Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ode to the Single Woman

When I woke up Monday, stiff and sore after an incomplete attempt the day before to paint Marissa's room, I bemoaned my advancing middle age and took a peek inside the room, still only half painted and a total mess, and could only shake my head and be grateful I never tried to make it in life as a house painter.  It was only later that day that I realized the aches and pains, now joined by a sore throat, were signs of something more along the line of a little bug as opposed to a little over-the-hill.  If there ever is a time to be happy you're sick it's when you're a kid and it gets you out of a test you're not ready for, or when it allows you to use it as an excuse to deny that you're no spring chicken for a little while longer.  But, then the next day dawned, and I greeted it feeling like road kill, only to drag down the stairs to see fresh dog pee on the living room carpet and probably not-so-fresh pee on the basement carpet, four dogs who clearly needed to be let out - in the rain - two cats who wanted fresh food, and the mess I left in the kitchen when I limped off to bed the night before.  Where is the maid, I wonder to myself as my head pounded a rhythm to the rain?  Oh yeah, I'm her.

And that got me thinking back to the time when I was struggling to move in, dragging boxes around, trying to jam in more stuff than the house was designed to hold, hang things in plaster, move furniture where it was supposed to go as opposed to where it was, and hook up a complicated sound system.  I could have used an extra hand or two, I thought to myself more than once.  But, I didn't have one, so I eventually got it done.  I had to pay some people to be the muscle I didn't possess, but eventually the dust settled, the house got unpacked, and there was a sense of satisfaction when I would look around and see what I had done.  But, now struggling with that work-life balance thing, a house full of wet dogs, under the weather in more ways than one, I am glad that I'll have family coming to lend a hand soon.  And that got me thinking of all the women I know who do it on their own all the time.  They rock.  It's hard.  Life is hard.  Sometimes being able to turn to someone and say, "Can you run to the store to pick up kitty litter for me?" and have them do it is about the best thing you can ask of it.  Many of us who have spouses take that partnership for granted; I certainly did.  So, I want to shout out to all the women I know who do it on their own everyday.  They deserve a lot of respect for what they do.  Sure they have complete control of the remote control and can sleep in the middle of the bed, but they have to push on when they don't feel well, they have to figure out if they are going to the store for that kitty litter or catch some much needed sleep.  For the single parents I know, my hat really goes off to you.  I know, first hand, how very hard parenting is when there are two of you trying to keep a lid on things.  I know how exhausting and worrisome it is.  I can't even fathom the depth of the exhaustion to do all of it on your own.  The weight of the worry could crush a mountain, yet you carry on.

But it's the decision-making process I marvel at the most.  They have to make all the decisions - the little ones and the big ones.  That may sound good - no one is there to tell you what to do.  But sometimes you just need a sounding board to give yourself a reality check.  I can't tell you how many times I've turned to Greg and asked "What do you think of...?"  Everything from my choice of shoes to what house to buy.  Maybe I knew what I wanted to do, but just having someone confirm that choice is a comfort you can't appreciate until you no longer have it.

I know a lot of women who simply amaze me.  From my friend who raises her daughter on her own, from my amazing hairdresser who moved from Alaska to Texas with only her dog, her shoes and very little else, to my cousin who just remodeled her bathroom on her own.  That's just the tip of the iceberg.  Some of my single female friends chose that path, some did not, but all of them are on it without complaint.  For the four months I've spent there, I can tell you:  I'm ready to have someone around to bring me some hot tea and chicken noodle soup during those road kill moments.  But, for now, I've got to trudge upstairs and mop the mud off the kitchen floor and then try to figure out when I'll have time to get that kitty litter.


  1. I hope Greg reads your post. Everyone deserves a little appreciation now and then. Life is hard. Love is harder. But it does cut down on the dog pee.


  2. I'm the maid, bitch. I'm actually contemplating applying for a job with a maid service when I get there since I love cleaning other people's stuff so much haha. Just have to fucking get there...