Last night the question in my little book was:
Do you need a break? From what?
I didn’t have to think twice. My job, the company I work for; the two so completely intertwined as one massive headache as of late. My work-life balance is so skewed I no longer feel like I’m the star of my own life. New corporate leadership has been making demands and fulfilling the tasks is taking up my personal time. I admit though, I am partly to blame. I want to be the “best” of the group and that takes time and energy. As of this moment, I am the top sales person. The view isn’t all that great from such a hard won height.
There is also another part of me that is frightened as I maneuver my 50’s. My fear is that I will be eventually phased out. Not dramatically but in an “out to pasture” maneuver corporations are good at. I’ve seen it in those that have gone before me. I just never considered, as I do now, that it could happen to me. As I step up in age, it most likely will. That is unless I can present a skill that the corporation needs. It is what I mull over in my brain as I drive from one customer to another. I am not a distinguished older male but an aging woman. Let’s face it, an old woman isn’t something society cherishes let alone a corporation. I know it’s a slippery slope from here on in. I must market that skill, the one I haven’t dreamed up yet, that will make them want me or better yet, need me.
It’s the lack of insurance not my ego feeling deflated that stokes my fears of being sent to that unwanted pasture. I know I must work for as long as possible. Well, at least until I am settled well into my 60’s. This will be the 5th year anniversary of that most horrible year and not a day goes by that “what if” doesn’t haunt me. What if it comes back? Insurance is so very important not only when your life seems to be circling the drain but when repairs need to be made. I had an excellent plastic surgeon of which insurance paid the brunt of that bill. My other surgeon, the one that cut the cancer from my flesh, was also highly skilled and costly. My friend Vita told me, “You want only the best gardeners and surgeons. They know where to cut to achieve perfect results.” She muttered this as I sat waiting to go into surgery. It was a strange analogy but one I found rather soothing.
In defiance of my battle with time and balancing life, I took a cooking class at Haven. It was on a Thursday night and I had timed it between trips from here to there for work. I skid into class like I was stealing home plate. The topic that evening was clean food and detoxifying. It was better in theory than in reality. We broiled grapefruits with honey drizzled on top for dessert. They were delicious but I couldn’t find the calm I was seeking.
As I was leaving class, I got a panicked call from K. A mouse had run across the room right in front of her. She had been hearing noises all week and knew she had a problem. Would I come over and teach her how to lay the traps?
When I first met K. she was catching mice and letting them go free in the park. “I don’t believe in murder,” she told me. At that time, she wore ringlets in her hair, her underwear was $70.00 a pair and she was a strict vegetarian. Sometimes, intimate details are shared in Pilates classes.
I was raised to kill mice. I still remember watching my father drowning one in a bucket of water. He held it by the tail and I watched through the cracks of my fingers that covered my face. I was probably 4 at the time and was entranced by the horror of it all. That was before we had a cat and he hadn’t perfected his technique with the traps. The mice he was drowning were caught oddly and needed his hand and the bucket to end it all. Once he figured out the trick of sewing bacon directly to the trap, it increased his odds of a direct hit and subsequent death. He taught me the sewing trick and there has been a number of winters when the little beasts tried to make a home with me. Over the years, I perfected the trap by placing them on newspaper. Unlike my father, my traps are used only once. The paper makes for easy disposal.
I showed up at K’s apartment. The ringlets and fancy bits disappeared around the time her daughter was born seven years ago. In fact, it’s because of her child that murdering mice has become an acceptable practice. I bring the bacon and together we sit and sew 8 traps. It was while we sat there sewing that it was decided I should join a dating site.
“Try and keep you mouse skills out of your personal description.”
We were laughing as we sewed. I have since registered on a dating site and find describing myself a challenge. As to what I am looking for, a baritone voice at dinner and maybe a bit of balance. Some of that will have to come from within.
By the way, four mice died that night.