Caught in the Quicksand Part 4: Everything That Can Go Wrong — Does!

Regardless of what people thought of me, [If you missed Part 1, Part 2, and Part3] the bills had to be paid, and since I hadn’t resigned myself to being homeless, I started looking for roles, specifically in corporate development, in Las Vegas. During my search, I found out that Iron Yard Ventures announced they were going out of business and that the accelerator program was being cut from the University of Phoenix budget. There was no other direction they were going — they were failing, and they should have told me the truth. 

My Health Comeback

Seeking employment was a discouraging process; thus, I focused more intently on what I could control: my health. After spending a year focusing on eating healthy and exercising daily, I had only lost 12 pounds. That result was lackluster at best, so at the advice of a good friend, I began intermittent fasting. Holy shit! After only one month, I had lost 13 pounds, and I felt incredible! I was hooked! I had to share my success in a blog post on my website. My hope was that I could inspire others to try different avenues to improve their health and take control of their life — and it worked. Several people have told me how my post and determination helped them improve their health.

After fasting and feeling great for a month, I decided to accelerate my progress even more. The next step in the evolution of my health was to cut unhealthy foods from my diet. I had to completely unlearn and relearn what healthy eating was. I had consumed meat and dairy for 35 years, but there was an incredible amount of data out there that showed how bad they both were for the body. To ease into eating a vegan diet, I cut dairy out first. I was really surprised how many cheese replacements there were out there and most of which were made from peas! After about a month of dairy-free eating, my skin was more clear, my hair was healthier, and I was less fatigued — maybe there was something to this healthy eating thing. Next step —  I cut out meat, which I thought would be more challenging. I chose to eat a diet of 100% plant-based foods from then on. The results I saw were a complete game changer! The emotional boost this provided gave me the strength and grit I needed while everything was up in the air. Looking back, this lifestyle change saved my life. 

Two Steps Forward . . . One Step Back

The only thing going well at this point was my success in health; however, even my health took a little setback. In October 2017, I was at the gym doing my normal squat workout but on a different squat machine. Apparently, this type of machine was a different lift than the other, but I was using the same weight I normally do, and bam! I collapsed on one of my reps. Something had popped, and I didn’t know what. My leg felt fine, my joints were fine, my ankle felt a little sprained, but my lower abdominal area felt like someone had kicked me in the groin. A week or so later, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a hernia injury and was told I needed surgery. Needing medical care when you don’t have a job or insurance is frightening. I tried to put off this procedure for as long as I could because there was no way I could afford those bills. I was only able to endure the pain until January. I ended up negotiating pricing with the doctor, and the anesthesiologist was a friend, so she gave me a price that made it affordable to have the procedure. Thankfully, these professionals did what they could, and I was able to get relief. But, staying true to the theme of my life at that point, the doctors made a critical error: my artery was cut. The surgeon told my wife about this issue, but she kept this from me. She told me she didn’t want me to worry all while texting my two best friends about this complication. This would become one of the many reasons I grew to distrust her. The pain and discomfort from this surgery continue to affect me today.

Awaiting Hernia Surgery, 2018
Awaiting Hernia Surgery, 2018

As 2018 began, I still didn’t have a job. There were no prospects in my future. I had zero assets, and I was broke. However, during that low moment, I was offered a unique opportunity to partner with UNLV due to some connections I had through friends. I was invited to leverage their data center asset to build a company around. I was offered this deal verbally, but they wouldn’t give me a written agreement until I had the capital to build the company. I began creating the business plans, building strategy, and started raising money. However, I couldn’t raise money without a signed agreement, and I couldn’t get the signed agreement until I had raised the money. It was a catch-22. I spent a year or so spinning in circles, making no progress.

My Marriage Bites the Dust

While working on this new venture, it was surprising to hear that my wife had other plans. Amy suddenly announced that she had accepted a full-time job. This was a bit shocking! She hadn’t worked since 2013, and she never even mentioned to me that she was interested in having or even that she had started applying. Of course, we could use the money, but then if I worked full-time outside the house, we’d have to hire a dog sitter. We had talked about this in detail before, but it seemed she no longer cared. One day, she simply said, “I have a job now. I’ll be gone all day.” The best part about this little surprise development was that she didn’t have a car. She was planning to Uber to work, but I offered to take her instead of having that additional expense on an already strained budget.

A month later, Amy returned from a week-long trip to see mutual friends of ours. When she returned, she was a completely different person. While she never verbally said, “Our marriage is over,” her body language and the fact that she wouldn’t talk to me was hard to ignore. She began sleeping in the guestroom, accompanied by our dogs. Once this became her routine, I encouraged the dogs to leave me alone in the master bedroom and join her there so she wouldn’t be alone. I began to sense that she would be exiting the relationship soon. 

The negative development in my marriage caught me completely off guard. I was unaware that she had been unhappy or contemplating ending our marriage. But, it was apparent that she had given up; there was no reason to argue. 

Where There’s Smoke . . .

There were so many metaphorical fires burning in my life that I had to choose which one was the most urgent to fight. While certainly I wanted to address the fire that had erupted in my marriage, what really had to be first priority was the financial fires that continued to rage out of control. Bills had to be paid. And while I really could have used Amy’s help financially, (she wasn’t contributing at all) I chose to continue to tackle the financial situation on my own. Would any of my efforts provide some stable relief? When was this storm going to end?

[Part 5]