Home » A Wasted Life » Blindly Swimming Against The Current

Blindly Swimming Against The Current

J*** had started traveling all the time….going to Las Vegas….. to San Francisco.. ….to Chicago….it seemed like he was always going or gone.  Apparently there weren’t very many local newspaper functions.  If there were, I either wasn’t told or wasn’t invited.
There continued to be friction between J*** and the editor.  J*** always said that he hated working for idiots and he considered the editor to be one.  J*** had decided that he wanted to go to Belgium and the editor was absolutely not going to allow it.  They got into a screaming match in the newsroom.  The editor went to the publisher and told him he was going to fire J***.   After calming down a bit, the editor changed his mind but told J*** that he had come “this close to getting fired” and I don’t think it was first or the last time.
J*** had found time to form another band and so the practices started again.  The publisher was in the band and that fact may very well have saved J***s’ job.  They had a few “gigs” and I know he enjoyed it and I enjoyed watching him play.  That was taking a lot of his time, as usual.  It was at one of those gigs where I first heard a rumor about J*** and a woman named D****.  He would sometimes talk about her but I never thought anything about it.
Soccer was still a huge thing in our house and eventually,  J*** and I got in the game.  I played with my daughters on a team that remained undefeated for the entire time we played and J*** was the coach.  I wasn’t a good player but I was lucky sometimes.  One night, one of the girls from the other team tackled me pretty hard and I went down.  All I knew is that it hurt.  I didn’t pay much attention to it for a while.  It had stopped hurting but I noticed that when I turned, my knee wobbled.
I finally went to the doctor and discovered that I had torn my ACL, a common injury for soccer players and it would require surgery.  I talked to the doctor and told him that he was not going to put me under.  It took a while for him to agree but he did.  I watched the entire surgery.  There was bone flying around and blood abounding but I was fascinated.  I watched him drill the screws into my knee and at one point, I even asked him if I could do one.
After the surgery, I was taken to my room and put on a “horse.”  It was supposed to move your knee in a passive manner.  I hated it.  I picked it up and slid it under the bed.  The nurses never even noticed that it was gone.  I even walked to the bathroom the day of the surgery.  It may have been stupid but my knee was supposed to be fixed, so why not?  J*** had been there for the surgery and stayed for quite a while.
He came and picked me up the next day to take me home.  I got out and walked into the house.  He went to work.  The children had to be at soccer practice that afternoon but I don’t think it ever entered his mind to take them.  I took them with a brace from my ankle to my hip, one day after knee surgery.  That weekend, they had a game and it was our turn to provide the drinks for the team.  I was carrying this huge cooler over to the sidelines, while J*** stood there, talking and smoking.  Finally, a little girl I knew came running over and said “Mrs. H***!  Let me help you.”
His actions were actually a blessing in disguise.  I wasn’t treated like I was hurt and nothing changed as far as me being expected to fulfill my “duties.”  As a result, I had full range of motion at my six-week checkup and played in a game that night.  The ACL tears continued and ultimately, all four of the H*** girls suffered the same fate.
J*** eventually moved away from the newsroom and started heading up the technology side of the paper.  He had decided on a computer system with a company out of Denmark.  He made fast friends with J*****, the salesman.
With that acquisition came frequent trips to Denmark.  He would be gone for well over a week every time and he seemed to be finding reasons to go over there.
During one of his trips, I decided to surprise him by finally installing a garage door opener.  I was the “handy man” around the house.  (I had only almost electrocuted J*** once and I didn’t mean to.)  I had no idea how to install a garage door opener but I had always suffered from the “I can do anything” disease, so I crawled into the rafters, got it attached, wired and everything.  I was so proud of myself and I couldn’t wait for him to see it.
He was coming home that night and I drove to the airport to get him.  When we pulled into our driveway, I said “I’ve got a surprise for you.”  I hit the remote control and the garage door opened.  I turned to him and said “what do you think?”  He said “what am I supposed to be seeing?”  That reaction was normal.
There had been a wall with a built-in floor to ceiling bookcase in our den.  I decided to move the bookcase and tear down the wall so more light could get in.  I got it done, with the help of a few of my daughters and it looked great.
It was two weeks before J*** noticed that it was gone.  His lack of attention did bother me but I just always thought that he had other things on his mind.  When I moved the kitchen, he did notice that.
Birthdays, anniversaries and Christmases continued to be joyful.  J*** gave me such wonderful, thoughtful presents and seemed to enjoy giving them.  At Christmastime, it literally looked like Santa had thrown up in our house.  To J***s’ credit, he never complained…..not even once.  Word spread about my decorations and some of the girls’ friends’ parents wanted to come over and see them.  The comments ranged from “this is absolutely beautiful” from the mothers to “I would go insane” from the fathers.
One of the annual Newspaper Association meetings was coming up and it was going to be in New Orleans.  J*** asked me if I wanted to go.  I knew it meant that I would have to get on an airplane but I decided I would.  I was scared to death but I made it.  It was hot and muggy and New Orleans is one of those places that left me thinking….”why would anybody go there on purpose?”
Everybody was there…. J***** from Denmark, J** from Chicago, and two more of J***s’ friends from O******.  They really enjoyed the food and drink but if it hadn’t been for Beignets, I would have starved to death.  I really enjoyed the trip and it was a kind of  adventure that I had never had with J***.

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