I rarely talk about money, especially not on my blog. Or ever if I can help it. Few subjects make me more uncomfortable. I get this awkward anxiety over it that takes me back to third grade and some lasting awkward memories.
You see, when I was little my family had money. Or at least the appearance of money. We lived in Mexico which I'm sure helped to skew the perception. There was a maid, a full time gardener, private school. We lived in a big family house with a pool. But I also remember when my Mom and Dave separated and we moved to live with my grandparents. At one point there was a reconciliation, but our lifestyle was completely different. My mom worked nights as a CNA. Dave went from being president of a company to at one point delivering pizzas and then as a beauty supply sales rep. Job to job and next business venture to next business venture and somehow (I don't know the details) we were living in Texas. My mom had gone back to school and was to finish her semester by staying with some people from the ward. My sisters and I were to move back to Utah with Dave a few weeks before my mom could come. Someday I might write about that trip, but most of the memories from it leave me with a pit in a my stomach. We made it only through the generosity of strangers and had to miss Trick or Treating that year.
Back in Utah, Dave and my grandma took us school shopping at D.I. I remember seeing and wanting a denim jacket. I wanted it sooo badly. It was $8.00. They said I couldn't get it because it was too expensive. I wasn't an idiot. I was going to be in third grade. I knew what money was and I knew that eight dollars was not a ton of money. It was standing embarrassed at DI that I realized something was wrong. The weird anxious feeling that accompanied is the same feeling I still get when having to talk about money.
Later that school year a boy at school made fun of my grandma chosen shoes by saying they were just like his grandma's shoes. It wasn't until this week that I realized that, oh my gosh, they could have been his grandma's actual shoes. Along with the memories of the neighbor boy I was madly in love with down the street, my favorite elementary school teacher, and breaking my nose by jumping a crack in the sidewalk on one foot in rollerskates on a dare, I also remember that Christmas happened due to the generosity of family members and knowing that my aunt paid for my Mom's plane ticket to visit us over Thanksgiving. When I think of my mom, I still picture her meeting us after school that day wearing jeans, a turtleneck, and a pink sweatshirt with puffpaint like teddy bears and a faux fair aisle embossed pattern.
Even though things were tight, I never went without. My mom worked hard so that when they divorced we stayed in our house. By the time my mom married my dad in Jr. High, life was different again. We lived in a middle class neighborhood in Southern California. There was always the expectation that we work and earn our own money, but we went to Disneyland at least once a year, ate out, built a new house. My parents worked hard and still do, but shopping at thriftstores has been for a long time more about the thrill of the hunt for me than necessity.
When John and I got married we had nothing, but we were too young and dumb to notice. We were waiting tables and going to school. We busted our backs to put each other through school. I became a nurse and he an electrical engineer. We were never going to be rich, but nice and steady paychecks every two weeks is what I'm about. The uncertainty of starting a small business or jumping from job to job makes me feel like an awkward third grader whose teeth are too big while wearing some punk's grandma's shoes. Life insurance, health insurance, 401k. That's what I'm about. But life still happens. Sometimes you make stupid choices like buying a new Mini Cooper on a whim and others you fulfill God given callings like taking in three kids on your dime. Either way, life is expensive and the money's got to come from somewhere.
So, knowing that talking about money makes me almost physically ill, you can imagine how awesome the conversations around our house have been when we found out that the company John works for is downsizing this year and offering severance packages to those who voluntarily leave. Good ones. One we couldn't pass up. Even if it meant that we might have to move after just planting an orchard in a house we thought we'd live in forever. Completely out of character for us and a little risky, we had to take it. As of the end of March, husband will no longer be employed with the company he's worked for for eight years. He has to take his sabbatical so he will be "on vacation" for eight weeks. That's only part of the good news. The other good news is that it looks like I don't have to move. We are expecting the official job offer to come in this week or next with a company that's actually one mile closer than where he's been working. More good news...I don't want to throw up or jump out of my skin due to anxiety anymore. Also, I'm going to be cow-sitting at my house in a few weeks for a couple months and milking a sweet black Dexter named Pepper.
Moral of my long and boring story...things have a funny way of working out.
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