Friday, March 14, 2008

The dichotomy of life with my father-in-law

Ever get a song just stuck in your head? This has been in my brain all-after-noon, as I was writing this post (started at the Casa de Insurance, about an hour before I left work, because things had quieted down and I didn't feel like working anymore)... So for your listening pleasure while you read:

Does it every get easy? Life, I mean. I promise I'm not whining, because I know I'm far from the only one that goes through the just-when-you-think-things-are-looking-up-something-else-comes-along thing, but good grief.

So finally we approach the final quarter of school for the husband, and what a long, hard road this has been. The T.A.A. program is wonderful, for those that are able to cut through the red-tape and take advantage of it, but can I be honest and say that I think it almost caused the end of my marriage? We've been through some crap since we got married back in 1997. I would give you the laundry-list of events, but I just don't feel like it, and I'm sure you wouldn't want to read it.

These last two years, though, since the husband lost his job and subsequently started school... I just don't know. They were different. They were hard. They were disappointing. There's a rift, at least for me, that's really just starting to heal... like a bad cut that the scab has just fallen off of, and there's the new, soft, pink skin exposed for the first time. I remember the night almost three years ago now, when he came home from work and told me that he'd be losing his job, and we stood in our kitchen, both of us crying, and made a pact that we wouldn't take our stress out on each other, because we knew if we stuck together we could get through anything, because look what we'd already been through up to this point... that, I think, lasted about 8 months or so.

I've had friends... good friends... close, trusted friends, who have told me that I should just pack it in. That I've put up with too much. That it's not worth it, because I'm not happy. That I should leave. But I can't. He hasn't abused me. He's lied, but he hasn't cheated on me (and mean as it might be to say, I don't think he's suave enough to pull anything like that off). I just can't throw this all away because of a few rough years.

At Christmas, his sister-in-law, who's a big-wig in medical records management at one of the area hospitals, told him to give her a call when he was close to being done with school (by the way, he'll have a certificate in medical coding when he's done in June, in case I haven't mentioned that before), and she'd talk to Human Resources about getting him on there. She really is not the type that says things "just to be nice", so this semi-promise of help with finding a job has motivated him to approach these last two quarters of school with renewed energy and interest, which is definitely a good thing. The light at the end of the tunnel is finally getting brighter.

Last week - HALLELUJAH - he registered for his final four classes. Today, he got a phone call from the community college where he's attending classes, asking him if he realized that his benefits under the T.A.A. program are finished as of the end of the quarter he's currently in (which he takes his final exams for next week), so paying for the Spring quarter is up to him. I'm sorry, what? He called his T.A.A. rep, and sure enough, time's up in two weeks... which also means his unemployment benefits stop then, too, with one quarter of school left before he's ready to take the medical coding certification exam. It's really not worth going into the long, bullshit explanation that he got. The bottom line is that everything stops in two weeks, period. I tell you, he told me this and I almost threw up on my desk.

Now, stay with me, because I promise I'm almost finished with this. You've been with me long enough now to know that I'm the first one to point out to my husband when his father (my father-in-law) is being a pain in the ass. I make no secret of the fact that I think he's a weird old man that's irritating and hard to get along with. He quite often can be rude and overbearing, such as when he told my husband (early in our relationship) how much he should spend on Christmas gifts for everyone, based on the salary of the job he just started... or the two times that he's cut the boy's hair without bothering to ask... or offering much un-requested financial advice... and quite often you ask me how or why do I put up with it, without saying anything, and here's why:

Surprisingly, the first phone call the husband made after receiving this doomsday news from the school was to his father. And after the situation was explained to him, his father (my father-in-law) said, without the husband asking, that he would

pay the tuition for this last quarter of school -and-

pay for the books the husband needs for this last quarter of school -and-

give us money so that we don't drown too much, financially speaking

I think about people I know, or even the panhandlers I pass most days on the highway exits, and think how utterly helpless it must feel not to have anyone to turn to... and that really we are so lucky in the fact that (however irritating he may be) we do...

Now, of course, we can't tell my mother-in-law (who is actually the father-in-law's second wife, so not the husband's mother) about any of this, but we'll save that for another post.

And so it goes...


Just Me said...

Honey.....I'm, well, stunned. On all counts. Remember, I'm just in the last year, catching up with all the doings.
I can say, that if you guys have made it through scads of rough times, and you can look at him and still find love, it's possible. I've heard it said that the rough times will either tear you apart or make ou stronger. Is it possible that you'll be stronger when this is all done? I hope so.
I love ya dearly. Praying for things to be the way they are supposed to!

Mou said...

You're beau--

You know, it's phenomenal: just when you think the old fart's a complete shit, he goes and does what you need him to do.

Teresa Paulina said...

Well Holy.... The crazy nut job is a God-send after all...

You all have ridden out some amazingly hard times... You're strong... and just going to get stronger.

You have my prayers and 'ears'.

Twyla said...

First all of, love the song choice. :-)
Glad to hear that the father-in-law is good for something. It's good to know that you have a bit of a safety net, even if he is an arse most of the time.