Well. I haven't written in a good long while, and I suppose it's high time I changed this. Since last anyone heard of me (outside of either RL, SL or maybe Facebook), I've semi-voluntarily left the military, spent two months unemployed, and been hired again.
Technically, I had authorization to re-enlist in the Navy, but I opted not to. Thanks to my knees being all munted, I'd just have been given the old heave-ho six months to a year later, as the semi-annual fitness tests rolled around. While I suppose I could have found a way to parlay that into getting a sizable severance payout, I don't think it would have been worth the cost to my sanity. I've been through administrative separation processing before. They spend a lot of time waving nebulous and hard to substantiate threats around, like "if we classify this as a general discharge, you'll be considered a convicted felon despite never having been convicted of a felony". This one is bullshit, as far as I can tell, but let me tell you, if there's even the faintest shred of a thought that these threats might have some veracity to them, that can lead to stress that I just don't want to deal with.
So, up and out I went. Somehow, in all this arglebargle and folderol, they've mislaid my medical record, so I'm now having to jump through hoops to get the paperwork needed to file my VA disability claim. Mind you, my future's not precisely hinging on that determination, but every little bit helps. Besides, this kind of delay is pretty much exactly what I might have predicted - Finagle's Law, and all that flafadoo.
Being unemployed sucks. I mean, not at first, but once you see the bills, and the dwindling account balance, and go "umm, just how the fuck am I going to pay for this?", it starts to grate. I can't quite imagine how the folks who've been unemployed for five, six, ten months or even longer are hacking it. I'd have been in some serious cow dookie if I'd had to spend one more month out of work.
This did underscore to me, in painful terms, just how heinously, utterly buggered my personal financial state is, though. Without giving too much detail, my credit is badly dinged, my cards are maxed out, and I'm not tracking my money nearly closely enough. This is going to change. December is the turning point, and after January, no more fucking debt. I'll make an allowance for a mortgage - I don't want to rent forever, and putting 100% down for a nice house is a damn hard thing to save up for - but no more cards, no more car loans, no more installment plans. I'm paying cash from here on out. I'm putting a couple of kilobucks between Murphy and me, and I'm done living from paycheck to paycheck, relying on credit cards when I fuck up the numbers. I've drawn a line in the sand, and that's fucking that. No more.
When I got out of the Navy, I was making (very roughly) 60k/year, and yet, somehow, I was poor. Every nickel I made, I spent - and while I had some stuff, when I looked around me, I couldn't really see that I had anything to show for it. A shitty little car, a rented house, a pile of random kit, some mediocre clothes, and that's about it. Somehow, I was making enough money to be middle-class and fairly financially secure, and yet I was just one catastrophic automotive failure away from eviction. How the fuck did this happen? After I got out, I had to sell practically all the old, interesting computer stuff I'd collected just to pay the bills, and it /barely/ cut the mustard. That was the impetus that led me to say "no more". Right about the time I'd resolved to make the change, I got a call back for an interview. Less than an hour after my interview, while I was still driving home, the company called to say that they'd made a decision and wanted me to start the next week. Needless to say, I accepted. Sometimes I think the Goddess lights a path for us, once we're resolved to follow it.
So, armed with a new job, a raise, and determination to stop shooting myself in the foot, I'm forging forward. I'm fired up, because I'm fed up with being poor for no adequately defensible reason. Because it's my life, goddamn it, and I'm going to control it. Not some fuckety-skunkelwash piece of plastic.