"So how are things going out there in CA?..."
The hardest question in the world to answer!!
My brother emailed me in July (2004) and asked me just that. So I tried to summarize my first year thus far in CA.
The preceding September (2003), I moved to CA, from beautiful Chesapeake VA. I was unemployed and knew no one except the family of my brothers best friend, the pastor, also from VA. They graciously house me for free, for 6 months. I sat unemployed through Christmas. I sent out 200 resumes, was registered with about a dozen job websites, and 3 different job placement agencies. Throughout the fall, the only work I could get was baby-sitting. Best Buy wouldn't even hire me! So come Christmas I headed back east for the holidays. The unspoken question was... "Will she come back?"
Early January 2004
I could get on the plane headed back to CA because I knew that I was going to tell the pastor that I'm moving back east. I can't handle unemployment on a strange planet with no family, and nothing familiar anymore. I can't even get to a grocery store w/o having to look up and print out a Yahoo Map!! And I have no income, so buying shampoo has become stressful!
I need to raise $1500. to get home. I tell Anna at the temp agency that my situation has changed. I'm leaving the state. Please get me ANYTHING!! I want to go home.
Late January, the temp agency calls with work!! A 2 week assignment for data entry at this company. I'd never heard of this company. Since September, I couldn't manage to get even a temp job! This would be the first...
End of January, this company is trying to convince me to stay. I am not sure that I can handle staying. It's been a really rough time out here, and I just want to go home!
Then I realize that at home, I would be unemployed, with no musical opportunities. At least here, I have a musical opportunity. And now a job! A mind numbing job, but it's a paycheck. It could put a roof over my head, and that means BIG need now met.
I reluctantly tell the pastor that I'm staying in CA. He's happy but tells me that he had to replace me. The pianist will be the music director, and my role will be determined by her. I said ok. She's really cool.
I had suggested to the pianist that the pastor would be needing a music director, and she should consider it! She said NO. Not interested. So I figured that although the pastor had somehow convinced her into the position, she would probably gladly give it back to me upon hearing that I was staying in CA. I figured that I just needed to get together with her at some point and get her thoughts on the matter. At some point...
Early Feb. The girl who hired me convinced me to stay, and she told me about This Guy... - the guy she had been on a few dates with, but was undecided about. She had a boyfriend she'd been dating for a year. But upon discovering that I was musical, she said that This Guy... and I might be good together. He's quite the guitarist. She was very nice to me and really opened up to me early on. As it turns out, his desk is only about 10 feet from mine. He's an engineer and a very sweet, quiet guy.
I was hired to help close the office that was near Walnut Creek. The office would then move to South San Francisco. (90 min. one-way commute from Walnut Creek) Many people were moving there. The decision to stay with this company was a complicated one. How can I be involved in a church that I moved cross country to help start if I live an hour away from it? Or even be a pet owner when my basic work day plus commute, is 12 hours long? But what other option did I have? In 8 months of job hunting and 200 resumes, it's the ONLY thing that had opened up for me. I kept shopping my resume the whole time I worked there.
End of February I am able to move into a really great little house!!! It's tiny, but fits my needs perfectly! It has "Provision of God who KNOWS your needs before you even ask!" written all over it.
Finally, I can unpack all my stuff and set up house!!! This Guy... helped me move in, and that weekend, on top of Mt. Diablo, we discover that there's a mutual attraction between us. I told him that I didn't want to rush into romance. I wanted to know him for a long time. Romance seems to often kill that.
He was a perfect gentleman. I was impressed, and put at ease. We hung out a lot, talked a lot, played music together, etc. He reminded me of my older brother who I've always admired and respected.
Early March, I call the pianist. She returns my call and says "I don't want to step on anyone's toes!" As it turns out, at first, yes, she had no vision for doing the job. But with a little time, she gained a vision for being the music director. She still would have given it back to me though. She said talk to the pastor, and she wanted us to decide who would do what, and just tell her. She would be fine either. So I talk to the pastor, and he's concerned that I even called the pianist. He is very firm in his decision for the pianist to be the music director. She is well connected musically here, and could get a band up and running easily.
My life was still a mess. Practically speaking, she was the better choice. It was hard for me not to take that personally. Fortunately, I can't think about it right now anyway. Survival is keeping me plenty busy.
First of April, the company office moves to South SF. So does This Guy.... We now live an hour apart, and the 90 minute commute (BART / Shuttle ride) begins for me. Not already being in a lease, I could have chosen to move closer to the office like many others did. I looked into it, but I came to CA for a church plant. How could I invest myself in that if I lived an hour away?
Younger brother John sends me a brilliant letter of concern after I tell him about This Guy...
Fortunately, taking the BART (bay area rapid transit) to work ends up being less painful than expected... but it's still 3 HOURS OF MY DAY, every day.
Mid April My sister Kelly comes with my beloved doggie Copland!!!! One of three of my furry children are here at last!! Kelly meets This Guy... right after scolding me about dating a non believer. Feeling convicted, two days later I tell This Guy... that we can't talk seriously about marriage if he's not a believer. Later the same night Kelly tells me that she's been thinking, and that she thinks that I shouldn't pressure This Guy... about faith issues. She thinks that he's coming along just fine. (too late)
He was trying so hard, driving me to church every Sunday, and coming to the church plant meetings on Sunday evenings too. Now he lives an hour away, and it's very difficult for us to get time to talk things through.
Kelly helped me get my yard fenced in. Poor Copland goes from living with a family of 5 and a big yard, to being left alone in a TINY yard for 12 hours a day. She was quickly not a happy dog. Mom and Dad weren't sure that they could bring Toca before the mid May airline deadline for flying pets. If Toca were here, Copland would be fine. If...
Late April, the girl who hired me and told me about This Guy..., laid me off. When This Guy... and I started dated, she stopped talking to both of us. I'm given a two week notice for when my last day will be. I send probably a hundred more resumes out for Internet, or tech support jobs. I was already interviewing for a tech support position for Sibelius when I was laid off. That is the music notation software co. And guess what! Their corporate USA headquarters, is ONE MILE from my house! I made the first cut, but in the end was their second choice. Very small office - no other positions available.
End of April, Mom calls and says that her and Dad are coming w/ Toca and Capo in ONE WEEK!! Oh what a relief!! Copland will be fine. Her sibling doggie and kitty will be here and make our house a home again.
May 2nd - Christ Community Church of Walnut Creek has a preview service. 87 people attend. This Guy... played bass. I sang. All the songs are in "congregational keys" which mean they are way too high for me to sing well. But I'm suppose to be "leading" the singing. I think the pianist is not set up to be able to produce the sheet music in other keys. She has access to a library of sheet music online. But the keys are for a guy to lead. Not for a woman to lead. I try to explain this dilemma to the pianist and the pastor but don't seem to get any response.
Early May, Mom and Dad arrive on my last day of work at this company. That was providential. I couldn't wait for them to arrive. It helped me not to dwell on the approaching end of my income. Just days before they arrive, a subcontractor of this company hires me to do admin work for them. Very similar work that I did at this company, same pay. But their office is only 12 miles south of my house in Walnut Creek. 30 min. drive w/ traffic, 15 min. drive during lunch break!! That's been a huge blessing.
Being laid off was truly a blessing in disguise. Early May, mom and dad meet This Guy... and really like him too. Dad talks to this guy about issues of faith, and works on my car a lot.
Late May This Guy... wants us to break up, giving issues of faith and the commute as reasons. As much as I wanted to try to convince him that these issues were solvable, I held back. We don't have the single most important thing in common. I've left him with God. I was crushed but then he wanted to stay friends. He said that I'm his best friend in the Bay Area. This was a little unexpected.
We made plans to get together on the next weekend. That's when we went to Guitar Center and bought all the recording gear. I called big bro Garrett for advice, being that he's the professional audio engineer.
We both bought a Korg D1200mkII. We got a great deal on them since we were buying two. We split a set of NT5 mics too. I also got another SM58, and two good studio speakers. I've had a pick-up installed in Dad's 12 string too. And I bought an acoustic piano from the Salvation Army! Miraculously, I LOVE the sound of it! Didn't even need to tune it! It sounds better than my baby grand back east sounded!
Selling the Triton turned out to be the most profitable thing I've ever done. 10 years ago, I financed a baby grand in Nashville. (you know that you're a musician when you finance a piano before you ever finance a car.)
I sold that and the old Ensonic keyboard to get the KORG Triton Studio. I sold the Triton only 9 months later to get a whole music studio!! I haven't spent a dime more than what I spent 10 years ago. :)
June - The church is meeting weekly now on Sunday nights. They got another lead female vocalist. Sure enough, on the first day she was dying with the keys too. There were a lot of things that I would see, and knew how to solve, but it wasn't my place to. I already felt that I'd made things difficult with protesting the keys... I didn't want to be pointing out more problems and trying to fix things. I stepped down from the worship team all together.
Late June, John and Amy come!! On two of the days they were here, I was loosing a battle with depression. I wanted them to meet This Guy... but it wasn't going to happen. I was irritable with them, and short with others. John felt like I didn't want them to be there. I told him that there were things that he didn't know about but that it had nothing to do with him.
I was really struggling with the question - why am I still here?
With time, I am coming to believe more strongly that God rescued me. This Guy... was a temptation beyond what I could bear. Dear Lord thank you for Your mercy. Give me an undying love your you alone. Should I ever be so fortunate as to marry, may my husband have an undying love for You alone too!
This Guy... made my struggles here bearable. I was able to not be anxious around him. Which says a lot considering how anxiety producing life had been. I'll always be grateful for the shelter in the storm that he was. In general, I'm more adventurous than I've ever been before. I have a greater interest in trying new things. I never realized how uninterested I'd been in so much of life. In anything I couldn't control.
But I'm in over my head, and need help desperately. A cross-country move and unemployment have never really been recovered from. I'm still in a job doing work that I hate. I love the people... best boss I've ever had! But how long can I go on doing filing and copying for 8 hours a day! It's all I've done this whole year thus far! Add to that not getting the great job, being dumped by a soul mate, being isolated from my family, isolated from people who know and care for me, and I'm in over my head.
I want to see a counselor and get on drugs in a BIG way. My depression is showing at work and I'm afraid that it could get me fired. It's affecting everything. I'm hopeful that it will soon be corrected.
I saw a counselor in July. Only twice though. Couldn't afford anymore. I went on drugs for depression. That helped a LOT. Could only afford one month's worth.
One day in July I was praying as I do in the mornings...
"...lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil..." STOP. Lord, I can't stop thinking of This Guy.... I see his name at work fifty times a day! Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. Please Lord! Either save This Guy..., or move me elsewhere!..."
Then I go to work. At lunch, I came home and checked my email. This is what came in:
----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Betts
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 12:05 PM
Subject: Sibelius - Employment Opportunity
Hi Kate, I told you I'd keep you in mind if any openings came up. Well, we will have an opening in the very near future. I don't have any specifics at the moment but it will most likely be a 'hybrid' position - some tech support, some marketing, and some data entry. We are currently trying to determine our exact needs and working out the details. However, I thought I'd send you an email, in advance, to see if you are still interested and available?
Hope to hear from you soon.
-- Sibelius USA, Inc.
Early August, I start work at Sibelius. Having no money to see the counselor or refill my prescription is not so much a problem seeing as I've just landed a dream job. A whole lot of stress is relieved now. After one week of work, I adopt a kitten so Capo will no longer be the only cat. I name her Sibelius. "Bailey" for short. I needed another musical name, and felt that a memorial was in order. She's a sweetheart and is slowly becoming more brave around the big scary dogs. Unfortunately, her and Capo actually have been very slow to hit it off.
November - Work is amazing. Overwhelming, but an investment in the one thing I've ever cared about. Music. I still have so much to learn... THAT can get a little depressing... and this week, I'm finding myself extremely homesick again. Probably because it's now the holiday season. And I wish I were spending it with family. I need to learn to be happy no matter what my circumstances bring! I've always needed to learn that. Well, no time like the present!
Thanks for sharing this crazy year's story with me.
Blessings to you!
Posted November 23, 2004