Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Laboring is for the Birds

And she learned that cutting her daughter's hair herself was a bad idea.... a really, really bad idea.

Happy Labor Day. Or the day after Labor Day by the time I get this published. In honor of this great holiday, I feel I should share my brief but memorable involvement in an American-made union.

For one summer, I was a clerk who notoriously refused to wear her blue smock while stocking magazines at Rite Aid. (Or while stocking anything else, for that matter. It was just plain ugly and unnecessarily bulky.) My union rep came in two times over the summer “just to check up on me.” I guess he was supposed to make sure my mouthy manager wasn’t abusing me, that I had access to a potty, and that I knew I was up for a $.03 pay raise should I stick with the job until November.

The union rep was young, had greasy skin and greasy hair and looked south of my eyes when talking to me if you catch my drift. I hated when he came in. He made me feel squirmy.

And that is my only experience as a union member and quite frankly, it’s a pretty forgettable one. Still, I’m happy that law firms give their employees a day off and I’ve personally always felt that Labor Day Sales are a cruel slap in the face to retail employees.

This particular Labor Day weekend marks the one year anniversary of the Great Move of 2008. We have lived in this big yellow house for 365 days now. I should really start unpacking.

I think this is a big house, despite what Better Homes and Gardens tells me. Every time I open up the magazine, I see an article that starts out with this general scenario:

“When Tom and Miranda decided to move from their family-sized colonial in Charleston to a modest, 2300 square foot home outside of Pittsburgh, they needed new d├ęcor to celebrate the great change in their lives.”

If 2300 square feet is modest, then I’m a stuffed duck or I’ve been seriously deluding myself. I’m thrilled with the spaciousness of our 2000 square-foot home. My kids can drive their ride-on toys from the great room into the living room at lightning speeds. They run in circle-eights throughout the downstairs. They have an entire playroom just to make messes in. Someday, I’ll get the basement cleaned up and de-spiderfied and we’ll have even MORE space to roam free.

The house has its quirks. For instance, one cannot run the microwave AND have the kitchen lights on at the same time without blowing a circuit. So come winter, I will be microwaving frozen broccoli in the dark.

It’s not a new house, so it didn’t come with granite countertops or whirlpool baths or anything like that. But it fit all of our criteria, was in our price-range, and its walls were neutral enough that we didn’t have to paint anything when we moved in. AND it has a completely fenced in backyard, which is akin to having an enormous playpen attached to the back of your house. I cannot tell you how much this has behooved this scatterbrained lady who shouts out “Where’s Daniel? Where’s Daniel!!!????” about twenty times a day.

This past year has not been kind to this house. My kids have markered the walls and the carpet, have chipped paint off the corners of the walls, have made permanent indentations in the laminate flooring, have banged the doors too hard too often, smudged all of the windows with their tiny fingers, and have definitely altered the appearance of the stair railing in a way that I can’t quite put my own finger on. But I stopped trying to be Little Miss Better Homes and Gardens a long time ago and so my house may be a little beat up, a bit of a relic from the eighties and quite sticky in places, but I’m hoping that it is precisely these qualities that make my house a home.

And since this is Labor Day, I’m not even going to pick up the toys before I go to bed. My union rep, who is completely imaginary and very handsome, told me that was perfectly acceptable.


btobey said...

Hmm, Ella's hair looks okay to me...my mom used to put scotch tape across our bangs and cut under the tape! (I am NOT recommending this!)

Veronica Lee said...

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