“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it -- or my observation of it -- is temporary?”
- John Green
These last six months, in many ways, have been some of the most difficult of our marriage. Not THE most difficult, mind you, but a close second, anyway.
It reminds me of this time shortly after we got married mumblesomething years ago and we bought and moved into our first house. Then everything went to hell in a handbag. We moved in. We were pretty much children back then and only barely made enough to get by after the mortgage was paid. And before we made the first payment on the house, I totaled a car. Then exactly one week to the day while driving me home from the Metro station I was now obliged to frequent, The KoH totaled his car. I was driving in the first accident and got a lovely seat belt bruise/burn from my left shoulder to my right hip from being thrown forward and then I was the passenger in the second accident so I received the same mark from my right shoulder to my left hip and walked around for a month with a giant X on my torso. I remember sitting on the median of the highway, waiting for a tow truck to come and watching pieces of The KoH's truck bouncing up and down on the road as other cars drove and just laughing because it was too ridiculous to cry. These were not even the most significant things that went wrong that month. We started referring to April as "Wrecktember."
And that's not even what I mean when I talk about the worst time in our marriage because in addition to "Wrecktember," there's also been "Sucktober," "Blowvember," and "Debtember." Trouble tends to follow us in packs; it always has.
In the last six months, The KingofHearts has been laid off and we lost the contract on the house we were buying. We had some medical issues of our own, which I'm not quite ready to talk about just yet. We had to cash out a retirement account and ended up paying way more taxes on that than we were expecting (and we were expecting a lot). We remodeled our old house with mostly our own four hands, put it on the market, sold it, lost the contract on that, sold it again, had a month-long argument with the prospective buyers who learned that once, half a decade ago, a raccoon had gotten into the attic and we evicted him within the week, but they worried they were going to be murdered in their sleep by the errant raccoon when he came back with his Raccoon Gang That Returns To The Scene Of The Crime Every Five Years and what were we going to do to make them feel better about that, huh?!? I suggested we tell them not to worry, the Monkey Fighting Snake up there in the Monday-to-Friday Attic would most assuredly scare off the raccoon and then we post this photo on the attic door, but our long-suffering real estate agent suggested this wasn't quite the right tack to take.
Finally on the last day of that contract, it turned out that these buyers couldn't even secure financing, despite a letter their bank wrote for them saying they were approved for the amount. (The bank said they wrote it in error: "Our bad.") So we lost an entire month of market time, three other viable offers, and put the house back on the market. We sold it again in a matter of days, but then almost didn't get to complete the sale because the county had screwed up something about the filing of the title four years before we even bought the house and threatened not to let us sell it, but we certainly could continue paying the mortgage they gave us when they let us buy it without a secure title. While dealing with all that, we had a flood in the new house, we lost a close family member suddenly, lost a close friend suddenly and another friend is currently in the hospital. This after an already difficult previous year of helping friends and family manage illness and loss.
Some really great things have happened too, but not without clawing, scratching and fighting for them tooth and nail, which seems to be how most things work out for us anyway.
All of this is not to try and elicit sympathy, but rather to put it in perspective here and to possibly explain how as much as I want to write about this and work out my thoughts, my inner voice has almost completely gone dark lately and I don't know how to start it up again. I've tried over and over to sit down and put some of these experiences on screen... for maybe no one even, other than myself and my kids one day. To try and show how we all eventually deal with times like these and if we are strong - and most of us are - we get through them. We might get through them with grace and we might not, but we get through. And how even at the darkest of these times, there is still so much joy.
So I sit at the keyboard and I put my index fingers on the J and the F and this comes out:
And then I shut the computer and go look for whatever new catastrophe has happened that day.
Today we are spending a ridiculous amount of money to have a few dead trees on the new property cut down because they are threatening the house and with our luck as of late, it's only a matter of time before a stiff wind blows them over and we can hang mugs off the limbs coming through our kitchen wall. It's the prudent, adult thing to do, but what I really want to do is take the money, purchase a plane ticket and get on the first flight out of here. I don't care to where. Just away.
I know we will get through the dark times because we got through others and they were much darker, but for now I just wish it would STOP for a minute.
So instead of working, I'm sitting here on the floor with my feet up on the fireplace, watching Larry, Moe and Curly (*not their real names) try to take down a single tree without killing any other trees, hitting the house, or dropping said tree on one of their bodies. A big branch just hung up on another tree and while one of the guys walked under it, it started to drop. The other two yelled at the top of their lungs, "HEADACHE!" and he jumped out of the way just before it came crashing down to the spot where he'd been standing.
There is a chipmunk under my herb garden who looks just as amused by the arborists as I am. He's been back and forth most of the morning. He watches The Stooges for awhile, then runs off to - I don't know, find a nut - and comes back a few minutes later to watch some more.
This morning, I woke up early to find a coyote poking around our yard, followed by a couple of lazy deer who seem to have missed the memo that someone lives here now and are always surprised to see us moving around by the window.
A beautiful swallowtail butterfly just lit on the azalea bush, despite the fact that the chainsaws are making such a racket a few feet away from him, I can't believe he wouldn't be scared off, and a hummingbird flew up to the feeder we hung outside.
I think the universe wants to be noticed.