Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6th ~ Friday State of Our Union

Today U.S. Council of Economics Advisers released "The Employment Situation in April" * on their blog. Today I'm writing about "Our Employment Situation Since November"  --  No job means there's not much to write about other than today marks six months since husband's last day of work and that we are now four months delinquent on our home loan and three months late on auto loan installments. *sickening*

So instead let me talk about advice I would offer my daughters if they were considering marriage in this day and age. End of school year puts me in a pensive mood and this morning as I drove my daughter to one of the high school's three scheduled Advanced Placement tests she's taking, my mind drifted toward how would be the best way to suggest they "Make sure to marry a doctor or a lawyer."   And, I have to admit, this new frame of mind BLEW ME AWAY.  I guess my brain was still pretty fuzzy at 7am when I had to drive her to the Mormon church located in the next town over during morning work commute hour today.  As we chatted about what would be the best time I should leave home to pick her up when testing was over, I was looking into vehicles watching drivers' faces.  I wondered how things are with them.   One woman was obviously late; she anxiously swerved past me and sped away while giving me a look of contempt for slowing to turn a corner.  Most people looked distracted, caught up in their own little world.  My thoughts were, "They are so fortunate to have jobs; be able to pay bills; maybe even shop, dine out, see a movie or play or concert..."  It's been so long since I had to drive anywhere to work; last time I had a job, the drive time was short and I had no traffic to deal with, therefore no stress.  It was nice to never worry about childcare for my young children, because I had the luxury of many nearby family and friends who would gladly baby-sit them.  I guess my focus was mostly on dealing with being in pain; I was so sick back then.  These days, everybody's affected by high cost of gas, food, clothes... no wonder people get so testy on the road.  It's the start of the day and your money's already spent!  Shoot, fuel prices alone would put me in a mood as soon as I got in the car for my work commute.

So... back to my surprising change of mind with respect to any advice I would give my daughters regarding marriage.  Of course, I wouldn't tell them whom (or whom not) to marry, that would be wrong.  Personally, from early on I knew I wouldn't marry someone of shared heritage.  Growing up having no father, or example of traditional marriage, left me with the impression that Latin American men wouldn't "cut the mustard" in that department.  And I definitely knew there was no way I could cater to a man, in the ways a traditional Hispanic wife is expected.  Nope... not me, that's not at all how I rolled even way back when I was a young girl.  I guess I always knew I'd marry a white guy.  At this point in my life I know how wrong it would be for me to tell either of my daughters whom to marry... they are too good judges of character now and I don't expect that to change when they start dating; I trust each girl will chose the right person who will be perfectly suited to them - someone decent, kind, fun-loving and hardworking.

On the other hand, when I consider the profession of my future sons-in-law, I have to admit I'll probably say, "I hope he's a doctor or a lawyer."  This is a major shocker coming from me.  After having worked in the medical field and experienced dealing with lawyers I decided I could never marry an M.D. or Attorney at Law, Esq. - those types were just too high maintenance for this gal.  Huge relief that "You must marry yourself a doctor or lawyer" was never thrown at me by mom.  Besides, I always expected to do well enough alone, career wise, that it wouldn't matter what my spouse did.  So what makes it okay to tell my girls what jobs their husbands must have?  NOTHING. IT'S NOT OKAY.  But, in today's economy it's hard to make out which careers, other than in the medical or legal fields, can secure a better-than-good living - a comfortable living, like where you are able to have a house, car, vacations, send your kids to college...  All the things I cannot provide my children at this point.  I could be telling them to focus their studies in those same areas, right?  I might if I could afford them a college education.  But that's unlikely; If I could afford for higher education or vocational training for any family member, it would be for my husband to re-train in another field and for me to train to be a Montessori school teacher, as well as enroll in writing and art classes.


Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2nd ~Looking Back Moving Forward Part 1 ~ Loud silence Quiet noise (re-writing in progress)

It was a noisy day today.  It would be quiet in the house right now but I have the washer going, t.v. on, and the kids and dogs keep going in and out of the room.  Earlier, city workers were outside tearing up concrete sidewalks a few yards away from the front room windows. Shadow and Sombra were going nuts from all the jack-hammering...  No wonder I have a headache.  One sound I did take comfort from was the first heard when I stepped outside:  The distant hum of an airplane's jet engines high above the heavy grey clouds.  I smiled.  I couldn't help but connect the moment to last night's "Breaking News" when President Obama informed the world that the hunt for Bin Laden was over; sadly, it also reminded me of one of the things which stood out for me most on September 11th and the days that followed.  The sky went silent.

Watching the Today show that morning, I stood frozen watching what was happening on the screen in the greatest city in the world... The attacks on the World Trade Center.  Buildings had not yet collapsed; but my heart was crushed, reason shattered.  What I was seeing could not be happening.  My defense mechanisms made it so that I could no longer hear the news reports; all I could do was stand in the middle of the living-room watching.  I flipped the channel to CNN and decided I had to do something before my coping mechanisms began shutting down.

We lived in Texas...  In the home of our dreams...  In a close-knit neighborhood...  Best memories:  Our forested surroundings which provided constant music of wildlife night and day.  And, I'll admit I also enjoyed the regular traffic of planes flying in and out of the nearby airport.  I love planes.  I loved all of it.

First thing I did was try to reach Rick at work.  Enough information had seeped into my brain that I knew that there was a great possibility of more attacks on other major hubs . I thought "Where could we be hit crippling blows by whomever was doing this?"  Major ports-of-call.  Oil fields.  Airports.  Financial districts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C., Houston!  Rick was in Houston.  Large financial district, large oil industry, Port of Houston, Johnson Space Center... President Bush's home state where he had been Governor before being elected President - my heart sank.  Next images on the news:  The Pentagon.  I had to reach Rick.  All circuits are down.  Again and again I called.  It seemed like half a day passed trying to reach him.  it wasn't even an hour before we finally connected, and he was okay.  I wanted him home, now.

There were more calls to make.  Living near Bush Intercontinental Airport meant having neighbors employed with Continental Airlines; I had to check in with families that I knew had dads who were pilots for the airline which had corporate office in Houston... I had to tell my mom friends that they were in my thoughts and that I was praying for their husbands safety.  I called all the neighbor moms too, we were all facing the same challenge:  What to say to the our kids?  We were all moms to children under ten years of age.  They all, as I, had just seen the kids off to school.  I felt like it had already been the longest day; the kids had not been at school an hour when I showed up to pick them up to bring home with me - many parents did the same; we wanted to have our babies close, keep them as safe as we possibly could and within our sights.  What was happening in me was that I had shifted into P.T.S.D. mode; thankfully I knew what to do.  Since Rick couldn't say when he could be home, I decided to keep all four of us at home distracted from what was happening.  A plane had just crashed.  On the way home from picking up my kids from the elementary school we stopped and picked up several movie rentals at our neighborhood Blockbuster; then walked a few doors down to Subway Sandwich for a special lunch treat.  We loaded back in the mini-van, turned James Taylor cd on the car stereo nice and loud and headed home.  "Why are you picking us up, Mom?"  "I just wanted us to be together today."

Rick showed up a little past 3:00.  We were all together.  On our east coast, the world seemed to be ending.  I went back to watching news coverage alone.  I had to cry... quietly... cry and cry.  Buildings were crumbling, planes were crash landing, no one could have ever imagined anything like what was happening happening.  I was helpless like everyone else.  Outside, the skies were beginning to still.  All flights cancelled; No idea when Americans would again be safe on land or in the air.  Other than brief phone calls to check in with neighbors, it was days before I could pull myself away from the news on the television to go outside and join them.  We always met in the cul-de-sac to chat as our young children worked off afternoon energy before dinner.  It wasn't the same.  The kids played as usual; everything else had changed.  It was so quiet.  No planes overhead, their silence was deafening.  In their place, sirens.  Emergency vehicles seemed to be out constantly throughout the day.  What was happening to our world?  Where had the songbirds gone?  I wanted September 10th 2001 back.  I heard a bit of it today.