It's been a week now since I took DD#1 to college (nine hours away) and got her moved in. She has called a couple of times since then and she sounds happy and excited. While she's settling into her new routine, we're settling into our new routine. I'm down to one kid who is still at the local elementary school, so I don't have to drive to town as often as I did when I had two kids in two different schools. The number of school-related events I am required to attend has been cut in half. Our mornings are a bit less hectic, and because DD#2 is something of a social butterfly with lots of peeps, the husband and I have a lot more "date nights" on our schedule than we used to.
And there is one other big change to my schedule: I've enrolled in the medical transcriptionist program at the local community college. The entire course is online, so I can do it all from the comfort of my office at whatever time of day works best for me.
I did not undertake this without some thought. Figuring out how to make a living has been at the forefront of my mind for most of 2010. The husband and I are both self-employed, and both of us have seen our incomes decline by more than half in the past year. I've got more flexibility in terms of skills than he does. He's extremely good at building houses (and chicken coops), but there isn't much else he can do that will bring in a living wage. Construction jobs are harder to come by now than they were when we first moved here 17 years ago. I've got writing and teaching and bookkeeping skills. Unfortunately, my skills don't seem to command the kind of wages that his skills do. We can't live on the $1200 a month I could make as a full-time substitute teacher, not when $750 of that would go straight to health insurance premiums. I did apply for a few jobs in town. However, they don't pay much more than the subbing does and I would have the expense of fuel to get to town. The husband was pretty clear that I would do better working from home.
So I sat down and took a hard look at what things I could do that would bring some stability to our lives again. I can type, I have more than a passing familiarity with medical terminology, and I am used to running my own business. The fact that the entire course is online is a huge plus. I wasn't sure how much time the coursework would actually require, but I've been at it for a week now and it's fitting in quite nicely around everything else. There are eleven modules in the first semester (I was able to test out of the general math and writing requirements because I have a bachelor's degree already). I've completed two full modules and I am halfway through a third. Having all the medical experience I have has been quite a plus. There are advantages to being 44 instead of 18!
So we'll see how this goes. I'm not giving up knitting completely. I just don't have the luxury of time to wait for the economy to improve and people to start spending money again. Some of my time needs to be directed to activities that will improve our cash flow. And this is the year for me to do this, before DD#2 gets into high school.
Right now I am off to town, to mail the Fall issue of the newsletter. And tomorrow I am working at Camas Creek for the day. So I'll still have my fingers in the knitting. Stay tuned. I'll leave you with a pic of the hat I just finished in the Kristin Nicholas 'Julia' yarn. The pattern is with my tech editor, so it will be available shortly. This is the Haystack Hat: