Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where are we now? Part 3

Let me tell ya, unemployment mostly sucks.

In Part 2 of the where are we now series, we ended with me losing my job. You know the saying, hindsight is 20/20, and in this case, it is so true. In a few ways, Ghon and I both saw it coming, but also didn't believe it could happen. But it did.

In February 2015, about 2 weeks after my 15 year anniversary with the company, I was put on three weeks of paid leave then terminated. I was a wreck for a bit. Maybe more than a bit. I updated my resume and started applying for jobs. I cleaned out my dresser, the closet, my nightstand, Ghon's dresser, underneath the bathroom sink, reorganized my file cabinet, and did some work in the kid's rooms. And had no interviews. No phone calls. It was disheartening.

After working 2 hours one way from home for 3 years, I was trying hard to find a job closer to home. But, there's not much for my line of work here in Winchester though. I tried everywhere. I started keeping Genevieve home with me a few days a week to save on childcare costs. I filed unemployment religiously. Cut costs where I could. I probably now have 40 different versions of my resume.

 School ended, and I kept both kids at home. We created theme days to survive the summer. I lived by a calendar, tracking events we could attend for free. We all joined the library summer reading program and went to story time. We visited local historic sites. Went to museums, swimming, batting cages, and playgrounds. And one day a week, they watched a lot of movies so I could apply for jobs. 

We also worked at the farm. But really, not a lot was done. Most of what was needed at that point were things I wasn't comfortable with or couldn't handle. Like drywall hanging or the mud work. Plumbing. Gas lines. Electrical. I could try to clean up. I could, and did, work on the penny floor some. But the kids didn't always make that easy work.

Unemployment mostly sucks, because life changes dramatically. Intensive creative financing, wondering how you'll make ends meet, having to replace a vehicle, the stress I put on myself, and the stress Ghon put on himself, trying not to stress me out. But the time I spent with the kids that summer, and the experiences we had would never have happened had I been working. And that, was worth it.

Jonathan finished his first season of coach pitch baseball - with Coach Jonathan

Genevieve had her first dance recital - with Mrs. Mary

Jonathan loves George Washington, so we visited his office.

Jonathan and George

We made homemade lotion for "Try it Thursday"


We visited the local splash pad for "Wet Wednesday"

The kids became Junior Park Rangers at Fort Necessity.

A little time away and mini-golf at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort for the 5 Alarm Mountain Madness Chili Cookoff.

Stories and dancing at our local library

They made their own lunches...

Visited the courthouse as part of the summer reading program

Did someone say free lego building at Toys R Us?

Who says you can only play with Easter egg dye at Easter? It makes a fun summer project!

We went to the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and saw the full size LEGO car!

And did some other fun stuff too...

They were even nice to each other!

Computer lab at their elementary school

A trip to the movies...

Free baseball game with the Winchester Royals

Sometimes, we stayed close to home and played in our own park.

Or goofed around at the farm.

Worked in some educational stuff to prepare for school...

We gave ourselves manicures, even Jonathan.

Went to a half-day, week long Vacation Bible School in town.

They got free slurpees on 7-11!

We picked blueberries. Lots of blueberries!

Went to the park in town...

Got to sing at the library.

$1 bowling - with hot dogs and ice cream at Northside Lanes!

Finished another week long evening bible school.

And a third that was all day on a Friday! They loved going to all of the bible schools!

Time for another chili cookoff! Overnight in Baltimore!

Unfortunately, Pop wasn't feeling well, so we went to Shenandoah University to see The Wiz!

Another stop on the library reading program and history tour - Storytime at Belle Grove Plantation and a tour of the house following.

Wednesdays were free at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley - so we went twice! Well, to the gardens twice, as they were beautiful!

Sonic had a $.25 hot dog day - so they got hot dogs!

More splash pad action!

Free outdoor movie night in town!

A day of pizza. Breakfast pizzas, pizza rolls for lunch and personal pizzas for dinner!

Next, more chili! Only Jonathan and Genevieve competed in this chili cookoff!

2nd place!
The winner!

End of our church's bible school!

I had these Christmas advent we used them to count down the days until school started!

Playing ball with dad!

Another trip to the Museum gardens with our friends.

Yep, saved the trip to the pool for free day!

And before they went back to school, they had their first sleepover.

And yes, we did a little work on the penny floor. :)

And Ghon tried his hand at laying tile. With Jonathan's help. In his brand new shorts. 

We also made the local newspaper!

The kids went back to school in late August, and I was still unemployed. Spent my days applying for jobs and trying to do something at the house. Pennies, yard work, something. Finally, I started work on October 1, at a great job 35 minutes from home. Things always have a way of working out when you trust God. I was on my last week of unemployment. I don't know how we would have survived. 

Give a few weeks to catch up on bills, reacclimate to the working life and schedules and slowly, we started getting more things done at the house. We brought the plumber back in to connect some lines. 

We had a horrible experience trying to get the tile in the bathrooms finished. Ghon started by laying the backsplash in the kitchen, and did a great job. He then worked on the shower walls in our bathroom. He wasn't as confident with his work and stopped after a bit. We had talked to the contractor we'd been working with and he subbed out the tile work for the master and 2nd full bath.

Well, this guy didn't show when he was supposed to. Charged extra to grout. Then, decided after grouting the kids bathroom, that he wasn't going to grout ours. And we'd already paid him. So our contractor had to finish the job. He did one wall. One. And decided he too, didn't want to complete the job. He gave us some cash back and that was it. He'd gotten busy, and despite him supposedly coming on multiple different days to work on other projects, he didn't show. So we gave up.

A few days before Christmas, Ghon tore his bicep tendon at work. A week later, he was in surgery. Can you say, out of commission?

If it's not one thing, it's another.

In February, I engaged Ghon's niece on a secret mission. Her husband is a master carpenter and builds houses and additions for a living. We hadn't seen either of them for a while, so they flew to DC from Florida for the weekend. Ghon was clueless as I drove to the airport to pick them up. He was stunned when they were standing at terminal!

Saturday morning, Jeff got to work. And he worked. He was able to complete the drywall mud work in the kitchen, dining room and living room. He put up the tile backsplash on the wall where the stove  will be, save for a row of trim pieces on each side. He grouted the bathroom, with Jennifer's help. So much was done that day. Jen and I were able to clean and clean and clean up around the house, getting rid of trash, old construction stuff and generally neatening things up to better move around the house.  Ghon's son Eric and his nephew Nick also came down to help, as we originally thought we might be able to move that day. Eric and Nick provided tons of muscle to move out shutters, windows, the old toilet, window AC unit and an old window frame out of the house. They even made a run to the dump for me and stopped at Lowes for some more supplies. Truly a family effort that weekend, while Ghon was at work. Fortunately, I was able to get ahold of his boss, and get him off work on Sunday so he could visit with Jen and Jeff before they headed back to Florida.

About a week or so later, we were able to get another contractor started. Things are moving a little slower than he thought, but, things are moving. Like really moving. I have rooms that only need to be cleaned out to be called complete! We have a few more big decisions to make then see action, and this project will almost be complete and we can move into our home!

One more post - a part 4 - and I think we will be all caught up on our adventure. Stay tuned!


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