WELCOME TO MY CRAZY WORLD . . . THE RUBBER BALL BOUNCING BACK

by Steve Clem on April 14, 2009

Remember those super balls that you had as a kid? Throw it against a wall and then get ready to duck because it would fly back and forth forever.

My life has essentially mirrored this over the last 8 weeks. I was whipped against the wall, bounced off another wall, and then yet another, and another. And like the super ball, instead of stopping, I’m no worse for the wear, and I’m still going…bouncing into better places for the first time in a long time.

Flash back to last Fall to begin this story. I had reconnected quite unexpectedly with a woman I knew since childhood, and there was spark that felt very natural and unforced.

While it was a long-distance relationship, we managed really well to make it work, spending time together in our hometown, Sioux City; or in Des Moines, the mid-point of our locations, or in Iowa City, watching both of our favorite football team, the Iowa Hawkeyes on multiple occasions. Then there were trips to her home in Kansas City, and vacations to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Tampa, Florida. Every minute we spent together was like something you’d read about in some cheesy romance novel that women love to read. In just six months time together, we created memories that would last a lifetime for most people.

Then, the super ball started the bouncing journey. Around the second week of February, out of nowhere, she began to grow more distant, and within a week, she ended the relationship. It caught me completely by surprise, and would have been enough to devastate alot of people. I tried to stay strong, but not having a full picture of what led to the break-up drove me crazy in my mind.

Then, just three days after getting my Dear John email, I was laid off from my awesome job. Again, this caught me completely by surprise, as I was one of the less expensive employees for my company — my job had been shifted from 40 to 25 hours back in September, and my medical and dental benefits were lost.

Now these two things would have been enough to put alot of people I know in a straight jacket…and for a brief time, I was afraid that I would end up in one. But I persevered. Leaned on my friends and family to talk through things, and tried to remember that a positive attitude can go a long way.

Fast forward about 2 weeks later, and the super ball continued the journey. My townhouse went into foreclosure the previous September, and I had been trying to find out from my mortgage company the date I had to be out of there without a sheriff coming to my door and forcibly removing me. After leaving voicemail after voicemail for a 3-week period, with no callbacks, I finally got a live person on the phone at the attorney’s office representing my mortgage company. This was on a Thursday. They confirmed for me that I had to be out of my townhouse by end of day the following Monday.

GREAT! Compounding the stress was the fact that I had agreed to take a short-term 3-day job with my friend that required a trip to Milwaukee, WI, and we had to leave on Sunday night. So I essentially had 72 hours to pack everything I owned up, and put it into a 10×20 storage unit I had rented. Could I do it? By myself?

Just 20 minutes after hanging up with the mortgage people, there was a knock at my door. The Repo Man cometh…and he taketh away my car. I had been waiting for a severance check to be deposited into my account to get the car payment current…and it had just been deposited that day. But it was too late. Repo Man had to take my car. So Thursday night I began the process of getting the car back (how do you move out of a townhouse without a car?).

After wiring the payment, and jumping through silly hoops for the car loan folks, I was finally given clearance to retrieve my car around noon on that Friday. The catch? I had to get to St. Cloud (an hour drive from my home) by 2:30 that afternoon. Luckily a good friend was able to drive me up there, I got the car, and was back home by 6 that evening. A day in which I needed to be packing was completely blown. 48 hours to pack everything I owned and moved into the storage unit.

I did get everything into the storage unit, thanks to some incredible friends…and made it for the job in Wisconsin. For the next week and a half after returning to the Twin Cities, I lived in the same cheap flea-bag motel I lived in for a time during my divorce 3 years ago. I finally secured an apartment that was close to my old townhouse, and would allow me to continue to have my sons the two school nights I have them without creating too long of a drive to school in the morning.

I also began to heal on the ended relationship, realizing that there was nothing I could do to have changed the outcome. It is still a mystery to me how and why it ended, but I guess even if I never know the full story, at least it ended before I got so far into it that it would have been even more hurtful.

Now, my sole focus is sending this super ball back into the job market, whether it is in my old field, or a new one. I am essentially living a clean slate and starting from scratch in all facets in my life, and it actually feels GOOD.

The super ball hit the ground, and is now soaring quickly back up into the air, and is not looking back.

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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