Thursday, May 7, 2015
Just Another Day
Sitting here at what used to be Mike’s desk, in what used to be his chair, looking out what used to be his window, his view…noticing the neighbor’s trees, full of pink plumeria blossoms and hanging heavy with green mangoes, hundreds and hundreds of them…a cardinal stops to peck at the fruit on the papaya tree outside, and the banana leaves brush against the window to my right…around to my left, I think of the empty space where another neighbor’s kukui nut tree used to be, the big one that so aggravated Mike because it was not cared for and always blocked our view - we payed for it to be pruned several times over the years…it is now gone, finally, and I often imagine his reaction to that if he were around…
I think of this house, the one I still live in, which we bought together in 2001, the one I struggle with the banks over currently, to endless frustration…phone tag with an ever-changing set of account clerks, constant stream of paperwork, filled-out forms, financial statements, certified mailings…and still a big open question of what will happen…the whole thing is truly silly. The last time I finally got through to anyone they said they couldn’t discuss it with me because I wasn’t on the account…I explained, for the umpteenth time, that my husband is deceased…I’d been through this half a dozen times in the past two years, death certificates back and forth, then the account clerk changes or the loan is sold and we start all over again…this last time I asked well who is on the account and they hesitated and I offered, is it my attorney, such-and-so and they said well yes and I said well how funny because at your request months ago it was I who gave you permission to speak with her on my behalf, and yet now somehow you won’t talk to me…sigh.
The house needs a lot of work, to be sure, but I hesitate to do much of anything at all in that regard, if they are so unwilling to negotiate with the big change in my financial status since he died. I feel gypped, somehow, that I don’t have a reliable home for my foreseeable future, but then again, perhaps that is how I will be moved along in this life. And I remind myself to be grateful I’ve had it as long as I have. The whole thing was ruined after the crash in 2008, as we had bought a second home as an investment when Mike’s income was really high, thinking, as many did at the time, what a good choice that was, and then of course, it wasn’t, but our own home was now over-mortgaged…a bad decision, a very bad decision, in hindsight, but nothing I can change now. We are part of that Countrywide fiasco, though since the modification programs only apply to loans originating before January 2009 I’m not eligible because, in good faith, we refinanced in 2010 to try and fix that ridiculous loan.
So for now, I continue to shuffle around the porcelain tile floors we put in, floors I love but Mike hated because every time he dropped a glass it would shatter…but they are cool and hide the dust and are easy to clean. Much of Mike’s stuff is gone now, having been given to his daughters and other friends, and Goodwill, as it goes…but some of it is still around, a small shrine of his ashes, a couple of his favorite hats, action figures, toy cars, and martial arts equipment. Our family pictures are all still up in the hallway, something I don’t have the heart to change any time soon, and I have piles of other household things in various places I plan to get rid of, things I know I can’t cart around to the next place, things I don’t need in my life but somehow, find I put off dealing with…
I only use one, maybe two, coffee mugs these days even though the cupboard is jammed with dozens we either had before we met, or acquired through our years together. Every time I pull a dish or spoon out to use I know immediately whether it was one I bought or brought in the marriage or one he bought or brought…he was funny that way, he had his favorite little things he liked to use. I wonder, if and when I have to move, which ones I will take with me, but then I decide not to think about that today.
Today, I brush aside my melancholy, say goodbye to the cardinal, turn off my computer and get ready to go out into the world to participate in the strange, new life I now lead. Because that, my dear friends, is what there is to do.