For better and for worse...

>> Thursday, 6 March 2008

So, you heard it here first. The 'credit crunch' is real, and there are human casualties - namely, Husband. He was made redundant in January in the first of what will no doubt be many rounds of firing, by the world's most profitable company. No names, no pack drill, but if you look for details on a bank that is due to get rid of somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 people on a world-wide basis, it won't take you long to work out which one.

Are we upset? More to the point, is he upset?

Well, yes and no.

It's definitely time to move on, however it happened. He's disillusioned with the structure, he's been there long enough to have a respectable number of years on his cv, he's outlasted almost all his contemporaries and made it further up the ladder than he thought he might, and a bit of time at home with us is going to be great. (He says).

But he's worked his butt off for this company since he returned from his stint in Russia. He's put in hours that make people unconnected with the world of high finance blink and say 'But not every week, surely?', but which we have become accustomed to. I learnt long ago not to count on holidays actually happening (or, when they did happen, that they would be uninterrupted by his needing to fly out for a day or two to a meeting), or to rely on his being available for anything during the week, because the chances were strong that, having started at 7.30am, he would still be unable to get home much before midnight. Around 4 days a week. Or more, if he were working on a deal.

You think this is bad? You should try being a junior associate in one of these companies. All nighters were frequent in his first 2 - 3 years. We often said that it was a blessing we met when he was working in Russia because at least it gave our relationship a better chance of survival - with his working 2000 miles away - than it would have had if we hadn't got together before he started in the depths of the City.

Of course, I hear you saying; but what about the bonus? Didn't that make it all worthwhile? No doubt you've heard tell of these fat cats taking home millions every year to their mansions in Knightsbridge, and storing it in offshore accounts to avoid being taxed.

Ha! And thrice, Ha!

Of course there are people who benefit like that; but let me tell you, as in so many stories that the press pump out, in reality they are few and far between.

So, he is just a little downcast right now. Not only because of his current situation, but also because he enjoyed his job, and it looks unlikely the banks will be hiring again until much later this year. Which leads me neatly on to my dilemma in all this.

No, not will he get another job. Of course he'll get another job. It just won't be tomorrow. And in the meantime...

What the hell am I going to do with him around the house?

And before you suggest it, me getting a job is not an option - much as I might want to. He's likely to be away consulting for the next few weeks, so I still need to be here to hold the fort. (Plus, after 2 years of questioning whether being home was the right thing for our family, I've finally started to enjoy it. So sue me...)

But in the meantime, we've already had the arguments over my incorrect stacking of the dishwasher. I am ineffecient, apparantly. Are the plates clean? I ask. That's not the point, I'm told. I bite my tongue. (I am doing a lot of that recently). We reach a compromise: I won't mention the un-emptied gym bag or the coffee cups left around the place, he mustn't criticise the way I stack the blasted dishwasher.

We've had conversations about the time I leave to collect the Boys from school. Too early, he suggests? Only if you don't have to fight the mafia-black 4x4's for one of only a few parking spaces, I reply. But if it bothers you that much, be my guest, darling. You go.

And do we really need to take supplies of drinks and biscuits on the afore-mentioned school run? Can't the Boys wait until they get home, it is only a few minutes drive, after all? OK, buster (through gritted teeth). You try not taking the in-flight refreshments. I will make sure I'm out when you get back so I don't have to listen to the wails approaching up the street of two hungry and thirsty pre-schoolers who are convinced the world has turned upside down because there is no apple juice or low-sugar biscuit in the car... (Although of course when Daddy picks them up the excitement at such an unusual event cancels out the need for food and drink. Little traitors).

Today's topic was a doozy.

I always try and leave it 48 hours in between trips to the gym (often, of course, it's a great deal longer, but let's not dwell on that fact). This is to give my basically non-sporty body the chance to recover from the shock it gets when I do any kind of fitness-like activity. Not necessary, I'm told. Your body can take a lot more than you think, it seems. Apparantly, since Husband's intensive training and weight loss programme started at the beginning of the year, he has realised that the 48 hour thing is a myth. (How much does it piss you off, by the way, when men lose weight by only doing a few swims and cutting out their mid-morning cappucino? 5 kilos in 5 weeks? Gah!) Anyway, never mind that I have spent 12 years or so slogging away on the treadmill and he is only a convert to the gym for the last couple of months; I am doing it all wrong.

I bite my lip, and stick to my guns. No, I am not going today - not even if it does fit in with your schedule better, beloved.

And so it goes on.

But on the plus side, it actually is quite cool to see more of him. I did marry him, after all...


GoneBackSouth 6 March 2008 at 21:50  

It's irritating to bicker over silly little things isn't it? But it seems to come as part of the marriage deal, sadly. I do the in-car snack thing too, because it makes the 10 minute drive home more bearable!
Anyway I'm glad Husband isn't working such insane hours anymore - I hope when he gets a new job he doesn't have to work so hard.

Tracey 6 March 2008 at 21:59  

And I thought my other half went away a lot. (Though being away for three weeks at a time was not uncommon... if not more...) But funny how I recognise the little 'criticisms' bit though, now that he's home more. I think if he was between jobs I might just strangle him, so you're doing well I think. (And yes, yes, yes about the males losing weight easier thing! Grrrr.)
Hope he finds another good job soon. (Or when he and you are ready anyway!)

Mya 6 March 2008 at 22:34  

Beware! He'll be muscling in on your blogging time next. Put up a fight Potty Mummy!

I do the school run snack thing - it's insanity not to.

Mya x

Jonny's Mommy 7 March 2008 at 02:38  

Yes, I hate how we have to work and work at losing weight and they walk across the floor and drop five pounds.

And isn't it great how they are know-it-alls when we're the ones who've been doing most of the child rearing. Just one day they were like "Hey, I've got an idea. Let's do it all differently now that I'm home."

Dumb a****!

Expatmum 7 March 2008 at 04:08  

Just to give you a silver lining, my hubby worked a lifetime at a certain big accounting firm that foled under the Enron scandal some years back. He was a partner when this happened, this meaning that we lost a shit load of money in his partner units as well as his job.
I had been moaning at him for a few years to get out and do something on his own, but there's a certain corporate loyalty (or something) there that prevents this. Since that company went under, he has started his own company, (at some risk to us initially), is dealing with people he wants to deal with, I won't say working when he wants to but he has managed to pass a lot of the travel on further down the line, and we have at least 4 out of 5 family dinners together per week. As they say, when one door closes, another opens. It will work out.
In the meantime, I suggest he spends "a week in your shoes" just to get a feel for it.

Expatmum 7 March 2008 at 04:09  

That would be "folded".

aims 7 March 2008 at 05:09  

Girl - I have a line that works every time....

Whenever he makes any 'suggestions' around the house...I start wailing in a very plaintive voice..

"You don't love me!"

it's wonderful! and I use it for everything now!

grit 7 March 2008 at 10:57  

housework? he does housework? send him here.

Potty Mummy 7 March 2008 at 13:36  

GBS, thanks. I know we all (or most of us, anyway) bicker - but it makes it much better to hear that! As for the shorter hours, we'll see. The plan at the moment is to try and stay in the banking world - so it will probably be same shit, different employer... (do I sound cynical and jaded at all?)

Tracey - soon would be better... although not before May. We are taking the opportunity to visit your home continent for a few weeks - more of which on another post - so he better not start before mid-June. Not that I'm fussy, or anything!

Mya, over my dead body! If he wants to blog he can start his own...

J's Mommy - you took the words right out of my mouth!

EPM, thanks. I know it's for the best in the long run, it's just a little tense at this stage... As long as we don't end up moving to Russia (which unfortunately is not beyond the realms of possibility), I can handle it. And I can probably handle it if we do, too. Though I may have to give up my embargo on fur coats...

Aims - I think your man must be rather more sympathetic than mine. Husband would just start wearing noise cancelling head phones if I tried that...

Grit, thanks for the visit and 'housework' is of course a relative term. For example, I was told a couple of days ago that Husband would wash up after dinner. What he actually meant was he would stack and start the blasted dishwasher. Anything left over was left on the side - for the washing-up fairy to deal with later.

Sure you still want him?

Iota 9 March 2008 at 00:55  

A mother is Chairman and CEO in her own home. Woe betide any man who fails to understand that.

I have an expatmum silver lining story too. Husband was ousted from his job, decided to do a major career change, felt very risky at the time, he now LOVES his job, is much much happier, much better prospects, it meant we spent 6 lovely years in Scotland, and then had the opportunity of a lifetime to come to the American Midwest. Um, that last bit doesn't read quite right, does it? You get my drift though.

Suburban Turmoil 9 March 2008 at 03:28  

Oh my. It will be challenging to have him around the house. Men like to be the boss whether they're in the workplace or at home... My husband does the very same thing when he's around the house. I tell him it would be like me coming to work one day and rearranging his desk to the way I like it and then giving him a list of tips on how to do his job better!

Potty Mummy 9 March 2008 at 14:24  

Iota, thankyou. A silver lining story is just what I need right now - especially when Husband is in freezing Moscow discussing (short-term, I hope) career opportunities over there... (Not that I don't want to go or anything, but... I DON'T WANT TO GO!)

Lindsay, thanks for stopping by, and I've had exactly the same conversation with my husband. Like, EXACTLY. I still don't think he got it, though...

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