Sunday, June 8, 2014

A lot of changes...

Good early morning, darling readers.  I hope the weekend is finding you all well and you are having wonderful weather wherever you may be!  I am very sorry I have not posted anything lately.  We've been experiencing some rather difficult changes in our lives during the last few weeks and it's put my blog on the back burner, for now.

As most of you know, I've been going through treatment on my back for quite some time.  In April, it was decided to try some more injections and then another radio frequency ablation (RFA) on my right sacroiliac joint (basically the tailbone area).  I did the RFA procedure on May 15th.  I am still experiencing quite a bit of the pre-procedure pain and may have to do another as soon as the doctor deems it safe to and if some of the other changes in our lives will permit it.

That evening, while I was relaxing on the couch, my husband was on Facebook, catching up on the days events, when he suddenly said that the guys he works with were posting that management had just come in (around 6 pm) and told them to finish up what they were doing because they were closing at 10 pm that night.  At first, we really just thought it was a rumor, until more and more people started posting about it.  As it was my husband's day off, he wasn't really sure what to make of it.  We never received any phone calls to let him know that he was laid off or any other notification, except a letter that arrived about 8 days later, to let us know of this 'furlough'.  In my opinion, I think it was a very poor choice to let those on Facebook tell others that they'd just been laid-off.  This letter he received said that since it was a furlough that he could file for unemployment benefits and it also gave us the phone numbers to emergency assistance organizations that *might* be able to help if we needed financial assistance.  It also stated that the furlough was expected to last approximately 3 to 4 weeks.

Because he had hours worked during the week he was laid off, it disqualified him from any unemployment for that week, then the following week, with no work and no income, that one was considered his waiting week, that Ohio requires all workers to have when they first file for unemployment benefits.  He was able to file those 2 weeks, but did not receive any benefits for them.  It was only during the 3rd week that he actually qualified and got any type of benefits.  So for 3 weeks, we either had a lot less or no income coming in.  We were able to apply for some basic public assistance since there was such a drastic change in our income.  But because we no longer have minor children living at home and I do receive a small disability check, once his unemployment is factored in, it will put us over income to qualify for any further assistance.  We do still have medical insurance, at this time, if we can manage to pay his portion of the  cost of it, which would normally be payroll deducted, but now we have to pay it out of his unemployment benefits, as well as our other monthly obligations.  Luckily, the check I receive each month will keep the roof over our heads, but it won't cover anything else.  It's all going to have to come out of the u/e (unemployment) checks now, until mid-August, when it will be no longer made available to us unless we pay both portions (called a COBRA plan for those not familiar with it).

With the costs of my medication, even with co-pays, being so much, I decided to quit taking them because it came down to the choice to either get my medications or pay our electric bill to keep it on another month.  Right now, with co pays, my medication comes to approximately $275 a month and his insurance will be another $400, just to keep it active through June, then another $400 will be due to keep it active through July.  It's all been pretty stressful trying to figure out how we are going to make it through because you see, he found out yesterday that he was mailed what is called the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice (WARN) that is required whenever a company such as his is considering shutting down their operations.  They have to give all their employees a 60 day notice, even if they decide, ultimately that they are going to stay open, as we are really hoping and praying they will do.  But in the event they decide not to reopen, they'll have already done the required notifications of closure.  If they had not given this notification and decided to shut down without it, they would have to pay each employee the wages they would have earned during this time period, since they are a union shop.  In this way, they have covered their own hind-ends and made sure they followed their contract with the union regarding proper notification in the event they do decide to shut-down permanently.  From what we can gather, the decision as to if they will remain open or not will be made during the week of August 11th.  if they do close and our insurance is no longer available, the costs for my prescriptions will jump to about $1400 a month.

As with any large company, rumors are running rampant.  We've heard many different ones:  1) Yes, they are definitely closing.  2) No, they aren't closing, but are going to be asking employees to take a major pay cut, lose their 401(k) plans, and do away with their insurance. 3) They will be restarting production tomorrow on half of the plant.  And many others.  Since my husband has been with this company since he was 20 years old and would be starting his 25th year with them in September, we've learned not to believe the rumors and only what actually happens, although hearing them make us nervous about what is going to happen in the next few weeks.

Additionally, my son also works for the same company so he is now going through the same things we are.  Even though he is 26 now, he may end up moving back home so we can pool our resources and get through this, hopefully, without losing as much as we are anticipating at this time.  My husband and I already made the decision to let our car go back to the bank.  Without his full income, we can no longer afford the payment.  We've also cut back on everything else we could think of:  cable/internet will be shut off next week, home phone has already been shut off and cell phones will also be going.  We're running as little electricity as possible so in the event it gets shut off, it won't be so difficult to have it turned back on, once we're back on our feet again.  I've cancelled the little things I was getting monthly, such as my Ipsy and Nail Art Society subscriptions and I've put myself on a 'no-buy' for polish until such a time as I can indulge again.

Which leads me to another reason why I've shared all this with you.  I've made the difficult decision to sell most of my 'babies' in order to feel like I'm contributing to helping support us.  I will be using Store Envy and will be including other cosmetic items as well as maybe some books and clothing.  I do not have everything added as of yet, but I will post the link in the side bar to the right.  You will also notice I have added a 'GoFundMe' widget there.  As difficult as it is for me to do, I decided to ask for help to get us through this difficult time since we really don't know, yet, as to how much longer this shut-down will last.  The company has been really hush-hush and not providing anyone with any kind of information as to what their decision, ultimately, will be.  If you are looking for a particular polish, please take a look at my Store Envy site to see if it may happen to be there.  If you could share both the StoreEnvy and GoFundMe links, I would deeply appreciate it.

I plan to try to keep blogging although it may be sporadic at best.  Even though I will not have internet in my home, a neighbor has offered to let me network with her so I can have access and can occasionally update y'all as to what is going on and when I may be able to resume a more regular schedule again.  It will also depend on how my body reacts to being off my medication as well.  Before the doctor and I figured out what medications worked best for me, I was pretty much bedridden and I expect it will happen again now that I am no longer taking them.

Thank you, to everyone, for reading and for helping me learn so much in the last year and a half.  It's been wonderful to be part of such a warm, caring community and I hope I can get back soon.  Until then, darling readers...huggles!