Back to Work

When we uprooted our lives to move to Virginia for Kat’s new job, we knew there was a possibility – probably a strong possibility – that we’d need to reassess the “stay at home dad” situation at some point. When we looked at our new income versus outgo, we found that it was going to be tight. The cost of living here is higher than Washington (believe it or not), and we knew it was going to be a pretty thin margin.

We recently decided that, unfortunately, the time has come to look at me going from full-time SAHD to a full-time SAHD and a part-time employee somewhere. I’ll be trying to find something in grocery/food/retail, since those are apparently my only marketable skills ever since that accident sidelined my skating career.

They called me "Belle of the Ice."

They called me the “Belle of the Ice.”

I’ll still be home with the boys during the week, and ultimately (“hopefully”) the plan is for me to work a shift each day on weekends. I of course don’t mind doing whatever I need to do for the security of the family, but for the last few months I’ve called no man mister, and it’s been nice. It’s also nice is some time off from morning-to-night responsibility, and filling up all seven days with full-time work of one kind or another will probably be a little tiring.*

We talked about day care (too expensive), a part-time nanny like we had in WA (expensive and hard to find), and getting an au pair (a young woman [or man] would be living with us), but those parentheticals outweighed the notion of having me go to work during the week. Just like when I was part-time at Met, it doesn’t make sense to work a job just to pay someone to watch the boys so that I can work at that job.

This leaves working weekends, and that should at least be enough to have some cushioning and still be able to afford to send donations to Peter Popoff.

The first taste of Miracle Spring Water is free, but sooner or later everyone comes back to the Popper.

The first taste of Miracle Spring Water is free, but sooner or later, everyone comes back to the Popper.

While I’ve (mostly) always taken pride in a job well done, the SAHD job is the only one that has ever brought me true fulfillment. I also like to think that I’m really awesome at it.

That, and delivering moving soliloquies.

That, and delivering moving soliloquies.

I might be missing out on family time on the weekends, but I’ll have that time during the week, and I’ll feel good about contributing to the family in a more tangible way again.

That said…(continued here).

*I know a lot of parents out there struggle much harder than we have to, and I don’t want to understate my respect for those who do; I know a little something about it. I’ve just been fortunate enough to have lots of time with the boys and weekends with the whole family, and I’ve gotten kind of addicted to it. That, and Miracle Spring Water.

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Ten Years of “For Better or For Worse”

Our Christmas tree is probably a lot like many of your Christmas trees; covered with ornaments accumulated over a lifetime, many of which tell their own story. Collectively, many of our ornaments tell the story of our 10-year marriage. As we decorate each year, we can recall every trip, every occasion, every gift, every funny story behind how we acquired each festive bauble. From mementos of trips to handmade gifts from friends to celebrations of our boys’ arrival, our Christmas ornaments are snapshots of some of our best moments and adventures.

Inexplicably, ten years ago Karma allowed me to follow through on one of the only good decisions I’ve ever made (that didn’t involve choosing where to eat dinner). Before friends and family and this psychopath that managed the venue (a story for another day), I married Kat, whose virtues are too many to name, but among them is the ability to draw the best out of me, and the best of me out.

Other people in this world have had a better decade and worse decade, but I think not that many have had a more eventful decade than we have. From marriage to cross-country moves to new (good) jobs and new (shitty) jobs to job losses to amazing trips to cancer to infertility to mental health issues to lycanthropy AND vampirism to two wonderful twin boys, we’ve had a rich tapestry of a married life.

I was thinking about this when I was admiring our Christmas tree ornaments this year. I want to share two of them with you:

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A few others may have gotten into the shot, but you aren’t allowed to look at those.

In the foreground there is a resin Santa with a cat draped over his arm. This was the first tree ornament we got as a married couple, during our honeymoon (read: broke-ass three-day weekend in St. Augustine).

Behind ol’ Saint Nick is a little Elmo figure, merrily toting some presents somewhere. It was bought unceremoniously in the Christmas area of a nearby Target. It was the first ornament we got “for” the boys, beginning to weave their likes and personalities into our familial holiday DNA. It was also the last ornament we got before our ten-year anniversary this week.

We’d bought ornaments before the Santa, and we’ll buy more after the Elmo. I just thought about the juxtaposition of a nicer, “grownup” ornament and a fun one for the kids, and think they’re interesting bookends to the first decade of our little family.