Thursday, March 5, 2009

At the rope's end once again

Frustration is boiling up in me again and I need to spout a little. So please, forgive me, close your computer window and don't read on.

The more that happens to me here, the more convinced I am that moving here was a HUGE error. Let's do a quick recap:

1) December 2005: Hired for a job to start up a homeschooling division of a large, stable company, we moved clear across the country, away from a place that felt like home. Interesting note: a year after we moved away, oldest son moved to within a couple hundred miles of where we moved from. Hubby stressed he would need my help, and the help of the whole family to do this new job. That was a selling point: it would bring us together and ease the pain of leaving somewhere we loved.

2) November 2006: The company decided to scrap the idea of a homeschooling line. I was very disappointed as I watched the opportunity for us to work together fly out the window. But, at least hubby was given a job developing a fiction line for the same company. We weren't unemployed, and hubby had a job doing what he has wanted to do for years.

3) July 2008: Less than two years into that job, the company started panicking about the economy and made a series of cutbacks. On the fourth round, we were laid off. We got a fair severance package, which helped take some of the sting out of the sudden, totally unexpected loss. How could it have been unexpected with three rounds of layoffs behind us? What publishing company scraps its entire fiction line?!? That's what they did. Unbelievable (at the time. Of course, since then, many publishing companies have stopped acquisitions altogether, ostensibly putting themselves out of business for the near future.)

4) Hubby immediately had four job possibilities. He went on two interviews in the first three months and both were writing up contracts for him when suddenly the jobs...disappeared. One company had cutbacks itself and decided it can do without that particular job. The other had cutbacks and moved someone in from another place in the company.

5) Aware we couldn't go long without income, Hubby wisely started contacting people for freelance assignments. He secured three, enough to get us through the end of the year; plus one long-term assignment in a field he's never worked before. He was working the phones, the email, the freelance jobs, and all the while, those other two job possibilities were starting to fade.

6) December, 2008 The third job possibility dropped out just before the holidays. That was okay though, we still had one more, and it was someplace closer to "home." Hubby started working on the long-term project.

7) The homes in our neighborhood stopped selling. "Bank Owned" started appearing on the for-sale signs. On our cul-de-sac of 8 homes, 5 now have at least one unemployed adult. The cutbacks in Hubby's industry are so deep and wide, that now there are no jobs in his field, but a glut of unemployed professionals. This glut means more competition in the freelance market, which has now also dried up.

8) Our biggest expenses are: mortgage, food, insurance, in that order. When we left the job, we decided to continue our insurance only for Hubby because of his medical problems, and the kids' teeth. I'm totally uninsured, and the kids have no medical. I fussed and fumed about the "stimulus package" passed by Congress, but then I heard that there is a subsidy for COBRA which might help us afford some minimal medical coverage for the kids. I just heard from HR. The company "allows us to continue health insurance, but as a religious organization, does not subscribe to the COBRA plan." In other words, that'll be $700 a month, thank you very much, no stimulus for you.

9) March 2008: The last job possibility dropped out this week. "That's okay," I rationalized, "because if we had to move again, we would be stuck with two mortgages and no way to unload this house."

10) Hubby is working long hours sitting in an uncomfortable chair that hurts his back, working on a laptop, cooped up in a bedroom all day with bad lighting and a screen that is stressing his eyes, doing a job he was untrained to do. He's doing a wonderful, amazing job, even the people he's working for are very impressed. It's taking him longer to do the job that he ever dreamed, and the money is barely stretching. According to the estimates on paper, we should fall about one month's income short in the next four months.

11) It's not all bad news. Somehow, miraculously, we are surviving. For the next 45 days at least, the mortgage and bills are paid, there's money for groceries, gas in the car and electricity in the house.

But my frustration and anger are building up. I want to whine like a child. I want to go home. I want to cry. I want to hit and kick and scream. I want it to be over. I hate where I'm living. I hate the company that laid us off. I hate this economy and the job market and insurance. I hate money. I hate not having money. I hate that my birthday present to Kate had to be underwear. I hate that my birthday presents to Rose, John, Blair and Christy will also be underwear.

I'm scared. I know God will take care of us because He promised to. And I've been living, breathing and eating that for the last seven months. But the numbers don't work on paper and it's a scary thing to see.

I'm hanging on, Lord, how about a little ray of sunshine?


Anonymous said...

Wow. Peggeroni, I can't imagine the stress, and the impatience (although you don't show it) for God to act.

We aren't quite in similar straits, but might be soon. Dh retired from the Air Force and is working a part time job. He was offered *many* before elections, and they also "disappeared".

Have you thought of possibly doing a "short sale" and letting the house go? From what I understand it's not as bad as a foreclosure. Nick and I are holding it as a last option, we have no problem renting. ;o)

Love you, hang on,

A Frayed Knot said...

Nicoletation, it's so good to hear from you!

We aren't in foreclosure yet. We haven't missed a single payment and aren't expecting to. So it might be a little soon to sell. Also, there is almost no affordable rental market here, the rentals cost almost twice what our mortgage is.

I am not cut out to be a home owner. The tiny tax break we get is barely worth itemizing for, the repairs are making me crazy (neither of us are DIYs) and all I can see is 40 years of paying more than we have for the illusion of "owning" something.

I'll post tomorrow about the mortgage thing.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see. We haven't missed a payment either, and I join you on the not-cut-out to be a homeowner part. I detest paying a mortgage, and wish there were some other way.

Yurt living sounds good, but maybe not with 11 kiddos. ;o)

Love you,