Wednesday, November 4, 2009

As Thanksgiving Approaches...

It's been a rough year here, not much has gone right. The early part of 2009 consisted of my husband going on job interviews and me listening to the after story realizing that he was probably not going to get any of these jobs, or any job again EVER because he just didn't have the capacity that he used to have. Physically he's weak, mentally he's unstable and unpredictable. In March I started researching SSDI thinking it was time to apply and my research led me to the fact that as former air force he was entitled to VA Disability which kicks SSDI's ass. So we started the process in March and submitted his application in April. With high hopes we waited, and waited, and waited, and are still waiting 8 months later. My high hopes are now tempered with a great deal of impatience and aggravation! GRRR BUT the bottom line is he will be approved, it is a cut and dried case so whenever it is finally decided we will get a giant check to pay us back to April and ongoing monthly payments for the rest of his life. This is something to be thankful for, it will save us financially. I just wish it would hurry up.

To add to the rough year - on June 30th I lost my job. This was a bit of a blow to my ego. It was HUGE blow to our financial status. But things that make me thankful - the temporary reduction of COBRA payments to 35% allowing us to keep our much needed health insurance without going into debt to do it. Unemployment - it's not much but it pays the cars and the utilities. We had savings - sure it was earmarked for retirement but it is more important to keep afloat now than to retire later, and we already know my husband will receive a monthly payment until he dies - so he doesn't really need retirement accounts. We could last another year and a half at least as we are if I dip into mine too. It won't come to that - the VA can't take that long, can they?

The upside to me losing my job - well I hated the job and the commute so wasn't really happy go lucky suzy sunshine while working there. In retrospect it was a mistake to take the job and make the change. I liked what I did in the job I had before that, loved it. There were frustrations but I LOVED the work. Also I was someone there, I was respected, I made decisions, I was important. When I changed to the hated job - I was no one, I was a peon, I was a cog in a machine. I hated it. The additional $16,000 a year I made by switching turned out to not be nearly enough for what I was giving up. :( Oh so this was about upside - well I realized it will take more than a big paycheck to make me like a job, and I got to spend a great deal of my summer with my nephews and let me tell you walking into a room to watch this little face light up with joy at my presence? Well it's something special! I have learned that despite what I always thought I really am not a tough, hard driving career woman. The more I think about the future the more I think I want a part time job, something that will give me purpose, and hopefully health insurance! Something that can be flexible and allow me to be there to take my husband to doctor visits, physical therapy, psychologist visits and more. As he continues to decline - more and more he is going to become my job. It's a sad reality for us - but as I embrace it I realize that for the past 4 months I have not missed the corporate BS at all, I have enjoyed sleeping until 8 most mornings, and I love having time - to take a walk, to go have lunch with a friend, to spend with my nephews, to spend with my husband, to play with my dog. Time is precious and I don't want to spend 50+ hours a week doing something I hate just for a paycheck. This is a discovery I am truly thankful for.

I think maybe after all these years I'm starting to find the real me in there somewhere.


Angela said...

I am so happy that despite the problems that you are happy. All of the other stuff will get worked through, your happiness right now is most important.

By the way, have you checked out Angel Food Ministries? They offer reduced groceries each week, enough for a family of 4 for the entire week.And there are no income limitations, anyone can order from them. It could help tighten the belt while you wait on VA to get their act in gear.

Tricia said...

Thank you for the tip about Angel Food Ministries. We are not in a place where we need to take advantage of this but I will share the info with my church. I think we have families that could benefit.

Jennifer said...

That's the way it works and you're doing great.

sunshine said...

It sounds like you've discovered some very important things while you've been off. :)

I think that working part time (given your husbands health issues) is a smart decision.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for you. Having to deal with a spouse in poor health isn't easy and it sounds like you've had your hands full with him.
Working part time would give you some time to yourself while still bringing in money. Plus, as you say, you'd be able to run him to his appointments. :)

I hope with all my heart that things get better sweetie!