Monday, September 14, 2015

The sword of (employment) Damocles

One of the reasons I'm in a funk lately - and not the cool kinda uptown funk you up, dancing with rollers in my hair kinda funk -  is because MapGuy's work is laying off around 300 people.
The sword of employment Damocles is hanging over my head
And I've got a feelin' someone's gonna be cuttin' the thread
Oh, woe is me!
My life is a misery
Oh, can't you see
That I'm at the start of a pretty big downer
But life isn't the Rocky Horror Picture Show and I'm not wearing gold hot pants, because sadly, I don't own any.

We first heard of the cuts just before we went on holiday. Our paid for months ago, non refundable holiday. I was optimistic, though, and didn't get overly worried.

We were about to head away when his bosses made sure he could check his work email on holiday because all staff had to know if they did or didn't have a job at the same time.

I panicked. Surely they'd only double check with you if you're one of the ones getting the chop, right? It sure put a dampener on the first few days of our time in Malaysia (which I still haven't blogged about because STRESS! SICKNESS! PROCRASTINATION!). Then, he checked his email on the day he was told and PHEW he still had a job to go to! Up until then I hadn't bought anything on holiday except food. I went clothes shopping for the kids after that!

On his return to work, the atmosphere was very different. Morale was very low. The first round of cuts had been done and dusted - people had already gone and MG never got a chance to say seeya.

I still have some confidence that he'll be fine in the second and third round of cuts, but there is this voice in the back of my head. It's a bitch of a voice, I tell ya. It's saying all sorts of awful things - made more awful by the fact that at least some of them are true. Not many though, because my brain makes up the vast majority of my problems.

It's a tough climate to get a job in. (true)

I'll have to sell my computer. (highly unlikely)

Not many companies are hiring. (true)

The kids won't get new clothes for summer. (umm, hello, grandparents!)

OMG the mortgage. (yes, you have one)

We'll starve. (no, don't be a dick)

If they got rid of the guy who had been there 13 years, MG with his 8 years doesn't stand a chance. (well, fuck)

We'll be fine. No, really. I honestly believe that (most of the time). But I just can't get these doubts out of my head. They swirl and flip and before I know it, it's 2am and I've been laying here for hours clenching my teeth so tight I need the jaws of life to open it up again.

My doctor asked me recently if I wanted to try coming off my anti anxiety meds. Normally, I'd be all for moving on up and seeing what happens. But right now? Nope! I will keep my little psychotropic security blanket snuggly tucked around me, thankyouverymuch.

So we wait. And hope for the best. And don't spend too much money. And take Ativan.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I was just trying to be nice, dammit!

On the tail end of #lungsbehavingbadly v2.0 that saw Tricks hospitalized for a couple of nights, Bobbin coughing her lungs up and me sucking back on a puffer every hour, our Ventolin stores were getting super low so I nipped out to the pharmacy while MapGuy was making dinner.

I walked all the way to the back of the store where the meds are, past the makeup, past the bath gels, past the nail polish on special and I did not deviate. Don't succumb to the specials! You can do it! It was like a little chant in my head. You don't need a hair brush, even if it is only $3.50 and guarantees no more tangles.

I grabbed my little blue life savers (as opposed to lifesavers which are much more delicious though less capable of actually saving a life) and headed back through what really has to be the most enormous pharmacy ever built. At the front of the store my resolve was tested. Kid's sunglasses marked down from $12.99 to $5.99. Oooh. They're cute. I'll just have a quick look.

I don't know what it is about kids in sunglasses, or glasses in general actually, but it hits me straight in the ovaries. Oomph. All the cute. I rummaged around and found some funky purple frames with white polka dots. Bobbin didn't neeeeed them, that's for sure, but at $6 I couldn't say no so I grabbed them and lined up at the checkout.

There was an old bloke, Paul, in front of me, counting out his coins, trying to pay for his script. He seemed quite confused and kept recounting. The checkout dude didn't help him, just kept saying he didn't have enough money.

"How much do you need?" I asked.

Paul couldn't tell me how much, just that he had to have this medicine before his operation on Monday. So I looked to rude dude. "He's 80c short".

Oh for fuck's sake. You can't let 80c slide for a confused old bugger?

I handed over a dollar coin.

"Oh, I think heaven has sent me an Angel!" Paul exclaimed.

It was sweet. Then he kept saying it and wanting to tell me all about his surgery he was about to have and I'm all smiling and lovely but inside I'm saying hurry up, Paul.

With his coins in order he then pulled out his key card for the rest of the payment... and it was rejected. He still didn't have enough money. For a $6.10 medication. It was sad.

I was just trying to be nice (but maybe I was also tired of waiting) so I told Paul I'd pay for his script. $6 script, $6 glasses. It wasn't going to break my budget, and this guy needed it more than me.

I placed the sunnies and the Ventolin on the counter while Paul professed to anyone within earshot that I was indeed sent from above.

The previously unconcerned checkout dude was impressed. Well I assume so, because his deadpan expression twitched for a moment. Then he blipped through the sunnies and they came up as $24.95.

"No, those sunglasses are from the sale tub just there" I pointed out. "They're all $5.99"

Checkout dude, who was by now completely over hearing Paul tell the world about his surgery and my fabulousness, just wanted it to be over, so he didn't even blink and started to override the price.

"I'll give you a discount" he said, and rung up a 25% discount on my ventolins. Score.

A face twitch and a discount. Naw, I melted his cold heart after all.

I paid, wished Paul all the best for his surgery that he was still talking about, and extracted myself from the store, feeling pretty damn good about myself to be honest. So damn good that I walked up to the bottle shop and grabbed a bottle of Maker's Mark as a reward. Forgoing the bag, I walked back out in to the centre with the bottle in my hand looking super classy, and glanced down at my receipt from the chemist.

I'd been charged $18.70 for the sunnies.

For fuck's sake.

I headed back to the pharmacy and lined up again.

The checkout dude had no recollection of our previous encounter a whole five minutes earlier, but I figure that when he applied the discount it must have wiped his override price.

He tried a few times to refund me but couldn't figure out how to do it so along came another equally enthusiastic employee with a similar level of job satisfaction who had a few goes.

She was stumped at why the sunnies were scanning at $24.95 yet I'd only paid $18.70.

"But why did she only pay $18.70?" she asked the dude. Silence. He shrugged his shoulders.

Jeezus, does it matter? Either way I was only meant to pay $6, who cares?! The man just stood there, he wasn't forthcoming with any information. Stunned silence. Perhaps he thought he'd get in trouble for an unauthorised discount? Either way, he was not talking.

"He gave me a discount because I'm awesome".

Holy shit, did I just say that? What a bitch. They looked at me blankly.

"Sorry, I was just trying to be nice".

She stared at me (possibly with undead eyes, I can't be sure) and tried again to figure out how to refund me the difference.

"Would it be easier if I returned them?" I asked, looking at my watch? It had been five minutes now and the line of people forming behind me were not pleased. All over a pair of cheap plastic sunnies.

They didn't respond and kept clicking away at the screen.

FINALLY, after three hours (OK, six minutes) I got the difference refunded.

I was just trying to be nice.

After the rigmarole that was their purchase I am now highly encouraging Bobbin to wear them at all times. I'm close to duct taping them to her head.


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