Monday, March 5, 2012


I'm wondering if I'll ever have another vacation, or if I'll ever retire. This isn't a litany of complaints -- I'm grateful to have a job that I love, and grateful for having had seven years worth of assorted cavorts around the globe. Just wish it had been spread out over a longer time period.

As things stand now, I'm looking at the necessity of continued employment until I drop dead. And at this rate, it's probably going to happen when I'm on the job, or a job. Whatever it takes to pay the bills.

I didn't expect to be looking back at 55 years from a standpoint of being twice-married, twice-unmarried. Death & divorce are both knee-bucklers. A better person would have planned more carefully -- at least that's what I hear from people who are close to me and should know better than to reprimand. What they don't know is that so many of those years have been spent scrabbling together enough to get by. Everyone has a back story, and I possibly don't fit the stereotype of The Working Poor, but I'll stand up here face-forward and say that I'm one of them. But then, that's the problem with stereotypes -- they don't take into account the myriad number of variables that make up any group of people.

For a short while, I thought I was home-free, had hit a home run, was out of the woods.


Life has a way of jerking the rug out.

It's all precarious --

And not one of us is going to make it out alive.

That being said, my fortune is in the minute-by-minute details that make a day, a week, a life.

Today it was to find energy in the bluster of the March wind, humor in my work companions, comfort in dinner shared with my son, and an ephemeral nirvana in a quarter-cup of homemade chocolate-peanut-butter ice cream. (And yes, it was only a quarter-cup.)


  1. There are so many of us, T. Mid-fifties, no retirement or savings to speak of, one or two paychecks away from complete disaster. It is so very scarey.

    It's not that you did anything wrong -- you did what you were 'supposed' to. You married, you had children, you raised them right, you worked, you got by, you kept an intellectual and creative life developing and growing.

    What blows my mind is that it would take so little, relatively, to take care of us for the rest of our lives. Then there are people live Rush Limbaugh who rake in 56 MILLION a YEAR on his vitriolic radio show. Does this make any sense in any way? Nope.

    We rely on the kindness and generosity of our friends and family, and on the labor from our own two hands.

    Sometimes I think I need to give Suze Orman a listen, but then I just get depressed about thinking on money issues at all....

  2. Some idiot spent £200,000 ($300,000?) on a bar bill, in a Liverpool club last night. Puts things into perspective; doesn't it!

  3. Tara, small comfort in numbers of any kind here, but nonetheless I find your words heartening. Your undaunted spirit -- especially in this last year when you were also facing the reality of a break-up -- has been a complete inspiration.

    And don't get me started on Rush....


  4. Cro, I can't even conceive of those numbers. In a single night?!!

    Good god.

  5. I always say that what lies behind the anxiety, grief, loss, etc. of parenting Sophie with her disabilities and the threat of a shortened life (or even worse, a life longer than I am able to care for her) is Love, and that makes it all bearable, completely so.

    What lies behind financial distress, from which we are suffering from, too, -- is a big black hole.

    I don't know why this is and know why it shouldn't be, but it is.

    I wish for ease and a vacation for you -- somewhere, sometime.

  6. i am in the same boat, T., and i have a hard time imaging anyone criticizing you--or me--for being in this leaky boat. two husbands, one son, 4 stepchildren for 10 years, and i've held down some kind of job for...50 (!) years now--(i'm counting babysitting, starting in jr high). and i am terrified, really. is that really how much rush limbaugh makes? makes me want to, well, better not to put it in writing...

    plan B: the old ladies home; let's all sign up now! at least we'll be together...

  7. Tough stuff, dear T. We hear you.

    Plan C - (thinking back to that piece of New England land we romanticized briefly about this time last year, Susan). . . there's a group of us over here thinking and feeling just the way you are over there. What is it with all of us the world over desperately/diligently - faithfully - paddling our separate boats in what wants to be a communal ocean? What huge and sustained effort it requires - it's a *^#~<>*^ endurance marathon. Over here, we're talking about ways we might unhook from the whole 'yours/mine' paradigm, focusing instead on 'ours', on the collective. It's such an obvious thing to say and do, I know, but why aren't more of us living in shared spaces on shared land; places of mutual nurture? That way we could pool resources - practical, emotional, financial - create a new and different way of life. This is how it used to be done, and it seemed to work a whole lot better than things are (or 'aren't) now. . . Does this seem Pollyanna-ish? I actually don't think so - in no way is this about 'romance', it's about necessity, about linking up and reinforcing community. There's a lot to be said for simpler lives and yet how hard it is to get there. When did life become more about striving than thriving? As Susan suggests, 'let's all sign up now. At least we'll be together. . .' Yes to a brood of chooks, a giant veggie patch and a bunch of friends each bringing what we can to the table. . . I'm not sure how one makes this happen, but let's not underestimate the power of our everyday conversations. . . xo

  8. I really relate to this; my situation is different because being disabled I automatically become one of the poor. I am most thankful that the "reprimanders" (mostly members of my family) are not in my life anymore. That would be hard to take. All the best wishes to you, T.

  9. John, this sentence -- "being disabled I automatically become one of the poor" -- is tragic beyond understanding.

    All best wishes to you too, John.