Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Change of Plans.

I expected to return to work today, 12 weeks after August 30th, the day before I went into labor.

From the day Gabriel was born, I found myself dreading the return to work. "Only 10 more weeks!" I'd think, then chide myself for not enjoying my time with my sweet, tiny baby, but counting down instead.

As I started to mentally plan out the logistics of returning to work - it became increasingly clear that we'd either have to get a second car or I'd have to take Gabe to my mom's (yay for free childcare!) each morning - which is 25 minutes in the opposite direction. This would add up to over three hours of driving a day and more than 10 hours a day away from my baby. It seemed physically impossible to be away from Gabe 10 hours a day. 

But, I knew that not working was simply not an option. Mike is in grad school for a PhD (which will hopefully pay off when he's a college professor someday and our kids will go to college for freeee) and although it's paid for, the stipend is small. Small, as in, we'd be living on strictly Ramen and still having to dip into our savings to make ends meet each month. 

So you can understand why, when Mike said, "Just quit," on a sunny day during my maternity leave , I thought he was absolutely crazy and possibly a wee bit delusional. A few hours later, thought I found myself  surprised to be wondering if it would be possible, Googling websites like this and this, tweeting about it, and playing around with budgets. 

Slowly, the idea started to appeal to me. I could quit, take the rest of the school year off work, then find something starting next school year. No horrific commute, no worrying about pumping and schedules, no mornings rushing around to get myself and Gabe ready. We have substantial savings and no debt...maybe it could work.

Then the pendulum swung the other way, and I was incredulous with myself for even entertaining such a financially irresponsible decision. Quitting my salaried, big girl, career-type job and living on a THIRD of what we currently live on (which isn't a ton to begin with)? Not to mention leaving my wonderful coworkers high and dry like that. ARE. YOU. CRAZY. WOMAN?

It was an oscillating few weeks, really, what with the "Yay! Mornings to snuggle with mah babeeee!" and then "Whhhhhat? Do you want to sabotage your CAREER!?" and the "Woohoo! We can totally be poor! I rock at being poor! Poor is fun!" and then "I want to be able to afford food! I like food!"

I dragged Twitter into things, as well:

Yep. I annoyed everyone.

On a whim, I applied to Starbucks, thinking it'd take a few weeks or months to get back to me.

Three days later, I was Starbucks' newest employee.

I quit my big girl, career-type job and work part-time at Starbucks. 

We're still going to be utterly poor, but I'm going to be very well-caffeinated. Hey, I said I'd be a bag lady sipping a latte.

The job is perfect for me right now, it's only 15 minutes away and I work 20 hours a week, scheduled around Mike's classes, so Gabe is usually with one of his parents.  It's fast-paced, so I hardly have time to think about missing Gabe. The other baristas are delightful, and the job is (mostly) very fun. Plus, I get to spend the day drinking lattes and iced Passion tea. A huge perk, no?

It's going to be hard to make some sacrifices and tighten our budget even more, but I think it'll be worth it. And we're up to the challenge (we've spent a mere $110 on groceries this month!). To help supplement my income, I'm planning to work more on my crafting and designing.

On that note, hey, look! I have an Etsy shop with pretty things like these coffee sleeves:

Lots of coffee cup sleeves.

And I am happy to design your website like I recently did for Lauren and Angela! Email me!

/end shameless plugs.

So, I guess you could say I'm the happiest, poorest person you now know. Any more money saving tips for me? I need them.
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