Monday, August 15, 2016

Menopause: How the Summer Olympics saved my life.

Once upon a time, I was young and cute and I loved my sweet husband.

(I still love my sweet husband, but I am no longer the other two, and frankly I couldn't care less.)

For those who don't know DL, he is a chemical engineer and those jobs used to be in demand, which is how he got to be the focus of a bidding war and we moved from NY to NC. (Alphabetically, they are close. Geographically and culturally? Notsomuch.)


Courtesy NY Daily News

Anyway, we saw the writing on the wall as far as DL's career was concerned, and we knew we needed to make a change. (Take a look at the industry that has disappeared from the rust belt, and you'll see why.) So some friends who had found jobs in NC called, and DL answered.

And I left behind everything I had ever known.

DL didn't care--he was all about work--his identity was all wrapped up in his work--and I was just along for the ride. I knew NC would have milder winters (bonus!) but that was all I really knew about the southeastern US. I had never ventured farther south than Virginia, which seemed not too different. So I thought, 'Why the heck not?'

Oh lawd.

DL moved down in July of 1984 and then I followed in early August, having stayed behind to supervise the moving company and finish out my contract with the company I worked for. We had moved from a small house to an even smaller apartment, and DL had a sleeping bag, one chair, and a floor lamp. 

And that was it.

No, really.

For two days, we waited for our furniture to arrive, living at the Holiday Inn while thinking he would get the call any minute. (This was in the time before cell phones, which was shortly after the asteroid took out the dinosaurs.)

But they didn't call.

On the third day, we got wind of our moving truck. It had broken down somewhere in New England. (To which I responded, "Isn't that the wrong direction?") Our furniture wouldn't be there for another four or five days.

Now, DL didn't care. He was at work from 7 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening, and there was no question that he could keep busy and engaged. I, however, was living at the dadgum Holiday Inn.

Bored to tears, much?

So every day I would try to find a new adventure. I drove aimlessly around town (not knowing ONE SINGLE PERSON in the entire state, other than DL) and looked for stuff to do. The Holiday Inn tried to be helpful, but there's only so much they could tell me...they knew the mall and Reynolda Village, but that was about it. I had better malls at home, and my one trip to Reynolda Village ended up with me having to actually write the word 'hot dog' on a piece of paper because the lady couldn't understand what I was saying. 

I cried every single day.  Ugly crying with sobbing and a runny nose and boogers.
And then I'd go back to the Holiday Inn and wipe my face with a cold cloth and wait for DL to get back from work.

I wanted to leave. I wanted to leave so badly that I went out and bought an extra toothbrush and tube of toothpaste and put them in the glove compartment of my car. I thought that if one more person couldn't understand what I was saying, I would get back in my car and head north and maybe just drive into the lake.

But then I found the Olympics. It was Joan Benoit (she makes blueberry jam!) winning the marathon and Zola Budd (she runs barefoot!) tripping Mary Decker and Mary Lou Retton (she's from West Virginia!) winning the first gymnastics gold All-Around for the US. It was learning that one does not pronounce Joaquin as Joe-Ay-Quinn.

After a day of driving and crying, I knew I could lay on the bed at the Holiday Inn and look forward to something that connected me to the outside world. I didn't even care that DL would rush through dinner to get back to paperwork...I had the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, coming to me from Los Angeles.  

And when the furniture finally showed up, I figured I'd stay.

6 comments:

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

You are a brave woman and I hope I never have to go through that!! After the heat we are having in Upstate NY, and how it is makes me miserable, I reinforced to my husband that this is why I can't live in the south! My sister did what you did 20 years ago and talks about coming back to NY all the time. Would you come back to live if you could?

karen@somewhatquirky said...

I know that feeling so well. I never had to wait on my furniture, but I sure know that ""holy moly, there is NO ONE within 1000 miles that even knows my name. It helps when you have your house and furniture. But that still doesn't give you an emergency contact to write down (besides your husband) It's a bad feeling. I'm glad you were saved.

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

I have one or two or those move memories, too...not fun. The first one involved being in a corporate apt. in Oregon with 3 little kids and Magoo traveling while we waited for the moving truck to bring our belongings from Texas. Our first night there, there was an earthquake. I was terrified. People laughed at me and couldn't believe I was afraid since we came from the land of tornadoes and hurricanes but I'd never felt the ground move and shake before. Not a fan! I was thrilled to move back home.
I'm glad it all worked out for you...look at you now! xo, T.

Bliss said...

Now around that time I had moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. However, if you would have grown up in California you would have known that the name is pronouced Waa-Keen due to the San Joaquin Mountains, or Hills as they seem to be called these days. So I didn't have to learn that, just everything else about the Olympics.

andi filante said...

That was a great story, Kirby. I've never moved far from home, but I'm fairly certain I'd be depressed and cry with lots of boogers, too. And that's even if everything went smoothly. And oh, that little Miss Mary Lou! Loved her!!

-andi

Andrea said...

You are one tough cookie with such great tales to tell, Kirby!

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