My life has completely changed during this pandemic, how about you?
Pandemic Blues, what have been your biggest challenges during this whole thing?
The biggest challenges I have faced during this “big bad bug” scare are:
- I moved to CA to help my father recoup from a major health setback
- I was forced to move to WA state under extreme circumstances.
Now, divorces happen regardless of a national crisis, I get that, but let me say, it didn’t help one bit! I have nothing but respect for and no bad feelings towards my ex-wife and am appreciative for the wonderful life we shared together. I chose not to divide anything from our 20-year union together and start over, my choice. I wanted a brand new start.
Being away from my nuclear family during a crisis was stressful and I didn’t handle it well. I have made some major mistakes along the way and my relationship with my children took a toll. I was in CA with my 12-year-old son in WA counting the days until I could be close to him again. This is such an important time of his life, and at 12 he still likes me and wanted to be around me, and I couldn’t stand being apart. But those days apart added up, and up, and up.
My father is on daily dialysis due to a genetic anomaly, relatively recently discovered he only has one kidney, and on top of going through that, he had a bad fall and fractured both his legs(femurs) and one ankle. Due to his condition, he wasn’t accepted into long-term care, so we converted his house into, a hospital/rehab center. I don’t think I played a big role in all of it, but I was there and honored to do what I could.
As he recovered I decided it was time to go back to WA with a cooler head and stability with my own issues. As I planned my long-awaited return, I was repeatedly denied housing rentals due to my non-vaccinated status. Everyone denied me: big apartment complexes, small private ones, houses, private units, mother-in-law suits, and an HOA turned down my pre-approval when I was attempting to buy a condo. I had 17 rental applications denied in WA, then 4 in CA in the same manner.
Yes that’s illegal, yes I could fight it, yes I would win in time and at much expense, and in the end, I would live with these people, no thanks.
It delayed my return for over 6 months. I finally flew to WA to meet with the renters personally instead of using email or phone calls. I thought if they saw I wasn’t a demon or something, they would consider letting me rent a place. It backfired, and let’s just say they said “no.”
In a moment of frustration and desperation, I went and bought a motor home that I could convert into a part-time living space and office. I was going to show them! “They couldn’t keep me away from being close to my boy,” I thought.
I bought one at the first dealer I visited, drove it to CA to start my conversion, then drove it up to WA to park it and live part-time as I went back and forth from CA to WA about every other week.
Well, what an experience!
I stopped telling people what I was doing really quickly as they all thought I was either crazy or destitute. I am no crazier than before the motor home (I think) and I am not destitute at all. It was a choice.
Let’s just say, all the things you are thinking right now that could go wrong in my plan did. I planned on investing in this rig, it is an older model that I chose to not have to deal with a lot of computer and electric integrations as I tear out and build what I wanted and needed easily. I just didn’t plan on all the needs to hit in the first 2 months!
Oh, and I am not a very handy guy, IKEA furniture was about my limit previously. I now own tools! Even power tools! And I am going through a very steep learning curve with it all and it has taken me to places I never really thought I would go in life. Places like Home Depot where they know me by name now, and the local salvage yards where I get ideas and parts, and I have become a HUGE Amazon customer against all my previous objections. I learned the extent of the nightmare that is customer service with AT&T and Verizon as I failed miserably to set up a mobile internet option, and I have watched more Youtube tutorials (that sucked up my “unlimited” data in one day by the way) than I ever thought I would need, for anything in life!
Now, I can honestly say It has paid off.
I now know the difference between the lumber at HD and don’t spend $50 on unseen structure support pieces that cost a few dollars, I know that there are different drill bits for different materials and have a new love for what they call a Dremel. I can also hold my head up high now when asking the HD store workers for help. Although that 17-year-old kid that ridiculed me and spoke to me in some strange building language made me feel like a moron for asking for the “Mickey Mouse Hat screw-top things” still stings and I still try and avoid her shifts at work.
Most of all I have a real relationship with my son again, something and a time I lost with my older boy.
That has been worth every cent invested and reinvested and each time I had to re-do something I messed up for the third time, worth spending Christmas Eve and day at the Marriot for getting kicked out of an RV park due to my inexperience, frozen pipes, shorted electric, complete internet blackouts, and moments of questioned sanity, all worth it, and would do it again and more!
The time I spend with him is golden, and I am more present and connected with him than I ever was before. I value him as a person and am proud to be his dad. It’s wonderful, just wonderful.
I also have a deeper relationship with my father and family. I was able to be there. I wouldn’t have been during other times of my life. I got to take care of him, if even just a little bit, I got to make his process lighter. I hope. That is priceless.
The divorce was not what I wanted but I can now see clearly it was the right thing to do. I attached so much of myself and my identity to my family and marriage that I felt lost without it and embarrassed for ruining it.
The pinnacle came when my son asked out of the blue, “Hey Dad, how’s your dating life going?”
WHAT? I was caught seriously off-guard and didn’t know what to say as that has not been on my mind at all… ever to that moment.
I said, ‘it’s on hold right now, and although I must admit that I am a serious catch these days being unvaccinated and not allowed to do to restaurants, bars, movie theaters, or public places, nevermind the fact that I live in a motor home and need to go to Starbucks for reliable internet. I will just have to beat them off with a stick for now!”
We both laughed. It was nice. And, that conversation was over! Whew!
All this said I made the right choice. I need to get to work again and reset my own health program as I let it slip dramatically during all this, but that’s what I do. Working this last year has kept me focused and productive, and although I overdid it and lacked any balance, it was there for me, and so were all of you who support, follow, work with me, and have been a friend to me. Thank you.
Time will tell how things evolve, but for now, I am happy. For now, I will enjoy this new life and share it with people who love me. Pandemic or not, life is good.
This pandemic will not define me or my life any more than being an inconvenience, and it will never be an excuse for my inactions or circumstances. I am in control of” me.” I can do more, try harder, act smarter, and stay focused when the world is distracted.
If you have had any challenges, any at all, big or small, just know – there’s something there for you, something beautiful and important. We just need to attune ourselves to it to see. It’s just around the corner, maybe even hiding in an old RV somewhere.
If you have slipped with your health and well-being goals like I have or just want to recommit to a healthier lifestyle, then please if I can be of any service do not hesitate to ask. You would be helping me by letting me help you.
Social distancing does not mean isolation, I have learned that the hard way. Reach out any time. Really.
Cheers from the crazy guy in the box up in Washington!
We can do better! … and will!