Thursday, March 20, 2008

Losing Streak

I know. I'm supposed to focus on the positives. And there are positives. I have plenty to be thankful for. Especially with the way the economy is going. But I also have plenty I am not thankful for. I feel like I am on a bit of a losing streak right now. And sometimes you just have to get it out there so it can move on. Or you can move on. Maybe you and it move on, just in different directions. I'd sure hate to let it out and have it follow me...

It's hard to say what started the losing streak ,but it was definitely early in 2008. I guess we can blame the leg injury for lack of a better starting point. I gimped the leg in mid-February. And that was painful and annoying. She-who-normally-thinks-I-am-not-as-sick-as-I-am was incredibly supportive, helpful, and sympathetic. Which should serve to tell you how hosed I was.

I went to the urgent care for my doctor's medical group. It's like an ER, but staffed and funded by the office, so that it is still "in network". I don't feel like I got great care. I got poked and examined and then told "You have a gastrocnemius tear." I wasn't even given a follow-up appointment. I should have pushed it, but I didn't. I set my own follow up a week or so later and my primary doctor said, "The reason you are still having trouble is that this is a worse tear than they originally thought." Still no recommendation for anything other than what I was doing. Well, he wanted me to work on stretching it some. But I could only stretch it to a point. He assured me that I would be fine for my trip to Mexico.

Concurrent with all of this, news of the state budget crisis started coming out. Somehow, California is going to be short fifteen BILLION dollars next fiscal year. I'm sure that the housing crisis is part of it. Foreclosed properties don't generate much in the way of tax revenues. There are other things that were pushed for during Arnold's tenure that contributed, though. We're taking a page from the President's book and cutting taxes even though we need the money. In order to make up for it, because states generally don't run trillion dollar deficits, the Governator has decided to enact a 10% across the board cut in all departments on the state budget.

The upshot of this is that schools are sending out layoff notices to teachers. She-who-really-loves-her-job is not yet tenured. Even if she was, it wouldn't help as some tenured teachers are losing their jobs. So, we are going to have 10% fewer teachers and the same number of students. Apparently, being 49th in per student expenditures is not good enough for us. We are going for dead last! All the teachers with temporary contracts (of which she is one) were told that they won't be back next year, though they can sub if they want. Teachers will likely be hired back in order of seniority unless they have a special skill that is in demand. That means we have to wait for the California revenues to increase WITHOUT increasing taxes before she has a shot at getting her own classroom, a steady income, and teaching benefits. And since the problem is affecting all of California, she can't just move to another district. The explanation of the education hiring process is too complicated to cover as part of this post, but trust me. It's a ridiculous series of hoop jumping.

But really, do two complaints constitute a losing streak? Probably not. But I'm not stopping at 2. Let's add turmoil at Brian's work. The turmoil is not internal. I'm getting along with everyone. We have cool products and are hitting deadlines. The company is reasonably healthy. The problem is that we made an unpopular decision recently and took some PR hits for it. Then some insiders and former insiders with axes to grind started a smear campaign. The chairman of the board resigned in a huff which triggered some payout clauses. Then we missed expectations from "the street". End result. We are still profitable and growing. We are only going to grow 10-15% this year instead of 30-40%. We have a boatload of cash in the bank and are focusing on infrastructure and development. But the stock has tanked. And when I say the stock has tanked, I mean tanked. We went from $15 in February to $6 in March. Nobody's options are worth anything. This has created fears of layoffs, hostile takeovers, and the like. Morale is low and uncertainty is high.

Complaint 4: our house is now worth 30k less than we paid for it. That means leaving CA is likely not a solution to our economic woes. We're fine financially and we have our safety net, but the uncertainties have added stress to our lives. And I'd rather be fine and moving forward than holding my own and treading water.

Does that constitute a losing streak yet? How about the cherry on the cake? I had one more follow up appointment after shedding my crutches had caused me so much discomfort on Saturday. I wanted to make sure things were still on track and that I hadn't screwed anything up. I was also concerned with long flights and blood clots. My doctor wasn't available, so I got the on-call doctor. He examined the leg, told me that a gastroc tear was pretty painful and that I wasn't being a wimp. Cool. That's all good. What about the blood clots? No worries there. He said that even though there was still a decent amount of fluid, the chance of blood clot was pretty remote. Well. That was a relief. "So, I can still go to Mexico?" I asked. "Oh, goodness, no. You still need to cancel."

Apparently, the fluid in the leg will swell up on the long flight and I will spend my time on the plane in agony. That will make it difficult to do anything we had planned to do like the Maya ruins or the eco-park. So, instead of the special family trip for my birthday, I am spending my time trying to get the trip insurance to pay us back and get an MRI scheduled to find out why this is still behind schedule healing. Apparently, according to the on-call doctor, this tear is worse than the doctor who thought it was worse than they thought, thought it was.

Is that enough to qualify for a losing streak yet?