tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

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.