What Happened to Steve


After a hard day’s work throwing things away, there’s only one thing to do:  savor what was saved.

Steve had just invested in his tried-and true, low-risk restaurant and gone back to school.  The decision had been so painstaking, but after much deliberation we had come up with a good plan.  The hours he put in tending bar, creating his signature cocktails, and acting as beverage director and manager would be severely curtailed, because Hunter’s Physical Therapy program was so intensive.  But if he invested a little, we figured, he’d receive a steady weekly income that would get us through even on the weeks his studies prevented him from working a shift.

So—we borrowed money, dipped into our savings, and invested.  In the years Steve had worked on his prerequisite courses, he’d picked up extra shifts and after my school year was over, I had found some part time summer work so we could put away money little by little for his City School tuition.  No loans!  We were still paying off a school loan, and we didn’t want another.

We had it all planned out.  No loans—that’s funny now. 🙂

There were so many life changes all at once, even before the storm, both in progress and in the planning stages.  I was looking into buying a preschool/daycare/camp with a friend even as I continued to work as a public school teacher on Long Island.  I would work all the time.  I figured Steve would be studying, anyway.  If the deal went through, the money we’d saved for his tuition would be invested in my preschool, which promised an immediate steady income.  Then while Steve was unable to work shifts we could live off my teaching salary, my preschool hours, and the steady incomes from our two investments.

Between us in the end, we’d have two businesses, a teaching job, and a physical therapy degree!  This all but insured that we’d be comfortable enough to buy that west coast bed and breakfast when we retired.  We were excited, but scared.  After all, we’d heard—and knew from experience—that the best-laid plans often go awry.

The restaurant is gone.  The ocean engulfed it, and churned the kitchen equipment into a twisted mound of metal.  Steve’s bar inventory was run through the spin cycle in six feet of salt water.  Unrecoverable.  Underinsured.  Over.  All of it.

Steve missed three weeks of his first semester of school, and had to drop out of this exclusive PT program that only admits 28 students per year.  He was invited back for September, but had to decline.  Work on the house has not even started, and he will be helping with construction full time.  All the savings that was to put him through school is already spent on the house.

The best-laid plans!  You do not think about losing your house, job, savings, car, career path, and major investment all at once—but that is what happened to Steve.   What do you think about this?  Any words of wisdom?  We’ve heard plenty but we want more!  Please comment, or if you don’t have time to elaborate, perhaps you could answer the survey question below.


12 responses to “What Happened to Steve

  1. I think sometimes we get comfortable in life and take things for granted, even if we don’t think we do. When major changes happen such as having a baby, starting a new job, buying a business, or going through a natural disaster we reevaluate and can reinvent our lives. That being said, having all of it happen at once is just plain sucky, but if anyone can get through it and end up better than before, it’s you two. Love reading the blog even if I don’t always comment.

    • Robyn, thanks for reading–that alone draws a dear friend closer from across the country, making us feel more tightly wrapped in a very strong hug. It’s hard to imagine what Steve’s life will look like on the other side of this, especially after it was so clear for the first time right before the storm. But we do feel stronger already having gone through all the changes we have, and we (and so many others) have certainly experienced worse losses. At times it really does feel like another clean slate is just the ticket. But it’s scary. We are forty (one). However we do know older folks who have lost their houses and I feel just awful for them. We have time to reinvent ourselves and time to recoup the money. We are lucky in so many ways. Thanks for the feedback. I love it!

  2. As we are walking similar paths, our family business of over 50 years, would be no more if we didn’t have savings, I wish I had words of wisdome for you; a semi- smart comment that would give you hope and secure the knowledge that there will be a rainbow after the rain. I think that the answers/ solutions/ plans are part of the universe. I need to believe that it’s part of a greater plan yet there have been many moments when I find myself filled with doubt and loss of faith. So the best I can do for you is what I tell my husband: one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, baby steps. Go through the motions, put intellect aside(for there is none here) and when we get to the other side we will still be holding tightly onto each other and the simple belief that together nothing is impossible and the best is yet to be. Wishing you strength today, tomorrow and always.

    • When he is able to reopen please let me know everything I would need to know to spread the word and give him some business! Until then, it helps to know that you are keeping the faith despite your doubts. I think that I often feel I should not have any doubts–that I should be strong all the time because I am blessed with the knowledge that I have everything I need. I guess it’s the wanting and wishing that redeposits me in negative space. Also–putting one foot in front of the other is sometimes the hardest part because when I do, I find myself walking through a seemingly endless mire of red tape. There is often not enough time in the day to get untangled. The writing I am doing here and the words of encouragement from friends seems to be doing the trick. Now I can work my way through the daily mess without tiring, knowing that it will all dissolve when I get here. I am also lucky enough to have this man who can look at me and melt anything. Thank you as always! Your feedback is invaluable!

  3. I think it’s all part of a bigger plan. You both are so unbelievably strong. I don’t know if I could say I’d be able to be as strong under such circumstances. It’s not about giving up a dream as much as it is realizing a new one maybe down a new path. Somehow you and Steve have managed to handle everything and even when you’ve posted something because things were just too much…you still handled it. You are an inspiration and you and Steve will find out what the plan is…maybe not today, but you have to believe! Miss you, love you and please know I’ll Be There For You!!

    • Thanks for the Bon Jovi–he really defined our friendship for us all those years ago, didn’t he? I have been sorely lacking in music lately. I’m driving a loaner and can’t hook up my iPod. There is nowhere in this apartment to do that, either. Plus I had to get a new computer and we are having trouble getting my iTunes onto it. All the songs that I typically use to propel me forward are waiting for me out there somewhere. It seems like so many of my old comforts are impossible to access. So I created this one, the blog…I guess that is indicative of the future and what needs to be done. Brand new things will be born as they need to be, right? With the help of old friends like you. Thanks, Jen.

  4. I don’t know what I believe about bigger plans or the Universe. I do believe character is cultivated in times like these. You two already knew this, but I am sure it is reinforced now, that money is just money. Objects in possession are just that. Family and love are all that matters. It is so easy to get caught up in the world we live in, where possessions and income are signs of status. When we die, none of us think “Gee, I should have bought that…” It’s life experiences with those you want to spend your life with that makes it a rich life.
    It completely sucks that you guys have had to go through this. However, I know some people who would have cracked a long time ago under those circumstances. I know you two already had priorities in place prior to the storm. I know it is of little consolation, but I do believe in one cliche statement: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You two certainly will take this sucky experience and turn it into an opportunity to learn, grow, and come out ahead. That’s just the kind of people you are.

    • Yes and this didn’t even come close to killing us. I think at worst it brought us a little anxiety (me), a bit of depression (Steve), and a lot of confusion. Learning to deal with and abate the first two and work our way through the third are certainly making us stronger in ourselves and each other. Also living with fear about the future and still getting up and taking steps to move forward (which quells the fear) is a great learning process. Moving through it and smiling–I thank two of my inspirations, Korri and Ty, for reminding me every day that we know this as children and lose it when we over-intellectualize. They were able to do smile and move through unimaginable hardship and I will do it too. With a few minor breakdowns along the way, of course. And I love what you said about “I should have bought that”–right now is a funny time for us with the whole possession thing. We are at the same time realizing how little they mean in the larger scheme AND picking out all new ones, having day-long conversations and sojourns in order to decide which refrigerator best suits our needs!!! Maybe I’ll blog about that.

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