Back in college, we used to play many a game to fill the long, winter dark, New England howling snow blizzard nights, willingly trapped in the middle of beautiful Nowhere, Vermont. One of our favorites was the zombie game, which took on many permutations and made up rules and scaring me witless in some dark, utterly creepy basement.
At the time I was newly Wilderness First Responder certified and creepy zombies in dark basements withstanding, thought I could handle anything tolerably well emergency wise. I was, after all, at a college that grew a good chunk of our own food, with the emphasis on infrastructure which could withstand petty things like power outages, of which we had our fair share on the worst days. We milked cows with our hands, broke iced over troughs with sledge hammers, kept our axes sharp and useful, pulled firewood out of the woodlot with draft horses and oxen. My WFR class covered the bare basics of everything from scene safety to stabilizing an impaled patient for a five mile evac over rough terrain. Bring it on, world.
Today I’m a bottom of the rung office peon struggling to loose weight and get fit for two main reasons, tackle the laundry monster, and keep the daily tally of self-inflicted injuries on my five year old to a minimum (this was a rough weekend, walls run into, a nice bee sting, a new tooth coming in which hurts to tears, copious amounts of pool water swallowed, plus a Nerf gun to the eye).
Who would you turn to when the world goes to shit? Who would you expect to know what to do, where to start in the event of being evacuated for a flood, wildfire, respond to a car accident? When my son’s school does a unit on work and the kid’s response is “All my mommy does is shuffle paperwork and use the computer all day!”, what the hell kind of answer is that?
A few years ago, I had enough encouragement, help, and wild hope to go back to school. I bombed the community college placement test in math so badly, I was relegated to Math 65, the college equivalent of “You know nothin’, Jon Snow!” Through a combination of self defeatism and floundering, I squeaked a miserable D out of that class.
To even apply for the paramedic program at PCC requires passing Math 95 with a C or better. That’s not to mention being able to figure out ratios of drugs to give to different patients under pressure, among everything else. So I gave up on that and moved on with other things.
Now I’m three years into office life and gaining steam on the mid-life, loosing my marbles crisis that I’d hoped to hold off, oh, until Kade graduated high school. It’s not enough for me, despite years of trying, to just bring home a paycheck, to keep the two areas of my life separated. I need work that matters, in some form or another, beyond the almighty dollar. When your own parents accuse you of being selfish, it tends to drive you either to bitter acceptance or overcompensation. But it’s hard to wiggle in decent volunteering time between said job, commute, bills, laundry, and trying desperately not to miss the best years of Kade’s life to said rat race.
For the straw that started panicking this poor camel of my life, my child care costs are going to double this fall when Kade’s in kindergarten. Oh, school is ‘free’, but it’s only 815-230 every day. Minus 28 days off of school for various things, plus, oh, summer! The plain fact is, I can’t afford good care for my son at my current salary, so something has to give.
Now it’s time to dip my toes into the possibility of more school, for something along the lines of paramedic or vet tech or something overall useful. I just have to fight with the math, not just to pass a test but to really grasp it, which I haven’t been doing since about middle school.
Or I could go be a hermit. That sounds fun to. I bet they don’t have to worry about intermediate algebra…