The Fairy Tale of The Living Wage

I make what people consider a “living wage”. I actually make about twice what the strikers at Walmart consider a living wage. I make more now than I did 2 years ago, and even with all of this, I am struggling to make ends meet. We have no additional bills. We have our rent, our basic utilities, cell phones, cable, car insurance and car payments. However, at the end of every pay week, I find myself barely breaking even. I usually don’t even have enough money for groceries or gas to get me through to the next payday. It’s very disheartening. I work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week 52 weeks a year. I can’t work any more except in the summer because I have 2 kids that need me for homework and to spend a little time together each day. Has inflation really gotten this far? The money I make, less actually, stretched just fine a mere 2 years ago. The fact that I can’t scrape enough money up to pay all my bills is astounding considering what I make. Exactly how much money DOES it take to survive in today’s economy? They need to change the terminology of “living wage” to “surviving wage”. There is no living with the way things are now, only scraping and scratching, attempting to survive. I get taxed up the yang for my wages. I have to keep my car insured, and now my body as well. All the basics of life eat up any chance to enjoy the luxuries life provides. Outings this Christmas, unless they are free, are out. For that matter, I have to forego a lot of free events because I need to save every drop of gas I have to get to work the next week. This is NOT living. This is pathetic. My kids have field trips to over the next 2 weeks, and I had to give them money earmarked for the rent to pay for it. I then had to in turn borrow cash from a payday advance to cover the field trip money. This whole new situation sucks. Groceries are higher. Gas is higher. Utilities are higher. Cable is higher. EVERYTHING is higher, but the wages provided aren’t big enough to cover the increases, which by the way, aren’t done with their ascent. I don’t blame those who provide wages. If they provide wages any higher, they will have to scale back their number of wage earners to cover the increases, which would hurt a lot of folks who are just trying to scrape by like me. As a matter of fact, I could very well end up being one of those who got hurt. How do you stop inflation? What are we doing wrong in this country that people in the middle are being squeezed to death and into the welfare line? I don’t want to take assistance, but if things continue to get worse, I don’t know what else to do. I can’t let my kids go without food because I have a misguided sense of pride. If my self sufficiency isn’t sufficient enough to feed my family, then I need to swallow my pride and seek assistance where it’s available. It’s going to take a lot for me to do that. I haven’t raised the white flag yet. With Christmas coming upon us and me not knowing where the presents are going to come from however, I may be forced to cross this bridge sooner than I wish.

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Is The World’s Best Burrito Worth Seeing Cyber Stalker on the Regular?

Okay here’s the scoop. I am addicted to a certain chain burrito restaurant’s burritos; more specifically, I am addicted to their wonderful and yummy guacamole. One of their locations is close to my office, so about once every week or sometimes 2 weeks, I will go in and pick up my worst vice, the world’s best and probably most fattening burrito. I almost always order my food online to avoid the ridiculous lunch lines. I then take it back to my office to eat it at my desk and do things like, you know, blog and stuff. So today was not unusual. I ordered my burrito online. I drove to the restaurant to pick up my food. Now, in the past occasions I have picked up at the online counter, I almost always deal with the same guy. On the times I have gone in that he was working, he liked to turn my first name into a pun, or sing a song with my name in it. Okay. No big deal. He was just a friendly guy who wanted to make his customers feel at home. Today, I came to the counter, said hi, and he says, “You’re in here pretty often.” “Yeah, I guess so,” I say. Then he proceeds to make a pun of my last name, which would be no big deal if he wasn’t making a pun of my maiden name. Any credit card I have ever used in that restaurant has had my MARRIED last name on it. I haven’t used my maiden name on ANYTHING in YEARS…except my Facebook page. That is done just so people from my past can find me more easily. After I looked startled (I’m sure I did, because I was), he said, “I looked you up on Facebook. It’s out there, after all.” Talk about beat a path out of that place. Maybe if he’d asked me first. At least then I could have put my stamp of approval on it…although I probably wouldn’t have. He doesn’t LOOK like a creeper. I always thought he was a good looking guy, not in any kind of sexual way just an objective observance. Truthfully, I thought he was gay. That was the vibe I thought I was getting and can you say someone “looks gay” without getting people angry? I did think he looked gay and some of his mannerisms although slight seemed to point in that direction as well. That was what I thought, and I guess appearances can be deceiving because I am obviously WRONG. To just look up some random customer’s Facebook without asking first if it’s okay to get that intrusive? All that did was make me want to go to their competitor for my burritos out of fear of someday being sliced and diced getting out of my car in some poorly lit parking lot. Their competitor’s food is good, but they aren’t THIS place. So it still begs the question: is IMO the world’s best burrito worth seeing my cyber stalker on the regular, or should I take this burrito party elsewhere? My common sense says flee, but my love of good guacamole is saying stay…hmmm….

On some perverse level I would never tell my friends or my man, I am kind of flattered that he went to all that trouble. Does that make me as weird as the cyber stalker who stalked me? Who knows? Maybe we’re just a weirdo match made in heaven. Just kidding…but seriously….no I’m just kidding…………..but seriously….

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What Makes People Tear Others Down?

I have a friend. Let’s call her “Molly”. She has this boyfriend. Let’s call him “Chase”. They’ve been together for a long time, and on the surface, everything looks calm and serene. They get along in front of others. They never shout in front of the kids. Life moves at the easy, settled pace that many couples become accustomed to. Under the surface, turbulence is churning. What many people don’t know about “Chase” is that he is a verbal abuser. What is a verbal abuser, you say? This is someone who psychologically abuses the person with whom they have a relationship. The causes are under dispute. Some say that they have a low self-opinion, so they make themselves feel better by tearing down those around them, especially when they feel proud or happy about something. I say the cause is that he’s an asshole. When she has a good day at work, he tells her she is stupid and got lucky having the job in the first place. If she finds an outfit that makes her feel pretty, he tells her she looks ridiculous or laughs at her when she has it on to the point that she puts on something else, crushing her self-esteem. He CONSTANTLY remarks on her size. Let me clear: she is NOT fat, not even close. He has however given her body dysmorphic disorder with the number of times he has told her she is fat or implies that she is fat. He criticizes her family, calls them names and tells her they are “mentally retarded just like her”. He criticizes her friends. He tells her they are pathetic and “posers” (this would be me and her other friends, by the way), whatever that means. He even criticizes her love of reading and the type of music she prefers. He tells her that she has shit taste in music and that she shouldn’t read and instead should be taking care of her family and not waste time on books. Let me also say she takes great care of her family, including this d-bag, and reading is her escape when everything that needs to be done is done. She tells me that most of her reading is after everyone else has gone to bed. He tells her she is boring. In this he means sexually. He says he is neglected and that he will just “find someone else to fuck, someone who’s hotter which won’t be hard”. The worst part: this couple may not yell in front of the kids, but “Chase” doesn’t pull any punches on his criticisms of “Molly” in front of his children. My question to him would be, with all of the horrible things you say to her behind closed doors, why in the hell would she WANT to fuck you? Lobbing infinite insults throughout the day is a real mood killer. I keep telling “Molly” to find someone else or just leave him and be alone. Both options are better than staying with this waste of flesh. She doesn’t agree. “He’s the father of my kids, and they need a stable home life.” This is stable? I don’t think so. The only thing that would make this stable is to split this up. Of course, she makes arguments that I can’t rebut. For instance, “Molly” has implied that if left to his own devices, “Chase” would bring people around the kids that aren’t good for their development. As long as “Chase” lives in the house with “Molly”, she has major control over this issue. If “Chase” were on his own, their children would be introduced to the wide world of redneck white trash from the trailer park in no time. “Molly” also can’t stand the idea of separate holidays, separate birthdays and losing half of the summer with her babies to custody arrangements. Those kids are her life, and she doesn’t plan to spend 1 day without them. So, I do understand her position, but my question is this: what makes people tear others down, particularly the ones they claim to love? If it really is because they feel so badly about themselves that they need to make others feel bad for them to feel better, then that is just a sick way to be, and they need some serious psychiatric help. It would take an unstable person to think this is the way to feel better. First, people don’t respond well to mean insults. If they truly want to feel better about themselves, they would be complimentary to the ones they love. If they did this, they would find that they would learn all the positive aspects of themselves by doing this. What I mean is that if you compliment your loved ones, they will return the favor with compliments to you. Also, if it is your life partner, sex would be more frequent because they would feel more amorous toward you because they feel valued by you. It’s the whole don’t say you love me, SHOW ME you love me practice. Tearing people down and making them feel bad about themselves causes resentments, and resentment does NOT lead to sex. It leads to the erection of an emotional wall that can’t be breached. It’s just such a self-defeating personality trait. You feel bad about yourself, so you alienate yourself from the ones who love you with your insults, which makes you feel even worse about yourself because you are alienated from the ones you “love”. How does someone who loves a person like this get them to change? Can they change? And how in the world did they fall in love with this person in the first place? Did they hide their true nature in the beginning and only show their true selves after they made that other person love them?

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My Mid Thirties Crush

He always smells so good. If he passes me in the halls I have to take a second to inhale deeply, take it all in. I never let him see, though. That would just be weird and uncomfortable for him and me both. I am a mess when it comes to him. Stupid things become obsessive worries. For instance, I don’t always say good morning to him because he is on the other side of the office, and if I make an extra special effort to SAY good morning, it would make me seem like I like him…which I do. If I am in the copy room and he walks in, I turn my head away and close my eyes, count to ten…oh, and inhale deeply because, you know, his smell. I might smile briefly and say something to him, but only as I’m walking out. I don’t think I could handle spending too much time with him in such a confined space (the copy room is tiny), not without tripping up my words or looking like a special needs person. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I haven’t had a crush this bad since I was a teenager. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve HAD a crush at all since I WAS a teenager. It was the same back then. If I didn’t have a crush on you, I could flirt, have fun, speak freely, and never have a problem. If I liked you or worse, had a crush on you, I became Molly Shannon from “Superstar”. I would get awkward and geeky; I’d stammer and stutter over every word I tried to speak. It’s as if my tongue got bigger or something, and I just couldn’t talk around the damn thing. My brain would scramble and the wrong words would come out, and it seemed like my mouth WOULDN’T STOP TRYING TO MAKE SENSE and failed miserably in its attempts. After all, it was working alone. My brain was out to lunch, so to speak. I’ve always been a mess when it came to crushes. Apparently, 18 extra years on this earth hasn’t changed this AT ALL. The only safe zone I have with this guy is football. He runs the office football pool, and he and I have talked extensively about the games from the previous Sunday. It’s as if the subject of football has some calming influence on me, like it’s my stone cottage where he’s concerned. Even then I try not to stay too long because I am just sure I’ve got “I have a ridiculous teenager sappy crush on you” tattooed on my forehead. Besides, what the hell does he think about me since the only subject I ever talk about is football? Like I’m some kind of Rain Man with an obsessive interest in football? Ugh. That’s probably exactly what he thinks. He has to think I’m if not odd, at least standoffish. Of course, I’m not standoffish with anyone else in the office. Maybe he thinks I dislike him, and that’s why I don’t speak to him often. MAYBE he knows I do like him BECAUSE I don’t speak to him often…see what I mean? This is ludicrous! I am a grown ass woman in a 12 year relationship with 2 kids. What is WRONG with me? Oh, but he has some of the softest doe brown eyes I’ve ever seen, and he has a New York accent, which might seem abrasive to some, just turns me on. He has this aura of confidence that I envy. I wish I could feel so self assured. I hear him walking through our office (we have laminate floors and everyone’s footsteps sound specific to them), and I look dead ahead at my computer so I’m not tempted to stare at his ass, which let me just say, is glorious. What does a grown woman do to squash something so adolescent and silly? I try to rein it in but to no avail. He just does something to me. I have worked with him for over a year now, and although it hasn’t gotten any worse, it certainly hasn’t gotten any better. When he says hi to me or we have one of our little football conversations, my heart actually skips a beat and my day is made. How sad is that? It’s not a love thing; it’s a lust thing. When I fantasize about him, which can be frequent, it’s not about us being a couple. It’s about raw, animal, primal foundation-shaking sex. I imagine he’s pretty good in bed. No man could walk around with that much confidence and be a limp noodle. He’s seriously on my mind way more than he should be. I am hoping that by writing out my feelings about him that it will squash some of these very inappropriate feelings. I’d never act on them. Hell, I can’t even TALK to the guy much less seduce him. I’d like to say that my moral high ground is the reason I wouldn’t act on my impulses, but truth be told, it really is my paralyzing inability to do more than spend about 5 minutes in his presence at a time. If he ever made a move on me, I think I’d turn into a puddle of Jello on the floor. Huh. I do feel a little better. I’ll post on this again another time.  

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Objective Criticism or Insult?

At what point does objective criticism turn into an insult? I’ve never been very good at disseminating between the two personally. I am a lot better than I used to be, but I still find myself in hot water with relatives and friends quite frequently because of the words that fall out of my mouth. When I was younger, I was most definitely opinionated and judgmental and critical. It caused rifts quite a bit because I never knew where the off button was. As I got older, I learned to hold my tongue and exercise caution prior to speaking so as to prevent hurt feelings and resentments. Inevitably I still do offend at some point. What can I say? I lack a filter, and my crude attempts at fashioning one typically leave several holes through which careless words slip. I never mean to affront those with whom I speak. It just happens. However, in my defense I would like to point out the hypocrisy of some of those I have caused distress by comments made by me over the years. A few of the very people who find fault and consider injurious my observations seem to have no compunction doing the same to me in a far more crude manner. To them they feel that because I don’t mind being blunt with them that I must have no feelings of my own. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most of the time, when I point out things to people, it’s things I would want someone to point out to me if I were doing it, or wearing it, or saying it. For example, if I constantly used an incorrect word or improperly pronounced a word, I would want to be corrected so I don’t look like a dumbass the next time I have a conversation with a stranger. Objective criticism or insult? If I was wearing a too-tight shirt with a pair of too-tight pants that made me have as many visible rolls as the Michelin man, I would want a friend to point this out to me so as not to be the subject of public ridicule the next time I am out. Objective criticism or insult? The criticisms I give are with the intention of helping, not hurting. The problem I have with the criticisms I get from those that criticise me is the criticisms are definitely designed to hurt, not help. They are directly tied to my self esteem, and most often they are things I can’t control. They are also more times than not, untrue. Even though I know they are untrue, you have a moment of panic that hey, maybe I do have a big head, or oh God, am I ugly, or is my nose too big? I have a mirror; I know better, but still, why would someone even say something like that unless it was to cause pain and hurt? Am I right to infer that these are insults not objective criticisms? They are supposed to care about me. Most of them are family in one form or another. I hate the way they approach me with them also. It is done as if it’s a joke, not to be taken seriously. That would be okay if these same insults were only said once. The problem is they “joke” with me about the same things over and over and over. Once is a joke. One hundred times is an insult. I feel like I’m surrounded by bullies who have the gall to call me a bully. So how to handle it? Do I stop being critical completely, let them make their mistakes and sit idly by? Would that make them stop assaulting me every time they see me? I doubt it. Maybe I just need to rethink the people with whom I spend my time, but when it’s family (and even closer), how does this get accomplished? 

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Words of Wisdom

Read this and thought it was a well thought out, very valid statement.

Words of Wisdom

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