If you've been keeping up with our blog then the first thing that you'll notice about this post is that it's not written in italics. That's right, that means this is a unique look inside the head of John (read at your own risk).
Back in January, Margaret called to me one morning from the bathroom as I was waking up and getting ready to work. I figured she had forgotten to get more toilet paper as often happens, and brought her a roll. As I walked into the restroom I noticed that she was holding a little white stick, and she said "Honey..." That's right, she had just peed on that little stick, and somehow that stick was smart enough to know that she was pregnant. My answer to this was "Well.... Crap..."
You may say that's not an appropriate response, and if that is the case, then you should hear the rest of the story (that's right, that's a Paul Harvey reference, for those of you with radio culture). Margaret had been laid off in November, was having absolutely zero luck finding a job, I had been told that I would be laid off for two months without pay over the summer, and the news about the economy continued to get worse. Margaret and I did the math and realized that even if she did find another job, it would do little more than cover the cost of two children in full time day care, and there was no way we could live in the DC area on the salary I was making at my job.
Well, we prayed about it and the answer I got was "Hey, idiot, I obviously have something else planned for you, and evidently I don't think you've screwed up your first kid too badly, so here's another one for your efforts."
With all this in hand, I began applying for jobs in other areas of the country, where it is much cheaper to live, and where we would have a fighting chance of living off of one salary. I interviewed with about a half dozen places, all of which I felt I was well qualified for and kept getting different reasons why they didn't hire me. One university theater program interviewed me, said they liked me, but were choosing to hire a former student for the position. Another theater interviewed me, told me that I was the person they liked the best after the interviews, only to call me and instead of offering the job, inform me that the funding for that position had been cut.
Many restless nights were spent in prayer, and more than I would like to admit were spent in anger and frustration. One of our friends said to Margaret during this process that God obviously had something really special in store for us since everything was falling through.
Well, in the end that friend was right. Today, on my birthday nonetheless, I received an official job offer to be the scenery supervisor at the University of Iowa. The pay won't blow any one's mind, but it is enough for us to live on one salary, and the benefits are ridonculous (yes that is a word). I'm talking a 14% contribution to a retirement account, full health, dental, vision, and disability for the entire family, oh and not to mention free tuition for any of my immediate family who chooses to attend the University of Iowa (That's right, practically free college for my kids).
Needless to say, God had something in mind when Margaret waved that recently peed on stick at me 7 months ago, he just wanted to test our faith, and evidently it needed some work.
On a different note, today was indeed my birthday. I was woken up earlier than I would have liked by a little boy who had gotten out of his "big boy bed" and climbed in to tell daddy "Happy Birthday". Then I was given a new Dallas Cowboys ball cap (honestly the old one shouldn't be worn in public it's so gross) and Margaret made blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
After breakfast, we thought Margaret was going into early stages of labor, but after lying down for an hour the symptoms went away and we decided to spend my Birthday at Mt Vernon, touring George Washington's estate. Here's some of the sights we saw:
After a lot of walking and a few more contractions we headed home for lasagna and apple pie with ice cream. All in all, this has been one great birthday highlighted by the wonderful news that we are indeed moving to Iowa.
....now just to pack the apartment, find a place to live, reserve the moving truck, repack the boxes that Timothy has unpacked, figure out if we want to take the cats or leave them, make sure the car's ready for a trip across the country, change our address at the post office, change our address on our bills, find a new bank since there isn't a branch of ours in Iowa city, oh, and have a baby... All between now and August 17.
(Margaret's note: Please pray that the baby comes early, so I have time to recover.) =)