I started writing this on Thursday, the 25th, which was only two days ago. However, it seems like forever ago. This is why I’ve been absent for the past couple of days.
Changes always seem to be afoot in my world. My life seems to be the epitome of the adage that the only constant is change. It can be quite exhausting after a while. However, the newest changes we are facing in my world have to do with Jerry’s employment AND how things seem to be improving in the relationship between us over the past few days. But first a brief recap, so I can get my bearings.
On September 18th Jerry turned his big rig into the company’s terminal here on the West Coast and hopped on a Greyhound bus the next day to head home to what was supposed to be a local driving job with a different company. However, as documented in this post, that job fell through. Subsequently we were denied public cash assistance because their policies said he didn’t have good cause to leave his previous job. Nevermind the fact that there were a month’s worth of emails between him and the recruiter indicating that he would be schedule to attend that company’s orientation and that he had followed through on everything they had asked and kept being told “things look good.” Since he didn’t have an “official” or “formal” offer, it wasn’t good cause. Also, the increasing issues that our daughter has been having along with my difficulties with the fibromyalgia and depression and the effects that was having on her well-being weren’t considered good enough factors in his efforts to transition to the job that fell through.
The last fallback while waiting for him to find a job was applying for unemployment. Initially, we filed for that at the end of the 3rd Quarter which meant only his 1st Quarter earnings from January through March were calculated for his base year employment earnings. They hold one quarter in reserve for a future claim. He hadn’t started working until the end of the first week of March. So, we cancelled that claim and refiled at the beginning of the 4th Quarter. However, since his employer was an out-of-state company, none of his second or third quarter earnings were showing up for our state. So, we had to provide them documentation of all of his earnings. They finally completed their investigation, only to tell us the same thing that the public assistance office had told us. Denied for lack of good cause in leaving his former job.
When he arrived home we found out his mom had given us a vehicle. Sounds wonderful, right? Um, yeah, no. It didn’t have a clear title and was missing it’s catalytic converter, which mean that it wouldn’t pass DEQ and even if we had a clear title, we still couldn’t get the thing registered. Once upon a time, you could purchase consecutive 30-day trip permits to keep a vehicle on the road while working these things out. Thanks to changes in regulations, the maximum period of time a trip permit is good for is 21 days and you can only get two in a calendar year, unless the additional one is regarding the transfer of title and registration process. Since we still don’t have the documentation needed to apply for a lost title AND we don’t have the minimum $500 to replace the catalytic converter, as of November 1st, the vehicle is no longer drivable in our locale.
Initially, he really wanted to do everything he could to have us be able to keep the vehicle. It’s a 1994 Blazer. The gas guzzler takes $60 for half a tank, easy. Then there’s the little fact of insurance, $190/mo. Oh, it also seems to have a problem with the fuel injection, maybe. It dies, frequently, especially when idling at stop lights or accelerating on an incline or moving slowly through traffic, especially in cold, wet weather. Guess what? It’s October in the Pacific NW, nothing but cold, wet weather for the next 7-9 months.
Anyway, ever the optimist when it comes to something he wants badly, A VEHICLE, we held onto it and he kept looking and applying for work. After only about three weeks, he got an offer from a staffing agency that hires CDL drivers and in the same week got called for a road test for a local transportation company. He worked a one day assignment for the staffing agency and took his drive test the next day. He got hired on with the local company and started his “training” at the end of the week. It was a really difficult transition because he had to be on location between 3:30 am to 5:00 am, and our sleep routines and bedtime issues with Luna were already challenging, but became impossible for those couple of nights. He was given a three day weekend because he had a doctor’s appointment on Monday of this week.
At the doctor’s appointment he found out the shoulder pain that has been giving him such a hard time over the past six or seven months is arthritis. In addition to that he woke up Tuesday morning this week with another pinched nerve in his neck, like he’d had a couple of weeks ago. Turns out that part of his job duties at the new job require him to help with the loading/unloading of the freight and was exacerbating the physical problems. Jerry’s a pretty fit guy: wiry and strong, but he just turned 47 and because he’d been out on the road the previous six months some of the conditioning he’d built up from going to the gym had diminished.
So, we found ourselves with a vehicle that would no longer be able to get him to or from work at a job that couldn’t be attended via public transportation, with past due bills that will mean loss of services and increased debt if we don’t find a way to get paying them soon. On top of that, his former co-driver had to return to the company or not be able to work as a CDL driver for two more months, which would be devastating for his family, and his new co-driver wasn’t working out well. Since this is the only guy that Jerry has established this kind of a friendship bond with in all of our years together, Jerry was feeling torn between staying home for Luna’s sake or going back out on the road to be with the only co-driver he’s ever gotten along with.
We discussed it and it was decided he would go back out on the road. He got on a bus about an hour ago.