Next, I have no clue. I'm a walking, talking, MLP but cracking my head open and writing about what's inside? What if the wrong things come out? Still, this is worthwhile, for many reasons. I went back and re-read my old diaries, recently. (I actually pulled them all down with curl at one point) it was kind of startling to see what I had forgotten. Entire people, events, stories, just gone from my life, my memory, only to be dredged up again by pixels on a screen. That, in itself, is valuable.
Okay, fine. Outline form has saved me in the past, maybe it will save me here.
Church: Three strikes and you're out of luck.
The church I've belonged to since SWHTL put the collar on me has been slowly going the way of most inner-city congregations - the members get older, new members become fewer, budget deficits get papered over, and over, and over, and maintenance gets deferred until a crisis happens. I've stuck with it not out of theology but because they - we - take the two commandments seriously; our doors are open to anyone, of any race, class, orientation or attitude. We have NA meetings, ESL classes, elder support groups, single sex weddings, prayer meetings, free day care...
Day care. Well, we used to have free day care, anyway. The day care was actually run by the county and the county paid rent that just about covered the cost of heating the section of the building they were using. This had been going on for 10 years, right up until they moved out in the middle of the night in the fall of 2015. Rumor was that this was triggered by the budget fight going on in the state legislature but, literally, the only thing we know is that young poor mothers discovered there was no one there to take the kids so they could go work. We've tried to find another group to take over the job, but there's no one who is willing and capable of at least covering the heating bill. That's critical for us because of...
The furnace. We'd been nursing the 60+ year old monstrosity for many years, but in the year before the daycare left we were informed in no uncertain terms that it was no longer safe to operate and had to be completely replaced - at a cost equivalent to 100% of our annual budget. We managed to swing this by taking out a loan that was secured against what was left of our endowment which means we got the furnace replaced but we lost the interest from the endowment (the interest is being applied directly against the loan...)
But, still we were able to handle that - got the furnace done, thought we were okay, had a couple of years to recover, maybe attract some more Spanish speaking members from the local neighborhood, find our footing. Didn't happen.
Back in February I got a confused voice mail saying there had been a loud bang and one of the front steps was broken. I shrugged, figured I'd check it out over the weekend. Instead, I discovered that a large stone had fallen from the very top of our roughly 5-story stone bell tower (a big ol' pseudo-castle tower, not a steeple). The stone had hit the steps to the main entrance like an anti-tank round, completely shattering a 6" thick granite landing. I'm actually glad the stone had gone through, because if it had bounced it would have shot out out at head height into a busy inner city street.
Anyway, we try to get an insurance guy to check it out, we open up the tower and discover that the interior ladder had fallen, too. Weeks go by and we finally get out someone with their own 5 story ladder than can be pushed up through a small hatch in a ceiling and we get the news that the entire tower is leaning and twisting, with one of the 4 spires nearly 2 feet out of plumb. Now the city has closed the entire street, closing all the businesses on that side, redirecting traffic and the state is fining the church several hundred dollars per day for the closure.
The upshot? $300,000 grand just to demolish the tower, roughly 2.5 years' budget and maybe 3 years income. (As a side note, my predecessors had tried, decades ago, to tear the tower down but were denied by the city because the building is "historic".)
So, now I'm putting together loan applications with absolutely no real hope of raising the money. I - we - want to do the right thing, get this fixed and continue helping our community but I have no idea how we're going to survive. As it is, we've racked up more than 20 grand in bills without a lick of work being done to actually solve the problem.
If you haven't seen the press reports, $MEGA_CORP has been "restructuring" to the tune of 11,000 layoffs. We, in my team, thought we were safe - they bought us entirely because we represent a small but highly profitable niche. This lasted right up until we got the notice that they were planning to close our entire site. Then they said they were keeping the people but moving us to another site, about 80 minutes away, in a smaller city. Then they said they might be moving our jobs to the other coast, instead. Then they said, nope, never mind that, definitely the small city, but not till the end of 2017. Then they offered some of us money if we didn't quit before the end of 2018. Then they said definitely the end of 2017, but it might be sooner.
Nothing like a clean, clear image to employees.
I'm trying to come up with a way to explain how weird it feels that they're closing a site near one of the country's biggest cities and moving us to a small rust belt town. If we were based in London, it would be like telling us they had uncovered a large pool of Linux kernel developers in Swindon...? Maybe? If Swindon (which I know nothing about) was a town that was the subject of a famous song about how all the jobs had died 40 years ago. It also sucks because it means the end of 10+ years of being a bicycle commuter. Google says it would take me ~5 hours to bike to the new site, so I'm figuring I'll do it once a year, up and back, as a century ride.
The only thing the site seems to have going for it is that it's equally inconvenient for both Philadelphia and New York City.
OTOH, they really did wave a carrot in front of my face if I don't quit, so I think I'll have to put up with it for at least a while.
Lamb finished her first year of college and seems to be thriving, but also seems to have a friend with the same as the subject of my last hole entry, which causes SWHTL and I to glitch every time she mentions her name. Troll Jr. decided to celebrate Father's Day by moving out, which wasn't quite as dramatic as it sounds because he'd been trying to get his act together for several months now. He's moving into an apartment with his best friend and his best friend's girlfriend, and I've been very good and haven't been humming the theme to "Three's Company" when ever I see them.
On the subject of that last hole entry - nothing's really changed except the Little Lost Lamb took a look at the drama and decided to take a step back, which makes me feel like scum but what else can I do? I'm in the middle of writing another MSS to try and make her not hate us but that's even harder than writing these things.
Weight's up. Riding is up in distance, but down in miles. People are wondering why I'm not more stressed about work but the truth is that compared to other things, work has almost become a safe space. The main issue is I've been blanking out instead of getting things done. Boss says this is not uncommon among his staff. Boss also says that I keep getting flagged as someone who needs to be moved into management, even though everyone knows that would be a Bad Thing for the mental health of anyone who had to report to me....
And, hey, let me just throw this out there: https://www.gofundme.com/fbcpottstown No pressure. The number you see is somewhat low, I know for a fact that some clown made a very large anonymous donation. It covered about half the bills we've already run up...
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