Oilful Holiday Season

Ah, that “pound pound pound” from my basement and the “beep beep beep” from the backing truck in my driveway can mean only one thing: time for a new oil tank!

Damn! Should have sprung for that containment tray...

Such a momentous occasion in a homeowner’s life, when the old beast begins to leak all over the floor – albeit slowly, thank god –  and the oil guy comes out and says, “Yup, you got a leak. Can’t patch that. Time for a new one.” Then the Christmas holiday and a Boxing Day blizzard delay the exciting moment, along with making you cancel a long-anticipated trip to see friends on Long Island. After you spend 90 minutes shoveling/snowblowing much more of the driveway than you ever would if you didn’t have guys coming to pump heating oil out of the leaky tank and cut it up to dispose of properly, meeting all environmental requirements, and then put in a new one, and give you 5 or 6 hours of the melodious sounds of clanging metal and the voices of strange (just unknown, that is; I cast no aspersions on their character) workmen right underneath you, as you try, or at least contemplate trying, to do some writing: the new play, some small tidbit of work you weren’t expecting–

Hmm…what was that loud crash? And that one? Do I want to get up and look? At least there’s no screaming. And the cursing is low-level. Good signs, right? No, I will not get up to look. Let the professionals do their thing, God knows I don’t like anyone looking over my shoulder when I’m at the computer. But it all sounds so close, so threatening…

—maybe even watch a movie since, after all, this is a holiday vacation of sorts, and you had already planned to be away and doing something fun.

Those shoals of l-u-u-u-v...

Fun. OK, all bullshit aside, how much fun is a large, unexpected household expense? For a house you want to sell so desperately, might have even sold this past year, if we hadn’t plunged into the worst housing market in decades. For a house you bought with another person, a spouse, only because she had given you every indication your marriage was full speed ahead, despite the shoals you had been skirting for several years and the rough waters left – seemingly – behind. Of course, the new oil tank is almost laughable as a domestic problem, given everything that has come before it during the IMD, chronicled more or less faithfully here at C?WC? these last few months, with only a few of the more irritating/infuriating/hurtful details of non-life with the Fex left out.

Ah, I think this is all the Ativan talking, a morning dose to get me through that empty/hungry feeling in the stomach that food does not sate, sleep does only in small doses, alcohol somewhat more effectively in the evenings, and the prescription drug marginally so during the day.

This holiday week is almost half over. I have spent wonderful hours with friend and family. I have had the surreal moment of driving away from my home on Christmas Eve, car laded with gifts and goodies for the celebration, and the Fex being in the house painting the bathroom (OK, putting up the tape before she paints the bathroom). Now, it was her choice to do it then, since I would be away and I assume all her nominally Christian friends were doing family things. Regardless of what she was there for, she was in my home (our house, technically, still, but emphatically my home) while I drove away to spend the holidays single – the first time doing that in 13 years. A small weird moment, perhaps, but another bead on that necklace of weirdness we have been crafting this year.

But then weird can so quickly morph into anger. A correspondent updates me about a post on her FB page. Not one asked for, and in retrospect one I did not need to hear. She lamented her fate: painting a bathroom on Christmas, in a house she doesn’t even live in. Well, boo hoo. Let’s feel sorry for the Fex, and console her as she has to deal again with that crazy asshole Fex of her own. We’ll leave aside that this situation of hers on Christmas, as with most things that have happened lately, has come down to choices. Her choices. We all  make them, yes? And we make the best of the consequences. Or not.

Like me. I did not choose the New Crisis. But I chose to marry a woman who presented certain challenges from the start. I chose to stick it out through some decidedly difficult times. I chose, for too long, to hang on to my love for her, and the hopes of a reconciliation. My choices have sometimes put me in a lamentable place. Led me here to this blog, looking for my own boo hoos or consolations. We are not so different, the Fex and I. We are not so different, divorcing/divorced couples, no matter our particulars. We are not so different, people.

Hmm, that drug has kicked in. This was supposed to be about a new oil tank, for God’s sake. But some times an oil tank isn’t just an oil tank, even if a cigar is just a cigar. Not when the tank is connected to a house that connects two people who in most other ways are unconnected (and now we have our de jure date of dissolution: January 26. I’ll be issuing old Advent calendars reworked to mark this important winter Wednesday so you can follow along at home). And the oil tank incident comes during the holiday season, one fraught with more recollection and reflection and sense of loss and loneliness than most.

I hear a buzz. A saw through metal. It’s slow, a little subdued, not like a dentist drill. The saw is a comforting sound, right now. Not sure why. But who cares. I take my comfort where it comes these days, during this joyful, oilful holiday season.


~ by mburgan on December 28, 2010.

2 Responses to “Oilful Holiday Season”

  1. and for something like this you are splitting the costs, correct?

  2. Yes, yes.

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