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

marking the time

Today and tomorrow have historically been a source of confusion for me. Last year at this time, I was telling you the strangely sweet story of how I could never remember Jeff’s birth date. (‘Sweet Pea’ April 25, 2017.)

So, here we are at April 24th, Jeff’s non-birth date . A silly make-me-smile when I’m feeling sad reminder, it’s no longer a source of confusion. I’ve managed to humorously posthumously remember it correctly for a few years now.

Because, when faced with Jeff’s death certificate, it suddenly became clear in a way that’s stayed with me. His birth year ended in 4. If you can follow along the lines of my ‘that’s one way to remember it’  sequential logic, if the birth year ends in a 4, the birth date ends in a 5. Easy enough, now.

I planned to go to the cementary last Sunday. I go to wipe away the grit of winter, to place or replace markers, to tidy up for birthday visitors. I didn’t get to, though, waylaid by an obnoxious April ice storm. It’s the first I haven’t been there in time.

April 24th is now significant for another reason – my older brother’s yahrzeit – a date of dedicated remembrance for the departed. Greg’s April has been coming around for three years now. Much like Jeff’s October, Greg’s April seems like hundreds of years ago and yesterday.

Earlier this month, marked Sarah’s 2nd butterfly date; one that falls familiarly within the same warp as the other two; long ago and yesterday.

Including Easter, that’s a lot of  heavenly related coming and going to consider.

April’s become a marking month of close together tears shifiting the season’s weight, a carriage made heavier by the wait for this years elusive Michigan spring.

I’ve come to the conclusion that you can never really put a firm date on departure. All of our markers are merely permissives for remarks on shared time.

Every spirit that is with you, within you, part of you, remains; without end.

So, here’s to April showers! May they bring us all May flowers and butterflies and bright burning memories that never fade.

Quote for the Week (bears repeating):

some days are harder

Apologetic Delay

Certain times a year, the regrets really pile up. Lately, I’m practically buried.

So many things went wrong. Small things became disproportionate disasters. Mostly, due to my stubbornness, but always with help from Jeff.

I’m being stubborn again, all by myself. Memories are flying in from all directions and I want to accurately order them. Actually, I feel I have to accurately order them. I so want to skip over the regrets. I do want to include them, too. Our story’s weave will be weak without them.

Apologizing to people who may not have known they were slighted won’t make me feel better. Probably won’t make them feel any better, either.

I’m also a bit uninspired from having to sort through some rather uninspiring parts of my recent life. It would be nice to be self-inspired, but that’s not working so well.

Pushing a stalled car may get you somewhere, but it’s still going to be stalled when you get there. I’m trying but I could use a little outside inspiration… and a magic wand.

In the meantime, while I’m unrealistically waiting for my thoughts to spring from my being onto paper or into my computer, I’ll tell you about the start of something. But first, let me tell you about the start of the start of our most important journey.

About Nannee, Mary Vincze was a strong woman with a strong faith. She buried her husband young and lost her only child, her daughter Sally. They were close and I do believe that she struggled, although she would never admit it. Nannee was a smart woman, worldly wise, I’d say. She’d seen much in her lifetime; poverty and boons, war and peace, births and deaths.

She never hesitated to put a positive spin on any situation, often quoting condensed bible verses. When Jeff and I would take her to church, she’d always advise me that I could indeed take communion because it was “open to anyone.”  I’d just smile politely and shake my head, “No.”

Quote for the Week:

2017 05 09 if regrets really were a dime a dozen jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

 

 

Sometimes the Story

Sometimes the story just won’t tell itself.

 

There are times when I have nothing to say, but this isn’t one of them.

 

I know where the story goes from here, but tonight is not the night.

 

This night is distracted, blocked; a tumultuous time crying out the truth in tears,

howling high over the whorl-winds, this crucial point:

I cannot avoid the storm, because I am the storm.

When it’s over, again, I won’t feel the same, again,

and that’s ok: I’ve been a storm long enough.

 

2017-02-28-sometimes-the-story-just-wont-tell-itself-jakorte

2 Fries Short

My first encounter with a treadmill was 2001. Jeff and I purchased one mainly for him. His diabetes was starting to swing high and he was logically advised to lose weight.

As recommended, we went to a one-on-one meeting with a nutritionist. After discussing Jeff’s eating habits and work schedule, it was suggested that he continue to go through whatever drive-thru he would like. My eyebrows began to draw together.

The remedy was to downsize from large to medium. I squinted a little.

The last instruction was to leave 2-3 fries uneaten. Then, throw them away. I was not amused. The experience created another descriptive Jeffism;  a few fries short of a full bag.

Joining a gym didn’t make any sense with his unpredictable work schedule. So, we bought a piece of equipment just a few months before we moved from the Tecumseh townhouse to Adrian. We each used it a few times, and then it became a cliché coat rack.

Hindsight is interesting. I’m not going with that 20/20 thing, but I will admit now, there was a bit of merit to the advice Jeff was given. I was more than extremely unhappy when Jeff passed, a bit before that, too. When it finally hit me, 5 years after the fact, I needed assistance. I told the therapist I really wanted to take advantage of the gym that came with my Ann Arbor apartment. It seemed monumentally impossible, though.

The solution offered was to start by placing my sneakers at the apartment door. Then maybe in a week or so, I could put the shoes in a bag, add some socks…..  At some point, I would actually put a shoe on and tie it. Then in a few days, maybe I’d be able to put two shoes on.

That’s where I scoffed and interrupted and said that was ridiculous. If I’m going to put one shoe on, I’m also going to put the other one on.  As soon as I heard myself say that my frown turned into a teary smile. I got the point. It was French fries, again.

Start small, or start micro small, but start somewhere.

Quote for the Week:

2017-01-17-two-less-fries-start-small-jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Leave a Little:  Food on the Plate

Healthiest Fast Food:  If You Must

Beginner Walking:  10 minutes