Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and here are the things I am thankful for:
- Good friends.
- Modern dentistry.
- Good movies.
- Good food.
- That my recent job loss is giving me time to complete a bunch of projects (novel, stories, and home repairs) that were hugely stressing me out.
At a recent dental checkup, I found out I cracked a molar (likely due to clenching my teeth during stress dreams, but it was a tooth with two different fillings in it and a crack was probably inevitable over time). On 11/10, I got a temporary crown put on. I was extremely nervous during the procedure and had a bit of a panic attack early on but I focused on keeping my head very still and everything worked out fine. I go back for the permanent crown next week. Hopefully I will be a lot calmer in the chair next time.
On 11/14, I went to my day job and soon after found out I was being ejected from the employment cannon. Canned. Let go. Released back into the wild. This was not a surprise; I'd been stressing about impending job loss for over a year. Some job losses catch you completely off guard but this one was like watching a dark rider trot inexorably toward you over the vast expanse of a salt flat. While I had natural reactions of dismay -- loss of income and health insurance are difficult -- but I also felt a giddy sense of relief that finally the waiting was over. I mildly regretted that I didn't drop the hammer myself and resigned a few weeks before, but I'd hoped to hang on through the holidays.
They didn't let me go back to my desk to even get my purse; my supervisor gathered my immediate belongings, and the HR lady packed up the rest of my stuff and I returned to their offices a couple of days later to retrieve it. Because I knew this was coming, I had taken home what I thought was most of my stuff already, but I had a surprising amount left. One accrues a bit of stuff at one's desk after nearly four years at a place. A sentence I said to the HR lady: "Did you get my monkeys?" (She did.)
I have health insurance coverage until the end of the month, and am eligible for bracingly expensive COBRA after that. Health insurance is a challenge for us, as it is for many. My husband has has a chronic pain condition (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) for over a decade, and he recently lost most of the use of his left arm due to a bone spur that is compressing nerves in his neck. He needs surgery, and in the meantime he has been severely depressed and in a lot of uncontrollable pain. This has been hell for him and difficult for me; the pain has largely taken my marriage away because my husband doesn't even have the energy for conversation most of the time. I am thankful for friends who have helped with the caregiving load.
The holidays are historically difficult for me at the best of times. I am doing my very best to stay positive and productive. The irony here is that I have had a lot of work to do since I became unemployed: I have an overdue novel and several short stories to write, writing coaching, and house repairs to attend to, etc. I don't lack for work; I lack for income. I'm hopeful that if I keep plugging away and keep working that I'll find a remedy for this, too.
But for today, I and some friends are gathering at another friend's house and we're gonna eat a lot of turkey and watch Mystery Science Theatre. And I'll be thankful for what I have.
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it!