A Story Perhaps Long Overdue

19 March 2012

Most of you know this story, but I will tell it nonetheless for the five people who read this blog and don't know it.

Jacob came home from work in March of last year to tell me that he'd lost his job. He hated his job, and had been looking for a new one for several months, but that didn't change the fact that I was 8 months pregnant.

This is really a happy story, but I can't help but be sad when I remember that day. The day that the man I love had to come home and tell his pregnant wife that he'd lost his job.

We tried to be our best selves, but it was hard.

To keep me insured we opted to have me stay on Jacob's employee health plan with COBRA until after the baby was born, which set us back 900$/mo (and was a complete administrative fiasco that still haunts us.) I was four weeks from finishing my master's degree which meant term papers and comprehensive exams and bookoos of grading for the courses I was teaching. The property we lived on sold after being on the market for 48 hours, which meant we had a month to move.

We eeked out a living on savings and unemployment benefits. Jacob managed to get several months worth of work on television sets, and I started teaching again in the fall. We had an outpouring of support from friends and family. It was humbling - in the most beautiful way - to need and receive so much help.

A couple months ago things started getting very real. Despite dozens of interviews, there was still no job, and we thought our time to leave LA might be nearing. Ever since we'd visited Jacob's Mennonite relatives in Kentucky, we'd been suffering from a farming fever. We began to think about moving to Washington state to join Uncle Michael who's making a go with some soil up there. Our expenses would be minimal, our electricity would be solar, and our eggs would be homegrown. 

We thought and thought and talked and talked for months. I teach until the end of April, and so we were committed to LA at least until then. Also, Jacob had interviewed in November for a position at Alcon Entertainment that he really wanted, and we still hadn't heard back about it.

Two Mondays ago Jacob went in for an interview at a company and came home that night with a job offer. We were pretty stoked. It was a temp to hire position at a studio that is in total HR turmoil, but it was a job. We went out for sushi, drank large Sapporo's, and felt generally good about life. The euphoria carried us through that week even as the company continued to push his start date from Wednesday to Friday to the following Monday and was otherwise shadily silent.

On Friday afternoon, Jacob got a call from an unknown number. He answered it to find himself on the phone with someone in the HR department at his would be employer; she informed him that they'd given the job to someone else.

We were crushed.

The baby was napping, and we were sitting on our patio. I started to cry. I was angry at how he'd been treated; I was angry that there was no hint of an apology; and I was angry that I'd spent the week recommitting my heart to our life in LA only to be catapulted back into flux.

Jacob saw my tears and right then and there we decided to move to Washington. Jacob said he wouldn't take any more interviews and he would stop sending out resumes. We'd start our preparation and move at the beginning of May. Within five minutes, we were on the phone with Uncle Michael informing him that we were gonna come crash his farming party.

While on the phone with Michael, Jacob got another call.

It was Alcon, who he'd been waiting to hear from since November, and they wanted him to start Monday.

Emotional. Roller. Coaster.

So we decided to stay in the land of botox, beaches, and blockbusters, at least for now. Perhaps someday I'll re-mint this blog The Rhodes Loggers and finally put my new bonnet to some good use, but until then it's more sunshine for us.

Friday marked the end of the first week of the new job. We've finally become less afraid to speak the fact out loud. Jacob laughingly compared himself to an abused dog - skiddish and not sure whether to trust these nice people  - I didn't think it was a very pretty comparison, but it was probably an apt one.

The day after Jacob lost his job last year, we went to a St. Patrick's day party hosted by Jacob's Knights of Columbus chapter. We sat with a man who was all alone at a table. He was a bit of a talker, and upon my seeing my pregnant self began telling us the story surrounding the birth of his first child. You see, he'd lost his job when his wife was 8 month's pregnant... She is now dead and his children grown, and he spoke about how unemployment had enabled him to be home for the first months of his baby's life. He remembered it fondly, even gratefully. He told us the story with an edge of warning in his voice: slow down, love this baby. 

That is the story I'm remembering today. I'm remembering the story of the best year of my life. For somewhere in the middle of this jobless saga, we became parents to a healthy and strong baby boy who amazes us everyday (and who's currently sitting on the floor eating dust bunnies.) 

I will end the story there, because there really isn't a better ending than that - and truth is, that's been the end of this story for a long time.


  1. Oh Kate, this made me cry! What good news! Go St. Joseph, the patron of workers, and dads, and families! And love to all the Rhodes, who definitely have rock star status at our house!

  2. Kate, I love this story! I love it because it happened to us too. Luke lost his job that he hated right the day after I found out that I was pregnant with Daniel. Six months later, he was starting a better job, with a great company, and better benefits. In the mean time, Luke stayed home with Lily while I taught. He loved it and he still says that it was so very special. He like his new job a lot, but he is still very thankful for the time he had at home. Thank you for sharing your story. It always helps to know that you're not alone.

  3. ah. this post was an emotional roller coaster! I had to read it twice --

    I hate when people simply write, "thanks for sharing!" but that is my partial sentiment for this post.

    Wow -- God's will -- always a tricky one isn't it? Never ever what we plan -- most difficult lesson for me always.

    I'm happy there was a happy ending -- no to say the off the grid wouldn't have been happy as well!!

  4. A story that I've heard before but you told it the best this time.


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