Monday, March 10, 2014

Bill goes to work in business casual...

All week, Bill has to go to work dressed in business casual attire.  He has to attend ACAP (don't ask me what this stands for), where he will get all sorts of advice for dealing with life beyond the military.  This thing includes workshops for resume writing, job hunting, financial planning, and what not.  I'm sure it's very useful, especially for those who haven't been in civilian life since the 80s.  Bill, of course, did have a stint out of the Army, where he got stuck working in factories.

When we first met, Bill used to talk about his days in the factory in Arkansas.  They moved to Arkansas because ex wanted to.  She had her mind set on living in a small town and buying a little house, which they proceeded to do.  The house was cute, but a bit of a money pit.  It needed a lot of work and they weren't prepared to get it done.  

The first place he worked was a toy factory.  He took the job because the others he'd applied to paid a lot less.  He could have earned $22,000 as a parole officer, no doubt a stressful and dangerous job.  Or he could have sold insurance, which paid maybe $23,000.  The toy factory paid $27,000 and the job sucked.  He stayed there for awhile, supporting his ex, three kids, and her sister and daughter on that.  Then he got a job at Whirlpool, which was a much better and more lucrative job.  There, he made about $40,000.  It still wasn't enough, but it was a lot better than what he had been making.  Around that time, his credit rating was in the toilet, mainly because he let his ex handle the money.  She is not as skilled in finance as she claims she is.

This time, he's in a much better position for getting out of the military.  The job market is probably worse, but he has more connections and contacts.  He's better educated and has more skills.  He has a much better credit rating.  He isn't being abused by his spouse and we can move wherever there's work.  Yes, he's older, but he doesn't look old.  And he doesn't have to worry about supporting three little kids… or any kids, for that matter.  He also gets retirement.

I'm sitting here watching this crazy, annoying chick named Amanda on Dr. Phil.  She was a runaway and has this really thick New England accent.  I wonder where she gets the accent, since her parents don't talk like that.  But then, my parents have thick southern accents I don't have one.  I watch this and realize how happy this kind of drama isn't a part of my life.

Life is pretty stressful when all you have to worry about is yourself and maybe a spouse.  Throw in an out of control teenager, and it must get very crazy quickly.  I remember my own teen years and the drama of those days.  I wasn't a drinker, drug abuser, or boy crazy teen.  I just had an attitude at times and was a bit depressed.  I remember a lot of fighting in those days.  Actually, my teen years probably kicked off the years of depression I dealt with before I finally did something about it.  I'm amazed by how different I feel now compared to then.  The medications I took, along with moving out of the environment, had an incredible effect on my moods.  I'm a lot more in control now than I was then.  That's why I'm not panicking as we stare down retirement.

I wonder if maybe the Duggar family is feeling some similar emotions right now.  I say this because they are also in transition.  For years, JimBoob and Michelle have made a living out of their ability to make babies.  It appears that Michelle Duggar's uterus has finally cried "uncle!" and their kids are getting too old to be forced to live in dorms.  It looks like Jessa Duggar is the next one to get married.  She's a pretty young woman who, perhaps, might have had more of a spirit than the others.  So she's being married off to guy two years younger than she is…  The Duggars will probably get a somewhat interesting episode or two out of that.

What I'd like to see if a book by one of the kids who obviously aren't into the fundie lifestyle.  Hopefully, one of them has the writing skills and will to make it happen.  In the meantime, on Television Without Pity, there's an interesting discussion about the book the four eldest Duggar girls have written.  

They write about how their mother was kind of slutty for going to dances…

“She had no idea that dancing around in a short skirt in front of a bunch of boys was causing many of them to think sensual thoughts about her and the other cheerleaders,” daughters Jill, Jana, Jessa and Jinger wrote of their mom’s high-school days. “She also used to go to school dances but stopped participating when God convicted her that dancing stirred up a lot of sensual desires in young men and women that could not be righteously fulfilled.”

They pretty much make an anti-gay statement (big surprise) when they write…

"They all say that they 'have a natural physical desire toward men' and 'thank God for making us 'normal.'"

I won't be reading their book unless I find myself exceedingly bored and in need of snarking material.

Here's a review of a book I read after it was recommended on RfM.  It pretty much explains why growing up in a super large family might suck.  Oddly enough, I can't find it on Amazon.  

One man's account of growing up alone in a crowd...

 Mar 10, 2008 (Updated Mar 10, 2008)
Review by    is a Top Reviewer on Epinions in Books
Rated a Very Helpful Review

    Pros:Well-written, fascinating, revealing.


    Cons:At times, a bit long-winded and self-indulgent.

    The Bottom Line:Stephen Zanichkowksy shows his readers how it's possible to grow up alone in a crowd.

    I've always been curious about what it's like to grow up in a really big family. Like a lot of other Americans, I'm often amazed by people with extremely big broods, like the Duggar family (17 kids so far) or the Arndt family (15 kids). My dad's big family of eight brothers and sisters seems almost diminutive in comparison. Anyway, one day, I came across a discussion about big families on an online messageboard and someone suggested Stephen Zanichkowsky's 2002 memoir, Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd. I just finished reading the book and, I must say, it does take the romance out of supersized families.

    Stephen Zanichkowsky was born in July 1952 to his parents, Johanna and Martin Zanichkowsky. He was their eighth child of fourteen. The elder Zanichkowsky's were devout Catholics of eastern European descent living in New York City. As the author explains it, there would have been sixteen children, but two of the babies were stillborn. Of the fourteen surviving children, twelve were completely normal and healthy and two had significant problems. One son, named Jimmy, was so much of a problem that he was sent to an institution to live. And one of the daughters, Anne, was the victim of medical malpractice during her birth when an inexperienced nurse tried to push her back into her mother's birth canal, depriving her of oxygen and causing her to be mentally delayed. Anne apparently wasn't so disruptive that she had to be institutionalized.

    Zanichkowsky's parents died within eleven months of each other in the early 1990s. Upon the death of their mother, the children learned that they had all been disinherited. As the oldest sister, Martha, read the will aloud, the siblings were surprised that their parents had chosen to list each child by their full names, using the surname Zanichkowsky for the daughters whose spouses they could not acknowledge. Johanna and Martin Zanichkowksy left $97,000 to each of three charities and $8,000 to each of their twenty-one grandchildren. While the children were left no cash, Johanna Zanichkowsky had listed some family trinkets she wanted each of them to have. And much to Stephen Zanichkowsky's surprise, the family lawyer invited the siblings to help themselves to their parents' estate while his back was turned.

    After the funeral, Zanichkowsky reflected on the realities of life for his siblings. He realized that half of the fourteen children were, at that time, living alone. Of the twelve who had been married, there had been thirteen divorces. Five siblings had chosen not to have children of their own. It also occurred to Zanichkowsky that he and his siblings had somehow disconnected.

    It had taken their mother's funeral to get all of the Zanichkowsky siblings in the same place at the same time for the first time in thirty years. The photo on this book's cover, taken in the early 1960s, is one of very few pictures of the entire family together. In any case, a few years after the funerals, the author bought himself a tape recorder and began writing this memoir, which provides insight as to what it's like to grow up in a huge family.

    Zanichkowsky's memoir is painfully honest about the harsh realities he experienced as he was growing up. The author explains that his mother was frustrated, overworked, and overwhelmed. His father was hot tempered, high achieving, and hard driving. Both parents were big fans of corporal punishment and neither had any qualms about disciplining their children by having them cut their own switches. In heartbreaking prose, Zanichkowsky describes what he refers to as beatings, doled out by his often enraged father. He's somewhat forgiving of his mother, but I got the feeling that the beatings made Zanichkowsky hate his father. The author and his siblings were also neglected. There were so many children that there didn't seem to be enough of anything, especially love, to go around.

    My thoughts

    I think Fourteen is overall a well-written book, although there are times at which Zanichkowsky does become a bit self-pitying and long winded. While I did understand that the author went through a lot of hard times growing up, I also got the sense that it wasn't all bad. The kids did have some simple pleasures as well as the benefit of education. Moreover, they also had a home and food to eat.

    There are some passages in this book that may be disturbing for some people. For instance, the author admits to having some incestuous feelings toward his older sisters. He also uses some off color language and discusses his recreational drug use during the 1970s. Zanichkowsky came of age during the Vietnam War, so there is also some discussion of draft dodging. And, to be perfectly honest, while I can see that Zanichkowsky had a rough time of it growing up, I also occasionally tired of his negative attitude. He seemed to blame his parents for most of his problems and came across as somewhat immature and self-indulgent. On the other hand, perhaps the fact that he's grown up to be somewhat immature was part of the point he was trying to make.

    Still, Zanichkowsky manages to drive home the reality of growing up in a family where the adults are simply too busy to give each child the love and individual attention they each needed. Discipline was strict and swiftly meted out, but there was no counterpoint to the harsh discipline. As Zanichkowksy puts it in his prologue, "now I understood something about my parents I hadn't thought about before: we fourteen, collectively, had happened to them." And it occurred to Zanichkowsky that if he had inherited one fourteenth of his parents' estate, he may never have written his book.

    Even though I did get the feeling that Zanichkowsky wrote this book because he was a bit bitter about being disinherited, I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading about extra large families. I would also recommend it to anyone who likes memoirs. This book appears to be out of print, but used copies are still widely available.
    Recommend this product? Yes 

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