I was not planning on writing this post today. I hope to keep it short. and on topic. at present, I can hear my cat Maynard making little gulping sounds under the coffee table. he’s not eating. he is having some kind of reaction to what he ate. the little gulping sounds are his way of passing gas. something he ate did not agree with him. I’ve taken him to the vet and had tests done, and aside from the reduction in his kidney function–pretty common in a sixteen-year-old domestic cat–there are no major health problems to account for his increasingly common gastric distress.

about his food I often think, my parents would be appalled if they knew how much I spend every week. but just like people who buy everything organic for their children (even if they don’t eat that way themselves), I want what’s best for my little man. we’ve been together since he was only weeks old, and I have no children of my own. Maynard may be my only “child.” so I buy him good, grain-free canned and dry food from an upscale store here in Seattle called All The Best . it’s not cheap, but he is worth every penny.

the last time I took Maynard in, the vet told me that I could buy an over-the-counter anti-gas medication and sprinkle some on his food morning and night. I’ll need to call to find out what exactly he recommends. so, money. yeah. over-the-counter means relatively inexpensive, but I’m really, really broke right now. like nothing in savings and $68 in my checking account broke. and I’m considering switching back to using a credit card rather than just paying on it, which I know will ultimately only increase my debt load.

generally, I keep credit cards for emergency situations, or times I can’t afford something that’s necessary. I have a fair amount of debt from times I was less aware or concerned with consequences. also, I now have an enormous chunk of debt from a graduate school loan I took out in 2013 or -14. and I worked as a barista at Starbucks for nearly eight years, which, if you live in Seattle, now pays over $15/hr, since that’s the minimum wage here, but it is far from adequate for those not living with Mom & Dad or several roommates. I did the latter for six years–lived in a large house with five housemates–and that, along with year after year of working my ass off at Starbucks, left me legitimately ill. I was not ok.

the cost of living is insanely high where I live. there’s no way I could afford to live within Seattle city limits or its environs if I weren’t the extremely fortunate recipient of others’ generosity. I am truly blessed, and I am so grateful to my landlady, who lets me live in her small, charming house for the cost of utilities and an unheard of low, low rent. I was in crisis when my good-hearted but eccentric landlord at my former home decided he was going to move in and sleep on the living room floor. this would’ve brought the total number of housemates up to seven. you’re probably wondering, “is that legal?” it’s a long story, but suffice it to say he created frowned-upon but legally viable loopholes in his lease agreements which enabled him to come and go unannounced, and move in without adhering to industry standards like a minimum 30-day notice, etc.

in many ways, at that time, I was like a shell-shocked chicken in a too-crowded, over-stimulated battery cage of a life, pulling out my own feathers. I was chronically sleep-deprived, which, by the way, is the quickest route to psychosis, or at least emotional instability, that I know of. plus I was feeling undervalued, and certainly underpaid in a very fast-paced environment that required me to fit inside a series of ever-smaller boxes: you’re not allowed to wear that. we steam the milk like this now. be cheerful. suffer fools. maintain composure. put your physical needs on hold. up-sell this. window times. efficiency. timers every eight minutes. do more with less. faster, now. go, go, go. smile. the store’s needs come first.

oh yeah, money. so, I left Starbucks finally. I had been trying to get a job at corporate, but that never went anywhere, in spite of all the connections I had in “the building.” my store got a new manager who was a total asshole. objectively. *wink* she cut my full-time hours in half, then Starbucks denied that that even happened, and although I provided over a year’s worth of supporting documents to Employment Security, they still denied my claim.

specifically, in the off chance you’re interested, according to the Washington state Employment Security website, “You may qualify for unemployment benefits if we decide you quit for the following good-cause reasons:

  • Your employer reduced your usual pay or hours of work by 25 percent or more…”

But, you know, Starbucks says that my hours weren’t cut from 40 all the way down to 22.5 hrs/wk, (which, yes, is close to twice what’s considered “good cause” to quit and still be eligible for unemployment), so. so now I like to refer to them as “S’ux.” I was not a perfect employee, and I am not a yes person, but when treated like I matter, I will usually get on board with whatever the white collars at corporate decide is a good idea. I was a loyal, hard-working employee for the company, and many of my customers legitimately loved me because I wasn’t serving up happy horse shit with their overpriced coffee drinks. some people would prefer a saccharine smile with their service, but not this consumer.

I know, you’re like, “hey, you can totally appeal that decision!” yes, I know. and I made a decision not to. why? because if ever there was money with strings attached, it’s the money from unemployment. you have to apply for jobs every week, even if there are none you’re qualified for, or even interested in, you are on the hook to show your work, and frankly, I needed a fuckin’ break. I am decidedly unwilling to jump through those hoops–a waste of my time and energy–for a fraction of what I need, only to be beholden to an entity that took the word of a corporation over my actual evidence to the contrary. no. they can keep their strings. and I will keep my time, my energy, and my dignity. but here, I’m not using this middle finger right now.

but. I am broke. I was lucky to find a nanny gig with some neighbors down the street right before I finished at S’ux. it has helped me tremendously. it’s a higher hourly rate than I was making at S’ux, but I don’t have benefits, and they really only need me part-time. as I was telling someone the other day, when I worked for S’ux (really do love saying that, even if it’s a little redundant) I had good benefits, and reliable income (until the asshole came), but everything else SUCKED. nowadays I don’t have benefits, and my income is not as much, but everything else is AWESOME.

I’ve been working on this post for a couple of days now, and today I got paid, so now I feel less broke. but I still am. remember when I said in the opening paragraph that I hoped I could keep this short? pfft. so much for that. for those still with me, thanks for hanging in. I’m figuring this out as I go along, and I’ve given myself permission to do it imperfectly (as if there’s really any other choice). so now I need to find more solid employment. I’ve had time to rest, stay up late, wake up without an alarm most days, and get accustomed to not feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck (then criticized for being flat) five days a week.

stay tuned.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jessica Raymond says:

    You are creative, smart, and have so much to offer the world. Now lets figure out how to get paid for that stuff. Love you, Faith!!

    Liked by 1 person

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