As Time Goes By
It’s been a year since I stopped by. The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the saying goes.
In the past year, Babygirl has graduated from college. Yes, college.
I am the grandmother of a beautiful little girl and a terribly cool little boy. Girl has gotten past her “shy stage” and now calls me “Mom-Mom”. We play tea party and color. Logan teaches me lots on his Kindle. We watch some strange tv shows and have adventures when we leave the house.
I have quit smoking. Yes, QUIT! May 30th will mark one year. It was hard. After all the tries with the patch and gum, I finally did it cold turkey. I don’t miss it either. A rare day will show up and I will simply light a smoke and put it out. I can’t bring myself to smoke.
I am still married to my wonderful husband. We still run our business, but it is time to bring on our sons. In the upcoming couple of years, they will be taught to bid jobs, keep an inventory, and take care of the business. Hubs is ready to retire. He will stay on for the foreseeable future, but it is huge step nonetheless.
While I have enjoyed all of these changes, I haven’t enjoyed some changes in myself. I’ve become complacent about my weight and health. I simply don’t care. I have also become extremely judgemental. I criticize the television, celebrities, the government, news, my husband, my kids, my shoes, my dogs, my life. Why? Not a clue. I hear my mother every time my mouth opens and I slam it shut. This is something I am working on. I don’t care if I get fat. I just don’t want to allow myself to become a bitter woman.
Other than that? Not much. I see most of you on facebook. I’ve kept up with you, your families, jobs, etc. The blog roll on the left? I couldn’t tell you who is still writing. One or two are, but I’m about out. I only stopped here to see if it was still mine.
I’ll pop back. Maybe. I’ll let y’all know.
Weather or Not
Day in, day out. Every day is the same. Wake up, look out the window, see the snow, drink some coffee.
This weather is getting to everyone it seems. Even children are sick of being outside in it, tired of being home from school. Some of them will be going to school in the summer. Moms are running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained. Some of them are ready to pull their own hair out, stuck indoors with yelling kids and a house that never quite makes it to ‘clean’.
And then there is the majority of people. Men and women unable to get to work. Weather makes it impossible to get there. Weather makes it impossible to work in the elements. School closings make it impossible to find child care.
Weather plays such a huge part in our lives. There may be little money coming in, but the bills keep coming too, needing to be paid. We need heat. We need food. We need tuition, insurance, gas and cars. Luckily we can band together and get through this. But what of others?
With every report of foul weather, be it ice, snow, rain, or wind, my heart clenches for those out there who go paycheck to paycheck. Those who have no paycheck coming in. Those who have landlords, repo companies, debt collectors unwilling or unable to cut them some slack.
My days are all the same.
For some folks, their days will never be the same.
As my husband’s business partner, I deal with a myriad of things. I send out emails, write up the billing, catch the faxes that come and go, and search the internet for supplies that are hard to find at our local supply houses. The most important thing, however, is answering the phone. I am the voice of the company. Customers call me to ask if this is the correct business for their needs. They call when they electrical emergencies and even for something as trivial as flipping a switch on their fuse boxes.
Today, I got a call from a guy who needed to reschedule an appointment. This isn’t usually a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal in this case either. The big deal stemmed from the attitude I subjected to.
This condescending asshat used words like ‘honey’ and ‘sweetie’. There was also, the “Can he call me between 2 and 3? Not earlier because I’ll be at lunch and not later, because I’ll be going home. I don’t take calls because I will be working at home this evening.” Worst of all, he said “I’m sure that you can have him call me back. I’d rather talk to him. I’m pretty sure that you’re not the one who can tell me what the scheduling looks like.”
This guy doesn’t know me from Adam. Who calls a business and talks to the employees like this? Just because we are a small business, it doesn’t give a person the right to assume so much. I guess he doesn’t realize that I wrote his number on a napkin which I promptly used to blow my nose. Too bad his last name was a little too complicated for me to remember. Oh, and as for the Friday afternoon appointment? Hubs will be enticed to stay with me for a little ‘afternoon delight’ and on Saturday, we may need to visit the baby.
Hey, guy! Find someone else to put your fancy flat screen on the wall for you. You wouldn’t be the first one I’ve kicked to the curb. Even millionaires need to learn a little respect when they call this company. We have a reputation for being clean, polite and respectful to all of our customers. We only ask for the same in return.
I need to do a couple of things to do today. Nothing big. Basically, I need to shop for a dentist that takes our insurance, send some info to Babygirl, and pay a few bills. Sounds easy right?
In order to do all of these things, I made sure I cleaned up newspapers from the weekend, did a load of laundry, washed dishes, clipped coupons, cleaned the bathroom and fed the dogs.
I guess I ought to shower, as I am smelling a bit ripe.
And maybe eat lunch.
And switch out the laundry.
And figure out dinner.
And make the bed.
And I hope I get those trivial things done before Hubs gets home…..
My Opinion on Spending
Does anyone remember the news reports a few years ago about how the government spends its money? You know, $450 for a $45 hammer? $75 for a single nail? Has anything been done about that?
With all the talk about balancing the budget and making cuts, I began to think. Just like my doctor gave me little baby steps to lose weight in a manner that wouldn’t hurt, why can’t the government do the same? I mean, I know that when you are talking about the word ‘trillions’ or even ‘billions’ , the cost of a hammer or nail is a drop in the bucket. But let me put it like this:
A man works at Home Depot (or Lowes or Ace Hardware). Business is down, and in order to save their business they let the man go. Now there is no income for the man to feed his four kids. Now they are forced onto welfare and of course the government is cutting all kinds of programs so he still can’t make ends meet. His kids get ill from poor nutrition, they lose their home, and the downward spiral doesn’t end.
Now, if the government would pay $45 for that hammer -say at a Home Depot – that frees up $405. More money spent in Home Depot, man keeps his job, pays for his insurance to take care of the kid, keeps his house, etc.
I’m sure there are flaws in my logic. I am not an accountant or financial adviser. But I am a housewife. When the bills get too high, I make changes. I shop for the best prices. If I can get that hammer somewhere else, I damn well won’t spend $450 for it! If I need to meet someone for lunch to talk business, I will go to say, Applebee’s , rather than a four star restaurant…because I don’t have the money for it!
This is just a little step. But if every sector of government did little things, took baby steps, in the end it would add up. I am not talking about program cuts, I am talking about the wasteful spending. Little steps among every congressman and representative could add up to millions if not billions. If they started there, I think that the American public would feel alot differently about the goings-on in Washington. Maybe if we all demanded an itemized spending list from each of our officials and said NO to what we feel is unexcusable, then maybe, just maybe, things could work out.
That’s just my opinion.
Summer isn’t even official yet and already I am dealing with frizzy hair (from the humidity), underboob sweat (from the humidity) and lack of momentum ( from the humidity).
I have planted flowers in my garden. I have trained the dogs not to bark at every damned thing. I’ve done lunch with some friends and breakfast with another.
I have also fucked up.
Babygirl needed to pay $22 for a hole in her dorm screen – which wasn’t her fault and which was reported for repair repeatedly. I know we could have fought it, but it was worth the money to make it just go away. And so I wrote the check, dutifully put it into an envelope and stamped it. Hubs took it to the post office.
Yesterday, Babygirl got an email stating that they got a copy of the work order in the unsealed envelope with no check.
I have been wracking my brain trying to remember if I sealed the envelope. No, this isn’t something that I automatically do. I gag something awful if I have to lick an envelope. I know that I could have dampened a sponge or napkin to do it. I’m fucking lazy. Sue me. Normally, I hand it to Hubs and say “It’s ready to go, just seal it” Normally, Hubs double checks to see if it needs sealing. Did we both fuck up? It’s possible. So we aren’t placing blame, although I have a sinking feeling it was me.
I called the bank, mainly to put a “stop check”, but was informed that I need to close the account and reopen another and start all over.
Fuck my life.
Due to the glorious advances of modern technology, it is super-duper easy to print checks using a laser printer. They have my address which was printed on the check. They have my signature, because I signed the check. So, sometime today, I need to go to the bank – with Hubs – to do this shit. We will get a new account, new checks, and new ATM cards. I’m sure there will be new charges for this.
All because someone didn’t lick it.
Hopes and Fears
One of the responsibilities of having our own business is dealing directly with our customers. Hubs does this daily when he discusses the work they want done, when he goes over blueprints, and when he does the actual work in their offices, stores, and most importantly, in their homes. There have been so very many times when we have helped build a store, wired in the offices and then helped the owners build and wire their own homes. Relationships are built and this leads to word-of-mouth advertising and reputation-building. These things are priceless.
I hope I can be professional enough……
I, on the other hand, have become the voice of our company. I am the first voice they hear when they contact us. They tell me what they want, when they need it and depend on me to get that information to Hubs. I deal with the secretaries and wives frequently over the years, but still….we aren’t friends and we don’t really know each other.
I hope I can remember to watch my language……
On Saturday night, we are going to a dinner party being held by a client to celebrate the completion of their new home. Everyone-from contractors, carpenters, plumbers, painters, etc- has been invited. Hubs knows these people., some of them for years. I know no one.
I hope I don’t embarrass Hubs….
I try to avoid these things as much as possible. For one thing, these people are all strangers to me. For another, many of them are soccer moms. My kids are all grown. They discuss day care, camps, dance class and tutors. They get their nails done and hair highlighted and go for massages. Me? I took off my “Union blue” nail polish this morning and now I am looking at blue cuticles that I hope will fade by the weekend. I have to go shopping for a pair of dress slacks (HATE THAT SHIT!!!) and pray that I find some!
I hope I don’t spill my food or drink on myself…….
I am not looking forward to this. It is only Wednesday and I am already feeling the fear. Of what? I’m not sure. Will I have something to contribute to the conversations? Will I have anything in common with these women? If this hostess does a seating chart (yes they do stuff like that) will I sit near enough to my husband? I don’t hover or stick like glue to him, but I like that I can casually touch his sleeve in passing to feel a little more grounded.
I hope my breath don’t stink……
I didn’t even feel this level of angst when I was meeting all of my blogger friends for the first time.
I hope I don’t accidently fart…….
You Didn’t Tell Me??!?
Last Monday, Hubs came home from work with a scrape on the bridge of his nose. This is a normal thing when he is using his CPAP machine when he goes to bed. However, he hasn’t been using it lately due to the head colds that are making the rounds of our family. Babygirl happened to notice it and she asked what happened. “I don’t know. I probably just scratched it wiping spider webs out of my way.” This is a normal thing too. (So no bells and whistles are going off although, hmmm….it’s odd for someone not to know how a scrape the size of a dime got on the middle of their face…..)
And so….end of conversation….
Flash forward to Sunday night. We did our usual get-ready-for-the-week planning. You know-what jobs need to be done, what bills to pay, what appointments are coming up, etc. He put some paperwork into his office and came back out. “Hey, if we get anything from “P” Hospital, let me know.”
We have no reason to go to “P” Hospital. It isn’t local. No one’s been sick or had an emergency. Maybe for a work contract?
“Remember the scrape I got last week? Well…..”
He proceded to tell me about looking at a job. He had pulled down a ladder to the attic area and a two-by-four had slid out, hitting him on the bridge of his nose. He fell backwards and through a sheet of drywall. According to him, he was looking up one minute and waking up to smelling salts the next! The home-owner insisted that he go to the hospital to be checked out. (He had a slight concussion) The homeowner also drove him home in his work truck and parked in our driveway. (I sortof remember seeing this, but just assumed that Hubs was talking to someone that he knew who pulled into the driveway to chat.)
“WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU TELL ME???? YOU ASS!!! ”
He couldn’t understand why I was upset. I remembered how he didn’t want to go grocery shopping, how he stayed home on Tuesday, and how he gave Son1 a day of work. He was under doctor’s orders to take it easy for the next few days. His excuse was that he didn’t want to upset Babygirl when she asked him about the scrape. His excuse was that he didn’t want me to worry.
This is my biggest fear. More than spiders or fire, I fear that something will happen to him at work, rendering him incapacitated or God forbid-worse. Of course he didn’t want me to worry, but knowing what the problem was, I would have watched him carefully and gotten past it. Now, I find myself second-guessing the way I look at him.
How could I not see that he was keeping something from me? I kind of did, but like him, I didn’t want to push it in front of Babygirl. But why didn’t I ask him again later? When he stayed home from work, he claimed a sinus headache. Since I’ve been battling one for weeks, I accepted that. But why didn’t I say more when he wouldn’t take anything for it?
I stayed up the other night wondering if I have become complacent in our relationship. I always thought that I never take him for granted. Well, maybe I do. Maybe I just need to tweak my game. In the past few days, I look into his eyes more. I find myself listening ‘harder’ when he talks to me. When he sneaks up behind me to kiss my neck, I let it linger, even though I’m cooking or folding laundry.
I always considered the ‘little things’ to be important. Now I know that the ‘tiny things’ are important too.
Could You Repeat That Please?
I was sitting on the bed, surrounded by all the invoices saying that my bill was now in collection. (I say “I’m only paying $50 and the hospital says “No, it’s $100 and the insurance company says “Hmm…let’s see….)
Hubs comes home from work while I am in the middle of ‘negotiations’ and begins to open his mail and messages in the office. I shut the bedroom door so that I can hear myself think and concentrate.
Phone: “Ma’am, can you give me your account number?”
Hubs: (popping his head into the room.) “Who are you on the phone with?”
Phone: “Ma’am, could you repeat the last four digits?”
Hubs: “Who is it?”
Me: (gesturing furiously to please wait) “7890”
Hubs: “Is that the plumber?”
Me: “No, it’s not! Can you wait a minute?”
Phone: ” That’s not the number? ”
Me: “That’s the number!”
Hubs: “It’s the plumber?”
I swear to God I did not make that up. I’m not that clever.
But I might be clever enough to poison his dinner tonight.
ps: The bill is no longer in collection and I’m only paying $50. Yay me!
Bad Is Not So Bad
My son went away for the weekend and turned off the air conditioner in his room. It is a small room and his queen size bed sits below the window. Well, while the AC was off this weekend, it leaked…into his room. Not only did water run down the wall wetting the carpet, but it soaked a quarter of the mattress through to part of the box spring. Now what? Is there any way to dry it out? Do we write it off and try to come up with the money for a new bed? It’s the last thing we can afford right now. I felt so bad for Son2. He had worked all day in the heat, humidity and sun. He had come home long enough to shower, throw food into his face and run to his second job, where Monday is one of the busiest nights of the week. All he wanted to do was crash into his bed. Instead, at one in the morning, I was helping him soak up some of the water and later crying about his shitty luck.
My daughter wants to go to Colorado with her Man and his family in January. They enjoy snowboarding and that is exactly what they will be doing. His parents will be paying for everything but the air fare. When you look at the price of tickets to lots of places, or even the cost of a ski pass to our local Pocono Mountain resorts, the air fare will be cheaper. We can’t really afford that either. I added tears for her to the tears for my son.
I looked into the mirror this weekend and saw my hair. I stop dying my hair every summer because of vacations. If I dye it, the dye fades quickly in the sun or washes out in the chlorine of the pools. It also gives my crappy hair a break from the chemicals. This year, the white hair is more prominent than usual. Hubs likes it. Now I face the prospect of letting the gray grow in. I am cutting back on things and hair dye is not a ‘necessary’ expense. I feel old when I look at myself. Hubs thinks it’s pretty. Oh the indecision….
Our business is slow. But at least we have something. Babygirl may be headed to college, but she can get a job to help out with school expenses or to get herself a plane ticket. She has earned the money to buy her own back-to-school clothes and many of her supplies. Son2 has plenty of his own expenses, and that is the reason for two jobs. But at least he has money to go to the Union soccer games once, sometimes twice, a week (we paid for half of his season tickets for last Christmas-when we had a streak of good income) He can buy a new bed for himself, if he has to. Dying my hair? Well, shit. I won’t be the end of the world if I look my age. Yanno?
My friend’s husband is losing his job-along with 700 other families- when their plant closes.
My friend has little kids, kids who can’t get jobs to help pay for their school supplies. Her kids are too young to fully understand the way their parents will have to cut corners. Her husband will be dealing with the stress and depression that comes with looking for a job and providing for his family. She will deal with standing by her man, saving every penny she can and the heartbreaking task of telling her children “no” far too often than “yes”
I feel so guilty moaning about a plane ticket, a bed, and worst of all HAIR DYE! These things pale in the face of the troubles in front of others.
I light a candle and pray everyday for my friends. I pray for our own financial stability and health. I pray that some of you get back good test results. I hope that you don’t lose your insurance, your car, your home. I pray that you get that job you interviewed for. I pray that this love is the one that lasts.
And I’ve added another friend to my litany of prayers. My dear friend, I hope that something good comes your way soon.