I’ve tried to keep friends and family updated about my wife’s job situation via Facebook, but those posts tend to get lost in the shuffle, now buried under hundreds of other posts. Here is the latest.
In about 11 days, my wife will begin her new job. I won’t list many specifics, due to the nature of her job (and the nature of public posts on the internet), but I will say that it’s still on Ft. Hood and still under the umbrella of the Department Of The Army.
If you’ve followed along on Facebook, you know there have been many reversals and contradictory announcements. This has been stressful for our family, but I don’t know that we were ever in danger of losing income. She was supposed to switch to this new job a long time ago. Most of last year, the switch didn’t happen because of several factors — most of which I will chalk up to incompetence and overlapping federal bureaucracies.
As we switched over to 2017, it finally looked like everything was lined up for the switch to happen. Her current job was ready to be dismantled, and all the employees under her current supervisor would be transferred out to new positions. But then Donald J. Trump took the helm of our great nation and immediately fulfilled one of his campaign promises: a federal hiring freeze. The executive order was poorly worded, very vague, and generally misunderstood up and down the chains of command. No one knew exactly which jobs or which employees would be affected.
At first, it seemed like my wife’s situation would not be affected, but within days, word filtered down that the switch couldn’t happen due to the hiring freeze. So we’ve been waiting, and waiting, and…
Several days ago, my wife and her coworkers were surprised to learn that they would be transferred out after all — despite no change to Trump’s executive order. I really do not know whether they found a loophole to the hiring freeze, or determined that because it was all set in motion in 2016 that the freeze didn’t apply, or decided that these transfers technically don’t count as “hiring” (although in most other aspects, my wife is being treated as if she’s being “hired” again), or decided to simply ignore the hiring freeze. I really don’t know.
Regardless, she starts her new job the day after Easter.
It is technically a promotion/raise, but our annual household income likely will not change much, because her current job pays her extra for weekends and holidays while her new job will not require her to work weekends or holidays.
What will change, most assuredly, is our schedule.
When M and I first moved to Killeen in 2009, her hours were entirely unpredictable. There was no pattern and no expectation beyond the next couple of weeks. She worked nights, mornings, evenings, day shifts, weekends, holidays, and sometimes had four or five days off in a row but then had many work days in a row. It had settled a little by the time our daughter was born in 2010, but she still occasionally worked nights or evenings, and we still had trouble making plans very far in the future.
But by the time our son came along in 2013, her schedule was nearly set in stone: she worked Friday through Monday, and was off Tuesday through Thursday. There were rare exceptions, but we grew accustomed to this four-on/three-off schedule. It meant we never had to shift things around for doctor/dentist appointments. It meant that when we visited the zoo or parks or libraries, we were always doing it on days when most other people worked.
Then our daughter began school in 2016, and since then she and her mother have rarely had the same days off at the same time.
But 11 days from now, we’ll enter a new era of our lives; the first time since we married in 2006 that all of us are on the same schedule. My wife and daughter will be at work and school (respectively) on the same days and about the same hours. My son and I will be home together five days a week. All four of us will be together on two weekend days and the occasional holiday.
It remains to be seen how well we’ll handle it.
Other news: We also just bought a new car, a 2016 Kia Soul, yesterday. It’s the first time either my wife or I have ever owned a new car — never owned by anyone besides car dealerships, and with a full manufacturer’s warranty. We paid entirely out of our savings (no loan involved), so we continue our tradition of never having a car payment.
In the middle of the new job stuff and the new car stuff, our dishwasher broke. It was a new appliance, installed by builders when our house was constructed in 2010, but it was bottom-of-the-line — and we knew that at the time. After six-and-a-half years, it suddenly began to leak from inside the door (not from underneath where the connections are). It also suddenly will no longer open the detergent holder. No amount of troubleshooting could fix it. So the same day we bought a new car, we bought a new dishwasher, and it’s supposed to be delivered and installed in a few days.