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Some of you may have noticed that the content on my blog has been a little, well, fluffy the last few posts.  I think after the heaviness of all the bed bugs posts, I had to take refuge in a little silliness.  And, believe me, last week I really needed the silly to help me get through.  Life is just unrelenting sometimes, you know?   But in the interests of full (or somewhat full) disclosure, here are a few of the things going on right now.

First is the ongoing Saga Of The Bed Bugs, or The Five Million Uninvited Houseguests.  We are still working hard to get the house ready for the exterminator, but it has been slower going than I would like.  Last week, in particular, was spectacularly unproductive.  It’s a long, arduous process, and all of us are getting tired.  We have our extermination date set for next Monday, and hopefully we’ll have everything ready by then.  But sometimes it seems never ending – no matter how much stuff you process or bag or whatever, there’s always more to do.  And then there’s the psychological effect of feeling jumpy everywhere in your own home.  The only place I’m absolutely sure doesn’t have bugs is my bed (since it has been thoroughly isolated), and even then I compulsively check every nook and cranny of the bedclothes every night before I get in.

Second is the ongoing badness of my job situation.  My job itself isn’t’ bad – it isn’t particularly challenging or interesting, but it’s a good job doing work that needs to be done, and I’m quite good at it.  My boss and my boss’s boss both like me very much, and would like to employ me full time, but the funding just isn’t there.  Our division is shrinking, not growing, and because of various factors, this is not likely to change any time soon.  Our Big Boss has taken a particular interest in my case, and has made various efforts to find me more hours in other divisions, but although one or another arrangement seemed very promising, nothing ever came of it.

The most recent attempt was an arrangement with another Division Head that when their part time clerical worker moved on this August, I would be hired to take her place.  With the two part time jobs, I would have full time work for the first time in two years.  This would not only maybe give me enough to really pay my bills, but also I would get benefits (let’s not think about how long it’s been since I had, say, health insurance).  Week before last I found out through indirect channels that this wasn’t going to happen after all.  The other worker I was to replace had decided not to leave, and so they had decided to just drop the arrangement with me without, apparently, bothering to let me know.  If I hadn’t sent a friend to investigate on my behalf, they never would have troubled themselves to inform me that I wasn’t going to get the hours after all.

Frankly, I can’t blame them for keeping the other worker on.  I do wish they’d been honest with me.  It’s also true it was never my dream to be a secretary.  However, since my dreams have pretty much universally not worked out, getting a regular paycheck and being able to pay my debts would be nice.  I had been more and more counting on that extra income – it  would have made so many things so much easier.  To lose that was a big blow.  Plus, as this was the fourth or fifth thing that has fallen through at this company, I am becoming more and more convinced that things are never going to work out for me here.

And then today I found out that I am running out of hours.  You see, the way my job is currently written up, I’m hired to work 20 hours a week, or no more than 1000 hours/year.  If you divide that up, you’ll see that’s two weeks short of a full year’s worth of hours.  When the job was written that way we expected that we’d be able to find me full time work before those hours were exhausted, my status would change, and it wouldn’t be an issue.  However, that hasn’t happened, and in the meantime I’ve been picking up extra hours wherever I could find them.  Today my boss told me that she’d added up the hours I’ve worked so far this year, and it looks like, if I don’t pick up any more extra hours between now and then, I’ll run out of hours to work right about Thanksgiving.  So I’ve basically got between now and Thanksgiving to either get my employment status changed to allow me to keep working, or find another job.  If I don’t, then I’ll be pretty much laid off from then until January 1, when the clock starts over and I can start working again.

The problem is that there just aren’t many jobs out there.  I’m on three or four mailing lists of job postings, and I’ve been applying for whatever I could find that looked even a little bit likely, usually one or two jobs a week.  That’s a lot of applications, and yet I haven’t gotten an interview since last October.  I found out that there had been eighty applications for one of the jobs I went for.  It gets to be deeply discouraging sending application after application out into the void, and not getting any response back.  Still, I’ve been stepping up my efforts.   I decided that I’m going to apply for at least one job every day for the next month, and see where that gets me.  So far it hasn’t gotten me anything, but we’ll see.

The third thing I’m worried about is my father’s health.  His health had been declining for a while, but about a year after my brother’s death he suffered a major nervous breakdown.  For a while things were so bad that I wasn’t sure that he would survive it.  But little by little we were able to get him the medical help he needed, and he’s been slowly creeping back towards health.  It’s progress by infinitesimal degrees, and I don’t think he’ll ever again be quite the man he was, but it’s definitely progress.

One of the big changes is that the way my dad walks and moves is totally different.  He moves very slowly and carefully now, as if he might break apart at a jolt, or as if every motion is painful.  Lately, however, he’s started stumbling over things, and falling.  Last week he fell three times, including once on the pavement downtown.  He wasn’t able to catch himself at all, and landed pretty much on his face.  He was pretty scraped up, and had a massive nosebleed (mom said there was a puddle on the sidewalk).  When he saw the doctor, they said that he’d torn a bunch of the cartilage in his nose.  The doctor is concerned that these falls may be a sign of something more serious (he mentioned the possibility of Parkinsons), so Dad will be going in for a CAT scan soon.  I’ve been concerned about my parents’ health for some time (Mom’s health isn’t very good either – she had her second heart catheterization this Spring – and all these Big Events this year are hard on them), but this makes it even more of a concern.  Some of it is the inevitable fact that they are aging, but there’s more to it than that, and it worries me.

And then, just to put the cherry on the top of everything, my car stopped working.  Again.  I don’t know what’s wrong with it.  I asked Rosie to take a look at it, but she’s been busy and hasn’t yet.  There’s are a few things I want to try before I give up, but I don’t know much about cars, and as usual, I can’t afford to pay a repairman.  Money was tight anyway, and then came the bed bugs, and what illusory give there was vanished completely.  So I don’t know how or when I’m going to be able to get it fixed.  So far I’ve been able to make do with catching the bus and sometimes borrowing one of Mom & Dad’s vehicles, but that doesn’t always work, and paying $4 a day to take the bus back and forth to work is frustrating when I know it would cost less than $1 in gas if I could just use my car.

Oh, and the economy has now officially gone so far beyond “in the toilet” that I think they’d have to dig up the whole sewage system to find it.

I used to think that if I could just hold on long enough, things were bound to get better.  However, I’ve been holding on for an awfully long time, and so far things have not gotten better.  In fact, in several ways they’ve gotten worse.  I have always believed that God has a plan for my life, and that His will is being done.  Still, I don’t think that necessarily means that things are going to get any easier.  I mean, anyone who’s studied the lives of the Saints knows that the paths God chooses for them to get to heaven are rarely easy.  A happy ending, from God’s perspective, involves living with him forever in heaven, not necessarily the things you have to go through to get there.  While I devoutly hope to praise Him forever with all the angels and saints, I do wish that perhaps He might have a little mercy on me, and make the path to that happy end a little, well, easier to take.

But don’t worry, dears.  Here ends my melancholy.  Tomorrow is another day, with fun things in store.  Wednesday I have a special treat for you, and then next week hopefully I’ll be able to share something dreadfully exciting.  So keep coming back, and I’ll let you know how it all turns out.