Wednesday, September 7, 2011


It’s already September.  Summer is almost completely past, and my thoughts drift to the holidays.  I hit the job search zealously daily with Leslie’s help, as she’s got a keen eye and finds job listings I somehow miss.  I’m sending as many appropriate resumes as I possibly can, and there are at least three a week that would’ve been a sure hit just seven years ago.  My qualifications haven’t changed; in fact, they’ve gotten better. But, boy, the job market sure is different.

Leslie and I had an adjustment to make over the summer. There is little we can do to change our situation that we aren’t already doing, and it can be very frustrating. So, this is a lesson in waiting, like what I went through for a year and a half in the office before I was let go, and getting accustomed to it is a process.  We get weary of the relentless media coverage (sewage) – lowest jobless rate ever, lousy housing market, international unrest, weather calamities and the worse economy in 70 years --- but, HELL NO, we’re not in a depression!  Over the weekend, Leslie and I stopped into Borders at the mall. It is five days away from shutting down nationally, and everything, including fixtures, was marked up to 80 percent off.  We were looking for a card rack for our art booth, but I left there feeling nauseous.  It was as though I’d witnessed the dismantling of the publishing industry, and it was simultaneously symbolic of all other hardships.  What isn’t falling apart is being picked apart.  Yet, despite the ongoing barrage of destruction and sadness (recently punctuated by the 10 year anniversary of September 11), our family remains very close, communicating, and pinching pennies like nobody’s business.

Elizabeth has settled happily into high school right here in town. She’s thrilled with its proximity to the house and has already had friends over. This changed Leslie’s routine dramatically, however. Her entire day revolved around pick-ups and drop offs, and she’s had to get used to being less of a rolling stone.  We’re also saving a boat load of cash in less gas consumption.

Our sizable collection of comics and action figures has come in very handy.  I’m also excited about my big art show coming in November.  I’ve got two holiday boutiques happening in November, as well.  I want to write a book and lately have a feeling of urgency for this I didn’t have previously.  Leslie’s creative side manifests in the kitchen, which everybody is happy about. She’s perfected many of her recipes, having time in the day to work with them, and so we are eating good, fresh food and wonderfully tasty delights regularly.   These are all activities we didn’t have time for when I was working.

If you recall, we lost our Golden Retriever (Jack) in May.  Shortly thereafter, Teddy (half beagle, half wire hair terrier) joined our family. He has doubled in size, and his presence has changed Daizy’s role in “the pack” significantly.  She takes her responsibility to family security more seriously than ever.  She’s protective at the dog park, in the car, and at the front door, and all of this can be problematic.  Teddy’s puppy-like nature is contagious, however, and he and Daizy have a lot of fun which, on an average day, means a lot of noise, so we make frequent trips to the dog park.  Recently they’ve worked together to solve problems like how to break out of the back gate, how to efficiently dissect a roll of toilet paper while spreading it around as much of the living room as possible, and their favorite activity which is passive aggressive tag team pan handling  (she’s passive, he’s aggressive).   They are both highly competitive yet still affectionate, which to me implies they’ve accepted one another as siblings.  Leslie tells me there is another Golden Retriever in our future.  Oh my.

I know what got me all introspective.  Yesterday, Leslie and I went to the Laundromat.  It’s been years since we’ve done more than a few blankets there. We found one in town that has new, super-efficient machines that get everything really clean. So, we brought a full week’s laundry, had a lot of fun juggling quarters, and reveled in the memories.  We’ve been together for 27 years, and at the start, had to use the coin laundry in the Avenues regularly.  There, we competed with a full house of busy San Franciscans for the use of machines, and it helped to be a linebacker.  Nobody works a Laundromat like my Leslie.   We’ve been through so much together since then.  This latest period is just another chapter; a lesson in patience, frugality, and family harmony. 

All the Halloween decorations have been up at Walgreen’s for two weeks, and I’ve been unemployed for six solid months.  When this respite is over, I want to be confident we used the extra time well and creatively.

Have a lovely Autumn!

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