Stop! Look around you. Aren’t you lucky? Look at everything you have and have goals to work toward for even better things in your life. And the most magical part is that you finally figured out what you deserve, right? There’s nothing stopping you but you!
Since we’ve moved, things are changing for the better. Cameron was working at The Old Spaghetti Factory as a busser and interviewed for a host position at Market Street Grill. He’s shared his intention of planning a career as a professional chef. He starts next week!
My little soldier Nikki is developing her career in the military by setting the stones in her future. Her goal is to eventually take full advantage of the ROTC after she graduates. With the method of moving up in ranks in school, Nikki won’t be a frontrunner when she joins the service because she’ll have a higher rank.
Okay, as far as the cat goes, I know you’re dying to find out she’s more and more like a dog every day. Now, she meows and waits for people to do her bidding before she ceases. And yes, we’ve had to lock her out of the bedroom due to midnight calls of demand. But she absolutely loves watching the neighborhood dogs from the safe location of the balcony.
Me? Well, I’m contemplating if going back to school is a good idea. According to TED Talks, only about 25% of graduates actually go into their course of study as a line of work. I’m proof of that already. Customer Service does NOT require a $78,000 degree in writing. But, that’s what I’ve got. So I thought, which would be more lucrative, working hard on what I know for the next year or starting a new chapter from fresh and seeing where I land? I’m thinking it seems fairly obvious.
On a very happy note — we’ve started our Labor Day activities Saturday at the zoo. I know everyone has their own version of celebrating the fruits of their labor, but my celebration is a little different. Labor Day is the day after my mother’s serious work as a professional pusher in giving birth. (Breathing Techniques). I was born on the lord’s day of rest previous to man’s celebration of hard work, on a Sunday. We began our festivities this year by attending Hogle Zoo. We may have saved an animal’s life. You be the judge.
Please share your family’s summer fun with us, and I know it’s an oxymoron to say “have a Happy Labor Day,” but that’s my goal — to finally have a career I enjoy. And what will you do to celebrate your weekend?
As you may know, my kids and I have had our fair share of “adventure” this past year. We’ve relocated three times due to catastrophes. This last move is due to a wonderful setting in Cottonwood Heights called Hillrise Apartments. Unless it’s Halloween and you’re in for a creepy scare of not knowing what lurks behind the shadows, I wouldn’t suggest going there at all. Here is a video from the 2nd time we were flooded within a month–there was periodic flooding before this from under the floor. Know any lawyers seeking a bit of publicity? How about Get Gephardt from KUTV? Perhaps.
After already having missed several days of work for ridiculous repairs, such as our front doorknob literally falling from its socket THREE times and waiting for repairs, getting help in this scenario proved just as tedious. After alerting the manager of the first flood from upstairs, she gave me the tenant’s phone number (CPNI violation) and told me to call her myself, reciting that from now on, any calls I made after hours would cost me $50! Aubrey went on to tell me that a flood is not considered an emergency–an event is only considered an emergency if there’s a possibility someone may die. I suppose if your apartment burns to the ground, but no one’s inside, it’s not an emergency.
On this particular day my son, Cameron called the office with no response. He knocked on the door upstairs with the same result. And then, he called me. Hearing dripping in the background and remembering the flood a month ago, I said with dry humor, “Got flood?” Unfortunately, that’s exactly why he was calling. On my way home from work early yet again, I called our good ol’ government for the second time–and then I called the fire department. They showed up and made a report.
Clearly, no one wanted to help a single mother in Utah.
Get this, Randy Williams, the Environment Protection Agent I called (before the fire department broke in) didn’t come over until the next day, a couple of hours before the third maintenance worker in our six months, Phillipe, arrived with a wet vac.
Phillipe casually explained, with a smile stretched across his face, that we would pay for his services. None of these shinanigans surprised me, as Randy had barely made it when I called him the month prior. He clearly didn’t want to get involved. He called sixteen hours later, stating there couldn’t be anything for him to see since the water had certainly been cleaned up by now. I described the puckering walls and drenched carpet. When Randy finally made it, he remarked the brown carpet appeared dry and the swelling on the walls was purely cosmetic. There’d be no reason to worry about mold if I used a fan to dry the carpets. Furthermore, he sees nothing wrong with my two children and me staying there, despite the visible mold growth and rotting walls. He said it is harmless and shouldn’t be a problem for us to remain. (Remember kids, he’s paid with your tax dollars.)
After taking out a loan, we almost have enough money to move — we ended up “borrowing” money from additional funds that we shouldn’t have, but we had to move as the 100+ degree heat and the stench made me ill enough that I eventually went to the hospital, but still don’t feel much better. Our move got messed up because our rental truck was “lost,” which ended up costing us our movers after paying a $100 deposit. OUCH!
My daughter ended up “celebrating” her thirteenth birthday on July 24th, helping pack loads up to the apartment rather than the night at the movies with her friends, thanks to A-1 International Distributors, the company that supposedly owns this drug-dealers’ haven where we resided. My daughter was ultimately bummed her first teenage birthday was such a dud. Can’t say I blame her. I was crushed watching her haul her clothing in garbage bags up the steps to her new home in 103-degree weather. A-1 International Distributors and Hillrise Apartments should be deeply ashamed of themselves for feeding off struggling tenants.
We wound up with two super-duper high school studs helping us move with the use of several U-Haul trucks over the course of over a week. Okay, my son and his friend, Orion, moved our entire apartment up three flights of stairs! And pictured below are our new digs. Nice change, eh? We no longer live in the basement but on the third floor.
My week’s vacation from work was supposed to have been used much differently than working my butt off. I still have severe headaches and nausea, but we’re free at last!
Oh yeah, apartment manager, Aubrey did return my call — 11 days later — to inform me that without 30 day’s notice, I am required to pay for the month of August as well. In the event you’re wondering why Google has such great reviews on this complex, it’s because Aubrey will take $25 off of each person’s rent for a five-star review, whether or not anyone gives the review a thumbs up or not.
What’s your worst apartment experience, and how did you handle it?
Queen has always been a great band, and brings about the glorious memories of high school–when I was considered “cool.” Okay, I was cool in the sense I was an uncover cool kid masquerading as a geek, but no knew the true me. I recall the substitute bus driver playing Another One Bites the Dust during the last week of school one year and the whole bus chimed in, pounding on the seats and bellowing with their heads out the windows. No, I didn’t say it was safe, but it certainly was memorable. We should all have memories like that when paying a mortgage is the last thing on your mind.
Speaking of stressful situations, my teenage son has his drivers license. He got it last week. And while Cameron is extremely thoughtful, sometimes it doesn’t pay off. For example, I asked him to make a U-turn after he missed a driveway. Pulling into the center lane, he paused and then cranked the wheel while accelerating. My face smooshed against the window while we whipped around. I clawed at the door the way a cat does entering a vet’s office, desperately grabbing at the handle as Cameron spun the car around to the parallel lane the other direction. “What the hell was that?” I screamed after catching my breath, “You’re supposed to turn into the outside lane on a U-turn!” Cameron got angry and flustered at the same time. “But this car can do it easily,” he said. I explained that all cars must follow the same rules of the road. Now I ride in the middle of the back when he drives. But if anyone asks, I still say Cameron’s a good driver.
Cameron and I have also had conversations about how good drivers are born from experience, not just the manuals, classrooms, and illustrations with arrows on a board. There are a lot of “unwritten rules” as well; rules like, if you’re in an accident, never immediately admit fault because often times people will take advantage and claim injuries that aren’t real for the sake of garnering a higher settlement.
They don’t teach that wisdom in school! They also don’t teach some of the maneuvers I do while driving that my kids refer to as “stunt driving.” There are times and places where what I do has a legitimate purpose—such as realizing I entered the exit with tire rippers and quickly back up for a do-over in the correct lane. They don’t teach that at driving school. As much as I want to protect my son, he’s going to drive. He is maturing with a job now working at The Old Spaghetti Factory–on his road to pro chef success.
Since Nikki will be thirteen in about a week, she has begun planning ahead for those “special” moments and I’ve only experienced one so far. The screaming rage and arguing are more than any mother should have to endure–it’s worse than when I menstruated! On the dresser is a pair of clean underwear with a pad carefully inserted. Disgusted, I asked her if her season hadn’t ended the beginning of the month. She said it had, but she wanted to be prepared for when it hits again. Typically, this is not something I would advocate, but I’m relieved she’s finally planning ahead. I’ll take whatever I can get.
Did I hear you ask about Lucius the Wonder Cat? We got all excited yesterday–the kids actually texted me–to tell me she took a dump on the toilet. Yeah! I boasted her up yesterday when I hung her photo up on the pet board for Pet Week. And everyone told me how beautiful and brilliant she is, trained and all. I’d prefer to have them think I’m some sort of lion tamer by not revealing the gift she left this morning. It’s better that way.
New about me? I’ve begun studying The Inner Temple of Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak. Don’t worry, I only use it for medicinal, meditation, and peaceful purposes. And I’m considering creating videos instead of typing–I don’t have the amazing images of other YouTube star moms, but I have humor! BTW, screw those companies that don’t want to hire me as a quizzer at the bars, even though drunks laugh at anything until you tell them it’s closing time.
Juggling work, school, and kids (not to mention the pooping cat) are about all I can handle. But now, we’re preparing to move–AGAIN! A bittersweet notion. Moving is not something I ever look forward to, but this time it’s an exception–that’s how miserable it is getting situated. After the flooding in days of yore, the health department coming to take a look at the growing mold, and those little gnats that have roosted throughout the apartment, I can’t imagine the 100+ heat with no air conditioning! So, we’ll let you know the final results with photos later.
Whether we’re talking about Queen, Cameron’s amazing driving, the cat’s remaining 8 lives, or this crappy apartment being left in the rearview mirror–it’s clear that another one MUST bite the dust! Sayonara, sweetie!
So I have been on track to get everything moving in the right direction. Sure, we live in the shabbiest apartment we can afford, but it’s been our home for six months. We have a place to meet together after work and school, we can cook what we want to eat, and go to bed when we feel tired–day or night. When suddenly, last summer pops into my mind.
Last summer we slept in a car for nearly a week while we waited for an opening in a shelter which we stayed at for six months. It was a tough pill to swallow, but Salt Lake’s Family Promise definitely beats the alternatives. We finally moved into a place without access to our mailbox where the landlord invaded our home through an alternate door whenever feeling like it. Not cool. Of course, it didn’t help that the locking button was on the other side of the door–although we were supposed to install our washer/dryer on the opposite side. Nevertheless, I wound up shelling out over $2,800 dollars to move somewhere that we could receive mail and lock our doors. Sure, we weren’t here but two nights when the front doorknob quite literally fell off in my hand, and it would happen three more times in as many months. Just a smidgen of what was in store, but I won’t get into that. Believe it or not, there are bigger fish to fry. However, I will suggest that when renting an apartment, you thoroughly inspect it first, even if the manager is waiting to leave for her vacation. Oh yeah, and don’t rent at Hill Rise Apartments!
Now for the good news, bad news, good news, bad news. We’re finally getting our cold water valve replaced, although it was never available for our washing machine before. I believe it’s because the inspector, Randy Williams, from the Environmental Health Agency notified manager Aubrey of his call to inspect the flooding damage and leaking into my son’s closet and bedroom; it’s still creeping across my son’s floor after a week. I’m thinking they must have a “running tab” with the complex because there are still no complaints listed. But our lease is up and rent rises $50. This still isn’t all. There are a lot of good news and bad news incidents we have yet to go over.
My job informed me that the pay schedule wouldn’t vary much–.30/hour annually, and to have an increase in pay, they suggest attending school for my master’s. Hmm, while being in my 50’s as a student sounds harsh, I’ve never conformed to normalcy. The best part is that all I need to do is pull B grades or pay for it myself. Sounds like a challenge–a challenge I must accept. And so I have. When I started at Ashford University, I was told the best class for learning training skills is Organizational Management. Turns out that isn’t exactly true. Like the name indicates, it is a management’s professional training. Yes, that’s bad news. Despite what my siblings always tattle about, I don’t want to be a boss–I wanna be a star!! (A writing star behind the scenes.)
Good news? We’re moving out, and our therapist has agreed to provide an ESA (Emotional Support Animal) certification on Lucius so she can remain with us. Lucius is, by the way, fully potty trained for the latrine now. (yeah.) And she’s much more of a dog than a cat–but then Bombay Cats are just extremely intelligent like that by fetching, sitting, remaining off the tables and counters (at least when we’re around) and seeking attention constantly.
What’s that? Time for bad news… again? In addition to taking time off of work, which means using my vacation time YET AGAIN for the apartment repairs, chances are slim to not we won’t even be here after next weekend. That’s right, we’re moving. Although the prices are the lowest this side of the valley, Attorney Kirk A Cullimore’s Law Office is doing something the attorney swore to me he wouldn’t do while we were in the courtroom. Yeah, yeah, I didn’t get the promotion within three months as I was promised at work. Therefore, we emptied savings, 401K, and quite literally my veins, in an attempt to support my kids while awaiting the child support order to come through for rent. As luck would have it, I received support from my daughter’s fatherafter we were rendered homeless. The Office of Recovery Services, or ORS, is another government office that screws the poor to feed the wealthy–cause that’s just how it works! Meanwhile, I found this site that finds “lost money,” that claims me a “casualty.” Go ahead and check it out!
Other good news is that my credit score is nearly 750, but that’s clearly on the brink of change. And before I discovered the garnishment, I was approved of a credit card through Costco. I’ll be guarding that with my life, right?
Oh, wait! I still have one more piece of good news! We’re bound to make friends! We’re putting our feelers out there to attract another single mom with kids who are compatible with us and our beliefs–it’s sort of like a blind date, right? We found a site that allows this search is on Facebook, but I’ve also offered my services to a new site for single moms called CoAbode to help them become more organized, fluent, and noteworthy. Check it!
P.S. Uh oh, just discovered the government form declaring they found missing money of mine wants proof of me driving a truck for CR England from 20 years ago to lay claim. Damn government! And oh, the ides of summer!
So, what are your big summer adventure plans? You can at least share!
The jungle is closing in! I used my income tax return to purchase the new Macbook Pro I’m typing on right now for the first article written on it. (Secret “Yay!”) It feels like I seldom purchase things with myself in mind, so it’s about time. and when I bought it, I did it with the wholehearted idea of bribing myself to complete Vermill!on Beach. After all, I’ve had a few people interested in shooting, acting, and creating the score for the trailer. That’s why I felt as if this computer would be an investment.
But at work, someone mentioned that with my annual review, I should contemplate furthering my education. The great news is that it’s monetarily paid for 100% through my employer and grants, (You can’t beat that!), with the caveat of maintaining a 3.0 GPA. When I graduated with a 3.7, that nearly seemed like all I needed to do was commit to the workload. Of course, then I was a substitute teacher, not working full-time. Bonus: as a student, I can utilize my brand new Macbook Pro as a tool for school as a tax write-off @ Ashford University!
Comcast wants me working as much time as I can afford, but I’m not sure how much time I can afford. It’s come to a decision of working tons of overtime to move into an apartment that doesn’t resemble the inside of a tomb and getting terrible grades, or remaining in this rundown apartment to do my best and hope for a better position.
Meanwhile, I finally gathered someone’s attention with screenwriting and we’re talking about pairing up to create something mystifying. Finding time for that will be a chore. School is 20 hours a week; work is 40+. The last time I worked 70 hours a week, I was a truck driver. I had to choose between having a full stomach, sleeping, bathing, or doing laundry–never more than two. Drivers work their butts off — there’s a reason they’re pushy on the road.
Nikki met with her Big Brothers and Big Sisters representative for the first time. I hate to jump to conclusions, but something seemed a bit off. Nikki has a tendency of trusting adults, which sounds weird when I say it aloud, but there are some adults who don’t deserve trust — especially for the love of a child. I want to be fair but cautious. Tomorrow night she’s going ice skating with her new Big Sister and she’s excited. Could I simply be jealous of someone with free time?
Cameron is a pretty great kid, but he’s also a teen. I think the only real reason he accompanies me to Costco is so he can frequent the sample trays. Of course he tells the service people he needs one for his mother–although I rarely see the samples close up before he devours them. But, like I said, he’s a teen. So when he’s up to something, it’s bad. I found out today he’s still communicating with a “nice” girl from Ogden named Olivia. Ever seen the guy with the tattoo of the name “Olivia” next to a phallic and half naked picture of a girl? Yep, that’s her! And he has some odd friend named “Stanton” I’ve never met or heard of except for Cameron telling me the kid is super tall, skinny, and has no friends. This is supposed to make me feel good? Ever heard of Slender Man? I wonder.
And for Lucius fans, our cat still urinates on the toilet with no problem, but the splashing of the poo is another story. She’s gotten to the point she’ll literally hold it all day until we go to sleep and run behind the toilet to relieve herself. Without the luxury of full communication, I think we’re at a standstill right now with the full on toilet training.
For St. Patrick’s Day, we made it a point to visit our very old, but spunky Grandma Bev. We brought home delicious food after Grandma splurged at Apollo Burger and sat us down to eat. When we were finished, I grabbed a container to box up the 1/2 burger and fries she had left on her plate. As I maneuvered around the table to place the sandwich, etc. into the box, she quickly halted me. Instead of picking up the food, she determined trimming the edge off, so the entire plate could be placed into the container was a better plan. “Go for it, Grandma!”
All of this brings us to the question I posed as a title. Am I attempting to escape reality by attending school or is my purpose truly to create a better life for my family? I wish I knew the answer. Instead of an answer, I hear my cat snoring at 11:50 p.m. as she awaits my disappearance so she can undoubtedly run for linoleum behind the commode.
For those who’ve never lost your mind, you don’t know what you’re not missing. And yes, I can tell you from firsthand experience. The hardest part about losing your mind is never knowing when you can expect it back again and if it will ever be the same. So far, it’s taken about 30 years and I’m still not who I used to be, but I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing. I certainly don’t appear the same—oh boy, I wish I did. I never knew how attractive I was at the time, or I’m sure I would have grown up much differently. But things are what they are – and here I am; a mom with two kids and a cat – all of which are toilet trained. That’s right, there’s not a lot of normal about our home.
This past week was pretty eventful. From all of us being deathly ill and using up part of my vacation at the beginning of the year recuperating, to finding out one of the days I missed may end up costing me my job. But that’s another story. What I will tell you is that we finally took Lucius to the vet to ensure everything was true about him when we got him. We bought him at the pet shop and got a card with a whole bunch of information about him and even told he had been fixed. That was a relief.
But Dr. Holly seemed not to agree. We gave him all of his shots, got a thorough exam, and were just about to tell Dr. Holly that we didn’t want to fish his stool sample out of the toilet because he was toilet trained when she broke some news of her own. Lucius wasn’t a male. He was a female. Or I guess I should say, she is a female. And obviously, none of her goodies have been removed. But, at least she’s toilet trained. We went through all the hair-pulling ideas of translating “Lucius” to Lucy or Luscious, but in the end, it’s the name she’s used to. I suppose if a guy can be called “Sue,” a female can be named Lucius. We don’t care, as long as the seat is down when she leaves the bathroom. (And don’t worry, she uses her own seat.) But now the quota is back to one solitary male again.
Imagine if each person on the globe’s intention was a singular, silken strand of spider web. Everything a person did, you, for example, was recorded somehow with a shiny, glimmering strand trailing behind you from the day you’d exited your mother’s womb. Some of us would have strong and sturdy, yet simplistic patterns, signifying we’re home all day with an occasional trip to the store or the kids’ school. When our husband arrives, we twist about in our tiny area making sure all the towels are folded correctly and the dinner is pleasantly warm for his arrival. A tight-knit web with little flexibility–a cocoon of sorts, wouldn’t you say? A cocoon that may never open?
On the other hand, there are those more extravagant webs that stretch thin near and far, traveling to Paris, Cancun, Australia, and back to New York. These webs shine with a glossy finish, high above the others, for all the world to admire. Perhaps more like a dragonfly than an arachnid — but no, they’re still spiders, although they vaguely remember their starting point and seldom double back, making complicated patterns.
Me? I’m what one would refer to as a dyslexic spider; my focus is a bit out of whack. Although I work hard and toward specific goals, sometimes they’re unrealistic and other times I don’t remember what I even started working towards or why. Take this blog for example; great intentions of sharing my life, but I’ve left out a huge and important portion because I allowed Life to get away from me. I need to hold on tight and keep focus. But the question is, why? What is my goal? (Leaning in while I whisper.) **I’m 52, have a degree, and work an entry-level position.** Sick, right? (Not sic) I’m disgusted with failing and the bad example I’m showing my kids. How can I expect them to earn a college degree if they feel as if their end may be the same as my own? I’ll reveal it.
The apartment we’re in is “very lived in”. If you’ve seen the other places we’ve lived, you’ll understand how clean we normally are and what the mindset is for our home now. We hate it here and it shows. The only choice we have is to move. The only way to do that is by making more money. The only way to make more money, as a “well-weathered” person, is by excelling in a craft where appearance isn’t comparable to skills — unless you’re Christie Brinkley who appears as a 21-year-old senior citizen. You may be asking yourself how I arrived at this earth-shattering conclusion, and I’ll explain.
After our multiple moves through Family Promise, we settled into a basement of a home in a questionable part of town where I didn’t feel as if we fit. I’d also noticed more and more families are sharing a single dwelling. They’re pulling up their pant legs and renting their basements either full-time or as an Airbnb for extra cash. As you may remember, I don’t socialize with my family and am not very quick to trust people, placing us at a huge disadvantage.
Now we’re in another place that will have to do, at least until the lease is up. It certainly isn’t as pretty as what we’d grown accustomed to living in and so we’ve let it go to hell before we even completed unpacking. Then again, I’ve certainly had it worse.
I grew up with a family of seven and one bathroom. And we weren’t “spoiled” with boxes of tissue planted skillfully around the house. We all used toilet paper for our noses, but my father was the only one who wore twisted strands up each nostril resembling a big woolly mammoth. And when he blew his nose, he sounded like one too. There were days where I would emerge from the restroom to a line of people with runny noses. That was about the time my father taught us kids to use our sleeves or bottom of our shirts for tissues. Yeah, quite gross, and completely unsanitary. It’s amazing how little things from our childhood impact us. I don’t think there’s a room in our place that doesn’t have a box of tissue in it.
Now you may be asking what kicked this writer in the ass to get in gear with writing again? My one-year anniversary is nearly up at the office, meaning I can apply to move elsewhere within the company and “sow my wild oats” with my degree — finally. But this dyslexic spider has determined that with this weathered countenance, I can’t wait for someone to notice me anymore. It’s time I set out on my own and sink my fangs into real sustenance. The desperation of the winter months are quickly approaching for this black widow, and it’s time to either roll over and die or make it happen. I’m not ready to die.