Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Welcome Me To The Ranks Of The Unemployed

It appears I have joined a club to which no one wants to belong: the National Association of My Job Is Gone.

I am not actually all that upset that I lost my job. The newspaper for which I worked has been in trouble and was recently sold, and I knew this was a possibility. It is the manner of my dismissal that is upsetting.

I received an email yesterday morning saying thank you but your services are no longer needed. That's it. No phone call. No notice.

The new owners claim they will be doing my job themselves to save money. However, when I went around to my the businesses I worked with to tell them I would no longer be with the company, I found out that a woman who claims to be a friend of the owners is now doing my job. And it gets worse. When the business owners would ask where I was, she told them she was "just helping Kris out this week"

Not only do these new owners not have the courage to face me, but they are also too cowardly to admit what they did.

The real rub is that for the first three months this newspaper was in existence, I worked for basically no pay. I got no reimbursement for gas or mileage as I visited businesses soliciting ads or distribution points. I created and printed ad packets, an expense which came out of my pocket. I actually lost money doing this job for the first few months.

The one good thing that has come out of all this is, during past year, I have had a chance to meet and work with some wonderful people in this area. In fact, some have been so outraged at the way I have been treated that they now refuse to do business with this newspaper. The saying "you reap what you sow" is certainly proving to be true.

I am now trying to decide what the next step will be. I have always been a believer in the saying that when God closes one door, he opens another. I have a Mary Kay business that I could certainly work to expand. Also, I have always toyed with the idea of going back to school to get a master's degree. Perhaps that is the door that God is holding open now.

Whatever happens, the sympathy, support and encouragement I have received has been overwhelming. I may have no income right now, but I feel like a millionaire.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Break Out The Windex! Spring Is Here!

For me, the warming of the air and the greening of the grass this time of year mean one thing--it's time to go into a cleaning frenzy.

There is something theraputic about sweeping out the dust and cobwebs of winter, opening the long closed-up windows to let in some fresh air, and scrubbing, dusting, sweeping and vacuumming until I collapse. Nothing says spring like dishpan hands and sheer exhaustion.

I think I get this spring cleaning bug from my mother. She was not much of a housekeeper, and with five kids cooped up inside all winter, you can imagine what the house looked like come April. But just before Easter every year, she would grab a shovel and clear off all of the mail, school papers and assorted garbage that accumulated on every surface of the house. Okay, so I exaggerate about the shovel. But a backhoe sure would have come in handy.

I'll be the first to admit that I am a neatnik. I think this comes from growing up in a house that regularly looked like Hurricane Katrina came though. So it is not enough for me to just do the inside of the house. I have to move into the garage as well, and this year I have decided to tackle the attic.

The garage and attic are generally my husband's domain. But when you live with someone whose idea of putting something away is to throw it on the floor until your wife gets sick of looking at it, your ideas of cleanliness tend to clash.

So last week I went through the garage, threw away all empty containers, put everything back in its place on the shelves and wiped a year's worth of crud off the surfaces.

Now I am working on the attic, better known as The Place Where Unwanted Household Items and Electrical Paraphernalia From My Husband's Business Come To Die. I have found--among many interesting things--eight plastic sleds (we have two kids), a empty box from some floor mats my husband bought four years ago, and a set of tires.

The tires in the attic are odd, but the eight sleds are downright strange. Are we smuggling polar bears to a safer climate or harboring Eskimo refugees up there?

As this is by far the biggest job on my spring cleaning list, it is going to take awhile. But by the time I am finished, I am confident I will have a neat, organized attic and a nice pile of donations for some charity. And it will be well worth the effort not to have to climb over piles of garbage to get to the Christmas decorations come December.

So I will continue to plug away at the mess and ponder why we keep remnants of a carpet we tore out five years ago in storage. And if I find Jimmy Hoffa hiding under the rolls of electrical wire, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter At Our House--Marshmallow Peeps and Pepto Bismal

The Christian world celebrated the resurrection of our Lord this past Sunday. Unfortunately, I was not one of them. I spent the entire day on the couch with a stomach bug.

My family's Easter dinner consisted of glazed ham, potatoes with cheddar and sour cream, Caesar salad and Hawaiian sweet rolls. Mine consisted of saltines, jello and ginger ale.

I tend to be very much a type A personality and have a hard time sitting still, especially when there are holidays involved. My husbands swears that the best way to torture me would be to tie me to a chair for awhile. To me, there is nothing more depressing than working so hard planning and preparing for a holiday and then being forced to watch from the sidelines. All the baking, spring cleaning, shopping and choir practices seemed to be for nothing.

But as I watched my family, I realized this was not the case. The kids loved all the thought I put into their Easter baskets, which as any parent of a teen and pre-teen knows can be a real challenge when you try to avoid a lot of candy. My husband enjoyed the Easter dinner I planned even though he had to make most of it.

I also think that God knows what he is doing at times when he forces us to slow down. I had been cleaning frantically because we were anticipating that my brother and his wife would spend the weekend with us. We found out Tuesday before Easter that they were unable to make it. Had they come, I would have been too sick to enjoy their visit.

Being forced to sit in one place also allowed me to catch up on several days' worth of newspapers, organize the family calendar, finally sew the new boy scout troop numbers on my son's uniform and just simply look outside at the beautiful sunshine and mentally plan my gardens. All things I did not have time to get to because I was just too busy.

I also spent a lot of time with my husband and children just coming in to sit and chat for a few minutes, the dog bringing me toy to throw, and a cat or two curling up with me as I read.

So perhaps a sick day isn't so much of an inconvenience as a time to remember what is really important in life: slowing down enough to enjoy it. Hopefully, it won't take another sick day before I stop and smell jelly beans.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Easter From Our Winter Wonderland

Mother Nature gave us a lovely Easter surprise early Monday morning here in Michigan--six inches of snow.

The past two Easters here have been white. It is starting to become part of our Michigan Easter traditions: baskets of colored eggs, jelly beans, marshmallow peeps, and winter boots and parkas. I am certain the Easter bunny is consulting with Santa Claus about borrowing his sled so that he can get around Michigan to make his deliveries.

I think manufacturers of snow removal equipment should start making them in spring colors. They would make a killing here. "Forget the Easter baskets this year, Marj! Let's buy us a lavender snow blower!"

Our only consolation is that the temperature later in the week will be in the high 40 degree range. With any luck, this will all melt. Let's face it--indoor egg hunts just aren't as much fun. How many eggs can you hide under a table or on a windowsill? It gets to a point where the kids can sit on the couch and point to the six places you are forced to hide the eggs year after year in the living room.

So we poor freezing souls here in the midwest will hold out hope that the sun will shine and green grass will be visible on Easter Sunday. But I am cleaning the snow boots just in case.

Happy Easter to all! And if you plan on visiting us here in Michigan, don't forget your snow shoes.