Yesterday was my birthday. I like to think that I can now bid good riddance to a bad year -- or, as Queen Elizabeth said about the year 1992, "it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis."
Just in time for the celebration, I was laid off from my job of 11+ years. I knew I was in trouble the minute my boss, who has always been friendly and chatty during our phone meetings, launched into reading a script: "As you know, Sun has been going through some changes...". In better times, I simply would have laughed, thanked her for the paid time off, and picked up a contract job to tide me over while I looked for a suitable permanent gig. However, this is early 2009, and we're still cleaning off the residue of the last 8 years of plutocratic rule. No doubt about it, I'm going to have to work hard to find another gig, and I am less than 100% confident that I'll find one very soon in these times. I do get a severance package, but it's hardly generous. Wish me luck.
In between (frequent) bouts of terror, though, I actually welcome a chance to regroup. I've had a long list of things that I hoped to do someday. Once I cross off the ones (such as "vacation in Tahiti") that would cost money, there are still plenty of things I never had time to do. I can spend more time on freelance articles! I can knit in the middle of the day -- and can even take a morning knitting class with my friend Fran! If the weather didn't suck, I could take long walks with the dogs and tire them out for a change. I can even take morning classes with them, if I can find the money. I can go to the gym -- the one I've been paying membership fees to all this time. I have time to get back into learning PHP, which I was just starting to do.
Plus, bless everybody's hearts, I now have a bunch of Web sites to do. I LOVE doing Web work, and would sit here at the computer at night, thinking, "I just LOVE this. I wish this were my day job." Well, at least for now, it is. I just wish it paid anything like my previous gig. If I could make a living at it, I'd never go back.
Greg has really been a rock since the whole thing happened. He's been coming up with plenty of ideas how we can both make money and save it. In spite of the impending austerity of our future existence, he took me out to a sumptuous dinner at 555 in Portland for my birthday. The food was exquisite and imaginatively prepared and presented, the service was attentive, and we had ourselves a grand old time. We made a reservation for Valentine's Day, and I'm hoping that times will get better soon enough that we can return on a regular basis. We haven't had a meal like that since the chef from Windows on the Water retired. I feel guilty that Greg spent that much money on a dinner while we're on the edge of some mighty hard times, but I hope that we'll have something to celebrate soon.