This morning it was off to Paradise Valley Community College, for an interview with the English department chair.
Item: I nailed not one, not two, but three adjunct courses, which should net around five grand between now and the time I’m canned.
Item: This guy treated me like a human being, of all the bizarre things!
No joke. He gave me the grand tour of the campus—even took me to view the classrooms where I’ll be teaching!—and, after introducing me to faculty members, the departmental secretary, the head librarian, and some people whose functions I didn’t catch, delivered me in person to HR. I couldn’t believe it.
Bizarrely, people working there don’t give the impression of having been beaten down like so much threshed wheat. Morale seems nowhere near the basement, where it resides at a certain vast desert university. People were cheerful, they looked rested, they appeared enthusiastic and active. If they’re faking it, they’re doing an impressive job.
The campus is quite attractive. It borders a golf course (!) and is set amid tracts of newish middle- to upper-middle-class housing. Buildings are clean, bright, and sunny. None of them smells of the solvent used to remove asbestos, as does (still!) a certain building of which we know.
The chair forked over a list of requirements and desiderata for the college’s freshman comp courses. Incredibly, you only have to assign four papers in English 101 and three in English 102. The jaw drops. To put the jaw on the floor, courses are capped at 25. This will be so astonishingly easy.
The $5,000 I should net from this part-time gig can go into savings to help the transition into penury. Anything I happen to pick up from freelancing will be stashed for the same purpose.
From there it was over to the financial advisor’s.
What’s been keeping me awake at night—what has driven me to the quack in search of soothing drugs—is the certainty that no matter how I work the numbers, the combination of a 4 percent drawdown from savings, my piddling Social Security entitlement, and the $14,000 I can earn without losing SS dollars is just plain not enough to survive on. First, I can’t live on it. Second, I most certainly can’t pay my part of the mortgage, either, and we will have to default on the Investment House. Default. Walk away. Be stripped of honor and credit. Lose our shirts. Both of us, me and M’hijito. Oh, God!
Well, Advisor pointed out that I could actually draw down a little more than that without risk of ruination. He also pointed out that M’hijito should be able to carry more of the mortgage, which would make it possible for his aged mother to stop worrying and maybe even to stay out from under the Seventh Avenue Overpass. Drawing down enough to live on will reduce the expected lifetime of my savings from 100 years to 50 years. Since I don’t plan to live another 50 years, this should be a reasonable strategy.
So. Things are looking up. Relatively speaking.