Monday, January 11, 2010
MY NEW BLOG
Hi, all--this will be my last post--here at least....
I hope you'll join me over at my new blog: 'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy'.
*You can find the blog link on my profile page under 'My Blogs'.
All your prayers and well wishes paid off and I am happy to report that Ed and I get a 'do-over'.
I don't think it's hit us yet--the only emotion I showed today was when our wonderful attorney said good-bye to us after the hearing and went to shake my hand. I pulled him into a hug and started crying. I told him; "None of this would have happened without you."
And without you all (you know who you are), these past few months would have been very lonely--you have lifted me up when I was down and I thank you.
Now, before I start bawling again--please meet me over at my new blog and kindly become my follower (in a good way I mean, not in a Jim Jones and strawberry kool-aid creepy kind of way!) and perhaps even spread the word that the 'sad housewife' has left the building.
~With my thanks~
Peace, love, happiness and health,
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Well, tomorrow (Monday, Jan. 11th, 2010) is 'D-Day' for us--'D' being the big decision on our bankruptcy filing by a court mediator.
We've done both sessions of the on-line credit counseling (pre and post filing, as required) and the rest is out of our hands.
While things have indeed been better with the garnishment being stopped, thus giving us some breathing room for the first time in about a year and a half, Ed and I are acutely aware that things can go either way for us tomorrow.
The court appointed mediator can overturn everything and indeed find us liable and responsible for all debts--with the biggest one being over $30,000 (not including the incurred interest which brings the total to likely well over $50,000) for the second on the house we lost a year and a half ago.
Our attorney isn't foreseeing any trouble but the truth is--we just don't know.
IF everything goes as we hope, we won't know what to do first; smile in relief or cry.
When all is said and done, Ed and I will be sitting down this week and figuring out where to go from here money wise; look at different money market accounts, figure out how to best build our interest, how much to spend each month and on what, how much to start re-paying the personal loans that helped get us through this year (Ed's parents) and what we can afford for B's education, etc.
Then, I will also be changing my blog title to; 'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy'.
If anyone is willing to help me with graphics on my new blog (that is should things indeed go well tomorrow) then I would be immensely grateful.
Blogging has been such as important part of my life these past six months, sad as that sounds, but I hope to be able to not only change the tone of my blog (thus hopefully no longer being the 'sad housewife') but also start living again.
Perhaps that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has been attainable all along--and I will have learned that I am indeed in control of how my own happy ending plays out...and be able to take you all along for the ride.
So, here's to the end of the rainbow, that elusive pot of gold (i.e. debt free and happy) and steering my own course towards a happy ending.
I'll be back tomorrow with an update on how things went...well wishes and prayers gladly accepted and appreciated.
Peace, love, happiness and health,
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
It's been a while since I posted something 'funny'--I can use a little funny right about now.
Yesterday I went to the dentist. I have had a very bad toothache for over a week now that has intensified leaving the left side of my cheek slightly swollen and my mouth in massive pain.
It's never simple, is it? God forbid it could be that a filling just came loose. No, it had to be that a root canal is needed.
We have crappy dental insurance so it would cost over $800.00 out of pocket.
Well, who the hell has that????
So, since the tooth in question is one of the upper ones in the back of my mouth, I'm just going to have the damned thing pulled.
That happens Friday which means until then, 'Ibuprofen' is my best friend.
So, in light of this, I need some cheering up and after visiting some blogs this morning, I got inspired (stop by to see Steven Anthony's picture of 'a naked snow shoveling guy with wings'--too funny!).
Today's inspiration comes from Mary and Jenny over at 'Writing Without Periods' (you can get to their blog via their blog button I have towards the bottom of my sidebar).
Two very funny writers over forty who in addition to having a very clever blog title (get it? 'Writing Without Periods'. You'll catch on), also share their wit and humor about middle age.
Below is a true story I wrote three and a half years ago, shortly after I turned 40 (I will be 44 this May), about what happened on the actual day of my 40th birthday.
I submitted it to several women's magazines to no avail.
However, I'm happy that I was able to share it with a few people who got a chuckle--and now I get to share it with you.
I had hinted to Ed that I wanted a big 'fish and goose soiree'. Forty is indeed a milestone, after all, and I wanted to accept it with grace and festivity.
Read on to find out what DID happen and how I spent my 'special day':
'So…This Is Forty?'
Forty. A symbol of the first stages of middle age. People either look forward to it or perhaps some, like myself, are ambivalent about the whole “turning forty hoopla”.
Oh, I can admit now that I bought into it. I went through the whole gamut of emotions from anxiety (“Is that yet another gray hair???”) to girlish enthusiasm (“Yay! I just know I’m going to have the best party ever!!!”), and finally settled on the ever neutral ambivalence.
Pummeling head on into middle-age, I really wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Some great epiphany or clarity? Perhaps I thought I would suddenly be thrust into Tuscany riding on the back of a Vespa wearing a white dress.
However, as I quickly learned, reality, and life’s changes, is not as it is portrayed in the movies and I am not Diane Lane.
A day shy of a month after my fortieth birthday, I lost my father. Instead of fields of sunflowers and sheer lucidity, I instead found myself in mourning. The loss of a parent was more reality and clarity than I had bargained for. Wasn’t I still too young to be half an orphan? Apparently not. Of course, and just to be clear, forty does not mean that death looms in our midst, but for me that was certainly the case.
On the actual day I turned forty, I kept thinking that I would feel differently, look differently and be treated differently. Didn’t happen. Alas, I was like every other schmuck that day.
What proceeded was instead a normal day in my life where, par for the course, few things seemed to go right; chaos and rushing from here to there, I ultimately found myself lost in the hills, out of town no less, searching for my son’s baseball game.
This is where Map-Quest comes in handy. However, courtesy of our broken printer and, subsequently, my husbands rushed, handwritten directions (who was already at the game waiting for me), I missed my turn, and being one of the few people who did not have a cell phone, I was clearly on my own. Driving further up a very secluded hill and deeper into obscurity—I was indeed not only lost but I was also now late.
Happy birthday to me.
Only upon hearing the theme to 'Deliverance' in my head did I finally turn around and start heading back down the hill—asking road workers and truck drivers along the way if they knew where this mystery street was. Being met by confused glances and scratching heads was not a good sign.
Oh, yeah—any minute now the confetti and balloons will fall from the heavens in my favorite shades of purple with all my family and friends popping out from the fields, hills, trees and from behind the workers trucks yelling “SURPRISE!” and bearing gifts.
Yep. Any minute now.
Only now I recognize that I was clearly in the early stages of delirium.
Well, I finally got there thanks to a man in a gas station parking lot who not only took pity on this sweaty, shaking and half-crying woman in a state of sheer panic (F.Y.I. nothing says “pity me” like smeared mascara and hair matted to ones forehead!) but who also knew the area and got me on my way.
My arrival was met by my husband who was sitting quite comfortably in a lawn chair, in the shade, front and center enjoying the game that was already in progress, AND who then said the 'wrong-est' words any man could say to a woman in my state; “What took you so long?”
Being more mature (now that I was forty and all), I believe I handled myself with the best decorum I could muster for such a situation as this; I 'carefully and thoughtfully' picked a few choice words that I, of course, 'quietly, calmly and--eh-hem--privately' flung in his direction.
I then stormed off to my car which was parked next to his, took out a bright green marker from my purse, took out the directions, circled his grossly misspelled street name and clipped them underneath his windshield wiper facing the inside so it would be the first thing he saw when he got in. (What did you think I was going to do with that marker?)
I’m nothing if not calm and rational.
I then proceeded to make the hour plus drive back home, crawled into bed and took a nap.
Forty never felt so good.
Oh yeah, and I got myself a cell phone.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
FOR JO ON NEW YEARS
I wasn't planning on blogging today, but something touched my heart--or I should say SOMEONE.
I'll keep this brief.
I've written several posts about Jo from 'Jo's Corner' (http://jomoseleysblog.blogspot.com/) and with this new year upon us and already in motion, I wanted to remind everyone that it's not too late to send Jo off a note if you're so inclined and would like to do something meaningful and kind for a fellow blogger--doesn't take but a few minutes and a stamp. :)
She asked for our company as she is alone and battling cancer, with no family around.
I sent her a Christmas card and donated for her new (much needed) wheelchair: you can find the donate button on the left hand side of her blog--but if donating isn't something you can do, please just send her a Happy New Years card or a note if you kindly would. She posted her address on her blog for us to do so.
I know that we are a community full of good hearts (I know because I've seen it and felt it from so many of you), so, let's strengthen our own spirits and souls by lifting Jo up in friendship.
The last thing I would want is for her to think that just because Christmas is over, that she is once again alone and forgotten.
Many of us likely started off this New Year with a 'resolution' (or a vow or promise to ourselves) to be better, to do better and/or to perhaps to reach out more.
Let's make good on that now. All it takes is a little time to send a few words of encouragement.
Many of us likely started off the New Year surrounded by family and or friends, too--Jo didn't.
Let's change that now:
802 Troy Rd. Apt. 105
Albert Lea, MN. 56007
Thank you! Blessings to you and yours in 2010 and always.
Monday, January 4, 2010
AND SO IT IS
Today I was awarded by Herrad at http://accessdenied-livingwithms.blogspot.com/ the 'Fighting MS' award.
Thank you, sweet Herrad, for recognizing and acknowledging my efforts to fight against those who have MS--and bless you for your own battle and struggles with this disease.
You are an inspiration!
I'm trying to make the rounds today to return some of the blog love that has been bestowed upon me, I made it to about eleven blogs today--visiting will resume tomorrow.
As for now, I have much on my mind after thinking about what this new year brings. So, far it's brought about much thinking of the past, about friendships long ago gone astray, how we got here to this point, who tried to help, the end result, what I learned, what I finally acknowledged and what I can do differently.
In one week from today we have our bankruptcy hearing. Everything seems to hinge on this.
In light of this, I looked around not too long ago and realized that outside of B and our 'other kids'--Ed and I have been virtually alone in this process, with occasional support and help (financial, emotional) from our parents, who are plagued with their own problems. So, we chose to simply do the best we could in all of this.
So, upon looking around, I realized that the few friends we have had over the years are now gone. Either moved away or stayed away.
What kind of people were we that we ended up so isolated?
Many, many years ago I had a best friend named 'D'. It was through she that I met Ed--who is her cousin.
A little history:
When my daughter, 'C', was very little I was a struggling single parent, having left her abusive biological father--years later, when Ed and I married, he legally adopted 'C'.
Prior to meeting Ed, C and I lived with my Mom for a time, who then moved up north to be closer to my grandmother. My Mom helped so much at that time but when she left it was sink or swim for me. I sank.
I worked full time but couldn't keep up with rent, utilities, gas, car insurance and child care. I received no child support (EVER!) and when I tried to file for financial aid (food stamps, etc.), I was told I wasn't qualified.
I lived in my Mom's old house which was left to my brother who charged me rent--he had no choice having a home, four kids and a wife of his own to support.
My life and circumstances became impossible: I was living with no electricity and struggling to feed C and myself.
D stepped in and said; 'You're coming to live with us' ('us' being her and her parents).
I fought against it but gave in when I went three days without eating, having just enough for C.
I was getting thin, pale and sick.
I moved in with them and felt relief for the first time in MONTHS.
They were having to pay for my bad choices and being in a stable family gave me a glimpse of how life was supposed to be.
And they saw in me and my poor mothering skills (I was 19 when I got pregnant and 20 when I had C--I make no excuses, though) how life isn't supposed to be.
After the abuse, leaving her biological father, fighting to stay afloat every week, scared, working, struggling, being alone, moving again and again, I then didn't do anything to improve myself once I went to D's.
I became complacent--not attempting to improve myself or my life for me nor for C.
It took years and years for me to face the hard facts and truth about myself.
I met Ed, D's cousin, with whom I immediately hit it off.
Once he and I became involved, that was their final straw and I was asked to leave their home.
Make no mistakes, I wasn't just asked to leave their home, but their lives. Ed and I became the outcasts of the family.
I lost my place with them and my long friendship with D, who finally had enough.
Oh, how I thought then about her; "Life was always so easy for you, wasn't it?"
And it was.
But she tried to share that life with me and to help me--but I was too far gone in my own wants, needs and struggles to see the forest through the trees.
You simply cannot help someone who refuses to help themselves.
Against the odds, Ed and I have managed to stay together over 20 years.
But we've done so without friends in our lives.
I pushed people away as my narcissistic attitude and behavior carried on.
I was defensive of every bad move I ever made in my life and it was only a few years ago that I looked around and realized that there is a reason, outside of B and his friends, that we're alone.
It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to take a good, hard look at ones self--to see ones own faults and to travel down the well worn path of self discovery, realizing where we went wrong. Where I went wrong.
Needless to say, I no longer blame D for doing what she did. She tried her best while I did not.
About 15 years ago, I sent her a letter. In it, I apologized for it all.
It came back unopened with big red letters on it saying; "REJECTED".
I haven't tried since and simply got on with my life of self discovery and growth.
Now that Ed's biological Mom, 'E' is back in our lives, she mentions her beloved niece, D, a lot. Talking about her life with her husband and her kids. I remain silent saying nothing.
Saying nothing because it hurts me tremendously to have missed so much. E also mentions D's friends whom I also knew back then and with whom Denise is obviously still friends with.
This is salt in my wound. Well deserved, I'd say.
I remember when D met her now husband--she was 17 and we all worked together at my very first job, 'Taco Bell'.
Both were too shy to talk to the other so I gave a little, tiny push.
They have been together ever since and now have kids of their own.
I wasn't there for her wedding, for any of it.
It was the heavy price I needed to pay for years of bad choices and mistakes.
*Please see my post from back in August titled 'This I Know To Be True' http://diaryofasadhousewife-jo.blogspot.com/2009/08/this-i-know-to-be-true.html
So, this year--I vow to reach out to others more and to try and repay the kindness that so many tried to give me.
And while I won't be reaching out to D again--that boat has long sailed but I still think about her and wish for her nothing but the best--this year I vow to reach out to others, to try and do better in my choices and in my life.
To try and not be so alone. To learn how to smile at people more (instead of scowl) and to try to make friends--and keep them.
I'm a bit out of practice--and this will entail, of course, my having to leave my house now and then. I don't know where to start--maybe an exercise class or a writing class. Maybe I'll start walking or get a part time job.
If it doesn't happen, my Mom always said; 'If you can't have what you want, want what you have'.
What I have is a new sense of purpose, thought process and self-actualization.
What I have is Ed, B, our other kids--and what is my new self. And if I die tomorrow with only those things, I will die a satisfied woman.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
A YEAR IN THE LIFE: WHAT I KNOW, WHAT I'VE LEARNED AND WHAT I HOPE TO LEARN
Happy 2010, all! Hope everyone had a safe and festive New Years Eve.
WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE:
That LOVE is thicker than water. Without it, Ed, B and I had little chance of getting through this past year in tact.
When one of us was feeling disheartened, the other would lift us up. There were many, many times when one of us would say; "How the bloody hell are we going to eat this month? How are we going to make it until next payday? What are we going to do and will things ever get better?"
That's not only where resolve came in, but love. The love we have for one another gave us the tenacity to problem solve, prioritize, learn to make do and take over when the other felt they couldn't.
Love is not an emotion--it is simply good sense.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED:
That I am stronger and more capable than I ever knew. Not to toot my own horn--believe me when I say that I am the poster child for that ever over used and popular term; 'low self esteem'--but several times B and Ed have said to me; "I don't know how you did it, but we made it through this year because of you.".
I would say it was more of a group effort. The truth is, I was always very complacent and took a very passive role in my married life and particularly in finances. I let Ed make the money and determine how it would be spent. On payday I would ask him; 'How much do I have for groceries?' and he would do the working and bill paying.
I'm ashamed of myself for sticking my head in the sand for so long--I knew that we were sinking financially and Ed asked several times for my help. But my fear took over. My fear that I wasn't smart nor capable enough to handle anything other than what I saw as my 'wifely and motherly duties'; grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, child rearing.
I took over our finances this year for the first time in our long marriage--it took us hitting rock bottom for me to get pro-active and because of that, I found my salt. I now know what I'm made of.
I'm only so very monumentally sorry that it took me so long to do so--had I done so sooner, we may have been able to avoid the financial horror of the past year.
"You do the best you know how to do--and when you know better, you DO better." ~Dr. Maya Angelou
WHAT I HOPE TO LEARN:
While there is always more learning to acquire, this is going to be simple:
~I hope to learn how to maintain my new found inner strength that I never knew was there
~I hope to accept things I cannot control and learn to make the best out of a bad situation
~I hope to learn to realize that there will always be bad times--and that it's okay and always will be in the end
~I hope to learn to get over my fears and rid myself of negative thoughts
~I hope to learn to enjoy life more--individually and as a unit
~I hope to learn to recognize happiness--but mostly I hope to learn to seek it out.
I wish the same for you. Happy New Year.
Peace, love, happiness and health,
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
NOW THAT THAT'S DONE
I hope this finds everyone doing well after all the Christmas hoopla.
I've just been lying low since Christmas ended, not having much to do nor post about.
However, I guess I'll start with the gifts from Ed and B:
'Glittens' (only mine are purple striped):
Black beanie (mine has three colored stripes on the bottom--I wear a lot of beanies this time of year):
A Bohemian type scarf (something else I wear a lot of):
Clog type slippers (exactly like these only in gray):
'Guesstures' (a game of Charades--it's a blast!):
And a glass bowl for holding votive candles (short and round like this one, only it's maroon and glass, not coconut--ha! Couldn't find anything else similar to post):
He also got me a few pairs of warm, fuzzy socks.
Just a bunch of nice little things that I really enjoy.
Two pairs of fleece pajama bottoms: one with peace signs and the other with snowmen (EXACTLY what I wanted and asked for!):
So, I've just been really enjoying my new items and the thoughtfulness and time Ed and B both took.
Yesterday, B and I took down all of our Christmas decorations--what a chore! As much as I love Christmas, I'm not one of these people that wait until the New Year to remove them. I'm simply ready to get over it, mourn the holidays and move on already so I can get onto the next thing.
The 'next thing' being, of course, our bankruptcy hearing set for Monday, January 11th.
Ed and I still have to do the post-filing on-line credit counseling and from there, it's out of our hands and in the hands of a court appointed mediator who determines our fate. Our attorney feels that it's pretty cut and dry but one never knows.
Even though the $1000.00 a month garnishment has stopped and we were able to manage a nice Christmas (and for the first time in a year, we actually have a little money in the bank left after bills, gas, groceries, Christmas, etc.) I nonetheless have this constant gnawing in my gut.
That is something that I'm simply used to--waiting for the other shoe to drop--and I imagine that it will stay there for a while.
We still have a son we're trying to put through junior college--expensive in it's own right just in books alone--and fees have gone up. So, there's not going to be a lot we can do differently.
I'm sure this makes me seem like a 'glass is half empty kind of gal', but kindly keep in mind that after a year of head-spinning and heartbreaking financial somersaults and setbacks, that old habits really are hard to break.
I may have mentioned before that I've become reclusive, rarely leaving my house: my neurosis and FEAR simply being another symptom of what we've been through.
The constant panic-stricken feeling remains.
Again, there's no handbook for this.
And while I've made no 'New Years resolutions' (except maybe to not start a sentence with 'And'! Nor do we have any definitive New Years Eve plans--I'll likely just set out some nibbles--not to be confused with 'nipples'-ha!--for any of the kids who stop by), I guess I really need to start learning to not only seek out happiness now, but to recognize it when it's in my midst.
To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, 'The Big Chill':
"I haven't met that many happy people in my life, how do they act?"
Guess I'll have to try and find out.
"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ~Charles Dickens
So, in closing my last post for 2009, thank you all for making these last few months of this year more bearable for me--especially Steven Anthony, Allen, Andrea, Herrad (stay strong, sweet lady!) and Meeko. Your friendship is immeasurable.
And to Jo (from 'Jo's Corner'--see a few posts below to learn more about this brave woman)--thank you for sharing your life with me. You are in my daily thoughts--and my heart.
To all my readers and bloggers, I wish you all everything that is good in 2010.
I wish that for us all.
Have a fun and safe New Years Eve.
See you next year.
Peace, love, happiness and health,