Thursday, May 1, 2014

Goin' to Home Ec in a Handbasket

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop 2014.

I became a Home Ec teacher.

Well, technically I'm a long-term substitute Family and Consumer Science Teacher. But when I teach it, it's Home Ec.

I guess it's not funny ha-ha, unless you're part of my immediate family or friends. Judging from their responses when I told them the news, the thought of me teaching youngsters how to cook and sew correctly and successfully is pee-your-pants funny.

And it's not funny ironic, because irony doesn't mean what anyone thinks it does. Then again, a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected” (thank you Merriam-Webster) does pretty much sum things up. I certainly wouldn't describe myself as your typical “Becky Home-Ecky.” More of a “Becky's Home's Wreckied.”

It's more like funny in a way that makes you go “Hmmm, well, that settles it. The world as we know it is truly going to hell in a handbasket and I have front row seats.

I myself believe it's just another one of those things that proves that God has a sense of humor, and I am the butt of the joke.

I was at a crossroads. I enjoyed my part-time job(s), but I was approaching (yes, damn it, approaching) middle-age with no a clear career path in sight. Whether we like it or not, many people – at least me – define themselves by their jobs and/or income earning potential. Although wife/mother/daughter is a more-than-full-time job with great benefits (usually), the earning potential is, shall we say, non-existent. Ditto with my current blogging initiative.

It was time for me to decide whether I wanted to write, or get off the pot and find a job that actually paid enough cash for me to buy those new shoes I wanted.

So I did what any rational, well-educated, independent, self-sufficient, Catholic-convert gal would do.

I prayed.

“Please God, send me a sign. Should I purse my life-long dream of becoming a writer, or settle for a life of toil and drudgery as a slave to the man?” (I wasn't at all biased.)

Then I received an email notifying me that registration for the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop had just opened.

So I applied.

And lo! As choirs of angels sang, I was bathed in a golden light and a confirmation email was delivered unto me: “Congratulations! You will be attending the EBWW in Dayton, Ohio, in April.” The world is your oyster, huzzah, huzzah! (OK, I might have imagined that last part).

Then I received another email.

Was I interested in a long-term, part-time substitute position teaching Family and Consumer Science at the local high school?

Really, God? Did I lisp? I said “sign,” singular. As in one clear, neon-arrow, you-are-here sign.

Now, considering I had just put the four-day workshop, and five-night hotel stay on my credit card – and that the combined monthly income from my two part-time jobs would cover about one tank of gas for the drive out there, it was a pretty tempting offer. Maybe God had a plan after all?

Tempting, even though I'm an English and Communications major, with a license to teach English and Journalism. Hmmm, back to that sign thing. Did you really think this over? Did I forget to sign my name on my prayer? I'm already working as a part-time bookkeeper... how much different could teaching Home Ec be?

A lot, as it turns out.

But, long-story short(ish), after spending nearly a month panicking, updating my substitute teaching license, and scouring the internet for lesson plans, I was teaching Home Ec, I mean Family and Consumer Science.

No. I mean Home Ec.

I realize “Family Consumer Science” is the politically correct term, chosen to more accurately depict the wide range of topics studied. However, given that “Economics” is “the social science that studies the behavior of individuals, households and organizations... when they manage or use scarce resources, which have alternative uses, to achieve desired ends” (thank you Wikipedia), I think that Home Ec pretty much sums up “Family Consumer Science,” and does so in fewer words.

And people know what you're talking about when you say Home Ec.

Use words you know. That's what I learned from being an English and Communications major.

Maybe they aren't so different after all. Maybe a sign is a sign, after all.

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