than I am to Mr. President, Sir. And believe me, I'm plenty grateful to him! I knew I liked him. I told everyone. Ask anybody. I thought they were going to tell him, and it was so embarassing. "Mr. President, Sir, Rebcake likes you." Was my face red!

I say we are a non-working family, which isn't entirely accurate. Or, even slightly accurate. I'm newly self-employed, and there has been work. Almost enough, even. MiAmor has been self-employed for 8 years now, and while business has had a few dips, he's still keeping plenty busy. Plus, I'm the PTA prez at McDiva's middle school, to which I've been able to give a bit more time lately. I've been dealing with tax preparation, spending hours on hold with the unemployment office (so inpenetrable, if you have a question that's not on their FAQ page), and setting up my fledgling business. Once I get my resume together, it'll be serious job-hunting time, though! I know, I know. Always keep a resume handy, up-to-date and ready to go. We'll I'd worked for my employer for 22 years! My resume writing project has turned into an archeological dig! I'm almost there, though.

All that said, I'm definitely enjoying a bit of the kind of life that I rarely did while employed. For instance, the day after my exit interview, MiAmor and I went to the first showing of The Watchmen. Bargain matinee! No babysitting charges, 'cos McDiva was at school! See? Thrifty! Then BFFC came in from SoCal for a quickie job interview a couple of weeks back and we got to stay up really late! Then, it turns out we're all invited to a wedding this weekend, so she figured she might as well come for the whole week! Whew! I've had such a blast that I might be pretty tapped out at the wedding. Yummy cheeses, delicious wines made by old classmates (she knows these things), fun little local restaurants that I never go to unless I have out-of-town visitors. Mani/pedis all around! Cocktails! Museum strolls, monument appreciation. Shopping. This last is a recreation BFFC enjoys, but I just carry the bags back to the house, so she can keep at it. I think she helped the local merchants out more in a couple of days than I do all year. I'll take credit though, because I brought her here. She just left to rendezvous with her husband at a hotel downtown for the rest of her stay. *sigh* It was quite refreshing, having a gal pal around for hours and days of gal pal recreation. MiAmor says he's glad we got the chance to decompress like that, but it's probably a good thing that BFFC lives at the other end of the state. Heh. I'm going down to her place in a couple of weeks. Spring break has taken on a whole different complexion this year!

That's the gist. I lied, a little. I do have a smidge of fic news, though no actual fic. My story Tipperary was nominated for a Shades of Grey Award! I'm so honored that someone thought enough of it to nom it! Since I started writing, less than a year ago, my stories have won 4 awards over at still_grrr, and I have 3 stories nominated for Fang Fetish Awards. Now this! It's pretty gratifying to get such positive recognition. I'm encouraged! Which is good, because I have my seasonal_spuffy posting day assigned, and that's the sort of community where you really need to bring your "A" game. That said, since my seasonal_sd story, I've only posted one drabble (on open_on_sunday)! But I did change my page layout, so all the stories are listed in the sidebar, in the order that they happened in the 'verse. Thanks for the pointers, mere_ubu! I promise I'll put more fic out, once I get the #$%@ resume done, and have got into the rhythm of self-employment. Any day now.

Oh yeah, and Battlestar Galactica is now over. *sob* I personally think they could have condensed the last season a bit, and it would have been more exciting, but I'm still glad I've been able to see this amazing show. BTW, Dollhouse really rocked it tonight! Finally, they brought the funny, along with the creepy. It was the only thing missing, and now it's here! Hallelujah!

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
petzipellepingo
Mar. 21st, 2009 09:14 am (UTC)
Congratulations on the nomination, finding new work and generally having a good time. So many flist members are so miserable these days.
rebcake
Mar. 24th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's definitely a roller coaster these days, for everybody. I try to really savor those "weightless" moments.
snickfic
Mar. 21st, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
Good luck with getting re-oriented post-pink slip. I'm right there with you on the job hunt thing, although in my case it's a matter of graduating from college at exactly the wrong time.

And yay to nominations and upcoming fic! I'll see you at seasonal_spuffy. :)
rebcake
Mar. 24th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
Yah, it's not a good time to just be starting out. Or starting over. I'm a bit of a cockeyed optimist, so I keep thinking that great things will come of all the turmoil. Things like smaller footprints, less material expectations, and greater emotional connection. Doesn't make it any easier if you're struggling, though.

Thanks for the support. Back atcha!
mere_ubu
Mar. 22nd, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
Aw, I'm so sorry to hear about the pink slip blues. I'm very glad to that you've got other (albeit less stable) options! Seems like almost everyone I know is either in the middle of looking for new work or waiting for the hammer to fall. Here's hoping that Mr. President, Sir is eventually able to turn the nation's economic frown upside down.

Your whirlwind visit with the BFFC sounds a lot like my trip to see philips. Z. was absolutely entranced with her. Every little girl should have a fabulous French friend to fuss over her. :)

Congrats on your well-deserved noms. Your new sidebar links look lovely, and I hope to check out the few I've missed soon. *crosses fingers for slow work days* And update my freakin' LJ! Lordy.
rebcake
Mar. 24th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Well, golly! Sometimes a gal has to keep chugging along in troubled times, making yummy citron presse with her loved ones. Actually, that's a good idea, regardless of circumstances. I'm keeping my fingers crossed (when not typing) for improved economic health all around. And lots of togetherness in the meantime and thereafter.

I'm so pleased that Z got to do DC French-style! Among other things, it'll give her a leg up when it's time to read de Tocqueville! I'm hoping we can manage it next year, to supplement the 8th grade civics curriculum. And doesn't that just suck the fun right out of the whole endeavor?

Thanks for checking in!
ssddgr
Mar. 24th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
Congrats for the nominations!!!

Being self-employed isn't bad at all. I wish you the best of luck and I'll be sending positive thoughts!

*pats your head* I wish I could mean it when I say I'm sorry BSG ended, but it felt like I had to fight with it for my fiancee's time sometimes, so I'll say I'm sorry you'll miss it :P
rebcake
Mar. 24th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
I'd been looking for a way turn my work into self-employment, I admit. I just hope I didn't completely miss the big earning years! Thanks for the good wishes.

Oh, I won't miss BSG. It did its thing, I loved it, but it's over. It doesn't have the same extended life for me that Buffy does. And, if it hadn't been a family affair, I might not have gone whole hog. But yeah, Friday night is looking so beautifully flexible at the moment!
louise39
Mar. 25th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)

Congratulations! And glad you have such a positive attitude.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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