Hard Refrigerator Wisdom

It’s hard to pray for what you don’t want.

It’s even harder when your prayer is answered.

Last week, I lost a hard to define person: part of my life, sort of relative, adoptive 3rd mom, friend.

About 6 years ago, on another platform, in another format, I published an article about alternate gift giving. The information was drawn from many sources, links provided, and sent out into cyber-space. The result of that was a slip of paper she gifted me. It has been magnetized to my wisdom board since that Christmas.

Over the years, I have noted little slips of wisdom on the refrigerator in the home she and her husband shared. A home that I was welcomed into. Reluctant to go the first time, my two-years past Jeff mantra was, “I don’t do other people’s families at holidays.” It doesn’t matter where you’re sitting, it’s extremely uncomfortable being the “extra” at any table.

Especially so, with Jeff’s family. Let me emphasize: I was always sincerely invited, always happily welcomed. My perception of me and my place in the family was skewed by insecurities. My interpretation of the situation was that my arrival at any Korte family function was an awkward beacon of sad; a glaring, strobe reminder that Jeff was no longer there.

However, at the insistence of my brother and sister-in-law, I agreed to tag along to their family gathering. It wasn’t any easier than going to Jeff’s families’ holidays.  The only difference was that I felt more like a solitary lighthouse of alone. None of them were strangers to me; I’d known them all before Jeff. They represent the before and the after Jeff, which sometimes makes the missing middle seem that much further away.

Over the last ten years of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, sport days, funeral and no-reason days, I merged into the unit quite permanently. The slip I noticed Sunday, has likely been there for a while. 

Judging by the placement, it was positioned purposefully while she was still able to do it, herself. I took a clandestine picture, with the plan of posting in my home and have decided to share it with you. It is a perfect, logical, statement of fact, which I choose to interpret with her deep, implied beliefs – adding my own, silent, faith-filled addendum … “for now.”

Quote for the Week:

2018 06 26 there are things we dont want to happen jakorte

How to Miss a Wedding (finale)

Cash in hand, we got that settled. It wasn’t a pleasant ride there. We didn’t stop for lunch on the way home, because we were officially a breath away from broke. I spent the rest of the day rebudgeting and being annoyed. It seemed like every time we had scraped just enough to cover a month’s expenses into our savings account, it’d trickle back out again for unexpected car repair or medical expenses.

As self-righteous as I was about our money habits, my life before Jeff wasn’t always so strict. I mostly did what I wanted, saved very little and had no plan for the future. I never really thought forward much, because there wasn’t much to look forward to.

Being with Jeff changed all that. Together, the future was worth thinking about. Comparatively, I ended  up being the spend-thrift in our relationship. Don’t forget, I said, “Yes” a lot. To a lot of really silly things. We collected knick-knacks – Cow Parade figurines, NASCAR die-cast, and chickens. We collected a kitchen full of gadgets – some of which I haven’t used in years; others I’ve never used at all.

Unfortunately, shortly after our crisis, Jeff was asked to stand up in a wedding – a vow renewal actually – in Las Vegas.  My ‘No’ came out quickly. There wasn’t any money left, so there wasn’t anything to think about. But, Jeff continued to think about it. His insistence that he wanted to go should have clued me in that the event was important to him. More than important, actually.

He re-iterated, his Mom could and would be happy to lend us the money for airfare. “How are we going to pay for the other stuff?” I asked him, listing, “… Gas to and from the airport? Parking? Hotel room? Food?” Then, added, “Do you even have dress pants and a suit jacket?” Jeff pulled in his bottom lip and softly nodded his understanding.

The next day, Jeff came back excitedly with another offer to let us borrow the money not covered by the airfare. Again, I refused us that, stead-fastedly stuck on thoughts that borrowing money ruined relationships and knowing we wouldn’t be able to pay either his family or his friend back for a very long time.

There are a few solid times in my life I would like to do over. Sometimes regrets earned from behaving responsibly are far worse than those gained irresponsibly. I wish I’d said to hell with our future finances, and made memories instead.

Quote for the Week:2018 06 19 RRegrets earned from behaving responsively jakorte

 

 

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Choice: Making Good Choices

Choice: Make the Right One

Choice: What It Means To

 

How to Miss a Wedding (part 3)

Here’s the thing. One person’s prolonged wrong can turn into another person’s wrongs, multiplied.

It was an unpaid ticket for which he’d received multiple notices… at his mom’s address. Sally had been safely tucking them away. She’d given Jeff a few; might have misplaced one or two. Jeff never took them from her while I was there. In any case, he had an inkling. A very strong inkling. Strong enough to make him want to hide his suspended license in my purse.

So, that explained a lot. He’d planned on taking care of it, but had ‘forgotten’ until the flashing lights did not pass us by. But, the extra excuses – 

That he didn’t have the money because I did our banking, and watched it like a hawk…

That he never had a chance because we were always together…

That he didn’t want me to know because I’d be upset … – were the ones that irked me even more.

I don’t know how Jeff talked himself out of being handcuffed and taken in, because that is where the officers told him he was headed. Or why they didn’t take into account his shady evasion tactics. Or even why they believed him when he’d told them I had no idea that he’d shoved his card into my purse. They just gave him a multiple-fine ticket to add to his already outstanding charges and told him to take care of it within three days.

‘Three days’ would mean mid-week. Mid-week would require both of us taking a day off. Jeff argued that I didn’t have to go with him. I countered with the thought it would be a very bad idea for him to drive himself since his license was worthless, at that point.

We emptied our savings of cash, because none of our credit cards would be able to handle the full amount. I didn’t know if they would run multiple cards. I wasn’t going to ask, and we weren’t going to be taking any chances. Jeff suggested we could borrow money from his Mom, if needed. This is where my parental influence kicked in.

It never kicked in on the advice to save money, or plan for the future much, but it somehow stuck with me that borrowing money was the lowest thing you could do. It would show the world your failure and absolutely ruin relationships. I told Jeff that I would never agree to stooping so low, and insisted that nobody really needed to know, anyway.

We’d just have to deal with it like adults. Money was going to be very, very tight for a few months, and I decided we were going to get through this on our own.

Quote for the Week:

2018 06 12 One persons prolonged wrong jakorte

How to Miss a Wedding (part 2)

Jeff and the first officer walked toward the driver’s door. I took that as a good sign that we would be driving off soon. He was rooting around for something on the floor, then exclaimed, “I got it!”

I was watching; trying to figure out what was going on. Just as I realized he must have retrieved his license from my purse, a voice from behind startled me.

It was the other officer, informing me he had a few more questions:

“How long have you known Mr. Korte?”

“What does Mr. Korte do for a living?”

“If Mr. Korte were to not have a license, how would that affect his job?”

The last was an interesting one, because, well… he obviously had one. My mind sped ahead. Why wouldn’t he have one? Is it possible he wasn’t going to have one soon,? Like (oh, no) very soon? It was a very unsettling inquiry with an even more unsettling answer. Jeff carried a CDL, and he needed it to do his job.

Seemingly satisfied by my answers, my  interrogator gave me a nod, and returned my license. “Come with me,” he directed. Because my mind works the way it does, I figured I probably wasn’t going to be arrested. Otherwise he’d probably be walking behind me, instead of beside me.

When we met up with Jeff and officer #1, Jeff handed me the keys and said, “You’re going to have to drive…”

“Ok.” I replied, and kind of questioningly waited for a beat.

Jeff’s officer stated, “You’re free to go.” I wasn’t sure if he was saying I was free to go or if we were free to go.

“Um,” I pointed at Jeff, “Is HE coming with ME?”

Jeff’s eyes opened wide in shock in disbelief that I would even ask that question. “Yeah,” he huffed, emphatically shaking his head up and down. “I’m GOING with YOU…” That exchange made both officers crack slight smiles.

As I got into the driver seat, I heard the officer admonish Jeff. “Mr. Korte, you KNOW what you have to DO…”

It’s a little nerve-wracking to start-up a car and pull away from a police stop. I had no clue what the protocol for that was. Do I pull away first; do they pull away first? So, the first thing I did was turn to my now passenger and repeat, “What the hell, Jeff?”

“Just drive away, please,” he requested. “We gotta find a gas station fast. I gotta pee…”

It seemed the occupied police car was waiting for us to move. They followed us until we got back to a main road, and then, thankfully, turned the opposite way. Jeff and I drove in silence, except for the slight sound of Jeff’s legs bouncing and the steady drumming of his fingertips against his knees.

I pulled into a gas station, dropped him at the door, and sat in the car waiting. Jeff came back with two Mountain Dews, two hot dogs, a bag of chips and a sleeve of mini donuts, sheepishly admitting he didn’t think either of us would want to stop for dinner after our impending talk.

Quote for the Week:

2018 06 05 unattended small problems inevitably jakorte