Courage,  Faith,  Parenting

I Got Laid Off, He Got The Rona: 5 Things We Did to Recover

After a rough July and August, I put all my hope in the September basket that life would mellow out. But in the first week of the new month, I got laid off from my job and our oldest son got you-know-what.

When he first came home from an afternoon of swimming, eating too much, and throwing a football in 112˚ weather, we assumed his sick feeling was heat stroke. Or food poisoning. Or both.

I mean, I might’ve uttered a nervous whisper that sounded something like, “That you, Rona?” But I mostly blamed it on the pulled pork and Hawaiian potato chips. 

The next day his energy plummeted and he felt “off,” so his boss ordered him to get a COVID test. Seemed unnecessary to me, but they were paying, so….

For a mere 150 smackers, our mall has a drive-though station where they swab your brain and get results in an hour.

Forty-five minutes later, his phone buzzed and his eyes bugged. “Whoa. It’s positive.”

“Very funny,” I said.

“No, really. Look.”

He flipped his phone and I read the only word that mattered: Positive.

Yowza. In the next 12 seconds, approximately 73 things flashed through my frontal lobe. 

  • Should he leave the room?
  • Should I sanitize the room?
  • I hugged him this morning. And last night. And the day before that. Could the germs have been on his shirt? Did I accidentally suck them in?
  • Where’s he gonna sleep?
  • Did we all use the same spoon to scoop dinner?
  • He and his brother high-fived. Twice. Did they wash before and after? 
  • How many people have we come in contact with in the past week?
  • Should I tell everyone, or just our families?
  • Will people think we were careless?
  • How are the rest of us going to avoid this?
  • Do we really have to quarantine for 14 days, or is 10 okay?
  • How many Lysol wipes do we have?
  • Is he gonna end up on a ventilator?

And on and on I went. It wasn’t panic-mode… more like concerned-mode. My personality encompasses ‘doing’ and ‘helping,’ so of course I kicked it into gear and came up with a plan. My people looked thrilled. 

Here are the top five things we did to banish the bug:

1. We Kept Him Out of the Kitchen

No cooking, touching the sink faucet, opening the fridge, pouring water, nada. I am a huge proponent of teaching kids to fend for themselves, but suddenly I felt happy to serve him. 

We trust our dishwasher, but I didn’t want her to have to deal with Rona too, so I dished his food on paper plates and he used plastic silverware at every meal. And then he tossed everything straight into the trash.


2. We Hammered the Vitamins

When I told a friend I made a vitamin spreadsheet to keep myself organized, her husband clapped back, “Don’t leave me off of the vitamin spreadsheet train – soooo jealous!” 

Poor guy. He must not have enough charts and checklists in his life. 

ANY-who… here’s what we all started taking, morning and night: Quercetin, Bromelain, Vitamin C (tons), Zinc and Vitamin D.


3. Oils: I Diffused, He Absorbed

It’s okay if you’re still not sure about these wondrous drops; I was a skeptic too. But years ago I stuck a prescription in a drawer and wiped out a double ear infection with oils, which surprised and delighted me, and I never looked back.

So when my son said he didn’t feel good on day one, I started diffusing immune-booster blends. And when his lungs felt tight on day three, he rubbed eucalyptus all over his chest. That’s the day he lost his taste and smell too. That’s also the day I accidentally let my mind go to some dark places, but that’s a different post.

The moment he realized he lost his taste of everything… even spicy curry!


4. We Prayed

Whether or not you believe in the power of prayer, putting your trust in God is an act of faith. Even though we get nervous about potential outcomes, we have faith He hears us and wants what’s best for us. 

So we prayed–constantly. At breakfast, at dinner, before bed, and throughout the day. 


5. We Ate Outside

Warm SoCal weather begs for outdoor eating anyway, but I felt passionate about not sharing a small indoor table anymore. So we moved our dinner party to the back patio and sat far apart. “Pick a chair,” I said. “That’s yours for two weeks.”

Our conversations vacillated between pointless, weird, meaningful, and inappropriate. But our time outside extended beyond eat and run because… well… we couldn’t go anywhere. So we lingered. 

Ten days later we all emerged symptom-free and ready to hug the patient again. 


Clockin’ Out

As for my layoff, I didn’t see it coming. But obviously God did. I was offered another position (demotion) and a pay cut (significant), but decided it wasn’t a good move for me or my family. Friends sent encouraging texts, and a small group even dropped off flowers, but I still had to fight feelings of failure and rejection.

Here are the top five things I did to banish the layoff blues:


1. I Left with My Chin Up

In the midst of complicated situations, it’s easy to play the what-if game, question God, and whine about all the things I can’t control.

But I knew I gave 100% to my job, so I walked out with zero regrets. Habitat for Humanity was a great place to work, and I learned quite a bit about myself and the housing industry. I didn’t understand why God closed that door (remember my Praying for Closed Doors post?), but I’m learning to be okay with not knowing. 


2. I Filed for Unemployment

The Employment Development Department hasn’t had the best reputation since March, but I found the whole process to be slick. Not as slick as a polished marble floor covered in coconut oil, but still. 

Sign up, wait two weeks, claim the days you didn’t work and bam—money on a card, ready to go. 


3. I Beefed Up My LinkedIn Account

I’ve never been a huge fan of networking on this platform just for the heck of it, but when it came time to look for a job, I felt grateful for the pile of connections from writing and editing.

Some of the job titles I’m finding though? They make me wanna apply just for the funny of it:

  • Meat Order Writer for Whole Foods (That’s not the kind of writer I meant.)
  • Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (Huh?)
  • Visual Arts Instructor at The Salvation Army (So like, decorating with junk?)
  • Truck Driver in West Texas: must be willing to relocate (Ya think?)

Can’t I just declutter and organize people’s homes while writing and editing their manuscripts? Is there a category for that? #goals


4. I Sell Quality Junk Online

Between Levi’s, video games, scrapbooking supplies, Legos, wetsuits, an agriculture scale, fall decor, snow chains, and books, there’s something for everyone. Even though I’m not making millions on Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp, I’m finding enough success to never do another garage sale. Ever.

And I’ve only had two rejections from the apps! They said my son’s bow and arrows are weapons… and the fluffy fanny pack with a moose head on the front? They think it’s a live animal. So that’s exciting. 


5. I Pray for His Timing 

When I only had a couple decades under my belt, I intellectually knew about God’s grace, timing, and plan. But now that I possess a couple more decades, I know about such phenomenons because I’ve lived them. 

So when I feel discouragement creeping in, I rest in the fact that God knows exactly what I need and when. If it’s true He’s never late and rarely early, that leaves “on time” as His claim to fame.

What about you? Have you lost your job? Battled Rona? Had your fanny pack deemed illegal? Join me as I research, rest and stand ready.

Honestly, I’m not interested in truck driving, but I guess I can write meat orders if that’s truly where God wants me. 



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    • Carrie Talbott

      I’m sorry about your job losses as well. Just doesn’t seem right or fair, but we press on. Thanks, Kaitey. I’m grateful for readers like you!

  • Eileen B

    Hugs, and what a year it’s been. Glad you son case was mild and the rest of you were spared. So far it’s been a wild ride here too. I’ll send you an email.

  • Gil

    Carrie, What an amazing post! Clever, creative and funny! Sue showed it to me. As you apply for writing jobs, you should make this post part of your portfolio! Anyone reading it would be a fool not to hire you.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Thanks, Gil. These kinds of words are part of what makes me want to keep writing. That and my mission to remind humanity of the benefits of guac, but that’s secondary.

  • Rene Gutteridge

    Oh friend! I just finished reading (and laughing) (and feeling your pain) through your blog. So sorry all this is happening but I love how amazing you are at setting out practical and spiritual steps for nearly everything and making me laugh as you do it. Praying for good health and a great job. Sending hugs.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Thanks, Rene. I appreciate your encouragement and prayers. Got more bad news last week, so at this point I’m ready to move to Bora Bora and start a succulent garden spa. All I need is a million dollars, an avocado tree, and a few friends who aren’t afraid of acupuncture. You in or not?

  • Lisa Galleguillos

    Love your post, as usual! I’m so glad your son recovered, and no one else got sick! Such a crazy year it’s been! Hubby and I were both laid off, we listed our house for sale (already planned pre-Rona), had the longest escrow ever thanks to an 11 day fire evacuation, moved out of state but hubby is stuck in CA for a few more days (not our plan but I’m sure God has His reasons). So far it’s been a year of abundance of trials, but also unexpected blessings.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Thanks, Lisa. Yes, we are so so grateful it was a mild case. I didn’t know you both got laid off. I’m so sorry! Wow–sounds like you guys have really been through it as well. Hang in there, friend. I’m glad you’re experiencing some unexpected blessings. Maybe someday we’ll all be able to look back on this craziness and see some great lessons and how God strung it all together. I know He promises to work all things together for our good, but wow. Looking forward to seeing how He does it with 2020!

  • Mary Hopkins

    Wow Carrie, you are a plethora of information !! Thanks. I am so sorry about everything you’ve been going through. Crazy times. Way to make the best of it though. I like that about you !! And your resourcefulness !
    Also, love it that your Dad is still entertaining from home 🙂

    • Carrie Talbott

      Thank you, Mary. You always have such encouraging words. Yes, I love how he’s still playing and allowing people to benefit from a distance. Thanks for chiming in!

  • Melissa Hanson

    Oh my goodness, Girl! I am sitting here totally cracking up – agreeing with what you are writing….and thinking who I can send this to in order to make their day in the midst of these wacky times. THANK YOU!!! Praying for you as i read this over a second time with a huge smile on my face. ????????????

    • Carrie Talbott

      Jajajaja. Why is it that so many dramas turn out to be funny? I think I’ve gotten to the point in our loco that I’m just waiting for the other zapato to fall every week now. Gracias for passing on my post to whomever you think would benefit. I love how technology can spread us out and encourage us from a distance. Cuídate, amiga!

  • Dana Michael

    Wow!Bless your heart.(I’m from Memphis) My husband actually lost his job before Rona. He was laid off after 23 years at the same company in December. Just when we were getting a bit worried, God showed up with a better job in June. We counted that as a miracle because it was in the midst of covid. My business has tanked. But we are all well and healthy. Knock on wood and Praise the Lord. I pray God leads you to find the best job you have ever had. And I rejoice that your son is good and yall didn’t get the virus.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Hi, Dana! I can tell you’re from Memphis ’cause you started out by saying bless your heart. Ha! 🙂 I’m sorry to hear about your husband losing his job. What a cool ending to the story though; a miracle indeed! Sorry to hear about your business. SO many businesses going under. Thanks for your encouragement with regard to a new job. We shall see. Blessings to you as well!

      Go check out her cool jewelry, friends! Premier Designs, Inc on Facebook.

  • Joy L Harrison

    Surprisingly, people are still buying junk. Not a bad option. Praying is essential. But just a thought. what if God is stripping all the clutter in your life away so you can write the book he wants to use to change lives. You are an amazing writer and have been working and studying for years. Keep your ears open.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Isn’t it crazy?! I still can’t believe what people buy. I have a friend who encouraged me to start using eBay too, but I don’t want to deal with packing. Sounds lazy, I know. I’m well aware it would give me a much broader audience, which sounds attractive. We’ll see. After all this talk, my husband is encouraging me to just start my own decluttering and organizing business. But I feel like that pulls me away from writing. (eye roll) You know how nice it would be if God just sent me an email and told me what to do? Or a text! Voicemail! Anything! Enough already. Thanks for the therapy session, friend. You just saved me 80 bucks.

      • Joy L Harrison

        I know that if you lived here, I would hire you. Then tell you to go home and write. We could be accountability buddies. You could tell me to sit and write as well.

        • Carrie Talbott

          Ooo… that would be fun. You could sit and write while I organize your stuff, and then I could sit and write while you sell my stuff on eBay. 🙂

  • Brenda

    Wow! And lol at the fanny pack! I’m totally an oils gal too! My oldest had heart surgery end of July, which was a journey. He’s all better and doing great, and luckily both Mike and I could be with him during his 5 day recovery in the peds ICU. There were times though, were his pain was so horrible, I was crawling out of my skin wanting comfort for him. With God’s grace, we were able to get through it. And he’s doing so much better energy wise and endurance. I’m homeschooling my youngest, which is new. I thought it would be more of a challenge, but so far so good. He likes to give me guff and “negotiate” how much he should do. Natural sales man, he is. But now, we are on a home buying adventure! Oh boy! I know God has a perfect house for us. Not looking forward to packing up. I need to get on those apps to sell my extra crap. I do enjoy being together more as a family as Mike is working from home. I’m with Shelby, I’d totally pay you too!

    • Carrie Talbott

      Hola, fellow oily friend. 🙂 I can’t believe your son had heart surgery! So glad he’s better and doing well, and that you got to be with him in the ICU; that’s huge. Between that and homeschooling and house-searching… yowza. We have moved so much… I would highly recommend purging first! Two international moves taught me a lot about what I valued and where I messed up. There’s nothing worse than unpacking a box in the new location and thinking, “AGH! Why the heck did I bring/save this?!” Wish I lived closer so I could help you. Heyyy… there’s a house for sale on our street. Heehee. Thanks for chiming in, amiga.

  • Donna Vernier

    Just thought of something. We talk about 2020 as if when the year ends it will take it’s Corona and head into the sunset. But we don’t know that. This may be a season. My hus is an essential worker and I’m a teacher, so his life has changed little. I practically live in my office. I do all my work there, so I can “leave” work. It seems as if I am working more and harder than ever. Everything else is yardwork or housework
    . Life is hard. It is lonely. But God is good. He is with me daily. Even when I can’t get out of my funk for days on end.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Good point, Donna. You’re right–we have no promise that our crazy year isn’t going to continue right on through the new year without permission or an apology. My husband is a teacher too and it’s been rough. He has approximately 18 years under his belt, but suddenly feels like a new teacher again. Putting in way too many 12-hr days in my opinion. I’m sorry about your funk. So glad you have God’s grace and promises to lean on… even when the days look bleak. Keep on pressin’ on. You are needed and valued!

  • Lisa Shaffer

    I was laid off in april, shep was dxed with T1D and in the ICU for 2 days in July, ava broke her arm in August and I had to quit my job when it was offered back, because managing a 7 yr old with diabetes and homeschooling my 4 (9th, 8th, 5th and 2nd) full time was enough. The last 9 mos have shown me how little control I have and how anything other than complete reliance on God is futile. It’s been an ugly, painful, maddening 2020 and i’m so thankful to be at the tail end.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Holy moly, Lisa. I’m so sorry to hear about all of this. 🙁 I’m sorry you had to quit your job, too. Ugh. You’re so right about having so little control. Can you imagine going through all of this without any hope? I trust God’s got all this under control and it’s STILL hard! Hang in there, chica… you are strong and no doubt a great mom.

  • Shelbs

    Holy cow! I will be praying for you guys, what a tough month to go with the rest of the crappy year ????
    Side note, I will totally pay you to come declutter my closet/entire house!
    Love you????

    • Carrie Talbott

      Thanks, Shelbs. We’re okay, but it’s been a ride for sure.
      Wish we lived closer. I’d be there this afternoon!