In November of 2008, I was told by my employers Sunseri Associates that I would be laid off from work by the end of that year. The reason? the construction lending had fallen through for our clients with projected losses for the 2009 construction season. I was not alone; many companies had been laying off their workers that year. Nor was it a big surprise to me. It was all over the news that we were in a bad recession. I knew that it was going to get worse after the holiday season. I was 46 at the time. I had already been through a few recessions in the late 1970's and through the early 80's and 90's. I had always worked through them, changing jobs to survive, drawing from my versatile career experience as a carpenter, draftsman, builder and construction superintendent for other builders. I had always kept my skill set flexible and open to change. But this time the economic indicators were different. For the first time in my 30-year working career, I was laid off from work. And, like many millions of others, there was no work to be had. I had tried to prepare myself ahead of time, seeing the inevitable, and being through recessions in the past. My credit was still great and I still had a incorporated business that was still active from my previous business adventures, just in case I ever needed it to start a new venture. Now all I had to do was find another job. But that was impossible because no one was hiring. The option was to go into debt or jumpstart my business to find a client with the cash to design and build their new home. The odds were not good at the time to find a needle in the haystack. The last thing I wanted to do was go into business again and go into debt. I enjoyed working for other large construction firms and I was enjoying not having to worry about draws, meeting payroll etc. I was overseeing construction jobs in the field as a construction superintendent to beat the deadline under time and under budget. I was enjoying the challenge of what I was doing. I went on unemployment after my layoff and started to receive my unemployment checks regularly. My wife Sarah was still working as a waitress, as she had for over thirty years, still enjoying what she did for a living. We could pay our mortgage but were unable to meet my truck payment. So I had to dip into my 401K to pay off my truck and some credit card debts. That let us make our mortgage payments, so we could keep our home. We settled into new budget limitations. After tightening the belt, we could pay all our household bills with $50 left over to spend each month. We figured we could make it on unemployment with my wife's income and tips, until I could find a new client. Meanwhile, I continued looking for work through the state’s unemployment network. At the same time my father’s health was failing. He had been diagnosed with the lung disease pulmonary fibrosis six years prior. It was starting to take a toll on him during the winter months. But I soon found out that being laid off from work was a blessing for me, as well as it was for our family. I was able to spend more time with my ailing father as we started to plan for the inevitable. I needed to be there during this very difficult time in our family’s history. I started with the remodeling of my parents’ bathrooms to be handicap accessible. I set up a new routine with mom and dad, as we planned together for the final outcome that comes with such planning. As I worked on my parents’ bathroom remodel, I realized I had a new drive in my life, a revaluation of priorities. I cherished those moments with my father as he supervised the bathroom projects. My parents’ stairway was full of family photos. Each time I went up the stairs to remodel the bathrooms; I would stop and look at the photos. The photos reminded me of the great times that I had growing up and all that mom and dad had done for my brothers and I, offering us encouragement along the way. In my youth, we had moved every four years all over, relocating to new homes at air force bases until the time I was twelve years old. Being at home again with the parents, I started to relive all of the amazing adventures my family went through in the 1960's and 1970's. The family adventures my brothers and I had as USAFBs was a story lost in time. And one that needed to be told. I started to reflect on my childhood by going over picture albums. The photos reminded me of all the great memories we had shared as a family. Looking back, I believe that the freedom that my parents provided in growing up was the answer to my being so happy in life, despite the ups and down.