Unloading the truck was only half the battle. Now we had to find places for all this stuff. Well, I should more accurately say, “she” had to find places for her stuff. I’d go to work, and she went about unpacking. Even when I was home, there wasn’t much I could do.
She had all these knick-knacky things… commemorative plates, glass sets, china, figurines, dozens of cookbooks, most of which were left from her mother. She wanted to deal with her stuff personally. In fact, she pretty much didn’t want me anywhere around, while she unpacked.
Unsurprisingly, I had no problem with that. It was fine with me if she preferred I go sit down and watch the Penguins and leave her to her business. But still, it was a huge job, and it took its toll on both of our psyches.
Neither of us is fond of being surrounded by chaos, so it was kind of uncomfortable to have to pick our way from room to room, like we were hacking our way through the rainforest.
We eventually got to a place where the major things were in place. I showed you the Franken-couch in the last post. This is what else we did:
We parked her easy chair, ottoman, coffee table, hutch and bookcase in the bedroom.
The stack of small drawers and chests is hers, as well as the sweet TV.
Everything else went into the back bedroom, for her office.
I also had to get “handy.” (Stop laughing, Rik.) In a fit of competence, I hung a cabinet in the bathroom…
…and a mirror on the back bedroom door.
In a major upheaval, I took down my old Hat Wall in the dining room…
…and on her “suggestion,” created a new Hat Wall, in the hallway.
One Saturday night shortly after Moving Day, we “came out” on Facebook, and posted our new our relationship statuses, along with a flurry of updates. I couldn’t help but think how the people who knew us both, back in our record store days, must have had the tops of their heads blow off. Like I said, this was the most improbable relationship I’ve ever known. That was a really good night. And it was probably the last one.
Because both of us are former store managers and operations specialists, it got strained whenever we had opposing ideas on where something should go, or the best way to go about a particular task.
I don’t think a day went by when she wasn’t crying about something. I told her, “You are the cryin’est woman I’ve ever met.”
I understand the feeling of helplessness in the face of an enormous challenge, especially when one has been displaced. I figured we just had to get her new nest finished, so she could begin acclimating to her new surroundings, and we could establish some new kind of normal. We needed time to bond, and get in sync with each other.
What I didn’t know was the toll being taken on her from being away from her kids and grandson. While she talked, texted and Skyped with them, it didn’t seem to make her very happier.
In early February, she told me she got a tip on a really good job, back in her home town. I was leery. What good is a job there, when she’s here?
She explained that it was Monday to Friday ad sales job, which involved traveling around an assigned turf. She’d be out there during the week, then come back home on the weekends. She said she was very good at that kind of thing, and because it is an expanding company, should be able to obtain a territory closer to Baltimore. Then, she would shoot for an area-manager kind of position, which could be based anywhere.
There were a lot of perks too… nice commissions, car and phone allowances, full health care… the deal was pretty sweet. Still, that wasn’t the deal I agreed to. She hadn’t even begun to look for a job in Baltimore. While I felt that her opportunity was a viable alternative if she was unable to find something here, she felt it was too lucrative to pass up. Plus, she could stay in regular contact with her family.
She went out there for a week in mid-February to see her family, and interview for the job. Well, I thought it was going to be a week. After 4-5 days, she told me it would be another week. She ended up coming back 16 days later, having been offered the job.
We had a lot to talk about when she returned that Saturday night. I figured I could hack it for a short time… 6-months… a year, maybe. I knew that there was no way she was going to be coming all the way back here every weekend. There would be family events, bad weather, and just plain fatigue.
This meant that not only could we never do anything on weekdays; weekend plans would always be iffy as well. We were supposed to go to hockey games, baseball games, and whatnot, but I’d be taking a chance any time I bought tickets before the day of the game. It wasn’t at all what I had in mind, when we first discussed getting together.
Like I said, I wasn’t thrilled, but I could tough it out for a short time. It was a good job at a time when she badly needed one.
Then she told me the rest of the news.
Her youngest daughter had developed a possibly serious medical condition. The girl would soon be undergoing tests and (possibly) treatment, and she wanted her mother.
Well, that explained a lot of the emotional upheaval from the last month. Her daughter was calling for her, and her son was missing her as well. Heavy stuff.
We slept on it that night, and resumed discussions on Sunday. That’s when she told me that she intended to keep a turf back home until her daughter graduates high school.
In 4 years.
She wanted to maintain our relationship at a distance, through calls and visits, and then pick up again in what would be 2018.
With that, I knew I had to call it off. I agreed that she needed to go be with her daughter. I would never stand in between a mother and her child; especially a child in need. But, this would not be the kind of relationship I could live with. Spending most every day alone for four years? No. Sorry, not for me.
If this would have been the deal on the table from the outset, I’d have said “absolutely not.” If I’m going to be alone, I at least need to be free to be available. I’m 52 freaking years old; I don’t have time to spend 4 years in limbo. I’d still like to find a compatible partner.
Maybe if it’s 4 years down the road and we’re both still single, we can reassess the situation. But until then, I have no intention of conducting a long distance relationship. Even the Internet Age has its limitations.
Originally she was going to stay with a friend during the week, but that proved unsuitable. But when she was out there, she found a nice apartment near her daughter’s school. So that meant, regardless of what we did with our relationship, she was again going to have to pack up her stuff and move again.
Unloading that truck the last time almost wrecked the both of us. This time around, we found some people on Craig’s List that will help load a truck for you. It’s worth the dough not to kill myself again, just 2 months after killing myself the first time. (They just better show up!)
So, she spent the last week re-packing. At least this time, the chaos is confined to the perimeter. She left last weekend, and will be back to load out at the beginning of April.
I had such high hopes going into all of this. All along, I couldn’t believe my good luck; to have someone special come back into my life and be with me happily ever after. And I kept dwelling on, given our past, just how improbable the whole thing was.
Unfortunately sometimes, the improbable, is impossible as well.