I'm sitting on my couch in my fifth wheel tonight, my dog by my side, my husband in the recliner...and I'm trying to count my blessings. I am failing to find more than four, but those four are really all I need. I finally think everything is going to be okay.
This is a very bad time for us. So, what has been going on in our lives? Where have I been and why have I had everyone praying? What was not okay?
Let's begin at the beginning of this disaster.
My husband was on workers compensation and couldn't fit anymore. (He is a Class A Fitter.) Every time he went to the doctor, he would beg to get to go back to work. The doctor just wouldn't let him. He also wouldn't do any surgery on the foot, as he says the surgery would make it worse. And it went this way for a few months. Every month an appointment with the specialist, and every month he said, "You're not healed yet. You can't work. Let's give it another month."
He took a side job renovating some apartments, putting a crew together so he wouldn't have to do a lot of work on his hurt foot. The checks from workers comp just weren't cutting it, especially when we never knew to expect one. Sometimes they would be over a week late. Sometimes they would mail it to another address for whatever reason. So when one did finally come, we were late on all our bills and just couldn't catch up with just the one check. It was horrible, getting that check and trying to make it stretch because we just didn't know when the next one would come.
Well, the job he did in those apartments...the company never paid him. We are thankful that his crew consisted of my son, a former co-worker, and a very good friend of his. These people are very understanding of what has happened, as they too have tried contacting the company so everyone could get paid. So they know it's not Daniel's fault.
Well, except for my son. He only worked there for 3 days. And that is a whole other ball of wax. I remember saying something to you guys once that my son was exploring the possibility that he had no boundaries. What I meant by this is he stopped respecting us and everyone else around him. He refused to do work at my husbands side job, so my husband did the only thing he could do. He told him he was going to have to send him home. Well, my son threw a fit rivaling that of any 2-year-old...even resorting to tears and throwing things. Yes, this actually happened. I can hardly believe it myself that my almost 18-year-old son acted this way. This is not all, but it encompasses his attitude. We dealt with some really bad things for a couple of months.
A week before Christmas he spent the weekend with my wild and crazy brother and his wife and very young son. He came back with my brother in tow and asked if he could move in with his uncle. Well, he is almost 18 and can make that decision for himself. I think it is because his uncle rides bulls, four-wheelers, hunts wild boar, etc. (I found out just recently my brother is taking him to work with him and is experiencing the same type of behavior now.)
So, no money...my son is gone. Now what?
We make the trailer payment to my father, whose 5th wheel this is. He cannot afford to make the payment himself, so we took over them thinking this was good for all parties involved. Well, when the work comp checks fail to come, he would get very irritated. I cannot blame him for this, as the bank is calling him for their payment and this is stressful. However, it was getting to the point where I wasn't hearing from my dad unless it was about the payment. Too, he was always very short and angry every time we seen him. He would say catty things, telling us my wild and crazy brother was so dependable, etc, inferring that we were not. When, for a few years we'd been making the payment, keeping the trailer in good repair, etc. I tried very, very hard not to be upset...but I cried and a lot. Two weeks before Christmas my father tells us he might have to kick us out...and at that point we weren't even late.
Christmas came and went. My son failed to show up. I didn't decorate, we had no money for gifts, or even for a decent Christmas dinner. To tell you the truth, I don't even remember what we did, guys. I think we watched a couple of Christmas movies. I'm not really sure. Wow...I've already forgotten.
You guys probably know I have high blood pressure. I went to the hospital about three months ago or so because my foot was killing me. I didn't know how I had hurt it; I just knew it hurt and so, so bad. Turned out to just be bursitis. However, while I was there the doctor freaked out over my blood pressure, saying it's going to be a shame when I have a stroke at my age. I feel it. All the time now. Every day, a few times a day my heart beats and so hard it's up in my throat so I really have a hard time breathing.
So, here we are...no money, my son is gone, I just couldn't get into the Christmas spirit, I might have a stroke...what else?
We decide we are going to have to give up our trailer and move to Indiana with my husbands father. We decide this because my husband is told he might have to go on disability...meaning work comp checks stop, and we have about 3 months to wait for the first disability check. So...no income at all, and for 3 months. Craigslist has dried up. There is no side-work. We need to start over somewhere where there is work, for Tulsa is getting very, very bad. (Just two days ago in the money center at Walmart, there were 7 men in line cashing their severance checks. This would be bad in and of itself...but add to that the fact that all of these men worked for 7 different companies. There was quite a conversation in that line.)
Okay, we are losing our trailer. My son still wants to live with my brother. My systolic is at about 210...I'm okay. Everything is okay.
One day, about a week or two ago...it was late in the day and evening was coming. The temperature was dropping. We hadn't eaten all day, and had finally gotten the first of the last two work comp checks we needed so badly. Our lot rent is late, our trailer payment is late, our car insurance has been cancelled, and we had no food in the house really other than beans and a little rice. The car had been acting up, so while we were out we also went to Advanced Auto and had them pull a code on it. Turned out to be just a $14 part or whatever, so we pick that up and some food and are on our way home.
All of a sudden, on the way home, the car gives out and Daniel cannot get it started again. The sun is going down, it's getting quite cold, and my dog is starting to get anxious. We're on a country road with not many houses. Daniel goes to the nearest house to ask the resident if he could perhaps drive us the 5 or 6 miles home. He will not. I say that again, he will not. However, his friend is there and says he will do it. So we got a ride home from his friend and Daniel says he will try to get a ride to our car so he can maybe fix it on the side of the road.
It's two days before Daniel is able to get a ride back to the car. Sure he could've walked...had his foot not been tore up from that 4 ton weight dropped on it a few months ago. There is a tow sticker on it already, so he is happy he got there in time. He spends a nice wintry day on the side of the road trying to fix the car. A little while into it, my brother and son come driving by saying they went to the house to look at the truck. (I didn't even know they were here as they didn't knock.) The truck is my son's and he wants it even though it is broken down. We'd been on him for a couple of weeks to come and get it. Well, I guess they looked at the truck and left it there, but still want it. I don't know. Ugh. Whatever. At any rate, Daniel cannot fix the car on the side of the road. It needs to be jacked up. Also there is oil and water all over the place under the hood. This is a very, very bad sign.
The friend of the guy who wouldn't give us a ride home drives by and he helps Daniel get our car home. They actually tied a tire to the front of his truck and he pushed our car home. Now it's home and hopefully Daniel can fix it.
Turns out...he can't. Our car has turned into one very expensive paper weight. There is nothing we can do. It's garbage unless we have the money equivalent to buying another car. How will we get to Indiana? We're supposed to be out in a few days??? We cannot afford to fly, and I don't want to leave my dog so we don't want to take a bus. My dog and husband are all I have left. I'm not leaving my dog.
I asked if maybe his father would be willing to drive down and get us. Daniel says his dad's truck is old, but his sister might. She said she would be happy to come down and get us. I thanked God right then and there for his sister.
Surely things will get better now? Only, the trailer has started leaking pretty bad. Daniel think it's the gray water tank. We have no money to fix it, so the water has to stay off. We are bucket flushing the toilet. We turn it on for just an hour so we can take quick showers.
My dad decided to pop in unannounced a couple of days ago to have a look at the trailer. There's some good news. He walked in the door, said it was trashed, and walked back out. Wow. Really? REALLY? I'd had the flu (yes...again) and just didn't clean the house for a few days. Yeah, there's this new leak that's going on. But TRASHED??? I just sat there in shock. I looked around at all the money we have put into this place. I calculated about $5000 just off the top of my head replacing things that were constantly breaking. Right then and there, I did not thank our Father. I did not count my blessings. I just thought about how much money we had put into this 5th wheel, and how many $600/month payments we'd paid over the past few years, when the trailer payment itself is $550. Thousands of dollars, and we were losing it. On top of that, his sister can't fit much in her car...so we are losing everything else too. We can keep some clothes and a very few books, our computer...that's it, guys. We lost our car, our home, almost all of our belongings...and my dad, whom I probably won't see for years, ... his last communication with me is that the trailer is trashed. Okay. I can't wait til he rents this thing out and sees just how much money it requires to keep it in good repair.
Today, we gave everything we had away, as my dad made it clear he wanted all of our stuff out of here. So, $200 worth of canning jars, my canner, my sewing machine, most of Daniel's tools, blankets, pots and pans, all my spices, a lot of our books, movies, fishing gear, everything we've accumulated over these past years of being together. Everything is gone. From the $250 welding hood I bought my husband as a surprise, to the stereo I bought him for work, to ... to....everything. What kills me is we aren't very frivolous. What we've bought we've sacrificed for and bought for a specific purpose. Every item has a story for us.
While my husband was running trash today, I finally broke down and cried. I was cleaning the kitchen and I had to throw away a crystal vase Daniel got me one Valentines Day. He had some roses sent to my job when I was still working, and that's what they came in. And here's the kicker: I was needing to mash some berries one day about two years ago or so to make jelly and my potato masher was broken. Daniel couldn't fix it, but he made me one right then and there out of stuff lying around the house. We were broke, he had just been laid off that first time and we were still getting used to not having more money than we could spend. I had to throw away that masher. I'm thankful he wasn't there to see me gibbering and carrying on, bemoaning our situation.
That is how my day went yesterday and today. Throwing away, giving away...cleaning a trailer I don't really want to clean anymore because, why should I? It's trashed anyway, right?
Tonight Daniel's sister and her husband are safely tucked away in a hotel room and we are sitting here in our last night in the 5th wheel. It's been a trying last few months, but finally, right this minute, I'm excited for what is in store for us. I'm hoping there is work there in Indiana or close by in Kentucky or Ohio (his dad lives on the corner of those three states, in Indiana). I'm not really that upset anymore. I just want it over with. Tomorrow we leave everything behind and begin a brand new life.
Aside from my wild and crazy brother, I really don't think the rest of my family cares what happens to us. Everyone has known that we are moving. Everyone knows we have been without a vehicle. No one has come to see us or call us, other than my brother and my son. Oh, and my dad to come check the condition of his 5th wheel and tell us it's trashed.
I sit on this couch that I will never see again and think about all the hours I spent here crocheting, or blogging, or watching movies with Daniel. I look at my kitchen that I will never see again and I think about all the things that had to be thrown away or given away. I will never bake another ham in that oven again. I look at the living room, so empty and sparse. There's a big gap where our stereo system used to be that went to a neighbor. Our dresser drawers are empty. There is not a candle burning. There is only us, our dog, and the last of the "garbage" that needs to go out first thing in the morning before we leave.
I'll make my next post in a couple of days after we have settled into his father's house. I'm really excited about going there. I have the feeling I'm going to like his father a lot. I have never met him, but we've texted and spoken on the phone a couple of times. His sister and her husband live there, and I'm excited to begin a new relationship with them. I'll let you guys know how our trip went.