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It Could Be WorseThere's one line from the movie Young Frankenstein that I love to apply to life:
[Froederick and Igor are exhuming a dead criminal]When ever something would happen in our lives, I'd always look at my wife and say those infamous words: It could be worse. And almost every time, my wife would chuckle and say That's true.
Dr. Frankenstein: What a filthy job.
Igor: Could be worse.
Dr. Frankenstein: How?
Igor: Could be raining.
[it starts to pour]
Well, after a period of time with this being our 'catch phrase' for bad situations, we started to notice a trend: when I'd utter those words....the situation would get worse.
It got to be such a predictable event that my wife started admonishing me when I said or started to say that phrase. In fact, it got to be such a harbinger of doom that I started referring to such crappy luck as my family's UN-luck of the Irish.
And why am I pointing all of this out? Well, it seems that even though I haven't utter the phrase It could be worse, it would seem that I no longer have to even say the words. In other words, my life and the lives of my family seem to have taken on all the charms of a Greek Tragedy, i.e., just when I thought I was out of the woods after recoverying from my stroke.....it just seems to get worse.
NOTE: I will be the first to admit that what I'm about to write about might and will come across as whining and I don't think there is anyone else on the planet that hates whining as much as I do. But I have been told that writing (or talking) about one's problems helps to lessen the stress that they put on people. Maybe so.....maybe not, but here it is anyway.
To start off with, I lost my job about three months ago.
What job? you ask? The engineering intern position that I had with the Department of the Navy. In the history of this blog, I've never come out-right and told anyone what I did for a living lately nor have I indicated exactly which section of the Navy that I worked for.
Well, the 'company' that I worked for was NAVAIR, which is short for the Naval Air Depot here in San Diego, specifically NAVAIR at NAS North Island.
It was an intern position that I basically stumbled upon; I started working for NAVAIR in May of 2002 and was still employed with them in January of this year when I suffered my stroke. The job was held open for me while I recovered; I wasn't let go from the job because of my extended absence.....instead, I was let go because of poor grades at UCSD.
As I said, it was an intern position and as such, how I did in school did figure into my 'job performance'. Ever since I transferred to UCSD back in early 2002, my grades have dropped compared to what I was doing at Southwestern College before my transfer.
The long-and-short reason(s) of my declining grades can be pretty much atributed to my declining health: increasing difficulty in concentration, increasing fatigue, and more & more trouble with short-term memory. (Ever wondered why I don't go into multiple pages of reasoning(s) when I blog about something political? I basically cannot recall all of the facts pertaining to any specific political situation and just worked with the overtones).
So....because I was almost constantly on double-secret academic probation at UCSD, I was also getting 'warnings' from my bosses and it came to a head this past July.
Now the part about 'losing my job' hurt in two ways: (1) the loss of income and (2) the loss of my family's health coverage.
The loss of health coverage initially hurt, but was soon 'taken care of' by way of a program called HIPP, which is short for Health Insurance Premium Payment program. My health insurance is basically being covered by the National Kidney Fund and the nice part is that my wife and daughter are included so we're all covered.
Now as to the loss of income.....that's hurt a lot.
(As a side note, I've been writing this over a week or so and I am somewhat saddened that it is looking like only so much whining, but I knew that would happen).
The loss of income on my part is somewhat covered by the benefits that I receive from Social Security because of my End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD(, but the loss of significant income from my ability to work is.....well, the best analogy is that of a house of cards imploding in upon the occupants of the house.
As I stated a few days back about loosing my cable service - including my Internet connections - we're finding that we have to make bold decisions as to what we can and cannot afford to buy with the limited income that comes from my wife's barely-making-it business and my Social Security benefits: cable bill or gasoline for the family cars? Part of the monthly rent or food for the next two weeks?
Well.....you get my point.
The main decisions to keep food in the fridge and on the dining room table especially considering that I've got a 12-year old daughter to raise isn't tought at all - it's what to do about the multiple creditors calling constantly and what to tell them is what perplexes me. They're basically nice people, just doing their jobs but the basic line I get is "We're sorry to hear about your troubles Mikey.....where's our money!?!"
And the crappy part is that I've always stood by the principal that if you're going to buy stuff on credit or using credit cards then you better be able to pay for it. Last year, we were able to afford those payments, this year....I just want to take a long nap and wake up to my wife saying The bills are paid!!
(Ahem. No, that wasn’t any sort of 'hidden call for help'...I am far from looking for a permanent way out of my troubles.)
And then there's my school tuition problem.
What tuition problem you ask? Well, normally I don't have a tuition problem as my tuition for UCSD has normally been covered by my Cal Grant. Cal Grant? Basically, my tuition and other 'fees' are covered by the State of California since I was a 'superior' student while I attended Southwestern College.
But situation is different these days.
As with my last Spring quarter back in April, this quarter (Fall 2006) I opted to take only one class which just happens to be the continuation of the course I took back in April: Linear Control Systems I & II. Now the reason that this is a problem is because while I asked the university to allow me to take less than a full class load this year because of my increasing health problems (and they immediately approved it), there are some goofy rules/regulations with UCSD's Financial Aid department as to how much of my Cal Grant I'm supposed to get since I"m only taking one class. And the answer to that is that I'm basically entitled to squat; squat in this case meaning I'll be getting around $300 from my Pell Grant entitlement (which is part of the Cal Grant program) and that's it. Nothing more.
And of course this means that I'm suddently stuck with a bill of approximately $1800 for one quarter's tuition.
This is the type of crap that I've been dealing with for the last few months - just when I get one problem handled, along comes something else. And every time, I think to myself Well, it could be- and I stop myself immediately because I do not want to put another WHAMMY!! on top of all of the other things challenging me lately.
I've heard many people often say that God does not put anything on you that you cannot handle and/or that life's problems like these are supposed to build character in a person. Well, I'm here to tell you that I've got enough character now to last quite a few more lifetimes.
As indicated from the title of this post, this is just part of the fun stuff that's happening to the Mad Mikey family.