There are a few other things, though. My sister, who lives 800 miles away, has been diagnosed with cancer for which she is facing a 10-hour surgery next week. Being a single parent, travelling to Boston to help her is highly impractical, so I'm standing by, waiting.
I am still being sued by The Child's father for full custody and child support (even though he has never paid me a dime of child support!), and I am facing 2 dreaded court dates in May. This court case has been going on for a year, so I ought to be used to it by now. I'm not.
Then there's my job. The organization to which I have dedicated my life and labor since college is likely to shut down on April Fool's Day. I've always read that men derive their identity from their jobs, but I can state with absolute certainty that there are women thus afflicted. The field I'm in is notorious for job scarcity, and there are no more opportunities where I live. Because of my above-mentioned court case, I am obligated to remain in this city.
The above-pictured house is financed by a 15-year mortgage, which means the monthly payments are sky-high. Working at Wal-Mart will not cover my mortgage.
Then there's The Car. I am the proud owner of a 1991 Honda Civic. You know, they say that those little Civics are not good bets in crashes, but The Child and I have always been 100% safe in that car. The Car broke down once, only once, and that was last summer in the parking lot of the Rose Garden where I was dumping recycling. My house is situated on the same Rose Garden, so I had to walk but a few yards to get home, where I waited in air-conditioned comfort for the tow truck.
The Car is in the shop today. The Car always knows when it's convenient to show that it needs attention. I don't have to go to work today, and The Car's key began struggling to turn the ignition switch yesterday. Today was the best possible day for me to rise long before dawn to take The Car to the repair shop and then walk home 2 miles in time to walk The Child another 2 miles to his school bus stop. Had this occurred last week, I'd probably be institutionalized by now.
So although my original intent was to present The Car as yet another "issue" that I have to deal with, actually, The Car is on my side. It's cheap, reliable, considerate and cute.
And if I really stretch my perception, there's a positive side to all of this. The job loss will create an unprecedented opportunity for adventure. My sister's illness provides reminder of the fleeting nature of life and the wisdom of living each day to the fullest. The court case takes the problems between father and son out of my hands. So far, the father's unreasonable behavior has resulted in no visitation rights, not even supervised, which makes The Child happy. If I really wanted to, I could refinance that 15-year mortgage to a 30-year with lower payments, but I choose to hold onto my current loan with its 4.5% interest rate.
And besides, I've always wondered what it would be like to work at Wal-Mart.....