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Category Archives: Domino Effect


It’s been 13 days since my last post. I am so sorry. I know I said I would keep up. It sounds like I am sitting in a confessional, doesn’t it? “Forgive me father for I have sinned. It’s been 13 days since I last wrote!”  With only 3 comments you have to wonder, is anyone besides my friends, (the REAL friends not just the nosy acquaintances or those that want something from me) who are great supporters of my writing even following this blog? I think the most recent thing on my mind lately is who the hell am I and reassessment. I am re-assessing EVERYTHING. My wheels are spinning constantly. It’s good to have the blog to turn to for my catharsis. I know the main reason when I started this blog was to get my story out about everything I have went through in the last 5 years but now that we are at present day, I hope you don’t mind the present days.

Our play, The Switch was performed on Oct 30 which was probably the happiest day of my life barring the fact that a few people I wanted there couldn’t be there. That would have made me twice as happy but what can ya do? In any case, I think my actors were overworked because they were forgetting lines. That never really happened in rehearsals. I was kinda upset at first but keeping in mind the fact that the show really wasn’t fully cast until two weeks before, how can I really be upset? I received a lot of positive feedback but as a lot of artists feel, you often wonder if people tell what you want to hear. Some may THINK just the opposite – if you don’t agree with the naysayers opinions on how you should handle your work, then it sucks or they want no part of it. One thing I will not involve myself with now or ever is the “write MY way or it’s the highway.” I have wanted to write since I was 6 years old and I will be God Damned if someone is going to try to control it or me.  I am all about input, don’t get me wrong, but the minute the input turns into dictating, PEACE OUT – I am done with you! *KNOCK ON WOOD * – This hasn’t happened but I am just sayin . . .

Back to re-assessing and who am I. . . Let’s start with Who Am I – Maybe some of you that know me can answer that. Maybe you can’t. If I don’t know me, how can you? I feel like I am constantly changing. I felt a change in me coming on the minute my father died in 2009. It’s funny when you really become obsessed with the phrase “Life is too short,” or you start surrounding yourself with different people or you start really honing in on your craft how your mind is on overload and it  just starts going to places you never thought it would or to places where it is not supposed to be.  It’s peculiar too when these thoughts surface when you are out alone or with friends. It’s like I have to say to my brain SHHHHHHH. I often wonder if people can read me when the thoughts start surfacing.  Sometimes I wonder if i make things obvious. I try not to. Reading back over this, that sounds a little strange to you I am sure but it’s nothing to suspect that the white coats need to be called. LOL! It’s a writer/artist thing. You know us types. We are all over the place emotionally especially when you can literally reach out and grab what you want but you really can’t or you have to be prudent or it’s just an oasis and not quite there yet.  Don’t mistake these words because my REAL friends know that I would give them the shirt off my back or do anything for them. I know they would adjust nicely to the lifestyle I desire.  

Now re-assessing – I guess this ties into the above. This whole writing thing has me bursting inside. Like I said I have known I wanted to do this since I was 6 years old. When I was 6 I had a friend Colleen that lived around the corner. We set up my play room like an office. She was my secretary and I was the writer. She would take fake phone calls and write out invoices for our “clients” with titles of stories. She would give me a ton of titles and I would just write. It was at that moment I knew what I wanted to be. As I got older I used to tell other friends how I wanted to make a name for myself but with all the dysfunction that surrounded me, writer’s block and low self-esteem sneaked in. Look I am not even going to pretend that my self-esteem is where I want it to be but the excitement about writing that I had when I was 6 is back. How? I don’t know. My long term goal is to write 24/7, to go around the world for research on novels, and to write theater pieces. It’s frustrating because right now I can’t do that. I don’t have a lot of money where I could sit here, not work and just write. I have to finish my teaching certification program and get a job to pay bills and write whenever I have free time. I wish I had this fire inside me two years ago when I had first lost my job.   I know now what I want, who I want to be, and who I want in my corner. I am a big mush internally so support means everything to me. If there is someone out there that disapproves where I want to go in my life, honestly, I don’t care. I’m tired of living my life with other people controlling it or telling me (us) what a normal life and a normal routine is supposed to be. I never claimed to be normal. I didn’t come from a normal environment.  

On a few side notes, I think I made a point to say I have been having weird dreams and thoughts lately. The dream I had the other night, man, I had to write it down. It certainly would be a good story.

Lately I feel like I have been expressive through music. If you watch some of these videos or interpret some of the lyrics, you would think it was always about an ex. I’ve always been one to interpret everything differently. It could be just a phrase or the emotion used to sing that can trigger something. Take one of my very old favorite love tunes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0XMn0U9b2Y  There are several phrases in this song that trigger something for me. It certainly doesn’t remind me of an ex.

They fired my personal trainer at the gym. The guy who took over as the fitness manager is such a “salesman” that he doesn’t care about the clients. The trainer I had was very loving and caring. I want to start going to another gym. While I have lost weight, I  have a long way to go. Is it bad as a woman to say that I want to look like Jackie Warner or Jillian Michaels? 

Maybe some of you out there think I am completely bonkers; others of you may see yourself after reading this post.

Who am I right now? I am not yet a teacher and I am not 100% a writer. Mid life crisis or identity crisis? I say identity for sure because I went back and read some previous posts. WOW! I am in a totally different place.

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Today is a GREAT football day! My husband’s team, the Bears, are on at 1 p.m., then the Jets at 4:15 p.m. and then my boys are on at 8:20 p.m. I just love when they play at night. *CAN YOU HEAR THE SARCASM COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?* I get to go to bed aggravated some times. Just lovely. It’s the Manning Bowl II! Lets go Big Blue!

We are just about caught up on the journey or at least we will be fairly caught up after this post. In any case, when I finished the summer semester I think my nerves got the best of me. I wasn’t sure I was ready to do my pre-professional field (one day a week internship) come September. It was bothering me that I was still on unemployment and didn’t have a job. I have this thing about having to contribute to the bill paying. While I am on unemployment, I don’t really consider that “contributing.” With  everything going on with this HORRIBLE governor, I didn’t think there was any way I would get a teaching job come September 2011. At the same time, I was  doing public relations (still am) for a murder mystery group we are a part of. I like doing that. Anything writing related, I love. My first love will ALWAYS be writing, not teaching. My husband said that if I see a job in the paper that I can see myself doing for a long time to submit but not to just submit to anything. I submitted two resumes and never heard anything. I told my husband that was a sign. If I were to get called and hired somewhere, it was meant to be. If not, then it wasn’t and I was meant to stay in school.  At first I was so conflicted as to whether to mail out the first resume. It was for a PR job at a college. I needed an objective opinion so I emailed a friend of mine from Connecticut that I went to college with who has the same passion for writing that I do. We used to work at the local paper together.

I needed some sound objective advice from someone removed from the situation. I explained I had two semesters and two classes left plus the one day a week internship for September. I would be doing my full internship 5 days a week during the Spring semester Jan 2011-May 2011. Heres what was going on in my head in more detail. I had been on unemployment since November 2008. I was tired of not working. Besides working out during the day, I was bored out of my mind and basically found myself doing house wife things – so not me. I don’t know how some women stay home all day. The education program at Kean doesn’t want you working when doing your internship. In the middle of September, the claim I had for unemployment was going to expire. I would start another tier of benefits. The problem was I did not know how much money I would be getting at that point every two weeks but it was believed to be less than what I was currently getting. Our expenses have gone up because we had to get our second new car since the lease expired on our other car. My husband and I both have new Santa Fes. As I stated, my hubby told me if I could find a job that I really wanted to do and could see myself doing for a long time where the salary was good, to go for it. I was conflicted. I didn’t know what to do. Teaching was going to be a fall back position so that I had given myself options career wise with the current state of the economy. However, my love had always been for writing and PR. I love kids, don’t get me wrong, but the excitement I get when I write wasn’t there while I was thinking about it. I had the envelope with my resume, cover letter, and writing samples ready to go for the college PR job. I kept going back and forth whether to mail it or not. The reason I was conflicted was because I didn’t want people thinking I was a quitter in terms of school or that I couldn’t finish anything I start. That seemed to have been my pattern. Since the whole business fiasco, who knew what people would say. Everyone always has an opinion about other people’s business. Whether they tell you to your face is another story. Since losing my job in Nov 2008, I havent really been able to make up my mind about what the hell I wanted to do and I am 35 years old! I didn’t really get a chance to really assess what I wanted to do and really think about it because two months after I lost my job I lost my dad, my pet died, we had a bankruptcy and so on. Who would immediately have a clear head to make a good decision after all that? I was afraid to take a job in the writing/editing field because I have lost my job so many times because of the economy. BUT, if I stayed in school, I am accumulating loans with no guarantee of a teaching job come September which would cause me to look in the writing field anyway. Plus if I stayed in school, I was another year away from working. If I took a job and I lost it again, I was afraid I would be kicking myself for not finishing the program at Kean. I wanted to make the best decision for my family because of this horrible economy. Like I said earlier, I don’t know how much less money from unemployment I was going to get. I was not having any problems in school. I was just trying to figure out what the hell the best decision was for us. God gave me the answer because I did not get any phone calls from either resume I submitted.

I think all the above may have stemmed from fear about actually having to be in a real classroom now and being monitored by a cooperating teacher and supervisor. It wasn’t a mock classroom anymore. I didn’t know if I was ready for a real setting.


Just a little current catch up. I bought the new Eminem CD – Recovery. FANTASTIC! Now that he is drug free, his skills are back to the Em of old! How anyone can’t think he is a lyrical genius is beyond me. The word associations and rhyme patterns he uses is incredible especially for someone who never read poetry or received a high school diploma.

I saw a former member from the fitness facility today. She was one of the older ladies – I think in her 80s. I liked her. I’m sure she had something to say though when things first happened though because she is friends with “Devri.” 

Back to the Canada trip.  World, please keep in mind that all this is being told to present my state mind during various aspects of the grieving and epiphany process because I was so emotionally fragile and so angry. . . As time got closer, Melissa & Frank asked my husband and I if we minded if Melissa’s parents came up to Canada for News Years with us . What I should have said was, “You know I love your parents, but do you mind if it is just the 5 of us?” I just needed to be with my friends and my god-daughter and clear my head because it was such a domino effect from November 2008 to that time that I really hadn’t had a chance to just “escape.” While we did go to Fort Lauderdale, FL with our other two friends in April 2009, I think my husband and I really needed to go farther away. Canada was perfect. It was out of the country. We kept our mouths shut because we didn’t want to be disrespectful and we understood that if Melissa’s parents were there, they could go out one night and relax while her parents watched my god-daughter. However, I was grieving my father and I didn’t want to be on a “family” vacation when my family life was in such disarray. We kinda just let it go. The day we left for Canada I was looking on Facebook and noticed Melissa’s brother’s status message saying he and his girlfriend were going to Canada. We had no clue that he was coming as well. To find out on Facebook that this really was a family vacation turned my already fragile state of mind to something I never experienced before. If I knew that it was going to be a family vacation, I would have invited my mother just so I had some family there too – especially then or we would have stayed home and suggested an overnight of some sort when they got back.  Without going into much detail, it wasn’t the vacation we had hoped for. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed ourselves and thought Quebec City was amazing especially with the cobblestone streets and the horse drawn carriage ride I went on with my husband in the snow. How you can not like a real life Dickens village that was decorated for the holidays? In any case when we got home, we said we were just going to let things go and then my mother said things she shouldn’t have. Things just got crazy between everyone – Me, my husband, Frank, Melissa, her family, my mother, people on Facebook chiming in. It was just a nightmare and so not called for. It was probably one of the worse arguments I think I have ever been in with people that close to me. It was terrible. Things were being said between everyone that really weren’t meant but there was anger involved. It was at that point when that happened, that my husband and I looked at each other and said about everything, “What the hell are we doing?” We sat down, had a long talk, and just tried to put things in perspective. My father was always the one we would talk to and he wasn’t here anymore. It was time to find someone else to talk to and we did. We had to get out of the funk we were in – all the negativity, the anger, the hurt about my father, the business, our bird, careers, not having a house after 6 years of marriage, not knowing if we would ever be able to have kids because of our age and because of all the time wasted making wrong decisions, other people controlling situations and so on. We had enough. We couldn’t go on like that anymore. This is us – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBDapiN-cHc


 As the time went by I found myself in a bad place mentally but I started classes in September 2009. My first two classes were Shakespeare Survey and British Lit. My thought on this? Oh boy – HATED Shakespeare at the time and wasn’t really diggin Beowulf.  I joked with my husband telling him how ducky my first semester was going to be.

It actually wasn’t too bad. I did awesome. In fact, I was one of the top 3 in the Shakespeare class and my professor, Sister Meg, made that known quite often. That class was A LOT of work. She wasn’t the last to call me out in class. Kean has this thing where the professors like to call you out good or bad in front of your classmates. What’s up with that? Stop me if this is old school, but when I was younger it was, “See me after class” or “Come to my room at the end of the day.” I was never called out at William Paterson or Manchester or Prospect Park School 1. Wait! I take that back. I remember in history class at Manchester, Mr. Reuter came up to my desk when I fell asleep and said, “Ms. so and so, your grades are not good enough in here for you to be sleeping!” Ahhhh Mr. Reuter . . . If only I could do high school all over again.

British Lit went pretty well for me too. The professor was awesome. She broke down every piece of literature we read. I can’t tell you how important that was to me. My smarts are not analyzing literature I can tell you that – especially Old English. I actually found myself enjoying some of the Canterbury Tales. I couldn’t believe it!

I enjoyed my 19th Century Women’s Voices class at William Paterson during my undergrad. Dr. Perry loved me cause I always disagreed with her interpretations and had a mind of my own.  I also used to tell her how horrible I thought Emily Dickinson was. 

As my first semester at Kean came to a close, my husband and I and Melissa, Frank, and Squidge started planning a trip to Canada for New Years. The plan was for the 5 of us to drive to Old Quebec,  stay in a cabin for a few days in St Raymond where it is practically all French speaking, and then stay in a B&B in Quebec City. With my first Christmas without my dad approaching, and my frame of mind, I should have never agreed to go up there because it turned into a debacle.


Sorry there was a lapse in time. I started classes. Today as a matter of fact was my first day interning at a local high school. I will elaborate on being back in college at a later time. Oh boy, I am definitely not used to getting out of bed at 5:10 a.m. The school’s first bell is at 7:20 a.m.

March 20, 2009 – Time for court! My husband and I arrived in a downtown urban area where the court was housed. We walked four blocks to the court building, took the elevator up, and entered the waiting room. The court was PACKED. It was like a sardine can in there. I couldn’t believe all the individuals there for the same reason. Since there wasn’t any room, we stood up against the wall near the entrance and waited for our attorney. When she arrived, she took us into the actual court area we were seated and waited for our case to be called. Supposedly the trustee we were assigned was a real hard ass. When our case number was called, the trustee asked if counsel was present. We approached the table and answered all his questions. He was actually very nice to us. My attorney was shocked at how well he treated us. We explained everything. He had a copy of our Quickbooks. It was very easy to see how much money we lost from this lemon. Listening to him read back our situation left a sour taste. We were sitting with him no more than 10 minutes. He concluded our meeting by saying, “I am assuming you wouldn’t be here if it had not been for this business, correct?” We answered, “correct” in unison. That was it. Our attorney bought us lunch and we left our future in the trustee’s hands. It was another waiting game.

In the next month and month and a half we received news on both fronts. My test scores had come in to ETS Testing Service and we received a letter in the mail from the district court. Nervously I logged into the test site. I clicked on test scores and up they came. WOO HOO! I passed! I got a 164. In order to get a Certificate of Eligibility, a score of 162 had to be obtained.  

When my husband got home from work we opened the letter from the Bankruptcy court – DISCHARGED! The feeling was unbelievable. It was like having an enormous weight lifted off our shoulders. Bye Bye Albatross! We craved a fresh start and now we were going to finally have the chance to get one. One can only watch The Secret so many times!

When I received my Certificate of Eligibility in English in the mail, I started to submit resumes for a Teacher of English position to various districts. I even submitted for Teacher Aide positions. I had two interviews for an Aide’s position out of the 30 something resumes I sent out. This is another situation one has to laugh at. I wonder if people even look at resumes before they call you in.

The Alternate Route path was not working out. A friend of my husband’s who is a principal told him for every position open, the district was receiving 200 resumes. He also said that when he received resumes he separated them into 3 piles – Experience, No experience, and Alternate Route. If someone was alternate route, he didn’t even bother with the resume. Apparently student teaching was a very important component to most districts. That prompted a discussion with my husband about applying to college and getting the certification the standard way. I hadn’t been in college since 1999. Now at 34 I was applying to go back.


During the week we lost Tweetie, we shut down the franchise. Another domino down. We had met with our bankruptcy counsel and had the petition filed. This was our third attorney. She was a very get the job done and matter of fact individual. She advised us not to notify our employees, clients, or landlord we were filing bankruptcy and shutting the business down. She wanted us to just put a note in the window or have the locks changed. While I agreed with not notifying the landlord, I didn’t agree with not notifying the clients. We set a date of February 6, 2009 to shut the doors for good. I typed up a letter and mailed them out to all the clients on a Friday. I also contacted all the employees and said we were going to have a meeting Saturday after we closed at noon. By the time we got to the gym Saturday morning, all the employees had already found out because the first thing some of the clients did when they got their letters was of course call “Devri” and complain. When my husband and I explained our personal situation, how we couldn’t do it anymore, how the corporation was of no help, how our attorney advised us to not even give notice and how losing my father put a lot in perspective, “Devri” responded with a VERY selfish comment. But what else was new . . . This woman had the audacity to say to us “I wish you would have told me this the other day. My husband is in Italy. I purposely didn’t go because there wasn’t anyone to work. I sacrificed the trip. I could be in Italy right now.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? My response? “Um well, I just lost my father so no disrespect to you, but I really wasn’t thinking about people’s vacations.” Pardon my French, but what balls! To add to her character flaws, she had the nerve to steal supplies that WE purchased in addition to member folders in order to pass them out to those that wished to go to another facility. Her mentality that she ran the place continued even to the day we shut the doors. When the employees left and we realized what she did, my husband left an unpleasant voicemail on her cell phone. We called our attorney and told her what “Devri” did. Our attorney said we could have filed a police report. We decided against that because we still had to live in the next town over. We put a “Closed due to bankruptcy” sign on the door and left. That was the last time we ever saw the women’s fitness facility again. The albatross was slowing removing itself from our necks.

I had to have all the utilities turned off. Before I had the phone disconnected, I checked the voicemail. There were at least 6 on the machine. I only listened to one because I knew that these trust fund babies felt a sense of entitlement to know ahead of time and were only going to degrade us for doing what was in our best interest. God forbid!  The one voice mail from one of the clients said she didn’t appreciate how we did this. She said she understood why but that customers were loyal to us. Who was she kidding? The women’s loyalty was to “Devri” just like “Devri’s” loyalty was to them. They never participated in any of the promotions I had going on in terms of bringing in friends to workout or to try the circuit workout itself. It was social hour and time to get away from their husbands and be with the girls. They didn’t care if my husband and I were struggling. I think they expected us to stay open regardless.  

With all this going on, I had to make time to study for my Praxis exam which was taking place about 5 weeks after the closing of the gym. That’s all I focused on. I threw myself into studying and attending workshops for extra help. I had to keep myself busy to get my mind off everything else. During my study time, we received our letter from the court. The bankruptcy court date was a week after the Praxis. Can you see the domino pattern here?

Through all this, there was one positive. My best friend was pregnant for the first time with her daughter – My God daughter.


I wanted an autopsy done on my father. That didn’t happen. According to my old singing teacher whose husband worked in the FBI, if there is a death in the house when no one is at home, it’s the law to have an autopsy. Everyone including paramedics and the town police assumed it was heart related. I know he was having pains in his legs and started taking medication for it. It could have been a mix of meds, it could have been an aneurysm, it could have been a blood clot in his leg that spread, the stent could have closed, or it could have been something else. The very last time my father was in the hospital he had a blood transfusion. He told us the doctors said he needed iron tablets. A blood transfusion for a heart patient? I still don’t believe it to this day. I think everyone thinks I am a ball full of nerves and there was more to this story that I wasn’t privy too. The funny thing is everyone is so wrong. Especially these days. It honestly annoys me sometimes when people think they know me when they really don’t. When someone starts spending 24/7 with me like my husband does or if someone has been friends with me as long as some people in my life have, then you have the right to say you know me. Until then, you don’t anything about me.

In my father’s will he specified he didn’t want a viewing or funeral. He just wanted to be cremated. I think he didn’t want his family to have to emotionally suffer. His wishes weren’t honored. Our family was talked into a memorial service and private family only viewing in Ridgewood. Each one week after another. This whole thing lasted two weeks between the viewing and the memorial. The day of the viewing my brothers and I wore our Giants jerseys for our dad. He was in a coffin with a Giants t-shirt and sweats. Makes me laugh.  We always joked that we wanted to be buried in our Giants jerseys. That was one of the hardest things in my life I have ever had to see.

Sons and daughters of my father’s friends came to the memorial service the following week with posters and sayings my father said. My father coached football so all his old players came. Someone made a photo collage on their computer. Others made poster board collages of pictures of my dad. Some were with his friends, some with me, some with my brothers, some with my stepmother, and some with my husband and I. Replaying over and over again on the computer collage was I Will Remember You by Sara McLaughlin. That killed me. I was hysterically crying. As the night went on, there was a line out the door and around the block of people coming to pay their respects to my father and the family. It was incredible. I couldn’t believe the outpour of people and love.

I just wanted all this to be over. I still had the Praxis exam to take in March. My husband and I still had the bankruptcy to deal with. How was I going to handle all of this when I just lost my father? This was still a shock to my system. It’s still a shock even to this day. As the days followed, I said after losing a parent, how much worse does it get. From now on, everything was going to be weighed on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being my father dying. And so continued the domino effect.

Two weeks later my pet bird who was still having a little bit of trouble after being seen by the vet months ago didn’t seem right. When we were getting ready to go to bed, she was able to climb to the top of her cage to what we called her “sleep cup.” We covered her and went to bed. The next morning when we woke up, our bird heard us. To get us to uncover her, she always played what my husband and I called “bat bird.” She would flip herself over and flap her wings real hard. I was happy to see she was able to do that after the symptoms she was showing the night before. I uncovered her and when she flipped herself back up on her cup, she was teetering back and forth. I put my finger in the cage. She hopped up on it. The minute I had her out, she collapsed and died in my hand. She wanted her mother. She wanted me to be there. It was heart wrenching. First I lost my job. Next bankruptcy was decided, then my father died, and two weeks later my bird died in my hand. I thought for sure I was being cursed. Someone was giving me the evil eye. What else could it have been? Why was this happening to me? What did I do? Was this punishment for being greedy and having to have a business and wanting money? I had no answers. I honestly didn’t know how much more I could take. I should have read this prayer over again back then:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

I think my faith may have been being tested.


At this point with the garbage the Corporation was pulling, there wasn’t any way we could survive keeping this business open. The bank wouldn’t refinance our business loan, we were getting no help from the corporation, I had lost my job, and the only money coming in on my end was from unemployment. We had no choice. We had to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and shut the franchise down. We had to file two separate bankruptcy cases – personal and business because we made personal guarantees on the franchise and the loan. Honestly we had no idea we had made a personal guarantee. We were counting on our small business consultant to be just that – our consultant and let us know what we were getting into. As I stated a few posts up, he dropped us after the meeting we had behind his back with Kevin about prepays. The first attorney never cared. She just wanted to make the firm money. Our second attorney we hired kept saying we didn’t have enough evidence or money to file a lawsuit. There was no other way out of this. We contacted a bankruptcy attorney and started the ball rolling with the corporation to shut down the franchise. Of course the corporation wasn’t returning phone calls at first with our attorney. They were trying to bleed us just a little bit more. After we received the necessary paperwork from the franchise, we filled it out, made copies of all our debts, and prepared it for the attorney.

During this time, the New York Giants had made the playoffs. This was 2009 meaning season ending 2008. The year before they had won the Superbowl. We are season ticket holders. My husband and I split the season with my father and my brothers. One thing about our family is that we are HUGE New York Giants fans. My father never went to a playoff game. His big thing he always said was he wanted to go to a playoff game before he died. It was on his bucket list. My father and I went to the playoff game vs the Eagles on January 11, 2009. Incidentally, my father had recovered pretty well from the heart attack and hospital visits. They had put a stent in, he was working out, taking his meds, and eating right. He even lost 20 pounds. Out of nowhere, he started falling into old patterns – Drinking wine every night, smoking his cigars, not going for follow-up blood work and he stopped going to the gym where he was being monitored. He chose to play racquetball instead with my uncle. Should a heart patient be playing racquetball? 

While we were on our way to our bankruptcy attorney’s office on January 22, 2009, my husband’s cell phone rang. The next thing I knew he was pulling up a side street not far from our attorney’s office. He parked the car and just kept saying,”Ok. Ok. Ok.” He grabbed my hand and squeezed it and started breathing heavy. I thought something happen to his mom who lives out in Illinois who is in her late 70s. My husband hung up the phone, looked at me, and said, “Your dad is gone.” I asked what he meant by that. He told me that the phone call he received was from my father’s best friend Dave telling him that my father passed away. My half brother who has P.D.D. (Pervasive Development Disorder) found him dead in his recliner when he got home from school. Dave didn’t want my husband to tell me right away. He wanted my husband to lie to me and say he was really sick because he thought I would lose my mind. My father’s group wanted to say when we got to his house that he got really sick and just didn’t make it. Of course my husband wasn’t going to lie to me. In any case, I was in disbelief! How could this have happened? The cardiologist said he was doing great. My heart was pounding in my chest. I texted my friends and called my mother at work.  Even though my parents were divorced and my father remarried and had two sons with my stepmother, my mother never stopped caring about him. She started yelling NO and started to cry. We turned the car around, called our bankruptcy attorney, told her what happened and we had to reschedule. My father’s friends kept calling my husband to find out where we were because individuals came to take my father’s body out of the house. My stepmother wouldn’t let them take him until we arrived to say our goodbyes. We were probably about 45 minutes away. I couldn’t wrap my brain around this.

When we arrived to my father’s house, family and friends were on the porch of my father’s house. My uncle (my dad’s half brother) approached me, hugged me, and said he was laying on the floor and it looked like he was sleeping. My husband took my hand and we went into the house. My dad’s lifeless body was in sweatpants and a t-shirt on the floor. My stepgrandmother was on one couch and my stepmother was standing up with friends. They all exited the room so my husband and I could have a moment alone with him. I stood with my arms wrapped tightly around my husband and we both talked to my father. As much as I wanted to kneel down and kiss his head or get closer, I just couldn’t. (I’m actually crying as I am typing this because I am reliving it all over again). 

To be continued  . . .


After that phone call I was beyond livid. We went back up to the bank. I started raising my voice to “Barbara” and telling her what the Assistant Director of the SBA said. It was one of those “Uh Uh” moments. She reverted back to how the business isnt making any money. At that point, all I heard was noise – think of the teacher voice on Charlie Brown. That was a dead end obvioulsy.

Months passed and our financial situation got worse. We got a phone call from our realtor. She told us she had a local woman interested in the gym and wanted to know if I could drop her off an extra key and some paperwork. Unlike “Kevin” I  provided a REAL member number list. A little background on this prospective buyer – Think Jersey Shore (tv show) looking with a British accent, what guys would call a “bangin bod,” long nails polished, a lot of makeup, VERY rich and possibly an entire bottle of perfume.  We will call her “Lizzy.” Early on our attorney called her a “tire kicker” and that is exactly what she turned out to be. She kept us on the hook for nine months. Every phone call, whether we spoke to her or her husband, they wanted more and more information and more time. The last phone call we received from them they wanted us to wait longer because they wanted to refinance their house to get extra money for the purchase. Can you even believe it? People this is my life. You can’t make this up. WHY ME? She told us they needed two months and that they wanted us to hold membership steady at the number it was at which at that point I think was about 185 members. We held steady for the two months and never heard from them. Membership started declining even more again due to members losing their jobs or what have you. When we called to get a status update and told her we had the membership steady for two months and never heard from her and how membership declined more, there was dead silence on the other end of the phone. After the silence, she again asked us to wait longer. We gave her a deadline and said if we didn’t hear from her we would have to shut the gym down because we just couldn’t do it on our end anymore.

In addition to the stress of a failing business and a strained marriage, my father was in and out of the hospital from a heart attack, additional chest pains, getting a stent put in, and bleeding. Could it possibly have gotten any worse? It did. I had a pet cockatiel for 14 years. She fell off her perch and started twitching her head. We took her to the vet and the poor bird was a nervous wreck shaking. Not sure if you know anything about cockateils but they get very attached to their owners and don’t like being in strange places. The vet gave us antibiotics that had to be administered with an eye dropper like tool. I hate vets. No offense to any out there. It’s just I have friends that have many animals and every time they took their pets to vets, it wasn’t long after that the pets passed away. My bird was never 100% again but she was ok for a while.

“Lizzy”, my father, and my bird situations happened from the end of 2007 on through almost the end of 2008. Again I said it couldn’t get any worse. Yet another domino fell. On Novemebr 15, 2008 I received a phone call from my full-time job telling me they were laying people off due to the lack of work because of the floundering economy. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is happening again NOW?  While I was still working for the company, our department was taken over by a young woman, who honestly had no clue about what we did in this specific aspect. My old boss got a promotion and went to another department. A few times this new woman suggested stuff and it was like “uh yeah we already were doing that.” Anyone that is a woman and works for a woman knows how catty some of them can be especially if they feel threatened because you actually know more than they do and they are supposed to be the boss. In any case, I was once again being layed off in the midst of a failing business. Thank God for unemployment. It was at that time my husband and I had a long talk and said we had enough. That’s when we decided we weren’t waiting for the tire kicker anymore and to now more than ever get control over this.

On the same day I lost my job, I registered for the Praxis II Exam to become an English Teacher. My test was scheduled for a Saturday in March 2009. Years ago when I wasn’t really into the profession I took the test twice because I was working at the first company in another department where I was getting up at 3 a.m. and I needed to get out because it was killing me.  The two times I took the test I didn’t get the score I needed. When I took the test the first two times, I was still at that “I deserve- wooo is me” phase so I really didn’t care if I passed it or not.


Remember in the first several posts, I had mentioned leaving the new department of that one company to work part-time for my old boss? Well, thank God and what a blessing, but the company wanted to hire me full-time. I could still work from home but had to commute an hour+ or so north for meetings, training, or to make an appearance now and again in the office. That was the end of October 2007. This couldn’t have come at a better time. We were losing so much money from this fitness facility and needed the extra money. I had no desire to be at the business anymore. Membership was still dropping like flies, none of the women members were interested in helping out by having their friends join, “Devri” was still being “Devri” – a diva, complaining, self-fish etc. I HATED going there. I was depressed and felt like a fool. I blamed myself for all of this. Now with a full-time job, I had an even better excuse not to go there unless I just wanted to pop in and make an appearance or drop off supplies. Of course “Devri” didn’t approve of me, the owner, having a full-time job. It was okay for “Kevin” but not for me. Why would I want to go to a place that drove me into more of a depressed phase and recluse? If the business was thriving and I had employees and clients that actually cared about people other than themselves, I would have been there all the time. That wasn’t the case. My marriage was being strained because of our finances due to this horrible mistake and being taken advantage of by “Kevin” and crew. 

When I started working full-time, we put the business up for sale. We didn’t have the money that was needed to advertise consistently. We never had enough money to buy the business period but “Phil” was another one who was only worried about his pay day and not his novice clients. I’m not saying none of this is our fault because I could have handled myself differently after losing my job after the promotion and my husband could have stepped up and said we couldn’t do this; however that is not an excuse to be preyed on. We tried to make the best of the situation and tried to refinance our business loan that we received from “Phil’s” guy. We went to the local branch of the bank we received the loan from. When we discussed with one woman higher up in the branch, she had the ordacity to say to my husband and I, “How did you get this loan? You should have never been given it in the first place.” YA THINK? When we explained “Phil” and “Phil’s” connection, she made a call  to the branch where “Phil’s” guy worked to get his assistance. It turned out that the individual that got us the loan no longer worked for this one particular bank. Hmmmm You don’t say  . . . Maybe all his “friendly transactions” finally caught up to him.  She had us sit down with a woman in charge of Small Business loans. We will call her “Barbara.” When we explained the situation to “Barbara” she had the nerve to turn around and blame us! She told us we surrounded ourselves with the wrong people and why would they refinance a loan for a business that has negative income. UM maybe because you had a crook in your loan division that qualified us without any collateral to begin with? She told us the only way we could refinance the business loan was to default on it. Please someone out there tell me how that makes any sense. WHY would we default on a loan that is automatically withdrawn from our business checking account #1 and #2 Why would we lower our FICO scores? This made absolutely no sense to us. They wouldn’t take any responsibility. So we left. In the next couple of weeks we tried again. We tried to reason with her by telling her that we are people that stick to their commitments and want to pay our debts but need some assistance like a lower payment. SNAKE EYES! We backed “Barbara” into a corner, so what did she do now? She blamed SBA and said you cannot refinance a SBA loan. I told her we did not have a SBA loan because SBA said the particular gym we bought discriminated against men and didn’t allow loans for this purchase. She insisted we had a SBA loan. After that meeting, I called SBA. I spoke to the Assistant Director of SBA who searched every record in the SBA database. You ready for his reply? “Maam, you do not have a SBA loan. I don’t know who told you this but I hope you are documenting everything.” Oh my God it was getting worse.  I felt like “Kevin” was a dark cloud following us around puppeteering these people. The only thing we could do at that point was wait to see if maybe we could sell the business. In the meantime, we would pay down our business debts with the extra money coming in from my full-time job.   

There may be a second post tonight to continue. Keep following and checking back!