Why I Love and Cherish My Blue-Collar Husband

Why I Love and Cherish My Blue-Collar Husband

His drive, dedication and focus outshine his work clothes every day.

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He comes home from work and I smell the scent of old copper pipes before he even walks into the door. His hands are calloused and rough from entire mornings and afternoons working under houses and his face is often smeared with black grease. I have to do laundry almost every day to keep up with the dirt he tracks in on his blue uniform. He is tired as soon as dinner is over and wakes up before anyone else in the house is even stirring. He is a plumber by trade, and a husband and daddy by choice and I am forever grateful for him.

If you were to ask my husband when he was 16, during the year that we first met in the halls of our local high school, what he wanted to be when he grew up, chances are he would have given you his trademark side grin and said he wanted to be an actor. In fact, he toured the campus of UNC Wilmington that year and seriously considered enrolling in their theater production and fine arts program. Yet, during the tour, he asked a current professor and professional actor one poignant question that changed the course of his life forever. "What is your family life like?" he had inquired. The man paused for a moment and replied "Especially at first, this job can be hard on a family. Acting is rarely stable. In fact, most days it's feast or famine. You either have a great gig that pays the bills for a few months or you're left waiting tables waiting on the next offer to come in. It makes it hard to provide for a family and be there for them when you're needed the most."

Upon hearing that, my husband almost immediately gave up any dreams of Hollywood and instead, went to North Carolina State University to major in business. At the time, he wasn't sure what kind of business he wanted to pursue, but a few years down the road, the answer fell into his lap. His 85-year-old grandfather was thinking of giving up the family plumbing business and wanted to know if he was interested in taking it over. A B.S. in Business Management under his belt, he agreed this would be a natural next step. He studied for, took and passed his state licensing exam. We moved back to our sleepy little hometown, I took a job as a technical writer and he became a professional plumber.

For five years, he went to his grandparents' house every morning, suited up in his blues, and helped his grandfather get into the old work truck. Together, they would help customers, fix leaky pipes, repair commodes, install water heaters and just about anything else that anyone needed to be done. We went shopping for steel-toe work boots, learned how to repair them on a dime and make them last as long as possible, and invested in long johns for the cold season when winterizing a home was enough to chill you to the bone. We became a working man's family, used to long hours, emergency repair calls in the middle of the night, and a hamper that always smelled of metal fittings.

The job gave his grandfather something to look forward to. It gave my husband a chance to spend time with his grandparents. His grandmother would fix them breakfast and lunch and they made some of their most sacred and cherished memories around that small, modest white kitchen table during our newlywed years. With a minor in graphic design, he helped modernize the company just a little, giving it a new logo, creating a magnetic sign for the truck, printing business cards and even creating a website advertising their services. Yet, at the core, the business still had the same heart. They were still the two local plumbers that would help an elderly woman fix a running sink at midnight or install a fleet of new commodes in a shiny new office building with equal gumption and drive.

Now, his grandmother is in a nursing home and his grandfather has moved into an assisted living facility, spending most of his day driving to see her and spend time with her in the shared, communal living room. They are preparing to sell their little house in the middle of town, the one where they shared so many meals during those formative years. It's the same place I would bring my babies in the afternoon to help make apple pie, watch television or raid their incredible ice cream stash. My husband manages the company on his own, though he plans to expand in the future. Turns out, it's just not as fun riding around in the work truck without your trusted companion and mentor by your side.

We have two children now, and every afternoon we wait by the old screen door to see papa pull into the driveway. Even though I'm sure his day full of manual labor was exhausting, overwhelming and stressful, he still finds the energy to stoop down to their level, swoop them both up into his arms and twirl them around on the driveway as the sun sets. He's our hero and we are blessed to call him ours.

Today and every day, I am grateful to be yoked to someone who knows the value of hard work, is dedicated to his craft and gives so much of himself on a daily basis to provide a comfortable life for himself and those he loves. No, it's not as glamorous as a cushy office job. Yes, there are days when I wish he was home at 5:00 on the dot, wearing a suit I didn't have to deep clean every evening. Still, I wouldn't trade this setup for the world. He works hard and loves deeply and that is a combination that is not easy to come by in today's society. We are forever thankful to be on the receiving end of such devotion and will work just as hard to make sure he feels equally cherished.

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If The Last 11 U.S. Presidents Were Michael Gary Scott, We'd Probably Be Better Off

The times Michael Scott inhabited the spirit of every modern-era president

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No job in human history is as stressful and mentally exhausting as being the president of The United States.

No one in the world but five living people knows what it's like to have the free world on your shoulders.

Only one person who never took the oval office truly understands the gifts and burdens of it, and that man is Dunder Mifflin's paper company leader Michael Scott.

Scott handled situations and connected with his peers that no leader in the country ever could or would. So it's no coincidence that he channeled the spirit of every presidential administration during his lifetime. Or at least the ones who were on colored television.

Note: This list is not a stage for political opinions of any current or former administrations. It is for humor and satire only. If you find any of these Michael Scott gifs offensive either:

1. Ignore it and carry on

2. Share it on your platforms talking about how outraged you are, I'll gladly take the extra views!

Enjoy!

1. John F. Kennedy

2. Lyndon B. Johnson

3. Richard Nixon

4. Gerald Ford

5. Jimmy Carter

6. Ronald Reagan

7. George H.W. Bush

8. Bill Clinton

9. George W. Bush

10. Barack Obama

11. Donald Trump

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Learning on the Job: Why I’m Glad I Entered the Workforce as a Newbie

I was ill-equipped and unprepared, but that's why I'm glad I started when I did.

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When I was 21 years old, I graduated with a B.A. in English literature, with a minor in journalism. I was as green as they come, with a new engagement ring on my finger. While I was walking across the stage to accept my diploma, the rest of my friends were back our shared townhome, cramming for exams. You see, I graduated in only three years, in a mad rush to begin life on my own as quickly as possible. My then-fiance was a year ahead of me in school, so I took on extra course loads and attended summer school twice so we could graduate at the same time. It was a challenging and overwhelming season of life in so many ways, but looking back, I wouldn't change a thing.

Before I graduated, I'd already secured a job with a government defense contractor back home. It wasn't a glamorous position by any means, but it meant a steady income and the chance to hone my craft. The only issue? I didn't exactly know what my craft was. I knew I loved literature, but my speech impediment and general anxiety prevented me from following a traditional teaching career path. I also knew that while I enjoyed writing, the feast-or-famine nature of being a full-time writer wasn't attractive either. So, I compromised, found a position as Technical Writer 3 at the firm, and went to work.

I showed up on the first day dressed in my favorite vintage sundress. I sat through meetings, checked emails and attended training, all the while wondering what in the world I was doing. The technical jargon was foreign to me, the people, albeit kind, were way more advanced than I was, and I was beginning to doubt my competence and ability to perform. And, this was all before lunchtime.

I don't think a day went by during that initial month when I didn't find solace and solitude in the bathroom for a few minutes each morning, gathering my thoughts and my composure so I could appear at least somewhat put-together. I drove home every day defeated, wondering if I'd made a mistake by jumping headfirst into a career I knew nothing about. I was used to studying Chaucer and Shakespeare. I wasn't cut out for translating engineers, creating proposals and editing technical manuals.

Then, something somewhat miraculous and completely unexpected happened. I started to get the hang of it. I grew in confidence and responsibility and before I knew it, I was managing and training two technical writer interns who wanted to learn from me. The concept was laughable, but I was up to the challenge.

That was 10 years ago. The connections I made at that first job, the skills I developed and the people I worked alongside all worked together to carry me through my next series of professional endeavors. I stayed on as a technical writer for that same firm for close to seven years. Then, I had my first child and left to pursue a freelance marketing gig that would afford me the opportunity to stay at home with my new baby.

The hours were unnatural, as I would start on my work around 10:00 p.m. when she went down for the night. I'd work until 2:00 a.m., feed her, then catch a few hours of sleep myself before we both woke up and the cycle began all over again. I was walking through those first few months very much like a zombie, not sure if the sunlight peeking through the blinds meant it was dawn or dusk. I was in over my head, challenged to the hilt and unsure if I was doing any of it, both my professional and parenting work, correctly. I'm sure when I was just starting out, I made many of the novice marketing mistakes that we're told time and again are things to avoid. It wasn't that I was ill-trained for the job. Rather, I was slowly navigating my way through a new path, and learning its intricacies and idiosyncrasies along the way.

In many ways, this season of life wasn't dissimilar to the one I experienced when I first dipped my toes in the corporate waters. I had a few more years on me now and I'd grown in my confidence both as a person and an employee, but I was still miles away from knowing all there was to know.

That's the beauty of it, though. I'll never catch up. I'll never reach that capacity where I've learned all there is to learn or completely aced every challenge thrown my way. My children are two and five now, and I'm still discovering new surprises about the way I manage my time, prioritize, step up to the plate and pursue new opportunities. There are many days when I still feel like that same 21-year-old in a thrifted sundress, my hand shaking as I reached up to ring the bell at the towering office building.

I hope I never lose that sense of being overwhelmed. I hope I never reach the point where challenges don't scare me or I don't feel at least a little out of my comfort zone. I believe that's where real life happens and where real growth occurs. We'll fail time and again and make more mistakes than we'd like. But there's something to be said about showing up anyway. About pushing through the murk with the knowledge that something greater is on the horizon. I'm actively in pursuit of that progress and I'm grateful every day that I said "yes" to the first job offer that came my way. Was I ill-prepared and unequipped? Certainly. Are those the very elements that propelled me to expand my potential? Absolutely.

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