What Staycation Really Means: Part IV

What Staycation Really Means: Part IV

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There was not a single person in that plant that didn’t have a deer in the headlight stare when they told us the plant was shutting down and we were all going to be laid off. Stunned, we were told that the company was not closing its doors right away. As if it made it any better. They were going to keep the doors open another few months, until the clients could find someone else to print their packaging. Yep, all for the clients and their needs. Never mind the folks that produced all of the client’s packaging. Don’t worry about the poor people who busted their butts everyday to do a good job. The employees relied on that place for a good stable source of income and to feed their families.

As I looked around, I saw tears and heartache. Management shut down all shifts for the rest of the day so that the employees could process what had just happened and start the mourning process. Me? Well, I had only been at this company for nine months. David and I had not been able to find a house to buy. Looking back, we now understand that not being able to find a house to buy was all part of the plan. A blessing in disguise. We had not even begun to set roots down in or near this town. We were living our lives in limbo already. The company shutting down was not a shock to me and I couldn’t really feel sorry for myself. I felt worse for the people who built their lives in the town where the company was located and for those who had worked there so many years. For me, it meant David’s and my dream of living in or near the mountains was starting to crumble. I was upset but at the same time, that company was about to stress me out so bad, I couldn’t help but feel a slight bit of relief. We had a few months to figure out what we were going to do. I would work as long as I could. At least David had a job, even if the outlook on the company he worked for was looking a little bleak.

David in snow at Cardinal
Friday the 13th. David was outside playing in the falling snow. Little did he know minutes after this photo was taken, just how lucky he was this very day!

David and I really couldn’t worry about the layoff. You see, around this same time that I had received my awful news; David had an accident at work. It was Friday, March 13th, 2009.

There had been snow showers off and on all morning. I was at work in prepress, doing what I needed to do to keep the presses fed, while looking for a new job at the same time. I received a text from David saying he hurt his hand in the press. The way he put it, it didn’t sound as bad as is actually was. I then received a picture. It was not good at all.

David in pain
Poor David. He was in so much pain, but was so lucky to still have his hand.

While cleaning the rollers on the press, David’s rubber glove got caught between the rollers. The rollers grabbed the glove and pulled his hand into the press. David cried out for help, but no one could hear him due to the noise of the press in a small press room, nor could he reach the emergency stop button. David literally had to yank his hand out of the jaws of the press and it tried to suck him in!! Miraculously, his hand came out of the press in one piece. He was taken to the emergency room, where they did X-rays and treated his hand.

Besides squishing his hand in the worse way possible, the rubber glove he was wearing was pulled off into the press. When this happened the rubber pulled across the back of his hand and left a severe burn. By the grace of God, there were no crushed or broken bones and all of the tendons in the back of his hand were in place. There was major swelling and trauma, but he still had his hand and he still had his life. I really cannot stress enough, just how lucky he truly was to have pulled himself out of the press. Printing presses are extremely powerful and have been known to kill people. It may have been Friday the 13th, but looking back we know that day was full of luck.

The jaws of the press that David's hand was swallowed by. (Ink Rollers)
The jaws (ink rollers) of the press that swallowed David’s hand.

David was out of work for several weeks trying to recuperate from this terrible accident. Each day that he spent at home, I spent at work job hunting online. All I did was job hunt. The economy was still awful and there really was not that much out there. It seemed like every week a different printing company was closing up or laying-off either back home on near where we were. How was I ever going to find a job like this? I didn’t know, but I was determined. Finding a new job consumed me and for a few weeks that was all I cared about.

One evening, while I was at home I came across an ad on Craig’s List. It was for a job that used some of my skills, but not exactly what I was looking for. Desperate for any job, I applied online. I figured, I qualified enough for the job and it wouldn’t hurt to apply. I received a phone call and an interview was set up a few days after I applied online.  There was hope! I tried not to get my hopes up too high, but I could not help it. Given the current circumstances, the fact that I had an interview was like winning the job lottery. The location of the company was dreamy. It was smack dab in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley and those beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains that kept calling us. I was so excited and ready for the interview. Surprisingly, that day came pretty quickly.

David rode with me. He was still out of work due to his hand. He was going to stay in the Jeep while I went in. I arrived early and went inside. I was greeted by the Human Resources Manager, who happened to have an English Bull Dog puppy that was going to attend the interview with her and the hiring manager of the graphics department. I have to say, that was a first for me. I had never had a dog sit in on an interview before, but I was so thankful that dog was there. I was in such desperation for a job that I was so nervous, I’m surprised they couldn’t hear my knees shaking underneath the conference table. That dog helped break the tension, but I really didn’t like the fact that the hiring manager kept laughing at the dog. The dog fell asleep under the table and started snoring, while I was talking. As I would start to answer questions, he would burst out laughing. It kind of pissed me off and I left the interview with mixed emotions. I didn’t know how it went. The fact the hiring manager seemed to be paying more attention to the snoring dog, did not sit well with me. I would just have to go back to what little time I had left at the dying company and hope for the best.

David and I loved the location of this potential company. We had been coming up to the mountains for a few years in the same area. In fact the town in which the company was in the town in which David and I always seemed to end up in. On our weekend excursions to the mountains, we would pick any random road there was that we were not familiar with to see where it went. I cannot count the times that we would pick some random road and end up in this town. It seemed all the roads we took brought us here. Was it a sign?

I returned to my dying job a ball of nerves, but did not stop my job search, after that interview. Every day I went into work and every day I searched every job posting site I could think of in all kinds of locations. It was beginning to look like we may need to relocate again. We both needed stable employment. David really didn’t have that where he worked at either. His hand had gotten better and he was finally able to return to work. The company he worked for was still struggling, but at least he had a job and the presses were still rolling.

A week or more went by. I was beginning to think that I didn’t get the job I interviewed for. I was sitting at my desk, checking job searches when my cell phone rang. I got the job!

The light at the end of the tunnel was not a train. There was hope again and our dream of living where we vacationed was still alive!! Now we just had to iron out all the details. I mean do you actually have to give notice to a company that is about to shove you out on the street?


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