That pretty much describes my life right now. Fluxxed... flummoxed... whatever you want to call it.
A state of upheaval, changes, partings and beginnings.
I've had to make some very difficult decisions of late. Because life as a homeowner on a single income hasn't been an easy one, I came to the conclusion recently that I need to take stock and make some adjustments to allow for a future retirement above the poverty line. It's just too damned expensive for me to own a house by myself, and still try to pad the coffers of my retirement plan.
Sure, I'll get a pension, but it won't be a lot. And I will get the Canada Pension Plan bit too, but that is less than a lot so even added to the piddly pension, it still won't amount to much more than a hill of beans. And because all my hard earned moolah has been going to pay bills and keep the roof over my head, I've not been able to sock much away in my retirement savings plan. It is a paltry sum at the moment and given that I could potentially retire in 11 years, it needs all the help it can get!
So I started picking up overtime. I tried to get a minimum of 8 hours of OT per pay period, or more if possible. It was working, and I was handling it. A measly four hours tacked on to the usual 8 really isn't too hard to handle. I still had my days off, which I value highly, thankyouverymuch.
And then the shit hit the fan. Jan. 26th I injured my shoulder at work. I now have intense stabbing pain when I lift my arm. I am off work for who knows how long, as I wait for the Workers Compensation Board to get their act together and let me know if they are going to approve my claim. Because it looks like I will need a surgical repair job to get this arm working properly again. I can't work until it does. Hell, even getting in and out of my clothes is a pain. Literally.
Take the seemingly inconsequential Supraspinatus muscle and its tendon, which form part of the rotator cuff in the shoulder. This little thing runs along near the top of your scapula (shoulder blade) to the top of the humerus (upper arm bone) and is responsible for the lifting of your arm from 60 - 120 degrees. I now have a full thickness tear through mine, meaning it is literally almost pulled off the bone. Meaning, lifting my arm is virtually impossible. In fact, it can hurt so swiftly, it's like someone has driven a rather pointy knife down into my shoulder. It hurts like freakin' hell! Damn near dropped me to my knees when it happened. And of course, being my dominant arm, I tend to forget and make movements that cause me great discomfort.
So for the past month, I have seen doctors, had MRIs, talked with people at the WCB place, talked with one of the nurses at Staff Health where I work, and basically fretted about where my life is going right now. Because it seems like nowhere is where it is going at the moment. I am on hold.
And that includes my income. Until WCB decides if they will approve my claim, they won't pay me. The hospital isn't paying me because they assume WCB is doing that, and since I am not actually working for them, they have no reason to give me any money. Now, I've not had to deal with a WCB claim being help up like this in the past. It's always been approved right away with any work injury. So I had no idea I should have applied for Employment Insurance benefits right away as well. At least, when I finally did last Friday, they were very helpful and pushed my EI claim through right away (extreme hardship - no money to put food on the table) so I should be getting some money from them on Friday this week. Who knew there actually exists a government agency that can work expediently!!! I sure as hell didn't. But I am so very glad they did. Because I also had to go talk to the bank so that bills wouldn't go NSF and put me ever deeper in the hole.
I am truly hoping WCB comes through, because there is about a $1000 a month difference between WCB and EI benefits. WCB will pay 90% of my take home base wage, whereas EI pays 55% up to a max of $400 per week.
But the hardest parts of this whole thing are looking at selling my house, finding a new home for my dog and becoming a tenant once again. The biggest thing is finding a good home for my dog. I love her to bits but in all reality, I just can't keep her. And with the help of my older sister and one of her friend's daughters, I may have a lead on a very good home. I will be meeting the woman on Friday, when she comes over to meet Zoë. She had a Bullmastiff until about a month ago, when hers died of a heart attack. She has two other dogs at home, both Bullmastiff crosses, and is quite excited about meeting my girl. So that eases the heartache of this for me. Plus I will always be able to keep in touch and know how Zoë is doing.
I've been trying to paint and do a few cosmetics around the house to spruce it up for selling. I've discovered that I can paint left handed almost as good as I can right handed, although I do have some touching up on the ceiling and baseboards to do. And it is slower. Did you know white primer works really well for covering those 'oops' marks where the brush or roller touches the stipple ceiling? And since I am painting all the trim (around the doors and windows, as well as all the baseboards) white, I am not too concerned about the oops marks on those. They are going from grey to white anyway... a little 'sand' colour makes no never mind.
A friend who is a plumber by training (although he currently owns/runs a furniture manufacturing plant) came over today to cap off the water lines in the little half bath on the main floor, ripping out the (ugly) old (chipped and rusty) sink and vanity, and baring the walls for me to patch and paint. A new vanity/sink combo stands in its box, awaiting installation in the near future. I will have to fill the hole in the floor left my the old vanity (it was original and had been tiled around) and put new flooring down. But for the price of a couple of home cooked meals, he is more than happy to help me out. He lives on his own and tires of Hamburger Helper. So he works, we visit, I feed him, and it's a done deal. Can't ask for more than that!
I've been keeping my eye on the real estate market too, and it's looking pretty good here. Our Economy has weathered the recession quite well and is picking up nicely. I am hoping to get a bit more than what I paid for this thing almost 3 years ago. That will help me pay off my debts and have some money to stuff into my retirement stash.
I am hoping to have this part of the transition done before I have to have surgery on my shoulder. Because that is more than likely what has to happen. I need that tendon laced back onto the bone so I can lift my arm again. I've heard the recover is lengthy. Months long. So at this point, I have no idea of when I will be back at work. I am now trying to get the painting and minor repairs/renos done as quickly as I can so I can sell the house, get moved and settled into a new place, before I am incapacitated. Because I will be. I've read that you cannot use the arm for anything (including just simply raising it up) for about 6 weeks after the operation. And that means I won't be driving either, as my vehicle is a 5 speed.
Needless to say, I am feeling a bit under the gun at the moment. I keep looking at apartments for rent, trying to figure out where I can live and still keep the cats. There are a few options, but vacancy rates are low here. But at least there are new places being built that are pet friendly, so I should be okay. I hope. My arm should be okay with surgery. I hope. The dog should be okay at a new home. I hope. I should be able to avoid being completely destitute. I hope.
I am trying to remain hopeful. Not hopeless. Sometimes it is a toss up.