I was listening to Dennis Miller streaming the other day and as is so often the case he came up with another golden nugget-
"You're only as happy as your most miserable child."
We have just one child, but from watching others with a "Black Sheep" I can see that it's true...
You cannot avoid trying to herd that wayward sheep back into the fold. And unfortunately for some, the lost member of the flock sometimes doesn't take well to herding.
That's not the case with our young lamb... he doesn't enjoy the feeling of being lost.
He's been away from home three years now and has had an interesting time so far... at one point he had his full-time job and three part-time jobs. His full-timer was a 9 to fiver, and the part-timers were accomplished from his home office in front of his computer. For a while the money was flowing freely and he didn't have a care in the world. Then the 9 to 5 company pretty much went bankrupt and he started having to watch his pennies and dimes...
Still, there was enough to pay the bills and have discretionary money left over.
Then one of the part-time jobs folded.
Ouch. Now the outgo exceeds the income, and it's time to get serious about remedying that.
From a distance of 1700 miles we provided what support we could, which obviously wasn't much more than now-and-then advice. Staying in contact via cell phones and the occasional Skype video call is a comfort, but it's not the same as bein' able to reach out and hug your kid. He's not picky... would have taken a job as a greeter at a big-box store if it were offered. But of course, those hiring for those jobs look at his resume and fear if they hire him he'd soon find work more compatible with his abilities... they won't hire him.
So under these circumstances he went 8 months... I'm pretty proud of him actually... he had enough savings to pay his bills for 8 months before things got desperate. (He's still making enough money at the two remaining part-time jobs that he's not eligible for unemployment compensation.) His calls got more and more desperate and I finally said, "It's time for you to come back home so we can lend a hand."
Now, by "coming home" I don't mean "Move back under our roof", although that remains a last-choice option. Our thoughts were that he could move back to BigTown, two hours away, where I could use my network of friends and get him a "foot in the door" job where he could start over. Home for Thanksgiving, we imposed on several friends to try to find employment for him and they came through with flying colors. He was pretty much offered a job as a waiter at a restaurant that was being built and would open about the time he could get back in the area. He felt comfortable enough to sign a lease on a nice, nearby apartment. He went back home and we started making plans to pack a moving van and drive the two day drive back to the Midwest.
Then, guess what?
He got a job offer in L.A..
It's a dream job...
Well, almost. He doesn't want to live in the L.A. area... the traffic drives him crazy and he can't afford more than a one bedroom apartment there right now. But the job keeps him involved in the Science Fiction industry and will expose him to new faces and places there. The starting money is good and will get much better within the year.
Now it gets expensive, and he doesn't have much $$$ in reserve to play this game...
He has to break the lease he just signed in BigTown.
He has to cancel a contract he just signed with Dish Network.
He has to write a check for the lease on the new apartment in L.A., (a minimum 15-month lease, by the way.)
His old man is working Christmas night and will get off work the following morning. That day I'll fly to PHX and begin loading a moving van that will be headed West, rather than East. I have three days to get him moved and unpacked, then I'll be flying back home to spend my 29th Anniversary with my lovely bride. It's my hope I'll have enough energy remaining to stay awake and enjoy a little champagne.
Looking ahead at the next two weeks is no fun.
I hope, on 31 December when I'm watching the bubbles rise in that glass of champagne, we can finally relax and smile.
I'd appreciate your good vibrations, please.