Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cracking on...

Martin is still jobless, but we have planned it that way.

Martin has wanted to do a joinery course at the college for YEARS! Seriously, we talked about it when Dylan was a newborn. And with this redundancy from Stables, we have decided that it's time for a career change. So Martin is now a full time student, attending classes at The Grimsby Institute four days a week, trying to do a nine month course in just five. So far, he's doing really well. And, best of all, he comes home happy every single day. No more grumpy Martin (except last Sunday, when he was absolutely foul all morning and early afternoon).

So how is this working out financially, you ask? We don't really know. Church is helping some, we have redundancy insurance on our mortgage, our working tax credits are increasing (as long as Martin and I are working a combined total of 24 hours a week), and we are making serious cutbacks to our budget. Last week, I only spent £23.91 on groceries. And we were all very well fed. It's only for five months, so we figure we can live on a shoestring for that long. And Martin will hopefully pick up a few shifts at Winteringham Fields around Valentines' and Mothers' day. Plus, he will be tending bar three nights a week at a local pub starting in March. Combine that with my part time job at Beck Hill (Elaine and Chris, you ROCK!) and my freelance massage business, and we are going to be fine. It'll be tight, but we'll get through it.

I'm a giant ball of stress right now, and that's good AND bad. Good news is, I'm not a stress eater but I AM a stress cleaner. My house is currently very tidy. Bad news is, anger management issues flare up when I'm stressed. And more good news is, Martin and I are seeing more of each other and his time with the kids hasn't decreased much on weekdays and has increased a LOT on weekends. If he can get a job with a local builder when he's finished, this could end up being a VERY good thing for our family.

And did I mention how HAPPY Martin is when he gets home from college every day? And eats dinner with us? EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!!!

So even though money is tight and we are stressed out about it, we are doing ok and the kids and I are really enjoying having Martin home. It's nice for them to have a full time dad, and nice for me to have a full time husband, too.

Daily life has been shaken up quite a bit. We are having to make adjustments all around. Thursdays are the most difficult, with me working and Martin at college. We are making arrangements for the kids to walk to school with a neighbor and her daughter, and they are currently going to one of Edith's friend's house after school for an hour until I finish work. Martin is home all day on Fridays so he can sort the kids out. And we are working out a new routine with a later dinner time and so an earlier bath time, etc. Once we get the kinks ironed out, this will be good.

Our old routine was comfortable. We all knew how every day would go, and things ran smoothly. Now it is harder, but we are learning to adjust. Give us a few more weeks, and we'll be doing just fine.

So now you can stop worrying, mom. I've been trying to call, but keep missing you. Oh, and I'm really glad you taught me how to cook and sew and be thrifty. Always useful lessons when the money isn't coming in as freely. So thanks, because we are still going to be wearing neat, tidy clothes and eating hearty and filling meals. Thanks for the life skills!

And hey, once Martin finishes this joinery course, he should be able to earn more money than he was making as a restaurant manager. This could mean a trip to the U.S. to see everybody. Especially if we live the way we currently are AFTER he starts earning a paycheck again.

Eternally optimistic.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Still nothing...

Martin has put it a lot of job applications in the past week, but we've still not got anything concrete. He's being paid for a few more weeks though, and is going to be paid out his leftover holiday pay, which is about a weeks' worth. So we're not too stressed out about it yet. Back Hill Motors has been busy, so my job looks secure enough. It's only two days a week, but it's more than we had last time Martin lost his job.

I hate the catering business. Is it ok to say that? I don't understand why Martin is always drawn back to working in restaurants. And yet it looks as though he could be headed back to Winteringham Fields. If that's where he can get work, we'll manage. But I dread it with every fiber of my being. It almost makes me feel as though Martin doesn't want to spend time with me and the kids. Irrational, I know. But it's still the way I feel.

He came in to my work just now to drop off the car keys (MOT time, ugh!) and he looked really sad. I hate it when Martin is sad. He's normally such a chilled out, optimistic guy. Sure, he had a few setbacks today. But I have confidence in Martin, and I wish he could have that same confidence in himself.

On a positive note, Martin and I knuckled down and did some SERIOUS spring cleaning yesterday. The front room and entrance hallway are immaculate, and we took some new pictures for the estate agent. We have also been talking about work that could be done to increase the desirability of our property. Mostly knocking out the back wall to create some off-road parking. Martin doesn't want to sacrifice our BBQ area, but I think I reasoned him into my way of thinking. Parking has been a major sticking point for some of our potential buyers, and we don't want to wait until we have squatters' rights on the abandoned property next door. It'll take too long!

Anyway, that's the news. Nothing exciting, somewhat stressful, mostly boring.

Sorry, peeps. My life has become dull beyond belief. I don't even have adorable babies to break up the monotony--just slightly (or very, depending on the day) annoying little kids. At least they're good looking.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

HUGE January update...

So Christmas was good. Hard work, but still good. Only a few minor meltdowns, and major family drama avoided. Good food, great gifts, lovely family time. And, best of all, no anger management issues for me during the whole of the Christmas break from school. Still, Martin and I were both glad to see them back at Castledyke yesterday!

New Year's Eve was a non-event. Kids were in bed by half past seven, Martin was at work, and I stayed up and watched Dexter on Netflix. Accidentally stayed up until midnight, because I was really into the episode I was watching. Martin got home right before midnight, we had a weird interaction, then kissed, and I went to bed. He stayed up and ate dinner/watched sports. Because we are so romantic and that's the way we roll.

A bit of bad news this morning. Martin has been let go at Stables. We've kind of been expecting it since the new guy bought the business late last year, but it's still stressful and demoralizing. Martin only found out about an hour and a half ago, but he is already job hunting. It could end up being a good thing though, since his hours were horrible and he was kind of looking around anyway. This could be the final push that gets him into a job where we can actually have a social life. We never see anybody!!!

So yeah, other than that, things are good. I have recommitted myself to the gym and am back in full swing there (hey, I'll now be able to work out in the evenings if I want to. AWESOME!). Just finished off week three of the couch to 5K app, and it feels great whilst at the same time kicking my butt. I have already started to notice that I have way more energy. I'm going to do some research into weight training programs--maybe see if there are some good personal trainer apps so I can maximize my efforts at the gym. And maybe Martin and I can start cycling together in the mornings. Hmm...

The kids are growing and thriving. Edith seems to have shot up about 4 inches in the last month, I swear. And her hair is getting really long now. She loves it! Martin wants her to get another pixie cut. She is becoming a really good reader, and is a social animal. She loves playing with her friends, and I think she might be an artistic child. Yay! Dylan is still super smart, of course. He's starting to get really into football, and enjoys collecting Match Attax cards (I hate them!). He's excited to be back at school with all his friends, and has a new teacher. A MAN!

My part time job is going well. Still love the people I work with, and feel really blessed to have this job. Especially now! The house still isn't sold (but Martin is hoping to get some work done on it now that he'll have more free time). Martin is jobless but optimistic. So all in all, we're in a decent place for the start of 2015.

One thing--Dylan is going to be turning eight this year. You know what that means--BAPTISM! We were hoping that we'd be living back in the U.S. by then, but it's not looking likely now. So if any family members would like to come over for his baptism, start saving your pennies now. We'll probably have the baptism on his actual birthday, the 29th of August. Just a heads up.

So there you have it, a Gilbert family update. Keep you posted with the job situation. And now that I'm back at work, expect weekly updates here!

Kisses to all.