Thursday, December 13, 2018

Easy Come, Easy Go

Today, finally, after three and a half years, I received a settlement for my car that was involved in an accident.  I got almost ten thousand reais.

It's already gone.

I started the morning with a big old negative balance in my bank account, and I now have another big old negative balance in the same account.  At some point around eleven this morning, the balance peaked out at about 6.5 large, before rapidly plummeting back towards zero and ending the day at about half the deficit I started with.

All in all, I feel pretty relieved.

I will spare you (and me) the details of the agony I went through to get this stupid money.  Suffice it to say that I gave up on getting anything at various points, and tried to forget that I even had a lawsuit pending in the Brazilian legal system.  But justice, finally, was served.  And I'm happy about that.  I'm happy I got some cash, I'm happy I don't have to worry about this anymore, I'm happy I don't have to contact the lawyer ever again.

Most of all, I'm happy I was able to stave off financial disaster and the likely closing of my store in the face of large, unpayable debts.  I threw nearly ten grand into the Debt Hole, and although I didn't fill it up, I made it much smaller.  Instead of grappling with a firehose of cash outflows, I now have in hand a garden variety hose and I am reaching for the faucet... if I can hold on for say, a month or two, I think I can shut it off.

The thing that's sad is that I had so many wonderful plans for this money... this "free" money, even though it really wasn't free, I lost my car after all and had various expenses over the course of the lawsuit.  I was going to get some much needed maintenance done on the house that I no longer live in, but still houses my only son.  I was going to treat myself to a telescoping ladder.  I was going to... go out...  I was going to buy myself a kitchen table, made of real wood, because I'm sick of the patio plastic version I have.  I was going to invest in making some prints to sell to raise money for a trip back home.  I thought about renovating the store.  Buying some new stock.  A digital camera to take better pictures for the website.

All that was before the reality of the Debt Hole sunk in.  Before the near panic attacks.  Before the furrowed brow.  So what did I do to treat myself, once I finally got the cash?  I had lunch at a restaurant that I used to go to twice a week, until I recently decided it was a little too expensive for my current financial situation.  After lunch I paid another bill and my account balance fell below zero once again.

It's been a crazy year.  I've taken on lots of new expenses and (mostly) readjusted to living on my own.  I've been waiting for the dust to settle so I can get my expenses under control and hopefully continue my gainful self-employment.  I've also had to contend with a competitor, another graffiti shop, which has been siphoning off business and making me wonder if I even want to run a graffiti shop anymore.  My store is half way between a graffiti shop and a regular art store, maybe I'll just let the graffiti part wither away to a mere shadow of its former self... if I can get away with it.

If I can't, I don't know what I'm going to do.  There aren't exactly a ton of employment opportunities here.  I don't want to have to give up my apartment.  I don't particularly want to move back to the States right now, not if I can't bring my son with me.  Plus it's winter there.

But hey man I'm looking at a brand new beginning.  At least, that's what I think I'm expected to say at this point.  My divorce is a done deal.  I'm a free man!  Sort of.  As free as you can be when you have to work at your store six days a week.

But at least I still have a store.

For now.

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