Tuesday, October 21, 2014


So here I am. What has it been, nearly three months since I last posted? I've had issues to deal with. There's actually been good news in our lives for a change. But not without sacrifice.

I had to pawn my gear. I did it a few days after my last post, needed gas money for my job with Acosta Sales & Marketing, merchandising Safeway stores overnight in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason and Pierce Counties. It was a necessary decision, but it hurt nonetheless. And I had to borrow money from friends and relatives to get keep our heads above water until the paychecks started to roll in. I was able to pay the finance charges on the pawn last weekend, roll it over for another three months - essentially paying Lee and his crew at E-Z Pawn to store my gear until the big money rolls in.

You heard that right - the big money is rolling in, though we're not exactly sure when. Joy finally won her Disability case, and she'll start receiving monthly checks of about $1500 at the end of November. It would be more, but Uncle Sam automatically deducts Medicare from her check. She also qualified for Medicaid, and thanks to another program she won't have to pay more than about $5 for any of her prescriptions. There was a catch, though: she had to take a deal. With her attorney at her side, the judge said (without actually saying it) that either she could take a deal where SSA would backdate her date of becoming disabled to the month of her 50th birthday (October 2010) or appeal until she turned blue in the face. She took the deal. As a result, she's only getting back Disability pay for the past four years, which amounts to somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 - 70k. It put a bit of a crimp into our plans, but only a minor one.

The first thing on our agenda upon receiving that back money hasn't changed, though - we're getting rid of my old truck. It has over 303,000 miles on it, and I recently had to bypass the truck's leaking heater core in order to keep it running. And we're making the rounds of local auto dealership both online and in person, gathering information on new and very, very late-model used Ford hatchback/wagons - and getting a lot of phone calls back from those dealers in the process. As of today, we have dealers from PA, Seattle and even Anacortes calling us on an almost daily basis, even though we told them that we're just collecting information and not able to make a purchase until that money rolls in. And it ought to be coming soon - our attorney already got his $6,000 for representing us.

So sixty to seventy grand, Joy's monthly Disability check and my job - I guess things are finally looking up for us. I just want to get my gear out of hock. I've been itching to get behind my drums for months now. And not necessarily back on the road, either. I just want to play the music I want to play with good friends and have fun every once in a while, and getting paid for it would be nice instead of absolutely necessary. We've already gotten back online, and getting TV here in the trailer is coming in the next month or so. A new trailer is also a serious possibility. That said, Joy and I have been having some fairly passionate discussions about where and what to move into. She wants to buy property out in the middle of nowhere and put a trailer or mobile home on it. My argument to that is that in her condition the last thing she needs to be out in the middle of nowhere - especially without the ability to drive. I've told her that in my opinion it's inevitable that she'll need a wheelchair-accessible apartment or condo that's on or very close to a bus line no matter where we go. She says that she wants to leave her kids something when she leaves this world, hence buying the property. I say that she'll leave her kids something when she leaves this world if she chooses to live in an apartment or condo - money.

Dreams of long vacations, cruises and restaurant binges - they're still there, but greatly tempered by reality. Fortunately for us, neither of us are into the kind of meals that cost hundreds of dollars. The most I ever paid for a dinner for the two of us was $130 (with tip) at Lawry's The Prime Rib in Las Vegas ages ago. It was worth it - a bucket-list meal if there ever was one. But these days I'd rather do the cooking myself, making luxurious meals out of average-at-best ingredients with the help of good recipes, careful technique and lots and lots of patience. The only travel I'm really interested in is seeing our grandchildren. Joy asked me if I wanted to buy a new set of drums, and I said no - I'm happy with what I have, though a new cymbal here and there would be nice, and a new snare would be much nicer.

The light at the end of the tunnel is there before us. We can see it clear as day now. Joy doesn't have to worry so much about so many things so much of the time. We're almost there.