525600 Minutes

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

By Deric Lostutter
A year has passed since my wife decided I was worth putting up with. Marriage has it’s ups and downs, battles and celebrations, and often, I am the cause of the former.

Marriage requires communication, trust, understanding, nurturing, and a mutual respect for how one another feels.

But, let’s focus on the word “trust” for a moment, shall we?

Trust is the cornerstone of any great relationship.

Without trust, there is no ability to love, or nurture, or respect.

Trust isn’t easily gained, especially with my wife. We both have experienced hurt, loss, etc.

A year ago today, my wife and I made a huge leap of faith, hand in hand together.

We decided to get out of the heroin infested state of Kentucky, and move south, to my home state of North Carolina to start a new life for our family.

Job growth is high here, the state is progressive, with a good selection of geographical options for vacation getaways within 4 hours driving time of each other.

Deric and Jennifer Lostutter settle in Asheville N.C.

Our destination was Asheville, North Carolina. The place was exploding with independent business owners, entrepreneurs and artists. It seemed like the perfect spot to settle down, and begin anew.

We sold everything we owned, down to the furniture, and, with just the clothes on our backs and our two dogs, we loaded up in the car and headed off into the great unknown.

I had never been to Asheville before. It was a quiet sleepy mountain town, just outside of the Tennessee border.

Over 250 independent restaurants, it was rated one of the top places to retire in the nation.

Great schools meant that we could give our future children a real opportunity at success. We forgot to look at one thing, housing cost.

We had a decent sum of money saved up for the move.

However, anything 600 square feet and over in a decent part of town was over $1000 to rent.

We searched for the better half of a month, before finally calling it quits as we were running out of money.

I had to find work, and fast. We were living in a hotel at the time, and $100 per night was getting rather expensive.

We packed up the car and dogs again, heading south east towards my home town of Winston-Salem North Carolina.

I knew that I could get a job here, and with a small $80 loan from a childhood friend’s father for a laptop, I did exactly that.

Another month would pass living in a hotel in Winston before we could find a house cheap enough for rent, that didn’t hang up the phone when we told them we had a pit bull and a dachshund.

I secured enough money for a small down payment on rent and deposit in a cozy little house on the south-side. Feeling like I had let my wife down for not being able to immediately put us in a stable housing situation, I breathed a giant sigh of relief.

By now, I was a service manager at A.C. Automotive, and running my new company, Opsec CyberSecurity Solutions, LLC on the side. Business was good, life was stable.

Then, I had to miss a weeks worth of work for an abscess tooth I had implanted as a previous root canal.

My jaw was the size of a small softball, I could barely talk and was in the most excruciating pain. They had to break my tooth into three different pieces to extract it.

I was awake for the whole thing refusing to be put to sleep, because I have breathing problems when I sleep naturally.

The doctor had written me off work, and when I went to turn the note in to my manager, he fired me on the spot. I was in shock, and yet again, felt like I let my wife down.

I slowly developed a sense of self resentment for not being able to immediately give Jennifer the life she deserved.

She wanted and deserved all of the nice things.

I worked double hard at my cyber security business, and increased revenue enough to live comfortably for a year, buying house decorations and making it a little more home for the both of us.

It was hard, not knowing each day if we would make money, but I was good at landing contracts, and, we were finally stable until the unanticipated house repairs came in.

The house we were living in was built in the ’40’s. They had laid down a cheap laminate that comes in a roll, over what felt like hump shaped rotting floorboards that you would find in an old barn. The floor was giving way in some spots, mold was beginning to grow in some areas of the house from water leaks, and the kitchen ceiling completely opened up during one bad rain storm.

On top of all that, our completely un-certified repair man told us that the entire plumbing system under the house needed to be re-done, as they were the original iron pipes from the construction of the house.

I called the landlord about the repairs repeatedly. Her mother was her business partner, and elderly.

The landlord claimed that her mother was developing some sort of senility, and had taken her to court, to try to wrestle all of the properties they owned away from her.

I asked her who would hire the repair man to fix our issues, and who do I even make the rent check out to? The answer always changed, and the issues remained unfixed.

By now, I had successfully opened MyTechUSA inside Walmart on the north side of Winston-Salem

I departed from that job landing a better job still fixing cell phones, eventually taking over the independent shop into my full control after it was abandoned/gifted by it’s previous owner and wrote off as a loss on his taxes.

Using a minimalist business model, I averaged between $3000-$7000 per month gross and turned the business into a revolving door of satisfied customer base.

I had elevated our ability to provide, but our living situation was unstable again. I felt like I was letting my wife down, who trusted me with her safety.

On top of all that, we had just learned we were pregnant with our daughter, Jade.

Neither of us wanted our newborn crawling around on dirty, rotting, molded floors. We had put in calls to different properties, again the same result, “Yes we have dogs, a pit and a wiener dog“.

All I ever heard was click, and a dial tone.

We tried to land house after house, eventually the stress got to my wife, and she would lay awake all hours of the night, searching, and then crying when we couldn’t find anything.

She’s like that, she worries about the wind blowing in the wrong direction.

I, again, felt as if I had let her down.

Finally, we caught our break.

We were walking around the barbecue festival in Lexington, when a mother of one of my childhood friends called me.

Her friends had just bought a house, and were moving out of theirs.

There were 3 rooms, a bathroom, a huge back yard, patio, and a garage.

To top it all off, they only wanted $700, and after talking to my friend’s mom, and hearing our struggle, they completely waived any security deposit.

We moved in the following week.

Finally, I thought. Finally some peace.

For the most part, I was right.

The harassment from the online trolls only increased as our standard of living increased.

Some had even begun a business review campaign, aimed at driving me out of business.

I closed the doors at my Kernersville location in December of 2015 because of that.

I felt like I let my wife down again.

We lost our daughter in January.

The placenta was abnormal, and the doctor described it as a sheer stroke of bad luck.

We gave birth to her, we laid her to rest.

I watched it destroy my wife, every day, to this very day.

I feel like I can do nothing to make her pain go away. I can’t bring our daughter back.

I watched as her little kicks made her smile, her moving around on the ultrasound, she brought my wife hope that was stripped from her long before I ever entered the picture.

I watched her slip into a state of depression. It was to be expected, such a devastating loss.

She still continues to battle it to this day.

We keep our head held high as Jade looks down on us.

Every time the sun shines warm, and every time a small miracle happens, there she is.

I have let my wife down a few times. I am only human.

I won’t let her down this time. I will stand by her side, hand in hand, and face whatever comes my way.

After all, she trusted me with her future.

I love you Jennifer.

We are in this together, and together we will conquer everything.

I wish I could do better by you,
’cause that’s what you deserve
You sacrifice so much of your life
In order for this to work.

While I’m off chasing my own dreams
Sailing around the world
Please know that I’m yours to keep
My beautiful girl

When you cry a piece of my heart dies
Knowing that I may have been the cause
If you were to leave
Fulfill someone else’s dreams
I think I might totally be lost
You don’t ask for no diamond rings no delicate string of pearls
That’s why I wrote this song to sing
My beautiful girl

ooooo ooo ohhh ohh oh oh

One, two, one two three four
I wish I could do better by you
’cause it’s what you deserve
You sacrifice so much of your life
in order for this to work

While I’m off chasing my own dreams (my own dreams)
sailing around the world (’round the world)
Please know that I’m yours to keep
My beautiful girl

And when you cry a piece of my heart dies
Knowing that I may have been the cause
If you were to leave and fulfill someone else’s dreams
I think I might totally be lost

But you don’t ask for no diamond rings (Diamond rings)
No delicate string of pearls (String of pearls)
That’s why I wrote this song to sing
My beautiful girl

ooooo ooo ohhh ohh oh oh
ooooo ooo ohhh ohh oh oh
ooooo ooo ohhh ohh oh oh
ooooo ooo ohhh ohh oh oh

But you don’t ask for no diamond rings (Diamond rings)
No delicate string of pearls (String of Pearls)
That’s why I wrote this song to sing
My beautiful girl.

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