A new month and time to get my act together and just get on with things. I've spent a good part of the morning on the phone. With the social welfare office to check whether the money I received yesterday (unemployment money for February) already took into account the side-job earnings for January, information I sent them two weeks ago. Of course it doesn't. With the health insurance people who sent me the information on what they have submitted to the tax office on my behalf, as it didn't seem to add up. Turns out the amount I was refunded as part of the bonus program last year was almost exactly the same as the amount I was refunded just last month for the extra payment I made in December. Glad I phoned to clear it up though. And then with the agency which has given me most of the translation work I've done so far. There's another big project coming up and since there doesn't seem to be a rush on it, there's a possibility I might get the entire thing myself and not end up sharing it with two others. That would obviously be fantastic. It's a lot of work though so I really do need to get myself organised. I have another client who has sent me the first section of their masters thesis to proofread, too.
So far, my four months of not working have not been very structured. In November, I crashed out a bit, exhausted after finishing work (especially the nearly 150 hours I worked in my final two weeks) but with other commitments to still take care off. It was a double concert month for choir (two of our best concerts ever, I have to admit) so that was rehearsal plus weekend rehearsal plus the weekend of the concerts itself. I finished the translations for the memory/Alzheimers videos, which included meeting with a German friend a few times to double-check some of the German. And I had a couple of other, paid, translation jobs, as well. Not to mention the back and forth with the tax office to get my tax number sorted and the health insurance place.
In December, the first time I actually had a few days with nothing at all to do, I spent three and a half days in bed. And boy, did I need it. I didn't sleep overly much, mostly read or just lay there thinking but I desperately needed a time of as little sensory input as possible. Then followed my birthday weekend, with a lovely visit from one of my best friends. And all of a sudden, a big translation project, which took up a lot of time over the next few weeks, as well as trying to get a handle on the housework and prepare for christmas. My week in Ireland for that was a much-needed break, which felt very strange considering I had just spent the last two months unemployed.
In January, it finally seemed like I would be able start getting myself properly organised. I had another fairly big translation, as well as some smaller ones. Got stuff mostly sorted with the social welfare office. Ramped up my efforts to find a new job. Got back on track a bit with meal plans and cooking proper food.
And I'm not really sure what happened to February. I'm constantly astonished at how quickly the month goes by, even though it's only two or three days shorter than every other month. I did get some things done but it was by no means a powerhouse month.
February did end with a brilliant weekend though. My annual trip to Halle to sing the Happy Birthday Handel performance of Messiah. It was a bit quieter this year, with the most of the late nights ending at eleven or twelve rather than two or three. I was kind of glad the others were doing that, though, as it suited me very well to sleep well and then not be dragging through the next day's rehearsal. As always, I spent the weekend hanging around with my men - a group of retired guys from an Irish choir. I knew one of them in college and then we met again at this event in 2011. It wasn't until the second time I was there, in 2013, that I really got to know the others but now I love spending time with them and I think at this stage they expect me to be with them. It's really nice.
One of my cousins was there, too, and I brought her out for lunch on one of the days. We spent a couple of hours catching up, something we're always saying we'll do but that we never seem to get around to. She's ten years older than me and my mum lived with them when she first moved up to Dublin, so I have to admit to feeling a bit emotional at some of the things she talked about. But it's nice to hear things, too. Now I know, for example, that my mum was the only one of her family to go to secondary school (she was exceptionally bright, apparently. I think as a kid I just always assumed that everyone's parents were clever and then after she died, I didn't really think about it at all). And that when we were younger, she said to my cousin that the one thing she hoped was that when we were older, she and us would be friends, the way her older sisters were with their kids. And that apparently, I am named after a film star. My cousin wasn't certain if it was an actor or a character but it's interesting to know that.
But now it's March and I can't just drift any longer (much as I would love to. I even bought a lottery ticket last week so maybe when I check that later I'll have won a fortune and drifting will actually be a legitimate lifestyle choice for me). So, today, bad start really, I'm taking it easy. I took care of those phone calls earlier and have filled out the form for the social welfare place on my February income. That's that. I'm going to catch up now on some emails and blogs, perhaps watch a small amount of telly and then I'm going to a friend's house. She has been having an extraordinarily difficult time of things and asked me to come and see her. I assume that will end up being the afternoon and a part of the evening, too. Tomorrow morning I want to get up and go for a walk as soon as I do. No hanging around, no lazing (or at least, no lazing until later in the day). Really, I want to start doing that every morning, although I might alternate going for a walk with half-an-hour of stretching exercises for the first week or two. We'll see how it goes.
In the spirit of starting over and moving on, I've also updated my savings totals in the sidebar. I've been lax about keeping that up-to-date and I want and need to start being more meticulous about it. In addition to the accounts listed there, I'm going to use the end of my paper chain to start a small savings fund for something fun. I got to the end of my savings goal with that in one fell swoop at the end, so I never ended up tearing off the last few rings. There are 12 rings left. If I take each one to represent 20 euro, then I have 240 euro to do something with. Perhaps even a cheap weekend away to one of the places on my places to go list. Now that I've (at least partially) sorted my job situation, it's important to start actually living the life I want!