Day 2: Laid-off Living

First, a disclaimer: I’m wasn’t nor am I now “laid off.” Though I did leave full-time journalism, I did so of my own accord. It was my husband who, after 34 years of working for Gannett, was laid-off in September. As I mentioned in another post, he got a nice severance package for his 34 years of service. It is not the short term that concerns me.

It’s the long term.

Our children are 6 and 11. The question of how we make life work after his severance package ends is what he and I are trying to work out in our heads. We’ve come up with lots of options. Everything from teaching to cracker making (see post from Monday).

To further explain the cracker making idea…a month ago, I was working on a story about Louisiana-made gift ideas. I kept talking to people who just started doing/making what they love to do/make. And one thing led to another for each of them. One woman took making and selling five pints of salad dressing at a Saturday market to making a living for hers and two other families — off the very same salad dressing. Another guy made his wife a wooden spoon out of scraps of wood from a guitar he never finished. Now he and his family travel the globe selling beautiful wooden spoons to chefs and foodies. I was inspired. When I struck upon a tasty homemade cracker, I was like, “Eureka, this could be my wooden spoon.”

The other thing I’m doing is taking almost all the work I can get right now. I feel like I can’t pass up the opportunity to make some dough (not as in crackers). So, beyond my work at Barnes and Noble, I’m doing all the freelance writing I can find. A few weeks ago, I was about to lose it from too much work and writing. Thankfully, Thanksgiving revived me.

Julio, in the meantime, is the happiest I’ve ever known the man to be. He is a wonderful person to be around these days — not that he wasn’t before. But, he’s pretty much beeming these days. It took him a while to detox from Gannett. For a while, he was, as I called it, “finding his inner Mexican.” He did the yard. He did some interior renovations. Frankly, family life works MUCH better when one parent stays home. This new situation has prompted me to think a lot about how out of balance life can become when two parents are working all the time, and kids are running from one event to the next. It’s exhausting, and I’m fed up with that kind of lifestyle.┬áIn that realm, Julio having a few months at home has been a beautiful thing.

But, we still don’t know what exactly how we’ll work out the details of the future. More about that tomorrow.

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