I’ve never said this before, so it’s a bit strange to say: Last year wasn’t such a bad year for me. I landed a state job that allowed me to keep on as a stringer (cool word, I like it, but it just means freelancer) for the local newspaper. That part of things came together nicely.
Not everything was wine and roses, though. The chickling flew the coop, left the nest and me behind, and that took a major adjustment. I got off my ass and put myself back together again.
Already this year, I have different bosses, not only on the state job, but my editor at the newspaper flew the coop and took a publisher’s position in another state and his position has yet to be filled. More major adjustments on the way, and a lot less comfort. It sure does taint things a bit gray, if you know what I mean. Great bosses are few and far between.
As if all the emotional stressors weren’t enough, other things started falling apart. A tire started going soft, the electric bill is through the roof already, it took a fortune to untangle a mess with an old ticket (non moving violation; lapsed tags), and the constant dance keeping on top of Peter and Paul to pay Bill.
And this is so far this year. Turns out, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The tire that went soft on the truck wasn’t the one that looks the shiniest, so I’ve been sweating it, hoping to pull enough life out of all the truck’s tires so I can save up for new ones. Those pennies only stretch so far.
Last week, starting on the weekend, truck after truck after truck starting going up and down my road, 24 hours a day. My calm, peaceful country abode, not to mention the dirt road to get here, is shattered and ripped apart by roaring diesel engines, hydraulic hisses and jake brakes.
So, of course, that means dump truck after dump truck of the biggest sized gravel available brought in and then earth-moved relatively flat. I’ve never seen gravel like this stuff, and I do believe one chunk of it would take me two hands to pick up, it’s so big. And, it looks razor sharp. One of the workers told me that it is sharp, but shouldn’t pop my tires as long as I drive over it really slow. Three miles of driving now reduced to a speed slower than walking. It’s not easy to drive that slowly, patiently, tensely as all my fingers are crossed and I break into a sweat with each noise I hear.
Yesterday, they parked a grader, dozer and roller along the road. For once, they chose someone else’s right-of-way to tear up instead of mine; they’re across the road. Very picturesque. I live in a construction zone. No matter. I just don’t look.
Home is my refuge, my safe place, my world outside of the big world, my peaceful place where I go to leave all the stresses of my working life behind.
Until Thursday. Out of the blue, my electric goes off. I had the electric company come out to see if all those big trucks and heavy equipment knocked something out of whack. Electric is coming to the house, so as much as all that ruckus is extremely disturbing, they've steered clear of the power lines.
The main breaker, that 4-in-a-row thing, wouldn’t flip up to the on position. Exhausted, I went to bed, thankful that the weather, at least, was on my side. It was warm and not at all uncomfortable without heat. I fretted over charging my computer and iPhone and how I would get ready for work on Friday, but I slept like a rock. Too much danged stress over an already depleted bank account and yet another major problem to deal with.
Friday meant trying to make phone calls to the electric company and an electrician and that less-than-willing-to-help-out-chickling-of-mine during an extremely busy work day, so by the time I made it home, the electrician had come and gone (going into the house with no one here to tell me this was going to cost a whopping $850 to fix), and I just gave up on the whole deal and fell into bed. But not before I played with that ol’ main breaker again and got it to actually flip up and lock into the on position. I’m at half-mast, but at least somewhat functional again.
I have hot water, but no heat. My washer works, but my dryer doesn’t. The living room seems to be the only room with full power, so I moved my computer out and set up the coffee maker right next to my comfortable rocking chair. The kitchen doesn’t work at all, except for the lights which come on dimly. Thankfully, there wasn’t much in the refrigerator, but what was there is now spoiled.
I must adapt. I have to roll with it. The bank account dictates what can and can’t be done and when. I’m a bit off kilter and finding it takes quite a bit to come up with Plan B’s all the time, but I’m doing it. I have no other choice. The lessons are tough ones, but well worth learning. I just think how good it will all be when everything is fixed again.
As long as I have coffee in the morning, I’m fine. It’s all a matter of sidestepping the sideswipes, one sip at a time.