by Razor Face
About a man that finds that life as he knew it has ended and now he must start over.
| Starting Over
So, I get an offer from an old childhood friend, Kevin, to train his employees. I felt like it was good pay for what I was doing, the deal wasn't final though, he had to check with his accountants and what not's to be sure he could do it. In the mean time, I am trying to get a handle on how to get my unemployment benefits, I have been trying for two months now and all I get is a wall of silence.... you know, "please go to " yada yada yada " Select Contact and follow the instructions ..." . I do that, I did that, I have done that so many times! Then there's my "stimulus check", yea just file your taxes, I did that 3 months ago, still nothing. I think you can see why I do not have a whole lot of faith that I will be receiving the next stimulus check.
I have been unemployed since January and although I have been hustling money here and there, the break-even for me is 300.00 a week and I haven't come close to that for several weeks... the last two weeks I only made $30.00 each week. I was only able to make a partial payment on the car and the cable was cut for 3 days until the 3rd when my wife, Sharon, gets her Social Security Check; then there's the auto insurance that is about to be cut in about a week and I have no sign of income. I really need that job with Kevin.
I hadn't told Sharon about the job offer with Kevin yet, I didn't want it to be another 'dream job', I have had a couple offers that haven't panned out. I don't know, the older I get the more I realize that I really am a freak, my sense of humor sucks and I am not as smart as I thought. I can't wait to see what else I can learn about myself as I get older.
I use to have my own lawn service, I thought that after making a living at it for 15-16 years that I would be like a hot item, you know in demand by other lawn care services seeking experienced worker, with a proven history. Yea, they did want experienced help, but everyone does things a little differently and lots of them work for themselves because of 'get along' problems with people and other reasons, dodging taxes and the law, etc. I got started in the lawn business because I was going through a custody battle with my ex. over my daughter, child support said they were going to deduct 55% of my check; I said 'no way' and bought my neighbors lawn service. A lawn service deals in a lot of cash type business and is easy to not report all your income. I liked the idea of being off the radar... you know, be your own boss, set your own hours etc. But now I really want out of the lawn care business, I am not a young man anymore, I am almost 62 and I'm not getting any younger. I finally got a job last year with a large lawn service and they were paying me over time, there for a while I was almost making what I was making when I had my own lawn service, but then the season ran out. So here I am two months of trying to collect unemployment. My wife got her last stimulus with President Trump the next day after it was signed, I have received nothing. My taxes have been filed for 3 months and I still have nothing from the IRS. I have sold all my equipment except for what I need to maintain my yard and a couple of ladders. I sold my bass guitar and amplifier. I am pretty much at the end of the line in that department. The company that laid me off said to come back at the end of April, it was still the end of March. Another month?
So me and the little lady are talking and she is like "You really need to get and keep the job."
She was referring to the two weeks I spent with a local lawn care guy who was more than a little bit Looney. I have been trying to get my health insurance business going and so I asked him if he was needing Health insurance. He mentioned he had had cancer a long time ago, when I asked what type he got silent then said "Gesticular". I am screwed. No guy wants to talk about cancer of the balls! It is just another ailment, but to guys it's like advertising my wife hasn't been getting laid in a long time. He didn't like my work and he didn't like it when I pointed out his mistakes too, so the relationship was doomed. My wife doesn't know all that, she just knows that I need a job and he fired me.
"Look, it is the off season, if I can hang in there another month, I will be getting my old check and overtime again." I knew I needed something sooner, but I was trying to tap the 'hang in there'
mode. "I am looking for something, I have two applications in at Home Depot and one at Lowe's. I haven't heard back from them yet. I have posted on Craigslist and facebook. I don't know what else I can do, but I am open to suggestions."
"yea, well you need to do better." she said, with a pissed off look in her eye.
That struck me as unusual, because she was usually very supportive of me. "I haven't said anything, because you know how hard things have been and I don't want another "almost"."
"I know baby," I said. I know in the end it is about results. That's the only measure I have, did I get it done or not. What else really matters in the end? I almost made the car payment; I almost kept the house. She knows how I think too.
It's been hard as an employee to get ahead. Just when you think you are in good shape something happens and once again you are drowning financially. Example, last year I finally sold the last of my lawn accounts, I had several hundred in my pockets and my wife decides she wants to go to the fireworks display in Clearwater, that's about 40 miles away. Doesn't seem like that big a deal on the surface, except that I haven't been feeling safe in my truck, the brakes have been making noises. But I cave to peer pressure and load my sister-in-law and wife up. The fireworks are great but the master cylinder breaks down. We had to cab drive 40 miles to get home; at first I cab drove to the truck and tried to fix it just enough to get the truck home... the truck had other plans. The short of it was that almost all the money from the sale of my accounts went to paying facebook drivers, busses and parts to replace, about two thirds of the brake system. Ok, no more extra money.
I don't even talk about being an insurance agent. I have been trying for more than a year and have not been successful. This is not a good field to go into if you are flat broke because all the IMO's require that you buy their leads. If you are broke, trust me, you won't be buying enough leads. Sales is a numbers game, a lot like the lotto; you have to buy enough leads to statistically stand a chance. I never had enough money to buy more than 5 or 6 at a time, really you need to buy at least 20, but 50 is better. I never came close to having enough to do that.
"If I don't find a job soon, I will do day labor." I meant it too. The thought of spending the day cleaning toilets or something, for 50 or 60 bucks seems like a step backwards, but being broke is a step backwards too, at least with day labor I can get a cup of coffee while I am stepping backwards. Fifty bucks will not cover my expenses for a day.
She looked at me with disbelieving eyes. "Look, you know Kb, my childhood friend that I just met on line and had lunch with the other day? He offered me a job to go up to Fairfax for the summer and help him with his maintenance department. It could be a pretty good paying job." I said.
KB and me use to run the streets of Takoma Park Maryland when we where young teenagers. Both being children raised in the Seventh-Day-Adventist church, doing things like going to a movie or eating pork where taboo's in the church. So our version of being a rebel was going to the movies and doing things like egging friends while driving by and rolling their house with toilet paper. Eh... it's what we did for fun. KB's family had a ton of money, my dad was a great Architect, he designed mostly churches and worked out of the house, but he definitely didn't have a ton of money. In those days copier machines used ammonia, I don't remember why, I just remember the stink in our basement and how it would give me a headache if you stayed down there too long. My father was a great designer, not so great business man. It was always feast or famine, one day we were buying a fancy car then the next two months we were eating macaroni and cheese every day. KB's family on the other hand were into nursing homes and other things. I found KB on the internet a couple years ago along with several other friends from those days but he never responded to my outreach until a few months ago, suddenly out of the blue, I get an email saying he was reasonably close by and wanted to have dinner and catch up on old times. We have been in touch ever since.
She didn't say anything, she just turned her head and looked away. "Ok, we will be fine here." What? I wasn't expecting that. I am pretty much the center of everything we do here. I could sense there was something about the money. When we met she had nothing, now she doesn't have a lot of money, but she does have a horse I bought her; a great Pyrenees dog and a Siamese cat. These aren't huge to other people but I tried hard to get her everything she wanted. She lived under my roof with a good life for about 7 or 8 years. The last three have been tough, I didn't want to do lawn service anymore and the transition just doesn't seem to be happening. The lawn accounts sold slowly and the last few I had to give away because I didn't have the equipment that I needed to keep them up. My truck was a never ending nightmare of breakdowns and my mower was dead, I think it was natural causes. If it wasn't for the kind heart of one of my customers that lives in Canada we would be homeless. My customer said it was alright for us to move into her house as it had been unoccupied for about 20 years. I fix it up and keep it up, in exchange for rent. That was a life saver. My wife's sister had a stroke about five years ago and she ended up with us, she had Social Security, it wasn't a lot but she contributed to the household income and I was appreciative of that and my wife.... about two years ago, she started collecting Social Security, that was a little bit of money, we used it for keeping Diego, that's our horse in a nearby stable. The truth is though, I need to produce results.
So she will be fine without me? Hmmm? It's time to do a little investigation about what she is doing on facebook. I can't explain it, I just know that is not a normal response from her. Uh, huh, here it is, plain as day, she told this guy she loves him and is thinking of him! What? That's my wife saying that to someone else. Someone, she could not have had very much "real" contact with because she has been with me, except for that one week trip up north, that she only called me twice on....Still, even with her being with him for the week, he is going to take her into his life on that little bit? Does he know she doesn't do dishes, garbage or anything that requires more than a five minute attention span? Totally mind blowing!
Who is this guy? So I look him up on facebook. He seems very average, has a pension he is living on...some pictures of up north in Connecticut. He seems sincere, they chat regularly. One thing is certain, it is time for me to start seeing someone else. So the next day I am quite as I take them to their dental appointment. On the way back I decide to out with it. "Baby, I think it is time I started seeing other people."
"I want a divorce." She said out of the blue.
Ok. I didn't see it going to divorce so quickly. I Just can't believe how lucky I am. I am driving thinking after eleven years, it just ends like this. "Do you have a date to move out?" I said.
"The end of the month." She said.
It was the beginning of the month so it was a full month but still, after 11 years you would think a little more time than that would be appropriate. I had mixed feelings as we sat thru the thick traffic. I always fought the urge to leave them, I swore that I would be a good and faithful husband and I was; look what it got me? Obviously there is more to it than that. How many times do I have to try and figure it out before you just say "screw it!". Oh yea, then there was the "I don't have a job and the only income in the house is leaving!" alarm going off in my head.
Ok. First things first. When we get back to the house and I help KB in her wheel chair back into the house and get her comfortable; I go into my garage and make a sign that says "Need Work". I said good by to my soon to be ex-wife and drove about a mile or two down the road to a busy intersection. I stood out there and held the sign, within 20 minutes someone offered me a job, said to come on in and start tomorrow. I thanked him as I fought back the tears. It was 11.00 an hour, not very much compared to what I was use to, but I was very grateful for the opportunity. I turned down two offers of cash, because I want opportunity, opportunity is worth a lot more than cash. Oh yea, it was a sprinkler installation company, I didn't care, it could have been a poop-scooper recycling job, I was grateful to be employed.
I returned to the house almost in tears, it was the first time I had ever stood out on the street with a sign asking for help. It was me, the guy that use to employ 6 or 7 people at a time, now begging for work. But I asked and I received.
Great, the job only pays 11.00 an hour, I could do better than that selling my body, as if anybody wants it? Right! It's ok, its work. It's a chance for me to start over. New job, new career and who knows maybe a new woman. A new woman that likes to have sex. At my age, I want it while I can still get it. Sharon and I hadn't had sex in almost our entire marriage of eleven years. That is and was a record for me. I swore I would not cheat on her and I didn't. Thank God I can still get an erection, the problem with growing old, sometimes you still get horny. If you are not careful as a man you will be labeled a "dirty old man", a badge of honor if earned honestly and with willing partners. Rejection though can be a problem. Ask Governor Cuomo of New York, how devastating asking a woman for a kiss can be. He nearly lost his job! He's loaded with the money and the glamour, fortunately I have neither. I will probably get as much or more rejection as Governor Cuomo, I just won't have to worry about losing my job. It's a crazy world, I have to work on the assumption that somewhere out there is a woman that is willing to use me for my body. I like the thought of a no talk relationship, seems like it is always my mouth that gets me in trouble; quite frankly more than one hot chick turned ugly when they started talking. I like the thought of becoming one with my genitals and someone else's.
I knew the fact that I had a job wasn't going to change much. She probably hooked up with some semi-retired dude with a pension and 401k, looking for someone to wipe his butt when he can no longer reach it. So I didn't make any big deal out of it. I just said "I have a job tomorrow." As I walked by her in the living room. She just looked up at me with a whatever look on her face.