Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tired, But Hanging in There…

I got off a little early today which was nice – missing the heat of noon.  I am so tired, though.  I did a good job of getting caught up for the second shift and my supervisor let me go at 11am.  I clocked out gleefully and headed to get a haircut.  Here’s how the day went and a few thoughts…


My supervisor caught me in the parking lot bringing in a long string of carts this morning.  It had been a very busy morning taking me hours to get caught up from the previous night’s lack of cart gathering.  Five to Seven is always hectic as I hurry to get caught up before many more customers begin to arrive for the day.  There is also the early morning grocery shopping crowd – mainly elderly and older retired people hoping to do their shopping before the daytime crowds hit.  

“Sweetheart? How do you feel after your first full day of work?” my supervisor asked me with a concerned look on her face as she put her arm around me and held me close to her.

“I am very, very tired, but I am hanging in there,” I replied with a smile and putting on my determined face.

“Oh, honey, I don’t want you quitting on me,” she said with a frantic air to her voice. “You’re the best worker I’ve had in years.”

“I’m not going to quit,” I replied. “I want to work fulltime.  It is just going to take a few days to get used to.  I am not used to being on my feet and walking all day.”

“Take some extra breaks today,” she told me fortuitously as she let go of me. “I worried all night last night about going fulltime being too much on you.  It has been so nice having you working for me.”

She was very kind to me.  She knows full well my issues with severe anxiety.  We have developed a rapport over the past month and I’ve been very honest with her about my disability. She left me to bring the carts in.  Soon, I was caught up and headed straight back to electronics to purchase two Toslink optical digital cables for my minidisc player.  That brought me a lot of joy.  I couldn’t wait to get home to try out digital recording of my MP3 collection.  It is still so novel to me to just be able to buy things I need after not having money for years. 

A New Do…

I left work and went and got my hair cut.  Going to the barber is one of more nerve wracking experiences in my life.  It’s the constant small talk I must make during the time I am getting my haircut that causes me the most social anxiety.  I looked like a brand new man, though, after stepping out of Jim’s shop.  He gives one of the best haircuts in the Valley.  He is a stodgy old man and “old school”, though, and the things he will say will often make me cringe.   He made a comment about blacks always being on the road and how they were terribly inconsiderate drivers.  Ah, just small town Southern life at it’s most base and unflattering form.

“They will just stop in the road and carry on a conversation and you have to wait on them to finish,” Jim told me with a sigh. “I always honk my horn and ride their bumper!”

I just rolled my eyes hoping the haircut would soon be finished. If he didn’t give such a good haircut at a great price, I would go elsewhere.  I could always go to Rhonda which is mom’s hairdresser, but she charges a fortune. 

Peas and Cornbread With Lots of Worry Thrown In…

Dad got some fresh peas at the farmer’s market yesterday and cooked a big pot.  He came over last night to feed Maggie and brought a pan of cornbread and a big Tupperware container of Southern seasoned peas.  It was a treat Stacey and I relished, loving both.

“I keep expecting Social Security to review your ability to return to work fulltime,” dad said sitting next to Stacey on the couch after we fed Maggie and ate a bite – Sadie also eating her fair share of Maggie’s food as well.  “It worries the hell out of me.  Your mother thinks we will get the paperwork any day now.”

“Dad, I started work fulltime today,” I told him. “I’ve already reported to Social Security that my income is exceeding $720 dollars a month.”

He looked flabbergasted!

“Son, you can’t work fulltime and be on disability.  You are going to lose it.”

“I have a nine month trial work period.”

“What are you going to do when the nine months is up?” he asked looking at me like I was a leper.

“Continue to work fulltime and support myself,” I replied. “I have the option to go back on disability expeditiously at any time my doctor deems me unable to work.”

I really wish dad would get online and read about Social Securities' guidelines.  It would assuage much of his worries.  Dad was trying his best to play nice to his credit, though.  He was just worried about me.  He keeps waiting like vultures flying over a carcass for the other shoe to drop mentally – ready to swoop in at any moment for the opportunity to “save” me.

“That was extremely uncomfortable,” Stacey told me after dad left. “Do you have to deal with that all the time?”

“Yes,” I replied. “My father is my number one source of anxiety these days.  He can make me a nervous wreck and has often made life miserable for me these past few weeks.  That kind of stuff goes on constantly with him.  The other day I decided to say to hell with it all and not care what he thinks anymore thankfully.  I have felt so much better for doing that.”

Stacey sighed and came over to give me a hug. 

“His peas and cornbread sure were good, though,” Stacey said trying to put an positive spin on the situation. “I love Southern cookin’.”

I laughed.  She can always make me smile.

Can’t do Both…

I realized after yesterday that I wasn’t going to be physically able to work fulltime at Walmart and still continue my yard care business.  I feel so defeated today.  I had such high hopes I would have the moxie to do both.  I called my elderly neighbor and told her I wouldn’t be able to trim her shrubbery.  I also called my Benefactor and told him I was going to have to pass on painting the inside of his house.  Realistically?  It is really not a business I can support myself fulltime with.  Winter will be here soon and work will drop precipitously.  We’ve also had a dry summer with many to most lawns looking brown and dormant.  I have my hands full at the moment just pulling in shopping carts for eight hours most days.

Yes, We are Obsessive Compulsive…

Mom did many things for me for years and I appreciate it very much.  Mom was my kindred spirit and one of the few souls in my life who understood me and my modus operandi.  She made an austere life very bearable.  She did everything with this obsessive compulsive zeal and I could always rely on her. 

Every Monday and Tuesday she brought me a restaurant meal as a treat.  Every night religiously she has put out my six diet Cokes for years.  She still buys my groceries every week and buys my powered drink mixes when I need them.  We no longer do the diet Cokes or the restaurant meals with me now off of caffeine and with me being able to go to a restaurant and pay for my own food.  Well, this has really worried her.  She called me yesterday to discuss the “situation” as she put it.

“I miss doing all those things for you,” she told me. “Jonathon, frankly, I don’t have a life. I don’t have many friends and doing those things for you gave me something positive to do to help my son.”

“Well, you can still do them,” I said trying to assuage the situation. “Just put me out diet Sprites every night or caffeine free diet Cokes.  I will come over and pick them up.  I’ve greatly missed that ritual as well.”

“What about fast food Monday’s and Mexican Tuesday’s?” she asked.

“I would love the food,” I told her. “We would need to buy enough for Stacey as well.  Do you want to spend all that money?”

“Let’s start it back,” mom said excitedly. “I will let your daddy pay me back for it.”

I laughed. Mom always was a card when it comes to money. She has so much money in the bank, but she won’t spend it.  

“Be sure to get Maggie a double cheeseburger as well Monday,” I told her.

“I wouldn’t forget her for the world!” mom said enthusiastically. “What do  you and Stacey want to eat for Mexican Tuesday’s?”

“Get us the chicken fajitas,” I said. “Stacey will like that.”

“Monday, I may just get me a quarter pounder with cheese and fries, and come eat it with you all.”

“That would be nice,” I told my mother. “We would be glad to have you.”

Mom is such a kind soul. She just gets so lonely.  Dad works all the time and is never home.  She truly loves me and wants to help me.  I will look forward to the renewal of the many rituals we’ve had over the years.  I can taste those chicken fajitas now. 


Tee said...

Oh! My heart went out to your mom, "...I have no life..." Jon you can help her find a new life just like you have done.

Question: How old is your supervisor at WM? I think her behavior towards you is rather inappropriate, if you know what I mean. She needs to keep her hands/arms off you. That could be considered sexual harassment. If her touching you makes you uncomfortable you need to tell her, but also reassure her you intend to keep up the hard work for her and that verbally expressed appreciation will be adequate to thank you.

Something for you to consider. Ask your dad how much it takes to operate your household each month. From previous comments you have said you think he is saving a lot of your SSI money. That way you will have some idea how much money it is going to take for you to live and if your current job will support your living expenses. You are doing so well with your job and you want your independence to continue, but make sure you will have enough money to live and buy your hobby items (computer, model RR magazine, camera, etc.). Just food for thought. I know this is why your dad is so worried AND the fact he thinks you are going to fail, which you aren't going to do. I think your observations about your lawn service is right on point.

This IS The Fun Part! said...

I'm glad that you can continue your rituals with your mom. It really is important to her, you know.

I'm also glad that you're being frank with your dad. Shocking that he didn't fall over dead when you told him you were working full time! That went really well, I think!

Don't write off the lawn mowing completely. It's only your first week of full time work. You will get more used to it. And when the weather does finally cool down some, it won't be nearly as hard to do as it is now. Just treat it like a side-job and fit it in when you are up to it. You seem to love that extra $$$ building up in the savings account. It can really help with little special surprises for Stacey now and then, too!

I still say that you are certainly doing your planning very well and making great decisions - just keep those wonderful brain cells sober!

Love ya,

themuttonfish said...


I have such strong social anxiety that I take a book with me when I get my hair cut so I can avoid the chit-chat. I say hello, get in the chair, exchange a few pleasantries, and open the book. Works like a charm.


justLacey said...

Great idea for mom to come over and join you and Stacey. I think it will benefit both and you too. Who knows, after a while your dad may even loosen up a bit.
Wen I returned to work after being a stay at home mom for 7 years, it was nice. I worked part time for 4 months and then was laid off. My next job is the one I have know and it was full time. Later hours than I was used to ever working and very stressful. It was a hard adjustment and for the most part, I wish I had just stayed part time. I think you are more tired because it is just so hot this time of year, but give yourself time to adjust. If you can't, then maybe an indoor job in electronics would be better for you.

Lena said...

Bless your mom's heart. wish she could find some place to make some new friends. Bingo? Volunteer job?

Nice to keep the rituals. Every mom enjoys helping out her kids.

Mary K said...

Oh, it breaks my heart that your mom is so lonely. She's such a sweet lady. I'm glad y'all are going to "do dinner."

Cheryl said...

Life sure is different these days. I'm so happy to come here and share in your new way of living. I'm really, really happy for you. I agree with your other friends here in their advice and encouragement. I'll be catching up with your other posts now. Happy night to you!

Cheryl said...

Wow, Jonathan. I'm amazed and so proud of you. And I think your father will come around. He loves you and you love him. He's scared. Give him time.

Syd said...

I am sorry that your mother is miserable. Perhaps she needs to get a hobby or something that she is passionate about. It is her choice to be lonely or not.

becomingkate said...

I really love keeping to a routine as well. Nice that you're all gonna get together at the beginning of the week!