Save for a few “fluff” posts here and there I really haven’t been in much of a sharing mood. Partly because I’ve been having trouble articulating what is going on in my life without sounding like I’m feeling sorry for myself or fishing for sympathy and I’m rather embarrassed that I always seem to be the girl with all the problems…..and frankly I’m sick of being THAT girl….It’s tiresome that this seems to be a recurring theme with me. These days when asked how I’m doing I don’t know how to respond and never quite mastered the “poker face”……blech! However wretched my life may be the outlook for me is not as grim as the 2.5 million people in the Philippines requiring aid in the aftermath of typhoon be Haiyan. May the Lord bestow much grace and peace in their hour of need.
Anyhow…..I’m going to do my best to give it a go and apologize in advance if it seems whiny, incoherent and lengthy…..this post is mostly for me….to vent….to release it into cyberspace and let it go once and for all…
Experience has taught me that by always being nice, I fail to establish the necessary boundaries that are essential to my own happiness and success in life. We live in a world where people try to bring you down to make themselves feel better; they try to cheat you, lie to you, steal from you, push you, and without hesitation or concern for you will take a mile when you’ve offered an inch. If I always turn the other cheek, someone will always be willing to hit me again. I’ve also come to realize that despite the good intentions behind my desire to be nice choosing to be so actually having an adverse effect on my relationships and sucking the energy out of me. It’s like I get in my own way and actually end up being self-defeating by always putting others before my own goals, desires and needs. Well, everything has a limit and it seems that I’ve finally reached mine.
I’ve mentioned before that moving to Texas from California was an exercise of faith by allowing others to help me. Brother and SIL were adamant that I should come live in their home rent free, while working for the family business and saving enough money to become financially independent. Within the first month of being here Brother confided that he was two months behind on his mortgage and asked if I could pitch in. I felt obligated to contribute and offered what little retirement savings I had. He promised to reimburse me upon completion of his next project but that didn’t happen.
My job within the family business was supposed to be that of an administrator/accountant; however, instead Brother had me driving around town being the “errand girl” from 7am – 6pm fully expecting me to come home to do administrative work. When I refused to work and opted to spend time with my son after getting home, Brother was furious. So after 8 months I decided it would be in everyone’s best interest for me to resign and hopefully avoid damaging our relationship. Finding alternate employment proved to be harder than I expected and I found myself unemployed for three full months.
Sister-In-Law was a District Manager for a Property Management company at the time and was able to find me an interim position with her company. My position as Roaming Property Manager lasted a year until all the open Property Manager positions where fulfilled. During that year what little money I made was used to contribute to the household, purchased groceries, pay bills and helped pay Mom’s medical bills when we nearly lost her, in the summer of 2012 to cirrhosis of the liver. Later it was decided that due to the delicate nature of her disease we all pitched to have a cousin fly with her to Texas when so we could care for her here, later I had to reimburse said cousin for the expenses he incurred while caring for Mom when she was ill. And when she Mom decided that she wanted to go back home to California I paid for her airfare. October 2012 wasn’t financially expensive but definitely emotionally taxing when we discovered that Brother was having an affair with a call girl he met online. Still we all decided to spend Thanksgiving at our Sister’s in Chicago. It wasn’t exactly cheap trip either. The proverbial “drop that spilt the water” was in January of this year when a got pulled over while driving a car which was meant to be Brother’s way of repaying me for that loan I offered him a year earlier. Apparently the license plate and registration were invalid and I was slammed with a $900 ticket (what a lovely way to repay me, no?). I lost my job two days later. It’s been one expensive, unfortunate event after another since I moved to Texas!
While I searched for a job I started helping Brother with the family business again. This time around he renamed the remodeling and construction company and changed registered it in Dad’s name (in name only), allowing him what he viewed as more creative freedom from his wife. A month later it was decided that I’d also help babysit newborn Niece and 4 year-old Nephew so that Sister-In-Law (SIL) would get a chance to get out of the house. The idea was that she and I would take turns supervising the job sites but that never actually happened as SIL discovered that she preferred to work outside the home and I was perfectly happy to stay home with the kids. As a single mother being a stay-at-home mom was a luxury I had never experienced so I cherished the opportunity as it allowed me to enjoy time with my own son as well. Although enjoyed being a SAHM/Auntie and while most of our basic needs were being met I didn’t have the means to do anything for myself or my son. I couldn’t even buy him lunch, much less clothes, school supplies or even take him to the doctor should he get sick. Earlier in the year our family business appeared to be gaining momentum and my family could barely keep up with the demand. In fact they were working so much that there were days that they would have to work through the night to complete some of these projects while I cared for the children not knowing when they’d be coming home. When they did come home they were too tired to play with the kids. SIL always made an effort to maximize her limited time with them but Brother always had more work to do on the computer and didn’t want to be bothered or he would fall asleep – ignoring the children. Two months ago it became evident that working so much and so hard began to take its toll. There were too many projects and not enough workers. The stress of it all also began to fracture the already fragile relationship between Brother and SIL. One occasion I was awaken in the middle of the night by SIL during one of their arguments. No one got hurt but the argument was physical enough (Brother punched a wall) that it frightened crap out of me. As a child of divorce myself I worried about how this would affect the children and took it upon myself to become the stability Niece and Nephew needed without consideration for my own needs.
The business has been gradually deteriorating due to Brother’s questionable business and personal choices alike, poor organizational skills and mismanagement of funds. He owes money to clients, vendors, subcontractors and hasn’t paid Dad for all the carpentry work he has done. The company is now on the verge of bankruptcy. One client has even filed a lawsuit against the company, which is seriously alarming since the company is in Dad’s name. Brother and SIL have been unable to pay the mortgage, make the car payment and the utility bills are in arrears. All these distressing concerns began getting louder and louder in my head. So I prayed. I placed my trust in the Lord and asked Him to open the right doors. My prayers were answered shortly after when quite unexpectedly I got a job offer from the unlikeliest of persons. Accepting the job offer was a difficult decision, one I struggled with not only due to personal reasons but also because I knew that doing so would leave Niece and Nephew without their Auntie/Nanny and become yet another financial burden for Brother and SIL as they would now have to pay someone to care for their children. I felt torn. As I weighed every possibility I realized that it was time to put my needs and that of my child first and accepted the job offer. It’s a part-time job with the possibility of becoming a full-time position with full benefits in 90 days. It’s not much but definitely a step in the right direction for my son and me. Brother and SIL both resented my decision. SIL became cold and distant. Brother told me that if I took the job then I should look for another place to live and not use their car anymore. I was livid! The hardships and drama of the last two years aside I recognize the value in what he DID give my son and I AM beyond grateful. It has been an even give and take: he allowed me to live in his home rent free while I was an on-call, live-in Nanny, housecleaner and cook for everyone. I’m almost certain he thinks that I took advantage of his “generosity”. His reaction upset me so much that I could not “stuff” my emotions, nor over-rationalize them like I normally; instead, I confronted him head-on. First, I tried reasoning with him and showing him the many ways I’ve contributed to the household but when he started belittling Dad, myself and my son I sternly but calmly told him that in spite of his opinion of me I loved him, was still here for his wife and children in any way I could help and that I would not be moving out until such time that I had the means to do so. I thanked him and walked away. We all seemed to have adjusted to the new routine and resentments seemed to have disappeared. I even felt like I could breathe again. Then a little over a week ago, SIL informed me that she and the children would be moving in with her parents with or without her husband. She further stated that Dad, my son and I would have a little less than two months to move out as she was considering selling the house in a short sale to avoid foreclosure. SAY WHAAAAAAAAAT!!!!!!
It’s been a week and a half since they left. The house seems so lonely without the babies…I miss Niece the most….Since we are still living in their house I thought it would be fair to pay for the utilities. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bills and discovered that the electricity was two days away from being cut off and all the utilities are at least two months behind!!! We paid the electricity but the internet was disconnected today, which means that my VoIP phone will be out of service as well. Sigh….
True story…this is how it happened, this is the abridged version, of course or I’d still be writing this thing…..honestly, though, all negativity notwithstanding, I’m really anxious to just move forward without pointing fingers…just forgiveness….
It’s a sad state of affairs, no doubt. I’m terrified, yet hopeful… I have this odd sense of peace and the certainty that we’ll be ok….