Friday, October 17, 2014

Busy Busy Busy

See Theory 52. Ha!

TGIF! (Except that I have class all day tomorrow). Ugh.

Happy weekend, readers!

Bug

Friday, October 10, 2014

Theory 52. Working mothers are “the man.”

Way back in Theory 4: Don’t judge a woman by her accent or breast size, I expounded on the myth that big breasted women are wild and loose. I further explained the burdensome load of being well-endowed in Theory 38: Orthopedic bras aren't sexy. Part DDDD, then H, then J. At the end of that post, I told you that I had scheduled breast reduction surgery. I planned to do it at Christmas time, for two reasons. 1. I’d have plenty of teacher time off to recover, and 2. Last Christmas break was marred by theft, exhausting work, annoying obligations, and, to be honest, grotesque, gag-me-with-a-dead-Smurf shopping that I dread and despise. I figured doing the surgery at Christmas would be par for the yucky pressure-filled seasonal course.

As all working mothers know, plans are pointless. Right? JUST when you think you have everything figured out, all helk breaks lose. And, doesn’t it seem like EVERYTHING happens at once? I am coping with so many “big” things right now, that I had to make a list and tape it to my computer so I wouldn’t neglect a life event. The bullet (not to be confused with bucket) list:

  • Breast reduction surgery (four hours “under” and 2-3 week recuperation time)
  • Finish master’s degree in curriculum and instruction (December comprehensive exams and graduation date)
  • HUGE student anthology project with 470 author-freshmen (Red Hot Backspace and I will edit, format, upload, proof, order, proof, revise, proof, order, ship, etc. by December 9)
  • Gnome’s birth mother wants to do a family photo shoot with ALL of us in October so she can take an album on her trip to visit Gnome’s birth father the first week of November.
  • My principal informed me that I may not have a teaching position at my (the best ever) junior high school next school year. I teach vocational courses and the district is changing the vocational offerings at the high school, which trickles down changes at the freshman level. I have no tenure. Last in, first out. So glad I took accounting so I’d understanding my situation. My dear principal, with whom I have a great relationship, promises to try to find me another position in my district, but she has little to no control over that. And, no one leaves M.C. Schools. I drive 40 minutes one way to work in that prestigious district because the students are ideal, my colleagues are outstanding, and the pay scale is one of the highest in the state. Why, even with a master’s degree (see bullet # 2), I’d take a $7,000 pay cut to work in the county where I live. I’m not sure my attitude would adjust. Plus, Sharky is in a new, pricey school and we still pay daycare. So, that settles that. My options are: get lucky and find some spot (any spot will do) in my perfect district or leave teaching.
  • WHICH MEANS I am job hunting. At the perfect age of 40.
  • The whole family must adjust. Not only may I end up changing jobs, I may end up changing industries, which affects Gnome and Sharky the most (think summer, Christmas, spring break, fall break --- what do I do with them?). And, quite honestly, leaving the education profession will break my heart because I love the creative, dynamic, fulfilling experience that teaching provides.
  • If I change jobs, my new employer may ask that I tone down my blog. I'll keep readers posted if the tone of Theories: Size 12 must change. We'll see. Oh, and, if I change industries, I'll have less time to write. So many goodbyes, potentially, coming my way. But, good things, too!
  • Did I tell ya’ll that Delicious and I are trying to buy an old house near the Little River in Townsend, TN. Sure, why the helk not? Subtract paycheck. Add mortgage. Makes sense to us. HA!
Or, as Gnome would ponder aloud, “Seriouslessness?”

But, I BOUNCE BACK! I've been through much tougher times. Haven’t we all?
Working mothers, these are the reasons I write so often about our toil and triumph! We are so strong! My sweet colleague, Tech Savvy, tried to make me feel better. She suggested, “Bug, why don’t you just hang in there with the district and do some interim work like cover maternity leave for other teachers until [so-and-so] retires at the high school?"

I appreciated her advice, and she is trying really hard to help me by asking around the area about potential openings as well as sincerely praying for me. But, unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of taking interim, short-term, mixed assignments because, as I told her, and as I told my principal, “I am basically the man.” Not “the man” as in a stud, but “the man” as in “the woman” whose job must not only provide a good income, but must also provide health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and retirement benefits.

Please note that I honor and respect my husband. Tall Child is the man, too. He works very hard, loves his job, employers, and clients. He is a good daddy and spends lots of time with Gnome and Sharky. Helk, he even went to the grocery store last week. But, the insurance burden is on me. Even though I sport a uterus, I provide for my family. Just like the traditional, proverbial, bread-winning man.

I figure I'll get some housewife panties in a wad over this post. Yes, it is tiring taking care of children all day. I know. I was a housewife for a bit. But, and I only speak from my personal experience, there is NO comparing the difficulty in being a working mother and being a stay-at-home mother.

Once, in an unwise moment when I was a full-time bank executive working from 8 to 5:30 Monday through Friday (Fridays til 6), with customer call nights every other Thursday til 8 and working every fourth Saturday, 49 weeks a year, Tall Child smarted off, "Wow, this house is a wreck. [Friend's stay-at-home wife] keeps her house clean and smelling good all the time." That was the time I threw my underwear drawer across the bedroom. It shattered. Of course, I had to buy wood glue and fix it.

Sorry, but this is my truth. As my hard-working, single-parenting, dynamo sister-in-law Dogwood Debutante recently said, "Wow, my house would be clean, too, if I had an extra 50 hours a week at home instead of work!"

We've/I've hustled at different levels. A was the hardest. E was the easiest.

Level A: Bank executive
Level B: Teacher and author running small publishing company
Level C: Teacher
Level D: Part-time worker (substitute teacher)
Level E: Housewife

I am not afraid to say that being a housewife (Level E for Excellent) was profoundly easier than being a working mother. Tall Child worked very hard to give me those years with Sharky and I will be forever grateful. Unfortunately, the recession changed things for us. BUT, but, but, I LIKE working, and don't think I'd go back to housewifery again, even if I had the choice. Who knows? And, I may be headed back to Level A, but I'm okay (actually a little excited) to do so. The important thing is that I adapt. That's what working mamas do, right? 

So, friends, forgive my woe-is-me diatribe, but I write from my core, and my core is sore. Oh, yes. Sore from stress, but also, ding!-ding!-ding!, sore from surgery!  Because of the possible mid-year job change, my surgeon agreed to move my surgery up to my fall break (last week). YEE-HAW!

On the morning of October 1, I checked into the hospital a whopping, strap-straining, back-aching size 34J. Late that night, I checked out of the hospital at least 2.7 lbs lighter in the bra and potentially (once the swelling subsides and I can take the bondage-bandages off) 8, yes, E-I-G-H-T cup sizes smaller. YAAAAAAAAAY!

If I weren't looking for a respectable job, I’d post pictures. This is the best I can do. And, it’s not too far off the real deals.

before

after


So, one bullet down (or should I say two bullets down?) and a few to go.

Friends, thanks for listening. I feel like I got a lot off my chest (sorry, couldn't resist). I appreciate you. 

Working mamas, this post is dedicated to you. Keep taking care of business!


Oh, and I DO have a funny post in progress. Stay tuned and think outside the barn!

Love,
Bug


Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!




Friday, September 26, 2014

Theory 51: Old age reveals the true you.

Most children love to have their parents read to them, right? Sharky is supposed to do charitable work, on behalf of his school, each month. The first idea that popped into my mind (because it's sweet, communicative, and inexpensive) was for him to read to an elderly person at a local nursing home. Why? Because many elderly folks (particularly shut-ins) love to have someone read to them.

The old saying, "Once a man, twice a child" is the root of my theory. Great thinkers from Shakespeare to Sophocles to Plato spun their own unique phrases based on this truth. I agree.  Not only do we return to childish ways, we also reveal our true selves.

I watched my precious father-in-law, a gentleman who served as banking commissioner for the state of Tennessee, a philanthropist who led fundraising efforts for an Appalachian community, a husband and father who loved his family with great passion, a “good man” in every sense of the word, become a child in his last years.

It was hard to watch.

It was also sweet to see. Why? Because, even though he was frustrated, tired, and sometimes impatient, he became even more tolerant, more gentle, and kinder with age. That's not always the case, folks.

That's why I am writing Theory 51: Old age reveals the true you.

You always hear that elderly people suffering from dementia can get combative. I am sure there are medical and psychological reasons for this. I am NOT criticizing the sick. Helk, when I’m preoccupied, confused, or under mental duress, my children and students notice. Nothing is more stressful that managing a roaming toddler (or 212 teenagers) when you are worried about your marriage, your job, a diagnosis, a sick relative, etc. Delicious had a rough week around the anniversary of Pooh's death and admitted, "I am not fit to be out in public right now. I'll just say something mean to somebody." 

Well, Delicious is 67 years old. She is not mean, though she does have a quick wit and could nail some folks if she wanted to. Luckily, she also has maturity and composure. For now. Hmmm….

When I was a baby Bug, maybe 4 years old, Delicious, Pooh, and I were at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area in the Great Smoky Mountains. Pooh was rock-hopping and fly-fishing his way through the Little River as Delicious and I enjoyed onion dip, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, Coca-Cola's, and playing at the river’s edge. A man walked through our site and chatted with Delicious. He noticed something, and said to me, "Come here. I want to show you something." I went to his side, where he pointed to a spot on a tree. He said, "Lean really close and look at this snail. He is climbing this tree." The old man and I, heads together, focused on the tiny creature, leaned within five inches of the hard-working snail. The man asked, "What do you think about that?" 

I replied, "He smells like onions!"

Think about all the humiliating phrases your toddlers have garbled out. Here are just a few I've heard from my own boys:

"Somebody in this car is F. A. T."
“Mama, where’d that man’s teeth go?”
And, for my twisted sisters, “#DTMFB!”

A few weeks ago, Delicious and I were cabin (more like dilapidated treehouse on the ground) window-shopping in Townsend, TN (The Peaceful Side of the Smokies).We dropped in to see our buddy-realtor. We walked into the office, and Delicious said, "Yay! I found the only person in Townsend bigger than I am!"

Geez. I tried to cover, but it was out there. Funny thing is, he just laughed and laughed. They are the same age. 

Roscoe's wife, a West Coast beauty with perfect skin and poise, often reminds her hot-headed husband, “Use your filters.”

Filters. That's what we lose!

We spend years 0-70 building and perfecting our filters at home, at work, in sports arenas, at parties with alcohol, and at church when people try to put us on committees. In our later years, our friends and family watch those decades of "personal improvement" disintegrate with one diagnosis or a couple of strong prescriptions. Ugh. 

I tell my smart-aleck students all the time, "You can think whatever you want. You just can’t say whatever you think."

I've read that a child's true personality develops by age 7. Suppose we all follow individual bell curves—child….up to man…back down to child again—does that mean we turn the impetuous 5-7 and reveal who we are and what we really think?

Evidence?

·         A man I knew, a successful farmer and businessman, was always well-behaved. However, when he got old, his doctor’s office asked him to use the back door because he talk-shouted offensive remarks at patients sitting around the waiting room.

·         One Christmas, my whole extended family was seated around Delicious’s dining room table enjoying chicken salad sandwiches, chili, and chocolate chip cookies when an aunt said, “You know, of all the grandchildren, BT has The. Best. In-laws. Hands down!” My whole extended family, including their spouses, were there.

·         A great aunt said to Delicious, back in an 80’s chubby spell, “Well, Delicious, you have gotten fat. And Bug is well on her way.”

·         In front of a crowd of men, women and children, an absent-minded in-law said, “Wow, Bug, I never realized how LARGE your breasts are!” (I was wearing a swimsuit.)

~ ~ ~ 

My grandmother, known here as “Buddy,” used to say, “Age is no excuse for rudeness.” Amen, Grandmama Buddy! Then again, if I can use senility as an excuse, I could really be free. FREE. Freeeeeeeeeeeee to say what I don’t have the guts to say these young days at 40  years old. Though I do, scarily, hear myself sentence-slipping now and then. I worry. If the real me is a tongue-lashing, lamp-throwing, waiting room harasser, will I even know? Heck, will I even care?

I’d like some fun feedback on this post, ya’ll. Here are some questions to ponder and answer:

1. When we age, we lose teeth, hair, flexibility, cartilage, elasticity, and filters. What else do we lose?

2. What has your child or an elderly relative said that humiliated you? How did you recover?

3. Do you think an old Tall Child will finally tell me to shut the helk up?

Sharky - Mouthy by Genetic Code
I CAN NOT WAIT to hear what the Twisted Sisters have to say in 20 years.

Help? Is anyone out there who can save me?


Ha!!! TGIF!!!

Comment here or on Facebook at Theories: Size 12!

See you next post! Until then, think outside the barn.

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!