The move, or rather, the transition to Boca has me freaking out. See, when we’d first discussed the job opportunity, Phil explained that he’d travel to Florida every other week, from Sunday night to Wednesday. My immediate reaction wasn’t at all unlike hearing the news that my parents were divorcing.
No, not tears, not betrayal, a family ripped apart, but instead, all out materialism. A dream of better and more. Of a breezy jet setting life of luxury with double. Two homes, two worlds, more. It’s horrible to admit. When my mother told me she was leaving my father, moving to Florida, that I could have her cashmere sweaters, that I’d have a home in Florida, too—I was giddy, and somehow, it felt like Disney World.
Eventually, the sheen dulled, and the grit and disorganized knot of mess crept in. I was angry with my mother, ached for my father, and then, there were tears. Life went back to the ordinary lull, to to-do lists, cluttered cars, gum wrappers, half-empty everything. It’s worse than “back to reality.” It’s the disappointment that can come with high expectations. Sub-par. The newness is gone, and too much has happened to take it back. I know this.
Yet, when Phil mentioned his quickie getaways to Florida, I got the giddy going. Awesome. What an excellent break, Sunday to Wednesday. I’d still get him on the “good nights.” I could fall asleep to chick flicks, groove to clit-rock, make “my way” more than a Sinatra ballad. And then…
Then, suddenly, as of this trip actually, I’m beginning to feel the rug. It’s nowhere near my feet anymore. Now there’s talk of moving in, furniture and all, by June 1. Ta to the part of Texas that’s nothing like Texas. When did this happen?
Just as I’d imagined a lush life with two sets of parents, two bedrooms, and a life of more, I began to excite in the possibilities. In floor plans and soaring ceilings, community living with happy hours and more (transplanted) New Yorkers. A walk from the ocean, fresh stone crabs, palm trees, and finally good Italian food again.
Then I arrive in Florida, not as a daughter visiting for a week, but as a potential resident. I research different neighborhoods and begin to dream in floor plans. A calendar of happy hour gatherings while kids paint pottery and eat hotdogs. An activity director, wine tastings at the clubhouse, special events for one and all. I was excited about a community and ready for the “Wow Factor.”
But each time I found a home in our price range, with lit tennis courts, pilates and barre classes, a fitness center, community pools, babysitting, and a social calendar, Phil would carp about something really trivial.“I don’t like that there are marble floors everywhere,” he said, shaking his head.
“Do you know how loud they are? You’ll hear every conversation, we’ll be all up in each other’s business.” This is coming from a man who has worked at home, up in my business, day in and out for the past five years.
“Seriously? You’re saying no to this house,”—a house with a warming drawer, gas range, spa, and outdoor kitchen—“over gorgeous white marble floors?”
“Not just that, but there are random stairs and steps. We’ll all trip and kill ourselves. And the owners are moving to Africa! Do you know what it’ll be like if there’s a leak? That isn’t covered with some service agreement. And where’s the landlord? Taking photos of lions. Sorry, it’ll have to wait.”
For the past four years we’ve lived in a home with a sunken dining room, where anyone, at any time, could plummet to his death, and not a comment. But now, because the master bedroom steps down off two steps, it’s a no go. And *here* is where we insert my “Wow.” Dude, you’re either in or you’re out.I get it. I do. I just wish he’d admit it. Why can’t he say, “This is an awesome house. And I know we’d be happy here, but I’m nervous about succeeding. What if things don’t work out? Then we’re paying out a lot of money, not to mention a mortgage for a home we rarely see.” And if that’s the case, then I should stop looking to rent a home, and act as if Florida doesn’t exist. No move. No packing up of home, no waving goodbye. I don’t do “one foot in” unless that foot is lodged up an ass.
We’re back in Austin for Passover. Phil’s sister and niece are coming for a visit. Already Phil turns to me and says he needs to book his next trip to Boca. How does May 1 – May 13 look? How does it look? It looks bleak as fuck. Either he’s gone for two weeks or we go with him, living “in-between,” without a house, without other kids with whom to play, without a neighborhood, without school or camp. And I’ll likely become a cutter, searching for self-mutilation tools in pancake houses. Instead, I’ll play the role of single mother in Austin.
Supportive wife. I keep saying it. This is a wonderful opportunity. Do not add more stress to his life; he’s under enough with a new undertaking, people to hire, a business to run. Grow up, woman. Besides, it’s a rental, a year of your life, so stop obsessing over amenities and elementary school districts, never mind about having a fenced yard. You’re not buying the place, so who cares if the ceilings are low and you have to share a closet with Phil. Never you mind that you’re in a community full of golden oldies who’re literally trying to pass HOA rules to drive out teens, or in a family-friendly community of 1970 homes, dimly lit, with ceilings you can touch.
My answer to my very mature questions: piss off, lady. You can talk a big game of being a supportive wife and not minding, being a trooper, but you’re the one who’ll be home when he’s at work, left to walk the dog and exercise the rambunctious children. Who cares if the kitchen is antiquated and there’s no bathtub? You will care, quite a bit, when you’re tripping all over each other, bickering about piles of clothes. Not to mention how bleak things look for Mr. Bikini and his patch of grass. Not only will you be pulling your kids from school, but you’ll also be pulling yourself from the friends with whom you’ve fallen in love.
Holy reindeer balls. Seriously? You lived in a Manhattan box and shared a closet once upon an engaged life ago. You can make anything work. So, be positive! Be supportive! Life’s an adventure. You’ve moving closer to family. The beans will be near your mother, grandmother, and sister. So, quit your whining, girly. There are new friends to make, restaurants to relish, and corners to be turned.
I want so much to force this—to make it just happen already. Pick a house, rent it, be done with it already. I want to will things done, have answers, know that it will all work out, know if I should enroll the kids in camp in Austin or Florida, know where I’ll be in a month, if I should begin to pack up a home. But the truth and heart of this post is this: I can’t always have the answer. I can’t force things, and I need to be better about feeling confident enough that no matter where we are, what is determined or decided, it will all be okay. We will all be fine. Because at the core of all of it, there’s love. And I really am a supportive wife. I have to learn to let it go and see what comes back to me.
So, big whoop. Girly, if you wind up in Boca, you load-up on anti-depressants, watch your chick flicks, get your clit-rock groove on, and start redefining “my way.”