There a lot of malaise in my attitude lately.
It’s February. It’s cold. The house is cold. The thing leaks like the threadbare sweater (we have no insulation). That’s why in the old castles, they hung tapestries on the walls, to block the wind and the chill. Books work good. Having a good floor-to-ceiling bookcase that’s filled is almost like insulation. Thinking of that makes me want to start rearranging everything in the house, but I neither have the time nor the inclination.
I’m filling my winter, working part time at the mountain doing chairlifts. Very part time. When the snow season ends I have another, very enjoyable part time job that starts up in March. It’s museum work that uses many of my skills (read: uncredited college skills) that wouldn’t get used at a warehouse or carpentry job. Research & Study. Woodworking. History. Storytelling. And I love the job, but I’ll have to supplement it somehow, possibly with freelance work.
Unemployment is still my mainstay. When I called to give my weekly job report a couple of weeks ago, the voice told me my benefits had run out and the nice, recorded lady gave me a number to call. I called, waited on hold for 25 minutes and finally got a fellow who took me through the process. I was irritated at the wait, but I always know it isn’t this guys fault. “Be polite,” I tell myself; a person could be living in his shoes.
“You guys must be slamming.”
“Yeah, well, we have seven phone lines here and they each have a hundred people on hold. At any time of the day there are seven hundred people waiting.”
Now I don’t feel so bad. He was great, told me that all I needed to do was call next week like normal and everything would be up and running. Only that didn’t happen [feign surprise]. When I called in my weekly report I heard the same message. I knew what was happening, but called Boston anyway. Too many people had gotten their extensions at the same time and that put the computer system under stress. Things were going to take a bit longer and I’d have my check two days later than normal. That I can live with. With times being tough, the Feds and Mass State are as accommodating as they can be. There’s even a $25 addition tacked on my weekly check from the Feds. It’s my own little part of the massive federal bail out.
And it’s tax time. Last week I received my 1099G from the Massachusetts State Division of Unemployment Development. You know, when you sign up you might think… “well, I don’t need to have the taxes taken out. I’ll be working by tax time and I really need the money.” But really, you should. I haven’t done my taxes yet (1040EZ should take care of it) but I know I’m going to have a bill. And not just a little bill. I made Far more money on unemployment than I did at my two part time jobs.
They say that things are beginning to work, the economy is coming up slowly, unemployment is down a smidge, but businesses aren’t hiring just yet, and… oops! This week, fears of overly high deficeits in Europe put a damper on all the markets and the Dow gave up over two hundred points, now hovering scarcely above that ‘magical’ 10,000 mark. Double dip, anyone? It’s good for an ice cream cone, but I’m thinking it’s bad for an economy.