Oh the perspective a lunch date with a dead cow can give…

 

Steak

I’m in Texas, and if there is one thing I have learned in my four days here, it’s that the Texans like their meats.

We don’t eat meat very often in California. That’s not entirely true, I serve a very meat-and-potatoes-with-vegetables kind of menu for most dinners; but we aren’t talking Texas meat. Red meat. Beef. Cattle. Blood on the plate and shit. That kind of meat is infrequent in our house.

So naturally while in Texas, I am trying to find as many Texas-style places to eat at as possible, which I am finding is very beef-centric. Today’s lunch date with the dead cow was at none other than the Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse – a place I have heard of only in fables of the Lone Star State.

1514236_734566880473_1057909597_n

Sitting in this place, with decor I hate to admit gave me all kinds of ideas for my own home (I’m a fan of taxidermy), I couldn’t help but notice a lunch meeting going on at the elongated table next to me. There were eight or so people there, and they all wore those weird things I can only remember vaguely from my days as a worker bee in the 9-5 business world: regular clothes. Suit pants. Collared shirts. It made me feel weird just to look in their direction.

And of course, because I am a self-professed misanthrope, they started to annoy me with their business mumbo-jumbo-jargon about 401(K) plans and cost analysis almost immediately. Puke. Puke in my pile of dead cow. What upsets me about these business meetings is that I was once one of those people: those self-important, arrogant bastards who takes themselves, and their meaningless bullshit that doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things, entirely too seriously. My husband talks like these people were sometimes – the pitch in his voice grows deeper and suddenly he’s talking in terms I do not understand, with acronyms and inside-jargon that makes bile form in the back of my throat. It isn’t that it’s contemptible (I mean, to me some of it is); it’s that some people so frequently get so wrapped up in this workaday world that they forget there is life beyond the numbers and the business of it all. That there is sometimes lunch which does not involve business, but rather personal growth. Or even just a pile of dead cow with a friend.

This certainly isn’t the first time I have observed one of these business lunch monstrosities. I’ll never forget the time I was eating at my local Macaroni Grill on a Wednesday only for the loudest and most obnoxious group of nurses to come in and loudly regale horror stories to each other of people’s bowels and boils, while they held a business lunch planning meeting for implementing a new computer system. Perhaps (though unlikely) to streamline the process of classifying the bowels and boils.

But it seems no coincidence that this always happens at the most opportune time. At times when I need to be reminded that I am no workaday, collared shirt-pant-suit-wearing kind of girl. Even when I worked full-time, I worked from home in yoga pants the majority of the days. I take very little in this world seriously, either, and feel that my time with my family and my soul take far greater precedence than some bullshit workaholic career that can go nowhere with me but to an early grave.

Years ago, I made the choice to become a Stay At Home Mom. Nothing more, nothing less. I do have hobbies. Like painting. Reading. Knitting. And writing. So I write my mom blog when I feel the itch; and am working on books only insofar as I have something I feel is important to say. (Not often.)

And while I would love for my writing to be seen as something with even a relatively small amount of redeeming quality to it, it is nothing more than something I do when I enjoy it. I am not a professional writer. I will not speak at conferences, nor will I teach classes on the subject. For me it is a craft and a love, not an occupation.

I veer off that track of certainty as to my station in life, though, quite frequently. I take on more technical writing projects than I’d like. I start thinking about more professional-looking business cards, and even apply for a job or two writing – vomit – SEO or ad copy. I veer off track for whatever reason, and am never happy in the process. Never.

So it is in times like today, when the most contemptible of things – the business lunch – plays out before me, that I am again grounded, and reminded of how happy I am to just be a mom. Oh the perspective a lunch date with a dead cow can give. Of course there is so much in that title (of mom, not dead cow): healer, nurse, chauffeur, chef, cleaning lady, kisser of boo boos, secretary, teacher…the list is endless. And while the workaday collared shirt-wearers of the world sit around the table at the Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse; talking so seriously about their numbers and statistics and plans and retirement packages (should they all be so lucky to make it that far), it is in those endless list of tasks that encompass being a mom that the only truly serious jobs in this world are found for me.

10154540_690165014358611_800244601_n

Advertisements

So I Now Realize How Annoying I Was When I Worked…

1098401_184942645012006_2101961229_n

I’m a Stay At Home Mom, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting on my ass, eating bon bons and shit since my high school graduation.

In fact, it is arguable that in the few years I did work, I worked harder than a lot of people do in their entire careers. I mean there are a lot of really lazy people out there.

But I’m not here to defend how hard I worked then, or how much harder I actually work now in spite of the whole bon bon joke up above. I’m talking about how annoying I was when I worked, which I now realize to the fullest degree.

Where to begin? I suppose, at the beginning.

Article One:

Yes, I did used to work.

In fact, full time for some of it.

The very first job I ever had was as a Burger Bitch at Burger King. That Burger King no longer exists, actually. Nonetheless, in the late 90s I worked there after school and on weekends.

The craziest thing happened when I worked there, well at least it was crazy to me – a young and relatively naive 16 year old. When it was Christmastime, I had to go to visit my mom in Seattle, so I took two weeks off work and left, completely unaware that I would return to find that everyone who worked there had been fired in this completely idiotic, marijuana-induced Christmas Eve internal theft scandal. Not me, though – remember I was in Seattle. But despite not being there to participate in the stupidest drug-induced burger-related crime ever, no one there as the replacements even knew that I worked there. So they gave me a couple hours a week (assuming I would be stealing like all the rest had) until I decided to find work elsewhere.

So I went to Wendy’s. While at Wendy’s I was awarded Employee of the Month. Probably one of my few award-winning accomplishments in my lifetime. I still have the plaque, and yes I am aware that this isn’t saying much.

Also, that Wendy’s doesn’t exist anymore either.

When I went to college I decided to get my shit together on the job front, so I went to a department store and got a job in Handbags and Hosery. But then they revealed about a month in that they weren’t going to work around my school schedule, so I quit. The department store was Robinson’s May, by the way. That entire company doesn’t exist anymore.

Are you seeing a theme here? It gets worse, and now that I’m typing this all out I am wondering if I am cursed.

After Robinson’s May I went to Longs and worked as a pharmacy technician for six years. I still know a fair amount of drug information, though am also out of the loop on newer drugs and insurance law changes and shit. And I also would never, not in a million years, go back to working in a pharmacy. I would force my family to live in a refrigerator box on the corner before going back to a pharmacy – it was that horrible.

A few years ago all the Longs stores were sold to CVS. So there’s that too.

My last job-job was in politics, after college. First I was a community organizer for the non-profit wing of the AFL-CIO. Then I was a contract community organizer for a partisan political action committee. After about a year the PAC had me do an underhanded smear campaign (against my better judgment) on a local candidate (of the same political party – i.e. one of their own) and I was done. I went back to school, left school, became a Stay At Home Mom and the rest is history.

That was the last “real” job I ever had, with the exception of working for a professor.

And if you are wondering if either of those political organizations exist anymore, the non-profit wing lost its funding a year after I left, and the ladies that founded the partisan political action committee liquidated it two years ago. I am definitely cursed.

Article Two:

When I actually worked for a living, instead of running our insane asylum, I was an extremely annoying person.

1493189_736294496381017_1592366349_n

I’m not saying that I am lacking the quality of annoying sonofabitch now. Not by any stretch of the imagination – I know I am a tough nut to crack, a bitter cup of tea, and whatever other cliche you could spew out that indicates I’m annoying as shit.

You get the point and no doubt are nodding your head in agreement.

Now this is going to be quite a stretch, but if you can bare with me for a second and use your maximum imagination powers, think of how unbelievably obnoxious I am now. And quadruple it. Then add ten, more parcels of annoying as balls and you still aren’t even close to how un-fucking-believably annoying I was when I worked.

You know why? Why I lost friends – like literally lost friends – and was excluded from family events because I was so fucking intolerable to be around?

Because I never shut the fuck up about my job.

When I was at Burger King, I told stories about the sauces for the chicken tenders and the episodes with the drive thru timer. When I was at Wendy’s, it was similar only added on were the tales about the times they made me dress up in the Wendy costume.

At the department store, it was constant bitching about how the management was over scheduling me and trying to get me to work when I was supposed to be in class. And about the girl that worked in Handbags with me who I later saw on an episode of Blind Date. I knew it was her, too, because she was always talking shit about Asians even though she, herself, was Asian; and she did it on the show as well.

Longs there were the neverending stories about the customers and the old men that hit on me while picking up their Viagra. There were the tales about insurance problems and how my boss was so seemingly helpless he couldn’t even schedule his employees without my help as well.

It was the worst when I worked in politics, because there weren’t just the stories about what I did at work, but what political bullshit horsecrap issue or candidate I was all fired up about at the time. Health care. Immigration. Gun rights. In-fucking-tolerable is what it was.

Now that I’m heading on to 32, more people I know are getting promotions. Or going back to work after being at-home moms for a while. Even a few are just graduating from college or graduate school. Don’t get me wrong: I am extremely, like over the moon, happy for these people. Their work opportunities are wonderful for their situations. It’s awesome.

I just wish sometimes people could have things to talk about other than work. Like post a Facebook status about what you did with your kids. Or at a family party, could we talk about something other than your innovative quality control systems? There is so much more in this world to talk about than work, and maybe it’s only when you don’t work that you realize that.

I May Shop On Thanksgiving

not-shop-on-thanksgiving-300x300How many friends will I lose over this one? What kind of a backlash will I receive by people that have followed my blog for years?

Don’t know. Don’t care. Seriously – don’t wear underwear.

You see the thing is, I may shop on Thanksgiving.

And I’m getting sick and goddamned tired of hearing about how you won’t.

I used to work in retail. When I was in high school, I worked at Burger King and then Wendy’s. Then when I moved to California, I got a job at the mall in a department store that no longer exists (talk about making me feel ancient). Then I landed a position in a local pharmacy, where I worked for a whopping seven years.

The company that was that chain of drugstores no longer exists either, having been bought out by CVS a few years ago. I’m going to go dig my grave now.

I always wanted to work on holidays. I requested to work on holidays. A lot of people that work in retail do.

Holidays – for me – were a time to make extra money. We always got off or closed in time to do family stuff. And if – by some odd chance, we didn’t – family stuff was scheduled around my work schedule.

Because what the more privileged people of this nation don’t realize, or are so far removed from their own experiences, is that people that work in retail don’t make shit for salary. Holidays may be family time, but your family ain’t eatin’ shit because you make minimum wage, which is not – in any city or state in this, our United States – a livable wage.

So when I hear people talk about how Thanksgiving is a day for family, and people shouldn’t have to work… And how they will be boycotting shopping on Thanksgiving because of the sanctity of the holiday, I often think to myself wow, these people must have no idea what it’s like to be hungry. And surely they don’t know what it’s like to be unable to buy Motrin for their baby, or pay for their son or daughter to participate in a school field trip.

And I also think that they’re hypocrites. Because for every Kmart that is open on Thanksgiving day, and every Walmart that opens at 6 pm on the blessed holiday of shoving as much turkey down your gullet as you can, there is a restaurant open that no one gives a fuck about being open. Oh Thanksgiving is a time for family? But you want to go to Burger King for breakfast, or Marie Callendar’s for a light lunch before your big family feast. So it’s OK for those people to work, because you need to stuff your face even more that day than you already planned to.

But if someone wants to go to Kmart to get Christmas gifts because they can’t afford to shop at Neiman Marcus, or they don’t have the luxury of free time to stand in lines at Best Buy to get good deals because they have to work two full-time jobs just to pay the rent…HOW DARE THEY TARNISH THE SANCTITY OF MY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Now I don’t shop on Thanksgiving normally. And I never go to Black Friday sales. The truth is, I’m already done with my Christmas shopping. But allow me to just say a few things about all this ignorance going around about shit being open, and people having to work on Thanksgiving day:

1. Some people can’t afford to not work on holidays. If you don’t understand that, you have some serious learning to do, and it will be done off your pedestal this time.

2. Other people have had hardships, or they don’t have families, or the holidays are really tough for them – for whatever reason. So they like to work to keep their minds off things, and they do it by going to work. Only a total dickweed thinks they have the right to tell others how to cope with their life’s problems.

3. A lot of people that work on holidays want to. I might go as far as to say that everyone I know of that works on holidays, or have ever talked to working on a holiday, has said that they enjoy it and the extra money, and that they wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I would go as far as to say that.

4. Thanksgiving is celebrating the genocide of an entire nation of people anyway. And gluttony. It’s not like we’re talking about the baby Jesus here or anything, which incidentally I also don’t see people railing against stores being open on Christmas Eve or for a short time Christmas morning.

Because you’ve gotta’ get those last minute gifts, right?

In a nutshell, I think the majority of you people are privileged hypocrites.

Now we can still be friends. I promise. You don’t have to be really mad at me for saying all of this, because really I just have a much different opinion. I happen to know that my opinion is the right one, but we won’t get into that.

All we really need to do is accept that not everyone in this world is living the same life as we are. That’s it! Then we can still be friends, and wield our shared misanthropy around the Internet together. Because in accepting that not everyone in this world is living the same life as we are, we maybe stop making ignorant comments about people that work on holidays, or even that shop and eat out on your blessed Stuff Your Face With Turkey Day. So you hate Kmart for being open all day on Thanksgiving. Fine! You do that! And it’s true that a lot of people there that day will just be shopping to screw the pooch and get a good deal.

But instead of hating on the company for being open, why not turn your hatred into compassion for the employees that probably are thanking their lucky stars that Kmart is open that day. It’s an extra day they get to work and put food on the table. Instead of being such a jerk, why not drop $5 Starbucks cards off to all the employees, or embrace the needs of fast food workers to work on the holiday by stopping by on your way to your Thanksgiving feast to get a soda and just wish the workers a happy holiday.

Maybe – just maybe – then this country would be a better place. If instead of screaming from our Facebooks and Twitter pages how much we want to boycott companies and how morally wrong this or that is, we just love each other and act with everlasting compassion.

Thanksgiving

In a dog eat dog world, which one are you?

In 2007, I finished college (for the first time) with a bachelor degree in Political Science.  Being idealistic and young, I immediately signed up for the first job I could close to the heartbeat of local politics.  Working as a community organizer for a local non-profit, I soon found myself in the midst of all-things political, especially the corruption within.  I drew the line with that first job when I realized that I was fighting for healthcare when I, myself, was not being covered for health benefits under my current position.  I thought this seemed wrong and unfair, so I left that job feeling glad that the seedy dark side of local politics had not corrupted the moral character I knew I had.  But I was still naive and excited to be in the middle of (what seemed to be) the powers that wielded our lives, so I moved on to contract as a political consultant for a political action committee who shall remain nameless (not only because I know those bitches would sue me, but because they also don’t exist anymore so the name is moot).  While at that political action committee, though, my naive idealism finally took the dark turn to jaded cynicism.  To say I witnessed the ugly parts of local politics would be an understatement – some of the nastiest, most unethical things went on in front of me on a daily basis.  And worse, those bitches (as I will heretofore refer to them) took credit for every single thing I did.

It was towards the end of my tenure at those bitches’ political action committee that I realized they were doing this.  They had hired me to do all manner of tasks – from statistical analysis to planning fund raising events to voter education programming, to even building their website from the ground up.  But then one day I was at an event (that I had single-handedly orchestrated) and I noticed that not once was I acknowledged for my hard work in putting the event together.  As the days wore on, this incident began to bother me so I started to pay more attention when my bosses and I were with other politicos.  To my dismay, I realized that they were not only failing to acknowledge my hard work, but they were taking the full credit for every bit of it.  Telling one outright lie after another, I soon worried how I would even explain things because I had no idea what – exactly – I was to admit having done anymore when we were at public events – they took the credit for just that much.

When I mentioned this to my family and friends, I was confronted with a “everyone knows it’s a dog eat dog world” and “that’s the way it is in the working world, Heather”-attitude, and now (years later) I realize that it really, and truly, is.  In the adult/working world in which we all reside at some level, it all really boils down to whether or not you are one of two people:  the thankless worker or the do-nothing thief.  Even in local church communities, there seems to always be someone right around the corner just waiting to steal the credit or the work itself that you have done; that has already begun saying they did all the work before you have even finished it.  Worse yet, the Internet and computer technology has made it all the easier – for no longer is the old “I gotta’ have time to copy it in my own handwriting, McFly”-matter an issue.  Literally within minutes – seconds even – someone can steal your work and all the credit for it with ease of a simple “click” and “send.”

So it seems that the only way to overcome this is to become a credit-taker – a work-stealer – yourself.  I, myself, do not plan on doing this; but I know that I will probably always be stuck having others take credit for the hard work that I do – even in the most unprofessional, volunteer situations.  So the question that remains is simply:  why do it?  If there is always someone that will be standing around the corner just waiting to take the credit for the things you do – like those bitches at that political action committee – why do them?  I can see in a work environment, where your time and effort equals money which pays the bills, doing the bare minimum is an absolute requirement.  But why go above and beyond the call of duty if you are not going to take the credit for the work that others do, thereby leaving yourself open to be the thankless worker?  Why stay that extra hour or put in that extra pizazz in your quarterly presentation if it is going to be credited to someone else and get you absolutely nothing?

The days of workers in this country taking pride in their work are over.  With a destroyed economy, political unrest, and problems across the board with jobs, unemployment, social security, and health care, the notion of a loyal company that gives back to its loyal employees is gone.  Anyone who thinks that they are allowing themselves to be pushed around and taken advantage of as a thankless worker simply because they “take pride in their work” … well, they are nothing more than a complete and utter moron.  We all know at least one of those idiots, and we all know that they probably deserve to be pushed around for being so ridiculously stupid.  So unless you are going to be a complete douche rag and steal the work and the credit from others, all you are doing by going that extra mile is setting yourself up for unlimited frustration and/or ultimate stupidity as the thankless worker.  Nothing will come of it but stress and upsettedness.  Nothing will result but frustration.

So why bother?  I can think of a myriad of other more rewarding things we could all be doing with our time.  Like reading a book, or going to a movie.  At least there no one can take the credit for the happiness such recreation can bring.  In a dog eat dog world, maybe in the end the best thing to do is just be a cat.