cards-straight-flushMr. Brickie was not getting Brickie gigs. He scoured craigslist every day and replied to scam after scam, job listing after job listing, selling everything that wasn’t nailed down to get our bills paid and try to create a buffer.

One day – not too long after he started looking, thank goodness – he found a landscaping company that was doing painting work. Mr. Brickie has a lot of history painting and is very good at it. He went in and lo and behold was hired on the spot.

He worked overtime and everything.

Then Mr. Brickie got SCARY sick. Fever, chills, trouble walking, the whole nine yards. He was sent home from work and his boss told him to keep him updated via text. Mr. Brickie went to the totally subpar antibiotic dispensary medicaid walk in clinic. They gave him antibiotics and told him not to go to work for two days and they provided him with a doctor’s note for work. He texted this information to his boss and let him know when he came back in two days, he would bring the doctor’s note.

He spent those two days in bed. Literally. He only got up to go to the bathroom.

His face was gray, I prayed the antibiotics would kick in, but had a sneaking suspicion what he had was viral. He had trouble breathing I was afraid he’d fall when he coughed because it wracked his entire body.

I brought him orange juice, water, toast, crackers, soup….everything.

I checked his phone toward the end of the second day (because I am a nosy wife and wanted to make sure he didn’t miss any important email) and saw a text from his boss that said, “Get another job.” I went back into the bedroom and let him know he could rest as long as he needed and not to worry about work. He was too sick to get the underlying meaning, but he stopped being stressed out about being sick and I think that helped him recover faster.

Luckily, he started a Brickie gig the next week and we had sold off enough stuff to pay for gas to get him to the gig that first week before he got paid.

Thus ends the story of the time that Mr. Brickie painted for a living in between Brickie gigs.

at-will-employment

Someone can go from giving a company 80 hours a week to getting fired in two days. Even with a doctor’s note. Even when he was always early to work and had a stellar reputation for speed and quality. It was not only a possibility he would get fired, but a probability.

It makes me want to scream when I hear people automatically assume everyone on SNAP or Medicaid or who is poor just isn’t working hard enough. Even worse is other poor people who know for a fact they are working as hard as they can and doing everything they can but will still point the finger at the poor in general and say THEY aren’t working hard enough. Even though they’re living through the same pain they accuse others of working not hard enough to get out of.

The deck is stacked, y’all.

I realize this is just my family’s story. I know others have it worse and others have it better. This is just a disclaimer so you don’t think I’m talking for the world’s work situation or think that I have it worse than anyone else. I don’t. I am smart and have a plan, which is what allows me to sleep at night. Just because I listen to shows and think to do research on the Internet about my situation to come up with a plan does not mean that’s something anyone could do.

When the smartest among us can be poor, how can we not be more understanding of the rest of us who are not?