Towards the middle of May, my husband and I made the decision to move to central Texas. It has been an interesting experience to say the least.
After weighing all the options and deciding that moving is the right thing to do, you could say that we are now Texas Transplants. Although, I would beg to differ. I would say we are still in transition.
The move didn't come about as an easy choice. There were many things that were thrown into the mix and it was a very hard choice.
Where we come from in Arkansas, there is a very high unemployment rate. I don't know the exact percentage, but I do remember the faces of those that I met at the unemployment office. People were losing jobs left and right. I talked to one young man that said he and his grandfather were waiting at the unemployment office for 5 hours, just to get help in getting a new job. The waiting area's were full, lines all around the room and out the door. I had thought it a bit exaggerated until I went down there myself, and sure enough the place was packed. I met people that had been laid off that were just trying to get set up with their unemployment checks and others that were seeking training for new jobs. you couldn't get in the doors and the people that worked there were doing their best to help as much as possible, I knew that I would be their for hours if I stayed. I wanted to sign up for job training in another field. I left that day thinking that I would come back another day.
I went home to think about what I encountered there and to search online for job listings. My friends were finding job listings and emailing them to me as well. For every job I applied for there were at least 10 others applying too. The food banks were going empty. The organizations and churches were having to turn people away that they normally could help with utilities, food, and clothing. I know of one lady that had to go to 3 different food banks and such just to get enough food to feed her family for one week. This is in no way a bashing of these places. They are always trying to help out in any way possible, but when the funds and supplies are not there, there is no way it can be helped, but to give what they can and pray for the families in need.
Now I know there are people out there that are saying, that their own fault they need to get a job and quit relying on hand outs um......5hr wait at the unemployment office and 1 in 20 might get a job!
the cost of food and fuel going up even during this down fall and that's not the only place that costs were high. Most families have to rely on child care so that they can continue to work. I remember the time when you could pay $10 a day for a baby sitter or $2 hr on average, which ever was greater. I was myself looking for a babysitter and when I found one she wanted $20 a day. I looked into a daycare and it was $10 cheaper for the week at $90 a week and they offered a structured day and the socializing that my daughter needed. The only problem with the day care is you pay even if they aren't there including holidays and you may only need them for a few days a week, a No win situation. Not everyone has the option of friends or family watching their kids for them. That is what I ran into. My family and friends that would gladly do so to help me out, were further away in distance than I could do. So I my self chose the daycare. By the end of the month I was paying out $700 just to go to work. $400 in daycare costs and $300 in fuel, supplies etc. Keep in mind that in some places this is a drop in the hat, but in our area that is really high. Our cost of living is lower than most, but the wages match it as well. I wasn't making enough to cover all the cost just to go. We actually had more money by me staying home. So when you see someone staying home with their kids, keep in mind, they are not lazy or refuse to do anything to help themselves. They are probably doing the best thing they can for their family. When you see someone that drives a "gas hog", remember they don't want to have to pay the high cost of fuel either, but probably cant afford another payment on another vehicle with better fuel mileage. I personally drive a "gas hog", not because I like to put that much into fuel, but because I own it, I don't want to have another payment to add to the already stretched budget. Which means planning as much into one day and praying you get through to the next week with out pawning something to just have fuel to get to work or get groceries.
We knew that we were very close to having to move ourselves. It was getting harder and harder to make ends meet. Things had been really rough for the past 2 yrs and it didn't look like it would be getting better any time soon. We were barely getting by just on one income and my home business. Soon our daughter would be starting school and we would incur more expenses that we just didnt have. We are like most, we had to ask for assistance and have done with out just like the next, but there were options available to us and we would be at fault if we went under with out checking into the options available to us.
My husband went to Texas (600 miles away) to help out a family member and while there he started getting work. More work than he was getting the past year in Arkansas. This was happening with out advertising or anything. (Back home we watched many people as well as friends lose their businesses and go under) I went online to check out the job listings for that area and well I was very surprised. There are so many jobs available.
Not everyone has the option to pick up and move. Many things had to be factored in. We didn't have anything that permanently tied us down to where we were. We had a chance to change things for us and we had to decide how we were going to do it.
Most people (those that didn't really know us) thought we were sitting pretty. What they didnt know was that we would pay all of our basic bills such as utilities, rent etc and then put back enough for fuel to get to work until the next check came in. With what ever was left, we would get groceries, most times there wasnt much left. We have had to rely on community food banks a couple of times and places to help off set the cost of utilities a couple of times as well. We didnt qualify for food stamps, because for a family of 3 we made to much (we had more than one vehicle in which we owned). Because we didnt ask family and friends for help financially it was thought we were better off. But the way we looked at it was do the best we could for ourselves, and dont even think about asking for help from others that were struggling to help themselves. We had the basic necessities and that is what mattered.
Now as I said earlier, hubby was in Texas working and had been for 4 months. He had found a place for us to live, but before agreeing to it we sat down and looked at the amount we would have to pay out to live there in comparison to what we were already paying out. It came to about a $75 difference. This was very do-able for us. The next challenge was going to be the actual move itself. How were we going to get us moved from one house to the next, with all the moving expenses. With what hubby had made and what my home business brought in we were able to do just that. I sold off furniture and packed the rest into storage (with the help of family and friends) and loaded down my gas hog and drove 600 miles with my daughter to start over in Texas with my husband. This all happened inside of a week. Due to financial reasons we didnt have a choice, but it worked and we are now here.
Hubby is working his business (construction) and I am working my home business right now. I am currently looking for work out side of the home as well. So far, it has been a total "shock" having to adjust to not having friends and family around as well as the heat, but we are adjusting. We are meeting new people every day and the opportunities are great here.
I don't have the fear of not knowing if there will be enough food to feed my family or if the lights are going to be shut off. I don't have the fear of getting the eviction notice. And I dont have the fear of our house falling in around us (which our previous home was in bad shape) and my daughter isn't getting sick as often as before,which for those that know her and her "issues" know this is a HUGE plus. For these blessings I am most thankful. Our family is together and we are carving out our future one day at a time.
We can only do with what we have, so we either continue on "existing" or get out there and find what we need to move ahead. I have great neighbors, my daughter will be going to a "top" school here, work for both of us is within a reasonable distance, food is on the table and a roof over our head.
I still have to adjust to the rules of a big city...like where not to be when the sun goes down,lol. And that there really are drivers that are crazier than those back home. That home is where we make it. I very much miss all my family and friends and it hurts to not be in close contact as we once were, but I know they only wish the best for us.
Im not completely with out family here. I do have a brother that lives near here. I have my internet connection that will allow me to communicate with the family as well as a phone. This just means that holiday get togethers will be that much more special.
There is still more "transition" to go through, but we shall do just fine. Thank you for going through this journey with us and I cant wait to bring to you more of the exciting new things I discover as we go along! Have a GREAT day. Be happy for what you do have and go for that of what you want, live a happy life not just an existence.