Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Our Family: Entering the Ranks of the Unemployed

About two weeks ago, as the guy was here to install our "perfect to us" refrigerator from the "dint and ding" place, I got a call from Eric.  "You can come pick me up whenever you want."  It was Friday and he had said they might let them off early that day for a job well done on a project his team had finished.  "You're already off?!" I said.  "You could say that.  They let me go."  The world went sort of blurry, slow motion.  Children were scurrying around me.  The installer was moving our old working-but-in-disrepair fridge out of the house.  I felt STUPID for buying this new fridge, even if it did cost 60% less than sticker price.  What a very stupid way for us to use our nest egg.  We could have made the old one work for a few years longer.  Just because it wasn't pretty...

Eric sat outside his office with his two boxes for more than an hour.  More than an hour before I could get to him because of the stupid refrigerator.  An hour thinking about my deflated husband, with no way to get away from the business that had treated him wrong from day one.

The first weekend I'd say it was pretty easy to be in denial.  It was like any other sort of weekend.  And the first week, well, it was fairly easy to be optimistic.  We could look at it as a little bit of a vacation with daddy home.  Precious time we haven't had with him for a while. 

The thing is, my husband has been looking for a job for three months.  He has been very unhappy with his work situation and wanted out of there.  He has gone on interviews.  He hasn't been offered a job.

He is a legally blind computer programmer with 20 years experience.  His work ethic is beyond reproach.  Because of his disability, he isn't the fastest program out there, but he more than makes up for that in other ways.  He has NEVER had a bad review from his employers.  He has always left from one job to another with much-respect.

The various chores that come with unemployment have been startling.  They are humbling and difficult to face. 

Unemployment Pay
Food Stamps
State-assisted medical insurance for the children

In one day we went from middle class income to -0- income.  Going into the holiday season, we are trying to prepare ourselves for the possibility that no job may be forthcoming for a while.

It took a week for Eric to delve into unemployment.  It was hard for him to face.  While any income is better than no income, unemployment pay is not enough to live on.  Honestly.  We do NOT live in an extravagant home (1800 sq feet, built in 1962) and we drive a model year 2007 vehicle.  Our unemployment is around 1/4 of my husband's paycheck, and will not even cover the cost of our mortgage and vehicle payments.

Food stamps.  When my mom mentioned this to me I cried.  We aren't "those" people.  We don't need THAT.  Well, after seeing what the unemployment income will be, I realize that we will very much need that.  And we need to pray that it will be more based on the number of people in our family than the unemployment is.  I start my research tonight.

Medical Insurance:  No matter how much it costs, we will have to buy Cobra insurance for Eric and myself.  We both have chronic health conditions with MANY prescriptions each month.  We cannot afford $20,000K in medicine each month.  Three of our four kids are generally healthy, and there should be programs to assist with Kendi's HIV if it comes down to that.  It will probably save hundreds of dollars to put them on the state's medical insurance.  Again, something I never thought I would be in a position to need to do.

This is hard.  Really hard.  Are we being punished?  Were we not good stewards of the resources the Lord gave us, and this is a wake-up call?  I don't know.  I know that He will never leave us.  I know that He isn't going to allow us to walk through this without also giving us an opportunity to learn something from it.  But right now I'm scared that my husband isn't finding a job as quickly as he always has in the past.  And frustrated that I can't buy Kendi that pair of brown shoes that I think she "needs."  And feeling a lot lost, trying to learn "the system" that might be able to keep us afloat until God reveals His long-term plan.
We would so covet your prayers.


Renee 4:40 PM  

Praying dear friend. I am so very sorry.

Gretchen 5:30 PM  

Oh, Anita. Hugs and prayers. What a tough, tough season. I will pray that it is short-lived. Please don't be hard on yourself about the fridge. Hindsight is 20-20, and we never know, really, do we? Sending love from Seattle.

Leah 6:29 PM  

What shoes does she want?

Deb 8:49 AM  

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." This got me through the darkest of times...You and your family will be in my thoughts.

Kait 11:49 AM  

Anita, please email me at k.kettmann @ gmail . com. My husband works in the tech fields and has several contacts with recruiters. He gets job offers daily and would be thrilled to pass your husband's information along. I know for certain that a former employer of his is always hiring and since it's a work from home position, he could work from literally anywhere (my husband did this job from Uganda for almost five months during our adoption).

CarrieT 4:30 PM  

Oh, Anita. I am so sorry! I haven't checked your blog in a while and missed all this. I will pray for you. I went back to school fulltime and my hubby works in a non-profit company so he doesn't make very much. With our 4kids we qualify for reduced lunches at school and for the state low-income health insurance for our kids. That was hard for us to accept too. It humbled us but also gave us empathy for others who are in the same or much worse shape. I have had no insurance for about 5 years now. I will pray for you all.

Carrie T.

Piller Family 2:12 PM  

Another thing to consider for health insurance would be to try to sign up for "Obamacare" and see if you can get coverage cheaper than the COBRA starting in January. I know it's not ideal, but if it saves money it might be worth the hassle of applying.