“Midge – commeer…” Harold called excitedly from the computer room. I rolled my eyes because I just knew that whatever had excited him was likely not going to excite me. But, being a dutiful wife, I leaned forward in my recliner and pulled myself out of the comfortable abyss… Then it started…
It all started with the photo of Palmer Lake and the rainbow that my friend Steve put on the internet. It seemed innocent…right? Who hasn’t seen a gazillion photos of a rainbow on the internet??? Well, I have to admit that it was the most beautiful rainbow photo that I had ever seen, but it certainly didn’t set me in a mood to pack up for a move to Palmer, Alaska.
You see, Harold is what I call a “Rainbow Chaser”. I don’t mean that in the literal sense of the word… Well…except in this case. Harold’s search for utopia has moved me all around the world. When he was in the army, he was stationed in Germany for three years. After we were married, he decided to move us to Germany because he loved it while stationed there. After a couple of years, Harold decided that it would be great to live in Atlanta. I enjoyed Atlanta, but eventually the traffic and the hubbub got to him, so he decided that it would be nice to live in Florida. So, Orlando was our next home. It seemed that we no sooner got settled when he saw an advertisement in the newspaper for “country living”. He was excited to purchase an acre of land in Okeechobee, FL, covered in palmetto and scrub oaks for only $10,000. He didn’t consider the cost of new home construction, so he settled for drilling a well, dropping a septic tank, installing a power pole, then having a dilapidated old trailer towed to the property. He said we would only live in that trailer until the new house was built. Yeah… Right… We lived in that trailer for 7 years before Harold was lured to New Orleans by a television documentary about the Mardi Gras and Cajun food. Yup…you guessed it…I was packing again…
Let me tell you…I lived in 18 different places in the 40 years of our marriage. The 7 years in that hell hole of a trailer, in the middle of a pasture and heated to unreasonable temperatures in the summer, was the longest we lived anywhere. That certainly wasn’t the utopia Harold imagined, nor was anywhere else that we lived. Me? I made the best of life where ever we landed. A documentary of my life would rightfully be titled “Steady She Goes”. While Harold was chasing rainbows, I was never with any one employer long enough to be vested in any retirement plans. Did I mention that I am adept and near psychic in financial matters? It wasn’t hard to see the writing on the wall early in our marriage. I foresaw a lifetime of poverty and misspent savings with Harold, so I quietly squirreled away first small, then larger chunks of my income from one after another of my minimum wage jobs. When my savings became too large to be stashed around the house, I opened a Roth account, an IRA and a money market account. I even dabbled in the stock market a bit. Of course, I had to have a post office box everywhere we lived, or I would have been found out quickly. If Harold had known that I was amassing a small fortune, he would not have been satisfied until he had drained every account for whatever it would take for immediate gratification. Nope…that was my own little secret between me, myself and I.
Harold and I have been living in Tennessee for the past 5 years. He seemed to have finally settled down into reality. So much so that I became confidant enough to finally reveal the savings so carefully hidden from him over the years. For me, it seemed that we had finally found utopia and that the rainbow chasing was over. Our home was built at the end of a country road with no near neighbors, which is MY idea of utopia. It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that I like my privacy and solitary time better. Harold had a small building erected that he quickly turned into a man cave. He enjoyed light wood work, specializing in folk type construction. His birdhouses are beautiful. The sales of his birdhouses at a local flea market substantially subsidized our retirement income. I had a rather large vegetable garden, a rose garden and a shed of laying hens to keep me busy. Honestly…what more could we want??? Gazing into my retirement future looked quite comfortable and carefree. Yes…I have Utopia, indeed!
Then Harold saw that picture of the beautiful rainbow in Palmer, Alaska, which stirred his usual discontent with our current life and I knew that his itchy feet would soon carry us away and over yet another rainbow to his next Utopia that somehow he never finds. Dread began to creep into my stomach to tie the usual knots…
My heart grew heavy with the knowledge that Harold was once again going to uproot our lives while spending a significant portion of our retirement nest egg that I worked so hard to save. It was more than I could bear… It was that exact moment when I made a decision that no one and certainly not Harold would ever make me unhappy again. I had to act fast before my whole world came tumbling down.
“Harold… I need to go out to the garden, and then gather the eggs. I’ll be back in a few…” Then, I tiptoed out to the man cave and selected just the right tool to secure my retirement years. Quick as a wink, I took care of my problem and planted him right smack in the middle of my rose garden. Carefully, I covered the whole garden in cypress chips until the garden did not appear to have been disturbed at all…just a well cared for rose garden… When I was done, I attached the sprinkler to the old hose to give my thirsty rose garden a nice drenching drink of water.
Later, I glanced out my kitchen window to see that the sprinkler and a delightfully sunny day had created a beautiful rainbow over my rose garden. I might have been a little smug when I said…”There’s your damn rainbow, Harold!”
Then I lived happily ever after….
(For the record…this is a fiction story. My husband is way smarter than Harold! LOL)
Written by Darlene Cirinna
© September 17, 2011
All rights reserved. Do not use
without author’s permission.