January 25, 2017 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on January 24, 2018

Well, there’s no rush in getting out of the house this morning – nor will there be for at least some time to come. Yesterday, in the midst of a morning pounded by a Nor’Easter of rain (no snow, thank god), which continued through the day with more rain and apocalyptic winds, W. called shortly after getting in to work to say he has been laid off. While it wasn’t completely unexpected, as [the company] does this annually around this time in order to make its February balance sheet look good, it was (is!) a shock.

On the plus side, we keep our health insurance for another two months, there’s salary coming in for that time, too, plus a couple of more weeks of holiday pay or something, some kind of severance if I’m not mistaken, and he still gets his bonus. Also, we woke this morning to clearing skies – not to mention sleeping to a more civilized hour. Pluses.

As for that sky, it’s really quite wonderful this morning. A post-storm kind of light, not kind or calm, still in a post-fury state, but almost as a sort of revelation: I was here all day yesterday, too – you just didn’t see me, hidden as I was behind miles-thick layers of water-filled cloud cover. But today I’m using wind and the turning of the earth to tear those clouds to pieces, to send the rain packing, and I show you that it was me, sun and rotating cosmos, all along who brought you yesterday’s deluge. And look at my sky, its varied hues of blue, the ripped clouds, edged in silver, which I’ve allowed to remain. Temporarily, for now; all is transient, remember that…

Through the trees to my right I can glimpse true blue sky, but straight ahead it’s still a theater stage of atmospheric actors, directed by this intense white light, rising on the left, garbed it seems in a long trailing puff of shredded pure white cloud. Now it changes again as more actors in a darker gray appear, the sky behind them still a slate-hued colder blue. Several small rays of golden sunlight are, however, already shoving their number hither and yon, like the hands of a director who decided to climb on stage and literally manipulate the players.

Now, exit stage right. Well, a new or at least a different chapter begins, I hope it’s only an interregnum. Brief. While W. is x-years old, I’m not sure he’s someone who should retire, especially not here, in B. I’ve been thinking about this since the conference in Cambridge anyway. For now we definitely need to put on hold some home improvement projects, but it also throws into much starker relief the bigger question: do we stay here in the first place? Obviously, it’s all so dependent on money (another reason to keep working; I wish I could make money, real money), and getting laid off from one day to the next also shows just how tenuous and precarious that income stream is. “Fixed costs” (like property taxes, which have gone up over $2,000 for us in just the last four years) can be daunting and subject to rises. However, one usually ends up doing what one was doing already, which means looking for another job and staying put in this house. …Until the next seismic upheaval causes us to call it all into question again.


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