(A) Typical Day

Being unemployed has been interesting. Someone asked me what I do with my days, and I honestly couldn’t answer him. Since then, I have had to think about it.

Basically, my day looks like anyone else’s except that pesky 8 hour job + 1 hour lunch + 2 hours of commuting = 11 hours of my day that was otherwise occupied is no longer there.

I do errands, I make phone calls, I get stuck in traffic, I go shopping (usually only window shopping these days), I go to doctor’s appointments, I volunteer, I look for parking. And I check email, follow up leads for jobs, read and respond to Craigslist ads, surf the internet, reconnect with people via facebook, myspace and blogs. Tell me how my day is so different than my former corporate drone life? All the above mentioned things were there too, I merely had to cram them around the job part.

Here was a typical day from last week. It was typical in the sense that it was completely atypical. I don’t have doctor’s appointments every day. I just had to get someplace by a certain time. Could have been an interview, just as easily. Here was the day (I took notes to remind myself):

I had a bad night’s sleep, couldn’t sleep longer than two hours, and when my groove was finally resting, my cat woke me up at 5 until I had to get out of bed and check all his needs before I could go back to bed again. Had a doctor’s appointment at 9, and somehow, what with that interruption, I got a late start, hit rush hour, and it took an hour to get the 10 miles I needed to go. My doctor is a busy woman, so I found a parking spot I could be in for unlimited time, and apologized to the receptionist at my lateness and said I was available all day, so if I could be squeezed in later, I could do that. An hour later, she was able to see me, the five minute interaction was complete, and off I went for lunch.

I actually had a mission that day, to return an air conditioner I had been unable to figure out how it was going to effectively work in my window, and get some money from that return. One previous trip to Costco months ago had been to ask how long I had to return an item, and I was told there was no limit. Another trip to Costco I had asked would they take returns if there was no receipt, and I was told yes. Costco is awesome, and their customer service policies are excellent. I love Costco. And in the intervening months of unemployment, I had let my membership lapse and so figured this return could easily resolve that issue.

I was right. After lunch at a favorite cafe, I hit Costco with my air conditioner in a shopping cart, and did the return. I always forget about tax. 17 years of no sales tax in Oregon probably did that to me, and so for the return, I remembered how much I had paid, and got back more, because of tax. Yeah! Scooted over to the membership desk, renewed my membership in cash, and still had $29 left. Time to shop at Costco!

I have a shopping policy at Costco. To knock down temptation, I do not grab a cart. Anything I am interested in buying, I will carry in my arms, working from the back of the store forward, so that I hit the books/CDs and DVDs last, my areas of greatest temptation. This is all to serve as a reminder to myself that I do not need more stuff. And if I do buy more stuff, I still only have one set of arms to carry it from wherever I park in my neighborhood to my building and up the four flights of stairs to my apartment. Additionally, it helps cut down on expensive Costco splurges, the only one armload policy.

Even so, I picked up only three items on this excursion, garbage bags, vegetarian refried beans and pencils for my tutorees, and the grand total came to: $25! Exactly. Leaving enough for a coffee later.

Next stop, Amoeba Music to sell some extraneous DVDs. I knew that since I wasn’t watching them, they were taking up space, and I need money, I might as well get rid of them. $11 was the grand total acquired. That covered lunch. But less crap DVDs in my library now.

I was a little disappointed that my attempts to earn cash had ended up having a net zero effect, but at least I was covering all my costs for the day. (Oh, except for that doctor’s appointment.) I went home, and was surprised to find in the mail a check for $19.50. Woo-hoo! I was heading up on money for the day. I read emails and got ready for my group meeting at a business owner’s salon. I have a class on Wednesday nights, and a small group of five of us meet to go over the homework the night before.

After the hour + meeting, I took off for another night of local music, having gotten on the guest list, and so no expense other than gas to drive there, and listened to music for the next couple of hours. Home to slumberland, and felt like the day had been productive and towards my positive cash flow. That has been how January has gone for me: I am finally able to at least cover my daily expenses, it is still the known monthly and the unexpected expenses that I can’t quite manage. And there’s still more money from where I’m getting that, thank god!

So there’s (a)typical life in the day of the unemployed and happily living life in LA.

2 Responses to “(A) Typical Day”

  1. gary Says:

    Woohoo! I wonder what costco is….?

    • redroomsalon Says:

      Big Box Store requiring membership full of wonder and delight. The items are frequently changing so it is worth it to check frequently, and if it does not sell well or it is seasonal, they do not carry it long. If it is popular and sells well, they frequently come out with their own generic brand of it.
      The ones not in Oregon (since it is illegal in the state of Oregon to pump your own gas) have gas pumps that are usually cheaper than most other gas stations. There is an outdoor food court that you simply pay cash for the items (not Vegan at all, and not very Veggie friendly) and do not need to be a member for.
      Costco is everywhere I have been, but they started in Kirkland, WA and so their generic brand name is named Kirkland!

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