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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The dreams of the everyday file clerk.

So, I'm home with a cold. Okay, I'm home with the hubster and one son and a cold. Which, I've no doubt, will take up residence in the hubster if it hasn't already. And he'll take to his bed for the next week. He is, after all, a man. And men go to bed and require constant tending when they bite a hangnail. You know they do. I, as most other women, will spend the day trying to nap (unsuccessfully), doing dishes, sorting out four weeks worth of mail, answering the phone (what IS it that guys can let the damn phone ring?) cooking know, the usual stuff.

Problem is, well, if I could breathe, that is, is that I basically enjoy being home during the day. By myself, yes. But I like being home. I like just going out to Target at 11:26 because I need Tide. I like not having to arrange with someone to cover anything because I want to go to Target and I like being able to decide "oh, as long as I'm over here I'm going to Michael's" because I don't have to be anywhere and I don't have to be back in an hour.

In my entire adult life I have only had one really long period of unemployment and that was when I was raising my toddlers. By the time they were in 3rd grade or so, I was back at work. I don't work for the love of it, I work for the money. That's all. The hubster holds out for the jobs he loves. Therefore, I work for a paycheck.

About 10 years ago, I quit a job to care for my mother, who was ill and getting worse. Long story short, she died. I had spent pretty much my entire life taking care of her in one way or another, she was as emotionally needy as they come and only had one child. I always felt obligated to stay and keep her company as she had no one else and I didn't have the balls to say "that's not my problem anymore". She died in July and my kids and I were living with her at the time. I decided to wait until the school year started to go back to work. Frankly, her stubbornness and illness had worn me out and she and I battled constantly as to just who was raising my children.

That was one of the best summers of my life. The boys were getting ready to go into middle school, so I wasn't constantly chasing toddlers. We went swimming and we went to the mall and we drove to San Diego. I got my very first pedicure (my mother thought they were creepy) and my very first facial. The hubster and I started repairing our own personal problems. Well, come September I starting looking for work, as my mother's bank account wasn't going to last forever, but it wasn't falling into my lap. (A job, not her bank account which, as she was a divorced woman with one child DID pretty much fall into my lap.) When you work for money and not for the love of what you do you end up with a resume of nothing special - and a lot of it.

The boys were in school. The hubster was at work. And I, for the first time in over 40 years, had a life. A life I found I really enjoyed. My home was always a cluttered mess - two boys, a dog, a cat and a husband who is a borderline hoarder - now, with my days free, I started working on the house my mother had let run down. A little here, a little there. I ripped the dirty, cheap carpet up by myself, scrubbed and polished the hardwood I found underneath. I watched some TV. I planted begonias. I left the house when I wanted to and didn't have to tell anyone where I was going.

I sat by the open window and enjoyed the beginnings of the fall breezes and listened to the sounds of the neighborhood. Birds, toddlers, the occasional car, the sound of the bells coming from the boys middle school about four blocks up the hill, the sounds of the kids streaming out after lunch, temporarily free and full of piss and vinegar. I decorated the house for Halloween.

Right after Thanksgiving I got a call for some temp work, which I sorely needed by then. A couple of long term assignments and then I took a part time job. I started work at 8:30 and left at 12:30, I could stop at the store on my way home, stop at the mall, go home, relax, it was a great time. But I was good at my work and I enjoyed this one. I was soon moving quickly, I had more and more work and more and more hours. I had a good boss who had a kid the same age as mine, I was able to be a mother AND an accountant there. I had my own office.

The current recession finally cost me that job, and, as the hubster was in yet another period of unemployment and the benefits had run out I had to land on my feet, and fast. And I did.

And I find myself home today with a cold, puttering around the apartment (we lost the house and the cars - the perils of marrying an 'artist') feeling the breeze, listening to the birds and not jumping out of my skin every time my boss heads down the hallways. And I'm liking it. I'm wondering why? I wonder if the hubster appreciates spending his days at home as much as I do? I wonder if there really is something attached to that second "x" chromosome that says "You're the one who keeps the home"?

On the other hand, it might just be the Nyquil.

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