Why have I been gone so much?
There's a lot of reasons. A long string of bad luck, shame... My life has been an absolute whirlwind roller coaster since I posted back in 2016.
The man I was with then, known as DH even though we weren't married and were together 5 years, became verbally and mentally abusive so I kicked his sorry butt to the curb. That left us with only mom's income for a long time. My disability was denied multiple times, so I worked with my doctors and ended up on stronger pain medications, but it enabled me to work.
I went through a couple of jobs. Since we were on food stamps and I had no income, I went through job training through DHR. It was an absolutely HORRIBLE experience I hope to never repeat again. You basically go to one class at DHR then you're placed as a volunteer worker somewhere where they need a position filled that you're interested in for training. I was interested in secretarial work, so I was placed with this tiny home-health company that had just opened. Once you're placed somewhere you're supposed to work there 30 days then they decide if they want to hire you full-time or not. That woman made my life a living hell, but I stuck it out because I needed my food stamps. On day 30, she decided I was racist because I gave her only white sitter more jobs and "fired" me. The white employee ended up with more jobs because she was the only one to pick up the phone 90% of the time when we needed someone last-minute, which was very often. I never have been and never will be racist. I was an absolute mess. I called my case worker and told her what had been going on and she was furious. That company was taken off of their list of people they work with after that. The lady I worked for would also lie to me and tell me she had talked to the director of DHR several times about my "performance." Why she was so intent on scaring me and treating my like crap, I'll never know. I just hope to never see her again. This was the end of 2017.
I was jobless again for a while then got a job at Dollar General that lasted 8 months. Things were great at first. All the overtime you could want because the store was so short-handed. (Was I responsible with this money as far as the Dave Ramsey way? No.) I liked the people I worked with, I liked the customers. Then into 2018 I smashed my hand between a rolling cart of stock and a metal shelf. It ballooned up instantly and I was sent to the ER to get it checked out. Nothing was broken, thank God, but I had a lot of soft tissue damage that needed to heal. I was sent through workman's comp and they told me and put on the paper work that I could work the register, but I could not lift anything over 5 pounds and that I could not bag the groceries and items people were buying. If you're familiar with Dollar General, the cashier is also the stocker and the bagger. So, according to the doctor, I basically had to stand at the register. The district manager didn't like this and accused me of not wanting to do my job. I ended up having to run the register and bag groceries one-handed to keep my job. Fine. She still wasn't satisfied because she "used to be a paramedic" and "knew her stuff" and my injury "wasn't that serious." No, it was an easy healing process but it was PAINFUL and I was supposed to follow the workman's comp doctor's orders, right? Since I did my best to follow doctor's orders, she deemed me lazy and demanded my hours be cut to 4 hours one day per week. I'm not stupid. I've worked long enough to know that meant they wanted me gone. At Christmas in 2018 I had to have emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed and recovery wasn't easy so that didn't make matters any better in the long run.
A friend of mine had become the GM at the Jack's across the street from the Dollar General. We had worked together there my entire 7-8 year career at Jack's. Every time he came into the store, he'd say "You know I need a biscuit maker, right?" So one day I finally had enough at Dollar General when I walked in and saw I had yet another 4-hour week. I quit on the spot, went across the street, and started work at Jack's the next week as a biscuit cook. Again, this went great for a while until my friend quit because he was offered better pay at another restaurant. The new manager wanted me to finish my job and be gone by 7am every day to save labor (I came in at 4am every day). I heard another old work friend had taken over the store in the next town over and got ahold of her to ask to be transferred over to that store. Big mistake. Within a month she had made me GM of that store and I couldn't handle it. All her other stores were an hour away and this was the worst one in the market. I think they finally just closed it earlier this year. I left in December 2019. I missed my kids. I missed my love (who came into the picture in 2018 and is such an amazing, wonderful man)... All I could do was work and sleep and that was no life for me or my family, no matter how good the pay was.
After a month of applying to different places, I was hired at WalMart as an overnight stocker. Perfect, I thought. I can sleep while the kids are at school, still be here for mom, still have time with my love. What could go wrong? At WalMart, you have a 90-day probationary period before you're brought on full-time. During this time, my mom was diagnosed with respiratory failure (pneumonia, bronchitis and COPD). They didn't hospitalize her because they were afraid she would get COVID-19 and said she would need someone with her around the clock at home while she quaranteened for 2 weeks and recovered. WalMart was allowing us to take 2 weeks off to self-quarantine if we felt the need so I did that to take care of mom. She was so weak that just walking down our short hallway left her breathless.
Mom recovered well and I went back to work. A couple of weeks later, I developed an abscess in my left breast. I ended up in the ER getting multiple scans and ultrasounds of it, then was sent to a breast health center at the closest major hospital for my first mammogram and more ultrasounds. It took a few weeks of strong antibiotics and I'm healed now. Too bad I lost the job at WalMart for having to miss too many days due to it. The pain was insane. I couldn't wear a bra, could barely wear a shirt. I made good money at WalMart and yet again wasted it away.
So one day I was going through my bookmarks and I "refound" LLNOE, and here I am. Due to my mental health with this whole COVID-19 thing, I can't work. I can barely leave the house (thanks, agoraphobia). We're living on Chris' (my love) income for now. He works in a fast food restaurant and we can make it work. I'm here to take care of mom and the girls, which makes me feel so much better. I will probably start homeschooling them next year. We haven't made a final decision yet, but will this summer.
And that's where we're at right now. Back to square one, the very beginning. Time to buckle down and really do this. Here we go.