Wednesday, April 13, 2011

working, at last, with a cameo by the old neighbors

Working is good.  For some reason, even though it's more or less the same hours as Back-to-Work was, I'm really beat at the end of the day.  Maybe it's because I'm actually doing things all day long, and trying to stuff a huge amount of info into my noggin.  I keep thinking about the Far Side cartoon (I think it was Far Side), where a kid raises his hand in class and says, "May I be excused?  My brain is full."  My brain gets full around 4:45.  It's only my first week, and I'll have one more week with the outgoing administrator, but there's a lot to learn.  It's not the same kind of pressure that characterized my first weeks at Dweck, although there are a heap of web-based services I have to learn (one for class registration, one for e-mail blasts, one for room reservations, etc.).  It's very different from the institute where I worked before, which was a good thing.  NYCPT was all-Freud, all the time, and very patriarchal.  PPSC teaches analysis along with other theories and treatment modalities, and is run by women.  Much better.  I feel very comfortable with the women I work for (the Founding Director and Executive Director), and they seem to be happy with me.  In fact, they seemed to be happy with me before I started working.  I think I have exactly the right skill set and temperament, plus the therapy culture is very familiar to me.  Before she died way too young, my mother was a candidate at NYCPT, and many of the therapist and trainees were social friends of hers in some way, so I knew what therapists were like (plus I was in therapy myself, on and off, for many years).  In fact, after my mother died, I stayed with one of her therapist friends (who was actually equally my friend) for some weeks.

Also, it's great not to be po' any more.  We're not exactly wealthy, but we're a lot better off.  PPSC as nice enough to arrange (at my request) for me to get paid right away, so the pressure was off almost immediately.  (They generally pay a month in advance on the first, but cut a check for me for two weeks in April.)

It's kind of a best-of-both-worlds window, where I'm working and earning, but still have a few po' people benefits.  I have my free Lifeline cell phone for a year, Medicaid for six months, carfare for 90 days.  Plus we still have some food stamps money (which may lessen or end soon), and maybe one more rent assistance check.  Ironically, our Medicaid HMO (United Healthcare Community plan) has some of the best medical benefits we've had for a long time.  Free prescriptions (which means I've finally started on Januvia). Dental care, for chrissakes!  Dental care!  Barry and I are both getting our teeth done pronto.  (I need a three-tooth bridge, a cap or crown or whatever on a broken molar, and a cavity filled -- any and all of these that are covered.  I'm seeing the dentist Sunday.  Barry's mouth is basically a disaster, a bunch of missing and broken teeth.  He may end up with dentures.)

I was reading something in a magazine that reminded me of a neighbor I had as a kid.  When I was maybe eleven or twelve, I used to babysit for the kids of my across-the-hall neighbors.  The wife was an absolutely stunning hippie-type who sewed and did all kinds of crafts.  The husband -- I'm not sure I knew this at the time, but he was an English teacher.  He had a lot of cool records and gave me some jazz albums stamped with his last name, maybe from college-dorm days.  (They were lost in The Great Storage Disaster.)  The husband wanted to make movies, though, and they split up and he went to California.  (The beautiful wife started dating, an eventually married, yet another neighbor, the singer-songwriter Tom Chapin.)  Some time later, my brother and I were on the subway, and stopped dead in front of a poster for a movie the husband had directed!  We laughed our heads off at the ad -- it was a horror movie, and the tagline was "Just keep telling yourself -- it's only a movie, it's only a movie, it's only a movie..."  It just seemed so cheesy to us.  Of course, within a few years, Wes Craven's success seemed anything but cheesy.  And I recently got back in touch with the beautiful wife, Bonnie Chapin, who is still amazingly lovely; Tom, of course, became very successful.  (Tom was just a local hero back then -- the big star was his brother, Harry, whose "Taxi" album came out while the Chapins, the Cravens and I still lived at 136 Hicks.  My mother went to a party for the record release, and Harry's bass player hit on her.  My mother was pretty lovely, too.)  Bonnie and Tom had a couple more daughters, who sing with Bonnie and Wes' daughter as "The Chapin Sisters."  I'm not sure what Bonnie and Wes' son is up to.  But the 136 crew had a lot of success and happy lives, plus varying degrees of fame and fortune.

On another topic -- I invited myself to Jannah's for Memorial Day weekend, and she accepted.  (That worked pretty well.)  It'll be my third Memorial Day weekend there...I adore the small-town Yardley Memorial Day parade, where they parade vintage cars and vintage veterans.  Jannah's husband John, who works with the Army Corps of Engineers (though he is not military and not an engineer), is very involved with all things military and rides in the parade in his Army truck.  Last year, Jannah's son Alex played his last parade with his school's marching band, which is a hugely well-known band (and even took Alex on a trip to China!).  Alex is now a freshman in college, I think RIT.  It's always nice weather there over Memorial Day, and Jannah's boat may even be launched by then!  It's something to look forward to.  It's nice to have the peace of mind to do something fun.

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