It’s such a great adjective. 1. Of or pertaining to tension; i.e. tensile strain. 2. Capable of being stretched, or drawn out.
My tensile strength, my “test” for you fishermen out there, reached its limit a little while back. You’ve noticed my silence; you’ve read enough of me to know that silence is rarely a positive indicator. I write when I’m happy. I write when I’m angry. I don’t write when something gives.
Now I have to figure out how to live in the sunshine again. I can see it there, in front of me. Some days I even feel it on my skin. I’m doing better. I’m stronger: healthier: more content.
But restless. Like the spring that’s been overwound, I’m a little… out of my original shape.
I hate to sound like some pampered, petted white-collar crybaby snot, but that’s exactly what I was for the last four years. And now I’m not. Now I work a “real” job, on a seven-day week, with only the rare weekend off, and usually only one day off at a time. I work a varying schedule – not eighttofive with someone bringing me coffee at my desk.
Frankly, this is my first taste of how tough it is to manage a blue-collar life.
I’ve never, not once in my adult life (except for my high school sweetie, three lifetimes ago) been in a long term, live in relationship with another working adult or had to manage two schedules. Much less three, by the time you factor in Sharkman. Even when Janus and I were married, he worked and I went to school full time, but it’s not like we were trying to carve out a lot of time together. I was pretty content with both of us going our separate ways.
I don’t like it much.
I don’t like not having any time to manage or maintain my marriage. I don’t like having to make appointments for things like sitting down together and having a conversation. I miss casual affection, and spontaneity, and random long-sweat-inducing-too-hot-for-the-middle-of-the-day kisses just for the hell of it. I loathe and fucking despise that the little time we get together is entirely consumed by daily life, because that’s all we have time for. Who’s going to drop the kid off where, who is going to make which phone calls, what bills got paid, what needs to be done around the house, who’s out of underwear or socks, who has time to unload the dishwasher.
Don’t get me wrong.
I am bone-deep grateful to be married to someone who loves me enough to work 15 hours days to take care of me and my kid. Who understands that I can’t do it all myself, because we live someplace where my only value is a background in construction, not seven years of corporate accounting in addition to that background. Who doesn’t make me feel bad for not having the energy to scour the floorboards twice a week because my job entails a lot of time on my feet.
I’m married to a wonderful, loving, kind and sexy man.
Who has a whole lot more practice at this kind of life than I do.
I’m getting okay with it. I finally, after I broke down a couple weeks ago, came to some kind of terms with the kind of work I’m qualified to do here and what that means for the next few years of our life. It means that we’re damn lucky to have these two incomes, because we have to have them both and because so many people here are desperately trying to make the same thing happen. It means that we’re damn lucky to have been able to find work schedules that would accommodate one car (until this weekend, when we finally found a second vehicle that suits our purposes).
It means that we’re okay, and our family is taken care of. Our priorities match, and we’re both killing ourselves to maintain them the way we want to.
It means that I feel like a whiny little bitch three days out of five, and guilty for it the other two.
Because for all of that, I miss being the center of attention. I miss being the boss at work, and setting my own hours. I miss making enough money to take care of my family so that my spouse doesn’t have to work. I miss time with both of my boys at the same time, rather than seeing one for a couple hours at night and one for a few minutes in the morning.
I miss a life that doesn’t make my husband so tired and stressed that he gets sick, and then has to go to work sick because the job is more important than the worker.
I miss a life that leaves time for sitting and staring at each other with googly-eyes.
For the first time in my life, I really understand how people wake up, twenty years later, and stare at their spouse like they’ve never seen them before. Not because we’re going to do that, but just because after the last year of seeing how much time it takes just to survive, I see how it could happen.
So I guess, in amongst the whining and bellyaching, this is me, saying that that is not going to be us. I’m going to find a way to squeeze in time, somewhere, stolen from something, to make sure that I keep up with the sweet, thoughtful stuff. I don’t want Rhett or Sharkman to feel like they’re taking a backseat to anything, even our survival. I’ll steal minutes to send notes in their work or school bags. I’ll make big breakfasts once or twice a week, when I don’t have to go to work until 10. Or something.
Something to hang on to, a reason why we work so hard and give up so much of our time.
I love them so much. I’m so afraid that I’m too busy or too tired to say it, to show it. I know this is me, overthinking everything, but I can’t help it. It’s just how I am.