When All Else Fails: Art

In The Studio

I had an amazing art week last week! That’s important to note because the rest of the week? Well… it could have been better.

The job search continues. I had two interviews last week, one by phone and one in person. The phone interview went as well as could be expected considering I haven’t interviewed for anything in 16 years (and even that was only for an internship set up by a business acquaintance to finish my culinary degree–very informal). I’d brushed up on standard questions and practiced quite a bit, but I was still a bit rusty. Not surprisingly, I didn’t make it to the round two interviews but it’s okay, it’s not like it was my dream job or anything. And I have time. (She says in an effort not to stress out.)

The other interview was much more informal, it was in person, and the company owner had reached out to me after seeing my resume on Indeed. Very different experience. And even though I think it went very well and would enjoy the work (still in printing, but on the design side) and the office environment, he’s still interviewing candidates and there’s not a set need-by date for the position yet, either. Which could be great since my schedule is flexible for the next couple of months anyway. We shall see, but I am crossing my fingers for this one.

Aside from that, there was the upset of taxes. Ugh. Every year we say we’re going to get them done sooner but, well, just like the cobbler’s son has no shoes and the mechanic’s yard has cars up on blocks, the bookkeeper and accountant file their taxes at the last minute. What made it worse was fining out how much we owed and how misinformed I was about state income taxes.

See, Florida doesn’t have personal income taxes, Georgia does. Now, I’d called before we moved to find out whether and where my Florida wages counted as far as all that went, and I was told that out of state wages (completely earned out of state from an employer with no locations in Georgia) did not count for Georgia income tax. So I (thought I) knew that my self-employment income would be taxed but not the day job.

Not so.

Bother and damnation!

(And, no, I guess we didn’t notice the second half of 2014 wages that would have been taxed after we moved. Most likely they were offset by my convention income and business expenses, but it hardly matters now!)

Add to that (literally) the fact that Todd was uninsured for the first five months and, yep, the penalties are definitely in effect!

It was an expensive lesson.

And speaking of insurance, that was another of last week’s hurdles. Mine ends this month (what with the company officially closing and all) so the options were adding me to Todd’s company policy (~$800/mo) or buying a separate plan. As I suspected, the independent plans directly through BCBS were half the cost or thereabouts, so I’ll be signing up for one of those. Of course, the way the non-employer-sponsored plans work is you sign up by the 10th of the month (usually) for coverage that starts following month. So I’m going to be very careful in May.

Especially after we remembered Todd’s accident happened last May, one month before he was insured.

There’s been talk of bubble-wrap and other Jennifer-proofing measures.

Only half in jest.

But even with all of this going on, there was still art. Every night. Something creative, something fulfilling. Even if I could barely look at this blog (which was down for a couple of days due to a server issue, so, yeah, not helping the utter paralysis I felt when it came to posting) or anywhere else on social media, I could spend a little time with canvases and paint and go to bed a little lighter. Even cleaning up the Abyss on Saturday felt good, and I found some works in progress (a mini canvas and some cross stitch) that I made time for, too.

So when I say “better living through creativity,” here’s living proof that it’s not just a tagline. I really do think that the time spent at my worktable helped me survive this trying week. That I would have been far more miserable had I ignored the projects and gone to bed early or vegged out in front of the tv, wallowing in the fear of the unknown.

And there will likely be more trying weeks ahead. This one, for instance, didn’t exactly start out great (but I think I’m over the hump, now, having had a good cry over it all on Monday). But I have projects on my desk and my birthday to look forward to at the end of the month, so I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other and applying brush to paper.

Calamity Todd and the Wasted Weeks

Everyday Adventures

Well, okay, not exactly wasted, but not nearly as productive compared to our usual weeks and weekends.

So! If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen that Todd, bless his heart, was up on a ladder on Sunday, May 3, and took a bit of tumble. Yeah, that’s what we’ll say. We are incredibly thankful that all he broke was his right wrist and nothing more. That we were able to find the local hospital for the first time under duress, and that the service at Archbold Memorial is amazing.

And with that said, let’s get the grumpy stuff said and out of the way.

  • He didn’t just “break” his wrist, he shattered it. The radius bone looked like gravel at the business end and the ulna had a single break parallel to the bone.
  • We avoided emergency surgery that night. Good thing since it took 2 1/2 hours, 2 plates, and 15ish screws to reassemble the radius. The ulna fell into place perfectly, so the doctor opted to leave it to heal on its own.
  • At the follow-up appointment the next week, the ulna had shifted–whether due to swelling or just general instability we don’t know–and it meant another 2 hour surgery within a week of the first. Another plate and handful of screws.
  • Oh, right, and Todd’s insurance doesn’t go into affect until June 1.

That last bit is the most cranky-making thing about this, to be honest. A couple of days after each surgery Todd was feeling almost normal (despite not being able to use his dominant hand for close to anything) and champing at the bit to get out of the house and, yes, even back to work. So far we’ve received a couple of the bills and we’re already around $11K for the ER visit and 2 outpatient surgeries. Not sure if that’s everything, yet, since none of the bills have been detailed. Now, Archbold does have a financial assistance department and we’ve put in for whatever help that might offer, be it a reduced fee and/or a payment plan. We’ll get through it because that’s just what we have to do, but it’s still no fun.

And a taller ladder and/or a roof harness would have been a helluva lot cheaper, but hindsight is always 20/20.

Other, smaller things have changed around the house this month to accommodate this bump in the wrist/road. Like me being on full KP duty all month, that’s been a change. If you’re new around here, Todd and I usually trade off dinner duty by weeks–we both like to cook but we both enjoy our weeks “off,” too, as a chance to get more done in the evenings on our own projects. I’ve also had to take over clean-up tasks and, ever since we moved in together (6 years ago), Todd has done the dishes. Not just on the weeks I cook, but pretty much always. He spoils me by taking over the dishes each night and I appreciate it (and frequently tell him so). So it’s been a real change to have to do the cooking and the cleaning for a full month (and maybe even a few weeks longer, we shall see).

The first couple of weeks are a bit of a blur. That first week I almost missed as much work as I was there for between appointments, picking up prescriptions, and the surgery day. Then I missed the second half of the second week for more of the same. But just because I was home doesn’t mean I got much done besides meals (most nights–a couple take-out nights were called in the early days) and watching the clock for his next does of meds. Beyond that was just this brain fog and everything that wasn’t absolutely mandatory (like blogging) got pushed until later. Whenever later turned out to be.

But I’ve learned some things in this process, too. Namely that I’m better in a crisis than my random moments of anxiety would have me believe and that I know what’s really important: family. Todd is my family and I would (and did–the SBA loan packet delivery was delayed 2 weeks and ask me how much I care*) drop everything to make sure he’s taken care of. And I know he’d do the same for me.

Probably the funniest thing about this is that while I’m the klutzy one, the accident magnet, all my misteps are small. Even my own trip to the ER many years ago (where, in contrast to our 3 hours total at Archbold, I spent 6 hours overnight before actually seeing a doctor) only yielded 4 stitches. But when Todd does something, he does it all the way!

Things are getting back to normal-ish around here. Todd mowed the backyard on Sunday (I taped up the openings of his cast to keep grass clippings from getting in and pulled the starter cord for him) and we had friends up for a small cookout on Memorial Day. He’s heading to the doctor today and the jury is still out if he’ll come home with another cast or if they’ll move him to a brace he can take of to shower and do light movements with. We shall see.

*okay, yes, I do care, but it’s a matter of perspective; if the bank thinks less of me as an applicant because I put my husband’s health first, well, too bad!