Tag Archives: Economy

The effects of the failing economy

After I got my truck I thought it was meant to be that I be self employed somehow with my truck but the one thing I vowed NOT to do was haul scrap. JC had hauled scrap, most of which he acquired in the middle of the night and I knew of no one who did it honestly. I had landscaping experience, delivery experience but I had purposely not paid attention to JC hauling scrap because I didn’t approve and people didn’t refer to me as a “girly girl” for nothing. Even delivering for the auto scrap yard I changed clothes 3 times a day because I hated being dirty.

But as luck (or God) would have it the only work I got offered was scrap hauling, cleaning up farms, etc and the reason I got the jobs was because I was honest and people trusted me on their property. I never advertised but my business grew by leaps and bounds just from word of mouth. A fellow gave me a hand pump crane for my truck and then one day I was loading a heavy rear end off of a truck and no matter how hard I pumped that crane the rear end would not come off the ground. I looked up and the crane was bending with the weight. There was a fellow standing there watching and laughing, he said, “You need a decent winch and crane.”

Me – Yeah I do, are you going to buy it for me?

Him – No, I am going to GIVE it to you. It was given to me and I can’t use it.

It was a winch and crane worth probably $2000, the winch didn’t work and it cost me $75 to fix. I had that crane and winch right up to the day I sold my F550, it made me a ton of money and made my job a hundred times easier.

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I started hauling scrap in 2006 and like I said the work came to me and I did well, JC and I were off and on but through this time I was able to pay rent and live comfortably whereas when I was with JC we always ended up living in some ghetto dive. I would let him stay with me and he loved the attention dating the Lady Witha Truck got him. He would appear very supportive and then sabotage my truck behind my back, it kept me needing him but self supporting and bringing home car parts etc that he often took off my truck. God protected me through it all, twice my brake line “wore through” on my F550, and both times I had seen JC under my truck that morning, driven to the job site and when I went to leave I didn’t have brakes or steering. (With my truck if the brake line broke you lost your steering also) it is nothing but a miracle that the line didn’t let go while I was driving down the road, what are the odds that a brake line would let go twice in 2 years and neither time was I going down the highway or down a hill?

I had a flawless reputation in the community which worked in his favor also; there was a lot of benefits to JC having me in his life and he used it every way he could. I got preferred rates from different businesses I dealt with. Whereas his step dad used to call JC to get deals, he started calling me because I had better contacts, JC used my contacts, I had his sister work for me and then his son, JC used to offer people he knew jobs working for me then I would have to turn them down, so he would look like the good guy. What God provided JC took away. One incident of this happened about a year before we split. the insurance on my truck was $268 a month, one month just before Christmas we were broke, he had a semi and trailer but hadn’t worked in a couple of months. He was expecting to borrow money from his step dad so I said we could use my insurance money for groceries as long as I got it back when he got his money. I should have known better but we were “trying again” and I was working in good faith.  When he got his money he refused to give me the money for my insurance and the payment bounced. I called the insurance company and they said they would just take two payments the next month, but the next month there were service charges attached and they wanted two payments so they tried to take over $600 which bounced again. Now I owed over $700. I prayed about it and within 2 days I got a call from an old customer saying he was moving his shop and needed me to haul away a bunch of scrap. I got there and not only did he have scrap he had probably a dozen good engines. I took the engines to Vancouver Core who bought engine cores at a better price than scrap and they told me they would give me $500 for 8 of the engines, the rest of the engines and the car parts I had on the truck would have easily come to another $300. It was an answer to my prayers, exactly enough to pay my insurance and service charges up to date. JC saw the engines and immediately said I could get more selling them to a private buyer. I explained that Vancouver core was guaranteed money and my only concern was paying my insurance but he made some phone calls and said he had a buddy who would buy all the engines and I would get at least $1000 for the engines and parts. Initially I told him no, but as you know you don’t say no to a narcissist. He kept saying how dumb I was to not take the better price, I finally told him OK but to tell his friend that I had to have cash in hand that night, no paying later or trading for something; I had to have the cash. I made sure I was very clear and said it calmly and clearly that I had to have that money the next night.

JC’s friend lived in the backwoods of Mission so two days before my insurance was due we drove out there with the engines. I was confident I was going to get my money because I had asked JC so many times if he had told the guy I had to have cash in hand that night and he assured me the guy knew. I bought us supper and of course there was the cost of fuel to get there. It was raining, and there were 3 guys there, all pretty drunk so I told JC I would wait in the truck. It took an hour or so and they unloaded all the engines and most of the antique car parts. JC got a transmission off the guy for part payment which was fine with me, as long as I got the $750 for my insurance. As we were pulling away I asked for my money and he said the guy would pay me the next day. I knew I was not going to see that money, and I never did……………..after we split JC made sure to tell me that he was going to visit the guy; then I knew for sure he had set me up. What God had given JC took away.

I guess I should backtrack a bit here as I have gotten ahead of myself.

If we step back a year or two. JC had gone to Africa and when he came back I found out he had gotten “engaged” to an African woman and was telling her he was going to bring her to Canada, he continued to have personal ads and he also told me he had malaria. My mom had called me saying that my step dad and her wanted me to have some security so they were going to give me my inheritance early and buy me a mobile home. As it turned out they weren’t buying me a mobile home but willing to carry the mortgage on it and I was to pay them back with interest, which was fine with me. I found a beautiful double wide and moved in, JC came by to visit but I wouldn’t allow him to stay the night, it was done for me. he was living in his truck and I really didn’t care. He went to Red Deer and I actually started to date again, a younger man who had been flirting with me for years asked me out and I went. I didn’t have furniture but whatever I needed came to me wihtin hours. All I had to do was think, “I need a TV” and that day in my travels with work I would find a TV on the side of the road with a “Working Free” sign on it. If I needed a couch, that day I would find a couch, and not a ratty couch but a nice couch. Within a couple of weeks I had fully furnished a two bedroom mobile home with a full dining room suite, kitchen table, two bed rooms fully furnished. The economy tanked about 6 months later but I was able to keep my head above water. Every morning I would pray to make a certain amount of money and that is what I would make that day. For example, one day I needed to make $500 in order to meet my mortgage payment on time. I prayed in the morning for $500 and just believed I would make it but as the day went on my hopes faded. There was no scrap anywhere, I had nothing on my truck and I felt the panic growing. I had one more customer to check and they had a 45 gal drum of scrap, maybe a couple hundred dollars worth but I ran it into Surrey anyway, it was better than nothing. The scrap yard was used to me flying through the gate 10 minutes to closing and I didn’t let them down that day. They unload you with a magnet Imageand when they pulled the load off a bunch of it stayed behind, all these square pieces of what looked like steel but it wasn’t magnetic. (steel is magnetic, nonferrous metals such as copper, brass, aluminum and stainless steel are not magnetic, at that time steel was worth $.10/lb.  I went in the office and got a cheque for $157, I was so let down, I was sure God would come through for me, he had never let me down, but it was 5 minutes to closing and there was no way I was going to make enough money that day. As I was leaving I asked if I could unload the non ferrous on my truck and Steve the manager told me to go ahead he’d stay late. We unloaded the pile of nonmagnetic pieces and I went in the office while Steve figured out what it was worth.

Steve- You’re going to like this total

Me – Why what was it?

Steve – It was all 306 Stainless, worth $1 a lb.

The total came to $343, and it was 5:05. I had made my $500.

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( My F550 on a real money making day)

It is possible to do more than survive a narcissist, with God anything is possible. Even a “girlie girl” hauling scrap metal.

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Sometimes 55 is Just Too Old

Life has its twists and turns that’s for sure, MY life anyway has always been a series of detours. It seems I never have long before there is a “change in direction” . Yesterday was one of those days, a “detour” day, I am still digesting everything.

I have mentioned before that I have been asking for a meeting with management, I have been making a list of areas that I thought they could improve productivity, I had some questions and most importantly I wanted a job description.

It was my belief I was hired as PR, someone who was out in the public representing the company and getting the company name out there, work with charities, and do pick ups when necessary. I was told that they didn’t care who brought the scrap through the gate as long as it came through their gate, so I gave people the option; I can haul it in for you or you can haul your own and get more money.

I was told I could take the truck home and I was told I could have the dogs with me and I was told to just carry on doing what I had always done, only I was not the Lady Witha Truck any more.

As it turns out since I started there has been a huge rearranging of duties and downsizing. They have closed three of their locations and combined two locations into one. The person that hired me is not the person now in charge. I was told the dogs could no longer ride with me so C built me a dog kennel at the house which has worked out really well but I have been plagued with guilt and indecision about Laila.  Laila is a “special needs” dog, she is extremely attached to me, very hyper and needs a lot of exercise and she is aggressive to other dogs. My new place has 3 pugs next door that torment my dogs every time they go outside. In fact any time I am out in the yard they bark incessantly at me and even chased me and my dogs back into my house one day because they were loose and of course my dogs would win the battle but I didn’t want their blood on my hands. Kato by himself isn’t as aggressive but even he hates those dogs next door. Anyway I was considering getting rid of Laila because I felt it was unfair that I was gone all day and she wasn’t getting any exercise, but then I was afraid she wouldn’t get a new home that would appreciate her good traits and she might end up being a guard dog at some yard, left alone all the time and just getting more aggressive or beaten for her strong will. I contemplated putting her down because it would be kinder than her living a horrible life somewhere else but the thought of that was more than I could bare. I was feeling I had totally dropped the ball and let her down. I hate not living up to my commitments and responsibilities. It was tearing me apart. And poor Kato, he’s ridden with me his whole life and would lay across the door way in the mornings in hopes I wouldn’t leave him behind. I know they are “just dogs” and I complied with the new rules, my job was more important and I understood that other people didn’t think it was fair I brought mine to work and they couldn’t bring theirs.

So long story short, I got laid off yesterday. They want to put a young guy on the truck, someone who can really chuck steel. They were really good about it and are going to buy me my own truck and any small jobs they get they will pass along to me. They won’t be doing small jobs any more.

They just bought me $500 in Carhardts and spent another $200 on safety boots which I get to keep and I can pay back the truck over time when I bring steel in. It is very fair of them and they paid me a weeks severance plus my full wages for this pay period. I can’t say anything wrong except there was a huge lack of communication but I suppose that is as much my fault for not pushing harder for a meeting.

At the time I was hired I was not making it with the little truck I had and I was living in a hell hole. Working for them got me into this place which probably wouldn’t have happened if |I had been self employed and I will have a better truck for the job. I guess I am meant to be the Lady Witha Truck and this is all a blessing in disguise. but it is hard on the ego to admit I am too old to compete with the young bucks.

Right now it is hard because I am getting calls from customers and I don’t have a truck and all \I want to do is get out there and work. That old panicky feeling wells up inside me.

I am trying to force myself to see the bright side and use the time to do the much needed yard work but so far the most I have done is give Laila a bath. btw she didn’t like her first bath much. lol

I think what bothers me more than anything is letting people down.

Knowing When To Fold Them

There is an old Kenny Rogers song that goes something like this:

“You gotta know when to hold ’em
know when to fold them
know when to walk away
and know when to run
Don’t count your blessings
while you’re sittin’ at the table
there’ll be time enough for countin’
when the dealin’ done.”

My apologies if I didn’t get it exactly right; its been alot of years since I heard that song but it has been playing in my head lately.

Hal really pissed me off the other day and I felt helpless to do anything about it. I hate, I mean really hate, being dependent on anyone, so really did not want to accept more money from Jim to get home that night.

It burns my butt to not be totally self sufficient and I can hear JC’s voice ringing in my ears,”See?! I told you you couldn’t make it on your own, I told you someday you’d realize all I did for you”.
But he was wrong, I see all the things he did to me not what he did for me.

When Hal started accusing me of avoiding him, demanding to know how much I was getting for the truck, and talking over me when I was talking and then getting angry with me for not shutting up and saying I was talking over him. I found myself getting frustrated because he was twisting my words and refusing to understand what I was saying. Then it hit me; I don’t have to put up with this any more from anyone, ever again. I know what is fair, I know what is right, and I know when I am being played for a sucker.

I was frustrated, crying and angry but I took control of the situation.  I know he is bad mouthing me and you know what? I really don’t give a shit, I don’t have time for that kind of highschool bullshit. Yeah he’s got $350 of my hard earned money and I got the “shaft” (excuse the pun I couldn’t resist) Like I said to Hal that night, “If I wanted to get screwed over I would have called JC.  I don’t need to go looking for assholes. You knew the position I was in financially and you took advantage of it. I am done with you. You have nothing  to say that I want to hear and I have nothing I want to say to you.” Sure I sat in a parking lot in Langley crying my eyes out, sobbing to the dogs about how unfair life is and asking them ,”what do I do now?”

Then I saw the dumpster behind me and thought, “Nothing like digging in a dumpster to take a girl’s mind off her troubles.” I got a really nice vase, a tall one, you know they’re about 2 & 1/2 feet tall? the kind that sits on the floor with tall grasses in it. It has a $60 price tag on it and I can’t find a thing wrong with it. I also found the cutest Halloween decoration, a Styrofoam pumpkin head with a top hat that just needs a bit of glue, priced at $25. Three nice sweat shirts, 3 cardigans; a white one, blue one and a black one and they all fit me. A few blouses and a dress and jacket in an oriental design I haven’t tried on yet. I also got some really nice smelling vanilla hand soap in a pretty clear glass pump dispenser that I gave to my girl friend and she loves,  she also picked out a glass flower ornament that she liked.

When Jim called to say he was in Langley I was already asleep with my head on Laila, one good thing about really bad times; you know a night sleeping in the truck isn’t going to kill you. The worst thing that happens is you don’t have a toothbrush in the morning, your contacts are stuck to your eyes because you slept with them in and you kinda look like a raccoon because your mascara is smudged.

Sure I fell into a depression the next day and wasted most of the day feeling sorry for myself and when every one told me I should have called the cops and when the guy who wanted to buy it offered me $400 and said he had a tow truck waiting to pick it up I told everyone, “I can’t talk about it right now, I can’t make a decision right now, I will have to get back to you.” and I weighed my options.

I call the police;
I know Hal is an N and I know he’s probably already done damage control, I have a 50/50 chance the police will even listen to me, I have nothing in writing and neither does he so it will be a he said/she said scenario and the cops probably can’t do anything and will tell me to take him to small claims. It would prolong dealing with an asshole and I really don’t need that in my life.

As it is Hal has cost me $850 ($350 I paid him, $300 I lost in the sale of my truck, and at least $200 I would have made on the job in Port Moody I missed and someone else picked up) Plus I’ve wasted more hours on that man than can be calculated because he is always late and if I hadn’t bought the other truck I wouldn’t have been royally screwed because he took so long fixing my GMC and I wouldn’t have had any way to make money to pay him.  I shudder to think about it and it makes me really angry but do I want to waste any more time on the asshole? Do I want him in my life in any way? No!!

Some times doing nothing is really doing the best thing. I don’t want to feed Hal’s need for attention through conflict.

So if I am not calling the cops my other option is to find a driveshaft, buy it and install it myself but that means I have to sit on the phone trying to track one down. Not having phone reception where I live means I will be cutting into time I could be using to make money. I need to make money because I am dead in the water without it.

So like the song says, “I decided to fold and walk away.”
I called the buyer and told him I can’t accept $400 could he do $500? He said he’d ask his son; yes they would go $500. He got a tow truck to pick it up and take it to his place. I said I have to work to make enough money to buy fuel to get the registration to him and he said not a problem. I did a few pickups that I missed last week when my truck was down, now there was even more. So I had a good money making day and got $279 for 3 hours work.

I called Jim and said I’d have his $550 by the end of the day. He said not to leave myself short, he would be happy with $300. I said I wanted to at least pay the $400 he lent me to buy the 1974 Chev. I also owed my girlfriend $100 and wanted to pay her.

So yesterday I was able to buy a jug of oil for the truck, a new pair of work gloves, stock my cupboards with groceries and dog food, and even bought myself a pair of cowboy boots at Value Village for $20. ( For whatever reason wearing cowboy boots makes me feel more confident, when I was still with JC he told me that when I wore my cowboy boots I had an air of confidence about me, that can’t be a bad thing)

Now that I have walked away from the table what are my blessings?
1. I handled it, I didn’t let the bastard intimidate me, I didn’t feed his sick need for drama and attention and walked away with my head held high.
2. The guy who bought the truck got a good deal and I was out $350. Oh well, I really like the guy who bought the truck and guess what! he owns dump trucks and rebuilds antique cars; what does that means? he has scrap! and he is going to call me to come pick up within the next week.
3. I could have spent all day
looking for a driveshaft and then gotten frustrated trying to put it in and possibly had to deal with Hal again today and wasted another day I could have been working. Instead I made almost as much as I lost ($25 less) big deal and today it is all ancient history; I can close that page and move on. It was 10:30 by the time I got to Jim last night but I paid him for the truck and that felt wonderful!!!
I paid my girlfriend and by midnight I was sitting at my kitchen table drinking a ice cold Mike’s Hard Lemonade and eating a turkey tv dinner.

With that out of the way I can focus on getting my butt out of this trailer and I have a few ideas about how to do it. I’m quite excited about one idea but will save that for another post.

Once I am out of here and have an internet connection I have a new career idea I am excited about and could put all my experiences over the past 12 years to good use. But that is a post of it’s own also.

So that’s all folks!
Like my blog says; Playing with the cards I’m dealt, the best I can. This time I decided to fold and walk away. Next time? who knows; I guess we’ll see what I get dealt in the next hand.

Hugs to you all.
off to work I go……hi ho hi ho.

(written Tuesday morning and posted on Wednesday)

Doing The Right Thing Should Be Easy

James insisted he had grabbed the chain out of Kris’s hand. I told him I didn’t know what to believe. He asked me to at least check out what he was telling me and I promised I would.

I picked Kris up from the hospital the next morning and I told him I had talked to James and heard the messages he had sent.

I was angry, I had specifically told him to not start anything and had asked him why he needed my phone when he borrowed it that night and he had lied to me.

I was angrier at myself, I felt guilty for dragging my son into my mess. I knew he would feel the need to protect his momma. I had a feeling in my gut when we pulled up that something wasn’t right. I had only given in and let him come home with me to avoid arguing with him; I had wanted to be alone. Now it was a huge mess and I could have prevented it all.(mind you, in retrospect James definitely had something planned when he started putting all the lights on his truck and had been very intimidating that night. Who knows what would have happened if I would have gone home alone.)

Kris admitted the chain was the chain he used to lock his bike up and he had hooked it onto his belt loop of his pants. The knife was the one that his dad had given him that he always packed. It had been in the pocket of his cargo pants and must have fallen out in the fight.

I told him he had to go to the police and tell the truth, he flatly refused. I told him that if he lied in court he would be charged with purgery and besides I had always taught him to be honest.

From the time he was wee that had been the one thing I always harped on with him; always tell the truth, as long as you are honest things will work out and you never get in as much trouble as if you are caught lying.

He would not change his mind and I told him that I would not lie for him in court. He said I didn’t have to lie; just tell them what I saw. I said I can’t do that; I know the truth now and to pretend I don’t would be lying. I just could not lie; not even for my son; it went against everything I stood for, I was heartsick. 

I went to meet James secretly a couple of times and told him Kris refused to change his testimony but told him to give Kris time to think about it. If he didn’t change his mind in a couple of days I would go to the cops and tell them what I knew. Of course I was too stupid to realize James was being so loving and understanding because he was orchestrating his defense.

Out of the blue Kris asked if he could talk to James, he wanted to apologize. I called James and he agreed to meet us. Kris got out of my car and shook James hand and apologized for the messages and the fight and James did the same, I thought we were getting somewhere but when Kris got back in the car he still refused to go to the police with the truth. 

I called the police and told the officer who had been there that night that I had new information and that my son had confessed to me it was his knife and chain. He said to save it for court. I said why wait? Why waste taxpayer dollars going to court when it could all be sorted out now. He refused to take my statement. I decided to write Crown Counsel myself explaining the whole situation.

By this time I had moved into an apartment in Abbotsford and had started full time college.  My son was not supposed to be living with me. When he had come back from Calgary it was supposed to be for a few weeks until he got a job and saved for a place. I was on a very limited student government grant to upgrade my skills; it wasn’t enough for me to live on let alone support Kris. When he quit school in Grade 10 I had told him he’d better get a job because if he wasn’t in school I was not supporting him.
He was hanging with a bad crowd, bringing them back to the apartment while I was in school and the neighbors were complaining. The landlady warned me that he had to move out or I would be evicted; so I told him he had to get out.

James and I were seeing each other again (something I am not proud of and I am sure contributed to Kris’s attitude, I packed guilt about it for years, I apologized to Kris and he forgave me long before I could forgive myself. I have forgiven myself finally. I did the best I could and I screwed up, but my guilt was keeping me from being the best mom I could be, now! I had to let it go)

I wrote my letter to crown counsel and James had written his. The first statement I wrote put all the blame on James the 2nd one laid it on Kris and was heavily influenced by James, in the 3rd and final I laid the blame on myself, saying I should not have told Kris anything to begin with or had Kris come home with me that night. I should have been more aware of what he was doing that night with my phone and basically just stated the facts surrounding that night. James was not happy with my revised version and tried to pressure me into changing it but I refused. Once again, I was sticking to the belief that the truth was the best way to deal with it.

I had my statement typed, signed, and in a sealed envelope on the counter, James was taking his in and offered to take mine at the same time.

A few days later James took me for breakfast and we had a really good talk. I went to school very positive about us. We got out of class early that day and I was anxious to get home to James. When I got to the apartment his truck was parked out front loaded with his stuff from the apartment and with things he had given me; like a TV. He was pulling away when I ran up to the truck and asked what he was doing. He said it was over, he was moving into a warehouse, it was never going to work out between us and that was it. I was devastated, dazed, confused standing there in the parking lot crying as he drove away. I could barely function, went up to the apartment and Kris was on the couch sleeping, he hadn’t even woken up with James moving.

James was so cold and matter of fact about it ending and at this point I still believed he was honest. I admit I grovelled for another chance, I promised to change, I said I would take the relationship on his terms, anything just don’t end it. We spent a couple of nights together at the warehouse and when I went back to the apartment after school I couldn’t open the door; the locks had been changed.

It was a Friday and my landlady didn’t answer her phone, I had no idea where Kris was or what had happened. The door jamb was broken so obviously someone had kicked the door in. I found him at a friends. He told me that when he moved out he took the handheld phone and was able to buzz himself in. He kicked the door open and went to sleep in the lazyboy chair. He didn’t know how long he had been asleep/passed out when he was woken up by someone kicking the chair. He grabbed a pair of scissors and was brandeshing them when he realized it was the landlady and a cop standing there. He told them I had packed up and left him there. They believed him, didn’t call me, gave him ten minutes to pack up his clothes, kicked him out and changed the locks.

Yes I know she couldn’t legally do that but she did and I lost everything because she gave me a one chance to get my things and James didn’t show up with the truck.

I called Crown counsel and they said they never received my statement so I called the police officer and he said he had it in the file at the police station. I told him Crown would look at it and he said it could wait until court.

I was totally frustrated by the police, I felt like they were playing games. The night of the fight one officer took Kris and my statement and another officer took James’s. They had asked James for his address and he had given his buddy’s address in the resort. He was  told that if he wasn’t at that address he would be arrested for being in breach of his conditions for release. I was told that he was not to be in the park and if he was seen in the park to call them and he would be arrested. I had called the police many times to ask if he was allowed in the park and no one could give me an answer. The attending cop went from 4 days off to being on vacation. So Kris and I thought James was purposely harassing us when in fact he had to be at the resort. Mind you he did follow us and he did intimidate us with the bright headlights etc. But the whole situation was escalated by the cops not commumicating. Finally the night JC was escorted to get his things was the first time he was told to not come back, even to visit friends.

The whole situation was out of control and the police seemed to be enjoying the show.

The way the whole thing was handled was unprofessional, disorganized, and instead of difusing the situation the police contributed to emotions esculating to dangerous levels. Not once was I contacted by victim services or someone from a Domestic Violence support group, my concerns were literally laughed at by the police. And JC was revelliing in the fact that he had managed to turn things in his favor again. I knew he had a restraining order put on him years prior by the girl that had his baby and I told the police to check his file in Alberta. They said nothing showed up, but I found out later that a person can pay $400 and have their record sealed.

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The Here and Now

I thought maybe it was time to give an update to where I am at as far as getting my life back on track, mentally, emotionally and financially.

I am disappointing myself lately; somewhere along the way I lost my “I’ll show them, no one can keep me down, F you all attitude” that has always gotten me through the tough times in my life. Does a person run out of that sort of resource? I literally look for it, try to will it back, but nope, not even a morsel of it anywhere. More times than not I just feel beaten down and like I am flailing in a huge ocean and no one is throwing me a life raft. All around me things are sinking, my business, people I thought cared, my health, and I am treading water helpless to stop it.

Where I live has alot to do with it,for me anyway, my home is my sanctuary and I always try to make where ever I live welcoming and a place I feel safe and secure at the end of a long hard day. I am ashamed of where I live. I know there are people who live in worse situations but it would be impossible to get too much worse without being homeless. I am thankful I am not homeless.

It isn’t the area; as much as not having phone reception, internet or TV is a pain in the ass; there are things that compensate. Like a few weeks ago I took little Laila for a walk to the corner store/gas station/restaurant /community meeting place. It was a warm summer morning, as we walked the only sound was the crunch of my feet on the gravel and the snorting of Laila (shar-pei’s sound like piglets). In the field beside us were people, some wearing big straw hats like they have in China, some draped in East Indian garb and one or two wearing baseball caps; picking blueberries.

Across the street there’s a pasture with a dozen or so beautiful thoroughbred horses fattening up for winter, grazing. Laila was very interested in checking them out and as we stood watching them they realized we were there and started to walk in our direction. Then one of the biggest, a grey dappled stallion came galloping straight at us. There is no fence just a narrow ditch and for a moment I thought it was coming over it but he screeched to a stop right at the edge only feet from us and snorted, and gave us the “evil eye” with one eye. I swear I could feel his breath and Laila and I got the message loud and clear to keep moving.

The grey dapple and another horse can always be seen standing under the same tree, head to tail; swishing their tails to keep the flies off each others face. Cute.

As we carried on the crunch of my feet on the gravel startled the frogs in the high grass along the road and they gave a little shreak and then we could hear the plop of them hitting the water in the ditch. Aside from that there wasn’t a sound. I stopped and listened; to silence. We carried on and the high grass changed into bullrushes/cat tails, probably an acre of them and they opened up to a pond where ducks were swimming; momma and her brood; some of them with their little bums poking up wiggling as they fish for food under the waters surface. There were lily pads; some in bloom with yellow and pink flowers, and off to the side, standing so still I almost missed him was a crane on one leg waiting for his breakfast to swim past.

At the store there was a couple of Harleys parked and the two riders wearing black leathers were on the veranda having a smoke and coffee. The smell of bacon and eggs frying wafed from inside as did the lively conversation of the same 6 men that congregate there every day. They sit in the same corner, actually there is only one table in there, drink gallons of bitter coffee and solve the problems of the world. As I walked in I overheard one of the old timers say, “Yep, that’s when the world went in the crapper; that’s when it all started.” followed by the others mumbling their agreement. Then they fell silent and all looked at me as I smiled and got myself a coffee. I guess the tiny bell ringing as I walked through the door alerted the little chinaman that owns the place because he came running out of the kitchen. I told him I was just getting a coffee and he nodded his head, waved his hands in the direction of the coffee pots and scurried back to his eggs and bacon. I bought a paper and my coffee, nodded at the bikers as we passed and Laila and I made our way home. All in about 1/2 an hour; I can’t think of a better way to start a day. Doesn’t it sound like a little piece of the 1950’s was somehow forgotten? The twilight zone, the town that time forgot. It could be heaven on earth if I didn’t have to make money and if I had running water, sewer, and wasn’t living in a 23′ holiday trailer where I bang my head 15 times a day, the dogs have to be in bed when they are in it because there is no room to walk. It is a great holiday trailer; I can envision a family making memories to last a lifetime in a little trailer like it. But at the end of two weeks mom and dad would be longing for a nice hot shower and the luxury of laying on the couch, mindlessly watching tv and telling the kids to go outside and play in the traffic. And they would have had water and sewer.

I can not tell you what going to the bathroom in a bucket does to your self esteem, and I will spare you the details. But it doesn’t stop there because then you have to dispose of the bucket’s contents! I have to pack water, I finally started getting it from the river down the road instead of driving down the hill; it saves me $10 in fuel and an hour in time. I probably shouldn’t be drinking it but what the hell; live on the edge I say. I have to boil the water to do dishes, wash etc and some days I get home too late to get more water or I’m just too tired to lug it up the hill so I give what water I have to the dogs and do without. The holding tanks are full so when I fill the sink with water to wash it drains into the tub, so once a week or so I have to bucket out the moldy water from the tub. I made my little outside shower and it is better then sex when I can get it timed right to have a nice hot shower. Even a cold one is better than nothing; the theory behind the shower is that the person using it is on vacation and will be available when it reaches its desired temperature. If I get home after the sun sets I have missed my opportunity for a hot shower.
I feel like Ma on Little House on the Prairie; without Pa.

As for my health; I was working at getting my teeth fixed and I’m about 3/4 done, I have about 4 more teeth to get pulled and then I get my partials, but when the scrap prices dropped I stopped going into Surrey with my scrap because it was better prices locally (I will cover work in another post) my dentist is down there and I just didn’t have the money to throw into driving down there. PLUS I am a big chicken and the last time I went alone I was in tears as the receptionist held my head and he had both hands and a foot in my mouth pulling my tooth. Ok so I’m exaggerating a bit but I was traumatized ok?!

So anyway, now I have had an absessed tooth for over a week; my ear aches, my throat is sore, and I am having chest pain. (When I had my heart attack I had an absessed tooth.) I know they won’t pull it while its infected so I got some antibiotics; they looked familiar but I couldn’t remember why until I started taking them; I am allergic to them and they cause excruciating pain in my chest and yesterday I thought for sure I was having a heart attack, then I got a urinary infection and then it dawned on me; I can’t take those antibiotics, they made me violently ill last time. So now I am waiting for the effects of them to wear off. I have to work today to make enough money to pay for more antibiotics I can take.

Not going to Surrey has been a good thing and maybe that is why it happened that prices dropped, my truck broke down and it was better to stay local. I have gone to Surrey once in a while just to keep that door open and almost every time I’ve been in the area I have seen JC, one day 3 times. I know it was fluke, he didn’t even know what I was driving until he saw me that day and I could tell he was surprised. He was on his bike and pulled over; I don’t know if it was to talk to me but I kept going and then he passed me on the freeway going home. I know her dad lives out that way so he could have been heading over there and it was just a fluke he passes me again. Either way it is a nice feeling to know I am not going to run into him at any point in my day and I find myself getting way more tense and reminiscent when I have to go into Surrey. I actually dread having to go down there but I have work in the area and money wins every time.

As far as James (that’s his name; I never called him JC) is concerned, I will cover more about him in another post also. For now I must boil some water to wash and go to work. Have a great day all. Hugs Carrie