Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deja vu

I am 41 years old, and I find I'm back to the question that plagued me about 25 years ago: What do I want to be when I grow up?

After losing my job last July (Dear Economy, Thanks a bunch! By the way, you suck. Best regards...) I never thought it would be so difficult to find another part-time job. I couldn't have been more wrong. In the past six months or so, I have sent out a bunch of resumes and applied online for many jobs -- several of which I thought I was an absolute shoe-in for at least a phone call. Want to know how many phone calls I've received? How about none. Zip. Zero. Big, fat nada.

This leads me to believe there is either a glaring error I've not caught on my own resume, or the economy is still just as crappy as everyone thinks it is. And now? I've found myself at a cross-roads of sorts: I have the opportunity to "create" my dream job. I love writing, and want people to pay me to do it. The problem? Finding people to pay me. Freelance writers are frequently the first to go where budgets are concerned. Staff people will take the bullet and dump extra work on underlings before shelling out company cash for an outsider to come in and write. Once again, the economy is baring its teeth at me and growling, warning me to stay the hell away. "Back off, Word Nerd!"

I told Jeff today that I am perfectly happy getting the writing assignments I've been fortunate enough to receive lately (Thank you, Sue and Northern IN Lakes magazine! Big shout out and a hearty WOO HOO!) The thing is, I am also very happy being a stay-at-home mom, taking care of the family. For me, interviewing and writing an article for publication has become equivalent to, say, baking cookies or bread and making an 8-yr-old's bed. I love both jobs; however, only one pays actual, real money, while the other is compensated with hugs and smiles. Unfortunately, utility companies and the bank don't readily accept payments in hugs and smiles.

I feel like I've been given an opportunity to find something new...something I really love to do and create a new career out of it. The only question is, what the hell is it? You know the feeling when you try to remember something, and it's just on the tip of your tongue? That's how I'm feeling about work -- there's something out there. I can almost make it out... I just hope I figure it out before unemployment runs out in July.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Food for thought...

Time is just whipping by. Where in the world did the past week go? Every time I sit down at the computer, I think about all the things I either have to write (you know,... for pay) and things I want to write. Then, as it happens, I usually find myself with enough time to post a brief status on Facebook, and I have to jump up and do something else. Usually laundry. The family is a bit picky about not wanting to walk around naked. Geez.
I was going to post something Jack had written for me last week. However, Lindy has a "kid note" theme going and I don't want to be a copycat. So I'll save that gem for one day when he's particularly trying my nerves -- that way, when I re-read the note and post it with its glorious "AWWW!" factor, it'll remind me why I'm not sending him to military school.

Instead, I will share an idea that I know at least a few families are using, including our own: snack bins. This is an idea worth its weight in gold for families with more than one child. (And who knows? Perhaps even only-children wouldn't mind having their own snack stash...?) Anyway, while all six of our kids are frequently hungry, only five of them have the ability to open doors to either the pantry or refrigerator and peruse the selection of food items. This? Has posed a problem in the past. Why? Imagine doing your weekly or bi-weekly shopping, coming home and stocking the previously mentioned pantry and refrigerator. Then imagine a swarm of locust invading your home, eating everything in sight. That, my friends, is what we encountered here on more than one occasion. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present... snack bins:

All stocked full of snackity goodness.

And neatly labeled.

Welcome, locusts... help yourself.

Jeff and I were very clear on the guidelines involved with this new snackin' system. We will stock the bins every two weeks with (more than) enough items to get them by -- we aim for two snacks per day. If any one of the bin owners goes jackass batty and eats all their allotted snack foods before Restock Day, well... that's pretty much tough luck. And any sneaky dipping of hands into someone else's bin (blatant stealing) will result in forfeiture of the culprit's bin for a two-week period.
So far, this has worked out amazingly well for us, and for the kids. It teaches them budgeting, responsibility and, most importantly, being held accountable for their own actions. Or, in this case, gluttony. It has also taught me that I need to stop being such a SugarNazi, and not freak out when Jeff waltzes in with a box of Little Debbie Nutty Bars, or some pseudo-fruit snack. (Dear Snack Manufacturers, When you resort to spelling your product with another form of the word "fruit," such as "froot" please be aware that is a HUGE red flag to mothers who respect nutritional value. Your name-twisting shenanigans result in my 8-year old thinking he can fulfill his daily fruit requirement with "Fruit Gushers" or something similar. NOT. HAPPENING.)
Happy snacking!