Saturday, September 10, 2011


As reported earlier in this 'blog (yes, I still spell it correctly), I lost my employment of 27 years in May, 2009. It has been a wild ride, involving loads of creative ideas for delaying payment of bills, and cutting back on non-essentials. I am one of those people to whom the words "unalienable rights" in the Declaration of Independence does not involve HBO or dinner outside the home once per week. I still have my house, and the family is intact. Recently, we have moved from shaky to recovery-mode, due to yet another May event.

My young bride, to whom I have been wed for 24 years, is a skinny, 19-year-old college sophomore in my head. She has long, luxurious brunette hair, and an attitude of superiority that manifests itself in her voluminous vocabulary. I may have stated this before, but it bears repeating: when I become very angry, my words get smaller and smaller until they are nothing but monosyllabic spurts of testosterone-infused unpleasantness. My young bride, however, is my polar opposite. The angrier she gets, the longer the words get, and they are spewed with a sarcastic wit that rivals the strongest capsaicin compound available. A good deal of that wit has been directed at the Tate & Lyle corporation the last couple of years.


...she has been seeking employment since I lost mine. Now, with a degree in History, an expired teaching certificate, and a spotty employment record, she is -- on paper -- a gamble, but she searched. I, myself, was without full-time employment and company-provided health insurance for eighteen months, and that's with thirty-three years of constant attendance and performance behind me, so there's no blame to be tossed about.

One day, on the local version of craigslist, my young bride saw an employment ad to which she replied. When reporting the ad to her internet peers, they metaphorically rolled their eyes and said, collectively, "It's a scam." Then, she got a reply from her query. The opportunity was for a legal assistant to a Knoxville attorney who, mostly, practices family law. The ad had been placed by one of his former assistants, who had taught History at one of the local middle schools, but left that job due to the stress, and her desire to procreate. She (who had gone off to Germany with her soldier-husband and their offspring) was now helping her former employer find a new assistant, because he's a lawyer, and he spends all day and night doing lawyer-stuff.

She, also has a good vocabulary. The two of them corresponded a few times, no doubt exchanging witty commentary on world events, and an interview was arranged. The law practitioner has no idea how to interview, and spent the entire time telling my young bride about himself, his practice, and the things required of an assistant. She didn't know it before she walked in, but she already had the job, due to the fact that the former assistant liked her. He didn't even conduct further interviews.

While luck may play some role in these proceedings, sometimes it's just who and how you are that does the trick.

My young bride is now the legal assistant to Attorney X, and has an office in downtown Knoxville that overlooks Market Square. Her income nearly matches my own, and we now -- as a unit -- make more $$ per hour than I ever made on my own. Also, too, we car-pool barring some odd appointment that one of us may have, because we both work day shift and have (most) weekends off.

It's an adjustment, having that kind of income, after having nearly none for so long. My worst fear is over-spending, due to our recent financial difficulties. We have spent the summer taking care of things that we had put off because we had no money. We replaced the refrigerator (it was eighteen years old and was slowly dying), and now have a side-by-side with an ice dispenser. What luxury! We also got our lemon HVAC unit replaced. It hasn't worked properly since -- oh, let's say 2007, and I have learned more about HVAC maintenance than I ever needed to know. We now have cool air coming out of every vent in the house, and we have A/C in the bathroom!

I worried, at first, about my behavior, because I have a somewhat low opinion of my own character. I have been the sole source of income for the family for the bulk of my adult life, and that was okay, because I made good money. We have lived well, and taken some fabulous vacations to Walt Disney World, Edisto Beach and Miami. It was a concern for me that I not react in a negative way to my young bride's financial contribution to our very survival.

Luckily, it turns out that I'm not quite the ASS that I ASSumed. The fact is, her job may not have saved us, but it probably saved our real estate investment, and -- possibly -- the trouble of public-housing, and this is not insignificant in my section of the space/time continuum. Skinny, 19-year-old college sophomores have their place in the cosmos, and hers is on Gay Street in Knoxville.

1 comment:

  1. That post is the bravest statement I have heard from anyone in the past 5 years. Congratulations on pieceing together a life from the carnage and surviving the housing depression. I am still trying to regain some semblance of dignity for myself, but I am producing a pittance to help my brave wife.

    God Bless

    Sorry for the late post, but i just found it from your Linkein profile.

    Ben Graves