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homeless woman

homeless woman

Do you think that if you got laid off tomorrow you could get a job that pays you enough to live on before your unemployment runs out? Really? Do you think that people who aren’t able to get a good paying replacement job are just not trying? Really?

Random thoughts . . .

I’m frustrated, not able to do much since I injured my finger. I read, watch DVD’s on my TV ( I don’t have cable or antennae/ converter box. I putter some in my basement, doing what I can with one finger sticking straight out and swathed with a splint. 

So I read stuff on the internet and try not to feel sorry for myself; there are no hurricanes, tornadoes, major floods or fires here (it rains too much for fires to last very long, and it is so hilly the water runs off into Puget Sound.

We do get some local flooding, and people who are foolish enough to build their homes on hillsides (for the views) sometimes slide off, and there has occasionally been loss of life if they happen to be in the house when this happens, or be foolish enough to be living in the house at the bottom of the hill.

Back to the point of this article:

So I was reading this article on homelessness. If it were not for my family coming to my rescue, this could have been me.   I do have a job, but I wonder from day-to-day how long it will last. The economy is bad, and we aren’t getting enough home remodeling jobs to keep the 3 employees working full-time. My pay is less than half what I used to get as a mechanical engineer.

Think about it. It could be you, and you may be next. Be kind to the homeless.

Hamster report

Woman sailing laser dingy

Woman sailing laser

A comedian I really like, Paula Poundstone, said this is a question that grown ups ask of kids, because they are still looking for the answer.  In these times of economic chaos it is a question most of us are asking ourselves, when we are old enough that we should be able to ask what would we LIKE to do in our later years.

When I lost my engineering job and saw that there was no hope of getting another (I still apply for any that come up in my area, but it’s been over 2 years) I wrestled with this question. I took classes in legal training, website development and accounting.

What I decided is that I had already spent 6 1/2 years of intense studying to earn a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, and I just didn’t want to do it all over again. I am 60 and I have never had a carefree time in my life when I could do what I wanted.

I decided I want to go hiking and backpacking, and learn archery, fly fishing, and sailing. I used to paint many many years ago, and I want to start that up as well. I want to work on projects around my house, painting, repairing and building cupboards. I want to read books and ride my bike, go swimming when it is hot and snowshoeing in the winter.

I don’t have any money, though, and that is what usually enables people to do these things. I am very good at living on next to nothing though, and so I decided to do that.

hamster dreaming

July 19 Progress

July 19 Progress

Shows the railing removed next to sliding doors.

July Progress showing east side of deck

I took my first load of old mostly rotten decking to the dump yesterday.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment!  The bank under the removed decking looks great for creating my new pathway to the upper backyard area.  I’m going to have so much fun with this. 

It took a lot of courage to go ahead with this project, and I might not have even tried it if I was still working as an engineer and could afford to hire someone to do it for me.  I guess some good comes from being “downsized”.  May they all burn in hell.  Oh, sorry, I forgot myself there.  The anger burns very shallow these days.  However, I am proud of my accomplishments, and this will be great when it is all done!

There is one thing in particular that I have learned from my life; if you can’t do things the way most people do them (meaning the way ‘everyone’ says you have to do it, whatever ‘it’ may be), then there is always another way.  Find it and go ahead and do it.  Don’t give up and don’t let the bastards win.  Remember, the majority are usually wrong.

Proud hamster

Watch out when the Women get Angry

Beware of Angry Women

Ok, I’m going to do a some ranting here about our “wonderful, best health care in the world”.  I lost my job in August, 2008, and along with it my health care.  I then paid an exorbitant amount of money every month out of my unemployment insurance for some useless health care insurance that only cuts in if I got hit by a bus.  When I finally got some real health insurance through my current job I decided it was time to do a “yearly” checkup, which I had not done for 3 years due to lack of insurance.

So yesterday I went for my doctor appointment.  That went ok, but now another reason for my extreme irritation came up.  I now have 4 appointments!  The way it works is, a woman goes in for her yearly checkup.  The doctor then makes a 2nd appointment for her at another location for a mammogram.  A 3rd appointment is also made for her to get blood drawn at a medical lab for cholesterol check or whatever.  A 4th appointment is also made for her to come back to the doctor to get the results of the tests.

I have no idea what all this will cost and I am not even sick.  There is no way I’m going to do this next year.  I’ll spread these tests out and do them every two years.  I don’t have time for this.  If a person has health insurance, they have a job.  If they have a job they don’t have time for all these appointments.  This could all be done in one appointment at one location, except of course for getting the results.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I HATE our American medical system.  It sucks.  It is expensive, it is inefficient, and if one is actually sick, it often kicks you out of the system. Thank god I’m not sick, knock on wood.

I keep threatening to move to France or Canada, because they have health care that makes more sense, but that would be way to disruptive to my life, and of course, all my family lives here!  Besides I don’t think I could ever speak French properly and that would be a problem.

C’est la vie!

I have been kind of bummed out the last few days because I found out my best friend was laid off last week.  She went to work on Wednesday, and that morning they just took her aside and said, “You’re out of here.”  No warning, none of that “You have two weeks” or anything. Just full time employment one day and none the next.  Like many of us she wasn’t making enough to put money aside and save for the rainy day.

Like me, she has a 4 year degree and like me, she can’t find a job in her field.  She’s a teacher.  I’m a mechanical engineer.  She was working in a manufacturing facility doing production work.  We could probably join the ranks of the job refugees and move from city to city and state to state pursuing the next job possibility.  But I have an elderly mother I care for and all her relatives are in this state.

We are both over 50, which is probably part of the problem as far as getting hired goes.  Employers want people they figure they can pay less, even though when I spent my 12 months job hunting I kept stating that I was willing to work for less and that I was ok with that, I just wanted to work.  It didn’t help.  I never got a job offer in this state (Washington); got a few from Chicago and from Dallas.

So, as I said above are we now expected in this job climate to move every 6 months or so to a completely new city and state in order to be employed?  I guess the corporations that are actually running this country would love that.  A person moving every year or so would have no friends or relatives living close by to help them out; they would be entirely at the mercy of the employer.  Anyone ever hear of unpaid overtime?  No wonder most of the country is on antidepressants and hopped up on caffeine.

There is much discussion about how many in the United States are really unemployed.  It is my understanding that when we are given a report on the number of unemployed it is really counting those who are collecting unemployment insurance.  Anyone who is thinking will know that unemployment benefits run out after a period of usually less than one year.  With extensions it may last a year or possibly a bit longer, but it does not go on much more.  So really, how many unemployed are there?  A rule of thumb I have heard is to double whatever the reported rate is, which would make the current rate near 20% unemployment.  If you gasp at that, read the report from the Washington Post at this link:

Washington Post says around 17%:

New York Post says more like 22%:

Economy in Crises reports 21% unemployment:

Whats my point?  I don’t have a point, I’m pissed.  That is my point.  A nation of angry, educated, unemployed people; hmm, what could possibly go wrong with that picture?  George Orwell had it right; only its not the government that is Big Brother, it is the Corporations.  Think about it.