Monday, October 18, 2010

Would You Prefer the Alternative?

This I was struggling to get kids dressed and out the door along with myself and doing those last minute things I needed to do which I should have done yesterday but didn't.....I heard a little voice in my head  mutter something unpleasant about having to get up and go to work on Monday (and yes....I hear little voices in my head from time to time....don't judge me!) At any immediately put me in an unhappy mind set as I headed off to start another week.

As I was driving though the little voice continued to whine an complain about having to get up, having to get dressed and having to go to work. Finally.....another voice appeared....obviously agitated by the first ones incessant negative droning and said...."would you prefer the alternative?" Now I am not sure if the second voice meant the alternative to being able to wake up......or the alternative to having a job....but whatever it got me to thinking. What did I really have to be negative about? I actually did wake up today and I actually have clean clothes to put on and a job to go to. So what was I really complaining about?

It seems to me....that too often many of us complain about the minor stuff, the stuff we should many times actually be grateful for. Why? Maybe habit. Maybe because we seem to live in a negative world at times....or more than likely....we are simply spoiled, a bit selfish, and we all feel a bit entitled from time to time. If the world doesn't go our way....we complain. It's as simple as that! We are all guilty of it....myself included, but do we ever stop and think where our complaining, negativity and unhappiness with things that we should often be grateful for might lead us?

Yes....I am going somewhere with this.....just be patient. In recent of the big aircraft plants in Wichita has had rumors flying about them packing up their plane parts and moving out of state. In fact...the state of LA has been tempting the plane maker with tax breaks and land incentives. The city of Wichita and the state of KS not to be outdone.....countered LA's offer with one of their own. The company agreed to stay in Wichita with the stipulation that the newest labor contract passed and with the understanding that about 1/3 of the current employees would likely be seeing lay offs. Whew....sigh of relief as  2/3 of the workers get to keep their jobs and the Wichita economy doesn't completely tank. Or so we thought!

Last week the new contract was put on the table. Now common sense told everyone that this contract was not going to be great.....but it would keep people working and keep the economy going. It had a 10% pay cut and increased insurance premiums among other less than exciting features....but a majority of the workers would get to keep their jobs. It was a game of give and take. Obviously a game that 55% of the union workers didn't want to play.

When the vote came in......over half voted to turn down the contract. I have to say.....I was astounded. Now I know that no one wants to take a pay cut and that paying more for insurance is no treat either, but as the little voice in my head asked "would you prefer the alternative?" In this case the alternative could have disastrous results.....not just for 1/3 of the current employees....but disastrous for the other 2/3's also, not to mention Wichita and the surrounding communities and the economy in general. These workers were grumbling over a pay cut and an insurance I was grumbling over Monday. Perhaps instead of looking at what they could lose by the new contract.....maybe they should have looked at what they could keep. Their jobs to start with! 

While I understand completely not wanting to lose out this case.....those who voted "no" to the contract may very well have done more than lose a few dollars an hour per paycheck.....they may also end up losing their jobs, their cars, their homes, and their financial futures. Another thought too is that many whose jobs could potentially be lost by the vote are hourly employees with only a high school eduction. Thrown back into the work force jobs paying as much as they would have made with the contract wage cut will be few and far between. These folks will either have to further their education or settle for jobs paying much less than they are used to.

I realize that to  many there was a principle involved, but your principles don't feed you or keep a roof over your head. This could also cause a trickle down effect....causing small machine shops to lose business, lay off employees or even close altogether. The economy will also suffer with loss of dollars, house foreclosure and repossessions. What was starting to look and feel  like an economic comeback could now be the beginning of another recession. Perhaps they will find out the hard way....that rather than grumbling.....maybe they just should have been grateful. But then again....what do I know?

After traveling through this maze of thought....and finally quieting the conversation in my head.....I realized that waking up on a Monday is not such a bad thing. fact waking up any day is a wonderful thing. Having a roof over my head, a car to drive, food on the table and clothes on my back....are also pretty awesome things....and finally.....having a job in an economy where jobs just may get a whole lot more scarce....well that is just nothing to whine about at all. So maybe next time the voice in my head tells me to whine.....I will remember that other voice and ask myself..."would you prefer the alternative?"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our Little House

It was small....only about 900 sq. ft., but the day my husband and I first laid eyes on it....we knew it was more than enough for us....and everything we needed, wanted and dreamed of. We had been living in Wichita and both of us wanted out. So moving south...we decided on Derby. It was out of Wichita and both close and far enough from my home town of be comfortable.

We actually were looking at the rental across the street when the landlords who were redoing our soon to be house came over and asked if we would like to see inside. In 900 sq. ft. were 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, a living room, kitchen, and a laundry space hidden by sliding doors. It was a alive with people installing new carpet, wallpaper, paint and appliances. It was a post WWII house with huge trees in the front yard, a large back yard, a deck off the (I say this laughingly) master bedroom, a park down the street and kids in almost every house in the neighborhood. It was perfect for the 3 and one half of us and we couldn't wait for the house to be ready for us.

We lived in that house for years. We raised kids in that house, babysat kids in that house, worked in the yard, had gardens, hung clothes on the line, planted flowers, had weddings, had party's, and did a whole lot of living, laughing and loving. Seldom were we not packed to overflowing with kids, adults, furniture, toys or other miscellaneous things.....and yet we all loved that home.

Many an evening my husband and I would sit on the front porch, drink coffee and talk, share and often dream. On hot summer days we watched our kids ride bikes on the street, race each other to the park, or play in the hose in the yard. It was life at it's simplest and yet everything any of us had ever dreamed we wanted.

After awhile, life began to change. We were about to welcome a new life into our family, the house just couldn't grow anymore and we simply couldn't downsize anymore than we already had. Little did I know then, that the changes we were about to undertake would be more life altering than anyone had ever imagined and the changes would continue for several years to come. We would end up losing some of our family, moving several times and coming to the brink of sanity before finally settling in and settling down where we are now.

Life is good now. Our losses are still with us....but blessedly the happy memories (such as the time in our little house) have replaced the sadness. The kids are growing and thriving....and for the most part....I am at peace.

Just the other day.....I needed a trip down memory lane, so I drove by our little house. The grass is not as green as when we lived there. It appears that kids are no longer the majority of the neighborhood and the front door is not perpetually open with people constantly coming and going, but it still gives me a rush of emotion as I close my eyes and I remember our little house the way it was and what it meant to our world and our lives.

Don't get me wrong....I am happy now and I can't think of much I would change...... but the truth is....for a certain stretch of years.....even with times when we were out of work, out of money and even out of in that little house....our little house......was just pretty close to perfect!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and Spongebob

You is amazing when you spend time in the ER with a sick child..... just what you will read, watch or think about in the time it takes you to get called back to be seen....right up until the time you actually get to leave. Last night, while at the ER, I watched Spongebob the Movie until I felt brain cells oozing out my ears and I read every pamphlet available from the treatment of Hepatitis C to Polio....Making a Comeback. Finally....a Child Life  staff person realized that I needed something more to do than trying to keep one child from escaping in his wheelchair and watching the other one flip flop on his ER bed in she kindly brought me some fairly current, current event news magazines. Now in situations where you are already distracted by sick children....usually magazines full of celebrity gossip and nice big pictures of fashion faux pas are what you need to kill the time and avoid the reality of your situation. But apparently....those types of magazines were no where to be I got magazines with in depth articles on real world subjects with nary a celebrity divorce, arrest or drunken outburst to be had. Lucky me. But being that it was after midnight and it was either this or Spongebob....I began to read.
As I leafed through the pictureless articles of dry facts and depressing possibilities, one magazine had an article that caught my eye. Why? I am not sure. We will chalk it up to exhaustion and the need to read something besides another article about global warming, PETA, or the oil spill. This article was about Hillary Clinton. Now let me say up front....I am not a fan of her politics NOR was I a fan of her husband, but this article was interesting. It talked about a young Hillary and the lawyer Hillary, the First Lady Hillary, the Senator Hillary, the Secretary of State Hillary and finally.....the mother Hillary preparing for her daughter Chelsea's wedding. It humanized her and made her not just the public figure that often appears hard nosed, out spoken and somewhat shrill (my description...not the articles), but it softened her and gave a glimpse into "the woman", wife and mother that she is. As I finished the left me seeing her not just for her political views....but also a human being...a flesh and blood woman.....not so unlike myself.
Still waiting on blood work and needing more distraction.....I continued on, searching for more to read. After finishing flipping through that particular publication I was convinced I had read the only truly readable article in I moved onto another equally stimulating piece of media. Again....articles so dry that they rivaled the Sahara jumped out at me.....and then low and article about ex-Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. Now this woman....I have never really been sure of. While her politics "appear" to be more in line with mine....I have just never really been sure of the woman behind the away I read. This article too was fairly in depth talking about her time as governor, her love and devotion to the state of Alaska, her run for vice president, her possible run for the presidency and her life as wife, mother and grandmother.  Again....a very humanizing article....and very much like the article I had just finished on Clinton. In fact, so much like it that I had to check the bylines to see if they were both written by the same person. They were not. The articles however.....did get me to thinking.
Here I was in the ER and I was thinking about Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. It must have been my mind rebelling against the little yellow sponge on tv or perhaps I was just....THAT.....tired. At any rate....I came to some conclusions about these women....and women in general.....and women in general didn't come out looking so good.
After immersing myself in these two different articles I realized that at first glance Clinton and Palin appear to be polar opposites. But on a deeper look.... these women are more alike than most of us ever dreamed possible. Don't believe me? Well let us look at the facts: both grew up in conservative house holds, both married, raised families, have held political offices, are strong out spoken women and both have their eye on the White House. While the political roads that they have taken have been quite different.....they both have the same be the first woman president of the United States of America. While the list of similarities goes on and on....these are the high points.....and the biggest similarity of all is......these two women have fought and won battles and achieved fairly lofty goals in an arena dominated in the past by men. If you really stand back and look at the big picture of each one of these don't have to like their politics.....but you really must admire them both for being strong enough, and not afraid to speak up and speak out in a career path where women have historically taken a back seat.
This brings me to women in general. I find myself often disappointed by my own gender. often make degrading, unkind, and often unfounded remarks about these two women. Both women have been berated and humiliated by less than flattering articles and photos, and the butt of many a joke on late night television. Often this kind of behavior comes from the male of our species and is not unexpected.....after all.....these women are touching a deep seated nerve in men that often they aren't even aware of. It is a primal desire in them to keep the status quo and keep women "behind" the "successful" man. It somehow messes with their male ego and inner balance to have a woman leading the charge.....or the country. However...I expect more of women!
Facebook is a pretty good barometer of where people stand on most subjects and what I see from women is often astounding. More than once I have been disappointed to see women degrading other women, viscously taking jabs with nasty remarks and many times.....going after the very women who are in their own way.....carving out the future for a whole new generation of our gender. While I love my women friends, I cringe to the point of pure frustration when I see women I know personally, so totally disregarding the fact that love or hate Palin and Clinton.....we really should respect these courageous....yes I said courageous women for not only fighting for their place in history despite all the nastiness, disrespect and down right personal floggings they have had to and still have to endure every time they open their mouths....but also remember that they are showing young women that if you hold tight to your convictions, aren't afraid to speak out, work hard and fight....that they too can achieve any goal they choose. Unfortunately though....we women of the general population are teaching young women a very different lesson. We are showing them through our very disrespect and hateful cattiness that other women will not support you. Other women will not respect you as a person if they disagree with your politics, religion, family life, sexual orientation....etc. even if you are working to do something ground breaking, amazing, or paving the way for other women. I really find it sad and a scenario where most of us women come out looking pretty darn bitchy. We want to move ahead, conquer, be whatever we want to be with no ceiling to stop us.....and yet we have nothing but hatefulness and negativity for those doing just that. We are sending out a mixed message to future women that we want them to succeed....but if at any point we disagree with them on their road to success.....we will refuse to support them....and more over.....will bombard them viciously with twisted truths and down right lies with the hopes of degrading and humiliating them. In other words.....we evolved 21st century women are creating a which most of us don't come out looking very good in the end.
But alas....this is just one woman's opinion. One woman who is very tired, has sick kids and who finds Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton just a little more enlightening than Spongebob. But then again.....what do I know?