This blog is called “Musician’s Widow” but I rarely talk about music or “the life” much. I generally save those posts for Road Widows. But, I figured perhaps it’s time I consciously try to start sharing a story here and there.
I get asked occasionally if I ever go out on the road with my husband. My answer is always, “Not really.” On a general basis, I don’t, but I have had a few cool adventures that you could say occurred on the road with my husband.
The one I’ll share today happened just before my husband and I got married. Most people don’t know that my husband and I were actually “long-distance” up to about three months before our wedding. Yes, folks, we are proof that long-distance relationships CAN work.
We got married in January, and we moved me up to Music City the October before the wedding. My then-fiance flew down from Nashville, loaded all my things in a U-Haul trailer, hooked it up the back of my truck, and we moved me to Nashville.
Three days later, he had a show in Houston, TX, and I had responsibilities I still needed to attend to in Texas. So, I “caught a ride” on the bus down. My parents would pick me up at the show and bring me back home with them.
I’ll be honest, I don’t remember that much about hanging out on the bus before going to bed for the night. Somehow, my now-husband and I found a way for both of us to fit in his bunk. Keep in mind, a bunk of a bus is not much bigger than your average coffin. That is, if coffins came with air conditioning, electrical outlets and a flip-down TV. So, needless to say, it was a tight fit, but we made it work.
The next morning, I dreamed I was climbing a long, steep staircase. I just kept climbing and climbing and climbing until suddenly I woke up. Only to realize I really WAS climbing.
It was so bizarre. I was laying down, and yet I could tell that my feet were higher than my head in relation to what would be considered level. It panicked me briefly! I had to get up and out of the little confined space!
It took some maneuvering, but I was able to get up and let my now-husband sleep. I padded to the front of the bus in my PJs and bedhead (you get to know your co-bus-riders better than you really probably ever wanted to in cases like this) and poked my head out to see where we were.
We were on a little two-lane farm-to-market road, going uphill! I remember thinking, “Uhhh… this doesn’t look right.”
Come to find out, we had indeed made a wrong turn, and we were far off course. You know you’re in Texas when the bus driver has to stop a guy on a tractor to ask for directions!! I’m sure everyone on that little road had a story to tell that day, watching us try to get out of nowhere-Texas!
Needless to say, we did finally find our way to the venue, and all was well. I ended up going over a day without a shower, but the show was great and it did leave me with quite the memory of climbing uphill feet-first! It gave me a taste of what it is like to sleep in a bunk on the bus, too. Which is definitely something you have to experience to appreciate.
It just so happened to work out that my husband had a gig in Dallas, TX a couple weeks later. So, I caught a ride back to Nashville after that show. My husband works as a co-driver on long runs, and it was the first time I got to experience his bus driving. It was fun to sit in the jump seat and watch the world pass from a tour bus. Not to mention watch cars slow down in hopes of seeing “a star.” Too bad all they saw was me and my bedhead again.
Good times and fun memories… more stories from the road to come.
THIS POST on another blog encouraged me to write this blog. I’m very serious. Go read that before continuing on here. I’ll wait.
Here’s the big elephant in the room: I have debts that I can’t pay. I have debts I’ve not been able to pay in awhile. I have debts that friends and family are starting to get calls about. And for this fact, I am deeply sorry. I never in a million years thought it would go this far.
Its not worth getting into too many details. Its not worth explaining it outside of the fact that we, like so many others, are victims of circumstance. I could curse any number of events for being where we are today. But at the end of it all, neither myself nor my husband are “bad people.” It just is what it is.
We’re working on it.
I’ve prioritized my bills. And as such, I am secure in keeping a roof over our heads, a vehicle to drive, utility bills paid and food on the table. Those are definite every month. What is left over is spread out as best I can over my other debts and various sundry. The funny thing is, up to about six months ago, I’d never missed a payment to anyone. It may have been late, but they always got a payment. But today…
I’m simply doing the best I can.
You see me post in here a lot about my goals of making it working from home. My biggest push IS the want to eventually be able to work from home while raising my kids. We need to get secure in that as just the two of us before we bring in another mouth to feed. The other side of the coin is simply the fact that I HAVE looked at employment elsewhere. I know countless people who have similar degrees and experience as I do who have looked for employment. Its just not out there. In fact just yesterday I heard about another person here in my field that was “downsized.”
Truth be told, I feel very confident about where I am headed these days. But I do struggle sometimes to keep that confidence level up when the phone rings and its a creditor or a friend calling because they got a call from someone looking for me. My stomach clinches, and I feel a migraine start to try to come over me. Neither of these things are conducive to rectifying the situation. The more time and energy I spend looking at this issue, worrying over this issue, the less time and energy I have to actively work towards fixing it.
All I can do is the best I can do.
And within that? I will beat this and be better off down the line. I will.
Addendum: This was a scary post to write. I just felt the need to be honest about it all. Really, in the grand scheme of things, we’re doing okay! Like I said, we have prioritized our bills and thus the most important ones always get paid. Its something so many aren’t able to do right now, and we’re grateful for what we have. We’re only looking at “other” debts that have fallen behind, and we are actively working to correct it. Every day it is our focus. But I needed to get it off my chest and be honest about why sometimes I say “no” to things, or why I may in passing mention a lack of fundage.
When I was in high school, I was very lucky to have parents that could be very involved. They were right there helping with the band all through football season. They attended countless events with me. I rarely had to ride the bus home from any given number of things, because they could come pick me up and get me home hours ahead of the rest.
They were able to do this, because they were (and still are!) self-employed. Running their own business allowed them the flexibility to adjust their schedule as necessary to attend things with me. (Well, things that didn’t land between January and April 15th, aka “tax season.” More on this later.) They didn’t have to ask a boss for time off, nor did they have to negotiate with a co-worker to “trade shifts” with them. No, they simply had to make up the time spent away from work at another time.
I think it was this flexibility that I witnessed with my parents is a big part of my determination to create the same lifestyle for myself. I want to be there for my kids when we have them, especially with the far-from-normal work schedule my husband has. I don’t want to pay for daycare. I don’t want to answer to “the man.” I want to to rely strictly on myself to make my living.
It’s a little scary, though! There is no guaranteed paycheck at the end of the week or two weeks. There is no guaranteed work ahead of me the next day. There is only the work I pursue and that I make happen for myself. If I fail, I can blame no one but myself. If I succeed, I can take credit for it myself and thank those around me for having patience with me and for cheering me on this path.
Within that, though, there are a couple of concepts that I think can be hard for others to understand sometimes. The biggest of those, that I want to talk about tonight, is the discipline necessary to work from home.
It’s very easy to get wrapped up in housework or other personal projects, leaving the paying work to wait for another day. However, leaving that work for another day means you’re even further from being paid and you’re closer to losing a client.
I’ve discovered that for me, personally, I need a solid game plan for each day that I work. A list of goals to accomplish along with a set amount of time I must focus on work. If I got over that time frame, great! But I can’t not put in x-number of hours in the day. Otherwise, its too easy to suddenly put the job completely on the back burner.
Along with getting wrapped up in housework is this: “Well you work from home. You have time to do that.” or, “Well, you can go do that. Its not like you have to ask off from a boss.”
Remember what I said about my parent’s being there for me through the years? The latter claim is true. You don’t have to ask off from a boss. You are your own boss, and within that you have to weigh your own ability to take time off. You have to ask yourself for time off, in a way!
Tax Season, for my parents, is the time of year that as their own boss they tell themselves, “You can’t take that time off.” April 15th is a solid, hard deadline that they must make if they want to keep their clients happy, and, within that, stay in business.
I often tell my husband that I have personal deadlines set each day/week/month that I must accomplish. When we have a lot of things we want to go and do in a week, I have to figure out how to juggle those deadlines and determine if I can afford to take the time off to go out. Oftentimes, its not a problem to make adjustments and go. Especially since I am such a night owl and can easily work through the night. However, there are times when I have to say, “No, I can’t go do that.”
Tonight is one of those nights. There is an event going on downtown that I’ve looked forward to for almost a month. But I’m sitting here tonight, looking at the list of projects on my desk (especially looking at the ones I’ve had to keep putting at the bottom of the list for months!) wondering if I can truly afford to go. Not only is the cost of going a factor, but the lost hours as well.
So here is where the hardest part of being self employed comes in: keeping the discipline to get the job done versus following the urge to go play instead. I choose to follow my discipline and get the job done; there will be more nights to go play ahead whereas there is only one deadline to make.
My little vacation ended as of today. For the last week, I unplugged heavily and enjoyed having my parents visit. I continued to post in my various locations — Facebook, Twitter, here, etc. — but if anyone pays much attention they probably noticed that my volume of interaction decreased dramatically. That was because I wanted to enjoy my company. I wanted to live in the moment more. I loved it.
However, today, my parents headed home to Texas. Last I talked to my mom, they were over half-way home. I’m always sad to see them leave, and I know they aren’t ever in a hurry to go either. But that’s a good thing! I’d hate it if they couldn’t wait to leave! That would be a serious bummer and would throw off all kinds of alarm bells.
No, it is just time to get back to work. They have their business to run, and I have my own to continue to build. While they were here, we did nail down a lot of projects I’ve had lined up to tackle. When I finish this post, I plan to pull out a spiral notebook and really outline my various projects. Outline my goals. Outline a game plan.
I am a HUGE fan of to do lists these days. It’s too easy to let things slide without a list, or its too easy to let little projects come ahead of big projects because you don’t realize the massiveness of those projects.
Like I said, I am always sad to say good bye to my parents. I have this incredible relationship with them that I cherish deeply. It was fun to take an impromptu vacation at home, and it was good for me to let my hair down and put my worries and stresses aside.Now I feel more prepared to move forward with a clearer head and clearer mission. I had said that I was letting August be like a new start for me, and it really has been! I’m running with that, and keeping a positive focus on everything.
Weekly Winners is a fun little thing bloggers do to showcase some of their favorite photos from the previous week. It is brought to you, me and everyone by the lovely Lotus, aka Sarcastic Mom. Visit her site and find all the participants. See some amazing photos brought to you by bloggers around the world. Leave a little love when you do — its like food for the soul!
Welcome to August! My parents have been visiting all week, so my photos are super random but also give me a lot of joy. YAY!
♥ ♥ ♥
I have to admit. I totally stole this post idea from the Newlyweds Next Door. It’s called lack of inspiration, and I have it right now. So here goes:
1. Saturday night means ghost shows on Biography for me. I really have no interest in ever meeting a ghost, but I find these shows fascinating. A guilty pleasure. A cheap thrill. All of the above.
2. I want to pursue more writing towards faith and my religion. No, I don’t mean in this blog, so don’t anyone run away! LOL! I mean freelance writing. There are a lot of Catholic publishing papers, etc. that I want to approach and send queries for articles. I think that could be really rewarding for me.
3. I set up a Facebook Page for this blog. I’d love for you to “Like” me over there!
4. The artist my husband works for played an MDA Fundraiser today. This made me super happy! Labor Day is quickly approaching, which means the big MDA Telethon. I’ve been meaning to call the local MDA office and volunteer to help that day. Consider that officially on my “to do this week” list.
5. I’d like to share with you a picture of three of my most favorite people in the world:
6. My parents hooked me up with some new clothes this week. Me? Spoiled? Okay, maybe a little bit. hehehe! But, I have to admit, it’s really given me a boost. I don’t buy new clothes all that often, so when I get a few items, its fun. I noticed in my purchasing… I’m definitely growing up. I gravitated towards slightly more mature fashions. Guess I really am pushing 30, huh?
7. I’m determined to finish the book I am reading and get it reviewed this next week. The sad thing is that the book is less than 150 pages long. And I’ve had it for a month. Unacceptable level of reading being done by yours truly these days.
7.5. I read a LOT more Blogs than I’ve ever read before. Learning from my peers and loving it.
8. Confession: I am hooked on Big Brother 12. Along with Top Chef and Next Food Network Star.
9. Since I sent it to a friend this week, here is my recipe for Chicken Salad:
No exact measurements. Add everything to taste!
Bake chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. I like to let it chill overnight, so plan this dish a day ahead of time. I find it easier to cut up the chicken, plus then the salad is definitely cold. Boil eggs, peel and then chill them as well. Chop the chicken and eggs. Mix those with mayo, sweet relish and pepper to taste. Serve!
10. I’ve seriously enjoyed having my parents visit this last week. I basically took vacation right along with them, and it has allowed me to really enjoy the time with them. I’m going to hate to see them head back to Texas soon, but I know work beckons for all of us. A bummer, but it also makes weeks like this last one possible. And for that, I am grateful! Always grateful to have any work.