January 23, 2013

Unemployment – A week in review.

Day 1: I wake up on this Friday morning with the usual sense of urgency, only to realize that there is nothing usual to not having to get ready for work. I shower anyway, which seems more out of routine than necessity. GirlyGirl, who won’t be back in daycare until Monday, doesn’t seem to mind me skipping a shower now and then. I throw on some clothes, make the kids breakfast and walk Swee’Pea and TheMonk to the bus stop as I’ve done almost every day since kindergarten. None of the moms seem to notice my unshaven, unshowered appearance and I don’t know if I should be thankful or not. Maybe personal hygiene is overrated.

As GirlyGirl and I return to the house after the twins are sent packing, I sit down and contemplate what to do next. GirlyGirl, sensing my funk perhaps, heads to the pantry and returns with a bag of Doritos. She looks at me and says, “chip” – which clearly translates into, “Look, you know you can’t drink while it’s just you and me but let’s hit this bag of Doritos like it hurt you.” What the heck. We break into the bag. It’s 9:00 a.m.

The rest of the day I do laundry.

Day 2: Sporting a slight Dorito-induced hangover, I wake up with a sense of purpose and declare that the day will not get the best of me. I make the kids breakfast before taking them to spend the day with their mother. It is then that I realize that I have time to myself. This is not a good thing. Before I know it, I’m cleaning the house like CPS was on the way. Clutter is being tossed, floors are being mopped, that pile under the coffee table that’s been hiding for years meets its demise. I didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop. Everywhere I turned there was something to clean. Even the cats realized what was up and disappeared before they made the list.

At some point I couldn’t remember what day it was. OH MY GOD! IT’S ONLY BEEN TWO DAYS AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS?!! My life is now clearly devoid of meaning.

Before picking up the kids, I head to the grocery store to pick up food for the week. I nearly break down in tears when I catch myself doing the unthinkable. I actually considered buying non-rBGH-free milk. OH MY GOD! WHAT HAS BECOME OF ME?! HAS MY LIFE STOOPED TO BUYING POISONED MILK FOR MY KIDS?!!! I compromise and buy organic whole milk for GirlyGirl and the poisoned milk for Swee’Pea and TheMonk. Yes, it has come to this. I have my favorite. Sue me.

I throw in a load or two of laundry.

Day 3: TheMonk wakes up with a fever. This is okay because I had talked myself into being super dad and taking everyone to the park to feed wildlife and possibly snacking on McDonald’s french fries. Instead, we hunker up at home and, hello, NFL playoffs on TV? Don’t mind if I do!

Somewhere between the first and second quarter of the Niners-Falcon’s game, I remember that the kids have a science project due this week. In fact, it is due on Tuesday and, as I learned yesterday, today is Sunday. So we break out the pennies and glass and water for a water displacement experiment and a magnet and various things metal and non-metal and get all scientific. We take photos of the experiment. By the time we are done, the Niners are on their way to the Super Bowl. Now, the kids are decorating their display boards in preparation of presenting their experiment. They finish right about the time Tom Brady is pouting while wearing a beanie on the sideline.

I do a couple of loads of laundry.

Day 4: It’s Monday but the kids are all at home because Martin Luther King Jr. decided to do all of this heroic stuff and now I must suffer for it. TheMonk is still fighting the fever so we cannot go anywhere. I spend most of the day trying desperately to keep the house looking clean. The words, “OH MY GOD! WE LIVE LIKE PIGS!” may have escaped from my mouth.

At this point, I have clarity on why I liked working so much – it keeps me sane from my kids. I decide I should probably be looking for a job and fire up the internet to propel me to employment.

The jobs are not inspiring.

I head out for a bit. Andrea helps the kids finish their science project. When I return, she informs me that the science project is not due until NEXT Tuesday. My bad.

I do a load of laundry.

Day 5: It’s Tuesday. I think. The twins are ushered off to school with a nutritious lunch made lovingly the night before. But before I can taste freedom, I make the mistake of taking GirlyGirl’s temperature. Dammit. It looks like another day with GirlyGirl. And we’re out of Doritos.

I find more things to de-clutter and clean. The downstairs bathroom gets hosed down and the exercise equipment that’s been sitting in a corner of the den for years gets moved to the garage. I move my IKEA book case that I brought back from my office into the playroom and use it for toy storage. This cleaning and organizing is like a sickness. I can’t stop.

I do another load of laundry.

Day 6: It’s Wednesday. Almost one week from when I left my job and I finally have a day to myself. Up until now, this unemployment thing has looked decidedly similar to parenting – albeit with a cleaner house.

With all of this free time I go to Starbucks in the morning, lunch with a friend at mid-day and hanging out at Panera in the afternoon.

Once I am at home I plan on applying for a job or two.

Oh, and doing a load of laundry.


  1. Wait a sec, unemployed? Did you quit? I thought you were in charge of a big expansion of services and locations down there.

    Comment by KC — January 23, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

  2. I was unemployed for 12 weeks during the spring/summer of 2001. It was awful and depressing (I was single and had no children to make me happy) until I started doing volunteer work and planning lunches and other cheap outings with friends when I could to get out of the house. And I exercised a good bit. And cleaned (like you). I recommend spending some time pursuing something you’ve always wanted to do during this time. For me, since I loved movies, I was an extra in “The Last Castle” and got to aim an assault weapon at Robert Redford. I also volunteered at the local independent film festival taking tickets (which allowed me to see the films for free). These are what kept me from becoming suicidal!

    Comment by father muskrat — January 23, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

  3. why are you currently unemployed? to take care of the kids?

    Comment by Louise — January 23, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

  4. First, wipe better and you’ll do less laundry.
    Second, dude – been there. Make a plan, plug away at it but enjoy the downtime in between because it might be a while before you have any again.
    Good luck.

    Comment by Always Home and Uncool — January 25, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

  5. The twins DO have a stronger immune system. You and your brother survived (the jury is out on that) all the carcinogens you ingested growing up.
    As for the cleaning, that shall pass, though not without 32 years of therapy and 25 years of sobriety.
    Let me be the role model, I have owned retail shops, taught middle school, been a pollster, and worked for Santa Clara County, been an executive director of a non profit, and a program director of a family resource center.
    You can work wherever you want, don’t settle.
    Love, mom

    Comment by Grandmother — February 14, 2013 @ 12:50 am

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