Personal politics, urban dictionary style, six ways from Sunday.

Yep. I love Urban Dictionary. It suits me, despite the fact that its lingo is harder to master than a Slavic soumise. But I can live and learn, look and learn, listen and learn. And examine our political landscape with fresher (albeit irreverent) eyes six ways from Sunday. This morning, staring down a stack of bills, I’m all over it like white on rice.

But damn, this place looks like a skanky hole (definition 2, please). Irritating teenagers. Shit. I’ve been telling them to pick up their own damn socks, wash their own damn clothes. It’s time to mow the laundry. Again. Well, at least they aren’t console humpers or out every night all lashed up, but I wish they’d trash the coke cans and paper plates left out by the fire pit. And go GREEN, dammit! (Okay, my kinda green, not their kinda green.)

Daily plate of crazy?

I chose that name for good reason. Try plates, plural. Plates full. Tectonic plates. Teenage tectonic plates. Crazy?  No question. It’s a survival strategy, a lifestyle, my truth. Menopausal mood swings. Testosterone explosions. Bills, pills, comings-and-goings, 24/7.

Just keep on track and keep on tracking: one goes here, the other goes there. Planes, trains, automobiles. Friends in tow. Fridge to fill. Deficits, and usually mine: sleep deficit, doing it deficit, dollar deficit. And they think I’m just being a shistie bastard, but I’m trying to manage the impossible. Bucks, more bucks, and all for necessities.

Recreation? Forget it. Go play somewhere. Get a damn job! Read something!

Bleary-eyed bitch mama (that’s me) just trying to love more, holler less, and hang on for the ride until the ride is done – hopefully with a couple of kids in college, and me not on the street, ending up like a homeless Alaskan in the process! Hell… I’m no skankwaffle. I ought to be able to do this, right? Raise my kids decently? But couldn’t the government help, just a little?

Which brings me to familial-political-sociological issues of the day, with my tongue only partially imbedded in my cheek. I was glancing over the New York Times “Room for Debate Blog” this morning, early.  Here are a few gems I found, including comments from readers:

On Mark Sanford and his Argentine paramour:

“The bigger issue is why political wives put up with their husband’s shenanigans…”

My translation: why does a bitch put up with her man’s skanky whores?

My response: for the same reason that ALL wives deal with all kinds of shit:

(a) illusion love* (b) history love** (c) pragmatic love, a.k.a. divorce is long, messy, expensive and often leaves you with lifelong complications, generally borne by the women.

Furthermore, what his wife tolerates (particularly with four young sons at home) really is not the point. I’m all for a little schmoop (life is short after all), but the issues are hypocrisy and responsibility. Those sit squarely on the Governor’s shoulders.

On the cost-benefits of getting a Master’s degree (What is a Master’s Degree Worth?):

“If you originally matriculated at a college you are vaguely uneasy about, taking an M.A. at a more elite institution allows you to kick down and kiss up, henceforth letting you tell people you “went to school” in New Haven.”

My response: I couldn’t agree more.

I also agree with the need to weigh long term debt and relative value of the education. You could find yourself still paying school loans as you approach 40. That keeps you tied to an income level that keeps you bound to a career that may no longer “fit.” It’s like being stuck in a marriage, in which case you probably need to get stuck.

This comment on the topic of the value of the Masters:

“Eek… I have an MFA from an Ivy and I work at a grocery store.”

My response: Good for you! You must still be young enough, strong enough, and supple enough to do so!  It will teach you to handle the public. Great for a future as a museum Docent. That said, you have my empathy.

I have an MBA from an Ivy, and don’t work at a grocery store! I do have to keep a fridge stocked for growing teens, on about $3/hour as a freelance writer. As a marketing writer or copywriter I earn more, but no one’s hiring at the moment, and less so, anyone over 40. Care to trade?

By the way, as a parent, I earn zero, bubkus, nada – though I have the pleasure of saucy discussion at the dinner table, six-digit debt, dark circles under my eyes, and while the pay sucks, I wouldn’t trade this gig for anything!

The sad reality – gone (apparently) are the days of higher (and higher) education for the purposes of love of learning, furthering scholarship, or research. Everything is about dollars and cents.

From “How do politicians survive sex scandals,” we are provided the sinner’s steps to redemption – and I admit, this one was my favorite. It goes (paraphrased) something like this (with my comments in parentheses):

  1. Don’t break any BIG laws.
  2. Be a nice guy (ie., if you aren’t charming, forget it.
    But then again, if you weren’t charming, how did you get yourself in this position, anyway? Ah yes – power & money. Anyone can be bangin’ if they have power & money.)
  3. Remember it’s not the sex, it’s the lying. Say you’re sorry.
  4. Say it was an accident. (Huh? I accidentally slept with this person, not my spouse, secretly and with planning, for how many months?)

And there’s more. Good stuff. Made me laugh.

On our national “safety net” we call Social Security, and planned spending for the purpose of reigning in disability fraud, this frightening proposal (paraphrased):

“In the 2010 budget unveiled last week… The White House plans to spend $4.3 billion over five years to fight fraud associated with disability claims — a problem, officials say, that stems from lack of oversight.”

The editorial goes on to ask: Why have federal disability costs skyrocketed? Is it because of fraud, an increase in the number of the truly disabled, or are there larger problems with the program?

My response: Are you kidding me? $4.3 BILLION to weed out disability fraud? Weed, indeed!

As for “lack of oversight,” might I use that excuse for my inability to pay bills? 

An alternative plan:

My simplistic, immediate and admittedly emotional response is SHAVE THAT $4.3 BILLION FIGURE by 10%, fight “fraud” with the (theoretical) efficiency exercised by the private sector as it continues to reduce workforce and do “more with less.”

Use the proposed “reappropriated” $430 million to distribute in real ways to families who are losing homes, can’t pay for doctors, can’t send their kids to college, can’t take care of elderly parents, can’t afford prescriptions, can’t retire (assuming they have jobs),  and have long since fallen through the cracks in our nationwide statistics.

HELL – give the 10% to Oprah to distribute. She’ll figure it out.

Think about that sum:

$430 million could be used for a college education, in good schools, for more than 8,000 kids

$430 million could help families that have already lost homes, or are rapidly approaching that state of affairs. Instead of sending kids to school (forget the BA’s and the MAs for now), we could give  $100,000 to 4300 families over five years time.

Just fight that fraud with 10% less! And I mean really do more with less. That’s what the rest of us have been told – and done – in our jobs (that we’ve lost), and in our daily (crazy) lives. We work harder and for longer for less; we see our children less; we live a “quality” life, less…

The challenge

Unfortunately, $100,000 per family over 5 years is $20,000/year. That doesn’t go very far when you’re out of work and raising kids. It doesn’t go very far when you have work – one job, two jobs, extra jobs – and you’re raising kids.

And it’s a drop in the bucket towards the number of families in trouble. Could we ask you to reduce your disability-buster initiative budget by 20%?

I know I could use the bucks. For a $20,000 check, I’d beam. For $40,000 I’d show you my O-face! With my budget requiring nearly $9,000/year in medical insurance premiums (and then there’s life insurance, car insurance, and the non-existing disability, vision, or dental insurance)… well, we’d like to eat, too. And pay utilities. Oh yes, the mortgage. The car payment. Well, you see what I mean.

Netting things out

I’m a responsible citizen. I may be someone’s mama, but I’m not too bafugly for a middle-aged rag. I can still be seen in public; I’ll do my part. Keep trying, keep looking, keep cool. I’m down. Somebody’s got to find me useful, right? Hey – last year and the year before I managed about 70 hours/week plus odd jobs scribing. It took two jobs and didn’t quite pay all the bills, but it slowed the bleed.

Of course, both positions were as a contractor (therefore no benefits, and no unemployment when let go). Still, I know how to work. Hard.

Besides,

  1. I don’t break any BIG laws.
  2. I’m a nice guy.
  3. I’m sorry for any sex and any lying (I’m lying).
  4. And anything untoward I might have done in my life – it was all an accident…

So. I fully intend to stay the course. Keep parenting. Keep looking for work, six ways from Sunday. Yep, I know it – eventually I’ll find a job (or two) and manage to keep going. A  job, which Urban Dictionary defines in many ways. I like this definition:

Job: (definition 3)

A futile effort for financial independence, social acceptance and personal happiness.
My job allows me to pay endless bills, envy my friends and witness my family fall apart.

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*Illusion Love: Love experienced with a spouse or partner as you imagine him or her to be, refashioned in your mind so you can stay in the relationship, convinced that all is well. Also known as “marriage.”

**History Love: Not rocking the boat; respect for shared decades and joined families. Also known as “marriage.”