Well, my life has been horribly stressful lately. Let's start with J.
J is 13 and an extreme young man. Never has he done anything halfway, he either goes all out or not at all. He is bothered by things like rules and order, and much prefers chaos and impulsiveness. Quite the opposite of me. J has recently tested the absolute limits of my parenting and patience by running away. He came back the same night, but I still think I aged considerably in those few hours.
Backing up a bit, J has been suspended for bringing a knife to school. The principal didn't see the knife on J or find it in J's locker when it was searched (it was found in another person's locker eventually), but J didn't deny that he brought it to school. Luckily, J's impulsiveness extends to J blurting things out without thinking. According to J he brought the knife to return to a friend after school and he showed it to one person. That person told someone else who told the principal that J held the knife to his throat. Ok then. The principal told me J threatened somebody with the knife. I found out later that he's been bullied at the school as well so this could probably have been his solution to that problem.
So now he's suspended and we are awaiting an expulsion hearing. Well, we are waiting to see if the principal calls for a hearing. I'll be calling the school next week if I haven't heard anything. As soon as this all happened I took him to the doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist. If there's nothing wrong and he's a normal teenager, fine. But if there is a problem I'd like to get it looked into. While some things can be explained by inconsistent parenting (Bipolar makes it difficult to be consistent, not an excuse, but a fact), some things point to an abnormality in the wiring of his brain.
In addition to being suspended, he's also grounded. No friends over, no cell phone, and no leaving the house. Yep, usual parenting stuff. His reaction to that was to jump out of his window and run away. J's explanation: his friends wanted to ninja-kick the doors down, fill the house with smoke bombs and take him out. J said no (thank you Universe for giving him a skosh of respect to me and the house) and instead agreed to let them dress in black balaclavas and coats and pick him up from his bedroom window. All of his friends encouraged him to come back home or at least call me, and eventually he did come home. He doesn't hold anger long (but when he is angry he's very intense and the Extreme Gene is amplified) so he's back to his sunny, charismatic self.
A little before all this, we found out that S's student loan was taken back by the government. It was being handled by a private collection agency that was content with taking his tax refund and GST cheques. Now that it's back in the hands of the government, they would like their money. Right now, thank you. So our debt load has just doubled. We were going to pay it off eventually, but first we were focusing on other debts. Not now.
In addition to the debt load doubling, S's income has gone down about 20%. He has taken a different position in the company (one he's better suited at) and it pays less with no commissions. No problem, I would prefer he is happy than wealthy. And I was back on five days a week so it wasn't really an issue.
Until yesterday. We were told at work that starting next week we are back to four days a week and we are not allowed to stretch our days out like we did over the last year. Now when we are done our work we go home. We won't work less than four hours a day, but still. That's really not enough money. And shutdown is coming up. This is where the plant closes for maintenance and whatnot for 2-3 weeks every year and usually there is a week of cleaning available for those who want it. Not this year. We'll be closed for almost a month with no cleaning to be had. We also aren't eligible for the Work Share program we were on this year. That ran out at the end of Oct.
So, ok, the company is trying to keep us all employed and keep the plant running. The Owner's solution to the problem: lay off Boss as of this morning. Boss was in charge of the production line and was considered a 'fixed cost' as he was on salary. They didn't want to lay off the production staff as we are 'variable costs' and they can give us less hours thereby cutting costs. Purely a financial decision, Big Boss said. A financial decision that leaves Boss looking for a job in a recession a month from Christmas with two teenage children and a wife. We are currently waiting on a huge contract that will help keep the company afloat and maybe
see black ink once again. This contract is apparently a done deal except the signature. I asked Big Boss how bad are things really if Owner is laying off Boss in anticipation of a huge contract. There was no direct answer to that question.
I sorta felt like my foundation has been rocked. I will recover, I always have, but it sucks in the meantime. I will be looking for a second job to help out financially as soon as I brush up my resume. Something mindless would be excellent, away from the public would be superb. I really don't want to know if things could get worse or what else could go wrong. I'm good for now. Really. Except that I feel like a camel eying that last straw with some trepidation.