Friday, March 12, 2010
More time together
I haven't posted for the last two weeks, because I wanted to give myself a little time to process, before I talked about events in our family. A little over a week ago, Michael was laid off from his job. It looks like they are slowly shutting down his whole division, so there is almost no chance that he will get to be rehired by that company.
This has meant a number of changes for our family over the last 10 days. We had to go apply for food stamps and the Oregon Health Plan, for the kids. The process was long and grueling, and involved a lot of paperwork and finding documentation. We are grateful that we will qualify next month for both, which will help us survive this period of our lives. We also found out we qualify for a government program which will help pay for the COBRA of our health insurance. This will make it so that Michael and I can keep our insurance, and allow us to have the kids double covered. That is especially important for Maddy, since OHP wouldn't cover all of the treatments that she needs.
We were grateful to find out that Michael will qualify for unemployment, starting next week, and that it will be enough for us to cover our car payment, COBRA, our loan payment and have enough for gas for the vehicles, etc. It is not enough for us to keep up his current spousal support payments, so we are going through the process of having the court re-evaluate what his payments will be. It is involving multiple trips to Bend, since that is where his divorce was filed, but at least it allows us to have the possibility of some relief from that, since those payments are more than he will receive from unemployment.
All of us are finding hidden blessings, as well as challenges, in having Michael home all the time. He is learning to adjust to the pace of "home life" while we are all busier trying to get all the applications and paperwork done. The older kids enjoy spending more time with Michael, and have liked having someone besides me to help with homework. They also have been able to talk Michael into driving them to school much more often than they usually were able to convince me. Michael has been using my editing skills on his cover letters, and we both have been making time for ht other one to have scripture study breaks every day.
There are certainly moments of sadness and despair, but we are working hard to remain grateful and focused on the many blessing in our lives. We have started a family gratitude journal. Michael and I write in it regularly, and we invite the kids to share what they are thankful for at Family Home Evening, and include that in our Monday entrees. I may post some of those entries at some point.