Friday, March 27, 2009

I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages. ~ William H. Mauldin

I shouldn't be quitting my job. Tom shouldn't have any work. But I am and he does. In this economy, when everyone is struggling to make ends meet, struggling to find decent work, struggling to keep their heads above water, we're doing extremely well.

Tom is getting phone calls every single day for potential work. It's kind of spooky, actually. When banks are not supposed to be lending and real estate sales are in the toilet, there are still people out there who are doing just fine, thank you. Since Tom's work is so specialized, meaning that he doesn't do regular finish work, his work is primarily in larger, two- to three-story homes. The people building and ultimately residing in those homes enjoy living in the upper end of the income scale and seem unaffected by the economic woes around them. Seems kind of unfair, doesn't it?

Oh, I'm not complaining. I just think...well, I'm a bleeding heart Democrat. 'Nuff said.

So anyway, today was supposed to be my last day at work, but I've been off since I got sick a week ago Wednesday. My visit to the doctor and the meds she prescribed on Monday helped, but she was once again dead-on accurate with her prediction that I wouldn't start to feel a lot better for three or four days. Today is the fourth day and I am spending my last day at my job at home. I'm feeling a lot better finally, but not really well enough to work.

What's on my mind today? First off, the weather (geez, you can tell I've lived here too long when my topic of conversation starts with the weather!). It's been beautiful, but they've been warning of a cold front and severe storm moving in today. Everything...and I mean budding. The wisteria that we planted to cover the pergola just over two years ago is finally going to flower for the first time this year!

But, as I said, I'm a little concerned about the weather. We have a front coming in tonight that is going to bring strong to severe thunderstorms. Behind it will be colder air. Earlier in the week they predicted it would get down to 39 degrees overnight. Yesterday morning, they had revised it down to 38 degrees. This morning, it was revised again down to 35 degrees. Darn! That's too close to freezing for my comfort level. I've already moved my Split Leaf Philodendrons from the garage to the patio. My chives are growing like crazy, the wisteria is ready to bloom at any second, the roses are full of new growth and ready to bud, and my azaleas in front of the house are a mass of bright pink blossoms. I do not want a freeze!!

My sister, Karen, has finally made the decision to move. She plans to ultimately reside somewhere around Kingman, Arizona, but she has made an appointment for April 29th with her doctor in Las Vegas, which means she will probably begin her trip back that way a week or so before hand to find a place to live and settle in some before making the trip to Las Vegas for her appointment.

Karen living here with us has been an odd, rather disconcerting, experience for me. Until my brother-in-law, Tony's death last year, Karen and I hadn't seen each other or spoken in almost 20 years. When Tom and I offered our home to her after Bob's death in September, I really didn't know what to expect. She certainly isn't the person I knew 20 years ago. But, then, I'm probably not the person she knew then either. But, what I didn't expect was her almost complete isolation. When she is not outside having a cigarette or letting her dog out to pee, she is in her room, laying on her bed, watching television. She does come out periodically to do laundry, make a trip to WalMart, feed her animals, perform maintenance on her van, but mostly she just stays in her room. Even when she comes out, we will exchange little conversation and, when silence interjects itself, I can turn around and she will be gone, back to her room. I have felt these last 5 months like I have just been letting out a room in my house to a very private and very secretive stranger. I really don't know her. All I really know of her is what I remember those many years ago and those memories don't match what little I know about her now. I suppose that is what life does when you're not looking. I still feel that same sense of over-compensation for her depression. After all these years and even with anti-depressants, she's still depressed. Inside, I feel my Polly Anna seeping forth, wanting her to get up, go do something, enjoy the day, interact with people more and her dog and cat less. I have to keep my mouth shut, though, because that is me not her; it's what I would do; it's how I would live my life after a deep loss. I would mourn, but I would HAVE to move forward and make a new life for myself no matter how debilitating the grief. I know that is how I would do it. But, it's still hard watching her waste away her life like that. I suppose that's the difference; maybe she doesn't feel like she is wasting her life away at all.

Tom and I have lived alone since our kids left home over 20 years years ago. Our daily, weekly or even monthly routines became like a dance we both knew by heart. Our life became easy, familiar, comfortable, almost effortless. Now, I feel as though my life is starting to become "normal" again. Without the job and without an extra person in the house, my time will be my own. I will be able to cook without giving a second thought to who likes what, clean on my own schedule without worrying if I'm going to wake another person or animal. I will garden, volunteer, do Tom's bookkeeping and bill paying, blog. Soon, Karen and her animals will be gone and I will re-stain the oak bed frame with a white-wash, re-decorate the room and again have a cozy place for guests to sleep comfortably.

Soon, my home will once again be my own. I want to open all the blinds in the house and let the sun shine in. I want to raise the windows and let the cool breezes clear out all the musty remnants of winter. I want to dust and vacuum away the negative thoughts, the heavy memories and counter-productive behaviors. I'm ready to move forward again. And, boy, does it feel good!

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