- Number of days without full-time employment: 236
- Number of weeks: 33.71
- Number of issues with Unemployment Compensation requiring onsite assistance to resolve: 2
- Number of hours needed to resolve those issues: 5
- Number of resumes submitted to open positions: 181
- Number of phone interviews resulting: 7
- Number of first interviews: 3
- Number of second interviews: 1
- Number of offers: 1
- Estimated loss of savings over those eight months: More than $10,000
- Personal weight gain from stress-eating: 15 lbs
- Hit to my self-esteem: Inestimable
- My emotional reliance on my family to soldier on through this difficulty: 1,000%
- My level of gratitude to everyone -- especially family -- who offered advice, prayer, support, encouragement, suggestions, feedback, counsel, job leads, sympathy, concern, recommendations, etc.: Inestimable
Fortunately, there were some high points in this swamp. Not that I would ever want to go through this again, but it wasn't all doom/gloom:
- I spent the summer home with the girls while Eileen was full time. Back in January, we were looking ahead at June/July/August with a little trepidation: How would the girls fare home alone all summer long? Would they be okay without us? Would they get bored? Antsy? Naggy on each others' nerves?Fortunately, we didn't have to face those issues for Summer 2012. They will be part of Summer 2013, but that's another year of maturity and responsibility-building to go.
- I titled Parker in an AKC event. We earned a Rally Novice Obedience title in July, the source of much pride. I was grateful that Eileen okayed this modest expense in a period when our belts were cinched very tight. I was heartened at the chance to share both the experience and the news with my very close-knit group of dog-friends.
- I raised more than $1,000 for MS by participating successfully in the 2012 MS City-to-Shore Ride, one of the most rewarding challenges I've ever faced. The chance to step out of my own shell of neediness and do something for someone else was a terrific balm for this weary soul.
- I started to blog! =)
- I wrote a novel that has since been published on the e-market. This was a thrill beyond expectation and a very long-term dream come true.
- I have accomplished most of the initial writing work on a sequel to novel #1, with hopes to launch it sometime in 2013 or beyond.
And for what it's worth, I did learn -- or at least gained a reaffirmed belief in -- a few interesting truths:
- Although we are defined by the employment roles we fill, we are more accurately defined by our actions outside those employment roles.
- When you're home alone all day long and there's no one to gripe to, it's helpful to gripe to the dog.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help. This was a big one for me. I'm the result of Proud Irish and Stoic German parentage; we suffer in silence. It doesn't need to be that way. Reaching out isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of trust.
- Forgiveness is incredibly healing. Allowing old hurts to fester is counterproductive. I learned a lot about peace, both finding it in myself and offering it to others.
- I married the best partner a person could possibly ask for. Our life together hasn't been an easy one -- I often wonder how much better off Eileen would have been had she married Andy Accountant or Philip Plumber -- but all the cliches about difficulty drawing us together in a tighter bond have proven to be true.
- Through Eileen's influence, I am parenting three of the best kids ever as well. They each dealt with this bad patch in their own ways but were, for their age, amazingly sensitive, caring, and concerned.
- God does hear prayer. Even when it looks like He doesn't. God does care. Even when it looks like He doesn't. God does bestow his love. Even when it looks like He doesn't.
This is George Bailey stuff, my friends.
No man is a failure who has friends.