Wednesday, February 02, 2011


There are definite upsides and downsides to being married to a tradesman.

The upside is that he knows how to do shit.  Got a new dryer requiring a different kind of outlet on non-standard voltage?  J can run a wire from the circuit box, run it through pipe that conforms to code, and get the whole thing set up in about 45 minutes.  He knows how to use tools that scare me, like sawz-alls.  He can frame a bed headboard and teach me how to put up sheet-rock.

He's definitely a handy guy to have around.

The downside is that when he's gainfully employed -- which he now is, thank goodness -- he works in an industry that is notoriously shitty to its employees.

When I started my new job, I immediately started accruing paid leave at the rate of 14 hours per month, not to mention the state and federal holidays I already get off.  If something happens like I get sick or my kid gets sick or there's some emergency, my employers understand and I can deal with my life without worrying about getting fired.

When J started his new job, he was informed that he would accrue a paid week off each year after he had worked for a year (mighty white of them, I say). And it's basically understood that unless you or a close relative is on the verge of death, don't bother calling in sick unless you're no longer interested in having a job at all.

It infuriates me, but it's a job.  They've got us by the short hairs for sure.

Supercrazycold.  Photo by Andy Cross for The Denver Post.
The past two days it's been what Zeke and I have referred to as supercrazycold.  Yesterday the high was about 3 degrees, with a low of about -15, plus it snowed all day Monday, so everything iced up and got sketchy.  Schools closed, including the kids' preschool.

Of course, J had to report to work at 6 in the morning at a job up in Fort Collins, which is about an hour away (assuming decent conditions).

So I stayed home with the kids.  I was going to work from home anyway, but with the kids around, I couldn't get any work done.  So we played and went to Monkey Bizness and watched movies. I comforted myself with the fact that the roads were decent and even though it was scheduled to be supercrazycold today as well, conditions were OK for travel so the kids would be able to go to school and I'd be able to go to work today.

Then last night at about 9, our pipes out in the laundry room (which is essentially an uninsulated wooden porch with a washer and dryer) froze and burst, sending water everywhere, including into the cellar.  J managed to locate the main shut-off valve for the water and stop the flow of water and I called a plumber and scheduled an appointment for this morning.  And when I was up working at 2 in the morning, I checked my email and saw a message from the preschool director announcing that even though Denver Public Schools did not announce a closure for today, she was going to close today as well, "for the safety of our children and her staff."

While I'm certainly a fan of safety, the kids are in a heated building.  And they don't have to wait at cold bus stops because they are driven to school by their parents.  You'll have to forgive me if I didn't consider taking them to school to be putting them in any kind of risk.

So I'm a little annoyed today.  I'm tired of being the one whose schedule always has to accommodate every emergency, simply because I work for reasonable people.

But then I'm brought back to earth listening to Zeke flush the toilet and yell "Bye, Zekey's pee!" at his work product.  Or by Josie walking around saying "WOW!"  She just figured out how to say it and does it in a very exaggerated way that's hilarious.  It's nice having time with the kids.

But it will be in the mid-30s tomorrow.  School and work will definitely be open.

Thank God.


  1. Christ. The pipes. Like you needed one more thing. Ugh.

    It is true that his industry treats people terribly. I have the less demanding job, but Nick does have flexibility within reason. And the reminder that some employers are so unreasonable makes me feel lucky for that.

  2. I feel very lucky that my job allows me the flexibility that it does. But it also means that I'm *always* the one who has to be flexible, and sometimes that makes me feel stabby. I'll be working late the rest of this week and on the weekend to make up for the time I lost when I was home with the monkeys.