Mr. Money Lost His Job

88 Days ago, Mr. Money accepted a new position after he was contacted by a company numerous times offering him an Executive Chef position. He had turned down the company twice before he decided that he was going to seriously consider working for them. He had an interview where they talked with him, he performed a cooking challenge (similar to Chopped!) and they told them they would be in contact with him if he was going to get a job offer. They called the next day, offered him a salary of $5,000 less than what he was willing to accept, so he declined their offer. A few days later, they called back and offered him the amount that was acceptable and he told them he’d talk with me and let them know. We discussed the positives, (it was closer to home- a ten minute drive, the health insurance cost was half of what we were paying, and it was a smaller facility than what he had been managing). The negatives were that he still wasn’t going to be making as much as he was but the job he had was not stable so he felt like he needed to make a change. We ultimately decided it was a good idea and he accepted the position.

As soon as he started working at the facility, they were having him come in at either five or eight in the morning and he was working until nine or ten at night. He was working sixteen hour days- all salaried. He was told that once they were fully staffed this would be “a cakewalk”. He kept waiting for them to get fully staffed, all while hearing about lawsuits against the facility, how labor needed to get cut, the facility was on the verge of closing, etc.

On Friday morning (his 88th day of employment) he went into work, got called into the office and they proceeded to tell him all these things he was doing wrong. When he rebutted, they said that even on his days off he was still responsible and basically too bad. He asked why this wasn’t a first warning and they responded that since he was within his first 90 days of employment they really didn’t have to have a reason and they were letting him go. But! He would be eligible to apply for positions within the company.

We’re both so mad that they did this. With all the talks about budget cuts and the place closing, we’re figuring they did it because of the money. Why didn’t they just tell him they couldn’t pay him enough in the beginning? That would have saved us so much stress and heartache. Now we’ve got to figure out so many things- how are we going to make it without his income, what are we going to do for health insurance, what kind of a job is he going to get? I’m hoping and praying he can get some type of job that is not in the food industry (he’s hoping the same thing). I think as long as he’s not without a job for many months we should be okay. Our plan is to live as frugally as possible, try to figure out some alternative sources of income, and keep on keeping on. With as many hours as he worked the last few months, we’ve been enjoying having him around the last couple days! Of course, that may all change if I start freaking out more about him being unemployed.

I feel like this is just a hiccup in life. A really sucky hiccup but one nonetheless. I’ve been very thankful lately that we have lived frugally for so many years. We won’t really have to change too much because we don’t live extravagantly so that’s a good thing. I am hoping this will be a short season in life and a blessing in disguise.

Have you ever gone through a season of unemployment? Do you have any good tips for us?


Don’t Use Homemade Laundry Detergent.

Years ago, I hopped on the homemade laundry detergent train.  I thought it was cheaper, more natural, and worked just as well as commercial laundry detergent.  I used it in my high efficiency front loading washing machine for years until we had Penny and then I decided to try a different laundry detergent on our cloth diapers.  I figured they were the dirtiest laundry I would probably ever wash so I wanted a heavy duty detergent (aka not homemade) to tackle the filthy diapers.  I bought liquid Ecos laundry detergent to try, as it is Earth friendly and claims to be “green”.  It didn’t work very well for cloth diapers as it’s a pretty gentle detergent and the liquid I bought didn’t contain enzymes.  At that point I decided to try to use it up on my regular laundry when the homemade ran out.
oilspots copyThat is when the oil spots started appearing on our laundry.  I would put in clothes that I knew didn’t have oil spots on them in the wash, and they would come out like this.  I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I wasted trying to figure out the cause of these oil spots.  I cleaned the filters to my machine, switched from powdered to liquid laundry detergent, switched back to liquid, tried scented laundry detergent, tried unscented laundry detergent, tried everything.  I noticed the worst spots would show up on dark clothing, usually cotton knits.  It wasn’t until I put in a navy pair of cotton jersey t shirt sheets and they came out with the spots on them that I knew without a doubt that something was wrong.  I called an appliance repair place and they told me that there was no way that the machine could be leaking oil into the drum of the washing machine so there had to be something else wrong.  They offered to send someone out to check on the machine, and I agreed because my next step was to take the washing machine outside and set it on fire.  I am not joking-I was so tired of dealing with washing laundry and it coming out worse than when I had put it in!

The repairman came out, took a look at the washer and was disgusted.  He said the machine was absolutely filthy and had a gunk build up around the rubber boot at the door and all around it.  He removed the rubber boot and scrubbed it with a brush in the sink.  He also scrubbed around the drum and where it met the rubber boot to remove gunk.  He ran two washing machine cleaning cycles with washing machine cleaner and told me that should help.  What was happening was the clothes would be washing and when they started to spin they would shake the rubber boot so hard that it was basically spewing the nasty gunk from around the rubber ring back onto the clothes.  Disgusting!!

He recommended we switch to a liquid laundry detergent and use washing machine cleaner once a month and we shouldn’t have any more problems.  We followed his advice and haven’t had any problems since! Whew.  I also have wondered if it was bad for our pipes and septic system as the homemade laundry detergent contains bar soap which is notorious for build up.  That is the main problem with the homemade detergent- all it is is soap, washing soda (a water softener), and borax (another water softener).  Good laundry detergent needs surfactants and sometimes enzymes in addition to water softeners.  Surfactants lift away dirt and enzymes eat stains.  The water softeners allow the water to be softened so that the detergent works more effectively.  We generally buy store brand free and clear laundry detergent now since I can’t stand scented detergents.  We’ve been very happy with it, and I am so pleased to not be dealing with those annoying oil stains any longer!

What kind of laundry detergent do you use?    


A Minimalist Holiday Season

For the longest time, Christmas stressed me out.  Then last year came, and Mr. Money had just lost his job, and we were on no-spending mode so we really didn’t do too much as far as gifts went.  This year we’re dealing with a huge pay cut, so we’re being very careful with how we spend the money we have budgeted for Christmas.  I’ve also decided that instead of being stressed out about buying gifts for everyone is not something I’m going to do this year.

Mr. Money and I don’t typically buy each other extravagant birthday, anniversary, or Christmas presents.  A lot of the time we don’t really need anything so to go out and buy something just because feels silly to me.  I try to keep our clutter to a minimum, so buying some tchotchke does not bring a smile to my face.  Last year Mr. Money bought me one present: a Home Alone DVD, and that meant more to me than if he had bought me a diamond ring.  I love that movie, and it was such a thoughtful gift!

Penny is going to be almost two (what!!) at Christmas time so she still doesn’t really fully grasp the idea of presents.  I’m sure she’s going to enjoy opening them, but whether she has 3 presents or 30 I think she’ll be happy.  For that reason, I’ve decided I’d like to get her one big present (probably a nice doll if I can decide which one) and then some accessories.  I’m going to make some cloth diapers for her doll, a baby carrier she can wear her baby in, and I’ll knit her some mittens too.  I know she’ll be happy with all that, and I won’t have a million plastic toys taking over my house.  I’ve already done the great toy purge in anticipation of some new ones making their way into our house.

As far as other presents go, I’m planning on knitting some items for people, making some wool dryer balls and figuring out some other things that Penny and I can make.  I always feel like I am the worst gift-giver so I’m trying to put a lot of thought into things we can make that will be nice and others can enjoy.  Sometimes I feel like people don’t appreciate hand made items and think it’s a crappy gift.  I’ve got to stop thinking that way- I know that when I receive a hand made bar of soap or hand knit item I cherish it because I know the work involved in it.  Someone invested their time into making something for me!

I hate being stressed out, and Christmas surely can do that to people.  This year I hope to avoid most of it by getting everything done early so I’ve got time to enjoy the season.  I can’t believe there is a little more than a month left until Christmas.  I know if we buckle down we’ll be able to get everything in order and then enjoy the rest of the season.

How do you avoid stress at the holidays?

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