Out of Work

The only thing tougher than looking for work, is watching your husband of 17 years look for work after being at a company for 34 years.

Yes. That’s 34 years. No doubt longer than many Millennials have been alive.

He worked for AT&T, and happily got up at 5 in the morning – no matter if there was six feet of snow on the ground, or temperatures in the 90s – and ran his four miles. Then he walked our dog, sent our twin boys off to school with a groan-inducing joke, and went to work.

He was let go just weeks before the holidays, and now he’s out there interviewing, and realizing that skill sets that worked for him for more than three decades just might not be enough anymore.

He might be, gulp, irrelevant. Or obsolete. Like the #Ford Pinto.

I, on the other hand, haven’t worked anywhere longer than four years since our boys were born 15 years ago. And it was mostly part time – as a content editor for a health care publishing company, a news writer for a local tv station, and even a Critters reporter for a local newspaper.

Did you know that parrots can live longer than people, and that some owners draw up wills for their feathered pets knowing this?

In the back of my mind always, since I was 10 years old and wrote a story about my Grandma seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time, was to write that best selling novel that would be translated into 30 languages and eventually made into a movie.

And so, my husband let me continue to pursue my dream as he went to work. Without complaining. Because … he enjoyed his life.

How many of us can say that?

That’s one of the reasons I married him all those years ago, because he didn’t complain, or put people down, or always see the negative. He was the most positive, happy, unencumbered person I’d ever met, the only newly turned 30 year old who wasn’t carrying emotional baggage, and who didn’t have an ex-wife and two kids on his resume.

So now he approaches job hunting the same way, optimistically, as even sure things evaporate one by one. And I don’t want to see him beaten down.

One of the jokes he always sent the boys to school with was this: two peanuts go into a bar, and one is assaulted.

They always laughed, feebly, and he smiled.

I won’t let him, or us, be assaulted.

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The Real Winners of the Emmys

Except for maybe the MTV video music awards, I generally steer clear of awards shows. 

And given the Emmy’s low ratings last night, I’m not the only one.

But I was too tired to read or watch the second episode of The Deuce last night, so I turned them on.

And I couldn’t turn them off.

It wasn’t Sean Spicer’s self-deprecating star turn, or Alec Baldwin’s jab at the president or even Sterling K. Brown’s refusal to shorten his thank you speech.

No.  It was the realization that the big winner last night wasn’t Julia Louis-Dreyfus with her sixth Emmy for the same show (which she totally deserves), but it was…the writer.

Actually, two writers who wrote two books nearly 30 years apart, both of which were turned into miniseries.

Back when Margaret Atwood wrote a Handmaid’s Tale, in 1985, she wrote it on a typewriter in her home in Berlin where the wall was still up.  It was about fertile women who existed solely to produce children for privileged women and their husbands.

Thirty years later, Liane Moriarty wrote her novel about women with perhaps too much choice and freedom, and how they choose to use it.  As most of us now know, Nicole Kidman’s character allows herself to be physically abused by her husband, and while the reasons aren’t completely clear, she is in many ways as enslaved as the handmaids in Atwood’s book.

An entire generation’s worth of time has passed, and yet Atwood’s book is now just as relevant as Moriarity’s.  Perhaps because women’s freedoms are being withdrawn, and we have a president who actually wants to BUILD a wall. 

But the one thing that has survived all those decades with little change – is the power of the pen to paper, and the lure of a book.

And that’s why both Moriarity and Atwood – and novelists everywhere – were the big winners last night.

 

 

I’m a mother of twin teen boys – who never watched a single superhero movie growing up (I had 3 sisters) and still isn’t sure who Hans Solo is.  I’m a tv news journalist who can easily write an hour’s worth of scripts for a roomful of local news anchors, but still has trouble speaking my own mind. And I’m a writer with bylines on everything from homeopathic food for dogs to gastric bypass surgery for teens – but who simply wants to write my own book. 

The problem?  As my husband likes to tell me when we’re running super late for our sons’ soccer game or my niece’s high school play – I am the worst manager of time he’s ever seen (just not in such PG terms.)  Yes, I admit I am easily distracted by things, but I just tell him I don’t want to miss anything…I want to stop and smell the coffee.  But then he says I will have to wait until we get to the theater to have that coffee because we’re late…and my niece’s show is two hours away. 

So, I’ve decided (another trait that doesn’t come easy to me) that this blog will be a chronicle of my attempt to write a book by better managing my time.  (But it could very well turn into a fight against demons even scarier than Connor McGregor.) Because caffeine withdrawals are a bitch, I do not want to start taking Ritalin, and many of my friends and cousins are doing the online dating thing and scaring the crap out of me.

So, I am going to better manage my time – and life – a page at a time. 

With a few detours along the way.