Here's the thing about vacations: you have to come back from them.
When we were on vacation, all the other adults were talking about how they'd have to go back to work right after vacation. They weren't looking forward to it.
Jason and I kept quiet because no one wants to hear the teachers gloat about how they don't have to go back to work in the morning. Even now, we're still on vacation (although not for much longer).
But once we got back from vacation I admit I got into a bit of a funk. It could just be the post-vacation blues. Or it could be that we had just spent the very last bit of our fun money. We saved for our Florida vacation for more than seven months because seven months ago we knew we didn't want to be thinking about the inevitable when we were on vacation. We wanted to have fun, wanted to not feel strapped, wanted to do what we wanted to do. We didn't want to think about the fact that Jason does not have a job lined up for this fall.
It's not like the unemployment thing has surprised us. It hasn't. Let's remember that we decided not to build our house knowing what our future would look like. On the one hand, hooray for us for making the smart decision to not push ourselves into financial ruin. Rah rah.
On the other hand...it would have been cool if any of the local districts were hiring. They're not, by the way. No interviews to be had. No social studies jobs to be handed out. We are mildly tempted by the fact that his old job is still open ("Do you want to commute 70 miles a day? Really? Okay"), but no, not doing that.
So, he'll get to sub. That's super duper, and it lets Jason set some good goals to accomplish in his free time (learning Spanish, getting his Language Arts endorsement). Subbing is consistent work. Gosh, how many fields of employment offer that kind of safety net? He can still work every day if he wants.
Except the pay will be less. A lot less.
And the health/vision/dental insurance will be gone. Poof.
And...now we start to make the cuts to our budget.
Fortunately, I still have my two teeny tiny jobs (teaching and graphic design), and now I've even added another teeny tiny job working as a barista at Jason's dad's coffee shop. Three jobs totaling 12 hours of work. And I say, it's better than nothing. I also say don't ask me to make you a latte. I'm still no good at it.
Also fortunately--very, very fortunately--we have the money from the sale of our house. Granted, we'd really like to use that to eventually build the house, but it's there. Keeping me from worrying about money.
The worry-free part is good. I doubt the girls will notice any difference in our lifestyle because (1) they are too young to notice that we don't buy meat anymore, (2) we didn't buy them whatever they wanted anyway, and (3) living on the Family Farm is the constant cherry atop their lifestyle sundae. Though our monthly income is going to be drastically reduced, it's not worth me mentioning that to the kids. They already know (and use) the phrase, "We can't afford it." Life will be much the same.
It's the part of life that won't be the same (the paycheck) that makes my eyes twitch a little. I have to remind myself daily to be thankful. To count each and every one of my shiny happy stars. I admit that it's much easier to think of what I don't have, but I can't go down that road. I have a lot to be thankful for. Although if any local principal is reading this post, I'd be really thankful if you offered my husband a job.
I had all this stewing about in my mental soup when Parent Bloggers Network asked their readers what we're doing about back-to-school shopping and the current economic situation. Even though we do have one very adorable 5 year-old who is going to be in kindergarten this fall, there's not much school shopping to be done. We are fortunate that Sydney is attending kindergarten at the pre-school where she has been attending, which happily is the school Jason's mom owns and operates (and she graciously does not charge us tuition). Extra happiness: cousin Clover will be in Sydney's kindergarten class. Also in the same classroom doing the pre-school thing? Jules and cousin Toby.
That means of the ten kids at the school, four of them are Family Farm kiddos. I can't tell you how much easier that makes everything.
If my girls were older and we were in the life-stage we're at right now, I might be consulting Capital One's MoneyWi$e eLearning tool. Lots of great tips for talking about money to kids, as well as figuring out your own finances. At this point, however, because of their age, our girls are still on the same track they've always been on.
Next year, when Sydney goes to a more tradition elementary school, things may be different.
Actually, I'm counting on things being different.