The Fall part 2

The 23 of September was the start of my first week with nothing to do. I mean nothing… For the first time since I was fifteen years old I didn’t have a job or school. I had no idea what to do with myself.

That week flew by and on Thursday September 26, about 10 p.m. my dad knocked on our bedroom door. He never came to our room after we went to bed. Not ever. He knocked loudly on the door and asked if he could come in.

I can still picture the look on his face, what he was wearing, where he stood, and which sheets were on the bed when he came in.

He said [his brother] just called, [My cousin] is dead. He hung himself.

I can barely type that. All I can hear is the blood rushing in my ears, and my hands are shaking, and I feel like I’m going to throw up.

I remember shouting “No Daddy no.” And his response was harsh, “Yes M.”

He went back upstairs and I laid there for a few minutes staring at the ceiling. I still know exactly which ceiling tile I stared at.

Homie lay next to me silently. I couldn’t cry. It was too shocking, too unbelievable, and there were too many unanswered questions.

I couldn’t fathom this. How could this be true?

After a while (I have no idea how long), I got up and went to find my family. I sat on the couch in the living room and held my 2 youngest sisters while they cried. We passed multiple cell phones back and forth and I talked to my 3 other sisters who live elsewhere.

At times none of us could even talk. My parents sat on the couch across from us and my daddy looked shell shocked.

I’ve never seen him like that before.

I think this is the first time I have let myself think about that night in detail and I didn’t realize how hard it would be.

I don’t think I was ready for this. I don’t think I have really processed it completely even though it has been months.

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Sometimes…

You make bread in your bedroom.

Periodically since we moved in we have noticed the smell of gas filling our kitchen.

We had maintenance come out the very first time and they said the pilot light was out so the excess gas wasn’t burning off.

Each time the smell of gas has filled the kitchen I have checked the pilot light but it’s always still on.

The other day it was so bad and I needed to roll out my french bread dough.

So I did the only reasonable thing to do, I made a counter in my bedroom and made my french bread loaves in there.

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The Fall

This fall of 2013 was overwhelming for lots of reasons. It was followed by disappointment after disappointment.

I thought I would be converted from an intern to a full-time employee October 1, so Homie took a new job that began September 4th.

We went and looked at an apartment on September 9, but had this weird gut feeling that we should not sign on it, even though we both really liked it and it was only two blocks from his office.

The next day I was told completely unexpectedly that my job offer had to be rescinded and they were not able to hire me.

No explanation was given and I was completely devastated.

I finished the project I was working on and ended on September 18th. It seemed silly to come in two more days when I had nothing to do, and I obviously wouldn’t be starting any new projects.

That first full week being at my parents house hanging out wasn’t too bad because I had a job interview on the 17th that had gone really, really well. After the interview was finished they had me wait for a few minutes and then had me meet immediately with HR to get all of the particulars about salary, pay schedule, overtime, uniforms, insurance etc.

I then went straight into a meeting with the background investigator and she gave me a giant packet to complete which I did right there with her in the office so that they could get it done as quickly as possible.

I left that day after being told that while my start date wasn’t certain, they would contact me and I would either be the next person brought on or maybe the one after that but they for sure had a vacancy for January so that would be my latest start date.

I was beyond elated. Homie was so proud of me he bought me a bouquet of flowers and a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice.

And then on October 4, just a few days after getting back from one of the worst trips I have ever had to make I got a letter thanking me for applying and letting me know that they would keep my information on file but at this time they did not have a position for me.

What the fuck. I have no idea what happened. Absolutely no clue. The only negative in the whole entire background interview process was when she asked if anyone in my family drinks to excess. And in that second my in-laws previously poor behavior with alcohol flashed through my mind. And I felt like I needed to include that even though I don’t have a close relationship with them.

So I mentioned that the only people I have ever seen drink to the point of being drunk (in my family) are my in-laws. And then I had to answer extensive questions about their drinking habits. Which I really don’t know because a couple of times being present when they were drunk was a couple of times too many. I avoid being present when they are drinking. The questions kept coming and I tried to make it clear I really don’t know their habits, just that they do drink to the point of excess. Finally the investigator asked, “do you think they would show up here drunk?”

My response was as close to a “hell no” as you can give in a job interview. I explained this was social/lonely drinking and that they have never ever driven drunk to my knowledge.

In my head I was thinking “dude, you are assuming that my in-laws would even know where or when I work which is kind of unlikely.

And I really have no idea if that influenced their decision. I don’t know. It’s hard to think that it didn’t since that is the single negative answer I gave about anything. I have the squeakiest clean record ever. I have never even been pulled over by the police.

I have never been out of the country, I don’t have friends in foreign countries, I’m not part of any kind of group or organizations except some service/charity organizations.

I literally have no idea what went wrong.

When I got the letter I was so devastated. I walked out of the house and walked through the dark neighborhood with my chest heaving in silent sobs.

I went to bed immediately because I couldn’t even handle being awake. I didn’t want to think about anything. I just wanted to cease to exist at that moment.

Even more so than the position that I thought I was going to get as a result of my internship, this was my dream job.

I haven’t touched the letter since that day. I still don’t really let myself think about it.

Fear & Failure

The whole first week after we moved in I couldn’t even enjoy being in our new place because I had this feeling of horror that we were going to have to give it up. I don’t know why, I did the budget over and over. I just had this feeling of sheer panic that we were going to need to immediately move out and just hope that they let us out of the lease. I didn’t want to unpack because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get everything out in time.

I was mentally composing the email to our friends asking them if they could come back and help us reload everything.
I know that sounds weird. I think because after 9 months of hoping for things to happen and then something going wrong each and every time I was just afraid to hope. It did not seem possible that something good could actually be happening and the details working out.

That fear combined with a little bit truckload of disappointment in myself for not meeting my goals made it hard to enjoy the change.

When I was about ten years old I decided that I would buy a house by the time I was 25. Despite everything, I still think that was a fairly reasonable goal. And all through grad school I had it in my head that I would graduate April 2013, start my new job either May or June 2013, sign a lease, start cranking away at my student loans, and begin stashing for a down payment.

Homie and I even talked about a plan to earn an extra $7,000 or so. I would move to my new job, he would move in with my grandparents, we would give up our apartment and he would stay an extra 3-4 months at his job so that we could maximize our income. If he got a new job at the same time or in that range he would accept it, but we knew we could handle being apart for 3-4 months.

Based on that plan we would sign a lease in May or June 2013, stash money away, and I figured by March 2013 start looking to buy. That way we would have time to do research, interview some real estate agents, and take a look at the areas we were considering. And then we could purchase anytime between May and September and life would be glorious.

Instead, we were apart for 4 months with a decrease in our income, I was offered a position starting in October, and Homie took a huge ass pay cut to move here with me. We then didn’t manage to sign a lease until March 2014.

And that means I failed. I will turn 26 in October of 2014 and I’m locked in a lease until March 2015. I’ve worked for 15 years to meet my goal. And even though signing a lease and having a place to live again is fantastic and awesome and I sound like a brat, there was still a big part of me mourning the fact that I failed to meet my goal.
I feel like all I’ve done is fail.

No Longer Homeless

So… I am officially no longer legally homeless. That’s a good feeling. It brings with it some anxiety about actually paying my bills…but it’s nice after 5 years living on my own to be back out of my parent’s house.

We found an apt that is in our price range, with all of the utilities included, only about 1 mile outside of our desired area.

And it’s basically the apartment version of my dream house. Obviously I’d thrilled with an actual house, but to find an apartment that has almost everything I wanted is as good as life is going to get right now.

It was built in the 1940s, a fourth floor walkup with big windows, hardwood floors, built in bookcases, and black and white tile in the bathroom in great condition. It has a window in the bathroom and in the kitchen which is on my “wish list” for every place we live.

The kitchen is bigger than any kitchen we’ve had before, even if it has no dishwasher and a stove that is half to two-thirds the size of a full size stove/oven.

I introduced Homie to Smitten Kitchen’s blog, and I told him if she can cook those kinds of dishes (and write a cookbook) in a kitchen of that size we can totally make do.

The only true negative is that the floors are supposed to be covered 85% by rugs. Boo. I hate carpet. I love hard wood floors, that’s why I chose the apartment (that and the rent and utilities being included, etc. etc. but really it was the floors). It wasn’t until after we put down our deposit and got a copy of the lease that we found that piece out.

I may have mentioned that money is tight, as in no internet, every spending category cut to the bare bones and we’re still $32.85 (at a minimum) short every month. That doesn’t leave any money for purchasing area rugs.

I think I’m going to do a super cheap fix and cut some canvas drop cloths. Hopefully I can paint and seal them and it won’t look trashy… That might be a stretch but we’ll see. Either way, it feels good to have a home.