Judgemental ?

Yes.

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I was approached by a dirty young man yesterday, seeking a buck.  As he walked away from me, I did the usual internal debate with myself:

– he’s young; it’s not too late for him to change direction.

– he put his starbucks drink down to panhandle.  He’s fine.

– he’s playing at being homeless; so much idealism wasted.

– he only approaching women; he’s still a boy and doing ok.

I had just taken a bunch of funds out of my bank account to pay for my flooring, and there was no way I’d open my wallet in front of a stranger.

So, I went in and picked up my pizza, and segregated $5 out from my wallet so that it was in my hand.  Heading back out, the young guy was still there so I called to him and handed over $5.  Then I asked him some questions.

“Get something to eat.  Are you homeless?  Do you have a place to stay?”

“Oh, I’m ok.  I sleep on the couch of some friends.”  (Clearly, he’s not showering or using their laundry).

“Do you use drugs and alcohol?”

“Yeah, I do a bit of alcohol…”

“Look, you’re still young and cute.  Quit doing that crap and come up with a plan for yourself.  You’re not going to be this age forever, and as your youth and looks fade you’ll find people get less sympathetic and meaner the older you get.”

Young Man Pulling Go-Kart

I turned to walk away from him, having wasted my words on someone who was clearly too romantic to understand that being homeless is only an adventure in retrospect, and not while you’re living it.

But, my moment of being judgemental may have hit a nerve.

“Hey, I have 3 bucks.  I only wanted a buck and you gave me $5.  Take this extra back.”

“Do you have money put aside for breakfast tomorrow?”

“No.” he replied, thrusting the $3 in crumpled bills toward me.

“Keep it.” I said.  “Winter’s coming.”

I can’t adopt this kid.  I can’t make him change his choices.  But, every day I see someone like him, I remember Jay Shine, a lost (and violent) young man who took to the woods when I was a teen, and who died in them 30 years later.

Like a lost dog, he lived on the edges of town life, scrounging where he could and refusing his brother and sister’s entreaties to come indoors.

I’ll never understand the fantasy or romantic inclinations or mental health issues that make anyone feel like living on their nerves and wits alone is the only possible choice for their best quality of life.

I just see such wasted potential.

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Channeling Betty

Or, Mom would so be laughing at me right now !

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I’ll say it.

Mom sacrificed a lot for us kids.  While I give lip service to understanding her priorities and how hard she worked to make things nice for us despite our trying financial circumstances, it’s been confirmed for me this week that I really didn’t know.  Not until now.

I have gone through life as one of my Mother’s biggest fans.

I was there when she was choosing to divorce her faithless husband, instead of following through on her attempt to murder him in a fit of passion.

14 stabs into a mattress showed me just how dangerous and crazy adults could be.  How difficult life could be when hormones overrode pride or commonsense, and all efforts to reconcile were wasted because someone was going to die if they didn’t get away from each other.

So, I knew both the good and bad choices my Mom had made in life (as had my Dad), and I was determined not to follow in their footsteps.

Mom was a hard worker and the giver, ensuring that we had the money to pay our bills, and that the family prospered despite our circumstances.

Dad was an artist and the taker, tired of budgets and planning, who felt life owed him due to his talents, and it was long past time for him to have some fn and collect his due

Before they came to this point, divorce, they were a young couple, full of hope.  Then, life happened to stomp on their aspirations.  Instead of maturing together, they broke apart and went their separate ways.  Being star-crossed lovers wasn’t as romantic as in the movies.  There weren’t any fun or healthy choices when breaking up a home and forging new paths.  Paths that cost money.

Dad stripped anything of monetary value out of the home, using the cash to pay for meals out, a nice car, and the illusion that he was successful while hiding his earnings from the child support enforcers.

Mom fought for her children and herself to not end up homeless.  As she pursued a divorce, she kept moving and hustling to prosper, and succeeded despite her husband’s efforts to auction their family home off so that he could disappear with his half of any salvaged asssets.

Into this history of memories comes me, someone who swore she’d never be a homeowner as she didn’t want to be tied down to one place and a large financial obligation.  She didn’t want an asset that could be coveted or taken away if anything went wrong in the financial planning.

I’ve done pretty well over the years, despite upswings and downswings in the economy, and have managed to live beneath my means while traveling and learning new regions and social customs.

But, I couldn’t outrun myself or my failing health.  So, I fell back on Mom’s mantra of homeownership to make it through this next adventure of seeing how I’m going to afford to live, despite failing health.

So, it’s very strange to be in a wreck of a mobile home, rehabbing it to make it weather tight, and trying to ensure the investment is as sound as it can be, and be channeling Betty.

I’ve been doing a lot of the rehab work myself, as well as hiring contractors where necessary to get the work done right.

Nothing, however, showed me just how far I was going in channeling Betty until the morning I took my first shower and found myself wiping down the windowsill.  The windowsill I’d bleached and painted within an inch of its life with Rustoleum to ensure I eliminated all the lack mold and made it water tight.

Just like Mom insisted back in 1976, after the bathroom remodel was completed and the new Anderson casement window was installed in the shower.  The windowsill that was wooden and laquered within an inch of its life to keep from rotting out.  The windowsill that had to be dried after every use to ensure Mom’s money wasn’t wasted.

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I now have my own nemesis of a windowsill.

Betty would be lauging so hard to see me drying it every day prior to leaving the shower.  Oh, how the mighty (footloose and fancy free) have fallen.  But, in the rehabbing, some lessons never get forgotten.

If you’re going to spend the money, take care of it.

You can only spend it once…

Lollygagging – 1st Anniversary

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I’m very behind in getting packed and ready to move, but since I can’t work continuously without a break, I’m busy writing my 1st Anniversary blog.

I noted in the middle of packing to move that I’ve been off work since October 1st, 2015, and blogging for at least a year about the “adventure” of embracing reality, and accepting that I have COPD.  While it’s clear that I can’t hide it any more, the challenges from other people continue to occur as I seem “too well” to be on disability.

Very happy that I can maintain my levels of wellness for appearances sake.

Very happy that I’ve gotten through this Summer relatively unscathed from the changes in heat and humidity.

Very happy that I found halo therapy to help me nip exacerbations in the bud for fighting off a cold / congestion.

Despite all those positives, though, I’m still not doing my best as I fight the good fight to try and downsize my life and reign in my expectations.

This time last year, I wasn’t sure what lay ahead.  How I would survive financially.  How I would get through the process of applying for disability:

September 28, 2015 – Aging and Embracing Change

September 29, 2015 – The 11th hour before freedom

October 8, 2015 – Learning Limits

October 17, 2015 – Perspective

A year later, though, I’m on SSDI (Federally-managed disability), I have a home that I can afford (barely – no room for much in the way of fun), and I’m in lawsuit hell with my employer to see if I can wrestle them to the ground for the disability benefits I paid in to in terms of matching salary until retirement age (67) or death (whenever), plus group rate medical insurance continuance (much cheaper than going it alone).

It’s great to see how much progress has been made despite all my whining.

It’s also daunting to see how much further is left to go (especially considering the fact that I want to get to the UK for next June, and they are keeping my money tied up since they haven’t terminated me, and they won’t pay me).

Whatever happens, it’s clear that – a year after the fact – this was the right decision that needed to be made for me.

I was dropping items (and the cat) off at the mobile home last night, and it was so nice to hear laughter from one of my next door neighbors.  Just something so simple, and it makes one feel welcome.

As I begin year 2 of being on disability, it’s clear that it’s all going to be ok – regardless of how rocky the trip is at certain points along the way.

Whatever you’re doing today, if you’re reading this and looking back over your past year, too, I hope you’re glad with what you find.

Daily Prompt: Argument

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via Daily Prompt: Argument

I’ve been watching the endless, “my candidate’s better” arguments on facebook and in the news.

What’s amazing to me, though, is not the overt hostility and amount of arguing occurring, but the uniform lack of listening which is occurring by both sides of the aisle.

If no one is listening, is it even an argument?

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As contrast to this situation, I’ve gotten my lawyer to FINALLY launch my appeal for disability matching salary benefits, on the day I was SUPPOSED to be terminated if I “didn’t bother” to show up at work.

Ahem.

If one has been granted long-term disability by the United States Federal Government, doesn’t that certify to most sentient beings that one is too ill to work their specific role, and not likely to ever return to work ?!???

While my lawyer has gotten my latest termination date pushed off until Halloween, does one think it will do any good to send a thousand-page legal ARGUMENT to people and institutions who haven’t even bothered to crack open the seals on the previous arguments sent in?

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No answers here, but I can assure you that I find the give and take of actual, situational DEBATES more practical to engage in than the fruitless, empty silences which seem to be arguments.