Friendship and Borrowed Husbands

Let me preface this post by admitting: as far as friends go, I've been in a high-need pattern lately. For like the past 2 years. I don't blame any of my friends for walking away, for becoming sick and tired of helping me put out fires big and small. I don't know if I would last with a friend like me. Thankfully none of my friends has been in deep shit like mine in recent years, so I haven't been tested.

I'd like to think that I would make it, though.

I try and do what I can for people. My resources are limited, my desire to help and give aren't. Sometimes the best thing a friend can do is just be there for you. Just to listen. Make you laugh, pull you aside and whisper "Your crazy is showing" once in a while.

God knows I've leaned pretty hard on my friends as of late. I've lost one friendship thus far, and I'm starting to feel the edges curl up on another one. The first one hurt, hurt bad. Like divorce bad. I still feel my chest seize up when I see her, and my eyes must look like they do when I am forced to see Big Daddy: hurt, angry..sad. Things are awkward socially. Due to the fact that we have kids who are the same age, and said kids still hang out with one another, our paths cross quite often. Sometimes we will say quiet and terse hellos. Sometimes we both quite literally look the other way. Other times, when I'm pms-ing and feeling that old familiar "reach out and hurt someone" feeling, I'll just look right at her, as if I'm saying, "See? I'm still here! I didn't fall completely apart without you!". Told you; the similarities between this now-defunct friendship and my marriage are almost eerie.

I love deep. If you're my friend, I love you. That's it, that's the bottom line.

The anger and the distrust and the dislike are handed out very sparingly. I don't like to have those feelings stored up inside of me. I much prefer the light.

I don't have time for games anymore. I believe that if we're friends, we're friends. And it takes a lot to break that belief.

This past week I've again had some stuff happen that once again found me asking for help. And again, my friends answered. I know, you're probably saying, "How weird, Jenny has had some sort of crisis....that's odd." But yes, once again the fates looked down at me, pointed a gun at my feet, told me to DANCE and started shooting.

I danced my ass off.

We had a blizzard here. My truck, which is the absolute bane of my existence 11 1/2 months out of the year, was actually my buddy over the weekend. My driveway is huge, and it's a horseshoe shape. My sweet landlord has a plow guy come through and clear it out for me whenever it snows. The only downside to this is the fact that my truck doesn't fit in my garage. It has never fit in any garage. In ten years.

So I'm a park-outside kind of gal. And when Blizzard '10 struck, my vehicle was parked where it always is: front and center, right at the midsection of the horseshoe.

Plow guy came once, during the first wave of the storm, and plowed the best he could on either side of the horseshoe. It left some piles on either side of my truck, but they were small. Passable.

After the next wave, the wave in which we were socked with 15 or so inches of snow, plow guy came and did the same thing. Which left drifts that weren't so passable on either side of my truck (front and back). In hindsight I now think it would be a great idea for plow guy to have my phone number and for him to give me a jingle a few minutes before he gets to my driveway. Time for me to barrel out and give him full clearance.

But that's hindsight. Let's hope we don't need to put that plan into action again this winter.

So anyhoo. Long boring story just slightly shorter and possibly a bit less boring: I got snowed in. Big ass truck and all. I spent a few blessed hours shoveling (and here, I'll admit it: I LOVE SHOVELING. It's right up there with doing laundry. What's wrong with me?) and got what I thought was a pretty clear path between my truck and freedom.

She got out just fine. We made it to the grocery store, bought all the fixings for a huge pot of chili, and started on our way home (and yes, I am referring to my truck as "she" and us as "we". I need to start dating again).

Made it halfway up the driveway and started around the bend of the horseshoe....BAM. Slid into a rather impressive snowbank. I tried. I tried really hard to get out of it, did the revving of the engine, the rocking, put it into 4WD. All of that. Finally I said, "Fuck it", grabbed my bags of groceries and headed inside. Made the best pot of chili I've made in a good long while and every so often I'd gaze out the front window just to make sure that my truck was still stuck out there.

I didn't panic. I figured I'd let it settle, and then go out to coax my big bad truck onto terra firma. Like letting tempers cool before beginning mediation, I wanted my truck and I to have some alone time before getting back at it.

So I tried again. And I'm pretty sure I just made matters worse. The ocd part of my brain kicked in at this point and the nagging thoughts flew around my head, jibbering and jabbering like crows..."You're going to burn out the engine!" "You're just getting yourself in deeper!" "You're going to use up all of your gas!". And so on.

I called my awesome Catholic Old-School neighbors. The man of the house said he'd be happy to help, only the woman of the house was gone somewhere with their big truck. "It's not life or death" I told him. "Whenever is fine. Thank you!".

She didn't get home until really late. By this time the temperature was dropping to zero. "Tomorrow, after work" they said.

And then I got a call from a co-worker. Asking me to sub the next morning. Shit. Of course I said yes. I figured that I could walk to school, it's less than a mile.

The next morning it was about 5 degrees below zero. I caved, and put out a little plea for help on facebook.

BOOM. Offers popped up. I was verklempt. Got a ride to school from a fabulous friend, got offers from other fabulous friends. What a reminder of how truly lucky and blessed I am.

But it doesn't end there. (Sorry).

Another kick ass friend waited around for me and gave me a ride home from school. AND she offered up her husband, his truck, some chains and a snowblower to help me out. When she and I pulled up to my house, another friend and another husband were there, waiting for us.

This friend and this borrowed husband were there to drop off a t.v. (a hand me down t.v., bigger than the one we have now. Televisions are like men..sometimes just a few inches make all the difference in the world). Borrowed Husband jumped out and immediately began helping me with my stuck truck. And right as the other Borrowed Husband pulled into the driveway, the first Borrowed Husband got it out. I ran out, hugged him, thanked him, etc. I cried a little.

The tears were for sure gratitude-based, but there was a bit of shame mixed in there. Shame that I have to ask for help like this. Shame because out of almost all of my friends, I'm the only one who doesn't have a partner in this messy life. But I got over it. There was hockey to get to!

William and I were halfway to hockey when the engine started making an awful sound. At first I thought there were police behind us, sirens wailing, but quickly realized the sound was coming from under the hood. And I couldn't accelerate. We got up to about 45 mph and it felt like the whole truck was going to explode. I pulled off the highway and made it to a parking lot, and then, because it just seemed like the thing to do, I got out of the truck to look at the wheels.

Like that helps. But that's what a man would have done, right? Fiddled with the wheels? Borrowed Husband #1 had mentioned that there was a dial-thingy on my hubcaps that had to be messed with in order to get the four wheel drive engaged. So I tinkered with them a bit, wept into my big furry mittens a bit, and then gave up. William and I drove slowly home, taking the back roads, making sure not to go too fast.

This is when the angst set in, fast and furious. In my oh-so-vivid imagination, I pictured my poor truck being inspected by some random mechanic guy. I imagined Mechanic guy waddling over to where I sat and telling me, "It's not good." I tried to think of how I'd handle this new crisis...where I'd get the money to fix my broken car. What about work? Manchild's new job? Hockey? Church?? Oh the dark thoughts, they were flocking.

I called Borrowed Husband #1 and asked if I had done something wrong with the wheels. "Bring it over" he said, "Let me take a look at it."

Ok so long story even longer: Borrowed Husband #1 fixed it. It took him about an hour of his precious evening time, an hour he could have been spending with his kids and his wife. An hour that I'm sure he didn't think he'd sacrifice trying to help my broke ass with my behemoth truck. But he did it. Came into the house and said, "Good as new!"

"And honey, you need an oil change."

This time I cried for real. The dark thoughts went away as quickly as they had come. Once again I had some money for Christmas, rides to school and work, my independence. All thanks to a Borrowed Husband. He returned my bordering-on-creepy-hug and told me to never hesitate to call for help.

Once again I am humbled. Once again I am grateful.

Grateful for Borrowed Husbands, for rides to work, for helping hands that somehow are always extended.

Grateful for friendships, old and new. Even the ones that are broken.


  1. Ah Sweetie.(((hugs))) During times of trouble you do often find out who are your true friends and who are only there for the good times. I "loan" out my hubs quite a lot. lol

  2. Aw...what a great post! I have to agree with Gigi, you can always tell who your real friends are when you're in times of need. Glad you have some extra Christmas money in your wallet :)

  3. (((Jenny))) It will all be okay, I PROMISE!!! I have been to the land of borrowed husbands, and yes it sucks to have to be so vulnerable and feel like you're the only person ever needing help, but the humbling is merely a stepping stone to bigger and better things that God has waiting for you; you must go through these steps to truly appreciate the fantastic person he will someday send you, and I believe this with all my heart!

  4. That's the spirit of Christmas.


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