March 25, 2010

Everything Changes, Everything Falls Apart

It's been a week since I got the text message. "Aaron just laid me off." I stared at my phone, and the only response I could muster was "WTF? Call when you can." Then all I could do was sit there and wait.

There was no notice. There is no kind of seperation pay. Not even appreciation for the work my husband has done the last 2 years or the 50-60 hour weeks he's been working for the past few months, with no extra pay. No payout of accrued personal days, sick or vacation time. Despite the fact that his boss told him he was being laid off, he treated him like he was being fired.

I guess the good news is that now that he doesn't work there anymore, I can openly express my real feelings for his boss. He has never appreciated my husband and his knowledge and work ethic. He has treated him like some sort of sub par employee for as long as he's been there. He has not respected him in any way. And I've had to bite my tongue every time Justin came home from work and told me how he was treated that day and how his boss had made ANOTHER mess he had to fix. How clients didn't want to work with his boss, and he had to try and make up the difference with them.

But most of that? Is not much consolation right now. I've felt so much over the last week. Frustration. Fear. Anger. Panic.

On Sunday it manifested as an overwhelming sadness. Justin woke up on the wrong side of the bed and I just felt like nothing was right. I know how it feels to be laid off from a place you've worked at for years and feel like they don't even care you're gone. I could imagine how it felt to be laid off by someone who isn't very nice and stands and watches over your shoulder while you clear out your things despite 2 years of loyal service.

I cried.

On Monday all it took was Sam scratching me - accidentally but by playing a little too rough with fingernails that were a little to long. I yelled, then seperated myself. Sat on the front lawn and sobbed in one of our little plastic IKEA chairs. Beyond the anger and the sadness and the fear, overwhelming all of that in that moment, was the guilt.

These last few days, I haven't been handling motherhood very well. And I hate it. Sam is very tied to our emotions and the atmosphere he's in. He's been difficult. We've been having issues with hitting and the extra whining is grating on my last nerve. I hate feeling like we'd both be better off if we weren't together, but I've had those moments more frequently than normal in the last week.

It doesn't help that our house is a mess that needs to be cleaned up and I can't seem to muster the energy. Even before all of this happened, I had been feeling exhausted. I'm in the final stretch of this pregnancy and it's taking a lot out of me. Cleaning up toys in the living room and clearing out dirty laundry and dishes leaves me feeling like I need to lie down for a while. When the laundry is clean, I can no longer carry the basket up the stairs.

Today, a week later, I find myself feeling utterly panicked. We have no income. We have no savings. We have nothing we can cash out, nothing to fall back on. Because Justin was making so little money for the last two years, we haven't been able to replace any of our savings. We don't have any credit cards since the bankruptcy we went through in 2008.

Ironically, last Wednesday or Thursday I was thinking about writing a post about how tired I am of being poor. I planned the disclaimer of a paragraph - yes I know we were lucky that we had a job at all. I KNOW that we're lucky we have a roof over our heads, and I'm not discounting people who have less. But it really sucks living paycheck to paycheck, overdrawing the bank account almost every month, having to rely on the state for insurance and take WIC to cover part of our grocery costs.

Now, we have $150 to last until Justin gets his last paycheck on April 7. We barely have any food in the house, and my car is out of gas. His last check will only be 1/2 the normal amount, which will cover some of our bills for April, but not all. We have a baby coming in six weeks, and a significant amount of stuff like bottles and clothes and diapers that we still need to buy.

I had to email our babysitter today to tell her we can't pay her, and despite the fact that I feel like I need my Sam-free days more than ever, that we can stop sending him if she wants until we can pay her. Luckily she's a friend and not a day care center, and she'll probably understand.

I told her about how Sam broke his Aunt's camera last night and I felt bad because I couldn't offer anything. Normally I would offer to pay to have it fixed or to help her buy a new one, but I can't offer that right now. I don't even know how we're going to get through the next few weeks.

I was feeling okay before I wrote that email. Afterwards, I just felt drained. I feel the familiar prickle of tears in my eyes, and I've cried more this week than I have in a while. Sometimes it's hard to stop.

We're waiting to hear on a job that Justin interviewed for last week, and praying for it. We're pretty sure he's one of the final 2 candidates, and it would be amazing if it worked out. But what if it doesn't? Jobs are not exactly plentiful here, especially in his field (computer IT or programming). We're waiting to hear on another job he might be able to do for one of his old clients that would get us through a couple of months. But there are no guarantees.

I'm scared. This is the worst off we've ever been. There have been rough patches before, but never like this. Never where I was so uncertain of what was going to happen and how we were really going to be able to make it. Coping with all of this with a sensitive almost 4 year old and with pregnancy hormones coursing through my veins? It's making me a little crazy.

People ask me how I'm doing, and it's hard to answer anything but 'fine.' I don't want to get into it, and I do have moments where everything seems normal. It's too much to think about every minute of every day. But I know that neither Justin or I really feel fine or normal right now.

I don't know how to end this, other than to say Thank You to everyone who's been supportive the last week. It does make a difference. I'm just trying to trust that things will somehow work out, because really, what else can I do?


Audrey at Barking Mad said...

I want you to know that I'm praying for you and keeping you close to my heart.

It probably doesn't mean anything to hear it now, but something will work out. Maybe not the perfect "something", but it will work out in the end. Have faith that things will fall into place. You've been dealt a shitty enough hand the last two year that it absolutely has to start smoothing out for you.

I'll email you in a little bit.

In the meantime, your family, YOU GUYS are the ones the "system" was designed to help. Don't be afraid to use it! Don't be ashamed to use it! You have paid into it and now you deserve to have it be there for your family to fall back on.

Mama Bee said...

So sorry for the shit luck! And, girlfriend, I can totally sympathize with having no energy. Makes you feel worthless, huh?

Much love and fingers crossed for a new job soon!

Young Wife said...

I'm so sorry! I just said a prayer for you guys!

Athena said...

Horrible, scary situation. I am way too familiar with that bubble of panic always just beneath the surface. Use the system- its not perfect but it can help keep you afloat. I hope the job comes through. In the meantime, I'm sending positive thoughts your way. Good luck!

Enz said...

I don't know how your laws are in your State ...but isn't he entitled to unused vacation and termination pay? Have you spoken to your State's labour board?

Other than that, I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers, I've been laid off twice, both after ten years of impeccable service and in both cases, much better opportunities presented themselves - sometimes things do work out for the best even if it doesn't seem that way at the time.

Hang in there, hugs to all of you.

Momma Edie said...

You'll be okay because you have family. I can help clean your house tomorrow while the guys build the play structure. Of course we're not going to let you starve! We can go shopping together-it will be fun! The important thing is for all of us to pull together to make things work. I know how you feel though. I've been there a few times. This will pass. I love you.

April said...

I'm so sorry your family is going through this. Just hang on tight, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Dumblond said...

While I am sorry that you are struggling right now and that you were left in such a lurch with this sudden unemployment, I am thrilled that your husband no longer has to deal with that asshat of a boss. My husband and I have been through your is hard. And while it seems like it will never come to an end, it does. You just have to find joy in the little things.
I'm thinking of you always.

Mighty M said...

I'm so sorry you are struggling! Keeping you all in my thoughts - let me know if I can help you!!

Mrs4444 said...

I can't say one word on this subject, for fear of reprisals from a certain employer I know, but I'm so glad your husband lost that job; it's not worth it.

Your vulnerability and honesty came through in this post. It was a tough subject but well-written. I'm glad things are looking up for you.