Sometimes we have to work.
Sometimes life doesn't go as planned.
No one expects to bury their baby.
No one expects to buy cemetery plots at 33 years old.
No one expects to have a pregnancy so debilitating that she can't handle the commute to and from work. Or to have to work reduced hours or have to take a medical leave of absence.
When I was five months pregnant with the girls, the company Rich worked for was taken over by another company and he was told that his job was being eliminated in one year but, at any given time, they could give him 3 months notice. When you are pregnant with triplets, you are a walking time bomb. We had no idea when the girls were going to be born. Can you imagine starting a new job and then your wife gives birth to triplets? "Hey, I know I just started and I don't qualify for FMLA but I need to take some time off. Okay?"
No one expects the cost of triplets. No one expects to have a child with special needs.
Before the girls were born, Rich did look for a new job. He was competing with his co-workers in a saturated market. Our lives felt upside down.
When the girls were three months old, we moved most of our belongings out of our house and staged it for sale. We stayed with family while looking for a new home. Our house at the time was built in 1880, had no closets and uneven floors that wouldn't have worked if Anna needed assistance with walking.
We found a new home fairly quickly and jumped into the whole buying process. Up to this point, money was never a major concern. We still had some savings. Rich was set to receive a good severance package and collect unemployment while looking for a new job should he not find one before the big lay-off happened. Even if Rich was out of work for longer than expected, we would still be fine because I had a job I would be returning to. A well paying job where I was going to be able to work from home some days (saving myself 2 hours of commuting time) and work reduced hours during slower times of the year. Even if I was the only one working, we would be fine.
And then quite unexpectedly, I lost my job when the girls were almost four months old. Our savings were drained paying for two mortgages and a hefty line of credit. Formula for triplets costs $600 a month. And then there are diapers and wipes and co-payments times three.
I couldn't find a new job with a salary close to what I had been making. After months of searching, I hesitantly returned to the public accounting firm I had left in 2001. I figured that the evil you know is better than the evil you don't know. They were willing to give me a reduced work schedule right from the get-go but it was scary. During tax season, I would still be required to charge 40+ hours of billable time. During my first week, I was to fly to Atlanta for two nights for new hire training. The girls were still not sleeping through the night. No one understood the strain that my nightly absence would cause Rich and Grammy.
Really long (unblogable) story short - I was unable to accept the job because I didn't meet their independence rules due to a relationship with one of their clients.
The longer I was out of work, the more difficult my job search became. Shortly after the girls' first birthday, I came across an almost dream job. My resume was exactly what they were looking for. I knew people they knew. I was so hopeful that it was going to work out. And then I had a pre-interview call with the recruiter. "Who watches your kids?" "My mom." "Okay, tell them that your mom lives with you." "Well, she stays over some nights but she doesn't live with us." "Okay, but just tell them that she lives with you." "Um....okay?" "How long does it take you to drive there?" "About 45 minutes. Maybe longer if traffic is particularly bad." "Can you make it there in 30 minutes?" "Well, if there's absolutely no traffic, sure. But 128 on a weekday. There's going to be traffic." "Okay, you need to tell them that it takes 30 minutes. They once didn't hire a guy because they thought that his commute was too long."
So, yeah, that didn't really work out so well.
As part of Rich's severance, his former employer paid 100% of the premium for our medical insurance for three months. We were both still out of work when COBRA kicked in. $1,100. Luckily, we both found jobs within a week of each other.
This certainly isn't the life I planned but I'm trying to live it the best I can.