A Round of Hot Dogs! For Everyone! On Me!

July 11, 2008

Wow, looks like there are some fantastic fantasy job ideas floating around out there.

Now get your head out of the clouds and start those quarterly reports, people! Just kidding, just kidding. I think we should all quit our day jobs and follow our hearts. That would be great--we'd have a world full of party planners, gift basket makers, and cardiac surgeons. And really now, what else would we need?

Since we're on the topic of work and jobs, I'd like to point out how wonderful life has been since Jared opened his office last week. It's true--he's only seen five patients so far, and yes--we're no where close to covering the operating expenses, but damn guys, life is good.

My husband gets up in the morning, takes a shower, eats breakfast, and heads out the door swinging his bagged lunch.

He's all like, "Bye Amy! See you tonight!"

And I'm all, "Have a great day, Jared!"

I know that might not sound exotic or exciting to you, but holy crappers, it bowls me over each and every morning.

You see, we've been married for six years, and during those six years we've never actually functioned as a "normal" family. When we tied the knot back in '02, I was 21 years old and one semester shy of finishing my bachelor's degree. Jared was 23 and only one year into his. He waited tables to pay the bills, and I had a job that paid $8 an hour and left me trekking all over the state of Maine.

We decided to work in a vacation spot one summer, since Jared could make $12 an hour as a restaurant manager and I could pull in $13 as a pirate impersonator. In the course of those three months our combined income came to $10,000 and hoo-boy, we thought we had a thing or two in common with The Donald.

After a few more years of earning silly-small amounts of money in Maine, we sold our house (our $40,000 house), we packed a 6x12 trailer, hooked it to the Blazer, and took off for Dallas, Texas. I was sort of excited, sort of freaking out, and sort of pregnant with James. Six weeks to be exact.

During our time in Texas, we cooperatively earned a master's degree and a doctorate. All the while, my husband worked on and off as a--and I mean this--dog food stacker at a locally owned pet shop. I would have to say that I had the more prestigious job at the time--you know, a babysitter. But for all of the grunt work we did, I'm proud to say that James never stepped a teeny-tiny baby foot into a daycare, Jared made it through school with no major delays, and I somehow managed to keep the impossible ship afloat.

I was sorting through a pile of mail last week, and came across one of those social security statements that we all occasionally receive. This one was addressed to Jared, and it outlined his total salary for each of the last five years. When I read the figures I couldn't help but laugh out loud, but the laughter quickly transitioned into grateful sobs--because somehow, somehow, this family has survived with a hard-working and devoted man who has never earned anywhere close to $20,000 in a year.

How? I honestly don't know. But we've never had an overdue bill.

People have asked us that question over, and over, and over again. Yes we drive an old car. Yes we sold that $40,000 house for a pretty hefty profit. No, our parents have never bankrolled us. And yes, we have some serious student loan debt to show for all of this. But really, when it comes down to the details, they're still an unsolved mystery.

So, yes. It's an amazingly huge deal every single morning when my husband says, "Hey Amy, I'm leaving for the office. Did you make me a lunch?"

And I say, "It's sitting right in front of you on the counter, Jared."

And he says, "Thanks hon. I'll see you at dinnertime."

And I say, "Okay. Good luck today!"

It's a really, really, really big deal.

And then, when he starts earning a paycheck, it will be such a big deal that you're all invited to my house for a party with hot dogs and a slip n' slide.

Mark your calendars, it'll be soon.


akshaye said...

That is so great.. as a fellow grad student in suffering I hope to be able to take a packed lunch to a real job some day! In the mean time...pass me the Ziploc bag for those left over hot dogs.

But seriously, I know the feeling. Never had a missed payment or anything ever - and I always wonder how my working friends manage to rack up a debt on their salaries!

Laura said...

In my laziness this morning I thought of another dream job: I want to be one of the people who watches soap operas every day and then sits on the couch, opens a laptop and records a daily update. A soaps.com writer. The ultimate lazy job.

Anonymous said...

I lurk here every now and then but had to comment on this one. We have so been there and are still digging our way up. Two kids later, we are almost done with school and have scrimped and saved and will (hopefully!) make it to graduation debt free. All based on the sweat and tears, crappy jobs and sleepless nights of me and my man. It can be done- you are proof of that! Thanks for sharing.

Brad and Rebecca said...

that was a loooooonnnnnggggg road...

Anonymous said...

Count me in!

You and Jared have kicked some serious butt these last six years! It's starting to pay off.

Brooke said...

Now as you were dressed up as this pirate, did you sing the "credit report.com" song? If so, I would've paid $15.00 to hear that....

Mindy said...

Way to go!!! It reminds me of when we were young marrieds with a baby, and my husband was making minimum wage. Somehow the bills got paid, and we ate... it's a miracle.

Grandma said...

Back-patting time guys!!!!You should be so proud! Remember the excitement over the first Arby's stop on the way to TX?...then you hated it by the next day! Hey-don't buy a slip n'slide for the party.I got one 90% off- end of last season. I will bring it along w/ the bday pinata James never got to bust open!

Jess said...

Well, I love slip n slides!

Katy Shamitz said...

Congrats, guys- you've earned that happy feeling.

Cheryl said...

Congrats you guys, on hanging in there and making it work!

The slip 'n slide is so Jared can get more patients, right? :-)

P.S. I could use a chiropractor right about now, since I've been bending over, doing gardening for a couple of days. Sore. Very Sore.

chattypatra said...

I know your secret: T-I-T-H-I-N-G.

Congratulations, Amy. You guys rock!

Brandon Harshe said...

Congrats, guys! That's really awesome. I'm looking forward to being in that same boat soon!

Sarah said...

Oh Amy, I totally know what you've experienced. And I SOOOOoooo look forward to the day when Jason says those precious words every morning and I see him off and then spend the day with the baby! This fall it shall be! Wahooo! Isn't great supporting the dreams of the men we love!?

TheOneTrueSue said...

Congratulations Amy. I can so relate to this post. We haven't been in school for quite a few years, but my husband works in social services / law enforcement and just doesn't make that much money, so I've always had to work. Luckily, I've been able to almost exclusively work from home, typically working five or six hours everyday after my husband gets home from work.

It's been and will continue to be a juggling act, but it's been worth it to be able to be around for my kids. It was the best solution for us, and I'm so grateful we were able to make it work.

carla said...


Ill bring the unrelenting Texas heat!


Minnie said...


I'll bet it's a great feeling.

Katherine said...

I'm happy to see Brian wasn't the only one with the odd job! While we were dating he was a satellite box pick up guy. He would pick up boxes for $10 bucks each. He thought it was great until he would only end the day with 2 or 3. Driving around town all day and only making $30 isn't quite worth it!

Harshes said...

Amy, that is just so awesome. I am really ecstatic for you guys!