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Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:15 PM PST

Free at last!

by revsue

On Tuesday, they finally fired me from my second job--the one I'd never have taken except it provided health insurance.  

I'd known it was coming.  The job was taking reservations for luxury hotels where the basic room cost was several hundred dollars per night.  The guests were bankers and businesspeople, conference attendees and vacationers.  We were expected to convert a given percentage of our calls into reservations each day, and I'd had my last chance to make the sales quota.   It's hard to sell something you privately think is immoral!   Guests were paying thousands per night for a suite with butler service, when little kids are going to bed crying from hunger, and regular people can't afford basic life needs like health insurance and dental care?   I could never quite bridge the gap.

And yet...reserving those rooms also meant there was money to pay the chambermaids and desk clerks, the maintenance workers and lawn care workers and the beach crew who swept the sand each morning to be sure it was neat and clean.  Somebody got a paycheck for walking around each evening lighting all those candles on the patio and around the pool.  And most of  the people I dealt with making the reservations were pleasant and polite...often making reservations for their boss or a client.

I can't even write a diary saying that the company I worked for was horrible, because they weren't.   They took training seriously, promoted from within, and are one of the few to have great benefits in this time and age.  

But I find myself feeling giddy knowing I don't have to spend 5 days a week answering phone calls, making reservations, untangling problems, handling corporate customer service calls.   For three years the last thought when I went to bed was "tomorrow I have to go on the phones again" or "at least tomorrow I work my other jobs, and not the phones."   The misery of being tied to a phone line, trying to follow someone else's script for a fine product I didn't believe in was soul-killing.   As soon as I knew they'd be pulling the trigger, my physical pain levels dropped and energy rebounded.   I haven't stopped smiling inside ever since.

I'm old enough to do early retirement, although it will cost me plenty in the long run.   And I'll continue my true calling as a pastor.  Medicare is within reach.   And suddenly I have to pinch myself because there is time, there may be time, for all the things I once loved but never had time to develop due to school, or children, or spending years working 60-70 hours per week to survive.   I can become more active politically.  I can do artwork.   I dreamed of starting a photo-slide show business, but never had time to produce more than six or seven shows.   Now....who knows?

How many of us are trapped in jobs that are killing us--mentally and spiritually and perhaps physically--by the need for health insurance?  We play games with ourselves and tell ourselves we can endure it for a few more years.   It's needed.  It's the real world.   We're responsible.  And we die a little bit inside every day.

I know I'll come crashing back to a new "normal" in time.   But for now, I'm just ecstatic to be free of the bondage of a job I detested, and happy to see the world with a joyful, playful heart again.  The world is full of pain and grief and limitations--may we all add our bit of lighthearted beauty to the mix.

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Sat Oct 20, 2012 at 02:03 PM PDT

Oh, I can't do that.....

by revsue

Yesterday morning I was at the cemetery on a damp New England fall day, leading funeral services for Ann.   She was 84 years old, a progressive Democrat to the core, who kept taking on new fights because there was so much need to do so.  She went into the hospital concerned that she might miss the thank-you dinner for Congressman Barney Frank she'd sold so many tickets to.   Sadly, she never came out.

Ann wanted a very simple service.  She didn't like to be fussed over....a few words at the graveyard, friends singing a verse or two of her favorite hymn, and it was done.

When I invited folks to share a memory about her, some (the Republicans) remembered how she'd sit down, took at them with an expectant look on her face, and crook her finger at them.  "You.  I want to have a little talk with you."  And they went, and sat, and listened to what they'd done she didn't like, and WHY she didn't like it.  She had good reasons and good arguments.   But they adored the mischievous twinkle in her eye and her smile and her fairness.

One man told a story during the service that I keep going back to.  When he was a teen, he loved to work at the little seafood "shack" they owned on the beach, because Ann was always a great teacher and listener.  She was gruff, but tender-hearted.  And no fool.

Story continued beyond the orange tangle.....

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Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 05:42 PM PST

The God, the Bad, and the Ugly

by revsue

Yeah, I know. I meant to title this after the Clint Eastwood film but as I went to correct it to "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" I decided the way I typed it first is right. Because I'm looking for God/Good in a situation; and I've had plenty of Bad, and things could get Ugly.

For the past two years...as of this week, I've been in a job I loathe.

Not my pastorate--I love serving a tiny church, part time, that can't afford to pay me enough to live. I love those people.

Not my (unpaid) babysitting two days a week for my granddaughter so my son and daughter-in-law can go to work. That's my earthly salvation.

No, my work on the phones. Phones! I HATE phones.

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Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:00 PM PST

A Life and Death Day

by revsue

Not today, yesterday.  Just another one of those days where I got up dreading my second job.  It's not so bad once into the 8 hours answering calls, but knowing the shift lurks ahead is enough to color the day gray.

Then, even before my first break, I get a text message from my brother.  My step-mother just died.  She was at home in Indiana, with hospice care, but she loved Christmas so much we thought she'd somehow last through the holidays. She didn't.  Her pastor came to call, she said a few words to him, and then died.  (As a pastor, that's one of those moments where you're glad you were there with the family, but sometimes feel as if you bring death along with you.  Really sick people look up, recognize us, and their eyes say "Oh no...it's time!")  

I'd been quietly feeling sorry for myself because I had nothing to give for Christmas again, and no time this year to make something.  Then suddenly the problem got worse.  How was I going to travel 1000 miles away and 1000 miles back with no money?  (Things worked out, so far...)  

But I was angry and enraged at life,destiny, God.  Outside of one depressive episode many years ago, I'm one of those "head down, into the wind and keep walking" people.   I get staggered, and I rage, and I keep walking--because there is no other choice.  After working all my life, doing college and masters degrees, working, working, working....a major car repair, huge medical bills, taxes, and a house heading into foreclosure, I hadn't been able to see my dad for 18 months.  I was just TIRED of the struggle.  I knew I had to get back up, but wasn't sure where the energy was to do it.

Then, in the midst of the everything, came another message.  "An anonymous donor has gifted you with a lifetime subscription to Daily Kos"  !!!   For me, that was a sign of life.  Thank you, whoever or whoevers!   You made a world of difference and gave me the strength to get up again.

And maybe to do a few happy-dances.  (And a few more rants from the pulpit.)

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KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic.  There are two parts to each diary.  First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.

I don’t remember much about my youngest days.   Moments come back to me--bouncing with excitement while riding in the front seat of our automobile, long before seat belts existed.  Watching fireworks at the fairgrounds.  It was a looong time ago.

But one day stands out.   I was about four, and the bigger eight-year-olds held a two by four beam higher than my head, and helped me climb up to “walk the tightrope”.   They handed me a bamboo rake handle for a balancing pole, and I imagined myself as the beautiful lady I’d seen walk the tightrope in the circus.  I made it almost to the end before I slipped.  I fell—then, to my amazement and to the shock of the other kids, I caught the beam perfectly--swung back and forth a time or two by my fingers, and dropped upright.  I walked away as nonchalantly as any four-year old can do.

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Thu Aug 16, 2007 at 09:52 PM PDT

"Murder by spreadsheet"...off a balcony

by revsue

CNN posted a story tonight about an event that happened two days ago.  A man took his invalid wife onto the balcony of their apartment, kissed her, and dropped her over the rail to her death on the street four stories below.  Link to CNN page.

We might think this was a sordid tale of adultery or marital discord--and perhaps that will come out in court.  Prosecutors have charged him with murder.  

In the probable cause statement filed with the charges, police said Reimer was desperate because he could not pay the bills for his wife's treatment for neurological problems and uterine cancer.

Investigators said that Reimer was in the apartment when they arrived. He told them, "She didn't jump," but did not elaborate, they said.

She had no health insurance.     His wife Criste was 47, blind, could not walk, suffered from cancer and neurological problems, and weighed 75 pounds.  She'd been sick for several years, and her health care costs were more than her income each month.  

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