You’re Bitching Up The Wrong Tree

Okay, visitors here know in a past not so distant life ago I was a bartender in a full nude strip bar. Many of y’all still ask me why. Why? The money was great and the scenery wasn’t that bad either. As well, many (not all) have judged my morals or judgment in career options, mostly I was told how I glorified the world of stripping when strippers are really disgusting slut whore beasts and are the lowest form of human on the planet, right after the douchebags who go to strip bars and pay to see naked women dance in their face. Yes, I simplified it for y’all, forgive me, but I never understood how or why people judge strippers. Strippers strip for whatever reason, I’m not real sure how many of them want to shake what their momma gave them in front of strangers for money. But, I know for a fact that there are reasons women strip, every single one of them has a reason. Some of those reasons have been explored here in the past, and I always get told that I’m very biased because I “lived” in their world too long while working as a bartender. How can that even be true or make sense.

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I thought that since I received this great example from an angered reader who wanted to reach out with her own information that this would be the perfect opportunity to take another moment to discuss choices of employment, perhaps motivations, and of course to glitzy lure of stacks of cash. In a moment, y’all will read the email I got yesterday explaining to me that I needed to be more clear to people so others who do strip or want a career in stripping have information so they don’t get fucked, literally. As far as my past posts, they are my own personal experiences OR experiences that were shared with me by real life strippers while I was a bartender. And, look people, again knowing from personal experience, some of the choices for employment are harder than others. So, read the email below, catch back up with me afterwords. If you ask me, the writer/sender was/is a stripper and got burnt somehow, I would assume she sued or attempt to sue her place of employment because one of her patrons tipped her with information instead of dollar bills. Just my humble opinion.

Begin email———————————–

1. Strippers, exotic dancers, showgirls, lap dancers, peep show dancers, & erotic entertainers are EMPLOYEES of the club they work for.

Stripping is a J-O-B. Strippers will never be independent contractors. It doesn’t matter if the boss calls a stripper an independent contractor or if it’s a term she applies to herself.  The reality is that the way strip clubs operate, the strippers working in can only be employees. It’s because management must exercise a certain amount of control over working conditions or else there would be chaos. Some might argue that management creates more disorder with their policies than order. Management need to figure out which dancers are going to work on any given shift; how many shifts there are in a day; how many hours each shift runs; many decide what dancers may wear at work; how many dances she perform on stage, and so on. The reason why strip clubs misclassify strippers as “independent contractors” is to dodge their employer obligations. The irony is that clubs say you’re an independent contractor but actually treat you like an employee.

2. Strip club employers must pay all their workers minimum wage, at a bare minimum.

Strip club employers must also pay into social security, worker’s compensation, employer taxes, & a slew of others good things that workers in any other industry are guaranteed as employees.  Personally, I think that strippers should get paid far more than minimum wages.  After all, not every chick is willing to take her clothes off in front of random strangers & gyrate on their laps to arouse them!  The management like the money strippers make for their business, but they don’t want to pay these women for their labor.  THIS IS ILLEGAL.

3. State labor laws state that it is illegal for an employer (here, the strip club owner) to take any portion of his/her employee’s (here, the stripper) tips.

To add insult to injury, management charge strippers for the privilege to work!You know:  those stage fees, quotas, commissions, piece rate system, locker fees, booking fees, etc, etc…. It’s also illegal for employers to require strippers to tip other employees (DJ, House Mom, Manager, Bartender, etc).  Management minimally pay non-stripper staff and expect strippers to underwrite the remainder of their wages.  Why are these fees-to-work illegal?  Because strippers earn their money through tips that customers provide for them.  Strippers use their tips to pay management these illegal mandatory fees. THIS IS ILLEGAL. Lets review by answering the following questions for yourself.

Were you misclassified as an independent contractor while being employed as a stripper?

Did management fail to pay you minimum wages while you were a stripper?

Did you have to pay management to work while you were employed as a stripper?

If you said “yes” to one or more of these questions, your labor rights were violated. Take action to assert your labor rights!

End of email——————————————-

**** On a very special note. The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog has not, will not, and cannot provide any legal advice. Visitors of this blog should consult with their own lawyer for legal advice. The information provided was for informational purposes ONLY. I claim no legal knowledge in regards to topics discussed here. Now, you’ve been warned and informed motherfuckers! ****

In reality I don’t care what people do with their lives, how they spend their money, or who they choose to see naked. I can, however, say that every single person who walks through the door of a strip club (employee or patron) has their own reason for being inside those walls. I mentioned before, my goal was to make money, as much as I could as fast as I could. Now, having a 8-5 job during the day and then working another 8+ hours afterwards as a “part time” sucked, I won’t lie, it made for long days/nights. As well, it was a 42 minute drive for me personally which racks miles up on the vehicle as well as adds just a few more hours each day. Yes, once at work the scenery, in general, was pleasant. The work environment was a bit weird because my involvement with the business of the club were pretty nil. I did, however, meet some very nice people along the way while I worked there, I’ll leave that part right there. Want to know more just read around this blog a little and you’ll see what I mean.

Getting back to how I or what I write about glorifies the occupation of stripping, because, lets face it together, I get accused of never writing about anything but strippers using their nakedness to separate men of all ages from their money in the shortest time possible. What y’all have got from me is the brutal honesty, not the fucking fairytale la la land some people seem to live in. I guess my point is simple, working as a stripper is what it is, it’s a choice someone makes, and often enough people get judged because in someone else’s opinion it was the wrong choice to make. Trust me, I’m 46 years old and still get grief from my mother because I bartended in more than one strip club over the years. “How can you do that to your wife and treat her without respect by working at a strip bar?” is my favorite question to date. My wife only had one dislike about me working there and that was the simple fact that I was getting in after 1 in the morning day after day and I was tired. I was tired and didn’t want to do anything except hang out around the house, I was a big fan of not going anywhere or not doing anything. In the end, it was my wife’s opinion that made me want to quit in the first place. She asked me to quit one time, and I made it happen that day. On the flip side, all joking aside here, she was the one that said I needed to get a part time job to fill some time, make a little money, and get out more. In fact, it was a friend of a friend of a friend of one of her co-workers that my wife gave me the number to call for the job. She was informed, the moment I went to the interview, that it was at a strip club. Her answer was it was decision either way, but told me I knew I could make some serious cash if I took it. Yes, she does not about my past life, not that it was talked about much.

Luckily, at the place I worked, everyone was an employee, we all had health coverage if we chose, we could participate in the 401k, they were workers comp compliant, the whole 9 yards. However, indeed, a portion of my paycheck was dependent on bar sales, door sales, and stripper tips. Yes, now I’m the bad guy. No, it wasn’t my rule, and nobody fought it, it was just the way it was I guess. But, they did not pay to dance, they did not have fees except for one, which was if you were scheduled to work and you were a no show/no call, you were given three days off without pay as a warning to be more courteous to your coworkers. It mentions minimum wage above, um no, how the average stripper was making from $18.00 to $23.00 an hour, plus tips, plus dances, plus whatever the hell else they were doing on the side, if anything. Again, I’m not defending the industry itself, merely where I worked.

Oddly enough, during the mere course of writing this post I have received 4 more emails “scolding” me for being a sinner, supporter of sinning, and indulging in the slavery which we collectively call the “sex trades” since stripping somehow falls into that category. Maybe I truly am blind, somewhat oblivious to the blythe which is that of the life of a stripper. But, wait….. for….. it….., I don’t care, I really don’t, I don’t care what people do which their lives. Well, that’s not altogether true, I do care that I contribute a large amount of my paycheck to pay for others to sit at home on the crack pipe, on the xBox, or on the porch, instead of them getting out and getting a fucking job. We’ll talk about that another time, I read a study recently that the average person on a combination of government service programs average about $19.20 an hour. Like I said, lets get back to that another day. My mere connection with the stripping industry is purely coincidental, meaning we would work in the same building, all of us dependent on the very steady stream of people entering the neon lit establishment we called a strip bar.

But, I understand, the easy thing to do is to judge those doing things we don’t agree with. We should just be happy people are out working instead of sucking on the welfare titty all day. Until we as human beings stop looking at the opposite sex with lust in our eyes there will always be a place where we can see the opposite sex naked. Have y’all been on the internet later, have y’all seen what y’all have been searching for, and y’all call me the pervert?  Again, another post for what people’s perversions are. Your choice, fucking hate me, if that gets you though the day, great, just fucking hate me. Meanwhile, I will give you something to think about, my final thought here today. All strippers have a story, a life, a family, and although you detest their industry or them as people, just remember it takes guts to strip in front of strangers, it takes courage to get out there to earn a living no matter what your craft may be. Before we get all biblical on me, remember, I don’t by into it, so in reality it’s a major waste of both of our times. But, as usual, I will get the emails, the comments, and so forth, and I will post here on this blog the ignorance that is spewed. There is no justice in the world, we all know it, sometimes we decide that instead of running away from life, we jump on that old hag, dig the spurs in deep, and ride her until that bitch throws us or we tame the beast. Your choice.

Encounters Of A Dreamer

I will always welcome stories from anyone who is willing to take the time to sit and write a story. I say that very collectively, y’all have seen what gets posted here on this blog and y’all know what I don’t personally post. Yet, the field of opportunities for what gets posted is as vast as the Great Plains of The United States of America, which coincidentally, is where this story comes from, all the way from the outskirts of a little town called Gettysburg, a little place located in the central region of South Dakota. Why is the location of this particular submitter important you ask? It’s simple, for me at least, as I would think people would be less inclined to do allot on the internet in a very rural town of just over eleven hundred people. When she graduated GHS in 2014, she was one of 20 some odd graduates. Seems small to me, I graduated in a class of 667 seniors. I’m just saying. Into the now, now, she is a student here in Texas attending Texas A&M in hopes of attaining her Biomedical Sciences degree. So, in my humble opinion, she has one hell of a brain to be in Texas A&M to begin with, and as y’all will soon see, what her mind sees and how it sees is amazing as well. How did she come across me? Oddly enough she was doing some surfing looking for the big city papers in South Dakota to read some local news, and multiple entries lead her here. Again, I will stress the importance of tagging blog entries. Now, at first she didn’t really want to start reading my blog, but said she was drawn in by many of my stories, she reluctantly admitted “binge reading” all night not too long ago and found herself inspired to “share” a dream she had recently with me and hopefully with the 3 people who read my blog pretty regularly. She expressed that I have a new fan and a new member of the mysterious Scorpion Army. Also, I just want to mention that she also let me know she has a few nice tattoos that I might like and she wouldn’t “mind” seeing them in the tattoo section or as a post here. Interesting, very interesting indeed. And, per her request, I will keep her identity my little secret, so for the express purpose of this post she will carry the alias of LabRat. The picture is credited to her friend who took it for her and has given The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog permission to use it at will. Without further introduction I give y’all the story she has sent me, she explained to me it was a very vivid dream she had and has yet to begin to understand.

Mr. Scorpion Sting ~

First of all I just want to tell you that, eventhough I found your blog by accident, I don’t regret a single moment I have spent there reading and looking at everything it has to offer readers. I never thought I would be writing my dream down for anybody else to read. But I am now, because I think it will help me better be able to explain it’s meaning afterwards. I’m open to the opinions of you and your readers if you care to share. By the way, I hope you don’t mind, I’m now a follower of your blog as well as have requesting to be a part of The Scorpion Army. My dream felt and seemed real, as if the memory I have is of something I actually did. I had to look into dreams and what they actually are, the simple answer is that dreams are a series of sensations, images, and deep thoughts that happen in a person’s mind during sleep. The question I fail, repeatedly, in answering is why I had the dream I did in the first place.

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The first thing I remember is sitting at the edge of my bed, stretching, feeling the coolness of the air in the room as it touches my body. As I wander around a house I don’t know I see myself moving quietly in the nude, as if I’m trying not to wake someone. I began to run a hot bath, the steam was billowing out like that of an old steam engine train, I could feel the heat and moisture of the steam but when I stepped into the water I could feel nothing. I continued to stand there under the water, letting it pour across my body like it was rinsing off what I did the night before. I bent down to turn off the water, letting the remaining water drip from my hair, as it ran down my back I could feel a coolness on my skin. After drying myself off I wrapped my hair up with the towel and walked back down the really long hallway back to the room with the bed. The curtains on the windows were pulled back now, lighting the room up with vibrant colors from outside. As I listened to the birds courting in the trees I sat in front of my mirror and put on my make-up, I dried and styled my hair, painted my toenails and fingernails a blazing red, misted myself with a sweet perfume, and when I was done I pushed in the chair and left the room. I watched myself walk, from a corner in the hallway, stalking myself, watching the way I moved, and could feel everything I touched, every step of my bare feet, every breath inhaled and exhaled, and even the smells of fresh squeezed orange juice as they passed along my path.

Soon enough I was walking out the door, still nude, still bare, but as if that didn’t matter, as if it was meant to be, and as if this was the way it was supposed to be. As I passed through the front yard I looked back to see the house I just left fade into the distance, as if the yard was a great distance, but then I am at the streets edge, there are other people walking by, or jogging, and even walking their dogs, none of which paid me any attention. I even kneeled down to pet this man’s small dog, I spoke to him but he didn’t answer, and then he continues to walk away from me. I felt his shirt in my hand being pulled away as I tried to stop him, I screamed “look at me asshole” as loud as I possibly could, yet he pulled away. I chased him, I ran as fast as I could, while he walked he soon disappeared into the distance ahead of me. I found my self at the intersection of a very busy street, waiting with others at a bus stop, I listened as they spoke around me, but never to me. Out of bravery or out of ignorance, I reached out to this woman standing there, busy looking at something on her phone, and I knocked her phone out of her hand with a violent slap. Nothing, she merely has a look of disgust on her face as she picks up her now shattered phone. The other people around her began asking what happened and her only reply was that she must have just lost her grip and dropped it. Ahh, too bad I said to her. She looks right through me to smile at the man behind me who had passed on his condolences for her now dead phone. Wait, what in the fuck is going on! Why cant people see me? Why cant people feel me? Why cant people hear me?

On the bus I sat next to a man doing a crossword puzzle in the paper, when he didn’t know the word he would cheat by looking it up on his phone. I never liked cheaters. I took his bottle of water out of the seat, opened it, and began pouring it all over his paper and his lap, but what people saw was him pouring the water everywhere, very casually, and without thinking twice about it. What is going on? Who are these people around me but so far removed from me. I recognize some of the faces, this is my route, this isn’t my first time on this bus taking this trip. I will see where it leads, I will see where to get off when I know where to get off. But how will I know? I don’t even know where I’m going or why I’m going there. When the bus stops it is in front of a very large and tall building, it blocks the bright sunshine seen around me, everyone exits the bus, most of them heading inside the big building, passing through the doors, until I was all alone on what seemed like a deserted street corner. I feel very alone, scared, emotionless, and decide to go into the ominous building myself. When I get to the doors there is a man standing there in a guard’s uniform, I watched as he opened the doors for each of the people that had come before me but he was standing there like a statue before me, motionless, expressionless, seems very unhappy. I walked up to him, inches away from him, until I was pressed up against him, until I pushed myself closer, I began kissing him on his neck, caressing his chest with my hands, I let my hands slip to his zipper which I undid, holding his very limp member in my hand. I squeezed him, I dug my nails into his flesh, and he had not a single reaction. Then I feel myself being pushed forward by him, he is leaning in to pull the door open for yet another person, one which I snuck inside right behind. The marble floor was extremely cold on the bottoms of my feet, I needed to be someplace else.

I stood in the line where the people waited to walk through metal detectors, have their bagged searched, and a wand passed across them, as if to give the appearance that they really do care. My turn at the gate, nothing to put in the basket, no bag to be dug through, nothing to declare, and no magic badge to identify myself to the guards. As I passed through the metal detector it went off, there was a man 10 feet in front of me and a woman about the same distance behind me, but this thing’s sirens and lights are going nuts. The people around, to include the guards are bewildered, they are talking that the equipment has malfunctioned. No dumbasses, it didn’t malfunction, I don’t think at least, come get me, I’m right here, I feel you touching me as you come closer, but you don’t feel me, see me, smell me, or hear me, your fucking loss, I’m going in. Going in? Going in where? Follow the herd, they are all going somewhere inside this building, just follow the herd. I get on an elevator, packed so tight it was like being in a grinder at a meat market, the smells of 20 people all melting together to make one very bad smelling elevator. So much heavy breathing, it was like listening to an orgy in progress, bodies grinding, rubbing, moving, and the “ding” sounds the start of the mass separation, I’m forced out with a large number of the herd, so I just go with the flow. The moved like ants, all following the scent trail to their destination, one by one they dropped off into offices and cubicles leaving me out, I was standing there looking at people work, looking at people surfing porn on their phones, and even one woman I had followed to the bathroom because she looked suspicious, who sat in a stall, alone with her tiny little vibrator that she put to quick work. She had to bite into the flesh of her arm to contain her moans from her coworkers, faster and faster she went until she almost collapses. She wipes down the still dripping vibrator, slips into her purse, wipes herself down too, then it is over, as fast as it started, without washing her hands she touches up her make-up, tusses her hair a bit, and away she goes.

Bored with this floor I catch a ride on the executive elevator, we’re going all the way to the top floor. These men and women quickly load into a boardroom, get their coffee, muffins, and waters as they all try to find the best seat. When the big cheese enters they all stand, as if to show respect, but only thinking about their chair pushing away as they sit and making an ass out of themselves in front of the boss. Why else would they cling to their chairs? Fear? Speed? When they sit and he begins to speak I find myself on the long table, walking back and forth, looking at the view of the city out of the window. I found it fun to fuck with people’s hair, a little messing up of the different heads here and there never hurt. Then one man, as he brushed his hair back into place touched my hand, he looked right at me as if I had just been caught, stared into my eyes for a moment and then it was over. Did he know I was there? Did he know I was squatted down on the table in front of him, so close I could feel his breath on my stomach? Could he really feel me touch him? Did he really just touch my hand and feel it? Answer me motherfucker! Out of frustration I licked the side of his face, starting at the chin and ending at his forehead, he tasted like a woman. I wonder if that was the taste of his wife. Or was it his mistress? Or is he a sick pedophile fuck? Who are these people anyways? Why am I here? Needing a break I excused myself from the meeting and found myself in the office of one of the kings of this corporation. He’s living large, his office is huge, decorated with some very fine things from around the world. Probably all tax loopholes of some sort. His giant antique leather chair was very chilling to my flesh when I first sat in it, soon after I began to feel the wetness of my legs and ass on the leather, I was perspiring as I sat here, it was very warm, it was making me very sleepy. I cleared a space on this big desk to lay on it, I curled up and fell asleep right there. When I woke, it was dark in the office, dark outside, dark everywhere. I needed to get out. I find he has an elevator which goes straight to the parking garage, how convenient, so I took another ride.

The parking lot was empty, I walked around looking for a way out, then I see a car, a very nice car, with the lights on, as I approached the car I could hear it was running. When I peaked inside I see nobody, the door was open, and I got in. I put it in drive and just stepped as hard as I could on the gas pedal, I was going very fast in a short amount of time. I found the exit of the garage and headed towards it, the gate opens slowly and the guard looks at me in the car but cannot see me because the windows are tinted very dark. Then I just started driving, I drove all around the city, a place which is very different after dark, there are different people out, people who see the world in a different way. I started thinking, wondering about my day, this bizarre day which has also been fantastic. I drove that car fast, the speedometer stopped at 220mph but I kept going faster, every light on the street was green, I just kept going like there was no end, before long the blur of the city lights were far behind me, but I just keep driving. Everything comes to a dead stop, the car is halted by something, I am thrown forward through the windshield of the car, thrown so far I cant even see the car. It’s very dark, I’m very cold as I lay motionless, laid in a shallow puddle of water, face down, only hearing the sounds of the wind and rain. I wasn’t able to move or didn’t want to mover a very long time. I could feel the heat of the sun that came up in the morning, the sting of the sun as it blazed down on my back mid-day, and how I could feel relief as the sun would set again. I the final night I felt this for the last time.

The first thing I remember is sitting at the edge of my bed, stretching, feeling the coolness of the air in the room as it touches my body. As I wander around a house I don’t know I see myself moving quietly in the nude, as if I’m trying not to wake someone. I began to run a hot bath, the steam was billowing out like that of an old steam engine train, I could feel the heat and moisture of the steam but when I stepped into the water I could feel nothing. I continued to stand there under the water, letting it pour across my body like it was rinsing off what I did the night before. I bent down to turn off the water, letting the remaining water drip from my hair, as it ran down my back. I began walking, passing the room I didn’t know, walking wet, walking somewhere, walking anywhere. I went outside, sitting on the stairs of the porch, looking at the car that had been crushed into the giant tree in the front yard. I began walking towards this mangled car, remembering a car similar to this one from somewhere in time, there was blood everywhere, the interior was bathed in blood, the windshield laid a distance away from the front of the car, blood pooled on the hood and ground. I walked forward, seeing something in the distance, something glistening in the light rain, there was a nude girl’s body laid face down in a shallow puddle of blood and water. She looks peaceful, she looks as if she is part of the land, I kneel down, whipping the hair from her bloody face when she opens her eyes, looking into mine. She smiles at me, she whispers to me to that I am feeling no pain, I’m suffering no longer, she takes my hand into hers, pulls me closer until we lay together, together in peace, together forever.

When I woke up in the morning following this dream I remembered as if it happened. The girl was me, I watched myself during the entire dream. I, too, sat at the edge of my small bed, dripping in sweat, wondering what in the hell just happened. My friend and room-mate explained to me that she was woke up by me during the night when apparently I had the bath running at about 3 in the morning. As she watched me walk around the house naked she says she stopped me at the front door because I was trying to go out side for some reason. She took my hand and led me back to bed, where I was tucked in and watched for the remainder of the night. When I saw her when I first woke up she had a very scared look on her face, it reminded me of my mother’s face when she told me my grandmother I was vey closed to had passed away. I told my room-mate about my dream, it freaked her out a little, but she was there for me, held me, and brought me hot tea while I took a very hot bath to soak my aching body. She remained at my side, helping me scrub my back, then drying my hair for me, and eventually we just went down stairs, curled up on the couch and watched movies the rest of the day, old movies from the fifties, seemed like that was all that is on at that time of day. After we talked about my dream that first morning it has never been discussed again. I want to talk to her about it again, I want her to read this thing after it is written on your blog. I appreciate your willingness to share my dream with your audience. Maybe, just maybe someone out there has an explanation. Thanks again, yours truly LabRat.

Re-defining Defined Lines In Life

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There are times that I can see the road ahead of me clearly. There are time that same road seems to disappear. Its not the road to success nor is it the road to happiness, just a road I follow for the course of my life. I try not to take detours or go off roading but there are times that the obstacles won’t budge, so I have to go around. I could let the obstacles define me but I don’t, I just find a way around. Sometimes these detours take a considerable amount of time and when that becomes the case I try very hard to get back to my known road, my course, because one day I will find my destination. Hopefully death isn’t the destination, but then again life is the journey and all journeys must end eventually I would guess.

I find myself needing to re-define the important things in life from time to time. This ranges from how to budget better to be better at having the bills on time, to not wanting to be that person who has no money left in the banking account three days before the next pay-day. Patience isn’t exactly my strongest personality trait so, at times, I tend to get frustrated with the speed others move. I was off work for a long time in my opinion, eight and a half months is most of year in my eyes. During which I had to creatively disperse funds from our savings to live day to day. One day that too had yielded its last bit of money. We all know what happens when you stop paying bills right? The collection offices start calling, demanding payments, and accepting no alternate arrangements. It is hard to satisfy the needs to many when I was more worried about where the money was coming from to buy ramen noodles that week. It put allot of stress on the relationship of my wife and I as well. Looking back, I remember conversations we had, where I may not have had the answer she was looking for. As she remained working I often felt guilty when she would call me to inform me that a bill collector had called her at work and what am I going to do about it because this madness has to stop. Agreed, it has to stop. In the beginning, when I was first laid off, we already had a plan in motion to have my knee operated on once again because it had deteriorated so badly. While I was working I had great health coverage and we decided to pull the trigger to get the ball rolling. I had my evaluations done and I was set, I had my appointment date set and everything. I had over 140 hours of vacation and my employer was willing to let me be off for a minimum of two weeks for recovery. Then, one morning I went into work and was blindsided, I just got laid off. Well, fuck everything I knew for the last 5 1/2 years because that went straight down the ol’ toilet. Plans for knee surgery in three weeks just flew out the fucking window, to say the very least because those plans just ended.

To say this new development put a wrench in the fan is an understatement from hell. Immediately many things had too change. We had already led a rather meager life in my opinion. We didn’t eat out, ever, we didn’t really have any bills except for 2 loans, our cell phones, and of course utilities. Now, we didn’t live a bare bones life, but I made sure that I was putting money back for a rainy day, a vacation, knee surgery, graduation, college, or whatever. I made things tight, nobody saw the money I was socking away so nobody missed the money I was socking away. Little did I know that the balance I was seeing over time was an optical illusion. It was not nearly enough money to even just scrape by, which we were used to, but scraping this way was more of a challenge. I forecasted that we would be good for at least 18 months of regular living, living like we had been living with our expenses we already had. I was way off. I made a very simple, yet important mistake, I didn’t take into account some major expenses like paying the additional monthly money to have the health/dental/vision insurance switched to my wife’s company coverage and their rates were quadruple what I was paying. Then there was prescription costs, not just the co-pays, but paying full price on them until my wife’s insurance kicked in, for my son alone it was over $1500.00 a month. I didn’t include the expense of feeding five adults each week, gas for vehicles, nor my wife and my smoking habit. All of that eats money and it eats that shit fast. When my current job started our checking account was operating on fumes, it had been for two months already. One can only make so many trips to the pawn shop for a quick loan, especially when I knew I would not be returning to get them out of hock.

But, here we sit just shy of two months of my new job and I am still trying to beat off bill collectors with a stick because we have been playing catch the fuck up since my first check. Now lets toss Christmas into the mix. To say it will be meager would not do it justice. By having older kids, I think they understand, they may not like it, but they haven’t given us any grief. We sat down, we explained, we all expressed our concerns, and I thought it was over-with. I had went to my room for some quiet time, some me time, time to not be around people, I was disappointed, I didn’t even want to be around me. My son knocked on the door, asking gently if he could talk to me. I was in there, in the dark, laying sideways on my bed, too lazy to take my shoes off so my legs just dangled. He and his sister had got together, along with the boyfriend, and collected money for me and my wife to go have a date together, just the two of us, no worries, just go see a movie and have dinner, their treat. I was touched. We did go out, just her and I, we saw a movie that she had been saying she wanted to see, then we went to eat. We had a nice time, we didn’t talk about money a single time, and we were almost at a loss to have something to talk about, it was a bit sad if you ask me. When we were done neither of us was in a real celebratory mood so we went to go look at the area Christmas lights on our way home. It’s hard to be festive or to remain festive since we both know that this will be a very quiet Christmas for us. We both are looking forward to the coming year as anything has to be better than how 2014 turned out.

I guess my message is this, no matter how prepared for a disaster you assume that you are, you aren’t. There were probably thousands of ways to do things different but my goal was to keep my “credit” in tact as well as possible, late payments seem to hurt more than missed payments for some reason. I’m sure the kinks will get worked out soon enough, too bad its not today tho. I still wish that all of y’all have a very Merry Christmas (or whatever y’all do or don’t celebrate) and that the new years brings you one step closer to your dreams. I would like to give a quick shout out to Patty and Dr. Rexi who have made me smile and think in my times when I didn’t want to smile and think, and for that I can offer nothing more than my sincere thanks and gratitude. There have been other friends that have been there as well, I have not forgot y’all either. Y’all behave yourself at this time of year. If I don’t get back to writing another post by the end of the year just know we are well and we wish for all of y’all to be well as well.

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