Communication Interrupted and other mishaps

I find myself without a functional phone . . . again. This is the third time within a year.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’ve been working on financial independence from the ex. It’s another step in my seven year transition from being completely enmeshed and codependent with him after an 18 year relationship and still stuck with him in my life because we share a child, who happens to be on the Autism Spectrum.

When we split at the end of 2013. . . my decision, not his . . . my phone service remained on his plan because I was 100% reliant on him for financial support and had a lot of reasons to remain dependent on him. The majority of those reasons centered around physical and mental health issues and conditions.

The end of 2019 brought some significant changes in his circumstances and I knew I had to regain financial independence. It took me six months of hard work and accessing community resources to training and employment support services. I finished 2019 employed by a well known tax preparation service. My plan had been to work for them while I completed training for becoming a Peer Support and Wellness Specialist in the mental/behavioral health field. Alas, I wasn’t cut out to work in that industry or setting. I left that position in mid-March 2020, right after COVID social distancing and “stay home, stay safe” protocols were put in place. It took about a month before I found another position. This time working for a behavioral healthcare organization. YAY!

I knew this was the foot in the door to establish a career in the mental health field. I knew I would fight tooth and nail to maintain this job, even though I was terrified that I would struggle with my mental health, as in the past, and not be able to sustain and maintain the position. I was offered a choice between full-time and part-time. I opted for the part-time position. It was the right choice.

One of the first things I did was switch my phone over to my own phone service account. It was a fully paid for device and I was able to enter into the service agreement without a monthly fee for a new phone. YAY! again. Then, a month or so later, I left my phone at a service deli counter at a local grocery store and had to contract with the phone provider to get a new phone. I got the least expensive one with the lowest monthly fee, but still wound up practically doubling my phone bill. Not happy about that.

Then, another month or so later, I engaged with someone who I allowed to scam me, wound up with an exorbitant bill I couldn’t afford and had to give up my phone plan, with my phone not fully paid for. So, once again, I was without phone service. It took another few weeks before I was able to purchase and unlocked phone and go with a pre-paid phone service provider. Thank God I bought the warranty because I dropped it face down on a concrete landing and the screen shattered on Christmas Eve. I can get a refund or replacement, not sure which they will do, but, I have to send the phone back first. It was still functional, so I decided to slap a screen protector on it to keep it from shattering more and protect my fingers from the broken screen.

On New Year’s Day I discovered that the charging port of the phone was damaged. Now it’s basically dead and I can’t charge it enough to do a factory reset on it before sending it back. I can’t afford to get a replacement at the moment. Which means I’m out of communication with significant people . . . for the second time since October.

That’s not the only sad saga on my journey of independence. Transportation is the other.

I was staying with friends when the shelter-in orders came down. Basically I became one of those unintended, long-term houseguests. These friends had two vehicles and generously allowed me to use one or the other of them and gave me rides whenever I needed them. I was living with them when I obtained my current employment. It was becoming a burden on them to help me get to and from work. I reached out to my faith community and was gifted with a used but well cared for 2002 Ford Focus. They knew there was an issue with the cooling system and that the radiator had to be frequently refilled and told me as much. But, they didn’t know for sure what the issue was.

The first time it overheated on me and stopped working was on a freeway on-ramp. One of the friends I was staying with rescued me and referred me to her long standing mechanic. He examined it and found out it had a bad thermostat. Simple fix. Less than a week later, another issue came up and it overheated again. He didn’t charge for another diagnostic. At that time, he found another, more in depth repair that needed to be made. I can’t remember the specifics. It cost me $300. Fortunately, the Employment Specialist I was working with managed to get it reimbursed.

When he completed that repair, he kept the car an extra day so he could really test drive it and make sure that all was good. It wasn’t. It turned out it had a cracked head. A $1,500 repair. I managed to come up with the first $500. However, all the money I planned on putting toward the remainder, kept getting spent on urgent (and not so urgent) expenses. So, my car is sitting in his back lot. Thankfully, he’s a good guy and isn’t charging me storage fees. It’s been there since the end of May or so.

Fast forward to November. The long-term houseguest issue was fine until I wound up having to manage my youngest daughter’s distance learning while in my friend’s home. My child is beyond challenging. Not only is she on the “high functioning” area of the Autism Spectrum, she also has Oppositional Defiance Disorder. She regularly becomes verbally abusive and physically violent with me. This put a strain on things. Add to that fact that my friend is the stoic, hold it in, don’t talk about an issue until the molehill is a mountain type. So, things came to a head and I wound up having to move out and back into my apartment. So, I lost access to transportation and I don’t know when I’ll be able to . . . or if I’ll be able to . . . do relationship repair.

Why hadn’t I moved back into my apartment sooner? Well, my oldest daughter’s family of six had lost their housing right after Thanksgiving 2019 and didn’t have anywhere to go. So, they had to stay with me. Eight people and a couple of pets in a small 2 bedroom apartment wasn’t working out because my autistic child wasn’t safe to be around my young grandchildren due to her violent tendencies. She had gone to stay with her father in February. When she and I had to move back into my apartment with my other daughter’s family it was a strain.

Fortunately, one of the strains that was lifted was transportation because my adult daughter had a van I could use to get to and from work and grocery shopping.

Then, she lost her job. So, she and I started Door Dashing on December 1st. This went on until we got into a car accident on Christmas Day. Now, her van is also living at the mechanic’s lot, along with my car.

No phone. No car.

Happy New Year.


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