Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Celebrating 20 years in America

I arrived at work at 4.25 a.m. Not because I am expected to. All that is expected of me is that I work 8 hours per day, though in my line of work an 8 hour day is almost unheard of, it is all that is expected. I am lucky enough to work for one of the many companies in Austin TX, where flexi time is part of the package, and as the company I work for is a 24 x 7 business, my personal choice to arrive so early is appreciated. The theory is that I can leave after 8 hours, which would, according to that theory, be 12.30.

Ha! that has never happened without me logging in from home and working at least another 3 hours. But I do usually get out of the office by 2.30.

Today, the 20th anniversary of my arrival in this country where the streets used to be paved with gold (apparently) I didn't get out of the office until 3.40 p.m. ahhhhhhhhh.. the whole purpose of getting there early is to miss the worst of the traffic, the afternoon rush starts at about 3 p.m. and I was in it. My commute is just short of 30 miles and on this my anniversary, it took me all of 50 minutes to get home. That is taking "freeway" all the way (well, 25 miles of the way), for my non-American readers, that means NO traffic lights, stop signs or yield signs. I might add the gold that once paved these strees is now being reaped by someone in the form of tolls.

Anyway.. where was I? oh, arriving home late, tired and frazzled, I had to log in to work and finish off a few things, effectively bringing my working day to 12 hours. My wonderful husband had done all the chores and was preparing dinner - ok, it was what used to be referred to as a TV dinner - but today is much healthier, and as mine was an Atkins frozen dinner, I am hoping it was ok.. probably full of salt, but believe me by that time I didn't care. I didn't have to do anything but sit and eat - oh and pour myself a decent glass of wine.

And that my friends is why life is good in America. My American husband is prepared to do as much of the household chores as I do, he doesn't just cook TV dinners, he grills regularly (barbecues for my European readers - in Texas Barbecue is something you can't imagine and I am sorry for you because it is amazing). He does the laundry, he does it all.

I am not saying that Irish men don't do that - what do I know? I left 20 years ago and I do know that both of my sons do as much - but I believe they are better than most (but I would believe that anyway). But, back to life in America. I not only have a job that I love, that is challenging and pays well - I am appreciated and valued - but I actually have a job. Yet 20 years ago when I left Ireland, I couldn't even get an interview, let alone a decent job.

Whatever America's faults, I am prepared to believe that the virtues far outweigh the faults. Sometimes even I need to stand back and look at the silver lining.