I need to explain what has been going on for me and why I haven’t been writing here much lately. My Dad had a series of mini-strokes just 2 days before Christmas. He was in the hospital recovering and going through rehabilitation for almost a month after that. He’s doing ok now, but the hospital is 2 hours away from the farm, so I was driving a whole lot. Thankfully I had JUST bought a new-to-me 2001 Subaru before this happened, so I had fresh, reliable wheels to do all that driving back and forth. And cruise control and a CD Player! It did need a new rear drive shaft, but that wasn’t that big of a deal and I got it done.
Since then, my sisters and I have been grappling with understanding my Dad’s long term care issues, as he is now living in a Memory Care facility, which costs $5,000 a month. YIKES!!!!!! We’re getting prepared to sell the family house to pay for this, which has involved tons of cleaning, clearing out and decisions to make. My Dad was a hoarder of junk, and also thousands of model cars….let’s just say a 27 foot long UHaul was not big enough. It’s especially frustrating because last spring, all 4 of us sisters together had asked him to please get ready and prepared for this kind of situation happening, and to let us know what he wanted to do long term. He is 78 and has heart disease, he had a quintuple bypass in 2006. While he is in pretty good shape physically now, he also hadn’t seen a doctor for at least 5 years after he was told he was borderline diabetic. He responded to our concern and request like he did to the doctor who told him about his potential diabetes- by not doing anything other than continuing to buy more toy cars.
Meanwhile, I also got divorced. There were a couple last minute enormous and intensely emotional fights over assets, during which I discovered that a very dear (well not so dear, actually) friend had completely disowned me. This betrayal hurt me so much. She had been my hero, someone I so admired and adored, and we’d been friends before Andrew. I tried to reconcile with her, but she made her judgement and chose Andrew’s side. Thank you to all my friends who are supporting me, I LOVE YOU!!! The day in Court went fine, the judge granted me the property and I agreed to pay Andrew off, and we split the assets and equipment. It’s all fair and square. He and the pigs will be moving out soon, and gone completely at the beginning of May. Getting married was not a mistake, in fact, I am extremely glad I had some legal protection for my share of what we did together over the past 5 years. It is a major hassle to get divorced, but that doesn’t mean you should stay married if you are unable to thrive and your partner is unable to make the changes you need. We are both moving forward with much more experience than we had before. Honestly, he is lucky to have had me as a partner, otherwise he very likely wouldn’t be farming or raising pigs. And you know what? I wouldn’t have this land. So, we both helped each other move forward. I wish him well, although…him saying to me “Why do you HAVE to have ideas?” is probably my favorite memory of our time together.
Moving on and ready to tackle the New Year, I worked out the year’s business plan and cash flow so that I could go to the bank and get the farm refinanced and get Andrew his money. I was feeling pretty good about the cash flow, although it is a little too tight in March. Somehow I had confidence enough to order not only $3000 worth of ducklings, but also $500 worth of goslings for early April delivery. WHAT?!
Then, my “new” car’s (which I had bought specifically to preemptively avoid my old car dying on me) engine blew up on my way home from yet another trip to my Dad’s. A very amazing friend of mine picked me up and helped me deal with that situation- hooking me up with his awesome mechanic who lent me his loaner car for several days, even after he discovered he would not be doing any work on my broke-down car. After his inspection, I found out the pre-purchase inspection I had done on the car before I bought it was a total sham. The new mechanic said the car was not even worth investing a new engine in. Meaning I just completely lost the $4,000 I had in it. ARRRRRGGGGGGGGGGH. Well, it was beyond that, head in hands desparate bawling is more like it.
So I used the loaner to drive home to Wisconsin to take care of the animals, and then I go back out the next day and look for another car. With money I technically had, but didn’t. It was all already earmarked, this is why having a solid cash flow outlined is so essential. This is also why you MUST have a safety back-up chunk of change! That night I frantically put out a “Fundraiser” with my pastured meats, and I’ve had some awesome folks sign on. THANK YOU!!! This helps me so much, both financially and emotionally. It is extremely hard to ask for help. Especially when you really don’t want to admit you are in a bad spot. I never want to burden people, that’s why I have put off writing about this for so long.
After driving all over kingdom-come looking at cars, I brought in my favorite potential car to the mechanic for an inspection. But the report back was that it was a lemon. I was about to pass out in the waiting area from all the stress. I knew I had to relinquish the loaner, but would then have no way to go looking at cars. In the end, a very clever friend of my friend came up with the solution- borrow one of my Dad’s cars for a little while (there are 5 just sitting there in his backyard. Hoarding “big” cars is harder to do, otherwise my Dad would have more than that.) It was like the pearly angels sang when my friend told me this idea. And why didn’t I think of that? Thank god for friends and their brilliant thoughts! My luck started to turn that day I think, because my sister just happened to be driving one of the cars up in the Cities when I called her. She and I met up and waited for her cats to be ready to go home (they were getting spayed,) then we dropped off the loaner and drove back down to my Dad’s to drop her off. I headed back home driving a 87 Mercury Grand Marquis. A 29 year old car is kind of terrifying, but it is in good shape and I got it tuned up. Also-I have to wonder, what else can happen anyways? I’ve had a good run of mayhem, I think I have paid my dues for a little while.
The moral of the story is this: before all of this happened, in early December, I was feeling pretty good about things. But I had a little foolish pondering of “what do I want out of life now that I have achieved this stage?” I learned my lesson. This has all been very humbling. Thank you again, my sweet and treasured friends, for your support. I really couldn’t survive without you.