So I’m Helpful for a little While

there was a bit of a smackdown over who was going to handle a fundraiser: me, or an accountant acquaintance.

the deal is, a friend of ours got breast cancer, and having a double mastectomy didn’t get it all. she made the saddest thing ever: Jen’s Chemo Wishlist, and Jen’s Chemo Wishlist for Fun on Amazon. the first is obvs the serious one, the perversely described “Chemo for Fun” had things like baking accessories for her Kitchenaid mixer, books, a CD.

Cy, a friend of all ours, organized a group of people who could be in touch and help her out by making donations and have the donation coordinator buy things off her lists. after all the money was in, a donation to her to help cover expenses with what was left would be made to her.

so the smackdown, as it were, to help Jen was whose PayPal account would we use to centralize all this and whose Amazon account had Prime shipping to get it all to her cheaply? i had both so had been offering from the beginning, saying that unemployment gave me time. the accountant popped up and argued “hellooooo i’m an accountant!”

in this Save Jen group, my name popped up first, so instantly money came pouring in. the accountant seemed disappointed. you know, i’m just gonna say it, this accountant loves being the center of attention. i took a jab at her. after i ‘won’ the ‘competition’ (snort), i asked her, “have you talked to Jen lately, is there anything else she wants?” accountant admitted she doesn’t really talk to Jen, so no, she didn’t know. neener, i knew things she wanted but forgot to put on the list! so, yeah, i think i ‘won.’

but after getting that petty poison out, the point is this: i feel useful. unemployment is a literally disenfranchising thing, and it’s left me feeling sort of anchorless. sure i have tons of things to do for my medical health–the whole point of quitting my job–but it’s not like i’m doing anything that serves a direct purpose i’m accountable to someone else for.

Jen’s Chemo Wish has given me determination. i am actually doing something that improves the life of someone else. i’m so happy to check my email and my PayPal and my Amazon to see what’s going on. so far we’ve gotten enough donations to fill all her Amazon dreams and more. we’re going to help her with her yoga studio fees.

i really hope Jen is the last of my friends to get cancer for a long, long time, and i really hope the chemo knocks her cancer out, but, in the meantime, i’m so glad i have a purpose. thanks for letting me be your friend, Jen.

Need Versus Want

i made an intensely massive discovery Saturday: there is a difference between ‘need’ and ‘want.’

it was totally weird. i have never had to make the choice before between ground beef and watercolor brushes before.

husband blames me for being spoiled, saying i never had to live on my own before, but isn’t that a blessing? it’s true i’ve always had either credit cards or a family member or husband to bail me out if shit got so tight i was gonna go in the red. it’s really “my fault” for being taken care of in a safe environment?

guess what husband, your dream came true. no longer are there paychecks for new shoes. no longer is there dual income to get that dreamy black eyeliner. hell i can’t even *think* of travel!

i get a $500 a month stipend. i have no. idea. how i’m going to make that work. that’s some insane shit for princess $1K a month.

need. i went to Jo-ann’s Fabrics to but something i “needed” to finish a project. but here’s something i like, and oh i could make a really cute dress out of this, omg! owls! score! headband!!!

at the cutting table i sobered up a little, and i put three things back. i ended up with three shortish lengths of ‘need’ fabric, two zippers (need), and then wanted: two long lengths for potential dresses and 2 short lengths for headbands. the cost was ridiculous compared to the fact that this was my last paycheck.

i came home desperately confused. need… want? what is ‘need,’ and what is ‘want.’

from now on i’ll need an extra sharp razor made from my check book’s paper cuts to peel away those layers, look at the purchase, and say to it: “can i live without you?” and answer all the ways i can survive without the owls.

Shit Just Got Real

i’ve been officially unemployed since June 30, don’t remember if i ever said that was my separation date. well, we’re separated. me and work broke up after a long-term relationship. chances are slim we’ll be making up and getting back together.

it’s ok though, it was a mutual understanding, but, it’s just, well, work changed the locks after i left *really* fast. i didn’t get all my personal digital files because it turned out i needed a lot more room than my flash drive–like portable hard drive size.

when i came back two days later, late in the afternoon, everyone was packing up to go home for shortened summer hours. it was just me and my old computer.

that was when i found out. i was really moved out. no matter what i did, i couldn’t log on to the place where i had my files stored. i could log onto my same computer, i could log onto my same email, but wow, ZERO server access. and that’s the moment shit just got real.

my head was all swishy and swimmy like when you get a lot of water in your ears swimming. i didn’t feel attached to the earth, and my eyes stung. i made it home to husband and started scream crying “it won’t let me in they already locked me out they must have been waiting to pounce on my account at the moment i walked out the door husband i’m unemployed husband i don’t work there anyyymorrre!!!”

he said, “you knew this was coming; this is what you wanted.” (he’ logistically supportive but not very often emotionally so.)

i cried and cried, despite, yeah, i probably should have expected to get bounced out of encrypted information.

after i got myself together and quit crying, i paced around the house saying, “I’m. Unemployed. Shit is real: I’m. Unemployed.”

yeah, so, i’m really unemployed. holy fuck.