Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gangrene Shoots

So I settled in outside of the Washington Post. It was now December 2009 and all the talking heads were talking about green shoots and used expressions like, "moving forward" or "going forward." The recession was now over. Despite these pronouncements people were still losing their jobs but I continued to feel confident nonetheless. I had a long history of working hard at many things and I was a proven quick learner. So naturally I disregarded everything being said in the big media about how rosy the economy was improving knowing things were really tough. But I'd been through stagflation and recessions before.

After taking a few weeks off I began applying for positions for a number of jobs like graphic artist, editor, proofreader, auto mechanic, etc. Those first few weeks after leaving the Post my wife enjoyed having me around doing the chores. We had the thousands of dollars the Post paid me to leave voluntarily, my wife was really starting to make some unbelievable income and though I was not working I was working harder than ever around the house. The bills were getting paid and my wife didn't have to do any of the house chores especially dishes or cooking. In fact, to jump to the present, she has forgotten these skills completely now and is helpless in a kitchen unless she has to boil water to make her OWN coffee. Well, coffee is what the label says on that container of freeze dried brown water she drinks as a sort of cafe-like beverage. I drink freshly ground French roasted espresso so I'm a java snob. Be that as it may, my wife works the graveyard shift at the hospital since getting her nursing degree. She was like the runner up for the Valedictorian at the college. She got A's in everything I'm telling you.  After graduating lots of hospitals made her offers and she finally accepted a position at the Washington Hospital Center. She really loves her work too. She didn't hate being a housewife for the first twenty years we were married especially being with the kids. But she detested doing housework and preferred ignoring it mostly in favor of reading romance novels - mindless drivel don't you know?

Anyway…I began packing my wife hot dinners-to-go for her to take to work. She loved eating my homemade bread so I thought I's send her to the hospital with a loaf or two one evening. She returned in the morning with demands from her coworkers for more bread. Hence began my pastime baking bread. My wife's nickname is Deni and the hospital staff began referring to my bread as "Mr. Deni's Bread." We have a couple of fig trees out back that produce more figs than you can imagine and I'm glad we choose the dwarf trees to plant instead of regular size. I used the figs to make walnut fig bread. However my wife's coworkers seemed to like the cinnamon raisin the best.

So add to my chores being the family/hospital bread baker. In addition I had been the gardener, auto mechanic for all friends and close family, plumber, brick layer, firewood splitter and hauler, upstairs and downstairs maid not only for my wife but also my daughter and her husband who were living with us and our three sons. Mind you they ARE slobs. Perhaps my son Matt is tidy about his room and my son-in-law is saddled picking up after my daughter. Fortunately they all work steady jobs except at that time my youngest wasn't employed yet. He's since joined his siblings in the workforce. Feeling fortunate to have them all working I figured cleaning up after them a bit wouldn't kill me and I had the time to do it. To sum up, I took on all jobs that popped up around the house with the exception of the electrical work which my wife handles. The reason for that is some unfortunate attempted remodeling which required some drilling where an electric wire ran behind the wall. Somehow I nicked the wired four or five times then drilled throughout it tripping the breaker and luckily not electrocuting myself in the process. Then wiser heads prevailed and it was decided that my wife would from there forward do all the electrical in the house or hire an electrician. She lets me replace the bulbs still because I tall.

But even accomplishing a huge number of tasks around the house and making my family's life easier doing the cooking and other chores I figured eventually I'd run out of things to do about the place. So I continued putting in those application. The shocking part was there was no response. Of all the applications I put in I only received one interview and that was as a mechanic for a gardening center. Although I'm an excellent mechanic, which shall be discuss somewhat later, I have little paid experience beyond my days with AAA driving a wrecker. Having said that I have worked on my own vehicles for forty years now because I'm too cheap to pay mechanics but that would not help me land the job. I kept putting in applications as 2010 arrived. I began another project that consisted of taking an old free brick wall from N.E. Washington DC, demoing it, hauling it back to the house and using it to construct a front patio and pathway around the side of the house. In addition I started digging the big Koi pond that runs along that pathway. Currently, I'm redoing that pond enlarging it but that is another story too for you Koi pond lovers.

I never really got down about not immediately finding work. I was too busy around the house and my wife really loves having me as a housewife. Also, at that point my list of things that needed doing continued to grow. Naturally, though I have not before mentioned it, my family is in reality a gang of automobile destroyers. They have this illusion that all cars need is a bit of gas once in a while and they'll run forever. Then when my wife car breaks somehow like when she and my son Matt combined to blow up her Corolla engine, she looks at me with one hand on her hip and say, "My car is this or that…" with a look that establishes beyond reasonable doubt that I have been somehow negligent. Then I get on and scrounge up a replacement engine for $800 buck delivered, swap it out with the blown engine and she's back on the road. Well back on the road until a year later she ran it hot warping the head and forcing me to rebuilding the replacement engine. Ah but that too is another story I may or may not need to tell. But throw in my oldest son's 1990 Camaro with a fuel problem and my time was pretty dear. Still I wondered what my future role would be.


Blogger Vana said...

Hahaha Tomas you gave me a good laugh with this post. Will stay tuned.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Thanks Vana. More to come. Hope you enjoy it!

2:45 AM  

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