Someone once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. I’ve been doing the same thing for a while now, hoping things would get better… but they’re not.

The restaurant I’m working at is a good place to work. The owner scares me because he always looks like a volcano ready to explode but he’s a good man. He pays the full minimum hourly wage instead of just a token hourly wage and I’ve seen him keep dishwashers employed long past when I would have fired them for poor work performance. I love my co-workers very much, we’re like a family there and I will miss them terribly. They actually make up the bulk of my friends, which is kind of sad, come to think about it…

I’ve definitely gotten better at waitressing since I started there 10 months ago although I’ll probably never get as good as the girls who have been there forever – and I’m OK with that, lol.

Since I started no one else has been hired and stayed, I’ve seen lots of new hires come and go and it’s probably 50/50 that they quit or get fired. But everybody else has been there for years and it’s their career, their only source of income and they’re not going anywhere. Which means I’m never moving up in the serving ladder. There’s an upstairs and a downstairs dining area and the new people always get the downstairs. When customers come in they usually sit at the first available booths or tables upstairs and slowly trickle downstairs. Sean has been working there for several years and only once have I ever seen him put on Section One, the best section, and frequently he’s downstairs with me because there’s so many other girls that have been there longer than him and they get the better sections.

Summer is always busier and I thought I would make more money but they also hired new girls to cover the busy season so I’m getting less hours and still making about the same.

The schedule is also very unpredictable and it only comes out a few days ahead of time for the next week. Some weeks I work 5 days, some I work 3. It’s very hard to budget and hard to plan to go anywhere out of town.

Sometimes it gets busy, like slammed, every table in the restaurant is full. Those days are hard because I CAN’T give anyone good service. I’ll have 9 tables and most of them have 4 people but some of them will have 8. Frequently I’ll have 3 or 4 tables sit down at the exact same time. It is not humanly possible to get 12 people in three different groups their drinks in a timely fashion while also trying to help the 4 other tables I’ve been working with their side of ranch, another round of drinks, extra napkins and A1 sauce. So tips those days are bad. As in 10% or less. It’s a lot of work for not nearly enough money.

Last night it became clear to me that I need a different job. This job physically exhausts me and the stress from never knowing the schedule and what I can budget on drains me emotionally and mentally.

I’ve been doing the same thing over and over again expecting things to change.

I have to make things change. They don’t change on their own.

Dammit.

I still don’t have enough salon customers to pay the bills so I need a second job to make sure everything gets covered. I’m thinking I will apply for jobs as a casino attendant. They still get tips but the pace is never as frantic as serving can get and hopefully the schedules at the chain casinos are more set and come out further ahead of time.

The hard part will be telling Sean, the father of my grandbaby, that I’m not going to work with him anymore. It will eliminate 98% of our time together and all of his secondhand connection with my dauhter. I will miss being around him and it’s not my intention to deprive him of that extra little connection to my daughter, and eventually his daughter as well, but I have to do what I can to stay on top of the bills and keep my sanity, or at least as much of it as possible.

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I had this great post written out and then I lost it… so long story short – I’m doing well now.  I wrote my last post towards the end of a really bad depression spiral and had a really horrible, nasty day a few days latter and then I snapped out of it and now I’m fine.  Most days really, truly are good for me, I just tend to write more when I’m in the depths of a depression episode because it’s therapeutic.  Lucky you.

I am currently not interested in dating anyone anymore.  Not sure why but it does make life easier and I am at peace, lol.  I was all twitterpated for about three weeks over my 26 year old former co-worker but that disappeared overnight and although I have no clue why my romantic feelings towards him are gone I am completely OK with it.  He doesn’t communicate enough to make a relationship with me work and I see that now – after I finally looked away from the bright light of Possibly Not Being Alone Anymore…

My nephew’s graduation turned out great, the ex didn’t show, although his parents did, and I wound up having a really nice chat with them.  Tina and I stayed at my best friend’s house and had a good time.

I’m going to try and specialize in facials, body waxing and eyelash extensions since there are tons of hair stylists in this tiny town I live in but very few people offering any of those three services.  Besides, hair isn’t my favorite anyway and I just don’t feel like I’m that great at it either, ha, ha…

Waitressing is still going well, tips are getting better and I’ve even lost some more weight, yay!  I’ve lost 13 pounds since I started this job last September but I’m hoping to lose another 30 in the next year.  I just set up my Wii and have the Zumba disc, hopefully that will help 😀

I’ve started reading books again, partly because our internet here at the house absolutely sucks but also because I’ve tired of always having something on the television.  It’s been probably 5 years since I’ve really sat down to read a book, I forgot how much I enjoy it!

A co-worker invited me to lunch a week or so ago and it was a lot of fun, I think it’s a good start to an away-from-work friendship and the beginning of a social life so woo hoo!

Overall, everything is back to normal and going well.  I’ve had almost all good days in the last couple of weeks.  I’m not panicking about giving up my life for my daughter and/or her baby anymore.  Life isn’t scary and I’m not feeling stuck here any more.

I can breathe again.  It was just the depression, kicking my butt for a short time.

I’m going to be OK.

My laptop has been trying to die and therefore blogging has been difficult so I will try to catch up since Easter in a brief and succinct fashion… to be brief and amazing, so to speak, ha, ha…

It took almost 6 weeks to get my cosmetology license, after 4 weeks I emailed the state to find out what was taking so long and they replied with “oh, we need more information”.  Apparently they needed confirmation – again – of my Idaho nail license, the same one they already verified to give me my Montana nail license 2 years ago.  Sooo frustrating…  but I requested the information that they required and my license was emailed to me the next day so all’s well that ends well I guess, right?

The day I got my license I started getting sick, which turned out to be the B strain of the flu virus – the worst strain, this year – and kept me out of working both of my jobs for a week – AND – I gave the flu to my pregnant daughter.  That was terrifying for me, the thought that harm may come to her and the baby because of me but she was diagnosed early enough in the course of it that she could take the Tamiflu whereas I was stubborn about going to the doctor and waited too long so I could only tough it out.  I have never been so sick in my life and I feel a wee bit lied to.  I didn’t throw up once so how could it have possibly been the flu?  That’s why I didn’t go to the doctor right away, I thought I just had a bad cold… ugh.  An unfortunate side-effect of having the flu and being out of work for a week was that I could not afford to go to my oldest daughter’s graduation from the little college her church has.  I really wanted to be there to show her that I was there for her, that I am willing to travel and spend the time and money to be as much a part of her life as she will let me and because of a virus she probably thinks that I just didn’t want to go and made up being sick to get out of it.

This whole month of May has been very defeating for me overall…

I’ve gotten better at waitressing and as much as it is NOT the job I want for the rest of my life I have accepted that it pays the bills and is a necessary part of my life for the foreseeable future.  It is also very much like going to the gym and getting paid for being there as it is more exercise than I will ever get cutting hair or doing nails, lol.  The shift in my mindset seems to have improved my service at the restaurant and the managing waitresses have noticed so that is good and tips have been better too so that’s one for the plus side!

Tina and Sean will probably never get back together, that is becoming more and more clear.  Sean seems to have stopped gambling and has cut back his drinking again to focus more on his music and creative endeavors.  They both go to the doctor appointments together and the ultrasounds – she’s having a girl, by the way, I’m so excited! – and they’re getting along fairly well.

Sean and I, on the other hand, have become fairly close.  We communicate almost every day and we are there for each other in life’s little ups and downs.  It bothers Tina something fierce and I’m not entirely sure what to do about it.  He has become a dear friend – nothing more and nothing less – but I don’t want to give that up just to make her feel better.  We all have to get along for the rest of our lives because of the baby, why not get along well?  She is the only one who struggles with he and I getting along.  His mom and I are starting to be friends as well and Tina definitely struggles to have a relationship with Sean’s mom, she is a very black-and-white sort of person and I think it reminds her too much of her father and sister.

I haven’t gone back to FetLife for a while but the Montana man and I have continued emailing.  I found out, after 7 weeks of emailing him, that he was married.  I was starting to think we could be more than friends and so when I found out I immediately friend-zoned him, which he accepted fairly graciously and we have continued to email back and forth several times a week.  I do enjoy having a simple, normal conversation with him – even though he would still like it if we could meet up and “cuddle” – but he is not pushy about it so that’s probably as good as it’s going to get for me right now.

Tina and I were invited, at the last minute, to my father’s birthday dinner and it was nice to see him, my step-mother and my step-sister along with her son and finance.  My step-mother paid for everyone’s meals but ours and then texted me the next day apologizing for the fiance who talked non-stop about the wedding that Tina and I aren’t invited to.  It was a crazy dinner and they all had obviously given my father his gifts earlier, at his home, without us.  I’m sorry I ever moved to Montana to get to know my dad.  He was happy to see Tina and me at his dinner but nobody else was and I cannot get closer to him without his suffering repercussions from his wife so I have less of a relationship with him than ever.  I should have moved to the Oregon Coast like I wanted to, dammit.

But if I had never moved here I would not be having a granddaughter and everything inside me screams that it is very important she exists.  I believe she is going to change the world.  But how?

I am also enjoying living just a few hours from my best friend, instead of the 8 hour drive it was before I moved to Montana.  She still lives in the same city we both moved to after graduating high school and even though I swore to never live there again it has become a tempting thought to me to go back just to be closer to her and other friends from high school, I could have a social life and girlfriends again, maybe even find someone to date…

The beginning of June Tina and I are going to attend my nephew’s high schoo graduation and spend time with my best friend. Also in attendance will be my ex-husband, his wife and my former in-laws. I am not expecting to have a good time at the graduation – or at the BBQ at my own brother’s house afterwards – because of them.  Hopefully I am wrong…

Forgive me, I am not in bright spirits right now.

I signed up on Match.com and it’s been the weirdest thing – when I was on the free dating sites I received  many messages and quite a bit of interest from the men there.  The minute I pay for a membership at a site with a better reputation every little bit of interest dried up like I was suddenly in the middle of the salt flats of Utah.  I finally stepped out of my comfort zone and initiated contact with 5 men.  One of them sent a polite “no thank you” and one responded, we had a coffee date and then he sent me a message saying that we were not a good match.  The other three did not respond at all.

There is a slim chance that a nice man I used to work with likes me.  I feel like he likes me and I have become very fond of him.  He is tall and handsome, a gentle soul, kind of introverted – like me – and a man of few words.  I could love him easily.  The catch is that he is only 26 and I suspect that no matter how much he may like – or love – me, it is not enough to overcome the 18 years of difference between us, something I have been considering in depth recently and have decided that I don’t care about an age gap anymore.  If a man is of a character that I would date him then it doesn’t matter what age he is.

I’m feeling tired, worn out with no end in sight and very, very alone.  Forever alone…

I’m in a tiny town with hardly any chance of meeting anyone new, male or female, for dating or for friendship.  My purpose in moving to Montana has been defeated by my father’s wife.  What’s best for me would to be closer to my support network of my best friend and high school friends but if I move I either lose the closeness I’ve gained with Tina and will miss out on being a part of her daughter’s life – OR – she moves with me, I am never have space of my own again and Sean misses out on being a part of his daughter’s life.  There is no win-win here.  My leaving to better my own life costs other people. My staying costs me but would make sure my daughter has help and support with her infant after delivery will also ensure that the child will be safe and taken care of in spite of the fact that my daughter has little to no experience with children, especially infants.  Both Tina and Sean like to drink and smoke pot.  Tina has not drank a drop since she learned she was pregnant but she continues to smoke cigarettes, although less of them, and she still smokes pot, but again, less of it than before she was pregnant.  Will she go back to these things once she delivers?  Probably.  Will Sean be safe to leave his child in his care or will he drink and smoke pot while he has her?  I firmly believe that he would never purposefully endanger his child but I also wonder if he might think that his taking a hit here, a drink there wouldn’t affect her.

I don’t know and the not knowing is eating away at me.  It traps me here and I am entering another round of depression and hopelessness.  How can I leave and risk my grandchild’s well-being?  Staying feels like I would be, once again, devoting my entire life to another person and, in exchange, giving up any rights to a life of my own.  Somewhat like being trapped in my marriage again.  I don’t want to go back to that place in my head, in my heart again.  But if I don’t what happens to the child?  Tina’s getting pregnant has changed everything.

Everything.

And now everything is about the child. I have to keep her safe.

It has been far too long since I had the time and energy to blog and a lot has happened so I’ll try to summarize…

I graduated beauty school! I finished the required hours and walked out of school a free lady on March 15th. It was such a relief to be finished, truly, the 13 1/2 months I was there was the hardest time in my life. It was easier to leave my marriage! Ugh. But it’s over and with it came the end of 7 months of 14 hour days, between 4 – 6 days a week. I’ve never been more exhausted. I’ve taken these last two weeks to do as little as possible and rest as much as I can and I’ve noticed already that I’m feeling better. This next week I’ll start to focus on drumming up more nail business and in a month or so when I finally get my hair license I’ll work on getting hair customers as well.

I’m still waitressing to pay the bills until my chosen profession can support me and while it’s going well I’m tired of it. I do my best and the other servers are getting good tips – 15% – 20% on a regular basis but I seem to be stuck in averaging 10% – !5%. I’m not sure what else I can be doing to give better service and, therefore, better tips but it’s really frustrating and I’ve been taking it personally, which I need to stop doing. There’s always something to work on, isn’t there? Lol.

Tina and Sean are not back together yet and honestly I don’t know what is going to happen. Sean is revealing a side of himself that I hadn’t seen before, it would appear that he has a bigger issue with alcohol than he had let on before, or at least than he’s had for a while. He had said he used to be a really bad alcoholic and stopped drinking when he moved from California to Montana so that’s something Tina and I both knew about but it looks like he is struggling with it again. Also, he has started gambling more often… although it’s probably all in response to all the pressures of loosing his father, gaining and then losing the love of his life and becoming a father with a person who has rejected him completely as their life partner. Can’t say as I blame him but this is not a good direction for him… More prayers needed please…

Tina’s pregnancy is going well, she’s about 16 weeks right now and there have been no problems, yay! I think at her next appointment she’ll be able to find out the baby’s sex, I’m so excited about it!

For myself, I’ve started trying to find out more information about sexuality and more specifically, my own. I’ve tried all the conventional methods I’ve been able to think of and haven’t gotten anywhere so when a friend suggested I try Fetlife.com I figured it wouldn’t hurt.

Fetlife – as in Fetish Life…

Yep. Apparently it’s a Facebook-type site for the BDSM community, which means there are erotic postings in every format – written, photos and videos. Every. Format. But I learned so much there from the things people wrote. Apparently there’s “rules” for sex. Important rules like mutual consent for everything. Rules about physical safety and germ safety. There’s a lot of respect between the parties and they call what they do acting out a “scene” like it’s theater. I thought I was probably Asexual, someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction to others but I read a list of definitions and then took a test. It said that I’m 99% Vanilla, someone who doesn’t want anything other than “normal” sex – no shocker there – but I’m also something called a Demi-Sexual, someone who is only sexually attracted to someone they are strongly emotionally connected to.

Hmmm… no wonder I was never sexually attracted to my ex-husband, we never emotionally connected.

Anyway, it’s a very arousing website, with all that, well, basically, porn, floating around… but I decided to write a bit of my story and I stated that I was open to feedback and/or advice. One of the things I was specifically looking for was how to find a counselor who could help me deal with my sexual issues and I got lots of good feedback on that. But the best response I received was from a man in Scotland. He had a lot of good advice and we chatted for most of a month before he lost interest but he was very kind and encouraging. There’s another man, from somewhere else here in Montana that responded to what I wrote and we’ve been chatting on email as just friends. I don’t actually spend a lot of time on FetLife. I basically read a bunch of what people write, step back and turn it over in my mind, do additional online research if needed and wait until I’m curious about something again before I get back onto it. But just being able to identify a few things has been really encouraging. To understand that I’m not the only one out there who has a low sex drive and there’s a reason I’m not sexually attracted to hardly anyone – and why I was never sexually attracted to my ex-husband – is very freeing. I’ve only slept with one man my entire life, I’m not at all in a hurry to make it two and I’d like to stop at two as well.

Today is Easter and marks the second holiday Tina and I were not invited to my dad and step-mom’s house to celebrate, the first being Christmas. This coming Thursday is my dad’s birthday and we have not yet received an invitation for that either. I’m hoping that we will be invited to his birthday dinner but my step-mom has been upset with me since before Thanksgiving, as far as I can tell. I’ve tried to talk to her about it, especially just before Christmas when it got very obvious, but she just brushed it off and wouldn’t talk to me about it, wouldn’t even hardly listen to me apologize for hurting her feelings, she didn’t want to discuss it at all… I don’t know what else to do so I just text each of them a “Hi, I love you” every once in a while. So much for moving to Montana to be closer to them…

For now I’m going to stay in Tinyville Montana and try to build a business and see how it goes. Tina would like to have her own place, and I have to say I wouldn’t mind having space to myself either but everything is so expensive here neither of us can afford it – and I don’t see that changing after the baby is born – but who knows, right?

Yes, I named this blog entry after a soap opera because it fits…

Well then!  Just over a month since Christmas and life has done a 90 degree turn in a completely new direction, I’ll try to hit the highlights…

My step-mom was deeply offended that I went to a movie with Sean’s family on Christmas day.  She texted me, all upset then refused to continue our texting conversation when I was trying to apologize, saying that we needed to speak face to face… but when I offered to meet her at my next available time she said it was a bad time because she was having Christmas with her daughter, grandson and family.  That my daughter and I weren’t invited to and weren’t welcome to attend.  The next chance I had to get up and see them was early January, two days after Tina’s birthday that they ignored, and I tried to talk about the whole Christmas issue with her and she brushed it off saying that she was just hurt but we were OK now.  She still wouldn’t discuss it with me… at all.  So I went back home and stopped any non-essential communication with her and my father, at least for now.

New Year’s Eve weekend I had to work so that was fairly uneventful.  Work, by the way, at the restaurant, is going well.  We are all one big, happy family there, everyone gets along and we look out for each other, it’s a place I go to and feel loved and accepted.  Work is great!

School is less great.  More like not great at all, ugh.  Coming back from a week off for Christmas break was so very hard.  I literally slept 12 – 14 hours every day during Christmas break and was finally starting to feel good by the time school started again but somehow that made going to back to school and 14 hour days even harder.  On top of just being physically draining and exhausting I was shorted $860 in my final financial aid payment in a way that is completely “legal” and I have no way of disputing.  At the moment I am slated to graduate around March 15th and I cannot wait to be out of there so I force myself to go every day but I spend a lot of time hiding in the bathroom, playing on my phone just to keep my sanity.  I will never recommend that anybody goes there.  Ever.

Tina’s 21st birthday was in early January and I took the day off of school and work and Sean and I took her into the “big city” where my folks live and we went ice skating, shopping and to a movie before coming back to meet friends at their favorite bar.  Ice skating was fun, I fell down once, she fell down three or four times and Sean, who had never ice skated in his life, didn’t fall down at all, lol.  We saw Ferdinand the Bull and it was super cute, lots of fun.  She got pretty drunk at the bar, but it was her 21st and she was safe with Sean and our other friends.  I left early as it was a school night and I’m not really into the bar scene anyway.

Tina was beginning to become dissatisfied with her relationship with Sean and that made me sad, they just seem so perfect for each other, he is so good with and for her, how could she possibly have problems with him?  But she could not focus on anything but what she saw as his flaws and decided to break up with him.  It was a Thursday night and she and Sean were working at the restaurant together, he confronted her about what was wrong, she seemed to be avoiding him or mad at him or something like that and she just broke up with him right then and there, in the middle of a work shift instead of at least waiting until after work or something a little more reasonable where a proper discussion could be had.  The reason she gave him was that she “needs some space”.

She broke his heart.  He cried a lot.  And yet he still told her to continue using his vehicle because hers stopped running in October and she’s been driving his all this time.  He still wanted to be her friend and take care of her as best he could, as much as she would let him.  He made me promise him that I would keep her safe since she wouldn’t let him do it anymore…

That was January 18th.  That same night, after she got home, she took a pregnancy test and lo and behold, I am going to be a grandma!

Sadly, that changed nothing.  She still does not want to be with him.  She doesn’t want to even talk to him about why she broke up with him so all he has are some vague, general ideas that he must have done something wrong but he doesn’t really know what.

In spite of all of this Sean still loves her dearly.  He is excited about the baby and wants to be involved in it’s life as much as she will allow.  He pursues being her friend and clings to hope that they will become more later.  We all still work together and it’s hard to tell that they’ve broken up.  There is still lots of smiles and laughter between them at work.  He does everything he can to make her happy, including pulling 98% of his affection back and treating her like any other co-worker because that’s what she asked him for.

I feel like I’m watching God try to get the fact that He loves the Israelites across to them while they wander the desert…

This has been the hardest thing for me to stand back and see without being able to really help either of them.  I think Tina is young and dumb for walking away from Sean.  He’s not perfect but neither is she and I’ve never met anyone who loves another human being so completely and deeply.  He still weeps, often, that she doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with him as a man or a boyfriend but it doesn’t stop him from picking himself up and trying again to be a better friend to her and meet whatever needs she has and I know he will make a great father.  He even makes sure that I’m OK and helps me with whatever I tell him that I need as well.  He calls me “Glamma” and gives me lots of hugs – which I need – but it’s never weird.  Just pure affection.  I told him we are family forever now and he is my son, no matter what.

I didn’t even know love like that existed and honestly, I’ve kind of given up thinking I’m going to find it because how could there possibly be two men out there like Sean?  And if there are, what are the odds that I could possibly find the second one since my daughter has found – and rejected – the first one?  And if I ever do find him what are the chances that he’ll actually like me back?  I think I’ll have better luck winning the lotto…  I should start playing…

Speaking of dating, I did go back onto two different dating sites, wound up going on four dates with three guys (one of them asked me om a second date) before once again cancelling my memberships.  None of the guys were right for me and I need to focus on finishing school and now on my pregnant daughter.  And on my new son.

My ex-husband took the news of Tina’s pregnancy in typical ass-hat fashion.  I was sitting in the car with her when she called him and could hear everything he said.  I watched her face fall and then crumble as he said things like “I wish I could say ‘Congratulations’ and ‘I’m happy for you’ but you know that I can’t…”  He’s so hung up on the legalities of the situation, that she is not married to Sean and is in fact still legally married to that jerk in the Navy that he couldn’t even say a simple “Congratulations!  I’m excited to be a grandpa!”

I used real swear words aimed in his direction that day…

I sent her father a text, giving him a piece of my mind, reminding him that Jesus loves everyone unconditionally and his response was that  “Jesus loves PEOPLE unconditionally but never does he condone our sin.”  Because judging them is obviously his job… oh wait, isn’t there a verse that says “judge not”???

And he wonders why Tina doesn’t want to have a whole lot to do with him… grrr…

My folks are also off the Christmas card list.  I texted them the pregnancy news and she responded with a “Oh my” and an embarrassed/ashamed face emoji.  My father still hasn’t responded to that text at all and it’s been 10 days…  My brothers, at least, said the appropriately happy things and dear old Ex did send an apology text to Tina after I called him on the carpet but it was a day late and a dollar short.  All she can think of is that he doesn’t believe that her child should be born and that pisses her off something fierce.  He may never be able to repair this damage.

Please say prayers that Tina will get over these tiny things that irritate her about Sean and at least have a conversation with him about their relationship, leading to a complete reconciliation so they can raise this child together.  Please pray Sean does not get weary in dealing with her fickleness during this time and walk away from her forever.  Please pray for a safe pregnancy – she’s already had 2 miscarriages (although I’m pretty sure her father only knows about one…) and is possibly high risk.  Please pray all the alcohol she consumed until she found out she was pregnant does not affect the baby.  Please pray for my health, energy and sanity to hold out so that I can finish school and be there for her during this time.

Please pray.

The last 20 days were a little crazy, I’m not going to lie.  Too much work, too much school, donated firewood thanks to Sean, a bad head cold with swollen eardrums and frozen pipes led up to Christmas but the bigger issue actually is that for the first time, probably ever, I have not been able to purchase a single Christmas for anybody who is important to me.

I am a gift giver, it is my nature and I feel like it is a part of what defines me.  In the past I have grieved deeply whenever a gift-giving season came – Christmas, birthdays, Easter, etc. – and I was unable to give something.  Which was pretty much all the time.  Over the years it contributed to my depression and times that were supposed to be joyful and happy filled me with guilt and shame, especially my children’s birthdays as they grew older and wanted big parties with all their friends and I just couldn’t afford to do the things they wanted.  Christmas lost it’s magic and I felt that loss deeply without realizing exactly why the holiday spirit was gone.

In previous years I have been in financial situations where I shouldn’t have bought Christmas gifts for anyone and I did anyway but this year I didn’t even have the ability to rob Peter to pay Paul… I literally have nothing extra.  Nothing.

Soooo… normally that would depress me, wound me, devastate me but – and this is how I know I’ve grown – this year I crunched the numbers, knew I couldn’t buy anything and accepted it without allowing my inability to give gifts to affect my self-esteem.

Ta dah!  Look at me go!

I still did what I could, I wrote cards to my closest friends and co-workers telling them the things I appreciated about them and gave the cards as my Christmas gifts.  One of the cooks, a former gangster from LA – now the nicest man you’ll ever meet, said they were they  most beautiful words anyone had ever said to him and there were tears in his eyes.  Others said my card was so nice it made them choke up.  And the ones that thanked me for the cards – their responses blessed me more than anyone I’ve ever given a purchased gift to.

And some of the magic came back to Christmas…

Christmas Day itself found me cooking up a storm.  Tina and Sean came over and we invited everyone at the restaurant to come who didn’t have a place to go for Christmas.  I made caramel french toast, buttermilk pancakes and homemade buttermilk syrup.  Magic punch and Reindeer Toes.  I was going to make caramel chex mix but only three people out of the 12 we invited came over so we already had too much food, lol.  It was super casual, all three were young men in their early to mid 20’s and we just sat around eating, talking and watching movies.  Later we went to Sean’s house and had dinner with his family and then we all went to watch the new Jumanji movie.  I wish I had known them before Sean’s father died, they’re nice people but it will be interesting to be a part of this family.

I did not attempt to go to my dad and step-mom’s house, not only was she was not feeling well but she went to a lot of effort to tell me that they were not expecting any presents from me or Tina because they wouldn’t be giving us any and Christmas dinner was just going to be a normal dinner, nothing special and Sean was not invited, which meant that Tina refused to go.  It was easier to say I still wasn’t feeling well myself and not go than try to deal with my step-mom and in the end my day was much nicer I think.

So this is Christmas… A very different Christmas than I’ve ever had but better. Much, much better.

Well, I survived Thanksgiving where my oldest daughter, my two brothers, their families and my dad and step-mom all met in a hotel conference room and celebrated Thanksgiving pot-luck style.  My step-sister and her boyfriend showed up for an hour or so as well and it was actually a really nice time.

My younger daughter, Tina, and I went up together and on the hour-long drive up she worried that she was unwanted because of being still married and having gotten a second tattoo recently.  Tina really struggles with feeling unwanted from both sides of her family but especially her father’s side since they care much more about “proper”.   Thankfully, this get-together was with my side of the family.  Anyway, on the drive home I asked her if it was better than she thought it would be and was happy to hear that she had a good time and didn’t feel like the black sheep she thinks everyone considers her.  She had a good time with her cousins, everyone oohed and aahhed over her new tattoo and she felt like she was able to connect with everyone a little more than previously in her life.  My two girls appeared to get along just fine, although I could tell they were both wary of the other and my older girl wasn’t interested in having any real conversations with me.  She also left the party early.

Sadly, Sean wasn’t able to come because his dad had just passed away a week before Thanksgiving.  That would have been a great time to introduce him to everyone.

Of course, everyone commented on my hair, being blue and all, and my step-mom (who had un-invited me to her home the weekend before and I still don’t know why) tried to be funny and say that it was “disgusting” how many compliments I get when were out and about together and I had a light bulb moment and realized that truly is how she feels.  She is jealous of me.  Possibly even jealous that my dad loves me.  I doubt he loves me more than he loves her, mostly because he’s so quiet and reserved that it’s hard to tell how he’s feeling about anyone or anything – except the dogs and cats.  He loves them best, they have his heart.  Possibly because they’re safe to love.  My heart breaks for him but I don’t know how to help him.

So Thanksgiving turned out better than I thought it would be overall but I’m also left feeling very alone, family-wise, and wondering if I did the right thing moving to Montana.  After I was un-invited to my stepmom’s house I wrote my folks a card, explaining that due to the financial aid problem I wouldn’t be able to keep coming up every week to go to church with them and spend time with them because I had to get a third job (again).  They should have received it just before Thanksgiving but only said “I’m sorry things are tight”.  I’m guessing my step-mom interpreted that as a request for a financial hand-out, which it wasn’t at all, but that seems to be the only thing she thinks of me, is that I’m constantly asking for things from her… ugh.

The weekend after Thanksgiving Tina and I went to Washington on Saturday to meet my brothers, their wives and my sister who came up for the weekend.  My sister was the only one not able to come up for Thanksgiving so it was nice to see her for a bit.  Sean’s dad’s funeral service was Sunday, the next day and they asked me to sing Amazing Grace and the song I sang at my own mother’s funeral.

Earlier that week my step-mom did reach out to me and ask me to come up on Sunday and do her nails, even offering to pay me, and asked if I wanted a little Christmas tree she was going to get rid of.  Fortunately I was able to say that Tina had a Christmas tree she brought with her when she moved to Montana with me and so we didn’t need her tree (I’m trying not to take things from her anymore because maybe that’s one of her hang-ups, I don’t ask her for stuff but she gives me a lot of things so maybe it’s in response to a perceived request that I didn’t actually make???) and I also apologized that I wouldn’t be able to come up and do her nails on Sunday (the only day that would work for her) because I was singing at Sean’s dad’s funeral.

Her response left me feeling like she was angry but that could just be me, texts are hard to read emotion into so I’m not totally sure. Oh, and she sent me another message saying they weren’t doing Christmas presents anymore, as in she’s not getting me or my daughter anything so we don’t have to give them anything either.  She tried to phrase it like it was a kindness to me, reducing my stress by not having to buy two more gifts but it felt like a punishment.  I’ve always thought gifts were her love language.  Possibly I was wrong given the way she’s angry with me for “asking for everything” but since she married my dad in ’91 she has always given me and my siblings and then our spouses and children wonderful gifts so yeah, it feels like a punishment.

Later my dad sent me a message saying he was “praying for (stepmom’s) heart to soften towards you and Tina”  What the hell?  Why on earth is she upset with my daughter?  And why won’t she ever say stuff like this to my/our face?  She acts like she loves us and everything is wonderful, I only hear about these things from my dad, who begs me not to tell her he told me, I’m guessing because she would make his life even more miserable than it already is.  Ugh.  At this point I’m over it.  I’m so happy to be living an hour away from her.  I wish I could be there for my dad more but I feel like my trying to be close to him is making his life more difficult with her so I’m just staying away from them both.

Work at the restaurant has been slow because it’s winter time and so on top of not getting all of my financial aid I haven’t been getting very big paychecks either.  I took another position, still in the same building but technically for a separate business, at the liquor store.  Now me, who is basically a non-drinker and completely clueless regarding types of alcohol and what they’re used for, is suddenly responsible for directing people to find all different types of liquor, vodka, whiskey, tequila, wines, olives, bloody mary mixes and the like.  I’m not sure this plan was very well thought out… but it’s a job and it’s not all that difficult so I’m going to do my best there just like I do everywhere else.  So far I’ve worked three shifts and all the customers have been really nice so hopefully that continues.  I think between now and Christmas, between the two jobs, I have two days off.  Go me…  but as long as it pays the bills, eh?

Speaking of bills, I’m trying desperately to stay on top of things.  The phone company is taking their automatic payment out on Wednesday, and I don’t get paid until Friday.  I called them and they won’t move it back two days.  Also, the landlords haven’t cashed their rent check for this month yet so that means there is money enough to cover the phone bill in the bank but then the rent check will bounce – and I’m terrified of what they will do if it does bounce.  I’m not confident that they wouldn’t evict me immediately, given the “trouble” they think I’ve already caused them with the firewood incident.  Talk about stress.  I’m trying to borrow money from my sister for two days but if she can’t do it then I’m going to have to swallow my pride and ask the school owner for a loan, something I think I blogged that I would rather die than do…  but this is life and you do what you have to do to survive I guess.  If neither can/will loan me the money I’ll to go the bank and ask if they can deny the phone charges and hold the money for the rent check and we’ll just go without phones for a few days until I get paid.  Adulting sucks, just sayin’.

But none of that is the worst part.  The worst part is that I am out of firewood.  It’s 8 degrees outside and I only have a few pieces left.  Since I’m hardly ever home between work and school it’s not such a big deal for me but I can’t keep my daughter warm.  It was surprisingly hard to ask her to go live with her boyfriend for a while so that she will be safe and warm until I can get on top of things again.  I cried after they left tonight.  It almost felt like I was putting her up for adoption because I can’t provide for her.

Sean was over the moon, of course, and watching him look at her is like watching a flower worship the sun.  He’s an amazing man and exactly what she needs, I’m so glad they found each other.  His mom really likes Tina too (and he lives with his mom) so it’s no problem for her to stay with them. They have just started to invite me on family outings, which has been super cool.  Tonight we went to hear his nephews sing in the Christmas concert at school and then we went out to eat.  It’s nice to get to know his mom, she’s a neat lady.

I know that I was supposed to come here to Montana but maybe it was just so that Tina and Sean would meet.  Maybe I don’t have to be here anymore.  I love this part of Montana, it’s so beautiful, but life has been nothing but hard since I came here.  I’m beginning to daydream about going back to where I came from, there are multiple people who have said I could stay with them for a bit, and I could always live with my Vietnamese family long term if I needed to.  I would have an instant job with customers who remember me and love me and I could make good money again… be that person again who goes to restaurants and orders food instead of the one serving it and praying for a good tip.  It’s very tempting to go back as I sit here in my living room, huddled underneath a blanket with my heavy winter coat on, typing with frozen fingers…  but to give up now when I’m so close to graduating would be a complete waste of the last year plus I’d have to start paying off my student loans right away without any extra license to do more than just nails.  Nope, not a good idea.  I’ll have to tough it out like I always do.  Dammit.

So just to be clear, I’m not asking anyone for money.  I made my bed and now I’m laying in it.  I’m just documenting all of this for later and getting it out of my head, this is my journal/blog, after all.

And whining a bit too, I’ll admit to that.

But in the end, I chose this life when I left my ex husband.  I decided to go it alone and even though everything pretty much sucks right now I’d still take this over staying married to him.  I can do this.  I’ve lost everything before, even if I lose it all again I will be successful in the long run and look back on these days, realizing they weren’t all that bad.  I’m going to be OK.

 

Alas, this is not the story of someone falling in love with me at first sight. Oh no, no, no, this is the story of the beautiful, long-haired, Jesus-looking man who works at the restaurant with me – falling in love with my daughter at first sight…

His name is Sean and he’s 32 years old.  Exactly 12 years younger than me and 12 years older than my daughter.  I really enjoy working with him, he is helpful, a hard worker, efficient and thorough, very clean and tidy at work.  He has a great sense of humor and cares about others.  I was trying to convince myself that maybe he liked me and trying to convince myself that I could like him back but I never succeeded in falling in love with him, which turned out to be a very good thing indeed…

The day I brought my daughter into the kitchen to introduce her to my co-workers was at least a month before she started working there with me.  Sean took her hand, bowed over it and kissed it with a grand flourish that I’d never seen him do for anyone else and she and I both looked at each other and went “Hmmm…”.  She came in a few times after that, to eat, to say hi, to hang out while I worked so that she wasn’t alone and Sean would always stop in at her table and chat with her a bit.  Then one day she got the job as a busser and her first night was a busy Friday night.  Since I was working that night too she walked in with me and we entered the kitchen to hear Sean say “There’s supposed to be a new busser tonight but I don’t know who it is”.  I said “It’s my daughter and here she is” and his response was a hearty “Hell yeah!”

She and I worked together for probably two weeks, sometimes he worked with us too, and I asked her a few times if she thought Sean liked me because of how nicely he treated me (I’m not used to that from guys who don’t want more than friends) and she kept telling me “No Mom, he treats everyone that way.”  I was still mildly hopeful though, mostly because Kyle is pretty much not in my life anymore and I need to focus on somebody or my head gets weird…  but that should probably be another post.

Sean is very generous to the bussers, us servers tip the bussers and the bartender out of our own tips, but he was especially generous to my daughter and one night we were all in the kitchen and she said “Mom!  I just need a Sugar Daddy!” and Sean said “I’m trying!” and I knew right then and there that he liked her.  I responded with a brief pause before I said “He’d be a good one.” to indicate I approved and Sean’s face brightened. then I added “A rich waiter.” to make her think about whether or not he actually fit the Sugar Daddy definition and he bust up laughing.  That was a fun night.

A short time later on a Saturday night the dishwasher hurt himself – off the job but came to work all bloody – and got sent home.  The powers that be called the other dishwasher in to finish the shift.  The replacement dishwasher informed them that he was drunk, it was his night off after all, but that he would come in and finish the shift.  So he comes in just roaring drunk but ready to work and the employee that called him in realized they had made A Big Mistake and berates him for coming in drunk.  What the?  This was entirely their fault, not his, he told them he was drunk… but I digress.  The replacement dishwasher winds up going home and my daughter, Sean and one of the cooks stay to do his job and which took until 2:30 am, after which they went to Sean’s house and proceeded to get drunk.

Yes, my daughter drinks and smokes pot too.  I don’t encourage it but I am glad she trusts me enough to tell me what she’s doing.

She didn’t come home that night.  I didn’t receive a text or a phone call from her either. I began to panic.  I was supposed to go to church with my folks that morning so I tried to call her.  The phones were shut off!  What?  I spent 20 minutes talking to the phone company, the problem was on their end but what terrible timing!  I didn’t know if she had tried to send me a message and I just didn’t get it because the phones were disconnected or if she was laying in a ditch somewhere dying. (She had sent a message, I got it 12 hours later, ugh!)

Yah, I overreacted somewhat…  Couldn’t help it.

I finally got the phones turned on and she didn’t answer my phone call, didn’t return my texts.  I checked the restaurant parking lot and her truck wasn’t there.

More panicking.

I remembered I had a phone list from work and texted Sean and the cook, asking if they knew when she left work the night before.  Sean texted me back fairly promptly – thank God – and said she was safe and sound, sleeping it off on the couch at his house.

I was so relieved I cried, like actually wept, for most of the 1-hour drive to see my folks at church.  She was alive, she was safe, she was ok.  And she had just spent the night at the house of the guy I kind of sort of liked.  The emotions were so mixed and intense, I couldn’t stop sobbing.

I went to church, spent some time with my folks but didn’t breathe a word to them about  the night before, went and saw a movie, asked Kyle if I could come over for a hug and he said no, he was busy.

That was kind of the last straw for Kyle with me.  He has absolutely never been there for me when I need him outside of school and wasn’t always excited to be there for me in school, even for a quick 30-second hug, so I feel like I can no longer trust him with my emotional well-being.  I will always love him and care about him and any time I spend with him always puts me right back into those feelings of euphoric love for him but when it comes down to it he doesn’t, can’t, love me the way I love him.

I cried all the way back on the hour ride home from Kyle’s rejection, stopped and hugged my daughter at the restaurant where she was working and then went home and took 2 Xanex.  I was done with the day, absolutely could not stand being conscious for another minute of it, every little bit seemed horrible.

Those darn Xanex didn’t wear off for 18 hours – it’s a good thing I had planned to spend the next day at school sitting in a chair getting my  hair done…

Sean and my daughter have been together ever since.  Sean is clearly head-over-heels for her and his maturity about it makes me happy to see them together.  He told her he loved her quickly in their relationship and she was more hesitant, having been broken too many times before to trust quickly.  I gave him my blessing right away – after telling him not to lie to me again.  She told  me that she did not sleep on the couch that first night but in his (twin) bed with him, and they just cuddled.  He hemmed and hawed a bit, trying to justify his wording because they were on a futon or something… I said “Don’t lie to me again” and he agreed.

I figured it would be best to start off on the right foot with him so I was kind but very firm.  I practiced my little spiel with her ahead of time and she said I was a wee bit scary, heh, heh, heh…

Somehow my daughter has been able to convince boys to be her snuggle buddies without any sex being involved and I am a little more than mildly jealous of that…

So for three weeks they were together constantly – unless she was working at the dog groomers – and they took turns between sleeping at my house or his (he lives with his parents).  He and I have had several little chats, he assured me he was willing to take it slowly with her, he knew that she had some deep wounds from past relationships and he just wants her to be whole and healthy.  He’s very into natural everything, organic, spiritual stuff.  It was clear that he cares deeply for her and was in this for the long haul.  She was afraid to do it so after a week or so I told him she was still legally married and the details of that debacle, along with a few things from our home life when we lived with her father.  His response?  “That just makes me love her more and want to help her more.”  I like this guy, does he have an unmarried uncle somewhere?

I feel like he’s imprinted on her, like he’s already decided that She’s The One.  Just from the time I’ve known him I think he’s a great guy, he’ll be very good to and for her and I hope she can fall in love with him too.  It’s also very easy for me to be around him and them, I thought it would be harder since I was trying to like him for myself, but having him as part of our little family feels as natural as breathing.  I feel like he and I have been related for 50 years already and he’s the only one of her boyfriends that I’ve ever been comfortable enough with to wear my jammies around him – without a big, bulky bathrobe to hide under…

After three weeks of this he introduced her to someone as his girlfriend.  She then informed him that he hasn’t actually, officially asked her to be his girlfriend!  I just about died laughing when he told me.  He looked genuinely perplexed and a bit confused.  It’s only in a few areas that their age difference is really obvious…  He dresses and acts like he’s in his mid-to late 20’s and so does she but those sorts of things are still important to her, lol.

Bear in mind that they’ve spent nearly every night together, he spent $100 to replace her radiator and then her truck broke down completely and he just gave her his vehicle to use.  No hesitation whatsoever.  Even after finding out her license is suspended he still lets her drive his Durango.  I’m so impressed – this man is taking care of her like they’re already married.  He’s done nice things for me too, he’s cleaned the kitchen, emptied the garbage, chopped kindling, starts a fire in the wood stove before either her or I get out of bed, takes the dog out early in the morning, brought me home dinner when he brings food home for them, he hugs me and tells me he loves me too.  His hugs aren’t quite as good as Kyle’s but they surely help.

The next day he “officially” asked her to be his girlfriend with a potted flower/plant and licorice and she said yes.  I think she was hoping for something a little more grant but  she and I worked at the restaurant that night she started the shift by running around to everyone saying excitedly “I have a boyfriend now!’  Everyone was happy for her but a wee bit confused because we already knew this, ha, ha.  I believe that was Monday.

At that point they hadn’t even kissed or seen each other naked, although Sean does love to take his shirt off in the house and let me tell  you, when I get a wax pot we are going to take some of the body hair off that boy’s back… ahem… moving on… Anyway, he was true to his word about going as slow as she needed/wanted.  He would say that he loved her but not pressure her to say it back.  He would ask permission to kiss her but not push it when she said no and not be irritated about it in any way that either of us could tell.  I saw some hand-holding and snuggling on the couch but nothing remotely like groping or making out.  I’m more and more happy that he loves my daughter.  This is so good for her – HE is so good for her.

Wednesday was my bad day at school, when I thought I had to make a choice between financial peace and sanity.  The two of them were going to spend the night at his house but came over to keep me company when they realized that I had such a rough day.  I was so thankful for them.  They cheered me up, gave me giant hugs, brought me candy and watched movies with me until we went to bed about 1 am.

As of Wednesday night my daughter (finally?) told Sean that she loved him and their relationship became physical.  I’m grateful my daughter trusts me enough to tell me these things, I wish she would wait longer to have sex but in the end she is an adult, I can’t stop her and she has never done well alone.  Since I left her father I’ve always known that a relationship with her will include a boyfriend most of the time and Sean has offered her the first healthy, romantic relationship she’s ever been in and seems committed to forever with her already so I can’t ask for much more.

Thursday I woke up earlier than I expected to and made buttermilk pancakes with homemade buttermilk syrup.  I’ve really missed baking and cooking… He said they were better than his mom’s but I promised I’d never tell her, lol.  It was nice to hear though! Thursday is also the day that his dad went into an Urgent Care, they rushed him to the local hospital and the local hospital rushed him to the bigger hospital an hour away.  He had emergency surgery that night, followed by cardiac arrest, stabilization and then he passed away today, Friday at some point in the afternoon.  I am so sorry for Sean’s loss, and I’m sorry for my loss in never being able to meet his father.  I truly believe that our families will be joined and I wish I could have been able to meet his dad and I wish his dad could have lived long enough to see my daughter and Sean get married.

On a tangent, I have realized that I don’t like living alone anymore.  And my daughter is being a terrible roommate, always off with Sean.  It’s great for her but bad for me, lol.  So I’m seriously considering getting back on a dating site and trying to at least find a guy I can spend time with and not be home all by myself when I’m not working.  I know that’s probably not the best solution but I’m the kind of person who spends their life on others rather than themselves and now my daughter has Sean to watch over her so I don’t have to/can’t anymore.  Kyle is not a viable option and that leaves me with no one to focus on except myself – and that only sinks me deeper into my depression, all that thinking about my own life and what not…  I just need to divert my attention elsewhere.  Maybe a kitten would be sufficient?  Huh.  I’m still thinking about it.  But hopefully my love story is still on it’s way…

So I really did intend to write more often than this… ugh.  It’s been another month since my last post and here’s what’s new:

I wonder if school will be the death of me…  At the end of October I reached the milestone of 1,000 hours at school, officially halfway done for the students who have to attend for the full 2,000 hours.  Being already licensed as a nail tech I have been given 400 hours worth of credit towards those 2,000 hours, allowing me to graduate after attending just 1,600 hours of school.  The first 1,000 hours were fine, I received the full amount of the Pell Grant and Student Loans.  But apparently, because I’m not attending school for another 1,000 hours I don’t qualify for the full Pell Grant or Student Loans.  I only qualify for 1/4 of the money I would have received if I didn’t have 400 hours credit.

One-fourth of the money for missing less than half the hours, how is that right?

Oh, and did I mention that I have to pay for the full 2,000 hours?  That I don’t get any discount whatsoever for not needing 400 hours of a teacher’s time?  So I’m being charged for 2,000 hours but only receiving financial aid for 1,600 AND I’m getting charged overages at the rate of $6 a hour for every hour it takes me to complete my time after 1680 teacher hours.  I will be close to $1,000 in overages by the time I graduate even though I’m paying for a 2,000 hour contract and won’t come even close to reaching 2,000 hours in the end…

Knowing this ahead of time would have been helpful but oh no, the school owner and newly hired school accountant/financial aid adviser (also a former school owner herself) kept telling me things without knowing what they’re talking about.  When I first questioned the lesser amount to the accountant on Tuesday she said “My mistake, I’ll fix it”.  The next day from the owner it was “Nope, the numbers are right because of your 400 hour credit but if you change your contract and attend for the full 2,000 hours you can get all the money”.  This was Wednesday and I asked to have until Friday to make my choice.  I was so upset that I vented to other students in the break room.  There are cameras throughout the school, I’ve always known that.  What I didn’t know was that the one in the break room and possibly all of them record audio as well.  Everything I said was truthful but I did say it while I was quite unhappy and trying to process everything I had just learned.  We’ll come back to this…

I took the next day off of school to crunch the numbers and see if I can survive off of the smaller amount of financial aid or if I will need to go to school for the extra 400 hours to receive the full amount.  After some mathing I realized that my income will still be short almost $500 a month and I won’t receive enough financial aid to cover that deficit for the next 4 months so therefore I must do the full 2,000 hours to receive the full financial aid benefits.

School is so stressful for me, my depression and anxiety have jumped into overdrive since I started attending there.  After two years of being off of my antidepressant pills I had to go back on them 3 months after starting school and they just don’t seem to be keeping up with my emotional stability needs so deciding to attend an extra 400 hours of school is A Big Deal.  I feel like I’m being forced to chose between having financial peace and my sanity.  But the numbers don’t lie and I just don’t see how I can do it on the fraction of financial aid I was expecting so I accepted that the decision to stay was the best thing for me, I made peace with my choice and made some plans to try and survive the longer time at school.

Today, Friday, I went back to school and asked to change my contract to the full 2,000 hours so that I could have the full financial aid.  The owner and her husband, who had previously handled the financial aid adviser position, sat me down and he explained to me that it wouldn’t make a difference if I went for the full time or not because the government wasn’t going to pay a second time for hours I’ve already done.  “It’s fraud”, he said…  The owner then told me she listened to the recording of me venting to the other students, told me I was “unprofessional” and because I did that she isn’t going to forgive my overage charges that she had agreed to not charge me for when I spoke with her on Wednesday…  I have a feeling that it wouldn’t have matter if I had vented or not, I would still be paying for my overages, it’s just too much money to forgive.

A classmate brought it to my attention that recording anyone without their knowledge and consent is illegal.  Well then.

Recognizing that I am fully and completely screwed and there’s no way they will show me any kind of grace I apologized for being unprofessional and turtled.  The owner then went on to say she could expel me for my outburst in the break room but she “wouldn’t do that to me” and went on for another 10 minutes about how much she wanted to help me graduate and how I deserve it more than anyone else in the school – and then she went on another 10 minutes after that about all the nice things she’s done for other people (both in the school and in the community) and repeated over and over again that if I need financial help to please come to her and ask her for money.

I think I would rather freeze, live out of my car and starve to death first…

I finally escaped her office and felt numb for the rest of the day.  I couldn’t even cry.  I just feel empty.  I’m grateful I can still graduate in early March instead of June but I don’t know how I’ll make all my bills – although God has taken good care of me so far, I know He will continue to provide, I was just hoping to be done with 14-hour school-then-work days but I guess not.

I’ve been advised to take all of this up with the State Cosmetology Board and I probably could do something petty and trivial about the illegal recording but I’m afraid that she will expel me for real and then I would have to move across the state to find the next nearest beauty school to finish my hours.  I’m afraid that it’s best if I just keep my head down and push through until I am done and then approach the Board about her school policies…  we’ll see just how many enemies I want to make after I’ve graduated.

To further complicate things, the beautiful, long-haired, Jesus-looking man at my waitressing job has become an important part of my life (that will be the next post) and his father was admitted to the hospital yesterday and died today.  There’s just so much going on right now.  I really think I’d just like to quit everything and live off of welfare for a few years, no more adulting please, I’m over it…

There’s so many things I think “I need to put this in the blog” and then the minute I have time to write I can’t think of anything to talk about.  I know, right?

It’s my first entire day off from everything – no school, no nails, no waitressing – and I’m sick with a head cold.  I tried to sleep in but I couldn’t breathe so I got up and started watching the Firefly series.  Took a Mucinex, ate chicken noodle soup, had a nap, made some eggs and toast and am back to watching Firefly with only a slight fever…  Oh the exciting life of me.  I have tomorrow off from school but I have to go to a doctor appointment in the morning and waitressing in the evening and then back to school on Wednesday.

I’m finding I dread going to school and have for a while now but the more days I take off the longer it takes me to get out of there so hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to school I go.  I knew it would be hard, to go back to school for a year but I didn’t expect it to be this hard…

Dammit.

I feel like I live in three different worlds – one world is at school, another world is the restaurant and the third world is with my folks.  School I endure, I have mostly acquaintance friends there, with a couple of closer friends.  The new girls, called “Back Class” because they have to stay back in the classroom until they’ve hit 300 hours, all seem to look up to me.  They all know my name and seem to treat me with great deference, which is both sweet and intriguing because I wonder who said what to them about me to make them act that way.  But I am bone-weary at school, all day every day now.  My favorite teacher left in mid August and the teacher that was left is trying her best to be king of the hill – she seems to have a personal grudge against me, scrutinizes my work more than most of the other students and nit-picks even the tiniest details of what I do on the mannequin head to fulfill my requirement sheet items.  The teacher that replaced my favorite teacher is the owner’s daughter and she’s a nice lady, seems to like me just fine but she’s only there a few days a week.  The owner has her favorites and while I’m not one of them I’m also not on her black list so I just kind of float along as much under her radar as I can.  I just try to keep my head down, get my work done and put my hours in but it’s become a miserable existence for 38 hours a week.  My dream of being cosmetology teacher is waning away into nothingness…

At the restaurant it’s a completely different world.  I show up 15 – 20 minutes early, work hard, am appreciated by my co-workers, we laugh and joke together, I help them, they help me and I get energy from working with all my customers, walk so much I’m losing weight, make money and go home happy, smiling and excited.  One of the servers is a fascinating man with the most beautiful long hair – when he lets it down he seriously looks just like all those paintings of Jesus and I’ve always been a sucker for long haired men, lol.  I think he might like me and I think it would be easy to like him, really easy.  But my daughter just started working at the restaurant with me as a busser and she says he treats everyone the way he treats me – as in, I’m not special to him, lol.  But he’s a joy to work with, kind, funny, a hard worker, helps everyone and has overcome a crazy past.  I like him very much but I’m not sure we would be right for each other, maybe that’s why I’m looking for signs he might like me too.  Although I’m pretty sure one of the cooks actually does like me and he while he seems like a nice guy I’m pretty positive that he isn’t for me.

At my folks I am quiet.  I mostly listen.  I do a lot of turtling.  Sometimes we go to lunch after church with their friends and I try to mainly smile and nodd.  I feel like my step-mom gets jealous of any attention I get from her friends – and from the strangers who approach me frequently to complement me on my hair – so I try to be quiet.  Every other week I give my step-mom an acrylic fill for which she thanks me but neither pays nor tips me.  At first it didn’t bother me because she let me live with them rent-free for 5 months but I must admit it is becoming annoying because she doesn’t seem to recognize that not only am I saving her a bunch of money by doing her fills for free but it actually costs me product and gas.

I moved to Montana to be closer to my dad specifically but I wanted to get to know both of them.  She and I have had very few conflicts over the last 26 years that she’s been married to my dad but since I moved here I’ve seen much more of her true character.  She is probably the most insecure person I’ve ever met and takes pretty much everything personally.  Case in point, I was at church with them one day and asked one of their friends (who knew me when I was a little girl so he’s been friends with my dad a long time) to pray for something that was going on.  I was thinking that he would just pray throughout the week but he said “Let’s pray right now” and put his arm around me and started praying.  That was cool, I wasn’t asking for or expecting prayer right that instant but it was really nice of him to do that.  I get a phone call from my dad the next week saying his wife was offended that she (and my dad) weren’t invited to pray with us that Sunday.  He stressed that he didn’t think I did anything wrong but that it made her feel left out and to please be aware of it for the future…  Dad has also told me that she gets upset when I post something on Facebook before telling them first – to the point that I suspect she made my dad give up his Facebook page completely as she didn’t even have her own page but kept checking his…  Since I see them once a week I preferred to just tell them my news in person so we could chat face to face instead of me texting them things throughout the week, in all my spare time, ugh.  She is kind and gracious to my face but I can only imagine how she must carry on to my dad before he finally calls me and tells me what I did that upset her and he always begs me not to tell her that he talked to me.  And once when I was still living with her my dad tried to fix something and made it worse instead – it really wasn’t a big deal – but she berated him and called him pathetic and made fun of him for even attempting to fix it.  She did this to him in front of me and in front of his friend that came to help him fix it.  Then she continued to rant and rave about him to me when he left to go to the hardware store for the part.  I was so shocked that I could only try to redirect the conversation.  She did stop and we talked about something else and then apologized for what she said but when my dad got back with the part she started up on him again.  They left to go see my brothers the next day for a long weekend and I wept for most of Saturday and Sunday to the point that I couldn’t even sing on the worship team and could barely continue playing the piano.  That was Mother’s Day weekend and I decided to move out from their house because of how she talked to my dad.

I am so glad I moved an hour away from them, it’s much easier to be less involved with her now and I won’t ever hear her say things like that to or about my dad again.  Now that I don’t live there I can try to stand up to her and then just leave.  Since I quit my movie theater job I don’t have to go in to see them every Sunday for the last month so I’ve missed a few Sundays lately and will probably not go every week anymore.  Honestly, I wish I was rich and could afford a big house with enough space to let him live with me and away from her…  I’m not sure he would actually take me up on such an offer but I wish I could at least offer him a space away from her.

I miss my movie theater job, or at least the people there.  That was a fourth world… I went back and saw a movie yesterday, got to say hi to some of my favorites and one nice young man, Jared, invited me and my daughter to dinner this Thursday here in the town where we live.  Does that qualify as a date?  And with which one of us?  I feel like he and I have connected on a deeper level than just friends and you don’t drive an hour to have dinner with someone and then turn around and drive an hour home just for fun normally…  He is an amazing man, tall and handsome (he’s Native American, of course. I have thought Natives were the most beautiful people in the world since I was a child), a hard worker and going to school for psychology.  I really, really enjoy working with him.  The problem is that he’s only 26.  He’s met my daughter a couple of times and I did mention that she was single now so I’m hoping that he’s wanting to date her and then maybe they’ll get married and have super cute babies and I’ll have him as a son forever…  <dreaming>

So, I live in three different worlds and I’m only really happy in one of them, when I’m working hard and interacting with the public.  School will be over in early March as long as I don’t take any extra days off and that, hopefully, will change the largest part of my day.  In the meantime, I’m in survival mode.  Again.  But this time it won’t last 21 years, lol.

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