The latest on me

First, let me give you the good news (lest some accuse me of being incapable of it). I have been approved for an additional tier of unemployment benefits. They pay stub for tomorrow, which arrived in the mail today, looks very good. Paying the August rent looks very doable.

The bad news is I am not feeling well, suffering from some respiratory flu, and feel compelled to stay home and rest in bed. Bad for the job hunting effort. 

God is merciful today

I am not losing my Internet service as abruptly and completely as I had originally thought I would. I still have the Web for right now, and I can keep track of such needful things as my bank balance and the weather, but my email through Insight is gone.

Having the Breckenridge office fax my pay stub from RGIS Inventory to the unemployment office worked to release the benefits they had held there for several weeks, but alas, it was the last of my Tier 1 benefits. No more will come until Congress says so.

The replacement for the late Senator John Byrd of West Virginia turned out to be a Democrat, giving them 60 senators and the ability to override a Republican filibuster. No word yet on whether they’ll make the attempt to extend unemployment benefits.

God has been merciful today, allowing me to get away with adding more time to my prepaid cell phone. When I bought it, the $21.35 I spent appeared immediately in my checking account’s pending queue. I had feared it would be processed ahead of the $20 worth of gasoline and two $3.00 food purchases I had made earlier (larger amounts are processed ahead of smaller ones), and ahead of the unemployment money that was still in the queue (deposits are processed last of all).

The cell phone purchase stayed in the pending queue for an extra day, so I can give myself back the $108 of overdraft charges it would have incurred.

A small paycheck from the U.S. Census appeared in the pending queue today, and the available balance looks good. I still contend that the number in my account called “Available Balance” is a baldfaced lie. PNC Bank should not call a deposit available when their depositing policy effectively keeps it off the books for one more business day. If I can’t use the money, I’d rather not know about it.

In any case, the hard choice I have to make is no longer car versus apartment, but Internet versus apartment, and that’s a slightly easier choice to make.

Two payments for Santander

After crunching some earnings numbers, I called Santander Consumer and scheduled two payments for my car later this month, which should bring the payments all the way up to date by July 28. This makes good on my promise to choose to keep my car and let my Internet and my apartment go where God would have it to go.

This is an important thing to do. Of all my creditors, Santander Consumer was the only one that rang my cell phone as opposed to my home phone, and they rang it prodigiously, roughly once every two hours. I kept my phone turned off most of the time. That had to have hurt when recruiters and employers tried to call me on my cell phone for interviews and was shunted to my voicemail. Now that Santander is for the moment sated, I can keep my cell phone turned on more.

While we are on that subject, I’m happy to report that interviews and offers for interview are going well. My resumé now reflects that I can be reached by email at a free Gmail address, ready to take over when my Internet goes down for nonpayment over the weekend.

Now that it’s fresh on my mind, I better upload that resumé to Google Docs, just to have a readily available spare copy.

The hardest decisions

I don’t know how to tell you about this, or even if I should tell you.

I have your basic American male fear of failure. I would sooner eat aluminum siding than tell you in this WordPress blog of how I have failed miserably. I want to keep my mouth shut. Nobody has to know about this. Nobody wants to know. It would pollute Our Internet to tell of it.

But since there are those who would wonder about me and worry about me, I need to tell about it anyway. I am coming to the hardest decisions I have ever had to make about material possessions and creature comforts and which of these I can afford to keep.

The one that will have the biggest effect on you, my friends, is my Internet service. I cannot afford to keep it. Insight will pull the plug on me in the next few days for nonpayment, and there is nothing I can do about. it.

Another thing that will have a big effect on my locally, is I have come to a decision about my apartment and my car. It’s as plain as the nose on my face I cannot afford both. So, I have chosen to keep my car. I have a feeling I can more easily get somebody to help with shelter than with wheels. I’m not sure if I have made the right choice, choosing car over apartment. I should never have to make such a choice, but I do, and I would feel better once I have charted my course clearly.

By Saturday, I will have done my last work for the U.S. Census. I have not lined up another job to replace it. The unemployment office is having some issues about how much benefits to pay me in light of the inventory job that I work, and I need to fax them a pay stub to prove that I work there. They have held three benefit checks to date. I can’t expect anything from them in the next ten business days.

I’m telling you about this as matter-of-factly as I can, stating only the straight facts. And with that, I must bow out for a moment, and continue to try to do the best I can with what little God has given me.

Winged taxi driver

My last paycheck was good enough to pay the July rent by its lonesome, without the money I had saved from the previous one. And I could afford $20 in gasoline today. Praise be to God.

I got a good 7½ to 8 hours in at inventorying a Kmart Supercenter in Chillicothe yesterday. Praise be to God.

And as I expected, the Census Bureau has invited me to their training for verifying vacant and deleted addresses. I’m not quite sure I know what that entails. Praise be to God.

But I must confess to still being a tad faithless, and wondering why God would choose to leave my car, electricity, and Internet in big jeopardy.

Last night, I drove Wolfdog out to a Western Union money station at the corner of Cleveland and Weber because none of the local Kroger stores had access to the WU servers. While I was at that place, I picked up a copy of the Employment Guide.

I think this little periodical is a colossal waste of newsprint because at least half of it is given to advertisements for trade schools and colleges, leaving precious little space for ads from actual employers seeking help. One little one column by two inch ad caught my eye, though, one wanting taxicab drivers.

I would obviously be desperate to consider such a line of work, but taxi driver does have much in common with some of the other jobs God has allowed me to have in recent years, jobs that at first forced me to talk to real people via telephone, and then moved me on to meeting real people face to face. It’s also the direct result of a serendipitous discovery made while helping those less mobile than I. It does follow several patterns.

I have the skills to be a taxi driver. My driving record has been free of violations since the mid 1980s and free of accidents since 2004, when I drove a security cruiser and had to take a falling tire from a flatbed truck full on rather than swerve around it at freeway speeds and probably spin out, taking 5 or 6 other vehicles with me.

To this day, I still believe I made the best possible driving decision. Give me the exact same scenario, and I’ll do the exact same thing.

I will not count the hit and run punishment Ooo Shinee took late last May. I was not behind the wheel. And the more I think about it, the more the word “punishment” seems to fit. The hoods in this ‘hood don’t take kindly to any form of snitching to the feds, even if it is only names, genders, races, and birth dates.

Anyway, to bring this back to driving taxis for a living, I’m sure I can do this job, and I’ll most call the number in the morning.

Dale the salesman

Dale is a grizzled old geezer who lives just a stone’s throw from my own one-bedroom flat. He appears very desperate to sell me stuff. So far this afternoon, he’s offered me his computer printer, and a telephone shaped like a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

My God, where is he getting the idea that I’m the guy with all the cold hard cash? And why is he coming after me with more stuff to sell, as if I am holding out on him?

It’s not like I’m living like a sultan surrounded by shapely belly dancers. I’m trying to hang onto my money. I figure with what I have on hand, I should be able to pay Thursday’s rent even if my penultimate Census paycheck comes in at an anemic $300 and change.

I feel bad for him. I really do. He doesn’t make being freshly unemployed from the US Census Bureau very easy. And nor does Santander Consumer, who collected $250 just six days ago. They’re getting on my cell phone with a vengeance, trying to get my car payments back on track. They care not one whit for my rent.

I need to get to bed. I need to be up at 3:00 AM for an inventory count.

End of Census NRFU

The Non-Response Follow-Up phase of my work for the U.S. Census ended Tuesday. I performed well at it, and I fully expect to be called back in a week or two for verifying vacant and deleted addresses.

The paycheck I got Wednesday was good, and most importantly, PNC Bank did not find any tiny fraction of an excuse to take any of it. A surprise charge from Intelius People Look-up had me 98¢ overdrawn over last weekend, but I disputed that as an unauthorized charge, and PNC reversed that, and the overdraft fee that it caused.

I agreed to make a car payment to Santander Consumer for Wednesday, and I spent Wednesday chewing my fingernails almost up to the second knuckle. The confirmation email I got that morning had me thinking that the payment would go through before my pay was safely out of that digital limbo called a pending queue. Fortunately, the Santander payment didn’t show up until today.

Sadly, out of work is out of work. There was this career fair going on at the Aladdin Shrine Center yesterday, but I willfully missed that and did two loads of laundry instead. It would be wasted effort to go there with my clothes reeking to knock a buzzard off a gut wagon.

Ooo Shinee is fueled up and ready for the upcoming week of inventory work, and I believe I’m set up well for paying the rent next Wednesday. All is going to plan, and I did the best I possibly could, and got the best I could possibly hope for.

After that? Well, I don’t quite know. Kindly keep me in your prayers.