Basically we've been scrambling as of late. Scrambling eggs (with salmon and capers)? Nope. Scrambling up hills (to check out the jaw-dropping views of the Berkshires)? Nope.
Just. Plain. Scrambling.
At first I wasn't going to tell you (all two of you loyal readers). I mean, why break the veneer of a "perfect country life," right? But then people begin to wonder. And even worry. And then you realize that even though you've been through one of the biggest personal maelstroms of your life (9/11 notwithstanding), you still have to be grateful about what you do have...and take a deep breath, relax and know it's gonna be okay. If not tomorrow, then the next day. Or even just ...eventually.
As a bit of catching up, August went down something like this: Mom goes into hospital while Dad is out sailing. Mom has flu and maybe something else seriously, seriously wrong, but we don't know for sure. Oh, but Dad is still out to sea...oh, wait, no LOST at sea (well, just for a few days), then ends up at the hospital in the Outer Banks (thanks for saving him AGAIN Coast Guard people!).
Then my biggest/only freelance client cut me back by 50 percent. I have only myself to blame on that - it's been cushy - and I've been selfish, what, writing a screenplay or two instead of hunting down new clients when I knew that the travel biz was down the toilet. But so help me, I wouldn't give back that gift of writing time for anything.
But then you mix that in with the unforeseen over expenditures on renovating the house, (mouse nibbled electric wiring, potentially life-threatening heating systems, ice storms) and the cash tightens up and the job market dries up with the Wall Street nay, Global Market Meltdown... Well, before you know it we're not just feeling empathy for the guy we read about on CNN.com about going from a six-figure job to delivering pizzas - WE ARE THAT GUY!!!
And yet, we are doing fine. (Sort of.)
In August I took a retail job at a sporting goods store in NYC where I sell running shoes to avid running New Yorkers, International visitors and regular neighborhood folks. Though not exactly what I expected to be doing with my college education at this stage of the game, it's been one of the best work experiences I've had in the last decade.
For starters, now I know I can sell and have always wanted to get into sales, but didn't think I had the aggressive quality to do it well. Now I know I can. Hell, I even "won" Sales MVP in August at the store!
I've also been forced out of the isolating cocoon of my holed-up home office back into the streets and energy of NYC. Wow...all that I've been missing! Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, the Union Square Green Market!
Oh, and I get to hang out with today's young people. They are also struggling - what with their newly minted college degrees and steep college loans. Unable to find work, they still tough it out. Resilient, really. They even make me proud, so different than those Internet bubble babies with their "Gimme Gimme Gimme" rantings.
And I lost 15 pounds! (It's amazing the mileage you log standing for six hour stretches and working in retail).
And I have one of the best work managers/supervisors I've ever had in all of my working life. So, I feel appreciated. Even if it is only for my sneaker-selling abilities, and for showing up on time.
Best of all, John is learning to cook! Hell, he's like a Gordon Ramsey in the making, what with his kick-ass Shepherd's Pie and such.
Also, John's got some good job leads when a few months ago there wasn't a thing going on "out there." I mean, we're talking tumbleweeds, folks...but for now, it's his job to find that big job, and mine to keep us keeping on. And as noted above, that works out just fine for me.
So , we're hopeful. And we're hanging as a team like never before.
So what's not to like about this "new normal"? Well, yes, we've had to find a new rhythm to our life. We've had to take stock. We've had to adjust. We even had to (GASP) clip coupons! And sell stuff on eBay!
And maybe we can't be Just Off The Taconic as much as we'd like...but we're holding onto the house with everything we've got. Because this has shown us just how much we love our lives Upstate, as well as our lives and friends Downstate.
John has a few interviews lined up. And I have just a few more script pages to write. And after that we'll figure it out all over again.
But we're not going anywhere.
And yes, we are still here. (Mido, too.) :)