Test anxiety

I got to pee in a cup today. A very controlled, very precise, very directed drug screen was called for by this new employer. Today’s event was just one of a number of changes that this company has implemented since I worked for them four or five years ago.

I’ve never had to have a drug screen for a job before.

I was asked to lock up my purse and check my pockets so that nothing untoward would enter the restroom with me.

I got to pick out my very own collection cup and watch while the technician showed me that it was completely sealed.

I was asked to wash my hands.

I was instructed on exactly how much of the specimen I was to provide. I didn’t ask what the consequences would be if I couldn’t muster the required amount. Drinking copious amounts of water 30 minutes prior to the donation took care of any issues with that. I was relieved in more ways than one.

I was told firmly -twice- not to flush or to wash my hands after collection. Only after I handed off the cup could I wash my hands.

Did you know that they actually check the temperature of the donation?

And what are the very vivid blue drops that they place into the toilet water?

I had to watch each step as the specimen was processed and at times even initial certain parts of the procedures.  Only when the donation was finally sealed in a plastic bag and initialed by me did I get my ID back and the key to the box to unlock and free my purse.

It wasn’t until I was walking out of the office that I realized I had no memory of the technician wearing gloves when she took the specimen cup from me. No memory of her washing her hands after she went into the restroom to flush for me. Nor do I have any memory of her washing her own hands throughout the rest of the processing.

Gross.

So, this happened today…

Dear Deborah

I am pleased to confirm our offer of employment as a part time Newborn Hearing Screener reporting to Lxxxx Wxxxxxxx. The specifics of our offer are outlined below:

• Hourly rate of pay of $a bazillion dollars to be paid on a bi-weekly basis, every other Friday.  ***So perhaps I have chosen to exaggerate the hourly rate just a bit***

Your offer to join MEDNAX Services, Inc. and your participation in the Newborn Hearing
Screen Program is contingent upon maintaining the following requirements:

• Certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation within your first 30 days of employment, followed by continued recertification.
• Medically cleared testing for tuberculosis prior to beginning employment, followed by
annual testing.
• Providing us with proof of your identity and work authorization (as required by the
Immigration Reform & Control Act of 1986).
• Successful completion of background.

So, it looks as if I have managed to jump over one small hurdle and secure some extra income that will (I hope) add to my credibility as a worthwhile rental risk. Now I can wave not only my divorce decree and pension funds and my gift income from caring for the granddaughters, but also an actual employment offer letter, in the faces of those naysayer leasing agents.

This position is the same one that I held just prior to the time I started looking after Miss G. This time I am with a different medical facility, one that I learned just today has the second most stringent policies regarding new hires in the whole United States. I have been assured that if I am lucky I may be ready to secure an ID badge and actually begin my job in about 8 weeks. The process, I am told, has been so overwhelming for some, that they quit before they even get started. I’m okay with the wait. The delay gives me time to process all this divorce stuff and retrain my perspective on what constitutes a “normal” work week. I will still be with Miss G and Miss C 3 days per week. This new job is a weekend position, so I now have to get used to the fact that my days off will come during the week, and that they won’t be back to back.

I really loved this job the last time around. This time I have even more autonomy as the the satellite facility I will be working in runs their program somewhat differently than I encountered before. I won’t be sharing a split shift, but I will be learning all about electronic health records (EHR). We did everything on paper 4 years ago. All you EPIC user’s out there, soon I will truly understand some of the headaches you write about in your blogs.

Anyway, just had to share. It’s great to finally have some good news to put on this blog.

 

I Have No Title…

I have no title for this post that I feel I can comfortably broadcast. WordPress would certainly take a dim view of the words I want to write. Some of you may take a step back as well, but not because you are prudish or have never seen the words I want to place up there in HUGE, deeply BOLD, font.

I think that all the words that I want to use to make a title for this post might just be a post in and of themselves. I could go on to simply write FCUK FCUK FCUK FCUK FCUK… and you would likely get the idea that something was amiss, but even that word doesn’t seem to be enough right now.

My house is sold, we close on July 11th, and since yesterday it has been made very clear to me that I will not have a place to live. Now I knew, because I am a pessimist at heart, that for all the ease and predictability that has surrounded my divorce process to this point, that a change would be bound to happen. I knew that I wasn’t going to get away scot-free.

Perhaps I should backtrack for you to a few months ago, to the time that I began searching out prospective new living places. Even then it was apparent that living alone right now was going to be almost impossible. My income after divorce would not be enough to qualify for the overarching rule that ‘applicants must make 4x their monthly rent to qualify for residency.’ Learning that early on, and realizing that even if I had still been working at my old, pre-arthritis job in dentistry making $25+ per hour, I would not have qualified for residency anywhere within a 100 mile radius… well that opened my eyes for sure.

So, there were some discussions and some realizations and the youngest daughter and I worked out a plan that seemed to be beneficial to both of us for the foreseeable future. We made plans to share an apartment, thus allowing both of us the luxury of actually saving money.

We researched, we collaborated, we toured and compromised. We thought we had narrowed places down to a clearly defined list of possibilities, and we were ready. We (I) never hid the fact that my life story right now involved divorce. I spoke about the fact that online applications were devilish beasts when it came to trying to explain the intricacies surrounding my ability to prove income (the bulk of which would be coming in my divorce settlement) when they simply want to see numbers or look at downloaded pay stubs.

I was given a few ideas of options from well-meaning managers and representatives. I was encouraged to go ahead and start an application, that they were there to help.

Perhaps you should call me naive, or just plain stupid might be better. Call me clearly out of touch with the rental world after being a responsible home owner for 34 years. Call me a female body in a world where financial history means nothing when it comes to security and honesty and values. So that last one may be overstepping in this case, but I am looking for anything that I can blame. 

The bottom line, after numerous attempts to explain my income sources post divorce, as well as exactly what that income will amount to each month (which by the way along with the daughters income will over qualify us for that 4x rule), along with a copy of the settlement agreement stating said income, added to a statement and transaction history of the past 4 1/2 years of part-time employment–after all that someone yesterday finally managed to be honest and state:

“In our specific case, and quite likely with most other places as well, even though you will clearly make enough and we would love to have you as a resident, without a final, signed divorce decree, and possibly even some proof of deposits of the awarded amounts in your checking account, I can tell you that the company we work with won’t approve your application at this time.”

I had suspicions about this very thing shortly after beginning the touring process. In fact, we held off on any final decisions for some time, simply because of this lurking issue that nagged at me regarding proof. Any ya’ll know what? I get it. I actually and completely understand where every single one of these places/companies is coming from. They can’t simply take me at my word. I look like a lovely, stand-up, responsible sort of almost 58 year old woman. Beyond that though, well geez, I could be tossing any old income numbers around, trying to play them for fools. I get it.

What I don’t get is why,

given the fact that my divorce was not final when we began this process,

given the fact that we were not seeking a move in date prior to finalization,

given the fact that I cannot be the very first divorcing woman to seek residency prior to finalization and solid proof,

given that it might be a great idea to have a clearly stated policy for matters such as this and that everyone who works with applicants should have access to it,

given the fact that I never should have put the house on the market for sale this early,

given the fact that my spouse may end up being turned down for not having 4x income versus monthly rent, but NOT be turned down because HE doesn’t have a signed divorce decree,

then why, for so many other ridiculous, frustrating, naive, stupid, f’d up reasons could someone not simply have stated that this round about way of proving income we were asked to try was all going to be for nothing.

My snarky, distrustful side says because these places are all about the appearance of being genuine and helpful while deep down they only want the application fees. That same dark side of me says that it’s easier and looks better to some corporate numbers people to show that they have huge numbers of applicants so their complexes must be superior. My not-naive brain says that this is the way of the world and tells me to get used to it.

Yesterday though, right about 4pm after hearing someone tell me my plans were screwed and the realization that I now need to find a temporary home hit me in the face-

my human side,

my already overwhelmed trying-to-hold-it-together side,

my still convinced that I made the right decision side,

my non-pragmatic, I don’t want to hold this inside any longer side,

wanted nothing more than to curl up into a ball and hide in the corner.

None of the above has changed as I write this, but today is a new day, and like others who inspire me with their words and actions and perseverance, today means one foot will travel in front of the other until this issue is solved, because what else can I do.

 

SOLD!

Our house went on the market Wednesday. We accepted an offer Thursday night. The new owners (barring unforeseen issues) will take possession on July 11.

We moved into this house 24 1/2 years ago. Pregnant with my third baby, it was November, and I vaguely remember the rush to get things in some sort of order before the holidays. I don’t remember very much of the actual process of selling our first home and buying this one, but sometimes I can’t remember what happened 24 hours ago, let alone 24 years ago.

I’m grateful that things went quickly. I didn’t enjoy the phones calls for showings, the need to do multiple spot checks to ensure the rooms were always staged and ready, or the need to remember to turn on every single light in the house to provide that sunny, warm, homey feeling. I wasn’t very good at being polite after making myself scarce for what seemed like an appropriate amount of time only to arrive back home to find an agent and client who were supposed to show up at 3:00 pm, or at 6:00 pm still inside because someone was late, or had the time wrong entirely.

I am pleased with the final agreed upon selling price. We definitely benefited from the fact that the neighbor down the street sold his home for more than his original asking price. That gave us the impetus to price ours a bit higher to start with.

July isn’t far away. So much of the final work with this home will coincide with all the final aspects of my divorce so I feel as if much of life will be a blur for some time. Being the person that I am, I know clearly that I will be on edge until this is all over.

As I sit here now, writing this post and looking around at the freshly painted walls, the familiar scenes outside my windows, the sad and overused furniture, there are memories that come back to me. Most of them involve my kids. I wonder what I will remember of this process 24 years from now. I will be about 82 years old so I doubt any memories I may have will be very clear.

Better, I think, to get started on making some new memories.

Whirlwind

For some time there’s been nothing much to tell. Plodding along each day, waiting. Then, with one phone call, one meeting, the wheels begin to move, things start to take shape, and the to-do list is seeing more checks than empty boxes.

I hesitate to go backwards here, with my words. The working relationship between myself and my soon to be ex-spouse has been congenial. We have a shared goal now, one that ironically has made even simple conversation easier to come by. I have witnessed a willingness in him that previously was buried under mountains of obstinate refusal. One thing that has not changed however, is the very way we approach the getting things done part of all this. Simply put, we live on opposite ends of the spectrum in that arena.

Saying “I told you so” is counterproductive, but with all the good happening, I fully admit that lurking underneath any positivity, those words were ready and waiting to bubble to the surface. They have, but quietly and directed more to myself as an affirmation that, while outwardly some things can appear to change, the core of who a person is stays steadfast and real.

Being trapped in the immovable  sludge of “let him do it his way” was killing me and so, (here’s the I-told-you-so part) I jumped in, took responsibility once again, and within the past week we have a listing agent, a newly painted interior to our home, clean vinyl siding and deck, and are now only waiting on some landscape bark. Do I want to point out that I have been waiting for all this to happen since… oh- April 1st? I do, but pretend that I didn’t just write that, because you know- positive thoughts and shared goals, right.

My now very real expectation is that this home can finally be listed for sale within the next 7 to 10 days. Our agent is out of town (with my blessing) for vacation, but upon her return we will be ready for pictures, signage, marketing, and offers, offers, offers. I think that I mentioned the house two doors down in a previous post, the one that was listed well above what I thought might apply to our home. I just found out yesterday that it sold (less than 24 hours after listing) for almost $15,000 over asking price!

Real estate is crazy here- too many buyers and too little availability of homes on the market. Fingers and toes crossed that this means an upcoming happy dance for us.

happy-dance-animated-gif-image-46-2

 

Busy work

Don’t know that I have all that much to report, but I’m enjoying my morning coffee, on this, an extra day off, and it just seemed like an appropriate time to see what might appear on this screen.

The sun is out, and our weather folk say we might see 70 degrees by Thursday. The sun inspires me to do stuff, and so I’ve been trying to do stuff, mostly just to keep busy and avoid counting every second of this wait-to-be-divorced few months.

So, the major weeds have been pulled, and the tiny weeds have been sprayed. Bark mulch will come at some point because it’s always easier to cover up than put my joints through hell trying to pull every last offending, unwanted foreign invader.

Still we wait on painting. One bid was way more than we intend to spend. We wait on a return phone call from another painter. At the rate things are going, my spouse may be painting these rooms himself. He hates to paint. I am steering clear of the whole thing.

My latest project is cleaning up the rooms that aren’t going to be painted- tackling cobwebs and dust, wiping down doors, just generally trying to make the spaces appear as if they aren’t 25 years old. Today I’m going to start on the under-sink areas. They’re pretty well cleaned out of stuff, but they do look somewhat beaten up and used. The white paint has seen better days, so my answer is to place some of that non-adhesive, grippy shelf-liner stuff down to mask the major scratches and marred areas. mN8slVTn04gwEXAITyd17ag

I purchased a few new entry rugs, and some pillows for the horrid gold couch that my spouse wants to keep and take with him. Of course, those things are waiting until the painting is done.

Time to get busy I suppose.

Oh, and on a bright note- one of my favorite spring activities is happening this coming weekend. The local Historic Homes Tour is back! Alison and I have gone for the last few years and we almost thought we missed it this year. It is supposed to be sunny and mild this Sunday so I think that will be our day to walk, tour, and dream of life in one of these homes. This year apparently they are huge homes, some well over 4000+ square feet. Unfortunately no pictures with that link, just descriptions.

I can hardly wait…