I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 333 - Run, Tree, Run!

Daily Kup (My Life in the Shade)
People talk of a 'morning routine' as if the shock to the system that is Morning could ever become routine. Despite my growing dependence on and increased appreciation for that drug called sleep, the transition from dreamlife to 'life as a dream' comes by degrees.

Unemployed people, particularly women, find themselves taking on more and more household responsibilities until they have an even higher load of unpaid employment then they did when employed outside the home. So says the New York Times anyway, though the 2009 article is based on sociologist Scott Coltrane's 2000 data on gender division of housework so let's assume some more equality has evolved in this recession. (Oh, what a little optimist!) I'm guessing that this stems from a need to demonstrate that one is productive and useful and as a bargaining chip to counter spousal questions of "When are you going to be employed?" with "You don't have to iron your shirts anymore."

Out of fear that this would become a permanent accommodation -- and who has ever picked up an extra responsibility 'temporarily' in paid employment and been able to get rid of it without surgery? -- I've been trying to train my children to do more things for themselves. I call this 'streamlining' with the full understanding of the self-serving nature of the term. Mr. T, a generally jovial and agreeable man, is also determined to be untrainable so we hit the end of that road pretty quickly.

One benefit of the streamlining process has been that the children get up when awakened, dress themselves, somewhat pick up their room, and present themselves for breakfast without the constant hectoring that marked the 'routine employment' era.

As they walk to the bus stop, I watch their backpacks retreat down the block to the corner and sit at my desk checking my email until I see from the corner of the front window the school bus arrive and depart.

This morning, a convoy of trucks blocked the view. They pulled up the street with military precision and parked in a configuration centered on my neighbor's tall, stately tree.

"Look, Mom, a chipper on a truck and one of those big lift things!"

"Walk on this side of the street to the bus stop and watch very carefully to stay out of the way of the trucks."

As the backpacks marched, I took a closer look through the window at the tree. Due to my extensive knowledge of horticulture, I pronounced it "not a maple." I think it has yellow, fuzzy things in the Spring.

For all the world, it looked like the tree was quaking ... and not just with the wind.

"Run, yellow fuzzy tree, run!"

But it stood there, rooted in the earth.

Later, I was pleased to see that the army of arborists had only given the tree a post-storm trim and selective limb removal.

When We Should Have Run
Have you ever stayed when you should have quit? Staying the course is, well, downright American. That's what we do. We persevere.

When I look back over the episodic freight train that is my life, now growing car by car longer until the caboose is somewhere far down the tracks, it's the things that I have made myself quit that are some of my proudest moments.

Small things like hobbies that I didn't really enjoy but where an investment had been made.

Big things like a bad marriage or an ill-fitting job where an even bigger investment had been made.

The fuzzy yellow tree was rooted and couldn't run when people with saws came. We have more options.

Quit something you hate today. You'll be blooming elsewhere before you know it.

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