Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Feeling Better!

Well, after a lousy past week, I'm finally feeling better!

I started back to work at the BOE yesterday. I was glad to have a job to go back to, but still feeling kind of depressed, thinking that I couldn't do any better than a $10 an hour temp job, even with all my education and work experience. I felt a lot better when I found out that the BOE might be hiring me and the other 4 temps they called back, permanently! They transferred 3 employees to another department, another employee retired, and one either quit or got fired - I'm not sure with. The head of the department said they have 5 openings now, and that's why they hired back just 5 temps.

My self esteem had taken a big wallop after I lost my pre-BOE job. But, after hearing the head of the department and another supervisor say they chose us 5 temps to come back because of how well we did on the assessment test, our quality of work when we worked for the BOE last year, and because they felt we would do the best at the job, I felt pretty good.

We're getting our own desks (instead of the long tables we sat at as temps last year), phone extensions and email addresses, so that looks promising. Geez, I know that's pretty pitiful that I'm getting excited about having a desk, after having my own office at my pre-BOE job. Yes, I had my own office, but it was only because my department only had 4 employees, including our boss, and there were 4 offices, so we each got one. If there had been more employees, most of us would have been stuck in cubicles. Anyway, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I do get hired permanently, because I'm burned out on job hunting, and it would be a huge relief to finally have medical insurance and vacation time again, not to mention better pay.

I feel like maybe my luck is turning around, because a lot of good things have happened to me since Friday. I had been worried sick the past week over my gas and electric bills, which living here in freezing Cleveland, where it's cold 6-7 months of the year, had become really unmanageable. I was able to get help paying them from a local agency on Friday. They not only gave me money towards each bill, but put me on a percentage of income payment plan, which cut my monthly payments in half.

I was worried about having enough money for bus fare to get to work all week, but then I got my state income tax refund yesterday, which my husband and I had been waiting on for well over a month. The majority of it got taken by the Ohio Department of Transportation for this minor accident my husband had two years ago (and no, they still haven't fixed the fence he hit, which they are charging us for). I was waiting for the balance of the refund to be sent to me, and wasn't expecting it for another week, but luckily it came sooner.

Today after work on my way to the bus stop downtown, I ran into an old friend of mine, who I used to ride the bus with everyday, but lost touch with, and hadn't seen in a year. That really made my day!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that since Friday, I've had 4 sales in my Etsy shop! The extra money came right in time, because my husband needed some money for gas to get the kids to and from school. I'm hoping the rest of the week will continue to go as well!

I also have a few crochet projects to show (please ignore the odd photo placement and the messed up line spacing at the end of this post - Blogger wouldn't cooperate for me today). First is a sweater for my "dog niece", my sister Shauna's dog, Autumn. She had asked me to crochet a sweater for Autumn. We went to Walmart, and she bought some Simply Soft Eco yarn in green and off-white for the sweater. I'm using a pattern from Crochet Today. She's really happy with it so far. I'm nearly done, but ran out of green yarn, so I'll finish the sweater when I have a chance to go back to Walmart, and get another skein.

Next is a pillow for my mom for her birthday in February. She likes birds, and her favorite colors are blue and green, so when I saw this ”Bird on Branch” pattern, I knew it would be perfect for her. Next is a hat and a market bag that I made for my Etsy shop.

I used some leftover Red Heart Fiesta from my mom's pillow for the hat. The bag is one of the items that sold in my Etsy shop. It's made with Lily Sugar N' Cream in pink camo and olive green. The suburb I live in has a farmer's market on Friday evenings during the summer and early fall, and I'm debating making some more of that bag, and trying to sell them at the market. They're always looking for more vendors (some sell things other than produce), and the market attracts a pretty large crowd. I wonder if it would sell well?

That's about it. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that I get hired permanently at the BOE soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When it Rains It Pours

Yes, I realize I haven't updated my blog in over a month. It's not that I haven't been crocheting anything - I have made a few things. It's just that I know most of the posts I've done over the past 6 months have been negative, and I didn't want my blog to only be about negative stuff that happens to me. I was waiting to post until I had something good to report. Well, unfortunately, the past few months have not been good at all, and March has been especially bad.

I've had a total of one, yes, one job interview since last November. It was for a secretarial position with my college alma mater. I asked one of the ladies I interviewed with when they plan on making a hiring decision, and she said they want to fill the position quickly, so the person they select will be starting within 2-4 weeks. Two to four week is "quickly"??? Why do colleges and government agencies have to move so incredibly slow with their hiring? I'm trying not to get my hopes up about that job though, because not much of anything has gone well for me lately.

After fighting with the unemployment bureau since the middle of December, I finally had my appeal hearing yesterday. It lasted all of 10 minutes. Basically the judge told me since my base period employment was with a church, and churches, under Ohio law, don't have to pay into the state unemployment fund, I am not eligible for unemployment. I asked why the unemployment bureau's website says that employment with a nonprofit or government agency is considered "covered" employment, even though they don't pay into the unemployment fund, the judge told me that does not include churches. Church employees simply can't get unemployment pay. I was so angry and upset over that. Just because an organization doesn't HAVE to pay into the unemployment fund, doesn't mean they SHOULDN'T. And in my opinion, a church of all places should care enough about their employees to want them to be able to collect unemployment if they are laid off. Oh well.

On top of feeling miserable and depressed all day yesterday because of that, my husband got laid off last night. Yep. This was my worst nightmare - both of us being unemployed at the same time. His company has had three rounds of layoffs since November, and made the remaining employees take several unpaid furloughs. They laid off 14 more people last night, and my husband, having the least amount of seniority of the employees in his department, was one of them. He'll get two weeks of severance pay, his week of vacation paid out and then unemployment.

I can't even begin to describe how frightening this is, to have bills piling up, being crunched just to afford basic living expenses like food and utilities, and then to have my husband lose his job on top of it. As soon as his severance pay runs out, I'm going to apply for food stamps. I feel ashamed having to do that, but it doesn't look like I have many other options. The other big problem is what we're going to do when his medical insurance runs out on June 30th. I can probably get Medicaid for the kids, but now my husband won't have medical insurance either (I haven't had insurance since I lost my church job almost a year ago), and with him being diabetic and on several medications, that really worries me.

I haven't even had a single sale in my Etsy shop, other than a hat that one of my husband's nieces bought. I recently joined a few Etsy groups - Etsy Hookers (www.etsyhookers.ning.com) and the Etsy Cleveland Street Team (www.clevelandhandmade.com) - sorry, couldn't get the one-word links to work. I've been trying to promote my Etsy shop through both, but still haven't gotten any sales. I'm totally discouraged. I also created a website for my husband's DJ services about a month ago (through Microsoft Small Business - you can set up a website for free for the first year and only $14.95 for each year after that), and have been advertising on Craig's List, but he hasn't gotten any jobs yet, either.

About the only good that's happened lately is I got a letter from the Board of Elections saying they are hiring for temporary positions again, and are inviting temps who worked for them in 2008 to reapply. A lot of things about the BOE rubbed me the wrong way, and I'd prefer not to go back there, but I don't have much of a choice at this point. This year though, they're making everyone who applies take an assessment on their computer system, before being hired. I have no idea why, because when I was hired last year, not only did I not have to take any kind of assessment, I didn't even have an interview! I know how to use their computer system, but I don't have as much experience with it as many of the other temps, who had worked there off and on for several years, and that worries me.

If I don't get the BOE job, we'll really be in a mess, because I have no other job prospects lined up right now. I've been looking for jobs, but here in Cleveland, there's so few to choose from, and among the ones I've applied for, I haven't been getting interviews (the college job an exception). There was a job fair here recently, and 7,500 people showed up to apply for 1,500 mostly minimum wage to $10 an hour jobs. It was so crowded, the police had to turn more than half of the people away. I had wanted to go, but it was in a suburb I couldn't reach by bus from where I live. I don't feel so bad now, because I'd probably have been lucky to even get in the door.

Well, I have a few crochet projects photos to post - stash yarn projects. I'll post those later today, or tomorrow.