It’s blistering hot and the mosquitoes are vicious this summer.  I’ve been trying to work in the backyard the last few days.  My yard and garden look terrible.  I work a few minutes, jump in the pool to cool off and work a little bit more.  I’m in the process of painting the kitchen and I think I’m going to stay inside and work on that today.

Terry’s brother passed away about a year ago.  I see posts on Facebook from his widow and I feel so much for her.  Not many people understand what it’s like to truly love your spouse and have your life so intertwined and then lose them.  I found it difficult when Donnie passed away because so few people have that kind of relationship.  My friends and family would try to tell me that they understood what I was going through but they really didn’t.  They couldn’t.  That kind of lifelong relationship is rare these days.  My sister-in-law was in a relationship with my brother, Dennis, for 27 years and talks about how devastating his loss is but they fought like cats and dogs and Dennis told me they didn’t even love each other but just stayed together for the sake of their handicapped son.  How can she possibly understand losing someone you loved unconditionally for your entire life?  I can’t identify with her grief and she can’t identify with mine.

Cheryl is different.  I’ve only met her once but I can tell that she is going through something similar to what I go through.  I have often thought that I should try to communicate with her but I don’t even really know her.  I get irritated with Terry because he doesn’t have much compassion for her but then, how can he possibly understand what she’s going through?  He tells me I’m the love of his life and we just met a year and a half ago.  What does he know about loving someone and sharing your entire life with that person?  He’s been married and divorced three times.  There’s no way he can understand.

Cheryl posted on Facebook today that she’s so depressed she just feels like moving away to where no one can even find her.  I get that.  I finally asked Terry for her phone number and opened that door.  I texted her that I think of her often and feel like we share something in common.  I told her we should exchange email addresses and talk sometime.  I may be able to help her. I don’t know.  I guess she has to decide if that’s something she wants to do.

I went back to my blog from the day Donnie died and reading it brought tears to my eyes.  I’ve moved on and sharing my journey with her might help her be able to move on as well.

10thJuly

Rolling Along

I didn’t realize it had been so long since I blogged.  Things just keep rolling along.  It’s been a good month but a bad week.  The refinance went through on the house and I was able to pay off that huge credit card, lower my house payments and get some cash out of the deal.

I had that huge tree cut down in the back yard and the pool is getting a lot more sun.  Terry and I went to Kansas and had a wonderful time staying at the Hippie Chick Oasis.  A beautiful home in the middle of 60 acres of farmland.

This week has been challenging.  The 8th was the 7th anniversary of Donnie’s death.  I don’t dwell on that sort of thing.  I loved him so much and I miss him like crazy but we had such wonderful lives I can never be bitter.  I cherish the memories and try to forge ahead.  I have so many wonderful things in my life and I know there are more to come.

I’m a little out of sorts today.  My brother, David, should be getting released from rehab on Tuesday.  David keeps a clean house and my brother, Mike, asked if I had been there recently.  I told him I hadn’t and he said David was so upset about my son, David, not getting all the work on his list completed that Mike told him he would go over and finish it up.  Mike told me David’s house was really dirty.  David has been sick for a long time and I guess he just hasn’t been able to keep up with it.  I told Mike I would drive down there and while he was working on David’s floors, I would clean house. That’s what we did.  It was hot in the house and Mike said he promised David he would keep the thermostat no lower than 80 degrees because David was worried about his utility bill. So Mike and I worked all day.  It was hot and Mike was installing flooring and trim and I was throwing out rotten food in the refrigerator, doing dishes that had been dirty since David went to the hospital a month ago, scrubbing bathrooms and just tackling a whole lot of nasty stuff.  I was very careful not to rearrange anything because the last thing I want is for David to come home from the hospital and not be able to find something he needs. We worked all day until we were both exhausted and I drove home.  We agreed to go again on Sunday and finish everything.

After I got home, my brother, David, called and said he thought I was going to come and see him.  I told him I had worked at his house all day to get it nice and clean for when he comes home next week and I would come and see him on Sunday.  He said, “Just make sure you don’t move any of my stuff.  I don’t want to have to search all over the house for things I need.” A “Thank You!” would have been nice but I let it go.  I asked him how he was doing and he said he failed another swallow test so he’s probably stuck with a feeding tube for the rest of his life.  I told him I was sorry to hear that but there were still lots of things he could enjoy.  Then he got really loud and angry and told me he would rather be dead.  Again, I tried to reassure him and cheer him up but he wasn’t having it.  He ranted about how my son, David, had only shown up a handful of times and he exaggerated it and told me David had only shown up 2 times out of the 14 times he needed him.  That isn’t nearly true but I tried to defuse things and reminded him that David has a full time job and could only come when he was able.  I told him it didn’t really matter because Mike was finishing things up and the work would be done when he got home. It didn’t help.  He ranted about how he didn’t have anything left to live for.  He can’t fish, he can’t go camping, he can’t do any of the things that make his life enjoyable and he would rather just die.  I just couldn’t listen anymore.  He has been like this for years.  Nothing makes him happy.  He seems determined to see the glass as half empty.

I always thought love was easy.  You either love someone or you don’t.  Not much you can do about it.  You don’t have a lot of say about who your heart chooses to love.

But sometimes it’s really hard.  It comes with a lot of pain and guilt.  My brother, David, is in the hospital.  He’s become so negative the last few years that’s it’s almost a burden to try to have a relationship with him.  And then I feel guilty about it.  It’s the same with my sister, Donna.  I kind of feel like I need to love them from a distance but then I feel guilty.

David is in ICU.  He’s battling cancer and a lot of other health problems.  He can’t swallow.  He’s down to 110 pounds.  He’s totally miserable and I wish I could help him but it’s so hard.

The last time I saw him, he was at home and complaining that he had so many little things that needed attention and he just didn’t have the strength to take care of them.  The next day, Terry and I went to put up a bird feeding station so he could enjoy watching the birds.  I figured it would be a simple process but he had ordered it online and the instructions were not clear at all.  He sat on the front porch while Terry and I worked on it and he was so critical I was ready to scream.  He was watching from a distance and thought he knew how to put it together but the pieces had specific fittings and didn’t go together the way you would think.  He was getting loud and aggravated and kept trying to tell us how to assemble it and wasn’t listening when I would try to tell him that the pieces wouldn’t work that way.  We finally got it assembled but it was so frustrating that Terry and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

I made the mistake of telling my brother that my son, David, got rained out of work quite often and he might be able to come up and help him out when that happened.  That was a huge mistake.  The first time my son went to help him, he was presented with a couple of pages of “projects” that would keep a handyman occupied for at least a week.  He wanted ceiling fans installed, a hood for his stove, all the carpets ripped out and new flooring installed, electrical outlets replaced, etc.  On top of everything, my son discovered that he has bed bugs in his house and it creeped him out totally.

It was a mistake.  My brother was irritable and demanding and acted like David was his employee.  He wanted him there at certain days and times and acted like he had been inconvenienced when David had to work his regular job.  It’s and hour’s drive each way and David hated going there because it seemed like my brother didn’t appreciate anything he did.

Now my brother is in the hospital and I was going to go see him today but I called first and was subjected to a 30 minute rant about how David had let him down and there’s still a lot of work to be done.  He went on and on about it and I just felt like hanging up.  I finally was able to change the subject but I was really relieved when he said he didn’t feel up to having visitors.  On the other hand, my son didn’t get paid for the work he’s already done so I seem to be getting flack from both directions.

Terry came to my house last weekend and it was a pretty good visit.  We have a trip to Kansas coming up next week and it will be good to get away.  We found a really unique accommodation last year in Colby, Kansas when we were on vacation.  A silo that had been converted to a lodging.  It was so peaceful.  Surrounded by acres and acres of farmland with total silence and a view of the stars that was phenomenal.  We decided to go there next week for a few days and stay at another dwelling owned by the same man that promises to be even better.  I’m really looking forward to some peace and quiet.

In other news, I finally got the pool opened and it’s warming up quite nicely.  I’ve been doing laps the last couple of days.  My refinance on the house is still in the works and it’s becoming more than a little frustrating.  I sent an email to my loan officer this morning telling her this should not be taking so long.  I’m waiting for her response.

Update – I’ve been thinking about this post.  Wondering how so many things went wrong in my family.  Two years ago, I would have told anyone about how blessed I was to have a family that was so tight and connected and loving.  I adored my little brother, Dennis.  I loved my sister and considered her to be my best friend.  My brother, David, was always so much fun and he and I always laughed and reminisced about the good old days.  Mike was the older brother that always seemed to have a protective and fathering place in the family.  I could count of him for anything.

And now, look at us.  What a mess.  Dennis died, Donna ruined and stole my business, David is dying and has become so mean and miserable.  I don’t even recognize them anymore.  The roles have changed so much.

If I have to blame anyone, I guess it would be Donna.  She ruined my business and then went around doing things that totally split the family apart.  She went to New Orleans when Dennis was in the hospital and told his “wife” Bobbi, all kinds of lies about me and I still feel the pain of what she did.  Then, after I went down there, I had to endure a very frosty reception from both her and Bobbi while I was trying to process the pain of seeing my brother suffer.  Then Donna turned on Bobbi and treated her terribly when Dennis died.  After Mike tried to rectify the situation she turned on Mike and hasn’t spoken to him in two years.  She did remain fairly close to my brother, David, and, although I never addressed it, I know that she tried to bad mouth both Mike and I to David.

And this is the result of her actions.  The family is shattered and will never be the same.  I love her and I made the decision to keep her at a distance but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss the relationship that we had.  I’ve lost so much sleep about it and I know I’m doing what has to be done to try to keep the love alive but it’s not easy.  Right now, when David is suffering so much, it would be wonderful if we were all supportive and connected in the way we should be.

Always so much to do around here and so little energy.  I’m waiting for the notary to show up and have to redo all the signings on my new mortgage.  I was surprised that I signed all the paperwork and they said I should get a check in a week but I didn’t.  I gave it another week and then emailed the loan officer.  She called me back and said, “Please don’t shoot the messenger but I have some bad news.  All the documents involved with redoing the mortgage were lost and we have to do it all over again.”

She said the procedure is for the notary to show up at my house and we go through all the paperwork and I sign it and she notarizes it.  We did that.  It took more than an hour to complete everything.  Then the notary gives the documents to FedEx and they are sent to the loan office and the loan is processed.

The notary gave all the documents to FedEx and they never showed up at the loan office.  My loan officer contacted FedEx and they could account for everything getting to Nashville, Tennessee but they don’t know what happened after that.  FedEx did a search that took a week and finally admitted that they lost them somewhere.

So now I have to redo all the paperwork and I’m not happy that all those loan documents are lost somewhere.  They contain all my personal information.  Name, address, social security number, bank information, etc.

I think I’m going to do a follow-up and see if someone can be held accountable.  That sort of thing should NOT happen.

In other news, my tree was removed and the sun was shining on the pool for one day and then it became rainy and overcast.  We’ve had rain and thunderstorms every day for the last ten days.  Not my idea of summer.  The forecast calls for two more days of rain and then it’s supposed to clear up for a week or so during which time I might be able to get the pool open.

Terry is coming for the weekend and should be here tomorrow afternoon.  David doesn’t like him but that’s too bad.  He’s my boyfriend and he’s allowed to come whenever I say so.  David doesn’t like that I always come back from a visit with him exhausted but I know things are difficult for Terry so that’s just the way it is.  I actually had to go to the doctor yesterday because I injured my knee helping Terry work on his camper.  The doctor said I have fluid on my knee probably due to carrying heavy stuff and walking up and down the hill.  I’ve been taking an anti inflammatory and it seems to be helping.

My brother, David, is in the hospital.  He’s been undergoing cancer treatment and isn’t doing well.  I wish I could do something to help him.

I better get to work.  The notary is due in an hour and a half and I need to do some housework.

I guess I have to accept that I’m old.  I’m 69.  Some days, I feel like 50 and other days, like today, I feel like 80.

Terry wore me out.  That’s for sure.  I’ve been home for two days and I’m sore and tired.  My right knee is swollen and painful and I’m just exhausted.  It’s a strange predicament.  I know how limited he is so I try really hard to do the things that are difficult for him but I don’t think he recognizes how difficult they are for me.  That’s my fault to a certain extent.  If something needs to be done, I just go ahead and do it because I know it’s going to be harder for him than it is for me.  For him to carry a can of gasoline up the hill means carrying it ten feet, bending over and trying to breathe for two or three minutes and then carrying it another ten feet until he gets it done.  I just see that it needs to be done and lug it up the hill.

We worked like dogs on his camper.  I did a lot of stuff that I shouldn’t have been doing but we made good progress.  I was lugging heavy panels around, stretching up and screwing them into the ceiling and doing a lot of lifting and carrying that I shouldn’t do.  Everything is hard for Terry.  I can see him getting worse and worse and he doesn’t really have anyone to help him.  Even doing simple things is difficult for him.  I run the vacuum for him because it needs to be done.  I make the bed, I feed the cats, I clean out the litter boxes.  I sit at the table and he says, “Can you do me a favor?  Can you get me a cup of coffee?”  I get up and get coffee and sit down.  He says, “Could you get me the creamer?”  I get the creamer.  I sit down.  He says, “Do you want to fix us a piece of cake?”  It doesn’t stop.  It wears me out.  But then, he goes in the laundry room and loads his clothes in the washer and I can see that he can’t breathe and has to stop constantly to get through it.  So I try to spare him.  It’s amazing how much he has gone downhill in just the year that I’ve been with him.  He talks about getting a little part time job and I just don’t see how he could do it.

I do have more compassion for him, though.  I really got into why he wants to sell his double wide and move to Missouri and he admitted that he just can’t afford to keep living like he is.  Every year, they raise his lot rent and his expenses go up and he can’t keep up with it.  Add that to the fact that the community management has become overbearing and he just wants to get out of there.  He’s worried that he’ll sell his home and won’t have anywhere to go so he wants his place in Missouri to be at least livable and he can take the money from the sale of his home to make it better over time.

In all honesty, I don’t know how much time he has left.  I could see Donnie dying before my eyes.  The physical limitations, the weight loss, the loss of appetite.  I see the same things with Terry.  I would never marry him because he would make me crazy but I will stay with him and try to help him.  I know he loves me and feels like he’s waited for me his whole life and I do love him but I could never live with him and he could never live with me.  It just wouldn’t work.

I seem to have this tremendous compassion and ability to love other people.  I think it’s a God given gift and I try to follow my heart but it’s not always easy.  Donnie was not perfect by any means but he was perfect for me.  I don’t think I will ever have a relationship like that again.

On other topics, I seem to be overflowing with money these days.  My back unemployment came in and I was able to catch all my bills up and still have about $10,000.  I refinanced my house in order to make some improvements and lower the interest rate.  I’ve already completed the process and I’m just waiting for the check.  I owe $71,000 and it appraised at $220,000.  I was at 9% interest and I refinanced $100,000 at 2.9%.  The big picture is that I will get that high interest charge card paid off for $15,000, get another $15,000 in cash, lower my house payments a little bit and my credit score should go way up.  I envy those people that can buy a car or get a charge card with 0% interest because they have great credit.  I want that.  But, mostly, I just want peace of mind.  I’ve struggled ever since Donnie died.  I’ve come a long way and learned a lot.  When my unemployment came in, I was able to catch up my property taxes, renew my car tags, pay everything up to date, and pay off a couple of minor credit cards.  I’m also doing some much needed maintenance around the house.

I have three huge trees.  They’re old and I was worried every time we had severe weather.  Limbs were always breaking off and falling.  Always doing just enough damage to not make it worth turning in to insurance but make it sting my wallet.  Yesterday, they started taking down the worst tree.  They’ll be back later on today to finish it and work on the others.  I already have loads of sunshine hitting the pool and it should make it much more pleasant.  The tree in the back shaded it all day and it’s been uncomfortably cold the last five or six years.

I also need to take some of this money and take care of myself.  I’m always trying to take care of everyone else but I need a hearing aid.  I have a broken tooth, and I need glasses.  I guess I should start making some appointments.  I kind of dread it because I don’t know a damn thing about hearing aids, I hate to spend so much money on one tooth, and I already bought glasses a few years ago and they were useless.  Enough.  I need to get off here and do some research on hearing aids.

Just a quick update.  I have a lot to do this morning.  I have a notary coming at noon and it’s already 10:00 a.m.  We’re signing the closing papers to redo my mortgage.  That makes me very happy! My payments will stay about the same but I’m getting enough to pay off that high interest credit card and will get about $15,000 cash.

I haven’t seen Terry in almost a month and he’s been trying to lay a guilt trip on me because he’s been doing a lot of work in Des Arc, Missouri to get his camper fixed.  I’ve been swamped with doing things around here.  When you struggle for a couple of years, you have to put things aside.  When you finally get a break, there’s so much stuff that has to be addressed.  The tree company is coming next week, the pool needs to be opened, we’ve been working our butts off trying to get the garden in, I’ve been busy with mortgage paperwork and unemployment paperwork and Andrew’s disability paperwork.  We’re putting insulation and flooring in the attic and I have tons of stuff laying around all over the house that needs to be sorted and returned to the attic when it’s finished.  I’ve had doctor appointments and hair appointments and a dozen time consuming things that need to be done.

I told Terry I’ll come to his place and we’ll go to Des Arc and work on the camper and cabin for a few days.  I got really aggravated with him the last time I was there so I really haven’t been all that eager to go.  He wants to act like this is “our” place and I should be helping him.  I see Des Arc as a tick infested, mosquito infested, falling down nightmare and I have no desire to spend any time there but I feel bad for Terry.  So I’ll go down and help him out for a few days.  He seems to be determined to move there and there’s no way he can live down there with things being the way they are.

19thMay

Waiting

It seems like I spend a lot of my time waiting for something to happen.  I’m sitting here waiting for a tree removal company to show up and give me an estimate for removing a big tree in the back yard and trimming one in the front.  They’re supposed to be here between 1o and 12 this morning.  It’s 10:30 right now and I’d like to be outside working in the garden but I’m all cleaned up and waiting.  I think it’s important to look professional whenever you’re having someone do work for you.  I don’t want them to think they’re dealing with a poor old widow and I don’t want them to think I don’t care about my home.  So I get dressed up and do my hair and makeup and clean my house. And then I wait.

I did the same thing yesterday.  I had a tree company coming between 12 and 2.  So I had the house all clean and I was dressed and looking good and then I waited.  And waited.  For some reason, I forgot to write the name of the company on my calendar so I couldn’t call them.  I waited all afternoon thinking they might be running late but they never showed up.  The guy called me at 8:00 last night and said, “Hey!  This is Jay with Jay’s tree service.  Do you still want an estimate on removing a tree?”

I said, “I thought you were going to be here between 12 and 2.”

He said, “Yeah, I got tied up.  I did two jobs today and I just now finished.”

I said, “I waited for you all afternoon.  Why didn’t you call me and let me know you were delayed?”

He said, “I just didn’t think it would take as long as it did but I can come out and look at that tree tomorrow or the next day.”

I said, “You know what, Jay?  I don’t think that’s a good idea.  Considering that I sat around here waiting for you all day and you didn’t even have the courtesy to call me says a lot about you and your company.  I don’t think that’s the kind of company I want to do business with.”

He said, “Well I had no idea you’d be just waiting for me.  I figured you’d be just going about your day doing whatever you needed to do.”

I said, “Well, thanks for calling but I have several companies that I’ve gotten estimates from so I think I’ll just use one them.

Am I the only one that takes commitments seriously?  Maybe that’s why Terry couldn’t understand why I was so upset at having to cancel and reschedule my haircut FOUR times for him!  When I make an appointment, I’m there.  On time and ready to go!  If something happens that I’m going to be a couple of minutes late or if I have to cancel, I call right away and I’m very apologetic and feel terrible.

I had one tree company come out and the guy gave me an estimate of $3,200.  I know it’s expensive to have a huge tree removed so I figured I’d get a couple of more estimates and then decide which company to go with.  The first guy was pleasant enough and I told him things sounded good.  He told me he could do it the next week and would call me.  The entire week went by and he didn’t call.  In the meantime, the second company came out.  They seemed much more professional, driving a nice company truck and wearing company uniforms.  They gave me a quote of $2700 with a $250 discount for cash so the total is $2,450.

Last night, the first company called me back and he said he came out and measured my next door neighbor’s gate and realized he’s not going to be able to get his crane back there so it would be even more expensive.  I told him I had a few more companies coming out and I would let him know.

Update – the third company just left.  I liked the guy.  Very professional and honest.  He told me it’s going to be really difficult and expensive to get it down because they’re not going to be able to get a crane back there.  I leveled with him about the estimates I had and he said Danka is a good company and he would go with them.  He said, I can tell you right now that my estimate is going to be much higher than that and I won’t be able to get to it for at least two months.

So I called Danka and told him I would like to use his company but only if they could get it done fairly quickly because I don’t want to be still waiting for weeks.  He said he might be able to do it next week but he can do it by June 1 for sure. So I signed the contract at $2,450.  I think that’s a pretty good deal.

Next on the agenda is to try to find out what’s going on with redoing my mortgage.  I mentioned in a previous entry that I was terribly disappointed to find that I had liens on my house.  I called the attorney that did my bankruptcy and he told me those liens were paid during my bankruptcy.  He sent me proof and I forwarded it to the company that was going to redo my mortgage.  The agent said that was great but I haven’t heard from them since then.  I’m going to text them and find out what’s going on.  I got an automatic email from them that said they were still working on it.  I’m locked into a rate of 2.9% until June 1 and that date is rapidly approaching.

Terry has been in Missouri for a few days.  Most of the time I think he’s crazy for wanting to go there but sometimes I can understand it.  I used to love to go to our property in Florida.  It was so remote and private.  I always felt at peace down there.

Life has become so complicated.  I’m tired of thinking.  It never stops, never slows down.  I had to deal with unemployment paperwork today, had to deal with paperwork for Andrew’s disability today, and had to finish filing my taxes today.  The deadline was extended and today was the last day to file.  I actually worked on taxes about a month ago and couldn’t figure out why I owe so much.  I set it aside and went back to it today to try to figure it out.  How on earth could I have lost my entire business last year, had to throw out or give away thousands of dollars worth of products, struggled from one paycheck to the next and still owe $1,500?  I usually get around $3,000 – $4,000 back.  I went over it again and again and finally gave up, paid it, and filed.  It scares me to death to think about what I’ll owe next year since I just got $15,000 in unemployment back pay that I’ll have to report.

Our property in Florida was beautiful.  It was 10 acres in a rural setting.  We only had a few neighbors but they were wonderful people.  The property was almost circular in shape so it maximized the potential for privacy.  We had beautiful woods surrounding it and had cleared a central meadow that had beautiful grass and live oak trees.  It was mostly level but had a gentle slope on it.  It was perfect.  We never finished the cabin but it had an upstairs bedroom with a large balcony and lots of windows that looked out on the woods.  There was a half bath upstairs and it was dry walled and painted white.  There were two overhead ceiling fans and the room was big enough for a king size bed and a couch.

Downstairs, we had a kitchen area with a full size stove and refrigerator, new cabinets and sink, a big porch, and lots of windows.  We never finished the bathroom downstairs or the drywall but I had done a really pretty ceramic tile floor on the entire downstairs.  Outside, we had installed a big old claw foot tub and we had a tankless hot water heater that never ran out.  It was wonderful to go out back in the evenings, run the hot water all the way to the top of that big old tub and just lay there and look at the stars.

We had air conditioning, a really nice enclosed well, and we buried all the electrical lines because I didn’t want them spoiling the view.

Terry’s property is 14 acres but it’s rectangular so it’s only a couple of acres wide.  It sits on the side of a hill and there’s very little level ground.  There’s no road on it so walking around involves climbing uphill through a lot of overgrown brush.  He has a well but it’s not enclosed and God only knows what kind of creepy crawlies live in that water.

The people that owned it before had built a very small cabin that’s about 18′ x 12′.  They had a composting toilet system installed but never hooked it up.  It was and still is totally unfinished.  It was wired for electric but someone broke in and stole all of the wiring and copper from it.  Terry started to insulate and dry wall but either he didn’t know what he was doing or he just didn’t care.  It’s the worst job of dry wall I have ever seen.  He only got it halfway done and the sheetrock  is uneven and he sealed the joints with a hot glue gun!  Squirrels, rats, mice, and birds got in and went behind the drywall and nested in it.  They have shredded and ruined the insulation behind the drywall.  Behind the walls is shredded insulation that’s full of feces and nesting material. It’s awful.  I don’t know if Terry did it or the previous owners but they laid self stick vinyl tile in the area where the toilet and shower will go and all the tile is peeling up and ruined.

He also has a camper on the property.  It’s very old and basic.  Everything inside it is falling apart.  Terry takes a couple of generators up there for electricity and they’re loud and constantly needing to be refilled with gas.

I understand why he wants to get away from all the hassles and headaches of living in his mobile home community but he has a three bedroom, two bath, double wide in a nice area.  He’s not able to do a lot physically and he doesn’t have a lot of money and yet he is determined to sell it and move to his property in Missouri.

I know he’s disappointed that I’m not in Missouri right now helping him get ready to move but we have totally different lifestyles and I have no desire to be at his place in Missouri.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being a total snob, I would be happy to help him if we could agree on what to do but we don’t agree at all.  Everytime I go down there to help him, I feel like we’re working our butts off and getting nothing in return.

If the property in Missouri were mine, I would gut the cabin, rewire it, and fix the plumbing.  Doing that would make the cabin secure against critters, and we could stay in it.  Then I would begin to work on the insulation and drywall. After that, I’d get to the flooring and build a porch or deck. Once the cabin is livable, I’d be hauling that old camper off to the junkyard.

Terry, on the other hand, is putting band-aids on the problems and planning to move into the camper with three of his cats and put the other three cats in the cabin.  He has what he calls a “reservoir” that is nothing but a big low spot on the property that becomes a pond during the rainy season.  He wants to pump water from there to a holding tank for showering and cleaning and buy bottled water for drinking and cooking.  He says he does not want to be dependent on the electric company and doesn’t want them hooking up to his property.  He’s fine with noisy, smelly generators that need to be filled at least twice a day.

I keep thinking that if he sells his home, he can take some of the money to fix up his place in Missouri but he doesn’t have any plans to do so.  It’s hard to be in Missouri.  Terry has COPD and he can’t do the work that needs to be done.  It’s very difficult for him to even walk around because it’s so steep but he gets a gas can from his truck, stops to rest, carries it halfway up to the generator, stops to rest, carries it the rest of the way, stops to rest, and then fills the generator.  He does the same thing with water and tools.  I see how hard he works and I try to do a lot of the labor for him but then I wind up overdoing it and my back and ankles start killing me.  I work non stop whenever we go there but it doesn’t ever seem like anything is getting accomplished.  We spend all our time carrying water and gas and filling generators and burning trash and cleaning up after the rodents. The town is a hole in the wall and consists of a population of 400, a very small convenience store/gas station and an old restaurant where all the unemployed hang out. Terry only knows a couple of people and they were no help at all when he got stranded there.  Our phones don’t even work up there.

So why am I feeling a little bit guilty that I’m here at home and he’s up there working his ass off?  He’s still trying to fix the roof on his camper and told me he’s using ropes to pull sheets of plywood on top of it. He’s exhausted.  He called me a few minutes ago.  It’s the first time I’ve talked to him in three days because he had to drive an hour and a half to get to a town with a good hardware store.  While he was there, he had a phone signal.  He said he’ll probably be there a few more days because he has so much work he still needs to do.  What is it they say?  You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear!

15thMay

Still Venting

I’m so sick of the ways things are now.  Nothing seems to go like it should.  I decided to buy a new tiller because I really need one and I need to get the garden going.  I didn’t want a cheap piece of junk so I picked a good tiller and couldn’t find one anywhere.  Everyone wants you to order it and wait a couple of weeks.  I finally found my second choice in a store in Indiana so David and I drove over and bought it.  The damn thing cost $650 but I figured it would be worth it to have a decent reliable tiller.

We brought it home and David put it together.  It worked great for about an hour and then hit a sizable rock and broke a pin in the tire.  There aren’t anymore within hundred miles so I just decided to buy a new tire for it at a cost of $40.00.  David really struggled with it because the design made it a real challenge to remove a tire and it took him a couple of hours and a lot of frustration to get it done.  I should have just returned it but, like I said, they don’t have any available for exchange.

Yesterday, the second day since I bought it, we got to work again and used it for about 3 hours and then a belt began making noise and it quit working.  I decided to drive 105 miles to exchange it but I called before we left to make sure they had another and would hold it for us.  I spoke to the manager and she told me they don’t exchange gas powered engines and I would have to take it to a service center to have it repaired under the warranty.

Crazy stupid!

It’s one frustration after another.  Trying to work on the yard and garden.  My tiller is broken so we borrowed the neighbor’s.   His hasn’t been started this year and doesn’t seem to want to.  I left with David to buy some weed guard fabric and look at tillers but they don’t have any.  Seems like they’ve really pushed people to buy online since Covid began and now stores don’t like to carry large items anymore.  Bought the fabric and came back to discover that Andrew mowed down my big patch of bee balm that I’ve been cultivating for years.  I can’t jump on him because he thought he was doing a good thing so I just let it go.  I decided to use the weed eater to do some trimming but the battery is dead and will take hours to recharge.

In the meantime, I was talking to a couple of neighbors about cutting down trees and they seem to think I’m getting ripped off so I’m going to have to start over with getting estimates.  I just can’t seem to get anything accomplished.

8thMay

Up and Down

I haven’t written for a while.  There have been a lot of ups and downs.  On the up side, I finally got my unemployment.  At least for last year.  They opened up some of the unemployment offices for “in person” assistance for those who had not yet received their unemployment.  I started trying to log on to the site and make an appointment ten minutes before they were supposed to get it up and going and I couldn’t even get it to log on for almost 20 minutes.  By the time I logged on, most of the appointments were gone but I managed to get one in Lexington, KY scheduled.  That’s a little more than an hour away but I got it and grabbed it.  They worked pretty efficiently and got my unemployment straightened out and told me I should start getting checks within a week.  Two days later, I had $15,000 in my checking account. They said they could only do last year and I would have to make another appointment for this year.  I tried and tried and finally found one in Prestonburg, Ky for this coming Monday.  That’s a 3 1/2 hour drive each way but it will be worth it.

I was able to pay two years of property taxes along with the penalties which ate up $3,500, renew my car tags that hadn’t been done for a year and half which took another $700.00.  I paid two house payments at another $2,000 and got all my bills caught up.  It’s a tremendous sense of relief to have everything current.

I got a call just before I got my unemployment from a mortgage company that wanted to offer to redo my mortgage at an interest rate of 2.9% which would be a tremendous savings since I’m currently at 9.2%.  I only owe for another 7 years but it would lower my payments and I was asking for another $20,000 which would allow me to pay off $15,000 that I have on a very high interest credit card.  I hate charging on that thing but I had to over the last year.  I owe $71,000 on the house and I would have refinanced for $100,000.  I had to pay $500 for an appraisal and the house appraised at $220,000.  I was actually really surprised.  We paid $39,000 for this place when we moved in.  Everything was looking great and I was really upbeat about it.  My payments would actually be lower, the house would be paid off faster, and I would have had $29,000 extra to pay off that credit card and get a bad tree cut down and fix the fence.  I was shocked to find out that when they did the title search, they found out that there is are several liens on the mortgage that come to around $25,000.

I don’t know much about money.  Donnie handled that when we were married and he was very controlling about it.  I was okay with that.  He did a good job for most of our lives but he let things get way out of control at a certain point and hid it from me.  I’ve been dealing with it ever since he died.  These liens were placed on the house in 2012 and he died in 2016.  He never told me about it.  I had to take out a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2017 and I got it all paid off in 2018.  I thought that took care of all the old debts but I found out that creditors can refuse to release a lien and it will stay for 15 years.  That means those liens will remain on the mortgage for another 6 years.  I only owe on the house another 7 years so I guess I’ll just keep on paying my high interest credit card payment and my high interest mortgage payment.  Not what I want to do but I’ve been doing since he died and I guess I can keep doing it.

Donnie died and left me in a financial nightmare.  I have always thought it was partly my fault because I enjoyed traveling and having good times as much as he did.  I’ve been upset and depressed because he didn’t tell me how bad things were but I loved him passionately and I’ve always just thought that he did the best he could and tried to deal with it the best I could.  This is the first time I’ve felt really angry about what he did.  How could he have let this happen and never told me or warned me about it?

Now I can’t take advantage of a low interest rate and redo the mortgage but I’m still hoping to take down that old tree in the back yard and get the fence fixed.  The fence is literally falling down and the tree has gotten huge and grown into the fence line.  Every time we have a bad storm I lose a few branches and it’s just enough damage to cost me money but never enough to be worth involving the home owners insurance.  The estimate is $3,200 and I’m hoping to get it done next week.

I’ve been pretty much consumed with Terry the last month or so.  It seems like he’s always starting something and then he gets in a bind and needs my help.  It’s frustrating.  He’s still trying to sell his place and I don’t really know why.  He’s aggravated with the community rules and he doesn’t like his neighbors and wants to move to his property in Des Arc, Missouri.  That would be fine if he had someplace to move to but he has a small cabin that has never been finished and is over run with mice and squirrels.  The property is on a hillside and he can’t even walk up the hill.  He has an old camper on it and the camper is a piece of junk and he keeps trying and trying to fix it when it’s beyond fixing.

I went up and helped him when he had his stint placed and I had only been home a few days when he decided to go up to the camper and work on the roof because it has a leak. It’s had a leak ever since I first saw it more than a year ago and I told him if he would wait a couple of weeks and let me get caught up at home, I would help him but he wouldn’t wait.  He went up there and then a couple of days later, he called and told me his truck broke down and he was stranded and needed me to pick him up and take him home.  I was really frustrated because I had a lot going on and I had already rescheduled some of my appointments when I had to go help him after his stint.  I told him I had a hair appointment and a doctor’s appointment and he said he didn’t have any choice.

I had to reschedule an appointments yet again and head up there.  It’s a six hour drive from my house to his property in Des Arc, Missouri and I figured I would drive up there, pick him up, use my AAA to have his truck towed home and drive another 2 1/2 hours to get him home.  I planned to spend the night and then get up early and head home which would be another four hours but I would be able to keep my hair appointment which I had already rescheduled twice because of his stint and because he rented a cabin for my birthday and had given me the wrong dates on it.  He called me while I was on my way and told me I was to pick him up and take him home so he could feed his cats andd get some tools and then we would head back up to Des Arc the next morning.  I told him I wasn’t planning to stay but I would be heading back to Louisville after I got him home and got his truck towed and he told me he had already managed to get his truck to a shop and they would fix it but it would take a week.  He needed me to take him home and then help him in Des Arc because they had a terrible storm and his camper had leaked like crazy and he had to put a new roof on it.  He said he’d been up all night emptying buckets of water that had been pouring in.

I was so frustrated and angry and I told him I had a hair appointment the next day and I wouldn’t be able to do that but I would take him home.  I hung up and then I started feeling guilty because he really needed help so I called and cancelled my hair appointment for the third time and called him back and told him I’d help him.

I picked him up and took him home and the next morning, he got up and drove my SUV to Farmington, Missouri, rented a truck to take plywood and roofing materials to Des Arc, returned the truck and came back to his house to pick me up so we could go work on his camper.  We got there late and his camper was a mess.  We proceeded to do a fair amount of drinking and he was laughing and told me he couldn’t quite believe it when I was telling him I couldn’t help him because I had a hair appointment.  I told him I am a very reliable person and I was upset because I had cancelled the appointment three times to help him out of one bind or another and I felt terrible about it.  He just laughed and said if I give her a big fat tip when I get my hair cut she’ll get over it.  He never once demonstrated the kind of remorse he should have and it’s left me with a strong impression of who he is.

The next day we worked really hard removing all the sopping wet plywood and insulation in the roof of the camper and it quickly became obvious that he still didn’t have the tools he needed to fix the roof so we had to drive to Farmington again to get stuff.  He was driving very fast and that usually doesn’t bother me too much but, at one point, he passed 5 cars in a row and accelerated to 90 mph to get by them because another vehicle was approaching in the passing lane.  It made me mad and I told him he needed to slow down but, again, he didn’t apologize but told me he was an experienced truck driver and had it under control.  He said we had to get that roof fixed before it rained again.  We got a grinder and headed back to Des Arc but he put the blade on the grinder incorrectly and it wouldn’t work so he gave up.  I helped him throw a tarp over the exposed roofing and secure it and then we headed home.

In case you haven’t figured it out.  I’m fed up with him.  He’s unorganized and needy.  He loves me and I love him but I’m going to have to figure out how to break it off.  He takes me for granted and I’m tired of running to the rescue because he makes a mess of things and then expects me to help him get out of it.

29thMarch

Is it just me???

I just can’t seem to get or stay upbeat these days.  It just seems like one frustration after another.  I get moving and have plans to accomplish so much and then it’s just one snag after another until I get so discouraged I just want to give up and go to bed.

I went to Terry’s and picked him up from the hospital.  I stayed with him for an entire week.  Keep in mind, I had just been up to see him for a week, came home for four days, and then had to go back up there because he had to get a heart stint.  When I get home I have so much that I have to do to get caught up and nothing ever seems to go according to plan.

I was exhausted Sunday morning because I just got home Saturday evening and I didn’t even get up for church Sunday but listened to the sermon on line.  I rested most of the day yesterday.  This morning I got up early and went to Bible study and I came home with a long list of things I wanted to get accomplished.

I tried for more than an hour to make an appointment to get my Covid vaccine.  I would find a location that had it, log on and enter all my information, go to schedule the appointment and then come to a screen that said they were out of the vaccine and not taking appointments at this time.  I did that at eight different locations and then gave up.

Next on the agenda was scheduling a haircut.  I called and my hair dresser is on vacation for the next week.

I’m overdue for routine maintenance on my car and I have to take it to Elizabethtown, Ky to have it done.  I’m having a problem with the automatic door lock on the driver’s side and the computer screen sometimes goes off when I’m driving and then restarts but loses my GPS settings and radio settings.  I asked them if both of those things are covered by my warranty and they couldn’t tell me.  So I had to make an early morning appointment on Thursday to get it looked at and I don’t even know if it’s covered.

I logged on to the website to pay my mortgage payment and the site is down so I can’t get that done.

I’ve now spent close to two hours of wasted time trying to get things done and I’m tired and frustrated and I don’t want to do anything.  I know two hours is not much but two hours of frustration can take a toll.

I got pretty irritated with Terry while I was at his house last week.  He’s not nearly as attentive as he used to be and he acts like we’re just an old married couple.  I worked my butt off while I was there and it seemed like he was really dismissive of everything I did.  He has a way of doing that.  If I accomplish something, he either trivializes it or he says God is the one that really did it. I went up there because I wanted to make sure he took it easy after his heart stint was placed but he got it in his head that we needed to get his house all cleaned up.  I was already doing all the cooking and dishes and daily housework.  He has six cats and I was cleaning out six cat boxes every day.

He wants to sell his home so he wanted the walls washed.  He did the upper couple of feet on a step stool and I did the lower six feet.  Where is all the dirt and grime?  On the lower 6 feet.  He would just spray and wipe and I was scrubbing all the hand prints and dirty baseboards and crap that gets splashed all over the walls.  He was taking things off the top of the cabinets and handing them to me and I was washing and drying them and handing them back.  When we were done, he looked around and said, “I think I did a pretty good job.”

His carpets were filthy so I bought a new carpet shampooer because I need a new one for home anyway.  He has tons of clutter and I cleaned out closets and organized and moved a lot of really heavy stuff.  I moved all the furniture myself, cleaned under it and moved it all back.  I vacuumed and scrubbed carpets for three days and they looked a hundred percent better but he didn’t really even comment on them.  I was really tired the third morning and I woke up at 9:30, drank some coffee and took my shower and then I commented, “Oh my gosh!  It’s almost 11:00.”  He said, “Yeah, you better get started, you’ve got a lot to do today.”

It felt like he kept baiting me.  He would say something to the effect that he didn’t feel good and then turn around and say something like, I’ve got to get this done or that done and I would tell him to just take it easy and wind up doing it myself.  I worked my butt off and my back was killing me.  The morning I left, he said he was going to cut the grass and it didn’t even need to be cut.  I told him to give it a couple of days but when I got back to Louisville and texted him that I was home, he texted back that he was cutting his and his neighbor’s grass.

Sometimes I don’t know why I’m with Terry.  He’s racist and he’s sexist.  I try to talk to him about it but he has a way of twisting things around.  He tries to make it seem like I’m in the wrong and doesn’t really listen to what I’m trying to tell him.  He’s so self righteous and arrogant.  I tell myself that he’s that way because he’s really insecure and needs acceptance for who he is but he makes it difficult.  He talks about women as if each and every one of us is only interested in sex.  I have heard at least a dozen times since I’ve met him that on his very first evening of the cruise, two young women were chatting with him and asked him if he was on the cruise by himself.  He says he couldn’t believe they were coming on to him on the very first evening.  I told him they were probably just chatting but that’s not what he wants to hear.  The manager of the mobile home community gave him a letter reminding him that he’s not allowed to park on the street and he gave her flack about it.  She retaliated by telling him that they would have to do a criminal background check on me because any guest that stays overnight more than 14 days a year has to have a background check.  He got furious and has been ranting about how she’s just jealous of me because she has the hots for him. He called her and told her I have a four bedroom home, a pool, a hot tub, own a corporation, and my car cost more than her entire home.  I was really mad and told him I have nothing to be ashamed of and I don’t like the way he portrayed me and lied about me.  He said, “Do you have a four bedroom home, do you have a pool, do you have a hot tub, do you have a business?  I said, “I have a small four bedroom home, I have an above ground pool and an old hot tub.  My little jam and jelly business is gone and it was never a corporation.  I’m not embarrassed about who I am and you don’t need to lie about me to make yourself look good.”

He said he couldn’t wait to sell his place and move to his property in Des Arc, Missouri.  I said, “Terry, that’s going to make it really hard.  That’s a seven hour drive from where I live.”  Then he said, “Fine!  I guess I’ll just have to find a new girl friend.”  I said, “You have hurt me three times in just the last 15 minutes and I don’t need that.  You insulted me by talking about how the manager is consumed with lust for you, you lied about who I am, and you say you’ll just find another woman when I bring to your attention that it will be difficult to drive 7 hours just to see you.  I don’t need this.”  I told him I was leaving the next morning and then he apologized and begged me not to go.  I told him I don’t tolerate disrespect and I am not going to put up with it.  He said that’s just the way he is and he doesn’t mean anything by it.

He is arrogant and opinionated and I’m beginning to get really tired of it.  I used to tell Donnie I love you because of some things and in spite of some things.  Your “because of” list is much longer than your “in spite of” list.  Terry’s “in spite of” list is getting to be pretty long.

 

I was afraid yesterday morning.  I’ve struggled for a long time and sometimes fear can be paralyzing.  I was like that yesterday morning.  I got better as the day wore on.  I accepted that I had funds to work with and I got my bills caught up.  I had to pay two house payments and I’m paying my property taxes today.

Yesterday evening, the neighbor came over and said he got $3200 for his stipend because of his dependents.  I claimed four dependents last year on my taxes because I care for David, Scout, and Andrew.  I didn’t claim Steven because he works and wanted to claim himself.  That explains why I received such a large deposit.

Even so, I had already decided to accept the amount and use it to lift some of the burden off my shoulders.  How ironic that the sermon I listened to this morning was talking about how fear can break us down and stop us from being able to function.  I envy those who are able to have complete faith in God and just accept whatever comes their way.  My faith is strong but I’m not that strong.  I still try to take care of everyone and do what I can to support them.  I can’t just sit back and relax with the attitude that no harm will come to me and the ones I love.  I am the matriarch.  The provider.  I  have faith that God has given me that role and I have to work to fulfill it.  I can’t just sit back and sing la, la, la.  It’s not just me.  I have a family to provide for.  I can’t forget how devastated I was when Donnie died.  Not knowing how on earth I would be able to pay all the bills and support my family.  And then, having finally gotten things under control, my sister destroys my business and the pandemic prevents me from restarting it.  My faith is strong enough to let me know that it will all be okay eventually but I can’t just sit back and do nothing.

Moving on, Terry was not happy that I was pushy yesterday but he did go to the hospital and he called me yesterday evening to tell me that they were treating him very well.  They were attentive to his needs and did their best to keep him comfortable.  They ran all kinds of tests and scans and procedures and determined that hormones in his blood indicated that his heart was really struggling.  They decided to keep him overnight and schedule him with a cardiologist today.  At 1:30 this morning, he was having a series of heart attacks and they called in a team to do an emergency cardiac stent through his wrist.  So, yes, it was good that I was angry and insistent with him yesterday and made him get his ass to the hospital.  I talked to him this morning and he says they’ll be keeping him for a couple of days and he’s not supposed to use his right hand for a few days.  I guess I’ll get things in order around here and plan on going to his house to help him out for a few days after he’s discharged.

17thMarch

Jump Start

I’m trying to make decisions today.  I’m like an old car that has sat too long and can’t be started.  I’ve been deeply depressed and so worried and stressed that I can’t seem to move.

I was so far down yesterday that I went to my room and cried.  I got down on my knees and prayed for some relief.  All I did yesterday was make dinner.  I didn’t clean house, I didn’t go to the store.  I didn’t do anything but feed my family.  I couldn’t even muster enough energy to do the dishes.  I walked around in pajamas all day and didn’t even get dressed.

This morning, my bank account shows a deposit from the IRS for $5,600.00.  Where did it come from?  What is it for?  On the one hand, I desperately need it.  On the other hand, I called the bank and they couldn’t tell me what it’s for.  I tried to call the IRS but I can’t get through.  I’m almost afraid to touch it.  The government sent out stimulus checks of $1,400 and I was hoping I would get mine this week but that doesn’t explain the amount.  Stacy owes back child support but that wouldn’t come from the IRS.  It’s not from unemployment.  It has to be stimulus.

So I’m sitting here, thinking about the bills I need to pay and how that money will really help me bring things current and yet paralyzed with fear that maybe it’s a mistake.

I could pay my property taxes, get my car tags renewed, catch up my mortgage, and bring all my bills up to date.  Yet, I’m sitting here doing nothing and I feel frightened.  I’ve struggled so long in a deep, dark hole that I’m afraid to climb out.  The last thing I need is for the IRS to come after me because they made a mistake and I spent money that didn’t belong to me.  I guess that just shows how much mistrust I’ve built up with the government.  They have always let me down and I don’t feel like I can trust them at all.  Still, I’m going to lay down my fear, trust in God, and start paying bills.  Being afraid doesn’t help anything.  It’s time for me to jump start this old car and get moving again.

I just got a text from Terry while I was writing this.  I’m angry with him.  He texted me that he’s been having chest pains.  He was a medic in the army and he thinks he knows everything.  He told me he thinks he’s probably had and is having a series of small heart attacks.  I told him to go to the emergency room and he tried to give me this line about how he made an appointment for a stress test because he’s pretty sure it’s just angina.  I’ve suspected for some time that he’s a lot sicker than he lets on but he’s really stubborn.  I got confrontational with him and asked him why he hadn’t told me he was having chest pains and suspecting that he was having a series of small heart attacks and he said he didn’t want to worry me.  He said it will take months for the VA to get around to doing a stress test for him and I reiterated that he needs to go to the emergency room.  He got stubborn and told me that’s why he didn’t tell me about it sooner because he didn’t want me to worry.  I got really angry with him and told him he doesn’t want me to worry about him but he seems to have no problem with breaking my heart if he dies.  I texted him and told him to leave me alone.  I don’t want to listen to him play games with his health and my heart.

I’m so sick of men.  I really am.  They refuse to take care of themselves, they ignore serious problems and make excuses to avoid going to the doctor and then they die and leave broken hearts all over the place.  Donnie didn’t take care of himself and I still suffer his loss.  My brother, Dennis, didn’t take care of himself and I didn’t even know how sick he was until he was gone.  My son is blind because he didn’t take care of himself.  David walks around with a huge lump on his neck and constant pain in his foot but he won’t go to the doctor.  Men are so fucking selfish.  They partake in this quien es mas macho attitude until they’re destroyed and they don’t care who gets hurt.

I am strong.  I have been beaten down time after time but I always get back up.  I get depressed but I always pull out of it.  I have never needed a man to take care of me.  I have always taken care of myself and my family.  All my adult life I worked at least a full time job and a part time job.  Sometimes two full time jobs.  But I always managed to be there for my loved ones.  I am sick to death of men thinking women are weak.  I NEVER give up.  I have had my heart scarred time after time but it’s still beating.  I’m still juggling bills and taking care of my family even though it’s a family of men who should be doing a lot more to help than what they are.  I don’t depend on them, they depend on me.

Terry just called me and told me he’s going to the hospital.  He acts like he’s only doing it to make me happy.  If he wants to think that, that’s fine.  As long as he goes.

That’s what I feel like today.  Like I just don’t have anything left.  My bank account is overdrawn.  I get a small check tomorrow that will bring it current but I’m so tired of struggling with it.  I got home from Terry’s last Wednesday and this is the following Tuesday.  I haven’t done much except lay around and eat and watch TV.  I did go to church on Sunday and went back Sunday evening to join the choir.  I don’t know any of those old hymns they sing and my voice is shot but I just feel so bad for them when their choir consists of only four people.  The pastor is trying to get a choir together for Easter and asked for people to join so I did.  About 15 people showed up. We have two weeks to try to pull something together.

My house is a total mess.  No one else would say that but I see all the hidden dirt.  The dirty walls and the dirty windows.  All the dust and grime.  I just can’t seem to get motivated to deal with it.

Terry has a CT scan scheduled for Thursday.  I don’t know what it will show but I’m worried about him.  He told me last week that if anything was wrong, he wanted to leave his house to me.  I told him I absolutely would not take it.  He needs to leave that for his children.  He has a strange relationship with his children and grandchildren.  He likes to say he raised them in the church and they are strong and independent.  His son has a very good job and makes plenty of money and he seems to have a decent relationship in that they speak on the phone every month or so.  We’ve been to see his son twice in the last year but they don’t seem to have the kind of intimate, loving relationship that I would expect.  There’s a kind of distance between them that I wouldn’t expect.

I’ve never met his daughter and he doesn’t talk to her very often.  In fact, I only know of once in the past year that he has spoken to her over the phone.  I don’t know what’s going on with that.  He tells me about being a long distance truck driver and being unaware that his wife was leaving the kids alone while she went out and got drunk and slept with lots of men.  He says she told the kids to tell him that she was asleep or in the shower or at the store when he would call and that, when he discovered that the kids were being left alone to fend for themselves, he divorced her, got custody of the kids, and became a local driver so he could take care of them.

His description of those years seems to indicate a good relationship with his children but he says Matthew was always really gifted intellectually and Lindsey wasn’t.  He says Lindsey always felt a little bit inferior and was more withdrawn.  She married her high school sweetheart and they have two children.  She lives about 30 miles from Terry and, shortly after I met him, we happened to be in the area and he said, “Why don’t we go by Lindsey’s apartment and I’ll introduce you to her.  I haven’t seen my grand-kids in about 10 months and it would be nice to see them.”  I can’t imagine not seeing my grandchildren for that long and it seemed strange to me.  He pulled up to her apartment building and called her to let her know that we were in the parking lot and he would like to bring me in to introduce me.  She told him that one of them had an upset stomach and had just gotten sick and it wasn’t a good time.  Really?  I couldn’t wrap my head around that.  We were actually in the parking lot and she didn’t want her father to come in?  And he hadn’t seen her or the kids for almost a year?  I thought maybe her apartment was a mess and she was embarrassed about it or something.  Since that time, it has now been another year and Terry hasn’t seen her or the kids.  He says he calls her occasionally and leaves a message but she never calls him back.  I find that to be very strange.  He told me she and her husband want to buy a house and he offered, a couple of years ago, to let them move into his home and live there rent free while he moved to his property in Missouri for a couple of years to work on fixing up his cabin.  He thought not having to pay more than a thousand dollars a month in rent would enable them to save money for a home.  She told him it would be too far for her husband to drive to work but he’s a teacher and the school he works at is only about 15 miles from where Terry’s house is.

I don’t understand that at all but Terry told me Lindsey has a bit of a “victim” personality.  She is always feeling sorry for herself and is very over protective of her children.  She home schools them.  She works at a day care but it closed down from the pandemic.  I’m friends with her on Face Book and she posts lots of pictures of the kids.  He apartment looks clean and neat and she’s very pretty but I’ve yet to meet her.  I just think that relationship is very strange.  If I were her father, I’d be a lot more persistent about calling her and making efforts to stay in touch.  I can’t imagine not seeing my daughter or grand children for two years when they live less that 30 minutes away.

At any rate, I told him I would not want him to leave his house to me and that he should leave it to his children.  I told him if he left it to me, I would give it to his children anyway.

Enough writing.  I need to get to work.

I was reading some of my recent blogs and realized how selfish I sound.  I get depressed and I get confused and blogging helps me think about things and get it off my chest.

Too often, I blog about all the bad things and I don’t recognize the blessings in my life.  I get depressed and blog to clear my head. It’s a coping mechanism.  The only place where I express my true feelings.  Things that I don’t share with others. I already blogged once today and I read it and gave a little thought to how someone else would see it.  So I decided to write again.  Not in self pity or depression but to shine a little light on who I really am.

I am a beautiful woman who is living a beautiful life.  I have a beautiful family that’s full of love and goodness.  Most of the time, I’m running around in my black Ford Explorer with the sunroof open, wind rushing through my hair, singing along with my favorite music.  I turn the music up loud because I need to drown out my own contribution to it.

I am full of grace.  God has blessed me in so many ways and I can’t begin to measure the goodness of my life.  I am healthy.  I am loved.  I have traveled extensively and had the dedication and love of three good men.  Men are attracted to me.  Women are attracted to me.  I’ve had complete strangers tell me I have a radiance.  Most of the time, I’m very outgoing and I have a smile on my face.  It’s because God has shown me so much mercy that it creates an inner glow.

I can converse with just about anyone and I see that people are good.  I keep dollar bills in my car for giving to the homeless.  It is not my place to judge them.  I’m pretty sure none of them would choose the life they live.  Whether drugs, mental disease, or alcohol have brought them down, it’s still an illness or addiction and I know I am no better than they are.  I don’t hate.  I have a heart that is capable of endless love and I know that, in itself, is a treasure that is not given to many.

I have traveled to some of the most beautiful places in this world.  I have sat on mountaintops and been speechless at the splendor that surrounds me.  I have traveled by plane, RV, and cruise ships.  I have seen sunsets that are so overpowering that it has brought me to tears.

I love so many people.  I can’t help it.  I see their pain, I see their goodness, I see their needs.  And I can’t help but love them.  If they don’t measure up, if they hurt me, if they disappoint me, I still love them.

I have integrity.  I’m not perfect by any means but I try.  I really try to do good.  I don’t cheat, lie, or steal.  I respect other’s privacy.  I don’t snoop or pry.  I don’t try to get dirt on people.  I have enough of my own.

I cook big dinners for my friends and family.  I turn the music up loud and dance and slice and dice to exhaustion.  I drink shots of peanut butter whiskey or tequila with the best of them. And then I feed people.

I go outside almost every night after dark wrapped up in a beach towel and then I drop the towel and sit naked in my hot tub and listen to music.  I jump out of the hot tub and run barefoot through the snow to get back inside the house before my feet freeze to the concrete.

And that, people, is who I am.

I just finished paying bills.  It’s a tremendous weight off my mind.  I still owe lots of money but I get a sense of relief just to get the mortgage, charge cards, utilities, and insurance paid.  I know my credit is slowly going down the drain but at least I manage to feed my family and keep things going.

I had a big argument with David last night.  I am a doormat and I know that.  I’ve always known it.  But I have always felt a strong need to take care of my family.  I don’t really know why.  I just do. I don’t want them to do without.  I always wanted to be there for them.  I thought by always being there for my children and grand children I would raise them in a way that they would always be there for their own loved ones.  Instead, I have a family that thinks I will meet their every need.  They think what is mine is their’s.  I look at them and all I can see is their needs.  David is an alcoholic.  He doesn’t take care of himself or his children.  It’s like he’s just given up.  Andrew is schizophrenic and he spends a lot of time in his own little world and I can’t get him to go to the doctor or take medication.  Scout and Steven have Asperger’s syndrome.  It’s almost impossible for them to see beyond themselves and look at the big picture.  So I try to take care of everyone.

Sometimes it just gets to be too much.  David is in a dead end job and doesn’t seem motivated to do much about it.  He wallows in self pity and yet he doesn’t do anything to change his circumstances.  He continues to love Stacy and lets her control his life.  And yet, he has a heart of absolute gold and is loving and kind.

David is a junior.  His name is the same as Donnie’s.  Donnie and I had a joint checking account.  Stacy ruined David’s credit so I gave him Donnie’s debit card when Donnie passed away for emergencies.  I’ve had to take it away from him twice already.  He always has good intentions about paying me back when he takes money out of my account but those intentions never seem to work out.  He’ll get rained out and won’t work for a couple of days.  He’ll go to work and then be home in a couple of hours because there was a problem with the job. His boss treats him like a boy Friday and, although he’s supposed to be working construction, he treats him like a personal slave. He’ll have David go all the way to a job site, unload backbreaking loads of supplies and then send him home. He’s even had David work on his car in the freezing cold. I shop like a hoarder to make sure there’s always plenty of food to feed everyone around here and I know he gives some of it to Stacy.  I go out of town and he takes Stacy out using my bank account.

David will withdraw $60 because he’s broke.  The next day, he’ll take out 40, then he’ll take out another 60.  By the time he gets paid, he’s used up all his check and yet he thinks he’s giving me money.  I will get upset and tell him he owes me money and he’ll swear he doesn’t.  I sit down with him and look at my bank account and list all of the withdrawals and charges he’s made and add them all up and he’s always shocked to find that he’s taken out way more than he’s put in.  I know he’s not lying to me.  He really believes he’s replacing what he takes out but he isn’t.

I love him so much.  I know he’s hurt and disappointed at the way his life is going but he just can’t seem to get it under control.  He can see that Andrew and Steven and Scout take advantage of me but he can’t see that he does too.

I was thinking the other day about how much money I could save if I wasn’t paying all the household expenses, life insurance, phones, internet, and food for everyone else.  I would save over $2,000 each month.  I have no idea what they would all do if I wasn’t taking care of them.  Then I get angry because I sacrifice my own desires so that they won’t do without.  I feel guilty about the money I spend on myself.

Not today.  Today, I’ve got a little light shining.  My hair looks good.  My nails are done.  I’m going to get my lashes done and then I’m going to Terry’s tomorrow.  Doesn’t take a whole lot to make my light shine.  Just knowing that I’ve gotten my family taken care of for a few more days and I’m going to spend some time with a man that loves me and is much more concerned about making me happy than taking care of himself.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t need a lot.  I just need to be with him.  He works hard to try to make me happy.  It shows in everything he does.  He makes me little snacks like a mandarin orange and some cheese and crackers when I’m reading or watching TV.  He’s always exhausted when I arrive because he’s worked hard cleaning the house to get ready for my visit.  He stocks the refrigerator with whatever kind of food he thinks I’ll like.  He washes my car.  He can’t give me a lot but what he gives is from the heart.

Sometimes I lose sight of how blessed I am.  I get so stressed and depressed with everything that’s going on that I just have to stop, go to my room, get on my knees and thank God for giving me a loving family, a wonderful man that loved me for 47 years, a life in a country that’s the best in the world, a home that meets all my needs, and a little light in my heart.

26thFebruary

Patchwork

I can’t fix things but I’m trying to patch them up and hang on for a while.  I’m so sick of this pandemic.  It has drastically affected my income and I’m angry that I’ve been waiting close to a year for my unemployment.  Everyone tells me they have to pay it.  Eventually…I just don’t have any faith in our government anymore.

I’m affected in so many little ways that it just piles up until I’m faced with depression and lethargy.  I was looking at how many little things I’ve given up in the last year and I decided to try to patch a few things to make myself feel better.

I was going on at least two or three cruises a year.  I had a little play money and some savings.  I felt attractive and I know a lot of that attraction came from a sort of inner glow of happiness.  People liked to be around me.  Men found me attractive and flirted with me. I was confident. I was fun.

It’s not easy trying to look attractive at my age but I spent $70 on haircuts and I got regular manicures and pedicures.  I had my hair colored and highlighted.  I get lash extensions.  Nothing gaudy but attractive.  I got compliments on my “beautiful eyes and hair”.  I got complemented on my fashion.

I don’t have any of that anymore.  I started doing my own nails.  I started coloring my hair out of a box.  I can do the color but I can’t do the highlights.  I started going to “Great Clips” for $9.00 haircuts.  They do a lousy job and I usually wind up cutting my own bangs.  I don’t shop for clothes anymore because my savings are gone and I have to feed everyone and keep this place functioning.  There is no extra money for these things.  I have four turkeys (after the holidays, ten cents a pound) 12 pork loins (clearing out at 89 cents a pound) 14 semi boneless hams (reduced from an average of $25 each to $4.00 each).  My family is never going to go hungry.  I have three freezers and when I come across a fantastic sale, I stock up.  I have an overflowing freezer.  I deprive myself to make sure I can take care of everyone else.

The cruise-lines have been shut down for a year.  I haven’t shopped for clothes this year.  I don’t go out with my friends anymore because most of them are paranoid and there’s really no place to go anyway.  I’ve become very sedentary.  Watching TV, playing on the computer, and eating lots of junk.

So I’m doing some patchwork this week.  I colored my hair two days ago.  I did my nails yesterday.  I have an appointment for a hair cut in an hour.  I’m trying a new place.  Haircuts cost $20.00 and I can get my brows waxed for $10.00.  I have an appointment on Monday to get my lash extensions.  I decided to spend a little over $100 on myself and see if I look a little better.  I get a free gym membership because of my age and I’m going to go to their tanning booth for the next few days.

Just writing this makes me feel guilty but I’m just so tired and depressed.  My clothes feel tight and uncomfortable.  I feel anything but attractive.  Terry tells me I’m beautiful.  He says I don’t need to color my hair or get my lashes done but then he calls me his little red headed filly and he always says I have beautiful eyes. He likes to hold my hand and he says my hands are so pretty.  I really think he would still think I was beautiful if I let it all go but I wouldn’t.  I’ve given up all the things that I’ve always done to make me feel pretty to myself except for my lash extensions.  Every time they start to disappear I hate it.  I get them done every month.  Vanity.

I try to keep up.  I feel so guilty when I do these things for myself.  It seems so shallow.  Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m passable.  No one would ever call me a total disaster but I miss feeling pretty.  I miss people complementing me on my clothes and my hair.  I miss going on cruises and going to parties or going out to eat with my friends.  Is it ever going to end?

9thFebruary

Way down in the hole

I’m tired.  I’m sick and tired.  I went to the doctor today because I’ve had a pain in my side for a while.  Just an occasional stinging, burning sensation that seems to come on for no reason and lasts a few seconds. It’s getting a little more frequent so I thought I’d go in.  I was shocked when they weighed me.  My scales haven’t been working and I showed six pounds more than the last time I weighed in at his office.

He’s concerned about it.  Said it could be my diabetes (which I tend to ignore) progressing.  He made me promise to start checking my blood sugar so I guess I’ll find that thing and start checking it.

I told him about going on an intense diet and exercise the first ten days of January and not even losing an ounce so he did labs.  Said it might be thyroid.

I left the office feeling like I HAVE to start taking better care of myself.  The feeling lasted about ten minutes.  Now I’m just tired and my back hurts and I want to go to bed.

sigh…

6thFebruary

Down the Rabbit Hole

I’m still down.  Still feeling depressed.  I actually started crying last night.  Sitting on my bed listening to music and I started thinking about Donnie.  God, I miss that man.  I guess I always will as long as I’m on this earth.

We had a good relationship.  There were problems, of course, but it was still good.  We knew each other so well.  I miss that.  I miss having a man that knew absolutely everything about me and loved me anyway.  We could look each other in the eye and know what the other felt and needed.

I’ve been lucky, I suppose.  I’ve loved two men since he died and they’ve both been good men.  They’ve both loved me and tried to make me happy.  But it’s not the same.  It never can be the same.  They will never know me the way Donnie did.  Sometimes, they cut me to the bone.  I get hurt because I want them to give me what Donnie gave me and they can’t. And they don’t even know it and I can’t tell them.   I know it would hurt them.  I hurt Carl and I never intended to do that.  I don’t want to hurt Terry.  I can’t tell them what I need because I need my husband and it’s not fair to expect them to compete with a dead man.

We were so in sync.  He knew me so well.  I miss his impulsive love.  The way he would be sitting across the room and his hands would spell out “I love you!” for no reason.  I think it was the only real message he knew in sign language but he did it often.  Across a crowded room.  In the kitchen when I was cooking or cleaning.  He’d just randomly sign “I love you!”

He would walk up to me for no reason and envelope me in a warm hug and just hold me there.  He seemed to know what I needed without me having to say it.  He’d often say, “You and me, babe.  It’s just you and me.”

I do pretty well most of the time but, sometimes, I just break down with longing for him.  He was so strong and so big.  I never had to worry about hurting him physically.  He always made me feel small and protected.  I look at old pictures and he’s always towering over me.  I look so small next to him.

Carl was so sweet.  He’s a big man. He had that ability to just hug me for no reason and give me the security of enveloping me and making me feel small.  Still, he couldn’t read me.  He couldn’t see how much pain I was in.  He made me happy for a long time but when things got really painful for me, he couldn’t fix it.  I felt like he didn’t even see it. After I cheated on him with Terry, I tried to explain what happened and Carl told me he knew I was hurting but he thought he would just step back and give me time and space.  All that did was make me feel like he didn’t care.  Even after I met Terry, I tried to tell him.  I asked him if I could come and see him and he said, “You’re always welcome at my home.”  I said, “That’s not what I need to hear.  That sounds like something you would say to your sister. I need to hear you say, “Yes!  Come up here, sweetheart.  I miss you like crazy and can’t wait to see you!”  He said, “Pat, I just don’t say things like that.”  And I said, “But I need to hear things like that.”  I decided not to go to Carl but to wait for him to come to me.  Our relationship had reached a point where I would go to his house about once every three weeks and I waited for him to tell me that he needed me and make arrangements for us to get together. It just wasn’t in him.  He got a little lazy and started taking me for granted. He would text me every night like clockwork but he didn’t make the effort to come to me.  I don’t think Donnie ever took me for granted.  We were always together.  We even went to the grocery together.  We cooked and cleaned together.  “You and me, babe.  It’s just you and me.”

And there’s no replacing that.  I can love again.  I already have.  But it always feels like there’s something missing.  Terry has a lot more enthusiasm than Carl did.  He does little things all the time to show me how much he loves me.  He reaches over for no reason and gives me a hug.  He’s not afraid to hold my hand in public.  But he’s small and frail.  I worry about him.  Sometimes I feel like I’m the one protecting him.  I’m the one enveloping him.  Terry feels fragile to me. Donnie always felt so strong and powerful.  Maybe that’s why I was in denial about how sick he was.  Terry can get on my nerves and he doesn’t even seem to realize when it’s happening.  He can be so stubborn and he goes on a rant about something and goes on and on about it when it gets to the point of beating a dead horse.  After a while, I just tune out.

Human love is never perfect.  I know that.  I’m blessed to be loved at all.  I’m certainly not perfect.  Sometimes I feel so guilty for wanting something from men that they can never give me but I still feel like I’m not getting what I need out of the relationship.  I can’t help feeling like there’s something lacking.

The first real date Donnie and I went on was back in 1968 to see the movie “Funny Girl”.  It was loosely based on the life of Fanny Brice.  More fiction that fact but it was a heart breaking love story of her relationship with Nicky Arnstein.  They had a wonderful relationship and she adored him.  He got in trouble and went to prison and it broke her heart.  In the sequel, Funny Lady, she meets a new man and marries him.  He adores her but she never loves him the way he loves her.  She can’t get over Nicky.  At one point, he’s trying to figure out what he can do to make her love him and he says, “Don’t you realize that you’re my Nicky Arnstein?”  I think that’s my problem.  Donnie was my Nicky Arnstein.

I listen to a lot of music.  Music has always spoken to me.  There’s a song I was listening to yesterday evening called “Every little thing” by Carly Pearce.  It’s what made me cry.

 

The scent that you left on my pillow
The sound of your heart beating with mine
The look in your eyes like a window
The taste of your kiss soaked in wine
Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing
Guess you forgot what you told me
Because you left my heart on the floor
Baby, your ghost still haunts me
But I don’t want to sleep with him no more
Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Of every little thing
They say time is the only healer
God, I hope that isn’t right
‘Cause right now I’d die to not remember
Every little thing
I remember every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Every little thing
I remember every little thing
I’m haunted by the memories of
Every little thing
The high, the hurt, the shine, the sting
Every little thing