Maneuvering Through the New Normal


Maneuvering Through the New Normal is an update on how an average person with no political agenda and limited resources is learning how to cope in 2020. I almost didn’t publish this post after starting and stopping on it a dozen times. Some parts of it are very negative. The presidential election took place after I wrote this piece. I voted but was disappointed none of the above wasn’t on the ballot.

Returning to work while Maneuvering Through the New Normal

If you remember from a previous blog, I found myself furloughed after seventeen years of service. Calling my time away from the job without pay is a nice way of saying I was laid off. I went back to work and sold a lot of product for my company.

My job is customer based, so I had a lot of human contacts while performing my duties. They did install a nice piece of protective plastic in front of my window. My colleagues stayed in the coziness of their homes and managed me from a distance. It was comforting to know they were all safe from this deadly virus.

After three months of work, I was told I would be furloughed again until February, which put me into a leave of absence without pay category. I’m not certain what the difference is, but I don’t imagine it is good. They plan to throw me back into the petri dish again to sell more products on February 1st. My first paycheck, when I return for two weeks, will deduct two months of insurance premiums from my check.

I’m not an idiot. By April, I know there would be more talk of furloughing me again because the business I’m in has ebbs and flows. In July, my employer will tell me I hadn’t worked enough to maintain full-time status. I would be switched to part-time and lose my insurance benefits.  I’m not a fool. You don’t have to tell me more than twice I’m not wanted. It’s time for this old lady to exit the stage and retire, which was the point of the pointless exercise, to begin with.

Health Insurance while Maneuvering Through the New Normal

Retirement brings with it the need for applying for Medicare. The process sounds simple at first glance, but it is not. There is a stark reality every retiree must face. Health Insurance is going to claim a big chunk of your fixed income. Not only will you lose the money you would have made while working, but you now have to deal with the outrageous cost of health insurance all because you lived too long.

It sounds simple. All a person has to do was take Medicare part A &B. Don’t be fooled. You have to have supplemental insurance if you don’t want to be stuck not being able to get the medicine your doctor prescribes. So, okay, you start looking into all your options and discover the whole alphabet soup attached to Medicare. You learn about part A, B, C, and D, only to discover there also exists E, F, G, and probably an X, Y, Z if you dig deep enough.

Are you confused yet? I know Rooster and I are. The simplest solution might be for us to flip a coin to determine what we need. These days you can’t even get an in-person interview because everybody at the Social Security office works from home. What this means is you get conflicting and inaccurate information. Yesterday, Rooster received a form he needed to fill out with our middle son’s name on it. There was also information from a guy he didn’t even know included in the paperwork.

We are moving into a period of the history of work at home mediocrity, but who am I to complain. I’m just a nonessential/essential worker trying to get benefits I paid out of my check every week for the time when I would eventually retire.

Adventures while Maneuvering Through the New Normal

Rooster and I managed to have a few adventures while learning how to Maneuver through the new normal. We visited the Creation Museum and spent the night in Cincinnati. While we were there, we visited the former home of President William Howard Taft and The American Sign Museum. We went to Holland, Michigan, to celebrate our anniversary. We also caught several car shows, including The James Dean Festival.

There exists the possibility our adventures might be limited in the future.  Retirement means the reality of the next phase of our life will include a fixed income. Since we do the adventures on our own dime, it appears there will be fewer of them in our future. Also, there are rumors our state is about to shut down for a second time. We all know what that means. There won’t be any place for Rooster and me to adventure to when that happens. One thing for sure, we won’t be going to New York City for Thanksgiving this year. It appears Covid-19 strikes again.

Projects while maneuvering Through the New Normal

I haven’t got much done on the New York City Crazy Quilt. If you remember, I started during the time we social distanced. The sewing stopped when I went back to work. I want to get this memory quilt project done. It will be nice to have it hanging on the wall to look at and remember the times we spent Thanksgiving there with our son.

The editing on my short stories and book one of The Hen House series has slowed to a crawl. My goal is to self-publish at least one of these efforts next year. I’m still undecided about which one. I have a lot of projects stored on a flash drive, but nothing in print. I don’t write the stuff New York is interested in publishing. Most of my characters are working-class with an edge. It makes my stories hard to categorize. I do have a strong following in the Indiana prison system. Those guys relate to what I write. They are also great technical advisers and beta readers.

I’m going to do NaNoWriMo this year. By the time you read this blog, I will have finished or given up on the project. I’m not carrying much excitement with me into the challenge this time around.

Fashion while maneuvering Through the New Normal

My pile of masks.

The work issue mask. They come in black and grey.

Red and white striped homemade version.

Indiana mask for those days when you want to feel like a Hoosier.

Designer quilt mask sent to me by Richard and Chris.

Homemade mask given to me by a friend.

Then there is the classic basic black.

Finally, there is the basic cloth mask for the days when you simply don’t care.

NaNoWriMo Update

I typed 2343 words for a total of 38000 for the month. I just might do it this year.

In Conclusion

I am learning how to maneuver through the New Normal. Life has changed for all of us. There is a theory out there among the working class that the government and businesses use the virus as an excuse. They can offer us less customer service, charge us more for products, and push us around by making rules that have nothing to do with the virus.

There is also a train of thought the virus was created to get rid of the elderly. I am starting to believe it. Since I’m included in that category, the rumors make me nervous. To say the trust in government and institutions is at an all-time low is an understatement. Rooster and I have switched off the news, are retiring, and planning how we will live the next stage of our life with a sense of adventure. Wish us luck. This world isn’t kind to its older citizens. By the time this blog is posted, the presidential election will be decided. It’s my prayer; we all gain some peace once it’s over.

Who is Molly Shea?

Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh.  To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.

Be sure to follow Molly on Twitter!

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Published by henhouselady

I am the author of Saving the Hen House. I didn't know when I started it would turn into a series. I love to ride motorcycles, the blues, my family, and going on adventures. This old hen rocks.

4 thoughts on “Maneuvering Through the New Normal

  1. First of all, Molly. I like the masks, especially the one with the dinosaur teeth. That one’s hilarious. The new normal has been very strange, hasn’t it? My husband decided to retire last April rather than take the risk of working another year in the free and the virus. We’re not quite old enough for Medicare but you made me think that a little research is probably in order. I hear a vaccine is closer than we thought, and I can’t wait to see family again. Oh, those hugs are going to be wonderful! Until then, take care. 😀

  2. Thank you for this frank blog post. Medicare is still a few years in my future — all I know is that each of my parents bought some sort of supplement which meant that various surgeries they ended undergoing were 100% covered. I remain VERY grateful that they knew enough to choose that option. I look forward to seeing your NYC-quilt when you return to working on it.

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