Accepting the Temporary

If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw that I had some good news to share as a follow up to “Scary Stuff.”


Husband just got off of the phone with unemployment. The entire call took all of five minutes. Basically, they asked him if he was given a specific reason why he was fired and if he had ever gotten any formal warnings regarding his performance. Thank goodness for bad surprises because his shock-and-awe-dismissal from his last job basically guaranteed that we WOULD GET UNEMPLOYMENT!

Not that it’s anything to brag about.

But you seriously do not know terror until you lose your main source of income two days after getting back from a lavish honeymoon and wedding.

Having the possibility that we wouldn’t receive any assistance threw us through a major loop. We are not able to budget or make the payments to our debts with certainty. We have been holding off on buying holiday gifts for our family. And my husband’s job search has been more of a desperate plea than a strategic plan of attack.

I know that we are not out of the woods. We still are waiting on some job interview follow-ups (including one which asked for a reference check yesterday), and there are a million pending applications and resumes floating out in cyber space hopefully being analyzed right now. We are obviously not giving up or hitching our bets on the long term government assistance train.

Instead, we spend today thanking the higher powers (or the great state of Illinois) that our world provides us with opportunities to live with the “temporary.”

I may not have yet mentioned it here, but I have been practicing yoga for the last 8 years, and one of the most powerful lessons I have learned (besides how inflexible my hip joints can be) is that everything is temporary. Pain, emotion, physical, and metaphysical. Everything will move on or away eventually.  Roads that we see clearly today will be clouded tomorrow, and we’ll be left to deal with the new or unknown paths.

I’m choosing to look at this state of our house as an exercise is the temporary. Instead, we will accept what life has put in front of us knowing that time will provide some form of answer. And while I do not know for sure how we will revisit this period in the future, I hope that we can eventually look back and say “We survived. We did our best. We are ok.”

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Pay, Save, or Spend?

We’ve had some scares come up this weekend. And with unemployment looking like it’s more and more of a pipe dream… I’m not going to lie and pretend that I am not scared for what is to come. Everyone said that marriage would be hard. But really, this soon? What happened to “newly wedded bliss?”

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Frankly, we’re still wading through the haze of the post-wedding blues. After 21 months of planning a totally lavish, expensive, and time consuming wedding, life hasn’t even settled down. Instead it has thrown us horrible curve balls. Despite that, we are still in the phase of “Do your remember that promiscuous bartender at the reception?” or “I will never forget our first dance…awwww.”

But I think this weekend finally snapped us out of it. We were given what will most likely be our final wedding present- a check of $200 from a relative of my Husband. My first thought was, “HELL YEAH! MONNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEYYYYYYY!!!” And then I remember that I am trying to be responsible and an adult about these things. So then I changed my tune to, “HELL YEAH! DEBT REPAYMEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNTTTTTTTTTTTT!”

And then we got that letter from the unemployment office in the mail.  

I’m back to the old conundrum. Knowing that our future has a good chance of falling apart at the seams- what do I do with this bit of extra income?

Do I put it towards our credit card repayment plan knowing that we may be dipping in to that emergency savings ASAP. Or, do I just put it in the savings account and be cautiously proactive? Third option- since giving Christmas gifts must be done with my family, should I use it to buy gifts?   

Part of me wants to continue on our debt pay-off track. We’re doing so well for total newbies with zero background on debt. I’ve been diligently reading blogs and following along with inspirational people on twitter. I feel like I am truly setting myself up for success and delaying our repayments is just going to hurt us in the long run.

On the other hand, I’m a total wimp when it comes to making these decisions and I often get caught up in how it’s “ok right now” without really thinking about how it’s not ok right now. We are paying over $400 towards our credit cards each month and even more on our student loans. We were essentially paying 20% of our hard earned money on paying minimum balances on cards and loans! NOT COOL!!

Now that you’ve heard me rant and go back and forth on my options, I want to know your opinion. What should I do with my extra $200? Repay some debt, fluff the emergency savings, or spend towards Christmas?

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The Scary Stuff

After a night of post-Halloween parties and a day spent in bed watching West Wing on Netflix, I got up from my stupor to read the stack of mail that’s been sitting on our dining room table for the last couple of days. In between the mountains of credit card applications, Christmas catalogs, and restaurant fliers were two letters for the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

I was hopeful that this was finally the letter that told us how much we would get for unemployment. We’ve been low-ball estimating the number for the last couple of weeks. Whatever the money was, we guessed that it would pay our rent and car payments until we could find that open window. It would hold us over for a little while. It would make things ok.

We were wrong.

The letter wasn’t a note about how much he would be getting. No, it was a letter asking for a follow up interview regarding the rules of unemployment. Apparently, there is a good chance that my husband actually doesn’t qualify for his benefits.

Cue freak out.

My husband was fired two days after returning from our pre-approved honeymoon. While he struggled at his job (which he had for about six months), he was never given any written warnings or was told that his job was in jeopardy. So, all in all, his firing was a complete surprise to everyone. His colleagues all seemed shocked.  And, of course, they gave him zero time to collect or document anything that may have been said or sent (email or phone call) regarding his employment there.

I’ve been searching the web for any info on eligibility interviews but I have come up with pretty much nothing definitive. The consensus is that being “discharged” or “fired” from a job will automatically raise red flags. Got it. But there is zilch about what the interview is actually about or if it is a sign that the employer has or will fight the unemployment claim. Knowing this job, they will.

All I can do is just sit back and wait for Tuesday when he is supposed to call. Or hope one of the last couple of jobs he interviewed for will pay off in the long run. Either way, all I know is that the holidays are coming. Our bills are getting closer. And we’re already living on the edge. We cant wait much longer for a decision either way.

Stress and Interviews

It’s 11:30am, and I’m sitting anxiously in a meeting from Hell. While my coworkers fight over the meaning of “innovative” in relation to our new mission statement, I’m stealing glances at my iPhone. Still black. Nothing has popped up in hours. My stomach turns. I get sweaty.

My source of anxiety: Husband’s first, in-person interview since being let go. 

Leading up to this interview, I was receiving a barrage of texts from him regarding his own nervousness- everything from his shirt not being able to button correctly to a broken mirror and a missing resume.  Now, his radio silence was even more annoying than having to field questions about safety pins and the nearest Kinkos print station.

Every time my eyes darted to my phone, my coworker would shoot me a knowing look. “It’s ok. He’ll do fine.”

Noon hits and I’m still out of the loop. Now I’m getting paranoid that this wasn’t a job interview at all but some weird ploy to entangle and capture my obviously valuable husband for ransom. But then I remember that these mystery kidnappers are trying to ensnare an admittedly unemployed man with a wife working a job that makes just enough to be somewhat respectable. What do they think they’ll get from me?

But then the text comes in. “Done.” WTF. I apparently waited anxiously for a “Done” text. Boys. After some gentle probing, he finally says that it went, “fine,” which loosely translates to: “Fitisthenewpoor, it went horribly. Just stop asking me about it, and lets pretend it never happened.”

In reality, I have no idea how it went, but the silence on the end of my husband isn’t very promising. So I’m putting us back at square one.

How am I coping? Freaking out- naturally. My anxiety has sent my motivation to work out (even to do yoga) back at level 0 and has directly compromised my immune system. Every day, I feel more and more tired and sick at the same time. My eye has been twitching. My hair is falling out in large chunks. My skin conditions are acting up. I’m a massive mess. And as we count down to the last paycheck (t-minus 7 days), I find myself growing more and more in state of near panic attack.

Ok. That’s a lie. Yesterday I had my first full, post wedding, panic attack in my therapist’s office. It wasn’t pretty and I don’t want to rehash.

I suppose I should end this on a happy note, but I really do not have one right now. My husband is keeping a relatively stable mood, but I can feel the weight of what is happening starting to press down on both of us. And I wonder how much longer can the both of us keep it together, mentally.