5/1/11

Broken Foot, Single & Divorced

Living alone in a house meant for a family, one with four bedrooms, three baths, and a yard, is not easy for a single person. Unlearning years of habits, in which one's spouse played an integral part, is painful. One's automatic expectations kick in. At first, just after the separation, the continual shocks one feels are surprising and come at the most unexpected moments. Your automatic greeting, "Honey, I'm home," is met with silence. The garbage doesn't get picked up during the first week, since that was your spouse's job. Even the side of the bed you sleep in largely comes out of habit. (After two months, I moved to the side closest to the bathroom and bedroom door, which felt strange and somehow disloyal at first.)

After a while you develop new habits. This takes time.

I've found ways to cope with my single state and large house. I can't sell it for what it is worth, or find a more affordable place, so I am putting up with its size for economic reasons. James comes once a week to mow my yard for $20. That low price is as a result of my having planted ground cover over much of my front and back yards, leaving only a few patches of grass. I've rented out the downstairs walk out basement (with kitchenette, which I had installed and separate door entrance), to a young man, who can help carry heavy loads. I've converted my largest guest room into an office/entertainment room, where I spend most of my time. The formal areas remain largely unused and are ready at a minute's notice for guests.

But now I have broken my foot in two places. The doctor says the bones will take 3-4 months to heal, which means that I cannot walk my dog or clean my house as I would like to. My renter, Gary, has been marvelous, walking my pooch 3 times a day, but he is gone for the weekend. Yesterday, a neighbor kindly walked my dog at 2 PM, and a friend made dinner, cleaned my kitchen, and took out the garbage. Another one will come over at 12 PM to walk my pup, who is confused and restless, for he is accustomed to being walked four or five times per day.

I am fencing in a larger area of my yard, so that my little terrier can run to his heart's delight. Tomorrow I will make arrangements to work from home, for I must keep my foot elevated for at least a full week and try to stay off it for a month.

After my divorce, I thought learning to live alone again was challenging. I came at first to accept it and then to like it. Now, living such a long distance from my closest relatives, I realize how vulnerable we single, older people are. It becomes tiring always depending on others to fill the gap that a spouse once filled.

I went grocery shopping in an electric cart. (ME! Who was walking an hour a day!) And then there are the practical decisions. Who will vacuum, dust, and scrub the bathrooms? for I let my once-a-month cleaning lady go due to finances. Who will do the groceries? for yesterday's excursion caused my foot to swell. Who will be willing to take my dog out 3-4 times per day, every day, until my fence is up? I am cobbling together an army of volunteers and making lists, but 3-4 months is a long time to depend on the kindness of friends, neighbors, and one's very busy renter.

More and more I understand the attraction of marriage, and why so many people are tempted to remarry soon after their divorce. Learning to live with a partner's quirks seems a tad easier than the gargantuan tasks I face this summer. (Although, I know I am wrong. My foot will heal, but a marriage is supposed to last a lifetime.)

I'll take it one step at a time. (No pun intended.) Yesterday I got a handicap tag for my car, and I'll work on getting a doggie fence next. All I can say is about this new development is:"Aaargh!"

8 comments:

FI0NA said...

Sorry to hear about your foot. Please get well soon. Thank god for the volunteers. It is YOU that has brought them to you through your kindness to them. My house isn't big but I'm thinking of getting a demi-pair to act as another adult second pair of hands in exchange for rent.

Vic said...

Good idea, Fiona. I am really lucky that a male renter moved in this winter. Otherwise I would not know what to do with my dog!!

rkwriter01 said...

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Vic said...

Once again I am having issues accessing my blog. It is almost impossible for me to find blogger support. I shall post again once I fix the problem.

barga_c said...

I started reading your blog close to 6 months ago after I found out about my husband's six month affair and we separated. I found it to be an open and honest expression of the gut wrenching pain of divorce without the usual venomous undertones that we can so easily speak with after being so shattered at our age.

Your current post speaks to the one issue I deal with most now. While speaking and crying with another woman in a similar situation she said something that really rang true with me. She said, "Nobody has our backs now."

From accidentally locking yourself out of your car to something as simple as changing a light bulb that thought of not having your back covered comes back again and again.

Yesterday a light burned out in the study. After pulling a bar stool in I realized I could not change that bulb without a ladder (I'm short). I live in a big old house with high ceilings and after living here for 12 years I realize I never had to worry about those high bulbs. There is one set of lights in a ceiling fan I can't even reach with a ladder. Funny...

I still forget I have to mow my own lawn remembering only when I notice how tall the grass is.

Anyway, I'm so sorry about your injury. While we all know now marriage is not always forever - it does seem sometimes the effects of it will be.

I hope beyond the knowledge of vulnerability you will find this time one of peace and reflection.

Utah Divorce Attorney said...

Loved your post and I truly hope things are better by now.

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Women Panties said...

Thank you, Kate.