Monday, October 22, 2012

A Workable Plan B

Dear John,
Hello from your dear demented wife! The phone rang a little after nine this evening, and my first thought was that it was the hospital and something was wrong with you. Pitiful, aren't I? It was Kathy (my second thought) about my work schedule tomorrow. Habits die hard.
Anyway: Hello! I'm feeling much better today. The throat is just a little tender. I still have a cough so I'm still on Mucinex, but other than that I'm fine. I had a busy day - I spent most of it on the phone calling about medical bills. In every case the problem was the date of death issue. It's gradually getting worked out, and I'm still amazed at how nice people are being to me.
I'm feeling much better emotionally, too. Even those of us who don't like roller coasters do better after we figure out that we're on one. As usual, understanding what's happening in the back of my head is my key to working it out. And I am getting things nailed down a bit. I got a call today from the lady at Bison Ridge Apartments (I'd visited their website and inquired about availability), and we had a nice talk. I explained the situation to her and told her that if I did have to give up the house, I was looking for a place to live for the rest of my life.
It is looking more and more attractive to me. I would lose a lot, of course: the house, my infrastructure in Topeka, a gas stove (Heaven help us, I'd have an electric one!), lots of furniture that would have to go, Jethro's fenced yard - but I'd also lose mowing half an acre, maintenance and repair on the house, snow removal, and about $350 a month in property taxes, utilities, and homeowners' insurance (as compared to renters'). And you know me - practicality always wins out eventually over sentiment.
We'll see what happens. Right now, I feel much more comfortable having a workable Plan B in place. I'm a bit surprised that it feels so much better to think about living in Nappanee than Goshen. You really did turn this big-city woman into a small-town girl, didn't you? Goshen is a nice place to visit, but it makes me feel claustrophobic after a bit. Nappanee seems much more my speed. And I've had wonderful experiences at Northwood High School working with their academic teams. I miss substitute teaching, and I know that Northwood is in need of more subs. Bison Ridge is almost next door to the high school, so this could get me back into something that I enjoy and am good at. (Okay - Mama wins. She always said I'd end up a teacher someday. It's in the genes. I was doomed from the start.)
So I think you'd be proud of me - not for being whiny for a week before I figured out what was happening, but for getting my teeth into the problem and wrestling it to the ground after I did understand. And, or course, for my imaginative mixed metaphors. Do you remember when you were applying to med schools? I had a plan for every school you applied to - for finding housing and a job for me, fitting a wedding and honeymoon around it, planning for my State Boards - down to the last detail for every school you applied for. Then I could sit down and relax. Well, I haven't changed a bit. Now I'm sitting down and catching my breath for a bit.
It helps to know that you're proud of me. And I really do know that, I feel it with all my heart. You knew I could do this and survive it, when I wasn't so sure. I've survived the first six months of grief. Now I'm working on surviving the financial wipeout. Increase income, decrease outgo. I think I have a handle on both of those, and the handles feel comfortable in my hands. Jethro and I will be okay.
I'll try for a shorter letter tomorrow. I've cheered up and gotten chatty again. But talking to you has been my very favorite thing to do for 38 years. Don't expect that to change.
Your chatty, cheery, and adoring wife,

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