Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet Gary!

This is Gary.  He is a 1993 Geo Storm.  He is of the same great vintage as my firstborn, my 17-year-old, Emily, -- 1993. 

Gary is a Geo Storm so he is named after broadcaster and meterologist Gary England who is the voice of our childhood tornado warning memories.  If you watch closely, he's on the TV in the background in the first scene of the movie Twister.  Gary England is still on TV in Oklahoma City.  He is absolutely the best meterologist in the country.  So we named the car after him.  It was just a given. 

You may remember me writing about Bonnie.  Bonnie went home to Mark's mother after a loooonnnnggg loan (bless you Ruth!).  Gary is Bonnie's replacement. 

I adore Gary.  I have the $30,000 car in that doesn't run sitting like a monument to immobility in my driveway (dead transmission).  And I have the $300 car that actually GOES places!  Thank goodness for Gary.  Actually, thank MARK for Gary!

There is something very romantic about Gary for me.  That cute boy from my 8th grade English class, went out and found me a car!  If you'd told me that in the 8th grade I would have positively swooned!  He accomplished the impossible and found a $300 car that runs and has heat and air!  Gary's not flashy and he has some age spots (like peeling paint and cracks in the windshield, dashboard, and door liners) but he's mine until I can get a new transmission in my regular car and that is a blessed, glorious thing!

I enjoy and marvel at the gadgets on Gary that do work:  the speedometer, the odometer, the gas gauge (sometimes).  I don't bother to sweat the things that don't:  the radio, the driver's door keyhole, the dashboard lights.  It's a mobile lesson in great appreciation of the little things!

Mark constantly apologizes that Gary isn't something better.  He doesn't seem to get that I am SO touched that he gave me Gary and SO appreciative of Gary just as he is! 

We came into our marriage in our 40's and with all our own stuff -- house, cars, children.  But we seem to have been given a way to have all those sweet young newlywed moments anyway: our first house (our little rental on Taylor Street in Enid), our first car (Gary).  I think the odds are slim on our first child (together)because I just turned 45 but we still hope anyway! 

We have been cursed with my financial challenges but simultaneously blessed to be getting to build a life together from scratch -- just like we would have it we'd married at 18 (like we should have)!  There is something sweet and simple and sacred about our simple, humble little newlywed trappings.  I'm not sure I'd trade them for riches if I could!  And, when we dig ourselves out of MY financial mess, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that we built our castle ourselves -- together!

We have a motto in our marriage:  we got married because we wanted to be "in it together" -- for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer.  That's what the vows are for  That's what the promise is for.  That's committment.  That's marriage.  That's LIFE!  We are SO lucky to get to live it together -- and to drive Gary around in the process.  Even if Emily is horrified to be seen in my beloved "clunker" that's as old as she is!  She has definitely aged better!

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Just Go Get A Job!"

I can't tell you how often in recent times someone has said to me "Just go get a job!" 

"Just" is a very cruel word.  "Just" proves that you are oversimplifying a situation.  "Just" screams that you have no idea what you are talking about.  "Just" ignores massive complexities and complicated circumstances.  In the vast majority of situations, use of the word "just" pretty much negates everything that comes after it.

But people keep telling me to "Just go get a job!"  As if it had never occurred to me.  As if I haven't tried.  As if there are lots of jobs out there.  As if there is no competition for the few viable jobs that are available.

Once upon a time I was the one person in the office with the most computer experience and the only one who could fix the copy machine.  Now my computer skills are outdated.  Forget that I'm a quick learner, I can't seem to get a chance to prove that!

Then there's that Master's degree that I'm very proud of but that makes me seem overqualified for everything.  Employers seem to assume that my Master's degree means I would get bored and quit in five minutes.  I was kind of hoping it said I'm smart, dedicated, and have a history of sticking things out -- things like SEVEN years of college!  I'm on the verge of taking it off my resume.  Probably should.

Let me take you along on a tour of yesterday's Sunday job ads!

Newspaper delivery routes -- requires me to split-shift what little sleep I get and to leave my children home alone at 2 or 3 a.m.

Maintenance and Housekeeping -- in Eureka Springs!

Termite and Pest Control Technician -- That would really stir up my childhood chemical phobia!  And what traces of chemicals would I be taking home to my household and my children?

Low Slope Roofing Foreman -- yeah, right!

Carpet Cleaning Technician -- ugh!

Car Mart Service Manager -- I tell you most of what I know about engines when I turn the key in the ignition!

Animal Caretaker for Springdale Animal Services -- I have animal issues.  I would either take all the unwanted strays home, cry all the time, or have to be hospitalized because I would be so distraught!

Freelance Writer -- Wow!  That's ME!  I'm a writer!  But the fine print requires "at least two published samples".  I haven't been published since high school! : (

Door-to-Door Sales -- I would PAY not to do this job!  I can't think of anything worse!

Firefighter/EMT -- Ditto!  I want to hide if anyone needs a band-aid!

Sports Reporter -- How many baskets did the Pigs score in their last football match?

Street Department Maintenance Worker -- Think they'd let me drive a bull dozer?

Salesperson for retail garden center "with knowledge of horticulture" -- I have a black thumb.  I forget that thing about water.

Registered Nurse.

Lisenced Physical Therapist.

Certified Dental Assistant.

Master Plumber.

Bilingual Translator.

Mobile Phlebotomist.

Experienced Collector for automotive finance company -- I bet those deadbeats would really be scared of little ole ME!

OTR Driver -- Can you see me driving a big rig and leaving my kids home alone all week?

Administrative Support "must relocate" -- Really?

Jobs in Little Rock, Hot Springs, Oklahoma, Missouri!

Jobs that require dependable transportation  -- See my previous posts on all my car troubles!

Factory jobs for minimum wage -- not worth my time!

Apartment Manager "live-in, on site" -- Haven't lost my house yet!

Home Medical Equipment Service Technician "must be able to lift 120 lbs" -- 120 pounds?!

And my favorite:
Nucular Power Trainee!  -- I could glow in the dark!

And then there's:
Ozark Guidance
Mental Health Professionals - Master's degree in Psychology, Social Work or Counseling.

But the only position for an unlicenced "paraprofessional" is 8-5 in Bentonville. I would be gone from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.   And who would take the girls to and from school?  We live too close to Sara-Grace's school to qualify for bus service and to far to walk.  Emily can drive but often her car doesn't run.  Plus someone would surely kill someone else in my absence!  And what if someone had to stay home sick?

The mechanics of finding jobs are changing. Used to be all jobs were in the classifieds. Now life is much more immediate. No one wants to wait for the Sunday paper. Craigslist has been touted as the place to look.

But on Craigslist all the listings want a resume before they even tell you the name of the company and what the job is. If a company isn't proud enough of their name to state it in the ad, I want no part of them!

Most of the jobs I have inquired about that I found on Craigslist have turned out to be scams. I can't tell you how many suspicious letters I've gotten written in broken English and cheerfully describing illogical-sounding duties. I swear the one I got this morning is a front for Japanese mob processing stolen electronics.

Even the jobs that sound like they might, blessedly, involve a benevolent combination of convenient location, flexible hours, sufficient pay, a pleasant employer, work I could stand doing, and an absence of prohibitive required certifications, turn out not to be viable. Either they turn out to be scams or I never get any sort of response. I've become wary of sending me resume out because there seem to be very few honest people on the other end.

I DID find two listings that seem viable:

Office Clerk needed.  Computer input.  General office duties.  20-24 flexible hrs/wk.  Fayetteville.  Fax resume.

PT Church Secretary Position in Fayetteville.  Computer and general office skills required.

I'll let you know how these go!

Do me a favor -- be careful how you use the word "just"!