Male bees (more properly called drones) don't do much. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that they carry the hive's genetics out into the wild and, if they're lucky, find a virgin queen to mate with and pass them on, you could say they do nothing at all. Drones don't gather any pollen or nectar, they don't build any comb, heck they don't even chew their way out of the cells they pupate in. They just nip a little hole and stick their feelers out and flail them helplessly until some nurse bee takes pity and chews them the rest of the way out. Then they walk around on the comb begging for workers to feed them, and only when the girl-bees in the hive had Had Enough and chase them out (or sometimes drag them out--I've watched this and it's kind of hilarious--drones are about twice the size of workers, but the workers have outrage on their side and will drag the drones behind them by a leg or a wing in fits and starts, buzzing furiously, and throw them off the landing board as if to say "GET A JOB, ASSHOLE!") do they even go out looking for love.
Lately I have been seeing some parallels between the bees around here and the humans around here.
Temp Agency #2, you see, is work that one can do from home. All you need is a computer, basic literacy, and the critical reasoning skills most people have down pat by about the fifth grade. A couple of y'all have asked why Hotter doesn't work from home to augment our income in the past, and I've replied that actual work-from-home jobs that aren't scams are pretty hard to find, and that his disability checks at least mean he doesn't COST me anything (plus he saves me having to find and pay for childcare so that I can work). When a friend of mine got me hired at Temp Agency #2, I was therefore very excited and asked her to get Hotter on board with them as well, which she did.
And then for three months there was the sound of crickets.
Well, if crickets sounded like "hey, how come you haven't started doing work for Temp Agency #2?" and "Eh, it doesn't look like much fun," and occasionally "well that is why they PAY you do it" and then dead silence.
Yesterday was payday at Temp Agency #2, and while my paycheck from them was my best yet (the promotion I recently got helps), when I crunched the numbers I was disheartened to find that we still aren't going to be able to pay all of the bills. So I brought it up with Hotter again. At first he tried to ignore me, and then he snapped that he tries to save us money by encouraging me and the children to close the storm door and turn lights off more diligently but nooooo we just act like electricity grows on trees, so clearly nobody WANTS his help and flounced off. I ordered some things we needed online while he was off flouncing, and went back to working on some things for Temp Agency #2.
When Hotter was done flouncing, he asked if I was going to the grocery store today, because he had run out of an over-the-counter medication that he takes daily to alleviate some symptoms that are most likely a side effect of one of his transplant meds (we've discussed it with Transplant and with the Relevant Specialist, and reached a dead end in that the only thing besides taking the OTC remedy that is likely to help with the symptoms would be a change in transplant meds, and nobody wants to mess with those). I asked if he could make do until the package from drugstore.com, where I'd just ordered more of that in addition to some other household goods, arrived, and he got snappish with me. So I dropped it. I mean, I do without things that are prescribed by a doctor for issues no OTC medication will help with ALL THE TIME because of money, but Hotter doesn't see his doing the same as a valid option and I don't like to fight with him or be seen as miserly and cruel, so I dropped it.
Cut to this morning. Lefty recently got out of jail, and is attempting to go to a vocational training school of sorts, for which he needs to take out a student loan, and because he is still under twenty-one he needs a copy of at least one parent's most recent tax return to do it. Hotter's ex-wife's new husband makes a good enough living that it would disqualify Lefty from receiving the loan, so Lefty needs a copy of OUR tax return. Hotter had asked me if we could overnight that to Lefty, and I had replied that while I wanted to help Lefty out with this, we just don't have the money to be overnighting things so regular first class mail was the best solution I could offer. As I was drinking my coffee and following up on a few things for Temp Agency #2 online, Hotter came bouncing up and cheerfully informed me that he'd decided to make some temporary lifestyle changes that would allow him to do without the OTC remedy we'd discussed last night, "so instead I'd like you to overnight our tax return to Lefty with that money."
First of all, overnighting something costs about ten times what a small packet of the OTC medication in question does, so he was comparing apples and oranges (or clementines and pummeloes, maybe). Second of all, we don't really have the money for EITHER of those things. Giving up one doesn't make us magically able to afford the other. Third of all, and I want to make it very clear to y'all (as I did to Hotter) that while I am NOT criticizing Hotter's desire to help his son AT ALL, why was it unreasonable of me to suggest Hotter go without the OTC meds for a day or two while the new bottle shipped in order to help us save money and keep the household afloat, but a good and happy idea for him to go without them to help Lefty out? Again, I am NOT criticizing Hotter's willingness to subject himself to inconvenience and/or minor discomfort in order to help his son. But yeah, that made me really angry.
When reflecting on it for a few moments didn't help me feel any better about the situation, I decided that Hotter and I needed to have a talk. I asked him why he felt like it was okay for me to have two or even three jobs to help our family get by, but not for him to take on some work from Temp Agency #2. He said he never asked me to get a second or third job. I said no, it's just what I do if that is what it takes because we need the money. He then pointed out that in looking over our taxes, I didn't earn that much more than he did last year. I...well. Not to sound like a bitch, because Hotter definitely worked hard to put money into The System and I do feel that he is entitled to his disability checks, which absolutely help us, and don't doubt that he'd rather be healthy and able to work in his career field, but...it is not the same thing. Passively collecting a check each month and playing online RPGs all night when the kids are in bed is not the same as busting your ass and giving up sleep, spare time, and all forms of recreation to bring in a paycheck. If I earned enough that my paychecks combined with his disability checks would pay the bills, I wouldn't ask him to lift a finger, but that doesn't cover everything, so why is it all on ME to make up the difference? He said I willingly volunteered to work for Temp Agency #2, whereas I had my friend get him hired there without even asking him. I said yes, I willingly volunteered BECAUSE WE NEED THE MONEY, and while I had been guilty of ASSUMING he would be willing and eager to do the same, why wasn't he? He then pointed out that he trained as a chef. I in turn pointed out that I trained to write bestsellers, but since I don't appear to have a bestseller in me am willing to do other things to help our family and again, why wasn't he? He said "yeah, or you just aren't willing to try!" Which sure, okay, kick me in the nuts for suffering from writer's block when it comes to fiction and imply that if I'd just get over myself we'd be rich. That's SUPER-HELPFUL and not at all mean or hurtful!
I'll spare you a blow-by-blow of the rest of the conversation, but the end result is that Hotter very resentfully said he'd start doing some work for Temp Agency #2, I bought the OTC medication anyway because it was on sale for much cheaper than it usually is and that couple of dollars isn't going to make that much of a difference (we're not going to be able to pay both the rent and the electric bill either way), and I am left feeling like a worker bee who is having to take a break from toiling to bring in pollen and nectar and chew some lazy asshole drone out of his pupation cell.
I wasn't originally going to write about this. Not because Hotter forbade me, but because there are those on the innernet who like to gloat over my poor lifechoices and will no doubt have a field day with this. They can go ahead and do that, I guess. Maybe I have it coming. I never realized that if an opportunity to help us out financially came along and it wasn't something that sounded like fun to him, Hotter would be the kind of person who would see digging his heels in and refusing to do it as an option. I'm pretty bummed about that. And kind of doubtful that he'll actually follow through without resenting the hell out of me over it, although I'd love to be surprised. But this is where I come to write about what's in my heart and my head, and I am really struggling with this. When I pointed out to Hotter this morning that I couldn't even blog about this because I didn't want to open him (and myself) up to public criticism, he looked me in the eye and told me he did not give a SHIT about public opinion and I could write about it if I wanted to. He also pointed out that "you're always telling the blog and Twitter that you're the breadwinner!" His tone kind of implied that that was a negative and deliberately insulting thing for me to say, or maybe that I was stretching the truth there, I guess because of his disability checks. Maybe it's a blow to his manhood? I don't know. But since he claims not to care whether I write about this or not, that is what is making me sad today: I didn't realize I had married a drone.
* With apologies to Sue Monk Kidd, who wrote an excellent book by that title.**
** Lest Stalky dampen her desk chair in excitement over my having DONE SOMETHING ILLEGALZ, you cannot copyright a title. I gave attribution not out of fear of THE LAW but because I feel like it's the right thing to do. It's a great title.