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My upset cart….

David moved to Baltimore last weekend. Amazing how life can change so abruptly. One minute we were looking at land, contemplating opening a bed and breakfast, and the next, he had a job offer that was simply too good to refuse.

He tried saying no at first. Insisted there was simply no way he was going to leave me. But the employer kept sweetening the offer until they were offering twice what he makes now, and the position included a free apartment for six months too. And great potential for the future. We both agreed that his taking the job was probably the best path for us to meet our goals as a couple because it provides him with opportunity and added resources to “clean up” the obligations from his past – the problem that stands in the way of our pursuing our own dreams.

I admit there is a part of me that would have loved to just toss aside my life here and gone with him. I would adore a new adventure and living someplace new. Wouldn’t mind escaping the stress and drudgery of work and focusing on a relationship and family rather than growing a business. I could take care of him and spend a year writing again and perhaps teach some yoga and no doubt make as much as I make now (but with less potential for more). But it is not in me to give up on anything I start, and my business is turning a corner and gaining momentum. Actually, I was in the midst of negotiating an expansion with my landlord that very week because I believe that at the rate I’m going, I’ll soon have two successful businesses demanding my attention soon if I take steps now to break the yoga and children’s dance divisions apart. The problem is, we were counting on David to do the electrical work and construction during after hours, and he was going to teach a few yoga evening classes as well to help get the project off the ground (something he was looking forward to doing to push his own yoga forward too.). So now I have to rethink the master plan. Won’t go so smoothly without him. Am I ready for that much additional work? 

The biggest consideration of all is my daughter, of course. Neva came to me a year ago in a highly disturbed state. She was very confused about who she was and had trouble coping. I’ve spent a full year doing everything in my power to give her stability and help her become whole again. And my efforts apparently took hold. She is happy and well-adjusted now-not only active, and interested in life, but determined to become a young woman with substance. She cares about others, does volunteer work, and has this wonderful sense of humor and logic that I much admire. I am proud that despite what was a very difficult situation I helped her rediscover her best self. I have only two and a half years of raising children left. This time with Neva is more important than any choice that would represent me indulging in my own personal ambitions and David knows and understands this. Our time as a couple will come soon enough. For now, Neva and my determination to establish my own financial independence is a priority.

There were other factors to make David’s move a sensible choice. This new job brings him back to engineering – work he finds engaging and challenging. It’s good for his self-esteem to be in a job where his talent is recognized. For the last year, he’s been working as a computer programmer in a job where he is overqualified and underpaid. He only took the position to be near me. When his former company grew more and more unstable and his paychecks fell in thousands in arrears, he hung in there as long as he could with a noble sense of devotion to the company’s mission. Eventually it became clear he had to move on so he sent out resumes and had some nice leads, but his focus was on finding any kind of job in Sarasota to move near me. The first job offer he got he took. But it was a struggle financially.

So now, he can get back to his career and get life functioning properly. Which means, we will be apart for 6-12 months. We are not unfamiliar with long distance dating. After all, that is how we began. We met online and began a friendship through thoughtful messages passed back and forth. Those exchanges gave us room to explore our life attitudes and personality as we shared our perceptions and experiences in colorful, well-constructed letters (we are both writers, so this was a good medium for us.) He found out I wrote a book and insisted I send it to him, so I did. He read it in a few days and offered me some insightful feedback (from a professional standpoint) but later confessed that it was the book that made him fall head over heels in love. Reading the book helped him learn what makes me tick and gave evidence of my softer, philosophical nature. He admired my talent (his opinion, not mine) and the way I tried to follow my heart and embrace an adventure with a good attitude regardless of things turned out in the end. He loves my survival instinct and the way I tried to keep my family on track, but was logical enough to let go and do the right thing to fix the broken life in the end. He loves that I taught a woman to read and gave of myself to others when I had the money and leisure to focus on me….  By the time we had our first date, he said he was already so smitten he was ready to get married…. Seriously. And more so after he saw me in the flesh (I’ve kidded him about his  belief that I was “the one” so soon more than a little.) Me, I’m carrying too much baggage to trust anyone with my future so easily.

I guess our engaging in a bit of romantic writing again will be fun, even though it can’t take the place of more tangible interaction. He is scheduled to become lead engineer in 9 months when the top guy is due to retire (that is the corporate plan) and they should be ready by then to move into a manufacturing phase on the designer project David is heading. David will be in charge of the process, drawing from experience. In the past he owned a successful engineering manufacturing company. They said he could set up the plant anywhere he wanted if he made it financially feasible for the company– Sarasota or St. Pete asre possibilities. We know there are great incentives for companies to set up shop here. So one reason he choose to give this career opportunity a shot is because there is a good chance he will end up back here in a very promising long term position. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in the short term to accomplish what you want in the long term. Time will tell.

Since we only had two weeks to prepare for his leaving, we were in a flurry of organization. He did things that made me laugh, such as bringing home two new toilets that he insisted on installing. To my knowledge, there was nothing wrong with my toilets.

I said, “Why are you installing new toilets when we have so much to do?”
He said, “You don’t think I’d leave you with toilets that clog, do you? I had planned to do this ever since we moved, so now it has to be a priority…”
As if my welfare or happy existence was going to be threatened if I had to occasionally reach for a plunger. Ha.

He hung hooks for my robe and took all our storage from the garage to his storage unit – took care of my QuickBooks at work and did all kinds of small honey-dos. He bought me a new computer and set it up so I don’t have to keep wrestling with my semi-broken laptop. All things we planned to get to one of these days, but suddenly they became a now or never thing… I can finally send my laptop off to be repaired and keep functioning with school and work projects. I’m so grateful that he cares about my ability to keep life flowing smoothly. 

Then he decided to cut a huge limb off the backyard monster tree because I’ve been complaining about all the moss and leaves that fall from that limb to the back porch. Big mistake.

I will not go into too much detail, but he ended up falling 9 feet off the ladder with a chainsaw in hand because the limb crashed into the ladder. We spent all day in the hospital emergency room. The chainsaw cut his neck (needed stiches) and he cracked ribs, dislocated his collarbone, sprained his wrist and was in a cast. One entire side of his body was bruised and cut up. He ended up with poison ivy on his private parts – don’t ask me how. So the last few days, he was all broken and sore and frustrated because he wanted to do so much more than he could to set me up for being alone and this all put a serious damper in our spending a few romantic days together before he left.

That accident scared me beyond description. I’ve never known anyone to be heartier or healthier than David. He is 59 and the strongest person I know. Most people his age have back issues, or health problems or take medications. David never complains, can lift anything, can run miles, never gets sick, doesn’t take any kind of pill other than vitamins, and downplays any injury or ach or pain. He is a health marvel. But after the fall, he couldn’t get up despite trying. I panicked. He was dizzy and he lost his sight for several minutes. He couldn’t remember the names of the people that he works with or anything short term. His neck was gushing blood. I was hovering over him, bringing him something to lie on and then I tried to help him to a lawn chair, all the while trying to figure out the damage, imagining that if that chainsaw had moved just a few inches, I’d be there holding on to him as the life drained out of his body. It was horrifying. Hekept saying he was fine, he just needed a minute, then he would fall back to the ground. He asked me to help him move him to the bedroom, which I did, deeply worried at the sway in his step, and he then actually voiced concern and apologized that he was getting blood all over the place – as if I would possibly care about dirt and blood when he was hurt. You kidding me?

The next day, he was all  broken, wincing and making subtle expressions of pain as he used his one good arm to get back to packing up boxes in the garage to take to goodwill and unload 30 bales of pine straw for the garden that I had purchased on Groupon that we needed to pick up before the coupon expired. I kept telling him to let these things go, I could handle things myself – I’m equally as hearty as he is. But he can’t help but feel it’s his place as the man to get things done. I so appreciate that about him.

Two days later he had to drive his truck towing a huge trailer that is outfitted to be a testing lab for engineer projects for 156 hours. He was still all broken and his wrist so sore. I felt so badly for him, worse because now I was not available to care for him or at least distract him from his misery.

Anyway, David is in Baltimore. Ginny is sad.

My house is spotless…. It is like I don’t know what to do without him so I keep cleaning. He’s been gone 4 days and I’ve cleaned my floors, then the laundry, then my car, then the garage, then my closet, and then straightened all my drawers and the household closets….. Even cleaned my dog. Then I put little lights in the silk tree in my living room and put some spotlights on the shelf to highlight some artwork there and mastered a hidden cord down the back of a wall hanging… everything looks romantic, artistic and amazing.

I have a huge hankering to put up my Christmas tree. Ha, a bit too soon, I know, obviously I’m nesting because I feel a bit ungrounded. I’m going to opt for putting out a few nice Halloween &/or fall decorations to make the place feel festive, and turn my attention to my new school activities (I’m in a yearlong course to get certified as an Ayurveda practioner – a yoga related endeavor). I cant sleep at night so I’m diving into building the new season at my business – the studio is growing in the best of ways. I’m reading all those books that are stacked on my nightstand – books about the human energy system, quantum physics and Eastern philosophy (I’m scheduled to teach a 500 hour yoga advanced training next fall, and it will take me all year to prepare the material and figure out what books to assign and what material I want to include so I’m buried in films and reading material as I structure the program.) I’m on a diet thanks to the fact that I no longer end every day with a glass of wine – our bad habit we have become accustomed to as we share news about the day, so I’m going to the gym again and finally started scheduling massage and facials at the studio for myself since I’m supposed to do this each month as part of my employee exchange but usually I’m too busy to take advantage of the perk. Obviously, I’m keeping busy to not feel lonely.

Life changes in a minute. You can be moseying along content as all get out and suddenly a job or a fall or an unexpected event can upset the cart. Time to rearrange all the contents of the cart to find balance once again. Thanks to yoga, I’m all about balance and being flexible now. I suppose this kind of life change could be treated as a big drama, but I choose to see it as a chance to regroup, clean my mental house (as well as my physical one) and remaster the grand plan.

I’m back to the drawing board…. getting creative. This seems to be a major theme in my life…..


About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

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