Mon., Aug 8: First, TBIM – Too Bad It’s Monday! Although you employed folk should be saying TGIE – Thanks God I’m Employed!
Most people facing long-term unemployment eventually reach a housing crisis, when the unemployment benefits run out and the savings, or retirement account, is emptied. Whether you are the sole provider of a family, or you are your own sole means of support, it’s a scary situation. I fall into the latter – a single gal. Most of my life I’ve been a renter. In my 20s, I seemed to move almost every year, as roommates got married or moved away. I lived in the Washington DC area for eight years, during which I lived in just two different apartments. When I turned 40, and Mr. Wonderful hadn’t yet yielded his handsome face, I bought a house! Nothing fancy. A two-bedroom, two-story house with an unfinished basement, a wood burning fireplace, a small yard and a nice deck in the back. A few years later I sold the house when I found a job too far away to commute back and forth.
Since then I’ve been renting again. I currently live in a two-bedroom apartment, which I rented when I moved back from Wisconsin. I didn’t have a job when I moved in, but felt certain I would be employed in a short time. I never dreamed in a million years that all this time later I would still be jobless! Never! So I here I am – unemployment benefits depleted. Down to my last dollars. What to do?
Maybe move in with a friend or relative? Excellent idea. However, there is one, well really two problems. It’s not that I smoke, and I’m fairly well-behaved. I don’t think I’m super messy. I try to pick up after myself, particularly in someone else’s house. I don’t have a loud obnoxious boyfriend, like my neighbor – well she’s loud too, but that’s another story. I don’t have any bratty kids. So here it is. Are you sitting down?! I have – are you ready – cats! Yes multiple cats, as in two. Of course I love Jenny and Cinder, but most people are put off by them. I don’t really understand it. They’re just tiny little creatures, not really even as big as newborn baby, and not nearly as noisy. They are quiet little critters. They mostly sleep away the day, and the night for that matter. They are generally tidy, low-cost, not finicky eaters. They are fastidious users of their litter box, so you don’t have to worry about them leaving the toilet seat up or forgetting to flush. Mine don’t scratch your furniture. They’ve been well-trained to use their scratching posts. So what is the problem? I just don’t get it!
I’ve had enthusiastic phone conversations with friends about being roomies! Yes – let’s do it! We can have late night, girl talk gab fests, order pizza and watch chick flicks! And then I say “Oh by the way, remember I have cats!” Stone cold silence on the other end of the phone. “Oh” the friend replies in a dejected tone. “Well I’m allergic. Can’t you find somewhere else for them to live?” What? Why is it that these non-cat lovers think the kitties are disposable? What am I supposed to do – just dump them off at a pet shelter? Wave goodbye and yell “Sorry kitties – mean friend Frieda is allergic! Have a nice life!”
Earlier this summer, a good friend and I were lamenting my housing dilemma, when she remembered a recent conversation with a customer, who had talked about this fabulous house she lived in with roommates at a very reasonable cost. I’ll look into it my friend said. Great, I thought, things are looking up. So then began a series of emails regarding this potential housing situation. The customer said to live in the house all you have to do is follow our path. Uh oh. A path? As in a religious path. Or maybe cultish path. This is not sounding good. And yes indeed, it turned out this housing was for people who followed this particular “path.”Oh well. They probably wouldn’t have like the cats either, or would have offered them up as a sacrifice in the middle of the night.
There’s always a shopping cart. Quite a few homeless folks live out of them in downtown DC. Yes, lots of homeless people in our nation’s capital. I worked there for five years – just blocks from the White House. When the weather was nice, my co-workers and I would head to many of the nearby parks for some alfresco lunch dining. Often it was hard to find a bench to sit on, because some homeless person had parked their cart for a mid-day snooze on the bench!
Last last spring, someone left a shopping cart out by the dumpster in my apartment complex. It sat there for a couple of days – unusual in this well-maintained community. It made me nervous. Was it a sign? Should I grab this cart and haul it up to my apartment and stow it away just in case! Maybe it was ditched by some terminally unemployed person who finally found a job! Maybe it would bring me luck before I had to use it as a home!
But not to worry! The kit cats and I will be just fine. I’m sure of it!
Lisa, Professional and Talented Job Seeker