Since I met Chef 20+ years ago, this man has always made sure I live in some very nice homes in some affluent neighborhoods. The kids were given their own rooms as much
as possible; they attended good schools, and we lived in security and stability. And then the economy tanked, I got laid off from a very well-paying job when the company I worked for moved to Georgia, and Chef ended up having to take a job that didn’t pay half of what he usually earned. And we found ourselves relegated to adjusting our standard of living and moving just across the street from the dividing line in Tulsa that separates the North side and the South side — Admiral Place.
Now, of course, unless you live in Tulsa, you aren’t really going to know what that means. But every large city has a part of it where us poor people live, and a place where the not-so-poor live, with a gray area in between that houses the mid-level incomes. And, about a year and half ago, Chef and I moved to the ghetto…lol. And frankly, it is just so much more fun than living in the large, boring houses I’m used to living in.
I’m pretty good with money, and I have had to live in poverty during my childhood, and with my first husband, so I know how to make my pennies scream. But Chef is not used to this kind of financial bind, and it was enough to make his head explode. When he looked at the houses we could afford easily, he rejected them all. Finally, I picked one out that had possibilities, as he put it.
Thanks to the club, it was painted, had new windows installed, and had some carpentry work done, all for nothing but the cost of the supplies. My landlord actually cried when I showed him the improvements. My neighbor is going to install an automatic garage door opener. Just for the price of a door he bought on clearance for $150. And, if you ask Chef these days how he likes our home, he’ll be the first to admit that it is nice not having to compete with the Joneses next door, or sell a kidney just to make utility payments. Our cars look like everyone else’s on our street; our dogs look the same as theirs, and no one flips out if the dogs pee in the wrong yard or the cat sits on a neighbor’s car. And my neighbors are friendly, kind, and always quick to lend a helping hand. We are all just working stiffs, and I just love that camaraderie.
I live down the street from a Walmart that seems to just attract gunmen, crystal meth cooks, and gang members, a bar that attracts some really, really lonely men, which in turn, attracts the Working Girls, and across the street is their working venue, a roach motel. This part of Tulsa never sleeps. I’ve seen a guy running from the police cut through my back yard, and last week another guy hid in my neighbor’s yard, trying to allude law enforcement. I’ve had a homeless girl knock on my door to get out of the rain, and I cooked her lunch, and put her in a hotel for a night. Because I live in the area that I do, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormon regularly knock on my door, and frankly, I’m starting to recognize their faces, and I even wave at them when I drive by now.
The guy that mows my lawn found some snakes in my yard, and one really large rat was living in the dog house. No, I’m not kidding.
You know, I am really loving this, much to my husband’s complete astonishment. I guess you can move the girl out of the trailer park, but not the trailer park out of the girl. And every time I see something odd, or meet someone who is having a hard life right now, I’m reminded that the Lord Jesus was poor, and if you ask me, He seemed to prefer to hang with us poverty-stricken. There is just so much more to laugh about. You will never really appreciate the good things in life until you’ve gone without, and I’ve gone without plenty of times. I have cable, when for a period of my life, I didn’t even have a television set. I have a cell phone, when there was a time, I didn’t even have a home phone. Internet when I never had a computer before. I have central air/heat, when I once lived in a home that had neither.
Yes, I may be living in the ghetto, but I’m blessed to have so much.
My husband and I are well on the way to a stronger, happier, more peaceful relationship. Financially, my new job has made a lot of difference.
My neighbor installed my doggy door, and now Sebastian and Milo have the freedom to rule the world, as they’re inclined to believe that they do. And Suzie and Jake no longer have to exercise miracle bladder control while I’m at work all day.
And best of all, in about three weeks, both my daughter Caitlyn, who is stationed in Japan, and Rebekkah, who has been in Texas taking care of her grandparents, are coming home. My son Dj just got back from Texas, and for the first time in too long, all my children will be in one place. Thank you, Lord!!
Life is good!