When Every Door Is Closed

The older I get, the clearer past decisions and consequences of said decisions become. In other words, hindsight is 20/20. That is a wonderful thing when used to advantage.

When I lost my job, I was pretty thrilled about it. Our company had been through 2 buyouts in a short period and the restructuring hadn’t gone well. Bad management – blah, blah, blah. I was looking for the next chapter and thinking that next chapter was another big company with nice benefits and good money. So. Wrong.

But it wasn’t just bad management that killed our work. As I went from company to company in my field, I found that once their work was done, they had no more either. Government work was drying up in the private sector. What does that mean? For me, it meant that my savings was going to need to last a lot longer than I’d anticipated.

Then my significant other lost his job.

His job was truly horrible so I was pretty happy for him – at first. I thought based on 10 years with a company, no sick time, no paid vacation time and keeping his mouth shut then he’d be a shoe-in for any company hiring. And he was…for all companies hiring between $8.50 and $10 an hour. Not. A. Living. Wage.

He likes his new job. From his description, it reminds me of some of my jobs after high school. With the SAME PAY AS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL. Okay, so maybe it’s $4 more an hour AFTER 30 YEARS!

Now, I’ve been mulling this over for months. What to do when the jobs are gone and there’s no possibility of retiring EVER if the money continues this way.

  • Start a new business?
  • Go back to school?
  • Go back to the profession before the last one (for me, not him)?
  • GET OUT OF THE HALL

THINK OUTSIDE OF THE HALL!!

So, we’ve been prepping our house to sell and we’re making lists of WHAT NEXT?!

Then, the hot water heater caught on fire (we love our electrician because the breaker switched off as planned) and we replaced it. I painted the garage (and cleaned the sooty parts I’d already painted that had been affected by the fire), cleaned the house top to bottom and prepped the yard. Let the games begin!

We interviewed several agents to get an idea on what price we’ll fetch. The agents seemed impressed! We weren’t. Major price discrepancies ($40,000 among them), comps were either much smaller or foreclosures and the song and dance began. So we’re going to list it ourselves….and that means more lists. More questions. More research.

Some of our ideas have ranged from selling everything and moving to Europe to moving to north Florida and starting a business. None of our fantastical ideas are possible without money from the home sale.

I’ve read that we’re not alone. Many people are starting 3rd and 4th careers because of the economy. College educated and laid off was not where I thought I’d be in my 40’s. I thought that THE LAST TIME.

Luckily, either way, we planned ahead. When we purchased our home, we had a set price that we stuck to NO MATTER THE PRESSURE. I remember one broker telling us we could afford a payment almost double our current payment.  I said to him, “What if one of us loses our job?” He pooh-poohed us. We pooh-poohed him and stuck to our guns.

What we got needed a lot of work but compared to what we were seeing here in Florida – they all did in our price range. SERIOUS WORK.

Ours was the best of the dozens we looked at. Purple inside and out (easily changed). Fantastic neighborhood. Metal roof. Concrete block. Garage. We can walk down the street and go kayaking in the river. Surrounded by parks. Pond in the back. Pool. Good bones. It ticked every box on the first time home buyers DREAM list (well, except move in ready).

It turned out to be more than we need. As our circumstances have changed, so have our requirements. Don’t get me wrong. Our cats LOVE having a queen size bed to relax on – though one sleeps with us and takes up half the bed every night in our room. We’ve found that the majority of our space is for storing STUFF. Toys, albums, videos and clothes? Really? Yep.

If we remain in an area with no jobs are we not standing in the hallway waiting?  Without the income from the house ALL of our possibilities are limited. VERY limited. So we’ll continue make lists and more lists and wait for a window to open. Or open our own damn door and move out!10407820_10206953839430145_1358700278059208826_n 11046694_10206953840310167_425121759689416588_n

Chill Easter with the Egyptian dead

Easter: another holiday that involves candy and sends me binging on chocolate 5 minutes after I’ve recovered from Christmas binging. Okay, so Christmas is 3 months gone but the candy was ample and lasted MUCH longer than I’d hoped. I’ve settled into my New Year workout that I revamped 3 weeks ago (yes, in March because I despise waiting in line) and have been prepping myself – because there are all kinds of events revolving around every holiday even though we have no children. Not being particularly religious – other than Jesus Christ Superstar – this has always been a yummy holiday but has evolved over the years.

My mom approached us about doing something different AGAIN this year. Last year we visited the Titanic exhibit. Much fun for me, my significant other and my mom. We all drew random names at the beginning to see who survived the trip. We wove our way through staterooms, cattle quarters, fine dining ware and video displays of undersea wreckage. Mom was the only passenger left floating according to her card. Every visitor compared their card to the list at the end of the tour and each was doled out at random so much like real life, it was the luck of the draw.

This year, I started off Thursday asking friends who were possibly Christian, what the deal was with Friday as part of the 3-day Jesus-raises-from-the-dead thing. Nobody knew anything in detail then joking commenced about how little we knew, so I winged it on Friday by listening to Jesus Christ Superstar in its entirety at the gym then went home and sang it at the top of my lungs like I used to when I was 5. I’m not looking for Christian points, that’s just how I roll.

Saturday, we celebrated by discussing how upset we were with the banning of Cadbury through a lawsuit that Hershey has brought against them – possibly making THIS our LAST YEAR of Cadbury Caramel Eggs!!! I feel that’s worth leaving the U.S. for and defecting to the U.K. but so far the man isn’t going for it. Then we painted the garage floor.

Sunday, I’d made reservations for brunch at City Place followed by an Egyptian exhibit also in West Palm Beach (see awesome pictures) that we’d intended to see when it opened a few months ago. Great way to walk off filet mignon and eggs!

Afterlife: Tombs and Treasures of Ancient Egypt at the South Florida Science Center (located at the same place as the Dreyer Park Zoo) gave us a nice over view, had some very old mummies (5,000 to 6,000 year range), a very descriptive full scale tomb with mummy (pictured), let us walk for a bit but wasn’t too much for us to hop in the car to head home and stage a couch coup d’etat!

*As I wrote that, I realized the only ones we’re fighting for the couch are the cats so, it’s a win-win.

Mummy circa 1500 BC
Mummy circa 1500 BC
Aligator mummy
Aligator mummy
Kitteh mummy
Kitteh mummy
Cow eye covers?
Cow eye covers?

A laid back holiday with no chocolate crash,  my man and my mummy…I mean mom!

I understand that I’m not pursuing the plethora of risen from the dead, Boris Karloff/Mummy jokes and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m feeling they’re too cliche that I’ll annoy even myself or that I got it all out yesterday. On Facebook I DID post “I see dead people.” That having been reposted: I try to be respectful to my religious friends and family but sometimes I fall short. VERY short. All in all, a lovely day with the fam and one that I would repeat next year assuming there’s a decent exhibit at the museum.