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.

 

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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.

So if I’m looking at this correctly my last post was about six weeks ago, just before my birthday… time sure flies but not necessarily because I was having fun, lol.  Oh Lordy, I am so tired of adulting!

I got a third job in September, waitressing at a local sports bar and grill here in my little Montana town.  That made my schedule pretty tight.  School 8:30 – 4:30 pm M – F, work on nail customers Thursday nights and Saturday mornings, waitressing from 5 pm to close (anywhere from 10:30 to 11:30 pm) most nights except Thursdays and Sundays and then working at the movie theater Sunday nights from 5 pm to midnight then an hour drive home, go to sleep and get up at 7:30 Monday morning to start it all over again.

No more adulting please…

I finally gave my notice to the movie theater after three weeks of that, waitressing pays much better and I just wasn’t functioning well at school on Mondays.  That was sad and my last day there was bittersweet.  I was so happy not to be driving an hour home at midnight anymore but it is one of my favorite jobs ever – I think if I ever burn out on the beauty business I’ll go back to working at the movie theater and work my way up to being a GM because it’s a fun job and the perfect hours for me.

We had a misunderstanding with the landlords, another tenant had moved out right after we moved in and left a bit a firewood behind.  After the smoke and fires in our area went out the weather suddenly turned cold quickly so my daughter went and gathered the firewood that had been left behind and we started to use it.  The landlords went looking for it one day and it wasn’t there so they searched their video camera footage and saw her moving it into the back of her pickup truck (it was closer to the house and kept it out of the rain, there really wasn’t that much of it in the first place) and so they peeked through the windows of her canopy and saw the firewood and a coffee table that had been left behind in our trailer from the previous tenant.  My folks had given us a smaller coffee table that fit the space better so we had put the other one in the back of her truck to keep it out of the rain until we could give it back and since the landlords are hardly ever at the park where we live we forgot about it.  Next thing I know, I get an angry phone call from one of the landlords because we “stole” the wood and their furniture and he seemed especially upset that I had left some mattresses outside, leaning against my trailer (they were seriously garbage, they were so gross) “to get rained on and ruined”.  He said wanted to give me three days eviction notice.  Whaaa?

These are seriously some of the weirdest people I have ever met.  If I could find another place to live for the same price I would totally move but I like my home and the cute little park it’s in and they’re really not here very often.  I think as long as we pay on time and don’t touch anything else that’s not on our little bit of land we’ll be fine.

But back to the phone call – I apologized profusely, tried to explain about the wood and the furniture and asked repeatedly what I could do to make it right.  All of a sudden he stopped talking, said he was on a job site and didn’t have time to talk to me (although he talked plenty when it was his turn and he was angry) but he would come to the park the next day, Sunday, and talk to me then or that we would at least talk on the phone.  I had plans to go see my folks that day but I decided this was more important so I said I would be available until 3:30 when I had to leave for work.  He said he would contact me the next day.

I set my alarm for 9 am, woke up and texted him, asking if he knew when he would be at the park and reminded him that I had to leave at 3:30.  No response.  I texted my folks and apologized that I wouldn’t be able to be there that day like I was supposed to be and I sat and waited all day, stuck in the one area of the house that gets any kind of wifi and cell service, until I had to leave for work with no response.  I wrote a note – apologizing again and enclosed the next month’s rent plus $50 cash to cover the wood and the mattresses, and asked if there was anything else I could do to make it right and put it in the drop box.  I texted him again that I had to leave for work and that I had left a note in the drop box for him.

Again, no response.

The wife landlord called me and left a message a few days later saying that my daughter had been angry at her son and if we had any issues we needed to take it up with them and not “put that on their kids”.  I asked my daughter what had happened and she said that when she went to check our mail at the park office there was a box that had my last name on it that had been crossed out and she freaked out a bit, thinking it meant they were going to kick us out because of the wood issue.  She asked the 14 year old son “Why is my mom’s name crossed out?”, probably in a harsh/angry tone of voice because she was panicking and then she saw that a large piece of mail was actually covering up my name in the box right next to the one that was crossed out.  She said she apologized, took the mail and walked out again.  Boy calls mom, mom calls me and leaves a message…  before I was even able to talk to my daughter I send the wife landlord a text, apologizing for my daughter causing her son distress, explain what I suspected happened (exactly what did happen) and ask if she had received my note, check and cash and were we good now?

Still no response.

I have also not received a receipt for this months rent payment or anything to indicate that they did receive it except for the absence of the monthly rent reminder that we received the month prior.  This couple owns multiple businesses, has 6 kids and I feel like they just have too much on their plate and have very poor communication skills.  They don’t talk to me at all unless they’re angry about something, don’t acknowledge even the most basic texts and they won’t even answer a request for a response.  I’ll stay here as long as I can because I like the place itself and it’s very affordable but these people are crazy!

Another thing that happened in these last six weeks is that Kyle graduated from beauty school last week, it was both hard and a relief.  Hard because he really is/was my closest friend there.  A relief because I made it weird and it hasn’t been the same since.  Well, actually, he made it weird first…

He started out by saying there was a rumor going around school that we were sleeping together.  I kind of doubt that there was actually such a rumor, I think he was just saying it to see my reaction but I played along because it was fun.  They he started mopeing around and saying things like “you’ve changed a homo” and other things that made me think that he actually did want to sleep with me.

Now I still don’t really want to sleep with anyone, I’m just not there yet, but I trust him and I do love him every other way and so I thought about it and decided that if I did sleep with him it would be a safe experience and probably even something beautiful.  I’ve never had beautiful sex in my whole life so I answered the question he did everything but ask.  I sent Kyle a message that said “If you want the rumors to be true all you have to do is ask”.  His response?  “Lol”.

Apparently all men are asses to one degree or another.  Ugh.

And that changed everything – and made it my fault, even though he started it.  He stopped hugging me every day, stopped touching my shoulder as we passed in the hallway.  He still let me touch him, give him back-rubs, scalp treatments, facials, all the usual stuff I did for him at school.  But for the most part he stopped reaching out to touch me.  Even now, just typing this out has me crying.  Kyle was my only source of affection and now he’s gone both physically and emotionally.  And he never seems to have much time for me outside of school, I’ve tried to hang out away from school and he’s always busy.  So even though we usually have a great messaging relationship when we don’t see each other face to face I’ve pretty much lost him forever now…

Speaking of men leaving, my daughter’s boyfriend who was living with us, that I wrote the blog “The Man Who Makes Me Want To Date Again” about, moved back to the town we came from and got another girlfriend there, only telling my daughter the day before she was going to go back and visit him for the weekend.  So we are both alone at the moment.  The only good thing to come out of that is now my daughter has no reason whatsoever to move back to our old town and will stay here with me.  She’s doing well, has a good job, has made a few friends, all of my friends love her.  It’s a good fresh start for her.

I stayed home from school today.  I’ve been so exhausted all of the time that it’s started to affect my balance, my memory, my speech, my dexterity, pretty much everything.  And I can’t afford to miss work so I’m missing school.  If I can just hold on and to go school the rest of the month I will hit 1,000 hours on October 26th and then I will get my next batch of financial aid, which means I won’t have to work as much, I can take more time off and rest.  Please God, I need rest…

 

I saw this meme on Facebook that said:  She was fragile, but not like a flower, she was fragile like a bomb.

At first I was all “Nah, that’s not me” and then Kyle’s hubby, who is a very sensitive/discerning person told Kyle that he saw “sadness and anger” around me.

What? Anger?  The sadness I understand and am not surprised by at all but anger?  Why anger?

I mention it to my best friend from high school and she says “Oh yes, you’re muuuuuch better but there’s a lot of anger in you, sorry honey.”

Well shit.  She calls it like she sees it and she’s known me way too long to be wrong about this…

So I start to think about it and there are some things, some circumstances, some people who I do have anger towards.

I thought I had eliminated anger from my life, I thought I had matured past it and become this much more enlightened person, full of grace, compassion and understanding for people who act out of their life woundings…

Guess not, ugh.

The  more I thought about it the more I realized that it’s another part of my survival method.  It was never safe to display any emotion other than “everything’s OK, I’m fine” around my mother or my ex-husband.  Around my ex I had to concentrate on suppressing the sadness, the depression, the worry, the weariness… but it was around my mother that I learned at a young age to hide my anger.  I was able to do it so well and so quickly that by the time I reached junior high I stopped even feeling any little wisp of anger before I shut it up in a bottle and hid it somewhere in the depths of my soul.

Good grief, no wonder I’m all messed up inside.

My younger daughter has a lot of anger bottled up inside her too and one night she came to me, crying because she could feel the bottle cracking and she was afraid it would explode and she would hurt people – not so much physically but with her words.  She was afraid she would drive all her friends away and she would be left shattered and completely alone.

If she has a lake of anger buried in her I have an entire ocean bottled up in my depths…

Thinking about it made it worse.  I started thinking about the people who I felt anger towards – my mother, my ex, one of my brothers…  I started dwelling on the situations in my life that were unfair and out of my control…  I began to feel the anger welling up inside of me and I became afraid that my jar was starting to crack as well.

Anger brings with it a great, dark power.  It tries to convince you that if you let it out you will feel better – but it lies.  Releasing such terrible, refined hatred, especially after all those years of distilling it to it’s purest essence in the pressure cooker of the soul’s forgotten cellar under the stairway can do nothing but destroy everyone it touches.

After quite a few tears and a couple of miserable days I reached a few conclusions:
1.  There is a volcano inside of me full of rage and fury.  I decided to accept that fact.  It’s there and it’s there legitimately.  I experienced bad things clear up until I was 40.  In order to survive I had to stuff the feelings away and not deal with them.  I stuffed so many bad feelings away that the jar might pop if I just breathe on it wrong.  I understand and accept that this is a part of my life currently.
2  I don’t know how to deal with it.  Angry people scare me, I tend to freeze up.  Another self-preservation method because if I didn’t freeze I might reflect their anger back to them, magnified with my own, and that might hurt them.  I don’t hurt people so I freeze.  I also don’t know how to release anger in a healthy manner.  I could try to paint it out, to exercise it out, to break things to get it out, to yell and scream to get the anger out… I’m not sure what to do or what would be the most helpful and so I don’t do anything.   I accept this truth as well – along with the knowledge that I’m going to need to learn how to deal with the anger at some point in my life, preferably sooner rather than later.  I realize I need a counselor, and I’ve known that since I moved to Montana.  I did ask my doctor’s office for a referral and they gave me a couple of names of counselors who were not accepting new patients, I called around and couldn’t find anyone with evening appointments after school, and then I moved to a smaller town,.. I need to find a local counselor and if I have to, take time off of school to go to the sessions.  Ugh.
3.  I need to love myself in spite of my anger.  Being angry does not make me evil.  Jesus was angry but he “sinned not”.  I need to remember that anger is a natural part of experiencing life and is sometimes necessary – it can spur us to take action against injustice.

Once I identified these three things and made the decision that yes, I will learn how to deal with the old anger and any new anger in a healthy way just as soon as I am able I was calm again.  Back to my normal self again – back to who my heart tells me I was created to be again.  I am not an angry person, I am a loving person who was wounded for a long time by people who were supposed to be safe.

I still have fragile moments, but they’re mostly fragile like a flower.  I’m

My younger daughter’s boyfriend moved in with us on July 30th, the day after we moved into our new place.  I’d met him before, briefly, back in our old town when they first started dating and my vague first impression was that he was quiet and shy.  Those have turned out to be true, he is quiet and a bit shy for sure, but getting to know him has been quite a treat!

This young man, he’s 20 and I believe just 3 months or so younger than my daughter (which she teases him about) is one of the finest examples of a man I’ve seen in a long time.  Denny is such a good man and takes such amazing care of my daughter, even when he’s physically in pain (he was in a bad car accident and is almost always in pain) that my mind is blown, here are some examples:

The week before he moved in he friended me on Facebook – after asking my daughter’s permission and if she thought it would be “weird” if he asked to be my friend.  Then he made arrangements with me to come up earlier than he told her so that he could surprise her.

He asked my permission to bring his gun into the house.  Oh please, bring your gun, this is Montana!

He offers to help carry things if I even look like I might need help and he just takes things from my daughter and helps her.

He jumped right in to help my dad kills wasps and try to find the nest and offered to carry things for my mom.

He picks everyone’s dishes up and takes them to the sink – he also does dishes without being asked!

He cooks and very patiently instructs my daughter (who is cooking-impaired) on how to do even the simplest things – like bake the garlic french bread you get pre-made from the store in the foil bags… and applauded her when it came out perfect.

My daughter’s license is suspended from an unpaid ticket and he drives her to and from work, even when he just comes home and goes back to bed in the mornings.

He got a job the third day he was here and even though it was too physically demanding for his body after the car accident he continued going to work until they caught him throwing up from the pain and sent him home.  He has continued to find different jobs to do and does them whole-heartedly despite being in so much pain that nobody can touch his back when he gets home.

He asked if we knew how hard it was to “stay smiley” when it hurt so bad while my daughter was rubbing his back.  We said he didn’t have to, we knew he was hurting and it was OK not to smile and try to be happy.  His response?  “It’s easier on her this way.”  I wanted to cry…

My daughter offered to let him sleep alone in the bed since he was hurting so bad (they were sharing a twin bed at the time).  He smiled, pulled her close and said, “No, I wouldn’t be able to sleep without you.”  And just a FYI – the dog likes to sleep with them too…

He gave ME money out of his first paycheck on top of putting gas in my daughter’s truck.  I tried to refuse but he wasn’t having it.  None of her boyfriends, even the other one who lived with us, ever tried to give me money to help out.

My daughter came home grumpy and he sent her to go take a nap.  He then woke her up two hours later so that she would be able to sleep that night.

He refuses to dish himself up food until after both she and I have served ourselves.

I asked him if she takes as good of care of him as he does of her and he said “No.  She tries.  She’s irritating sometimes but I love her.”  I thanked him for being honest and said I was proud of him, that he’s a good man.  He says “I try”.  I told him that he has succeeded.  I hope he believes that someday soon.

The mountain across the highway from our new place looked like there was smoke coming from behind it.  He prepared to pack up a suitcase for my daughter and evacuate with her dog.  (She and I were at work in the small town nearby).  He and I contacted each other and made plans of which town to go to if they can go north and where to meet if they can only go south and where to be if they can’t go very far at all.  The smoke went away but he said if it came back at all he would get her out of there and was prepared to tell her that she could only take what fits into the suitcase, lol.

He made spaghetti with olives and mushrooms in the sauce for dinner one night.  By the time I got home there weren’t any olives in the sauce (so I didn’t know he had even put them in there) but there were plenty of mushrooms and I love mushrooms!  The next day I had leftover spaghetti at school and found a can of olives that I put in (cold) after I had heated the noodles and sauce.  I posted on Facebook that I realized I like cold olives on top of hot food and not cooked into the food.  When I get home that day he had read my post and apologizes for putting olives in the sauce!  Dear, sweet boy!  That wasn’t the reason I posted that…

He has 5 ulcers and threw up outside the back door one day after dinner, couldn’t keep anything down.  He comes back in and apologizes that we “had to hear that”.

My daughter hasn’t had dental insurance for a while and her teeth are hurting.  She couldn’t sleep one night (it was the first night the had a queen bed) so she went out to the living room and watched a movie.  He woke up and she wasn’t there so he went out and fell asleep with her on the couch.

He tells her no when they can’t afford to do something without being mean about it and he says yes whenever something is possible.  He gives up food, drink, cigarettes and his own clothing for her, anything she wants or needs he denies himself and gives it to her.  He puts her ahead of himself all the time.  He is gentle in everything he says and does.

He is affectionate towards her in public without being lustful or possessive.  I don’t know if I’m describing that right but those are the best words I can come up with.  He hugs her, he kisses her, he holds her hand and pulls her close, he constantly watches her with a little smile on his lips… and I never feel like he’s just waiting for me not to be around so he can pull her into bed.  He loves her.  He really LOVES her.

This young man constantly amazes me.  I’ve never seen anything like their relationship.  My daughter joked once and said he wanted my blessing for them to be together.  I gave it wholeheartedly, but thinking – very quietly – to myself that she might find herself a little harder pressed to get my blessing to be with him…

He loves her just a tad more than she loves him, he deserves better than my daughter but he loves her with every fiber of his being.  He gave up everything from his life back in our old town to move to another state and be with her.

If there’s a man like that out there for me, then I want to try and find him.

Even though we are back to seeing each other face-to-face on school days again Kyle and I still message each other often, especially on weekends, and he frequently starts my day with the words “Good morning beautiful”, which is probably the nicest way to start a day, ever… (especially when it comes with a picture of him smiling at me…) Other times he will say things like “Drive safe, beautiful”, “See you at school, beautiful” or even just simply “Hey beautiful”. 

It makes my day! Every. Single. Time. 

Because I feel like I am only pretty because I am kind. If I wasn’t always so “nice” I feel like most folks wouldn’t take the time to see past my average, short, chubby white-girl exterior.

That isn’t WHY I’m kind to everyone, I’m kind because that’s how God made me. I’m driven to love others, it’s who I am and it makes me happy to do so. It is my purpose in life. 

I’ve realised that Kyle is the only man in my entire life who has EVER told me regularly and without prompting that that I’m beautiful. Brothers, father and ex-husband included.

That’s so sad.

It also made me realize that I didn’t tell my children, my two amazing girls, that they are beautiful hardly at all while they were growing up. 

That’s heartbreaking. 

I can’t do anything about the past, I can only try to change the future and encourage and support them in any way I can, and tell them more often that they’re beautiful…

Knowing Kyle has changed my life in some amazing ways. I try to tell him sometimes what he means to me and how much he’s helped me but I’m not sure he really understands. He says I do a lot for him, which I don’t really understand so I guess that makes founders of an exclusive, two-member mutual admiration society, lol. 

Physically I think he’s one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met. But his heart, that he hides from most people, is breathtaking. 

Kyle’s husband, who came to school today and I got to spend some time with the two of them together, is a fabulous man as well. Soft-spoken, thoughtful, gentle in his words and attitude, a very kind man. I can see why Kyle loves him. They are both so gracious to me – and to my daughter. 

I am starting to feel beautiful because Kyle tells me, over and over, in random bits of conversation, that I am beautiful. It’s an interesting feeling, to think that your own self really, truly is something you’ve never dared to claim before…

I’m trying to be more like that to the people around me, more complementary, more openly loving. I hope you will try to be that way too, maybe we could all just start our days telling everyone “Good morning beautiful”.

I came back to Montana specifically to attend Kyle’s wedding.  One of my aunt’s wedding was on the same day as Kyle’s wedding but hers was at 1 pm and his was at 7 pm – and they were only an hour and a half apart, which in Montana is not that far, lol.

My aunt’s wedding was beautiful, I guess she’s not “really” my aunt, she married my uncle and they had two kids together but then they divorced and this was her marrying someone else.  But she’ll always be my aunt 🙂  It was good to reconnect with my cousins briefly and say hi to her, show her support for her wedding.  Besides her children we were her only family there.

We left her reception early to go to Kyle’s wedding.  It was my first gay wedding ever, also my first drinking party ever and it was so much fun!  It started with a potluck and the theme was “Thrift Shop” so everyone dressed up in the most outrageous outfits (including the grooms) they could find at a thrift shop – some of the getups were fantastic!  Then came the ceremony – which was very heartfelt and seemed more real and genuine than some of the churchy weddings I’ve been to.  Kyle is Native American and so one of his brothers sang a blessing in their native tongue during the ceremony and another brother sang a song and I can’t remember if it was called the Hope Song??? or something similar.  They were precious and holy moments.  The love and support shown by the attendees (there were probably 100 people there) to Kyle and his now-husband was amazing and the love they have for each other is so real.  I struggle with everything I was raised to believe in the face of so much love.

After the ceremony there was dancing and lots of drinks.  I allowed my daughter to drink  (she’s only 20) but we were on private property and in Montana the under-aged can drink on private property with parental permission – who knew?  Even though she told me she was drunk I couldn’t really tell, she just seemed really happy.  I had a sip or two of her drinks but stuck to my Dr. Pepper because I was driving home and nothing tasted really good anyway…  We took some pictures at the photo booth they  had set up and she danced a lot, I danced a little, and we mingled with the guests and met some very nice gay men until we finally had to go at 11:30 pm.

Sadly, there were no older, straight, single men there for me…

Most of the people there spent the night so they wouldn’t have to drive drunk.  There were lots of places that folks had pitched tents to sleep in and they grooms had even provided a giant tent filled with army cots for those who needed to stay but weren’t prepared.  I thought it was a very well thought out party and so much fun!

So I feel like I need to backtrack a bit and explain some things…

And now I realized that since I started this post at the end of July the website is putting it there as far as the timeline is concerned but I’m really writing it at the end of August, lol.

I spent the month of June back where I came from.  The goal was to make lots of money so that when I came back I wouldn’t have to work for a few months…  well I made the money, sure enough, but apparently I spent it too because after everything was paid for, including the moving trailer, gas, food and a hotel on the way back I had less than one month’s worth of bills left in the bank.  <sigh>  Looking back though I can’t think of anything I would have done differently because in the end my younger daughter came back to Montana with me and at the end of July we moved into a place of our own!  (My daughter’s boyfriend also moved in with us – and he’s a marvelous young man – but he’s going to get his own post eventually.) But finances are so tight that every penny shrieks in terror of all the ways I need to spend it and I’ve even applied for three waitressing jobs but nobody seems to be hiring right now, ugh.

Our place is a 2 bed, 1 bath trailer.  It’s a short double-wide parked in an odd little location kind of in the middle of nowhere.  The interior paint is a fascinating collage of purple, orange, pink, mint green, silver, brown and grey.  The floors are wood in some places, tile in others, linoleum here and there and my bedroom has carpet.  The fridge is newer and nice but the stove only has 2 working burners, the small ones, of course.  There’s a little pond, green grass, trees, a fenced back yard for the dog and an 8 foot privacy fence.  It’s the perfect amount of space for the three of us and, oddly enough, has become a quiet oasis that I really enjoy being at.  At night I can see lots of stars and bits of the Milky Way, it’s quiet and there are frogs to catch (and release) in the pond.  The neighbors are nice and it’s turning out to be perfect for us.

Another great thing that happened since I came back is I found a shop space to do nails in here in the same town the school is in so my new home is close to that too!  It’s a tiny salon with two other women, one a little older than me(?), Kim, and one probably in her 70’s(?), Sharon, and they only do hair so they were looking for someone to do nails.  (They also have a third hair station open and would like me to use it after I graduate from school in January.)  My teacher told me about the opening so I called, met with the ladies and we clicked right away.  The booth rent is the lowest I’ve ever found, which is amazing!  In the last month I’ve had about 5 customers and four of them have come back for fills so I’m really happy my nail career is finally beginning here in Montana.  🙂  I know it will take a bit to be self-supporting, it always does when you start a business like this, but it’s taking off, slowly but surely…

On the movie theater work front I have cut back to two days a week (because I moved an hour away) and 4 out of my 5 managers encouraged me to apply for a shift leader position… so I did!  I wound up not getting it simply because I’m only working 2 days a week but they said that if I ever wanted to be a manager or supervisor to let them know and they would work with me to make it happen.  I really do like the management at this theater, they’re just the nicest people 🙂  I should probably quit this job and concentrate on working closer to home but it pays for my gas to go to see my folks every weekend and it’s such a fun job that it’s totally worth it… not to mention the free movies!

Oh, I did have an accident at work, I tripped over a rolled-up rug and got a bone-bruise on my right knee cap so that’s been fun.  Again, this company is great to work for, they contacted me right away and have taken care of everything and all the management treats me just the same as before.

Coming back to school after a month of being a business professional again has been difficult.  I’m very aware of how other people view me, it’s a curious mixture of a gift and a curse, lol.  The more I let it bother me how other people see me the more of a curse it is but the less I let it bother me the more insight I have into that person and the more of a gift it is…  And I’m realizing that the shift in people’s perception of me – and even in my own view of myself – from someone who knows what they are doing and who is appreciated and loved for my talent to “just a student” who doesn’t know what they are doing and has to have instructors supervise everything…  I’ll just say it’s been a more difficult transition than I expected but now that I’ve been back for a month it’s getting a little better.

School itself is OK, the owner has a lot going on in her life right now and I’m hoping that’s the reason she’s so inconsistent in her teaching and her rules.  First thing every morning we have an hour of “Theory” which equals approximately 10 minutes of real learning and 50 minutes of either tangent stories or her ranting and raving about something that upset her yesterday.  It’s emotionally exhausting and I struggle to look like I’m paying attention while I tune her out because everything about her just drains me.  Once theory is over there’s 6 1/2 more hours of doing the same work over and over again on a mannequin head and I’m bored.  There’s no alternative to putting in the hours though, you have to be there to get licensed so aside from the few customers that come in I’m trying to grit my teeth and do the work without burning out or taking time off.

I’m definitely back on the happy pills again, I think they’re working???

Friendships with several people at school have gotten stronger and better, which really helps, so that’s a bright spot…

My parents decided to switch churches so we’ve gone someplace new for the month of August so far.  I have to laugh because my step-mom seems to really like this new church but complains that it’s “so far away” and is thinking about trying something closer to home.  It’s maybe 5 miles from their house, lol.  Small town mentality 😀

I am reminded of what Bilbo Baggins says in The Lord of the Rings “I feel thin, like butter spread over too much bread”, because that’s very much how I feel, which brings me back to painful memories of being married because that’s how I felt at the end of that too, ugh. However, beauty school has an end date!  I should be done in either January or February, depending on how many more days I take off of school and then who knows what will happen…