This was not the post I intended to share today, but the one I was working on isn't finished and I am not in the mood to do it. I have the mother of all "sneaky-hate-spirals" going on today so this post fits my mood a little better. I will return to my normal hilarity next time -- I have some emails from people that NEED to be discussed, some need to be ridiculed, but not today. Today I am in a pissy mood.
Did you ever feel like the world is against you? See, I knew that I wasn't the only one. Don't get me wrong, in general I have an awesome life -- I have a husband who loves me and would do just about anything for me, 4 healthy and happy kids, most months we can pay all of our bills and have a little left over for an occasional treat. But lately....I dunno, the little things have been piling up and making me feel annoyed....like a sneaky-hate-spiral snowball effect.
In case you're new here, let me re-cap a few accepted facts for you: My husband works a job with crap hours where they (in my opinion) treat him like a second class citizen even though he is awesome at his job. The money is good, but that is about the only positive aspect of his job -- horrible hours, poor morale, and sub-par benefits. We live in a rented house in Texas 13 1/2 hours from our closest relatives in Alabama. We get to go "home" twice a year -- once at Christmas for about 2 weeks and once in the Summer for about 2 months. We really miss Alabama. We hate Texas. Our kids are in a nutshell awesome little deviants who keep things interesting. I am a stay-at-home mom who wants to get paid to write, but so far all I do is write this blog and an occasional children's story and I have had zero luck getting published. I spend my days cleaning up half-eaten Pop Tarts and refereeing fights over who called who a "poophead" and making meals that prompt at least one kid to ask for peanut butter and jelly. Because of the husband's work hours (10-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week) I do a lot of the household stuff on my own. I am constantly trolling job sites for a "better" job for him that is closer to our families. This last fact is one of the things that has me feeling like nothing is going our way.
My husband works in manufacturing. Specifically, he works in Food and Beverage Manufacturing. His official job title is "Packaging Team Lead III" which is just another way of saying "Packaging Supervisor." This is the first problem. In this industry, there is no standard for job titles or duties. What is a supervisor at this company is a manager at another and something completely different at another. These positions may all sound the same but they all pay drastically different salaries. This makes it a little difficult when searching for a new job. With 4 kids and a wife that wants to stay home and write in her PJ's, there is a certain level of income that has to be maintained. A $40,000 difference in salary isn't workable regardless of the difference in cost of living. Also frustrating is some employers insistence upon certain degrees -- my husband has a bachelor's degree, but it is in Spanish and not manufacturing. He is very good at his job and has been doing it for nearly 13 years. Before that, he owned his own business. He is smart, hard working, and dependable and he's willing to relocate to anywhere within a 200 mile radius of North Alabama. Finding another job closer to our families should NOT be this difficult. I get frustrated with requirements like "MUST have industry specific experience." I mean, I get it. It is ideal to have a manager who is familiar with your industry. But isn't it better to have a GREAT manager and spend a couple of weeks familiarizing him with your industry than to get a mediocre manager who knows a lot about your industry? After all, before working at his last company my husband knew nothing about sausage and before working at his current company he knew noting about beer. He can learn the product -- he knows people. He is an excellent manager who can accomplish what his superiors want done without pissing off his crews. When he left his last job, his crew pitched in their own money to get him a going away present. They collected enough money to buy him a very nice leather jacket and gloves. This was a crew of less than 20 guys who were not wealthy by any one's standards -- many of them were immigrants. That is how well my husband was liked and respected. So one thing that has me down of late is the job hunt.
Another thing that is annoying to me is our inability to accomplish some fairly simple financial goals. We are debt free. We own our cars outright and we rent our house here in Texas. But the cars that we own outright are falling apart and despite setting aside money every month we have not been able to save up enough to replace them. I do not want a NEW van, just a newER van. But it is a constant dance of two steps forward and three steps back. We will save up a good $3-4,000 and then have a repair bill of $1,500. Or the husband will get kidney stones, or one of the kids needs tubes in their ears, or SOMEHTHING that we hadn't planned on will happen and we will have to dip into that money to take care of it. It's great that we are able to take care of those things without incurring debt, but my van is going to need a new transmission soon and I'd really like to replace it before that happens. Just this Summer, I had to spend about $1,000 on tires and other repairs on my van. And we will have to replace the husband's 1997 Buick soon as well. Good times....
I also wish we had more family time -- more time and more money to do things together. We have never been on a vacation as a family except for when our parents have taken us somewhere. We wanted to take the kids to San Antonio for a long weekend, but we don't know when we will have the money or when the husband will be able to get the time off. We'd like to do things like take our kids bowling, or to play laser tag, or putt-putt but the same problems apply -- when can dad go with us and how much is it going to cost? It is a good week when we can go to church together, so finding time for extra activities is very difficult. I feel like our kids miss out on a lot of the fun of childhood because we cannot afford it and because dad is constantly working to afford the basics. I know that there are many things that we can do that don't cost anything, and we do try to do some of those things, but it is difficult for ME to do those things with the kids alone. Also, many of the things that are free and fun are outside activities and when it is 112 degrees, you just can't be outside in that very long. Frustrating isn't an adequate word.
So, yeah, I'm in a pretty bad mood. I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I know that I am very blessed. I get that. But I am just ready for something to go our way. If I played the lottery, I'd say its time for my numbers to hit. I promise to work on getting over this funk and post something more light and comical tomorrow. Today I will wallow in my self-pity. And maybe take a nap.