Ch. 19 The Hiatus

Leaving the second husband was probably the easiest decision I’ve ever made and the best. I had gotten the job, finally, in the laboratory as a technician to do research and development on air bag initiator propellant.  It paid decently, but the house that I rented to leave the husband was way too expensive, but I wanted to keep the girls in the school that they were attending. I didn’t want to uproot them again. So I managed to stay as long as I could. I finally found a small condo that I could buy much closer to work and invested my money in that. My daughters got special permission to finish out school in the district they were in and I finally got stable.

Work was difficult at times, I wasn’t one of the most liked employees, I was the only woman doing this kind of work.  The men gave me a hard time. If I complained about any sexual harassment, they counter complained.  I was given more responsibilities without pay or promotion.  But I did finally learn about computers during this time. I had been a little intimidated by them previously, however, it was now that my company decided that I did not need an oscilloscope to gather data from my high-pressure testing and instead bought a computer and told me to make it work like an oscilloscope. I had no clue what do to do.  I had my HAM radio electronics to fall back on, a good education that had taught me to reason things out, and good research skills. I figured it out- alone. I made it work! My test equipment impressed the managers and bosses.  The results were phenomenal.  I had actually created a black box that translated the high-pressure results from systems that were not digital to a digital computerized system.  The results of the tests then started producing better and more efficient igniter propellant for the company.  But my pay was not increased nor was I was acknowledged for any achievements, in fact, after a chemist that had left the company to go work for a competitor wanted to come back, I was told that my position was being replaced by him. He had sold company secrets but was forgiven and rehired.  I was offered a position with the company as a machine operator with a pay cut or take a layoff.

I took the layoff. I’m sorry, I felt it was an insult and degrading to my profession and gender. I tried to sue, but the unemployment office said I had no case. So here I was once again unemployed, a single mother, frustrated and with no family to support me emotionally.  This time, at least my children weren’t babies. They were teenagers.  One just graduated high school and the other was going to graduate in a couple of years.  The teenage years. Oh, MY Gawd!

It’s a good thing I took a hiatus from men after the second husband, all my energies and stamina were needed for this time in my life.

Because I had conquered my fear of the computer during the oscilloscope incident, I now immersed myself in this new technology. I literally had this vision of “knowing” where this Internet “fad” was heading.  I stayed up all hours of the night teaching myself HTML and web design. I often forgot to eat. I did make one friend working at the igniter plant and she did call me to ask if I’d eaten that day.  If it weren’t for her I probably would have missed a lot more meals.  As it was it did get to the point where I was making myself more ill each day, my body was starting to feel the effects of the stress of unemployment and teenage angst

Sending my eldest daughter off to college also started my into that depression of the empty nest syndrome and that didn’t help much.  The child support was now cut in half because she had reached 18 and was “legal-age”.  The ex now gave her the other half to help out with college.  Later she came to me and said, “how did you manage, this doesn’t even pay for books, Mom?”  Thank goodness, my daughter got scholarships and student loans, there was no way, I could afford to help pay for their education and their father didn’t contribute either, except for that “child-support”.  I felt terribly insufficient and lacking as a mother, but there just wasn’t anything else I could do. I was doing the best I could do, I had always done the best I could do for the girls. Every home I moved to was better and every situation had turned out better.  I was just hoping this one would turn out the same way.

 

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