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It began a week before I was scheduled to leave – my younger daughter announced “I’m moving with you!”

Sadly, my first response was panic rather than joy…

In May I had asked her repeatedly to make a final decision on whether or not she was going to move up to Montana with me and she decided no, she was not.  So I decided to rent a room with my teacher closer to my school instead of pursuing an entire apartment or house on my own.  Now, at the end of June she decides she’s moving up with me after all and I have nowhere for her to live.

Panic.

She decides she’ll camp in her pickup truck with her dog until she can find a place to live.

Less panic but still panic.

I’m not going to say no.  Getting away from her current situation is probably the best thing for her as far as I can see… So she starts packing up her stuff and condensing so that it all fits into her pickup truck and the back of my car.  All of one mini storage unit manages to fit into the biggest UHaul trailer they had and she and I trade cars because she’s never pulled a trailer before.

The day comes to leave and we spend probably an hour trying to figure out how to reattach the trailer to the pickup truck… lol.  I had left it at a good friend’s house so that I wasn’t driving all around town with this heavy trailer for the few days between when I loaded it up and we left, my daughter called her boyfriend over and none of the four of us could figure it out so my friend called her husband and he had it hooked up in 10 minutes flat!  He looks like Duane Johnson’s younger brother, great guy 🙂

Anyway, we air up the tires, fill up with gas and head out of town.  We maybe got 30 miles from my friend’s house and I noticed a funny smell… I had been keeping an eye on the heat gauge but it smelled like the truck was overheating.  Oh, but wait, I was actually looking at the oil pressure gauge and NOT the heat one…  The heat gauge was actually alllll the way up to the “H” for HOT and steam was starting to come out from under the hood…

I actually swore…

I turned the heater on full blast, pulled off at the next exit and desperately prayed to find some shade in the 100 degree weather before the engine blew up.  God is faithful and there was a gas station with an overhang above the pumps so we pulled in there, popped the hood and waited for an hour for it to cool down so we could put some water into the radiator.

This scenario was repeated about 6 times, turning what was normally a 7 hour trip into a two day, 17 hour trip.  Curiously, it wasn’t until our last stop, right after we had crossed the Montana border that a single person pulled over to see if we were OK or needed any help.

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Things are going well!  A bit of an overview:

I’m just over halfway done with “Back Class” at school, where it’s all book work and hand-on practice with a mannequin head and no working on paying customers.  So far we’ve learned everything except the actual cutting of hair, which the teacher said she will show us just before we get on the floor.

I made the decision to give up my nail booth at the salon I’ve been at because I just can’t afford it.  I’ve paid $800 for ten weeks of booth rent and have made less than half of it back.  The day I gave the salon owner my notice, planning to vacate the premises this week but she reminded me that I signed a contract requiring me to give two weeks notice so now I owe for two more weeks and I’m out of money…  I cried all morning – not only am I giving up something that is really important to me but now I owe for two more weeks and my only source of income currently is donating plasma.  Ugh.  Turns out that one of my instructors is opening her own salon in May and is willing to rent to me so that’s one option.  I’ve checked with another salon about only working on Saturdays and am waiting to hear back from them so that’s another option…  I’ve also applied at the local movie theater for a part-time, evening job because I love going to movies and I think the hours would be a good fit.  I have an interview Wednesday evening, yay!  And then on Monday I am planning to go to the home health agency my dad works at and apply there as well – I could easily be a personal care aid and do light housekeeping, meal prep, laundry and companionship.  I had a CNA license 15 years ago but I let it expire so I would only be able to do non-licensed care right now but that’s OK, I like helping people.

I did the online dating thing for a month but was over it and cancelled after the first two weeks – since I paid for a month it stayed on for the full month though and those last few days were filled with prayers that nobody would try and contact me, lol!  However, I feel like I made progress, I chatted online with 4 guys AND had one date, a vast improvement over last year when I tried online dating three separate times and only talked to one guy each time with no dates.  Baby steps.  What I find hilarious is the worship leader at church, and possibly the pastor as well, seem to think I’m being “impatient”, lol.  I don’t think they realize that my actual goal in online dating is not so much to get married tomorrow  (and it’s definitely not to get laid) as it is to get comfortable communicating with someone of the male species who just might possibly have an interest in taking me to dinner.  I know I’m damaged in this area and I also know that if I don’t actively work on getting better, the part of my life that deals with romance and intimacy will never ever improve.  At All.  And since I am the ONLY single person in my church and the two guys at school are both married – and one is gay – I don’t have any chance of meeting a single man at either place I spend most of my time, regardless of whether or not he would be interested in buying me food and staring deeply into my eyes… hence the online dating.  And the random, possibly desperate sounding jokes about needing a boyfriend that may be the reason my pastor and worship leader think I’m being impatient.  I’m just trying to get over being petrified but they don’t know me well enough to see beyond what those words would mean coming from an undamaged women’s mouth.

Men are so weird!  😉  Oh and the more Keanu Reeves movies I watch the more I fall in love with him… somehow it’s just easier for me to love men that I know will never love me back, lol, which probably means I’ll be single the rest of my life but now that I’ve survived a loveless marriage I know I’ll be fine, just occasionally whiny about it, ha, ha.

I bought my father a birthday present today, his birthday is in a couple of weeks and I always have the hardest time knowing what to get him because he’s so quiet about what he wants but I think I did pretty good this time!  He plays the guitar and has said a couple of times that he wishes he had a lighter case for his 12-string acoustical guitar – the one he has weighs more than the guitar does all by itself!  So I found the local music store, they had one in stock and I bought it!  Now I just have to find a place to keep it until Dad’s birthday…

Speaking of places to keep things – I am still living with my folks, sleeping on a couch in my Dad’s downstairs office, with just enough floor space next to the couch to keep my two suitcases, two totes and a small storage box.  On top of the totes is my CPAP machine and all the assorted bits of paraphernalia that goes along with everyday life – contact lens solution and cases, the small travel jewelry case that contains a few pieces I brought here with me, gum, cough drops, books, notebooks, pens, a bag I put all of my receipts into, charging cables and the like.  It’s virtually an open “junk drawer” and irritates me to look at it because, somewhat miraculously, I have become a neat and tidy person in my middle aged singleness.  Let me stress that I am soooooo very grateful that my folks let me stay here and haven’t asked for a dime.  I would have been living in my car without their graciousness in housing me and I try my hardest to leave a tiny footprint in their life.  I cart around a laundry basket of food in the trunk of my car to make my school lunches out of and try not leave a mess in the house at any time.  I can tell that it means a lot to my dad to have me here and I love finding bits of time to talk with him and just be around him, I feel like we’re really, finally, starting to connect with each other in a deeper way.  So I feel bad for missing my stuff and my own space… but I do.  I’m ready to find my own place to rent – except that I can’t afford it until I get a job.  <sigh>  My financial aid covers all of my bills like my car payment, insurance, phone, Netflix, etc, but there’s not enough extra to pay for housing so without the kindness of my folks letting me stay with them I would be a dirty, homeless bum right begging showers off the YMCA right now.  This is just another set of dominoes that need to fall in order and everything will be fine in God’s timing…

On a fun note, I’m working my way through Grey’s Anatomy I think that if someone would make a spoof on the show using cosmetologists instead of surgeons it would be super-funny!  But seriously, I think the show is so popular because Patrick Dempsey can do the Man In Romantic Agony face really well and I think deep down every girl wishes a guy would be in Romantic Agony at the thought of not being able to spend his life with her.  I’m only at the beginning of Season 3 and most of Season 2 was spent with Derick and Meredith struggling with their feelings for each other in spite of his decision to “do the right thing” and make it work with his wife.  So far the show has nearly as much sleeping around as Friends did but it addresses some more serious life choice issues as well as some fascinating medical cases.  I’m really enjoying it.

This part of Montana is finally warming up and the falling precipitation has all been rain instead of snow, something I am very thankful for.  The tires on my car were wearing down and I had a noticeable bald spot on the center column of tread on my front tires, something my brother said was an indicator of over-inflation even though they were inflated to what the tire said it should be.  Hmmm…  I had taken a trip to see my best friend from high school and buy nail supplies in her (bigger) city, that was where I had my date that I posted about, and on the trip I was able to see both of my brothers who lived within an hour of my friend and my next older brother and his wife actually bought me a set of four tires from Costco!  I was shocked, amazed and overwhelmed.  I didn’t ask them to do that, I didn’t even hint.  They just offered and I am so grateful!

God is always good and takes excellent care of me through many different people.

What else?  I think that’s about it.  Being on the worship team is going well, school is going well, dating is still non-existent but I’m thinking kinder thoughts about it. My car is running fine, my health is okay, my hair color is no longer the fun magenta that bled all over every piece of fabric it came in contact with and is now a responsible, adult reddish color albeit with some nice black fading on the tips that nobody notices.  The gay guy at school seems to try and find ways for me to touch him by getting pedicures and manicures from me and occasionally touching my shoulder in the hallway and he gives me broad smiles with mischievous winks here and there – and then he ignores me all together.  Did I say men are weird?  They are.  Oh, and I put acrylic on my toenails so I can finally start wearing sandals and not be embarrassed about my toes.  There, now you’re all caught up!

I have come to realize that I Am Home.

I lived here for several years in grade school and hated leaving Montana when my folks split.  When my mother left my dad we went to Spokane and would make the drive back to see my dad several times.  For years I claimed I could tell, by the sheer feeling alone, when we had crossed the boarder back into Montana.  The skies were bluer, the mountains were taller, the air was sweeter…  For years and years Montana was home and I longed to move back there.  Until I had been away so long I couldn’t feel the change as I crossed over that border and then that memory of “Home” faded into distant memory and I began to feel that home wasn’t anywhere.

I caught glimpses of Home here and there, mostly with people like my best friend from high school, but only in one other place – the Oregon Coast.  Sigh.  I still love it there…

In the month since I officially moved here I have made two trips back to the city I came from, once to get a few more things out of mini storage for my  nail business and once to attend my younger daughter’s high school graduation.  This last trip back I was shocked to find that my old town wasn’t “Home” but simply a place I knew my way around.  That both pleased and concerned me slightly.  I had spent just over 10 years there, my kids had spent almost half their lives there.  Heck, my kids still live there!  I have more friends, good friends, there than I can shake a stick at and enough people who have offered me a place to stay on future visits that I will never, ever need to get a hotel or sleep on my sister’s couch. I have a tiny church there that I hold dear to my heart… but it isn’t home and I’m not sure that I want to live there again like I thought I would before I left.

Huh.

What a fascinating revelation.  I will continue to think on this…

But first a quick review of the graduation.  I was smiling so broadly the term “grinning like an idiot” probably applied but I was sooooo proud of my younger daughter!  She did it!  She actually graduated high school with a diploma and not just a GED.  She got to walk across a stage in her cap and gown and get her picture taken with a school official and she is ready to start the rest of her life.  I am so happy for her!

What was less happy was seeing my former in-laws, ex-husband and his fiance.  Actually let me clarify, seeing the fiance and his father was great.  He and his mother were, still, obviously angry with me and while they were kinder to me than they had been in June at my twin nieces graduation they still rattled me bad enough that I skedaddled out of there as quick as I could after hugging my newly-graduated daughter and telling her I would see her the next day.

Yes, that’s right, somehow he still gets to me so much that I ran away from my own daughter’s graduation as soon as I politely could.

I was talking to my best friend from high school and think I may have figured out (part of) what goes on inside of me whenever I have contact with dear old ex-hubby.  My particular personality type is desperate for two things to be accomplished in the people around me, I want you to be happy and I want you to be comfortable.  If I can’t make you happy and/or comfortable then I have failed and this causes me distress.  A lot of distress.  Sometimes even panic-attack type stress.  I will never be able to make my ex happy OR comfortable, he still has too much anger towards me to allow himself to even smile in my presence.

It occurs to me that when you don’t believe you did anything wrong you can’t change anything about yourself that was – and continues to be – part of the problem and therefore you continue to have a problem where there may not actually be one anymore making (mostly) just yourself miserable.

How do I accept the fact that I will never succeed in my driving need to make this particular person happy and comfortable?  That’s hard and I’m working on it.  Maybe it’s less accepting that fact and more acknowledging that I can’t make it happen and That’s Okay.  It’s Okay.  I can’t make everybody in the whole entire world happy and comfortable and it’s okay.

Yeah.  That one’s still going to take some more work… but I’ll get it.

My older daughter was in Thailand on a missions trip and didn’t get home until midnight of the day that her younger sister graduated.  I texted her, welcoming her home and saying I wanted to meet with her in the next two days before I left town again.  She never responded.  I texted again, at 8:30 pm the night before I left saying sorry I didn’t get to meet with her and she finally responded – sorry I didn’t get back to you, have a nice trip home.

It’s disheartening to know she didn’t want to see me but I wasn’t terribly surprised.  Even though she had just come back from overseas after 3 weeks the whole, entire weekend was mostly about her sister and less about her for both her father and grandparents – and me.  It’s very difficult for a narcissist to deal with not being the center of attention when they think they should be and I get that.

In the end I came Home when I had planned to.  I drove the long hours and came home, listening to an audiobook of Eat. Pray. Love. and finally finishing it about an hour and a half away from Home.

I signed up for an online dating app within an hour of arriving at home, I’ve decided I need to stop hiding my head in the sand and pretending that every man out there is as bad as my ex-husband and at least talk to a few guys and see what happens.  I’m not in a hurry to hitch my star to just anyone’s wagon but it would be nice to be friendly with a guy I could  maybe, possibly see a potential future with.

School is going well, just started week three and we learned how to wrap hair for a perm today… I’m really hoping to get myself a perm here soon, either that or cut my hair short again, it’s driving me nuts, lol!

I’m off to bed, I’m not getting anywhere near enough sleep now that I’m a student again, ugh!  If you pray, pray for me for strength to get through long days of standing on my feet and never getting enough sleep because despite everything I’m still a night owl and can’t sleep when I go to bed early.

Hugs to all of you ❤

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.

This has been such a crazy but really good year, wow!

For outward accomplishments: I started working towards moving to Montana, I took two trips to the ocean, went to Las Vegas and three trips up to see friends and family.  I fixed up and sold my little trailer house, paid off 98% of my debts and went to live with friends for the last 2 1/2 months of the year.  I got a Montana Nail Tech license, applied for cosmetology school in Montana and quit my job.

My internal accomplishments are a little harder to measure but I have to say they are the ones I am most proud of.

The one year anniversary of my divorce came and went without bothering me.  I didn’t even remember it until a day or two afterwards. I even survived seeing my ex for the first time since we filed for divorce at my twin nieces high school graduation where he and his mother rolled waves of anger in my direction and she glared at me (at MY brother’s children’s graduation, really?) until I left early – but I survived, lol!

The announcement of my ex-husband’s engagement filled me with relief, I wasn’t at all unhappy or bitter about it (which kind of surprised me).

I feel like I’ve made a good connection with my older daughter.  It’s not as good as I hoped to have but it’s far better than what it was when we started this year and I am very grateful.  She has started texting “I love you” back to me when  I text it first (still won’t say it to my face” and just once, last week, out of the blue she texted “I love you” to me without me having texted it first so I think we are going to be OK.

My younger daughter is almost finished with her alternative high school and will be graduating on Feb 2nd.  I am very proud of her!  Just recently she has decided that she would like to move to Montana and be with me in July, after the lease on her apartment runs out.  I am excited but not holding my breath.  There’s a lot of time between now and then and the minute she gets a boyfriend I know she’ll change her mind but I’d really like it if she moved up to be with me.  We get along really well and enjoy hanging out together.

Going through several rounds of Angry Asian Bosses throughout the year cured me of any romantic illusions I still harbored about the older brother while at the same time gave me the courage and skills I needed to stand fast in the hurricane of anger the older two siblings at the shop (brother and sister) directed towards me.  This was probably the most important lesson I learned this year and is possibly the reason God delayed my move to Montana until now.  Standing up to angry people is a strength I never had, not ever.  Not with my mom, not with my ex husband, not with my brothers, not with my bosses or co-workers…  not with anyone.  Anger has always overwhelmed me and I melt into a puddle on the floor when other people’s anger touches me.  Even strangers angry at other strangers around me has brought me to tears many times.  Yes, I’m overly sensitive to in a lot of areas, I know…  But the Asian culture is so different from anything I’ve ever known.  These guys truly are my family and have honestly treated me better than my own brothers have.  They all love me very much and I know that without a shadow of a doubt.  They take care of me in so many ways and all of them, but one of the sisters in particular, has probably spent more money on me by buying me clothing, jewelry, meals and  the trip to Vegas in the last 2 years than my ex-husband spent on me in gifts over the 20 years we were married.  But when they are angry they get very angry very fast and it doesn’t matter if they’re angry about incorrect information because they won’t listen to me try to explain – they see trying to explain as being disrespectful.  So I have to sit there and listen to them be angry at me and saying the same things over and over again until their anger has finally died out.  And then when they’re done being angry it’s over in an instant and we’re back to rainbows and unicorns again, gives me frickin whiplash… It’s a painful process.  Questions are allowed and will be answered but they will absolutely not believe me when I say that when I was whispering to a customer or another white worker I was NOT saying bad things about them – or giving them my phone number and trying to steal their customer… in their culture whispers are automatically something bad and never just trying to keep certain bits of a person’s life story private.  <sigh>  But I think I can do it now.  I think I can raise my shield and deflect the anger enough to have a mature conversation with an angry person and walk away knowing for certain whether or not I was truly at fault and that I have done all I can do to fix the situation.  That was a lesson I have needed to learn all my life so I guess now is better than never!

And my heart… I think I’m more open to another relationship than I was at the beginning of the year.  If I do get a boyfriend and consider marrying him I fully expect to have sex before getting married simply because I’m still petrified of tying myself to another marriage bed.  I had sex once, it lasted 20 years and I’m not at all anxious to repeat the experience.  If I wait until marriage, like a good little girl, and then find out it isn’t the partner but sex itself that I can’t stand then I am sunk.  I might as well kill myself the day after the wedding because my life will be a living hell from that point forward.  So yeah.  I’m going to have sex outside of marriage at some point.  Phew!  That was hard to say.  It completely goes against everything I’ve been taught and believed my whole life but I don’t see another way around it.  Maybe I’ll just stay single, but I don’t want to.  I want to love somebody fiercely and be loved extravagantly in return.

I was going to leave for Montana today and go tomorrow to talk to the beauty school about financial aid but they are closed until Monday for the holidays, so I am waiting to leave until next week.  This is such a huge step for me, it’s terrifyingly exciting and I’m getting anxious to go.  There is a homeless shelter in the same town as the beauty school, it’s a Christian ministry designed to help people get back on their feet and I’m hoping that they will let me stay there until my financial aid kicks in and I can afford housing on my own.  Otherwise it’s pretty much going to be living in my car for a month or so because I just don’t have enough to live and pay rent.  But big change requires big sacrifices and this change will be worth it, I just have to get through these next few months, lol.  Pray for me…

Happy New Year’s everyone and many blessings upon your 2017!

I have one day left at my job and then my adventure begins!  I’m excited and terrified, eager and reluctant, broke and… broke lol.

This is all, absolutely happening according to God’s plan. My plan was to move last April with $5,0oo in my pocket from the sale of my little trailer house and have lots of time to start beauty school, find a job and a place to live.  But if I had moved last April I would have gone to the beauty school that closed its doors forever at the end of October so I would have had to stop my schooling in the middle and move to the school that I will now be attending – which is an hour away from where my dad lives.  Now, I’ll be living in the town where the school is and driving the hour to see my dad once a week instead of every day.  Also, my younger daughter was not interested in moving to Montana with me until just last month.  Now, she wants to move up with me in July when her lease is up.  And there’s more, smaller things that have turned out to be a blessing because I didn’t move when I originally planned on moving.  And the money from my trailer has gone to pay all of my bills off, with the exception of my car, so now I have the bare minimum expenditures possible, which will be a big help AND I used the trailer money to set aside everything I need to cover all of December and January’s bills, giving me the month of December’s earnings to pay for last-minute expenditures (like Christmas and replacing the wheel bearings in my car, ugh!) and all of January to get a job capable of paying my bills come February and going forward.

My taxes from 2015 are finished, paid and mailed in, making my FAFSA legit and therefore qualifying me for grants and student loans.  I’m going to make my first trip to Montana next week/the week after Christmas and go talk to the beauty school about finances, ask if any students need a roommate, check with local salons about getting a part-time job  while I’m in school and visit my folks.  Once I’ve got my lodging and school finances settled I’ll make another trip or two up there with my belongings and be completely moved into my new life!  The goal is to have everything done by January 23rd when  school starts…

In the meantime, the shop is closed on Christmas day so Monday will be my first, official day out of work and I plan on spending it in my pajamas, watching movies and eating finger foods allllll daaaayyyyyyy lllooooonnnnggg.

I know that God’s hand is in this major life change for me and He will not leave me hanging.  All the details have worked out for the best so far and I chose to trust him for the ones I don’t have answers for right now.  Like the song says – every little thing is going to be all right.

Merry Christmas everyone!

It’s already November and I must admit that I’m getting excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time in a long time.  I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t the “Christmas Magic” I had lost, it was hope – and I have my hope back now!

Things at home are changed a little bit but it’s a good change.  I don’t know if I’ve said this or not yet but my daughter’s best friend from high school, I’ll call her Mandy, is also living with us now – partly because she needed a place to live, partly because she’s a great kid and partly because she’s going to live there to help Tina keep up on the utility payments and what not on my trailer while I’m in Montana.  Starting this month they are each paying a third of everything to get them prepared for paying fifty percent of everything when I go. Mandy is a no-nonsense kind of girl and very helpful in corralling Tina when needed because she’ll say things that need to be said bluntly and Tina will take it from her when she wouldn’t taken the same thing, kindly phrased, from me.  Kids!  All in all though, my home is a very happy place.  Both girls bring their friends over and sometimes their friends bring friends.  My home is a safe place for them all and everyone calls me Mom, which makes me very happy.  We laugh, smile, hang out together and have lots of fun together – I really love my life right now!

The trailer itself is another matter entirely, ugh.  There’s something seriously wrong with the electrical wiring throughout.  In July the outlets in the tip-out tripped and the breaker would not reset no matter how many times I flipped it so a friend’s husband took it out for me so I could get another one.  Lo and Behold, it’s so old they don’t make them anymore so I can’t simply replace it.  That’s two outlets gone and a empty space in my fuse box.  Come the end of October and I bought space heaters because my friend’s husband informed me that the duct-work of the furnace wasn’t connected properly and I didn’t have the money to have a professional look at it.  We plugged the largest space heater in, the one with a thermostat to keep the temperature steady… and it trips a breaker.  Many tripped breakers later we discover that if we leave the thermostat off and let the heater run on Low then it doesn’t trip any more breakers.  Fabulous.  I now have one space heater in the bathroom that keeps that tiny room at around 80 degrees – which is absolutely amazing in the chilly mornings we’ve been having – and I’m afraid to move it or touch it in case adjusting it in any way will trip more breakers – and another space heater for the rest of the trailer that only works on Low.  Needless to say we’re all wearing lots of sweaters and I’ve been buying blankets at the thrift stores like mad.

And the timer on the dryer broke.  I found that out when it ran allllll night one night.  God was gracious and kept the dryer from catching on fire and burning us alive while we slept.  So we can still use it – if we set a timer to go check it after 30 to 45 minutes – but can’t turn it on and leave it running while we leave the house or go to sleep because stuff like that is a leading cause of house fires.

Oh yes, one more thing, the cherry on top, so to speak.  I bought a waterbed off of Craigslist and got it home, put it all together by myself… and it leaks.  Turns out they forgot to unplug the heater while they were draining it and they melted the liner to the heater which must have also made a tiny hole or two in the water bladder because I woke up wet this morning.  I had already moved my old mattress to my daughter’s room because she didn’t have a bed so tonight I’ve kicked her to the couch and I’m sleeping in her room.

To sum it all up, I have two outlets that don’t work at all, a dryer that shouldn’t be operated without supervision, one space heater on low for the majority of the house, no stove to cook or bake with (thank God for the microwave!) and a bed I can’t sleep in tonight.  I feel like I should qualify to be on one of those extreme home makeover shows where they do nice things for people with sad stories – except that they don’t do trailers, lol.  It’s OK.  Everything will work out in the end.  I’ll go buy a new bladder for my bed tomorrow and then I will work on saving up for an electrician.  Not sure what I’m going to do about the stove though…

But it’s not all bad, on a very positive note, my older daughter consented to talk with me last month.  We met at a local bookstore and talked for about a half an hour, which was all she could handle.  She walked in very unhappy and displeased to be there but she asked me some questions which I tried to answer as factually and unemotionally as possible (because facts and logic are what she relates to the best) and I felt like she walked out a little more at peace so that’s a great start to building a new relationship with her.

I’ve told my sister that I’m moving and my older daughter already knew when we met at the bookstore so at this point everyone but my bosses know that I’m moving to Montana.  While that bothers me and I really want to tell them Right Now – I’m going to stick with my decision to not tell them until after my surgery at the very soonest and at the latest, two months before I go – because I want them to have plenty of time to replace me before the busy season starts.  Mostly I’m waiting because I’m 90% certain that Todd will be quite upset and give me guilt trips from the time I tell him until the time I go.  He’s a great deal like my ex husband in a lot of things, especially stuff like that, and I just don’t want to deal with it any longer than I have to.  I will miss them all so very, very much.  They’ve taken me in as a part of their family and while I know this is going to hurt them my father is more important right now. Fortunately family is a big deal in the Vietnamese culture so I’m hoping they’ll understand and not be too mad at me for leaving them.

My hysterectomy should be scheduled for sometime in December so I’ll probably be down and out for Christmas, boo!  I should find out the exact date next week when I meet with the doctor.

Except for the material household stuff things really are going well for me and life is good!  Smile, hug someone and show love to others today 🙂

After my meltdown almost a month ago the doctor upped my happy pills and it definitely helped. How fabulous would it be not to need medication to stay balanced, ugh!  Something else that has helped improve my “mood”, as my doctor so graciously calls it, is the two kittens we got from the neighbor lady.  These two orange tabby brothers are the cutest things ever and they make my heart so happy!

As of my last doctor visit I found out that I need to have a hysterectomy and I’m a little nervous about it.  Apparently I have a fairly large fibroid and since every other test they’ve run to pinpoint the source of my anemia has come up with zippo the doc says my heavy periods must be the source so let’s take out the offending organ.  I’m a little skeptical that my cycles are really heavy enough to make me that anemic for over twenty years but… I’m OK with eliminating my need to buy Always ever again.  Add to that the fact that I don’t want to have any more children whether or not I ever get remarried AND recovery time means mandatory time off work and it’s pretty much a win-win.  I have my consultation on November 2nd to discuss what type of surgery I’ll need and then I’ll know how much recovery time to prepare my boss for, lol.  I am going to respectfully request that I get scheduled for the actual surgery before the end of the year because I’ve already met my deductible for this year so the holidays may be very interesting.

Speaking of work, things have changed there too.  I have conquered my infatuation with Hank and even though we still spend so much time together at work it’s much easier to control my feelings, thank God!  Todd, who is the only owner who still works there full-time, is still a great boss but definitely has some issues with communication.  I called him on it and to make it up to me he gave me two days off in a row last week instead of my normal, one day a week off.  It was FABULOUS!  I felt like I had a little vacation, whoo hoo!  Todd has apparently noticed that I’m not as happy as I used to be and he brought in one of his sisters to work at the shop with us so I won’t be the only girl there for the next couple of months or so.  Oh, and I must say that trying to explain that I need a hysterectomy to people who speak minimal to moderate English was hilarious…

And now on to Montana – yes, I will be moving up to be closer to my father but not until the end of March or early April but I have not told my bosses yet, I want to get through my surgery first.  My daughter and her best friend will be living in my trailer and keeping up on all the utilities and what not.  Delaying until spring will give the girls a chance to get steady jobs and prove they can stay on top of all the bills with just the two of them and it will give me a chance to save up more money to get started in Montana.  Oh yes, another thing that makes my heart happy is waking up to teenage laughter.  My daughter and her friends are such a good group of kids and they feel like my house is their second home and call me mom.  It’s so very, very nice, I love it!

My life seems to be a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs, and sadly, medication is necessary to stay balanced at this point of my life.  Hopefully I will be able to self-balance eventually but for now, everything is back to being good.

My trip to see my brothers was fascinating.  I found out that my father had to have three stents put in the week before Labor Day so I changed the order of things and went to see my father first.  He has aged considerably since I last saw him over a year ago, it scared me.  He seems so frail and, well, old now.  Sitting at the kitchen table, looking at him and hearing about his heart procedure my purpose rang out to me loud and clear and I knew what the next thing I am being called to do is.

I am going to move to Montana to be with him.

I got really excited because for the first time in my life I can just up and move to be nearer to my father and get to know him.  He still lives in the town I grew up in and I have good memories from there. I figured I could move as soon as the middle of January.

My daughter doesn’t want to come with me.

My excitement began to die down.  I’m really enjoying living with my daughter and getting to know her again, and she me, both of us finally free to be ourselves and discovering we like who we are.  Most of my money is tied up in my trailer, my car and her car so I would be arriving in Montana and truly starting over from scratch.  I doubt I would be living with my father and step-mother for more than a month while I find a place so I would wind up living alone again and the only people I know there besides my dad and his wife is my step-sister and while she’s a very nice person she seems to be constantly drunk.  Montana is cold and a completely different world than what I’ve lived in for probably 30 years now.

Maybe I don’t really need to go so soon as January…  Maybe I could wait until next summer when Tina has finished her online high school.

When we got back from the trip I didn’t tell my bosses that I was moving away like I had intended to.  Curiously enough, everything has changed at work.  It started slowly, I just noticed a few things at first but every day in the last week things have only gotten worse at work, not better.  My emotions have been all over the place, ranging from anger to giddy to severely depressed.  And I’m pretty sure I’ve made a great big fool of myself with Hank today when I texted him under the influence of a fever after I went home sick.  Honestly, it feels like one door after another is slamming in my face and I’ve lost my Favor from God to be there, working in this place that has been so wonderful to me in this new stage of my life.

I’m going to contact my doctor tomorrow and see if I need a higher dose of my happy pills.  And then I’m going to pray and wait until the beginning of November to make a decision about moving to Montana.