Monday, February 07, 2011

Unemployment: How Sweet It Is! (And Other Stuff)

I am now unemployed...for two months, at least. I have another gig coming up in April. Normally, unemployment stresses me out a bit (usually because I don't make enough money acting to feel financially secure when times are harder). However, I feel pretty good right now. I've been steadily employed since May of last year, and I made enough that I was actually able to put some money away in savings. While I'm not rich by any means, I do have enough to get me through the next two months, and it does help knowing I have another job lined up. If I don't get a summer job lined up, I may start stressing then.

The other great thing about being unemployed is that I was finally reunited with Jonah, who I haven't seen for more than a couple of days since October, and knowing that I will have at least two months with him is, quite frankly, a luxury I am very happy to have.

Jonah came out to Utah, where I often work, and we kind of made a vacation out of it. He took the entire week off from his job, so we were in no rush to get back to our home in Nevada.

We spent our first night at my mom's house, and then we spent the next night at the Anniversary Inn (where we spent our honeymoon). This time our themed room was a pirate ship, and it was a lot of fun. We took some fun pictures. We ate dinner at the Rodizio Grill and did some window shopping. Our evening in the hotel room was a lot of fun and very relaxing. We took a bubble bath together in the very large tub (which also had a cute shower curtain that you had to unfurl like a sail) and drank sparkling cider.

We decided to get a room for the next night, too, because we got an incredible deal. We had our choice of all but two rooms, and we chose one called Room with a View, which overlooked Salt Lake City. The room was gorgeous with a very large bed and a big screen TV. We got complimentary cheesecake and sparkiling cider again. It was very romantic.

We spent that day in Park City (and it was colddddddd!!!) looking at art galleries and window shopping. We also bought some nice dress shirts because we would be going to an Evening with Stephen Sondheim that night.

We went to a special VIP reception where we would get to meet Stephen Sondheim in person. The food was really good, and there were a lot of people all dressed up. They had told us he wouldn’t be signing autographs or taking pictures, but I brought my camera just in case. When he came in, Jonah and I played it cool and showed some decorum, which is more than I can say for the crowd that mobbed him. I was afraid I wouldn’t get my chance because so many people were surrounding him.

However, I saw a break in the crowd and zeroed in. He was signing some guy’s book (which he wasn’t supposed to be doing), and as soon as his eyes met mine, I stuck my hand out and grabbed his (a bit too aggressively, I realized). I said, “Mr. Sondheim, I never thought I’d get a chance to meet you in person in my lifetime. I just want you to know how much your music and lyrics have meant to me in my life, and I think you are a genius.” I actually was misty-eyed by the moment, and Stephen Sondheim said to me, very sincerely, “Thank you. I can tell that’s very heartfelt, and I appreciate it.” He looked at my outfit and said, “And I’m so glad you dressed up and wore a tie.” If I’d been more quick-minded, I would have said, “Well, when you are meeting a god, you’ve gotta dress up.”

Anyway, I didn’t want to take too much of his time, and I knew there were others who wanted to meet him just as much as I did. I had asked Jonah to take a quick snapshot while I was talking to Sondheim. I didn’t care about the “rule.” This was my only chance to get a photo of Stephen Sondheim and myself, and I had seen other people do it already (at least I didn’t make him pose – although that would have been cool, too).

Some lady almost foiled our plan. She really liked Jonah's outfit and was trying to get a picture with him at about the same time Jonah was to take the photo of me and Stephen Sondheim. Fortunately, he got a really good shot.

Jonah has a knack for being a “people magnet.” It is not uncommon for complete strangers to come up to him and tell him their life stories and their personal problems. This evening was no different.

After the reception, we geared up for the main event, an interview with Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim turned out to be great, sharing anecdotes and stories from his career. I thought the lady that interviewed him was terrible. She was awkward and probably nervous. Sondheim gave terrific answers to not-so-good questions. It just seemed to me she was out of her element, and I wonder what the evening would have been like with a really good interviewer asking really interesting questions. I just left feeling that Stephen Sondheim was too much of a genius to be interviewed by someone so ill-prepared for the job. I thought, “This is the best they could do for someone of Sondheim’s stature?” Still, Sondheim came off great, and it was still a very lovely evening.

Between the interview and a question and answer segment, some University of Utah singers sang two numbers, “Children Will Listen/Into the Woods” from Into the Woods and “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park with George. I thought their performance was very cheesy and almost embarrassing. Still, Sondheim was a good sport and took it in stride (and maybe even enjoyed it). But I found it to be tacky.

The question and answer segment was very short, and again, I didn’t think the interviewer picked the best questions (at least, I’d like to think there were better questions than some of the ones chosen).

Still, I had a fabulous time, and even if the evening had just been my face-to-face meeting with one of my idols, it would have been well worth it.

Jonah and I had dinner with a friend at Village Inn, and that was very nice. After we said goodbye to our friend, we went back to our hotel and danced and made love. It was terrific.

I spent much of Wednesday cleaning and packing, and we did some more shopping as well. (Jonah loves to shop. Me? Not so much.)

Thursday was hard. I’ve been living with my mom while in Utah, and her memory is going. She doesn’t think it’s a big issue, but I think (and my siblings and in-laws agree) that it is a bigger issue than she thinks it is (I hesitate to write this here because she does read this blog). I’ve gone to her last two appointments with her doctor, who I’m not sure is the right doctor for her and who I think is a little “medicine happy.” I actually think one of the medicines he’s got my mom on, trazadone, an anti-depressant, is both unnecessary and may even be contributing to her memory issues. I also feel like he treats Mom like he’s never seen her before each time he sees her. I find his manner a bit off-putting.

Anyway, Mom canceled her follow-up appointment because she is tired of taking memory tests and because I’m not going to be there, and she feels like it’s me who is concerned with her issues. Anyway, I’m trying to get my siblings more involved.

Mom had to take her car in to get an emissions test, and she couldn’t find the shop even though I gave her simple directions and she’s been there many times before. She came home crying, and I felt really bad for her. But it also instilled in me a belief that this problem is becoming more serious even if my mom doesn’t think it is.
Mom has all sorts of excuses, but the fact of the matter is her short-term memory is terrible, and I see bits of her long-term memory slipping away as well, and I am especially becoming more concerned about her being on her own. She still does many things well, but I do feel her awareness isn’t as sharp as it once was, and I also see her getting confused about certain things more easily than she once did. I also worry about her driving, although she doesn’t drive much.

It’s helpful to her if someone is there to give her a nudge and help her with things. Unfortunately, I can’t do that right now, so I hope my siblings and their spouses will be more proactive.

It was hard to say goodbye. She’s enjoyed having me there, and I’ve enjoyed being there and helping her out. But it’s time to be with my husband, so I just pray things will work out well with my mom.

Jonah and I had a good drive. We stopped in Cedar City and had lunch and did some shopping. We also popped in on another friend in St. George. He and his partner have a gorgeous $2 million house which they can no longer afford. They used to have a multi-million dollar business, but are now unemployed, and I don’t think their relationship is going very well. My friend was really bummed about not getting cast in a show we both auditioned for (which I did get cast in). Anyway, he seemed really down, which is not typical of him. I felt bad for him, but it also brought home the lesson of living within one’s means.

When Jonah and I got home, we finished decorating for his niece’s baby shower, and on Saturday we had the actual shower. Jonah did a really nice job decorating and hosting it (I guess I helped decorate and host, but, really, I just do what Jonah tells me to do ;-) ).

Our cats were very happy to see both of us. I have missed them a lot.

I’m getting to know his family better and better each time I visit with them, so that’s nice.

I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of the stuff I’ve just described if I weren’t unemployed, so it’s actually been a blessing. I am hoping to get unemployment benefits and maybe even find a temporary job to hold me over while I’m waiting for my gig in April.

Vacation’s over now. Jonah and I have a lot of work to do around the house these next two months. But I am very grateful to be back home.

1 comment:

Original Mohomie said...

I hope things go well for you, job-wise. I was unemployed for...well...let's just say far longer than I should've been. :-)

I was also at the Evening With Sondheim (not the reception), though I was shivering alone in the back of the balcony with a fever, but I would not miss it. I also am pretty sure I've chatted with the girl in the background of your pic, a friend of a friend. And I know a member of the family behind the Anniversary Inns and am a bit jealous about the Room With a View. Connections! Ha, anyway, I agree fully with your assessment of the evening (something I love about his work is that it's NOT, to me, prone to corniness; I thought the opera students did a nice job despite the bit of corn, and I laughed at his previous comment about opera), and I just kept feeling grateful I had the chance to see Sondheim and enjoy his personality in person once in my life. Such presence. Loved it.