Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lifestyle changes

These days it seems like there are just so many families and people in general who are struggling financially, and therefore having to make significant lifestyle changes.  And, let's face it; most of us don't like change.  I generally don't.  We're in that same boat, that under-sized boat of struggling families.

Whoever "they" are, that commonly attest to the fact that our economy is improving, don't live in my neighborhood.  The veterinary clinic where I work is struggling.  Our clients don't seem to have extra funds lying around that they're willing to spend on the welfare of their animals, unless it's an emergency.  We've seen our fair share of those.

The company that my husband works for is struggling.  They are a granite and marble countertop business, and are tied very closely to the construction industry.  We all know where that business currently resides.  My husband as been on reduced hours for the last several years, and is showing no signs of improving any time soon.  In an effort to downsize and reduce overhead, the building that they have been purchasing and running the business from has been sold.  They have 6 months to relocate.  They will lose their tenants that rent a portion of the building to run their business, and will have to begin paying rent to some other building owner.  It makes no sense to me, but that's what they've decided is in their best interests.  However, they're still claiming they have no funds to purchase stone (a vital component to running said business), reductions have been made in medical benefits to employees, my husband has had one pay increase in the roughly 10 years he's worked there, they're on a cash-only basis to most of their vendors, etc, etc, etc...taking all things into consideration, we're a little worried about the stability of his job.  The owners of the company are very good at increasing their personal wealth, and seem to show very little interest in maintaining the health of their business.  We have insider information because the owners of the business are my hubby's brother and his wife.  A word of advice here...never, ever work with family.  Tedious at best.  Enough said.

In light of all things considered, without my hubby and myself being gainfully employed, we simply could not make it here, in our home, and support our animals.  We could sell all our horses and live in a house in town for probably about the same payments we make on our home right now.  That's not good enough.  However, if we were able to sell our house and acreage and relocate to Central Oregon, the cost difference in homes and land would enable us to (hopefully) purchase a fairly equivalent home and land, still keep our horses and live practically debt free.  My hubby could retire and collect his social security, and we could probably live a comparable lifestyle, and I would only work part time.  That's a win-win for us.  It probably looks better on paper and in our heads than reality, but you never know unless you try, right?  The first step would be putting our home on the market, and then slowly as we can afford to do so, make some or all of the minor improvements to our home's interior that would make it sell easier.  The main things we'd want to do is replace downstairs carpeting and new laminate (fake hardwood) in kitchen, dining, mudroom and laundry areas.  I'd probably replace the main entry door too.  Other than new interior paint, we probably wouldn't do anything else.  If we were fortunate enough to get an offer before the improvements were finished, we could always offer a cash off deal for those improvements.  That way, they could pick colors etc that they prefer...that would actually be my preference.

Anyway, it's a huge step for us.  We've been seriously discussing the possibilities for a couple of weeks now.  
I'm excited at the possibilities, but I'm also a bit reluctant to leave the community where we've lived for so long, the friends we've made here, both our families, our jobs, our church, and the numerous people we've known in the area for so many years.  Simply put, it's unsettling to me and a bit daunting to even think about all the details involved.  If it were just us, I'd make the move in a heartbeat...but there are the horses to consider.  We absolutely do not want to live without our horses...nope, not an option.  So, we're trying to consider all our options, and prayerfully trying to make the right decision.  Ultimately, wherever we end up is in God's hands, not our own.  We'll know it's a sound decision if the path is made clear for us...if not, we'll just try to remain faithful and put our trust in Him, and keep doing what we've been doing.

Living in central Oregon has been an almost lifelong dream for us.  The climate is high desert, much drier, hotter summers (but dry heat), colder winters, and snow...lots of snow (which I'm totally unaccustomed to), but dry snow, there are lakes by the dozens, scenic rivers, snow skiing, bicycling, much better horseback riding options and more time throughout the year to enjoy them.  Where we live in NW Oregon, it rains (a lot) 7-8 months out of most years, and that means mud and lots of it to deal with.  We live for the summer time, but there are so many other duties that can only be done in the summer that we're so busy just trying to keep up, that we still don't have the time or energy to ride our horses as much as we'd like to.  In a nutshell, we'd have more personal time, have less debt and a much more outdoor-friendly environment and easier to be active type lifestyle.  It all sounds too wonderful to be true.  I have this bad habit of idealizing scenarios in my mind, and rarely does reality measure up...but, I'm willing to take the chance.  We only have this one life to live here on this planet, and only so much time in which to live.

Maybe it's a bit dramatic, but this line just popped into my head and it's straight out of one of my most favorite movies ever..."get busy living, or get busy dying".  Thanks, Red!  That's exactly how I feel!

If you're of the praying kind, I'd be abundantly grateful if you'd keep us in mind when you're saying your prayers...for we truly do, need all the help we can get.

Keeping the faith,
Lorie @ Cingspots