Last week, J's company held a mandatory meeting in which it was revealed that their sales are down by A LOT and that everyone would be asked to take a temporary lay off. Basically, everyone has to take an unpaid week off before the end of the year.
We are lucky enough to be in a position to weather this pretty well. Between our savings and my earnings, we can handle one month with J at three-quarters salary. It's not ideal, of course, but there you have it.
That was the bad news.
The good news was that the employees could choose which week they took off. J saves up his vacation each year and uses the built-in time off for Christmas and New Years to have the last two weeks of the year off. So he was already looking at the possibility of three weeks off in a row if they let him take his temporary lay off week just beforehand.
Then he learned that the company is asking everyone to take January 2, 3, and 4 as (paid) vacation days, so that they can continue to save some money on utilities, etc, giving J one more full week off in his series. Since there are a limited number of weeks left in the year, anyway, the company approved J's choice for the lay off week, along with his following three weeks of vacation.
Basically, for the price of one week unpaid, J will have an entire month off.
J went from being concerned about the financial side of his temporary lay off to being ridiculously excited about what he is describing as his "sabbatical." Seriously, he's like a kid with a new toy.
Unfortunately, we have differing opinions on the best use of that time off. A recent discussion of this topic went something like this:
Me: Maybe you could work on the downstairs bathroom, like we've been talking about. [Side note--we already have money set aside for this project.]
Him: I could do that any time! Why don't we all pile in the car and head to Key West?
Me: That'll be expensive. And it's got to be like 18 hours to get there.
Him: No need for it to cost much. We'll car camp! Just imagine, you, me, LO, and the dog all in one big pile o' Birkens in the back of the Volvo.
Me: [Speechless with horror].
Him: I knew you'd love this idea! We can just shower at truck stops and stuff.
Me: What did I ever do to you?
Him: [Happily finding truck stops between here and Florida on Google Maps.]
The negotiations will continue, I'm sure. But just to prepare yourselves, December might be full of posts like "Frugal Traveling Tips that No One Should Ever Ever Ever Ever Try" and "How to Afford Marriage Counseling after a Temporary Layoff."
By the way, I posted a little while ago about alternatives to wrapping paper. I've gotten some great responses, and I'd love to hear more ideas. Please email me with any great ideas you've had. I'm looking to write a post about this sometime after Thanksgiving--and before I find myself whisked away on a real-life remake of National Lampoon's Vacation.