Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Slight Change of Plans

As some of you know, I was planning to start school this fall. It's something I have looked forward to with a mixture of nearly overwhelming anticipation and gut wrenching terror.

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.

24 Comments:

  • At 5:22 PM, Blogger Mysit said…

    As someone who is currently looking for a new assistant, I wish like hell you lived in West Texas. When I opened this search, I actually hoped to see a former stay at home mom that was ready to venture back into the workforce. Truly - who would be more organized, multi-tasking, and patient than a woman who has dealt with children for the last 10+ years? Don't give up. You may have to start with entry level office work (or better yet, sign up with Kelly Temps - let them find you a job and gain some recent experience at the same time), but there are people who recognize the worth of a stay at home mom.

    Sure y'all don't want to move?

     
  • At 5:32 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Ah, Mysit, a big thanks. You give me hope. I do actually want to move, very much, but unfortunately, not to Texas. Otherwise, it sounds like exactly what I need. I hope you find somebody like me, who really needs the break.

     
  • At 5:32 PM, Anonymous OmegaMom said…

    Kelly Temps, Kelly Temps, Kelly Temps! Or Manpower! Or both! That is *the* way to go, because you'll get back into the swing of things, get some recent office experience, etc.

    Good luck. Sorry about the college...:( But it will always be there for you to try out when the economy gets back on an even keel.

    Oooh: How about looking for a job at the college?

     
  • At 6:01 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I, too, highly recommend the temp service route. When my hubby was in the military and moving frequently was inevitable, it didn't make sense for any full time, permanent employer to hire me. The temp services, however, will take any qualified candidate and put you where you'd be a good fit. It's their job (and the company pays for it) to find the best place for you.

    I hope one day college will be in your future. Great idea from OmegaMom ~ usually if you work for universities, your tuition is free!

    And I hear you on car insurance... I work for Allstate and am NOT looking forward to two teenage drivers. Make sure they keep their grades up ~ that will help with good student discounts!

     
  • At 6:07 PM, OpenID wheelsonthebus said…

    I am so PISSED that you will not be starting school. REALLY pissed on your behalf.

     
  • At 6:37 PM, Blogger Kimberly said…

    Oooh, I second the woman who said she was always looking for someone good, and preferably a former SAHM. I was, prior to my current SAHM status, a trial lawyer. We were ALWAYS looking for good, competent help. Legal secretaries were a premium. Actually, when I started to practice law, my secretary made more than I did the first two years! Now. Working for lawyers can be annoying (which must be the reason I always had two or three colleagues who were looking for staff). But, if you can stomach it....

     
  • At 6:44 PM, Blogger The Woman Formerly Known as Jenn said…

    I just helped screen 100+ applicants for an administrative assistant position. A cover letter similar to the blog you just posted would have immediately made me want to interview you. A few tweaks and you've got something that will catch everyone's eye.

    A good admin asst can make $35-$65, especially those working for a CEO or other 'top dog' type person. Also, look into positions at nearby colleges ... one of the great benefits is you can usually take classes for free (or at least greatly reduced) if you are an employee.

    Good luck! I would have hired you for the job we just closed!

     
  • At 6:45 PM, Blogger The Woman Formerly Known as Jenn said…

    That's $35-$65 per year, if that wasn't obvious!!

     
  • At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You will do well at whatever you choose to do. You may have to start at a lower place than you wish, but you have determination and intelligence and won't stay there long.

    There are a lot of benefits besides money to working for a living. The feeling of independence, control, the satisfaction of contributing financially to the household, intellectual challenge, (even if its just figuring out ways to cope with the crazy people you work with), and the thrill of achievement and external praise that comes with it.

    The most unhappy women I know are those who never went back to work after the kids went to school. While some of them lead charmed lives as ladies of leisure - and have busy social lives, but they don't seem happier - in fact, I would guess that they are more bitter than many who have to work to keep the wolves from the door.

    Good luck earning the money and finding out about the other (many) benefits of working. You will do well. Someone will be lucky to hire you.

     
  • At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Reesie said…

    Oh BA!!! I'm so bummed you can't return to school just yet, but I ditto the suggestion to look for employment at a University. They often have temp pools so you can work you way in.

    Also, have you considered starting your own business as a virtual assistant?

    Look at AssistU.com there are other orgs as well. You could set your own hours etc. Look into it.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

     
  • At 8:27 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I'm really sorry that you won't be going to school - sorry for you, sorry that this is the way it is. I completely understand, though, and know how you feel - it's been years since I've had a regular, steady job.

    Good luck.

     
  • At 8:54 PM, Blogger Jozet at Halushki said…

    Do I hear you on the braces. Oy.

    I think that no matter where you start - temps, retail, clerical, sub-teaching - that you'll be scooped up quickly by management and fast-tracked in a direction you'd much rather be heading.

    And don't forget: you may have a blank space on your resume, but volunteer work and your writing resume (i.e. blog, DO NOT DISCOUNT IT) are going to fill in that blank quite handily.

    Braces. If I had known, I'd have gone to dental school. Right after plumbing school.

     
  • At 9:04 PM, Blogger Canuckedup mama said…

    I'm sorry you don't get to go to college this fall. In my neck of the woods they have part-time/evening/weekend options for working folks...maybe that's a possibility for you too once you've settled into a new job?

    Thank you for the post. I'll be very interested to see how your search progresses. I'm currently a full-time, working outside the home woman pregnant with her second child. I'm carefully considering options for after my maternity leave is over and leaning towards becoming a SAHM. But the possibility of having problems finding a job later on is something that weighs heavily on me. Good luck and keep us posted.

     
  • At 12:04 AM, Blogger Lara said…

    i'm going to say something cheesy here, and i hope you forgive me for it and don't hate me for being trite.

    whatever job you get, do it joyfully, knowing that you are contributing in a new way to your family. before, you contributed by staying home; now, you'll be contributing by joining the work force. but you can find a way to be content in any job as long as you remember why you're doing it, and do your best at it.

    okay, the youngster acting like a damn know-it-all is getting off her soap box now.

     
  • At 7:03 AM, Blogger Bea said…

    Job-hunting is such a logistical and emotional challenge. Hubby and I are both the kind of people who will basically never leave the jobs we're in voluntarily, just because we suck so much at job-hunting. But I'm sure it will make for some good blog fodder! (If only it weren't most unbloggable...)

     
  • At 7:07 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com

    They help you build a resume, have discussion groups with tips and advice, much from people in similar situations to yours, and they will e-mail you prospective job opportunities based on the criteria you enter.

    That's how I got headhunted for the position I am looking into.

     
  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger the only daughter said…

    The term headhunter (as related to recruitment)well, as related to anything really, grosses me out.

    Anyhoo...Temp agencies, Colleges & I believe hospitals have temp pools--all good sources to tap.

    Best of luck.

     
  • At 9:30 AM, Anonymous lisa said…

    I've had a lot of luck finding jobs listed on Craigslist. Good luck!

     
  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger Trenches of Mommyhood said…

    I'm sad on your behalf that you won't be going to school. However, I know of which you speak. 3 little boyz. Who will grow up to be boys your age. Scary.

    It's depressing that it's hard to be middle class nowadays.

    Which is why I had to return to work full-time.

     
  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger Kim said…

    I agree with several posters - I think you will be able to get back into the workforce easiest via temping to start.

    Also, you need to let your boys know you can't afford to feed the neighbourhood. It's either they stop, or you can't buy any more Cheez-Its - they will understand.

    My son stopped handing out the pop in the garage fridge when I told him what was there had to last the summer. One pop a day for him or none.

    Until you get back into the work force, there are many easy cost cutting measures that you can employ to cut the grocery bill etc..

    That is great that you have no credit card debt - you are ahead of the game there!

    You should also look at freelance writing, since you do it so well.

    Best of luck - I'm sure it will all turn out fine.

     
  • At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Aprylsantics said…

    There are a lot of small businesses out there who are looking for more stable, reliable people (other than the young fresh out of college, single variety that show up to work 50% of the time hungover and sporting multiple rubber stamp imprints on the backs of their hands) Someone in your position has a lot more to offer. A good company will recognize that.

     
  • At 4:25 PM, Anonymous gurukarm said…

    I'm seconding (thirding/fourthing etc) the people recommending temp work. There are lots of agencies, not just Kelly and Manpower (the second is more for general, low-level, non-clerical staff, I think), so look around, check out/interview a few. And bring samples of your writing! (Be sure to re-run them through a spell-checker and past an editorial eye if you can first, just to make sure all is spiffy!) The places that make you feel like just another number are probably not who you want to deal with.

    Best of luck to you - and do check out the colleges. Not necessarily the best pay, but definitely good benefits. (speaking from experience)

     
  • At 12:32 AM, Blogger Christine said…

    While I am also bummed for you that you can't go back to school, a part of me felt a bit relieved for you.

    I have a long string of initials after my name, but honestly none of them mean a damn.

    You are a writer. You don't need a diploma to prove that. You also don't need a diploma to write the Great Novel that I know is inside you.

    In fact, I feared when you first wrote about going back to school that your professors would attempt to "teach" you how to write. You don't need that. I started - and then deleted - many a comment whose thrust was DON'T LOSE YOUR VOICE.

    I deleted those comments because I didn't want to sound like I was encouraging you to not reach your goal of rematriculating.

    But I honestly believe you don't need a degree...again, you ARE a writer. A beautiful, poignant writer with a voice that doesn't need a professor to refine it.

    Get a temp job. I've had them...they can open doors. Or not.

    It doesn't matter. Take home the check and keep doing what you do so well.

    Write.

     
  • At 12:32 AM, Blogger Christine said…

    While I am also bummed for you that you can't go back to school, a part of me felt a bit relieved for you.

    I have a long string of initials after my name, but honestly none of them mean a damn.

    You are a writer. You don't need a diploma to prove that. You also don't need a diploma to write the Great Novel that I know is inside you.

    In fact, I feared when you first wrote about going back to school that your professors would attempt to "teach" you how to write. You don't need that. I started - and then deleted - many a comment whose thrust was DON'T LOSE YOUR VOICE.

    I deleted those comments because I didn't want to sound like I was encouraging you to not reach your goal of rematriculating.

    But I honestly believe you don't need a degree...again, you ARE a writer. A beautiful, poignant writer with a voice that doesn't need a professor to refine it.

    Get a temp job. I've had them...they can open doors. Or not.

    It doesn't matter. Take home the check and keep doing what you do so well.

    Write.

     

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