Posts Tagged ‘Moving house’
“Do not wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it.” Author Unknown
(Written late 2010)
I’m not writing much anymore. Not personal stuff or my book. Spend too much time online reading other people’s blogs or in coffee houses reading books.
Seem to have lost my zeal, my energy to write, and to rebound, and rekindle that dwindling flame.
Or perhaps I haven’t lost it.
It’s still there, waiting to be relit.
And this is just a result of the last few months of frustration and worry.
No money. No work. Nothing good happening. No hope of anything much. How do I pay my rent?
That was how I felt until I received a surprising email.
Someone I barely knew – a woman I met at Toastmasters and hadn’t seen in four years when I bumped into her a few months ago at Trader Joe’s – offered me a temporary home, her town house, until she can sell it.
Could be for three-six or even more months.
Rent free. Half my bills taken care of.
So I moved there after six years living in what I had come to call fondly, My Dump.
It was tough to move out of my neighborhood where I’d lived for ten years – probably for good. It’s near downtown San Diego, and I could walk there or to the Bay, to Balboa Park, uptown, and to the stores and movies. I had everything nearby.
The day after I moved, I got work – from November 1st through the 30th, non-stop except for a half-day off on Thanksgiving. Over another hurdle.
Two ways to look at it.
I’m living in a nice place. Temporarily. Have enough money to last me another three months. I have a great website and a blog that I haven’t added to in two months while I flood my mind with top bloggers’ advice, hints, tips, and information on how to blog. And how to turn my blog into a vehicle to sell my book, “Don’t Hang Up!” when it’s published – though God only knows how as I don’t have a sou.
My spirits are up. I’ll be getting more work. Not as much as before but enough to tide me over – if I stay here.
The other side is that I’m (technically) homeless as this temporary arrangement could end in a month or so. And I have no regular means of income.
I’m 67, and finding work at this age, and the energy, isn’t easy especially in a slow economy. I have debts. Specifically, an almost unpayable one that my son left on one of my credit cards.
You could say I’m in a rut.
So I tell myself, practice what you preach, and I preach “Don’t Hang Up!” or “Don’t Give Up!”
What is a rut except a hole that you have to get out of?
So how do I get out of my rut?
First, I can’t get stuck in it – that means I can’t let negative thoughts play their mind games with me, or hold me down.
I have a set of skills that took me to the top professionally, and helped me overcome obstacles time after time. I’ve had to make new starts in the past, like the one in 2000, which I wrote a book about.
And a lot of people believe in me, have encouraged and motivated me.
Don’t I owe it to myself and to them to get myself back on my feet again?
But…most important of all, I HAVE NO CHOICE.
It’s either sink further into my rut until it becomes a deep hole or climb out of it while I still can, and get going on making another new start.
I CHALLENGE MYSELF TO DO THIS.
And I’m asking all of you to challenge me to go with this challenge, see where it takes me. See if, at 67, I can still do it. Make making it again one of the proudest achievements in my life.
Because if I do it, that will also show others in the same/similar position that they can as well.
Will you help challenge me to challenge myself?
“We must accept life for what it actually is – a challenge to our quality without which we should never know of what stuff we are made, or grow to our full stature.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
From experience, I knew a move would disrupt my life and change my lifestyle, especially since I was going to live in a completely different area. I dwelled on all the negative aspects – how it would affect my sleeping, eating, and working habits.
Until I remembered…
I’d had much worse moves than that one.
These days, most of my possessions fit in a 10 X 10 foot storage unit.
Very different from when I lost my five-bedroom home in suburban Mexico City and had to dismantle it.
The following is an excerpt from my book, “Don’t Hang Up!”
A MEXICAN YARD SALE
At seven-thirty a.m., I open my curtains to see about twenty seedy-looking individuals lined up outside my front door. Battered vehicles with signs on them proclaim their owners to be flea market merchants.
What was I thinking when I put that yard sale ad in the Classifieds section of a popular newspaper? I never expected this kind of potential buyer to troop across the city to my exclusive residential area.
At the door, I face a combo of low-class macho and a slimy thief. Macho leers at me with obvious intent. He has hot eyes, a bushy mustache, and thick curled lips. “Come on, Seňora, let me in. I took the trouble to get here early before all this riff-raff,” and he waves at the others.
I back away from his incinerator breath. “Not until eight.”
Slimy, slicked-back hair, leather jacket, and the sallow, foxy features of a down-at-heels thug, whines that he was the first to arrive and therefore, deserves to have first go at everything.
“You’ll have to wait,” I say, and flee back inside my house.
What have I got myself into?
Hortencia, one of my cooks from my failed food business, arrives with her army sergeant husband, here to give me moral support. They have to push their way through the throng at the door. At eight, she opens the door. The merchants swarm in, almost knocking her over, and shoving each other in a free-for-all to get at the items for sale. Whoever reaches the tables and shelves first grabs whatever he or she can before someone else does.
One wizened little woman who, in her old gray shawl, looks like a beggar, time after time disappears under the throng only to emerge with yet another object. She’s the first to come up to me, not five minutes later, holding an American toaster oven, a top-of-the-line blender, and a food processor, all balanced on an electric frying pan.
“I’ll give you,” she offers the peso equivalent of $3.00, “for everything.”
Lo and behold, the price tags I affixed last night are gone.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you have all these items for so little,” I tell her.
She scrunches up her face and pleads with me. She is the sole support of her daughter’s five children. The few pesitos she can make from resale is all that keeps them from being thrown out on the street. With her tattered dress and bony little arms sticking out from under the shawl, she is so pitiful that how can I turn her down?
“$5.00?” Her eyes fill with the kind of hope of someone lighting a candle in a church.
“Okay,” I say. Poor woman. I’m sure she will make a good profit off those pieces.
“May God bless you, Señora,” she says, and slinging the goods into her shawl, tosses it like a sack over her shoulder, and walks away with a spring in her step.
“She always pulls that act to get the best bargains,” someone grumbles. “Her son’s waiting at the corner in a new Ford station wagon.”
Slimy has oozed his way to the head of the line.
“Watch him,” Hortencia says, nudging me. “Check the price tags.”
I do. “Hey, this silver platter is $10.00, not $2.00.”
Slimy stabs me with a finger. “Señora, it’s not my fault you made a mistake.”
“I didn’t, and I’m not selling it for that amount. I’d be giving it away.”
He turns to the people behind who are making noises for him to hurry up. “You’ll have to wait. She’s trying to change the prices on me.”
“I can’t let you have it for less,” I say, despite his threatening expression. I wouldn’t put it past this human eel to be carrying a knife inside his leather jacket.
He comes back with a rapid sally of how rich people diddle the poor, thus whipping up the others to cries of, “Fair’s fair!”
If we don’t settle, I’ll have an uprising on my hands. I name a ridiculously low amount.
In triumph, Slimy brandishes the silver platter on high to show what he achieved by calling on social injustice. I have the feeling that from now on, I’m well and truly screwed.
Next, Macho plunks down an engraved colonial chest filled to the brim with items. “$25 for everything,” he says in a contemptuous voice even while giving me a mental poke with his eyes.
“The chest alone is worth that,” I say.
He waves bills at me; he will pay $30 for everything. His breath has me reeling and I nod. He leans over to inform me in a hot whisper that if I’m interested in selling more than what is on display – wink – to let him know. Leer. Here’s his card. “At your service, Señora.” With a knowing glance, he struts away.
Within forty-five minutes, almost everything has been cleared off shelves and perches. My head rattles while hands and voices assail me on all sides. What the hell? I’ve had enough of these ravenous merchants.
I explode. “Get out! All of you. Get out of here! The sale has ended.”
The place is a mess of rejected pieces. No one wanted the larger or more expensive ones. Furniture merchants and private individuals come for those later. Kitchen equipment goes in a trice for less than half its worth, the same as my new dining room set and living room furniture.
What about the paintings? Those side tables? The church bell lamps?
I hadn’t intended to sell them. But why keep exotic designer furniture and good paintings when I need the money now? Anyway, there’s nowhere to put them in the bungalow – former servants’ quarters – where I’m going to live.
The buyers are gone at last, and I’m left alone with my memories.
Forget them. This day is all that matters. I count my earnings, roughly a sixth of what I expected.
The shambles of my fortunes.
Dear Readers, I’d love to hear from you and what thought about this piece. You can also find me on Facebook, donthangupbook.com and on Twitter.
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