Survival Mode.

Let me preface this by saying that I understand that I live a pretty good life. I have a roof over my head that has a mortgage attached, I have two kids that are pretty awesome, I have a husband that loves me and supports me no matter what, and I have an amazing job that I can’t imagine being without. I have awesome family and friends. And this, none of this, I take for granted.

I know I briefly talked about the whole layoff situation with my husband’s job. And again, I know I am luckier than a lot of people who have been unemployed a whole lot longer and all of that. I know this. But, for me right now, my main focus is getting our financial situation into what I call “Survival Mode.” Now, I know money isn’t everything, but tell people who you owe that. Let me know how that works out for you. I have spent the better part of three weeks now worrying about this, and now that the layoff has been in effect for a week, I am living it. We have done what we can to get our bills as close to living expenses only as possible. We have contacted various billing folk to figure out what kind of short term assistance we can get. And I am learning something: there is NOT a huge amount of help for those of us who have continued to pay our bills, on time, in full, all the time. We’d have been better off to stop paying on the house, to let my husband’s car get behind in a payment, and to say a big old “Screw You” to our credit card companies. It is a broken system we live in when people who do the right thing all the time and take care of their business are not able to easily access help when they fall on hard times. And I know I might catch flack for that. I don’t care. It’s the truth. It’s almost like the system tends to reward those who don’t do what they are supposed to do, and what they are expected to do when they sign up for things like mortgages, cars, credit cards, etc. I don’t know who is to blame for this (someone will probably say Obama), but I know it’s messed up. *soapbox moment over*

We do qualify for certain short term things since he does have a guarantee that this is temporary; we just don’t have a return to work date. He can get unemployment benefits, which are not sufficient for much beyond, well, much. We still have a few calls to make to see what other modes of assistance we can get for necessities. Just know that this process is not fun. It is all-consuming. It is depressing. And frankly, it is for the birds. Bring my husband back to work, already, please. It’s hard not to let it get in the way and come out in front of the kids. I don’t want Caelan to know I have worries about this. She is so young; this is not her business. But I am sure she feels the stress and the strain. I try to keep that away from both of them. I am cognizant of how easily they pick up on things; they’re like animals in their ability to smell fear. And worry. And stress. This isn’t their fight, and I won’t make it so.

When I see Christmas commercials, I want to puke. We have decided to scale back on Christmas this year for the girls and just get them a few things. Christmas has always been something that we try not to go crazy on, but we always do, at least a little bit. It’s hard not to. Not this year, buddy. Tighten up. One of my friends suggested three gifts a piece because there were three wise men. That makes sense. No frankincense and myrrh, please. We may do a little more than that, but I will welcome any suggestions on how to make this happen for two kids on little funds. Last time he was laid off (two years ago) from his job seasonally, we only had one kid, and she was too young to really know what was up. It was easy. Now, with two, and both of them kind of “getting it” this year, it’s not going to be easy. But I want to make it fun. We will have no extra for gifts for others; they will have to understand, and I am sure they will. It’s just a holiday, one day on the calendar, I know. But it’s a big one. And one I don’t want to screw up.

I am not writing this for you to feel bad for me, friend. I am simply trying to digest all of this out loud. And writing is what I do. I have literally thought about little else since the layoff became a reality. I am always on Austerity Mode. What can we cut? What don’t we need? What can we not spend money on? Is that going to cost us? How much? Will we have enough in January when I am in between pays and semesters? I lived like this when he was laid off from his old job, but we kind of got away from it a bit because life and finances were good. Now, times are tightening up. And while I fully understand that we are still so very lucky and blessed, sometimes it’s hard to see those blessings when you’re worried about affording things months down the road. I am sure I will be able to chronicle more the deeper into this we get, but know that I’d appreciate your prayers for a speedy return to production for his company and a speedy return to work for him. We haven’t fallen behind on anything. I won’t allow it. As long as I am able to keep pace with the bills, and feed the family, we will be okay. It will be okay. It has to be. There is no other way that is acceptable. Remember: no one ever died from this.

I love this graphic. And I will need this reminder. For a while.
Hopefully a short while.
Thanks for listening.

This was my quote upon publishing:
Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. ~Isaac Asimov

How true is that? Love it.

And how does this make you feel?

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