Through the Back Loop

Adventures in knitting, fiber arts, and family.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Time for Healing

Several years ago when my husband’s job was being phased out and he made the decision to return to school and earn his master’s degree, I never thought that our lives would turn out like this. Poor and happy.

I know that you don’t need a lot of money to be happy, but sometimes it sure would be nice to find out! There was a period of two or three years before his job was in jeopardy where we had two full incomes and there was even an emergency saving’s account with enough money to get us through a few months, “just in case.” That money was used up in July 2004, and we have never been able to put away since. Stressful? Yes. Happy. You bet!

For two years, John has looked for a full-time school counselor position near where we have chosen to raise our family. Out of hundreds of applicants he would sometimes get an interview, but never a job offer. This tormented him. Many times he lost out to “young kids” with the fresh-eyed enthusiasm of youth, but who also had no real experience. That left him feeling worthless. Last year he got a job, but we were saddened by the fact that it was 3 1/2 hours away. For more than two years I have been asked if John has found something close to home nearly every day. It is exhausting. Last year I would tell them about his job in Lac du Flambeau and instead of congratulations I would hear either, “so, are you moving up there?” or, ”so far away?”

Our original plan was for him to work up there for one year and then use that “experience” to make him more marketable in our home area. He had one interview this year at the school district where I work. They hired a fresh young whippersnapper who earned his degree eight months ago, plays ball with the vice-principal and graduated from the high school a few years ago. “Good ‘ole Joe,” was excited to think that he would be counseling the younger siblings of his friends and working side by side with his former teachers. We were crushed. Last year, John fought with a hundred other applicants to get an interview. This year we have heard that there are often two hundred or more applying for each job. We have learned to be thankful for the job he has.

This has been a summer of healing. We have played in the sun, picnicked, swam, and calmed our minds to our new way of life. It turns out that our second home in Minocqua actually offers us the kind of life we have dreamed of. Canoe camping, state and national forests, fishing, and a slower pace are all part of the natural landscape there. And there are three yarn shops within a half-hour drive. We have talked about moving, but there have been no real job opportunities for me, and to be honest, I’m afraid of the work involved in a move – our house still needs a lot or work to be considered saleable. So, we have set our minds to living in two homes for another year, possibly more. We feel lucky that we have two incomes, we feel lucky that we have two homes and that one of them offers us limitless play. We did it last year with the added torture of continuous family medical problems so we hope that this year will seem calmer in comparison. I can’t imagine that another year of strokes, heart attacks, colon cancer and septic infections are in our parent’s futures, so if we survived that – this year should be a breeze.

So if you see me, don’t ask if John has found a job because he found one a year ago and we are happy and content. And very poor. But we are also very blessed.


  • At 11:19 AM , Blogger Vicki Knitorious said...

    You've got an amazing attitude, Kristyn. It's so easy to get down and overwhelmed by all the things that are wrong or just not fair -- thanks for the reminder to look on the bright side and be thankful for what we DO have.

  • At 4:26 PM , Blogger Cheryl said...

    My husband worked 7 weeks this year and 8 weeks the year before. He had one employment check left (good for one weeks pay) he is in West Virginia working and living in a campground in and the child are here in western pa..managing...the job pays well and pays benefits. That's important. So I can empathize.


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