Catchy title, huh? My ode to Dickens. A tale of two Sams, you say? Tell me more!
This is the way I feel most days. There are two different sides waging battle inside of me. There is the happy-go-lucky Sam that does her best to forge ahead, be positive, and have faith. This Sam chirps cheerfully, “No use in crying about the things you can’t change. Just put your head down and plow through it!” I sometimes hate her. She’s way too cheerful for me and she’s going to end up on her ass because nothing ever goes according to plan. Then there’s the pessimistic, defeated Sam who is still convinced she will live in poverty forever and that life isn’t really worth living anymore. “Dear Lord, just kill me now!” she begs through her tears. Honestly, I can get behind this Sam. She’s very comfortable, like a warm sweater. She doesn’t ask anything of me except possibly a Kleenex so she can blow her nose. Occasionally I have a third Sam. Let’s call her psychotic Sam. She spends her days weighing the pros and cons of life in prison and taking careful notes while watching ID TV. I’m just saying… if I can get him to Corsica somehow it’s possible I’ll only serve about 7 years if they catch me. Yeah, Psychotic Sam is also weighing the pros and cons of trying to get away with any shenanigans versus just taking the prison time. Usually Psychotic Sam is kept waaaaaay in the back but sometimes she manages to fight her way up front, knocking Happy-go-lucky Sam down onto the ground, stepping on her back and grinding her face right into a big ol’ patch of mud and grabbing Defeated Sam and telling her, “Wipe away those tears and watch this!”
Truthfully it’s difficult to believe anything good is ever going to come of this. It often feels like he set up his whole new life and then abandoned all of us and I’ll never get a chance to make a new life because I’m always ten steps behind. Then there are the days I feel like Monica on Friends. Do you remember the episode where her identity was stolen and she eventually befriends her identity thief? She loved hanging out with her because she took all of these crazy risks and lived life to its fullest (until she went to prison, of course). At the end of the episode she’s in a tap dancing class and the instructor yells out, “You’re doing it wrong!” and Monica replies, “Yeah, but I’m doing it!” Or maybe it was, “Yeah, but I’m here.” Either way, Monica showed up, she put herself out there, and even if she wasn’t doing it as well as everyone else she was there and she was trying. That’s how I feel some days.
I’m barely hanging on most days but I’m here. I show up. I’m doing it. I’m tired. I get my ass up on a good day around 3:20 in the morning so that I can go in at 4. On other days I go in anywhere from midnight to 2 am. Right now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m only functioning because my dear mother is helping to pick up my daughter, do my laundry, cook most evenings, and wash dishes. I have no idea what I’m going to do when January rolls around and she’s no longer here and I’m working TWO jobs.
Yes, folks, I managed to get hired at Kohl’s for the holidays. I interviewed on Monday, found out I got the job on Tuesday and I should be starting sometime next week. So, this means that my job at Target generally covers my monthly bills and the job at Kohl’s will allow me and my kids to eat! I was excited about that. Plus- employee discount!
I’ve also interviewed for a full-time job. I’ve had interviews with three different people and just sent off my pre-employment stuff so they can interview references and do a background check. I applied for the same position at 3 different places and apparently they are considering me for 2 of them. I am hoping for one position over another just because the hours are better and the pay is more since you’re not at a sole location. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll take it if they offer me the permanent location. It’s only $10/hour and the hours are terrible for trying to work a second job. Unfortunately, I will still need to work a second job because neither position pays me enough to only work 40 hours a week.
I’ve also taken an exam to work at the post office. I haven’t been called in for anything yet but I took the exam and I passed. Plus, my sweet J has a long-term boyfriend who has an aunt that works there so hopefully something will pan out with that.
The other job at Aldi’s didn’t pan out. They advertised for a big job hiring event and it was basically going in and filling out an application. Apparently I was not Aldi’s material because I didn’t even get called in for an interview. Normally, Defeated Sam would be moaning, “I can’t even get hired as a stupid cashier!” and, “You went out of your comfort zone and took a chance at applying for a manager trainee position when you clearly had no business trying for anything like that! You’re a cashier and nothing more! You got your hopes up and then they were shot down! This is why we don’t try things!” but here is where Happy-go-lucky Sam took over. For some reason I didn’t dissolve into a heap of tears at being passed over as a cashier or a relief supervisor or a manager trainee. I just kind of shrugged and said, “Oh well. I guess I need to apply for more stuff,” and then went on my way. I’m surprised by my attitude, too, because a cashier at Aldi’s makes $12 an hour! A relief supervisor makes $16! Those in the manager trainee position make around $22.50 an hour. That’s nowhere close to what I was living on but it would make a world of difference to Broke-Ass Sam.
I feel like I never see my kids anymore. The week of Thanksgiving I was going in at 1:30 in the morning, so I’d go to bed around 6 so that I could wake up around 12:45. I guess they’ll live but I find it sad that their father isn’t worth a shit and now their mom isn’t around much to participate in their lives either.
Let’s see, where else does Happy-go-lucky Sam pop up? Well, I was briefly filled with hope when I read someone’s status on FB. Eight years ago she was going through a divorce and believed she would be alone forever. But, she met someone and she’s been married for 3 or 4 years now. Good for her. Bonus points for the fact that she isn’t some lithe size 2 either and yet she still found someone who loved her. That gave me hope for a millisecond, not that I’m looking for love or that I ever want to remarry; then I realized she was about 30 when she went through her divorce. I’m 47. I’m fairly certain my dating years are over and honestly CF has damaged me way too badly for me to put myself out there any time soon. But for a millisecond, Happy-go-lucky Sam was in charge. She pokes her head around occasionally, pointing out various people that have found love later in life. Hey, look at that one! He’s remarried. Look at her! She’s fat and she’s married. Hey, don’t mean to rub salt in the wound but Jezebel got married for a third freaking time at age 47 and Cousinfucker managed to find someone at his age and with all his problems! But then Defeated Sam stops bawling in the corner long enough to pipe up, “Yeah, but Jezebel is very pretty and she always loses weight before she cheats on her husband so she’s thin when she snags the next one! Cousinfucker found someone else because his gold digging whore of a cousin latched onto him, thinking she had found a sugar daddy. All these people you see around you who have someone new in their life are younger and thinner. Men always have it easier when it comes to remarrying so don’t look to them for examples.” Then Happy-go-lucky Sam pops her head up and cheerfully chirps, “If you think you need to be thin in order to ever date again you can always start going to the gym. Eat better. Lose weight.” Then Psychotic Sam clocks that bitch and laughs.
I do feel a small sense of accomplishment seeing as how I am indeed taking care of all that needs to be done, albeit with help from my mother. I mean, if I had to live on my own we would be in a homeless shelter because I just couldn’t make enough to make a mortgage payment or pay rent. I readily admit that living with my mom has been a lifesaver. But I am doing what needs to be done in order to pay my bills, buy a few Christmas gifts for my kids, and purchase food and essentials for the three of us. I probably still won’t make enough to be able to go to the movies or out to eat with them, but we’ll have food. Maybe if everything works out I can work a third job for some extras. But here’s the thing. As much as it sucks (and it does indeed suck so much!) I’m doing it without Cousinfucker’s help. I am so much stronger than he is. Yes, he made good money but he also had a wife that was his biggest cheerleader and who made numerous sacrifices so that he could climb the corporate ladder. I’m sure he wouldn’t like it put this way but he wouldn’t be anything more than possibly a first shift superintendent if he weren’t married to me. I always agreed to move whenever he got an offer. I was the one who left behind friends and community and activities; he didn’t make friends or socialize much. It was no big deal for him to leave an area. I was the one who always got involved and made the new location a home. He went to work and once a week he would mow the lawn. Sometimes there would be a household project. He had me to take care of everything else. I made dinner, I did the grocery shopping, I washed and put away his clothes, I made his doctor’s appointments and picked up his prescriptions, I fed and watered the animals and cleaned out the cat boxes. Most importantly, I was the one responsible for our children. I bathed them, I got them ready for bed, I fed them. I took them to school and I picked them up. I took them to and picked them up from their extracurriculars. I volunteered at their schools and went to parent-teacher conferences and helped out with the PTA. I signed permission slips, gave them lunch money, made them breakfast, and took them out to get school supplies for projects. He didn’t have to lift a finger. He went to work and that was pretty much it. Hell, he even outright stated that if I got a job it couldn’t interfere with his job and he wouldn’t be helping out around the house or with the kids.
I’m working and I’m still taking care of my kids. When my mom goes to Florida it’s going to be tough but I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to figure out how to get my daughter to school, whether it’s coordinating rides to school, putting her in charge of getting rides, or just relying on the bus. I’m going to drag my tired ass over to her place of employment at 10:00 at night when I need to get up at 3:20 in the morning to go to work seeing as how she still doesn’t have her license. Because I’m her mother and she’s my child and it’s my responsibility. I don’t have the luxury of walking away and pretending like I have no obligations. As much as it pisses me off that I have to do this instead of her being able to drive herself, thanks to him forcing us out of our home and out of the state, I’m not going to bitch and moan; I’m just going to do what needs to be done. As always. I’m going to figure out how to feed them when I’m working 2 or 3 jobs. I’ll probably resort to doing a bunch of cooking one day and then relying on the crockpot for the rest of the week. Laundry will get done. The house will be picked up. The dogs will be fed and watered. There may be cleaning charts involved. Who knows? What I do know is that it will all get done. And Cousinfucker can’t lay claim to any of it. I’m doing it without his help just like I always knew I could. I’ve always been the stronger of the two of us. I’ve always had it more together. I’ve always been the one to take charge and take care of things. I can do this! I might not want to but I can, and that’s the important part. I might be poor. I might be barely hanging on. But I’m not relying on him for anything. I never will again. I don’t care if he starts paying child support and spousal support. I will continue to work whatever I need to work to cover my bills and take care of my expenses because he has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that he cannot be trusted to do what needs to be done. That’s not Happy-go-lucky, look to the positive, always cheerful Sam. That’s Kick-Ass Sam. She’s wearing her sassy little kick ass boots, too.
I’m also trying more to adopt ifonlymommy’s philosophy. She’s always so sweet and positive. She tends to believe that things will get better and that it won’t always be like this. Happy-go-lucky Sam is doing her best to get me to look at life that way. Yeah, I’m not making great money right now but maybe one day it will be better. What I have now isn’t necessarily what I will have in a year. Things could get better. This full-time job I’m interviewing for doesn’t pay all that great but there are advancement possibilities and more money in the future. I try to remind myself that my mom has helped me out a tremendous amount since I had to move back home so maybe even if I can’t do much for my kids right now when they’re older I might be able to help them. Maybe if I have grandchildren one day I can spoil them like I used to be able to spoil my own kids. Maybe if my son or daughter finds their lives upended by a cheating spouse I’ll be able to give them refuge.
That’s where I am today. I no longer cry every day. And most days when I do cry it’s for a short period of time. I’m at kinda-sorta okay most of the time. The days when I’m praying for an aneurysm or a massive coronary are getting fewer and farther between. I still don’t have hope, nor do I think I’ll ever have much of anything, but I’m learning to live in poverty without crying all the time. I feel small bursts of pride when I realize that shit eating chimp I married isn’t supporting me or my kids- I am (with a great deal of help from my mom). I doubt that life will ever be good or that Happy-go-lucky Sam will ever be the dominant personality, but I’m alive. For better or for worse, I’m alive.