Have you ever heard of the TV sitcom “Three’s Company”? Apparently it must be based on something in human nature, so it seemed to me anyway. Because when I introduced a fourth person into our little modern day commune, things quickly began to sour. Two strong females in one household does not make for a peaceful one. About this time, my legally separated wife finally got a job working at the VA hospital. While there is a nursing shortage, there is a shortage for LPN jobs. So after 90 days, she was eligible for health benefits. The next thing I know is that my girlfriend who will be called “Dory” was helping Julie pack up her stuff. With two driven females at work, the packing was soon complete. Unbeknown to me, she had been looking for an apartment soon after getting her new job. So, it was only a short while before she moved out with her two cats. Now, that just left the three of us. Well, Dory being quite the little nester was not entirely happy about this arrangement, either. If you know anything about women, when they are unhappy, the man in the relationship is soon unhappy as well. After being continually reminded of the one year-agreement I had made with my roommate, I informed him that it was time for him to move out. As a matter of fact, he was over by two months. It had become quite apparent that he would still be living with us even now if I had let him. So after much ado, he found a place and I helped him get set up. I basically furnished his little one room studio apartment. To show his gratitude, he has basically stopped talking to me. The only time when he contacted me was when he needed my help in a photoshoot which I declined. The funny thing is that he still friends with my wife, Dory on Facebook. He holds no ill will towards the person who was actually responsible for his moving out. Sometimes I just don’t understand human nature.
No sooner than you could say “DAMN” my life had normalized. It was just me and Dory in this house. Soon afterwards, we decided to celebrate our good fortune by going on a trip to the Philippines to visit Dory’s family and to do some sightseeing. So, you say my life was finally getting to be normal and well, boring. The hell you say! Silly human, you would be wrong again. The current house we lived in was just about perfect for us. We had plenty of room for everything. It was the first time I had room since short selling my house to have my pool table set up. We had room to store both my boat and my utility trailer and we had an absolutely stellar view of the Strip. Sunsets and sunrises were also frequently spectacular. Frankly, I would have loved to have bought that house. When I rented the house I signed a two-year lease. When the lease was up, I contacted the homeowner about renewing the lease. After the second failed attempt, I simply put it out of my mind. Because what landlord in their right mind gets rid of a renter who always pays his rent on time and is no hassle? Well, that must be one of the mysteries of the universe… because that is precisely what happened. After living there 3 years with no issues, almost immediately upon getting back from our trip and in July, the hottest month of the year, I got a 30-day notice stating that I had to move out. First of all, we had just got back from a three-week trip to Hong Kong and the Philippines, we had no reserve cash left. We were living in a 4,000 sf house with RV parking. Do you know how hard that is to replace in just 2 weeks? We did find a house in the allotted time, and I might add it was even nicer than the house I currently was living in and it was less than 2 miles from work, and it had a 4-car “holy shit” garage. Unfortunately, it had no room for our boat. So, now we had to pay extra for the storage of a boat I had not used in 7 years. That story is for another chapter. So, we moved it to a fenced-in area near Lake Mead. I had to keep it there for 1 year before I finally found a buyer for it. Again another story. By this time, I had moved my gym equipment and was in no mood to move it again. So, I donated it all to Opportunity Village. I also found a co-worker whose husband wanted a pool table. So, that problem was taken care of…I wasn’t going to have to take it apart and keep it in storage any more. Slowly but surely I was simplifying my life.
As I said we found a house, but we needed first and last months rent. So, I humbled myself and borrowed the money from my sister. Once we finished up moving, I was able to pick up overtime and had her paid off in a couple of months. So, now that we had the house rented and we had just two weeks left for the move. I had previously gone through my garage and gotten rid of all the junk that I had collected that would be of no use to me. We had, of course not been resting on our laurels while we waited for the rental papers to be completed and been packing since we got our notice. Since my schedule was already made, I had to work around it. This didn’t give me a lot of time. It was up to my girlfriend and I to do the moving. When, all we had left was the bulky furniture and appliances, I rented a large truck with a hydraulic lift and went to Home Depot and hired two reputable-looking Mexican day laborers. While it is true that there are some scammers there, most of them are honest hardworking people. With the three of us working non-stop, we had all the furniture and appliances moved to the new house in just one day. Since I had no room for my utility trailer and a hydraulic lift, I gave them to my two helpers. They had busted their asses and had been very careful with everything that they moved. So, I felt like they had earned it. That just left us, the morning of the last day to clean up the house. Dory had been cleaning each room as it was emptied, so all we had left to do was to shampoo the carpet in the entrance way in the morning. I had made the stipulation that I did not want to see the homeowner in the walk through, so his brother acted as a go-between. Everything was satisfactory, so we were eligible for a full refund. You know what that asshole owner did? He made me wait 30 days for my refund just because he could do it. What a prick. Did I tell you that the two weeks that we moved the average temperature was close to 115 Fahrenheit? Well, it was! Did I also tell you that I developed a ventral hernia from all the heavy lifting? Well, I did. Finally, when I could not take the pain any longer, I had the surgery to repair my hernia. Needless to say, that homeowner is not one of my favorite people.
The house we found ourselves in was nearly perfect. The only thing it was missing was a covered patio and an RV parking area. There was one small irritant, our next door neighbor had the meanest and biggest dog outside of a Stephen King movie. The first time he jumped against the side gate and started barking, I almost had a heart attack. After a few scares from him I decided to call his bluff. I went right up to the gate so close that I could even smell his bad breath and I started to bark and growl right back at him. You know what, he turned tail and went back in the garage. This happened a few more times and I always barked and growled right back at him. He actually stopped doing it with me and it became a game, we would actually start playing. I think when I finally moved out, he missed me. I wish all my problems were this easy to fix.
While we loved the house the owner would only give us a one year-lease at a time. Each time we renewed it the rent went up. So, after just one renewal cycle we decided to buy a house. It had been 7 years since I had short sold my house, so I was OK to get a mortgage. I contacted a dive friend of mine who had always liked my boat and who had actually tried to buy it 4 years earlier, on whether or not he still wanted to buy it. He jumped at the chance and agreed to the terms site unseen which basically called for him to pay off the rest of the boat approximately $6,200. Simple as that, my boat was gone. What a sense of relief it was, not to have to worry about taking care of that damn boat. For the first time we were in the drivers seat. We had 7 months to not only find a house but to move as well. So we were able to take our time. And time it took, we must have looked at at least 100 houses. Every time we found one we liked we got outbid. When we finally found one we liked and our bid was accepted, the house was broken into before the final walk through. Well, I work nights, do you think my wife would feel safe in this house? No way in hell. So we backed out of the deal. Of course, I had already committed myself to transferring to another hospital, so I was stuck. The house we finally found was right in the middle of the two hospitals, so I would not have had to change where I worked. So, that extra stressor was unnecessary. So finally we found the house that met our criteria: right price, right location, single story, acceptable size for both house and lot. And best of all, it qualified for the free down payment for a hardship neighborhood. So, we got $20,000 free money for the down payment and as long as we lived in that house for at least three years, it was forgiven, Yipee! Wonders never cease to amaze me, our proposal was immediately accepted.
We knew that we would have to eventually have to fix the roof since the house was fifty years old, but the house was plenty big enough for us and the backyard was large enough for Dory to put a garden in. It also had a small area where I could park my small utility trailer that I had bought for the move. When we investigated how much they wanted to move us just 12 miles, the prices were crazy. So, we purchased a new trailer and made one trip a day until the move was done. We even moved the large pieces of furniture without hiring help. The entire move was done by just the two of us. One little fact, I would like to add here is that my wife is a 5 foot-tall Filipina. So, not too bad at all. Before we started moving in, I did some odd jobs on the house to fine tune it. I also moved in immediately, so that my driving distance would be less. So, I moved in the house a whole month before my wife did. It was quite an undertaking but we did it. It was a little tight the last couple of months because we had to pay for two households, so I picked up overtime as well to make up the difference. Once we just had the one household to pay for, we immediately started to pay off our credit card debt. Our mortgage was much smaller than the rent we had been paying, and the utilities were also less as well. I eventually had to replace my pickup truck, so I now have a car payment as well, but we are virtually debt free otherwise. So, life has settled down some.
Of course, during this time we lost two family members, My mother and my sister’s husband passed away. We just came back from a road trip to Florida where I brought back some family keepsakes that my sister had set aside for me. They both will be missed. My hearfelt condolences go out to my sister. It is now just the two of us siblings. Both of our brothers had passed away and our parents as well. Life can be very hard sometimes. Writing this memoir has been quite a ride down memory lane.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, we had just made a nice little trip to Europe. We had a great time, and it was especially fortuitous because we just got back in before COVID-19 struck. Life has been hectic at work with all of the COVID positive patients that we are caring for. After spending three years at my new hospital, I decided to move back to my previous hospital. So, this brings us up to the present time. Due to the pandemic related restrictions. we have been spending a lot of time at home. I installed a she shed in the back yard for Dory and I finally got my gazebo with an outdoor kitchen and pizza oven as well. I am looking forward to the cooler days ahead so that I can start grilling again.
My wife and I are planning a trip next year. Hopefully COVID will cooperate with our plans. I hope you enjoyed my odyssey. Chapter Nine will include many side stories that just didn’t fit in the story line. Many of them are quite funny. I hope you enjoy them as well.