A Deferred Tip Jar for Pam Spaulding
Most of you know me from my 9 years of blogging/citizen journalism and activism at Pam's House Blend . That was a labor of love, I did it for the greater good -- equality for all, but it never really paid the bills.
I had to stop the Blend because rheumatoid arthritis felled me -- I couldn't keep up the pace of blogging/reporting -- so I needed to focus on holding down the day job at Duke University Press, where I held several positions over 22 years and I left a mark that I am proud of.
I never imagined I would need to do this, having been a self-sufficient person all my burning-the-candle-at-both-ends working adult life. But like many out there, disability from chronic illness - and now additionally in the form of spine deterioration -- a collapsed disc at L5-S1, made me exhaust my Family Medical Leave Act unpaid time off of 12 weeks of job protection we have under federal law.
However this brings me back to why this campaign is necessary - when FMLA is exhausted, your employer is under no obligation to keep you on. And lo and behold, the day after it was exhausted, I was notified by email that I was terminated from my unit and my position was to be filled ASAP. A request to extend job protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act had been declined by my unit. They were moving on. So, I am unexpectedly left without a job.
Yep, 22 years of service, only a few away from being able to retire, a career snuffed out. It's the disposable economy at work, perfectly legal. To make matters worse, I was told that I owed them more than $3000 because of a payroll paperwork matter of overpayment. A parting gift.
So, turns out, I do need funds fairly soon because I'm not very liquid these days. It’s hard for me to ask for help, so instead, I’m thinking about this as asking fans of The Blend to hit the tip jar for those nine years of writing and blogging (putting it that way helps me feel better about it) -- You’re help is greatly appreciated.
Thankfully, I have always paid my bills on time and have always lived small - I can live much smaller and thrive. But nowadays it's just me and the two dogs, so it's a very real possibility I will have to sell my house and move because of this turn of events. Not a lot of time to make decisions as funds dry up.
Your generosity will allow me a bit of time to get my affairs in order while physically rehabbing to the extent I can...especially if I need to move a good distance.
I am currently not medically cleared to work (not sure that I will be, I am undergoing PT to find out (that is also costing $ even with insurance). Getting federal disability takes years and often you are turned down more than once - even though I have clearly documented medical conditions that are life restricting.
But my mind is sound, my life is not over at 52, no matter what my employer tells me. Even with these disabilities, I am not disposable.
The Panda will rise again. Thank you all. Your readership over the years, the friendships, it all means a great deal to me.
- Norn Cutson
- George Wortham
- Lizz Winstead
- Andy Szekeres