Monday, January 9, 2012

Unemployed & Unarmed

When you don't have a job, any outing is a good excuse to pull yourself out of bed, shower, and get dressed. That's probably why one day last week, I volunteered to go to the auditor's office for Puff to handle the property taxes on our new Batmobile. And why I excitedly accepted his offer to allow me to accompany him to his consultation at the oral surgeon. Never mind we had to wait over an hour to see the dentist. It was an hour that wasn't spent lounging in my pajamas on my own couch, covered in Poptart crumbs.


However... there was one excursion that put the fear of ten charging linemen in me. A trip to the unemployment office.


When I separated from my job, part of the deal was the unemployment. (Can't go into much else!) I dutifully filed my online claim, followed every last instruction, submitted my resume to the state's job board website, and waited patiently. Until a certain amount of time had passed and my online account was still stuck in neutral with no change in status. I was eventually able to call in my first weekly claim in an attempt to get that first check. However, the lovely automated man on the other end told me there was an unresolved issue with my account and I would have to go into the unemployment office. Imagine all the color draining from my face, because I'm pretty damn sure that's exactly what happened. I even waited a few days and called back to double-check I was hearing it correctly. I even had Puff call to listen!


Nope... there was no escaping it. The automated man very clearly stated I needed to go down to the office. Let the fun times begin!


So last Thursday morning, Puff told his job he would be in late, and we bundled up and headed out into the 32 degree morning and drove downtown to the unemployment office. We got there 35 minutes before they opened and we were the 18th and 19th people in line. We stood surrounded by clouds of cigarette smoke (apparently that's a pre-requisite to being unemployed these days) and a very vocal older gentleman who kept threatening to bang on the doors if they didn't open them right at 8:30am. Yup... I was very glad I had the foresight to take Puff with me. It was definitely no place for a mother-to-be to just casually hang out unattended. Or unarmed.


They finally opened the doors, called a few people out for specific purposes, filed us in to rows of chairs, handed us papers to fill out, and we were told to wait. Until about 9am when another lady came over and informed us that their computer system was down, and it could be down for 15 minutes or 4 hours. She didn't know. Just my fucking luck! I let Puff make the call on waiting or not. After all, he was the one with an actual job to attend that day. We made the call to wait until 10:30am before re-evaluating the situation. A few people got up and left, so we shifted around in the chairs. But someone shifted the wrong way and ended up screwing a lady in the row behind us. She gave Puff the evil eye. I sat squished between a large black lady in a giant puffy coat and Puff, who was equally as broad in those tiny chairs. My cell phone had no service. I had no internet access. And the Chelsea Handler book I was reading started off with a long chapter about masturbation, so I figured I better skip that part. Just in case someone was reading over my shoulder in those cramped quarters.


About 10 minutes into fake reading the second chapter of my book, a lady came and asked our section if anyone was there for a new claim. A few people got up and asked her questions about theirs. Of course, I was totally eavesdropping, since that's what I'm good at doing in a never-ending state of waiting. A lady who had filed around the same time as me hadn't waited long enough for her initial claim to go through, so there was no sense in her sitting and waiting in that hellhole. I jumped up. After having two belligerent people cut in front of me (I wasn't about to fight them!) I finally got to explain my situation to the lady. And you know what she told me? That all new claims get that automated message on the phone system. But if it took the information, and I got the info sheet in the mail, I was good. I showed her the sheet. She said I was good. She said I didn't need to do anything else. (Just if it didn't go through the next week to come back.)


So after spending about an hour and a half there, I was able to walk out. (Now, I won't count my chickens before they hatch. I feel it's inevitable I will end up having to go back sometime soon!) Now I just get to say some really persuasive prayers that everything in their system gets worked out and I am good to go. And that I can find a new job... but that's another rant entirely. When we got back to the house, Puff changed to go to work. (I wouldn't let him go down there with me sporting a $200 cashmere sweater over an oxford with pimp shoes!) His hair was a wreck. I finally insisted he go to a mirror when his futile attempts to lay it flat in the living room weren't working. When he came back out he just grinned and said, "That's my wearing a toboggan in line at the unemployment office hair." Sexy hair, indeed.

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