Open Letter to John Boehner

2010/11/19

Dear Mr. Boehner:

I have been watching the news lately and couldn’t help but notice that the extension of unemployment insurance is up for vote in Congress.  As one of your constituents (I live in Dayton, OH) who is unemployed, I thought I would write to tell you how important these extensions are to me and others like me.

I was laid off after Christmas 2009 due to the economic conditions.  I was at this company for two and a half years.  I have a business degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH, and paid my own way through college.

While I knew that finding a job would be difficult, I did not realize how difficult it would be.  I cashed out my 401k to help pay expenses.  When the 401k money ran out, I tapped into my savings.  My savings didn’t last long because my real estate taxes increased by $600 per year.  This increase in taxes caused my mortgage payment to rise by $105 per month.  I suffer from hypothyroidism and can no longer afford to see the doctor.  Without a prescription, I can not get medication.

This isn’t a plea to keep the new health care plan, this is a plea to extend unemployment.  My unemployment benefits are roughly half of my salary.  Benefits pay my utilities and keep a roof over my head.  If I have any money left over (which is rare), I go grocery shopping.  I am down to eating once a day to make food last longer.

The GOP argument is unemployment benefits add to the deficit.  I understand this position, but you need to make an effort to understand mine.  Unemployment benefits keep me afloat.  Without it, I would be homeless and probably fall into a coma due to my hypothyroidism.

Another argument is that extending unemployment just makes people lazy.  This is absolutely UNTRUE!  I apply – on average – to five jobs per week.  My resume is posted on various job boards.  I spend two to three hours per day applying for jobs.  I have applied for blue collar positions (e.g. warehouse worker, retail, etc), but was told I was overqualified. I do want to work!

What you and the rest of your party need to realize is that there is a new breed of unemployed workers.  The unemployed are no longer the uneducated, flighty people who bounce around from job to job.  The unemployed include people like me – hard-working, educated people who have specialized skills.

Maybe what you need to do is visit your constituents more than three times a year and see how the majority of people really live, not just the top tier.  You should see the struggles some of us go through and the agonizing decisions we have to make.  Please Mr. Boehner, extend unemployment insurance.  Some of our lives depend on it, literally.

 


A Time for Healing

2010/11/16

When I saw the Let’s Blog Off topic of Thanksgiving memories, I must be honest when I say I wasn’t too pleased.  I decided to forge ahead (this is therapy, you know) and participate anyway.  Maybe someone will finally understand why I am not a fan of the holiday.

There are a couple of warnings.  First, this is in no way a ploy to get sympathy.  Like I said, this is my way of (hopefully) getting someone to understand me.  Secondly, these experiences do not make me the proverbial crazy.  They are a part of who I am.

1996 – I was single and pregnant, much to the chagrin of my parents.  I just finished college and didn’t have a decent job.  The baby deserved a better life than what I could provide at that time, so I decided to put the baby up for adoption.  The baby’s birthday?  Wednesday, 27 November 1996, the day before Thanksgiving.

Fast forward to 1997.  My phone rang around 7:30PM on 20 November 1997.  It was my mother telling me that my grandfather passed away from a stroke.  This was quite unexpected.  Grandpa had not been sick and showed no symptoms of any illness.  Ironically, my paternal grandfather passed away this same day back in 1971.

Ten years later, a similar situation.  My mother called me around 11:00AM on Thanksgiving 2007 (22 November).  She stated that EMTs were working on my father.  I threw on a clean pair of jeans and jumped into the car.  Don’t ask me how I made it to the hospital because I don’t know.  All I know is that the usual one hour trip to my parents’ town took half that time.  I walked into the ER and saw my mother in the condolence room.  I knew it wasn’t good news.  She said that Dad didn’t make it.  He passed while I was on the road from a massive heart attack.  And guess who had to call and tell my brother in NYC?  Me.

Thanksgiving should be a joyous time, but for me it isn’t.  It is a time of reflection and healing.  I think this year I will sit back and have a glass or two of chardonnay and celebrate the lives of those that I have lost.  I know Dad would approve.


Finding Humor in Yourself

2010/11/02

What makes people laugh?  This seemingly simple question was unusually difficult for me to answer.  However, it did give me a chance to flashback through my life.  Then the answer hit me like an anvil – I make myself laugh.

People that know me will tell you that I am a bit silly & clumsy.  OK, so I am silly & clumsy.  A few of examples will prove this endearing quality of mine.

Halloween is arguably a child’s second favorite holiday besides Christmas.  Not mine.  At the age of seven, I was trick or treating and tripped down some cement steps.  I felt some slight pain, but I didn’t say anything.  After running around & playing with my cousins for a couple of hours, everyone sat down to eat.  My mother noticed that my right ankle was the size of a grapefruit.  After arguing with Mom (I am also stubborn) for a half hour, I agreed to go to the hospital.  The result: a broken ankle that tore the ligaments.

Fast forward to the age of eight.  I was crawling around playing with my younger brother.  My outstretched leg slammed against the stereo.  This resulted in two broken toes.

The paramount example of my clumsiness occurred a few years ago.  I leaned over to open a door to the bathroom vanity.  I was talented enough to catch the door in an eye socket.  This hurt like you-know-what.  There was no blood and no scratches, so I continued on with my chores.  When I awoke the next morning, my right eye was swollen shut and had more colors than a Sherwin-Williams store.  My co-workers thought I had been beaten.  My mother was not too pleased either.  They couldn’t believe that I really did lean over into a door.

When I think about these incidents, and believe me there are more, I still laugh so hard I cry.  The past year has been quite tough for me.  I have had to find joy in the little things.  This blog post has made me realize that humor lies within myself.  If I can’t laugh at myself, then who can I laugh at?