Tuesday, November 18, 2014

the universal feelings of being unemployed

It was around 2 yesterday afternoon when it hit me. A wave of "Oh, thank God, I'm not the only one!" swept over me.

I was sprawled out on the couch, still in my pajamas, hadn't brushed my teeth yet, and watching Netflix when I realized that I'm not alone. It was during the episode of Parenthood when Adam has been laid off and has been desperately job hunting for over 6 months. He was also still in his pj's, on the couch, watching whatever happened to be on at the moment. He hadn't shaved in days and there were fast food wrappers scattered every where. Is it 2pm? Is it 8am? When you're unemployed you don't really know, or really care. You no longer tell time by the clock but by which soap opera is on. It's a sad, pathetic world that you don't quite understand until you've been jobless for a couple weeks and your sofa is starting to have an actual indentation where your butt has been for 18 hours a day for the past month.

Then the mentality of 'If I can't make any money I certainly shouldn't be spending any either!' takes over and you get to the point where you feel so useless you dig through the pantry (for the 100th time that day convinced that something yummy will magically appear if go check just one more time) and come across crackers that you don't even remember buying. Seeing them brings far too much joy than a pack of crackers should ever bring a person. You slather on some possibly expired cheese and top it with dollop of jam.

I popped the entire thing in my mouth and I got a big ol' bite of stale. Stale doesn't even begin to describe that cracker actually. It was horrible and barely edible. So I added another layer of cheese and ate the rest of the pack.

Unemployment doesn't just effect your eating habits, it's an all-encompassing day-to-day life altering time in your life.  From the outside it looks like you're incredibly lazy and maybe that's pretty accurate. But a month of vacation from work and a month of unemployment are two very different things. You can't truly enjoy this new free time. If you're not busy filling out job applications or sending in your resume, you're going on a much anticipated interview wearing those heels that make you look far more professional than the questionably homeless looking woman you were an hour before.

When you don't get a call back after a week, two weeks, a month even though you feel like you nailed the interview you begin to question yourself in some peculiar ways. (Because of course I assume I was the most qualified and experienced person they interviewed, duh.) So what could it have been? Was it something I said? Did I make a yo' mama joke?! Oh crap, I do that sometimes when I get nervous. I'd remember if I'd done that though... hopefully. Was it how I looked? Was my $200 suit not professional enough? Because really, if they could only see me when I first wake up to compare to how I looked at the interview they'd not only be shocked but impressed by the transformation.

I don't think I ask for a lot out of life. I'm a pretty low maintenance person. I just want to pay my bills, maybe lose a couple pounds, and it'd be nice if Netflix would stream Bring It On. That's not a lot!!

For the record, there's nothing like getting the final jeopardy question right to make an unproductive- still-in-my-pajamas-haven't-even-stepped-outside kind of day feel worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Adventures of Skinny Pete

If someone had told me on Friday morning, "Tonight you will be standing outside at midnight, soaking wet, with a golf club in your hand." I probably wouldn't have acknowledged their absurd claim. Me? I don't even golf! What are you talking about?!

Alex and I got home Friday evening around 10 and our cat Skinny Pete wasn't on the deck like she normally is. She gets to sleep inside at night so she is always home by sundown because she's excited to come in. She comes when you call just like a dog does, so I stood outside whistling for her. Nothing. 15 minuet later I tried again. Nothing. I had an early day on Saturday so around 11 I went to bed. 

Alex decided to get the flashlight and walk around the neighborhood looking for her. He got about halfway down our driveway and heard a squeaky meow... and there she was... 30 feet up in a tree! We started brainstorming ways to get her down but the tree she was in doesn't have any branches low enough for one of us to climb even with a ladder. I called the fire department and they put me in touch with animal control because they don't bring their fire truck to save kittens from trees anymore! Apparently it's not 1954. They laughed at me. They said she'd come down on her own as long as we left her alone.

We took his advice and went back inside only to hear the terrifying sound of a cat fight. We ran out there to see another cat up there with her that was attacking her!! A cat double her size that torments her on a daily basis was chasing her all over the tree clawing her. My 'oh heck noooo!' instincts kicked in and I took the fire department's second recommendation--I got the water hose. He suggested spraying her until she came down. 

Let me remind you guys of a few important details:

It's midnight at this point.
It's 35 degrees outside.
I only have on cotton pajama pants and top with bedroom slippers. 

Ok, now back to the ridiculousness.

We unwind the longest hose we can find, turn it on as high as it will go, Alex is shining a flashlight on the evil cat so I can aim, I have the hose in one hand and a golf club in the other just in case this thing jumped 40 feet out of the tree and attacked me. 

Alex said, "What are you doing with a golf club?!" 
"Ummm... just in case I get attacked!"
"Beth, I've seen you curl up the fetal position and cry when a stink bug landed on your head. You'll end up only hurting yourself with that thing. Go put it back."

He had a point.

I took aim and with all the I-am-so-cold-this-better-freaking-work determination in the world as I pressed the trigger and sprayed the evil cat. And you know what that cat did? It stared at me as I sprayed it and didn't even budge!! "Bring it on, you stupid woman." was the look it gave me. I panicked and dropped the golf club so I could grip the hose with both hands, I stretched my arms out straight in front of me, and jolted back and forth, up and down like a mad woman. The cat casually walked further up in the tree out of range of the water as if it were saying, "Woman, please, you're embarrassing yourself." The only good thing was that now Skinny Pete and the evil cat were on opposite ends and far from one another.

I was so determined to get the cat wet that I hadn't noticed the attachment on the hose was leaking and half of it sprayed the tree and the other half sprayed me.

So now it's 12:30 in the morning, 35 degrees, I have on cotton pajamas, and I am soaking wet. 

I am getting frustrated so we go inside to regroup and come up with a new plan. I just knew Skinny wouldn't come down as long as that other cat was up there with her. After some googling and reading what others did we rigged up a pulley system and got to work!

We tied a metal truck strap to the end of an Ethernet cord and Alex tried throwing it over the branch Skinny was on. She was really high up so after 20 minutes of trying I was starting to feel a little defeated. The metal strap wasn't heavy enough so even when Alex did get a good throw and made it onto the branch she was on it wouldn't  fall back down to us.

I stormed off and came back with a brick. Alex looked at me silently for a few seconds before reaching for the brick. A mutual glare of, "Are you serious?!" "Yes, I am serious." was shared. He tied the cord around the brick and after a few throws it got over the right branch and was weighted down enough. We got a laundry basket and put her favorite blanket in it with a bowl of her food and some salmon and attached it to the pulley and raised it up as close as we could to the branch she was on. When we had it in place I whistled for her and she started to come! But then she saw that cat looking at her and wouldn't budge another inch.

We secured our end of the cord to a bench so we could go inside and see if us not being there would help. We went inside and opened a window to be able to listen for them fighting. It was silent for 20 minutes so Alex went out there to check the progress. A few minutes later I hear him coming back inside... with her in his hands!! He said he shined the flashlight on the laundry basket and saw two little eyes glaring back at him but couldn't tell which cat was in the basket which was a little terrifying. He lowered it very quickly so she wouldn't get scared and jump. Skinny had eaten all the food in her bowl and was just chillin on her blanket. Ha!! 

The other cat was still in its spot high up in the tree so we grabbed our collection of stuff - a laundry basket, blanket, food bowl, brick, Ethernet cord, metal straps, golf club, water hose, and a handful of flashlights and called it a night.

She was very grateful for our help. The next day she was gone for several hours shopping for the perfect gift hunting down an appropriate present to say, "Thanks, y'all, for going to great lengths to get me out of the mess I put myself in." Every time she has ever brought us an animal it is dead, very dead. Like, completely dead. I can't stress the deadness enough. I wrongfully assumed this one was dead too. I was recording the video to send to Alex to show him Skinny's gift to us. And then... well, you can see for yourself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

robin williams: why his suicide isn't just another celebrity death

it's been a month since i was standing in the kitchen and alex told me robin williams had died. that sudden jolt of shock that makes you feel nauseous filled my body. no! he can't be dead! images of a horrible car accident came to my mind before i asked how...how did he die?

"um, the article says suicide."

what?! no... robin williams? one of the the happiest, funniest men alive?

i wasn't aware he battled depression or had been to rehab for drug abuse. i learned about his mental health issues in the days that followed. but he seemed so happy.

that's the thing about the misunderstood world of depression. outward appearance is no indicator of what's really going on. mental illness is brain cancer. you can't see it and unfortunately it isn't received well from others. when people that ​have cancer share their diagnosis with us, our first reaction is empathy. but God forbid someone with mental illness share their struggles with us. we back away slowly like it's some disease we can catch. 

i don't know what people who battle depression need to hear. but i do know what they don't need to hear.

stop posting that picture from aladdin that says "you're free now, genie"

do you not hear what that is saying to people who are considering committing suicide?!?! i'm sure it seems harmless and makes you feel all sentimental about your childhood but let's get one thing straight:

suicide is not freedom. stop perpetuating that idea. stop telling deeply depressed people that they'll finally be free if they kill themselves. STOP.

suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for americans. nearly 40,000 people take their life every year. on a scale of 1 to a trillion i only understand .000000000000001% about mental illness but that is no excuse to pretend it doesn't exist.

next time you get upset that robin williams pops up in your news feed more than the articles about human trafficking, remember those statistics. keep in mind there are people around you suffering, some of them silently, that could do without your dismissal of an issue that's just as real and horrible.

you might also like: