Michael Late and his act, The Late Mike Show, is currently in Las Vegas plugging his international show. Billed as the first Lederhosen Magician; Michael is an award winning magician who has worked extensively in Europe and just finished a three week tour in China. The Austrian performer wowed the Chinese population and won an award for his show and has been invited back, but, this time for a three month tour.
This was actually going to be a post about the rapidly approaching likelihood of insolvency. Insolvency is also known as going bankrupt or ‘going bust.’ But as I stood in the kitchen thinking of how I’d gotten to this stage, I remembered what started the whole shooting match.
It was while having this internal dialogue with myself that I remembered that, despite my current predicament, credit cards have always been good to me. I’ve worked hard all my adult life to get a good credit rating. Credit has allowed me to do and own many things.
My first house, cars, furniture, and when money got very tight, eat. I’ve used them to pay bills so my family didn’t freeze to death in the winter or starve in the summer. I felt like these ‘magical’ cards had saved me more than once from my family getting thrown out into the streets.
I was satisfied that I ran the cards. They did not run me.
Then the late summer of 2010. Things had been ‘over’ for a very long time. I won’t go into the reasons or who might or might not be to blame. The bottom line was simple. We were through.
After one night of staying in the house my ex-wife and I shared together, she stayed God knows where and my daughter stayed with a friend, I packed a couple of bags and left.
I went to the closest hotel near my old home. I went into the reception area and asked if they had any vacancies. The lady looked doubtful and began to check her computer. They did have one room left and unfortunately it would only be for one night.
She smiled at me and asked, “Is your visit for business or pleasure?”
“Neither,” I replied. “I’ve just run away from home and I have no place to stay.”
The reception lady smiled again and said, “Let me see if I can get you some rooms for tomorrow on, then.”
Despite her best efforts, the town I lived in and it’s surrounding area did not have one spare room open. Not in that particular branch anyway. I went into my room and took advantage of the internet service and immediately started my search for a place to live.
What followed was a whirlwind of a week that involved work, looking for and finding hotels that had vacancies and moving from one hotel to the next. My daughter joined me and we shared rooms for just over two weeks. We stayed in some very nice places and some not so nice places. Regardless of the nice factor of the hotel rooms, they all had one thing in common. They were expensive.
I never learned why the hotels in my area were so full those two weeks in September of 2010. There really is nothing of consequence for folks to flock here to see. I’m still baffled by the whole thing.
I took the credit cards with me as my soon-to-be-ex-wife had money at her disposal, I did not. I told her that I would take responsibility for the money already owed on the cards. My first big mistake. The money owed was soon joined by the costs of hotel rooms, food, petrol and replacing things I no longer had access to. On top of that, the internet that was so vital for my search of a more permanent place to stay was quite expensive.
Someone was definitely looking out for me and my daughter though. Because I found a flat to live in about the midway point of my fleeing my previous life. So after two weeks I had my first new home.
Please don’t watch the video all the way through, I only put it up because I couldn’t find a picture of my first new home.
While I was working, finding a flat, moving and trying to ‘carry on regardless’ I found myself going through the motions in a sort of fugue state. Above everything else, I had to be there for our daughter who was still attending university and needed to move again.
The items I needed all came out of the credit cards. Cash for my deposit and the first and last month’s rent. The eight new tyres that I needed to replace because the ‘flat fairy’ visited me often that first year. Paying for items I needed replaced because, apart from the electric items, my clothes, books, dvds, and some files, the only other thing I left with was the existing debt on the cards.
Credit cards also paid for my divorce, easily the least expensive thing I had to purchase that year.
I further added to my scarily increasing mountain of debt by going back to America for the first time in 21 years. My daughter and I both needed the break and there were family members that she had never met. Plus the last time that we were there she was all of nine months old and didn’t remember the family she had met.
The added allure of ‘going home‘ included seeing my son, who I had not seen since 1996 and this was the first chance he had to meet his sister.
Of course while we were there the cards took a further hammering. Motel rooms, Silver Dollar City, and Dallas helped to increase my debt.
Everything spent was worth it. For the first time ever, I had both of my ‘kid’s’ together and it was, sadly, very brief but so satisfying. We came back home and settled back into our new life.
The flat which was so comfy for one person, started getting claustrophobic for two. A mate at work mentioned a house that was for rent and we took it. More expense for the card as I had to use them to make another deposit.
But we now had a garden (that’s yard if you’re from the other side of the pond) and more importantly room!
While all this was going on, my daughter and I continued our ‘normal’ life. Work and living. We both still are a little shell shocked by the divorce. We are also trying to come to grips with a few mental and personal issues.
We both suffer from trust issues. We’re both also trying to find out who we are again. It seems that in the shuffle we’ve lost a bit of ourselves.
I don’t know if we’ll ever find all of what we’ve lost or misplaced. But apart from the ups and downs of everyday life, we are still looking.
You can rebuild your life after having 25 years of your life suddenly changed forever and gone in the blink of an eye.
I will say the the journey of self discovery is not over yet. For me or my daughter. The journey so far has been painful, sad, unfocused and sometimes fun.
I stayed in a situation that was miserable for all concerned for far too long. Mainly because of money. I didn’t think it was financially affordable to leave a bad relationship. I now know that you can do it. It has for me been costly, too costly for right now. But I’ll hang in there and get hold of the right people to help me out of the mess I’ve inadvertently gotten myself into.
It seems I was right about it not being financially possible. I did find out though that it’s not about the money or the debt you find yourself trying to manage. It’s not even about the money mess that you wind up in. It’s about escaping and finding your freedom and you. And of course about straightening up the debt.
So, until I get out of this mess, I’ll continue rebuilding. And along the way I’ll find out new and forgotten things about myself. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some discovering to do.