Monday, August 25, 2008

Falling Fruit

Today I gave up a significant portion of my income. I will no longer be the Animal Emergency Center Medical Director. On the advice of a consultant this will become a rotating position; a forum to teach our associates about management and business. I’ve decided not to fight it - the loss of title, of prestige. It’s not you, they say, you’ve done a good job. And yet it smarts. All the work. The paving of the path. The creation of a successful veterinary practice. This is the thanks. This is the appreciation. You will be replaced. No ceremony. No retirement dinner. No sugary confection.

To be honest I don’t enjoy management - fielding complaints, disciplining personnel, drumming up business. But now I will lose not only the title but also $1000.00 a month (not enough given the responsibility). It will hurt. We could use the money. I owe $90,000.00 in student loans. I have a second mortgage used to purchase clinic shares (lucky me I’m a 1/11th owner). Share distributions have been smaller than promised. This working life has been a long and tedious road. I second guess. I should have gone to medical school. I should have been a dermatologist, an oncologist, a writer, a teacher, a housewife. Anything but what I am. And yet, here I sit in this bed which, though it smells faintly of urine, is nonetheless comfortable; this is the bed I made.

We’ve not eaten out for almost three weeks. Today the girls and I walked to the library. I ate peanut butter toast on the way. We brought Cheerios and Go-Gurt. I forgot to bring a beverage. I was thirsty and the drinking fountain didn’t cut it. After great debate I spent $3.50 on an iced mocha. I didn’t think at age thirty-seven I’d debate about spending three dollars. But what if I'd thought the same way twenty years ago? Where would I be now?

Today's activities were free. We walked. We discussed fractions and how to calculate them. We talked about money and budgeting and saving (oh if my kids learn their lessons early!). We checked out books and we played in the park.

Tonight’s dinner was courtesy of my husband. He made kibbi, grape leaves and tzatziki. A homage to his Syrian heritage. It was delicious. Tomorrow we’ll have the same.

This fall the baby will not be in preschool. We’ll use last year’s backpacks (actually they are older still). My ailing danskos will suffice (I now understand my father’s obsession with Shoe Goo). Halloween costumes will be from previous years. Christmas will be homemade. We will not travel. We probably won’t see family. My grandmother, with her depression era mentality, would be proud.

I am nervous. Will our offerings be enough? I do not have a sacrificial virgin. Please let Alexander Bell be right, “When one door closes, another opens...”

Until I find that door, until it smacks me in the face and knocks me against the wall, I’ll sit with the knowledge that though we might have less money - days like today, days spent cultivating my family, will make my life richer than any dollar bill.


I'm late to the party. August is the month to Blog the Recession. Care to join?


Abigail said...

Oh, Shalet...I am so sorry. Hugs to you, to all of you.

Michelle said...

Getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me. I still feel like I should send my old company a thank you card every year.

It will be O.K. I know it.

Bridge said...

I know you read my blog post. In a similar boat here. I am sorry. Let's share the woes of the 12 year old sandals and the homemade dinners and I bet I can save more aluminum foil that you! We too are reusing many of our "last year" school stuff and I KNOW its a good thing in this "throw away" society we live in where every kid sis suppose dot get a now lunch box each year?!
So...try and remember the guilt over the $3 Iced Mocha is stronger now than it was at 25 or at 55.
I have been thinking about getting a job, but this time with the kids has been YUMMY and we will all get though this.
With empathy and admiration-

Anonymous said...

Your offerings are enough.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I read your post and can commiserate.

Shalet said...

I plan to have an aluminum foil ball so big it will break world records! Thanks all for the support!!! Things will be fine. My kids may not have iphones but things will be fine. :o)