Day 9 – Sometimes It Feels Good to Hurt

On August 28th, my wife lost her job. 24 hours later, I lost mine. This blog is a continuation of the day-by-day chronicling of our emotional journey back to employment. This is bound to be upsetting, hilarious and hopeful.

September 6, 2014

My appetite came back this morning at around 10am when I was confronted with catering at a birthday party for a 3-year-old. Not only was it quite the lavish affair with lots of handmade party favors and a bounce house with a water slide attached to it, but they had quite the spread of Mexican food. I couldn’t not eat.

salt-lake-mormon-temple-featuredThe big happening today was that I finished up my resume and started applying for jobs. Only took forever. I found one really promising job that would put me in Salt Lake working for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Utah isn’t necessarily my first choice for a place to live (too many dang Mormons), but I’ve got family there and, for some reason, I find my previous, California-bred hesitancies falling away. It actually sounds kind of exciting to me to deep dive into that oh-so-familiar culture now. We don’t want to move, but we accept that we may have to and–seriously, for a reason I cannot fathom or explain–I can see Utah. I can see those mountains and that ocean of decaffeinated soda and days off on July 24th and… it doesn’t look half bad.

Not that I’m placing all my bets on that one. I don’t want to miss a trick, so all interested parties, please feel free to peruse said completed resume:

Brock Resume

Erin sent out resumes like crazy today, both hers and mine.  She’s applying for a lot of account executive jobs, to do the Roger Sterling thing. She’d be amazing at it. She’s so good with people and can make a sale sound like a natural part of a conversation. She had no idea she had this skill until we worked a math convention in New Orleans earlier this year, and to her surprise she loved it. She loves sales. It’s incredibly strange.

* * *

I think sharing is important. It’s why I write this blog and why I post on Facebook. I think by sharing–the good and the bad–we strengthen each other and learn from each other’s experiences. This is a good thing. But it has to be both to really work–the bad and the good.

I struggled today to share something positive. This was maybe the worst day for Erin and me, emotionally and mentally, since this whole unemployment thing started. I wanted to share something positive almost as a counteragent. Positive is the way I prefer to be and I have a real disdain for cynicism, but I had almost nothing for it today.

I know we’re blessed, even on hard days like this. It’s not even that I suddenly don’t think things will be better, it’s just that the more our new lives take shape the more overwhelming it all begins to feel. Are we going to find jobs in time? Are we going to stay in Fresno? Will we be forced to move?

The present is a stressful thing. I sometimes feel like I’m a stranger in my own house. Even though I know legally we’re allowed to be here and we’re all paid up on our mortgage, I’m not totally sure where the next payment is coming from. If our lender knew our precarious position, how would they (the admittedly cold, unfeeling, Terminator-like banking machine) feel about that? Might they say we don’t deserve to live in this house? That’s how I feel sometimes, like we’re squatters or something.

* * *

After dinner, Erin I took a long walk around the neighborhood with our two dogs. It was night out and a little breezy. I think the last time it felt this good outdoors in this dry, dry, dry, 1000x dry and warm climate was May. Erin was mad at me for not wearing shoes, fearing I’d walk on glass or something else sharp and not shiny in the dark. Sure enough, my feet got cut up, though not by glass. Walking barefoot on asphalt over the course of an hour will just do that.

I didn’t care. I loved the firm sensation of the balls of my feet pivoting on the flat, sandpaper street; of the wet grass in my toes when we walked close enough to a park to detour; and of my heel slapping down on a small puddle of water produced by sprinklers that probably shouldn’t have been on during this severe drought we’re having. I even loved it when I felt my soles go raw and, maybe, a little bloody. I loved the distracting, confirming sensation of it.

I find I’m living for those times–moments, really–when something rises up to make me forget we’re not entirely employed. Even if it’s kind of odd and masochistic, there’s a strange satisfaction to it.


12 thoughts on “Day 9 – Sometimes It Feels Good to Hurt

  1. Greg Bulmash says:

    Packing up and moving a family is tough. Hope you can find something in Fresno, but if not, hope any relocation is as smooth as possible.

    And if you need that barefoot feel, get a pair of those five-toe shoes. Bleeding all over the pavement is just unsanitary.


    • Brock says:

      Yeah, I’m wearing tennis shoes on our walks now. Once was enough.

      Not gonna lie–Fresno would be best. But we will do what we have to do. Thanks for your help, Greg.


  2. Jessica Havican says:

    Hey Brock! You probably don’t remember me. Tyler and I were close friends ages ago. But I have seen your blog shared on Cody and Kristen Fletcher’s wall. First of all, unemployment sucks and we’ve been there, but I can’t help but say, there is a purpose to it and that an opportunity is within grasp for you. The reach may or may not be farther than you like, but this setback is only temporary. Utah has quite a few graphic design jobs. I am going to share your resume on my wall and with a couple of people I know personally that have great jobs in the field. I hope that’s ok. Best of luck to you and Erin!


    • Brock says:

      I do remember you, Jessica! (I think you still have my scooter–but no worries.) Hope you’ve been well.

      Really appreciate you sharing my resume. This blog is mostly about sharing my experience in the hopes that others can benefit, but it’s also about trying to put myself out there. I don’t know where that job will come from, so thank you.


        • jessahavican says:

          I have a memory of having a scooter but didn’t remember where it came from. I have brother with paranoid schizophrenia who was often giving away our things and that was one of the things he gave away (though we didn’t know at the time he had it…wasn’t bad enough to notice unless you know what you’re looking for). Seriously, how much do I owe ya?


          • Brock says:

            Holy crud, you owe me NOTHING. That was so very long ago and I know you needed it at the time. I have a new one now, so all is well. I only mentioned the scooter as a point of reference. It actually became a joke we told for a long time whenever the need for a scooter or something like it would present itself “I’m sure we’ll get it back any day now…”

            My Mother-in-Law finally just got me another one for Christmas a few years back. I used it to get to work after having to park very far away. That’s definitely not an issue anymore!

            Anyway, seriously, don’t worry about it. We’ve gotten some good laughs over the years, that’s your payment.


            • jessahavican says:

              hahaha well glad I could be a source of comedy in your life. And even though I don’t remember that you specifically loaned it out to me, I do remember that it was a blessing for me at the time. So thanks for that.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael says:

    I’ve been pondering Utah myself, recently. There’s been some opportunities that popped up in my own career field there that didn’t end up working out, but I’m still open to the possibility in the near future. It’s hard for us California Mormons to consider moving there, but I probably would have felt the same way about Washington initially if the Army hadn’t sent me here. If we both end up there, we’ll have to get together and play Catan or something.


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