Tag Archives: Family

Trying to plan for the future. Again.

Several years ago, I went to school for an EMT-Basic ticket. The class was pretty easy, information wise, and the practials weren’t hard, either. But, I couldn’t get work in town as a part-time EMT-Basic, and I let my license expire.  Recently, I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting licensed again, especially since I can only find part time work right now. The cost of the program is roughly a thousand dollars (including books), which I think I can scrape together without damaging the family economy any more than I already have.

EMS is a young man’s career choice. The pay sucks, and the work is complex and physical. And, much of the employment opportunity is either in fire-service or part time as an EMT-B. But, this is not a career decision for me, I don’t think. It’s a stepping stone, a waiting point, if you will, until I can finish my degree in Emergency and Disaster Management.

Ok, I started writing the above several hours ago. In the mean time, I discovered that I might just be able to get help paying for the local EMT-B class via the “dislocated worker program” in the area. Must call during business hours.

I wonder what Kristen will say…


Quiet week

It’s been a quiet week, with not a whole lot going on. I read The Joy of Pickling, which was delivered last week, and I’ve decided that I really want to try some pickled eggs at home. I’ll have to stock the spice cabinet, though. There are a lot of holes in what we have already.

My seed potatoes came! I’m really excited to get those started growing. I’m thinking that I’ll try two different tower methods to see what produces more: Layers of plants or “hilling” inside the cage.

I met with a couple of our acquaintance who are willing and able to take some of my Gentleman’s Cabinet products to WisCon over Memorial Day weekend. Take a moment to check out Traditional Treasures in the vendor room and say hello to Betsy and Warren as well as check out my goods.

My OCD is asserting itself loud and clear, which is aggravating me to no end. I’m fixated on getting the potatoes in, but can’t do that quite yet. The disconnect is frustrating, though I know that it’ll be coming to an end in the next few days.  I’ll be able to get the fencing soon in order to build the towers for the taters.

I got a textbook from American Military University for one of my classes starting on May 7. I tried to read it. Oh. My. Goodness. 10 line paragraphs that consist of a single sentence. Terribly convoluted sentence structure. I would have not passed my writing class with essays like those presented in this book. I just hope that the class discussion is more understandable.

That’s the highlights from this past week. Like I said, not a whole lot going on, but things are making some progress. Slowly. Oh, so slowly (tears hair out) This coming week should be a little more productive, I hope. At the very least, I start working on thursday, with orientation. Having a paycheck will help my state of mind.

Stay tuned for the latest developments! 😀 


Screw Stay at Home Moms!

That got your attention, didn’t it? Before you blow me out of the water, give the first paragraph a read.

My wife and I were lucky: I made enough money that she could choose to stay at home, raising the kids and taking care of the house. When we met, she was a working mother, and the “lifestyle” that she was able to “enjoy” was less than stellar.  She would leave the house before sunrise to drop the kids off with her grandmother (who watched them for years) and was not able to return home until long after sunset after running the normal errands that a family needs, like shopping. After we were married and I was working at a good job, we were in the position that it would actually cost more to put the kids into day care than she could make at her job. That’s notwithstanding the fact that the kids were then in school, so they would only need daycare for a few hours each every day.

These were the rocking and rolling days of the early to mid 90’s when there were jobs available more or less for the asking. Once I was established in a career track, she and I sat down and crunched some numbers, and came to the conclusion that it would cost more than she could make in a week if we put the kids all in daycare. Therefore, it was as much an economic decision as a personal preference that she stayed home with them. She didn’t WANT to be a working mom, she wanted to be a stay at home mom. I was all for that, since that’s what I grew up with, and saw what some of my peers with two working parents had to go through.

Before I go any farther, let me say that I think that the working mom/stay at home mom decision should be left up to each family, and I think that both of these choices are valid and good. One is not necessarily intrinsically better than the other, but each has it’s pluses and minuses. Which one is more appropriate should be left to the decision of each family unit. But it should be an actual choice, not a forced one because of economics.

That being said, there is a recent Gallup poll that shows that stay at home moms tend to have lower family incomes and lean toward political independence, rather than either liberal or conservative. Both of these are not surprising to me, since I’ve seen the economics of the “work/raise kids” dichotomy. I also think that it’s fairly obvious that, since they live the reality of the situation (as opposed to an idealized view like Anne Romney has), most moms who stay at home would tend to be more moderate and pragmatic. Anne Romney has had a better-than-average family situation, especially after her husband started bringing in 6 figures per year or more.

The Gallup poll also indicates that more stay-at-home moms tend to have a lower over-all education level in addition to a lower over-all economic level. This is definitely NOT to say that stay-at-home moms are incapable of either. However, I firmly believe that it’s a compound problem: Some moms start with a lower level of education (no degree), meaning that they are not able to find high-paying work outside the home. Because they can’t find high-paying work, they are not afforded the realistic choice to work outside the home, since the cost of child care is roughly equal to or higher than the income that she could gain at her level.

All this is my rambling way of saying that I think that Anne Romney had a great option available to her, and that option is not one that all of American women are afforded.  I also think that Hilary Rosen put her foot in her mouth big time, saying that Mrs. Romney, as a SAHM, hasn’t “worked” a day in her life or is out of touch with her family economy.

I approve of women being able to have the option of raising their kids at home, regardless of their income level. Even those on public welfare should be afforded the opportunity (if they have a working partner) to raise the kids, rather than being forced to choose between maintaining their benefits or raising their kids. I firmly believe that a big social problem is that there are not enough available role models available for the youth of America because of the requirement to work if you want benefits.

Related:

Mitt Romney: Mothers Should Be Required To Work Outside Home Or Lose Benefits
No privilege for most stay-at-home moms


I can haz a something!

That something happens to be a job!  Well, assuming that I pass both the drug test and background check (which I have no doubts about), I’ll be working in about a week or so.

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Happiness is fresh beef jerky

It’s true. When I make beef jerky, everyone gets rather excited. In fact, some times, the jerky (usually just 3-4 trays) is gone almost before I can get any.

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I use an American Harvest Snackmaster Express dehydrator for my food dehydrating needs, though that falls to mostly beef jerky. Add to that the Hi Mountain Seasonings and jerky making is drop-dead easy. The “hardest” part of jerky making is cutting up the meat, and that’s not hard at all. I just wish that I could convince SWMBO that I should get a “jerky gun” since I like strips as well as whole muscle chunks.

One of the local grocery stores puts meat that is near expiration on discount, so I may have to start hitting up that place early in the mornings.  I just need to figure out how to store the jerky that’s finished.

With our change in income status, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be making more jerky, more often. And, probably drying fruits and veg, as well. heck, between the food dryer and the home canning stuff, I’ll be a food-preserving MACHINE!!!


Where do I go from here?

Ok, so I filled out the application for unemployment. I’ve got an appointment with Family Services tomorrow, and I’ve got a bunch of applications out there sitting, with a bunch more in the mill.  I’ve posted my resume at a local job site, and have gotten nothing but a couple of scam offers from there so far. Sorry, I’m not interested in MLM and I can submit my own resume to “85 top job boards” myself. LIke I have anything better to do.

The news says that the job outlook is getting better in the area, but that’s relative.  The January unemployment rate was over 13%, while the national average is just under 9%. That’s not promising for finding a new job. That being said, I’m still going to keep looking and I am not above going into fast food at this point.

I’ve got my Etsy shop open, but the listings are pretty bare at the moment. Hell, I don’t even know if anyone has looked at them other than Kristen and me. The problem is that if I want to have the possibility of business, I need a fair number of products, but having product means shelling out the money for materials in the first place.  I get the impression that Kristen is not keen on me spending more money that we don’t really have on something that may not serve any purpose.

I guess I could consider Farmer’s markets in the area, though. It sure can’t hurt, right?

This sucks.


One more for the road

I guess I’m lucky.  I made it through 4 or 5 rounds of layoffs at my job without a problem.  However…

I didn’t come through clean on the last one.  I’m 38, family of 5, and just finished an AA degree.  I’ve been with the same company for almost as long as my youngest daughter has been alive.  I would have been 14 years on 30 Aug.  I’m doing surprisingly well, so far, but it’s not technically official yet.  Give me another week or so and things might be different.

This might actually be a good thing, overall, though.  I’ve been saying that I wanted out of the company for years now, but the pay was good and the benefits were great.  The work was boring as all get out, but it was mostly sitting on conference calls for the past couple of years.  Not a bad way to make a living for a non-college graduate.

So what is a guy like me supposed to do in this economy? In short: Bounce as best I can.  Cut expenses to the bone and continue the educational path that I’m on (more on that in another post). Fill out applications around town and don’t stop.  Something that I saw making the rounds of Twitter today says …

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

Given the hit that I’m taking, that’s pretty good advice.  Now, I just have to figure out some way to keep my psych medications coming in.  Depression and anxiety are a bitch at the best of times.


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