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The other shoe drops

So, here we are, cruising through our lives, getting excited and buying diapers for our new baby, digging out from two blizzards, counting the days until spring and then summer...thinking everything has finally settled down after the topsy-turvy year that was 2009. We had yet another lovely weekend, took Sweet Boy bowling with friends last night -- a really fun, giggly evening -- and as we drove home, I caught myself thinking about how perfect my life is.

Then suddenly, whammo. The other shoe drops. The shoe we've been dreading for just over a year. But we weren't expecting it to fall from this particular foot.

Chris was laid off today. Without warning. Kissed us goodbye and drove himself to work on a sunny President's Day, and was called in to HR with the rest of his staff at 9:00, home by 11. They cut all but three in his department, all the highest earners, because the company is failing and they can't afford them anymore. Because Chris has been there 12 years, they gave him a small severance package, but most of the other people didn't get anything. Just a thank you, good luck, and a box to put their personal belongings in.

Whoa. I can honestly say I didn't see this coming, though I think Chris did and in his stalwart way has been protecting me. We sat on the sofa just hanging on to each other for a few minutes when he walked in the door (cracking jokes, of course, because that's how we handle adversity), and he told me he felt like he was dumped by the bitchy girlfriend he hasn't had the guts to shed. So ironically, today he feels relieved. And really, when I really think about it, so do I. We have worried about the stability of his job for years now, as the company seemed to hire and fire its top people with the seasons. He's slogged his way through a hateful drive up and down the highway each day for over 10 years. The company has pulled the rug out from under him on numerous occasions, as far as raises and promotions go. So yes. Good riddance, Boathouse Sports. And fuck you, too.

Today we will soak it in, tomorrow we will start to plan the next steps. My husband is a smart, energetic, engaging guy who can do whatever he puts his mind to. So now he just has to find something that makes the most of his talents. We've talked for a long time about how conservative we are, how we've both just clung to mediocre jobs all this time because we are afraid to jump from frying pan to fire. But now the frying pan has been flung aside, at least for one of us, so there's nothing to do but jump into the fire and hope to come through with only singed leg hair or minor burns.

What strikes me most about this morning is that the whole time he sat here with me, telling me about what happened, he kept asking me how I'm doing, if I'm ok. He's worried about me while his world just got upended. How I love this man. I know that we'll get through it. There's no question, no alternative.

Boom, now it hits me: In a strange turn of events, suddenly I'm the breadwinner. Sitting here on the couch, working on a shitty manuscript on my day off, knowing there's no such thing as even a cost-of-living raise in my future, pissed off about my horrible new healthcare package, wondering if I'll even have a job this summer, because I work for a failing nonprofit. And in less than one month I will give birth to my second child. Oh, Life, you funny little bitch.


  1. Oh No, hang in there and don't worry - everything happens for a reason. This happened to my friend Shannon, the adopted an infant and soon after her husband was laid off. Well, it worked out perfect. He is staying home with the baby and collecting unemployment until he finds something else. Things will work out.

  2. Crapola! Though, yeah, Boathouse hasn't been great to Chris over the years, so in that sense, good riddance. With every fiber of our beings we will be hoping a fantastic new job comes along for him soon and that yours lasts you as long as you need it. Hugs aplenty coming your way.


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