Thursday, April 3, 2014

on Faith in the Big Picture, Part Two

We did everything we were "supposed" to do - funeral home (planning), funeral itself, meeting with lawyers, consoling other family, etc.  We had thought that we were moving to NC to help his dad survive and then get back on his feet with his handyman business.  Stephen's dad was The. Best. Wallpaperer/Painter.  And he wasn't half-bad at Handymanning.  So Stephen was supposed to learn.  From The. Best. and then eventually (probably) take over the "family business."  I was going to get hired on at the newest Trader Joe's, which had opened the same weekend we left LA, so we'd once again have money in the bank and money in the pockets.  Everything's supposed to be cheaper in North Carolina, so we weren't going to worry too much about our finances.  We were where we were supposed to be, so with that faith, we'd be okay.

But Stephen's dad died, so there was no mentoring in the Handyman Business.  I did get hired on at Trader Joe's, and my income was sufficient for a good long while.  So Stephen stayed home to write.  He and the partner would email pages or call or text, and as long as we kept an eye on the phone minutes, it seemed to be working pretty well.  But the family who needed our support pretty much stopped needing our support.  And items that should clearly have been designated as inheritance for Stephen and his siblings got conveniently sold by his stepmom's brother.  We don't begrudge her; she should have the cash flow that her husband had cryptically promised her.  What bugs us is that her brother stepped in where he shouldn't have; he did no research on where to get "the most" buck for his bang; he was just being an alpha male where he needn't have been.

Somewhere along the line, my income stopped providing for everything, and we started arguing again.  Stephen put out serious feelers and applications (he'd been busy writing for six months, and making real progress, so prior to this point, his "feelers and applications" had been less-than-serious).  Within a month, he got hired at Sam's Club.  His job was only about five miles from mine, and since we were already 25 miles away from both, we carpooled as much as possible.  Our situation improved, and we started apartment hunting closer to work.  Then we started HOUSE hunting closer to work.  My Daddy had already indicated that he'd co-sign a homeowner's application if we needed him to.  Both of our jobs were great; no one at this end of the world needed us; Stephen was still able to write.  Then I lost my job, through no fault of my own, but I was FIRED.

So I had to reapply for unemployment.  I had a pretty fat bank from my last Scripty gig in California, so I filed through CA first.  I started an NC application, but with my last job being a termination rather than a layoff, I saw little hope of collecting.  And then I spoke with someone in that office (Department of Social Services) and discovered that having two open UI claims is UNLAWFUL.  Like, it's a CRIME.  Punishable by IMPRISONMENT or some other such nonsense.  I closed that claim toot-suite and pursued California.  It looked like all the ducks were in a row, and they kept sending me claim forms, so I kept sending them in.  But the money - where was the money?  Ah, I got caught up in the "it's-been-thirty-years-so-we're-overhauling-the-system-so-your-funds-may-be-delayed" debacle, only to discover that I'd be getting a phone interview while I was visiting my Daddy in Florida for Thanksgiving.  Seems "fired" is not a good reason anywhere.

Had the phone interview.  Got an email THAT NIGHT saying that my funds were being transferred from the debit card into my account.  Two days later, my account was FLOODED with funds (it had been eight weeks' worth of $D'Oh! they'd been holding).  Life is good again!  Stephen had T-Day off work, but had to work the rest of the week, so he hadn't joined us in Florida.  I and my SIL did the meal, and by that night, only my Daddy and his brother were still well.  We figured out it wasn't food poisoning; it was probably a daycare bug my 1-year old niece brought with her in the minivan on the drive down.  Lovely child.  She really is, and I love her to pieces.  I just don't love her playmates.

Back home; Stephen's been published by now and is working on the next book; I'm collecting UI and trying to figure out where to work next.  I'm only obligated to put in two applications each week, so I'm being selective.  I had LOVED my TJ's job.  There was not a point in staying in NC anymore, really, so I shouldn't apply for anything long-term that I'd end up hating.  And all this time, we had thought that the film industry was supposed to be booming here, so I'd tried for various gigs when I had the time.  It IS booming here, to a degree, but I'm not networked in.  My entire network is LA-based.  And this is a right-to-work state, so I'll never make a real wage in that industry.  Not here.

So now what?

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