How many times? [ 2007-12-26, 6:37 p.m. ] was everyone's Christmas? Oh, that's nice. Good. Good. You got what? That is so cool. Ooooh..pretty!

Now for me.

It started off nicely. As I was driving over to my parents' house (I opted to sleep at my own place Xmas eve) Christmas morning, I thought to myself that I ought to text Jim a Merry Christmas. Just as I was thinking about it I heard my cell phone jingle telling me I had a text. It was Jim telling me "Happy Jesus' Birthday". Heh. It put a smile upon my face to paraphrase Coldplay.

I got to my parents' and we got down our stockings and I had a nice haul of travel size cosmetic things, a purse-sized first aid kit and a bunch of candy. I gave my parents their gifts. Bought my dad two bestsellers. Gave my mom 3 dvds that were in our 9.99 bin. I made good choices for both of them, I think.

I knew they weren't giving me much and honestly it doesn't matter. My mom had asked me what I wanted for my gift and I told her I needed a floor lamp like the one they have in their living room. I need it for my bedroom. They ended up giving me their's since they couldn't find a decently priced one for me. Then I opened up a second gift of massaging slippers that my mom had also given me a few years ago. I did tell her this so we are going to go to Target together and exchange them for something else.

We had a noon time dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, lima beans and rolls. It was delish. Afterwards, I took a nap. My dad went to work at 5pm. My sister,Mandy and her twins came over for a few minutes around 8pm.

I kept biding my time thinking of what I needed to ask my mom and just hated to come out with it. Finally, I asked if she had a credit card that I could use to help pay for my car insurance and car tax bill. She sighed and told me that no, with my dad being out of work for a couple months and no pay because of his leg problems that they were pretty tight with the money. I understand that, I really really do.

I honestly didn't know what to say. I didn't like the sigh of exasperation. I'm sure she didn't mean for it come out that way but it did. If I could kill myself and not cause anyone any pain, I would. But no, I'm here and I"m not going anywhere. I honestly hate myself for what I've done again. I wish....I wish I could just go back in time and do the right thing. But I can't and it doesn't matter.

She suggested I call my sister,Christy, and ask her for help. But I can't. It isn't pride. It's that feeling of making someone feel obligated to help and then guilty if they can't.

My friend,Kathy, has offered her help but I told her that borrowing that much money from a friend is tricky. I can't promise how soon I can repay it, for one thing. Plus, it just can mess up friendships.

I did call my benefits rep and asked about a hardship loan of $400 to pay for my two bills. She's not sure that it will qualify for a hardship loan but asked me to fax the details tomorrow. So I have the letters from the county and my insurance to send. I'm hoping it will come through. Kathy said if it didn't to think about asking her. I told her I would but I am very cautious about it.

Part of me wishes I'd stuck it out somehow at T@rget. Maybe even tried just cashiering instead of being on the floor. But I can't go back in time. I can't change anything. I'm trying so hard right now to just take it one day at a time.

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Ryan Adams