Tuesday, February 5, 2013

SHTF is here. My employer had NO money for payroll.

Whaddya mean "There's no money for payroll?!?"

Let the SHTF Begin!

First, it was a text from my Director: "Direct deposits will not be happening this week. You will be issued a paper check on Friday at 3 o'clock instead." I've grown accustomed to my direct deposit hitting my account around 3am every other Friday. I've been with this particular hospital system for right around 4.5 years. Only one time prior did they experience a "glitch" and we have simply issued a paper check on payday instead of our direct deposits.

Then, on Friday, we were told: "Checks won't be ready until 4pm."  Then 5pm. Then Saturday. Then on Saturday, we were told it would be Monday. Having worked the night shift Sunday night, I was dead asleep when I received a text Monday afternoon saying: "Emergency meeting at 3pm today."

Oh crap. Wifey and I had discussed what would happen over the weekend if it turned out that I never got this paycheck. In the forefront of lots of co-workers' minds was the fact that another local, rural hospital had recently closed overnight with NO notification to its employees.  To keep you up to speed, the meeting was to tell us that we MIGHT get paid on FRIDAY now. But management PROMISED it was coming. Time will tell.

So, after lengthy discussion, Wifey and I have switched into survival mode. We recounted all the prepping and training we've done over the last three years with the helpful guidance of SurvivalBlog.com, Rural-Revolution.com, TheSuvivalMom.com, and several other prepping and homesteading websites.

Starting Monday morning, our eldest two daughters (remember, we have six girls) rode their bicycles to school for the first time ever. Luckily, all six girls had just received them for Christmas from Santa. The end result, they LOVED it.

Then we planned out how we would start introducing our food preps into our daily meals. Powdered milk is high on my list because we chug through more than one gallon per day. I recommended making a full gallon and presenting it to the little ones without mentioning that it wasn't regular milk. I settled for Wifey's suggestion to mix it half-and-half with regular milk for the first batch to ease them into it. Milk being the staple that it is at our house, we have no room for a picky eater to decide they didn't like the new version.

I spent the evening printing out meals-in-a-jar recipes and we will start tomorrow on making a dozen or two of these. We decided it was time to start trying our preps and discovering what we like and don't like thus helping us learn what NOT to buy any more of in the future. We won't use oxygen absorbers because we will begin using them for at least one meal per day.

The huge cauliflower in our garden right now will help
reduce grocery bills.
As luck would have it, our family Suburban was in the shop for a new starter when this debacle derailed us.  There it sits, ready to be driven home, if only we could pay the $667 in repair costs. This has forced us to reroute and rethink our driving habits. I can walk or ride a bike to work if necessary (assuming I keep the same job.) The only driving chore left is to drive the elementary school kids to school (a keen 24 miles one-way, yes, ouch is right.)

Which brings us full circle to homeschooling again. We discuss it EVERY year. Now, with the thought of only having one vehicle or perhaps losing our only income, homeschooling is on our radar again.  We need to discuss this MUCH more because as I have blogged before, the last thing Wifey and I want to do is screw up our children's education by trying to educate them when we're not sure we are adequate teachers.

So here we are, Tuesday at 5am. We'll be making NO runs to the grocery store this week. We're treating it just like a true SHTF scenario. We'll make our own milk, eat our food storage or food from our garden (you should see our cauliflower!) The kids will ride bikes to school and then the school bus. My last shift is tonight (Tuesday night) and starting Wednesday, we'll be cleaning and reorganizing the house to see what can be used immediately, stored for later use or donated to make space.

In a way, I almost feel like this is our wake up call for being wasteful. There are always lights on in our house. Food gets thrown away from every meal. Clothes are left on the floor for days as if they aren't important. It is time to tighten it up at our house. Everything and everyone will have a purpose and this will be a tremendous learning lesson for our children.

Bring it on Mr. Fan. Throw that S**t at us. We're ready!


So, what would be first on YOUR list if you weren't given your next paycheck?


  1. I sure hope you get paid soon. Maybe you should look for other employment. To answer your question, I have been self-employed for many, many years and I learned right off that there would be big gaps in my work and long waits for checks after I finished a project. Learn from this, it is a wake up call, like you said.

  2. You can apply for unemployment if it comes to that, can't you. I know it won't be as much as your paycheck, but you've paid into the system all these years, so I would definitely apply for it.

    I'm really sorry to hear this happened to you. My wife works at a hospital, so this post really hits home.

  3. Thanks DD. You are wise, as usual. There is more depth to the story that I will elaborate on soon. Most importantly is the fact that I am in my second semester of a 5 semester medical program (RPA/RA) and my clinical rotations are at my hospital. If my hospital closes or I quit, that's two semesters down the drain.

  4. I didn't think of that Matt. I think you are correct. We lost 40% of our ICU nurses to them quitting.

  5. oh my goodness - i am so sorry to hear that this happened - ugh! but it sounds like you guys have a solid plan to put in place. and yes, as Matt suggested, apply for unemployment - it's there for people who have worked all of their lives and paid into it. and i like your attitude about the fan and the sh*t. chin up and let's hope that you'll be paid soon!


  6. Regarding homeschooling...I don't know how old your kids are, but get in touch right away with a local homeschooling co-op or support group. Believe me, when my husband said he wanted us to try homeschooling, the first thing I thought was that I didn't want to short-change my kids on their education. (I have a college degree but not in education - although I have many interests and 12 bookcases in the house.) Our boys are now 16 and 12, and both score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests. YOU CAN DO IT. Check into your state's requirements (do you need to file any paperwork) but before you do, contact HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) as they can give you a lot of information. Their primary purpose is to defend homeschoolers against illegal state interference, and they really know their stuff.

    We haven't been in the "suddenly no money" situation, although there have been times it was extremely tight and I was worried. I can only imagine the stress and uncertainty here. Aren't you glad you were prepping before this happened and don't have to face this with absolutely nothing in the cupboard? We'll be praying that all works out with your job/paycheck or unemployment. You have friends out there that you don't even know about through this blog.


  7. Spring is coming, chance to grow most of your food will help. I used to use powdered milk for hot cocoa mix, good way to get milk in their bodies without having to mix with whole milk, good idea to use part whole milk / powdered milk combo to start. Good luck, I am sure you are looking at all your options. Hope the check in the mail is good.

  8. Keep your chin up, it's not a reflection on you at least. You are ready, so that helps.

  9. All the best OJD. Good thing you began prepping when you did. Wise decision.

  10. And to think that most Americans go paycheck to paycheck. Glad you were prepared! Prayers for you and yours........

  11. I have two BAs:one in English and another in Social and Behavioral Science, all 30 hours of English MA, and an MA in education, English/Language Arts. Plus, I have half the hours in Linguistics and something else that I forgot...lol. Would you like me to give you a 30 minute lesson and tell you all I learned during the 21 hours of education courses?

  12. @PP: Now that's funny right thar, I don't care who ya are!

  13. I have been amazed that people are prepping for nuclear war and asteroid strikes when the real likelihood is that it won't be some global disaster that is the problem. The SHTF situation much more likely to be local or even, as in your case, personal. Glad that you have been getting ready for this even though you didn't know it.

  14. I'm so sorry that you're going through that. I had an employer with money so tight that paychecks bounced once. My advice is, assuming you do get that check, take it to the bank and deposit ASAP. Be one of the first to have your check spoken for.

    Cash savings is a big part of my family's prep. Sure, in some of the worst scenarios money wouldn't be helpful, but lost income in a stable society is a serious threat. We can have all the food preps we want, but food doesn't pay the rent.

  15. I grew up on powdered milk. The "trick" is serving it icy cold. (Sometimes mom forgot to make it the night before so we added ice cubes to it in our glass and sometimes our cereal bowl) Double check exactly how much milk a child needs (remember ice cream, yougurt and cheese count toward that "milk" amount.) Once the girls have reached that amount of milk, have them drink water. Really, our kids don't drink enough water.
    Good luck. I hope that your paycheck comes through, but if it doesn't, at least you have prepared to be able to eat.

  16. Strangely enough, we've been given this "having to choose what's most important" experience too often lately. No longer a 2-income family because I quit my job, I put us in a position of having to live on $2000 less a month. (In hindsight, I should've just become the worst employee ever and gotten myself fired...but that would have probably killed me first... my company was just working the hell out of me...giving me the jobs of the previous 3 people who had quit along with the work of my own job. I'm 57, how long could I go on??? Both my hips had developed excruciatingly pain....waa, waa, waa!!!) Well, we've had to resort to using our emergency preparedness supplies a whole lot earlier than we had expected. I am glad we've had something to fall back on, that's true. Add another emergency, like an 8 hr. power loss, and things really get dicey, though. Why didn't the generator start??? And where was the extra fuel? (The extra fuel for the generator had been used for the car for my husband to go back and forth to work.) Where were the flashlights? And now, where were the batteries? The dishes hadn't been done yet and the laundry was in piles downstairs, which was even more objectionable to me than the flashlights being scattered. Thankfully, I had a crock-pot of freshly made soup which was one thing that went right. What these challenging times have shown me is that it doesn't take much to make things crazy. We absolutely need to press on in our preparations no matter what.

  17. Annon@0522: I agree 100%. Thanks for sharing your plight. I hope things get better soon for you and yours.

  18. Your kids learning experiences should be the last thing you worry about in taking on home schooling. GET THEM OUT OF THAT GOVERNMENT REEDUCATION CENTER NOW! Save their souls while you can. You will be surprised how easy and effective you can be as their teacher. And you will get lots of support, except from members who love to get rid of their kids all day,

  19. Getting caught up on some of your back posts. I can so relate to this, Last summer Dan was fired from his trucking job, no notice, and 1000 miles from home. It took every last cent to get him home and then the money was gone. It was a true test of our preparedness and because of what we'd already done, we didn't miss a beat. Fortunately his old boss rehired him so we only had to go about a month without money.

    Homeschooling. Don't believe the baloney that only "experts" are qualified to educate your children. Nobody knows or loves your kids better than you!!!!! Classroom education is tailored toward one learning type. This is why so many kids fall through the cracks; they don't fit the conventional "mold" for modern educational models.

    I homeschooled my two kids all the way through high school. Math? I stayed a lesson or two ahead and refreshed as they learned. Ditto for other subjects. Both my kids got into college with no problem and one is working on her second masters degree.

    We all start at the same place, the beginning. :)


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