Yesterday is a day I do not want to have to live the likes of again. Hard for me to believe that Matt [my landscaper/jack-of-all-trades] is such a drama queen. But he is. He just doesn’t see how he contributes to the whole deal.
I was up early to have breakfast before I went to sit at the market at 9:00. Schatzie is the best sales-dog. Everyone comes over to the table to pet her and while they’re there, we try to sell them tickets. Adorable bait.
At noon, we went home and something was clearly not right. The front gate was open and Matt was showing a beautiful little girl the fig trees. Who was she? I was polite and we walked to the back of the house where there was a strange woman standing watching her toddler son cavorting on the deck. Lo and behold, this woman was Matt’s latest love of his life. He basically wanted to know if they could stay with me for a while in the upstairs bedrooms.
Under no circumstances was I going to have a hard-to-handle toddler, an adolescent girl, a 26 year old woman and Matt living under my roof. How did they happen to be there? A week ago, Matt told me she was down in Florida and wanted to come up and leave her boyfriend who was beating her. So I’m put in a position where I have to say no to an abused woman. No…you can’t stay with me. She showed up in the Bronx on Wednesday, apparently—her aunt gave her the plane fare—and Matt swears up and down he didn’t know she was showing up on my doorstep on Saturday.
He was totally pissed off that I wouldn’t make room for them. This place is my refuge. The place I go to think and write and garden and find a different kind of peace than I have anywhere else. I have a generosity of spirit that often gets me in trouble and I was glad I stuck to my guns. By evening, Matt had found a room for them to rent for the weekend. During the week, he uses a room over the shed to take breaks, have lunch, use my wi-fi, whatever, and he assumed this woman, her kids and he could stay there if not IN the house. I wasn’t about to take the risk, with the kids and all.
So…Marjorie is watching all this go on before I got back. She’s doing her best to hold down the fort. Matt says just let them change for the beach and then shower afterwards. They’ll sleep elsewhere.
How does he do it? Every year another drama with women. I’m very patient and I listen ‘cause I’m his mentor/confidant/guru. I’m not patting myself on the back, I just know he doesn’t have anyone else like me in his life.
So Saturday night, we’re supposed to go to see the movie and Marjorie isn’t feeling up to it. I made an appearance at the bay beach and then came home. She told me then she was feeling fine—she just wanted to make sure someone was at the house making sure they didn’t come back and move in.
This morning I was back at the table in front of the market selling tickets. Thank heavens we’ve only got one more week of this. It’s feeling like a vocation already.
Matt came by without what he was already calling his “family” to pick up some food he’d gotten for the kids. Things weren’t adding up. How did this woman know where to go once she got to the island? Why was the TV left on a channel with cartoons? Why was there a single slice of pizza in a box in my kitchen? Did he know she was coming? Had she been there before I got there? Is that why he’d gotten me flowers? I hate having trust issues with people who are already beneficiaries of my trust.
He swears they weren’t here before Saturday morning and had answers for all my questions. But there was new drama about my not trusting him. It went on and on, all day long. He was staying with my realtor, who rents out rooms from time to time. She found him a place for his new family one town over. I could rest easy on that count. But it took a while for him to see that I had a point. I couldn’t have a toddler in a place that wasn’t child-proofed. Too many things could go wrong.
Marjorie and I are staying until tomorrow afternoon.
Adrienne Gruberg is a former family caregiver and founder of The Caregiver Space. After six years of caring for her late husband and mother-in-law she conceived of an online support space all caregivers could come to. Adrienne holds a BFA from Boston University. She founded AYA Creative in 1982, an award winning graphic design, marketing and advertising company. Her design training has helped shape the website and her personal and professional experience continues to inform and influence the caregiver centric support experience she has created at The Caregiver Space.