If any three words could be used to summarize how 2022 went for me, And, But, and Or are absolutely perfect.
This past year felt like the year of the pile on. So many things happened in such rapid succession that it was often all I could do to stand there and watch it happen with my mouth stuck in an open position while mentally uttering an endless string of "Oh, SHIT! Are you KIDDING me? What the ACTUAL FUCK?"
I knew that starting with my daughter turning 18 in January (which got all kinds of weird as several of her friends came down with Covid, so no big turning 18 get together, which I tried to mitigate with a family Zoom call, which worked. Sort of) that the Spring of her Senior Year in high school was going to strain the living daylights out of my little budget. My daughter started working part time, and we economized where we could so that she could enjoy the newly restored post Covid rites of passage that come with graduating from high school. The first surprise came courtesy of a red-light camera ticket that I never saw as I was turning behind a box truck. The enormously expensive ticket arrived in the mail, and I ended up engaging a service to help fight the ticket (Surprise! I still had to pay the ticket while it was being disputed. The kicker is you get a refund if you win.). All of this happened smack in the middle of Prom/Graduation season. I freely admit to robbing Peter to pay Paul to get through this. Every time I paid one thing, some thing else popped up. I figured once she walked across the stage, the worst of it was behind me, I could catch up on bills over the summer, and possibly, we could look at moving into a bigger place in the early part of the new year.
In early July, I and everyone else in the commercial building that we lived in, were informed that the building had been sold, and that we would all need to vacate our rooms by the end of August. No formal written warning, and I had to practically fight them to get any kind of relocation assistance. We ended up moving out of our room over the course of one day, jamming as much as we could into storage (AND losing a few items along the way!), driving off of the premises at 11:30 at night with no clear idea of where we were going, or if we were going to end up spending the night in the car. We spent three very expensive weeks in a motel, before being blessed to find an apartment in a very unconventional fashion. Again, way more money that I really had, but we had to go somewhere. Here, is a 3rd floor walk up not far from two, soon to be three, major entertainment venues in the City of Inglewood, CA. I am sitting in my bedroom typing this post.
My daughter was starting college while our living situation was very much up in the air. While she was trying to change jobs, as her part time job was giving her less and less hours as their business waned. Understandable, but the timing could not have been worse. All while stopping her ADHD medication for college. The end result of her tumultuous first semester is that she is taking a year off from college to get her head around what she really wants to do while continuing to work.
In the middle of all of this, the oil check light went on in my car. I got it taken care of. Not cheap is an understatement. Two months later, it came on again. I have found out that as my car model ages, it is going to start going through more oil. So more trips to the garage to top off my oil more frequently for the foreseeable future.
The year had some bright spots. After much prayer (and weeping and gnashing of teeth), I started to be honest about the big stuff that my daughter and I were experiencing, across numerous mediums. I was continuously surprised at people reaching out to offer assistance, because I was taught to keep my issues to myself, and handle my business quietly. As worried as I will admit to being, we always ended up with exactly what we needed, exactly at the minute we needed it.
In the middle of all this, I was also interviewing for promotions. Two days after I found out that I might just get a different apartment (the rent was slightly above what I wanted to spend), I found out that I was going to be promoted within the department that I was currently working in. AND I found out a couple of days after that that I was going to get this apartment, for slightly less money, and the location wasn't going to be as hard on my daughter (she doesn't drive yet, and needed to be near a decent bus line for school and work), as I previously thought.
There were a lot of ways that I could have dealt with the constant curve balls being thrown at me this year. I had to make a lot of choices, some of them quickly and without a lot of information to work with.
Do I keep praying and step out on Faith, OR do I just go with the cynical world view that stated that my daughter and I were likely to end up homeless and losing everything? After all, it certainly looked that way at least a few times during this particular trial. The numbers weren't always adding up, we were losing money on credit checks for apartments that were being rented as we applied for them, my credit is terrible from multiple go rounds with Identity Theft, among other things, and my daughter has no credit history at all.
Faith, logic and reasoning were always meant to be used together. I never gave up my faith that things were going to work out, I kept my prayer life realistic according to what I knew was needed and what could be done, and I used logic and reasoning (and more than a touch of Godly intuition!) in how I conducted the day to day activities to get us from point A to point B.
No one was more surprised than me that we ended up with this apartment. The day before we had to check out of the motel because we were about to run out of money (I had the money for the apartment deposit stashed away, and not to be touched.)
We moved in here in the late afternoon on a fall day, with the assistance of my son and his dear friend grabbing what we could out of storage, and stretching the few little dollars we had left after paying the deposit to make sure we could sleep comfortably (we had no furniture) and eat. There were a few issues when we first moved in, but the majority of it was resolved within 6 weeks or so, and things have now calmed down to a dull roar.
I am typing this while waiting to go pick my daughter up from the job she started shortly after we moved in. The hours are adequate for her, and she has set about putting together the bedroom that she has always wanted. With the new hard wood floors, she also bought herself some slippers for around the house:
Joy AND Love AND Peace AND Gentleness
BUT no Lack of Kindness OR Missing Patience.
Be well in the New Year.
See you on the other side.