My husband once said that the worst thing anyone could do to someone else was to fail to meet that person’s expectations. I didn’t understand it at first, but the longer I thought about it the more valid it seemed, with a few exceptions.
If I expect my husband to send me flowers on our anniversary or Valentine’s Day and I don’t receive them it isn’t the end of the world is it? So – not the worst thing. Of course I’ve never expected flowers so the lack of them isn’t a failure in my mind. There are times though I wouldn’t mind receiving something at work if only to show other people that I am loved damn it! But, I digress.
Similarly, I’ve grown to accept that JD isn’t likely to hold a job outside our home ever again. However, earlier this year he started putting applications in with some of our local stores. I’m a little ashamed to say that my first thought was he wanted to go to work so he’d have an excuse not to help chauffeur his Mother around to appointments. Am I bad or what? But as he continued the search, the possibility of a second income became siren-like, calling me to my doom.
I still wasn’t giving the idea a lot of space in my brain, but late in the summer our daughter suggested he apply where she worked, as part of a call center. She explained they take just about anyone, there would at the very least be four weeks of paid training, and it wouldn’t begin until some time in November. Let me just say that I didn’t expect to hear any more about that prospect because she works for the IRS and JD loathes them.
K then pointed out he could get a paycheck from The Man, and her excitement was contagious. With her assistance he got online and navigated the initial application process. When they sent him the assessment package K helped him figure that out. Just a few weeks ago he received an email which gave his rating as “superior” and all we were waiting on was the notification telling him when to show up for orientation.
That excitement mentioned above? I got caught up in it myself and ignored, for a while anyway, the little voice in my head which said “this way lies disaster”. I started believing we would soon be a 2-income household. We might not have to rob Peter to pay Paul! Maybe we could even afford to make repairs to the master bathroom so I could use the grown-up shower again! So many possibilities filled my thoughts.
Yesterday JD received an email with more forms to fill out and, presumably a date to show up. When I arrived home last evening (after my third night of over time this week) he said there was something he was afraid to ask me, and that quickly, the bubble burst. I knew immediately he wasn’t going to work next month, at least not at that job. But what exactly could I say? Grow up? Grow a pair? Get a job or else? The reality was that he was meeting my expectations because I’d never genuinely believed he would go to work.
I don’t feel that I can legitimately complain because over the nearly two decades we’ve been together my behavior has allowed this situation to develop. For what it’s worth, it began slowly. At first he was merely taking a “leave” to work on the farmhouse we were remodeling. It was cheaper than hiring a contractor and I agreed to it. Then he let his CDL lapse and finally, his health deteriorated so that he felt he could no longer safely operate a big truck. When his dad passed he sank into a depression which lasted for what felt like years (and very well may have been; I stopped counting). He occasionally sinks back into that morass, but it’s not as often or as deep these days.
So eighteen years later here we are. One income, a mountain of stress squarely balanced on my shoulders and I have only myself to thank.
Have I mentioned this blog is about therapy? I am a wuss, hear me vent.