Thursday, November 10

My Dad

My dad is really good with kids.  He knows how to make them laugh, joke around, teach them skills but he is also good at setting expectations for behaviour.  I don't ever remember feeling like if Mom said no I could get a different answer from Dad.  He might be more likely to buy a bag of chips for us to share after swimming, but that's about the extent of it.  I loved spending time with him, going to public swims, the bowling alley, shopping.

There was a lot of gender roles that swapped in our house.  Dad actually did most of the produce, deli and some food (usually to cash & carries that catered to small restaurants) shopping in our house.  He had his Saturday routine to various shops including the fruit market to say hi to the owners and he knew most of the staff by name.  I nearly died when I was 12 and he was yelling up the aisle "Hey Carmen, I've got a rotton cantelope for you!".  I was mortified and went to hang out in the bean sprouts to distance myself.  Back to non-traditional gender roles, yes Mom did all the Monday to Friday cooking, but Dad pretty much took over the kitchen on the weekends. 

I thought all dads worked on weekends because mine did.  The part I never clued into is that we would go to his work with him and no one else was there.  He ran the office for a wholesaler, so there was a big warehouse in the back we could play hide and go seek in.  If he knew how high we climbed on the toilet paper boxes, I don't think I would have been going back.  They had computers in the office with maybe 6 games.  Hangman was my favourite, but there was a foot ball game my brothers liked.  There was a glitch that if you punted the whole thing froze.  Over and over, one of them would think, maybe this time it won't freeze.... and punt.  I can hear the tone my dad used to say "Aw... you punted again, didn't you?" and the inevitalble lie of  "Noo...."

That company sold off the wholesale division and within a year and half they went under.  I was in grade 8 I think.  Old enough to realize scary things were happening in our single income house.  He worked for the liquidators for a while, it gave him time to find a job he hated.  Dad had weeks of vacation saved up that he never used, pension that disappeared.  It left a real impact on my parents financial health.

This has had an impact on me. 
Work does not define my life.  Maybe I'll work an evening here or there, but it better be for a damn good reason (odds are that it's my own fault for not managing my time better)
I plan as if our financial world is going to fall apart.  I want to have control over my RRSP's, savings, be comfortable with our overall debt level.  Mr. Lina is more of a spender than I am, and I think it stems from this, I stress about money more than he does.
I will suck what I can from my employers when I can.  I will not carry over a day of vacation.  I will max out matching RRSP contributions rather than leaving it as a pension they hold. 
We are staying in our little house until we need more house rather than want more house.  I know we could afford something bigger, but I like watching our current mortgage drop over time.  However that is becoming a chicken/egg thing with kids and adoption.

Now that said, I'd love to be able to stay home with kids which would make us a one income household.  But you can bet I've come up with a budget to be sure we can live like that and have some savings set aside.  I'll be keeping enough skills and contacts up to date that should Mr. Lina lose his job, we can both work on getting back on track. 

Any wonder that in the social style I come out as an amiable where being safe is a driving factor in behaviour?  It's stuff like this that reinforced it.  Some people would take the lesson that my parents survived, Dad eventually found a job he liked and kept to his hours rather than working overtime for nothing.  But me, it's a lesson in CYA because the world can fall apart.

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