Today's Image
That Fork

EricSeven years ago today, Eric interviewed for and got the technology position at the new plant in Toledo, which was the path that eventually led us to Wisconsin. He was nervous that day, knowing that he was actually interviewing for two potential positions and aware that he could probably have either, so long as he was willing to pick one. Had he chosen the other one, a materials management position, we might not - probably wouldn't - be in Wisconsin right now at all. Of course, we don't know where we would be; it's possible we'd be here, but also possible we could be in Mexico, Indiana, or any number of Small Town, USA locations with a manufacturing facility or two and not much else.

The path not taken is an interesting one to follow in thought. Okay, say Eric went the other way. We'd have been there in Toledo probably at least as long as we were, though that's hard to predict. Knowing my husband as I do, I find it hard to believe that he'd still be in the same position now; he seeks, and is usually successful, opportunities for advancement rather than getting comfortable for too long. So he could have either worked his way to managing the Toledo plant, which would have not only been possible but would have been quite convenient for the rest of us, or else he could have been sent to manage another plant.

When you're looking for a plant to manage, you have to pretty much wait for a spot to open up and accept whatever does. Plant management is something Eric could handle, and he could have just limited the position locations he'd have entertained (he was in no way interested in the Mexico position, for example). Like what happened with the Wisconsin transfer, though, the openings come out of the blue, and it's best to jump quickly when they do, because, especially with recent plant closings, you just never know when the next offer will come.

So we might not have been in Wisconsin, but we could be somewhere just as far from family, even more isolated, and with other issues related to lack of the resources associated with being near major cities, like access to magnet and charter schools. On the other hand, if Lady Luck had visited us, we could have landed perhaps in the South Carolina facility, which would have had us close to family and in a geographic area that would have suited us well. There is just no predicting.

No real point to it, either. I mean, I certainly fantasize enough about what it would have been like not to have to leave Toledo, but did Eric's choice that day also, in unforeseen ways, lead us to our particular position in Toledo? When he interviewed, we were still living in a neighboring town, apartment dwelling and childless. Who knows if we'd have gone the same way, bought the same house, made the same decisions regarding friends, churches, or anything else. Maybe along that alternative path, I'd be daydreaming about leaving Ohio. Who could tell?

Guitar HeroThey say it takes about six or seven years to fully settle into a place to the point where it becomes "home." I can still say that I don't feel any roots entrenched in Wisconsin yet, though I'm closer than I was even six months ago. We were in Ohio almost exactly seven years, and it was painful to leave. (I wonder sometimes why it was so much harder to leave Ohio than it was to leave my childhood home, but I know that other issues, more deep-seated, were coming into play there.) Maybe we're just seedling trees here, still easily transplantable if we or fate wished it, but something more than just a seed or a sprout. In a few years, the fork in the road that brought us here will be a speck in the distance behind us, unthinkable as anything we could have avoided.

I reminded Eric about the significance of today, and he nodded and joked, "I made the wrong decision!" But then he, too, got thoughtful and said, "Maybe I didn't. Who knows?" I hope I haven't given him anything over which to lose sleep; only one of us needs to be this much of a navel-gazer.

Sam got new boots and waterproof mittens today, and he was begging Eric to take him outside to try them out. Eric refused, saying it was too cold, but after Eric left for the grocery store a while ago, Sam decided that he was desperate enough to go use them by himself. (For those joining me for Holidailies, we have a fenced, secure backyard, and Sam is capable of and comfortable with playing out there alone.)

VacuumGabe, on the other hand, started pitching a fit immediately. Like me, he isn't fond of snow, though he's been prodding it thoughtfully with his hand when we've been outside the past day or two, but he was in lust over Sam's boots and he didn't want to be left behind. I sighed, then suited Gabe up in his own hand-me-down snow gear, threw a coat and gloves on myself, and dragged the two of us outside to join Sam.

Only, as it turned out, "dragged" was quite the appropriate term. The moment his feet hit the first drift, Gabe started to panic, screaming for my hand and crying to be picked up. I tried to comfort him, but he was livid over the entire situation. I asked him if he wanted to go inside and he nodded, but just as I started to carry him there, Sam helpfully presented Gabe with a fire truck he'd unearthed from the sandbox.

The fire truck was packed full of sand, then topped off with a layer of snow. It was easily twice as heavy as it was when it left the toy factory. Gabe dropped down to play with it, then realized he was in the snow again and started freaking out anew. He wanted to go back inside, but he wanted the fire truck with him. "No, the truck has to live out here right now," I told him, not wanting all that sand and snow trotted inside, but he was irate. I took the truck and put it on the porch, then carried him inside, where he screamed and screamed and screamed about the injustice of it all. He didn't want a hug; he didn't want a different fire truck. He didn't want my sympathy, and he didn't want to be ignored.

After a while, though, when he realized he was getting nowhere, he decided that he'd settle for "Bob the Builder" on TV and some fruit snacks. I obliged him, and all was forgiven. Sam, meanwhile, played outside until it was almost completely dark before I coaxed him inside.

I think Eric's home with the groceries; I'd better go help unload. I forgot to ask him to pick up a bottle of wine, as we're all out; I've been on a Merlot kick lately, and it's nice to have a glass or two with dinner. Oh, well; I don't think he could have gotten it on a Sunday evening, anyway. What are the rules, again? I never remember until I'm in the store, trying to buy, and suddenly there are gates up and the cashier is telling me that I can't, looking at me like I have to be some sort of alcoholic freak to be trying to buy wine on - gasp! - the Lord's Day.

Poll for December 3rd!

How are your own roots growing?

We've been here less than 7 years, and it's not home.
We've been here less than 7 years, but I can't imagine being elsewhere.
We've been here 7 or more years, and of course it's home!
We've been here 7 or more years, but I feel no roots and could leave it tomorrow.
  Current Results

previous one year ago:
The actual gift, in fact, was probably something simple and unremarkable; the Moravian star, on the other hand, makes me smile every time I hang it on the tree.
two years ago:
The result: a very yummy little candy, and a priceless moment when Daddy comes home (along with a more comical moment later, on the phone with Grandma): "I made them, Daddy! All by myself!"
three years ago:
You know, there's something very strange about cleaning up the house to sell it; it's rather like dressing your husband up all nice and fancy in the hopes that some other woman will pick him up.
four years ago:
Oh, my. You've seduced me back into your fold, and you don't seem to have held a grudge at all.
five years ago:
I did buy him a sippy cup that intrigued him at the store, but as near as I can tell, he thinks it's a big, blue water globe. Shake, shake, shake!
six years ago:
It won't be long now. I'll have to tell the boss soon, or it won't be news to anybody with eyes in their head.
seven years ago:
Though he interviews for both, it is very likely that, in the course of the interview, he will be asked which position he would prefer.
In the ears:
Sam's new made-up game, "Darkness Darkness Happiness"

On the Bookshelf:

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