This is an explanation for the paucity of posts that have appeared on this blog in past two months. During the last few days of March, Berni and I purchased a house—a manufactured (or “mobile) home in a park literally across the street from our apartment. This was an almost spur-of-the-moment decision: a house that was exactly what we were looking for at a price that we could afford became available, we had the money, we made the move.
The lease on our apartment was up at the end of May and it proved less expensive to stay until then than to pay the cost of breaking the lease! So, we had sixty days to move, which we did—one carload at a time. Since we were not prepared, this was an arduous, drawn-out move; what looked like an excessive amount of time in late March ended up just enough time by the end of May.
While we made the deadline, we just made it. And, as everyone who has ever had to move—even into better digs and better conditions—it is quite stressful on many levels.
Neal takes a new job (and almost blows it)
Berni was working full-time at the same job that she had had for years. I started a new, full-time job in April with the ungodly hours of 1:30-10:00PM, meaning that I had to work at moving in the morning, go to my new job, come home and work at moving in the late evening. More stress.
After two weeks of training and my first week of actual work, someone brought the latest strain of flu (or “respiratory infection”) to work. As one employee put it, “They were dropping like flies all over the building.” Including me: I got sick and missed two weeks of work, never a good thing at any new job let alone a new job with a contemporary American corporation. While I was sick the longest, I was not THE sickest: one employee found herself in the emergency room with pneumonia!
Since I was sick, I was unable to complete the move of our belongings from the apartment to the house. Two friends, Dani and Michael, pitched in and finished the job. Unfortunately, because they had a limited amount of time, and I was not able to oversee the packing, thing were placed in boxes, sealed, and moved. Things were misplaced, including my notebook with the phone-in number for sick days at my new job. When I became well enough to realize that I had NOT been calling in sick every day, I assumed the worse: that I would no longer be employed by this company.
This turned out to be a groundless fear: I finally made it into work on Thursday, just to report in, explain my complicated situation, and see if I still had a job. Everyone was lovely and I remain employed.
Neal’s old car is put to sleep
Unfortunately, the story does not end there: my car is a twenty year old Toyota. Last year, we had put over one thousand dollars in repairs into it, including new brakes on the two front wheels and a rebuilt alternator. We believed the car good for another 50,000 miles . . .
When I turned it on to drive it from the apartment to the house, there was a cacophonous rattling from beneath: the bearings in the crank-shaft were shot! As I was not about to put another cent into the car, I can either sell it for whatever I can get for it, sell it to a boneyard for a pittance, or donate it to one of several companies that pick up such cars at their expense, auction them off, and then the proceeds go to charity.
This means that I do not have wheels to get back and forth to work. And, despite the fact that the Seattle area has one of the better public transportation systems in the country (all via bus), there is only one bus route that runs past my office, and it has extremely limited service. So, yesterday, I had to email my superior the ten hours in the day that I can make myself available and hope that he can turn eight of them into an acceptable schedule for me.
And again, he, as representative of the company, has been more than cooperative.
Stress plus stress plus stress equals more stress
So, summation: the stress of moving into a new house and starting a new job (and I had to learn the field from scratch) weakened my reserves and allowed me to get very ill (more stress). My car broke down and I have a limited availability to my new employer.
Oh, and another thing misplaced in the move was my pay-card from my job: since I can’t find it, I haven’t received any pay for my first three weeks. (The company HR department is issuing me a new card.) So, I am broke (stress).
Yesterday, just before noon, Bernie and I were involved in a four-car “pile-up” in which we were hit by another car(s) . . .
Even fender-benders cause the blues (and injury)
We were the first of three cars stopped at a red light when a fourth car plowed into the back of the third car which plunged into the back of the second car which hit us bumper-to-bumper and even though we were third in line for the impact it was enough to push our car forward two feet (2’) despite the fact that Berni’s foot was on the brake at the time of impact!
After the police got all of the necessary information, Berni and I made our way to the emergency room of the local hospital, where we spent Saturday afternoon. As you might expect, we are showing preliminary symptoms from the impact—primarily stiff, achy muscles and joints from the base of the neck radiating down and outwards, and a dull headache in the front and back. Berni experienced dizziness and tiredness yesterday and was awarded with a CT scan. My symptoms were less severe.
Today, my lower back is so still that turning laterally in either direction is both difficult and painful. Needless to say, we have been warned to be aware of other symptoms that could indicate possible whiplash. We were both prescribed medication for pain and a muscle relaxant. The first few days following such an accident are the days that normally bring the most pain.
Yadda yadda blah blah and that’s why you have not been reading my writing of late. I have a couple dozen pieces near completion; these should see posting in the next few weeks.
PS: Our mobile home is not set up for a high-speed, fiber-optics computer hook-up, so I will be going back to DSL.
PPS: I like my new job . . .