2008: I was in love. We had already been together for over a dozen years at this point in time. We were living a decent life. We lived together pretty well for the most part; we worked very well together because my knowledge and computer skills complemented any project he decided to work on; and we played together very well, too.
The way he spent money used to upset me. He'd spend on a whim and would spend until it was gone. No word of a lie, there. One time we were jet setting across Europe and the next thing I knew we were back from Logan Airport and sitting in the Capital Grille and he told me I had to pick up the check and get us a taxi because he ran out of money. Signs like that should have made me run for the hills, but it took many, many more instances before I decided to run for my life in 2015.
Anyway, May of 2008 was memorable for us. The house next to where we lived went into foreclosure. I had been discussing with him my desire for us to have a safe and secure future. I said to him, when you earn, you earn in chunks. Why don't we give up on some of the travel and fine dining and buy the house next door. He agreed.
He tapped into his private financing clients and secured us a private mortgage and we were on our way. Seeing the demolition of the original structure and designing our own home on that God blessed three lots of Providence land was a dream come true for both of us.
But, as Murphy's Law would have it, the spending habits never changed and the well ran dry. While always waiting on the next big pay day or the next lawsuit to settle, he blew through those hundreds of thousands of dollars in the blink of an eye. To make matters worse, when a payday did happen, the IRS came and seized it overnight.
Talk about a tail spin. At one point, a savvy business partner of my Ex-SO organized a "cash call" on a project when he knew there was no cash to be had. A contract clause squeezed my Ex right out of that investment. An upcoming family wedding required financial participation and the next thing I know, his car was sold off and I was borrowing thousands off my sister to keep us afloat.
Boom... mismanaged money = Eviction from our apartment. Our home was not finished. Our home was not inhabitable, nor was it safe. But, as optimistic as I could be, I mustered as much faith as I could and I stayed by his side. In 2010, I began to endure the most heartbreaking 5 years of my life.
I fell out of love during that time.
2010. The Beginning Of The Horrors That I’ve Never Spoken Of.
It was a dream come true for me. I already admitted that I was in love with the man back then. The Man he portrayed himself to be anyway. Now I have a house and a garden. A respectable place for us to entertain our families. Growing our own food. Nothing made me happier than walking from next door to this house and picking vegetables and making my Mom a lunch beyond what she would ever expect.
I am quite sure that my recall of this time in my life is very different than his. He seems to forget that I worked side by side with him on every project that ever came to his plate. Jeez, I have proof. Think about that time in 2002 when I was flying high in my own career and left it all because he got involved with the purchase and management of the Lighthouse Inn. Hundreds of my friends could attest to my "work" on that project.
What about all that marketing of commercial real estate that I worked on? Have you ever seen a successful real estate project that didn't require more skills than talking on a phone? How about the skills required to coach someone from India on how to submit an online application and deposit for a Small Business Loan to expand his Subway franchise operation. An application that I built and published on a website that I built. A website that captured the interest of the president of the bank that you got paid by.
Oh, the bringing in a new medical device for FDA approval and setting up that business was quite an interesting project. I damn near had to write the Doc's Bio every night between the hours of 1 am - 5 am. And all that marketing collateral and those weekly doctors dinners... thank God I had some good friends helping me get all that together.
You know, I even utilized my skills to build our mutual network. I don't think our Governor would deny how valuable my efforts were when she nailed a landslide as RI Treasurer due much in part because I was playing "Sybil" behind the scenes on her behalf. It was a lot of hard work and I even delivered fresh tomatoes and basil from our garden when she didn't have a garden of her own.
I mean, let's be honest here. The kind of skills I've developed through the years, the connections I've made, the vast amount of experience I've garnered through working in various industries... I was worth my weight in Gold. I paid my dues in blood, sweat, tears and cash for this dream house of mine.
And here is the catchall. I know the foreclosure was a business transaction to remove my name from the deed. I don't know the legality of it all, but, I do know that it's immoral and unethical. And I know that you are not living next door in our old apartment without your eye on the prize. And you sent me the key today that is now unlocking this chapter of never told stories.
Ugh. The horror of it all when you made us move there before it was finished. For the first two nights I didn't even have a commode or sink. I had to drive to Wendy's in the middle of the night to relieve myself and in the day to wash.
I wonder if the memory of me springing into action and invoicing a client to collect fees required to go and buy that commode and sink that we desperately needed enter his mind. I doubt that first purchase is in a storage unit today. It's still being used. I know this as fact.
I pawned my jewelry to afford a better fitting fireplace insert because we had no heat in the freezing cold RI winter. I made that sacrifice after the house was full of black smoke one night causing me to run outside into the snow and vomit. We both could have died that night when you didn't listen to sound judgement and kept feeding that fire while I tried to sleep.
Oh boy did I cry. And I cried and cried and cried until my friends stepped to the plate and sent an expert in. I was scared to death when the ill fitting insert was removed and I was shown that the chimney had 95% blockage. He told me we were lucky to be alive. He told me that he had a better insert and would install.
Yes, it was my decision to pawn my jewelry. Yes, it was jewelry that my Mom had given me through the years. Yes, I believe it was my sound judgement that saved our lives that time. And, yes, my quick thinking also saved us from a propane tank explosion.
And after Janie died in April of 2015, I also saved us from the electrical fire that started in the basement stairwell. I saw it, I screamed and I threatened to call the Fire Department in. Blowing electrical circuits for a space heater for a dog. All of us could have been dead because of piss poor judgment and political connections.
I'm glad that I got out alive. I've got so many stories to share.
2013: Boy Oh Boy Was I Clicking My Heels. Anyone who has known me for awhile will remember when I was "Clicking My Heels" back in 2013. I had to hide a lot back then so I didn't disclose proprietary and personal issues. I wrote a lot, but, I learned how to write cryptically to save my own skin.
Some friends contacted me privately and asked "what's with the click, click". I was evasive as the day is long but the "click, clicking" I was doing was all about self-care.
I was breaking away from a very toxic and dangerous situation.
I was earning and making my sister deposit cash to keep it hidden. My car was being hijacked every day and any cash that wasn't hidden was spent. I was spending a lot of money to stay in hotels because RI winters without heat are unbearable.
Did you know that Olive Oil turns to sludge and won't pour at a certain temperature? Everyday he'd look at a cheap plastic thermometer hanging on the wall and say, "it's a balmy 50 degrees in here". I'd grimace, pick up the olive oil from the counter, turn it upside down and show him that it barely moved.
I was taking ownership of my life back. That's what the "click clicking" was all about. We didn't have heat. We didn't have floors or walls or fire exits. We didn't have a shower installed.
I stood by his side as a dedicated servant for as long as I could tolerate. And I was on my way out. And guess what happened to me...
In 2014, my whole family began to die. I needed every resource at my disposal to be the sister I was born to be. I had to buckle down and withstand more horrendous circumstances than I was ever dealt in my life.
And guess what? I did it. And very few people knew the truth. But, I do. And now those memories are unlocked.
2015: The Day I Walked. I Left Something Special Behind.
I remember the day I walked very clearly. It wasn't the end of us, couples counseling and other memorable events happened after that and before his attacks began.
I remember the day I picked up my laptop and purse and ran. It was right after Janie died. And I remember something very special that I left behind. It was a Hallmark hand written card from Michael to me.
Michael watched my face as I read his words. He was giving me accolades for how I took care of Janie - not only at the end, but, through her whole life. The tears that memory brings me now are not as intense as they were when I was reading that love.
When I was calmed down and both of us were totally spent from what we'd been through with losing Joe, Mom and Janie, we just checked in with each other.
I mentioned how scared I was from having his son's dog get aggressive with me. He asked me where the dog was and I could see that he was preparing to go and eliminate that fear from my life right at that very moment. I stopped him and I quickly realized something.
If I, as his only remaining baby sister, ever told him the horrors I was living through with my Ex, he would have eliminated that fear before he left this world. I knew at that moment that I needed to up and leave before my brother eliminated a situation that I couldn't control.
There are hundreds of people who know my brothers, sisters and myself. And there are hundreds of people who know that I probably saved someone else's life when I ran to save my own.
That card. That handwritten Hallmark card. I left it on the table to be buried by someone else's crap. I highly doubt that made it into storage.
2016: My chowder (both white and red) and seafood stuffies came so good that I decided to give them all away and make a whole new batch of each. I went to one market and bought all the ingredients I needed - except for the clams that were priced better at the second market. The second market sold out of the clams before I got there. Pizza for dinner.
2017: Ugg.. I can't bear to disappoint my teacher which means I have to do a two-week project from start to finish by Wednesday... I hated the disappointed look he had on his face when I told him "I haven't revisited the topic since last week". Clearing my schedule so I can represent... but, first...
I bought all my favorites from Venda... if I have to hunker down, I may as well have good food on hand... (they like when you think strategically) 🙂
2017: his weather sucks... we should dance 🙂 It always makes things better
2019: Introducing - my blog. It's where I TRY and organize my writing. Someday I think it will be three distinct books. That key that I received today helped me to unlock memories from 2008. 2008: The Beginning of the End.
2019: Life Lesson: Tell Them How You Really Feel, Mary. Don't wait until people are dying to tell them how you really feel. My brother Joe's clan helped to save my life and sanity. If I'm going to put my life and soul online, I'm going to add some heart to it.
2019: It's pouring out of me today. The key unlocked my own little closet. 2013: Boy Oh Boy Was I Clicking My Heels.
2019: The Key That Will Unlock The Past. June 5, 2019. I received the key. This key is supposed to unlock a door and reveal just about every personal possession I've accumulated in 57 years.
Understanding that for the past 4 years, my possessions were coveted by others makes me feel violated. Dirty, soiled, raped. I was locked away from those possessions while they were being enjoyed by strangers. My most personal possessions touched by others. Items I worked for and saved money to buy. Gifts from family members who are deceased. Family heirlooms that bring back the sights and sounds of holidays spent with the people I loved most in the world.
I remember him yelling at me this one time - he screamed as he told me that anything I brought into "our" house was his. He, or rather they, seemed to have gotten their way on that one so far. Or did they?
Does anyone think that I have the emotional strength to use that key and unlock a door and see what he has chosen to unbury from the rubble and call mine? To answer that question, yes, I think I have shown the world that I have the emotional strength to handle just about anything. The real question I ask myself is "do I want to unlock that door".
I already have a vivid memory of the lying, cheating and thieving. I have hundreds of pictures of the abuse I endured at the hands of another. I do not have a memory like a sieve. I clearly remember the times I cried because I thought I was going to die. And I also remember how it felt when I was able to utter the words, "I feel safe now".
Time will tell whether I used this key to open that door. In the meantime, this key has a dual purpose for me. I'm going to use it and unlock the chapters that haven't been told yet.
2020: LYFT total $12.55 vs UBER $30 before tax or tip.
Andy drove me to my appointment at the DMV. Andy mentioned that he thinks he's the only LYFT driver working today. I told him that I wish I could have him wait for me and do a round trip but I didn't know how long I'd be. Then I mentioned to Andy that UBER wanted to charge me $30 for the ride that he was making and I refused to pay that price.
I went on to chit chat and tell Andy my feelings about UBER, my feelings about current events, about losing my family and being taken for a huge ride by my ex significant other which is why I am on my way to the DMV to finally straighten things out and be more whole than I have been since November of 2017.
Andy enjoyed my company and felt really bad about the story I told on that short trip. Andy told me to take his number down and call him when I was done at the DMV and he would drive me home for free. See, there are some nice people in this world. I told him that would be great but that I would pay fair market value for the ride.
When my DMV mission was accomplished, Andy came back to pick me up and bring me home and congratulated me on taking care of business the way I did, He also offered to be my very own personal LYFT if I need one in the future.