You’re hired

I’ve went back and forth several times during this campaign cycle. I’ve supported John Edwards and Ron Paul, but I remember being excited many months ago when I heard that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be running for president. Wow! A female president? Lord knows that males have been screwing it up for long enough that maybe it was time to let the other gender give it a try.

That infatuation quickly subsided as Mrs. Clinton was portrayed by the media as a polished politician who was part of the Washington establishment that we’ve all come to loathe. It got to the point where it just didn’t seem cool to support her – after all, most of Hollywood and the music industry were jumping up and down about a young senator from Illinois.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t figure out what all the hoopla was about, but I figured if John Edwards, Oprah, and Nicole Richie were supporting Obama, then I would be really stupid not to join in. I tried to look beyond the questions that I had about Barack – his history and his lack of experience – and I even got to the point that I began wishing that Clinton would drop out so that we could finally settle on a nominee – something the Republicans seemed to have no problem doing.

All of that changed today.

Senator Hillary Clinton stopped by our little town to convince the hundreds of people gathered that she is the best choice we can make when we vote in our primary this Tuesday. I didn’t go with high expectations, realizing that I was still undecided about which Democrat I would be choosing when I entered the voting booth. I just figured that it would be silly not to go hear what she had to say, especially given the fact that most politicians don’t even know that my town exists.

After waiting in a line that stretched almost halfway around the block, going through a security checkpoint that would rival that of any airport, and securing a spot just a few yards from the podium, we were greeted by the former First Lady. I was impressed with her demeanor, her words, and her humanity. She didn’t seem at all like the evil woman that she is often portrayed as online and by the mainstream media. She was humble, eloquent, and she seemed genuinely concerned about the welfare of millions of hard-working Americans.

She made a hilarious comparison between politics are cars, saying that when you’re driving and you want to go forward, you choose a “D”; when you want to go backwards, you choose an “R.” She talked about the importance of health insurance for everyone, lessening our dependence on foreign oil, bringing the troops home, and improving the economy.

The thing that really made me think was when she said that we should view this election as a hiring process. Which candidate did we think was the most qualified to perform the tasks that are needed to get this country back on track? That’s a no-brainer.

Obama might be idealistic, likable, and a great public speaker, but Clinton has the experience. She was a governor’s wife, she served as First Lady during eight years of peace and prosperity, and she’s a multi-term senator. Her husband took a country with record debt and gave it a record surplus. Sure, the Clintons aren’t perfect, but I do believe they know how to lead a country.

So, on Tuesday, I’ll be casting my vote to hire Hillary for the job. Then I’ll head home and wait for the press to point out how poor, white, and uneducated Kentuckians are voting for the “uncool” candidate.

Blessing in disguise

After arriving home from work yesterday, I went through my usual routine of gathering the mail and coming inside to unwind after a long day. Thursdays are Honey’s day off and he was next door visiting the neighbor. As I stood at the kitchen table reading the mail, I heard a loud “glug-glug” noise coming from the direction of our water heater. I immediately turned my head to see a pool of water spreading across the floor in my direction and panicked, seemingly incapable of making a decision on the course of action that I needed to take.

water_heater_explosionI’ve heard of water heaters exploding and causing tremendous structural damage (see photo), so my first instinct was to flee the scene. As I ran towards the door, I distinctly remember thinking about the potential demise of my cats from the pending appliance bomb, but I quickly decided that self-preservation was in my best interest and ran outside and across the yard to the neighbor’s house. Honey was still laughing hours later about the look on my face when I yanked open the door and announced, “The house is flooding!”

After turning off the water, cleaning up the mess, and assessing the situation, we realized that purchasing a new water heater would be necessary and headed off for the nearest home improvement store. Twenty-four hours later, Honey is under the house rerouting water lines so that we can install our latest purchase.

Even though this experience is far from pleasant, I am utterly thankful for four things.

1. It happened while I was home from work, thereby preventing extensive flooding and damage to our house.

2. We just got the incentive check from the IRS and were able to cover the unexpected expense. It does make me a little suspicious that Bush was somehow responsible though, since I intended to pay off debt with the money but had to spend it on improving the economy, just like he intended. Darn Republicans.

3. This was the perfect opportunity to move the water heater from its incredibly inconvenient location (cramped under a kitchen cabinet and wedged between our refrigerator and the wall) to a more appropriate and safer place (the utility room). It will now be sitting on a concrete slab so that leaks won’t be so potentially catastrophic.

4. Our neighbor allows us to use her shower, so going without hot water for a couple of days isn’t as terrible as it sounds.

So, even when experiencing these little “joys” of home-ownership, it’s easy to see that there is plenty to be thankful for.

Familial homophobia

Homophobia can take many forms, ranging from name-calling at the grocery store to being condemned to hell from the church pulpit, but nothing seems to be quite so painful as discrimination at the hands of one’s own family members.

Thursdays are typically my favorite day of the week. My aunt comes to work in our office, where we spend the day cooking a huge meal, laughing at off-color jokes, and catching up on family gossip. Sometimes we even invite friends and family to join us for lunch, which only adds to the enjoyment factor.

Honey started a new job right around the same time that I did, and I was elated recently when his schedule changed and permitted him to attend our weekly luncheon. I felt like it gave us a wonderful opportunity to show some of my family members that we are just as “normal” as they are and that homosexuality is nothing to be scared of. It was nice to watch some of my family members get to know the wonderful person that I share my life with and to see him actually enjoying their company.

My grandparents were due to eat with us today, and as an added bonus, they were supposed to bring my niece and nephew. When my aunt arrived this morning to begin the day, she reluctantly informed us that neither my grandparents or sister’s children would be coming. Dad pressured her for a reason and she finally revealed that my uber-religious brother-in-law didn’t want his children to be around Honey and I as a couple. It didn’t seem to matter that we never show affection towards one another in public or that my aunt explained to my sister that we “act like an old married couple.”

This turn of events really shouldn’t have surprised me given the history between my brother-in-law and myself, but it stung quite badly all the same. Almost as much as the time that he said that he didn’t want me kissing my niece and nephew because he didn’t know what kind of illnesses that I might be carrying (since all homosexuals are apparently disease-ridden).

I’ve never had any respect for him since that time, but I have tolerated him for the sake of spending time with my sister and her children. I have even spent the last three Christmas Eve’s at her house, even though I was so miserable last Christmas that after everyone had retired to their assigned rooms, I literally cried myself to sleep on the sofa. Their domestic bliss seemed so foreign to me, and I was terribly distressed over the fact that in order to spend the holiday with my family I had to spend it apart from the one person that I loved the most.

So, after hearing about this latest example of homophobic hysteria from my brother-in-law, my first reaction was to immediately stop having any contact with my sister’s family. I announced that I wouldn’t be attending Christmas at my sister’s house anymore and emailed my mother to tell her that I would not be attending the birthday party that she had planned for me tomorrow.

Then, I took a moment to think and decided to email my pastor for some much-needed advice. What I got was an exceptionally beautiful response about the importance of family, building memories, and having meaningful relationships. But there was one line in particular that really moved me…

Your sister’s children will grow up to come to their own conclusions and my bet is that they will lean in the direction of affirming the wonderful uncle they grew up loving and laughing with.

The very idea warms my soul.