five years

Some time between 4 and 6 AM this morning, I reached my five-year milestone in sobriety.

I used to say that my sobriety date was 12 January 2008, but I was still drinking after midnight that day ... or should I say night ... and so I have amended the date.

It was supposed to be a happy day at work last night, appreciating the fact that I have a (admittedly very-low-paying) job and another year under my belt. It was not to be.

A sign of things to come was stuck to the floor just inside the store: a piece of dog shit that came in on somebody's shoe. Cleaning that up was the first thing I did.

Then, my very first customer only had a $100 bill to cover a purchase of less than $10. It took all of my $10 bills and most of my $5's to give him change, so I had to take that $100 bill and buy $10's and $5's from the safe.

Far too many people came in and each spent far too little during my shift. I have a lot of chores and must cover the register as well. Folks kept coming in, but I only cleared $300 for the night. It was absolutely pitiful, but that was the least of my problems.

After disassembling and cleaning the soft-serve ice cream machine, I accidentally left the spigot open when pouring the ice cream mix back into the hopper. About a pint of the mix ran through the machine and onto the floor before I noticed. While mopping up that mess, I knocked a framed "kitchen inspection report" notice off the wall with the mop handle. Oh boy, broken glass AND ice cream goo. Later, I knocked over a can of carbonated energy drink while stocking a cooler. Another mop job. I haven't been so eager for the night to be over so that I could go home since Lisa died.

But my boss wanted to hang out and have a smoke after I got off work. That's fine. It's a sign that she likes me. Just hanging out and chatting for a while. I'm always anxious that she has something serious and work-related to talk about, but that's rarely the case. She trusts me, and I make sure that trust is justified every chance I get. When she came in this morning I told her about the spills and about the broken glass; I even noted the broken glass in my chore log. Somebody was bound to notice that the glass was broken sooner or later, and I'd rather it be sooner and heard directly from me.

While I'd like to hit a meeting today, I can't afford the gas to drive all the way into town. I'm also leery of driving in town because my car registration expired in August and I still haven't been able to afford to take care of that. You see, first I have to get a North Carolina driver's license, then I have to get the car inspected, get it registered, get the title changed over to this state ... it's all going to add up to well over $200. I should save a lot on my car insurance once that is done. North Carolina supposedly has some of the lowest car insurance rates in the country. I'm paying about $9/month extra on my Florida insurance for their Hurricane Fund on top of the higher Florida rates.

In February I will be getting close to a thousand dollars back from the IRS. With that I hope to get caught up. This month I am very reluctantly letting some bills go unpaid; my rent is going to be late (I already spoke to my landlord about that, and he understands) but after I pay that I'm not sure how I'm going to pay for gasoline and food for the next two weeks. Once I get a cutoff notice from the electric and phone companies, I can seek help from local charities. I'm not happy about it but I've been through it before. It's bad enough that I don't have Lisa anymore; what's worse is that we were finally seeing light at the end of the financial tunnel until her death cut out more than half of our household income. But if she hadn't helped me get this job, 100% of our income would be gone and I would be destitute.

Oh well. I'll survive. I have a job and my boss likes me. More hours and a raise would be nice, but I don't see that happening until the tourist season starts again. The company is cutting hours for a some of the employees and I'm just glad that it hasn't affected me. Although, I would be lying if I said that I wasn't thrilled that I don't have to go back to work for a few days.

Hallelujah, it's the weekend, Maude!

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