Years ago, before we had kids, I bought my wife a painting of two empty wooden chairs sitting on the beach, overlooking the ocean. I’ve always looked at that picture and envisioned our retirement years.
My wife quit her job back before Christmas. It was time for her to go. Her new job starts her out as temp, calling her in as needed before hiring her permanently.
When you stay as behind on bills as we do, leaving a known paycheck for a possible paycheck falls under the category of “leap of faith”… or “absolute craziness.”
Monday comes, her first day eligible to called and goes without her phone ringing. No worries, we’re sure they’ll call soon. She goes to the gym with me since she has an unwanted off day.
Monday night rolls around and she’s complaining about being sore. It seems she’s skipped leg day a few times and the day’s workout has her in pain. Like any loving husband does in such a situation, I make fun of her mercilessly for being sore.
Tuesday comes, no phone call. She goes with me to the gym again. This workout goes better, and she isn’t as sore. Either that or she just doesn’t want to hear my mouth again making fun of her.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: no phone calls, no work. No work equals no pay. We’re starting to think of other employment options she may be able to find.
The week goes on, she drives me to town for a side project I’ve just started (stayed tuned, exciting news soon). We do other errands and jobs around the house that have been waiting for some off days.
As the weekend hits, it dawns on me how much I’ve enjoyed spending the week with her. Clearly, it’s not something we can get used to. We each need to work full-time jobs in order to struggle to where we are now. She has to work, either with this new job or somewhere else.
This Monday rolled around and she was called in to work her new job. She got a three-day assignment. We’re both confident she’ll end up with the job permanently, but it’s going to be a little hairy these first few weeks not knowing how much, if any, money she’ll make.
I wish our society wasn’t one where families spent most of their waking hours apart from each other. Last week was a wonderful reminder of how much I enjoy spending time around her, even when she’s complaining about her legs being sore.
It’s not always easy to remember that when we’re stuck in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of just trying to get to the next day.
It was also a nice preview as to how our retired years will be, assuming either of us ever hit retirement. I’m looking forward to those years. But since I’m also looking forward to not being homeless anytime soon, let’s all hope she gets this new job quickly.
After all, we have to be able to afford two wooden chairs here in the next few years.
Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .