Friday, February 9, 2018

He said, she said, I said

"You and me can make it anywhere
For now, we can stay here for a while
'Cause you know, I just wanna see you smile."

A lot has been going on.

For one thing, this happened.

It's a 2017 Rogue SL with all the cool things. Bluetooth stereo to play my music. Heated leather seats. A backup camera. Hands-free liftgate. Lots of safety bells and whistles, literally, almost.

I bought it on the last day of January, a snowy month that somehow possessed the dealer to knock about 30 percent off MSRP on last year's models and give me above Blue Book retail on my trade-in (without even driving it).

Now of course I still have to pay for it, so the stock market better get in gear and end this untimely correction.

It's been an expensive season, and it's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I paid the deposit for seven of us to cruise to Alaska in July. We'll be sipping "free" beverages with umbrellas as we cruise Glacier Bay, and stopping in four ports.

I also paid the way for my kids and their crew to visit here in March. Spring break is hell on airfare. It will be worth it to be together I think.

I may not be able to do this every year. I'm tapping my savings a bit, something I hadn't intended to do. I'd hope to slide by with some bead income and a monthly direct deposit from Uncle Sam that I started this year. I planned to die with every penny I had in the bank and whatever that money could earn for me.

As my dad liked to say, I'm spending my children's inheritance. I don't know why I feel guilty about it. I'm sure they will spend it if I won't.

I guess I am more worried about not having done the things I want to do than I am about running out of moola in my lifetime. Neil's annual pension is more than I ever earned in a year, although it's not my money to spend at will. And as Neil reminds me often, there's always the risk of runaway inflation. A loaf of bread might someday cost $10.

I can't worry about it. I can't worry about everything.

One of the things I can't worry about it the security of my kids' jobs and future prospects. Both of them seem to be somewhat following in my footsteps, the footsteps of someone who had a hard time figuring out a career path, and was lucky enough to keep putting one foot in front of the other and hanging on like grim death long enough to amass a reasonable nest egg.

If I felt like my kids were on any kind of path to amass their own nest eggs, I'd worry less about spending some of mine. But beyond hoping to preserve enough assets to leave them something for a rainy day - or a monsoon season - I have to refuse to make it my problem.

As my mom liked to say, I won't try to live anyone else's lives, I have enough trouble living my own.

Living my own life has been trickier than usual lately. I've made things harder on myself than I need to. I've done things like going to get my driver's license but leaving the four different proofs of identity that NC requires on my desk at home, and realizing it as I pulled into the parking lot of the DMV.

That was only as far as Huntersville - and back and forth again - but just days later, as Neil and I were heading out to buy my daughter a birthday gift and try a New York style deli for lunch, I forgot my phone. We'd barely left the subdivision when I realized I didn't have it and I needed it because my daughter's gift suggestions were in an email. Neil fussed about going back for it, but he did.

It would have been better if we hadn't. I could have used Neil's phone to check my email, if I'd thought about it. Because what happened next was that I left my phone on the table at the deli where we had lunch (the worst mushroom barley soup ever too) and didn't miss it until we walked in the door back home. Luckily, I called and they had it.

Neil didn't want to go back. He said we could go the next day. But I wanted my phone. So I spent almost two hours going to get it, because rush hour traffic. Actually, it wasn't the traffic that slowed me so much, it was the fact that the deli was 10 miles from the freeway, so there was a lot of city driving and stoplights.

I'm not sure why Neil was so bothered. I didn't ask him to come with me, even though I think I would have gone with him if the tables were turned that way. Maybe he felt guilty for not coming with me and resented feeling guilty.

And don't you know that a day or two later, I forgot my wallet when we were going to run an errand. We were only at the end of the street when I had to ask Neil to turn back.

As if that wasn't bad enough (and it wasn't really all that bad anyway, was it?) I continued to get on Neil's nerves. First we went to pick up my free birthday bundtlet from Nothing Bundt Cakes. I picked the flavor of the month, as I always do. Neil wanted to buy three more bundtlets and he picked two flavors and asked me to pick one. Nothing appealed to me. I said, I just wanted the one. He pushed, I resisted, he finally picked a third flavor. I hope he enjoys all three, because one really is all I wanted.

From bad to worse, our next stop was Starbucks for my free birthday beverage. I ordered a non-fat venti latte with two pumps of toffee flavor. But then I had trouble pulling up the app on my phone. It wouldn't take my password. I did a password reset request but didn't get the email. I tried again. As luck had it, no one was waiting in line, which is rare for this busy Starbucks, but while I struggled with the app, Neil paid for my drink.

So I got agitated. I would never order a venti anything, except when it's free on my birthday. I'm sure I embarrassed Neil by asking the barista to give him a refund (which the barista readily did). I finally got the app working - it didn't like me using my email as my username - and got my drink, but the damage was done.

Later Neil said, we have different styles of doing things. He''d have had the app pulled up in advance. I just didn't think about it until we were at the counter.

It's more than that though. It seems like every little thing I do irritates Neil, from the way I put the groceries in the shopping cart, to the way I walked too close to him when we were wheeling the cart to the car, or something like that. So part of me is walking on eggshells, trying not to annoy him, and part of me is refusing to own it.

That's the part of me that responds, I'm a fuckup, I can't do anything right, when he objects to how I put the groceries in the cart.

I'm not happy about it, but I understand how it is when someone gets on your last nerve. Suddenly, every little thing they do annoys you. I've been on the other side of this coin too. The catch here is we're married. And I love him. And he loves me, I think. And he does things that annoy me too, all the time, and I have to suppress the urge to criticize or sigh dramatically or roll my eyes or make some snarky comment.

I'm not perfect. Sometimes I'm sarcastic or impatient or critical or mocking even. But I do at least try to keep it on a leash. Right now I feel like Neil isn't trying.

This too shall pass, I think. He's going to spend a week or ten days with his mother, who is having chemo and radiation for a lung cancer recurrence, and with his dad, who is combating the effects of primary myelofibrosis. That alone has to be stressing him. He's partly stressed too because we have things on the calendar that make being away for an extended time inconvenient and because, like me, he just doesn't like being away that much.

And as much as I don't like the idea of him being away, a little separation might do us some good. We're just too totally together and dependent on each other right now.

Some might say, out of sight, out of mind, but I like to say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away

Call me, baby, if you need a friend
I just wanna give you love
Come on, come on, come on
Reaching out to you, so take a chance
No matter where you go
You know you're not alone

Come along with me and don't be scared
I just wanna set you free
Come on, come on, come on
You and me can make it anywhere
For now, we can stay here for a while
'Cause you know, I just wanna see you smile
No matter where you go
You know you're not alone

And when you're weak I'll be strong
I'm gonna keep holding on
Now don't you worry, it won't be long, darling
And when you feel like hope is gone
Just run into my arms

I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one, I'm only one call away
I'll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I'm only one call away
I'm only one call away.

(Maureen Mcdonald, Shy Carter, Justin Franks,Breyon Prescott, Matt Prime, Charlie Puth)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz