Sunday, March 30, 2008

a two-parter: "friday night, oh what a night" and "unemployed life - an introduction".

friday night, oh what a night.

so friday evening, no thunderstorm. barely even a drizzle, actually. (way to go weathermen! when are you going to just accept the fact that manhattan makes up its own weather as it goes along?) so we had a decent turnout at the my-last-day drinkfest. maybe 20 people in all, including one para from the rival plaintiff's firm, and TWO paras from defense firms. that's right friends, i'm bridging the gap. it was surprising and awesome that they came, and everyone was a bit taken aback by it. but they were not the big shocker of the evening, oh no.

let's begin at the beginning, shall we? because that's really when it happened. my darling kelly and i were the first to head to the bar. i'd been chomping at the bit to get out of the office all day; it was just too weird to be there. my day was done. the kids got me tofutti cuties and a soy latte, which was adorable and sweet. but eating five of the cuties and washing it back with the latte didn't lessen my anxiety level any. so at 5pm sharp, me and my darlin' were out the door. we got to the bar, settled in with a couple of stiff drinks, and started door watching. and then we saw two people from the office walk in.

the senior partner head of our department big boss man.

and the youngest partner from the firm, who i'd spent the first two years of my time there hating. and i mean HATING. there are whole blog posts just about how i needed to quit because of him.

so me and kell are like, what who how where?!?!? did you know they were coming??!!?? mr. boss man, he's personable and we like him, but we certainly didn't expect. but mr. most-hated? what's he doing here??? and all too quickly they were upon us.

sitting at our table.

buying us drinks.

buying everyone who came while we were there their first round, in fact.

now, after my first heavy-on-the-rum mojito, the shock of these drinking companions was wearing off, and i started acting like, well, me. i'm wondering now if i did or said anything that will prevent my re-hiring if ever need be? let's hope not. they didn't stay long, and when they left... mr. most-hated gave me a big, warm, affectionate hug. now granted, we turned a major corner during the trial, and i understand more about his behavior than i used to. but the hug. seriously.

oohgf. shake that one off.

anyway, the evening progressed more normally from there. the younger hipper folk from the office showed up, drank, got to know each other, brought other friends along. i got pretty drunk pretty quick. two other attorneys showed up: mr. indie soho, who made me three mix cd's as a going away present (awesome right?) and left the bar after half a drink; and ms. party girl in disguise, who gave me a sweet card and stayed at the bar later than we did.

i was home a bit after nine (that's what happens when you start drinking at five). so that was that. the end of my law firm days, sealed with a ginger mojito. that's one way to do it, i s'ppose. i'm just afraid that maybe i was supposed to cut out the heart and chop off the head, and maybe set the carcass on fire? if it comes back for my soul, i guess we'll know.

unemployed life - an introduction.

saturday morning, woke up sober. a bit hung over. a bit rough. and with a head full of knowledge of the conversation i'd had with my office manager on friday.

health insurance, oh health insurance, you are truly the bane of my existence.

see, what you may or may not know about me is that i have a chronic illness. for the most part i know how to take care of myself these days. through diet, exercise, chiropractic care, and three prescription medications i keep myself (almost) completely functional. the occasional drunken evening out is the exception, and i do mean occasional - i go out about once every three months. and even when i do go out, two drinks is usually my max. but when i do something like forsake the biggest source of stability in my life, i need a drink...


point being that my healthcare costs are significant. enter: the job that gave me fully covered pretty good health insurance. when my psychotherapy sessions are being covered (20 a year, those generous souls), monthly costs are $125 (not including chiropractic). once i'm out of covered sessions, that jumps to $305 a month. it ain't cheap being me. trust me, i'd love to cut it down, but it's a bad bad bad idea to get off the pills as much as i hate them, and leaving therapy is not an option.

but the thing is, now i've left my job. no more fully covered health care. of course, there's the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. you probably know it as cobra. basically, your employer is required to offer to continue your healthcare coverage for up to 18 months; you just pick up the tab instead of them picking it up for you. and that tab? well, for me, it'll be $510. monthly.

so let's do some math, shall we? let's say i don't elect to sign up for cobra, and i just pay for my health costs out of pocket. that will cost me $590 a month, again not including chiropractic. so cobra is cheaper, right? ahh, but let us not forget co-pays. those amounts listed above aren't going away. which means that as long as my therapy sessions are covered, my total healthcare bill will come to $635. when i run out of covered sessions, that figure jumps to $815. which is significantly more than i'm paying in rent right now.

mind you, this doesn't include any visits to any doctors, or getting sick, or any kind of emergency that may occur. this doesn't account for the fact that the co-pays for my prescriptions might go up. i knew it was bad, but until friday i didn't know it was this bad. this is exactly what's kept me at this job for so long. this issue is the only reason that i haven't just up and quit, several different times. i got myself convinced that it wasn't a good enough reason to stay, but now i'm not so sure.

and quite frankly, i don't know what i'm going to do.

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