Government Furlough Style.

DudeDad and I are college graduates.

The advanced degree sort even.

We have a retirement plan, we save for college, we pay our taxes, our mortgage, and our car payments on time.

We’ve never been arrested.  We don’t sell drugs.  We are legally married and all three of our children are his and mine, together.

We volunteer at our children’s schools.  We help out with their sports teams.  I even joined the PTA and got elected to the board of directors (I’m the treasurer, wootwoot).

Today we live in a house we own (you know, via a bank somewhere), in a community we love, surrounded by neighbors we know, as we have for the past eight years.

We probably won’t ever move unless we win the lotto have to.

So how did we become an income uncertain family?

I gave up my job as a teacher 8 years ago to stay home and raise our children.  I became a stay at home mom, and then a work at home mom.  Self employment is uncertain.  Some months I make money like a boss.  Some months I make money like, um, someone who doesn’t make any money at all.

And, DudeDad left a private sector job and moved across country (so I could live by my parents) for a government job.

That job, and the government that he’s serving, failed him and our family 12 days ago.

Thanks to the government furlough, we don’t know when we will have income coming into our house again.

So, forgive me for not having anything fashion-y to share with you this week.

When you’re enduring the government furlough with your housebound spouse, you don’t have funds to buy cute clothing.  And, even if you are already the proud owner of some pretty chic ensembles, you’re unmotivated to leave your house because you’re depressed.  And also, you don’t want to waste money on gas.

Add to that the fact that it’s been raining for four days straight, I’ve gained 5 pounds from stress eating, I’m exhausted from not sleeping, and my husband is driving me bananas.

Getting his furlough on…

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Unless you think pink sweat bands and sweat shirts we’ve owned since the 90s are hot, I’ve got nothing on the fashion front.

Blame the government.

Probably the first time in life I can blame something on The Man and actually mean it.

Thankfully, for others who are suffering even more than we are during this time, our state has some programs designed to help people in this situation.  Because apparently they can operate without throwing tantrums and being babies about things.

I know, I know,  it’s about more than that.  I just don’t give a care.

The financial discomfort this is creating for my family and me is intense which means that I don’t have the luxury or even the desire to care about the politicalness of this situation.  I don’t care whose fault it is.  I don’t want to hear who said what to whom and why.  I don’t follow the reports from the anonymous sources that say they are getting close to being able to sort of kind of hash things out (after the useless holiday Columbus Day, of course).  I don’t need to take a side or have an opinion or be understanding.

I need them to get their crap together.  And let my husband go back to work.  So he can feed my children.

And get out of my hair.

Yep, I said it.

Two weeks of “togetherness” is wearing on us me.  It’s throwing off my home flow like nobody’s business.

And now for the bright side that is keeping me sane: The Dudes are bursting with happy each day when Daddy is home after school.  They get so excited when he’s at the bus stop waiting to ride them home on the bike; one standing on the pegs in back, one hanging on the handlebars in front while he whizzes them down the hill to our house.

furloughed

The joy in those moments makes me smile.

Every thing else makes me scowl.

Playing the which-bill-do-we-pay-first game: unfun.  Denying my children sports activities and food with a protein: unfun.  Combing through websites to find which services we will be eligible for if this drags on much longer: unfun.  Listening to pundits go on and on and on about the issues behind this situation: seriously effing annoying.

I’m thinking I should show up on my senator’s doorstep, Dudes and DudeDog in tow, and ask them if we can stay with them while they “figure things out”.  I’d bet we’d have a solution come Tuesday.

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Comments

  1. I’m so glad that it’s over and he can go back to work. And I hope it doesn’t happen again. And I’m sorry even though it isn’t my fault. I promise I didn’t vote for that douchebag.

  2. I haven’t been affected. Yet. I’m a contractor on a prepaid contract. But, if it goes past the 16th, UM, TOMORROW, my job is on the line because the government agency I work for will suspend the contract as we’d have gone two weeks without having anyone to support. Um, I was already behind on things. I was already just puttin’ somethin’ on it as opposed to paying full price. I love my city, I do, but between the shutdown, the continual refusal to give DC statehood while I’m paying taxes like everyone else, I don’t know what to do. And you’re right: it doesn’t matter who did/said what to whom, who’s angry at which side of the House THIS SHYT IS WRONG. I am grateful to those politicians who decided to go unpaid as long as federal workers did but in the grand scheme of things, those politicians were paid at a higher rate and probably have a savings that isn’t being quickly depleted. What scares me the most, though, is no matter the outcome, I don’t believe a genuine change will occur.

  3. My husband was laid off a few years ago while I was working a very part time job. We were left for months trying to pay bills with my teensy paycheck, his joke of an unemployment check and whatever freelance we could scrape up (and actually get paid for). I totally feel you on the unfun thing.

    What makes this current situation so much more irritating is that these people that we gave jobs to by voting them into office are creating this situation and seem to care a whole lot more about petty party rivalry crap than what’s ACTUALLY good for the people–like being able to feed their children!

  4. I wish I had the funds to just toss some in your PayPal account or something and be like, “This is for making me laugh and being awesome in general.” Unfortunately, I’m just like you with some-months-making-money-and-some-months-not. (And sometimes in the months I’m EXPECTING money someone will take their sweet time paying me. Boooo freelancing income!)

    Anyway, I may not be able to gift you with a furlough-buffering monetary cushion, but I’m always up for a game of Words or something if you get bored. :)

  5. Sooo frustrating!! You are such a trooper to work on thinking positive and as always your blog is thoughtful and insightful. It just feels like the government movers/shaker are so removed from the impact of the problems this creates, love your kids and dog visiting the offices idea!! Hang in there, thoughts are with you and all those affected as you are.

  6. I agree with everything you said above. I don’t think they thought or even care about how this is impacting the average person. At least when unions are forced to go on strike and shut companies down they have funds available for the union members. We are members of the Union of the United States and they are not providing for us at all

  7. In sorry! I think toddlers behave better than our government seems too. This is affecting so many and they seem to not,care at all. I’m with you, don’t care what the problem is, just fix it. Get everyone back to work!!
    And I also understand how having hubs at home throws off the routine! Hopefully it will be resolved soon!!!

  8. Oh I am so sorry!! That really is awful, the whole thing is just awful and a mess. I hope he can can get back to work soon. I think it would drive me a little crazy too if my husband was home with nothing to do for that long

  9. I’m sorry… this sucks for so many reasons that we couldn’t possibly list them all!

    My sister was furloughed for a week and then was called back. She was more than happy to stay home though…. I am curious if she’s getting paid now that she’s back given all that’s going on.

    • If we could live without money it wouldn’t have been quite so bad. It was cool to have someone chauffeur these Dudes places in the afternoon!

  10. Do it! Seriously, I dare ya. I’ve been to those congressional offices and they are TINY. Please clutter them up with kids and dogs and well-justified complaints. I think they need to see up close and personal how this is affecting the people they are supposed to be serving. If it were me, I would get a bus and hit every retirement home in town and fill up those cramped halls with boatloads of cranky old people. Slow-moving, talkative, complaining, and cranky old people and just move them from office to office of anyone who refuses to work towards a solution. 3 solid days of that and they will do ANYTHING just to get their staff to stop complaining.

  11. With the Ranger home, my house has been extremely clean for the last two weeks, supper has been ready when I walked in the door (he only set it on fire once), and he has proven why he is a better homemaker than I could ever be. I am sooooo ready for him to go back to work! I get really upset reading comments bashing government employees, especially the NPS, and it’s a comfort to know we are not alone. Thank-you, Amanda

    • Yeah, if the house was being cleaned we might not have been quite so put out by this whole thing!

  12. I’m with you. Since I’m not full time at my base, it’s only affecting my monthly duties, but most of my friends work on-base, and are already suffering from extreme stress. The last thing you want to do is put veterans like us, most with PTSD, in an extremely stressful situation where we can’t even protect our family from it. It sucks and I hope the government will get their ish together this week. Enough is enough.

    • I don’t think they really care about any of this stuff. That whole “we fought the good fight” speech made me want to punch the TV. Because, while we were suffering you busy fighting for what? You should be fighting for us, that’s why you’re even there.

  13. I am so so sorry. This whole thing is beyond ridiculous. Here’s to hoping they get it together ASAP!

  14. Ugh. I hope it’s over soon.

    I totally get the sometimes make money like a boss and sometimes like someone who doesn’t make money at all thing.

    Have had to play the which bill to pay first game, too. Knowing this one will shut off if not paid, that one waits til you’re two months behind, that one lets you go six whole months, and paying accordingly.

  15. Sigh. And this is why this mess needs to end. Sending prayers and hugs to you.

  16. Oh, my. I am so insanely frustrated for you. My nearly full-time stepdaughter was complaining about the shutdown because her class trip to DC is this week and they’re missing our on a few sights.

    I went off on her. Which I can totally do because she’s basically my daughter and we can lecture our children as much as we want.

    “Do you know that there are families who aren’t getting a paycheck because government workers are furloughed? Kids who are afraid because their parents don’t have income? Nevermind the downgrading of the US dollar and the debt ceiling…”

    She took it to heart, because she was complaining last night about how her friends are being so insensitive to the people REALLY affected by the shutdown and they’re just so fortunate to get to go…

    Sending you light and love…and my most positive lets-get-this-resolved vibes.

    • Kids don’t get it. Even The Dudes. They were sad this morning because Daddy couldn’t go to the bus stop with them. They’d be more sad if we were living in the forest naked, but they don’t really realize that. They actually thought that scenario sounded pretty cool.

  17. I totally get it. My husband was let go last May and has gone back to school to learn a new computer language. My twenty years of teaching makes me over qualified to teach in a classroom. I am now applying for a job to work in a school cafeteria. You get health insurance when you work in the cafeteria.

    • I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s so frustrating. I actually couldn’t get a sub job when I applied. Master’s degree in education, but yeah, no.

  18. Both my sisters work for the government, and they went back to work pretty quickly (5 days off) but who knows if/when they will get paid for it. I live 5 miles from an Army base and half the people I know are being impacted by this. I’m with you – I don’t really care about the politics so much any more, just get it straightened out already.

    • Yeah, a lot of people here were still working and not being paid. Kinda sucks to have to work and not get paid while some people are at home!

  19. I did – I filed for unemployment. Maryland makes it really easy and they have a whole section set up for furloughed feds. I am perfectly willing to work and I’d prefer to take my paycheck home but my employer paid unemployment taxes for just this reason and we need the partial income replacement. It’s true that we’ll have to pay it back IF we get paid for this time but I’m not certain we ever will…
    I hear ya. Fist bump/sad face. hang in there!

    • We did too. But we waited a few days (figured it was gonna end). Didn’t get anything yet and now, we won’t need to!

  20. You have my sympathies – it sucks.

    Also, have you thought about filing for UI benefits ? Yes, you’ll have to pay them back at some point but I think it would give you some money now …

    • We did! But, we didn’t get through all of the crazy paperwork before it ended. So, now we wait for the money to start again!

  21. Kaytee postma says:

    I totally understand what you’re going through! We use to live in NV where furloughs were a monthly thing and now we’re not having to do that in MT where the state is still in the black…although they’re currently in the black cause they pay diddly squat! My prayers are with all the families that are having to go through this and hopefully those **** in Washington will get their freakin’ acts together and play nice!

  22. I totally understand hun. I am so tired of the he said she said.. WE the PEOPLE got us into this mess allowing individuals to have total control and WE the PEOPLE need to get our heads out of our butts and start taking care of our own. Period.

    • Some people seem to enjoy having their heads in their butts. It’s the only way to explain this whole thing!

  23. I am right there with you! My husband and I both work for the government and aren’t sure how much longer we can take it. Hang in there!