Saturday, April 25, 2009

What a Week

I'm exhausted after this week.  As most of you already know, I'm going to be laid off.  It's not a matter of if, but when.  We're just waiting to get the budget report for the state and that will tell them how many they need to RIF (Reduction in Force).  I'm guessing I'll be done sometime in June.  I'm devastated as this has literally been the best job I've ever had with the best people I've ever worked with.  People are crying and hugging at work, joking about being cut.  It's a weird atmosphere.  

Then on top of all that, our drain pipe in our kitchen has been leaking with some huge holes in it.  See the picture above.  That was the pipe that took all our water out of our sink.  So, it infested our cupboards, drywall, and insulation with mold and so we tore everything out.  After it dried out and we threw our cupboards away, we were faced with the task of finding something else to hold up our heavy butcher block counter and sink.  This week was really tough with my inevitable layoff as a backdrop to all this mess.  We spent a long evening at IKEA and both came back completely wiped out.  Nothing like going to IKEA to make huge decisions with money you don't have.  The next evening was spent at Home Depot making more huge decisions and eating ready-made salads from Trader Joe's.  Then it was time to get to work.  So, I took a personal day from work and attached some wooden table legs to our counter and finally got all the plumbing, electric, etc. finished with the help of my father-in-law and Chris.  Ariana's making a curtain to go around the bottom and then it should finally be done.

I'll be taking another day off on Monday, just to get oriented with my job applications.  I'm keeping my options as open as possible.  I talked with a colleague about starting up some "playgroups" this summer that will be like a mini version of our groups that we run at my work.  It could potentially gross a good amount of income for us.  It is quite stressful, though, to think of having to collect unemployment and not being able to have insurance for a while.  I fear the uncertainty for my family and am being forced to trust God in a way that is more challenging than ever.  I am thankful that this trying circumstance brings about the fruit of trust.  It's a daily choice that, sadly, I'm not willing to make at times.  But I know from God's perspective that this is not a mistake.  It's simply another mile marker on the path he intended for us.  

So, humor has been a valuable distractor from all the chaos and I have had some friends send me some funny material.  This one had both A and I laughing pretty hard.  Despite all the doom and gloom, I am pretty excited about what may be around the next corner.  We'll just have to wait and see.  I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vacation Recap

That was a great vacation!  My weekend with A was wonderful and in our usual fashion, we did not take any pictures.  But anyway, we checked into our hotel on Friday evening and rushed on over to happy hour at Ten 01.  We felt like we were back in LA again.  Sleek, modern interior, fancy dinnerware, and really great food.  We started off with some oysters in a cucumber-yuzu mignonette.  My first oyster ever and it did not disappoint.  Then we had some clams and mussels in an herbed butter sauce.  Very good!  I also got a small hamburger that was excellent.  A surprise hit for both of us was the chicken liver mousse with fig jam.  Wow, it was creamy and delicious, full of flavor.  We also enjoyed some fries doused in truffle oil and served with aioli.  The last piece was the charcuterie plate.  Excellent as well.  A finished her meal with some Fernet Branca.  We followed dinner with some window shopping and retired for the evening.  We spent the next day strolling through the farmer's market in the park blocks downtown while drinking coffee and eating biscuit sandwiches from Pine State Biscuits.  We also went to The Living Room Theaters to take in a terrific movie, The Secret of the Grain. It was a great film about a Tunisian immigrant family living in France.  There was quite a bit of focus on food and people dining together.  It was really wonderful, all 2 1/2 hours of it.  We had a simple dinner at the Everett Street Bistro and later had drinks together at our hotel.  We slept in late on Sunday, went for a late pastry and coffee at Ken's Artisan Bakery and then went to pick up little A.  We felt like we were dating again.  

Once we got home, I began my work on the chicken coop in earnest.  I have to say that this has been one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever worked on.  I've never built anything before, so this was quite a task.  Frankly, I was quite intimidated, but I managed to put out a pretty decent structure.  It's still a work in progress, but is getting there.  I've got a few more boards to nail for siding, put a roof on it, and then cover the whole thing in chicken wire.  I'd like to stain it, too.  Pretty soon we'll have chickens and fresh eggs.  I'll post pictures once it's done.  

I've since returned to work to discover that the already grim budget for the upcoming years is even more so.  They're talking 5%-30% reductions in our budget.  This translates into very possible layoffs.  I'm also one of the more recently hired, so I'm feeling rather nervous.  I just keep praying and hoping as I could not imagine leaving such an amazing job.  

That's all.