Normal Or Out Of The Ordinary?

Husband and wife who had been separated see each other again, and they fall into each other’s arms. They exchange a passionate kiss, they hug and hold on to each other, then they walk into the sunset, holding hands, happy to be reunited again. That’s how it would be in the movies or in books. The perfect scenario of a married couple still being in love after so many years.

We hugged and we kissed, and then we were on each other’s throats for two days, each and every time we were alone. “Why did you take the computer and not the laptop?” He questioned my choices of what I had ‘rescued’ from our home. “Why did you take the sewing machine?” And I had numerous questions myself. “Why didn’t you help me go through our home before you left?” “Why did you leave anyway?” We replayed different scenarios in our heads, and we blamed each other for what had happened. If I hadn’t quit my job a year before! If he would have had more clients! We didn’t yell or shout, but we were harsh with each other. We were both hurt, and we needed the other one to know.

At a time when we needed each other’s comfort, we made each other uncomfortable.

I am not a psychiatrist or a therapist, but I assume (or hope) our behavior was normal. We had lived under pressure for many months. It all had happened so fast, and it all had such an impact on our life together. We didn’t have the chance to really talk about it, for weeks, months, we were busy trying to find a way out of our misery, and then, when the time had been running out, we had decided to separate.

Was our reaction normal, or out of the ordinary? I don’t know but it was healing. After two days we sat down at the table, held hands, and ensured each other that we would be alright. A white lie, spoken to comfort the one you love. I wasn’t so sure if we would be alright, and I don’t think he was either. The pressure that had made us argue, went away. We had no stamina left. We both acknowledged that there was nobody to blame, which didn’t make the situation any better. It would have been so much easier to understand all of it if we had done something wrong? For us -and thousands of thousands of other people- it all had been just a series of unfortunate events, and we were collateral damage.

2008 recession will repeat — Steemit
Recession 2008/2009

“So, tell me about the sausages.” We sat on the round table in the kitchen, enjoyed another cup of coffee and I filled him in. My husband had brought all his clothes and belongings, only the larger things like the tv, and his heavy tools were stored in his brother’s basement. “I am not sure if they will take me back,” he said quietly. They had been invited to her sister’s house for Thanksgiving, had forgotten to invite my husband. I didn’t know what to say. What did I wish for other than having the life back we once had? For the first time in my life, I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted. Where would we live? What city? What state? What would I do for a living? Would we be able to keep our dogs? Would we end up on the streets?

Do you even have the right to a future when all you want is left behind in the past? Hundreds of questions were circling on my mind all the time.

In the evening when my friend came home from work we spent time together laughing, eating, talking, the same way we had done for so many years. I had forgotten how good my husband and she got along. The three of us reunited, changed the dynamic. When Ben and Steve joined us that night, they got a heavy dose of friendship. Old stories were told, and we outed each other with anecdotes of each other’s embarrassing moments -and there were many. We had a history together, and we let them know.

The sound of my own laughter surprised me. How was it possible that I was able to laugh?

Ben seemed to like my husband. Steve, the nerd thought I was worth talking to. They didn’t stay long that night, we on the other hand stayed up for a very long time.

“So, how deep are you in,” I finally asked her, and then we started to add the numbers up and made a list of all the inventory. The kitchen building, the two smaller side buildings, each holding numerous chest freezers full of meat. Everything in the kitchen, all the equipment, the spices, bags, and bags of rice, pots and pans, tools and chef knives, the two freezers in the kitchen, the stove, the oven, the microwave, the industrial sink, it added up. Not to mention how much she had spent on getting electricity and warm water from the house to the building.

She had spent 40,000 dollars. Her savings were almost gone, she had taken a good amount out of her retirement fund and she had taken a 30% pay cut at her job.

Over the years we had sent strangers’ kids to summer camps. We had rescued dogs, had ‘adopted’ families for Christmas. At one point we had even shared credit cards from department stores. One card was in her name, we both shopped together, the other card was in my name. When the bills came we both paid our part and paid the card off in full. We trusted each other.

11648 Peppermint Ln, Ponder, TX 76259
The kitchen at the house, where we spent most of the time, sitting around the table.

“Why don’t you stay?” she asked my husband and we both didn’t know what to say. We had separated because there were no jobs in this area, coming back and staying with me at our friend’s house wouldn’t make our situation better.

“I have filled out applications everywhere,” he sounded even lame in my ears. “If they call and offer you a job you can always drive back.” And so it was settled. The three of us started project “Sausage Kitchen” that night. Three friends and a sausage kitchen.

I would continue to teach Ben, my husband would help in the kitchen and in the smokehouse. The third room with the desk and the computer would become my office. I would call around and search the internet. There was so much we didn’t know.

How many different kinds of sausages would we offer? We had no idea. She got up and got the small binder of her uncle’s recipes. How would we get customers? We didn’t know.

What else did we need? Again, no idea. But we were fired up and we would find out.

How long would we stay? (I tried not to think about it.) Winter was coming. Our dogs had become backyard dogs, instead of moving forward with our lives, we had just promised to help our friend with hers. She could not pay us, but she would provide for us. It was a very generous offer but it also meant we would stay broke. We were stuck!

The next day we got up at 5 am started making Jalapeno Pork Sausages for the first time. Ben graced us with his appearance for a short time, then he left and he didn’t come back until the next day. My husband, the man who had never opened a dishwasher in our home, went to the sink and did the dishes -and there were many.

He opened the smokehouse, inspected it, looked at the pile of wood. I always called him the grill master, from this moment on he was our smokehouse master.

My husband moving the fire in the smokehouse.

Thanksgiving had always been fun when we celebrated it together. A big turkey, stuffed with her mom’s dressing, red cabbage like we had made it at home in Austria. Extra cornbread stuffing for my husband, her sweet-potato peach casserole, my dumplings and so much more. The world was meeting in her kitchen.

We decided to try a smoked turkey. “Hey, if we like it we might be able to sell a few for Christmas,” we joked. The smoked turkey was fabulous. An idea was born.

What else do you smoke in a smokehouse? Jerky! Beef or venison jerky with different flavors. More ideas, the wine we drank helped.

I had looked up numerous kitchens in Louisiana, my friend had called her family and had written down all they could remember.

We spend Thanksgiving eating, drinking, and planning, and then the menu was ready. We would offer fifteen different kind of sausages and sausage balls, including two we had no recipe for.

The Sausage kitchen

Later one we added Brats – Italian Sausages – Seafood Gumbo and Braunschweiger in a jar (because I wanted to try it so badly)

Getting the missing recipes somehow ended up being my job, and I jumped on it. I needed to be busy, anything was better than doing nothing.

Ben, the chef-sausage-maker disapproved when he saw our list. He tried to make changes but my friend didn’t listen. The next day we all were in the kitchen.

For the first time, we would make 25 pounds of garlic pork sausage with green onions. I had chosen the amount and the sausage. I wanted to see if Ben had finally listened. We chatted, my iPod was playing, we handled the meet. Ben started grinding and mixing, my friend wrote the menu on the whiteboard, and I showed my husband how to soak and clean casings. Over my husband’s shoulder, I watched Ben, saw him pouring the whole spice mix for 50 pounds in the meat mixture that required only half of it. I could have said something. I could have stopped it. I could have corrected him, could have added for more meat to fix his mistake. I didn’t. I watched him screw up and decided to do nothing.

He didn’t make a test patty either. Again, I said nothing. We stuffed the sausages, I linked them together and two were put to the side for later that night. We had to try it, after all, it had been the first batch.

The sausage was terribly over-spiced, over-salted, and not eatable. My friend was furious. 25 pounds of meat, spices, some white wine, herbs, salt…all wasted.

What had happened? Who had mixed the meet, who had added the spices? I had thrown Ben under the bus and I felt no regret. Not my proudest moment but nothing I will hide either. I wanted Ben out of the kitchen, and I was working on it to make it happen.

Was it my fault that he failed? Yes. Was it his fault, for not listening? Yes

I felt terrible, I felt guilty. I knew I would succeed.

I Am Human - My Higher Shelf

23 thoughts on “Normal Or Out Of The Ordinary?

  1. I am feeling a little relief in your story just hearing that you and your husband are under one roof! Now I’m waiting to see how you were able to care for the dogs–I’m hoping that is not another heartache. The sausage making and helping your friend is unique in so many ways. One thing is very clear to me, you were extremely hard working. You were doing all you knew to do to find a new life. I am eager to hear more, so thank you for writing with such honesty, when it is all very painful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems you had tried long enough and given him ample opportunity to learn. It was time to accept the natural consequences of his actions. With all the sausage making and meat smoking, I am wondering about customers. Were you selling any of this yet? Was there a plan to get customers? I am glad your husband stayed with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It does feel bad, but why should only some feel responsible?
    I have never really liked the ant’s response to the grasshopper (Well then, now dance!) n Aesop’s tale, but I cannot say the ant was wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

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