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Aug 27, 2017

Lessons Learned From A Layoff, Thrifting Scores, Cooking Sweet Italian Peppers

Lessons Learned From A Layoff-
For a variety of reasons I decided to not to post this until after it was over. Those reasons are personal. Primarily I think it's important to retain a positive focus during tough times. I also asked Dave if he was comfortable with my posting this in the interest of possibly helping other people and he agreed. He's that kind of guy! My husband Dave was lad off his job at the end of a day on a Monday in July. He knew it might be coming, and was working for a large multinational company, so big decisions aren't made locally. It's a numbers game in his field of industrial sales. He called me at home late in the afternoon and said "if you get a phone call in a few minutes I've been laid off and have my papers in the car." I was a bit surprised but not shocked, knowing that their sales and numbers were down. He did help set things up with his manger before he left, then was escorted out the door. He did find out later his management staff was very upset the next day, that was hard for them. Before he got home I was formulating some ideas.

Here was the initial good news- they laid him off a Monday (instead of the Friday before) to keep benefits for the next two weeks, enabling me to get him on my insurance with no gap. He wanted to go without out, and I said over my dead body! They also gave him two weeks severance pay and cashed out his vacation/sick leave. He found out he also had several hundred $$$ in his FSA account that he didn't know he could get. He submitted some paperwork and got a check. The day he was laid off he called out retirement person Craig, who was also a former co-worker in his filed. Here's some wonderful synchronicity- when Dave called Craig, Craig was on the line with someone who was hiring in Dave's field. Craig said he'd call Dave right back, and told the other person he needed to interview Dave. He called Dave back, and seven weeks later he hired Dave! It might not have been so delayed, but they were on vacation and short staffed. That was the good news.

There are variety of things that happen, even when you know things could happen, as far a layoffs. Dave thought about transferring in the Spring to another branch but was told by his manager that their sales slump would end and they'd be fine. Mistake. Listen to your gut in business. If he had transferred THEN it would have been a much easier and less painful.

We crunched numbers right away, and he filed for unemployment. We looked at what we could realistically cut as far as spending. At this point we had to NOT panic, just think more logically. We knew we'd be OK until November or so, with savings. I knew we could also tap into our retirement if it was really needed, worst case. I also knew he'd find something, since he has an incredible work ethic, and is very well liked and thought of in his field.

Networking is CRUCIAL, as in that initial phone call. Dave also used multiple job websites, including Linked In, to network and get the word out.

Emotionally, it takes a toll. Dave went thru anger, depression, boredom and just felt like the rug have been pulled out from under him. I had to do everything I could to reassure him we'd be okay, that he'd find a job and be the cheer leader. That took somewhat of a toll on me. We bickered some and got on each others nerves, but that's understandable. I think it helps in this situation to allow small things that can comfort a person in tough times. Dave liked to go to Starbuck's once or twice and week and he'd said he'd stop. I told him to keep going. I got him out of the house, and made him feel more normal. It was worth the money. We also took a short road trip one Saturday afternoon because it was a metal health things for both of us. Not everyone would agree, but we both knew this wasn't going to last. We needed to get thru the process intact.

I did set up an Etsy account during this time, which I had planned on doing. I was just more motivated. I also inventoried our foods- freezer, pantry closet, kitchen, etc. to see exactly what we had. I was happy that I had a fairly good stockpile to pull from.

Dave used the time at home and was very helpful. He deep cleaned the house, preserved peaches, did yard clean up, heavy gardening, car appts, etc. That freed up some time for me on the weekends. That reduced my stress some. He froze 12 one-gallon bags of rhubarb gifted from our neighbor for instance-

We talked daily about little projects he could do while I was at work. Planning a little at a time wasn't so overwhelming. He was really good about that.

He's starting his new job after Labor Day, and it's a good fit. He went to Portland this weekend for a family reunion, with a ticket from last winter when his flight was cancelled due to weather. He stayed with family and it was a perfect time for him to have a break. I did things here at home. We survived and we learned some things.

Chicken pitcher, $3.00

Thrifting Scores!
Had a really great finds at two Goodwill stores. I was needing a cardigan for upcoming fall weather at my job and found a beautiful J.Jill new sweater with the tag for $6.99, part wool and cotton, toggles down the front, a heathered cable knit, with Velveteen strap button loops, cream color. Fit perfect!

Also a new cheap solar system puzzle for Grand baby for a buck-

Also found a needed large wicker basket for $2.99. I went to another Goodwill today and found a
like-new purple corduroy shirt jacket, $5.00. Yesterday I got a great deal at the Eddie Bauer Outlet with my $10.00 off coupon, a 40% off tee-shirt for hubby, was $2.50. Most of his tees are in bad shape, so score! A good weekend!

Cooking Sweet Italian Peppers-
I read about these peppers in the last year, so I decided to grow some. I ordered some seeds, but was lucky to find some starts locally. I went recipe hunting after having a nice harvest (more coming!). This recipe looks amazing, I would need to try these on a weekend when I have some time-

I also found some random, anecdotal stories online, with great info-

They are sweet and are usually pan-fried with onions and eaten with sausage in my family. Occasionally, they are oven roasted and peeled, served with garlic, olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar as a side dish.

Make a slit lengthwise on each pepper, heat fry pan with a splash of oil, place peppers with slit facing down and fry until peppers have a light golden color. Turn them over and stuff peppers with either feta cheese or ricotta and fry until the underside is also a light golden color.

I went with simple frying- a large onion, some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a package of mild Italian sausage cut in chunks. I used about 7 peppers, split and seeded. Next time I would cook the sausage in a separate skillet as it was a bit to oily for me -

I also used some of our fresh tomatoes and parsley in a different skillet saute with pasta-

I used canned chicken breast for protein, tasty! Added fresh basil after I took the shot, with whole grain linguine, and crusty bread-

Next weekend I will be canning tons of our fresh apples! Looking forward to that!


Kristina said...

I know what you just went through. When Hubby was on strike is was the same here - he was angry, depressed, crunching numbers, etc. I am so glad you are getting through it, and he's back to work. It sounds like he stayed very busy too, getting things done. The food looks amazing by the way. I have some small tomatoes I need to use up too. I wish we had apples. It's been 4 years and no apples on our trees yet. Nor plums. I love the chicken pitcher. So dang cute.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Thanks, and yes I had to get the chicken pitcher haha!

Susan said...

You just proved how important it is to be prepared - you never know what will happen from week to week. Glad you two WERE so prepared and able to navigate the ups and downs of the stresses that such events inevitably bring. I'm also glad that Dave has a new job lined up - I'm sure that there were a lot of places looking for someone with his valuable skills and work ethic!

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Thanks, it did all take the pressure off

Rain said...

The pasta looks delicious! Being laid off is scary. It happened to me once, but I was very young and could easily just find a job waitressing, I wasn't really settled down yet so there wasn't too much on the line. But the emotional toll hit me, that's for sure. I'm so glad the two of you made it and congrats to Dave for starting a new job soon! We always have to be prepared for the worst! Alex and I chose to live on much less than we used to and we always have a back up plan for a just in case, but when it happens, it still hits you hard.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Yes Rain, scary. Another good reason to save and keep extra food, etc on hand.