Posts Tagged With: alcoholism

Birthday

Today is my birthday, I am 34 years old. I don’t really know where the last ten or so years have gone, they are very much a blur. I know much of my early through mid twenties was spent in a haze of drinking my way through nights and spending my days working for peanuts. Mid to late twenties was getting myself together and going back to school, getting my heart broke, starting a job that has become my career (at least currently), moving out of my codependent mothers apartment, and just being me without someone there trying to tell me how to think and feel. Late twenties to early thirties was becoming more established in my career, reconnecting with old friends, losing old friends, getting my heart broke again, and then finding the woman and girls who would become my wife, daughters, and the loves of my life. I gained 20lbs, lost my dad, gained ten more pounds, and then got married.

My life has been easier than many other peoples in this world, but I know people that tell me I had to grow up way to fast and that I had it hard. All I know is that the preceding 34 years made me who I am as I sit here, killing time at work, writing this, and wanting to go home to my family. All in all, the 30’s have probably been the best part of my life so far.

Maybe it just gets better from here?

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Categories: Family, Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dancing with the Angels

Friday night I was finishing up decorating my apartment for Christmas, putting up lights, the tree, etc. I was also getting ready to attend the Mike Hunsinger 2nd Annual Memorial Toys for Tot’s Car Show, the next day. Mike was an older gentleman and a friend. He was diagnosed with cancer a little over two years ago and rather than go through the treatment, pain, financial hardships and be a burden on his wife and son, he took his own life. The last couple of years there has been a charity car show in his name.

I decided to take a break from the decorating ad thinking about all the lunches, coffee’s and running in to Mike at work. I decided to look at Facebook to see what all my friends were up to. I really looked at it for the first time in a couple days. In my news feed I saw the news, a coworker and friend that I had once been close to, then drifted away from, had died. Jerome was dead.

Unfortunately I am not unfamiliar with losing friends and family, but the feeling of confusion and disbelief is always the same. “What happened?!” “Hell, he was younger than me!” “This has to be a joke.” Then I started running the scenarios in my head, with drunk driving being the first and foremost scenario. I contacted Yvette, a mutual friend who I know he was close with and the news was even more of a shock; he had taken his own life.

This is still hard for me to wrap my head around as he was always so full of life and fun! He was the life of the party, always!

I met Jerome during a job interview at a daycare. I was 22 and looking for a better job than working at a gas station while I finished up Junior College and he was 18, right out of High School. We interviewed the same day, hired at the same time and started work the same day. We were two of three guys that worked in the school age daycare system. The third, Jason, worked with teenagers but came to the K-5th grade daycare where Jerome and I worked, to obtain more hours. The three of us became pretty close for a couple of years, working together every day, having lunch together, etc. After a couple of years they left for greener pastures while I stayed.

Jerome was a dancer. I will always remember him dancing to music in the daycare while we decorated and made the room ready for events, holidays, seasons, etc. He used to hold dance with the kids, trying to teach them how to dance. When he left he went to the Los Angeles area with the hopes of being a professional dancer, he said he even had some jobs in music video’s already lined up.

It didn’t seem like too much later, maybe a year, when I saw him back in town in a bar. We were both drunk and had a little bit of a conversation of which I don’t remember much, but I do remember he avoided the subject of why he was back in town. At this point I was going back to college and became a hermit, I really didn’t see Jerome around after that. When I did see him it would be during the occasional bar run to blow off some school steam, or to celebrate graduation, or just random hang out nights with friends after that. When I saw him he was always drunk and he had made it clear he was there to party and not catch up with old friends. We had officially drifted apart.

Though when we did see each other there was always a smile and a quick how have you been.

In the conversation I had with Yvette on Friday night she told me that Jerome’s dad had died last year and he had been battling depression and an alcohol problem. The alcohol problem was well known, but I hadn’t known about his dad or the depression. I wish I had. I wish we had not have grown apart and maybe I could have been there for him. I’m sure a lot of people are having similar thoughts right now. Our lives took different paths though; I decided to go back to school, get a career and try and have a stable life. Jerome, like other friends a grew apart from, became the life of the party.

I’ll miss my friend Jerome. I’ll miss seeing him on the dance floor with the girls, I’ll miss running in to him and getting that famous Jerome smile.

I’ll always see him in my mind dancing. If there is a heaven, I hope he is there and teaching the angels how to dance.

Good bye my friend.

Categories: Death, Friends | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Family and Me

When I signed up for WordPress I was supposed to give an introduction and tell a little bit about me, and I responded to that by basically saying “No.” Well I was challenged today to talk about my life, and my family. So, I figured I would put it on here, so here I go.

I can’t talk about me without giving you a little back story on my family, you can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you came from. I’ll actually start at my maternal great grandfather. He grew up on the panhandle of Texas, and would have to hide behind the door with a shotgun when the Apache Indians would ride up and demand food from his mother. This guy was brilliant, he had a law degree, a chemical engineering degree, a mechanical engineering degree, and was an Army Officer and artillery instructor in World War One. He was asked to be a part of the Idaho Supreme Court, moved to California during the Great Depression (South gate area), and practiced law there, as well as doing some other things. He eventually moved up to what is now Edwards AFB, worked in a machine shop, and built houses in Boron. He was a very cold and stubborn man, detached father. My Grandfather had very little love for his father and never learned to be a dad. I do not know much about my great grandmother. 

My grandpa was in the Korean war, went through hell, and was tore up by, of all things, an artillery round. He raised two daughters, one became my mom. Both he and my grandma are good people, but really bad parents. My grandfather is also a insanely intelligent man, but does not recognize it. He thinks he is average, and everyone should be able to learn what he can, know what he knows, etc. If you don’t, then you are just stupid. Sadly, this is the attitude he took raising his daughters, and took with me when he tried to tutor me in math. 

My grandma is just cold, money grubbing, and a liar. She has her good points, but she should have never been a mother. She doesn’t like kids, never wanted kids, and admitted to my mom that she tried to lose her. 

They moved from the LA area to North Edwards, just out side of Edwards AFB, when my mom was three. My grandpa got a job on the Air Force Base, and they lived in a house that my great grandfather had built.They were cold, hard, and harsh parents. They didn’t raise my mom and my aunt to be self sufficient, they raised them to be housewives. My mom barely made it through school and married young to get away from them, ended up in a bad marriage, and then later had to leave. She basically became homeless because my grandparents wouldn’t take her back in. She was working as a waitress in Whites restaurant and bar in Mojave when she met my dad. My dad was a regular in the bar. They dated for a short time, and then were married. 

My dad is 18 years older than my mom, was raised by two Jehovah Witnesses that bounced back and forth across the country. His dad was a musician, and so my dad spent most of his life moving back and forth between Detroit and the Riverside/Highland area down by San Bernardino. Route 66 plays a big part in my family history. When he met my mom he was newly divorced from his crazy first wife, was paying child support on four kids (the oldest only ten years younger than my mom), working at a cement plant in Mojave, and was a raging alcoholic. 

Things were not the best, and quickly became worse. He was an abusive alcoholic that would spend his whole paycheck in the bar, beat the shit out of her, throw plates of food against the wall, etc. They were already separated when my mom found out she was pregnant with me. I have more stories, but they are bad. 

My mom worked pregnant as a waitress until she could no longer physically work any more. Shortly thereafter I was born, and shortly after that we moved in to a house in Boron that my great grandfather had built, and that my grandparents owned. 

Now, we did not live there rent free. My mom ended up on welfare, food stamps, and after a few years was able to get child support from my dad. This all totaled to about 600.00 a month, half of that was rent to my grandparents. Now, Boron does not have any job opportunities. The only real employer is the Borax Mine, and that does not employ a whole lot of people these days. When I was about six she had a chance to get a job there and get off of welfare. She asked my grandparents to babysit me while she worked, my grandma look at her and said “I raised my kids, you raise yours.” Boron does not have any day cares, after school programs, or anything at all of that nature. My mom was forced to choose between working, or raising her son, she chose to stay home and raise me. She did briefly get a part time job later on to try and save up some money, however welfare made her claim that money and took it out of her check. I have a whole rant about the welfare system I will post later. 

My mom was a very loving, but strict and over protective parent. I hardly saw my dad until about 5th grade, and didn’t see my grandparents much until about that same time (even though they only lived 15 miles away). We received little to no help from anyone else. 

When I was in 9th grade, my mom had to call the Kern County Sherriff’s department on her abusive ex boyfriend. She ended up marrying the deputy that responded to her call, on the first day of school of my 10th grade year. He moved us in to his house here in Ridgecrest, and became very mentally and physically abusive. The week before my 18th birthday, which was just a couple weeks away from high school graduation, he was arrested for physically abusing her. However, all charges were dropped and he kept his job as a Sherriff. 

I grew up very poor but mostly happy until high school, Just prior to Jr. High I started becoming close to my grandpa. He taught me to camp, shoot, drive, some back packing, map and compass, carpentry, etc. He became more of a dad than my actual dad. Not so close to my grandma. Around the same time, my dad and I formed a friendship, He also taought me how to drive, and after high school he taught me how to work on cars.

in high school I had to deal with my step dad, a new school full of unfriendly people, a mom that was going through a slow mental breakdown, and no freedom. I had no car, no money, and only one friend; djmatticus. I looked in to joining the military after high school, but I had tore the cartilage in my right knee up in a wrestling tournament, and also have Mitral Valve Prolapse. The military would not take me. After high school I ended up with my step dads 1987 Bronco  II, which is one of the reasons my dad taught me how to work on cars. This and a few part time jobs, or working for my dad, gave me gas money and helped pay for the Junior College I was going to. While doing that, I had to take care of my mom and her continuously worsening mental condition because of my step dad. 

I had a chance to go to college in San Diego after I received my AA, I even lined up a job. However, I was afraid to leave my mom alone with my step dad. He was getting worse, and so was she. She ended up having an affair, it broke her heart when it ended, but inspired her to get some job training, get a job, and leave my step dad. When we finally moved out I was working for minimum wage at a daycare that is located on the local military base, spending a lot of time partying, and blowing my money. I had one bad night in a bar when I was 24. It made me realize I was 24, living in an apartment with my crazy mom, no career, a worthless AA degree, and had to do something with my life. I took out some student loans, and went to school at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, World Wide Campus. I took classes on line and on the local military base where I was working.

I ended up graduating Cum Laude with my B.S. in Technical Management with an OSHA specialty, and with a Security and Intelligence minor. I shortly thereafter found a job with the bases Safety Office. I was still living with my mom at this point, as I had been taking car of her and she was letting me live there rent free while I went to school. After getting the job with the Safety Office my student loans kicked in, so I lived with my mom until I got a promotion kicked in, at which point I moved out in to the little apartment I am in now. I don’t make much money, but I can pay my student loan payments, and my car payment. 

My mom is better than she used to be, but is really not totally self sufficient. When I was in high school she began relying on me to get the littlest things done, and it only got worse as time went on. By the time I moved out, she was the child and I was the parent. Over the last couple of years she has learned to be a bit more normal. She doesn’t make much money and has virtually no retirement. She will either work herself to death, or just work until she is no longer able, at which point I will probably have to take care of her again. 

My dad is 74, and showing it. He had a stroke when I was 18, you can see it in him now. We have breakfast most every Sunday. 

My grandma wonders why I don’t call her grandma. She did learned how to hug me, kiss me on the cheek, and tell me she loved me though. So maybe I can learn to think of her as grandma.

My grandpa is now 84, and has mellowed out a lot. Him and I are very close and I am one of the few people that can really get along with him. he told me he was proud of me about six months ago, that meant the world to me.
My mom says I am just like him.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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