Sunday, March 13, 2011


The kids are sick. So what's new? Sometimes we adults manage to dodge the the germs and sometimes we don't, but I often feel like I should just have the kids cough directly into my mouth so as to end the suspense. Due to excess booger production, Stella is picking her nose even more than usual these days, if that's possible. After months of hounding her about the habit, we've now gotten to the point where she sometimes puts a blanket over her head before picking her nose. Victory! I try to tell myself she is merely practicing her fine motor skills, as she lovingly rolls her new-found treasures between her fingers.

Speaking of victory, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has succeeded in passing legislation severely restricting collective bargaining rights of public employees, and increasing the contributions they are required to make towards their fringe benefits. He's also proposed a cut of more than $800 million to public schools. In general I think this is bad news, very bad news, but I'm trying to find a silver lining and I think I've got one: the number of highly-qualified babysitters who will work for peanuts is going to absolutely go through the (poorly maintained due to years of budget restrictions and deferred maintenance) roof. Think about it -- all those teachers getting laid off and looking for work when there is none! They will be POUNDING at my door, master's degree diplomas in hand, begging me to let them watch Stella and Baby W. They will be welcome to try to collectively bargain with me, just so long as they are clear that I will pay them in pocket lint.   For benefits, they are free to eat any unidentified food-like substances that they pick off the baby, something I catch myself absent-mindedly doing all the time.

The one area where the governor is proposing that Wisconsin spend its money is state highways. To sum up the governor's proposed budget: Down with schools, up with roads. Again, I'm trying to find a silver lining and I think I've found one -- forget biotech, truck driving is going to be THE growth industry of the future in Wisconsin. We are planning to save a lot of money by having Stella skip college and instead learn how to keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down. (This is trucker slang I picked up from one of Stella's library books.) Given how nice our roads are going to be in this state, it's definitely not too early to get even Baby W started on his CDL certification. He will also have to learn to refer to state highway patrol officers as "smokeys," but surely that's not too much of a sacrifice to make to help the state balance its books.

I just did some research on the internet to see how much truck drivers earn, and it looks like they average just under $40,000 a year. That's not bad, although I'm sure driving a truck can be hard, boring work. If there are truck drivers out there who are looking to make a change, I know a place that's hiring where you never get lonely and things are always different from day to day. The pay isn't great, but it's the benefits that really pull you in -- those bits of crud you pick off the baby can be really delicious.

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