Unemployed people get unlimited, unpaid sick days, in case you’re considering unemployment as a career move. But I haven’t taken a sick day in forever. Sick days were a rarity for me even when employed. I’m generally a healthy guy. And laying about seems like such a waste when things need to get done. (Hear that, potential employers? Norm goes the extra mile to get the job done. He’s on sale now, just in time for the holidays.) The catch is that, with or without a job, things always need to get done.
Wifey will sometimes go to the office when she really should stay home and rest. This week is a good example. On Monday, for maybe the first time since I’ve been unemployed, she took a sick day. Being a trooper, she went in Tuesday, infecting her whole company with more than the Christmas spirit. Wednesday she managed half a day. And Thursday she stayed home again. These weren’t sick-of-work days – personal repayment for late hours or a job well done. She never takes those either. They were honest-to-God sick days, because she was actually sick. I saved the used tissues and empty jello containers to prove it.
Having her around during the week was a treat, even in her phlegmy state. I spend most days home alone, idly staring out the window watching the world go by and wondering, “why not me?” I occasionally shed a single tear. Wifey usually leaves for work just after 9:00 a.m. and gets back well after 7:00 p.m. In that time, the cats are the only people I talk to. And the conversations – stimulating though they are – tend to be one-sided. After a year of days, what do an unemployed guy and two furry barf machines really have to talk about? “Meow” can only mean so many things.
Having wifey around also threw off my whole unemployment work routine. I usually sit at the dining room table, back to the TV, working on my laptop. Keep in mind that I live in NYC, where the dining room and the TV room are, in fact, the same room. My water bottle is to my right; my cell phone is to my left. Roughly half the day is spent looking for work, whatever the specific task happens to be. The rest of the time is spent working on Jobless and Less or trying to learn something new and exciting. For the record, detours to
Wifey likes to put on her pajamas, wrap up in a blanket and watch mindless TV when sick. She sets the volume just shy of stadium concert levels, and keeps tissues and remote control within arm’s reach. Daytime TV has surpassed mindlessness to achieve total unwatchability. So
When not joining in, I tried and failed to block out everything with loud music on the iPod. It wasn’t a sick day for me. And, like always, there was work to be done. But gunshots and moaning, not to mention wifey’s super whooping cough of death, have a way of breaking my concentration. Headphones block out the world on the subway or in the office, but not so much at home.
Weekdays feel more like weekends with wifey around. So I tend to slack off a bit. I can’t blow her off entirely, we’re married. And she’s way more fun than
There’s always tomorrow to catch up on my unemployment stuff. And the next day, and the next day, and the next day. I might have something going on the day after that though. I’ll have to check my calendar.