with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
I am downward-facing Jenny. I am on my belly on the rough porch roof, clinging to an air conditioning unit by its electrical tail. The asphalt shingles scrape my abdomen as I clamor for the slipping appliance. I manage to dig the sweaty fingers of my right hand into the vents, but still, the AC slips some more, precariously close to the edge of the roof. Both the AC and my skull are on a collision course with the sidewalk two stories below, or, possibly worse, the roof of my car.
I am alone, in a sunny quiet neighborhood, slipping headfirst to my doom, not holding a loving hand, but clutching the cord of a Frigidaire AC. I think, as I slip and it slips: Hey! Last words! To every smug married soul (I know, I know, YOU’RE NOT, but THEY ARE) I say, how the F*CK could you ever begrudge me wanting a partner again in this godforsaken appliance-filled lifetime? Don’t give me that sh*t about my needing to be an independent woman. WTF do you know anymore about being independent?
One boob comes loose. Now my breast hits hot asphalt roofing, and I am really stinking mad. I am flashing the neighborhood AND on the verge of plummeting to my idiotic death AND nobody will even notice until sundown, when my mangled body has dehydrated like a dead worm into the sidewalk, and the blind guy who always walks into my car will drive his cane through my heart.
This is REALLY super. I love single life.
I yell at the AC. OH NO YOU DIDN’T. It inches out of my grasp again, settles just nearly at the teetering edge of doom. I am trying to shimmy my way backwards into my bedroom again, put my feet down, but I can’t, not quite, because I am NOT GOING TO LOSE the f*cking air conditioner. I will NOT BE THAT WOMAN. I may be dead, but I will not be the woman who loses the air conditioner because she doesn’t have a nice husband to help her.
I hang in the balance, scrabbling to get some leverage, to reel in the cord, to dig my fingers into every crevice I can, to try to haul it back up into my room. My NICE SINGLE WOMAN ROOM, reeking of sweat and independence.
I tear my dress. “I HATE YOU!” I yell involuntarily to the neighborhood. I am Losing My Shite.
With one sharp, painful lurch (one I know I will feel in my lower back later), I hurl myself and the AC backwards, back up the roof, back through the window. The dog and cat scatter, sensing a beast unleashed.
Outside, all is peaceful.
Inside, I am swearing like a sailor and wishing for all handy husbands and the women who take them for granted to be struck by lightning or savaged by bears.
I realize as I slam the window down on the dented AC unit that love and hate are more similar than I have ever truly realized. I hear Meg Ryan in the final scene of When Harry Met Sally: “I hate you, Harry. I really, really hate you.”
I love and hate my old life and my old love simultaneously, at this moment. I hate loving him always. I hate being stuck in a world where I can’t see anything but always loving him, and hating his absence: Where were you when I was dangling out the f*cking window? Would you miss me then? Lovingish-hatingish frustration fills every nook and cranny of our odd still-new estranged relationship (is that an oxymoron?), although we sure don’t talk about it. He may not feel anything. But I hate the helplessness I feel, regularly, when computers and small appliances kick my ass and do things like cause asphalt skidmarks on my breasts.
I will marry the next person who helps me install an air conditioner. Male, female, I’m game. Step right up. I’ll go topless again for the installation, if you want. I will be barefoot and pregnant and learn how to bake blueberry muffins and talk real dirty to you. I have had enough of singlehood, oh, yes, mark my words.
Now excuse me while I rub Neosporin into my decolletage.
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