The last few years have been hard, even harder than the decade before. The store I worked at started cutting and pressuring staff to 'perform' a full year before the pandemic hit. And not just 'perform' - but compete, scoundrel and get higher sales every week consistently or face consequences (anyone who knows math knows that doesn't work - you can only rise so much for so long until the whole thing collapses.. yes?) I don't know if it was related to what was coming down the pipeline, or not - everyone is still processing what has happened with Covid and when things really started and where it was seen etc.... And my dad was dying at the time - right when work was being it's very most inflexible. And a major infection hit my teeth and I had an EDS flare. It was a triple whammy.
I found out more about EDS - ehler danlos syndrome, and have still been trying, three years later, to manage it so it doesn't manage me sort of thing. With watching inflammation and eating the right things (and avoiding some other foods) and trying not to overdo it when things are not out of place or grinding - I've managed to avoid things like my knee that swelled so large in June of 2019 that it barely fit into my jeans. That was the beginning of the flare, with my teeth infecting in August, and my resignation to the store coming in September because I had to take care of myself, my family, and my father died in October. Covid came to our area in early 2020.. it was a ball of yarn and thorns.
So after I resigned from the store, (13 of us resigned or were fired, actually, to scatter to the winds), I tried to start my own business remodeling bathrooms. I had to hire out the heaviest work to local contractors, and did the product location, delivery and smaller work myself. Less than six months later, in the middle of a job, the Covid crisis began. My contractor became scared to come work at my client's house. He was so afraid - he and his family got the flu and then he thought they would get worse coming out in public and communications began to break down. I was trying to do the work alone - pulling twelve hour days sometimes, and the contractor decided I wasn't doing it 'well enough'.. as well. He made excuses and stopped coming to work at all. I joined the post office because I could see by then - February, 2020, that things were not going to get any better trying to run my own business.
There is a 'ladder' of hierarchy and seniority you have to climb at the post office, and I've been trying. I'm still 'part time'.. and some people work part time for years and years before they get a chance at anything more. But if you quit before that point - you have to climb it all again. With the pandemic, increasing prices and car repairs (we maintain our own vehicles, fun!) things have just gotten harder and harder.
I often feel like the picture above, juggling Mark's illness, raising a teenager, working as a mom... and just trying to take care of myself as well because otherwise I'll end up having another flare and then where will we be?
Going to go talk to my postmaster today about a different route I have been invited to. I don't know if it will be better, but if I don't try to get something different and maybe better it will never happen. This other route is closer to home and will give me more experience - different is scary, but you can't stay stuck in a rut and hope to be pulled out. Especially in this economy right now.
They say 'everyone is hiring' ... oh, right. Everyone is hiring for minimum wage or very specialized experience (nurse, CDL, CEO) - there isn't a lot of in between. And think about this - 20 dollars an hour and 8 to 16 hours a week is still more takehome money than 8 dollars and hour and 20 hours a week. Everything I see in the market seems to be either 'low pay / part time' and give us all your time (don't work elsewhere) which still doesn't pay the bills or the location is somewhere I cannot commute to every day and still take care of my family and sleep and renting an apartment there costs as much as our mortgage here. This economy is just insane. Living in a rural area has that disadvantage, too - but there are many reasons we live out here and if you run the numbers it is actually much cheaper than living in the city - not to mention we've been here for so many years moving is no small task at all.
Little sketches in my sketchbook, to break up the tedium.
" Daddy has the propane heater on" - our animals enjoying the propane heat in Mark's room that keeps him warm enough in this extra cold winter.
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