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©August 2000

Carol Jane Remsburg



A View from Home



Pull up a chair and rest yourself.  That's just how most of us would prefer our days.  We've spent year upon year and decade upon decade hard at work.  Often during those years, we've even lowered ourselves to whine about it.  We work hard and deserve something nice. 


Sometimes we manage a vacation that never turns out like it should.  The kids scream and badger us over unrealistic possibilities while our spouses naggingly remind us that this little venture was "our" idea.  None of the promises of money-soaked hopes do.  The family summer vacation is one of them.  Everyone in the house right down to the dog has towed the line.  It's time for some fun in the sun that rarely materializes.  Visions of homicide more often entertain us.  And this is with people we love, not merely like.  And this is with people we love, not merely like.  What happens if we were home every day?  It's a frightening thought.


On the off chance you've ever had to stay at home for a week or three unexpectedly, then you'll know where I'm coming from.  It's been three weeks, three very long weeks sans income.  Over the course of the last twenty-one days, I would have been hard-pressed to tell you what day of the week it was.  This is outside the countdown for every dollar that isn't being sucked into the household, like the kid's big #10 birthday, back-to-school funds, and all that.  Let us not even begin to stray far a field with property taxes and the like as they are due 'this time of year.'  Remember, my car is crying this late summer that she hasn't devoured her $2,400 to make her 'like new' again.  But, sigh, it isn't about that.  All that comes as the wind, it simply comes regardless of timing.  Refrigerators, furnaces, and vacuum cleaners plan such things.


I didn't know it back then, but I was born a 'dray horse' and a dray horse I'll be until I die.  Oh, I'll moan, piss, and whine about work, yet work is what I do best.  Domestic tranquility and I are not to be bonded for long.  Yeah, like that 85 million-dollar lottery.  God knew better than to bestow that one on me.  Padded room—here I come.


I can only wash so many windows, bake so many cookies and cakes, and, Egads, prepare so many homemade dinners.  The washing machine now loathes me on an hourly basis.  Even so, I've begun to hate my haven.  Yeah, the place I long to hie myself to each day feels more a yawing prison than a sanctuary. 


I'd much prefer to work the grind, bitch about it the entire time, and then come home and enjoy the chaotic mess.  I can grouse and smile all at the same time.  Money is income and all that is wonderful and comforting, and it really is when things get tight like now, but there isn't anything like "the JOB."  Ask me at the end of next week when I'm back at work and I'll tell you that I'd ditch the whole thing for a big wad of cash.  You'd find me working the 7-11 down at the corner in less than six months.  I know now that I can't stop.  It's sad that.


There was a time of day, some decades back when I could have been salvaged for domesticity.  I might have served on the PTA, ran bake sales, and really turned the house out during those Spring and Fall house cleanings.  I remember them well.  My mother always had them regardless of her work, but then she had three little underlings whom she could whip into action on a moment's notice.  We did anything Mom said because we dared not to because we were terrified to refuse.  Those "were" the days of motherhood.  They don't make kids like they used to and I don't have a brood; just one; and just one that still thinks I'm the maid around here.


The last twenty-one days, or nearly so, have been a blur—an ugly blur.  I've washed, I've vacuumed, but I didn't paint and I didn't do the carpets.  I don't care.  I'll do them under extreme stress and then everyone will appreciate it all the more while my whining resonates for months in their ears.


Yep, a little Dray Horse is a Dray Horse is a Dray Horse.  We are only fitted for the work.  If you take us out of our work-a-day world then we become lost.  We tend to lose our focus and our momentum.  I can work six-seven straight days and still find the energy to clean the carpets.  Meanwhile, amid the freshly baked bread and the fragrant laundry, I don't care if my carpets get cleaned or if the bathroom received new paint.  I'm still wondering what the hell day it is!


No, I want my home to become my haven again, dirty or not, chaotic or not, I want to pull into the driveway and smile with a sigh, and be swallowed up by it.  It's always good to be home and to feel safe—just as long as my home isn't the entirety of my daily journey.  If it did, I know I would hate it.  I've learned that nasty little lesson the hard way.


It's not "Calgon, take me away," but rather it's, "Please, job, take me the hell out from here!"


It takes much less than twenty-one days for any other little Dray Horse to figure this out.  If you try it, then you'll know what I mean.  Don't grimace at tomorrow's alarm, bound up out of bed to meet it.  You may not smile at that precise moment, but after you've brushed your teeth and stepped out of a steaming shower, you'll feel like you are ready to face the day even if you haven't pulled on your clothes yet.  Grunging out of the bedroom to cache coffee while the traces of yesterday still linger isn't invigorating.  Work is what we were fitted for.  Slap on that halter and dig in.  Don't hide that smile when you do it either.  I'll be right there with you up to my knees in the mud.  That way when we do come home, we'll share that secret smile, that secret knowledge.  The view from home then becomes sweet and charming—a prison no longer.


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