Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back from the Trip: Furlough Board is Moving!

So we are back from our trip.  Our dear conductor was missed.  We thought of him often, and wished he could be with us- but the plans had been made before he was let go from the most recent railroad job- and we were traveling with my sister, and there was no room for him.  He kept busy by refinishing our staircase floor while we were gone.

Yesterday he checked the furlough board and found that almost 40 people have gone back to work!  This is good news.  The president of the company has said publicly that the railroad expects to bring every single furloughed person back to work eventually.  I hope that's not beaurocratic hot air.

Tomorrow is our son's birthday. He'll be ten.  We can't afford to buy him much, or have much of a party.  I am making a cake from a mix, as I always do, and I will invite his best friend for dinner and cake.  I had hoped to get him a guinea pig, but we can't afford that now.  I am hoping a white rat or a rabbit will fill the pet void for him.

Someone said yesterday that there are jobs on the Gulf Coast, cleaning up the spill.  She said that they were paying $18 to $31 per hour.  We got excited, because we spent a number of years on the Gulf Coast, and we love that area, and would be thrilled to have temporary work there, working close to old friends.  We homeschool, so I could pick up the kids and we could go down there to be near the hubby.  We could stay a few months in our camper at campgrounds, homeschooling, visiting friends, taking the kids to see the historic sites there, and providing a home away from home for the husband.  Then I found out that the jobs are paying $8 per hour, and you have to be a Gulf Coast resident to be hired.

But my husband and his furloughed friends are speculating that they might get called back by November 2010.  Gosh that would be great.

Here's to avoiding bitterness, staying positive, keeping the dream alive, and loving our kids while they are still young, and giving them a rich childhood, even though we can't presently afford gymnasitics, and camp, and all of those other things that they ask for. 

We are very blessed, however.  Our kids have NEVER ever complained about budgetary restraints.  We have wonderful, unselfish kids.   Thanks be to God.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Sad Getaway

Tomorrow a.m. I am going on a three day trip with the kids.  My husband would have been out of state training, so I had planned to take the kids camping with my sister.  We had wanted to get our kids together, and also wanted to share expenses, and be together for added safety.  (Two women at a campground with kids, instead of 1).  Anyway, it had been my way of distracting my son from the absence of his father- particularly because his dad was going to be away for both Father's Day AND our son's birthday.  Now we are going, and leaving him behind.  We had already made reservations, and there isn't enough room for anyone else, AND we had planned this as a mom's getaway, so I didn't feel like I could bring the hubby along just because he is now not working.  But getting ready for the trip feels like I am packing to go to a funeral.  I feel badly about leaving him behind, especially since he feels so down about his recent job loss.  I'm hoping that he'll get called for an interview while I am gone.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back to the Furlough Board

Well, my husband's career with the new Class One Road was very short-lived.  He went out of town for three weeks of classroom training and then started on the job training at one of the most complex freight yard in the country.  He was studying the GCOR when he wasn't working, and scrounging around at work for better yard maps than he had been given.  It seems to be a tradition on the railroad that good yard maps aren't just handed out.  Apparantly, you must procure your own by whatever means possible.  Hmmm.  Anyway, he discovered pretty quickly that he really doesn't like yard work all that much, but at least was money, which is something we pretty much needed.   He got along pretty well with just about all of the crews he worked with.  At the end of every day, they filled out evaluations of my husband's work.  He always got excellent scores, which he showed to me.  Then one particular person decided he just didn't like my husband.  He started making remarks about how he had gotten other people fired in the past, so we saw it coming a couple of weeks ago.  Then last week it happened.   My husband broke no FRA regulations, no GCOR rules, no internal procedures.  He made no safety violations.  As a matter of fact, the crew members that were there the day it happened were dumbfounded.  They couldn't believe it.   This is about the most unfair thing that has ever happened to us, and it feels like  a kick in the teeth.  It's almost enough to drive a Christian wife to cuss.   It's really stupid that on this particular road there seem to be no checks and balances.  If the supervisor doesn't like the color of your hat, he can fire you before your 90 days are up.

All I can say, is that that particular railroad does not deserve my husband.  We will shake the dust from our sandals and move on to bigger and better things.

Meanwhile, we got a call last night from the first railroad that hired my husband.  The occupational health nurse is going to start following his health.  My husband is in outstanding physical condition- so we think that (hopefully) this might be part of the process of getting furloughed employees ready to go back to work. Hopefully, this is part of the procedure aimed at making sure that (furloughed employees) are fit enough to return to work.  

If you read this, remember us in your prayers.  Resources are getting thin.  Patience is getting weak.  Morale is failing.  We're all sick of driving a car with no air conditioning, and almost no muffler.  My son's best friend's mother called today from out East to say she has cancer, and her son is missing my son, and I wish I had the money to just drive my son out to visit them.  But we can't.  My husband is applying for a job with our local city in the maintenance department.  If I didn't have chronic severe migraine headaches, I would take a night job.  Fingers crossed.  Maybe he'll get called back this year.