23 September 2017

A Wedding, Immigration, and Cancer

Just 12 days short of my first anniversary from heart surgery I got married to my wonderful British girlfriend, Karen. It was also the day before I celebrated my 21st year of sobriety. We got married in the Presbyterian Church, which is the American branch of the Church of Scotland. Kind of fitting since I am a member of the Episcopalian Church, which is the American branch of the Church of England. In the corner of the church was an American flag, nope we didn’t have a flag of the United Kingdom anywhere.

It was a very small wedding, yet it was beautiful and perfect. By the end of the day, complete strangers were friends and the next day we heard from a couple of people how they wished all weddings were like that.

The same day we got married, we went with the vicar to the courthouse and got all the paperwork done and had everything in our hands right away. Karen would take this proof with her back to England and would start the process for me to move to England.

It was a process that we had no idea how long it would take. We knew for non-Europeans wanting to immigrate to the United Kingdom was an uphill climb. One that you had to make sure that all the “t’s” were crossed and all the “i’s” were dotted. There was no way we could have handled it on our own. The reality was that there was no way Karen could handle it all. It was unfair of me to dump it all on her, but there was no other way. She lived in England while I was over 5,000 miles away.

The best thing we did to make sure we could be together was to hire an attorney to do the paperwork for us. It may have cost us some money, but the stress and worries it saved us was well worth it.

Three months after our wedding and just over a year since heart surgery, I was granted a visa to live and work in the United Kingdom and I started my new life, in a new country on 1 January 2016. I was so happy and also relieved when I moved.

Before my health scare, I knew something wasn’t right but I had no idea what could be wrong. So, after everything happened and everything was fixed, I felt comfortable with the move. Not because of my health, rather because I wasn’t bringing illness into our new life together.

Sadly, within ten months of living in England, I was diagnosed with mouth cancer. As much as I wanted to protect Karen from my past health issues, there was nothing I could do to protect her from this happening. What I could do though, was to make it as least painful as possible. That meant doing everything doctors wanted me to do and to be active in every procedure I had to take.
Admittedly, I hated and feared a lot of it and even wanted to quit but I made it through and today I am cancer-free with a strong heart. Today, my wife looks at me and knows how much fight I have in me, not just for my life but for ours as a couple...

14 August 2017

I Am Not For Show



The Third Promise of Debtors Anonymous says that We will live within our means, yet our means will not define us. 


I Am Not For Show

A hundred dollar a night hotel
A thirty dollar a night hotel
which is the best?
People would be impressed with $100
yet… it’s just for a sleep
thirty dollars paid with cash
hundred dollars paid with credit

never defined by credit… certainly not for show
not worried what others think
rather sleep with less stress
a little money in pocket
at the end of the day
we’re all the same
head on pillow… sleeping soundly

it’s not what is owned
rather… its what’s owed
tv that’s paid for
not a surround sound with a monthly bill
a 1990 car parked out front
not a 2017 porsche that takes half a paycheck
head on pillow… sleeping soundly

keep your possessions and your wealth
a little money in hand
some stashed for a rainy day
a fine night out eating lobster
replaced with chicken parmesan
champagne replaced with coke
head on pillow… sleeping soundly

no debt… free to be
no worries… no stress
what a wonderful life
not defined by what others have
nor defined by show
not worried about wants… just needs
head on pillow… sleeping soundly



 

13 August 2017

The Third Promise of Debtors Anonymous

The Third Promise of Debtors Anonymous says that we will live within our means, yet our means will not define us.

In 2010, I left a marriage mainly because of a difference on money issues. And I left that marriage flat ass broke. I moved into an apartment complex, which was considered to be a slum. It was filled with drunks and addicts but it was all I could afford. In fact, if the landlord didn’t hold a check of mine for a couple of weeks I would have been homeless.

Those first couple of weeks were touch and go. Luckily I went from a 20 mile ride to work to a two block walk to work which saved me a ton of money. I ate cheese sandwiches and tons of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had no furniture, except for an old couch that came with the apartment, which was a little to short for me to sleep on, so I slept on the floor.

After those first couple of weeks, I was able to buy some groceries and turn on the internet. I know that may sound like a luxury but it was more than just for the web. It was my TV set as well. I never had cable TV as I thought that was a luxury, so I watch all my TV over the web for free.

It would be another month before I purchased a mattress to sleep on and a month after that that I made a frame for the bed. The frame was made out of an old shelving unit from a cleaners closet, which held various cleaning chemicals. Then I added a little foam insulation on top of that to give the frame a little “play” before putting the mattress on top. It ended up being a very comfortable bed.

I moved into that apartment with the thought that it would just be a temporary arrangement. Instead I ended up staying there for over six years. It was my only home after my divorce and my last home in America.

I was able to get out of debt while living there as well as saving money. People kept asking me why I stayed there and all I could say was that it was comfortable. My neighbours never really bothered me, except for one who played very loud music all night. That one I complained to the landlord about and he was evicted.

The rest of the time it was a peaceful and very safe home. It was a home that helped me realize that I didn’t need things to define who I was. I didn’t need a fancy car or a big yard to say that I have been successful.

That complex thought me more about life and I learned more about myself than any other place I have experienced. I will always look back at that home as the place that taught me what was important and what mattered most.

What mattered most? Peace of mind, which came about pretty easy after I got out of debt. I still don’t have a lot of money but the stress of having debt hasn’t been with me now for over five years. It is a very wonderful way to live…

10 August 2017

Quit Being A Victim

What does a provocative photo of a naked woman have to do with being a victim? Let’s face it, when you are a victim you are exposed. There are some, what I would call – real victims. People who are stalked are real victims, yet many of them don’t like the title of being a victim.

The victims I have trouble with are the ones who make themselves victims. An example, a person who neglects his job and eventually gets a good ass chewing from the boss. They feel like they’ve been abused, when in reality, they are lucky they still have a job. A butt chewing is still better than losing your job. And besides, if that person was doing their job would they have been yelled at in the first place?

What about the person who always complains about aches and pains. They whine to whoever will listen, yet they don’t go to a doctor. Their excuse is they can’t miss work and don’t have the money to see a doctor. So in the long run, if the aches and pains are real, they end up missing work sooner or later because they’ll be to sick. It won’t be for a day or two, probably a week, all because they said they couldn’t afford to see a doctor. Then comes the other point… why can’t they afford a doctor? Yes, I know doctors cost an arm and a leg in America, but if they are working, than they’ll have insurance to help with the cost.

What about the victim who is always looking for a job, yet is too busy to work? They go to job interviews knowing they have no chance of being hired. They have no work experience, yet they seem to think they will fit in with upper management. Then someone mentions them to their boss for a lower level job and the person sits at home waiting for a phone call. A phone call that never comes because this victim believes management should follow through with the contact and all they have to do is wait for them.

These victims take course after course in different fields improving their resume’ yet they still have no work experience. They take course in computer graphics, art classes, psychology courses, and other odd things, yet they haven’t worked in ten years. Why not be real and apply for a job stocking shelves in a grocery store and show future employers that you can make it to work everyday for a year? It may not be the job you want, but it is a job. It is a job that pays you for your work. It is not a benefit from the government for you to stay home and try and make people believe you are getting a job.

I just shake my head at people who have everything planned… from having their plans for how much money will be needed to travel back and forth to work, but can’t take the time to actually fill out a job application. I shake my head at people who when they do fill out an application, they need to have someone go to the interview with them. It gives them an excuse for not getting the job. Forever they stay the victim.

What is truly comical is the person (this is a fact) that doesn’t have a job, yet needs a house cleaner to do the dishes and wash their clothes because they will be getting a job.

I apologize for the tone of this ramble, but it does piss me off how some people love being a victim. The last three years I have had major life threatening medical issues, yet have only missed work for three months. After heart surgery, I cooked my own meals and washed my dishes and did my laundry all by myself. After cancer, I was walking a mile within two weeks and washed dishes every night.

Did I feel like doing these things? Truth be told – NO. Yet I needed to do them. I needed to regain my strength and needed to find my self-worth. The other day I needed to get a taxi. I knew the driver from previous trips and he made the comment how much I have changed in the last three months. He said I looked strong and healthy.
I refuse to be a victim. I am more than cancer. I am more than my heart disease. I am a spiritual being living as a human being and as such my existence can not and will not be a victim.

19 July 2017

No Longer Filled With Fear

The second promise of Debtors Anonymous states that clarity will replace vagueness. Confidence and intuition will replace confusion and chaos. We will live engaged lives, make decisions that best meet our needs, and become the people we were meant to be.



No longer filled with fear

Had one… needed ten
had two… needed ten
had three… needed ten
shit, back to two… need ten
never have enough
can’t save… need to spend

nothing of value to sell
except… except… no… can’t
what to do… no plan
pure chaos… just insane
borrow money to pay bills
a decision with no goal

bite the bullet… quit the spending
quit the thoughts of selling one’s soul
park the car and walk
brown bags replace two martini lunches
rabbit ears replace cable tv
cell phone replaced with a trac phone

it’s nothing more than short term pain
for a future with long term gains
no more nasty phone calls or threatening mail
debt replaced with savings
holidays no longer wasted in front of the tv
rather soaking up the sun by the sea

no longer begging for more time
no longer pleading for more money
no longer sleepless nights
no longer days filled with fear
today the sun will shine
financially all is fine








18 July 2017

The Second Promise of Debtors Anonymous

The second promise of DA says that clarity will replace vagueness. Confidence and intuition will replace confusion and chaos. We will live engaged lives, make decisions that best meet our needs, and become the people we were meant to be.

I used to hate the question “When?” When will you pay? When will the payment be made? When will you put it in the mail? I hated it. I also hated lying, which made this question even harder. I had no idea how to answer that question honestly. I would be broke before I got paid, so how could I honestly tell you when I could pay?

I hated when the ex-wife or the kids needed to go to the doctor because I was always two or three months behind with payments I promised to pay the last time they asked me “When?” I hated when a dog or cat got sick because I had no money to take them to the vets and had run out of goodwill with them.

It was chaos. There was never a plan on how to achieve simple goals. An example would be to answer the simple question “When” honestly and to be able to meet those deadlines.

The shameful and embarrassing answer came when I was 52 years old. While friends were starting to finalize their plans for retirement, I was still just trying to survive paycheck to paycheck.

I started the long climb out of a financial hell hole by getting a divorce and moving into a cockroach ridden apartment. I slept on the floor of my furnitureless home. My landlord did give me an old couch and I had a computer desk and chair and that was it. The first month all I ate was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs, and cheese sandwiches.

It was hard, yet it was a beginning. I was finally starting to work on my retirement plans. And step one of that plan was getting out of debt. Long story short, this plan worked. It took nearly four years by living frugally and cutting down on my expenses but I did get out of debt and along the way I was even able to save some money.

Confusion left and was replaced with confidence. And along the way I got an intuition as to when to make my payments and when to save money. The plan included paying myself first before anyone else. And while the plan was to save 10% of every paycheck, I always tried to save more which is where I juggled money7 and learned how to pay bills ontime, yet only after I was paid first.

I’ve been out of debt now for over three years. The freedom it brings physically and emotionally can not be beat. I no longer dread the mornings, nor do I have sleepless nights. I’m still trying to figure out who I was meant to be, yet I have figured out that part of it is enjoying life, with what I have and being content with the money I earn and not needing extra “frills” by going into debt.