Unemployment Compensation

While I don’t know too much about Italian bureaucracies, because the Pope resigned, I’m pretty sure he won’t get any unemployment compensation.  But he may have gotten the better end of the stick anyway since he gets to spend several months in a summer residence in the south of Rome.  While that’s a pretty sweet upshot, you’ve gotta be firmly committed to what you’re doing, what with the spend-the-rest-of-your-life-in-cloistered-prayer consequence and all.

Me?  I’d wait for the severance package and then collect unemployment compensation after that.  Speaking of unemployment compensation…being able to work your way through the system AND eventually collect money is nothing short of miraculous given the unbelievably convoluted and confusing process.

Take, for example, the questions (aka hoops) you have to answer (jump through) every two weeks to keep that (what for all intents and purposes is basically a part-time, highschool job) “paycheck” coming…

First, you have to go to the Unemployment Compensation’s NEW site only to be told it’s “coming soon” (it’s been “coming soon” for SIX MONTHS NOW!  But really, what’s the rush?!  No rush.  Move along.  Nothing to see here, folks).  Then, you have to redirect yourself (no automatic redirects here, because you’ve gotta work HARD for your money…and we’re right back to “there’s an 80’s song for every moment in life” with She works hard for her money.  So hard for it, honey.  Though you never treat her right!).

Once you’re finally in the right place at the right time, you have to answer a series of questions that go something like this:

  • Do you really, really, REALLY wanna file to get money back out that you’ve paid into the system for 25 years?  Uh – check.
  • Are you frauding us?  We’ll frickin’ break your knee-caps if we find out you’re frauding us.  To prove that you’re not frauding us, do you promise to give us your firstborn son? (Well.  You wouldn’t want him.  I barely want him sometimes. But…) Check!

Ok, those weren’t real questions, but you get the gist of the tone that’s set when you file for Unemployment Compensation.  Basically, you’re treated like a fraudster and threatened with all sorts of consequences because you just want the money you’re entitled to.  So with this vague Catholic Guilt thing now kinda looping through your brain – “I didn’t THINK I was doing anything wrong.  But they’re TREATING me like I did something wrong.  So maybe I AM doing something wrong??  No, no.  I’m pretty sure I’m NOT doing anything wrong…”

You proceed with your walk through the valley of the shadow…

During this week, did you look for a job?   Yes!

During this week, if an employer offered you a job were you able to start immediately?  Yes!

During this week, did you turn down any job offers?  Wait!  Ah-ha.  I see what’s happening here.  You were trying to lull me into a “Yes!” thing, but the answer is really no.  Wait!  No.  The answer is No.

During this week, did you work at all?  You means BESIDES cleaning all the bathrooms in the house?  No.  No, I didn’t work.  Wait!  Work-for-which-I-got-paid?  No.  No.

Another question about working just phrased in a different way?  Uhhhh…NO!  Still NO!

Fourth question about working and/or receiving money?  Gaaah.  No.

Fifth question about receiving money or even THINKING about receiving money from a prior employer?  NOOOOO!

I understand that giving false information constitutes fraud and is punishable by law?  Did that question just say punishable by death?!  Phew!  I thought it said punishable by death.  But wait.  Why do I even care?  I’m not doing anything wrong.  Am I?  Ok…just stop and answer the question.  But re-read it first because you’ve been answering “No!” for the last several questions and now this seems like a “YES”.  YES!  Wait.  No, YES!

I have reviewed my responses and want to continue?  YES!  (as if I’d get all the way through this mindf#^*! and wanna bail!?!)

So.  That was just for Week 1.  You then have to answer the same questions for Week 2.  And then check off a few deeply buried boxes about “understanding” and “hereby applying” and “failing to comply” and blah blah blah…YES, I WANT TO FILE A CONTINUED CLAIM FOR PAYMENT!  Gaaaaahhhhhh!!!  JUST GIVE ME MY MONEY!!!!!!!!

Makes spending the rest of your life in cloistered prayer look like a walk in the park.

Spelling Sparkle

There’s a total spelling scam going down at my daughter’s school.  It’s called Spelling Sparkle.  Here’s how it works:  The kids line up and then are given one of that week’s spelling words.  Each child-in-line gives ONE letter of the word and when the word is spelled, the next student in lines shouts, “Spelling Sparkle!” and the student behind them is out.  WTF?

Total scam.  You don’t even have to be a terrible speller to get “out” in Spelling Sparkle.

When I was in school you were “out” of Spelling Bee if you didn’t know how to spell a FULL word.  You, yourself, lived and died in Spelling Bee on your own merit.  Or in my case, on whether or not you could read your partner’s hand signals.

You see – Kathy S. and I would make sure we stood next to each other in Spelling Bee line (up against the windows.  Always against the windows.  So the teacher could look over our heads and dream her dream of freedom while the Spelling Bee Cluster Bomb was going down?!).  With our uniform skirts pressed so closely together you couldn’t see that our hands were touching.  We worked out this awesome hand-signal system wherein we would “notify” each other whether or not we were spelling words correctly.  AS we were spelling the words.

Kindof like a modified Hellen Keller/Annie Sullivan schtick (W-A-T-E-R!).

The flaw in the plan was that the signals became so complicated – and the odd pauses while we were spelling words became so pronounced – that we had to quit that cockamamie scheme.  It was just easier to know how to spell the words than to remember the signals.

Anyway.  I’m telling you all of this because a similar experience happened to me recently….

Ohhhhhh – say about six months ago.  A colleague yelled “Employment Sparkle!” and I was out.  And Kathy S. was nowhere to be found.

Teaching Moment

I literally just walked in the door.  Fresh from a teaching moment.

School starts at 7:55.  I got a call from the telephone in my daughter’s classroom at 8:00.  Her panicked, baby bird voice coming down the line told me she had forgotten her accordion folder on the kitchen table.

To understand the importance here, you have to understand that the accordion folder contains her ENTIRE 5th grade life.  Papers to be turned in.  Papers to be completed.  Assignments-in-process.  For all subjects.  For the whole year.

And to understand the importance here again, you have to understand that we’ve been struggling all week with making sure the accordion folder gets INTO the backpack after homework is done each night so it’s there when she gets to school the next morning!

So….now….her/my/our fears have come true.  She’s at school and the folder is at home.  And the pressure is on like Donkey Kong.

The former Working Woman me would have said, “Sorry, Sweetie.  I’m at work and can’t run all the way home.  Get the folder.  Drop it off at school.  And get back to work.  So you’ll just have to face the consequences.”  The new Stay at Home Mom me was sitting there with one hand on the folder and a coffee cup in the other.  An appointment at 1 does not qualify as a busy morning.  And I could get to school AND back home in the space of 30 minutes.  PLUS I’ve been wanting to be a more kind-and-loving mother instead of the smarmy, I-told-you-so mother I always seem to be with her lately.  BUT if I do bring the folder to school, will she finally LEARN to put it into her backpack every night after homework??

What to do?  What to do?!?

My beautiful baby girl.  She’s still so tiny.  And sometimes it’s just so hard to be 10.  And does she deserve any less compassion than I would show my husband?  Or an acquaintance??  Or even a colleague (not that I have any right now.  But I did at one point.  And I will again soon, I’m sure).

The next 5 minutes found me getting dressed, plopping a ball cap on my head and racing out the door.  [Side Note: Is this why ALL the stay at home moms wear ball caps?  Have I finally unraveled that mystery??  We’re all unexpectedly running forgotten homework to school???!?)

Folder in the school office by 8:15.  Daughter’s name announced over the intercom.  Teacher notified via email.

Her teaching moment has been saved for another day.  I’ve just had mine.

Job Opportunities

When you sign up for unemployment benefits, you also have to sign up with the Job Bank. After that, you periodically get emails from “the bank” about job opportunities that fit your profile. I’ve found these opportunities are mostly in Spanish and located about an hour-and-a-half away.

So I was particularly excited when I received the following notice from “the bank”:

Dear Connecting Colorado Workforce Customer,

You are receiving this email because your skill-set, experience, and/or as noted in your resume and connectingcolorado.com information CLOSELY MATCHES the position of Park Services, Parks Maintenance, Sports Fields, Parkways, Urban Forestry, and/or Facilities being represented at the Highlands Ranch Metro District Hiring Event on Thursday February 7th 2013. The hiring event will take place 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Highlands Ranch Metro District building located at 62 West Plaza Drive, Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80129.

[OMG! Closely matches?!?! This is gonna be GREAT!! But Park Services and Park Maintenance? Hmmm…what could these job opps possibly be??]

Highlands Ranch Metro District is looking for qualified applicants to fill our temporary Parks, Open Space and Recreation positions. Successful applicants must be self-motivated, quality-minded, and have a desire to provide exceptional service to our community.  There are over 40 temporary positions available from February through December. Temporary employment period ranges from twelve weeks to forty weeks. These positions work a forty (40) hour work week and may include weekends and holidays. Employment period may be extended if funding remains available.  All applicants must be dependable and have a strong desire to be a team player.

[Ok.  Well.  I AM all those things.  But now I’m getting a weird feeling that these might not be full-time, Software Marketing type positions.]

Our temporary positions help us continue providing the Highlands Ranch community with outstanding recreation programs, parks, sports fields, and open space areas. You must be at least eighteen (18) years old, have a valid Colorado driver’s license and acceptable Motor Vehicle Record to apply. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is also required. Pre-employment drug screening and background.

[Ahhhh.  Temporary positions.  I’m pretty darn sure I NEVER put down temporary, GED-type positions in my “profile” with “the bank.”  In fact, I distinctly recall putting down six-figure, Master’s Degree type positions.  Ok, ok.  Don’t overreact.  Maybe there ARE some of those more “closely matches” opps, but they’re just temporary?  Which is ok, because I could TOTALLY turn it into long-term ‘cause I’m like that.]

Salary range is $8.00 to $13.00 per hour depending upon experience.

[WhhhaaaaAAAAATTTTTTTTT????!?!??!??  Ok, ok.  Breathe.  Actually…this may not be so bad.  If I could work a few hours a week at the higher end of the pay range, doing something fun and people-y…and still not lose my unemployment benefits? That might not be so bad.  I wonder what kind of jobs these are?  Greeter at sporting events?  Beer cart gal on the golf course??  Could be kinda fun actually.]


  1. Park Services: Involves cleaning and upkeep of park shelters and facilities; contact and interaction with park visitors.
  2. Sports Fields: Field preparation and layout for sports programs.
  3. Parks Maintenance: Cultural Practices-Involves aeration, fertilization, top dressing and seeding applications; Horticulture-Involves planting and maintaining annual and perennial flowerbeds; Mowing-Involves mowing, trimming, edging, blowing and equipment maintenance.
  4. Parkways: Involves general landscape repairs, aeration, seeding, spraying herbicides, pruning, mulching and sprinkler checks, and adjustments and repairs.
  5. Urban Forestry: Involves plantings, fertilizations and general care of trees.
  6. Facilities: Involves maintenance, repairs and inspections of buildings, parks, playgrounds and skate parks.

[“Closely matches” my a$$!  I’m done here.  Unemployment Agency: please count this as all five of my five requisite job searches for the week.  And thank you.  It’s been fun.]

Core Synergistics

—–Mom & Dad:  Expletives may be used throughout this post.  Please don’t read any further if you’re going to act all disappointed at my “language” next time we talk.  Because really.  The only way to convey how terrible this sh** is, is through the use of expletives.—–

Ok.  I just HAVE to get this off my chest and then we can be done already with me reporting on this horrific fairytale path I’ve taken through the deep, dark woods of the exercise soul also known as P90X.

So.  This is the FINAL word on Core Synergistics.  This DVD is also entitled (in my mind) “After four weeks of P90X, why can’t I do ANY of this sh**?!??”

First off, make sure you sandwich this DVD between chiropractor visits (remember to wear cute underwear!!).  Secondly, I’m on to you, Tony.  You call the same impossible exercises different names just to confuse me and/or make me hopeful.  Take the ridiculous “Banana Rolls” for example.  They are basically the same impossible-to-do nonsense as their rat-bastard brother “Superman/Banana” and their red-headed stepchild “Bow-to-Boat.”

And really.  I can’t say it enough.  Dreya Rolls are IMPOSSIBLE!!!  But to spice things up, Adam adds a jump! (cute!!)  And our main girl, Dreya, adds an “X” AND a spin! (cutest ever, B***CH!!!)

And the pushups??  How many tortuous ways can one, lone man come up with to do push-ups?!?  Sphinx Push-ups.  Imagine you’re sitting there with your nose and mouth all crushed in when you’re called upon to raise your entire, mythical body straight off (yes, straight OFF) the floor using nothing but your lion-y arms.  See?  Now you know why I can’t even do ONE!!  But I do have to admit that the “Prison Cell” pushups will come in handy after I get thrown in jail on assault charges (I’m not saying against whom.  Could be Tony.  Could be Dreya.  Could even be Adam with his half-percentage of body fat, ya mo fo).  Especially when you incorporate the spiderman-climbing-the-wall-only-horizontally Chatarunga Run add-on.  Those assault charges may include a Tonya Harding tire iron component as well.

Just wanted to mention here that “Towel Hopping” is basically the same as jumping jacks.  Except from side to side.  With your legs closed.  But they still have the same pee-ish results.

Finally, to cap the whole totally dreadful routine off?  We do “Table Leg Raises.”  Fifty-seven minutes of our lives are gone forever, never to be retrieved at this point.  Our forearms are sweating (I didn’t even know forearms COULD sweat!  Is that even possible?  Or right?!  This may be a horrific side-effect of the *&^%ing Sphinx Push-ups.  Bleep!!  BLEEP!!!!)  and Tony exhorts us with a cavalier, “how many you gonna do?”

Uh – how about “none” Tony?  *&^%%$$#@#$%%^^&&*&^%$#@!!!!

Blog Comments

Just wanted to pause for a moment and mention that doing my own blog is harder in some ways than I ever thought or realized it would be.

For example, the amount of spam I have to shuffle through on a daily basis is beyond belief.  But the upshot is that periodically I’ll get a comment like the one below – and that makes it all worthwhile.

Encaccerync cheapraybansunglassesuk.xx.xx ericsmithpn@gmail.com
Submitted on 2013/01/23 at 12:44 pm

I am really impressed with your ray ban sunglasses  writing abilities and also with the structure on your weblog.  cheap ray ban sunglasses , Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway stay up the nice quality writing, it is uncommon to peer a great weblog like this one nowadays..

Do you see?  He’s really impressed with my writing abilities!  I think the reference to ray ban sunglasses was a typo.

In fact, he likes my blog so much he wants to know if it was a paid “theme” (that’s blog-speak for the page layout) or if I modified it myself.  [For the record, it’s one of the “themes” that my hosting site provides, but you gotta…uh…add CONTENT and stuff!]

Rather than a typo, I’m now starting to think he has some sort of tic since there’s again a reference to cheap ray ban sunglasses at an odd point during the post.  Regardless, he encourages me to “stay up” the nice quality writing!

Isn’t that exciting?!

And he closes with commenting that it’s uncommon to “peer” a great weblog like this nowadays.  I’m pretty sure he meant “find” or perhaps “read” instead of “peer.”  There might be an English-as-a-second-language issue there.  I’m not sure.

Also, it’s odd that there’s no FINAL mention of cheap ray bans.  But for now, I’m happy with the compliments.

They make posting in the blogosphere all worth while.  In fact, it makes me think that this www.newstayathomemom.com blog is really going somewhere.  It’s gonna take me new places!  Perhaps my future in blogland is so bright…I’ll have to wear SHADES!!!

In which case I know where to get them.