2020 In Review for Dennis, Part 1

Part 1 of my review on how 2020 treated me, January through April, roughly.

2020 In Review for Dennis, Part 1

This was a challenging year for basically everyone in America, and I have to say that when this year is all done next week I'll be able to safely say that I had it much, much easier than so many other people. I don't say this as a humble-brag, but to let everyone know that I'm painfully aware at how fortunate I've been, and that I do not take my good fortune for granted. I'm extremely grateful to have the support surrounding me that I've had, and I wish everyone could be taken care of.

The first and perhaps biggest decision of 2020 for me was to go back to school and actually make a run at finishing. I'm hoping to have more to show for it than a bunch of F grades and some student loan debt. The last time I attempted college was in 2014, shortly before I met my ex-wife. Much like my marriage, that semester of school ended in disaster. But, several years later, it turns out I've gotten a bit better at managing schoolwork. I also was only taking 6 credits (two classes) because I still was clocking 40 hours a week doing web development while also seeing someone who lived a couple hours away. I was pretty content with how things were going in my life.

February was much the same, no real complaints about anything. I actually got to babysit the golden retriever I used to have that belonged to my former wife's family. My ex-MIL had contacted me to ask if I would be interested in watching Rosie for a week or so while she was in Florida at a conference. Of course, I had no choice but to agree, and actually ended up keeping her for an extra week. She will always be my little lady, and I wish I was in a better position to take care of her, because they would still let me take her back today if I wanted. I know everyone loves to say that their dogs are good, but Rosie was the sweetest thing I ever got to take care of.

Not a lot comes to mind about February. I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day, but I do remember having a nice meal with my ex partner that day. That's about it. I was still continuing to do well in my two classes and I was in the process of finishing up a project at work that I'd been working on for a while. I had customized a product building web page for one of the buisnesses one of my employers owned and was feeling pretty proud of it.

March was where things started to get hairy for me. My partner became my ex partner, and COVID-19 was now here. It felt like I had gotten dumped, and then quarantine started, and then, oh yeah, it didn't look like Bernie was going to win the democratic primary after the entire establishment coalesced around Joe Biden. I still get salty typing that out, but I digress. It wasn't all completely bad to start with. For example, I got my first ever issue of Jacobin delivered to me, and then the very next day at work I got a 2-for-1. It's all about the small victories.

I'm a type one diabetic, and when quarantine started I got a letter from my primary doctor urging my employer that I need to be sheltering in place while this was all going on. I brought my letter to the Director of HR's office. Instead of being reasonable, they told me to leave immediately and go home. But the HR director told me I wasn't allowed to bring my work laptop home with me (I'd been doing this for almost two years at this point.) and that I wasn't going to be paid unless I had PTO (I didn't). This was a Wednesday afternoon.

I spent the next two days at home, not working or getting paid for anything, just smoking weed and watching TV. Until Friday afternoon I heard from my boss and he told me that they were going to set up a space for me to work in the corner of the basement, away from everyone else. They literally wanted to take me out of my cube and stick me in the basement corner where nobody would ever have a reason to be around me for. Of course I agreed, because I literally could not survive without money and my health insurace. When I got there on Monday, I sat down with my immediate boss and told him after thinking about things this weekend, I'm not going to agree to working in the corner of the basement like this.

I explained that I was being forced to choose between my job and my health along with the advice of my doctor, and that it's not OK for them to do that to me. I told him I wanted a meeting with the president of the company and the HR director, and so he went up to their offices to set it up. When he came back he told me something along the lines of "well I guess they thought about it too, and they agree that you should work from home. Go grab your stuff and we can figure it out." I asked for a meeting, didn't get one, and still got everything I wanted. (dudes rock)

So this was mid March when I started working from home, and it was also around this time that my father was laid off from his job. So I figured I'd just go back home to Warroad for a while and hang out with my dad while working from home. And so that's what I did.

April is my birthday month, the 4th of April to be exact. I had been staying at my father's house in Warroad for a couple weeks when I got a call from work on April 3rd, the day before my birthday. It was my immediate boss and he told me that I was being laid off and that I needed to return my equipment to the office. I told him I wasn't in Redwood Falls and that I'd have to ship it back. It was a punch in the gut, to be honest. I wasn't sure what was going to happen now. But, I got everything shipped back to them and that was it for my time at Farmers Union Industries.  I had lost my job the day before my 28th birthday, in the middle of a pandemic. Sweet life, Dennis.

So my birthday was pretty shitty, I didn't celebrate with anyone or do much of anything. Just got high and hung out at my dad's place. I did the same thing everyone else did, and I applied for unemployment and waited. At this point I decided that if I didn't have to work or be anywhere in particular that I'd be better off staying with my brother in Fargo. So I packed my shit up and headed down I-29.

I'll talk about my summer in part 2. That's all for now.