well, my truck is gone, my cell phone is gone, my fax machine is gone, and a three drawer lateral file is gone. i won't miss any of it. i also won't particularly miss any of the people i worked with at American Tower. I was operations manager for the state of Arizona. It was a good job, fairly easy, lots of driving around the state, and paid 62K. most of what didn't go to taxes, i put into a 401K (maxed out) and stock purchase plan (maxed out) and into paying down my mortgage ahead of schedule. this month will be the first time i have only paid the minimum mortgage payment. i usually doubled it. the job also bought the solar power i got. my only regret is that i didn't keep it long enough to get the other kilowatt. i also gave about 3K to charity last year. i guess that will stop. monday i call in to see how much unemployment insurance i will get. i'm not sure what the cap is in arizona, but i'm sure that's what i'll get. i intend to make full use of the next six months to try to get my art career jumpstarted. i'll apply for jobs, but only jobs that i really want and that pay well. i don't intend to "settle" for just any old job until after my UI runs out. at that point, i'll reassess my situation. for now, it is sabattical time. fortunately my cost of living is low. my house costs me about 6K a year, including utilities, and i can eat really cheaply. i have a free gym membership, so i can keep in shape. the only drawbacks are the lack of a vehicle since i sold my personal truck last fall, and the lack of health insurance, which my dad is really worried about. i am less concerned about the latter. i got a clean bill of health on my physical a couple of months ago, and it simply isn't worth the cost to get insurance on my own. i need to take this opportunity and run with it, not jump into a deadend job just so i can enrich the insurance companies. buying health insurance is like betting you will get sick. just like vegas, insurance empires weren't built on people winning that bet. i'll be tightening my belt, but i need to do that several notches anyway. with my severance package (two weeks, whoopee) and the rebate i have coming from the electric company for my solar, and the rebate i have coming from hud for the sale of my last house, and unemployment insurance, and a few painting sales, i should comfortably make it through the year. i have a feeling a really nice job will come along at some point as well. because i was participating in the company stock purchase plan, i also have more than 2000 shares of company stock. it's not worth a heck of a lot right now, but they are doing the right things (like laying me off) and restructuring in such a way that in a few years i expect those shares will pay off my house. for the past year i have been using my ridiculously high salary to prepare myself for today. i had hoped to choose the day it happened, but even though it was sooner than i would have liked, i feel pretty good about the future, and i know i didn't squander a penny.