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The Distracted Woman's Daybook (40)

The Distracted Woman's Daybook
(idea based on one by Peggy Hostetler; concept revision by Angie Brennan; other changes are mine)

my 'Mad Men Yourself' iconIn my front yard... is beautifully cut grass! I didn't do it, nor did any of my sons or ex-husbands, nor did my friend/sometime grass-cutter who has the handy-person business (she moved house and now lives too far away for the gig to be practical). Actually, no one has claimed responsibility, but it has happened twice in the last three weeks, readers, and I can only assume that the perpetrator is ... the next-door neighbor to my left, the one who loves cutting grass so much that he takes care of half of the lawns in the court, unsolicited and pro bono. I believe I've mentioned him before, adding at the time that (1) for some reason I was never among the favored recipients of his lawn-cutting largesse, (2) I knew I had no grounds for being hurt or upset about this fact, and (3) nevertheless, I couldn't help being curious as to why I didn't rate.

Well, evidently I do rate now, because who else could be cutting my lawn to putting green smoothness, not to mention edging the borders and eliminating the weeds from the driveway and sidewalk contraction joints?

I haven't seen said neighbor in all three weeks since the grass was first cut. I'll have to be on the lookout, so I can thank him.

Around the house... is clutter, though not in any of the rooms we cleaned a few months ago for the meter man's visit. I'll have to invite someone in to look at the heat pump, which is located near a couple of still-messy rooms.

In the kitchen... is Chinese food, leftover from the Mother's Day bash at my mom's house (a fun time -- most of the extended family were there). Sadly, said leftovers are wreaking havoc with my diet, to which I had been faithful for three weeks up to that point. Curse you, cold sesame noodles and moo shu pork!

I am pondering... mortality, and the desire to make a teeny, tiny difference in the world during one's brief span -- or, failing that, the desire at least to feel that one has mattered a little bit to someone. Curse you, Hamilton: I mean, I think about this a little bit most days anyway, but listening to the musical during my commute (as I have been, lately) has only intensified the musing (and the angst!).

I am hoping... that I can sort out my life in the light of the newest wrinkle in my employment situation. Are you ready for it? My hours at the church have been halved!

Yeah, it's finally come to pass. I've told you already that the pastor has made no secret of his strong, non-negotiable desire for a male, guitar-playing leader to preside over the contemporary service every Sunday in place of my female, keyboard-playing self. (So why did he hire me? He didn't; his predecessor did.) He claims that this is a general goal of the congregation, the reasoning behind it being that (1) contemporary songs don't sound right unless they imitate recorded performances, which are mostly by males, and (2) male worshipers allegedly won't or can't sing along to a female leader's voice, while worshipers of either sex will and can sing along to a male leader's voice. I disagree with both premises, and I have my doubts that there's any widespread agreement in our congregation regarding these matters ... but I haven't really quarreled (what would be the point?), accepting the inevitable with mostly calm on the outside. That said, I've hoped all this time that the difficulty the pastor's had in finding the desired male leader would continue, delaying for as long as possible my complete ouster from the contemporary service ... and the accompanying pay cut. Guitar Man, whom I've mentioned in these pages before, only comes two Sundays a month and hasn't been willing to commit to more. Thus, until last night (when I got the news from the church's HR guy), I was still leading contemporary worship on the non-GM Sundays, plus playing keyboard & harmonizing on GM's weeks ... and still making full salary.

Here's the interesting part: I don't think the pastor has found a guy to take over yet! Nevertheless, he is cutting me back now ("effective immediately," with papers signed last night) -- maybe to free up some funds so he can make someone a sweeter offer than he's dangled heretofore? (Do churches do signing bonuses?) Or perhaps the purpose of the pro-active move is to prove to Guitar Man (who has turned out to be a decent chap with some scruples about doing me out of part of my job) that he needn't be reluctant to commit to more Sundays on my account, since I'm out the door either way.

Well, I'm not all the way out the door. I will still have all my traditional service duties, at half my old salary (ouch, ouch, ouch -- remember, I lost a course, plus all sense of job security, at College #1 less than a month ago!). And I'm told that the church may hire me on a per-service basis to play keyboard for the contemporary dude, whoever it turns out to be, if I'm interested (and, hey, I'm not too proud to take that gig). So I am not losing all my income from this stream. Just a noticeable chunk of it.

As my combined salary from my three part-time jobs will now be significantly lower than it was, I guess it's time to revisit the question of whether I can make that total amount from some single source instead (i.e., it's time to consider getting out of the gig economy of adjunct teaching & musician-ing, and try to find a 9-to-5 post as a paper-pusher in a cubicle).

Of course, the above discussion only concerns the financial aspect of my new situation. I also actually have some feelings vis-a-vis the ministry aspect and what I thought I had to offer in that regard ... but NO ONE at the church has ever seemed to care about my feelings on that score, so I am out of practice in articulating them.

I am learning... that it would have been a good idea to develop a little self-respect when I was young. Sure, the latest slings and arrows can't hurt me like they could've before the Man, because (as I've told you before, I'm sure) all my serious capacity to be hurt has been used up, and the consequent numbness functions like a kind of toughness. But I can't help wondering whether having some actual, you know, self-esteem would be even better.

I am thankful for... my family, of course. Art. Life itself.

I am wearing... navy blue pants, dark aqua top (one of my many twinset thingies). Work clothes.

I am creating... nothing much. Okay, new final exams for my classes (I used last semester's as practice exercises this semester), but that's about it.

I am going... to NYC in June with Sons 1 & 2. Plans are to see a Colbert Late Show taping and visit a jazz club, and maybe walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

I am reading... student papers.

I've been watching... NCIS on TV. They're ratcheting up the intensity of the story as Michael Weatherly's exit from the show approaches, but gosh, how many times can the same series park a main character at death's door before we can't suspend disbelief anymore? It's true that NCIS does kill important characters sometimes (usually at the end of their contracts), so I guess there's always a chance that the guy in the hospital will flat-line ... but I'm not buying it this time around.

And at the movies, I saw Captain America: Civil Wars. I liked it a lot -- the second and third Captain America films have definitely fulfilled the promise of the first Avengers movie in a way that the Avengers sequel itself did not (sorry, Joss Whedon).

I've been listening to... Hamilton. I still hear things each time that I hadn't noticed before. You know, even after seeing it and loving the experience back in January, I was kinda determined not to jump on the bandwagon of gushing fans (because, you know, bandwagon ... and gushing), but it *is* pretty darned wonderful.

One of my favorite things... is pizza. Too bad it's not compatible with a weight-loss regimen.

I am looking forward to... the end of the semester, after final grades are turned in.

My plans for the rest of the week... include giving and grading final exams.

A quote for today... "The Fates lead those who come willingly, and drag those who do not." (It's an old Stoic adage. I'm not a Stoic, or any other kind of determinist, but I do admire some aspects of Stoicism. I also admit that it's a philosophy made for the privileged, of which I am one.)

Here is a picture I am sharing with you... of the home team's ball park. We are playing well, and I am so ready to see a game this season.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards


(Crossposted to Dreamwidth)
 

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
wellinghall
May. 11th, 2016 07:18 pm (UTC)
I am pleased about the grass cutting; less so about Guitar Man.
philosophymom
May. 16th, 2016 10:19 am (UTC)
Turns out GM *was* offered my Sundays this week (being told, this time, that I was already out of the picture), and he turned them down (he *liked* the part-time aspect of his gig), so we may both end up being out of a job.

Also, it occurs to me that I should be sadder. This marks the first time in 37 years of being employed that I've ever been fired from a job (and there really is no other way of looking at it). Oh, well!
old_black
May. 16th, 2016 10:32 pm (UTC)
Good that you have a 'grass fairy', but I'm not sure about whether there is some sort of bizarre string attached. . . . if he or she is rewarding you for good behaviour? or (worse?) taking pity on your miserable situation? or (even worse) doing it with the implied criticism that someone in your house (probably a male someone . . . I'm looking at you, youngest son) ought to be doing this to uphold community standards. If I were in your position I'd be extra certain to assert my independence from any such strings.

Job satisfaction is incredibly important in our lives, I think. But money is by no means the only way to make an employee happy. It's worth heaps to most people for an employer / manager to show, somehow, that he/she genuinely appreciates the employee's contribution. And, of course, one way of showing appreciation is full, genuine consultation about plans for the future. It seems to me that you're not being shown that respect.

Looks like your 'grass fairy' neighbour has got a part-time job in the baseball park! Beautiful.
philosophymom
May. 17th, 2016 02:00 am (UTC)
Well, I tried to thank my lawn-care-loving neighbor, but he said he wasn't my mystery mower! Time to call Sherlock Holmes ...

And your post reminded me of something. Although I said that this fellow had never cut my grass before (except for the two times I hired him), that's actually false. He did cut it one other time, viz., the week the Man left. *That* was a pity cut, and seeing as how I was pretty pathetic at the time, I was happy to accept it. (Though how he knew the Man had left, I'm not sure -- maybe saw him loading his car the day he sneaked all his possessions to the secret apartment? None of us neighbors communicate much, except for waving at each other on the way to our cars.)

As for any implied criticism of my able-bodied, non-grass-cutting sons, I've long figured that that was the reason I wasn't on the list of lawn-care recipients. Neighbor in question is of my parents' generation but childless, and he has definite ideas about how other people's offspring should behave -- he even said something to Number Two Son about it once!

Regarding employment, I expect I will make some serious life-changing moves in the next year or so. I would like to be valued, something I haven't felt in a job in a long time.
old_black
May. 17th, 2016 03:47 am (UTC)
Regarding employment, I guess money is an issue - a significant issue - but nonetheless, my personal experience is that being valued can make up for quite a bit of salary deficiency. But very, very few managers seem to understand that.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )