Springfield, Illinois, USA — Sunday, November 24, 2013
. . . Pictured above is me about 11 this morning. as I prepared to catch up with friends and strangers. Four hours later, I’m getting around to it. That’s okay. It’s been a productive day .
I’ve not shared much here at Honey & Quinine for the same reason I seldom wrote to my mother after she retired and moved to be with her southern-born and bred kinfolk in central Florida. I’ve always considered writing about any sub-nominal circumstance in my life to be a shameful billboard of my incapacity to succeed, even though I know everyone makes mistakes.
Life has been crazy this year ever since June when the person living upstairs and paying me rent every month started being late with the rent. What was tolerable at first has become intolerable, but intolerable in words alone since I cannot remedy the circumstance. It’s like being tied, hands and feet, to a chair and being hit on the head with a club by a deviant sadist. I can shout “THIS IS INTOLERABLE!” and feel satisfaction that I hold the moral higher ground with my shouting, but “the hits just keep on a comin’.” I have no practical option. I will never again rent to any woman or man having trouble with their married spouses. The woman who hasn’t paid a penny of November’s rent was estranged from her husband, when her new lover, a friend of mine who lives down the street from me, convinced me to rent the upper half of my duplex to her. It had been vacant less than a month, and it seemed like a good idea. Later, her lover down the street broke up with her, but she was paying rent on time, and I had no complaints. Her husband still sent her money to pay me for rent. Last summer — she says — when they finally went to divorce court, the husband’s payments stopped. Compounding the problem is that her new lover isn’t employed and his truck hasn’t moved from the front curb where he parked it two months ago. She says when the divorce comes through — MAYBE by the end of this week — she’ll pay rent for November, December and late money. I’ve not evicted them because no one is moving in or out over the winter. I can (try to) recover money owed in court. As long as she’s there, she pays the utilities; something I don’t have to do to keep the place warm up there and the pipes from freezing. I’ve been eating peanut butter sandwiches and pre-packaged salads from the supermarket for 95 percent of my evening meals. Sometimes my employer buys me lunch from McDonalds. Otherwise my lunch is peanut butter on a table knife. It makes a fellow a mite glum. On the positive side, I have a few dollars I will spend on Thanksgiving food, fuel in my truck and groceries on hand (three more salads and 3/4 of a jar of Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter and bread to carry me through to the next paycheck on Saturday.
In the meantime, I am thankful that I own my house and that I’m okay with the monthly $300 home equity loan payments they will be automatically taking from my checking account for the forseeable future — YEARS, and I’m not kidding. Without that stupid loan for a computer I’m using not at home, but here at the aviation museum (see picture at top) I’d be okay. Word to the wise: avoid home equity loans if you possibly can I feel like my bank has a spigot on a main artery that drains $300 a month. Never again will I be so stupid!
Even so that account allowed me to buy a used pickup truck about a month ago (after the engine quit and I was told it would be $2,500 to replace the engine!!!!), and I was able to make it happen — despite late OCTOBER rent — with a loan from a friend and another $500 loan from my home equity account. I am incredibly happy with the replacement vehicle. I love every minute driving it.
Another positive for which to be thankful is my coming to terms with my employer. For most of my time there I have allowed myself to be driven to near suicide several times by the way he treated me and the way he does business. I finally decided my reactions weren’t helping, I knew my reactions would not make HIM any better, so I would have to work with what I could change: MYSELF. I’ve decided to stop making unflattering observations about him and never again raise my voice to him. It’s working. I will make it work. He doesn’t control how I react to him; I control how I react to him. I’m much calmer at work, though still horribly depressed, and I’m finding a modicum of pride in how I work there and how I react to him.
I have lost my connection to my occasional employer, Springfield Business Journal. The burden of taking time off from work to freelance write for the excellent publication and excellent publisher became too much. To call myself an active writer, while engaging the process of interviewing people, taking pictures, and writing stories, I made less per hour than I did as showroom manager for my full-time employer. I could not afford to write for a living for that publication. I am DETERMINED to FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL HIRE ME TO WRITE, and/or TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS, and or ENGAGE in LIGHT MANAGEMENT and/or EDITING so I can part company with my current employer. When I find what I need, I will give appropriate notice to my very patient current employer, and probably create a sonic boom from the speed with which I leave for the last time.
For the first time since last spring when I vowed not to play and sing in public for a year, I AM GOING TO SHARE MY SONGS at a downtown Springfield event December 6. I was ASKED TO PLAY. If ANYONE ASKS me to play, I WILL PLAY. I’m practicing nightly to get my music together again. I will announce where and when after Thanksgiving. I am absolutely delighted that there is someone who wants me to play. I promised to bring three of my guitars, and I shall be as good as my word, maybe better.
I also vow to spend more time writing poetry, songs and posting here at Honey & Quinine.
If you are reading my blog for the first time or the thousandth time, I wish for you a warm and reverent Thanksgiving. Count your blessings. Everything you have is more valuable to you than what you don’t have. You can’t value what you don’t possess. Despite my share of “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune which flesh is heir to” — thank you Willie Shake’ — I consider myself one married mother’s lucky son now. I wish for you nothing but the best or better as we embrace the chill and the thrill of being who we are deciding to be.
Live long . . . . . . . . . and proper.