Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gratitude on the “Saddest Day(s) of the Year”

Yesterday, in the comments to my Monday’s humor post, Reverend Sumangali Tania Pink wrote: Today is 22 Jan, apparently the saddest day of the year. Good for you for standing in the face of the stupid actuaries!

I suppose the designation of January 22nd as “The Saddest Day of the Year” is debatable: MSNBC reports that the January 24th is the “most depressing” while The Washington forecasts January 23rd (today) as the saddest day.

For me, neither day is has been sad: both yesterday and today have contained blessings and elements of hope that I have not experienced in months. Yesterday my (snail) mail arrived relatively late: about 4:30 p.m. Along with the letters from folks to whom I owe money (not a lot of money: I calculate my total indebtedness, aside from the mortgage on my house, to be about $9,000.00, which I understand is minuscule when compared with the indebtedness of the average American) cane three envelopes from folks who read my blog and have generously responded to my need. I’ll not list the names of those folks, but will express my deepest and most sincere gratitude to their compassion.

With money in my wallet for the first time since Christmas, I put gasoline in my car (which has been sitting in my garage fuelless for about three weeks). I then obtained some cat food for Alex, who had refused to eat the chicken I’ve been feeding him for a week and two medications that I medications I need on a daily basis, one of which I had run out of last Saturday and the second I would have run out of tomorrow. Alex and I then settled down to snuggle and keep warm since the temperature dropped to the low 20s F and my 102-year-old-house is far from cozy.

This morning I was in my car by 8:00 a.m. to run more errands. The first was to the Board of Education to update my teaching application. The good news is that I am in the process of updating it; the bad news is that I have to begin again from scratch. Let me explain: In the spring of 2005 I applied for a teaching position with consolidated Jefferson County Public Schools. However, before I could be hired I had to attend an orientation, be finger printed, have a TB test, a criminal records check, etc.

The first orientation I could attend was not held until December of 2005. There I learned that I also needed an original Social Security card. I obtained my first social security card way back in 1962. Through the years, the paper had fallen to pieces. I had never needed the card itself because I memorized my SSAN (Social Security Account Number). However, since 9/11 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will not permit one to obtain a job without an original Social Security card. Thus, just after Christmas of 2005 I began the bureaucratic red tape of obtaining that little peace of stiff paper.

By the time I had jumped through the hoops and made three trips to the Social Security Administration office, it was late January, 2006. And before the little card arrived in the mail, I thought I had found a full-time job with Liberty National Life Insurance Company. (Readers of Nick’s Bytes have heard the story of my experiences last years as an insurance agent, which I won’t repeat here). That being so, I did not take my newly acquired original Social Security card to the Board of Education.

That bring me to this morning’s trip to the Board of Education where I learned, much to my dismay, that all of the files they had from my previous application have been purged and I must begin all over again, including the online application (which I completed this afternoon), the TB test, the finger printing, the criminal records check, etc. The worst part is that I must attend another orientation and the clerk said that one will not be scheduled until the Board has at least fifty applicants for substitute teaching position.

Still, yesterday and today have been good days, not sad days. Besides the blessings I have received from compassionate readers of this blog, I have had the resources to take constructive and optimistic actions. With Alex napping after his second meal of the day, I am preparing to follow-up on some possibilities that I could not do without gasoline. I am hopeful about what the remainder of today brings.

One last note before I post this to my blog and head out: my mom isn’t doing too well in the rehab center. She has been up and walking; however, each time I speak with her she complains about stomach pain, which she suspects is a side effect of the meds she has been receiving. This is one of the same complaints she had about the previous rehab center. I am concerned.

One more postscript: my thanks to all of you who read this blog and have expressed your concern and compassion in the countless comments, letters, emails and telephone calls. You are true angels!


  1. Jeepers, you're one busy guy. That was an exhausting day -- checking your mail, complaining at the S.S. office. Ha!

  2. Well imagine my surprise to see my name at the top of your blog...I'm so glad its been good days

  3. I feel sad that I haven't been sad today.

  4. I am so happy to hear things are looking up for you and Alex. You are both, as always, in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Nick, that's great news! Glad things are working in your favor and you are accepting the gifts that God brings you. Keep the faith!

  6. I'm so glad that you haven't been caught in the sad days.

  7. Sounds as if you did have a good day. I hope your mother gets to feeling better. If there is anything I can do to assist either of you, telephone me -- and reverse the charges.

  8. God looks after his own Nick :o)
    Wonderful to hear such positive news :o)
    Hope your mum's tummy probs improve.

  9. Hi Nick ~~Any day can be happy or sad - whatever we choose it to be. I do not follow the saddest date etc.There is always so much to be thankful for, so many of God's blessings all around us. I am so glad things have improved for you, thanks to the generous friends and your son's help. I hope this will continue until things are
    settled down for you. Thanks for your visit, I liked the story of the Death explanation and it sounds right to me.Feel free to post it or use it any way you like. Take care,
    Regards, Merle.

  10. I'm glad you have a little cash. I hope everything goes well on getting back into the substitute teaching pool.

    Hang in there regarding your mom. It must be really hard seeing her unwell. I don't care how old we are, we never outgrow our need for our mothers. :)