Vigilant Kids

Last week our neighbor three doors down had a break-in. While we were all at Grandparents’ Day (and aforementioned neighbors were there too as they are at school with us) some folks kicked in their back door, and stole a bunch of electronics, worth a fair amount of money. The fact that this home has a picket fence around their back yard, making it very easy for any passers-by to see the thieves carrying items such as an enormous big screen tv out the back door and into their waiting vehicle didn’t seem to make any difference. Oh, the nerve.

Our children are aware of the crime, and rather than be cowed by this development, seem determined to fight back. This morning as they played in and out of the house and backyard, a couple of them began yelling and screaming for us at the top of their lungs. It appears their watchful eyes saw what appeared to them to be a suspicious man going in and out of the yards just adjacent to ours. We heard their cries through the open door and windows, and Jay ran out back immediately to investigate.

What he found at the back of our driveway was a rather frightened-looking man in uniform in possession of a handheld meter, with which he had been checking the electrical usage of all the nearby houses. He explained himself to us cautiously, all the while glancing furtively at my brood of loud and excited children. Jay, satisfied that no evil was being done, sent the man on his way. I think the poor guy was glad to go.

But I was proud of my children. If neighbors everywhere kept an eye out for each other with as much vigilance as my children seem wont to, surely there would be fewer incidences of these sorts!

Getting laid off is a lot of work

Or, how I’ve stayed busy thus far, in no particular order.

  • Created a resume and sent it out (building a useful receiver list is actually quite time consuming)
  • Created another resume that is intelligible to smart folks who happen to not have a background in telecom
  • Sent that one out (much easier… just reused the previous receiver list)
  • Answered most every email that came back in response
  • Mailed rebate for new T-Mobile phone (easy)
  • Mailed rebate for new laptop (hard… somehow lost the receipt and had to drive back to the store)
  • Was conquered for the first time in my life by a piece of technology, my new T-Mobile Dash phone. I fought back, and I think I won, but it took quite a bit of time.
  • Got my laptop set up the way a laptop should be set up.
  • Filed for unemployment online
  • Called unemployment office to discuss the set of questions that were impossible for me to answer honestly. Here’s how it went down. Question: did you receive wages this week? Answer: Yes. Question: How many hours did you work for these wages? Answer: Zero. Oops. Zero isn’t a valid answer. But my job related activities were to all cease the day I was laid off. And I’m still on payroll for the time being.
  • Started jumping through hoops in support of unemployment insurance, whenever it does kick in. Pretty easy, really, as I was already doing all sorts of job searches and job applications and was keeping a journal of all of it.
  • Did all sorts of job searches and job applications and kept a detailed journal. Wrote cover letters where possible.
  • First went to the hospital at which all my children were born and then the county clerk’s office. Got a birth certificate for Josiah (already had one for the other kids).
  • Used birth certificates and tax returns to prove my dependents are really my dependents so they stay covered on my insurance (for the short time I have it). I call this the new “No (love) child left behind” except, of course, they are trying to leave (love) children behind.
  • Had the first killer migraine I’ve had in a couple years. Really bad. I’m at a loss as to what the trigger was, given that I generally get migraine’s from emotional stress.
  • Canceled lots of services, including my broadband card with Verizon Wireless.
  • Desperately tried to pay off my Verizon account, but no one would take my money since, you know, my account was canceled. Like this was a new situation they had never encountered. Eventually had to drive to an ATM, get lots of cash, then drive to a Verizon store and hand the cash to them.
  • Sent in various signed pieces of information to various locations to secure my severance package.
  • Went on bike ride with my dad, a round trip from Valley View Park to White Rock Lake. On the way, we were pushing into 70 mile an hour wind. I don’t remember coming back, as the 8 miles went by so quickly it was a blur, what with a typhoon blowing us home.
  • Worked most nights very late into the night / early morning looking over job posts and responding to email.
  • Pretended Friday was Saturday (you can do that when you don’t have a job). In the morning, enjoyed a wonderful grandparent’s day program at the Covenant School. Then spent some time weeding the yard and hanging out. Even flew kites with the kids at the nearby elementary school yard.
  • Will probably end up pretending Saturday is Friday…

Sweet Providences and Blessings From the Past Few Days…

* two highly-encouraging parent-teacher conferences with our school-aged children’s instructors.

* pretty, spring-like weather, and working in the yard together as a family

* supper and fellowship with our church home group – and love and support and prayers from them

* beautiful flowers from a thoughtful friend

* a bequeathing of a little playhouse from a next-door neighbor for our children to enjoy in the backyard.

* Josiah telling me “I luz you” for the first time when I hadn’t told him so first.

* sweet find on Craigslist for my Honey – a manly, yet attractive Weirs leather recliner (we bought this BEFORE the layoff!)

* our daughter’s newfound love of baking, and the yummy results which we are all enjoying immensely.

* overwhelming expressions of care and support from all over, after our shocking news on Thursday.

Laid off

I was laid off Thursday by Alcatel-Lucent. At one level, I’ve known this was a very real possibility for some time now. It still came as a shock, and the initial information given me regarding the package was quite ugly. By Friday, however, I had a complete picture and was glad to discover the package was actually very equitable. So I’ve got some time to find another job.

Thursday was spent dealing with the initial emotions and panic. I was walked within an hour of being notified, sans my laptop and phone (both owned by my employer). I still have three boxes to unpack. Friday gave me a chance to work through the details of the package, talk a good bit to HR, and begin the slash and burn of our ongoing expenses.

By Friday evening I had also figured out that I did not want to put my job search at risk by performing it from the kitchen (where our home computer resides). I immediately began looking for a good deal on a phone and laptop, both of which I purchased on Saturday, after having a long discussion with my daughter about the concept of “it takes money to make money” to give her the chance to understand why I was spending money on a computer while cutting all sorts of other costs.

I’m now sitting at a table in our local library using their free wifi with my new laptop writing this post, listening to Royal Hunt and other obscure euro-metal bands on Pandora Radio. I’ve got a rough cut resume done, and an ever-growing checklist of stuff to do (sign the termination package, send in laptop rebate, etc.). My goal is to enjoy a day of rest and worship tomorrow, and then spend Monday morning putting together a job search strategy, as well as starting to tackle that checklist.

I leave you with the Psalm that came to mind for myself and Tricia (independently, I might add) on Thursday, and then showed up in an email to me from one of the deacons at our church the next day.