Yesterday, I finished the rough draft of an article that has been killing me for three weeks. The editor can’t look at it for another week, so I have a nice reprieve. I don’t want it to come out until after the holidays anyways, because nobody reads online articles in December.
Tomorrow, I’m going into New York City to watch a video team prepare a short clip on an alternative school. I’m supposed to write an accompanying article for the video, but I won’t have to do much until January.
So, I’m finally able to get my holiday chores in order. I’ll run to the mall in an hour, after the Adobe technical team and I hash out the last issue with transferring my old computer applications to my new computer.
I need this day really, really badly. We’re all off our game here with my work and Steve’s. Steve got a nice promotion this week. Yay, Steve. But he’s had a couple of late nights with holiday parties and all that, so I haven’t had his help with Ian’s homework and kitchen cleanup. He’s going to have more responsibilities at work, so that means more for me at home. Which is fine. It’s not like I have two little kids with one being very autistic-y anymore. I can get a full day of work done in my little office and get to the gym and make dinner.
In the early days of Apt. 11D, I was very frustrated by my inability to make progress professionally while having responsibility with the kids. Poverty made things more complicated, because we couldn’t afford help; we lived in an area that only had very expensive help.
Autism made things even more complicated, because nobody could help. If Ian threw up in the school cafeteria, because of food sensitivities, only I could drop everything to pick him up from school. Only I could go to the IEP meetings. Only I could calm him down when his anxieties got the best of him. Only I could understand his garbled speech. We’re in a whole different place now. Today, he plays with the school marching band.
Steve and I were thinking about poverty this week. When we were finishing off our dissertations and Jonah was a toddler, we survived in New York City on $30,000 for the whole year. Even a couple of years on, when I first started blogging here, we made very little. We’ve been thinking back to the poverty years and how time-consuming poverty was.
Being poor meant some obvious hardships. I had one pair of shoes. I returned Christmas presents in order to buy diapers. We didn’t go to restaurants. No vacations. But it also meant that I had to get WIC to purchase baby formula. That took time. I had to walk twenty blocks to Columbia Presbyterian, talk with a bureaucrat, attend mandatory lectures on health, get the vouchers, walk to a supermarket that accepted the vouchers, haul the supplies back to the apartment.
Doing laundry was horrible. After a week with a kid with a stomach virus, we would have to carry all those stinking clothes and towels down four flights of stairs and around the corner to the laundromat. I couldn’t carry it on my own, so laundry had to wait until Steve could help. We would spend all Saturday afternoon in the laundromat, while pushing Jonah around on the wheelie laundry carts.
We couldn’t afford the fancy pre-school at the hospital, so I had to walk Jonah to the cheaper half-day school which was almost two miles away. Ian would be strapped to my stomach in one of the baby sacks.
I got shingles from the stress.
Why did we do that? We were in our mid 30s. Other people our age had nice jobs in law or business. Many already owned their own homes. As “smart” people, why were we living like that? We didn’t have much choice. We had to dig ourselves out of the hole that we got in by spending our 20s in grad school training for jobs that didn’t exist.
Being bourgeois now has meant that I can buy an extravagant coat for Steve for Christmas and replace my computer without excessive stress. We’re not so rich that we can afford a private college for Jonah or a new car for Steve, but we’re coat and computer level secure. It’s nice.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to write about in 2018. I think it’s going to be mostly about people like the 30-year old me, not bourgeois me. I don’t make a lot of money with writing, but I do have a nice soapbox. I’m going to put a laser focus on those issues in 2018. It will be fun.