I’ve heard three separate people complaining about the economy lately and saying that if things don’t improve they’ll have to get a job, ewwww, and while I only caught a snippet of their conversation and thus had no context (one was via Twitter, and it wouldn’t be the first time I completely misunderstood what someone was saying there) and really shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, can I just say it makes me sort of crazy to hear that, probably because I can’t view that sort of statement objectively at ALL, because oh what a tragedy to have to work for a living and maybe spend several hours a day doing something that’s not exactly rewarding in every sense of the word let me check oh yeah it seems I am FRESH OUT OF SYMPATHY ON THAT SUBJECT.

On a similar note, I have to tell you how much I dislike the term The Man. When I was first talking about going back to work after Riley was born, I can’t tell you how many people chastised me for even considering leaving my baby just to toil away for The Man, which 1) what does that even mean? and 2) hey, here is my left nut, I would like to cordially invite you to suck it until you choke on the short hairs.

(Yeah, so I don’t actually have a left nut. Creative license, baby.)

The only nice side effect about this scary economy is the fact that I think it’s actually dampened some of the more ridiculous stay-at-home vs working-mom bullshit out there, because I don’t think too many people are in a position to criticize other folks who need or want to work for a living any more. You know, especially if the choice is to Stick It To the Man . . . or raise a family in a house with, you know, electricity.

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how to incorporate more of what I love to do into my career—how to find the motivation and passion, and how to break the cycle of feeling discouraged and trapped. I know it’s not fun to feel as though you’re working just to earn a paycheck, like you’re putting in your time at a place you don’t love instead of pursuing the things that really make you tick. At the same time, for most of us that paycheck isn’t just a nice side effect of our jobs, it’s the thing that helps pay the bills, save money for our children’s college funds, provide medical care for our families, and makes it possible to acquire a few of life’s luxuries such as food.

If financial circumstances are forcing you into a situation you’d rather not be in, hey, I get that. It sucks. But just think how many thousands of people would LOVE to be working for The Man right now. I try and keep this in mind, because it sure makes me think about what I could be doing instead of complaining. Like standing in line at the unemployment office.

In other news, Riley and I are leaving on Saturday for the DC trip I mentioned earlier (sponsored by THE MAN! Well, Hershey’s), and I am crossing every finger and toe that he gets over the last of this virus that’s been affecting him with the sort of behavior that I see Heather recently called “the grumples” which is far more kind than the words I’ve been using lately to describe my beloved boy, unless “that whiny asshole” can be considered a term of endearment? No? Well, anyway, wish us luck, and if you’ve got any last-minute travel tips, I’d love to hear them.

Yesterday after work I went for a horrible run—I say horrible because it really was pathetic, my nose was all drippy and I kept getting pollen in my eyes and my iPod cord kept getting tangled and I had to stop and walk several times and my underwear got wedged halfway up my small intestine and at one point I somehow ate a tiny flying bug—and the whole time I kept thinking about all these different things that have been driving me crazy lately, like those wag more bark less bumper stickers Seattle drivers are so thoroughly enamored with, my ongoing career angst, and the fact that Anoop is still on American Idol.

Crankiness is often a useful emotion during kickboxing because you can, say, visually place someone’s face on the punching bag before sending a few well-aimed front kicks at the bridge of their imaginary nose, but being mired in negativity while trying to run was like slogging through wet cement. The entire outing from start to finish was wholly without any of the redeeming moments I sometimes experience when I’m out puffing along the sidewalk at a snail’s pace (when for just a second I think dude check me out all jogging and shit like a total badass! which is usually right before I’m hit with a debilitating side cramp) and I came home and staggered in the front door with what felt like a visible black cloud over my head. A tag cloud, even, filled with things like JOB and SECURITY and CREATIVE FULFILLMENT and PREACHY STICKER-BASED SENTIMENTS and CHEESY FUCKING BALLADS.

Two seconds later, the boys came barreling out of the living room to see me, both lit up like Christmas trees with enormous toothy grins plastered across their jelly-stained faces. Now, I am not one of those people who feels the need to recommend parenthood as an obvious life choice to every single person on earth of childbearing age, but I will say this: if you are having a crappy day and feeling sort of down on yourself and you maybe have bugs in your teeth and an ass full of bunched-up underwear, two small children squealing with joy and trampling themselves to jump into your arms is a fantastic restorative tonic.

Of course, in the next minute Riley was whining and crying because Dylan had grabbed his airplane toy and Dylan was screaming because Riley had tried to take back his airplane toy and oh my god I am going to shove this airplane up both your [redacted] if you kids don’t etc, but still. Bad mood banished.

I feel like I’ve had an extra-grumpy couple of weeks lately and I’m glad for those little moments when the clouds are pushed aside and I’m reminded of everything that’s so awesome in my life. Corny, yeah, I know, but true.


Those bumper stickers still suck, though. Wag THIS, hippie.

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