Wednesday, September 8, 2010

At home and Abroad (Part two) I'm back at work now, and feeling energized by either my time off or the three large energy drinks I shotgunned during the ride down south this morning. Once again, I'd like to wish a raging case of crotch crickets to the Connecticut Highway department for their stellar performance in creating traffic jams at 4am on empty highways by coning off 3 lanes to park unused highway equipment in the breakdown lane. S' a great way to increase the local economy by encouraging people to take a leak in town rather than at a rest stop.

I think that, on reflection, there's no time more stressful than the last days of the wait before a large project comes to fruition. In my case at home, we had two big, expensive issues that have just borne fruit, and the long days of worrying and organizing damn near killed me, or, more accurately, my wife nearly killed me while I was frenetically wrapping things up at home prior to coming back here. In the process, I've gained new insight into my newfound raging case of generalized anxiety, and how that stresses out my family.
I've been writing about finding a balance between work and play, and the particular stresses that I, as a mariner, encounter and deal with (or not, as the case may be) when I return home. The largest new issue I've identified in myself is my tendency to compartmentalize household needs and issues- there's stuff I can do at work and stuff I can do at home, but there's also stuff I should do in one place that sometimes has to be done in the other, and these jobs aren't ones I ask for help with; rather, I just try and manage the issue as I can, and, if I do a piss-poor job, I chalk it up to being part of the price I pay for being out here.
I've been failing to connect the dots when it comes to running my household from work. I've gotten used to doing things without the assistance of my wife at home. Before I was married, I had to organize my life so that the household(and by household, I mean the room that I rented in my buddy's house) could run on autopilot for long periods. While I'm no longer working for months on end, I've been trying to run a household that is now 100% occupied 100% of the time with my wife and kid while I'm away, and doing so using the methods of a bachelor merchant mariner whose worldly assets could fit in the passenger seat of a pickup truck.
From what I gather, a goodly portion of my married friends here tend to let their wives run the household- they ensue that the check gets deposited (not a stunning feat in the days of direct deposit), and hold back beer money, and the wife does most of the heavy lifting at home in seeing the necessary gets seen to. I've been putting off handing over the keys to the treasury to the Mrs... not that there's been a reason for it, but I assumed that it was easier for the native English-speaker to play banker at the B family Monopoly board... and that chomp sound is another assumption biting me on the ass. Like the old fisherman who taught me to catch lobsters used to say "Assumption is the mother of all fuckups." Not so pithy, but it seems he was on to something.

I'd love to know how the hell my parents used to run the house when my dad was at sea. From everything I can tell, it was an old-school system where my mom was required to wait for a check to get to the mail from wherever in the world my dad mailed it- those days being before it became necessary to carefully prostate oneself before the unholy trinity of Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, I suspect that we've got a lot more calendar watching going on now on a regular basis, but who can say?


Bill Brucato said...

I was in the same situation so many years ago. My teenage financial acumen amounted to a checkbook that was perpetually in error. No amount of math magic could fix it. Though my wife and I married very young (19), we had already determined I should not handle the money. She is the only reason I have anything left at the end of the month. If the money management skills are there, she should be making the "on the spot" low grade decisions, emergency stuff/high dollar items and the like are a mere phone discussion away.
I don't handle the monthly bills, I know they're being taken care of since the lights are still on and I haven't run out of coffee or TP.
After 37 years I have learned better money managing skills yet still feel that I would be foolish to take over the house when she's doing such a great job. I worry about work at work, I don't worry about home at work. She's got it covered.

Gail said...

Hey hawsepiper, my husband sailed deepsea for 20 years. I raised 4 boys 8 miles out of town on a lake in midcoast maine. ( one exchange preserved to date 26 years of marriage. It went something like this..."I am not your bosun, they are not your ab's, I am the captain of this ship and we call it HOME. Best to you and your family! Mama Musk

Paul, Dammit! said...

Hi Gail- thanks for the comment- that's very similar to what my wife said to me in the middle of an argument! "Choo are my 'usband, no my captain!" (She's got an accent). Soon as she said it, I realized that she had a very valid point, ending the argument with a laugh, too.