It's been a while since I've posted. But there's been a lot going on. After living in Texas, primarily in the Houston area, since 1993, I, along with my wife and two little girls, moved all the way up to Fargo, ND. What the move came down to, essentially, was me with a low-paying job in Houston, and my wife basically unable to find a job of her own.
Just a little over a year ago, my wife was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It was a pretty surprising blow to us. Being just 30 years old, when something is off, cancer isn't the first thing you suspect with someone at a young age. That being said, the silver lining is that thyroid cancer is an extremely beatable form of the disease, just as long as it isn't ignored. The way that more than one person worded it to us, if you have to get cancer, this is the one to get. Upon giving us the diagnosis, her endochrinologist suggested that we get a good start on treatment, which would entail a thyroidectomey, followed a few weeks later by radioactive iodine. The one thing she advised us of, was not to get pregnant. Well, guess what happened literally two days before the diagnosis.
In addition to battling thyroid cancer, my wife was now pregnant. Due to thyroid cancer being an incredibly slow-moving form of the disease, and it being unlikely to spread out any further, we were able to delay the treatment until after we had the baby. She did get her thyroidectomy last December, since once you are halfway through the pregnancy, it is safe to receive anesthesia without harming the fetus. That way, the main source of the disease, at the very least, is removed.
We did get a good bit of news during the pregnancy. With our first child (now 3), my wife had gestational diabetes. She did a great job of regulating her diet, and therefore, never needed any oral medication or insulin shots. Due to a likelyhood of this recurring, she dieted during the entire pregnancy, and as a result, her gestational diabetes test came back negative. Great news. I found this out on my way to work. That SAME day, I found out that I was being laid off from the job I had for the past 3 1/2 years.
So there I was. Wife has cancer. And is pregnant. And I am out of work. It dealt quite a blow to me, and I soon found out that finding a job, even with a college degree, is more than just sending out a few resumes and letting them call you. We had our second child, another girl, on May 8 (Mother's Day) which brought us a great deal of happiness. In fact, her middle name is Joy, in reference to the fact that she was a joy to us in a very dark time.
I finally found a job in mid-July. I was hired on as an assistant service manager at a grocery store (HEB, for those familiar with the Texas grocery chain) and finally, I felt as though I could breathe a little bit. I was able to get off of COBRA, and I was able to finally bring some money home. Unfortunately, I would soon find out that it would not be enough. Before having our second baby, my wife worked at a pre-school/day care, where she was able to takre our then-two-year-old free of charge. Upon being able to return to work, she was informed that while they are able to cut breaks for older kids, they simply were unable to give any kind of discount for the infant. And with what it costs to have an infant in day care, literally her entire paycheck would go to child care. She might as well stay home if that's the case.
Needless to say, my 10 bucks an hour didn't go far at all. We were running out of money quicker than we could get it in. We received a bunch of help financially from our families, and tapped out all resources from local churches and assistance organizations, and weren't sure how we were going to make it, but somehow we were able to.
About two months ago, my parents gave us a proposal. My dad, who himself was laid off from his job a few months previous, was offered a position on a project in Florida. My parents had just recently built a house in Fargo, ND, where my dad grew up, and they didn't want to sell it, plus if he maintained an out-of-state residence, he would receive a housing allowance, per diem, and all sorts of other benefits. They offered to allow us to live in their house, rent-free, to allow us to get back on our feet, catch up on bills, and get ahead financially, hopefully to save up money for a place of our own.
So here we are. I'm still looking for a job up here, but a lot of the stresses and worries that I had leading up to this just aren't there. We still have to get my wife's treatment taken care of, which she is planning on taking care of in late Dec/early Jan, but I am able to focus a lot more on the job search. It's SO much easier to focus on one thing, when that one thing is really the only thing for you to worry about.
Throughout all this, I've noticed that the hobby that I am so involved in has a direct correlation with what uis going on in my life. when things are good and I'm doing well, this are organized, they're in place, and I'm able to find ways to grab myself some great "show off" cards. When things aren't so great, like they have been, there is a lack of organization, a lack of focus, and I go from one set to the next without even coming close to finishing my individual collecting goals.
I wonder if it works the other way. If my card collection is directly related to my situation in life, maybe my situation in life can be affected by my card collection. What I mean is, maybe if I become super-focused on my collection and my blog, maybe, I will become super-focused in life. Maybe if I become ambitious in the hobby, maybe it will make me ambitious elsewhere.
If I am truly honest with myself, I am where I am, because I haven't exactly been super focused or ambitious. I have some ideas of what I want to do, hobby-wise. Nothing original or ground-breaking, but something epic. Something that at the end of it, people will be able to look at and see something truly amazing. because, really, we want people to look at our lives the same way. Maybe this will be a start.