The Storage Unit.

You never really know how much stuff you have accumulated until you consider throwing it out. Or donating it. Or moving it into a storage unit.
After a couple of weeks of interviews and offers and many many prayers for God’s will to prevail over the entire situation by me, my parents, and anyone else who I knew personally to be a serious person of faith, it became clear to me that at the very least, our time in Vancouver had a very good chance of coming to a close. The companies with the most interest in my husband were located in major metropolitan areas. This was a bit disconcerting to me because our family left the Bay Area for the Portland/Vancouver Area because we wanted to live in a smaller city, and here we were looking at living in places like Seattle, San Francisco, Honolulu and Orange County. Again. More prayer. Because big city living and real estate prices, and since I have no desire to live over 30 minutes away from any job my husband or I worked, even bigger real estate prices.
I needed to find a place to store the stuff we intended to move while we got things fixed on the house in the event that we would have to move. I also had to come up with a transition plan for my children. I would start with a storage unit and move anything I deemed necessary or impossible to part with there as we fixed things up room to room or a couple of rooms to a couple of more rooms. We would also have to hire a realtor early in the process so that our rennovations got us the most bang for our buck. My first projects would be the painting of the house exterior and the replacement of the air conditioning unit with a heat pump.

Back to the Rodeo.

I attended a high school where most of the kids wore ropers, so if I say that something isn’t my first rodeo, who knows, I could mean that literally. Take, for example, running a household where my husband is away working for months (or years) at a time. Been there, done that. My husband’s phone had started ringing once or twice a day, then three or four times a day then almost nonstop, but most of the offers were coming from other parts of the state or even other parts of the country. There were offers from the Bay Area, Southern California, the East Coast, even Hawaii. The closest offer to where we were living came from the other side of the state. My husband had worked on jobs all over the state, the region and even other parts of the country, so during all of this interviewing and preparing, I got ready for the possibility of him being gone again, though it had been some time since that had happened. Since he had a considerable commute from Vancouver to Portland, I already took care of a lot things while he was at work or in transit. It was a bit of an adjustment but it was not unmanageable. The hardest part would be the kids adjusting to him being gone and me having to throw away, repair and pack up (and potentially store) almost two decades of stuff while preparing my children to leave the only home they remembered. And reading everything I could about real estate and what it may take to get every cent we could should the need arise to sell the house. That we built.

The Box.

The day after my husband’s firing, a file box (and my husband’s final paycheck) arrived via courier. It was difficult to imagine how fourteen years of work life could fit into a moving carton and an envelope. By the time it arrived, everyone in our house was deeply involved in the process of moving on to the next resume, job, class, activity, workout, or competition. The whole experience reduced my husband in a way that I had never seen since I had known him. It was agonizing to process that that it was his new reality, but at the same time I wish he understood that the children and I experienced it too and that we all were doing the best we could given the situation.
I was determined to keep my family as healthy as possible and to guide my children through this process as much as I could, all while trying to navigate life and everything that came with it. For the first couple of weeks, while my husband dusted off his resume, calls started to trickle in one or two per day. Some of his friends had begun to return calls, much to my relief, but as my fast came to an end, I had to prepare myself and my children for the possibility that our almost eighteen years of living in Vancouver, Washington could be coming to an end soon.

Rude Awakenings.

There are few things like losing a job to inform you of who your real friends are. While I was praying and fasting and praying some more, my husband soon discovered that the vast majority of the people who he knew as friends would not even return his phone calls or text messages once word got around concerning what had happened to him. I was completely prepared for that, what I was not prepared for was the extent to which some of his older friends responded, or rather the extent to which they did not respond.

The last job my husband had left to join this company that ultimately fired him was the company that had brought him to this country and they got into a bidding war with the company my husband ultimately joined. The company that had originally hired him actually bid higher, but my husband decided to join the new company with its new opportunities. Now I was left to rethink whether those 14 years of opportunities were worth the severed ties and closed doors that were a part of our constant existence now. Sorry does not even begin to describe how I felt.