Homeless on our Honeymoon…

August 6th, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night…

No no that’s not right…

It was the best of times it was the worst of times…

No no no no not right!

Um…

Er….

The golden orb hung listlessly in the air and it… it… it…

UGH!!!

Okay Okay

Once upon a time…

ARRRRRGHGHGHGHG!!!

What I am trying to say is that the Country Doctor and I were not always the Country Doctor and I.

Many, many, many, many, many moons ago we were The Country Medical Student and I.

And we were very poor…

And full of babies…

This is a story about our humble beginnings.

When we lived hand to mouth, making babies faster than you could say fallopian tubes and rubbing our last two nickles together at the end of every month for warmth.

We were homeless on our honeymoon. Every day of our seven day trip through the Bad Lands and the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore and Yellow Stone and The Grand Tetons, we would place a call back to Kansas City to find out if our landlord was going to rent us one of the two houses we had looked at before we got married. Both of our leases were expired. I guess we knew we could stay with April and Clay, but neither one of us was too excited about that. April is very bossy and she makes a lot of rules up right off the top of her head… as you are walking by… when you are sitting down… and every time you open the fridge and well… I am not much a rule person.

We did have a freshly purchased tent and lots of camping supplies and we had been putting them to use on our honeymoon as we were camping all over North Dakota and Wyoming. So I guess the tent was our fall back plan. However, on the last day of our trip we finally reached the land lord and he gave us permission to move into a tiny bungalow in a sweet neighborhood two blocks from KU Med. It was a perfect first home and we were both very excited.

When we got back to Kansas, we rented a U-Haul truck and packed up our belongings. The Country Medical Student had just resigned as a Physics and Chemistry Teacher at Atchison High in Atchison Kansas where he was renting a studio apartment. I had been sharing a house with one of the the Country Doctor’s sisters… where most of my stuff had been stored in the basement… which had flooded… and destroyed pretty much all of my belongings, so neither of us had much stuff and we easily fit all of our crap into one truck.

We drove to Kansas City and moved into our new home.

I still love that first little house. It had a screen porch that ran the full length of the front of the house. It had two tiny bedrooms and one tiny bathroom. It had industrial gray carpet in every room except the kitchen and the bathroom. There was a small deck and a cozy back yard and a detached garage. It had a full unfinished basement and it cost us $575.00 a month to rent.

The Country Medical Student had a scholarship that covered his books, tuition and gave us a living stipend of $1,500 a month. I had a job at just over minimum wage as an administrative assistant at the Lawrence Arts Center and was bringing home $1,000 a month. Combining our earnings made me feel positively rich! We celebrated and got a little giddy and went out and bought a futon for future guests to sleep on.

This brought our furniture collection up to one hideous sofa and matching chair in gold and brown autumnal floral velour owned by the Country Medical Student. One table and two chairs owned by me. A desk, a bed, two dressers, a varied and interesting collection of plastic bins and storage tubs, and one fabulous lamp bought by the Country Medical Student at a garage sale. We still have the fabulous lamp.

My job at the Lawrence Arts Center was scheduled to end soon and I was desperately seeking a job in Kansas City. I had a past in health food cooperatives so when my job at the Arts Center came to an end, I took a job at Wild Oats on 43rd and Main K.C.M.O as a check out girl.

Then I started checking people out.

Looking over their bean paste and their pasta salads and their quivering hunks of tofu and I suddenly felt kind of sick.

Oh and the smells!

The vitamin smells and the bitter herb smells and the cheesey smells and the organic meat smells.

It made me even sicker.

What was wrong with me?

I like food!

I like smells!

Was I just stressed out from a new job???

The job was kind of weird. I was used to art center weirdness and I was used to the weirdness of my former health food store job, but this new store lacked the sense of humor and the lightness of heart. It lacked a certain skip in the step and a bit of mirth to accompany the all important agenda of being an artist or a health food nut. No one ever laughed at Wild Oats. They were dark and shrouded and everyone seemed to have a deep inner seething point to make. They chose to make these points by dressing in scary costumes that made all the babies that entered the store cry in fear. They dyed their hair black and painted their fingernails black and wore scary t-shirts with knives and blood and broken body parts scattered all over them. They had multiple face piercings and sinister tatoos and a general dismal leer that matched their outfits perfectly.

As a way to keep customers from being too scared of the employees, that particular Wild Oats store implemented a policy that stated that employees could not wear sleeveless shirts to work. This kept the wild and unruly underarm hair from busting out all over as well as covering up a lot of angry tattoos. It did nothing to cover up the facial piercings or the general bitterness all those people seemed to have.

Enter me.

No tatoos, no facial piercings, regular old hair colored hair, I shaved my legs and my underarms, I had all my teeth, I did not suspend bathing in a political quest to free the world from tyranny, I smiled, I had freckles, I was stupidly in freshly married bliss, I was not angry and bitter or full of smoky hate. I was friendly and I liked to help customers. And yes, their curdled goats milk granola was making me queasy, but other than that, I was the only person in the entire store that was not frightening to small children and elderly ladies and every other sort of “standard customer” that came through the doors.

And I got into trouble for violating the dress code.

Me…

ME…

ME!!!!


One day I wore a denim shirt that had some embroidered flowers on it and I had my hair neatly pulled back and a pair of cute khaki pants on. I wore makeup and perky little shoes and my favorite dangly fish earrings that I stole from April. I looked perfectly nice

except…

Except…

EXCEPT!!!

I was unaware of the sleeveless shirt policy. The denim shirt had no sleeves. Soon after I arrived to work, I was marched down to the manager’s office and told to choose a better shirt next time and to pay more attention to the guildelines set out in the employee manual. The manager seemed to take a great amount of satisfact

ion in haranguing the “standard looking ” employee when her sales floor was full of creatures from the black lagoon. Every word she spoke to me was full of wrenching irony as if she knew exactly how bizarre it was to call me in for my appearance when the rest of her staff were zombies with enough metal in their faces to cast a full sized steel statue of Satan himself.

I slogged back up the stairs bewildered and downcast. I took up my place at the cash register again and started checking out wiggly tofu again and felt immediately nauseous again and then I had this weird idea…

This strange thought…

This bizarre, crazy, completely NUTS inkling…

Am I Pregnant???

AM I PREGNANT?

AM I PREGNANT?!?!?!?!

And I was.

We had not even been married a month and I was pregnant.

The first year of our marriage we had almost every major life stress one can experience. We got married, we moved, we got new jobs, the Country Medical Student started medical school, we were pregnant and we eventually had a baby.

After I took the test to confirm my suspicions, I had this conversation with my brand new husband.

ME – If you could choose at what age you were going to start a family what age would you pick?

HIM – I don’t know… I guess right about now…

ME – NOW???

HIM – Yeah…

ME – Why Now?

HIM – Because I am twenty seven and when the kid is eighteen I will forty five which seems like a good age to be when your kid is eighteen.

ME – So it is all about math then?

HIM – Yes.

ME – I am terrible at math.

HIM – Yes…

ME – What if our baby is terrible at math?

HIM – That won’t happen.

ME -What if it does?

HIM – It won’t.

ME – How do you know?

HIM – I just know.

ME – Well guess what!

HIM – What?

ME – I’m pregnant.

HIM – You are?

ME – Yes.

HIM – Are you sure?

ME – Yes.

HIM – How do you know?

ME – I just know!

But the Country Medical Student didn’t really believe me.

He didn’t really believe me until the new born babe was placed in his hands.

Just a few short months later…

Comments

  • noble pig:

    Oh this was such a good story! I laughed so hard at all your descriptions of the folks from the black lagoon and metal for building satan!Just hilarious! Lur-ved it!

  • Rhea:

    Fun memory sharing! I did a lot of those major life changes in my first year of marriage also…having a baby, moving twice, etc. And I was only 19.Those early years are tough, but special. :o)

  • Anonymous:

    WOW! How many years have you been married now? I am sick to my stomach and I am not pregnant but the descriptions…ewwwwLaura Littlefield

  • Sadie:

    l-o-v-e-d this one =]

  • Living on the Spit:

    Wonderfully told and delicious story…I want more. You have such a way and I love it.

  • Swede at Heart:

    What a wonderful story! And I have been to that Wild Oats, it is/was? filled with Smoky Hate.

  • Anonymous:

    I used to live on the same block as the Wild Oats on 43rd and Main- all those KCAI kiddos……..that was the summer I frequented Wild Oats, drank carrot juice, and swore off shaving. I also used to work at the Subway that stood right there and I would walk home at 3 am to my apartment across the street from a crack house. And I was 19. And a very white female. Mmmm, good times.SB

  • britishcowgirl:

    You have a fantastic writing style! As crazy as the time must have been please know that I’m very jealous….I’ve been married for years and no baby feet despite what we’ve tried.

  • Kelley:

    What a great story! And some of the folks in that Wild Oats store just peel the paint off my soul they scare me so bad!

  • Debbie:

    Great story. Thank you for sharing and giving me a smile this morning.

  • kikibibi:

    You are too funny! Must’ve been all that “sleeping” in a tent. Was it a pup tent?http://roundoaktablev2.blogspot.com/

  • Caution Flag:

    Think how cookie cutter your life would be if you hadn’t experienced all those surprises!

  • melissa:

    You are doing such a great job telling stories that you might rival the Pie Near Woman, who I also adore! Share more…

  • Brian, Mason and Cortni:

    The news of my pregnancy didn’t go over quite as well. Good on ya!

  • Melody:

    Great story!

  • gina:

    Awww…That was your best post ever!!!

  • The Accidental Housewife:

    Yes, I can identify with everything you wrote except my husband wasn’t a medical student, he was in the military. I moved 1700 miles away from my mother and father. It was my first time being that far away from my family. We all survived, how I’ll never know. I loved your story. Please tell us more.

  • Literarysnob:

    Great story…keep them comming!!!

  • Iron Needles:

    You are cracking me up! You also probably lived very close to where I lived when I was in high school. But I was there waaaaay before you. Still….fun to know the general area.

  • Emme:

    Awww, you’re taking me down memory lane this morning! Makes me miss my hometown Lawrence, and my KU days way too much. I grew up taking classes at the Art Center…Ah, the memories!

  • StitchinByTheLake:

    What a perfectly wonderful story! I loved every word of it – probably because it was much like the beginning of my marriage. :) Blessings, marlene

  • Dejoni:

    Great story! Isn’t it good to look back and see how far you’ve come and how much you still love each other.Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennie:

    Too funny! Even though we’re in Alabama your story is very similar to my husband’s and mine. It’s only been eight years since we married but we’ve got a 7 year old and two 5 years olds. That’s right, 3 babies in 2 years. But of course, I’d change nothing! Love your posts.

  • Jules:

    I love this post as well, but wha-what? No pictures from the past. No pics of your first house. I also want to tell Britishcowgirl to have hope. My husband and I were married 10 years and no children. Then, we adopted our son. We were there when he was born, it was incredible. Wouldn’t you know it, but he’s three now and the spitting image of my husband. I believe there is a plan for all of us.

  • Mama Hen:

    What a wonderful story!

  • Jenni:

    Sounds like you were rubbing more than nickels together to keep warm! I really enjoyed your description of the people you worked with at Wild Oats. It reminded me a little of a guy I used to date and his friends. He was the only other guy I ever dated besides my husband and they couldn’t have been more different!

  • melissa:

    Wow, what a good story. Your writing is wonderful.

  • Sandy in MI:

    I want to see the fabulous lamp!

  • Anonymous:

    I second that! I want to see the fabulous lamp! :DI’ve been a lurker forever, lol. This made me come out of the woods. I absoulutely loved this story! Really had me laughing. Thanks!!

  • Danetta:

    Hope there is a swquel to this story. Since I work with medical students and residents, this is just like the conversations in the hall.

  • Shelley:

    Wow – great story! I'm still in the first year of marriage (9 months)& so far we have: gotten married, moved, got new jobs (I did!), embarked on a master's thesis (well, he did anyway), & donated a kidney (his – not mine). We better not be pregnant too! I just keep taking my magic little pill….

  • Shelley:

    I meant to add one more thing to what we've done! Here it is: gained 15 pounds…. but, I think it's from making all those Pie Near Woman desserts… oh, & by "we" I mean me!

  • Andrea:

    Haha, more, more, tell us more!

  • MUD:

    In 1971, the Master Gardner and I sold our “Mobile Home” (8X38 ft) and drove across the USA in our new Vega. When we moved to Leavenworth the guy that promised us an apartment said he didn’t remember making us any such offer. We found an Apartment in a low income housing area and it was scary but we met some great people. I think that when we moved in that apartment, we didn’t have the $15.00 utility deposit until the first payday. We had lots of nothing but love and managed to escape that period of our life without putting a bun in the oven. Loved your story. MUD

  • lawdy:

    that was as fun as Pioneer Woman’s love story. let’s hear some more. slow down though, and give us all the details.

  • Anonymous:

    Dee from TennesseeGreat, simply great!

  • Anonymous:

    Loved your story! and glad that you honeymooned partly in Wyoming. – Marcia in Wyoming

  • Anonymous:

    Great post..I loved hearing about your early years. They truly are the best of times and the worst of times!- Bertie

  • gublergal:

    Wow! I can relate way too well to your first year. My husband has been a grad student for 6 years and I’m a stay-at-home mom for 3 girls (all have arrived in the past 6 years). Can’t wait until we’re done and can have an actual income and somewhere to live with space!

  • Far Side of Fifty:

    I really enjoy your blog! In fact Pie Near Woman and your sister better watch out!:)

  • Tana:

    Our marriage beginnings are very very similar – graduated from nursing school, married, moved a thousand miles across the country with all our worldly possessions in the car, no money, tiny little studio apartment, all our household stuff was free hand-me-downs, got pregnant, all within 3 months. Love your blog, your posts are very amusing.

  • Nanc in Ashland:

    We don’t have Wild Oats here in the west–at least not in my little corner–but we do have a crunchy granola coop and it’s mostly staffed by pierced, tatooed, unshaven smokers. On the plus side, they are rarely surly and are always willing to help you find stuff or carry your bags to the car. Still, it’s odd to visit the Coop and then hit the Minute Market where the staff area either retirees looking for a part time job or very preppy local high school and college kids. And your first house sounds awesome!

  • Bluebell:

    Love your writing. Thanks for taking me from rainy Scotland back to San Francisco. I can sympathise with the boy behaviour having 2 of my own! Never mind, they grow out of it eventually. Keep making us laugh please!

  • Sonja's Mom Speaks:

    I too was a Country Doctor’s wife and experienced my first pregnancy during my husbands internship. We too were poor as church mice as interns didn’t make a lot of money at that time so I know exactely what you were feeling. Really enjoy your posts as I can relate to them so well.

  • Sonja's Mom Speaks:

    I too was a Country Doctor’s wife and experienced my first pregnancy during my husbands internship. We too were poor as church mice as interns didn’t make a lot of money at that time so I know exactely what you were feeling. Really enjoy your posts as I can relate to them so well.

  • Sonja's Mom Speaks:

    I too was a Country Doctor’s wife and experienced my first pregnancy during my husbands internship. We too were poor as church mice as interns didn’t make a lot of money at that time so I know exactely what you were feeling. Really enjoy your posts as I can relate to them so well.

  • Sonja's Mom Speaks:

    I too was a Country Doctor’s wife and experienced my first pregnancy during my husbands internship. We too were poor as church mice as interns didn’t make a lot of money at that time so I know exactely what you were feeling. Really enjoy your posts as I can relate to them so well.

  • Anonymous:

    Ree over at The Pioneer Woman turned me on to your site. It's 11:33 p.m. here and I've been drinking vanilla vodka (on the rocks) and I just read you were rubbing your "nipples" together. Laughing out loud & going to bed. Will definitely bookmark your blog and read more when I'm sober. Thanks for sharing!

  • Linda (Grandmom):

    When my country future doctor and I married and went off to graduate school in 1961, his stipend was $125/mo. and my secretary’s salary was $250/mo. You were wealthy!!

  • LDF:

    Very delightfully written! My first year of marriage was pretty bizarro too … moves and babies (one right after the other)and weird relatives moving in with us. Then I turned 18 and got a job in a bank … I thought I was SO grown up!

  • jill:

    I can’t imagine a better answer from the CD about when to have a baby, than….”Now.” Wow, how perfect. More installments, please!

  • Anonymous:

    Hey! Love the blog. Your agressively friendly nudist lured me in and I was caught in this story of your first year of marriage. As a new nurse at KUMed, pregnant and sure all milk is curdling in my stomach, married just 2 years and a former resident of the area near Wild Oats, your story really hit home. Well told. So fun.

  • Anonymous:

    Funny. I like your style. My husband wouldn’t believe I was pregnant either. lol Said he had to hear it from the doctor. Doc wouldn’t talk to him for months! lol

  • Anoria:

    So the Country Doctor used to be a Country Science Teacher?
    That’s interesting. Now instead of just wanting to be you, I want to be both of you – a country science teacher who also happens to be witty, creative, loving, and married to a country doctor :)

    (Yes I’m still reading your backlog of blog. Laughing lots and usually restraining my comments because I realize I’m still many months late, and because I’ve learned my lesson about asking questions that end up being answered several posts later. Couldn’t help but comment this time, though.)