Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Worth a Response?

I post on Facebook occasionally. More if something exciting is happening; less if I'm busy and it's life as usual. It's a place where I make small notes about life or how I'm feeling at the moment. Not somewhere for me to push an agenda. Or make large political statements. Or philosophize beyond whether you can ever have too many cute shoes.

So I found myself in an odd situation - one that spawned an actual debate in our house about how (or whether) I should respond. I posted a flippant comment on Facebook about surviving a day without my au pair's help - she has gone on vacation and we've had to rearrange our work schedules to be able to work and still get the kids to and from school, etc. It was one of life's little musings, filled with truth - I will be happy when she returns to help, as it's tricky to balance two careers around two school age boys.

My cousin's hubby chose to comment - he rarely comments on anything or anyone. Without speculating about why he wrote or what his intent was, I'll give it to you verbatim:

"Mrs Chako, love you and the Dr., but be very grateful on what you have. Instead of being 1 day without an au pair, there are many people losing thier houses and jobs...please be sensitive to that."

Again, given that I use Facebook solely as a casual way to keep in touch with an extended network, rather than broader political and social commentary, I was surprised at this. I was more surprised because he knows my background, and I am surprised that he would think, for a moment, that I am not grateful for what I have.

For those of you who haven't heard my story, I'm your classic rags to riches (well, rags to solidly-suburban-middle-class-two-income-not-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-but-still-can't-retire-to-Hawaii-yet) story. Born below the poverty line, worked on the farm, ate government cheese (yes, actual cheese distributed by the government), got free lunch in school, wore hand-me-down clothes, and babysat for $1 per hour to save money for school events. I put myself through college on a combination of scholarships and working, including a dual shift as the night clerk at a local motel, followed by morning at the McDonald's drive-in. Crappy uniform and all - would you like fries with that?

I earned my degrees - both of them. I took the CPA exam and passed it the first time (because I couldn't afford to pay a second sitting fee). I got a good job because I was a good student and CPA qualified and did a damn fine interview. Sue me. I found a great guy to marry who happened to have a good career opportunity, helped support him through finishing medical school and dragged my ass all over the country supporting his military career while trying to keep my own. I tended the home fires while he went to Iraq. And as if to keep me humble, just a short year and a half ago, my employer of 14 years handed me a 3 month notice and wished me luck finding a job in the worst economy in decades. Don't cry; I found a better job, and other than completely having to uproot my whole family, I would have to say we've landed ok.

While I think I have earned every thing I have, there is NEVER a day where I am not grateful for everything. Don't let my petty Facebook posting ever give you a different impression. But if we've turned Facebook into something other than a place where we can occasionally lament that our home team lost (or kicked your home team's butt), that our favorite nail color is no longer in the store, that the font on the new Facebook sucks, or that our au pair has a day off, just let me know and I'll sign up along with the rest of the world and only post deep, meaningful missives or thoughtful social and political commentary.

It spawned a debate in our house. Dr. Chako, totally offended, suggested I delete the comment, so as to avoid other friends and family members commenting and starting a Facebook fight (yes, sis, that means you). I suggested we ignore it - why give credence to someone who has missed the general intent of the post in the first place?

My only consolation that was less than 30 minutes after the comment was posted, the one person who the good Dr. was most worried about starting a Facebook fight, sent me a message, explaining her attempt to avoid getting in a Facebook fight. I give you the relevant bits, excerpted as I see fit:

"The eat-all-your-brussels-sprouts-because-there-are-children-starving-in-Africa bit is logic-less and tired. Just as anyone would, you have grown to love, enjoy and respect what you earned. . . . Ya know what? Fuck that person. . . . I have spoken. . . . I love you."

Yeah. What she said.

For those of you hoping to find deep social and political commentary here, move along. I love social debate as much the next intellectual nerd, but I'm a lover, not a fighter - I've seen what happens when I post my personal thoughts about my au pair having the day off. Heaven knows what kind of social unrest I could spawn if I actually took a stand on something meaningful.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

PS The spelling mistake in his post was left there. Intentionally. Call me petty. Maybe right after you call me insensitive.


DrChako said...

I suppose my Ferrari-themed posts are WAY out of bounds...

-The Husband

The Wife said...

You're beyond insensitive. You're just socially ridiculous. Might as well just post that you wipe your butt with Ben Franklins.

KenP said...

Well, if we do all the demographics and then sort, you may not be Ivory but you float fairly close to the top. Others who maybe put in as much effort with their capabilities have a right to be a bit envious. I'll give the guy some credit for voicing his.

When you went the the au whatever (even the word...) problems in WA, I think a number of us snickered over your problem set.

We all start out with some dreams. You guys pretty much got yours. I easily applaud that but I an old guy without the day to day of worrying about the kid needing shoes.

I think he just came at "count your blessing" from another obvious tack.

KenP said...

Damn, I wish there was an editor for this.

Now you'll be making fun of my typos.


KenP said...

And, I'd pay good money to see Doc whip his backside with a wood stove.

KenP said...

OMG another typo

I'm outta here.

BadBlood said...

I don't like the argument of "there's always someone less fortunate than you" because unless you're the one person at the top of the heap, "there's always someone MORE fortunate than you."

So really, you should lament more about the shoes you don't have and the Doc should complain a bit more about his USED Ferrari. :)

I'll be making a post about how I'm neither Mr. Olympia nor Bruce Jenner.

SirFWALGMan said...

Au Pairs are godsent angels from heaven.. except my mongloid one I hate.. but the last one was pretty good.. See I even run bad in the Au Pair department.

Now I am depressed. Thanks you insensitive person you!

The Wife said...

Ignoring your obvious spelling errors, Ken, never for a moment should you ever think that I'm not very happy to be sitting here with this "problem set" vs. the one my parents had. Even my job loss worked out better than I could have imagined. Fortunate indeed.

Maybe I was under the delusion that of all the people in the world who needed a public reminder of their insensitivities to the rest of the world, I wasn't at the top of that list this week.

How wrong (and insensitive) I was.

The Sister of DrChako and Mrs. Chako said...

As the person-most-feared-to-start-the-facebook-fight I have to say that I knew immediately that your comment was tongue-in-cheek. And now I will give one final plug to my favorite Dr. Maslow and his Heirarchy of Needs. They teach it to us in Officer Training School and I would recommend it as reading to anyone. Hooah. I love you sis! And if I ever become homeless, you can hire me as your Au Pair. Well, now that the boys are not in diapers at least.

Drizztdj said...

I've always been in the "if you earn it, you choose how to spend it" group.

Petty jealousy about money shows someone who values money too much.

I would be one of those paycheck-to-paycheck people, but because I took on a second job (and not horrible at playing poker) I have the cash to join bloggers in different states on a whim. It's not an Au Pair but I'll take dressing a Packer fan up in Vikings gear any day (except this year grrrrr)!

If that commentor wants an Au Pair, go earn one. I wanted job security and CPA cerification so I went back to school despite two kids and two jobs.

Effort may not give you everything, but it WILL give you a chance.

lightning36 said...

I wonder if perhaps the term "au pair" is most of the problem?

I am reminded of a time many years ago when the wife of a new physician who moved into town was lamenting how difficult of a time she was having because she could not decide which country club she and her hubby would join. : o )

Terms like au pair (and yeah -- Ferrari!) are usually associated with financial success. Sling these terms around some of the less affluent and you will probably get a comment or two similar to what you received.

People should never have to feel awkward for success they they have earned through hard work.

How to respond? Good question. I guess maybe whichever way might mitigate additional drama?

lightning36 said...

And is KenP turning into a post whore?

Muhaha : o )

DrChako said...

Interesting thought, Lightening. I hadn't considered that, especially since au pairs cost about 1/3 what a nanny costs.


DrChako said...

The other point is that the original post was on Facebook, which is theoretically just friends and family. If we have to "take care" of what we say around them, there's a problem.


The Wife said...

The other interesting thing is that an au pair costs the same (or less) than daycare or after school care, which is a staple in a two-career family (or to a single parent) and is essentially a cost of having a job.

So if I had said "my daycare is closed" would that have been less pretentious, even if it cost more?

Bayne_S said...

I am so off my game.

I saw Facebook comment yesterday and I failed to try to trigger a facebook skirmish.

Should we also refrain from comments indicating a happy relationship with our spouses to be sensitive to waffles?

Avoid wishing Happy Birthday to be sensitive to Lightning's and Ken's age?

SirFWALGMan said...

Ya you insensitive married people always flaunting your awesome love in my face! Shame Shame Shame! ;).

KenP said...

Well, I did elude to the Au whatchamacallit and Lightning fleshed out my meaning. You correct the misunderstand as an accounting professional. But, it is kinda she-she.

I know who you are and where you came from -- you've honestly shared that. I also recall your views of your brother and his very different approach to success. You aren't insensitive; you're just you.

That means a highly successful professional and, reading between the lines, you are killing the new job and adding success. I like you and others should.

But, others can also see the shoes and cars as lauding. I say it is your joy for life -- avoiding Frencifying the term.

You both respond to everybody as equals. I've certainly experience that. His remark was totally uncalled for but understandable under the circumstances. That doesn't make him right but it explains it in a way that doesn't call for retribution.

The Wife said...

Points taken Ken, which is why I took the high road and didn't respond (on Facebook anyway). Clearly something must be going on in his personal life to cause him to a big thing of something so insignificant.

I love the word "shi-shi" . . . although why is it French words sound shi-shi, but if I call her a babysitter, she sounds totally proleterian?

By now you guys should know me . . . even my baby sitter is the low cost option! And doc only got a car because his other one is paid off.

And except for that ridiculous pair of shoes my husband bought I'm quite proud of the fact that in my array of shoes, there is an enormously high concentration of shoes that were obtained from the 50-80% clearance rack and cost less than $25 per pair.

How else do you think I can afford to pay for fancy French babysitting services?

lightning36 said...

"And doc only got a car because his other one is paid off."

Oops - don't post this on facebook or more shi-shi might fly!

The Wife said...

Lightning, don't tell my husband, but I personally think the number of cars he possesses is completely unnecessary and shi-shi.

Tomorrow I'm going to post how we're eating oatmeal, washing my panties by hand in the sink, and going dumpster-diving for our Hanukah presents.


Schaubs said...

You wear panties?

I agree, if you had just written "damn baby sitter can't make it today"

no one would have said a word.

The Wife said...

Only on Wednesday, Schaubs. Or on days I like to add a little challenge to the agenda.

SirFWALGMan said...

Oooh you said Panties.. all is forgiven!

Anonymous said...

My better half won't get on facebook just because the things and people she probably would complain about are all her family so in her mind what's the point.

I too came from a similar background. I don't think we were as bad off as you were during my childhood, but I know we definitely were on the lower-end of middle class for sure.

I myself worked hard to get into a good college using scholarships and financial aid. It amazed me what my family lived on when I saw my financial aid papers.

My life experiences made me stronger. So now I am in the upper middle class and it was because of hard work. Yes life for everyone sucks at times and everyone can complain some.