I’m sitting here in my darkened living room with the candles all lit and my Enya Pandora station playing on my computer speakers. With a little imagination, the incessant trickle of my turtle’s tank filter could be a nearby waterfall. My imaginary trip to “somewhere else” is interrupted by my husband’s congested voice proclaiming that my cat had diarrhea. Yes, it’s sweet that he cleaned out the litterbox, but still… it’s all I can do to squeeze my eyes shut and grit my teeth, whispering “Please go away!” under my breath. Sometimes, you just want a little down time, a little me-time… a little not-thinking-about-what-the-cat’s-bowel-movements-are-like time…
Okay, to be fair, Johnny and I just had a fight. It was minor, as most of our fights are, but I’m still in my pouty, I-don’t-want-to-make-up-yet stage. I’m waiting for my best friend to call me back so we can commiserate on how—surprise, surprise—our marriages aren’t the paradise we thought they’d be when we said “I do.” Not, of course, that I want out. Of course not! The mere fact that my hubby, who insists he’s allergic to all things having to do with cleaning, has not only cleaned out the cat’s litter box, but is now vacuuming up the stray litter crumbs from the hallway—probably as his way of saying sorry—makes me a lucky woman. But sometimes I look back on how idealistic I was about “how my marriage would be” and I just have to laugh. What a little naïve maroon I was! (Did that sound like Bugs Bunny? Because I sorta thought it did.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh, the fight. Well basically, it was a variation on the same tired topic that has plagued our marriage since the first days: we live across the nation from my family. Now I know everyone has their own little unique issues to deal with in their marriages, but this one seems to top them all because it is literally unsolveable. Case in point: since Johnny’s family lives here in Maryland, and mine lives in Idaho, we can only be near one or the other. If we move to the middle, it would then only require a plane trip either way, for almost the same cost as we pay to visit my family now, if you can believe it. The only way we would be able to live near both our families is if we somehow, miraculously, came up with enough money to pay for one family or the other to move to where we were. The problem with that? Johnny’s mom and dad both have their whole family out here that they would never leave, and my parents don’t like the East coast. I was not kidding when I said this issue is unsolveable!
On top of that same-old-same-old issue, my grandmother is now sick. Well, I suppose mincing words won’t do anyone a favor: my grandmother is dying. She’s been sliding down the slippery slope of dimensia for almost a year now, and it has finally gotten so bad that last night, in response to my pleading of something I could do to help, my mother responded that I should pray for my grandmother to die. You can imagine how that felt. But there is pretty much no way for me to go home and visit, since Johnny insists we can’t afford it. Even if I could get home, what could I do in the one or two weeks I would be there to make a difference? I would still have to come back home, pulled like a cliff-jumper at the end of their tether, back to the relative safety the distance provides from all involvement. But I WANT to do something. I am, you could say, desperate to do something. Yet every time I mention moving back to Idaho, Johnny points out that my father, who has a good deal more experience than Johnny in the same field, has had to move to California to find work. He has a point: Idaho is a desert when it comes to job opportunities for guys like them. Oh, I might be able to find work easily enough, but I’m not sure it would make enough to support both of us. Still, I’m tempted to look.
Even if we did move out there, though, it would only be tearing Johnny away from his family, even as we moved closer to mine. Sense the conundrum? I really don’t know how this issue will ever be resolved. One of us is always going to be upset. Maybe God will give us a miracle: maybe we’ll wake up one morning and the US will have folded in half. I can dream, right?