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Archive for November 11, 2008

Just Breathe…(Rant ahead!!!)


I should have stayed in bed today. It would have been so simple to do that. But I had things to do, people to see and my weekly coffee clutch was waiting for me. I got up with plenty of time to lounge around and start my day. When hubby left for class, I put on my little “maid” outfit and started cleaning the apartment. He’s been complaining about his maid service being “spotty!” So I scrubbed the bathroom and I finally found something that will clean the fiberglass shower stall walls we have around the tub… “BAM!!!” I’ve tried every cleaning solution that I could find and finally I found one that did the trick. YAY!!! Supermaid!!!

I dusted the furniture and broke out my hoover to clean the carpets and as soon as I finished vacuuming the great room, and moved to the bedroom, it up and died on me. Me thinks I have to get a new bag for the hoover and maybe it will start up again. Me thinks it overheated… was this karma or a signal that I should not leave the house. maybe so…

I did the rest of my cleaning and showered and got ready to go. I’ve been doing some online shopping for Christmas and the packages will be coming over the next few weeks, and I have to make sure I am here to get them and hide them because we haven’t put the tree up yet… I left a note for our usual UPS driver who is delivering a package this week. Let us pray he is paying attention and he doesn’t stiff me like the last time he was delivering a box to this address…

The shopping malls are all decked out for Christmas. Trees and even Santa’s workshop are up and ready for screaming children. They have put the parade baricades up on the street corners which means the Santa Claus parade is not far off. I had to go by the drug store to get my pills on the way home and I walked into the mall and what do I hear playing on the Musack???? CHRISTMAS MUSIC… UGH!!! I’d hate to be employed at the mall right now. 2 months of Christmas music would drive me insane!!!

But I digress. I’ve moved ahead with my story prematurely…

I set off for coffee tonight and I was excited to see my friends as usual because for the last few weeks, Ms. Nikki has been MIA with work and moving details. She sold her house that she has lived in for the last 35 years, so she is a bit emotional. Today was no better…

She was there waiting for me. She was crying hysterically. It was not pretty. She had bought cookies for the meeting, she handed me a card with my seven year medallion in it. She is a month early with it. She also handed me her keys for the church and she told me that she was leaving the group effective immediately.

This all happened so fast that I may have missed something. I took off my coat and rearranged myself and invited her to sit down and to talk with me about what is going on and why she was so upset. I can be a rock when I have to be, but I was getting a little “clempt” watching her sob.

The house sale was not going well because of the age of the house. We are talking about a duplex that was built in the 1920’s and hasn’t been retrofitted or fixed up save the upstairs in a long time. When Ms. Nikki’s husband died a few years ago, she just let the place go because she could not afford or was able to physically do anything herself because of her age and ability. She rattled off a list of things that were problems like $12,000 for foundation work, another $10,000 for the fireplace to be rebuilt and $25,000 for a new roof. In order to sell a house here, the buyer must employ an inspector to go over every detail of the sale property. The buyers are just going to flip the duplex and the tenants upstairs were given notice of the changes that were going to be made to the property. Let’s add another $10,000 for a new heating system. (which can’t be done until next spring) because the duplex is heated by oil and the flippers want to go hydro (electricity).

So in summation, that is $57,000.00 …
That is $57,000 less money on the price of the duplex for Ms. Nikki.

The real estate agent took her all over the city to help her find a place to live, with no success. Finally a condo came on the market in Verdun, which is not far from here on the green line. She was originally going to rent a place, but soon found out that she wouldn’t be able to afford a rental on her salary, which isn’t much. It was cheaper to buy a condo than rent an apartment. What a nightmare!!!

So she is hysterical telling me all this… With the sale of the house and the purchase of a condo unit if she comes away with any money to spare it will be a miracle. But wait, she will have to pay all her fees and taxes on the new unit PLUS the capitol gains taxes on the sale of the house which I am told could be upwards of $45,000 to $55,000 more when tax time comes in the spring.

Let’s see $57,000 (loss) + $55,000(in taxes) = $112,000 !!!

She doesn’t have that kind of money. And she is freaking out… Now I’ve been friends with Nikki for over seven years now. I know her intimately, I’ve been her confidant and she has been my constant star for the better part of my sobriety. Her kids, well, her adult kids have been a thorn in her side for the last year. Now they have to help mom move and they are bickering amongst themselves because her son has a truckers license and she needs him to rent a truck to move furniture and stuff and he was like, why me? Because mom doesn’t have a fucking drivers license… He is such a fucktard… You know she needs this stress like she needs a hole in her head. She talks to me, not to her kids. She tells me things she would never tell her own children because they are so caught up in themselves to even know that she was in difficulty for a year now and neither one of them lifted a finger to help her. “Oh well, you should’ve sold the house years ago mom, or you wouldn’t be in this mess today” they told her. These people are totally cold and callous.

Ms. Nikki has been living alone since her husband and her significant other died. None of her kids stopped to think about seeing if she needed help, and Nikki wasn’t going to ask them for help either. So who wins that one?

We talked for a good hour before I set off for the meeting. Peter was a no show for coffee which threw me off because now it is just me setting up all the chairs and making the coffee, which isn’t bad really. I can do it with time to spare but it goes much faster with two people setting up. I walked Nikki to the Metro and she hugged me – she started crying again. I am powerless to do anything at this point, but to listen to her…

I went to the grocery store to get milk and went and set up. I had the entire basement to myself. It was blessedly quiet. I finished up setting up and went to pee, and I heard the door open and close. I walk out of the bathroom and Peter was standing in the kitchen. Peter – there’s another story. He is loosing his hearing in a bad way. He is shaky on his feet, in a bad way. He sat with me for about 30 minutes, and Ms. Louise showed up and he got up to leave. He was so agitated because he could not hear us talk, that Louise suggested he go to the emergency room and get checked out. We believe that he needs some serious medical attention and his next doctors appointment isn’t until December 2nd.

Thank god for short wait times…NOT!!!

There are 5 people to chair 2 meetings. Louise leaves for Florida in January for 5 months, that makes 4 people to chair two meetings. If Peter gets incapacitated further, that leaves 3 people to chair two meetings. With Ms. Nikki gone, she leaves us a chair short for the early meeting. We have lost more members in our home group in the last six months, than we have in a number of years. And Louise said to me on the way home tonight, “Is God trying to tell us something?”

Winter is coming. If the wind blows, people don’t come to the meeting. If it rains, people don’t come to the meeting. If it is too hot outside, people don’t come to the meeting. And if it snows, no one comes to the meeting. That’s how the weather influences people here.

We have not been able to hold onto people at this meeting for some time. Which is a bad problem. Tonight 12 people showed up for the early meeting. Last week and the week before we were in the single digits. This is not a good sign… We have enough prudent reserve for three months in the bank. And the rent is paid through the end of the year. We are celebrating 60 years, this meeting being open come January. I really don’t want to see this meeting close. We were going to have a party for the anniversary, but tonight, after consultations with the others, we may have to put it off until Spring when hopefully we will have Louise back from Florida and maybe Ms. Nikki may come back after she settles herself in her new home over the next two months. UGH!!!

So I am the point man in all of this. As treasurer, I pay the bills and handle all the money. I do set up and open the house every week. None of the other members can come early to set up because of their work schedules, and now I have to carry the torch, so to speak, until Ms. Nikki returns, or we get a new blood infusion of people who would come early. I do all the stock shopping, I pick up milk and cookies every week. The group pays for coffee and supplies. I can get reimbursed for Milk. Cookies comes out of my pocket every week. Ms. Nikki has been buying cookies and milk for the last six years. That’s a $20.00 a week expense for cookies. (That’s 4 bags of cookies). They aren’t cheap here…

I am a little bit a wreck, because I can’t do anything for Ms. Nikki. My best friend won’t be coming for coffee any more. And she won’t be coming to the meeting either for at least 2 months. I am worried for her sobriety. I am worried for her sanity. I’m a bit in shock of all of this.

And that was my day. Today’s topic was “Faith without works is dead.”

Well, I have my work cut out for me…

God help us…

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