19 January 2012
I was still living with Dad, and still attending my friend's kid's football games. I even bought a new car. A little bit sooner than I had planned, but it worked out. Something was still missing. I wanted some kind of relationship.
In November 2010, I reconnected with N. I had met him a few years earlier at physical therapy and we just sort of drifted apart. Nothing major. Now that I had the internet back, I was always looking for something to get into. On Veteran's Day, I found that something. Little did I know how wrong it would be.
I hung out with N that night and we went to a few places, drinking many beers and getting free dinners. It was a fun time, I'm not gonna lie. I started hanging out with him more and more, sleeping over at his place, spending MY money. He didn't have a job either, so we could sleep all afternoon and drink all night.
The more I stayed with N, the more upset dad got. He finally told me to get my shit and get out of his house. That was fine, I would just stay with N, until we found a place together. We weren't intimate, just friends, but I still thought of him as my boyfriend. I guess in girl world that doesn't seem as ridiculous as it sounds.
He and I shared one major thing in common, back pain. He introduced me to pain medication and anti-anxiety medication. Holy shit! This stuff was awesome! I finally felt good, and normal! Why wouldn't my doctor prescribe this to me? Oh yeah, because I didn't have insurance and the VA was my primary care provider.
In December, we were given* (for $100) the name and address of a pain clinic that accepted new, out of state patients without a referral. This place was in Georgia. So one day, we packed up and drove there. The process took all day, but I was finally seen and given the prescriptions we drove down there for. Finding a pharmacy to fill the prescriptions, on the other hand, was a complete bitch! Apparently this "pain clinic" was a joke and the "doctor" was being investigated by the DEA. Well fucking fab!
After finally finding a few different locations to get my meds filled, we were broke. I mean, I was broke. (he never had any money.) He was able to make friends with a couple from the pain clinic and they let us stay in their hotel room with them. The next day, N sold some of my meds to the nice couple for travel money and I pawned some of my jewelry for the rest to get us back home.
When we got back to his place, he started selling more of my medication. His grandmother didn't like what was going on and they argued and he and I left. We got a hotel room for a few days, just down the street.
He kept doing what he was doing and I just kind of sat by and watched. He fronted one guy, D, a few pain pills, only he never paid up. I was tasked to call and threaten him, by saying I would let the police know about his hit and run earlier that day. This was all going wrong.
D came by the room earlier to leave his CD collection as collateral until he could come up with the money he owed us. N & I agreed to never let him in the room again. We met him outside to get his CDs, then he came by later and knocked on our hotel room door. I was in the bathroom at the time, or I would have answered the door. Instead, N answered the door and things got raw.
I just finished washing my hands, when I opened the bathroom door and a gun was pointed at my face. I was ordered to strip, put my clothes back on, then to get out of the bathroom and in the main room with everyone else. Everyone else included myself, N, his friend J, D and two masked men, one wielding a gun. The two masked men made everyone, except D, undress and give them our cell phones. They shouted they wanted our money and our drugs. The only drugs I had possession of were what I refer to as my "crazy pills" and they took most of those, along with my laptop, cellphone and purse, which I tried to fight them for. (Hey, it's a gal's purse. Do not fuck with a chick and her purse! ) But I let go and they ran off. I called the police, then ran after them. I know it's crazy, but I wanted to see if they were on foot or in a getaway car. Anything I could give the police.
I ran into one of the hotel clerks out back in the parking lot and she said she didn't see or hear anything. I walked around front and met a slew of local police officers. I talked to a few and described what went on. While giving my statement, I realized I couldn't say N was selling my meds, because, well that's illegal, and I didn't want him to go to jail so I made something up.
The police all left, eventually and we went to sleep. The next day I had to borrow N's car so I could drive to my dad's and pick up a spare key to my car, and a spare purse. Since I always clip my keys to my purse, when the robbers took my purse, they took my car keys as well. While I was out, I got a replacement phone and tried calling the room the entire time I was on my way back, but the line was busy. I was trying to tell N, he should get our things and get out of the room.
He was still on the phone when I got back to the room, talking to the police about the robbery. Not long after he hung up, there was a knock at the door and it was the police. This time, they were there to arrest N, for some outstanding warrant or fine or something. I have no idea. They took him away, and there I was, lonely, scared, broken and broke. How did this happen? How did I let my life get so out of control? I was such an idiot!
I had pretty much given up on the idea of ever having a "normal" life. I had succumbed to suck. I expected life to consist of being poor, overly dramatic and extremely verbally abusive. I couldn't change it, so I adapted and tried to deal with it. I became emotionally withdrawn so the screaming of hurtful words wouldn't cut so deep. Mind you, at times I screamed back and when I did, they were golden zingers. I'm kind of an expert at being snarky, but the snark only escalated the arguing and never diffused it. I learned later, to just keep all the snark to myself, or express it later on facebook or twitter.
Having a relationship with anyone was never even on my mind. How could it be? I was almost 34, with no job and living with my dad. There were a lot of nights when I cried myself to sleep and a lot of days wishing I could just drink and forget about my situation.
At the end of March my favorite Uncle died. The poor man had so many health problems and his heart just couldn't take it any more. He was my dad's younger brother and it effected him tremendously. T's death caused turmoil within my already dysfunctional family. My dad, his younger sister and her husband all ended up fighting over T's things. Of course dad was being paranoid, thinking they were damaging or taking the things that dad had claimed as his and he ended up flipping out on their last trip to T's apartment. He got them to pull over at a truck stop, just outside of town and got out of the car, then called me to come pick him up. Later that day, they dropped off the last of what was left in T's apartment.
We still had to go through the funeral arrangements according to T's last wishes. Since he died across state lines, it was hell trying to get his death certificate, but eventually everything worked out and we were able to put him to rest and he was finally at peace.
Throughout the past year, I began to pray on a daily basis. Not only for myself and my situation, but mainly for others. During the first week of April, it seemed my praying had paid off. I received a decision from the VA regarding my disability appeal. They had awarded me 100%, which, according to a lot of people, is pretty rare. I was awarded 3 month's back pay and was finally able to see the light.
I was able to pay back money that I owed after borrowing it from Mr.B, because my car had been repossessed about a month prior. I was able to buy a big new flat screen LCD tv and new clothes! I could finally buy makeup NOT from the dollar store! Hey, it's the little things.
I could go out to eat with my friends and pay for their meal, I could go out and drink! I was excited, but cautious. I had to form a plan. Since dad & I were on section 8 to help with the rent, I had to notify them and the food stamp office of the change in my income. With section 8, I had 3 months to decide if I wanted to move out on my own or stay with dad, and be removed from the program.
I had been so used to living with dad, the exhausting arguments and continuous belittling, I decided to stay with him and help pay the rent & bills. My plan was to wait until my Social Security Disability decision, then move out so I could afford to pay for his rent AND my rent. Only things didn't work out the way I planned.
I kept getting denial letters from the Social Security office and finally had to hire an attorney to help me. By now, I was going out 3-4 times a week, by myself, drinking, usually margaritas. This helped me cope with my living situation. Usually, after drinking a pitcher or two of yummy margaritas, I would go drunk shopping. Stupid, yes, but also fun.
It seemed like a quick eternity had passed since I had lost my job a year ago. I was alive with a roof over my head and food to eat. There were small bright spots in my life of suck, but mostly suck. Like eating. Dinner became my one meal of the day. I would have coffee in the morning and Dad would be ready for dinner around 4pm. Yes, seriously. Sometimes he would even want to eat earlier than that. I saw my life turn into the Early Bird Special. The only good thing about eating one meal a day is the tremendous amount of weight I lost. The bad thing, was listening to my tummy cry for food every night.
I was slowly getting myself in check. I hadn't worked for a year and it was time to do something about my situation. Most of the ideas came from my therapist and sometimes my Psychiatrist would utter a sentence that didn't make me want to crawl in a hole.
I filed for, and received food stamps, which helped tremendously. Before, I had been too proud, and quickly learned to get over myself. I needed food and couldn't afford it, so I gladly accepted the food stamp card and anything they were willing to give me.
The next item on my agenda was filing for an appeal to my VA disability decision. When I was discharged in 2001, I filed for disability with the Veteran's Administration, and received 30% disability. That extra money each month kept my ass afloat for a number of months. Now, I was being told by my psychiatrist to appeal that decision, so I did.
I can't tell you how I started this process, or how I even completed it. I just know I did. My mind is like a sponge. It absorbs as much as it can, then quickly gets rung out, forgetting pretty much everything that was there, only remembering bits and pieces, not necessarily in chronological order.
Once I completed the VA stuff, I filed for Social Security Disability. If you have never filed for Disability, it is a major pain in the ass! The application process is a grueling as taking the SAT, only the questions are about your life, job & medical history. This is when I found out that I had obtained and lost 17 jobs in the past 15 years. Let that sink in for a minute. Yeah, you don't feel like such a loser now, do ya?
I couldn't have made it through the next 5-6 months without my friends. They were always there to listen to me vent. They had kids in sports which let me volunteer at their games, which in turn got me out of the house.
I didn't care what I had to do, I did what needed to be done, so long as it got me away from crazy town (aka: dad's house). Most of the time I worked concessions for the middle school football games, sometimes I worked the gate to collect entrance fees. I was always guaranteed to be out of the house for a couple of hours to work these games, which was awesome, for me. Dad started to get paranoid and accused me of "whoring around". That was great. I never went anywhere, but the one place I did go, I was accused of lying about it. I could understand how one would confuse my attending a middle school function and being a town whore from my attire of khaki shorts and team t-shirt. #rollseyes
Soon, high school football started, and I spent most of my Friday nights cheering on N's nephew, who was a senior. I went to as many games as my pocketbook would allow, tailgating with the parents, and cheering for my high school alma mater. I felt happy and relieved, and only a tiny bit creepy that I was the only one there without kids.
With Spring and Summer quickly approaching, I tried to think of things that would get me out of the house and away from the crazy. See, my dad is a drama queen(?) and extremely paranoid. About everything. He also has dementia. So when he can't remember where he put something, he gets paranoid and thinks that I did something to it. Arguing ensues. I leave.
Since I was always strapped for cash, I would usually go for a walk, ending up at my friend D's house, or I would go to the library. Once I found out about True Blood, I watched the whole first season just in time to catch the beginning of season 2. While watching season 1, I realized that the series was based on the Sookie Stackhouse books, it was ON! I went to the library on a mission to find the books and read them in order. Unfortunately, our local library is just pathetic and sad. With the little bit of money I had saved, I ordered the box set from Amazon.
I was set. I had plenty of book reading to keep my mind off how much life sucked and I could go anywhere and read. Then I made a costly mistake. I left the boxed set of books sitting on my coffee table, in plain sight and Dad saw them. Quizzically he asked about the titles of the books, in which all the titles have the word "dead". I tried to explain the books in a light-hearted kind of way, but as soon as I mentioned vampires, werewolves and witches, he was not having it. Not in his house! And they were ordered removed from the premises.
Let me explain. When I was in high school, my friends and I saw the movie "The Craft" and we wanted to be witches. We played around with it, bought some spell books and silly stuff like that but never took it seriously. Dad found my books and ordered them out of the house because "they cause bad luck!" He is extremely religious. He watches his crazy, cable access pastor on a daily basis and he will not have anything "sinful" in his home! You heard me. I could not even drink any kind of alcohol in his house. I know! (I'll explain how I got around this, later.)
The one thing that gave me a small amount of joy was now banished from my home. Of course I still read the books, I just put different book jackets on the outside of them and could not read them peacefully and in the open. I hid a few books in the back of my dresser and took the rest down to my friend N's house for her to babysit. I would switch out completed books for the unread ones until I was finished with the set. I felt like I was sneaking crack into a prison cell, but they were just books. To me. To my dad, they were blasphemy.
It didn't take long for me to settle into Dad's place. After all, it's the same home I grew up in. I never thought, in a million years that I would end up back there. Actually I did think it. More like I had nightmares about it. I still do.
Here I was, about to turn 33 and I was living back home with my dad and nothing to show for my life. I was sinking into a deep depression. I felt the worst about what I was doing to my kitty cats, Elton & Johnny. They went from having a whole apartment to themselves, to having to share everything with my dad's 5 cats. I could tell they wanted out of there as much as I did. I felt like such a loser.
I still tried, day after day, to find a job only eventually giving up. Not finding work was just depressing me even more. With my dad controlling my life now, I couldn't stay up late and had to get up early every morning, because that was his schedule and my sleeping in late was ruining his daily routine of doing, um, stuff. I was tasked with cleaning every day. If there is one thing you seriously need to know about me, I HATE CLEANING! I hate it more than flesh eating spiders! Okay, maybe not that badly, but I do hate it. I have to be in the mood to clean, for instance, if I'm watching Hoarders, I get the urge to clean for some reason.
My daily routine was get up, go outside to smoke a ciggie (yes, outside and it sucked) sweep the upstairs and the stairs, and every other day, mop and dust. How did I survive this nightmare of suck? I. Have. No. Idea. I tried to twitter as much as I could, and I think that gave me some sanity. But as a form of punishment, my dad cancelled the internet service. See, that which he does not understand, ie: computers, he finds threatening. Since he had no idea what I would be doing on my laptop all afternoon, he thought I was doing something "bad" or "wrong."
Without an internet connection, I had an excuse to leave the house and go to the library. Only the connection at the library was seriously restricted. I couldn't use facebook and had a hard time getting my twitter to work. That defeated the whole purpose of me wanting the internet. SHIT!!!
After taking a long hiatus from blogging and writing, I was recently inspired to write after reading A Walk In The Snark. Why was I inspired? Well, read the damn book and you'll find out. Also, realizing that I had a lot to share had a little to do with it. Just a little.
Let me take you back to November of 2008. I had an awesome apartment, a cool, well paying job, and life was pretty decent. Okay, so the job was pretty annoying. Actually it was the people I worked with who were annoying, the job part was actually not bad. I had gotten in trouble a few times regarding my attitude, well, because I don't like being treated like I'm not good enough, or like I'm a dumb ass.
One afternoon, after work, I was getting in my car to go to a physical therapy appointment (I have major back problems; long story) only I couldn't go anywhere. See, the parking situation at work was completely jacked. We had to park around the back of the building like we were all waiting in line at a drive thru. First one in is the first to leave, and so on and so forth. Since I was one of the last to arrive, I was near the back of the line of cars. There were two cars parked behind me and I was in a bit of a hurry to get the hell out of there. Myself and another lady were trying to back out of the cluster fuck of this parking sitch, only one car was preventing us. I got on my cell and called the after hours number so I could get in touch with the girl and have her move her car. Long story short, I hurt someone's feelings during that phone call and was sacked the following day.
Normally, being fired is no biggie for me. I usually find a job pretty quickly and move on with life. Only this time, the economy was in the shitter and there were no jobs to be found. The jobs that WERE there, were being fought for by hundreds of applicants. For the next 3 months, my job became looking for a job. In the beginning I was a little selective about what jobs I applied for. After a month of interviews and zero jobs, I started applying for every job I found. Still nothing. I couldn't even get a call back from McDonald's! How embarrassing!
It didn't take long for my money to disappear. Rent, bills, fuel for my car, oh and food, my checking account was as empty as my tummy. I finally broke down and realized I couldn't do this any more. I wasn't going to find a job, and I didn't have enough money to pay for another month of rent or bills.
That's when I did it. I broke down and called my dad. I told him what happened and that I needed to come home. Please understand, this was the absolute last thing in the world I ever wanted to do. I'm sure some of you understand, and other's are probably thinking, "Big deal. Living with your parent's isn't all that bad. At least you'll have a place to stay!" Yeah. To those of you who think that, you have never met my father. And once you did, you'd eat those words. You would eat those words and like it!
Don't get me wrong, I love my dad. He had a hard job of raising me on his own and worked really hard his whole life trying to keep the bills paid and clothes on my back. We just have a toxic kind of relationship. Have you ever seen what Sulfuric acid does to, well, anything? He's the sulfuric acid in this analogy. He gets in my mind and breaks me down, eating to the core of my soul until nothing can comfort me, except a pitcher of margaritas.
After telling him my situation, he agreed to let me move back and began to take control of my life. A big snow/ice storm was headed toward us and he wanted me moved out of the apartment before that hit. The only problem was my lack of funds. I wouldn't have enough money to move until a week after he wanted me to move. Alas, my ideas didn't mean shit anymore, and this was something I needed to get used to.
Moving was the worst experience imaginable. How bad was it? Imagine all the catty Real Housewives in one room, all yelling at you, but they are in the form of one man, my dad. Oh my GOD! What have I done?!?