Sunday, August 3, 2014

Quite A Day, Quite A few Years

 This is the vision I had of me in my early middle age when just a little girl. My kids would be outside playing and I'd be inside sipping coffee or tea with a neighbor from down the street and both be dressed to the nines with no place we HAD to be.

This is what I ended up being.

I don't mind one bit being a waitress (excuse me) "Server" but a few short years can make all the difference.

I had me one HECK of a day!

Wait a minute, I meant to say week.

No, I meant to say year, no  actually meant five or six  but you get the drift.

It's been tough. Now it's not so tough, but have decided I "am".

I've always been a goof ball and make no excuses for it. I "like" being goofy, crazy, and always finding humor in any situation.

It's my Forte'.

Married a man as quiet as I am loud, but for some reason crazy about me.

He had a nice house, I moved in and after living together for almost two years married and started our life over twenty six years ago. The cute little truck was mine, the ole lady car was his.

We didn't have much but had a house. He had a son who was two, four when we married and suddenly I was a momma.

TJ's always been a good kid. Yeah, so he gave us some minor problems, but nothing like I or his father did when his age.

Then I popped out Zach a few years later. Tim was moving up financially and so was I. Making six figures was a big deal to us back then. We never over spent but always comfortably. Had great insurance, savings , 401 K and constantly moving forward.

What the hey, let's spit out another one then!

Massey came into the world on August nineteenth when due in October. I should have known then she would be a drama queen but was so worried was just glad she and I survived. I truly think her early birth is what has bonded us.

We continued to prosper, buying our first brand new house and moving to Coweta County.

Then Zach hit puberty.

How did my sweet little boy turn into Cousin It in less than three years? Same pose, different kid. The picture on the left came home with a package for me to order pictures, a key chain and stickers. I sent it back to school with "You have GOT to be kidding me" written across the order form with a black Sharpie.

Then the bottom really fell out.

Tim decided to go into business with some friends who turned out NOT to be friends and our spiral began.

The company went under and Tim was made the fall guy. We still owe the IRS  $28,000 for payroll taxes they weren't taking out. Tim knew nothing about it but was his name signed on the checks so the IRS made a house call and the other partners scattered.

Then were left living on a waitress income.

Then the other shoe dropped.

I got fired from The Western Sizzler (not their real name but still refuse to acknowledge them) after almost thirteen years of excellent and dedicated service.

We went through our 401K to the tune of $14,000 and savings of five grand just to pay bills.

Tim ended up getting a job stocking shelves at Walmart overnight and parking cars at an auto auction when he got off.

I turned to friends I knew who owned a family business, an Italian restaurant. They hired me on the spot.

For the first two years worked every shift but one every week. There were fourteen shifts in a week and for thirteen of them I was there.

After our huge spiral was still just spinning wheels, kiting checks to keep the power on, constantly borrowing money from my bosses and always borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

If not for for family, friends, blog readers and sometimes strangers, simply said "We would have been toast."

Luckily our oldest son was out on his own by this time. Unfortunately, our younger son made some really stupid decisions and lacking money to bail him out (which in hindsight was a tremendous blessing) had to see him spend thirty days in the county prison.

All the while, my daughter was trying to be a normal teen age girl in high school as the whole school whispered behind her back. I know it was as humiliating for her as was heart breaking for me.

I may be old but remember what high school was like. Teens can be brutal.

My boy made me proud. Admitted and owned up to his mistake, paid for and has learned from it.

My kids were close when really young, then went through the whole "Can't stand you" period. Then after they drifted apart we were blown apart. Now six years later they are close again and warms my heart like a bon fire.

All the while their parents were fumbling, scrambling and felt like total failures.

Here's the thing...
Corny as it may sound, it's the truth. Keep on keeping on.

When slipping off the edge and feel you will lose your grip, never be ashamed to grab a hand which reaches out to hold and pull you up.

My brother and sister have been there for us the entire time.Without my sibs, I'd be a Goner.

Then a good friend told me about a job at the airport in an upscale fine dining restaurant located in the new international terminal recently built at Hartsfield Jackson. She was bringing home a grand a week working just five days.

Tim was still looking for work and the mortgage company was looking to take our house. We have less than four years and will have the mortgage paid off. They wanted our house. We were almost three months behind and were chomping at the bit to take a house they could sell for 100% profit instead of taking control of an upside down property.

I simply took a leap of faith.

It was hard, considering the job was twenty five miles away from home and didn't even own a car but did it anyway.

It was the hardest job I've ever had as a server, made me a nervous wreck and still does but have tripled my salary.

I come home at night completely worn out and wondering why God has been so good to me?

So I'm at a crossroad.

I can't forget the people who helped me get here.

I'm terrified that my Bosses who helped me struggle through the debacle will be mad when I want to leave.

Heck. I'm in my mid fifties and pretty much tired of being tired and working day after day after day.

How do you tell the people who not only helped but gave you the chance to survive that you're doing okay now and can do it without them?

This little girl, is now this young woman...
 She's driven...and driven me crazy but destined for great things and this new job can drive not only her but us all forward.

The one thing I CAN say is most of the time have somehow managed to keep my sense of humor. Sure sometimes I got depressed but quickly found it doesn't help one lick ... just increases gray hair and wrinkles ten fold. (trust me)

The strain of working two jobs is starting to wear me thin (huge pun) and hopefully will be able to cut down to only one soon. I've already gone down to one day a week at the place here in Newnan.  They weren't thrilled about it but understood and complied.

 Tuesday we move our little princess into her new loft at Georgia State University for her Sophomore year. Tim has to work since he just started a new job but with the help of a wonderful friend will once again lug tons of her stuff up to her new digs. Last year she was on the fifth floor, bet she's on an even higher one this year. That's just the way she rolls... nothing's ever simple.

So believe it or not, after over two years and four months of paying on my new used car, it should be ready tomorrow.

 Note the sign and number in the background to know where NOT to go to buy or have a car repaired. It's been a nightmare.

After finally getting the new transmission installed we learned the idiot we bought it from has been taking parts off of it to repair other Volvo's. It was missing the battery, three different coils and the radiator hose. Tim bought a battery and took it up there and supposedly the coils have been replaced . A while back the idiot we were buying the car from went to jail for embezzlement and since we at least already had the title, had the car moved to  another shop and had a mechanic we trust finish the job.

It's taken a long time to pay for the transmission especially with all our financial woes but have paid it off all except for two hundred last dollars of the labor costs.

So once again, am cutting it close. It's now Sunday evening and have to have the car to move Massey into her new loft on Tuesday. I have to work Monday at the airport but luckily Tim is off and can hopefully get emissions, insurance and tag for me.

I have a bad feeling but then again have for five years. Tim seems to think it will all work out so I'm going with his gut feeling.

Worse comes to worse, I'll just load up my next door husband's truck I've been driving for over two months now and use it one more time to move Massey back to college.

Speaking of my next door husband, am pretty sure I will find next door wife divorce papers in my mailbox any day now. I couldn't ask for a better neighbor or friend. Over the years has helped us so many times I can't count. (but bet he could)

Once I started this new job over two months ago asked if I could borrow his little truck until my own car got ready? Of course he acted like it was no problem but as week after week went by,  felt more and more embarrassed. I did at least pay for and took it for the emissions test when the tag needed to be bought. I get paid this Thursday and will take him a hundred dollars for the use of it which am sure he will refuse but if does will just go buy him a gift card instead. A rental truck for over two months for a hundred bucks is a steal, or maybe he feels like I'm stealing it on a daily basis!

Heck, before that I borrowed my sister's spare car for free for over a year and she didn't charge me anything (of course at the time didn't HAVE anything) even when the car's transmission started slipping and quit driving it simply because was scared I would tear the car up completely. It's still parked in my driveway, a daily reminder of yet another person's generosity towards us.

Every week I would send Tim over to talk with my next door husband giving him updates on my own car's progress, or lack thereof. It was supposed to be ready in less than two weeks but has ended up being well over two months. I don't blame the new mechanic and appreciate what he's done but for Pete's sake feels like it's being fixed it in a crock pot set on low.

Life is definitely getting better, thanks to SO many!

All the while, have still been worried about my oldest boxer (who's not THAT old) but blind. Once I get a vehicle and can pick up extra shifts at the airport am going to schedule him for cataract surgery on my own. If the anesthesia is too strong for him and his heart can't take it, so be it. I highly doubt it will be...there's a reason he's named "Ham."

 Peeps who don't have or love dogs won't understand but these three pups are children of mine too. I consider them my kids who didn't leave stretch marks or ever needed to be bailed out of jail. 

He's young enough to be given the chance of at least partial vision. He's so confused now but at least grew up in this house and have specifically not rearranged any furniture so can at least navigate around the house...unless someone leaves a chair pulled out or moves the coffee table.

My pups never complained when times were really tough and had to wait a day for food.

Every time I come in the door they shower me with kisses and elated I've simply walked in the door. They love me unconditionally and totally, as I do them.

Everyone should have a dog!

So finally feel like I am LIVING again. It's a pretty awesome feeling!

Falling down is easy. Getting back up is a bit harder.

Sometimes I go back through these five or so year's worth of blogs and sometimes even amaze myself at how lucky and blessed we've been, even when we seemed to be sliding off the deep end into the abyss.

Til next time, a Humbled and Grateful COTTON

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