Summertime and the livin' is queasy

Warning: This post is not funny.

If you want funny, watch Bossy’s latest theatrical production.

This post borders on whiney. If you want something moving and sad and funny all at the same time, read this (maybe) swan song post by Bejewell.

If you must wallow in misery, well, come on in then.

So how was your Memorial Day weekend — the unofficial starting gun of summer?

While most people celebrated by hosting or attending barbecues, going to outdoor festivals or heading away to a lakefront cottage or a camping spot in the woods, we stayed home.

I could say it’s because we have so much yard work to do, it takes an entire holiday weekend and then some to get it going for the season. That would be true.  But it wouldn’t be the whole truth.

I could talk about how Girl from the East and I made a commitment  to march in our city’s Memorial Day parade, but that wouldn’t paint the whole picture, either.  I could go on about how Girl from the West spent the majority of the weekend sequestered in the basement office finishing her semester-long project, how this could not have been accomplished in a deep-woods cabin without electricity.

The missing pieces, the untold chapter in part is realizing it may be another season of restraint. See,  we are not out of the woods yet. We are not out of the hole, not by a long shot. School is over today for one child and soon will be for the other. Volunteer commitments are grinding to a slow churn for the season. Summer programs, sports and activities are not in the budget at all.

We had a big road trip planned but that is now on hold.

Things were supposed to be better this year. In small ways, they are. In bigger ways that involve dreams and fantasies and wish lists, it’s very much like last year.  We’ve had a good run of it these last few months, almost enough to pretend like everything is OK. But underneath the denial is the truth: Eighteen months ago the bottom dropped out and we free fell to the basement. We survived the fall with deep cuts. We’ve gotten this far because we say to ourselves: This is temporary; this is not our lives.

I watched the “Hoarders” marathon on A&E yesterday afternoon because a band of storms blew through the area and ended my weekend of yard work. The takeaway: after while these people get so used to their reality  they no longer realize it’s offensive to outsiders. Their extreme dysfunction becomes normal.

Now I’m not saying my life is any of those things, but it made me think: You get used to something and  before you know it IT IS YOUR LIFE. You realize you are responsible for some of the mess you are in. Maybe you are responsible for the whole damned mess. Maybe you didn’t manage your money wisely. Maybe you took some miscalculated risks with your career. And then you say: Is this the life I want? If not, can I make it OK for me? Are there aspects to this that I can view in a positive way?

I realize everyone has something big that knocks them down and from this they must learn to stand again. For some it’s the dissolution of a marriage, a devastating illness, or an early unexpected death of a loved one. For others, like us, it’s job loss and a long road to financial recovery.

I’m trying to remain positive that Girl from the West will find a part-time job to pay for some of the things she wants and to save for a car. I’m trying to remain strong that I can get through another year before Girl from the East is in school full-time and I can seek something realistic in the employment front that doesn’t require 40 hours of daycare. I’m holding out hope that the economy  will lighten up here so we both can be fully employed and rise up a few more rungs toward the light.

Sorry, were you expecting something about a cookout?


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9 thoughts on “Summertime and the livin' is queasy

  1. I’m not sure what to say, because words seem trite. What I will say is that if anyone can get through, it’s you. I’ve met few people as strong at the core as you are. I know it’s not fun. I hope the sunny days of road trips and holiday fun come sooner or later. Until then…hold on.
    .-= TeacherMommy´s last blog ..A Camping We Will Go =-.

  2. TeacherMommy: I’m hanging on with all of my shredded, bitten fingernails. I may just pitch a tent in the yard like last summer and pretend camp!

  3. How lucky that I just today invented #WallowWednesday.

    But I don’t think you’re wallowing. Not at all. We’ve been in a tough financial situation, and last night I had a panic attack thinking about the “what if’s.” And like you, I do realize we are responsible. I don’t know if realizing that makes it easier or harder.

    I do have to laugh when I remember, maybe 6 months ago, when my husband suggested a long weekend in Key West for our 20th anniversary. I was like, “Key West? I was hoping for something a little more special.” Little did I realize then that instead of Key West, we’d be standing for half an hour at a bus stop to take us to a cheap brunch place downtown and then catching a movie.

    Here’s hoping things improve for both of us.

  4. OMG – This is me. We are in the same place, and your post slapped me in the face because yes, I too, am used to it. Used to it in a way where our sorry state feels normal so I’ve lost the panicky need to do anything about it…except eat and complain and drink too much.

    I’m going to be thinking about this post for a long time.
    .-= small town small times´s last blog ..Okay, so… =-.

  5. JD: I just saw the #Wallow on Twitter. Good stuff. Yeah, a bus to the diner isn’t Key West, that is for sure. Better times are ahead, or else we’ll probably all be living in the same tent city.
    Small Town: Here’s to avoiding normal.

  6. Ugh. I feel your pain, and I’m sorry to hear about your struggle to stay above water financially. I don’t think you are wallowing at all, and I would expect nothing but raw honesty from you and all that you post.

    PS: I am completely addicted to the TV show Hoarders. Because I am utterly amazed at how powerful DENIAL really is.
    .-= meleah rebeccah´s last blog ..Doing Things Differently – My Week In Review – [Part Seventeen] =-.

  7. This post strikes quite a cord with me. “You get used to something and before you know it IT IS YOUR LIFE. You realize you are responsible for some of the mess you are in.” What a profound line. Things will definitely get better for you MZ! But I can relate to your fears of how and when???
    .-= Mama Mary´s last blog ..get ur vlog on =-.

  8. I’m so glad to have read this. So glad. I know you are probably further along now than when you wrote it, but I am on the front end of it…heading down the tunnel. I know it will be better on the other side – once the house is fixed so it can be sold (lots of hard labor that) and once we know where we are going to end up…especially I worry about my 15 year old girl and 9 year old girl and making this seem like some kind of adventure. I cry daily. I take ativan and klonopin. I try to stay calm. And some days I can almost feel the normal creeping back.
    thank you thank you thank you!

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