Now What?

We operate best on a plan. We know what we need to get from one point to another; we work towards that and mark accomplishments along the way. Right now we don’t really have a plan – or at least we haven’t talked to each other about what the plan is.

MrTB4M is doing a great job of growing the business – WITHOUT advertisement. Some weeks he is more busy than he would like. So, what do we do? Do we focus on the business and really make it big? Do we slow it down and let it coast? What do we do??????

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MrTB4M is also doing a good job of getting the schooling done. His methods are definitely different from mine – which is ok – except when I am working with the kids and they tell me how I am “doing it wrong because dad does it another way”. ☹

In the mean time I am still working – which is a bit of a struggle. MrTB4M is so used to having his own schedule (even when he was working, his job was very independent) and the fact that there are expectations at my job about hours and presence in the office are a little difficult to navigate.

We have fallen away from date nights and I feel like we need those back. We need to reconnect. We need to re-center our goals AND we need to decide where we are going.  We need to remember to find our dream.

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Where Did the Time Go?

Yesterday marked four official months of MrTB4M being FREE from corporate America. There was no celebration; no balloon drop; no storm of confetti. But, our house has been filled recently with a sense of peace that had been missing for some time. This peace is the peace that comes with the discovery that the right decision was made at the right time and that the family is doing well as a result.

 

We had been caught in the hamster wheel way too long. He was coming in – I was going out – we were heading different directions – we felt we were being pulled into a pit of nothing. Until we got serious about a strategy to get MrTB4M home. THEN it happened – we packed up his “stuff” and turned it in and walked away from a job making over $80,000/year. WHAT?????!!!!!!!!

 

We had talked about all the changes this would bring for the house – and we were prepared. We knew it wouldn’t be easy – and we were ready. We were anxious to see if it could work – and we had faith.

 

But, it is strange……this change for us, hasn’t been a huge change. We are still putting money in the bank – go figure. MrTB4M is working far fewer hours than he ever has. The line of customers for the driving business is never ending – all without advertisement. I can only imagine how busy he could be if we advertised; but that would take him away more and would not be what we were in search of. We still take the kids out to do things; we still occasionally go out to dinner; we are still planning vacations. We are just doing it on one income.

 

School is going well for the college boys. J2 is probably half way through football for the year. J1 is registering for his second to last semester (where did that time go?). School is going well for the little ones – things are moving right along. Our “baby” (J8) will be 5 on Sunday. He is a great reminder that we are on this path so that we aren’t watching him graduate college thinking “Where did the time go?” We can ask the question in terms of “how did it happen so quickly….we remember when”. But, we will not be asking the question with the message of “how did this happen, how cold we miss this, when did you grow up?” NOPE – our time before money journey has set us up to enjoy each of the kids (even on the bad days) and to be part of their lives now!

Three Months and Counting……..

MAYBE we are into a routine of sorts at our house. MrTB4M is working out his own daily school routines with the kids and there are more good days than bad. The business is very steady – sometimes too steady. Unfortunately, it is back to a lot of evening and weekend hours – which is what we were hoping to avoid. On the other hand – MrTB4M is home most days to spend time with the kids, which is what we were hoping for. They have mastered several puzzles and are working their way through the Marvel super hero movies – rewards for school work performed well.

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One thing that we have noticed is that there are more smiles in our house. That part of our search has worked out. Overall, there is far less stress and anxiousness in the house.

MrTB4M and I are trying to get back into our weekly “date”/”coffee” nights just to carve that time out for ourselves again. AND we are discussing what our next “plan” should be. Should we work towards us both being home? Should we work towards growing the business? It is so hard to know what the “right” answer is at the moment. So, we will just continue to pray about it and see what sign pops up for us.

 

 

 

Back Tracking?

 

We are nearly three months into the “FIRE” for MrTB4M. He is happier; the kids are happier; the stress level at the house is so much lower. AND yet, he is already talking about getting a job.

He seems to be unable to settle his mind. He is driven by goals – which is a great thing. But it is also a curse when goals are made just because “we need to strive for something”.

The time with the kids is taxing him and he is trying to get into a routine but is struggling to find his comfort zone. I will also add that he is still using our babysitter about the same amount as he did before so most weeks he does have “time alone”; and my Fridays off are still my day with the kids and errands, so that is another day that he gets “his” time.  For him, the comfort is illusive.

All of the planning and strategizing are not without success – it just seems that his new status will take some getting used to. There is still the driving business which is going well. Admittedly it has been a little slow lately…..BUT he HASN’T advertised. So, really, how much should we complain?

I continue to hold onto faith that I know this was a move we needed to make for our kids and ourselves. I continue to pray that MrTB4M is guided to peace within himself so that he can enjoy the opportunity we created.

We signed up for adventure 23 years ago and we are still exploring!

Flame Is Still Burning

Here we are – two months after MrTB4M left corporate America. Guess what? It has been OK. Sure, there have been things that have changed. But, there are many things that haven’t changed. AND several things that have changed without anyone being aware of that.

We were planners and budgeters before MrTB4M left his job – and this continues. While the amount coming in has changed, the amount distributed to out household budget is as we had planned. We still designate for charity and college and savings and vacations. We have slacked on our date nights. While we were in the thick of planning for the FIRE date, we would go one night a week for a late coffee – not so much about the coffee, but for the time to connect with each other. Once we reached the goal, we let this date night slide….and we need to get back into that groove!

MrTB4M and the kids have gotten better about doing things like laundry and cleaning during the day while I am at work and a few days a week they even cook dinner. Most of the time I even get home to a dishwasher that has been emptied and things put away – thank you! There is just something about going home to find a dishwasher filled with dished from the night before that sends me over the edge.

So, what exactly is MrTB4M doing? A TON of different things! For started 3 days a week he teaches driver’s education or personal finance at 3 local homeschool co-ops. Then there is also the driving business – 8JS – now has full time availability. His goal is something like 5 lessons per week…..most weeks he has twice that. Then there is school for the kids. MrTB4M is now the “teacher”. I am still the planner/organizer and I still prep and oversee most things. But, once I get things ready for MrTB4M he is willing to give it a shot. The kids have been doing “school” for two weeks and we are not behind! Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t get behind – it just means right now we are not behind. I am the first to admit that we have had weeks where we were behind before Monday ended (and maybe before Monday started). But, so far this is not the case this year.

I still feel like MrTB4M and I overthink a lot of things. We spend a lot of time analyzing and discussing “what if we would have” or “do you think we should”; sometimes to a point that we forget to enjoy the present moment.

Overall at two months in I feel like we have had far fewer worries than I imagined. As I sit here this morning listening to the rain it is comforting to know that our FIRE is still burning!

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So far…..So good

MrTB4M is now almost two months into his work optional lifestyle and we are at almost one month post vacation – which means he has had nearly a whole month to get adjusted to the new him. And we have had nearly a whole month to enjoy the “new him”. 

To start with he is happier than he has been in a long time – he smiles, he laughs, he is relaxed, and he tolerates things a whole lot better. He is coaching 4 soccer teams (J3, J4, J7, and J8) and the business is holding its own.

As far as the business, there still has not been official advertisement – mostly word of mouth or people stumbling across old contact information from prior homeschool forum postings. You might ask how that is working. Well – pretty well; he has had weeks with 17 lessons and weeks with 9. This week is lower with only 5, but he also started teaching one of his co-op classes this week and started school with our own kids too. We have a couple of advertisement things in the works – a new Facebook page is coming as well as some signage on the car. But, reality is so far we are fine without it and it is STILL work optional as planned.

J2 has returned to school and is inundated with all things football as we anxiously wait to see which squad he is placed on. He isn’t expecting to gain much playing time this year, but is remaining interested and is actively working with the trainers to improve. J1 moves back to college this weekend. AND yesterday MRTB4M had a full day of school with the rest of the crew. Things went well and everyone was still smiling when I got home. So far…..so good!

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It’s Going!

One thing we seem to be asked quite often is “How is it going?”  Now, this isn’t the casual “Hi, how is it going?”  This is the “we really thought you were crazy and want to prove ourselves right” kind of “How’s it going?” 

Last week was the first real week we could even entertain answering that – the rest of the FIRE time has been spent prepping for vacation and vacationing.

But, last week was IT! I was at work and MRTB4M was at home. So, how was it going?

Well, he was busy all day Sunday getting things set up for the week. His goal was 10 driving lessons – by the end of the week he had 14. So far so good. Routines were starting to get established, chores being ironed out, the house was still standing at the end of day 1J

Day 2 made MrTB4M question himself – “is this a sign or is this a test?” You see, Monday evening there was a slight issue with the new car, a curb, some mulch, and a tree as a new driver mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake pedal. Yikes! Luckily, there really wasn’t much physical damage and MrTB4M was able to encourage his student and get them back in the car.

Well, that brings us to Tuesday – and MrTB4M and J3 are headed to soccer practice. Then the phone rings – uh, oh! The car “is dead”. Luckily it is the old car and not the new one; but, it was J3’s car and we just had $700 worth of work done to it. No time to think of that now – they are on the side of the highway with a vehicle overheating and no transmission and need a ride. I load everyone up and start the route that MrTB4M gave me – half way there J3 calls. They have managed to get the car moving again and so my route changes. AND then J3 calls again, MrTB4M is continuing to “Press His Luck” – so the route changed again. AND then again and again. Before the evening was done – MrTB4M had managed to get the vehicle and J3 home about 20 minutes before I managed to complete the circuit drive. Not exactly what I had planned for the night!

Back to back issues caused him to wonder if we had really made the right decision to drop to one constant income. Luckily it was our night for Adoration. A solid hour of quiet prayer and the doubt was no longer front and center.

Jokingly we asked each other what Wednesday could possibly bring for our 3rd test.

NEVER…..NEVER….NEVER – ask this question! Sure enough there was a 3rd thing directly involving MrTB4M. The good news was that it had nothing to do with vehicles. The bad news was that the hammock chair MrTB4M was relaxing in came crashing down causing his bottom side to meet the concrete patio in an up close and personal sort of way.

At this point, Thursday can only get better!

SO – “how is it going?” “It” is fine – we have had a few glitches; some unexpected events; and some actual PAIN. But, we made it through last week and have started a new week. The business is at risk of being “too” busy and the kids are almost enjoying MrTB4M being home more (and it would be an all-out enjoyment if it weren’t for the chores). Every major change needs an adjustment period – and this is ours. Time will tell what tweaks we might need to make in “our plan”.