Have you ever been the captain of a sinking ship?
Believe it or not, this statement sums up one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.
I am writing this essay now as a forty-four year old woman, who has had her share of ups and downs of an adventurous life. I am a goal oriented person, who loves a challenge. I am also a hardworking and innovative single mom with a disability at the moment. I have had many great accomplishments in my life.
My story begins with my struggle to finish high school. My parents moved a lot, and it was hard for me to stay in the school of my choice. This was the moment that created my first goal.
I started working when I was twelve. I wanted to own my own home; somewhere I could have roots. I began saving my money at a young age. My first job was a major learning curve for me. I worked at a sign painting shop, one of those shops where everything was done by hand.
I was not very artsy at all, but the boss there had so much faith in me that he made me feel like there was nothing I couldn’t do. With my first working experience, I excelled by leaps and bounds out of my element. I became a sign painter, my favourite job there was working at Mosport Speedway working on billboards, and painting stripes, and numbers on race cars.
I purchased my own home when I was twenty-one. I had saved five thousand dollars, and my parents matched the amount; this became my down payment.
I enjoyed being a home owner. I did not enjoy dealing with banks, insurance companies, lawyers, or real estate agents.
I had another experience at a job that I would like to share with you.
I was hired through a company to work a contract position at a major financial institution. I worked there for a few years. The company had an award system for their employees called the “make the difference” award. They would recognize one of their employees each month. Although I was not an employee, the company decided that since I was nominated so many times they would make an exception and allow me to receive one of their company awards for consistent excellent performance. A lot of company employees were not on board with me receiving their company award; being an outsider. They sure were not happy with me when I went on to win the grand prize at the awards night.
The grand prize was a four thousand dollar travel voucher. I toured Europe’s castles for a month. What a fabulous adventure that was! When I came back, I asked for a more challenging position, and a raise. They did not accommodate me, so I left.
I got a job with an office form company and almost doubled my salary.
I managed to keep my dream of being a homeowner alive for twelve years.
This dream was definitely alive; an entity all of its own. I believe the house that I bought was hexed. In my twelve years there I managed to overcome the following:
- I had two sixty foot tall trees fall on my house. From this experience I learned how to chop, and pile wood, and how much fun it is dealing with insurance agencies.
- I had two above ground pools split on me; one while I was sitting on the side. From this I learned just exactly how much water is in a swimming pool, and to never ever, sit on an above ground pool wall again.
- I had a $12,000 dollar fire that destroyed my garage. I never knew just how brave I could be. I actually crawled about thirty feet under the flames and pulled my neighbour’s 120 pound dog out of its doghouse. And again, how much fun it is to deal with insurance agencies.
- I had a tenant that was actually twelve tenants, as she was a multiple personality person. This situation taught me, to never ever be a landlord again.
- I had two terrible relationships that cost me $25,000 dollars. I will never, ever co-sign a loan for anyone again; or live common-law too long.
- I was T-Boned in an accident that destroyed my car, and my body.
- Then to top it all off, I got laid off my job. These occurrences were all on top of normal every day break-downs.
I can be thankful, though it may seem like there are a few number twelve’s in my story.
My house number was eleven, the house with number twelve address; it was just across a very narrow street … and it blew up.
I did keep overcoming all these obstacles as long as I could because I was determined to keep my dream alive.
I learned how to maintain, and repair my car. I taught myself how to drywall, paint, and fix shingles; I even learned how to clean my chimney. Around this time computers were coming alive, I taught myself enough skill to land a few really good jobs.
I was a really great captain. My ship hasn’t sunk yet; it’s in dry docks for overhaul.