I got laid off. Business was bad. I heard eight of the factory staff were also losing their jobs. There were a handful of people I felt really close to, and it was sad to say goodbye to them. As much as I enjoyed the three women with whom I worked closely, there were also a few in the design rooms and the factory who were lovely and a great help to me. The design and factory women were all native Spanish speakers, and spoke English in varying degrees (like me with Spanish, they understood more than we spoke). When in doubt, we smiled a lot. I hope to stay in touch with Marisa, who was probably my best friend there. She works with off-price designs and knows her rocks. She's closer to my age than any of the women in administration (I think the next oldest woman in admin is 34), speaks good English, is from Argentina, and has a very lovely personality. I stopped by almost every time I was in the factory, but since her station was right there, I usually couldn't hang out too long. Ana and Soledad in the production design room and Monica in the one-of-a-kind design room were great, and Marisol and Margarita in the factory. And Lupe in QC. Lupe was the only person there who ever asked me to make her a piece of jewelry -- I think Marisa must have told her that I made jewelry, because I didn't talk about it that much. Lupe said that she loved purple and had no purple earrings -- could I make some for her? Lupe wears big earrings, often wide, so I did a kind of clustery thing with a lot of wire-wraps around a chain, amethyst chips and oval beads, and then I threw in some tiny Swarovskis, 4mm smoked topaz AB2X, which for some reason threw off purples and worked beautifully. I just gave them to her this week but never got to see her wear them.
I e-mailed my favorite local vendors to tell them I was leaving and to let me know if any jobs ever opened up. Ironically, I saw four of my vendors this morning, when I went into Manhattan to source some beads. I would love to work for any of them, especially Wonder, whose store (wholesale only) is very beautiful and classy, a lot of glass and very tidy displays, and a tank with two decorative goldfish. It's kind of like a temple of beads, and the guy I worked with there, Tenpa, was lovely.
(Of course, I'll be putting in a lot of job-hunting work: Craigslist, employers' websites, employment agencies and temp agencies, and I've heard that Linked-In is useful.)
Also, I have to say that Edmond handled letting me go in a classy manner. I've been fired mean and fired nice, and he was very kind. He made a point of saying that they loved my work and that I was well-liked and had caught on fast, and would give me a glowing recommendation. Stephen also said some very nice things to me. Stephen was not always the easiest guy to work with, but he was basically very nice and we shared a lot of tastes and got on pretty well, for the most part. It wasn't fun when he was unhappy, but we did like each other.
So I had just a few hours to show Heidi, for the most part, how to do the bead end of my job (Jess will probably take the in-house computer program stuff), and updated her on everything that was outstanding or in process. Heidi already handles all the stones, but she's going to be seriously overloaded. She generally works with three or four vendors, but the bead vendors will add about ten more.
Of course, the biggest problems are mine. Barry's unemployment benefits run out in a month, and I don't qualify for any (I have to work six months within a year to get benefits again). I have this week's paycheck and next week's paycheck and about 5K in my 401(k), and that's it. We have no health insurance. In December, unemployment benefits were stopped for a couple of weeks while congress considered the tax bill. We considered that our finances would be much better off without the $500 insurance bill. The plan was for me to be on company insurance as of February 1, and we would buy inexpensive insurance for Barry which we would pay in January, to start in February. I never officially learned what my health insurance plan would be (my 90 days would have been this coming Saturday). Someone told me that she got individual health coverage for free, but couldn't add anyone else to the plan. But she also said she wasn't sure that this was still the deal, and she was higher up in admin than me. I was counting on it being free or cheap, only for me, and that I would be able to get on February 1.
We kept the pharmacy portion of our insurance plan (which was a crappy plan that basically pulled together a medical plan, pharmacy plan, and I'm not sure what else, a crappy vision plan and/or a crappy dental plan). We were figuring/hoping that our prescriptions would be the bulk of our January medical expenses. $50 a month means we can keep getting most of our generics under ten bucks, and most of what we use is generic.
Speaking of health, I had my periodic bloodwork done at my doctor's request, and he found my liver enzymes alarmingly high. I know that they go up when I gain weight, but I hadn't gained any weight for about a year, and he said he'd never seen those readings so high. I do have a fatty liver (grosses me out just to think about it), but again, that wouldn't have raised the levels. The doctor thinks it's probably one of my medications, maybe the metformin (which is for the diabetes). Anyway, he wanted to do the test again, which we tried to schedule before the end of December, but a blizzard intervened. (We had, I dunno, a few feet of snow. My office was closed last week on Monday and Tuesday -- I showed up on Tuesday, along with four others, and even though we all turned around and went home, the five of us got paid for the day, no one else. And no one got paid for Monday. But we were asked to come in on Friday because we were behind on inventory, so I actually got paid for the usual five days.
So I didn't get the blood test before the end of the year, and I asked Barry (who has been unbelievably great with errands and phone calls since I've been working) to call the doctor and find out the name of the test, then call the lab to see what it would cost to pay for that test out of pocket. But the doctor said he could take the blood at his office, and get the test done at a very low price. He even put the fee for the visit on a tab (though he only charges $40 for non-insured patients), plus he's been giving Barry heaps of Crestor samples, since that's one of our few non-generic drugs.
Here's what else can cause high liver enzymes besides overweight or medication: jaundice, Hep A, B and C; cirrhosis (sp?) of the liver. Cancer. Guess which one I'm afraid of, since I don't have any of the Heps, I'm not turning yellow, and I haven't had a drink since 1986? The truth is that my body doesn't feel quite right, I'm forgetting a lot of stuff, my hand was trembling when I was working on some jewelry the other day, and I've been unusually clumsy (knocking things over and bumping into things). I'm hoping these are maybe just signs of the liver enzymes. But I'm basically not feeling too optimistic about my health. (P.S. I checked dictionary.com, and I actually did spell "cirrhosis" correctly. I guess I haven't lost my spelling skills.)
OK, let's perk things up just a tad with a really cool klezmer/hip-hop video. The David Krakauer, the klez guy (playing clarinet), is the brother of an old and dear friend of Robin's. This is a very different sound and somehow it works.
Tweet, tweet, gang.