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.
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.