Thursday, February 05, 2009


if this blog is good for anything, it’s good for keeping a tally of when i’m actually right about things. and right there in my Annual entry, immortalized in 10-point arial font is my prediction that 2009 will be a shitty year. granted, it’s not living-on-the-streets-in-a-cardboard-box-eating-out-of-trash-cans shitty, but allow me some creative license here and rest assured that each time i enter into woe-is-me mode i do remind myself that i could be stuck in Ukraine, growing a tail from the Chernobyl explosion.

despite the fact that i have no such gangly tail growing — which seems sorta cool the more i think about it — 2009 has started rough. admittedly, the roughness has hit others more than it has hit me, but because i am a sensitive soul who feels every discomfort in the universe, i’m bummed about it, too.

it all began when my mom got laid off from her job as a mechanical engineer. technically, it was a forced leave of absence (unpaid), so she may be rehired, though i think that’s doubtful considering her company has not invited back the first group that was forced out. needless to say, she’s been sad beyond sad, as she’s spent 15 years with her company, loving on her work and her colleagues. plus, my superstar mom was always the primary moneymaker for the family, so the elimination of her paycheck sucks harder than it would if my pops were laid off.

a week and a half later, my pops was laid off. shit squared. this was a surprise as his company still seemed busy while my mom’s had all but shut down operations. so now both mom and dad are out of work, just years shy of retiring, their savings eroded by last year’s market implosion, their hopes dashed for a comfortable retirement.

i visited them as soon as i found out, took them to lunch and helped with their resumes like a good daughter would have, all the while feeling guilty as shit for the money i owe them, money they could use right about now, money i cannot yet repay. to assuage my guilt, i brought them some food, some flowers and did all i could to cheer them up while they sat sullen, shocked and unamused. finally, i offered to give them all the money i had in my account, but they refused like the good parents they are, reminding me that their 40 years in the workplace has made their account slightly more robust than mine. “hang onto your cash, Meel,” my mom said as she clipped coupons at the kitchen table. “you might need it this year.”

two weeks later, my company had its own round of layoffs, which wasn’t a huge surprise as there were hints galore that cuts were on their way. the day of the layoff felt like an eight-hour funeral, with people huddled in corners, speaking in hushed tones, and wearing darker colors despite the 80-degree weather outside. the good news is that i escaped unscathed (this time), though 500 of my coworkers did not.

there were large meetings held, where the big cheeses sat at the head of a very long conference table, promising nothing about the future. i’ve already been told not to expect much of a raise this year, nor is the profit-sharing bonus my company doles out each June likely considering we made no profits last year.

sorry, Mom and Dad. that raise and bonus were earmarked for your pocket. i guess we’ll all be clipping coupons together at the kitchen table this year. sorry, laid-off coworkers. that totally sucks. i know i’m the lucky one in all this and i don’t take that fact for granted, not even for one second. and i still have hope for 2009. with 11 months to go, it has plenty of time to make up for the shit storm of the past five weeks.

(p.s. i’ve been hustling like a whore in church to find extra freelance work, so if anyone knows/needs help with proofreading/copyediting/copywriting, email me asap! reasonable rates! fast turnaround! references provided! thanks!)

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