I tell you, middle age keeps getting curiouser and curiouser (as my friend Lewis Carroll says). Just as you think your life is as quiet as the morning breeze, a hurricane bobbles along and wobbles your weeble.
My employment has been one joy ride from beginning to end. Well, it’s not at land’s end yet…anyway, this blog isn’t about that.
My husband has been on the rat’s end of jobs for the past few years, and he’s further away from retirement than me. He’s finally found a great job, and is happily in training for a position which will hopefully carry us into my retirement. But there is one hangup about this job. Training for the next few weeks is 3 pm till midnight, then he goes full blown second shift, 6 pm through 3 am.
I imagine some of you have worked odd shifts recently, a while ago, or ages ago. My closest brush with nights was working the Boston Store 5 until 10. Now, though, those hours were nothing vs. my hubby’s new worldly hours.
Funny thing is…I think I’m going to like it.
I have known many moms who have taken one road while the dads took the other. Two different shifts — it doesn’t matter who does when. It’s a rough time, but they made up for the madness on weekends and evenings and vacations. Lots of love goes into bringing up children when one’s up is another’s down. I am fortunate that my” baby” boy is 24 and needs no babysitting. I have three pesty dogs and two mauly cats, so there is no problem with company.
There are downs, of course. Not being able to cuddle with my sweetie at night. Or not being able to ask him a thousand questions while we watch a movie. Or me vacuuming while he fills the dishwasher. Being married as long as we have, we have lots of conversations without either saying a word.
But there are strangely attractive things about holding my own five nights a week. We are still in the “dating” phase of two different job shifts; he comes home at midnight, kind of wakes me up, and I tiptoe around getting ready for work in the morning while the dogs argue about who gets to sleep on his legs. But the dating phase is soon going to turn into serious marriage times, as he takes off for work not long after I get home and slips back home two hours before I get going. We will exchange love and kisses over a quick dinner every night, which is a positive. And I may be able to squeeze a snuggle or two before I get up for the morning.
But I see the look in his eye. That look of … apprehension. Concern. He is worried what I will do — or not do — when he’s not around. That makes me laugh. Hardy har har laugh. But not for the reasons you think.
I suppose he thinks I’ll sit around and be a vegetable every night.
He’s not worried I’ll go party or shopping or something a wild 61-year-old might be inclined to do the minute authority is gone. (Are you laughing yet?) He’s afraid I’ll come home from work and sit on the sofa all night and eat and drink and watch TV. I think he’s concerned I’ll become even more pretzel as time goes on. And I ask you — what’s wrong with that??
You see, I have a way of doing things that are not always the way others do things. I get them done…I just spread them out. A bit. Lots of little bits. I know it’s not the “right” way…the “right” way is do a project until it’s d-o-n-e. Why not? Get it out of the way. Finito. Then you are free to dance the night away if you’d like. My problem is that if I finitoed everything at once the only dancing I’d do is in my dreams.
So I fill the dishwasher, then do whatever. I throw a load of laundry in and do whatever. Then when the dryer beeps I unload it and do something else. Maybe I’ll throw in another load of laundry, maybe I won’t. The thing is, I LIKE being sporadic. I LIKE being impulsive. And I LIKE doing it my way. Something I couldn’t always do with hubby around doing his linear thing.
I admit that I am trying to schedule one “task” per evening. One working task, one play task. I’ve only tackled two nights so far, but I’ve stayed to task. Last night…sewing. Tonight, my blog. I want to be able to go to bed at a normal time, to be able to take care of my personal hygiene and wardrobe and psyche. I want to take care of myself so I can take care of the man who has changed work shifts to take care of both of us. Some of our dreams have been run over by a locomotive; others are still out there, waiting for us.
So all I need to do is keep my tasks in check and manageable. No more superwoman. No more overachieving. And when we do meet twice a day, we will be connected in so many more ways.
Like — I will be sure to leave a list of what TV shows I’ve already watched. Favorite TV shows wait for no one — no matter what shift they work.