Monday, November 09, 2009

the upside to the downside

those three

We're past the point of grumbling about it, but, yes, if you're wondering, we're still affected by the mister's job loss. When a family loses their only source of income and that family is already pretty broke (by that I mean, zero savings plus a hefty mortgage, to boot) it's grumble-worthy. But it's not just us. Joblessness is widespread and if you don't know someone who is unemployed and struggling, then maybe you should get out more. We're scrabbling.

There is a new business endeavor. Have you heard? Starting a new business when a heap of bills are late and things like Foreclosure have become actual possibilities might be foolish. But what else can you do?

So, while we're in the middle space between jumping off the cliff and either hitting the ground, hard, or, miraculously, somehow, taking flight, I thought I'd mention the flip side to unemployment, the good parts of what is mostly a very, very difficult thing to experience.

Let me back up a bit and set the scene: there was the difficult relocation (a wanted return to oregon, but the circumstances were trying), a painful pregnancy loss with complications and medical bills, and then, interwoven in all that trouble: my husband's job which pretty much sucked donkey balls. (that's the most polite way I can describe it.)

So even with all the extra stress unemployement (like lack of income and losing insurance), I can't deny that there have been some really wonderful perks.

I think my husband's old job was close to destroying my family. I would like to tot up a list of specifics here, but I'm trying to be vague. Trust me when I tell you that the working environment was very much not good. And my husband? He is not a complainer. He does not shirk. And nothing he ever did was good enough for those people. He put in such long days and gave them so much and it was never enough. (it is seriously hard to keep from spilling the details.)

So, for starters, we see my guy a lot more. He often didn't come home until the children, at least the little one anyhow, were asleep. He left before we were up in the morning. And now he is here. He reads the bedtime books to the boy and he watches library Doctor Who dvds with the girl and he eats breakfast with us and dinner, too. He is a part. As he should be. As he always was before, but his previous employment made impossible.

Our garden this year was bigger and better than the year before because he was around so much more.

He has had the time, since this past Spring, to work weekly at our friends' farm. This has been so tremendous, I can't even tell you. We get vegetables in trade for his labor, but we're really getting so much more. When the mister was working a zillion hours a week for micro-managing brickheads (again, severely censored. believe it.), he didn't have the time to get to know people he'd like to know here locally. This farm working arrangement was a step in that direction. He likes our farmer friend so much and also loves working. My guy loves being outside doing hard work. He has learned, a little, about small scale farming and is re-inspired about our convictions about food and supporting a local economy. It's given him a connection to things that matter. This never would have happened if he were still bogged down by his old awful job.

Our house is better off. He is handy and likes fixing and improving things but everything went to the old nasty job and there wasn't a lot left over. He's been able to do some repairs and such that he never had time to think about before.

So, really, what this all comes down to is how good it is to have time, to be the master of our own schedules again. He picks up odd jobs where he can and is trying, trying to get the new business going and will always adhere to any associated obligations without a fuss. And not all jobs suck the life right out of an employee, but man, that one nearly did us in. He gave so much to people who didn't appreciate it, and had very little left to give us, the ones he's working so hard for in the first place.

I don't know how we'll make it work. It's shame that, even in these tenuous economic times, someone so capable and clever and strong (like an ox!) could be jobless. Worry still hangs over us and clogs our plans; I sure hope we again see some kind of financial stability. Who knows what lies ahead of us. But in the meantime, it's all so much more manageable within the context of a healthy, intact family.

1 comment:

annasmamma said...

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
—Joseph Campbell

I enjoyed your story very much, it reminded me of Joseph Campbells quote.