A calendar of emotions

Have you ever associated an object with an emotion?

I hate desk calendars. I just recently bought one to pull the pages off and stick to the refrigerator. I thought it would be a good way to keep track of my schedule with diet and exercise.

But it didn’t take long to realize it was a source of contention for me. Let me back up and explain.

I bought my first home, by myself, in 2001. I was promoted to Spa Manager of the beauty salon I was working for and was making enough money to be able to afford a home. Or so my lender said.

What she didn’t say was, I wouldn’t be able to afford anything else. Like electricity, and water and HOA dues and other seemingly important things. I still remember exactly how much that house payment was each month: $1156.

And that was the ‘discounted’ payment because I opted for auto-payments from my checking account. Which meant that money was coming out before anything else could.

I was so stressed trying to make ends meet and bought a desk calendar to keep at my dining room table to try to help me stay organized.

Every time I got a bill in the mail, I would go to that calendar and write the amount down on the day it was due. Then I would do my best to try to figure out how I was going to scrape together the money by the due date.

I did this for months. My boys knew I was constantly stressed about money too. They avoided things like school dances or signing up for sports, because they didn’t want to ask me for the money.

That statement still chokes me up. Those two were looking out for me, as much as I was for them. I found us a home, which I was so proud of, but I was struggling to make ends meet.

I was also still quasi dating the saddle maker. You remember him, the one with the mouth. I didn’t want to date him, and I will admit here that I stayed as long as I did because I needed help.

When the furnace went out on me, he was the one who paid to have it repaired. One morning I woke up and put my feet on the floor only to find it completely flooded. The hot water heater went out and because it wasn’t installed correctly, and my home was built on a concrete slab, I had several inches of standing water in my room. So he paid for a new water heater too.

I knew I couldn’t sustain the payments on my home, and be able to feed my boys, on my salary from the salon. I spent weeks wondering what I could do and how I was going to survive.

And then I thought of the realtor who sold me my home. She was making big bucks selling homes, so why couldn’t I do that as well? Without hesitation, I sold a few possessions and paid for real estate school.

It was a three-month program that I finished in one. In May of 2002 I took the exams and passed with a 97% score. Real estate school does almost nothing to prepare one to be an actual realtor, so I found a local company to hang my license and learn the ropes.

I made over $100k in commissions my very first year. Other realtors I worked with asked me my secret, how I did it. I told them there was no secret I just had no choice. While others were busy setting up office and making sure they had just the right cards, I was out hustling.

Things changed rather quickly for me after that. Including the need for a certain boyfriend. But it took a few major things to happen for me to close that chapter.

Reader Comments

  1. Trudy Callan

    This is what I love the most about your blog, are the stories. I can totally understand why you stayed with a certain person for so long, out of necessity, pure survival. So glad you found a way out. Your boys are so sweet. It’s hurts our momma hearts not to be able to give them the things that would enrich their lives. That was a smart career change. And so true, that the secret to your success was in the hustle. The others did not feel the pressure. They had the choice to take their time.

  2. Mary D.

    I took a real estate class my last semester in college and completed it top of my class (I took it with the college dean who kept trying to copy my work!) I never took the test-one of my biggest regrets. I would have loved that job, I think. I got married and started a family instead! I wish I had some of your abilities to carry through with plans. Why did you quit?

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