Long, rambling, and not real coherent.

I promised in last night’s post to write more about what’s been going on with me since my last post in March. Right now I kind of wish I hadn’t, because frankly I don’t like what’s been going on, I don’t like thinking about it, and I don’t particularly want to write about it. But despite what I want, I made a promise, and despite what our politicians seem to think,  one should try and keep their promises.

And with that kind of lead in, you would think that there was a lot to talk about, but fact is the biggest thing that has been happening is that I have been fighting a low grade depression. March wasn’t particularly interesting. Missing Gulf Wars affected me more than I thought it would. Every day of that week I was constantly thinking of what would be going on in Lumberton that day. Opening day…..Opening ceremonies….the BOB party….Gleann Abhann Social, Known World Party…all of that was going on and I was not there. My decision to not attend was the right one, I know that, but it still hurt my soul.

Not really much more to talk about for March. The month is not particularly memorable. The first week in April my Grandmother died. She was 89, and had quite frankly her death was a ….well, it was not a good thing, but it was not unexpected. The fact is that without the benefits of modern medicine it would have occured several years ago. If it had occurred several years ago my aunt’s would have been spared seeing their mother’s descent in to senile dementia, and Grandma would have been spared several years of depression, senile dementia and the other joys of outliving literally everybody she had ever known with the exception of her children and grand children.

Hmm..that sounded kind of bitter didn’t it?

I had not been particularly close to my grandmother in decades. When I was a kid, say before the age of 12, she was a great grandmother. But as I got older and somewhat more observent, I realized that she was, in a lot of ways, not a very nice person. I know that will  probably shock some people, there seems to be a myth that all grandmother’s are nice, saintly people, but it’s not true. She was mean to her daughters, mean to her husband (who died last August and probably experienced the firt peace he had felt in seven decades), a hypocrite, and ….. and a lot of other things I don’t really feel a need to relate. Just trust me, she was not a nice lady.

The only real affect her death had on me was a desire to get in touch with some people I had not spoken to in a very long time. When my family moved to Jackson Mississippi from Omaha Nebraska in 1983 I had just finished my sophamore year in highschool; in fact we moved the day after school let out for the summer. Kris, my sister, had just finished sixth grade. The cultue shock was  rather more than any of us had expected, not just for Kris and I, but in different ways for our parents as well.

One of the people my Dad worked with at the bank in Jackson was a man named Bob Murphy. Bob was an older man, just a few years from retirement when he and Dad started working together. He and his wife, Dawn, were originally from New Orleans, and for the first couple of years the Murphy’s kind of adopted us. Bob helped Dad deal with and understand the business culture of the bank. Dawn helped Mom understand the different social cultures, and both of them helped Kris and I in more ways than I could ever explain. They are truly wonderful people, and to this day I see them as the living embodiement of the definition of “Southern Nobility”.

Of course after I left Jackson, I lost contact with Bob and Dawn, and hadn’t talked to them in literally years. I saw them at Dad’s funeral, but didn’t really get a chance to talk to them that day. In the two weeks after Grandma passed, I found myself thinking more about Bob and Dawn Murphy than I was about Grandma. So, one day I turned on my awesome skip tracing skills and manged to find their phone number. Surprisingly they were still living in the same house in Jackson. I didn’t call them immediately, but after thinking about it a couple of days, I did call, and I’m very glad I did. I was able to tell them how much they had meant to me during a rather rough time in my life, and how much they had influenced me. We talked for about an hour, catching up, digging up memories.  It was a very pleasant conversation.

In fact, it was so pleasant that two days later I tracked down the phone number from my best friend from highschool. Another person I hadn’t spoken to in years. We had been very close friends in school, and for the first six or seven years after highschool, but as people do we kind of lost contact. First he moved, then I moved, and somewhere along the way we lost contact. Finding his current location and phone number took a bit more digging than it had with Bob and Dawn, but I was able to do find it, and that conversation was just as pleasant as the one with Bob and Dawn had been.

I’m not sure who I’ve lost contact with that I’ll try to look up next, but I’m sure there will be someone. Those two phone calls were relatively cheap ways to find myself feeling good for days. Fact is, I’ve been needing that.

For the last several months I’ve been …..not exactly suffering, but dealing with a type of low grade depression and burnout. I’m sure there are several reasons, and it is not really that serious. I’m not suicidal, or anything like that. It’s just felt …..like nothing was much fun any more.It’s felt that way for several months, and that feeling has manifested itself in many ways. I’m not going to go int them here because no one really wants to hear about them. But the fact is I know what’s happening, and I know how it’s affecting me. What I don’t know, or haven’t figured out yet, is how to stop it all from happening. I’ll figure it out. I’m not giving up. Doing so is not in my nature.

Checking in

A good friend let me know recently that it had been about a month since I made the post that my hibernation was over, but I hadn’t made any posts since that one. I’d like to argue the point, because I like to argue, but the fact is that she is right.
I’m not sure why, but I just haven’t been in the mood to write. It’s not the lethargy and act of interest I had during my period of hibernation, just lack of interest in this particular blog. I use this place when I’m feeling good, feeling inspired, feeling creative, and for the last month I’ve been rather scared about my situation at work, and I’ve not felt the urge to write about that. In this economy just about everyone I know is worried about their work situation, so why spend time thinking about it even more?
Since I have mentioned the subject though,I guess I should give some details. As most of you that read this know, I work in the collections industry. Specifically, I collect defaulted student loans. Now, I like the job, as I mentioned earlier, I like to debate with people, and this job allows me to do so.
Now the people I’m trying to collect from were not paying their student loan debt before the economy started to tank. Once it did start to go bad late last summer the amount of money we were collecting went down dramatically. This is primarily because the Guaranteed Student Loan Agencies my division collects for stopped paying off on the rehabilitation programs they had been directing us to guide debtors into for the last six years. This has not been good. Our company has not been bringing in anything near the amount of money our management wants us too, and the management has not been happy.
To make a long story short, I’ve not made a monthly bonus check in about the last six months. This has, obviously, rather severely affected my personal income, and that has been stressful. Late in February there was a round of layoffs, and about 10% of our workforce was laid off. I survived that; I’m not collecting enough to make a bonus check (nor, for that matter, is over half of my department), but I’m collecting the minimum necessary to keep my job. This is good.
This past week, the management announced that they were cutting our hours. We are now required to work a minimum of 34 hours and may work up to 35 hours a week. That doesn’t really bother me, but they did announce that at least four of those hours must be worked on either Saturday or Sunday. So, instead of having to work only one weekend a month, we now have to work every weekend. I doubt seriously that part of the new plan will last very long, but it is going to be annoying as hell while it does last.
Oh, and the same week they told us that they were cutting our hours, the management also informed us that the cost of our insurance was basically doubling. Oh joy.
Because of the reduction in my income, and due to another obligation that I can’t reschedule, I will not be able to attend Gulf Wars this year, and that bugs me more than I can possibly describe. I’ve not missed Gulf Wars in six years, but I will be missing it this year. I blame George Bush for that; just another item on the long list of things he has to answer for.
Now, having said all that, I have to admit there is some good news.Candlemas was February 14, and it was a truly pleasant, if somewhat rushed event. It was well attended, and we have started developing a relationship with a new site. The event also made a profit.
There is more good news, when I make myself remember it. The fact is, unlike a lot of folks, I do still have my job,my health, home, and family. Yes, the economy is bad, and will get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. Oh, and George Bush is no longer president.