A Slight Change of Plans
I didn't like school a whole lot the last time I was forced to endure it, which was...gulp...25 years ago. I was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a good student. I didn't do my homework and I didn't participate in class discussions and I pretty much blew off every body and every thing that tried to make some kind of impact on me. I resisted any and all imprecations that I live up to my potential.
Stupid fuckers. They had absolutely no idea how to deal with me so after a while, they just stopped trying and left me to be my own undoing.
In addition, the whole social hierarchy thing just disgusted me. I didn't play the game right, and as a result, my stint as part of the in crowd was mercifully brief.
That doesn't mean, unfortunately, that I was immune to all the heartbreak, confusion and awkwardness that goes along with being in high school. Even if you remove yourself from the sucking vortex of popularity, the issues remain. Even the outcasts have their pecking order.
So anyway...I know it won't be like that this time around. I've chosen to go, for one thing. For another, I'm old enough that I don't care what anybody else thinks or if I look like a dork or get labelled a nerd.
That has all become rather moot, now because I think that instead of going to school, I'm going to have to get a job.
I've had a good run. I've been a stay at home Mom for thirteen years, and I know that I am very fortunate to have been able to do so; more fortunate than most.
But times they are a changin'. And it's hurting our pocketbook.
Thursday, I went to the grocery store to do my weekly shopping. I spent $332 dollars.
I didn't even buy that much stuff. I bought meals for a week, sandwich fixins, breakfast cereal and snacks. There was nothing extravagant in my cart; no filet mignon or snow crab legs.
But these days, even a gallon of milk is a splurge. I nearly passed out when I saw that the store brand milk has gone up to $4.50 a gallon. Do you know how much milk two boys, one pre-teen, one teen, go through on a weekly basis? Do you know how many snacks they can devour in a day? Do you know the sheer volume of FOOD these two consume? They are always scavenging and my pantry is ravaged regularly. Sometimes, they are at the food before I even get it unloaded and put away.
And then, they share.
The other day, I bought 6 boxes of Cheez-It snack mix, which they love, and which, I feel, is a slightly healthier alternative to chips. It was on sale for $1.77 a box, which is pretty damn cheap. Regular price is around $3.50. I figured that 6 boxes would last at least about a week if I was stingy with it. I figured wrong.
One afternoon, I happened to look out the window to the front yard below, where the neighborhood kids had gathered to play baseball. And there, strewn across the lawn, were the six boxes of Cheez-It, upended, empty, decimated.
Also, both of my boys are now in adult men's shoe sizes. Do you have any idea how many pairs of shoes a ten year old and a thirteen year boy old go through in an average school year? My boys are really hard on their shoes and I don't often have to replace them because they are too small, but rather, because they have been reduced to ragged, dirt colored strips of unidentifiable material, held together only by several slender but tenacious filaments of glue.
I have, at times, been tempted to patch them up hobo style, with butcher's twine and old tires, but then I realized that a thirteen year old boy's ego simply can't withstand such thrifty measures.
Can someone please tell me why youth sizes end at size 7? Especially since, obviously, my 10 year old has a few more years of "youth" ahead of him? He's not even that big. In fact, he's quite...Diminutive. So I know there are other boys his age who are also in men's sizes and probably have been for a while.
The only reason I can see for this, is so that the shoe companies can start fleecing me ever earlier for a product that is twice the price, but only a smidgen more raw material.
Thankfully, boys do not require the plethora of product, nor the profusion of accessory that girls do. I think the eating puts them on equal footing in terms of cash output, however.
And braces. Lord, braces. Pubescent One is in braces now, and we are desperately trying to fend off the orthodontist, who wants to put braces on Diminutive One as well. I simply can't afford two kids in braces. That's TEN THOUSAND dollars people. Ten. Zero. Comma. Zero. Zero. Zero.
And then you have to consider that in a scant TWO years, I will have a male driver. Do you KNOW how much insurance costs for an adolescent male driver? And three years after that, I'll have two of them.
Costs are mounting and so is the stress. We've become accostomed to a certain lifestyle. Now, our lifestyle isn't lavish or extravagant by any means. But by making a few sacrifices (driving older vehicles, living in a small, older home) we can afford the things we enjoy and feel are important (extracurricular activities, travel, cultural experiences).
But that is becoming less and less true as gas prices, grocery prices...all prices, creep higher and higher. It's becoming a struggle just to cover basic living expenses.
About five years ago, we endeavored to rid ourselves of credit card debt. It took us five years, but we did it. And now, we do not use credit at all, with the obvious exception of home and vehicles. So if we do not have cash in hand, we're just out of luck.
It's a good policy to have, and I know we'll be better off in the long run, but sometimes, it makes things damned difficult.
So.....we've run the numbers, and the fiscal report is bleak, particularly with the threat of a recession looming. I just don't see any help for it. I'm going to have to go to work.
I don't mind really. Truthfully, I'm tired of being home. I'm bored and becoming apathetic. My standards have slipped. A lot. Because I am over housework.
My concern, is what kind of work I'll be able to find.
You see...I have no work history for the past 13 years. Prior to that I worked at a property management company, a law office, and a financial services company. In each capacity, I started at the bottom and worked my way into respectable positions.
I'm capable, intelligent, and organized. What I don't know, I can learn quickly. I can type, like...a million words a minute. I have good language skills, so I can write letters and compose documents like nobody's business. I'm pretty computer savvy, and again, I can quickly learn any applications in which I am not particularly well versed.
Plus, I have a good work ethic. I'm not going to be calling in sick because I have a hangover, or I woke up somewhere I didn't recognize and couldn't figure out which train to take. I won't be coming in late because my hair wasn't cooperating or I had to swing by for an emergency manicure because I broke an acrylic.
But all that means nothing when my resume has a thirteen year dead zone on it. And, though I hate that it matters, I have to face the fact I'm not young and perky anymore.
Something tells me I'm going to end up slinging hash at Waffle House.
It's a good thing I look good in earth tones. And I hear the tips are pretty good if you still have all your own teeth.