Monday, August 29, 2011

Just a Clown in His Circus

Happy Monday everyone! I was going to blog about my current humorous situation, but I feel that I need to give a little background information before we get started...

We were divorced in Feb. 2008.

I was finishing chemo & radiation, had just been hospitalized for alcoholism, and did not have a job. Without that breakdown, I don’t know if I would’ve had the courage to leave the situation I was in.

** Side note… I am not an alcoholic. There were a lot of bad things happening in my life at the time, and I was not dealing very well with all of it. I was hiding. This was my (wrong) way of dealing, and basically it led to the breakdown. Now that I am away from that situation, I don’t have any problem with having a beer now and then, or a glass of wine.

But, I finally left in October 2007, rented a room in a house for $500/month, and got a full time job. The full time job barely allowed me enough money to cover my rent, car payment, insurance, and food. Because of that, I did not have money for a lawyer. I spoke to several, who would not give me the time of day, because I had no money. So, needless to say, my ex and his lawyer steamrolled me and he got everything, including the house, furniture, and children. Also, they said that I have to pay him $500/month in child support.

Wait a minute... shouldn't he be paying me alimony? We were married for 10 years, and I should be getting money from him for the fact that I couldn't hold down a decent career. I got out of the Navy for our family, we moved all over the world, so a career was out of the question, and it wasn’t him taking care of our children! But no, none of that was even considered. Nor was the fact that there was no way in hell that I could afford $500/month to him, plus support myself. I even worked two jobs... to no avail.

So, there were some months that I wasn't able to give him all of it. There were even a few months that I wasn't able to give him any money at all. BUT, I did take out several cash advances (HUGE interest rate) on my credit cards and paid him that way. I gave that man every spare dime that I had. Even after Chuck and I moved in together, thinking it would help my situation, we still couldn’t make it together. Finally, at the verge of being evicted, we moved to GA to live with Chuck's sister, because we could no longer support ourselves while paying my ex husband. I had to stop seeing my children on a regular basis in order to be able to pay him. So, that's what I did.

Then, in August 2009, the ex called the State of Florida and told them that I had NEVER paid him any child support at all! Completely untrue. The State of Florida never gave me the opportunity to defend myself, or show where I had been paying him. When I called them, trying to fix the situation, they were ALWAYS very snotty with me and treated me like I was a criminal. I was even told by one person, "Ma'am, we don't work for you. We work for your ex husband because he is the custodial parent." In other words, nothing I said mattered because my kids didn't live at my house. That automatically made me into the bad person.

Never mind what my situation was when I left.
Never mind that I did what I thought would be best for my children.
Never mind that there is no way I could afford to pay that much money each month, no matter how much I did or didn't want to.
Never mind that I live off of graham crackers and peanut butter while he uses the money I send to pay for his house payment, his wedding, two Harley Davidson’s and an RV.
Never mind that our older daughter has been living with me for over a year now, and I am still paying him child support for her.
Never mind that in August 2010, I had filed all the paperwork required to stop Ashleigh’s child support, have the amount for Carley adjusted, and show where I had paid him support during the time he claims that I didn’t, and it still isn’t fixed.
Never mind that they take $600/month out of my Gas Incorporated check every month.

And now, I got a second job, in order to improve my own situation, until the lawyer can get this straightened out, and what happens? The State of Florida actually took money out of that check, too! Seriously? My paycheck should have been over $200, and it was $93. I was livid. I called them, and the (snotty) woman tells me that any time I am hired somewhere, it throws up a flag on my case, and they start taking money out of that check because they assume I switched jobs.

Did anyone bother to ask me if I changed jobs? NO.
Did anyone bother to contact Gas Inc. to see if I was still employed there? NO.
They just assume that I quit a perfectly good full time job to take up with a part time job that barely pays minimum wage. Why would I do that?
You know what they say about people that “assume,” don’t you? I believe the same can be applied to the State of Florida.

So, she says that she will send a message to Michael’s and let them know to stop taking child support out of my paychecks. Well, thank you very much.

Anyways, so I tell her that the money from Gas Inc. went to paying my lawyer and other bills, and I was going to have to live off of my Michael’s paycheck for the next two weeks. That was sort-of the point of getting a second job. Since they took most of that, I only have $93 to live off of. So, when can I expect to receive a check back from the state? She tells me that it will go into an account, and at the end of the month, they review how much money I have paid, and then decide whether to send it to me or my ex husband.

Well, my ex husband falsely claims that I owe him thousands of dollars, and still has me paying for a child that is nearly 20 years old and has been living with me for over a year. Who do you think they’re going to send it to? But go ahead. Send it to him. He clearly needs it worse than I do. Without that money, how on earth will he ever put gas in his motorcycle? My butt was getting big anyways. I should just stop eating. Taking away my money will help me do just that. Thank you very much.

So. $93 to last me two weeks. Super. But, I can do this. I always find a way. I have Chuck to help support me. I am a resourceful woman. If my life has taught me anything, it is how to fend for myself when I have to. I figure out everything I can cut out of my life, and decide that I will just use it for gas and hope that Monica doesn’t get too mad at me for eating all of her food.

THEN, I get up on Sunday morning to go to work at Michael’s. I am not even joking… the battery on my jeep is completely and utterly dead.


So, Chuck uses Monica’s van to jump it and we go over to Auto Zone and they test it. Yup, sure enough… Dead as a doornail. Time to buy a new one. That’s going to be $97, thank you very much.

Did you just do that math in your head? Let me help you. I received $93 paycheck and pay out $97 for a battery. Damn. At this point, it’s just funny. It’s a joke. My life is a running joke. Everyone is always asking about the meaning of life. Well, I don’t know about yours, but the meaning of MY life is to make God laugh.

Here I am.
Just a clown in his circus.
The really funny part is that my weekend isn’t over yet.

So, we get the battery replaced, I take Chuck home, and head into work. I drive the 45 minutes to get there, and I’m in the break room, about to clock in, and I decide to look at the schedule to see who else I’ll be working with… Hold the phone… I’m not on today’s schedule. Really? I know for a FACT that I was scheduled to work on Sunday… for TWO reasons.

1.      I always work on both Saturday and Sunday.
2.      I looked my schedule up on the internet (the Michael’s HR website) and it had me scheduled.

So, how mad am I that I just spent $25 in gas (when I'm SO broke) to drive to work when they could’ve just TOLD me that they took me off for that day? Worse yet, I just worked on Saturday, but they couldn’t have told me then? Not one person told me that I’d been removed from the schedule. In fact, if I had not looked at the schedule before clocking in, I would’ve just clocked in! And then, I would have been given a point for clocking in when I wasn’t on the schedule. You can only earn 6 points in 6 months before being fired.

Yeah, I was mad. But honestly, I can only stay mad for so long before I start laughing. It’s not one of those laughs like someone told you a funny joke. It’s one of those maniacal laughs. Like I’ve just lost my mind and it’s the most hilarious thing in the world. I’m laughing so hard that I’m crying, which is good because if I wasn’t crying from laughing, I’d be crying from my life. I’m not kidding. I couldn't make this stuff up if I'd tried.

Very funny, God. Very funny.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ton of Bricks

I just got hit by that proverbial ton of bricks. I don't even know how to put this into words, so I'm going to just start typing, trying to organize my thoughts the best that I can. I apologize in advance for any rambling, because I'm sure I will.

How can someone seemingly just drop off the face of the earth, and then, three months later, just pick up the phone and call you like nothing ever happened?

As some of you may know, a guy that I worked with tried to kill himself a few months ago. I work in a small office, with only 4-7 people employed here at any given time. In a small place like this, you get to know each other really well. Although we never hung out away from work, I still thought of him as a friend. I talked to him every single day about whatever it is that was happening in our lives. He made me mad sometimes. I'm sure I made him mad sometimes, too. In the end, though, he was still my friend.

We all knew that he had family problems, but out of respect, we didn't ask any questions. We only knew whatever information that he volunteered to us. Because of his family problems, some days he would be quieter than usual and other days were good days, where he would be chatty, and joke around about stuff. He had normal moods just like the rest of us.

On "the day that it happened," he was quiet. Unfortunately, none of us really paid much attention, because as I said, he had days like that. The next day, I came into work, and found out about the whole thing.

I was shocked. I never expected him to do something like this. I was sad that he felt that suicide was his only option. I was afraid that although he survived the attempt itself, the resulting medical issues may get him in the end. I had a lot of conflicting feelings about the whole situation; feelings that I've had months to consider, talk about, analyze, and come to terms with. In the end (or what I thought was the end), I was sad that he felt this was his only option. I was relieved that he survived. I was hopeful that he would get help.

Something else that I had to deal with, were the unanswered questions. You go from seeing someone nearly daily for two years, thinking you know them, to never seeing them again. They disappeared with no explanation, no good bye. When someone dies, you have a funeral. The funeral is not for the person that died. That person is dead. What do they care? The funeral is for the family and friends that survived. It provides them with closure. It gives an opportunity to gather with other people that cared about the deceased, and talk about their effect in their lives. It brings peace of mind.

In this case, there was no peace of mind. I wanted to go and see him in the hospital, but because of his wife, I didn't do that. I wanted to be able to pick up the phone and just let him know that we care about what happens to him. I wasn't able to do that because his wife had his phone.

To make matters worse, his wife created all kinds of problems here, almost causing our boss to lose his job over something that he had nothing to do with. Our boss had no control over whether this person tried to kill himself or not. He had no control over how this person's wife acted. Yet, because of the situation, it looked bad on him, and for a few weeks there, we thought every day was going to be his last day. We were all trying to figure out "back up plans" just in case something, somewhere, that was said sometime, was taken out of context and we lost our job because of it.

So, here I am, three months later and I only think about the whole situation once every couple of days now. His name comes up sometimes, when customers ask about having something done, "Can _______ come out and check my tank?" I have to explain that he no longer works here. Or a customer will call with the same first name as him. I immediately think of him, every time I hear that first name. Little things make me think of him, and I'm caught off guard. I've gotten a lot better, though. Well enough that I wasn't aware that I was even seriously bothered by it. I'd heard he'd survived. I'd heard that he was getting help. I never expected to see or hear from him again.

Then he called.

[Phone rings]
Me: Gas Incorporated, this is Brenda.
Him: Hey, Brenda {my heart started pounding before I realized whose voice it was}, this is ___________. Is Doug around?
Me. No, he's out setting a tank right now. How are you? {feeling sick to my stomach, heart pounding, hands shaking}
Him: I'm doing a lot better. I've been in Florida for the past 45 days, getting help. I'm going through with the divorce. I'm finally getting things straightened out in my life.

I won't bother with the rest of the conversation. The point is that I don't even know what to do with that snippet of conversation, emotionally. I'm freaked out. I want to cry from relief. I want to yell at him for doing this to everyone that cares about him. I want to hug him to know that he has finally gotten the help he needs. I can't even begin the whole range of emotions. I'm in shock.

But it gets worse. He's coming here. He wanted to have lunch with my boss, just to talk, but the corporate office put a block on that. I was told that it was better that they don't see each other. So, here I am, left with some paperwork and a message for him.

I want to see him, to confirm in my own mind, that he is still alive.
I want to see him smile again.
I want to see my old friend and know in person that he will be ok.
The other part of me wants to lock the office door and leave for lunch, and pretend like we'd never even spoken.
I don't want to be the one to tell him that my boss came back, gave me the papers and message, and left again.
I don't know if I can face him. I'm not sure I have the strength to deal with this... not today, not ever.
I thought I wanted to just see him one more time, but now that I'm getting that opportunity, I want to run away screaming.
It's like being haunted.
I feel like he's a ghost.
It's not real.
How do I wrap my mind around that in the next 25 minutes in order to keep myself together when he's here?

I don't know.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Karmic Time Out

Sometimes, I can be very impatient. Sometimes, I can be very selfish. Sometimes, I get annoyed about little things, but in my mind, they are so much bigger. Then, later on, I think, "What was the big deal?"

This morning, Chuck forgot something at the house, and since I would be driving close to where he now works, he sent me a text, asking me to drop it off for him.

The problem was, I didn't get the text until after I'd left, so I had to turn around and get the item. That put me about 5 minutes behind.
Then, I had to swing by his work to drop it off, putting me another 5 minutes behind.
Then, because I was now running 10 minutes behind schedule, I passed the elementary school when all the kids were arriving, putting me another 10 minutes behind.
On top of it, I wound up behind a semi, and a motorcycle tailgating me (wtf? Who tailgates on a motorcycle?) for most of the drive to work.

But, I still wound up arriving 10 minutes before 8am, so I still wasn't late.

Still, the whole thing just threw my morning off, and irritated me to no end. Why? Really, what was the big deal? So I had to drive out of my way a little bit. He wasn't asking for anything major.

It wasn't his fault that I was annoyed.
It was me.
I need to get over myself!

I do try to be compassionate and caring, but I know that because I'm not a morning person (at all!!), my patience is so much thinner.

I have a morning routine;
     daily habits,
          coffee-time ritual.

Am I really that "old and set in my ways?" Geez, Brenda, get a grip!

Why is it so easy to become annoyed and impatient with the people that we care about the most? If Chuck's sister had asked me to run and do something for her really quick, first thing in the morning, I would have done it willingly. But, the person that is my "other half" is the one that receives the negative energy.

All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't say anything snotty to him this morning when I dropped off the item (that would've required an apology later on today), and that I had the whole rest of the drive to work to consider my own reactions. Perhaps that is why God put the semi in front of me. He needed me to slow down and consider what a difficult person I had just been.

It seems that I was put into a Karmic "Time Out" and I would say that I'd earned it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Embrace the Chaos

When Ashleigh was younger, we lived on the US Navy base in Rota, Spain. Our house was about 3-4 doors down from the school, so her friends practically lived at our house. There was an endless stream of pre-teens eating our food like locusts, watching our television, playing with Carley, and all hugging me and calling me their "other" mom... I loved it! Ashleigh had wonderful friends; all very polite, funny, and respectful. None of them minded when little Carley wanted to follow them around once in a while, even though she was only 3 years old. I loved that I knew where my daughter was, and I loved that all of her friends felt comfortable in our home.

Since then, circumstances being what they are, our house has been very quiet. We no longer live on a military base, next to the school. Ashleigh has gotten older and drives to see her friends instead. Our family has delt with cancer, divorce, and various other stresses in life. We seem to have lost the wonderful chaos of having children constantly streaming through our lives... Until this weekend.

Chuck's sister has a pre-teen that is the same age that Ashleigh was, when we lived in Spain. Now her friends are often around. Her younger brother also has friends over on a regular basis. The children attend dance and gymnastic classes, boy scouts, and various other activities. They are always on-the-go. Their mom worries because she would like to go back to school, and get a job outside of the home, but I say BRAVO to her! She is doing an amazing job raising these children to become some of the happiest kids that I have ever seen.

Now, since I haven't had this wonderful chaos in my life in about 7 or 8 years, I have gotten into my own routine. I am accustomed to quiet, peaceful evenings. I am used to being able to watch a tv show without looking around someone to see it. I have gotten older, and developed my own habits. SO, I have a choice to make, living in this new place:

I can be annoyed with the constant stream of noise, confusion and chaos (which would only make ME unhappy, because it isn't going to stop)
I can embrace the chaos, and sit back and watch all of these noisy kids develop their personalities right in front of my eyes!

Just as I've seen these two children grow taller, and have their personalities develop more and more over the past 3 years since I've known them, I look forward to seeing them grow even more, developing into young adults. They are both smart, funny, and energetic kids, just bursting with excitement for life. How could I ruin that by asking them to "keep it down" in their own home? I think that if I need peace and quiet in my life, I will put on my running shoes, grab the dog, and go for a walk. Meanwhile, I fully plan to Embrace the Chaos that is becoming my life.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Finding Her Chi

So, someone posted this on my social networking site, and I just had to share!

i tend to find my "chi" when i'm cooking and the bigger and more hectic the meal the better. . .lol. . .so, i love the holidays. . .and with just me and Makayla i haven't been doing a ton of it because i can't seem to cook little. . .but . . .i made breakfast after i read this and i have a wok that i always use for my fried eggs, because they come out perfect. . .and when i made hers i went to flip them and they broke apart into a perfect yin~yang. . .i thought of you and i actually laughed out loud because all i could think was. . ."hey. . thats what she's talkin' about. . .there's mine!!". . hah

Thank you, my friend, for sharing this! It made my day. :o)

Finding Peace

Well my pillow and dog are in Gainesville right now, so I guess we're moved. What a relief to have that out of the way!

Chuck survived his minor panic attack, seemingly unscathed, thankfully.

My drive to work only took about 35 minutes this morning, instead of the 45 minutes that I thought it would take. Plus, it was a pretty peaceful drive. I didn't mind it at all. (I just wish the price of gas wasn't so bad.)

When I was younger, I used to love taking road trips by myself. I loved the driving part, because that is when I did my best thinking. It's as though I can reach my "Chi" during that time.

Without access to my jeep for my daily commute to work, I haven't had much opportunity to think  peacefully for a long time (carpooling generally requires conversation).

I don't know if I'm explaining it very well. Everyone has different needs, and I am the type of person that really needs about 30 minutes of peace and quiet... time to think... every day. I haven't had that in a very, very long time. I get up in the morning, and get a ride with someone to work. I get to work and am surrounded by people. I get a ride home with someone. I get home and I am surrounded by different people.

Don't get me wrong, these are all people that I enjoy having in my life... but I just need a few minutes to gather my thoughts and be with just ME. I have days where I just want to scream, "JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!" I can't be the only person that feels like that.

Anyways, I guess I should just get to my point. Today, I finally re-discovered what I had really missed in my life. I was in a vehicle, by myself, drinking coffee, just enjoying my thoughts. I have my Chi back. I already feel better. Isn't it strange that something so simple can make so much difference in a person's life. I don't feel like all of my problems are solved, but I do feel like I can handle them a little better now.'i - the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things; in traditional Chinese medicine the balance of negative and positive forms in the body is believed to be essential for good health

So, today, I hope that everyone takes a minute to find out what their Chi is. We tend to get lost in the bustle and confusion of life and don't take the time to find our own center. What is it that brings peace into your life?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Title

Well, I can't think of a name for today's blog... so I'll just skip it.

So, all week, we have been packing and moving stuff into storage. We have a plan:
  • Finish packing the house & putting things into storage on Monday & Tuesday.
  • Each night, after the storage place locks the gate, we fill the truck with Goodwill stuff for Chuck to drop off the next day after work.
  • Wednesday, we moved the stuff we're not putting into storage to Monica's & clean up the house.
  • Thursday, I have to work @ Michael's, so we have to be moved out by then.
THEN, I got to the office on Tuesday, looked at my calendar and realized that I work at Michael's on Tuesday, not Thursday! Crap! So, it sort of threw a wrench in the plans.... But I didn't think it was that big of a deal...

I got home from Michael's around 10pm last night, the kitchen has all empty cupboards and everything is on the counters... Not in boxes or anything; just on top of the counters. I have no idea why he did that... but whatever... lol.

Poor Chuck has finally hit panic mode. He kept talking about how there was no way we were going to have everything out by Thursday... He wants to take Thursday off work... he's begun pacing...

I'm the opposite... I am trying to help get everything moved, but if we have to move a little on Friday, what exactly is the landlord gonna do? Kick us out? Um... how will that work, exactly?

"Throttle back, big guy. It will allllll be ooookkkk.... Just roll with it."

Which is funny, because I'm usually the panicky one and he's the one telling me to chill. "There's no sense in stressing over it. That won't change things, Brenda." (That was my Chuck imitation) Haha!

Anyhoo... we're just trucking along... I'm doing pretty well with this whole one-day-at-a-time thing right now. I contradict myself, though. I'm supposed to be following a one-year plan, but also living one day at a time. What the heck? I have a goal for a year from now, but I have already figured out that it will be really hard to keep this up for a year. I don't want to invade another family's home for that long, even though it would make us SO MUCH BETTER OFF financially! So, I've put on my blinders, put my head down, and am pushing forward. I will go to my jobs, start exercising again, and pay as many bills as possible. The rest is just minor stuff.

I do believe, this weekend, Chuck and I have earned ourselves a few beers. Time to relax a little!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Three Days Left

Well, we're slowly getting everything packed and moved out. We got rid of a lot of stuff when we had the yard sale, and now we're just separating things into three categories: Storage Unit, Monica's (with us) and Goodwill.

Our current plan of action is to stay with Chuck's family for a few months until a few things are straightened out:

First, we will have the child support hearing and hopefully get all of that mess fixed.
Second, we expect to have the Bank of America loan settled by September 23rd.
Then, after those things, we are planning to just pile money onto the other bills that we have.

Chuck wants to keep this up for a whole year, but I am against taking advantage of his sister and brother-in-law's hospitality for that long. My original plane was to camp out for a lot of the time, so we're not taking up space in someone's home. But, things do get changed. My other problem is that I have a jeep that gets about 15 miles per gallon, and I drive an hour to work when we live out there! I might as well be paying rent somewhere, because I'm looking at $100+/week in gas alone!

But, my goal is to just make it to my birthday. I would like us to at least start looking for a place by the beginning of October. I really would like to be rent-free for a year, but we don't have a really good place to stay for that long. As wonderful as Chuck's family is, their home really is not large enough for Chuck & I, plus Ashleigh, and my Dog... and Carley when she comes for visits.

But, again, I need to step into the one-day-at-a-time mode in order to get through this. At least we're getting things paid off so that by the time we do get a place again, hopefully it won't be so bad. Maybe we could actually afford to enjoy life again! :o)

So, otherwise, Ashleigh's friend is taking my cat. I'm very sad that she has to go. I feel guilty for getting rid of her, but hopefully, she will be happy in this new place. We shall see. If nothing else, maybe I can get her back after we have our own place again.

I guess that's about it for now. I have to work at Michael's on Thursday, so we're actually planning to be out of the house on Wednesday. We are packing up the computer, but I will still have my computer at work. I just won't be on here much at night, or on the weekends. Take care for now!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Ok, just a quick run-down...

We've started packing, and have to be out of the house in one week. I hate packing. I hate moving. I think people should just trade houses, and leave all their junk at the old place... Just saying. (Ok, maybe that's not a great idea, either...)

I've been working my tail off between my regular job and my 2nd job at Michael's. I don't really get a lot of hours, but when you're already working 40 hours/week, even 1-2 nights a week feels like a lot, when you're not used to it!

Otherwise, there isn't much going on. Chuck received a job offer today, that looks very, very promising. I'm so proud and excited for him!

Ok, that's really about it. I've been focusing on the whole moving thing. Still don't have a home for my cat. Gonna start calling vet's offices soon. We're getting a storage unit this weekend to start moving stuff into that, too.

Anyhoo, hope all's well with everyone right now. I'll update when I have more. :o)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Trying a Positive Outlook for Size

Good morning, fellow campers! Today is Friday, the sun is shining, the birds are singing... and I overslept and missed my ride to work.

WTF? I can't believe I did that. I'm never late for work! I guess it was my body's way of telling me that I just needed the rest. With all the stress in my life lately, working two jobs, and my dog keeping me awake due to thunderstorms the night before last, I guess it caught up to me. But, I feel like a new woman!

As I'm sure you've figured out, every day is a different mood with me. Living with me must be like a roller coaster ride. I get bogged down by stresses that are probably no big deal to other people, but I'm a Libra, and I over-analyze things to death. I can't control it. It's like OCD inside my head. Then, I try with every ounce of my being to get myself out of that dark hole, and be happy like everyone else. So, today is a good day. Don't get me wrong, my problems aren't all fixed. But I've been trying really hard to just pull myself up by the boot straps and "rub some dirt on it." I'm trying to follow the advice of others and see the positive side of things.

I can do this.

My very first post in this blog stated that I was scared to death, and I meant it. I'm afraid of not having my own place. I'm afraid of moving in with my boyfriend's family. I'm afraid of what it could do to our relationship. If it means the end of our relationship, I'm afraid of being single again. The feelings of rejection, lonliness... ugh! I don't even want to think about it!

But, I've got to do something. I need to suck up my fears and plow through head-first.

A couple of things have happened lately that have helped me lift my chin a little higher. It's funny how your friends can tell you day in and day out about the kind of person they think you are. All the positive encouragement in the world from your friends doesn't add up to one random remark made by a complete stranger:
I have a customer that I've talked to several times on the phone, and I've never really liked him. He's always just struck some kind of nerve with me. Well, he came into the office today, and I met him for the first time in person. The whole time we were talking, he was still hitting that nerve, so I couldn't wait for him to leave. As he was walking out the door, he turns to me and says, "Brenda, you are such a pleasure to communicate with. You have a headstrong attitude and know how to move forward and get things done. That says a lot for your character. Thank you for making this company so easy to work with." WOW! Didn't see that coming! Maybe he's not my least favorite person after all...
Then, last night, on the bulletin board at Michael's (as you walk into the store) my manager put a sign on it that said (in big letters), "Brenda's first day was super busy, but she totally rocked. We're happy to have you join our team!" That made me smile, because I am really enjoying working there!
Finally, last night, Chuck and I had a chance to talk a little bit about the things going on in our lives. Our problems aren't solved, but just being able to finally get him to talk with me made me feel so much better. We don't always communicate well, so I really appreciated that he just directed his attention to me, without the TV on, or playing on the computer, or cooking dinner, or anything else. We just laid in bed and talked. I needed that. Of course, the ending of the conversation went something like this:
ME: I'm sorry I can be such a pain in the ass sometimes.
HIM: And I'm sorry for all the names I call you in my head.
ME: You're smart for keeping them in your head.
HIM: Oh, I know!
I guess as long as we can still laugh together, then maybe things will be ok after all. I guess I'll just have to stick around to find out...  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Slight Hitch in the Plans

Ok, so there's been a recent development/hitch in the plans to move out.... It's about 5 ft tall, brown hair, blue eyes, 19 years old., female, and an overly-charming personality.

The plan was that when we moved out of our house on Aug. 18th, then Ash would move in with her friend until the end of this semester. She would finish the required classes at her current college, and then move to her preferred college (also close by) and live in the dorms. It was going to be an excellent way for her to get used to living on her own, but still have Mom close enough for whenever she needs me.

Well, it turns out that the friend that she was going to live with (and take my cat to) has some of her own issues, and we've agreed that Ashleigh living there wouldn't be the best idea. So, now I have no place for either my cat or my kid to go. Great. Now I have guilt. She moved up here after graduation to be near me, and now I'm bailing on her. WTF?

On top of that, our initial plan was to stay with Chuck's sister while the weather was still hot, and then camp out in the cooler months until it got cold out. Well, somehow, it turned into us just moving in to his sister's house (second time for me, and I have no idea how many times Chuck's lived with her) and staying there for a year to pay off these bills.

So I might just be a pig-headed, stubborn PITA, but I'm gonna come out with it...

I don't want to live with her family again. I love her. I love her family. I'd like to keep it that way. They are wonderful, generous, amazing people. That house is too small for us to live there, too. In addition, I now have Ashleigh to worry about, and they definately don't have room for her as well. I have already been given so much by them, and they have given so much to so many people in their family, that I don't want to continue taking from them. Besides that, Ashleigh and I would both have to drive an hour to work, plus an hour home from work... and me with a second job... and her with college...

So on the days that I work both jobs, I would be leaving the house at 6:30am and not get home until around 10:30pm.

This isn't going to work for me.

Plus, I have to get rid of my cat, and I can't find any takers. This is really starting to look like she's going to end up at the pound, which makes me very unhappy. None of this is her fault. She's sweet and lovable, but skittish. I don't think she'd handle new people - or the pound - very well.

All around, I'm unhappy right now.

But, Chuck wants to live there for a couple of reasons. Turns out that his car (that has been sitting in our driveway for a couple of months now) is broken way worse than origionally thought. So, if he is living with his sister, he can bum rides to work every day with his brother in law. Plus, the added benefit of being closer to his sister and his parents. Plus, when his car is running, he will only be about 20 minutes from where he works. So he is happy with the whole situation. He doesn't have any qualms at all about moving in with his sister (yet again).

So, am I just being difficult? I have so many more thoughts on this, but I am not trying to pick a fight or anything. I am a creative, resourceful person. I just have to figure out exactly what it is that I will do about this situation. I've got some thinking to do.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dark Cloud

I can feel it. I could feel it right after I dropped Carley off in Florida. It's a good thing Ashleigh made the trip back with me, or I would have cried for a large part of the ride back to Jasper. I've done that before. It's a dark cloud. I don't know how else to explain it, without it sounding all dramatic and dreary. It's sadness that I can't keep away. It happens every time I have to give Carley back. Even now, I just want to burst into tears.

I know in my heart that my divorce was the correct thing to do. That was never a question. I could not stay married in that enviroment. Honestly, if Tim were truthful to himself, he would agree. We were like cancer to eachother. It was unhealthy for me, for him, and for the girls. So, divorce was the right thing to do.

Ever since then, however, I can't seem to get my life back on track. I fight depression constantly. I play mind games with guilt and remorse. I missed both my girls, and now that Ash is here with me, I'm happy, but that's only one of them. I feel sad because I didn't take them with me in the first place, even though I know for a fact that I wasn't able to at that time. I didn't know where I was going to go. How could I take them? To live in my jeep? Tear them away from the home and friends and schools that they knew so they could live with me... Who-knows-where?? So, I do think that it was the correct decision at the time. I love my girls so much that I try to overlook what I want (I want THEM!!) in order to give them what I feel is best. I feel that a stable living environment is the best thing for them. So, they stayed with their Dad.

Oh, I know what people say. I know what people that used to be my friends say. I know what people in my own family say. They weren't there, though. Moneyless, homeless, jobless. So why did I leave? Without getting into a bashing party, let's just say that it was an unfit environment to be in while trying to fight cancer. Undergoing chemo and radiation therapies and also fighting in this marriage did not go well. So, I had to leave.

I've had so many people judge me as soon as they hear that I left my children. They think I'm a bad mother. They think I have no maternal instinct. They think I'm selfish. They think I must have some sort of horrible drug addiction. They think so many things. People that claim to be my friends will talk about other women that do not have custody of their kids. They say negative things about these women, and then when I point out my own situation, they are quick to say that I am different from that other person. How can they judge? They only hear the Dad's side of that divorce, so they are quick to talk about that woman. So many people are saying similar things about me. They have no idea what I've been facing over the past three years. They only hear what Tim tells them (and he's angry, so I'm sure it's nothing nice).

OF COURSE I WANT MY CHILD LIVING WITH ME!! I'd be crazy not to! She is a piece of me. A piece of my soul. I am hollow without her in my life every single day. I constantly feel like I'm drowning. I am always wondering what she is doing "right now." I miss her so badly that it hurts. Some things really should just kill you.

But, when I see her again, I see how she's grown. How happy she is. The nice clothes she has. She tells me about the things that they do. Her friends and teachers at school. "Family vacations" that they've been on or have planned. She is so beautiful, smart, and well-adjusted. How can I step in at this time and try to take her out of that home? She has a Dad and Step-Mom all in one house. She is in a family. She is happy.

I know for a fact that my life is a random, messy spiral. It has been ever since my divorce. I try like hell to fix it, but it doesn't seem to be working. I live with someone, but I have no intentions of getting married again. I don't know if I'll ever be ready to trust someone like that again. I don't  know what is happening in my life from month to month. I don't know where I'll be living a month from now. I don't know when I'll ever be able to take a trip to visit family/friends again because of money issues.

I can't force that kind of life on my little girl, and I doubt she would want to live like that. I can't keep her in the nice clothes that she wears now. With me, it would be WalMart, Target, and Goodwill clothes, because that's what I wear. With me, it would be "trips" to free places like the lake, not Disney Cruises and flights to Texas. I look at my little girl and know that I want her to live with me so much, but I know that it would be very wrong of me to try to take her away from what she has in her life right now. It would be selfish of me.

If I have learned nothing else in my life, I have learned that I can't always have what I want, and sometimes I have to think of what is better for someone else.

So, unfortunately, I don't think I'll be fighting for custody of Carley. I will continue to try to see her as often as possible. I am working on fixing the whole child support issue that is going on because it's stupid. I am still paying child support for Ash, even though she graduated over a year ago and has been living with me ever since. Oh, and the fact that Tim made a claim that I had not been paying at all, when I was, so they started taking money directly out of my paycheck without any type of investigation. But I will not take Carley out of the happy home that she is in... Unless she gets old enough to decide and actually asks to live with me. Even then, I would make she is certain that it is what she wants, before fighting for her. I don't want her to move in with me and then regret it.

This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to decide to do (or not do). This was not a decision that I've taken lightly. I would appreciate it if people only leave positive comments. I can not deal with judgemental people right now. If you do not have anything nice to say to me, then please do not say anything at all. Thank you in advance for that consideration.