Remember when I posted a tease about an upcoming announcement? I noted something like the following in reference to the picture above:
“My dad gave us a congratulatory gift of Stormcloud Brew. Why? Well… that’s a surprise… for now. 😏 #bignewscoming”
Well, here you go… (drum roll please!)
The Adventure Rich family is officially a one income family! We no longer have two solid incomes flowing through the door… and here is Part 1 of the story.
A Bit O’ Background
When Mr. Adventure Rich and I moved from California to Michigan in mid-2016, I kept my job and began working remotely for my employer. Mr. Adventure Rich, on the other hand, dove headfirst into a new job as a Maintenance/Facilities manager. He managed a small team at a local business. This team worked around the clock (shift work… 7am-3pm, 3pm-11pm, 11pm-7am). We were thrilled to be closer to my family, in the midwest, in a lower cost of living area (allowing us to buy a house!) and solidly established with two good employers in careers we enjoyed.
There was no “one event” or sudden moment in time when things started to sour. Instead, Mr. Adventure Rich and I started to notice small pressure points in our life. These pressure points began to grow, challenging us in surprising ways and spilling over into other areas of life. While some of the things that started to rub were very do-able and we found work arounds to address the pressure points, others were just there… they were the big hairy elephants (no idea why I’m imagining a hairy elephant right now… maybe it is a big hairy woolly mammoth instead?) in the corners of our life.
So, what were these pressure points? Glad you asked…
The Pressure Points
Mr. Adventure Rich’s job is in the hospitality/tourism industry, an industry quite prevalent here in northern Michigan. While this was an exciting change as his job in California was not based in the hospitality arena, it required that he work weekends and almost every single “office holiday”.
I work in a business role with a typical “8-5ish” schedule and we quickly started to feel the strain of our mismatched schedules. I would wrap up work on Friday night ready for the weekend, while Mr. Adventure Rich had one or two more days before his “weekend” (either Sunday-Monday or Monday-Tuesday were his typical days off). Monday would roll around and I was “off to my office” and AR Jr. was off to daycare while Mr. Adventure Rich finally had his free day.
In addition, with team members scheduled around the clock, Mr. Adventure Rich’s hours varied wildly. He would work 12-8pm one day, 7am-3pm the next day, and 3-11pm the third day in order to make sure he was addressing all issues and overseeing all of his team members.
A Long-ish Commute
Coming from southern California, we know a thing or two about long commutes. When we lived there, the long commute (my commute at the time, we lived near Mr. AR’s work) was assumed and while annoying, was not hard to manage. Here in the midwest, Mr. Adventure Rich’s newly minted 45 minute commute was compounded by early mornings/late nights (“deer hitting time”) and crazy winter weather, creating a relatively stressful and annoying driving situation.
The Affect the Pressure Points had on our Lives
Our mismatched schedules made it difficult for Mr. Adventure Rich and I to truly connect. We quickly found ourselves in a “rhythm of juggling”. Sure, had a few evenings a week together. But since one of us was working on any given day, we often entered into our evenings exhausted and drained. We would make dinner, play with AR Jr., maybe do some chores or try to go for a family walk, get AR Jr. in bed and resort to Netflix or sleep.
We found ourselves going months without a solid conversation or a date night. Our communication became very functional (“Could you add this to the grocery list?”, “Such and such needs a repair?”, “Are you planning to pick up AR Jr. tomorrow or should I plan on it?”). It wasn’t “bad” per se, but it wasn’t good and we certainly were not helping to foster a deeper relationship and marriage.
With mismatched schedules, our family time became very limited. We savored the days off together and tried to take advantage of them. But with many weekend-centric events at Mr. Adventure Rich’s employer, I found myself enjoying our family activities while missing a family member. I would take AR Jr. to the beach, head out on a bike ride, take him to the library, attend weddings, snowshoe our property, and introduce him to sledding without Mr. Adventure Rich there.
Sure, it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to sit at home and sulk that Mr. Adventure Rich was working yet ANOTHER Saturday AND Sunday, so I took AR Jr. on adventures. But let me tell you, welcoming my husband home after he worked a long day only to have him ask “so, what did you do today?” was not exactly fun. I would reluctantly describe our adventures, flipping through my phone to show him the highlights of the “family time” missing a key family member… husband/daddy!
Mr. Adventure Rich was always happy for us and would not get annoyed or show a lack of interest, but I hated the fact that he was not able to be there with us… smiling back from the pictures and enjoying the gorgeous days and our beautiful hometown.
When we moved to Michigan, we left behind an incredibly tight knit community of friends in California. It has been a hard year and a hard transition as we have worked to establish ourselves in our new home and make new friends. After a few months of little social interaction outside our family, we both felt the need to find a community and make friends. I love our son, but he was not the greatest conversationalist and my weekends spent only with him became quite long!
I am more outgoing than Mr. Adventure Rich and I started to meet people and develop relationships. These relationships turned into friendships as I met people for beach days, 5k runs, or other activities. But while I had the time on Saturday and Sunday to foster these relationships and begin to have a social life, Mr. Adventure Rich did not.
As I made new friends in the area, I felt like I was leaving Mr. AR behind. I was able to fill the social life gap, but he wasn’t able to develop friendships as easily. Again, I found myself in a situation where I was telling Mr. AR all about the extended family BBQs and the hikes with friends that he had to miss due to work.
The Wake Up Call
At first, Mr. Adventure Rich and I chalked up our challenges to just that… challenges we needed to overcome. We just needed to adjust and figure things out. But as we found things that made our life better, easier, or more enjoyable (grocery delivery, spontaneous adventures, a vacation), we realized that our efforts weren’t moving the needle much overall.
I was becoming more and more frustrated with my inability to make significant progress on projects, chores or personal goals because I was working full-time during the week and I was full-time mom on the weekend. And Mr. Adventure Rich was becoming more and more stressed with his demanding work schedule that left little time to spend with his wife and quickly growing son, working on the projects at home that he actually wanted to tackle, or finding friendships and a social outlet.
We found ourselves living in a whirlwind of passing days, craving time to slow down. Time to think, talk, enjoy… time to just be. Yes, we were fitting in little adventures and taking time for ourselves. And yes, from the outside, we probably looked just fine. But the strain started to mount and we realized we needed to think of a way out.
When we hit the one year anniversary of moving to Michigan, we began to discuss our options. Could we scale back? Find another job? Find a better balance? We decided to stick it out throughout one more busy winter season and reassess in the spring. That plan lasted until late October.
Mr. Adventure Rich came home one day particularly downtrodden. I took one look at him and asked:
“Do you need to quit?”
Without pausing, he replied:
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Okay, let’s pull out a calendar and figure out how to do this.”
With the wheels in motion, we quickly started to plan out next steps. Run the numbers. Pick a date for Mr. Adventure Rich’s last day. Tell his boss.
Mr. Adventure Rich chose to give a “2 month notice” to ensure a smooth transition and a good set up for his employer and his team. In early November, he met with his manager and gave him the news. He would work through the holidays to ensure a smooth transition and help during a particularly busy time, then he was done.
That’s right, he quit.
A Note of Gratitude for Mr. Adventure Rich’s Job
I am so thankful Mr. Adventure Rich had this job for the time he did. His job provided us with the opportunity to make a life changing cross-country move. It taught us to value family time and time dedicated to our marriage. It taught us to cherish the fleeting moments of our son’s youth (it’s true, the minutes and hours are long, but the years are already flying by!).
Not only that, but Mr. Adventure Rich was incredibly fortunate to work a job that he enjoyed, with people he liked, at a place he has a great respect for. When we think of these qualities, it is sad to see him move on. But then we think of the reasons the decision was made and we are not only at peace, but we are thrilled to embark on a new adventure.
Ok, Great. He Quit. Aren’t You Leaving Out a Few Details?
Yes! And intentionally so. This is Part 1 of a currently planned 3 part series. But seeing as our plans tend not to work out how we originally intend, who knows how many parts will be in this series! Tune in for more details in the next week or two!
Read Parts 2 and 3!
Always an Adventure,
Mrs. Adventure Rich