Wednesday, March 31, 2010

16 days...

In just 16 days, my dear husband and I will be boarding a plane to San Juan.  We're excited about this trip because neither of us has ever been to Puerto Rico.  We're even more excited because after four nights in San Juan, we'll be boarding SeaDream I for a five night, all-inclusive, luxury cruise!  For five nights and six days, we'll be spoiled rotten by bartenders who make it their mission to keep our champagne glasses overflowing.  After the cruise, we'll spend a night in the Virgin Islands, then head back home to the real world.

Over the past few years, my husband and I have gotten pretty spoiled in terms of travel.  We lived in Europe for two years and got to see a lot of places.  A year ago at this time, we were headed for Barcelona, Spain, where we spent a long weekend.  We happened to be there for Palm Sunday, which was especially interesting in Spain.  Everybody was so dressed up and there were huge palm fronds everywhere.  We visited La Sagrada Familia cathedral that morning and I watched as my husband's eyes welled up with tears over Gaudi's creation.

Now that we're back in America... at least for now... it's harder to have those experiences.  Oddly enough, it's also harder to afford them.  We actually lived better overseas than we do here at home.  I was pretty pissed off that we had to leave a year early, though I like where we're living now.  Germany felt a lot like home to me, though, and I really got used to the lifestyle.  I could see us going back there indefinitely if we had the opportunity.

So anyway, this SeaDream cruise will have to suffice for now.  I'm pretty sure we won't suffer as we lounge around the hot tub and suck down creme brulee martinis that are included in the price of the cruise.  And for the time we're on vacation, I promise not to miss chasing Zane around the house after he steals a maxi pad from my purse... which is what he just did. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today in the life of The Overeducated Housewife...

Soo... this morning, I was awakened very early by my dear husband, who was on his way to work.  Before he takes off, he always takes our younger beagle out so he can take a whiz.  Our younger pooch, Zane, is having trouble mastering the intricacies of housetraining, so we try to be vigilant and give him lots of opportunities to relieve himself.  Hubby gave me a kiss and let the dog back into our bedroom.

Zane didn't want to go back to sleep like he usually does. Instead of crawling back under the covers and passing out, he kept jumping off the bed.  In retrospect, I should have taken him out again, but I wanted to sleep.  But then I couldn't sleep and my mind started wandering to darker places.  I started thinking about people who piss me off... and there are a LOT of them.  I have a terrible habit of holding grudges and I have a memory that is entirely too long for my own good. 

Then, as I was laying there, trying in vain to fall asleep, I started thinking about how cruel the passage of time can be.  I've never been a looker, really.  I'm too fat for my own good and have been that way for probably fifteen years or so.  I had a couple of periods of relative slimness during that time, when I lost drastic amounts of weight without even trying.  But the weight always comes back.  I've also never been much for wearing a lot of makeup.  I find it impractical, especially since I don't see anyone but my dogs on most days.  I hate visiting doctors because I hate being lectured and I've had some bad experiences dealing with doctors. 

Anyway, the sun wasn't yet up, so I decided to watch Dallas.  Yes, I enjoy shows from the 70s and 80s... I didn't get a chance to watch Dallas when it was hot because it was during my childhood.  It's interesting to watch it now, just to see what the fuss was all about.  I started thinking about the women on the show who, at that time, were all my age right now.  They're all beautiful and successful, the way I always thought I wanted to be.  But they all have problems, too.

I caught myself doing a few perfunctory exercises in a vain attempt to maintain some semblance of a figure.  Then I got up and took the dogs out and found out why Zane didn't want to stay in bed.  I walked up the hill and was surprised by four deer, three of which were laying down in the woods, enjoying the morning.

Then I got to work on my housekeeping... feeling ambitious this morning... vacuumed all the carpets and steamed them, took out the trash, started a load of laundry and even decided to do the sheets.  Yep, it's good to be useful and productive... to take my mind off all the bitter shit from the past.

Okay... I have to comment on this...

So... I just clicked the "Next Blog" button at the top of the page.  The next blog I got was apparently written by someone in a BDSM power exchange relationship... There was a warning at the top of the page, but when I cast my eyes down the side of the blog, I saw pictures of penises and a woman giving oral sex.

I backed up to my blog and tried the "Next Blog" button again.  This time, I got a musical blog written by some lady who loves Jesus.

This blogging business is definitely a mixed bag!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Things I love about early spring...

It's late March.  That means it's early spring.  My husband and I are currently living in a big house deep in the woods.  We lucked into this house, because even though it's got its problems, it allows me to observe spring as it happens.

This afternoon, I was walking our two dogs to the mailbox, something I do almost every day at least once a day.  Walking to the mailbox is actually a bit of a chore, since it's a stiff walk from our house and involves a couple of gentle hills.  Anyway, today as I was walking with my pooches, I happened to glance up at the trees.  And I could see the tiniest hints of green emerging from branches that have been brown and barren for the past few months. 

When we moved into this house, the trees still had leaves on them, though they were about to drop off.  We could sit on our huge deck and not see any other houses around us.  We had lots of privacy.  Losing the leaves wasn't all bad...  There's a slow moving creek behind our house that we couldn't see during the leafy seasons.  During late fall and winter, we could see the creek through the gnarly branches... but we could also see the subdivision on the other side of the creekbanks.

Along with the emerging leaves, there are blossoming flowers.  I see wild daffodils growing in the woods, along with crocuses and forsythias.  The cherry blossoms on the tree overlooking our landlord's artificial pond and waterfall are blooming white and pretty, like the lace of a wedding gown.  And every day, I notice new wildlife... especially songbirds.  There's a crazy male cardinal who incessantly tries to fly into our garage but always gets stopped by the window.  There are many woodpeckers that help the termites destroy the trees in the woods.  There's even a family of deer who are so tame that they don't flee when my hounds bark at them.

I can see patches of green grass starting to sprout in the front yard.  Our little garden, protected by wild animal repellant, is starting to take off...  Soon we will have fresh produce whenever we want it. Yes, there are many reasons to love early spring...

How did I end up here?

I am an overeducated housewife. I never planned to be one; it just happened, the way life happens. I call myself an overeducated housewife because I spent seven years in college to earn three degrees that I don't currently use in a professional capacity.

I read non-fiction books and write almost every day. I spend a lot of time on the Internet, debating current events with other people. My husband and I have a lot of interesting discussions. I'm a pretty smart cookie. But I don't currently have a steady job and haven't had one in years.

How did I get here? Well... let's see. I went to college after high school and, like a good girl, finished my bachelor's degree in four years. I had one major, two minors, and lots of liberal arts classes meant to make me well-rounded as a person. After college, I had some trouble finding a full time job. So, I took on a series of part-time gigs so that I could pay my bills. At one point, I had three part-time jobs that were getting me nowhere. At another point, I even found myself being interviewed for a couple of multi-level marketing scams. Thankfully, I wasn't desperate enough to go that route.

After about six months of that business, I decided that perhaps I should join the Peace Corps. My sister had been a Peace Corps Volunteer and the experience had helped her launch a great career. She now has a PhD, a house, two great kids, and an enduring marriage. I applied to the Peace Corps and was accepted. I was shipped off to the former Soviet Union for a little over two years to teach English. I learned a lot, traveled a lot, met a lot of people, and I came home profoundly bitter, confused, and depressed. But I did have a lot of chances to use my God given talents and I thought that maybe I could use one of my talents to launch myself into a career.

I took another job. This one, I hoped, would give me a taste of what I might want to do with my life. You see, I really like cooking and I'm very good at it. So I waited tables at an upscale restaurant, where I quickly found out a lot of truths about human nature and what it's like to work with food for a living. Ultimately, I decided that, for many good reasons, a lifetime of restaurant work wasn't for me. I came away from the experience with a lot, though... knowledge about food, wine, and people, as well as some wonderful friends. Waiting tables also temporarily made me a lot thinner and helped me make my next attempt at launching a career.

In the wake of my Peace Corps assignment and my tablewaiting stint, I suffered clinical depression. I used to think that depression was something a person could will themselves to get over. But then I was depressed myself...

I saw a couple of shrinks for awhile. One of them talked to me at regular intervals for 50 minutes at a time. Another gave me pills that were supposed to help chase away the blues. At first, the antidepressants didn't work very well and I got worse. But then the prescription was tweaked and a ray of sunlight broke through the heavy black clouds of persistant sadness and anxiety. I was feeling much, much better and was finally able to start making decisions. I decided that if I couldn't find the right job, I should go back to school.

Because I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, I qualify for a number of different fellowships at universities across the country. About ten years ago, I decided I wanted to try for one of those fellowships. Owing to the fact that I was feeling so much better after being treated for depression, I decided to apply for a program that would allow me to earn two advanced degrees in helping professions. I figured such a move would make me very employable, as well as allow me to pay it forward... I was feeling very grateful for the help I got from my two very competent shrinks, plus, I was interested in what I wanted to study. I won't lie... I also wanted to escape the situation I was in at the time.

So off I went to graduate school, though not as a fellowship student. As it turned out, the fellowship program at the school where I went lost its funding the year I matriculated. But never mind that... I took to school with much enthusiasm and resolve. I lived alone on campus in an apartment, took on an assistantship, a couple of internships, and a part time job. I made a few wonderful friends, but I didn't do any dating... at least not in real life. You see, it was around that time that I started spending a lot of time on the Internet. Before too long, I met my husband.

It happened quite innocently, actually. About six weeks after I started school, I bought a computer. I needed one, because graduate school requires a lot of research, writing papers, and typing. I hooked into the Internet and quickly discovered chat rooms. One night, I ran into the man who became my husband. At that time, he had just decided to re-join the Army after a brief stint as a civilian. Partly because of that decision and partly because he and his ex wife were completely incompatible, the man who became my husband had been drop kicked out of his home and family.

We were just friends at first. I was lonely because I was in a new city and didn't have any friends. He was lonely because he was in a new city and didn't have any friends. Because we were just cyber-buddies, he didn't mention his wife and kids to me and I never thought to ask him about it because I didn't think it mattered. It never occurred to me that I'd ever actually meet him in person. We really were just friends. He never even so much as flirted with me while he and his ex wife were separated.

After a few months of regular chats, the man who became my husband sent me an email telling me about his situation. Apparently, he thought I would hate him because he hadn't told me upfront about his estranged wife and kids. I was surprised at first, but again, I didn't think it mattered. I wasn't expecting to meet him. On the other hand, when he told me he'd gotten a divorce a couple of months later, I was sort of happy. At that point, I really liked him and wanted to get to know him better. A year after his divorce, I got my chance, when the U.S. Army sent him on business to the city where I was studying. We had our first date and really hit it off. Then the Army moved him closer to me and we started seeing each other in person on a regular basis.

The man who became my husband was in the Pentagon on 9/11/01. For most of that day, I didn't know if he was dead or alive, and I knew that no one in his family even knew I existed. So we decided to make our relationship official. I told my family about him and he told his family about me. A few months before I finished my dual degrees, we got engaged.

I graduated from school, fully intending to get licensed and finally launch my career. But things didn't happen the way I planned. Instead of getting job offers from the interviews I attended, I started getting freelance writing gigs that seemed to fall out of the sky. I decided I liked that job better, even though it wasn't what I had spent the past three years studying in school. Staying home to write allowed me to do housework and take care of our pets. It freed me up to be home while my husband worked long hours. At first, money was tight, and I felt bored and guilty about not working, especially since we don't have kids... but things gradually got easier. And then we moved overseas, which made my having a job even more difficult.

In the past three years, my husband and I have moved three times and we will most likely have to move again next year. All of this moving around, once again, makes it not so easy to take on a career, especially one that usually requires licensure. On the other hand, I've gotten to do a lot of traveling, reading, writing, and meeting new people.

I used to feel guilty about being unemployed. Sometimes, I still worry that maybe these years of not sitting in a cubicle every day will haunt me as I get older. I certainly meant to work when I started graduate school ten years ago. I certainly got a lot of flack from family and friends about my lack of full time employment. But I can't deny that it's a lifestyle that works for now...

So that's how I've become the overeducated housewife... Welcome to my blog.