Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Does this pink slip clash with my hair?

For the last three years or so, my husband and I have had a running "joke" every time he calls me from work.  I always say, "What?  Did you get fired?"  Maybe it was our way of making light of (and dealing with) the fact that on any given day, it could really come true.  We would frequently have conversations revolving around the likelihood of his being given the proverbial ax and what he thought his chances were each week.  I always knew we were teetering on the edge of being a one income family, my income.  So, when he called last Monday afternoon to say that he was on his way home a little earlier than usual, of course I asked, "Did you get fired today?"  His answer..."Well, they're calling it a layoff, not a firing."

BAM! The ax just fell.

There were no dramatic tears or pacing the floor or cries over the horror of it all.  I simply said, "Well, hurry home so that you can change your clothes before taking H to gymnastics practice."  And that was it.  He unceremoniously joined the Between Jobs Club.

My husband has been gainfully employed since he graduated from college in 1989. (That was one of my pre-nuptial requirements - a steady paycheck.)  Never once in those twenty-three years has he been without a job.  I know, I know... he's lucky.  We're both lucky that we've never had to sweat over how we're going to pay our bills or provide for our kids.  I realize now what a gift it has been that we weathered the economic hard times with our heads above the water.

Until now.

The last week has been a firestorm of emotions.  In the beginning, I was almost relieved.  It happened.  Fine.  Move on to something new.  There are millions of people who are waking up each day without a job.  Our situation isn't special...except it is to me.  MY family is the one who has to cut corners until something new comes along.  MY family is the one who is holding off on any and all spending until further notice.  MY family is the one who is now a statistic, a scary, this-isn't-happening-to-us statistic.

Even though "optimistic" and "hopeful" have never been words that anyone would use to describe me, I thought I would take a few minutes to explore the positive aspects of being unemployed.  Mainly because if I didn't laugh at our predicament, I just might cry.  So, here goes...

1. I finally have a valid argument for getting rid of cable.  Do we really need RFDTV?  Is it the end of the world if we don't have seven different versions of ESPN, HBO and Cinemax? What do I hate more than having twelve hundred channels that keep my family glued to the television?  Having twelve hundred channels and not a dang thing worth watching on any of them.


2. We get to live like we're in college again.  Ah, the golden days of ramen noodles, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and those giant bags of cereal that weigh seven pounds but only cost a buck fifty.  Heck, I even remember the time we drank swill beer out of soot-covered cans because they were free from a bar that burned to the ground.  We sure knew how to stretch a dollar back then.


3. NO CARPOOL LINE FOR ME.  Okay, folks, this is huge.  If you hang out with me on Facebook, then you know that the afternoon school pick-up line is the bane of my daily existence. My husband now gets to enjoy thirty minutes trapped in a car as the mom in front of him leans out of her door every sixty seconds or so to spit her tobacco juice onto the pavement.  I will not miss those Dads cranking "Feel Like Makin' Love" from their car stereos while I try to avoid eye contact with the PTO ladies in line beside me.  I just hope there isn't another Mom laughing at my husband because he's fist pumping every time he gets a strike playing the Ten Pin bowling game on his phone.


4. I will not be doing laundry or emptying the dishwasher until further notice.  Period.


5. My kids get to hang out with my husband.  They're riding bikes.  They're going for walks.  They're playing in the mild, winter sunshine in the middle of a February afternoon.  Yes, he needs a job, you know, ummm...NOW, but my second grader said to me this week, "I really like having Daddy home."  He won't be out of work forever (PLEASE don't let it be forever), but they are enjoying living in this moment with him while it lasts.

We're going to be fine.  What else is there to be?  There is no giving up or throwing in the towel.  Whatever comes our way, we'll deal with it and make it our own. (I have lots of experience with that.) It may not be in the house we live in now or the town that I have called home for forty-three years, but I've come to realize that money isn't what matters to me any more.  I'm just looking for peace and happiness, and you can find that anywhere. It won't even cost you a penny.

19 comments:

  1. 6. Your children and healthy and one of them hasn't just died from cancer

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  2. I love you. Truly. While I am sorry for the stress, I am so happy for you on # 3!! But I will miss your car-pool line updates. As for # 2, were you in my pantry today? :-)

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    1. haha!! I'm just going to own it...I LOVE ramen noodles!

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    2. Me, too! I actually made them as a side-dish last week. Everyone else had rice ... I had Mr. Noodle!!

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    3. We were that family 4 years ago. It sucked, I totally know how you feel. FYI. We do not miss cable at all. In fact, it has been a huge relief to no longer have it! Big Hugs to you. And you will survive. Even if it is on the blue box and $0.10 packages of noodles......

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    4. First off, you have the best title EVER. Second, thank you...I'm only going to miss "Swamp People" and I'm okay with the blue box if it comes to that. :-)

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    5. Awe. Thanks! We still eat the Blue Box, it's nostalgic. I don't know what the swamp people are, but Im sure I'm related! Regardless. Hugs. It sucks, but it can be overcome.

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  3. Well, damn. Yes, enjoy what is enjoyable. And here's hoping for a new job ASAP.

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  4. "We're going to be fine. What else is there to be?" No truer words! My husband was 'laid off' after 26+ years of employment it was very hard, not so much financially there are always ways to 'cut back' but I was so unprepared for his depression. Men seem to have their identities tied to their job/career..perhaps its the male 'bread winner' stereotype.. ours lasted 6 months, thankfully :) Wishing you the best! PS #1- we never added all those channels back and still do not miss them, Red Box is a really great thing! #2- I heard there is a SPAM cookbook out there somewhere, why limit yourself to Ramen & Kraft? :)

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  5. Thank you...and you better believe we aren't adding those channels back once they're gone! I appreciate the positive words!!

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  6. Of course I'm sorry but when we've been in this situation (a few times because of my husband's field) I try to take some joy from hitting the reset button. But vent here as needed. :)

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    1. Thanks, Kelly!! You know...Jen Lancaster (Bitter is the New Black) began her rise to fame by blogging about her layoff...hmmm...

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  7. Here's hoping he finds a job that allows him to still keep his place in the carpool line. Soon. Until then, enjoy your new laundry service! Hugs.

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  8. Sure hate to hear that, but sounds like you found the silver linings!

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  9. Awesome attitude!! Get rid of the cable.... you can stream just about anything, for FREE. Even your beloved Swamp People:
    http://www.history.com/shows/swamp-people

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  10. I wonder whether one of your many fans might know of an opening in the same/or similar field and be able to hook up Dad with a link to it? Hello Fans of "She..." pass it on...it's really just a small world connected by wire and friendship. Ya never know... Aloha! -L

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  11. You have a fantastic attitude and that is half the battle. Scary stuff for sure. Xo

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