Saturday, March 5, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

     We've come up against a wall, my husband and I. Currently, he has to work two jobs in order for us to make ends meet semi-comfortably. This two jobs thing has actually been going on for him since longer than we've been together. It started about two years ago, when he split from his ex and picked up a second job waiting tables at night and on the weekends to make some extra cash.

      Then we got together and as it became apparent that we were headed for forever, we decided that he should/ had to keep it if we wanted to get out of the apartment we were occupying at the time and into a house or better apartment (meaning one that had been renovated more recently than 1967.) I'll spare you the rest of the details that got us from there to here, but suffice it to say that we still need the income he gets from waiting those damn tables.

     I know we're not the first family that's had to play this game, not by a long shot. Hell, I myself was working three jobs at once for a time during college to keep my head above water. I was raised to believe that you do what you have to do to get by and you don't bitch overly much about it, because at least you're able to get those jobs and make ends meet. Not everyone is that lucky. And considering that my husband has worked in the food industry, in one way or another, for over twenty years, he didn't really think that much of it at first. Now, though, it's quickly reaching the point where his waiting tables is no longer an option.

     I want to say, before I go any further, that I absolutely detest the fact that he spends every Saturday on his feet, putting stress on his body, a body which is not well-equipped to deal with it. I am not at all opposed to getting a second job myself and in fact did have two jobs for awhile when we first got together. Circumstances at my full-time gig changed so that I was able to quit the part-time job, though lately I've been questioning that decision.

     It's somewhat out of my hands at the moment, though, since I was recently informed that he will work three jobs before he allows me to have two. For anyone who knows me, the thought of someone not "allowing" me to do something is ludicrous, but this is different. There are already issues there because he knows I'm going to have to be the sole provider for the two of us eventually and I just don't have the heart to push him on this right now. Not yet.

     We're reaching the end of this particular road and neither of us is yet prepared to make a decision as to which way to turn next. His body is beginning to fail him and it's taking him longer to recover from his one day of physical labor. And keep in mind that he and his supervisors tailor that physical labor to what he knows he can handle, i.e. no carrying full trays (he makes several trips with individual plates instead), no stocking the bar (he can't handle the heavy cases of liquor), keeping it to one day a week, etc.

      St. Patrick's Day is coming up and that's the single busiest day of the year at the restaurant he works at. It's gotten so hard on him lately that he's considering taking the following Monday off from his full-time job in order to recover from that one day of serving. That's not right, but neither one of us has a solution to the immediate problem.

     The long-term solution that we've come up with is to put me back in school so that I can (hopefully) find something that will, at the very least, allow him to quit his second job. But what to do until then? Everyone knows it takes time to get anywhere with schooling and that's time he doesn't have. He'll be thirty-eight this summer and it's showing. Every time he goes in to the restaurant, we're taking a chance that  he's going to jack something up (Remember that hernia I talked about earlier? Guess where it first made itself known...) that's going to land his ass back in the hospital or cause him to have to call into work from the full-time job.

      They're incredibly patient with employee illness and, as I've said before, have never given him any trouble about calling in sick, but will it be that way forever? How do we get through in the meantime? Yet again, I'm at a complete loss as to what to do. I've never been one to not have at lest a vague idea of how I'm going to get to where I want to be, but now? Uncharted territory for both of us and never a guide when you need one.


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