Gas ‘er Up

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When we moved to this nameless southern city it was against my will. Life in San Diego was good, except for the minor problem of my husband being unemployed. But except for that life was good! Back then Dude (husband’s name for this post) subsisted on freelance writing after the magazine for which he worked was sold to a conglomerate and the new owners fired everyone, save one. That saved one was not the Dude.

I know that people do live on freelance writing earnings, but this was our problem: “Your check is in the mail,” “It’s not there? The accountant misplaced the invoice,” “Not there yet? I’ve written a note to myself to look into that…”

This didn’t happen with just one company, it was the norm rather than the exception at almost every company for which he wrote and many of these were established magazines. Our kids back then were about ages 5 and 8, small children only in need of small things. Our house was also rather small about 1,500 square feet and it was funky; it had a lot of twists and turns. I liked it.

Our back yard was quite large and a little wild, on the bottom was a covered patio and up toward the top was a swimming pool. Just perfect for San Diego weather and kids. Dude had a little garden of tomatoes, corn and peppers and grapes grew wild along the fence. A scarecrow even came with the house. I watered, Dude planted. I’ve heard my now 15-year-old son reminisce about playing with his sister in the mud just outside our front door. It is one of his best memories. I love that, and who knew?

Another idyllic part to this scene was Dude’s mom lived in walking distance from us. Our children’s school was a sunny, happy well-rated school and it was the same one Dude attended when he went to elementary school.

But there was a lethal poison infiltrating our sunny days back then: arguing . The strain from not being paid because his checks were late so our payments to whoever were late was demoralizing and exhausting.

Plus, Dude was angry at me for not working. Who can blame him? Throughout most of our almost 20-year marriage I’ve pulled in hardly a cent. Lambast me, go ahead and pile on! My arms are wide open and I can take it. My children haven’t had the benefit of seeing their mother have a profitable life outside the home. They’ve also seen her be belittled inside the home for not having same; I set that up and took it as well.

My own mother was a successful business woman and I guess I wanted to counter the fact that she wasn’t home a lot. So I was home ALL THE TIME. Oh, my poor kids! Can you imagine having a mother who is always in your business? What a mess of this I’ve made. I wanted to be a good mom that was my primary goal. I don’t think I achieved it at all. Well, maybe a little here and there.

In addition to my misguided wants, I also have a very mild case multiple sclerosis and the biggest effect it has on me is I run out of gas easily. But plenty of people work at least part-time who have my degree of MS.

I am really tired right now, but not due to a physical illness. I’m just tired and sad.

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4 responses »

  1. I can tell you that from 20 yards away your children seem very good which means you have done something very right. One of my favorite quotes is from Lilly’s Plastic Purse. Did you ever read that to your kids? “Today was a bad day. Tomorrow will be better.”

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