Sunday, July 18, 2010

Things we don't particularly like

Today was the grand packing day. "Aljo," our trailer, borrowed from some dear friends, is a 1958-ish 10 foot aluminum camper, and also our home for the next 6 weeks, give or take. We are headed East to "une grand fete" - Nathan Johnson and Katie Chastain's wedding. It's going to be a 5-day affair, if we can make it for the Van Gaylen show on Wednesday night! We are super excited to see our old friends, but I am definitely NOT super excited about this final push to get out the door.

The house is a wreck, the final packing details: "where should we put the childrens' books?" and "should we take the Brazilian hammock or the REI hammock," and "I know I saw my sun hat just the other day, where the &$*! is it now?" I think the final 10% of all packing sometimes takes the longest.

My friend Cindy compared our situation to giving birth, and in some ways I agree. The last few days of pregnancy are just sheer hell. Then you have a baby and BAM! You are immediately shot into a brand new phase of life.

In a few short hours BAM! we will be launched into the first experimental phase of gypsy-dom.

On a different note, Fender's been testy with Harper lately. Tonight, while I was tucking him in bed he says, "I don't wike Harper anymore."

Me: "oh? why not?"

Fen: "sssee aways messing fings up."

Me: "ya, little babies tend to do that when they start walking..."

Fen: (with the beginning of an impish grin) "Maybe we ssould sell her"

I think we all could use a nice 30 hour road trip...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Starting Over

Seth got "let go" six and a half weeks ago. It was one of those ugly incidents full of bewilderment and betrayal that ends up feeling like someone took a blow torch to one of your appendages. An arm, a foot. When he told me I was driving, leaving a long day of killing time at the mall behind me. I was good at that whole how-to-fill-a-day-with-enough-to-help-you-forget-your-loneliness thing. I guess you could say his job was prestigious, important. Not in a white-collar sense, but he worked for important people, and was on the road to his dream. And as a result, I spent a large part of this last year as a single, albeit, married mother of two.

It was a slow descent, that loneliness. Like a long dreamy Southern Belle descending a spiral staircase on a torpid Georgia afternoon. It was full of valor and idealism. I was such a good wife, so committed to my husband's dream that I thought the emptiness almost charming. I had found so many creative ways to entertain the kids that my life felt like one long succession of play dates and trips to the zoo.

So, when he got fired, I felt like I had gotten fired too. And I was mad. Mad at his employers, mad at the company, mad at the industry, and mad at his employers again. My sense of outrage was heroic, fueled by my loss of identity and that ugly feeling of being victimized, of being scorned.

But immediately Seth and I were a team again, and that felt amazing. My typically non communicative husband had suddenly begun to talk to me constantly about how he was feeling, and I was over the moon! Conversations would just start up at all times of the day and night. Most of them revolved around his ex-job, but some were the beginnings of forward thinking for our family. And suddenly, in the midst of this great tragedy, I started to feel alive again, for the first time in a year.

Which means I was dying before and hadn't realized it.

I guess I had been like the toads my mom always warned me about.

"Don't you be like those toads, " she'd say, and I would roll my eyes.

"You put them in a pot of cold water, put the pot on the stove and then wait while the water heats
up. Those frogs don't know they're in hot water until it's too late 'cause they're cold blooded and
their bodies just adjust to the heat 'till they die!"

I think secretly she's always wanted to try to actually boil a frog, she's just that curious.

But, Mom, you have a point.

I guess I believed so blindly in my life that I thought loneliness, emptiness and lackluster were just par for the course, and as the water "heated up" I absorbed it, thinking I was somehow being righteous or a good wife. Yeah, good and miserable.

Blech. I want to scratch and re-write. I want to crumple that sorry acceptance of mediocrity, of a life of chosen unhappiness, of voluntary aloneness and toss it baseball style into the deepest darkest trash bin I can think of. To think that I was beginning to sacrifice my own soul for the comforts of steady income, a husband with a high-profile job, and *maintaining* said comforts!

We are leaving this town for a while to go re-write our story. Our dream right now is to buy an old bus that's been converted to an RV that runs on Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) and drive it across the country to a few weddings, a family reunion, and some good old-fashioned family vacation time. We leave Monday, actually, and, um, honestly, we still do not own a vehicle that will transport our family across the country. I have said many times that I feel like Noah, only for me, the flood has already occurred, I'm just herding and packing and praying like crazy that the boat is going to appear!

And, dude, I know that I sound utterly insane.

Stay tuned for more news. I promise I will blog more.