Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Four Years


I worked my Evanston job last night-- I only work there on Monday nights. I'd love to give up having to drive up there and pay for parking, but the extra money justifies continuing to do it, at least for a while.

I was glad I did work there last night. I was waiting on a table with a three gentlemen, and couldn't figure out why one of them looked so familiar. Suddenly I realized that it was a guy I'd met at a blogger gathering last year: the father of bloggers Kristi and Vikki.

When I got home, Kim was already asleep, so I changed clothes, poured a glass of wine and checked my email and my regular blogs. One of the posts I read was this very sweet one about the anniversary, November 8, of our first date four years ago.

Four years ago, I was still a sixth grade teacher and she was still working her first post-divorce job at one of Chicago's major newspapers. The job was a sweatshop in an office; she'd have to make a hundred or more phone calls a day. She didn't own a car, so she had to walk her daughter to school, get on the el and go to work. After school, Mel would go to a daycare center that, while conveniently located at the end of the block Kim lived on, was filled with kids way younger than Mel. She was bored there.

For my part, life was a blur. When my landlord and I kicked out the evil roommate, I was faced with footing all the costs for the three-bedroom apartment I lived in. I checked into other apartments in the area and discovered that now that my neighborhood had become a "hot" neighborhood in Chicago, I'd pay nearly as much for a one-bedroom, let alone a two-bedroom apartment. Since I had a backyard for my son and a washer and dryer in the basement, I decided to stay. That meant never saying no to an extra shift at my second job at a nearby restaurant. I was exhausted all the time. My home was always a mess because I was too damned tired to clean it.

In four years, things have changed. Kim got another job that was better and recently got yet another that has been a big improvement; the stress level at her job has been greatly reduced. And after a two-year battle with an the principal from hell, I left my sixth grade teaching job. Around the same time, my father survived a major cancer surgery and I buried one of my closest, oldest friends after he was murdered in a robbery. I took a teaching position for a year, and then went back to school. I've been working on a degree in Pharmacy, but have made a decision to switch to nursing; it would take less than half the time, and the job opportunities and money are both great. Either way, there's no way I would have been able to do it if Kim weren't around. I need to finish school soon; I want to make good on my promise to both my kids to pay for most of their college.

Oh, and Kim and I got married on December 30, 2005.

Four years ago, everybody I knew was dazed that Americans had re-elected an idiot. Kim was still a struggling single mother, and I was still a teacher and struggling single father. How things change in four years.

One of the costs of my new work and school schedule has been time together with Kim. I decided I need a couple of adjustments. This morning, I got up when Kim did. I made her coffee and cooked her breakfast and sat and talked with her before she ran off to work.

After she left, I grabbed my ipod shuffle, put on my running shoes and my old "Eastern Illinois University" running jacket and went for a run in nearby Horner Park. After having two old friends in their forties die of heart disease in the last month, I've made a commitment to work up to running three times a week. I've got to make sure to stick around. I have people who depend on me.

14 comments:

GETkristiLOVE said...

I hope you didn't have to cut Dad E off from the swill, and kick him out of the bar or anything.

MacGuffin said...

It's a good thing to have people depend on you, keeps life worth living.

It's funny you should mention jogging again. I've recently started shooting hoops with my son after an extended convalescence. Been sore as hell but it's been more than worth it esp the bonding aspect with the boyo.

SkylersDad said...

Good for you JY! Exercise is important for health and for stress relief.

By the way, your present arrived in the mail while I was away, I shall post later about it after I get my butt caught up at work!

vikkitikkitavi said...

Jeez, I hope Dad tipped you well.

LegalMist said...

change is good.... may it keep getting better and better for you both!

Powderhornhockey said...

So now I get to dig out my care plan books out of the attic? They are yours bub, congrats on joining the ranks of nursing. Nursing is a great place to be, there is a practice for every personality and talent. I'l be here if you need me.

And you know where your nearest tutor is ....

Powderhornhockey said...

So now I get to dig out my care plan books out of the attic? They are yours bub, congrats on joining the ranks of nursing. Nursing is a great place to be, there is a practice for every personality and talent. I'l be here if you need me.

And you know where your nearest tutor is ....

Cheer34 said...

you have many bloggers that depend on you too....after a year of 5 days a week, with an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes each of those 5 days working out, I can say I enjoy it and look forward to it..one of my New Years resolutions for 2009 is to go to the Doctor for a complete physical and find out how much good the exercise has done for me.....I hope you reach your goal of running 3 days a week....it worth the time and the effort.....I need your posts to read

Johnny Yen said...

Kristi-
He was the gentleman he always is. I suspect that he leaves the drunken antics up to his daughters ; )

Macguffin-
My stepdaughter likes playing basketball. They're renovating the playground of the nearby school that we usually play at. We're waiting for that to get done.

Believe me, the time you spend is something he'll remember.

Skylersdad-
I'm glad it got there safely!

You're absolutely correct on the mental and physical benefits of the aerobic exercise. As much exercise I get at my waitering jobs, there's nothing like a good run (or bicycle trip) to clear your head and make you feel physically better.

Vikki-
I think his friend picked up the check, and he did tip well.

Legalmist-
As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans." Yes, the only thing constant is change.

Powderhorn-
I thank you for that and the loaned books!

Cheer34-
I suspect you'll get good news. And don't worry, I enjoy doing the posts!

Erik Donald France said...

Sweet! Congrats and salud -- right on about the health stuff, too.

randomgal said...

:) <3

Dad E said...

Thanks for the mention. And thanks for re-introducing yourself. I will try to catch your blog.

Mob said...

Good man for looking after yourself, I need to start working out again just to keep from falling apart. I could easily see myself laying on the couch for the next 10 years before I know it.

Distributorcap said...

you just tell the best stories....