Note: This is pretty much a journal entry of my life, but you're more than welcome to read it.
The More Things Stay The Same...
Last week, I wrote that three sources of income were being stymied, along with a problem with a bill.
As of this writing, none have yet to be resolved, with no end in sight.
While I don't intend that this post serve only as an update for this particular series of unfortunate events, I will do so as succinctly as I know how.
While I'm still officially laid off from work, I have been working in the neighborhood of ten hours a week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Since early December, when I was paid eight hours of work, three more than I had at that time, I've been paid an additional eight hours, this time for a holiday, which I can only assume was for Thanksgiving since I was laid off shortly thereafter.
Well, after talking to the office manager a couple of times, I have yet to be paid the remaining hours I'm owed (by calculation, it's nearly 19 hours), and I have no idea if or when it's going to happen. I mean, I believe it will, eventually, but that doesn't help pay bills. In the meantime, I have another 22 hours in on the current pay period. So far, I haven't worked this week, but that can change any moment.
I've just finished the sixth week of claims. I received the first four no problem, but the last two, which includes this past week's claim, are sitting in limbo. As I predicted, the reason for either the delay or the denial is it's over four weeks and the computer (if not the department) is expecting that I start looking for work.
There's supposed to be some temporary rules in place thanks to the COVID-19 imposed restrictions, where work search is suspended as long as an employee keeps in contact with their employer and is reasonably expected to go back to work. The computer, or the system, wants that to fit into a neat four week window, but it's been six weeks and I'm still not sure if or when I'll be back to full-time.
I did try to call the office my claim is assigned to. It's been overran by everyone else trying to talk to someone. I've managed to get through the busy signal once, only to be put on hold for nearly two hours, after which I was disconnected and told by the automated messenger to try again later.
Fortunately, hopefully, I did receive some paperwork in the mail (an automated letter) asking me to give details as to why I'm not working. So, I filled out the form, and along with it, sent back a letter I wrote explaining my situation. I also included a copy from their own rules which spells out why I should be eligible and getting benefits without looking for work.
I don't know if they've seen the letter yet or not, but nothing has been done to complete processing my claims. The timing of all of this just happens to coincide with the federal aid Congress passed providing $300 a week for eligible claimants which is added to the state's weekly amount.
Despite receiving the first payment via direct deposit when they were sent out in April, I'm waiting on a check this go around. The check was supposedly slated to be sent out on January 6, but so far, it has not arrived, nor has there been any hint of it from the USPS tracker I signed up for a year or so ago.
There has been no more information on the Get My Payment page of the IRS website regarding it. I'm supposed to receive a letter, too, I guess, to explain something about the check, which sounds like it will arrive separately. There has been no such correspondence, either.
Xfinity Mobile Bill
On Christmas, my wife and I switched from AT&T to Xfinity Mobile while upgrading to the iPhone 12 (for her) and the iPhone mini (for me). In doing so, we were promised a total of $250 off each phone, which would show up as a credit on a monthly basis (something like $10.40) for the next two years.
Well, thanks to a mix up in SIM cards (they mislabeled them), what should have been a ten minute or less process on the Xfinity Mobile transfer site became a five hour and counting ordeal with tech support, with still no visible resolution.
After the first four hours, I was told that everything was near completion, and that the only thing outstanding was a work ticket to actually apply the discount for my wife. Mine is in effect. However, when I called back last week to make sure things were in the works after seeing that the bill was still showing the higher amount, I was on hold again for at least another hour with yet another tech who was collaborating with someone else, only to be told that they couldn't get the system to acknowledge the discount.
I was told then that the remaining option was to just take the entire $250 at once, but that it required the sign off of their supervisor, who wasn't expected to be in for another half an hour or so. I told the tech that it was getting awfully close to the end of the billing period, which I had been previously told was a drop dead point for the discount.
The response was, not to worry. If it didn't make it on before then, it would come off after, and that there wouldn't be a bill at all for two months, plus a third month where the bill was considerably less.
I have yet to call back, but as of this afternoon, the website is showing we owe the higher amount, plus tax. I purposefully went for the offer to lower the bill on a monthly basis so we would have less to pay each month. While it may more or less end up the same once the total discount is applied, I will need to be extra careful that the savings doesn't get spent.
...The More Things, Well, Stay The Same
I've been sitting at the precipice of change for roughly a year now. I was referring to it as a crossroads, but I'm starting to think it's something else. It feels more like a cliff.
I can stay where I'm at indefinitely, which is what I've been doing more or less by default. I can go back down the way I came up, which is actually what I want to do. Or I can go ahead and jump off the cliff, which in this case symbolizes uncertainty and the unknown rather than something more dark and sinister.
I do intend to survive all of this, to live, and eventually thrive again. So, I'm not quitting.
What I do want to avoid is starting over yet again. So far, this current version of starting over isn't proving to be any better than the path I had myself on before. As it is, I do like the job I have. If I knew how to troubleshoot and fix more things, I'd like it even more. What I don't like is the lack of communication and organization, things that are mostly out of my control.
But since the COVID-19 restriction prohibit dine-in where most of the machines I service are located throughout 9 of 10 counties I work in, there hasn't been a whole lot for me to do aside from the occasional collections and filling some ATMs.
I can't continue like this, though. My wife, who hasn't been happy with the job since she found out there was no health insurance, has been ratcheting up the pressure for me to find something else. She's been making nearly daily suggestions of where I can go to look, without much regard as to whether or not I can even qualify for the job or do it. Forget liking it.
Beggars can't be choosers.
Well, it's not like I've been doing what I've wanted to do for most of my adult work life, anyway. Yes, I did have my own business, and it provided an amazing amount of income for our family. Was it what I wanted to do? Not really. Would I go back to it if I could? No. My newspapering days are over.
However, having my own business, whatever that might be, is how I'm wired.
I've had little success as an employee for others, outside of working for county or state government and where I am now. The state government work was so stressful, though, it caused physical reactions that were similar to suffering a stroke. I don't think I had one, but it was no less concerning at the time.
Yet, as far as my wife is concerned, No. 1 or close to it on her list of jobs for me is working at some governmental agency. She thinks I'm a whiz with computers, and while I do have some aptitude for it, I'm not a programmer, or an engineer, and I'm not fond of tech support.
Forget the fact that I don't ever want to work for government again, especially the State of Oregon, since the legislature there is responsible for ruining my newspaper business. In truth, the only thing I want to do for the State is shrink it. If I could, I'd dismantle it, agency by agency.
I don't know how to accomplish that, and in reality, I'd rather spend whatever energy I have left in providing for our present and future needs.
If I Truly Had My Way...
The two Kindle books—The Foolish and the Weak and The Wise and the Mighty
I'd be creating and earning from it. Like I do on HIVE, but on a much larger scale.
I've attempted it. I wrote and published two Kindle novels with a third over half finished, and other related novels in mind.
Nothing happened with the novels, even after countless time spent promoting them mostly on Twitter. At this stage, I feel like I should rewrite them, but my wife would never go for that in our current financial state. She doesn't like the writing I'm doing for HIVE for that matter.
I started a Patreon page for a superhero comic book series/graphic novel idea I have, but it went nowhere. In fairness, I haven't written a single script. The project is still in the developmental stages. I stopped production on it to put my time into STEEM. I don't consider that a bad decision at all. I just crossed the 22,000 HP mark this week. By far, that's the most I've earned doing any creative venture. As everyone is well aware, though, HIVE is not currently geared for providing a living wage for content creators, and, unless there's some upward movement, it won't provide much of a retirement, either. Patience, right? We're in it for the long haul. Believe me, I understand all of that. I wish more did. But that's not where crypto is yet. Not HIVE. One thing is for certain. Something's gotta give. The situation as it stands can't go on forever. Which probably means, from the look of things, I'll be jumping off that cliff into whatever lies beneath the fog. At the very least, if I have to make the jump, I've been trying to find something that I can do remotely. We want to move at some point, and it would be nice if I didn't need to find work on top of relocating. Something I could do from anywhere. There are lots of programming and tech support jobs. Sales, too. Lucky me. There are a few writing jobs out there, but those are notoriously underpaying and often not full-time or providing benefits, so extra caution is needed there. I still firmly believe that things will eventually work out. They always have in the past, even if I'm not thrilled with the outcome. That doesn't seem to matter much. There is always this, though. Someone, somewhere, has my back. I hope it is soon, and I hope it's more than the You've got this! kind of support. Right. Beggars can't be choosers. Top image source—Pixabay. Other images courtesy of Glen Anthony Albrethsen
Character concept artwork
I started a Patreon page for a superhero comic book series/graphic novel idea I have, but it went nowhere. In fairness, I haven't written a single script. The project is still in the developmental stages. I stopped production on it to put my time into STEEM.
I don't consider that a bad decision at all.
I just crossed the 22,000 HP mark this week. By far, that's the most I've earned doing any creative venture. As everyone is well aware, though, HIVE is not currently geared for providing a living wage for content creators, and, unless there's some upward movement, it won't provide much of a retirement, either.
Patience, right? We're in it for the long haul. Believe me, I understand all of that. I wish more did. But that's not where crypto is yet. Not HIVE.
One thing is for certain. Something's gotta give. The situation as it stands can't go on forever. Which probably means, from the look of things, I'll be jumping off that cliff into whatever lies beneath the fog.
At the very least, if I have to make the jump, I've been trying to find something that I can do remotely. We want to move at some point, and it would be nice if I didn't need to find work on top of relocating. Something I could do from anywhere. There are lots of programming and tech support jobs. Sales, too.
There are a few writing jobs out there, but those are notoriously underpaying and often not full-time or providing benefits, so extra caution is needed there.
I still firmly believe that things will eventually work out. They always have in the past, even if I'm not thrilled with the outcome. That doesn't seem to matter much.
There is always this, though.
Someone, somewhere, has my back. I hope it is soon, and I hope it's more than the You've got this! kind of support.
Right. Beggars can't be choosers.
Top image source—Pixabay. Other images courtesy of Glen Anthony Albrethsen
That was a heck of a diary entry. What's the duration on that $300/week increase, anyone tell you how long that's good for? That's $300 on top of your weekly unemployment rate, right?
I love it when I've waited on hold for who knows how long after finally even making it to key punching stage only to get disconnected—good times.
I really wish I'd made it all up, but sadly, no.
What's strange about all of this is just how coordinated it feels, when it's not possible for it to be coordinated. Talk about conspiracy theories. It's the convergence of disparate events that combine to drive one mad. It's no wonder people flip out. I'm wondering why I've not flipped out yet. Or maybe my wife is doing it for me, though she was oddly reserved last night. Probably tired from a long day.
Sad thing about all of this is, it's not like I want to be in this position. Any one particular source of income would help, at the very least, to ease our minds, but they're all plugged up. And I'm only concerned about it because I'm not working. And I'm only not working because the governor things she's doing the right thing to stifle all business in the name of the greater good. And there are too many people here who think that's perfectly okay.
So, the $300 last until sometime in April, I believe. As long as one qualifies, which, apparently is in question. It wasn't last go around. I didn't have this problem. This go around, though, there's so many people in the system, who are experiencing the same thing, that a bigger bottleneck than normal is choking off information. I can only hope that someone gets to my letter and it's a simple enough thing to flip a switch.
Otherwise, it could be in limbo for a long time.
Well, it's one thing when it's accidental. In this case, it was closing time and so the automated message comes on to kick you off. I guess that's a tad nicer than letting me stay on all night and let me figure it out for myself. :)
I'm sure that letter has you covered. They probably have that paper trail set up because of the high phone traffic. Union electrician for so long, I'm familiar with UEI for sure. Every time a job was complete I'd be in between jobs. They'll have you taken care of pretty quickly, I'm sure.
Well, that was quick.
Not sure exactly about the timing of it, but last night when I checked I was still in limbo, and when I checked around 8 AM, there was still nothing. But I just went on to look about 20 minutes ago and now both weeks, along with the fed supplemental amounts, are set to hit the checking account. Not there yet, but probably tomorrow.
So, thank you very much! I don't know what you did, but I don't mind if you decide to do it again. :)
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