No, we're never gonna quit
Ain't nothing wrong with it
Just acting like we're animals
Nickelback, from the album All the Right Reasons
Shelly Ganders and Craig Zimmerman met in the first semester of their Senior year at Kansas State University, she was majoring in Human Resources and he in Marketing. Each needed a class in speech to meet the requirements for each of their prospective degrees, that is where they met, it was not love at first sight but a strong physical attraction that drew them together.
In the coming months their attraction turned to love and by the end of the year they decided to get married in July in her home town of Kansas City. But fate threw them a curve when Craig was offered a job in Miami in a Marketing firm that was willing to pay top dollar, it also helped that he was tops in his class and that the owner was a Kansas State graduate. In any case, they offered incentives for starting as soon as possible, providing assistance with finding a home, moving expenses, and if needed underwriting a home loan.
With this offer of employment Craig and Shelly decided to forgo their July church wedding for a civil ceremony in Kansas days before their graduation and to move right after graduation to Miami, a plan that was met with anger and scorn from her parents, whereas Craig's parents were disappointed but deep down were not all that upset.
Moving from the University to Miami was a challenge, they moved all of their belongings into storage and took only the essentials with them, mostly clothing. They were setup by the company with an apartment near work, a small one bedroom with a kitchen, full batch, living room, and a small dining area. Cozy, but double the size of their dorm room.
Craig went into work and Shelly began looking for a permanent place to live, looking for convenience, short commute time, and cost. What she found was a beautiful apartment that offered a lot in amenities that more than suited their needs and was reasonably priced. Their only challenge was moving all of their possessions packed in storage back in Kansas to their new apartment in Miami, a 25 hour drive one way. After a month being on the job they flew back to Kansas on Thursday night picked up a u-haul and packed everything up on Friday and were on their way back to Miami stopping in St. Louis Friday night, Atlanta on Saturday, and Home on Sunday where a quick unload of all their possessions followed by a total collapse from exhaustion ended their journey.
With their home established and Craig set at work Shelly began to look for a job herself. When the owner found out that Craig's wife was looking for a job he offered her an open position in HR, an entry level position, but a position none the less. Things were going well for the young couple.
Two years later they bought a home, it was new construction Georgian, with no added amenities save for two that were more wants than needs, an in ground pool with a hot. They didn't need the house, in fact there was a lot of debate whether to buy or continue to rent, but Shelly was thinking, well more hoping, that kids might not be that far off and when she mentioned this to Craig they both agreed that buying a home was the direction they wanted to go in.
The house was located far from their current apartment so the move meant that they had to make new friends, which wasn't a problem for either as they were both outgoing and engaging. But what they didn't think of was that everyone around them either had kids or were about to have kids, they were the only couple that didn't, at least within the houses on their block. That didn't stop them from making friends, especially Shelly, but it did to some degree as they found little in common with their neighbors.
Trouble came to them three years later when the company they both worked for went bankrupt. The owner, Harry Carson, embezzled millions from the company before fleeing the country moments before the feds came to get him. When the dust had settled and accounting had gone through the books there was no money left, nothing left except the assets. The board sold off the assets and paid off what they could and the company closed its doors leaving its employees without a paycheck.
Fortunately Shelly and Craig didn't have many expenses, they had no kids, their cars were old, but in good shape and more importantly they were paid off, and with the exception of last month's dinner they didn't have any credit card bills. The only expense was their new home.
The only thing that they took away from the company was their friends. Craig's friends from work consisted of his co worker Dennis Marshall and his wife Linda, Drew Snyder from shipping, and Kent Spencer from accounting. For Shelly there was Becky Stewart a single Mom, Tracey Edwards who was single and living at home, and Vera Cook who is married to Phillip. The difference between the two groups was in that Shelly was friends with Craig's group, while Craig was not necessarily friends with Shelly's group, seems that Shelly's group were more of a hen's group.
The first couple of months flew by, both were numb from the experience of being unemployed and making ends meet was somewhat of a problem, mostly in covering the mortgage. They thought about asking her parents for a loan to get them through the tough times, but they disapproved of her involvement with Craig, he being a bad seed as they called it, so Craig nixed the idea of asking them, and Craig's parents were retired and on a fixed income so there was little thought given to ask them.
But they adapted, like when they were in college they had survived on Mac n Cheese and other less expensive food items so that's what they did, changing their diet was not a big thing, but entertainment was another story. Eating out, cable tv, movies, golf and gym memberships were all dropped so they found themselves with a lot of time to do something that didn't cost anything. They couldn't come up with anything except entertaining at home, which meant pool parties for Shelly's group and poker parties for Craig's group.
The Poker Party
Six weeks after losing their job Craig had the guys over for a poker party, his house was the logical place since Dennis lived in an apartment, Kent lived at home, and Drew had a roommate that was not fond of having people over, and anyway, having the guys over was okay with Craig, one of the things he enjoyed was showing off the home, and Shelly was looking forward to hosting the event.
Shelly put together a small spread of sandwiches, potato chips, and assorted cheeses which Craig rolled his eyes when he saw it, and prepared the patio for the game as it was such a pleasant night. Since it as the first poker night no one knew what to expect, but with everyone being out of work the stakes were low, quarter to open and raises limited to one dollar. Craig had played poker in college, and was a good player, but with the low stakes he knew that everyone's losses would be minimal. The others were of the same opinion, this was a game to be played amongst friends, winning was important only in that the winner could hold it over the others heads, playing to win to take money from people who were out of work seemed to be, counterproductive and insulting to what the evening was meant to be.
At 5pm the guests arrived, Dennis was first and was alone as his wife Linda had other plans, and even if she didn't have plans she probably wanted nothing to do with playing poker. "So Craig, nice place."
"Thanks Dennis, our pride and joy." he said with a smile.
Looking around he asked, "First here?"
"Yes you are. So, no Linda?"
He waved him off, "Nah, she couldn't make it tonight, she had other plans, and even if she didn't she probably wouldn't come, she hates playing cards."
Kent was just a few minutes behind leaving Drew who was ten minutes late, which was nothing new for Drew!
They sat down around the table and began playing cards and bullshitting, catching up on things since the closing of the company. Drew was the first of the group with good news, "So, got a job at Sears, working in their warehouse."
"Cool, how is it?"
"Okay, in some respects better than most places. The guys I work with are, for the most part, pretty cool. My Manager is an asshole, but that's normal."
"What about you" Craig asked of Dennis.
"Got a couple of nibbles but nothing solid. Linda's job is secure, so far, and we can live off her paycheck, for now."
"And you" Craig asked of Kent.
"I have a second interview Tuesday at Langston and Mathers, an accounting office, in their acquisitions area. Not too promising, but I made the first cut so, got my fingers crossed. And you Craig?"
Shaking his head no, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Thinking of heading down to Columbia and smuggle some drugs back to pay the bills."
"Nice. Little room for advancement though," laughed Kent.
"But think of the unlimited sex you'll get in prison" laughed Drew.
They all laughed, Craig was always good to lighten the conversation with his unique sense of humor.
"Is that a hot tub?" asked Drew.
"Yes it is. I love it. Nothing better than sitting back with a cold one."
"Yeah I bet. So have you christened it yet?" laughed Drew.
"Several time. In fact if you were a bit earlier you might have gotten an eyeful of pure Midwestern beef stake."
"Dude, that's just wrong. Now if it was cheesecake, well than I would be for all that!"
Everyone agreed on that.
"Calm down you horn dogs."
.... There is more of this story ...