Category: Other people and how they handle it

Do you need a knife for cereal?

Published / by sandymichelet / Leave a Comment

He was 19 years old and touting all of the reasons why I should purchase a $1100 knife set. I couldn’t think of any. He had zillions.

I am surprised we even met. He was a student distributor for a nationally known cutlery company, referred to me by a mutual friend and promised his presentation wouldn’t take more than an hour. Our first conversation went well until I heard “we need to find a time when your husband can attend too.”.  I pushed back…he insisted. I AM SORRY. WHAT!?

I assumed it was because I’m just lil ‘ol me and can’t make a decision on my own about something so important….< Stated sarcastically in the worst Southern accent I could ever use….like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias.

Now…to be fair….I wouldn’t make an $1100 purchase without talking to Craig….but he wouldn’t buy it without talking to me. We always talk to each other when we find something that we absolutely must have. But neither asks permission from the other.

This was my final offer. Meet with me. With no husband. At 7am. I had pushed this poor kid off for over a year. He never gave up. He cheerfully agreed to the early morning meeting time and was standing outside when I arrived.

I set his expectations from the first phone call. I can’t justify an expense for something I will rarely use. Yes, I am sure they are nice. But we don’t cook every night. Or every week. And…if I am going to spend $1100 on something, it would be on something that I’d really like to have….like jewelry….or a gun. He walked through the history of the company, talked about the construction of a high quality knife versus a terrible one.

They obviously train their employees. It is impressive training. He was using every possible tool the company gave him and responded to every objective. He wasn’t the issue. He was the epitome of what you’d like representing your company.

Does your husband hunt? You mean while I am in the kitchen baking up a pie? Preparing for when my man returns home?  This time, I am fanning myself with a paper fan…the crappy accent remains. He never asked me if I hunt…but I am a huge game hunter and would have spent thousands of dollars on hunting knives. (Actually not true. I don’t hunt.)

Then it got even better.

We started talking about knife sets. The Homemaker Set. The. Homemaker. Set. Helloooooooooo. The 1950’s called. Maybe I am too sensitive…but are you freaking kidding me!? I stopped his presentation and started peppering him with questions. “Wait. I’m sorry. The what set?”. I heard the innocent response “The Homemaker Set!?”.

I think my question surprised him. I continued. “Do your executives, marketing team, etc think that term could be updated to reflect, uh, the world today!?.” You know….to something better….like The Little Lady Set.

I was starting to sense a trend.

“Sandy, these knives will last a lifetime. They can be passed to your kids and grandkids…they are legacy items” (or something similar).

He finished his presentation. I didn’t purchase anything….but I knew ahead of time I wouldn’t. I shook his hand and wished him luck. This kid is going places.

I couldn’t get the whole experience off my mind. So, like anyone would do when they are pondering life, I went to Google.

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Definition of homemaker: a person who manages a household especially as a wife and mother. 

Huh. I googled again.

Definition of a CEO: the main person responsible for managing a company.

No reference to gender in that definition.

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Maybe I was being uber sensitive. Salespeople probably want both spouses in a presentation so they can’t use the “I need to talk to my spouse” excuse. There are more men hunters than women in the world. I’m still shocked with the homemaker set thing….but…maybe I was being ridiculous at my thinking.

Nope. I am not. The world has changed and everyone is adapting. Well, not everyone.

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Since the presentation I’ve noticed that cheese DOES stick to knives if the blades aren’t creatively constructed with holes to allow airflow. And I will never again hold kitchen scissors without remembering how those perfect scissors felt as if they were made to fit my hand.

I visited the company’s website. “<Company Name > knives have been handed down from mothers to daughters, grandfathers to grandsons and between friends. <Company Name > is for Generations.”

*sigh*

I am my only generation. My family tree stops with me.

So for now, I will keep my crappy knives with the rusted rivets and dull blades. My cereal doesn’t mind.

It’s just like Woodstock – but without the mud

Published / by sandymichelet / Leave a Comment

Well….and probably without the drugs and rock and roll…..but I’m not making any promises.

In early October, I and a zillion* other childless women (*numbers not confirmed yet) will descend upon Cleveland for the annual Not Mom Summit.

The 2017 Not Mom Summit….yeah, one actually exists.

For most of us who have been to a conference, we know how it works. Keynote speaker, concurrent sessions, lots of networking, probably a lil drinking. The website promises to connect, inform and empower the growing community of women without children by chance or by choice. Sounds like a laughfest, right?

Why am I going?

Because misery loves company? No. Because I want to cry in front of bunch of strangers? No. Because we are all a bunch of lonely, desperate women? Wrong again.

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I talked to one of my closest friends (she is also a childless). She contrasted the difference in how she and I are both handling this life. She doesn’t like to talk about anything related to childlessness because she finds the whole thing devastating. And, as you know….people are morons…. so the conversation about childlessness never ends well for the childless one. So she has created a cocoon for herself to insulate her from the pain of the outside world.

Remember, that childlessness never ends. It is more obvious when someone is in childbearing years and cannot get pregnant at that moment….but …..but not having a child means not walking someone into their first day of kindergarten, watching them learn to play a musical instrument or watching them attend their first homecoming, consoling them during their first breakup, watching them grow and be a better you than you could ever be (and…get a few of the bad qualities, of course!)….it means not watching my child have a child of her own….

It. Never. Ends.

Years ago when this first started it felt like every piece of bad news was a sharp knife and I couldn’t catch my breath. The blade on each experience/test/failed attempt got longer, sharper and was pushed in with much more force than the last.  In the past, my response to the sharp blades were still met with anger and sheer determination that I would overcome this. I would win this war. I would have a child. As time passed (along with my hope), the blade seems to have dulled a little and only cuts me once in a while. As a childless woman ages, the support system changes. The “YOU CAN DO THIS!”, “YOU CAN BEAT INFERTILITY” cheerleaders are replaced with those on the sidelines, sadly in the realization that this is it. And the cheers stop. And the pity starts.

I am 49…so I am muchhhh further along than many women who are just starting this journey. While I can’t say that I am an expert at the childless life, I am an expert at my childless life. When I started this blog I was still whispering the term “childless”….I knew that I identified with the group but was still struggling…..now, I am more of a “scream it from the rooftops to let other women know its ok” kinda gal.

So….uh…why am I going?

Remember my friend from earlier? She didn’t want to talk about it….as I grow stronger, my network of childless women grows stronger. My tribe grows stronger. Now I am bringing it up as opposed to cowering in a corner waiting for someone to ask me if I have kids. Wanna know what a loser I am!? I made freaking cards…. because I keep running into people who have been touched by childlessness and infertility….and I want them to know they are not alone.

So back to the Not Mom Summit.

I am excited to meet other women and see where they are in their journey. An event like this is one of VERY few places we can go without fear of someone asking “do you have kids, why don’t you, did you this/that to get pregnant?”. We don’t hear miracle conception stories at the lunch tables next to us. We aren’t shown pictures of other people’s kids. At this moment, we are insolated. THIS is our support system.

So, will it be fun? Heaven knows there are tears on the other side of the plane ride but I am ready for it. I am ready to meet keynote speaker Jody Day in person and tell her how she helped change my life. I am also ready to bond with women exactly like me. It could get crazy up in here! A few women…a few glasses of wine….stories about hysterosalpingograms….we will be out. of. control.

…..If my plan works, I will be making friends, sharing stories and trying to let those who couldn’t attend know what’s happening. So think Woodstock. Think Oscars. Only different.