Tuesday, November 29, 2011

True love

Freedom from retail is much greater than I ever expected.  This is my first holiday season NOT working retail in more than 15 years!  Whoa!

Now some of you are probably thinking, dude I thought you were crazy before, now I KNOW you are.  And you might be right, but for about 17 years of my life (half of my life for those of you doing the math) I was one of those freaks of nature who loved retail, especially the holidays! Black Friday was always my favorite day to work, even though I knew someone would inevitably come in and try and ruin my day, I still loved every minute of it.  I loved the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and of Black Friday itself.  I loved getting up early and listening to Christmas music on a 4 hour loop for a 10-12 hour day.  I loved putting up the sale signs and memorizing the deals of the day for whatever company I happened to be with that year.  I loved upselling whoever shopped my store that day.  It didn't matter if I was a manager or a sales associate, I loved working Black Friday.

Are you seeing a theme here?  I LOVED WORKING BLACK FRIDAY.  I couldn't imagine being anywhere else on that day.  I was never disappointed that I wasn't one of the lucky ones getting the deals at Wally World, Best Buy, Target, or Toys R Us.  I never wanted get in line after Thanksgiving dinner to be sure to grab the greatest gift ever.  And I certainly never wanted to get into an altercation while grabbing the last Wii or Xbox or iPhone for $10.  I also never thought I would not want to work Black Friday or holiday in retail.  I considered myself lucky because I got to work it and be on the other side of the chaos.  I loved hearing people's stories about the deals they were getting as well.  And I enjoyed their tales of mayhem of course.
But this year was different...

I begged God to help me find another part time job that WAS NOT retail.  I dreaded the idea of smiling at someone who's teeth I'd like to knock out because they are the rudest person on the face of the earth.  I did not want to deal with a manager who demanded the world from a part time associate who is there just for the paycheck.  I despised the idea of getting up earlier than the sun to be at the beck and call of shoppers. God answered my prayer, instead of getting up early on the day after Thanksgiving, I got to snuggle with my four year old a little later and watch some morning television. 

I was praising God that I did not have to work one day of retail this holiday season, especially black Friday.  I could only focus on the negative things associated with working retail that day: rude customers thinking you owe them the shirt off your back, associates not showing up, sales not ringing correctly, customers trying to use the next day's coupons, getting up before the sun, etc... You get the idea.  

And that breaks my heart. 

When I left retail, my closest friends could not believe it.
"You are retail" some said.

"But you love it" others would say.

"What else will you do?"...good question. 

"I never thought you would leave retail" 

The things I once loved, I now dread.  The things I once looked forward to, now made me quiver with fear.

So where did that love go?  Why was I praising God that I didn't have to work on a day that used to be my favorite day of the year to work?

I have no idea.

Do I have a new love?  Yes.  I've always had this love, but it is blossoming in a way I never expected. 

God has really blessed me by allowing me to be a work at home mom since June.  I am getting to know my child way more than when I was working.  If he would go out of town with my grandfather on the weekend, it was no big deal.  I didn't see him much during the week, so why should the weekend be any different.  Now when he goes with my gramps, I'm counting the minutes til they get back.

I absolutely love being a work at home mom.  Granted, one of my jobs is in another home, but my son is with me while I'm there.  I know more about my four year old now than I did in the first 3 years of his life.  

Now this is not saying I didn't know anything about him or I wasn't the one raising him during those years, but I just wasn't able to spend as much time with him as I do now. I would feel threatened if someone else seemed to know more about his likes or dislikes than I did.  And it broke my heart that I didn't know those things.

I used to wonder if I was good enough to be his mom.  Didn't he deserve better?  Maybe, but that just wasn't to be.  And who said staying at home was in his best interest at that time?

(Insert disclaimer here: I am not in any way shape or form bashing moms who work outside the home.  I know that this blessing is not going to last forever, there will come a day when I will once again be working outside the home.  I'm just enjoying the blessing while I can.)

I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I had no idea the hard work that entailed.  Not just because I'm working 3 jobs, but because it really is hard to spend all day with your children, and I only have one!  But I love it.  I love lying down at the end of the day and thinking, "Sheesh...and I have to be up in 8 hours to do it again???"  I absolutely love it.

I'm not dreading the day that I will once again work full time outside our home, but I am certainly making the most out of the time I have being able to work from home.  I hope it lasts longer than I expect it to.

I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again...I had no idea that the love of my life would be short, selfish, and completely dependent on me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Legalized Voluntary Manslaughter

This morning on Facebook, one of our local news channels posted a question about whether or not smoking should be banned in our local parks.  My reply: Ban it! Smokers can kill themselves if they want, but they have no right killing me and my child! Keep your first and secondhand smoke to yourself!  What I found most appalling were the responses of nonsmokers saying that second hand smoke never bothers them.  Huh...maybe they don't understand second hand smoke.  So let me give you some facts...
*There are over 4000 chemical compounds in second hand smoke, 200 of which are known to be poisonous and upwards of 60 have been identified as carcinogens (still think it's no big deal?)
*The US EPA has classified second hand smoke as a Group A Carcinogen (When there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, the Group A or 1 category is used. Exceptionally, an agent (mixture) may be placed in this category when evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is less than sufficient but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence in exposed humans that the agent (mixture) acts through a relevant mechanism of carcinogenicity)
*Cancers linked to second hand smoke: Lung cancer (3000 non smokers die of lung cancer each year)
                                                                Nasal sinus cavity cancer
                                                                Cervical cancer
                                                                Bladder cancer
*Some chemical compounds found in smoke only become carcinogenic after they've come into contact with certain enzymes found in many of the tissues of the human body.
*Second hand smoke has serious effects on the heart:
  • Heart disease mortality - an estimated 35,000 to 62,000 deaths are caused from heart disease in people who are not current smokers, but who are exposed to ETS
  • Acute and chronic coronary heart disease
  • Passive smoking has been linked to the narrowing of the carotid arteries, which carry blood to the brain
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke hastens hardening of the arteries, a condition known as artherosclerosis
  • Continual exposure to ETS has been shown to nearly double the chance of heart attack
*Risks of second hand smoke to children:
  • Low birthweight for gestational age
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)- children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have an increased risk of SIDS.
  • The EPA estimates that passive smoking is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 of these infections in children under 18 months annually
  • Asthma - According to the EPA, between 200,000 and 1,000,000 kids with asthma have their condition worsened by secondhand smoke every year. Also, passive smoking may also be responsible for thousands of new cases of asthma every year
  • Chronic respiratory symptoms such as cough and wheezing may be attributed to secondhand smoke.
  • Children who breathe in secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from dental cavities, eye and nose irritation, and irritability
  • Middle ear infections - exposure to ETS causes buildup of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in 700,000 to 1.6 million physician office visits yearly
*Over  600,000 people die each year due to second hand smoke (379,000 deaths from heart disease, 165,000 deaths from lower respiratory disease, 36,900 deaths from asthma and 21,400 deaths from lung cancer a year)

So why accuse smokers of legalized voluntary manslaughter?  The numbers speak for themselves.  People are dying every day (1,644 actually) because of second hand smoke.  We as non smokers need to take a stand against this! Smoking is the only addiction that actually affects other people.  Why should we suffer because someone else is addicted to it?  Granted the numbers I have posted refer to cigarette smoke, but what about second hand smoke of pot, crack, meth?  What if you don't know you're being exposed to the second hand smoke of crack because you didn't realize that the carcinogens found in second hand smoke remain on clothing long after the smoker last smoked.  Is it fair that non smokers are forced to inhale a smoker's second hand smoke?  Sure you could tell me to breathe somewhere else, but when I'm out in a park I should be able to breathe in the fresh air and not smell someone's smoke!  It's rude and my child doesn't need to be exposed to it either.  So you might tell me to not go to that park, well I'm telling you to smoke in your own home where you are only killing yourself and those that choose to be around you.  Yes I have friends that smoke, some that are proabably going to read this, but not a single one of them smokes around my child!  And if you smoke around me and I choose not to say anything that is my choice.  However, you might find me speaking up a little more because I'm fed up with smokers saying it is their right to smoke.  You're absolutely correct, but because you have the right to smoke does NOT give you the right to do so anywhere you choose.  I have the right to go to the bathroom when I need to, but that doesn't give me the right to do it into your drinking water.  It is also my right to be in a park or any other PUBLIC place and not inhale someone's second hand smoke.  When you're in private do what you want, I couldn't care less.  But when you are in public you do not have the right to infringe on my fresh, breathable air!

Seconhand smoke on About.com 
Huffington Post - Second hand smoke
Nasal Sinus Cancer facts