Well, well, well…  I actually did it, I moved to Montana!

Day 1:  Driving.  Lots of driving.  However this time I downloaded Spotify and signed up for the free month trial of their premium service that lets you download unlimited songs to play when you’re offline and it made a HUGE difference in the trip.  I somehow managed to get there a half hour before the map said I should.  Oops…  I got to my folks house, we visited for a bit and  then I go to sleep on the (very narrow) couch in the living room upstairs.

Day 2:  I drove the hour or so to the town with the school, talked to a teacher and confirmed that I am indeed signed up and ready to start on the 23rd.  The financial aid guy was out so they said he would call me.  They also told me about a ride-share program in the bigger city my folks live in which would make it feasible for me to live there instead of in the little town where the school is.  Thoughts start to bubble in my head…

I then stopped at 5 nail salons looking for a job.  Nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  This little tiny town was nearly dead as far as nails were concerned.  Huh.  So then I go to two employment agencies and make an appointment for an interview with one, take the application of the other and turn in a separate application at a restaurant.  I leave a message at the homeless shelter I had pegged as my last – and only – hope for housing close to the school and then hit up the local Salvation Army office to see if they have any resources available to me.  No job, no housing either.  Huh.  I look up homeless shelters in the bigger city and put one on my list of places to check out the next day.  I head back to my folks place knowing that it was unreasonable to expect to find housing and a job in one day but I am still a bit disappointed.  A sense of urgency sets in because it was 13 below that day and no matter how determined I am to make this work that’s just way too cold to live in my car…

I get to the house and my dad’s like “Sis, let  me show you my downstairs computer room”.  Ummm… OK, I’ve been there before, maybe he’s changed it or something?  We go downstairs, it’s him, my step-mom (who I call mom) and me.  He says “Would this work?” and points to the (wider) couch in his computer room.  I shoot a quick look at Mom because she has made it clear she really doesn’t want me to live there and she’s in agreement that I can stay “for temporary”  or until my student aid kicks in and I can get my own place.

Wow!  That was totally and completely unexpected and I am so blown away!  I say thank you over and over again and sleep on the downstairs couch that night.  (It was so much more comfortable than the upstairs one!)

Day 3:  Housing worries are gone for the immediate future, now I just need to find a job.  Craigslist only has two nail salon postings so I call the first one and set up an appointment with Mary to see her space.  It’s a booth rental, something I overlooked in the posting but was what I wanted to do originally when I thought about moving to Montana before I decided to go to school full-time.  (Booth rental means I pay a set amount every week and provide all of my own supplies but keep 100% of my earnings.  Commission means I get a percentage of my earnings but they provide all the supplies.)  Mary is very nice, I like her a lot.  She sounds like a good business woman and has excellent communication skills.  Her space is reasonable according to my research, it’s $80 a week for the first four weeks, $100 a week for the two weeks after that and then $125 every week thereafter.

I’m nervous.  That seems like a lot of money right now when my funds are so limited but I can totally set my own hours, work late into the night after school and take time off whenever I need to.  It’s the start of my own salon working out of someone else’s building.  There are so many positives here and the only negative is that I have no existing clientele here and with it so cold and snowy it will be hard to get walk-ins for a while.

I commit to renting her space.  God has provided for me so far, He will continue to do so.

Day 4:  I drive the 7 hours back to where I came from for my younger daughter’s 20th birthday.  I tried not to speed this trip and arrived right about when I should have.  I took my daughter to her favorite seafood restaurant for her birthday since her father had claimed dinner on her actual birthday. We had a good time and I realized that we have celebrated her birthday at that same restaurant for the last three years so that was pretty cool.  I went back to my friend’s house that I had stayed with since October to spend the night.

Day 5 and 6:  One of the biggest reasons I came back as early as I did was to go donate plasma and get my second donation in a week (which earns the most money).  The donation center was closed!  Well there goes $50 I was counting on…  Crap.  And then it snowed and snowed and snowed.  My car did just fine in the snow and I know how to drive in it so I thought I could drive for Uber (since I’m all signed up) and it should be busy with the bad weather but nooooo… I’m signed up for Uber in Montana and to switch between locations takes 2 – 3 weeks.  Another opportunity to make money lost.  In the end I took my friend to get her first tattoo and then we stayed home and watched a lot of movies.

Day 7:  My younger daughter’s actual birthday.  I went to the mini storage where they had a sign at the entry saying something about due to inclement weather they have plowed access to the units but if I cross the berm and get stuck they weren’t going to get me out.  Allrighty then, seems a little unfriendly but in I go.  And their version of “plowing access” to each unit shows they must have worked for the government at some point in time.  One of my two units was in an area that hadn’t been plowed at all and I followed the ruts left by someone else.  A worker was there and he said “Don’t get stuck”.  Gee thanks.  I get what I need from that unit and then go to the other.  For this one a plow had come one time and plowed a path down the center of a very large lane between two buildings.  It had snowed after the plow came so on top of where it had been cleared was another 2 inches or so of fresh snow.  I obediently stay on the path and wade through 3 – 4 inches of snow and water slush.  I had about an hour to sort through what I could and move things into my car.

I thought I made good time but with the weather I was still 10 minutes late to having lunch with my older daughter who said “That’s OK, I’ve come to expect it.  Seriously?  We’ve been having meals together for over a year now and frequently I’m there way before her, saving a seat and waiting for her to show up and she’s usually on time.  Maybe a quarter of the time I was late but apparently that’s all she remembers.

I thought we had a pretty good lunch, we talked about all the usual things we talk about.  I asked her if she had conveyed my offer of friendship to her future step-mother and she said yes but didn’t have an answer for me and the conversation moved on.  I ask questions about her life and she gives me short answers that don’t encourage follow-up questions.  She doesn’t ask me anything about my life so I tried to volunteer that I found a place to work and she says “I saw that.  I stalk your other Facebook page sometimes”.

Why won’t she just ask me what she wants to know?

I ask her if she’d like to be friends on my new page.  Some background here – I created the second page after I left her father so that I would have a safe place to express my feelings (hopefully) without hurting hers and her father’s.  Her father unfriended me from my original page right away when I did that (even though we were still officially trying to work things out and stay together at that time) but she didn’t unfriend me and while I stopped posting things on that page I use it to catch glimpses of what she’s doing, even though she doesn’t hardly post anything.  She didn’t say yes.  In fact she said she was thinking of quitting Facebook altogether because she never posts anything.

That doesn’t really answer my question…

While I puzzle over her non-answer we have more conversation and then I realize something.  I know she tells her father everything – or nearly everything – that we talk about.  If I give her access to my  new page will she show it to him?  Now to be fair, I try not to post things that are really detailed about my life.  I mostly do a bunch of memes that speak to me, Snapchat pictures and a few, general updates about my life.  But it’s my personal space that I feel comfortable in, knowing he can’t see the things I mark for “friends only” and I don’t see any reason to change that right now.  I tell her “If your father wants to be my friend on Facebook he can ask me, I just don’t want to be stalked”.  She looked at me quizzically and shrugged and the conversation moved on.  We said goodbye, she left to go shopping with her soon-to-be stepmother and I left to have birthday coffee with my younger daughter.

Birthday coffee was fun, she brought a few friends and we hung out for a bit and then they left and I went to buy nail supplies from my Vietnamese sister’s supply shop.  It was great to see her again and she said the next time I’m in town to let her know early and she and her other sister will take me out to eat.  Way cool!

Then it’s off to dinner with my sister, we went to a pizza place we had never been at and in the middle of it my ex called me.  Which was the subject of my last post.  ‘Nuff said.

Day 8:  I intend to go donate plasma one more time to get $20 because every little bit helps, right?  But it took me longer to load up my car than I expected, I’m not sure it ever did stop snowing so the roads were terrible and I just ran out of time.  So not a single one of the opportunities to make money panned out for me on this trip.  Not cool.  I stopped by my old salon and gave them a thumb drive with all the brochures and documents I had created for them on it, got lots of hugs and then said goodbye to the people in the neighboring businesses that I had become friends with.

I have a quick lunch with another friend and then leave town.  The snow had become so bad that two passes are closed, forcing me to take a road I’ve never gone on before.  I probably shouldn’t have left town at all but I couldn’t handle staying, especially after the conversation with my ex the night before.

Most of the way there was so much snow on the road that I could barely tell where the road was at all.  At one point I came across an older couple who had awkwardly “parked” their minivan in a snowbank on the side of the road.  The snow was so deep it came up to the hood of their car and they went so far into it that they were buried all the way to the driver’s door.

The good news is that they were fine.  The bad news is that when I stopped to check on them I drove my car to the side of the road.  The sloped side of the road.  Where my car slid into the giant snowbank and promptly got stuck.  No good deed goes unpunished, eh?

They said they had already called a tow truck and that a sheriff’s officer was on his way back.  I try to get my car out myself.  The (very nice) officer tries to help me, then he gets in my car and tries to drive it out.  Ultimately we just got it stuck deeper.  I overhear the officer say the tow truck is two hours out.  I’m really starting to panic because I can’t afford a tow truck and I really have to pee.  Yes, I have finally come to realize that I don’t actually have enough money to pull off this crazy plan to move to Montana as it is and now I have to pay for a tow truck?  Aye, yi, yi…

I sit and read until the tow truck arrives, trying to take my mind off the fact that I’m screwed and I still have to pee.

The tow truck shows up, the nice officer worked me a special deal of $50 because they’re already there for the other couple and it will be easy to pop me out of the snow bank.  I had a tangent memory that resulted in me realizing that my insurance should pay for the tow! I’ve never had to be towed before so I didn’t even think of it, thank you Jesus!  They got me out of the snow, took my info and I didn’t have to pay a dime so I go on my merry way, still having to pee.

I thought I could make it to the next town but in the end I found a nice pull-out that had been plowed for some historical signs and fortunately nobody drove by while I was parked…

When I finally made it to my folk’s house I had been on the road for 13 hours and 45 minutes.  The roads were beyond horrible and I should never have gone but it was such a good feeling to know I had overcome the road placed before me.  I got this.

Day 9:  I run some errands, pick up some more stuff for my new work place, go have a little meeting with Mary and come home and work on the computer until midnight creating business cards and setting up a free online scheduling app with all my services and prices, etc.

Day 10:  I take everything to my new salon and set it up.  Mom comes in and I give her a fill and suddenly it is 6:30 pm and I am tired!  I realize I am also sick, catching a head cold.  Too many late nights, lots of stress and skipped meals.  The stress increases as I realize I have $100 left to live on AND drive back and forth to school for the next 6 weeks.  Dear God, please bring me customers at my new salon!

I have a plan.  My work hours at the salon will be by appointment only 6 – 9 pm on weekdays and 10 am – 7 pm on Saturdays.  I have contacted the plasma center here to transfer my file so I can donate in Montana.  That will take 7 – 10 days but when it’s approved that’s another $70 a week.  If nothing else that’s gas money.  I also have just over one week until school starts and I’m good to drive for Uber here so I will be available as much as possible to drive and if someone calls for nails I will stop taking riders.  Once school starts I will drive for Uber after school and possibly on Sundays and hopefully that will be enough to get me through the next 6 weeks.

Sometimes life needs to change so drastically that it requires great courage and a leap of faith.  That’s exactly where I am.

Advertisements