Fucking raisins, man

Let’s be honest. The stay at home gig isn’t glamorous or sunshine and roses every day. I will NOT miss the grand mal tantrums. The flipping chaos over a box of raisins is unbelievable. My toddler is crying like he’s being stabbed … in the head. Fucking raisins, man.

Although I still don’t want to go back to work in a week. The heaving heartsickness of it all is almost too much to bear.

Stupid, random, ridiculous luck


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Michael Grabbel of ProPublica wrote an in-depth provocative look at the rise of the temp worker in America. It was published in TIME Magazine, The 4. A.M. Army: Every morning, hundreds of thousands of workers show up for jobs that are unseen, uncertain and underpaid—and vital to the U.S. economy. This piece was a collaboration between Time and ProPublica showing us what it’s like to be a part of the booming temp industry. Spoiler alert: The workers’ lives are not booming.

You can read the article to get the specifics. Basically, temp workers are not covered by workmen’s comp insurance, they aren’t backed by unions (this is starting to change, albeit very slowly), they’re paid less than minimum wage, they have to pay their own money to get to their work sites (even though they’re not supposed to), their jobs aren’t guaranteed, they have no federal protection, and they have nearly zero chance at upward mobility.

The article featured Rosa Ramirez as an example of what life is like for a temp worker.

Ramirez lives in the living room of an old Victorian boardinghouse. There is a cheap mattress on the floor, and a sheet covers the French doors that separate her room and the hallway. The rent is $450 a month, which she splits with her boyfriend, who works as a carpet installer. She shares the kitchen and bathroom with another family. A trap by her door guards against the rats that have woken her at night.

Her statement at the end of the article had my flaming liberal heart in a vice.

Passing through Chicago’s working-class suburbs recently, Ramirez pointed to a row of small, red brick homes. “I’ve always dreamed of having a little house, a really small little house,” she said. Asked whether she thought she’d ever be able to buy one, she laughed. “Earning $8.25 an hour?” she said. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that.

The whole system that proliferates these injustices on the people who are most scared to speak up (since they have the most to lose) makes me so angry. You hear about WalMart rolling back prices all the time. That’s because they spend less money on labor. They don’t have to pay full-time wages or health benefits or retirement savings. It just makes me sick. I don’t know enough about the political machinations that contribute to this inequitable system. But I do know when you support companies who unfairly treat their employees, you are participating in that cycle. Just like when you support companies that conduct animal research, you are also responsible for their pain and suffering.

In the TIME online discussion, the first question asked who companies outsource their labor to temp agencies.

This isn’t easy to answer because corporations aren’t required to report which temp agencies they work with and temp agencies aren’t required to report who they serve. But we were surprised to find these workers in the supply chains of some of America’s best known companies and brands – Walmart, Macy’s, Nike, FritoLay, Fresh Express, Del Monte, Marlboro, Sony, Smirnoff, Walgreen’s.

Once you know something, you can’t un-know it. When you know a company treats its workers as no better than slave labor, it’s really hard to justify buying their goods again. I don’t know what the answer is for the consumer who wants to make more ethical choices. At times I do feel stuck between a horrible choice and a slightly less horrible choice. But just because we don’t know the clear answer doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask the questions.

If you are in any position to make choices you probably have some disposable income. Disposable income is what separates us from the temp workers. This poor woman has busted her ass for more than a decade and yet her bedroom is a mattress in a rat-ridden boardinghouse? I feel like the frickin’ King of England in comparison. Who am I to be upset that I can’t afford organic eggs or that I can’t fix the rear defrost on my car. I have a kitchen! I have a car! I have a full-time permanent job that pays me health insurance and allows me to contribute to a 401(k) plan and pays me for vacation time and sick time. How did I get so lucky? So much of life is luck. It is stupid, random, ridiculous luck. It’s not just that I had an education or I worked hard; it’s that I happened to be born to parents who believe in education. That I happened to be born to parents who live in America. That I happened to be born to parents who weren’t starting out in debt. That I happened to be born to parents who had access to birth control.

That is what people don’t get when they bitch about “entitlement” programs. They forget we weren’t all born at the same starting line, with an emergency fund, in a good school, with family members who could help out when it was tough, in a community that valued education and minimized crime. I was born lucky. That’s all it was. Stupid, random, ridiculous luck.

I got lucky when I married my husband and his mom gave us money. That was money we could put as a down payment on a house. That was money that allowed us to build equity. That was money that will allow us to give a child their own bedroom one day and it won’t be on a mattress in a rat-ridden apartment. I got lucky when my grandfather died and left my parents money so that they could save to send us to college so I would graduate with minimal student loan debt. When you graduate school and you join the workforce, the kids with the least debt are the furthest ahead of their peers. They will always be further ahead. So much of life is crappy luck, but so much provides fortunes that are beyond Rosa Ramirez’s wildest dreams.

I don’t have the answer to this multifaceted, global problem of temp workers. Today I know these truths: I can pay more money for a product from a more ethical company. I can be grateful for all the people who helped me along the way. I can pay it forward.

Does society brainwash men to desire certain female physical attributes?


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Dustin Hoffman says yes. I saw this posted on Buzzfeed for a few days and just now got around to watching it. It’s short. It’s three minutes. In it he talks about the premise of the movie Tootsie, where he dressed as a woman, albeit a not that stereotypically attractive woman. Notice what he says and how he chokes up around the 2:30 mark.

It’s amazing to see a man affirm what women have known and have suffered for for centuries. There is an assumption in our world that to be attractive a few things must be in place: long hair (have you ever seen a Victoria’s Secret model with a pixie cut?), big boobs, a proportionate waist-to-hip ratio, flawless skin, legs where you ankles are more narrow than your calves, etc. I don’t need to itemize what everyone knows. Look at the cover of any magazine. Why do women always appear nearly naked and men with clothes on? Because women are judged on appearance and men are judged on their worth. Have you see Alan Thicke’s latest video? Naked women and a man in a suit and tie and a button down shirt. What does that say? It says, look at the woman’s body, that’s what’s important, but listen to the man singing, he can offer something. Personally I think he’s an awful singer, but you get the point. Women are to be looked at and men can be covered up because their physical attractiveness isn’t that important to their success and what they offer the world.

This is sexism. It’s not always conveyed as a woman being denied a CEO job. Sexism is when the world treats you differently just because a few genes collided to give you a vagina instead of a penis. And then the world heaped different unrealistic expectations on you.

This starts so early on. How many of us interact with a young girl and say, “Oh Ellie, your shoes are so sparkly. Oh Lisa, I love that bow in your hair. It’s so pretty”? Yet, when we see boys we talk with them about what they do, about action. “Oh Ben, that car is really cool. How fast can you make it go? Oh Jack, I heard you ran around the playground five times this morning.”

Start noticing. Take a minute to change your patterns. Stop sexism.

The SCOTUS decisions still aren’t enough. Do something!


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From my sister (since she added her “wife” to her health plan at work; I put wife in quotes because she resides in a state that doesn’t allow same-sex marriage):

“Holy shit, my paycheck is $500 smaller! It appears they took out my regular cost for insurance on the pre-tax side and then took out the total for me AND mary on the post -tax side, meaning they double-charged me. And holy shit what bullshit that I have to pay for her health insurance AFTER taxes and I’m guessing the DOMA defeat won’t change that at all. I really hope the increased over $100 in federal taxes alone as well as in increase in all the other taxes is some kind of mistake. My god! Why in the hell would they go up that much?? It couldn’t possibly because Mary’s health insurance is a taxable benefit right? I am freaking out waiting for the HR woman to call me back.”


“It’s an after-tax thing for a “domestic partner” because you’re not married and they’re federal taxes so you can’t have that money withheld before taxes like everything else since it’s basically a company choice to even cover this adult stranger on your plan — the government won’t allow you to do it pretax. I mean you can even imagine the bureacratic reaches of discrimination? And this is why companies like Google pay their gay employees these differences because otherwise they get less take-home money than their straight counterparts. God just thinking about it makes my blood boil and I KNOW some people think we should just stop complaining all the time. GODDDDDDDD … My taxes went up $170 dollars because the health plan for mary is taxable and counts as income and so I am taxed on it. I’m just sitting here crying. It’s so unfair. That’s a $2040.00/year gay tax!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

People are ferociously discriminated against in our world. You don’t have to live in the WWII era or a concentration camp to see that straight people get PRIVILEGES that other people DO NOT GET! We get more money because of it. We have an easier time with taxes because of it. We face less questions because of it. We don’t have to sweat who can see us if we end up in ER. More than ONE THOUSAND federal laws discriminate against gay people. It is an injustice on a massive scale. In Michigan there is a constitutional amendment to BAN gay people from marrying each other. That stuff poliferates because the people who are privileged lean back and do nothing. Call a senator today. Send an email. Do something! Raise your voice. Make this issue matter.