Here is a letter I received shortly after Hurricane Sandy. I had evacuated to my fiancé’s parents’ house and was going a bit stir-crazy (I did discover that you can make a pretty decent fake espresso with half a mug of hot milk and about ten times more instant coffee than the package suggests.)
I had been persuaded not to bring any books, because we had to walk down 25 flights of stairs carrying a cat. Once I had done this, I realized I could have carried at least fifteen pounds of books in addition to a backpack and a cat carrier, because I have quads of steel.
So I was trying to get some things done on my laptop, while lamenting my lack of books (and, for the record, buying shovels and breathing masks and baby supplies on Amazon and shipping them to one of the many relief efforts in the Rockaways).
And then, this:
I feel a little dopey writing this while I’m sure you’re mucking out from Sandy, but if you’ve been trapped in an apartment with your fiancé this week, I think you might have an extra dose of insight for me.
In the last two weeks I’ve gone through some pretty momentous changes: my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, so my husband and I picked up and moved halfway across the country, from the city to a farm, to take care of her while she goes through treatment.
Being a Bullish-type gentlewoman, I negotiated to keep my new big-step-up-professionally-and-remuneratively job and am working remotely rather than starting from square one in a town with less than 5,000 people. I’m extremely ambitious and have been making big strides in my career in the last two years. My husband? Not so much.
This generally doesn’t bother me. He always has a job that pays pretty well and reliably pays half our bills. He just doesn’t have much interest in moving up the career ladder. Again, this is totally fine with me – he works shorter hours and makes less than me, yes, but he also takes care of all the household things I can’t or won’t do because of the demands of my work. It works for us and I’m not looking to change him.