As the year draws to a close

Hello, my beautiful goobers.  When I sat down to sketch up this post, I was thinking that I had failed this year to write about the amazing and terrifying things we’ve gone through this year, as I have in recent years.  Only to realize that I’ve blogged pretty consistently most of this year.  So, yay!  But I’d still like to take a look back over the major milestones and let you know what’s been happening.

We started last year with Sir Joshimus Rex still working in hell and hating every moment.  Our insurance was slashed (though we were still paying $400 or more a month) and I could no longer afford to see my therapist any longer.  We sat down and figured out what things had to change and what things we could live with a little longer.  And we made a very hard decision for the two of us – it was more important to get Josh out of his job than it was for us to get out of Alabama.  So we both did some searching and we came across the opportunity with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Local 136!).

At the end of March, Josh put in his application with the union and started working almost immediately.  Neither of us has stepped foot in a Walmart since he tendered his official resignation and don’t plan to again.  (I won’t get on my soapbox)  With the increase in income, we started doing things we didn’t before…like eating more than once a day and eating healthier.  Which, you know, makes a major difference.

The most amazing change happened in my husband.  The better nutrition had its part, to be sure, but the biggest factor was his happiness with his new work.  And it’s a change that has stayed with him through the rest of this year.  I think we both forgot how much he loved working with his hands, but I don’t think we’ll forget again.

There was an assessment test and an interview and then a seemingly endless wait.  I say seemingly, because it was little more than four months from when he put in his application until we received his acceptance letter into the program.  But when it came, the relief was a hell of a high that we carried with us for weeks.

He started class at the end of August and he and one of the other first years, Jesse, started driving in together.  The friendship between them is a fun thing to watch and we both are thankful to count him as one of our friends.  They go to Jesse’s house before class and we go over most Saturdays.  And Salem is enjoying the new friend she’s made in Jesse’s 100 lb German shepherd, Koda.

Josh has finished his first two classes – with scores in the 90s for both!  And he’s still working at the same place he started at, though under a different employer than he first started.  He’ll be going back to them after the first of the year, too.  There are still some questions about when the job will end and what we’ll do between then and when the next job begins, but we feel better about it every day.

There have been some real struggles over the last year – our neighbor backing into our car and then finding out she doesn’t have insurance, the more than $700 for Josh’s computer and school books, the nearly $800 for work on the bike.  Josh was out of work for three weeks in the middle of June while the contract he was under switched from one company to another.  But despite it all, we’ve managed to start paying nearly double our minimum payments on our credit cards and have begun to take chunk out of our debt!  Our savings is crap, but we’ll get there.

So what’s the plan?  If we can keep up our payments as we have them now, we’ll be able to pay off Josh’s student loan in six months and our credit card debt by Christmas, if not sooner.  Once we do, we’ll pour all that money into our savings and we’ll start looking to buy a house by next (2020) summer.  Something small that will give us a home base until we’re ready to hit the road.  We’ll also be looking to purchase an rv – though we’re still debating which one we want.  There are a lot of small decisions to be made between then and now, but we’re shaping the way things are going to go within the next five years, and beyond.

So as this year draws to a close, we end in more joy than we began this year.  We can only hope that if your family cannot say the same, that this changes within the year to come.  With all the love and joy for the new year,


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