Friday, July 8, 2016

Auburn, California


We started off in a series of hotels in the Sacramento area, some nicer than others, finally coming to settle in Northgate’s Extended Stay America hotel.

In the fall of that year would be when we experienced what I currently consider to be not my scariest moment in life, but I would say it ranks number three on the list from scary to scariest. I ended up reuniting with my parents after nearly a decade when they came to our rescue as our finances worsened to the point that it looked like we weren’t going to make it. I thought it ironic how they wouldn’t rescue me from the places I was in as a teenager, but 25 years later they would rescue me from the other side of the country. So you could say I had mixed emotions about them. Still do and probably always will.  Even so, I was tremendously grateful to them, but this didn’t undo the past.

Fortunately, the economy had yet to collapse and he found work just two weeks after our arrival. This was especially good since we were denied unemployment. His then low paying job didn’t come close to matching our high cost of living. We had to pawn some things, and if it wasn’t for me eventually winning $9000, who knows how long we would have been stuck in the hotel since it was sucking up every last dime we had. As soon as we could make the money it had to be spent, leaving the task of saving anything up an impossible dream.

But things got a lot worse before they got better and that was when I decided to take a chance and reach out to my parents. Because they didn’t accept collect calls and we had no way to call them directly, we had to go through my SIL. Of course, she and the rest of the family never cared enough to call back and see how we were doing later on after they put the call through to my parents. But they got a hold of them nonetheless and we explained our situation to them. They overnighted us some money and faxed in a few nights at the hotel after we spent 36 hours homeless and just driving around in our old ratty truck.

Our stuff was in storage and for a little while we didn’t think we would be able to come up with a lousy $100 to pay the next month’s rent, but one of my wins took care of that at the last minute.

It wasn’t that we didn’t have money, it was that we couldn’t access it. The fucking debit card company screwed up and sent our new card to our old address, so we had to wait for a new card before we could access the money. It was horribly frustrating, depressing and scary. I won’t even get into how pissed off I was.

Things slowly got better and in April 2008, after 8-9 months in hotels, we found a trailer out in the country in the small town of Auburn, which we would rent for five years. The landlord also lived on the land. He was an efficient landlord, but he sure could be a pest at times, dropping in on us unannounced. He had a loud motorcycle and would let his dogs bark their asses off when he was home. It was sad because he stole what was otherwise a very peaceful setting. The trailer was only 500-square-feet and nearly as old as I was, but at least it was something and it sure beat living in hotels.

During our half a decade there, Tom was forced to spend 2.5 years on unemployment, thus leading to the second scariest thing I ever went through. Our lovely government terminated his checks before he could find work. Yeah, we were one of the Tier 4 nightmares, and my inability to work didn’t help. But if ever there was an example of miraculous timing it was in the fall of 2011 because right in the nick of time as we were about to run out of money and seriously considering ending it all in preference of a quicker, painless way to go as opposed to slowly starving in the streets, he was given a job.

Our trailer years were a time of learning and reuniting for me. Although I would come to regret some of them, I reunited with Andy, Maliheh and my sister. I also made a lot of interesting cyber friends all over the world, some of which let me down in big ways. Perhaps it was naïve of me to think we would always be friends, but even if it was, I was still hurt and angry. I kind of crawled into a shell for a while, knowing that things aren’t always as they seem and that people you can’t see face-to-face aren’t always as sincere as they may seem online. I still hesitate to make friends both on and offline, though I’m not completely opposed to it. I just don’t actively seek them out. Besides, the best of friendships and relationships are never planned or sought out.

I began to get into online journaling in 2008, though I had been writing privately since 1987. Sharing both journals and stories is how I “met” a lot of people.

The discovery of free language learning sites was a wonderful thing too, and I more than doubled my languages, though I’m not fluent in all of them. I’m fairly fluent in ASL and Spanish, and I know enough Italian and German to get by. I can also read some Portuguese, French, Esperanto and Dutch.

The year 2012 brought a lot of death my way. My parents and brother all died that year. Dad of a heart attack, mom of a stroke, and my brother of liver cancer. It was the first time I was glad I wasn’t close to my family.

The same economy that nearly killed us would be our big break as far as becoming homeowners for the first time in nine years. He began working in late 2011. We were finally able to get some things we’d needed for a while, including some dental work that I was way overdue for. It was amazing how fast our lives took a turn for the better.

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