Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jobbed relief

Shane has a job! Well, an offer at any rate. I'm home sick today (just general crumminess and ickiness) so I was here to see him off to the theater. He called about five minutes later to say, "Umm, guess who just called me?" They're going to email the offer to him and he'll go in tomorrow to sign things and finalize things, like when he'll start.
I'm so proud of him! Over the last nine months or so he's had times when he's felt really, really down about himself for not having a full-time job. He felt useless, and he felt like a bad husband. Not that he thinks he needs to be The Provider, in the old-fashioned sense, but he wants to know that he's at least contributing. What made it harder is that so many of the jobs around here in his field (biology) are things where he'd be out in the field for months at a time, so he didn't apply to those. It would have been different if we were still just dating--we've spent summers apart before--but now he wanted to stay a little closer to home. That restricted his job choices, and what was left often called for more experience than he has.
And then this job came along. What is it? Well, he'll be working for a mining company. I know, I know! On the surface, it sounds like something I'd totally be against. But my wonderful husband will be doing the environmental impact assessment stuff. There's a strip of gold up there (in Livengood--pronounced with a long I sound, not like "livin'-good" as my brother likes to call it--about 85 miles north of here) that no one's started mining yet. They're still determining if it's worth it, apparently, but with the price of gold what it is it's almost certain that they will start mining it. So Shane will be determining what they'll have to do during and after the mining process to put it back the way it should be.
We've known for weeks now that this job was a definite possibility. He got called in for an interview about four weeks ago, and they actually asked him, "Do you have any experience with small vehicles, such as snow machines and ATVs?" He said it was a little hard not to laugh when he answered, "I've been comfortable on a snow machine since I was three." Apparently, they've been having trouble finding someone with the right environmental background who also knows how to drive an ATV. Since the mining area is in the wilderness, that's sort of crucial. And it also shows me that the job will be active, which is the kind of thing Shane really needs. He'd be worse than I am about having a desk job.
When I told my brother about that interview question he said, "Man, I wish I'd have a job interview where they asked me something like that. Awesome."
So we waited. They asked for more information from him, then for permission to do a background check. It was so hard not to mention that he was likely going to get a job, and even harder not to be privately excited by the possibility. Not getting your hopes up is a very hard thing to do.

*I originally wrote this post pretty much right after getting off the phone with Shane, then decided that I should perhaps wait until after he'd actually signed the papers to crow about this on the tubes. Now the papers are signed, and he starts May 7th. The job is two weeks on/one week off, so I'll be by myself for about 2/3rds of the year. Gulp. In the interview, he was told that it was two weeks on/two off, which was going to be hard enough. Am I disappointed by this? Oh, yes. Of course I am! Obviously, I love him and I love being around him. But this won't be the worst thing ever. I told him that I'm trying to concentrate on the upsides--like the fact that I can cook all those things he hates while he's gone and not have to hear him whining. (In reality, I'll probably start eating a lot more sandwiches because I hate cooking for just myself.) Our household bills will go down, probably significantly since we won't have his computer on most of the time and we can switch to cheaper internet. Also, we'll appreciate the time we have together more. In fact, that part has already started. Yesterday afternoon, before the siblings came over, we were both lying on the bed reading together, with the dog snuggled up with us. It was lovely. Shane fell asleep and I laid there between the two of them, listening to the dog snore and knowing that it wouldn't be like this forever. I'll have very little time with Shane while he's doing this job, and the realistic part of me knows that the dog has a very short time with us. So I was trying to hold onto that moment and make it count.
We know couples who've done work like this for years and said that they actually enjoyed it. But one of our goals is to save up enough money so that Shane doesn't have to work like this for very long. I want him home, and we want to start a family at some point. Shane said, "When we have kids, I want to actually know them and have them know me."
Perhaps the worst part is that they don't even have Skype. There's internet, but it's slow. There's no cell phone service, but there are land line phones Shane can use. I keep trying to remind myself that people in past generations have had it much, much worse. At least we can communicate. We'll manage. And it won't be forever. Shane will get experience which he can transfer to other, better jobs later on. And by better, I mean closer to home.
I've slept horribly the past couple of nights, with my mind whirling about what this will mean. For one thing, we actually get to start planning our future rather than just continuing our holding pattern and waiting for something to happen. We're trying to decide what we want, and what we want to do with all the money we'll suddenly have. (I won't say what he's making, but at least compared to what we've been making/living on it was enough to make me say, "Holy shit!" when I realized what our combined incomes would amount to.) One thing is clear: I don't want to stop living frugally. AT THE VERY LEAST, living frugally will mean that he has to work at a job that takes him away from me for as short a time as possible. So most of our money will still be saved or put toward our long-term goals.
We're having to suddenly make decisions we didn't think about before. Do we want Shane to have double coverage with healthcare, or do we want one of us to get a little pay bump? So many things to work out, including time off. The time we'd already planned to go away (Hawaii in June, Maine for Christmas) are times when he's scheduled to work. (They're going to work with him so he'll likely get the time off.) The one time he has two weeks off in a row is so typically Alaskan that it made me actually laugh out loud: he's got two weeks for hunting season.

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