Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Smilin' Through the Rain ~

I've decided to share some of what's been going on with me recently, while I was out of touch with Blog Land. I feel much better now and I'm gonna be fine but I just thought I'd share since I received many sweet, concerned comments from my blogbuds. After this, I will be back to the more upbeat, somewhat humorous posts I enjoy writing much more. Warning . . . I am an open book and will tell just about anything about myself to total strangers, so if this becomes boring, I totally understand. This my longest post to date. You guys will probably be thinking that "more is less" as you read along.
In some of my past postings, I've told you that I am terrible with managing money and that I don't have any extra. The majority of my problems are financial ones brought on, in the long run, by myself but still . . . .

I am pretty much single, meaning that my husband does not live in the house with me, and that I am responsible for all of my own living expenses. Brandon lives with both his dad and me, so there is no child support exchanged from either side. Dad's financial situation is just as bad if not worse than mine, except he lives in a 3 bedroom house that is paid for, and has pretty much no expenses except food, lights, gas, water, and TV. We both get paid every other week, and on opposite weeks of each other, so when one of us is at the payday and no money to make it, the other one sometimes steps in with a loan until that one's payday arrives the following week. I would consider us very good friends. I think he would too but I've never asked him.

I'm not in debt because I paid off my debt when I lived with Moman'nem a year ago. I should never have taken this apartment that I live in now because it is too expensive and I pay way too much for what I have. However, I felt like it was time to leave my mom's because I didn't want to impose any longer, after I had been there a year. I don't think my mom would say it was an imposition but she just great that way. Along with the apartment rent, I also have electricity, Direct TV, and cell phones for both Brandon and myself. I make decent money but it's just not enough to manage all of this as a single person. I've really tried but I think it's pretty much impossible. December 1st will mark 1 year since I moved out of Mom's place and I've been struggling ever since. Throughout my struggles, the Lord has always provided and helped me make it. I've not had much "extra" but I've had the necessities. Even when I've made it because of someone else's helping hands, I am fully aware that God put those people with the helping hands in my life. I know we've been promised that the Lord will not put more on us than we can take, but I tell you sometimes I think I'm at the very end of my rope with only one hand still holding on.
I've had my power turned off twice recently but managed to get it back on by writing checks that I knew would not clear the bank but it did buy me time with lights on. I've had my cell phones turned off many, many times and had to wait quite a while to get them back on. This is kind of hard because we don't have a home phone - we rely solely on the cell phones for outside communication. I cannot even count the times my Direct TV has been turned off - it's off now but oh well, I've got a really large collection of DVD's I can watch. The worst thing to hit me lately is car troubles - MAJOR car troubles. The used car, that I love so much and just bought in April of this year with all the money I had from my income tax return, has a blown head gasket and I cannot afford to have it repaired. There was a problem with the radiator also and I opted to have it replaced, hoping I could still drive the car by using a head gasket sealant that a friend was going to try for me. Well, I paid $360.00 for the new radiator the same week that my rent was due so I let the rent go, to be late until I get paid this Friday. When the rent is late, it's an extra $80.00. After that $360.00, I am still unable to drive the car because the sealant didn't work. My friend spent a whole afternoon, out in the pouring rain, trying to make this work for me but it didn't. This is my 3rd vehicle in the last year and a half that has been rendered completely undrivable due to major shut down. The reason I had to buy this recent car is because my beloved Jeep Grand Cherokee that I've had for the last 10 years, lost it's motor on me - it burned up while I was driving it home from work one day. I had only been driving it for a few months because previously, the transmission had gone out on it and I was unable to have it fixed for almost a year. After the transmission deal happened, a really great friend of mine GAVE me a van that he had as an extra vehicle. It was so nice and fully loaded with all the extras, including a DVD player. Wow! My friend is truly a Godsend. I will be forever grateful. I managed to drive this van for about 8 months before the transmission went out on it. For those who might not know, transmission jobs are about $1700.00. I found myself with not one, but two vehicles now without transmissions, and no other means of my own transportation. My wonderful mother and my friend, Yvette stepped in and hauled me around wherever I needed to go. My mom and I work for the same company so she made sure I got to and from work. Yvette took me around on my various errands. This lasted until it was income tax return time, and I decided to take my money and have my jeep transmission repaired instead of the one in the van. I'm really more of a jeep person and I had missed it so. Ex-hub said he'd take the van off my hands and would have it fixed eventually, so I gave it to him so that if he did have it fixed, it would be his to drive because his car is on it's last "wheel" also (another story, that would be his to tell and not mine). Along with all this, I am constantly worrying about being able to get my son a vehicle to drive soon because he is 17. However, he is not very interested in driving and has not even gotten his permit yet, but I think it's because he knows he has nothing to drive and just doesn't say anything about it. He just acts uninterested in pursuing driving at all. Also, being that Brandon is a senior, there are lots of things he needs this year that I can't afford to buy him. That bums me out more than anything. Now, back to the jeep . . . I got the transmission in it fixed and drove it a few months before the motor burned up. Then I bought the used car that just blew it's head gasket. I was back to riding to work with Mom, and everywhere else with Yvette. Once again, almost shockingly, the Lord provided another friend with an extra vehicle not being used regularly, and he offered it to me to borrow for as long as I needed it. I busted out crying because I just couldn't believe it! This friend recently bought a new truck and had an old one he kept around for hauling dirt and such. He was completely honest and told me up front that the truck was no prize but it ran and would get me from point A to point B. It stays parked on the street and had been hit a couple of times in the driver door and because of this the driver cannot open the door from the inside, so you have to scoot across to the passenger side to get out, or reach out the window that only rolls down half-way and try to reach the outside handle. I didn't care; I needed this vehicle and I was gonna take him up on it. I did. We went to pick it up that evening and when I actually saw it, I was a bit surprised by just how damaged the driver door is but I couldn't let that bother me. Brandon, however, loved it and said the huge dent gave the truck character! I've been driving this truck a couple of weeks now and this is the first time I've been ecstatic to embrace "function over form".

Since I borrowed the truck, my friend has decided to just sign over the truck and give it to me. We both (and Brandon) think it will be a great first vehicle for Brandon when I am finally able to get something else for myself. We're going to replace the door (I think I can find one at a place called, "Pull A Part") and it will be good as new - at least for a young guy. The more messed up, the better they like them!

This Friday, my late rent has to be paid because I have already been threatened with eviction if I didn't pay 5 days ago, but I couldn't so we'll just see what happens. The last check I wrote to have my power turned back on last week will be bouncing this week also, so I honestly have no idea at all how I'm gonna make it on this next pay check, but after this thing with the truck, I've decided that I'm through feeling sorry for myself. I'm throwing all the pity party favors away, and I'm gonna stop all the crying. I do have a shameful confession to make . . . because I am a girly girl, I have had occasional thoughts of resentment for this truck because it isn't exactly the vehicle I would like to be driving right now, as a 42 year old woman who should have it more together. I'm embarrassed to drive it to work and have to slide over to get out of the passenger side. I have tried to hide it's imperfections as much as I possibly can by parking away from my usual spot. I'm so ashamed of myself because this truck is such a blessing. So, I've made a small list of positive things about my truck and I'm feeling better about "Ol' Bentley" now: My truck is green, which is my favorite color! My truck has a really cool radio that folds in and out depending on whether the truck is on or not to keep the radio from being stolen! This cool radio in my truck picks up my favorite "Oldies" station that my car radio would not pick up! My truck runs like a top! My truck came with a full tank of gas and I haven't had to refill yet! And last but not least, my worries are over about being able to afford a vehicle for Brandon! What a great truck :) All that is missing now is the sticker I'm going to put on the back window that says, "Silly Boys Trucks are for Girls" ;)

I feel like everything will work out because it always has. I just can't see how it could yet. I am going to start looking for a part time job. Hopefully, places will be hiring to extra holiday help and it won't be too hard to find something. I think with a part-time job, I could make it and still keep in my apartment. I have no ideas about another car yet but I'll have to worry about that later.
In the meantime, I'm gonna reflect on a song that my karaoke buddy, Butch, sings all the time. It's called, "Keep On Smilin" by Wet Willie. If you've never heard it, you chould look it us - cute song. I tried to attached a YouTube video and it was here at first but now it won't open, so I removed it.


Amy said...

Bless your heart, Denise. You have had a lot on your plate lately.

The old saying is sad, but true. When it pours. But gray skies are going to clear put on a happy face.;) (just ignore me) ;)

It has been pouring here a lot lately too, and the only thing that we can do to keep from crying is to laugh. Like the sweet Erma Bombeck once said, "If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it.":) Amen?

I pray that the sun starts shining on you very soon, my friend.

Much love,

P.S. Matthew has no interest in driving either. He turned 16 in June, and he is perfectly content to be "driven" everywhere. Which, is just as well for us too, as we do not have the extra money for a car, insurance, and gas. Sigh...;)

Smiling Shelly said...

You are very blessed to have so many wonderful friends. I know it's hard to see the big picture when our world seems to be falling apart around us but just know that you are not alone in your struggles. Keep your faith and keep praying - He is listening and, just by what you've written in your post, it is obvious that He is also responding. :D

God Bless!

Mia said...

Oh Denise girl we should REALLY talk! We have struggled for so many years we don't really know any other way. I know I will never own a house because of bad financial choices we have made and other events that were beyond our control.
Every once in awhile we go down memory lane and laugh about all the "clunkers" we have had. Once we had a van that had no air and the power windows didn't work so we just improvised with a little tinkering....held our head up high and drove on!! I won't even go into how many times things have been disconnected around here!! LOL!
All this to say you and your dear son are alive,well,together and always striving to get through life. These are the things good people are made of and you are GOOD people. Keep going! Wake up each day put one foot in front of the other and walk it one step at a time.
Here is my life verse, you can claim it as your own.....
"No trial that has come your way, is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down, He'll never let you be pushed past your limit,He'll always be there to help you through it."
1 Corinthians 10:13

Tam Tam said...

Denise: I think Satan has been in overdrive in so many people's lives,but you are awesome! You are not letting me defeat you!
You are an inspiration to me and I love you! said...

Denise, girlfriend, I'm so sorry about what you've been going through! As you well know, I've "Been there-done that, wore the T-shirt!" too! And I'm still wearing it but it's a bit stained and tattered and torn! As Amy could tell you, we are all struggling! John moved back home because he couldn't make it with 2 other roommates! Today's world just doesn't allow for us to get a penny ahead! You hang in there because you are a beautiful, kind, and giving person and I know Brandon is proud to have you as his Mom! Love you girl! Can't wait for our lunch date!
Sandra :)

much2ponder said...

Just popped over here from Any's place. Hope you don't mind. I love your ability to look on the bright side. Wow! Reality check! Thanks for being so real. Your true self shows in your words. I will be praying that the Lord bless you today and give you what you need in the moment you are in. I'll be back if you don't mind to see what's up another day. :)