Tuesday, September 22, 2015

30 Days or Else?

You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice. ~Bob Marley

My husband fixes and maintains printing equipment, which means he has to travel to the customer. There are plenty of customers in the Atlanta area, but he still has to fly now and then as well. For almost all of his entire career prior to December of 2007, my husband had a company vehicle, and after that time, he has been using our own vehicles and receiving reimbursement per mileage. That is about to end.

The company is going to the Runzheimer plan. With this plan he drives our own vehicle, but it requires that the vehicle must be less than three years old and originally priced at $22,000, so we are being forced to buy a new car every three years and be in a perpetually increasing debt mode (like our government); our vehicles are 2000 and 2002 models, and we bought both of them for less than that even with all their repairs and new tires.

The benefit to the company, besides it saves them money, is that it is supposed to present a better image. (Being the rebel that I am, I immediately thought that people could easily buy a newer vehicle that has dents all over it or a horrible paint job or has stuffed animals glued to it, because they do not have a requirement about these things! Would that be an acceptable company image, I wonder?)

We have 30 days to come into compliance or else—my husband will be out of compliance and no longer employed.

Nice, eh?

We also have to carry expensive business vehicle insurance. We will be reimbursed a flat fee monthly to cover these costs, supposedly because it is based on averages not actual costs, plus a lesser amount than before per mileage.

That is not all. Although I am not sure about this part right now, usually the Runzheimer plans require that you have used your vehicle for something like 80% business, because how dare you actually use your own vehicle more than 20% for personal use! Basically, you can use it for personal use, but you may have to pay back some of the reimbursement money to the company.

So, we probably have to go into debt for around $20,000 (at least) so my husband can keep his job...and yes, it is legal and has been upheld in courts. I guess companies see it as being no different than requiring uniforms or business attire, but I have a different take on it. The employees never like this plan, but the employers do.

It does not matter that we do not believe in buying new cars or we try not to finance cars or have a policy of trying to be debt-free or that we just went into debt (for half of the costs) to get our house resided so we cannot possibly pay a car payment on top of it. No, just 30 days or no job.

At least, this plan (so far) has not mentioned a limit on mileage. Some plans are five years old or 60,000 miles, which ever comes first, and you fall out of compliance. Some plans also limit which cars you can get as well.

I really do not like being backed into a corner and having our sole income threatened. We hoped to get a replacement car in about two years, now we have no choice, unless my husband finds another employer...which I would support, since he is currently on his third manager who has promised to promote him and has not yet. In fact, he has only had one review with this company and only one raise in five years!

Yes, I am just a tad bit miffed right now, but if God is in this and guiding us, then it will all work out well in a way that I obviously cannot foresee.

My Lord, all things work to our good and there is a reason for all things. I believe that, so temper my emotions and allow me to rest in You so that I can see Your blessing and guidance. I wish to step where You wish me to step and seek Your heart at all times.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Glimpse of Being Free

Sometimes two people stay together for the sake of the kids — two kids who sat under a full moon and pledged to be forever true. -Robert Brault

Although I have enjoyed being with my daughter almost all the time while homeschooling throughout the years, I have to say that I also try to image what life will be like in about three to four years when homeschooling will be over for me. Actually, I am not sure what I will do, but knowing myself as I do, I will submerse myself into something...or several somethings.

I get glimpses of that kind of freedom, the kind that my husband and I had for the first thirteen years of our marriage when we could do anything we wanted at any time within the limits of our budget and his grueling work schedule, of course. Last weekend my daughter left for an overnight birthday party and we had an entire 24 hours to be with each other, if I include the time we were at church, of course.

We decided on a movie. Now I really do not like going to the movie theater as much as I used to when it was just us before because it costs too much and many movies just are not worth it. However, there are some movies that just really are better on the big screen, so we picked one of those. Then there was the choice of going to a theater were we could see it in IMAX 3D or not. I would have liked that but when we saw the cost—well, we decided that the old fashion 2D screen would be good enough.

Off we went like two carefree giddy kids to watch Jurassic World. By the time the movie was over, I was happy with my small life of a middle-aged woman having been married 28 years with a teen daughter and ready to go back to my house that needs more attention than I want to give. Watching such high action movies with them throwing everything they can at all my senses has always been thrilling, but have to admit that I felt a bit worn out afterward. Maybe it was watching that woman running in high heels throughout the whole thing; it just made it seem so unrealistic!

During the movie, the thoughts of the first time I went on the SkyHike with my daughter kept going through my mind. When I was up there on that first challenge scared out of my mind, I was thinking of the scene in the third Jurassic Park movie in the aviary on that rickety catwalk and thought nearly out loud: "Why am I doing this when I don't even have dinosaurs chasing me?"

When my daughter returned, she asked what the movie was about, I said, "Well, it started with oo-oo and aw-aw, and then there's running and...screaming, just like the first three movies"

In the end it was not the movie that was the best part of the time I had with my husband, it was just being together, remembering all the other times we have been together, and looking forward to the times we will be together.

Thank you my Lord for the time that my husband and I can have together alone now and then.