It wasn’t a five-year plan after all!

I think I was more silent this winter than usual because this year is such a game-changer in terms of how it could possibly end. Mr. Brickie will become a journeyman and, at that time, everything changes. He becomes eligible to work for the union, he is allowed to go wherever he chooses (as an apprentice, he has to stay within the area of his training center), and he could be made into a foreman (a 10% pay increase over scale, offered “per job”).

Right now, I’m in a group about raising vibrations and talking to our inner selves and I shared that right now I have to wait. So, because she was being precious, the teacher reminded me that even if I’m waiting it’s a choice and I can do whatever I want.

Let me tell you. I just want to vent for a second. Not about the teacher because her response was valid but ranting there would seem like it’s about her and, like I said, it’s not, because she is not privy to my life circumstances and I am making the choice not to flood her group with my life story.

I realized Mr. Brickie was happier when he was doing physical things around the house when he was remodeling the bathrooms in our Illinois house. I have pictures, let me grab the date. September 18th, 2009 is when he did the bathrooms but it was when he moved the plumbing line in the kitchen in November of that same year I realized he was much happier doing that than what he had been doing prior.

I floated the idea that maybe – just maybe – he’d be happier in a blue collar job. We spent a long time talking about what might suit him. Then we went to the party and I grilled everyone I knew about their jobs, their dad’s jobs, their friend’s jobs and that’s when we figured getting into a Union was the best thing.

It took him almost a year to decide because I told him he would have to be okay losing the house. There was no way we could start over and deal with the mortgage, too. He came around and started looking for Unions to work for. He filled out applications. He took tests. He had interviews. He was offered a position with the bricklayers and he was thrilled (they were his favorite from the beginning). He finished is 10 week, $50-a-week-stipend training course with two tests that were pass/fail. He successfully completed that pre-employment training 3/28/2013.

I remember feeling like those were the longest ten weeks of my life.

But here we are.

Like I did when he was in pre-apprentice training, I wait.

Yes, I realize it’s a choice.

Here is how I explained it and then realized it was more fitting for the blog than a comment on someone else’s Facebook page.

In my life (at this time) the course of action called “waiting” is more like “living in the moment.” It’s very similar to a road trip. I decided over five years ago to drive to (let’s say) Topeka. It was a fairly direct route but I also stopped at roadside attractions along the way and took detours and visited tourist traps along the way. Now, though, the signs are telling me how many miles to Topeka instead of the signs that tell you the number of miles to the big city closest to Topeka. I can feel how close I am. I’m getting antsy and I want to gun it but if I do that could get me pulled over or into an accident, so I’m taking care not to screw anything up because I’m so close. Sure, I could choose to pull over and hike for a while or stop at the side of the road for some kickin’ BBQ. The choices are endless, but those will delay me even further and now that I’m so close even if my bladder is crying for a wee I’m not pulling over until I’ve crossed the border of the town and am in Topeka. All of my energy is focused and centered on making Topeka happen. It’s the reality I’m hell bent on having and I’ve been single-minded in my pursuit for years, but all I can do to get there now is stay alert and do the speed limit so nothing gets in the way and I can cross the border and be in Topeka in the shortest amount of time possible.

Oh, when I am in Topeka the universe will hear the cry of thanks my soul will make to the heavens and the power behind it will scream, “I have done this.” It will be glorious. The culmination of so much time and energy and attention and every bit of it will have been worth it. Hell, it already is worth it and if something happens and I don’t make it to Topeka I will not be sad… but if I do (when I do) … oh … there will be such a party and it will be absolutely beyond.

The only difference is that the seed for this journey was planted in the fall of 2009. The idea that we could start over and make things better. What I thought was a five-year plan has really been a nine-year plan. Five years of execution after four years of planning. It wasn’t a case of dilly dallying, either. I mean, it took almost a year from submitting his application to beginning the pre-apprentice training course. I assume (based on hindsight) that was because Mr. Brickie got hired in during the worst year on history for the bricklayers. Hardly anyone was working. He started at the lowest dip in the bricklayer market since its inception in 1865. We told each other it was because everything is a cycle and getting in at the bottom is where you want to be with cyclical things and lo and behold we are about to go into a boom year like nobody’s business.

Now, here we are. 20 days until the five year mark of his graduation to apprentice bricklayer and 70 days (556 hours if we’re being precise) of work left to become a journeyman. We are so, so close to the finish line. Okay, 70 working days may not seem like we’re so, so close. Once he starts working, though, three months will fly by.

So, I think I’m making it fairly obvious why no one wants to make any changes to the plan. We’re all thrilled with the plan. We just don’t like waiting. The days before the bricklaying season start back up after the first thaw are the most difficult to wait through. They have been for five years now. The difference is the undercurrent of a new story being available to us that wasn’t possible five or seven or nine years ago. A door that isn’t open yet but will be unlocked and swung wide 556 hours after the clock starts counting down.

In my mind the door is a deep mahogany color with slight imperfections from being hand-stained. Imperfections called “character” that make the wood special rather than taking away from its beauty. A brass doorknob (because this door isn’t fussy, you see) and carved with all the beautiful tools my husband needs for his trade. A trowel, levels, a hardhat. All those union stickers he put all over his hardhat because that’s what I’d do, too. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love stickers?

I’m so excited to see what’s beyond that door.

Note 1: Mr. Brickie kept saying, "Why are we going to Kansas?" I explained I stole Topeka from the show Falling Water because it refers to a place that is neither here nor there or the ability to go from the here to the dream, or something like that. I don't quite "get" Falling Water but I love watching it.
Note 2: The story is entirely first person even though Mr. Brickie does all the work because this is my blog from my point of view. In my everyday life it's always about the team effort and the "we" getting where "we" need to be. I know I'd be lost without him, no matter what it may sound like.

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