Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hail to the Chief

If you're good at interpreting dreams, read on. I could use your advice.

If you're not, but you'd like to know what goes on in my head during REM stage, feel free to stick around.

* * * * *

I don't know where the husband was. I was still me. Still my age. Still had two boys. But I either wasn't married, or he wasn't relevant to the dream.

I sat on the bed next to the red-headed 20-something year old. He kind of had that lean, athletic, but not filled in kind of body that 20-somethings are prone to have with sky-high metabolisms. That flop of red hair fell over his forehead while he read the letter; I absentmindedly stroked the freckles on his bare shoulders, kissing the nape of his neck.

"I guess I was just elected president," he said, letting the letter drop. I could see the official seal. For some reason, I was neither surprised nor did I find it odd that they'd waived the usual age requirement for the leader of the free world. So what if the next president of the United States looked like a cross between Ron Weasley and Eric Stoltz, was dating a 40+ year old woman with two kids, and was technically young enough to be my son?

He stood up, walking to the window, running his hand through his hair. His face was a mask of concentration, but I couldn't help but notice how the fine hairs on his stomach caught the sunlight. "Well this is going to make your resume interesting," I laughed. "Fast food worker; Spanish tutor; laboratory assistant; . . . President of the United Sates." I got up and walked around to kiss him, but he reached down to pick up the letter, avoiding my kiss.

I felt myself panicking: Was it the kids? My age?

* * * * *

Before I could heap anymore insecurities on the list, I found myself awake in the dim light of morning, my bed occupied by one age-appropriate Dr Chako, who was currently still employed as a doctor.

So what is it? A deep down desire to date a red-headed 2o-something? Or date the POTUS? Or a deep-seated fear of another upcoming birthday?


Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Want to Be a Vet

If one of my kids said that to me today, I would assume it meant that their love of animals, particularly dogs, had inspired a career choice in the veterinary sciences.

With Veteran's Day right around the corner, why wouldn't I think they meant a "vet" in the military sense? Because no one "wants" to be a vet. Some people want to be soldiers. Some people want a military career. Heck, some people just want a job and the military is a good place to get one - 3 squares a day, a roof over your head, a uniform , and all the on-the-job training you can handle.

To be a vet, in the truest sense of the word, you need to have been in active military service and have involvement in and direct exposure to acts of military conflict. No one wakes up and says "hey, I feel like being in a military conflict today". Well, no sane person does. But thousands of people still sign up for a career that could thrust them into conflict at any time, and ask for the ultimate sacrifice - their life.

It's a little crazy. I mean, if my employer said "Hey, we want you to come analyze the financial results of our mega-sized global IT company, and, oh by the way, if we feel like it, we could send you off to Brazil to fight IBM." I think I'd be opting for underemployed CPA or hausfrau.

Regardless of the insanity, I'm glad someone does it. I don't want to get all political about what conflicts we should be in or not - sure it was easier when the Japanese were bombing the crap out of Hawaii and were a mere hours from our continental coastline or the Germans were off gassing Jews by the millions. But we choose to have a military in this country, and we have brave people who line up to put their lives on the line at a moment's notice when our elected officials determine we need to be involved in a conflict.

So as we approach this Veteran's Day, without commentary on the politics behind which conflicts we get involved in, here's to:
  • My dad, for building bridges in Korea in 1950
  • My uncle, for his time in Vietnam
  • My husband, for his medical talents in Iraq
  • My sister in law, stationed in Afghanistan as we speak
  • My countless friends who have served or are serving
  • Many more friends who could easily be tapped any day to do the same

Hat's off to your sacrifice, and may you find your way back safely to your friends and family when your service is done.

May we remember the few who did not make it back.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

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.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dear Mr. Intercontinental Bank Plc . . .

Dear Mr. Colin H. Martin, staff, Intercontinental Bank Plc:

As a former auditor, I was extremely skeptical and when I read your email, as I was certain this was another one of those bank scams. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I realized this wasn't some phony deal with same fake Nigerian diplomat trying to move his fake money out of Nigeria without political intervention. I mean, really . . . why would the Nigerian government pick me?

Clearly your responsibility for handling Mr. Ken Lay and Mr. Jeffrey Skilling's money through unnamed company accounts is a respectable and legitimate endeavor that your bank has entrusted to you, unlike that Nigerian money laundering stuff. It is unfortunate that their present circumstances (death and incarceration), combined with their lack of a named beneficiary on these accounts means their legitimate heirs won't benefit. However, as you must certainly feel, knowing their role in the Enron debacle, perhaps it seems just and fitting that for men who orchestrated one of the worst financial shams in the world, their personal fortunes could now be able to be so easily co-opted by the man who helped them shelter their ill-gotten gains in the first place.

Certainly you are entitled to use this money for your own personal benefit; after all, think of the burdens you must have had to bear during the highly-publicized downfall of Enron, knowing that you helped these men of questionable ethics drowning in their own sea of financial amorality, shelter the very money they effectively stole from thousands of employees, retirees, and pension-holders. No amount of money can compensate you for having to compromise your own ethics and personal beliefs to help them gain from the financial ruin of others.

As such, I am more than happy to help you claim your portion of the $25 million now sitting in your bank with no official claim. I do realize how it may look like a conflict of interest if you were to go directly to the bank and claim this money yourself, so feel free to use me as the appropriate beneficiary. Although I have no personal or business relationship to Mr. Lay or Mr. Skilling, and have never had any investment in Enron, I am certain you chose me for my personal financial acumen and demonstrated fiscal responsibility. Certainly the bank officials will understand that rationale. I am also confident that your assurances that this will be handled in accordance with International Monetary Guidelines will not raise any undue attention around the transfer. Given the significant amount of documentation you've already done to enable that transfer, I believe your request of a commission of 60% of the funds is certainly fair and reasonable.

Attached please find the information on my personal accounts and data you require to effect the transfer. Look forward to seeing the money in my accounts soon. I am hopeful you can complete this transaction prior to Hanukkah; between this and the distribution I am still expecting from my investments with a Mr. Bernie Madoff, I may be able to buy my husband the new Ferrari he wants, and maybe pick up the tab for my friends in Vegas in December.

Fiscally yours,

The Wife

PS - I also included my social security number - I figured you might need it to complete the transfer to my bank accounts.

PPS - Just in case anyone asks, my first pet was named "Queenie"