Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tick-Tock Goes the Clock

The other night I was furious. Fifteen minutes after I had put dinner in the oven, my husband called and said he wouldn’t be home for dinner because he found out he had to do a special evening clinic. He learned this less than an hour before the clinic started. I know Eric thinks I’m a raving lunatic, but I wasn’t mad at him. With his work, we have a limited amount of time together, so I value the time I do get with him. I know it really wasn’t that big of a deal by itself, but we already had plans. Maybe the plans were just to have dinner, but I’m tired of other entities and people thinking that their plans are more important than ours. In general, I think there is a lack of respect for other people’s time in this world.

For example, in March we had an appointment to file our taxes. Our appointment was at 9:30am, and we weren’t seen until 10:30am. No explanation, no apology. I understand that there are issues and could have handled a fifteen minute delay. But this was an hour delay, and it was going to take at least another forty minutes to complete our taxes. I took off work and really needed to be back int he office around 11am. This is the second firm this has happened with in as many years. There should be some consideration for my time, especially when I’m a paying customer.

There is nothing in the world I hate more than wasting time. I will seriously start twitching if I think I am going to be late somewhere. First, I think it is a poor reflection on me. I actually told Eric that if we were going to be late for church, we weren’t going. Secondly, I think it is so disrespectful to the other people. They only have so much time too, and I’m sure they would rather be doing something meaningful than sitting around waiting for me. I’m not talking about people who are late once in awhile. When you are chronically late, you are subconsciously implying that your time is more important than the other party’s. That’s not okay.

I am never late. Of course, there are unforeseen circumstances, but you can be your bottom dollar I would give someone the courtesy of a call or text before I was tardy to the party. I’m never late to work, and if I were, I hope my colleagues would realize that something is probably wrong.

One time, I was at the doctor’s office for my yearly checkup. I had a 10am appointment and had taken the morning off work. I was not seen until 11:45am. A little after 11am, I poked my head out of the door to my room. The nurse/medical assistant asked me if there was a problem. I said that I had been waiting an hour and was wondering when I would be seen. The person told me that the doctor was backed up (duh), and it would be a little bit longer, but she it with an attitude as if I were the one with the problem when in fact my time was being wasted. Trust me, I understand better than most that emergencies happen in medicine (although this was the clinic). Somebody on staff could have communicated that the doctor was running extremely late and given me the option of waiting it out or rescheduling.

I was talking with a friend and she said she would rather have more time to herself and with loved ones than a high-powered career. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, that is why I took a step back when we moved from Miami a few years ago. I have a job that I work hard at, but there are no emergencies, and I can disconnect when I leave the office. While we are a money-driven society, time is the most precious commodity we have. Time is irreplaceable – we don’t have the opportunity to get it back. I don’t think my time is any more valuable than anybody else’s but nobody else’s time is any more valuable than mine.

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A Personal Choice

When my husband and I moved two years ago, we decided that I was going to take a step back in my professional life.  In Miami, I had been constantly working and/or stressed – I rarely had a chance to enjoy other aspects of my life.  While I miss working in football, it was the right decision.

Since we moved for Eric’s job, we realized that I would be unemployed for a couple months.  I cannot believe the negative reactions I received from people, especially women, when I told them I was not working but looking.  I was being judged for not having a super-planned career trajectory.  I found a job about three months after we moved, which really wasn’t too bad.

Now, I have a part-time jobs (work 25-30 hours per week but no benefits) that is rewarding but not all-consuming.  For the most part, I can set my own schedule and take time off as needed.  I’ve been able to go to England, Las Vegas, Chicago, Florida, and visit my family in Michigan as I please.  I’ve been able to schedule doctor’s appointments and car service without feeling like the world was going to end because I wasn’t at work.  I feel that I’m living life “in the moment” and have even been able to pursue some hobbies, such as blogging, exercising, and joining the Richard III Society.  I can enjoy a night out with my husband without having to worry about my “golden handcuffs” a.k.a. cell phone. 

Still, I am given a hard time for not working full-time outside the home.  I am not the torchbearer for the women’s rights movement.  Don’t judge me because I value my life outside of work more than a career.  After having it both ways, I prefer to be married to my husband rather than my job.  I am happiest when I am spending time with Eric or my family and understand that I am blessed to live this life.  (P.S. I don’t just sit on my butt when I get home – there’s laundry, cooking, cleaning, car service, bills to pay and home maintenance to do.  This arrangement really helps my overworked husband because it would never get done otherwise). 

Almost two years later, I am still asked what my career goals are.  When I respond that I’m content with the way my life is and my ultimate goal is to start a family, I have been met with more than a few sideways glances.  Anyone close to me knows that it is my intention to be a stay-at-home mom when the time comes.  That is why we’ve waited a little longer to have kids.  I cannot believe the venom I have heard against stay-at-home moms (ironically, from people who were raised by good stay-at-home moms).  Again, I am not obligated as a woman to have a fancy career.  This is my choice along with my husband.  Don’t tell me I’ll be “bored” or “regret it.”  Don’t tell me that I will “lose a piece of myself” or I could “do so much more.”  “You can always go back,” I am often told.  Am I a failure if I don’t!?!?  People who say these kinds of things generally don’t know me.  Just because they would be bored or unfulfilled doesn’t mean I will be.  Maybe this is what will make me happy and is best for our family.

 As I was preparing this post, I came across this from BuzzFeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/things-you-should-never-say-to-a-stay-at-home-parent.  My favorite comments are “do you ever think you’ll get a real job?” and “don’t you wish you had your own money?”  First, being a parent is a job, and it one of the most important ones a person can have.  Unlike “real jobs,” you can’t call in sick or have a vacation from being a parent.  Secondly, marriage is a partnership and my role as a stay-at-home mother (you can also insert stay-at-home dads anywhere in this entry – they probably really get it) will be just as important as my husband’s role as the breadwinner.  My husband will be able to work hard with the peace of mind that his child(ren) are well cared for by me.  It’s OUR money.

Trust me, we’ve thought long and hard about this decision, and it makes sense for us.  It’s a personal choice for OUR family.  Not to justify myself, but stay-at-home moms are quite valuable, with an estimate worth of $113,000.  In addition to childcare, stay-at-home moms cook, clean, chauffeur, pay bills, do laundry, and manage the household.

I’m not trying to start a debate about working moms vs. stay-at-home moms.  I’m just really tired that my family’s decision is being met with disdain by some.  I fully realize that some women need to work to make ends meet.  It is wonderful for women who chose to (or have to) work who are also satisfied with their careers.  There are also some women who are so fulfilled by their careers that they don’t necessarily want a family – that’s okay, too.  Instead of tearing each other down for the personal decisions we make, let’s support one another.  Don’t force your values on me, and I won’t force my values on you.

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Was that really necessary?

As I have shamefully admitted in the past, I watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. This season has been very lame, but the episode airing last Monday evening (July 7th), really took it over the top.

As anyone who has watched this season knows that one of the contestants, Eric Hill, was tragically killed in a paragliding accident. Hill was eliminated from the show early in the season after having some choice words with Andi. He called her a “television actress” and indicated that she was fake. She wasn’t happy about that and eliminated him on the spot. I found Eric’s demeanor to be pretty classy (why was he on this show again?), and in my view, he was extremely accurate in his assessment of Andi.

The July 7th episode chronicled the hometown dates of the remaining four contestants. Then, the four suitors and Andi were called over to Chris Harrison’s home. Chris then passed along the news of Eric’s death to the five of them. Obviously, everybody was very upset. The loss of life is always tragic, especially in someone so young. Unfortunately, the show’s handling of Eric’s death was nothing short of exploitative.

The thing that made me upset was that is wasn’t about Eric; it was about Andi and the rest of the show’s cast and crew. I feel like Eric’s passing had already been addressed in a previous episode (and it was kind of obnoxious there, too). I realize they need drama on for a show that’s been pretty unremarkable this season, but to capitalize on a young man’s death? Does anybody on that show care about making his family have to relive the worst news of their lives on national TV?

Doing “nothing” would have been better than the way it was handled. If they felt like they needed to address it in “real-time,” I feel like a tribute montage with some information about the Live Like Eric Foundation would have been more appropriate.

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Don’t Be Cheap

Summertime is in full swing, and all the little birdies say don’t be “cheap, cheap, cheap.”

I never worked in the food service industry, but I know a lot of people who go their start there. A family friend once told us that minimum wage was about $2 ($2.13 according to this article) because the rest should be supplemented by tipping. So, that means tips are essential for servers to make a living wage.

My parents taught me to tip fairly, and in light of this information, it is even more important to do so. If I get average service, I tip at least 15-17%. If I get outstanding service, I’ll probably tip about 25%. If I get horrible service, I might tip less, depending on the cause. Anyone who knows me knows I detest “rewarding bad behavior,” but oftentimes, the poor service might not be the server’s fault (like the kitchen is backed up, or the hostess seated too many people in her section). The only reason I would really “ding” the server is if he or she were rude to us or absolutely seemed checked out of his or her responsibilities. Even at a “self-serve” restaurant like Corner Bakery, I’ll leave a couple dollars on the table for the person who clears the dishes. Some may see that as overgenerous and unnecessary, but I would rather be that than stingy. I think it’s the right thing to do.

So, if you go out to eat, I urge you to tip fairly. If you can’t do that, I would encourage you to reconsider eating at sit-down restaurants.

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