tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It's hard to write anything nice today. Or lately.

A few weeks ago I lost a friend to cancer. He was a sweet, grumpy old man. One of my very favorites at the Brookside. Always was, and always will be. I'll miss him so much.

As if that weren't enough, my boy has lost his Nana, also to cancer. It was discovered late and the severity came on quick and unexpected. It seems like just yesterday she was running Dawson around to be fitted for his semi formal, and stopping in here to deliver snacks and Ensure for him (as she always did). She was one of the sweetest, most special women I've ever had the opportunity to know. She was truly one of a kind. I wish I could put it into words. If you met her for only five minutes, you instantly loved her, and you would love her forever. She was the pinnacle, the rock of that family. The glue that held it all together. As if this family hasn't suffered enough recent loss and grief. I will never understand the unfairness and cruelty of life.

The day her and Dawson said their goodbyes, it was only the three of us in the hospital room. He sat next to her, and she woke up and took his hand. She said- "You are the love of my life you know, always will be. And this sucks. Just remember all the fun times we had, the good times, the crazy times. And you be safe driving that car. Help papa take care of the crew."
When the room filled again, she told all of us- "Make sure not to have any services. Have a celebration instead. Somewhere the kids can all run around and play. With music that I like, that you can dance to."  And Dawson said- "Somewhere over the rainbow", and she said- "yes, by the big fat guy."
Before we left she told him, "Have a good day at school, and have a good match (tennis)." And they exchanged their usual- "I love you the most", "I love you the most"... They had a very special relationship. Closer than any grandmother and grandson I've ever seen. She was essentially his second mother.
She peacefully went to sleep on comfort care that day, and was gone four days later.

I miss her so much. I loved her, too. She helped me raise my boy, and Logan, for that matter. She was my support, my advocate, my mother in law, my friend. She was like a second mother to me as well, for almost 20 years. She was so very special. I just can't imagine all of our lives without her. And honestly, I find myself wondering how I'll raise my boy without her.

                                       Doreen and Logan, Logan's birthday party, May 1999 
                                                       
                                         
                            Doreen, Dawson, and Derwin, Dawson's 8th grade graduation, June 2016
                             
                          Cutting Christmas trees with the Emersons, December 2016
 

                           
The boy is holding up okay, considering. Perhaps it's not quite real for him. Most of the time it's not real for me. My heart breaks for him, and for his father and his uncle, and for Papa.
I love you, Doreen.

Anyway...

Everything else going on doesn't seem worth writing about. But I guess I still will.

Nothing much new.

The search for a different job continues. I'm quite unhappy where I am. And I've sent out resume, after resume, after resume.
Yesterday I dropped a resume at a local bar/restaurant that's hiring bartenders. I didn't get a chance to talk to the managers because they were busy setting up for an event. I hope to get a call. Today I interview at the bar in the Sheraton at the airport. They have over 40 wines! And after 15 years of bartending, I still know nothing about wine. Shit.
Although, part of me still thinks I should give up on bartending and keep trying to get a "big girl job". Full time, days, benefits, blah bla blah. I've tried, and continue to try. Although, once again, it's been pretty tough getting one of those jobs (that pays well enough) when your resume reflects 15 years of bartending, with 3 years managing and one year of banking. Any receptionist/office (or other) experience I have is over 15 years ago. And although I write about it in my cover letters, and I have an education, it still has been fruitless.
And besides, I still don't even know what I want to be when I grow up. There have been jobs I could apply for, that I'd probably be hired for (retail, for example, or bank teller, Wayfair), but then again, I think- I probably won't enjoy that job. And so I don't apply. Because- why leave a job I don't like for another job I won't like?
And so I continue to wait tables, not making enough money to get by, deal with rotten tippers even though I'm very good at what I do (seriously, sometimes I'll pick up a credit card slip off the table, look at the tip line, and almost cry), employees who don't pull their weight, managers who blatantly show favoritism, and continuously get passed over for bar shifts (when I was promised them from the beginning).
Sigh.

Anyway...

It's been wonderful having the boy back at home. It's as if the last year never happened. I spent the last year depressed and incomplete without him here. But things are finally back to normal. My boy is home. I worry about him. All the time. He is angry (or on the verge of angry) a lot of the time, but who can blame him, he's been through so much.
Raising a boy has been interesting. I hope that I'm doing it right. Although we don't have much, I hope that it's enough. I hope that his father and I can get him through the next few years, and help him develop into the man that I know he has the potential to be. I wish Doreen were still here to help me with that.

Logan graduated from Husson last weekend. She actually received her degree a few months ago, but participated in graduation. She has a job as a children's case manager. Her executive director is very fond of her, and tells her she is performing above their expectations and has great potential to go far. She's already been given cases that are normally reserved for the more experienced case managers. The job is very stressful and emotionally draining. But she is enjoying it for the most part. And she is working so hard for these kids. I am so proud of her.
We all went to lunch after graduation, with Logan's dad's side of the family as well. When I left, her dad and I hugged, and he said- "well, we did something right for a couple of knuckleheads."
She really has turned into an amazing young woman.

Mom is loving retirement. She goes to bible studies, serves meals to the homeless every week, participates in a street ministry, exercises at the Y, and joined the Bangor chorus. I'm happy to see her really living. Dad would be happy, too.

I feel like I'm still trying to figure out what it takes for me to "really live", like mom. To feel content and complete, to feel like I am where I should be, that life is as it should be. Why is it that no matter how close to it you get, there is always something awry, or something missing, or something complicated, or some tragedy that makes life feel awful all over again...
Life is funny.

It's my day off. And as much I cherish my days off, I don't really know what to do with them. Or maybe I do, I just lack the ambition. I should mow the lawn. And vacuum. Unload the dishwasher. Do laundry. Go for a walk or something.
Do something.

Saturday, March 31, 2018


...And just like that, my hopes of going back to the lake are squashed (As you probably saw on my facebook post yesterday). Tom (the landlord) and I had a lengthy phone conversation a couple days ago. It seemed positive. But then yesterday morning he emailed me and said he had several concerns, the greatest of which was the dog, and that he didn't want a dog there. And that he also thought it was time to raise the rent (after telling me that he wouldn't, since it was me). I even mentioned to him that Blaze would be my assistance animal (my psychiatrist would have no problem making it so). Flash was deemed so by my doctor at the time as well. And so, legally, he couldn't refuse me occupancy regardless of a no pet policy. But that didn't work. $1000 a month (plus utilities) was already a real stretch for me. Even if I were working two jobs, it would have been financially uncomfortable. Anything more than that would not be doable, not by myself. Not even long enough to wait for Phil to move in later this year. And then there's the dog.
If I were able to pay more, and willing to get rid of the dog, then yeah, I guess I could still go back to the lake. But I'm not able to afford any more, and I'm not willing to get rid of this stupid dog.
I've lost my beach. I cried all morning yesterday.

People keep telling me there's a reason for it. Like, it must mean I'm supposed to stay where I am for now. Or, something better is in store for me. Or, I would have financially not been able to do it at the lake and would have gotten myself in a bind, or... Bla bla bla. I hope they're right. I hope there's some kind of reason for it.
...Although, I don't really subscribe to those ways of thinking; that things "happen for a reason". I don't particularly believe that anything is designed for us or destined, or that anything has a predetermined reason for happening. I believe in chance and coincidence, and that a person is ultimately responsible for their life circumstances (unless things are influenced, not "for a reason", but by chance or coincidence). Which is probably why I always have such a difficult time making decisions. I know that there is no universal guidance or assistance or hidden clues that will tell me what the "right thing" to do is. And that no matter what decision I make, there won't be a "reason" for it, and that I will ultimately be responsible for whatever circumstances and repercussions that come from it. Or that, by chance, I may choose the wrong thing.
But anyway...
Hopefully I'm wrong this time. And hopefully there's a reason for losing my beach. A reason for losing one of the rare things in life that was capable of bringing me the greatest sense of peace and happiness and contentment I've ever known.

Something else I learned this week- I have very little in common with many of the people I know (not all of the people I know, of course, but many). And I don't mean- oh, he likes golf and I don't, or- I like rap music and she likes hard rock... I mean, like fundamentally in common. Or, not in common. Like, differences down to our core; in our values, our ethics, our character, our conduct.
Actually, I don't think I just learned that this week. I guess I've always known it.
Anyway...

The boy stayed here all week this week, came back Sunday night and stayed through Thursday. He actually stayed an extra night, Thursday night, here as well! I keep trying not to get too excited, or get my hopes up. I keep waiting for him to change his mind and decide not to come over, to stay with his dad again. But it seems like things are basically "back to normal". It's like we haven't skipped a beat. Him and I are like we used to be... laughing and joking, talking about his friends and the funny things they do, watching stupid youtube videos, watching him play video games, or getting suckered into playing video games with him (even though I don't know how to play and just push all the buttons)... or just hanging around the house together, him playing video games, me watching tv, and talking to each other from down the hall. And every few minutes he'll say "hey mom, come watch this!"...
It has been so awesome having him back. I have missed him so much. It's been almost a year since he started staying solely with his dad. Last April. And it has been one of the hardest years of my life. Losing him this past year has been the most awful thing ever. But now he's back, he's really, finally back. I can't believe it!
(And no, it doesn't have anything to do with living here vs. the lake. It all has to do with the heart to heart we had to have a couple weeks ago. He would still be here even if I were at the lake. So that's unfortunately no consolation).
But anyway... I have my boy back!!!!!!!!! (Insert one thousand smiley face emojis here)

So, anyway...
Phil and I were talking about moving into the lakehouse together this year, and I thought he was reconsidering because of the conversation we had about the travel (to Belfast, then to Castine, and back again) being so challenging. Well, the travel will be challenging, but he's not reconsidering.
But since the lakehouse is no longer an option, we will have to continue looking. We would like to live together, and hopefully this year.
I can't see us here. I don't have a third bedroom here for Ari. I have the addition that could be a room? But it isn't finished, and it needs a lot to be liveable. And even if we could finish it off as a room, neither of the rooms would be big enough for Jack and Dawson to share. Even though Jack rarely visits (if ever), we would still need a bed and space for him in Dawson's room so that he feels welcome if he ever wanted to. And I feel like, once he knows Phil is living with Dawson, maybe he will want to come once in a while, so he can hang out with Dawson? Maybe not. Who knows.
And it's just not spacious enough here for all of us, and all of our stuff. We need more room, more living space.
And I would need more space too. It's no secret that living with a young child is going to be challenging for me. Phil knows it, and loves me for it just the same. I will need more space.
And so, we will continue to look for something more suitable. Neither of us have fantastic credit, so buying isn't an option for us. We will look for a rent, and hopefully our credit won't hold us back from finding something there, either.
Sometimes I wish we could make it work here, because of the location. Being right next to Dawson's dad is so convenient. And no matter what, I really, really, really do not want to leave Glenburn. But I'm just afraid it wouldn't work here, for all the reasons above. And I'm sure Phil doesn't really want to leave Belfast, either. We've (I've) considered renting something halfway in between the two towns. We looked into a house in Winterport just a couple weeks ago. It's spacious and nice and we could afford it together. But then the lakehouse came up. But now the lakehouse is gone. And, and, and... I don't want to leave Glenburn. Sigh.
We'll figure it all out.

Oh, I ended up turning down the second waitressing job. I was only taking it because of the lakehouse anyway. I know, I know- I could have kept it and made some extra play money, or saved up some money, or whatever. But who wants to get up at 3:30 in the mornings if they don't have to???
And besides, I'd have to quit eventually anyway, and hopefully sooner than later. Because the ultimate goal here is to find a full time week-day job and leave the waitressing gig. I don't want to work nights anymore, especially now that Dawson is back home. I hate picking him up at school and then leaving him here all night alone, only seeing him for an hour before bed when I get home from work. I need to be home evenings.
And I want my weekends free so that I can start booking the band. That has become more important to me as well, especially since I can now see the progress we are making. Even though we are currently only a three piece, we seem to be coming together better than we have since the start. I think it's because of Phil moving to bass, and because of the motivation and positivity and chemistry that the four of us share.
So anyway, the mad hunt for the normal day job is on.

Wow, I've really rambled this morning.

Hey, the sun is out! Now, where the hell is the warm weather? And why do we still have all this f&%cking snow??? Bring on spring!

Be well!




Sunday, March 25, 2018

Two days in a row...
Because I evidently didn't feel like I said all I wanted to say yesterday. Or because I'm bored on a Sunday morning. Or because I haven't had enough coffee and I'm just bitchy...

I've watched these last few months as friendships develop and solidify and continue, some from the Brookside, some from Bucksport. Friendships that were made at either place years ago, and that are continuing. Or some that were born recently, between people who didn't even know each other before they met at one place or the other, and that seemingly continue to grow. They all belong to social circles that overlap on occasion. It's people I would have been "social" with if either place were still open and I were still working there.  It's people who probably would have included me in those social circles, if either place were still open and if I were still working there. It's people who would have called me their friend, had either place still be open and I were still working there. Because I have known these people for the last few years, some of them for much, much longer.
And yet, here I have always sat, watching.
I guess I shouldn't really be surprised. I wasn't ever really a part of the "gang" in either place. I never really belonged, I always felt that way, didn't I? Of not really belonging. I always said I didn't really have any friends. And everyone always argued with me- Of course you have friends! We're your friends! Well, it was a nice thing to say, in any case, I guess.

Sunday morning, and I slept in until 6am. That's not bad I suppose. My brain hasn't let me sleep past 4:30 or 5 most mornings. I wake up early and immediately start thinking of the lakehouse, the budget, second jobs, etc, etc, etc...

Today is band practice. Every Sunday is band practice. We're down one member, a rhythm guitarist. I don't really care for the sound of a three piece, it seems empty, lacking. But Bill and Phil do a decent job of filling it up, and we'll get by until we find just the right person to take up the slack. If we have to, we'll be three piece until that day comes around. We're making fairly slow progress, but we've had setbacks; players coming and going, dropping and adding songs... Even though we're down a player right now, we finally seem to have gained some steam, and are moving forward. I am looking forward to really playing out. I have missed that so much in my life.
It's a bummer that my favorite venue (Ramona's/Tozier's II) is no more, I was really hoping to debut there. I am glad to see it reopening, but it's sad that it will be strictly dining, and no longer offer weekly entertainment. I know of many people who feel the same. Sadly, a legendary experience for the town dies. But anyway, back to the band...
We have just about enough material learned for an entire night of playing, and now we just have to perfect it all. Then make sure our sound system is on point. And we have to invest in some lights, as we sold our light setup when we disbanded a couple years ago (damnit). So a few more things need to happen, and we'll be ready to start booking. Soon, very soon. Not soon enough!!

Yesterday Dawson, Phil and I went to see the lakehouse. As I mentioned, Dawson and I had both already seen it, but Phil had not yet. And I just wanted to see it again anyway.
It made me pretty sad pulling up next to my old house. But when I saw the lake, even all covered in snow, I was so.. relieved. Just looking at it gives me such a feeling of peace and joy. It's hard to describe. The house could be an expensive piece of shit and I'd probably still want to live there.
The biggest drawbacks are (of course the increased expense) the tiny bathroom and having no laundry. And what would be my (our?) bedroom upstairs is fairly small. I would give Dawson the biggest bedroom, just because, and just in case he did ever need to share it with Jack (Phil's young teen son) someday. Then again, I'm not convinced that will actually come to fruition after all.
The more "real" this gets, I think the more Phil reconsiders. And as much as that upsets me, I have to "try" to understand. With a young daughter in school in Belfast, and a job in Castine, the driving involved would be tiresome, challenging, to say the least. Leaving Glenburn in the mornings before sunrise, getting her to the sitter in Belfast in the morning to wait for the bus, and then getting to work early enough in Castine. And then after work, leaving Castine and getting to Belfast to get her from the sitter, and then back to Glenburn, what time would they finally be home at night? He said it himself yesterday- Could they really do it? Would it be too much for her?
Sigh. Perhaps my little dream of us all cohabitating on the lake is falling away to nothing.
And I have to try to understand. Notice I said "try".
Yesterday I talked of possible resentment. And it seems to be so. If he moves in, he resents me for the travel (and possibly the extended budget). If he doesn't move in, I resent him for not moving in.
And so, now, I have to truly prepare to take on this lakehouse expense alone.
Will it be worth it. Can I do it.
Sigh.

So far, it feels like this blog has only been reification of one thing, and that is the fact that I am always alone. Responsible for everything alone, doing everything alone, always on my own, alone.
Well there. How lovely.

I should probably have more coffee and cigarettes.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Well there, I'm back to early rising, evidently. 5am on a Saturday morning.
Although, I might have to get used to it. I have an interview Monday at the Hilton Garden Inn for a breakfast server. Shifts there would start at 5am, which would mean getting up around 3:15am. That would be a second job in addition to the Dysart's serving gig. Because, as you all know, I'm trying to figure out a way I can afford to move back to the lake.

I also have an interview this week with the casino for a full time job, but unless it pays really, really well, that won't be enough to cover all the expenses. And with the hours it has, it wouldn't really leave time for a second job. (Not to mention, it would be weekend nights, so it would mean no more band). Two tip based jobs, however, would be just right, with a little bit left over each month.

The lakehouse that's coming available through my old landlord is bigger and more expensive than my old lakehouse was. Both in rent, and in heat. I can't do it alone unless I'm working two jobs. Phil will most likely be moving in, but that won't happen for a while. So until then, I'm on my own. Honestly, this part time breakfast server position (three to four days a week), plus my five nights at Dysart's would probably be just right. I'd still have time during the days to enjoy the lake, and a couple days off a week, I'd still see the sun rise over the lake three or four mornings a week, and be able to pick the boy up from school each day, and Dysart's doesn't close that late, so I'm not home super late... It should work out just right. So, fingers crossed for Monday's interview. The restaurant manager must have been fairly impressed with my resume; she called me two hours after I dropped it off. So anyway, back to the lakehouse...

I don't know if you all remember my old lakefront view... I had three birch trees on my beach. There was good and bad about that. It was quite pretty in the fall. But it kind of obstructed the beach, and the view at times. It provided nice shade, but at the same time, blocked some nice sunshine on the beach. This is the beachfront at the new lakehouse... (it's a little rounded because it's a panorama)...



Anyway... I really do want to go back. I just need to figure out how to make it work.

There are a few drawbacks to the place, of course, just like any place. First of all, there's no laundry. And Tom (the landlord) used to own a laundromat, so that made things a bit more tolerable- just drop off our laundry, and pay the cost of the machines to have it washed, dried, and folded. That was nice! Unfortunately, he's sold the laundromat. So no more of that. There are hookups in the house, so I'm hoping I can negotiate. I doubt he'll go for it though. He's never allowed it before. He put several thousand dollars into a new septic system in the camps there, and for whatever reason, doesn't want the laundry going through them. So what will we do? Ugh. Do laundry at moms? At a laundromat? How terribly inconvenient.
Also, there's the water. It's rusty and metallic and yucky. You can't drink it, and I never cooked with it. Well, you can drink it and cook with it, it's probably harmless, but it tastes like shit. It turns your shower orange (you have to consistently use rust remover cleaners). It's hard on my color treated hair.
There's no tub, only a shower stall. (Although... I was so excited about finally having a tub again here- and I've only taken two baths in the last year.)
There is only one bathroom, as opposed to two here.
And it's poorly insulated like most of his camps, so it will be chilly in the winter.
And we'd be renting, not owning. Which, is not a pro or con to me. I don't mind not being a homeowner. It takes a lot of pressure and stress off me, quite honestly.
It will cost a little more to heat than here would.
And of course, the monthly payment. It is almost $400 more a month than living here. That's the big one. Unless for some reason I can negotiate a lower rent with Tom because we have such a great relationship (as I did with the first house), and because of the laundry situation.


There are pros, bonuses, too, though.
It is already a three bedroom; there is no need to invest money to finish off an addition as we would need to do here.
There is much more living space.
One of the bedrooms is quite large enough for both Jack (Phil's young teen son) and Dawson to share (even though Jack rarely ever comes to visit), unlike the addition here, which is smaller.
And then there is the lake... That's like one hundred marks in the pros column. Seriously though, how cool would it be for a little girl to live on a lake and be able to go swimming every day? Or a teen boy and his buddies? Or, for ME?

Then again, I haven't even talked to Tom yet. The current tenants haven't given their notice yet, so I haven't been able to call him just yet.

What if... what if he won't allow the dog??? What will I do then??? Oh god, I don't want to think about that. I don't want to have to make that choice. I'm just hoping that since him and I had such a great relationship, and since he let me have Flash while we were there, that he will let us have this one. I can't even imagine, after almost a year of being miserable, and regretting my decision every day, and wanting to go back so badly, and the opportunity to go back coming around, and then having to choose between it and this dog... Please lord, don't let it come to that...

And then there's the issue of this place. What to do? I've spoken to the people who owner financed it to me. They of course said- well, you always have the choice of just walking away from it, and treating the last year as if you were paying rent. I was like- and lose my $2600 deposit?? No way!!  Then they suggested selling it outright and paying them off. Well, easy for them to say. It is a beautiful trailer, but it's old enough so that a bank won't provide financing, and so I'd most likely sit on it for quite some time (while trying to pay for it, and the lakehouse at the same time). Then they offered to buy me out of my contract for $1000. So I'd basically lose $1600 of my deposit. I told them I'd do it for $1500. Basically, they offered because the taxes are paid (I paid them this year), it's in beautiful condition, they still walk away with most of my deposit, and can turn around and owner finance it to someone else and take yet another deposit. I figure- if I lose $1100, that's the equivalent of two months payments here. If I sat on it for two months while trying to sell- I would have paid that out anyway. So I should probably make that $1500 deal. There's my deposit on the lakehouse.

So anyway....

As you can tell, I'm pretty much obsessed. It's all I can think about. Every morning, all day long, actually, I'm crunching numbers, trying to figure out the best approach at how to pay the monthly rent there and all my other expenses.

I was so excited this week when I "quit smoking" and went to the vape, and freed up $230 in my monthly budget. And that lasted a whole three days. That third morning, I completely caved. Not just one or two, but totally fell of the wagon and went right back to my usual chain smoking. And I cried the whole time. I was so excited to have freed up some cash to put towards the lakehouse expenses, and then I just couldn't do it anymore. Not even the lakehouse budget could keep me straight. Sigh.
Everyone keeps saying- oh just keep trying, oh don't give up, keep vaping, cut back, try again, bla bla bla friggin bla. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It just isn't going to work for me. Not now, maybe not ever. I just don't know. But I'm not doing it right now. I can't.
At least once I start working two jobs I'll have less time to smoke. That's one bonus.

But onto some other news...

I don't know if any of you noticed this week on Facebook or not, but I posted a few pics of Dawson this week, one of which was him and the dog in bed in the morning. He spent two nights here this week!! He initially just came over one day after school to hang out and play video games while I was at work, and planned on going back to his dad's when I got home. But then we had a serious heart to heart one day, I think it was Tuesday. And I had to make some exceptions. In the end though, he agreed to start staying with me again. He even said we'd go back to the normal schedule (sun-wed/sun-thurs alternating). And so he stayed here that Tuesday night and Wednesday night as well. And Thursday he was in no rush to head back to dad's, he was happy to just hang around here. He even asked if him and his friend could come spend the night here Saturday night. I said no, because I'd be at work and they'd be here alone, but it was still nice!
I'm so beside myself! I'm trying to stay grounded, because I just never know with him. It could change. He could go back to wanting to stay with his dad, I just don't know. I hope not. I hope this lasts. I want my boy back. I want our relationship back. We used to be so close, best of friends, really. And this week, it felt like that again. We talked and laughed and hung out. It was so wonderful. I don't think I've been that happy in a quite some time.
I'd better increase the budget! I'd forgotten how much a teenage boy can eat!!
But it will be SO WORTH IT!!

We are all going to see the lakehouse this morning. Dawson and I have seen it. I'm actually quite familiar with it, as I cleaned it and showed it for Tom when the last tenants left last year. Dawson saw it then too. But Phil has never seen it, and so I'm bringing him over. And Dawson wants to go with us as well. When he found out I was thinking of going back to the lake, he said- I think you should go back. I said- Why? And he said- Because you were happy there.
He knows I wouldn't be right next door anymore, but he also liked being on the lake.

I think Phil is hesitant because of the expense. And of course, it gives me pause as well. But I am determined to figure out how to make it work. With, or without him! Lol. I hope it is with, and I hope there is no resentment on either side when all is said and done.

I just keep telling myself... the lake will be worth it.

I've rambled far too much for one day.

Be well.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Well, that last blog, nearly a month ago, was a downer, now wasn't it? Things haven't changed a whole lot. It's still a bit difficult to stay positive.

For the first time in my life, I have to pay in to the IRS. What the hell. And it's not a tiny amount.
God damnit.

Still working part time waiting tables, and still not in love with it, to say the least. Not getting enough hours (although I'd probably hate it if I were). Still not making enough money, although tips do seem to be getting a little better. But it's still not enough. It's "cliquey" there. I don't know of any of them that I relate to, or would (cough, gasp) trust, or really even befriend. I don't feel like I belong there. I show up, do my job, go home. Part of my frustration also lies with the empty promises... That I'd be full time, or at very least, 30 hours to start (I'm working 20-25). That I'd be bartending most of the events (I haven't done one yet, and there have been lots of them). I'm still trying to figure out if I should start another part-time job on top of this one (if I could find a day time part time job around this one). Knowing that at some point (hopefully sooner than later) I'd have to quit anyway, because I'm ideally looking for a full time job. If I could find a full time job.

I did get an offer from Petco for the grooming apprentice program. I turned it down. After much thought, I couldn't picture myself being happy washing dogs all day, being covered in dog hair, and nails, and ear goo, and anal gland goo, and cleaning up after dogs all day, and so on. It's a physical job that is harder than it looks. I don't think the gross, physical, difficult parts would outweigh the being around dogs part. And why jump into a career if I'm not sure I'd even like it? It would have been a really big commitment for something that I just wasn't sure I'd enjoy.

I've applied for a several others, with no results. One cool job, a marquee host at the casino. No word yet. I submitted my resume to a veterinary clinic who is hiring a "client services specialist" (fancy term for front desk person). I'd really, really like to get that job. That was five days ago. No call for an interview yet. I've submitted my resume to a few different law offices who were hiring receptionists. One even said they'd train the right candidate. Over the last few months, I've probably applied for 20 different office type positions. And no calls. I've got 16 years of bartending on my resume. I studied secretarial science at Beal (17 years ago, but didn't get a degree, almost, but not quite), and worked in an office "pre-resume years" ago. No matter how well versed I am, hard working, experienced with computers, or experienced in management I may be, who wants to hire a veteran bartender to work in an office? Sigh.

Speaking of bartending... I applied for several bartending jobs over the last couple months. These were places that were actually running ads for openings... Margarita's, Olive Garden, Longhorn, Ruby Tuesday, Ramada, Ground Round, Applebee's, Chili's, Bangor Beer Co/Oriental Jade, Four Points (at the airport), just to name a few. I got "thank you, but" emails from most of the corporate franchises without so much as a phone call first, and no response at all from the rest. HOW CAN THAT BE POSSIBLE?? I HAVE 16 YEARS EXPERIENCE (INCLUDING MANAGEMENT) IN THIS INDUSTRY!!
I don't understand. So. Fucking. Frustrating.

There's always still Wayfair. The call center job that pays great and has great benefits, that I'm sure I'd hate. Firstly, I'm pretty sure I'd be miserable. Secondly, and this has only been a recent train of thought... What if I do stick with it for a while, and hate it and want to get done, or what if they close down, or layoff, and I need/want to look for another job- then I have gained no more valuable experience to make myself more employable than I am right now. Time has gone by, and I have only gained more "customer service" experience (which I already have 20+ years of), and call center experience. I end up being no more marketable than I am right now.

I could always try to make ends meet on this job, and go back to school during the day. At least finish my associates in administrative assisting at Beal, so I'd be employable. I can't seem to find anything else I'm really interested in going to school for, nothing that wouldn't be a total waste of money. That administrative associates degree would be very practical. And although I don't relish the idea of being a desk worker, I could always look for a job at a business that I find interesting... a law office, or veterinary office, or a school, or something. But I hate the idea of borrowing more money. I looked at my loans the other day, and of all the times I've attempted school, I'm already $29,000 in debt in student loans. Holy. Shit. And no degree(s) to show for that. What an idiot I've been all these years.

And so, I don't know what to do. Keep applying to full time office jobs that I'll probably never get? Go work full time at some dead end retail job? Go try to make a career at a call center? Make a career out of waitressing? (Oh hell no) Suck it up and keep waitressing, and borrow more money to go finish my degree at Beal to hopefully become more marketable and get one of those office jobs?
Sigh. I don't know what to do. And so I just keep on keeping on. And stay stuck.

The boy spent the night last night. I was so tickled. I did have to bribe him, lol... It was in exchange for letting him order some stuff through microsoft for one of his xbox games. Hey, whatever works, right? I couldn't wait for him to come over. I was so happy to have him here. Even if he did primarily hang out in his room playing video games. I made him dinner, and visited him in his room. Chatted with him. And then it got about time to go to bed... He couldn't sleep. We tried benadryl. By midnight he still couldn't sleep. And he got upset. Said he was "homesick". I gave him a melatonin and tucked him in. He fell asleep shortly after. I lay awake crying for an hour... "Homesick".
He was overtired but otherwise fine and back to normal this morning.
I was hoping this might lead to more time, if he could remember it was nice to be around Mom, at Mom's house. If he could see that this was his home, too. But it certainly didn't seem to work out that way. I am so, so sad. I feel defeated. The most important thing in my life is continuously slipping further away from me, and there's not a fucking thing I can do about it.

At least there's the dog, right? Yeah, I did it again.
As if giving up the last foster (potential adoptee) wasn't difficult enough... You see, when I'm bored and drinking my coffee in the mornings, on the computer, I like to torture myself evidently, by going to petfinder.com and petango.com, and looking at all the dogs in the shelters. I do it every day, kind of like reading the morning paper.
And not that any one kind of dog is better or more deserving than any other, but I have always had a super soft spot for giant breeds (probably from raising great danes for ten years). And when I saw this mastiff listed at the Augusta humane society, I knew right away that I had to investigate. And so I called. Next thing I knew, I was driving down there, and then agreed to foster (again), with the potential to adopt (again).
You've all seen the updates on Facebook. He's got issues. He's one of the most nervous, anxious dogs I've met. He won't leave the driveway or the yard. He is hard to convince to get into the car (sometimes he refuses to go near it at all), and when he does get in, he refuses to get out. He is scared of everything and everyone. He growls at the cat, but then again, there are times when he lets her rub all against him, and even wags his tail while she's doing it. But most of all, he's just scared, of everything. His previous family reports he's always been this way. They described him as "skittish and moody and nervous around new people and new things". They gave him up because there was some fighting going on between him and one of their other dogs. He was not neutered, lived with three adults, two teenagers, a little girl, and three other dogs. No wonder he was anxious.
I'm afraid he'll never be the kind of dog that I can take walking along the waterfront, or into Petco, or out socializing. Which is a real bummer, because that's what I'd like to have in a dog. And given his breed and his size, he's a senior at age 5. So I'll have to be prepared for a short lived relationship. And he's stubborn as hell. But he is sweet. And he needs me. And at this point, I kinda need him. Oh hell, who am I kidding. Of course I need him.
He's so lazy. Sometimes I wonder if that's normal. I wonder if he's ok. Now that he's figured out that he can get up into my bed (albeit with a little struggle), that's where he prefers to spend most of his day. He comes out to lay near me off and on, but he likes my bed. He's sooooo lazy. If this keeps this up, he's going to weigh 200 pounds! And if he won't leave the damn driveway, how am I supposed to get him to walk it off?! He has really grown quite comfortable here in the last week, though. He has very closely bonded with me, and Phil, and even Dawson.
Now I just have to make it work. With scheduling, I'll have to figure out how to make it work. Whether I get a full time job, or a second job. Somehow, I'll just have to figure it out. And financially... I wasn't terribly practical in that aspect... he'll eat a ton, and he should have glucosamine supplements (which I have already bought), he could benefit from some anti-anxiety meds I think, and at his age and size his vet care will potentially be costly, at some point. Not real bright on my part. Not very practical or wise, financially. Shit.
I'll have to figure it out. Somehow.
Sigh.

Anyway...
I've probably blubbered enough for one day. I should go try to figure some shit out.
There is plenty of it for me to try to do.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


It's not Sunday, my typical day for blogging, but I still feel like doing it, so on with it.

I said goodbye to my foster dog last week. I knew I couldn't keep her, as much as I wanted to. Right now I'm not making enough money to keep myself afloat, let alone feed/take care of a dog. I'm going to have to start working two jobs to survive, full time or part time, and then I'll have no time for a dog. I should have known better. I dropped her back at the SPCA, and cried all the way home. I wrote up a page about her for any prospective families, so they would know what kind of dog she was, her quirks, her good traits, what she needed help with. She's already found her forever home. I knew it wouldn't be long. I suppose I should be happy about that, but all I can do is worry... will they give her the love and home that I could have?
Sigh.

Still trudging along with this new waitressing gig, and still looking for something full time with benefits. I'm only getting about 25-ish hours a week, and still not killing it in tips. And the bills continue to pile up. And I still don't like it. And here I thought I would want this job over the others. I've learned my lesson there.

Funny, it seems that life, or the universe, or whatever, teaches you that sometimes... teaches you that what you thought you wanted, may actually be what you don't want. Sometimes you learn it after the fact, when it's too late. But sometimes, you learn it before hand, and you're able to circumvent a potentially unhappy situation.
Anyway, I digress...

I interviewed with Petco last week for their dog grooming apprentice program, where they pay you to be trained and then employ you full time in the salon. The interview went well, and I wouldn't be surprised if I got an offer (although, I've said that about a few jobs, and then didn't get an offer, so who knows!). I somehow think I would enjoy grooming. I love dogs. I have a creative flair that does require an outlet. And this seems like it would be a good opportunity for a career path, rather than just a job (but then again, I thought I would enjoy waitressing!). They would send me to Portland five days a week for twelve weeks for the training. They pay for the hotel and food. I hate being away from home, so that doesn't sound enticing. But temporary inconvenience all for the greater good, right? But then I started reading the packet about the job description... and I got to one part that might prevent me from becoming a groomer... "expression of anal glands"... It sounds gross enough, but google a video on it. Ugh! Oh my gawd, I almost barfed! Yes, I have a fairly weak stomach. So maybe my weak stomach is going to prevent me from pursuing a career in dog grooming. What a shame. If only it weren't for that one damn thing... Gross.

There's still always Wayfair; the customer call center. Where I think I would be fairly unhappy on a headset all day, stuck in between rows and rows of other people on headsets, yet I would make very good money, have potential for raises and promotions, and get excellent benefits. I'll tell you, it's becoming more and more attractive every single day. I actually took a look at their health benefits (that my recruiter emailed me last month), and they are amazing. I'd probably be a fool not to go for that job. Everyone I've ever talked to absolutely loves working there, they love the company, say how appreciated they feel, yadda, yadda, yadda. They hire every month, so I could put in for it again. I may have to. Maybe I should.

I miss my boy, as always. And I worry about him so much. He's struggling in school. He's depressed and angry. His attitude isn't the greatest. I do what I can, but with him not being here, I can't do much. I keep in close contact with his teachers and guidance counselor. I take him to all his doctor's appointments; and we've talked about anti-depressants, but that still remains up to him. He sees a counselor fairly regularly, but it hasn't seemed to help a whole lot. I wish there were more I could do for him. He's been through so much for such a young boy. Life can't be easy for him. I wish I could make it so. And as always, I wish he were with me.  :(

Without him, life is pretty lonely. Because no matter how you look at it, I'm alone. It's just the way it is. Not that that's anything new, really. But I still haven't gotten used to it. I mean, I guess I've gotten used to it, I suppose. I've grown accustomed to an empty house, to being alone all the time with nothing but my thoughts or the cat or the television or facebook for company. I've probably gotten used to having things just my way, with no one else around here to mess things up. I talk to myself a lot, probably more than I should. I've gotten used to it. But I still don't like it. I'll never like it. I'll never find it enjoyable or fulfilling. In fact, there are times, often times, it makes me very, very sad. I can't believe that this is what life had in store for me, to be lived alone. At least, I certainly hope not.

And I still live with so much regret. And it seems that as life goes along, the more I regret. It's a poisonous thing, regret. It's not productive in any way. It doesn't serve a purpose. It's not like you can learn from it and do things differently because of it. Regret doesn't work that way. It's simply a painful reminder of the things you did, or didn't do, that you wish were different. That's all it is. Regret is not useful or advantageous whatsoever. It's a useless and hurtful emotion. And one that I could live without, please and thank you.

Well there, I've done enough reflecting for one day. Yuck. I should go watch some light hearted television show, or play mahjong, or read a book, or vacuum, or some other thing to keep me entertained until it's time to go to work. Oh dear, work. Ugh. I don't want to!!!

I recently read somewhere that in order to start feeling more positive, you should start replacing "I don't want to" with "I get to".

"I get to" go to work later.
"I get to" be a waitress.
"I get to" do my laundry.
"I get to" live alone.

It's not working.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Well, I've got the first week under my belt at the new job. About a week and a half now.
And I can't say that I love it.
First of all, it's a lot harder than I imagined it would be. And I don't mean the labor; I've never been afraid of working hard (and damn, waitresses work hard). But it's the multi-tasking part that gets me... (And all these years my cover letters always said what great multitasking skills I have... Ha!)...
One table needs desserts (which I have to put together), the other table is waiting for me to take their order, that other table needs to be set up and their drink orders taken, oh geez- I've got two giant food orders waiting at the window to go out to two other tables and the cooks are yelling my name- which tables again? who gets what?- oh shit- I've got to put their sides together (coleslaw, salads, veggies), another table is waiting on their bill, another table is waiting on their drink order that I have to get (and I have to make a milkshake for them somewhere in there), oh shit- the first table is still waiting for those desserts I have to put together..... Holy. Friggin. Shit. I. can't. Do it. I honestly don't know how those girls (and guys) do it. I really don't. I don't know if I'll ever be able to, with time, with experience, or whatever. It's just too much. I fall apart. I can't.
Secondly, I'm not making the tips I thought I would, unless it's a weekend. Weeknights I'm making very little. Not nearly enough. And weekends I'm working my ass off, and making more, but still not what I thought I would.
Thirdly, I was supposed to be close to full time, and so far my first two weeks I'll only be getting around 25 hours (yes Gayle, I know, I can hear you now...).  :)
Also, I'm working all nights, including Friday and Saturday nights. That's kind of a bummer. I don't have a kid at home anymore, so I don't have to worry about seeing him, but all nights is still kind of a drag. I never see my boyfriend anymore. Between his schedule with the kids and my work schedule, it's nearly impossible. If only we lived together. But he won't move up here (travel with the kids to their schools down there every day wouldn't make sense), and I won't move down there (because then I'd really never see my boy). It seems we're doomed. Sigh. Anyway... And forget about band practice. That's been impossible, too.
And so, the lack of hours and the lack of tips and my lack of excitement about it means that either I look for something else, full time, or I suck it up and stay there and get a second part time job.
Either way, I can't afford to keep on this way. And the only way to make more money is to take on more tables, or wait for the busy season to kick in. And with how difficult I find it now (and difficult is an understatement), I don't even think I can handle any more than what I do now.
I'm a great bartender, but I make a terrible waitress.

I knew eventually I'd wait on people I knew. And I always wondered what that would be like... Last night I waited on a woman I graduated high school with. She looked vaguely familiar to me. She knew who I was, even remembered my last name. We exchanged some small talk, the typical "how've you been", and suddenly I found myself needing to explain how I was managing the Brookside and how it closed, and how I got two other great job offers, but chose this because I was so used to the service industry... and I felt funny... embarrassed? As she talked of how she noticed as she drove by the Brook (on her way to their camp on Jacob Buck) that it had closed... And I thought to myself, here I am, 25 years later, and look how far I've come, I'm your waitress now.
Sigh.
I know, I know. Who gives a shit what other people think, bla bla bla.
But I thought it myself. I suffered that stigma myself. And I didn't like it. I'm pretty sure I'll never get over that. That will be a tough one to live with if I continue with this job.

Anyway...

The dog.
I've gotten kind of attached to this dog. Even though she's a bit of a pain in the ass. She's got more "quirks" than I care to work with, or even have time to. But I kinda like her.
The problem is, I don't know if I'll have time for her. If I start working full time, and try to continue with the band, and/or take a second job, how will I possibly have time? She'll live in her crate most of the time. How is that fair? And then there's the cost. I'll never make what I was making at the Brook; I'll be on a tight budget. I'm not sure I'll be able to afford much extra. Sigh.
Today is the two week mark. I'm supposed to decide whether or not I'm going to adopt her. They told me I could have more time. I'm not sure if that'll just make it harder for me to give her back, if that's what I should do. I just don't know. I shouldn't have done this in the first place. Stupid dog. Stupid me.

As always, I miss my boy. I find myself reminiscing every day, about when he used to stay with me, and how close we used to be. And wishing things were still like that. I wish things were different.

I find myself wishing and daydreaming about a lot of things.
I wish the Brook were still open. I wish my boyfriend would move up here. I wish my boy would stay with me. I wish I could afford and had time for lots of dogs.

If only wishes came true.
Sigh.



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Well, we all survived the arctic air over the last two weeks or so. That was awful. Negative 20-30 wind chills.. Seriously. That's just not okay. Watching the forecast this morning, and I'm so excited! 30's today with some sun, it's going to be beautiful! 40's Thursday and Friday with some rain on Friday, so hopefully we'll get rid of some of this snow. I know the heatwave won't last, but it sure will be nice.

As most of you have seen on Facebook, I'm now officially employed again. Thank GAWD! Not only was I going broke, I was going crazy.
It's funny... I was getting so discouraged. I had so many resumes out, and had only had a handful of interviews. And then all of a sudden, I had three different job offers that I had to choose from. Who knew that would happen?! And wasn't it stressful! I took a few days to decide, and I had such a difficult time. I had to remind myself that this was not a lifelong decision. No matter which I chose, I could always look for something else if I ended up being unhappy. And the advice from all the people who know me helped as well.
My choices were: a receptionist position with Varney insurance agency, a customer service rep for Wayfair's call center, and a waitress (with potential for bartending shifts) at Dysart's. Each job had it's own perks... Varney had "better" hours; Mon-Fri, 8-5, holidays and weekends off and a great benefits package. Wayfair offered the highest pay with quick potential for advancement and raises, and an excellent benefits package. Dysart's only offered part time (30 hours) to start, with the option of quickly moving into full time, variable hours (weekends, evenings, etc), an "okay" (but not great) benefits package, but the service industry, which is what I'm accustomed to.
In the end, I knew I wouldn't be happy sitting behind a desk all day, or on a headset all day in a call center, even though those jobs were the most practical. Even as often as I complain about people, and as much of grouch I am, and as antisocial as I seem to be, I need that social interaction every day. I've worked in the service industry for 15 years. It's what I know, and it's what I enjoy.
I fill out all the employment paperwork on Thursday, and I expect to start training on Friday (I'll find out my schedule today or tomorrow).

I'm so nervous...
I haven't had to start a new job in a long time. New place, new people, new POS system, new job duties, lots of new things to learn... and I've never technically waitressed before. Am I going to be able to do it? I mean, I know I'll be able to do it socially. I'd make a damn good waitress, just as I make a good bartender. But physically, can I do it? I'm no spring chicken anymore. My hips hurt, my knees hurt, I'm lame and lazy. Then again, when I was busy at whatever bar I worked, I had no problem keeping the pace, and then some. Maybe moving around again is what I need. I just don't know.
And will I remember where the food goes? Who ordered what? What food goes to what table? Will I be able to memorize their HUGE menu? My mind is no spring chicken anymore either!
And what about that giant tray loaded with plates of food? Am I seriously going to be able to balance that on one hand while walking at the same time?!? Oh gawd, I see a potential train wreck happening there...
Sigh. I guess I'll find out.

As most of you have also seen on facebook, I'm currently fostering a doggy. It's actually a foster-to-adopt program through the local SPCA. You take the doggy for two weeks, and at the end of those two weeks, you either adopt the dog, or turn it back over to the shelter. Even if I don't adopt Hazel, it's still a neat program, because it gets the dog out of the shelter environment, and it gives the shelter more of a look into their personality and temperament for placement.
I don't know what I'll do at the end of our two weeks. I saw her on their facebook page, and I knew about their two week program, so I went to meet her. And then all of a sudden we were doing the two week program. Lol.
It's only been since Sunday, but so far she seems like a fairly easy dog. She does have some quirks. She is nervous around new people and things (it doesn't seem like she was ever properly socialized), she pulls terribly on the leash, she is a bit anxious, she is a pacer... She will get up and walk all around, pacing. I'm not sure if it's because she's anxious, or bored, or what. Perhaps a combination. She does seem like she would benefit from a more active home, someone who would/could take her walking a few times a day, or running, hiking or biking, or whatever. She is a busy body. She reminds me of Flash. Although she settles down nicely and lays with me on the couch, or at my feet (like now), as well.
I don't know how she is with other dogs yet, we haven't tested the waters there. Mom wants to bring her little ones up to meet her (especially since I have to babysit them next month, and if I adopt Hazel, they will have to coexist). Logan could bring over her boys too. I don't want to overwhelm her just yet. We'll see. But it would be nice to know.
I bought her a crate to use because I don't dare leave her to roam free while I leave the house. As soon as I set it up, she went right into it. She's gone into it to just lay down several times since. So obviously she is used to it from her previous home. That's a good thing.
It's good that I start my job this week, so that I'll really be able to see how having a dog will go with going to work and band practice. And then I'll have to figure out whether or not Hazel is that dog.
One of my friends raised a good point... do I really want to have a dog, or will it just end up being a another stressor for me? I think it's both?
Even if I don't adopt Hazel, I'll be glad to have gotten her out of the shelter for a couple weeks. And have had a chance to "try out" another doggy. And I know she will be adopted very quickly. There was a ton of interest on her post on their facebook page, I just happened to be the first one to act.
We shall see.

Anyway...

I've been sleeping like CRAP. And I don't know why. I do know that I can see from my facebook memories that I do it this time of year, pretty much every year. It seems to start around Thanksgiving. I'd like to know when it ends! This year seems worse though. At first I started waking up at 4. Then I started waking up at 3:30. Now I've started waking up at 2, and tossing and turning until I get up at 3:30 or 4. I am so over it. Ugh.

Logan came over to do laundry last night, so Dawson came over to visit too. It was nice having them both here. I still only see the boy when I drive him to/from school. I miss him so much. I know I say that every blog, but it's something I'll never get used to. Not having him in my home has been one of the worst things I've ever had to deal with. Just thinking/talking/writing about it brings me to tears.
I miss my boy.

Speaking of which, I have to go get him and bring him to school.

Be well.