I had a second interview today for a Controller position in a relatively young and supposedly booming sales company. It’s the kind of job that’s right up my alley- taking a big mess and making sense of it. Cultivating processes and procedures, taking ownership and making it a well oiled machine. It took me 30 minutes to get there and 45 minutes to get home. They wanted me to work 10am to 7pm. The drive time didn’t include dropping off or picking up of kids wherever they may be in preschool once I’m employed. The guy who interviewed me asked me how old I am (should I sue?), and if my hair was naturally red (not even close!) He told me he had narrowed his decision down to me and one other guy out of 20 interviews. I guess that was the consolation prize.
I didn’t get the job, and in the words of my wise father, I think I’ve been spared. Even in this awful economy, in need of cash flow, I feel the truth of that wisdom. Crazy as it sounds, I really do feel guided by intuition and creativity in a way that I haven’t allowed myself to feel in a long, long time.
Believe me, fear still creeps in all the time. How long can we make our savings last? How will we get the boys back into school before they drive us mad or kill each other? We’re both looking for jobs every day. I query craigslist every hour at least. But we’re also looking for more. In the meantime, I’m going to keep taking my camera every where I go, keep writing, get to work on that children’s book that’s been nagging me for the past two years, and enjoy every moment possible with my kids (when they’re not pouring water all over their sheets, pillows, and blankets at bedtime, but maybe I’ll save that story for another day…)
Today was the day from parenting hell. One of those days when my boys’ names roll off my tongue incessantly like a string of so many swear words. A day when their middle names were used just as frequently as their first names, and I was ready to drop them off at the closest relative’s house and leave the country. J. and I looked at each other in desperation at least a dozen times, exasperated and feeling helpless. Now, asleep in their beds, innocent angels, their breathing fluttering softly and the remaining essence of sweaty little boy bodies lingering in the air, of course I melt and see the possibility of a better tomorrow. I promise myself I will be more patient; I will yell less and listen more. Right?
This staying home thing might be different if we had won the lottery. First of all, the kids would be in school again. Neither are old enough for Kindergarten yet, but I know they miss the routine and stimulation of their preschool in Seattle. They miss their friends and the steady array of different faces throughout the day, the variety of activities, the constant influx of new things to learn. Now they’re stuck at home with two preoccupied parents who are focused on starting a business, getting jobs, health insurance, a financial life … We are definitely not fun to be around all day long, even though they have a great yard, a playroom, and idyllic weather. Granted, it has rained the past three days. What will we do when the heat strikes?! Uh Oh. If we had won the lottery, we also wouldn’t be sitting around figuring out how to make money. Stressed parents certainly don’t help with the quotient of peace around here.
I blame it on Sponge Bob too. In one of my parenting lapses of judgment, I’ve allowed them to watch it over the past few weeks. Once avid fans of Little Bear and Oswald, the only show they care about now is Sponge Bob. When we were infusing tequila with pineapple the other day, one quipped, “hey, you’re cutting up Sponge Bob’s House!” They’re that into it. As I am prone to do, pulled in a million different directions, I haven’t focused on the content of the show until tonight. So much for being present. Then I heard it. The bickering, name-calling, smart ass comments that have been spouting out of my five year old’s mouth for the past few weeks. The sassing, back-talking, teasing and incorrigible behavior that couldn’t possibly be coming from my sweet boys. Now, I’m not saying it’s all due to the antics of a rectangular bit of yellow sponge dressed in underpants and a tie, but it can’t be helping either. No more Sponge Bob. Period.
I’ve found there’s no day so horrible that a decent night’s sleep (and a few margaritas) can’t help. It’s not supposed to rain tomorrow. And I have an interview. I don’t think I’ll really mind being back at work, taking on new challenges and making money again. It’s not that I need to be away from the kids, I just don’t have everything they need. No one ever does. But between family and friends, school and community, hopefully we can give them as much as we can and invite them to explore the endless possibilities that already reside in them. And I can find my sanity again.
Ah, the mantra of the masses these days. Unemployment. I was feeling left out, so I have joined the fray. Having just moved to Phoenix, though, collecting unemployment benefits is not a possibility, so I had better hurry up and get a J.O.B. STAT. But, it’s Saturday, and as my former coworkers toil away half their weekend making journal entries into the general ledger, I am spending the evening sans kids, but with a devastatingly handsome date (aka my husband J.) and a yummy margarita made with pineapple & chili- infused tequila.
I wonder how many other unemployed people have this sense that they are on vacation at first? No reason to set the alarm (the kids will get us up soon enough), no hurry to shower, pack lunches, put on makeup, or try to find some decently clean and unwrinkled clothes. Or maybe it’s just this time of year in Phoenix, when every day is shiny and beautiful. Either way, I’m digging it. I’ve worked my ass off the last few years, as has J., and we’re at a point when we want to re-evaluate exactly what we want in the grand scheme of things. Money is a good thing, not the evil so many have proclaimed it to be, and I welcome it into my life; preferably in 100 pound sacks of $100 bills, but I’ll take it in the form of a paycheck as well. At the same time, I can’t suffocate my creative soul in the dog-eat-dog corporate world much longer. It’s not that I hate accounting. In fact, I actually really like some parts of it. But day in and day out while going to school and raising a family. Something is missing and has been for a long time.
So, where from here? As I mentioned before, a job is definitely in order. The tax check from Uncle Sam and our savings won’t keep us going for long. So, I’m envisioning a 30 hour a work week with 40 hour a week pay + benefits ( and maybe the occasional business trip to Bermuda). All this just until J. and I can figure out how to do what we love and make money. I’ve grown tired of conventional wisdom, the chain-of-command, corporate ladder, work hard-play later model of success. That’s not really success to me. At the end of the day there has to be satisfaction, fulfillment, time for family and friends, and the honoring of what moves us inside. And money would be nice too.
For tonight I’m getting back to this margarita and spending time J. while dream, scheme, and plan WHAT IS TO BE.