This place is familiar.

The place where the taxes are finished and on hold to be sent as soon as the government will accept them. The “pre-spending” list written over the course of the year and ordered most important to least important done. If there is a list, there is no giddy sense of overwhelm and no moment to savor. In order for our financial plans to work we must not forget we are poor just yet. We must keep the mentality of “cannot afford” and “we can’t right now” long enough to make our momentum last.

The place where Mr. Brickie laid off and has it on good authority the next job starts “in a couple weeks.” Last year a couple weeks turned into July. It was awful.

Even though a lot of the phrases and timing is the same this year, it’s also a lot different.

The tax return we are expecting is larger than any I’ve ever received. There will also be a portion dedicated to the emergency fund so I can stop using credit cards for emergencies. If I do not pay off the credit cards with the tax return, I’ll do that through the course of the year.

The job front is different in two respects. First, Mr. Brickie has more contacts and more understanding about how the season works. The job starting is one where the foreman really likes Mr. Brickie. Likes him so much he sent a written recommendation to the apprentice coordinator. Also, Mr. Brickie isn’t going to wait and hope like he did last year. He’s going to get out there and get work.

In the meantime, he has applied for unemployment and that gap in employment he had before he started the training program for becoming a bricklayer hit us hard in terms of unemployment payments. The first time he got $272 every two weeks. The second time he got $320 every two weeks. This time (after the waiting week) it will be close to $800 every two weeks.

I think the difference between last year and this year is really striking.

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