tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What a weird life it is.

So, you know... I've been thinking... And I'm pretty tired of the shitty hands life has been dealing for the past year or so.

This time last year, almost to the date, Dad started to get really sick. We were at Sharla's in Portland for Thanksgiving. He took a nap in the truck on the way down. When he woke up and got out of the truck, he was disoriented, he didn't know where he was. He called Mom (who had already gone into the house) to come get him. These were the first tell tale signs of alcoholic encephalopathy.
Not long thereafter, Dad did his first stint in EMMC. Liver and kidneys starting to fail, the encephalopathy got worse... Scared him sober. For a time, anyway. He was sober for Christmas, for the first time. And it was wonderful. But it didn't last.
Six months later, Dad was gone.

In the meantime, my marriage (which was still in it's infancy) was "on the rocks". My husband left in March. A month later, we began reconciliation. He came home, but things were still volatile.
Then Dad got sick.

For months, I watched him drink himself to death. I watched him slowly die.
And then when he passed, I couldn't get out of my own way. For two months.
I didn't know "how to grieve".
I wasn't the model wife, or the model parent. I couldn't even function, let alone fulfill those roles.

And by the time I "came out of it", my marriage had disintegrated. Without me even really knowing.
By the end of August, my husband had left, again.
Fast forward to the present... I've filed for divorce, yet I am still "seeing" my future ex-husband. At one point we talked of another reconciliation, and potentially moving back in with one another in the near future. But after some honest discussions over the last couple months, that doesn't seem as realistic as it once did.
And so, why do we/I continue? I don't know. Love, I guess. The inability to let go.

When my husband left, I had no job, no way of supporting us. And I still don't. Not for lack of trying, either. I'm still out there, aggressively seeking employment. It's been two months now, and still no job. Evidently my friends are right when they say- "it's an employer's market".
And so I wait for the bar to re-open so I can at least earn a little bit of money. I scrape together anything of worth in the house, and sell it. I don't pay my sister rent, which I fear will eventually be the bane of our relationship... She will probably have to sell this house in the spring. Even once I start working, I will not be able to realistically afford what we were once paying her for rent. And so, we will be displaced in a few short months. Sigh.
I try to keep the lights on, the cable, the phone, the house heated.... And Christmas is coming...
I keep applying for jobs. I keep interviewing...

And then, I watch as my relationship with my daughter also disintegrates. She's going to be leaving soon, to move in with her father, evidently. Her and I butt heads, I'm miserable to be around, this isn't "a healthy environment for her to live in"...
I asked her to start paying her own car insurance. And her father's side of the family is looking into buying her a new car (since hers needs more money than it's worth in repairs)... I suspect that is more likely the truth of the matter.
It's funny.. the teenage sense of entitlement, the attitude, the bitterness... Mom keeps telling me it's normal, that it's the age... But I can't imagine it. She breaks my heart.

And my son... Sigh... He is in the throes of adolescence. "Moody" is an understatement. He is still having a hard time understanding the "whys" of his step-family leaving. (Sheesh, so am I)... He is angry and sad. He is struggling academically, emotionally..
He is playing basketball this year, and he is frustrated. He has little knowledge of the game, but shows great potential...
This weekend, his father decided to allow him to quit the travel basketball team. I have been saying ABSOLUTELY NOT since the season started. I was hoping we could stay on the same page, but alas, the challenges of co-parenting. Sigh. What his father doesn't seem to understand is that allowing Dawson to "quit" is detrimental to him, on so many different levels...  If Dawson has any interest in playing basketball in the future, this year of learning would have been CRUCIAL for him. Not to mention, quitting is not what I would choose to teach him, on a very basic level. But hell, what do I know. Sigh.

And of course, then Mom gets sick. She's been in the hospital since Monday. A CT scan showed that one of the diverticula (little pockets that form in the intestines) has a tear in it, causing massive pain, and possible infection. The surgeons think it will re-seal itself, and kept her this week to keep an eye on her, before deciding to jump right to surgery. We thought she was going home Wednesday. Then we thought she was going home Friday. I did just get word that she is coming home today. Sharla is up from Portland, so hopefully her and Logan will take on my role for the rest of the weekend, as I will be absent...

Earlier in the week (before Mom got sick), I accepted an offer from my future ex-husband for a weekend of indulgence. Ironic, I know. But I am taking it. And I will try to do so without too much analyzing..  I will accept it as simply a nice time spent between two people who enjoy one another.. without strings of the past (or future) attached.
And I will try to enjoy it without guilt.
My therapist constantly tells me I need to try harder to "live in the moment".

If the "moments" could be a little less sucky, it sure would be a whole lot easier.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


That staggering moment when you finally go down to the oil tank, hoping to see a little bit left, and find that little bobber sitting at just about the empty mark.
And your heart sinks.
Again.


Isn't it funny how you can be so sure of your position, so firm in your resolve... and then one text at 2am can send you spiraling back onto the emotional roller coaster that you worked so hard to jump off of.
What's even more sad, is that I have more reasons to stay off it than I do to get back on. But then there's that one little thing that keeps you on the ride... feelings.
I've always been such an intellectually charged individual.. analytical, scientific, calculative... I'm not sure when I began to succumb to acting on emotion rather than brain power.
But I know that I have to turn it around somehow. Put it back in proper order. Brain first, heart... never.

The job search continues. I've been averaging one, sometimes two interviews a week. And still nothing. I had a preliminary interview last week, and got a call back for a second one this week. I sent an email this morning, and will be applying in person for another job today. I probably apply for (at least) about a half dozen jobs per week. There just aren't that many out there that I "qualify" for, otherwise, the list would be longer. I keep hearing from various people- "It's an employer's market out there"... I guess they are right.

I've run out of things (with any worth) to sell. The grill, my Tiffany bracelet... the craft fairs aren't very profitable. No more money coming in. The bar is supposed to open late next week. I pray that it does...
And still the lights haven't been shut off... yet. I keep waiting for the moment when I realize I've run out of oil. That's pretty damn scary. I have absolutely no idea what we will do then. Take hot showers at Mom's next door, and heat the house with the propane fireplaces... Until I run out of propane...
Shit.
And then there's Christmas... There really will be no Santa this year...

Dawson continues to ask how we will make it... I continue to lie to him, and tell him everything will be fine.

Last week I wrote- "At rock bottom, there is clarity"...
I probably should have added- destitution, depression, poverty, failure, devastation.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

At rock bottom, there is clarity....

As cliche as it is.... Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

After my husband leaving us (for, I think, the fourth time), after accepting him back into our lives, waiting for him to decide if he ever truly wants us to be together, after struggling for months with half-measures, broken/empty promises, one foot in-one foot out... after finally hearing him say that he can't envision us living together, that our lives and lifestyles are too different, (but that he loves me so much and can't imagine his life without me)... I file for divorce today.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

I served him yesterday. That took more guts than I've had to muster in a long time.
And, not surprisingly, he had nothing to say. Other than to tell me that I have to switch the electric bill into my name. (After promising when he left that he'd keep it in his name, keep it on, continue paying it as a "contribution" to all the expenses he left us with)...
But, I digress...
It's funny how the tiniest of things can reassure you that you are doing the right thing.

I've lived the last week in a very strange frame of mind. A very different place than I have been, for months, maybe even years.
Hitting rock bottom has done that for me, I think.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not in some "higher place". I'm destitute, still. Poor, literally. Depressed. Hopeless.
No income other than a minimal amount of child support. No money for rent, oil, electricity, phone, cable, gas... Trying my damnedest to get a job...
DHHS was a bust yesterday. The kids and I don't qualify for anything like TANF or Aspire, or any of their other cash assistance programs. My measly $365 a month in child support puts us over the limit for "deprivation". Her exact words. I laughed at that. Literally, out loud, in her face. And then I cried.
But anyway...
Rock bottom gives you clarity. At least it does that.

And in that clarity, I discovered something.
I'm poor. I have no job, no career, no college degree, no 401k, no money...
But you know what I still do have? ... Worth.
I have worth.
I DESERVE.
I deserve someone in my life who will love as much as I do. Who loves as unconditionally as I do. Who is willing to go to the ends of the earth for another, as I do. Who will put me first, as I put them first. Who will accept me for all my faults and quirks and idiosyncrasies, and love and cherish me still, regardless of them all.
I deserve that.
And as long as I stayed stuck where I was, I would have never truly received it. I would have settled for a half measure. And I want more than that. I deserve it.
Somewhere, someday, it will exist for me. I know that it will.

Wow, my dogs really stink.
Someday, someone will love me regardless of that too.            



Saturday, November 2, 2013


I woke up this morning and realized- this is the week I run out of money.
I don't know why it hit me this morning, but it did. First thing after opening my eyes... Oh right, my car insurance is automatically deducted from my account on Monday... There's just enough in there for that. And then there will be nothing left but a couple of dollars...
And then I cried. And cried, and cried, and cried.

I will go to DHS on Monday, and finally ask for help. Something no person wants to do. The kids and I already qualify for Mainecare and food assistance. I know there are other programs for us as well. At least I hope there are. And I know they exist for situations like mine.  But that doesn't make this pill any easier to swallow.

I've sent out so many resumes. I've had interviews. I still can't understand why finding employment is so difficult. Granted, I don't have a college degree, but I have a a lot of educational credits. I have a solid work history, and a pretty good skill set- Computer, sales, office, banking. I've got a damn good looking resume, savvy cover letters, and I'm an expert on interviewing. There is no reason why I have't gotten one of these jobs yet. It just doesn't make sense to me.

And unfortunately, added to all of that... I feel that my marriage is farther from reconciliation, rather than closer. After a month and a half of therapy, talking, figuring out, picking apart, and re-connecting, we are no closer to the "ultimate goal".
I don't know exactly what happened this past week, but something did. Something changed.
But then again, I guess the situation hasn't really changed at all. Maybe my perspective has.

As if being poor isn't bad enough, there's being poor and alone.
And hopeless.

This is what rock bottom looks like.