Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Job, the Claim, the Blog and the Doctor

I didn't get the job, the one I really, really wanted. The company's recruiter was very nice throughout, and there's a tiny chance that maybe I'll be able to get a job with them someday. But not now. Drat.

Meanwhile, I spoke with an Arizona unemployment insurance deputy again yesterday, filing two more weeks' worth of claims. She initially insisted that I'd not been filing weekly and that all the unpaid weekly claims were all put into the system at once on August 17th or somesuch date, and furthermore that I had not been reporting my small income from St. Michael's. I explained, twice, that I had in fact filed weekly online whenever the system let me, and on the phone or in person the rest of the time, and that all those weeks had been marked "unresolved issue," and then "disqualified" or "denied" (I forget which), and then deleted entirely, and then put back in as "unresolved issue;" and that I have indeed reported my part time wages all along. She looked again, grudgingly admitted to seeing my $30 gross wages on one week's claim, and asked whether I was making $30 a week. That's actually the low end of a range, but there wasn't much point in arguing about it. She eventually worked out how to take my weekly claims for the two recent weeks in which the computer wouldn't let me file, and told me in the future to tell the deputy that I "need to file my weekly claim under Sequence One."

Once she managed to do that, I'm sure she thought she'd done all I needed. After all, who cares that I've been jerked around for two months with conflicting answers about what unemployment compensation I may be due and how to get it, culminating in two months of still-unpaid claims? What does it matter if my finally-approved claim is currently held up by a question about whether working 2 to 4 hours a week on a flexible schedule prevents me from accepting a full time job? What's the point of acknowledging that such an idea is insane, or of checking on the status of two forms and a note from Father Smith that I've already submitted in refutation? So what if I need to know whether this is in the process of being cleared up, or will stay unresolved indefinitely until I speak to someone who has a clue how this works, as has already happened twice before? Surely it's not the deputy's problem, right?

But I did manage, on the edge of tears, which isn't usually the case for me in these wrangles, to get her to look up what is happening, if anything. Apparently the case is being actively worked. That meant she couldn't do any more for me, but now I knew that my file was theoretically not hanging around in perpetual limbo.

Yeah, well. I just checked. You know what the website says?

Unemployment Insurance Claim Information

The balance remaining in your claim ending 05/29/2010 is [$]. Your claim is not in active status. To avoid losing benefits, reopen your claim before 5:00pm on 08/28/2009

Unemployment Insurance Payments
Benefit Week / Amount Paid / Date Paid / Check Number / Earnings
No payments found

Unpaid Claimed Weeks
Click on a paid or unpaid week date to display deductions to the benefit payment. Unpaid Week Non-payment / Reason / Earnings
08/08/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00
08/01/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00
07/25/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00
07/18/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00
07/11/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00
06/27/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00
06/20/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00
06/13/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00
06/06/2009 / Unresolved Issue / $0.00

Unresolved Issues
Established Date / Issue Reason
08/14/2009 / Available for Full Time Work
Allow four weeks after the Established Date before contacting the UI Call Center regarding the status of the issue.

In other words, not only has there been no progress on getting the "unresolved issue" resolved, but the clueless deputy's "Sequence One" reporting of the weeks ending 8/15 and 8/22 hasn't made it into the system, either. And yes, on the face of it, my reported $30 to $60 a week isn't in evidence. And they want me to wait until mid-September to call about the problem, and, at the same time, "reopen" my claim by this Friday afternoon, using a website that consistently gives me an error message on the final screen!

I had a call tonight from a volunteer with the Democratic Party about a few upcoming local events, including one that costs $25 a plate (or maybe $35; I forget). When I explained my financial situation and mentioned my troubles with the unemployment claim, he suggested that I contact my Congress person. He said that he worked for Nancy Pelosi, and that House members have "back door numbers" to call and the clout to get things done. Well, it may come to that. This has gone on far too long, and is more than a little dispiriting to John as well as for me.

So if I'm not blogging enough, and delinquent on commenting on people's EMPS and Round Robin entries, I hope you'll understand that it's me trying to reduce my stress. Mostly I've been doing Facebook stuff and watching early Doctor Who instead. I started the latter activity a month or two ago, trying to watch, in order, all the First Doctor stories I hadn't already seen recently. Now I'm about two thirds of the way through the Second Doctor era, watching a 1968 story called The Invasion.

Like many of the 1960s Doctor Who stories, The Invasion suffers from the fact that the BBC shortsightedly junked a large portion of its television archive in the 1970s, before the home video market and overseas reruns made valuable commodities of fondly-remembered old shows. The BBC is fortunate to have four of the six episodes of The Invasion, and has created an animated reconstruction of episodes one and four. Other serials have only one surviving episode, or none. Fans have made "reconstructions" of the missing Doctor Who episodes from still photos, surviving clips and the episodes' soundtracks, distributing them for free in a low enough quality format to avoid raising the BBC's ire. Some are great; others, at least the versions I've seen, feature images so muddy and dark or washed out that it's hard to tell the Doctor from a Yeti, or even a bit of landscape. That's generally when I break out the Target Books novelization of the story. I have a complete set of these, covering nearly every serial from 1963 through 1989.

The Invasion
is notable for a number of milestones, including the introduction of a character named Benton. Corporal Benton of UNIT was soon promoted to Sergeant Benton, and eventually to RSM Benton. But in his first appearance he's almost a secret agent character, doing plainclothes surveillance and extraction work. The actor who played Benton, stage name John Levene, had previously been an extra on the show, playing a Yeti and a Cyberman. He's a really interesting guy, someone I've known casually for nearly 20 years, ever since interviewing him at the first Gallifrey One convention in 1990. He's used a number of surnames over the years for various purposes; I think of him affectionately as John Manynames. Our early interviews with him formed the basis of an article Teresa Murray and I wrote for Starlog many years ago, which in turn, John claims, helped him get his green card.

Anyway, I was happy to finally see John's earliest stories, imperfect and incomplete as they are, and to see his name roll by in the reconstructed credits. It occurred to me that I hadn't spoken with him in a couple of years, so to cheer myself up (and for other reasons) I gave him a call. He's generally doing all right, but is suffering from a torn rotator cuff, for which he'll have surgery in mid-September. Nevertheless, it was great to hear his wonderful English voice again, and to catch up a bit on our respective lives. We agreed to check in again in a year or so.

So this is where I trot out the cliche about at least having my health, not to mention friends and a husband who loves me (and still has a job). As another cliche tells us, things can always be worse. But you know what? Things could be better, too.


1 comment:

Carly said...

Hey Karen

I wonder, would it straighten things out if Father Smith "fired" you (Wink, wink) and then "rehired" you (wink, wink) when the unemployment claim is figured out? Just a thought. I am so sorry about whats going on for you.