The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Dec 13, 2010

Unemployment: Today's Rant

Maybe I hate politics and people's stupid generalized comments because it makes me ANGRY. Here's my MSN rant today:

I assume you're not unemployed. Or haven't been for 2 years. One of the biggest life lessons I've had is being judgmental about people & finding myself in their position and gleaning deep understanding. Here's our story (below). My husband is still going out on repeated interviews. The last few last week is for a job 90 minutes away, w/ferry ride. He'll never be home. Why? So he can "get off his butt" and be EMPLOYED. Millions of people out of work - MILLIONS. And no jobs. NO jobs. We are talking people educated & experienced who can't meet a mortgage or provide for families working at McDonalds. The industries they've given their lives to have crashed. And we've cut cut cut everything, cell phones, life insurance, renters insurance, drained savings, 401K's, talked w/our kids, taken them outside in sub freezing weather to give perspective to what people w/o homes are living in - making us grateful for what we do have as we reach a future of 1 income to provide. This is what we do while our government, our banks, those in power play stupid games with each other, pad their own pockets while we, the people that carry the burden, figure out how to get through the winter.

So please be careful about your generalization comments about the unemployed when you're not living the realities of that life.

Oh yes and I should add that my husband took a part time seasonal job through a local temp agency. The job is either freezing to death or being dumped on by this weekend rain, while he stands outside monitoring a local mall parking lot for 8+ hours. He was a Corporate Director before. He joined thousands of other people @ the UPS interview system, to be told if he agreed to the min wage grunt labor job AND he were to not finish that during the holiday season, as in take a full time, permanent, well paying with benefits for his family career position, should it be offered, he would be blacklisted & unable to ever work for them again. This is what the unemployed are faced with while trying to keep their homes & families together. Working the system? I think the system is working us.

Another frightening realistic perspective from the front. My husband showed me Sundays employment ad, which in the Times used to be a HUGE section of the metropolitan paper. He held it up, 4 pages. 1 sheet, printed on 4 sides. The actual classified? First sheet only 1/2 page long, pointed to the next "full" page (narrower than normal), turned the page over. One more. Fear constricted because it was an eye opener of reality. Those of you that think unemployment should just end - unemployment HAS ended. And where are those people going? The State for food assistance, health insurance coverage, TANF - it's still being paid for. While the State sinks 90 million into a State prison, only to close it down for budget cuts 10 years later.

Where's the problem?

Dec 6, 2010

7 Moves that will make you a better Dad (MSN)

This was an outstanding article, for a MSN article.

1. Dig deeper

A nice house, cool clothes, and grub on the table just aren't enough. Providing for our kids is in our DNA, but how well do you know yours? Do you know who your kids play with at recess? What subject they really struggle with? What they love to eat for hot lunch? If you don't know these things, you need to. While all of us are busy as hell with work and everything else in our lives, we need to make time for our kids and get to really know them -- especially the odd, everyday things that make them tick. I make it a point to talk with my kids about what happened at recess before asking about what happened in class. I want to know about the relationships they're forging, and also what they're up to with their only free time of the day. It's not easy to get this from them. But here's a fun way to spend a little time with them that they'll think is awesome: When your son or daughter is standing at the bus stop ready to be picked up for school, drive up, stop, and tell them to get in. Kidnap them for breakfast and they'll think it's the coolest thing ever. When kids are really impressed or excited by something (like this) there's a much better chance of them opening up and telling you about their lives. Don't preach, don't gasp, just listen.

2. Teach your kids to stand tall

One of the most important things a father needs to teach his kids is how to stand up for themselves. You will not get far in this world if you become a doormat, and the longer you let it happen, the harder it is to turn it around. This can be anything from just learning how to speak up in class, or confronting someone who's being unfair to them. Our offspring need to be heard, defend what they believe in, and not be bullied. Yes, we want them to be nice and to treat people well, but there is also a time to be assertive instead of like a punching bag. Teaching them how to do all this in a scary world is one of the basic duties of being a father.

3. Get off your rear

While we may be proud of our lecturing skills, most of the time when we talk all our kids hear is, "Blah, blah, blah." So that makes our actions even more important. You can tell the kids that it's important to be healthy and active, but if all they ever see you do is sit on the couch shoveling Doritos into your mouth as you watch "Celebrity Rehab," they're going to do the exact same thing. Kids should always be learning, exploring and trying new things. It's all part of how they find out what they're passionate about and who they are.
Dads can help fuel this exploration by doing the same thing; getting involved in new sports, musical instruments, and activities. This keeps dads fresh and active, and also shows kids that it's cool to try new things. Want to crank up the enthusiasm? Get junior's buddy and his dad in the game too -- kids will do almost anything if their friends are involved. If you want to start golfing, make it a foursome and it'll be even more fun.

4. Prepare for your death

This should be something that I shouldn't even have to write, but it's amazing how many men skip this to save a buck. We can all sit here and think that it's not going to happen to us, but death happens to dads every day. Protecting your family should be number-one on your responsibilities list as a father. If you're not taking care of your family you run the risk of ruining their lives if the worst should happen. This encompasses a lot, including having a life insurance policy and a will, and knowing who's going to be there to teach your son about being a man. Another aspect of this is keeping yourself healthy with regular physicals and, for God's sake, exercise. I used to work out to look better, but now it's all about longevity. My ultimate goal is to live long enough to make sure my daughter doesn't marry some jackass. They don't say "hope for the best and prepare for the worst" for nothing.

5. No worshipping heroes

There are parents out there who absolutely worship their kids and think they can do no wrong. But those kids will grow up with a distorted view of how the world works. Every parent should love the hell out of their children, but thinking that they are flawless is setting all of you up for disaster. The kids end up with unreal expectations on how the world works, don't understand defeat, and can't figure out why everyone doesn't think they walk on water. And the parents end up devastated when you finally come to the realization that little Tony actually is capable of throwing his classmate into the girls' bathroom or stealing the neighbor's mail. We all have flaws, and there's nothing wrong with that. Let them learn to deal with the disappointment of losing, and even the brilliance of constructive criticism. It'll prepare them for the real world.

6. Remember why you married her

I've said this before, but a lot of people still scratch their head when I do. One of the best (if not the best) things you can do for your kids is to be a good husband to their mother. This can be difficult to do, but it just might be the most important item on the list. We pay so much attention to not screwing up our kids that we sometimes neglect the one relationship that plays the biggest role in the person they turn out to be. And if you're divorced, remember that the way you treat their mother will have an enormous impact. It will help them respect her, and also show them how to deal with challenging relationships as they get older.

7. Imitate Clark W. Griswold

Clark was on to something when he loaded up the family truckster and headed west to Wally World. A couple times a year, we all need to bust out of that rut that our daily routine puts us in -- and getting out of Dodge is the only cure. It's not just us either; every member of the family needs to get away and put a little adventure back in their life. As painful as the family vacation can be while it's happening (with the constant potty breaks, spilled juice boxes, and annoying comments from the backseat), I run into more adults who claim that vacations were the parts about their childhood that they'll never forget. It doesn't have to be expensive -- you don't have to go far -- you just need to have a family experience to remember, for better or worse.

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