Monday, January 10, 2011

An Investment In The Family

We moved to Arizona from San Francisco in the spring of '08. I took a part-time sales job with the same cosmetics company I had been with for the previous 3 years, just with a different retailer. It was sure an adjustment acclimating to the Arizona clientele! After dealing with the barrage of tourists, mix of ethnicities and big city mentality for 6 years the slow and mellow pace of a retired desert resort town was a very pleasant change, if a bit under-stimulating. But the retail devil soon reared its ugly head and after almost a year of completely obnoxious schedule manipulations I started to get "sick" again. I felt Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sneaking up on me as my ability to manage my life was taken away. My manager interpreted 3 days a week as 6 days in a row and then there was a round of lay-offs, resulting in me being the person they scheduled to work more when needed. I panicked. I absolutely COULD NOT go through what I had already gone through to get better from that very nasty virus which infected my central nervous system. I started feeling the "afternoon flu", sore throat and feverish, achy and confused, that was so familiar and I had to stop the virus from sneaking its way back on top of my immune system! My husband became very worried, for he too had been through the rounds of cancer-causing carcinogenics, pancreas attacks and misery HHV-6 had inflicted, right there beside me.

We made a decision, one I never in a million years thought I would make, and I quit that job, regular employment becoming a thing of the past. For the first time since I was 15 years old, save for a few brief years in college, I was technically unemployed. I was quickly snatched up to work directly for the cosmetics line as a Regional Makeup Artist on a freelance basis. It was a good fit and I had much more control over my schedule, but there was no guarantee of hours. I had to take what was offered and could not be picky if I wanted to bring in the money I still needed to generate to pay our bills.  My husband could work the overtime that was offered to him, making far more hourly than I could, but not without adequate support at home. At this point in our 10 year relationship I knitted my house-wife cap and put it on. I stopped expecting ANY assistance around the house and assumed all responsibility for cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, etc., all the stuff that makes life go round. I started packing his lunch for him every night and making sure dinner was on the table when he came home from work.

But this decision represented something much bigger for us. It represented a choice to put our family and my health first. A choice that would have saved us endless amounts of heartache, turmoil and devastation if we had the fortitude and experience to make it when I first got sick in 2005. No, on paper we had not made the "smart" choice. We were not being prudent, putting our tenuous finances first. It was not a decision we could "afford" to make, yet in a different way entirely it was a decision we could not afford to not make. This was a huge leap of living in faith, not fear, and the freelance hours came in from the makeup line, my husband powered out the most overtime in the company that year and somehow by the grace of God our bills were paid! With the strokes came about a whole new set of challenges and decisions to be made, but this original choice to put ourselves first and refuse to play victim to illness, employer or credit card company was the start of an entirely different way of living. A mentality that has led us to where we are today, sitting at the coffee shop with me blogging and Crusading and my husband studying his acting, both of us believing in a bright and shiny future.

Thanks for joining,

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1 comment:

  1. Great post. I too am now a homemaker. It is the only way I can feel halfway normal! The extra rest and decreased chaos and environmental input is vital. With 3 surgeries in a little more than a year and more on the horizon, flares are a great concern. I too do not ask my husband to do much around the house but he does offer. I guess we are lucky to be married to men who "get it".