Thursday, November 5, 2009





ADDRESSING MY CRITICS AND REFUSAL TO BE CENSORED


Good morning, all. My 'oldest son', 'J', brought over his laptop for me to do my finances, as I do every two weeks: is that called bi-monthly or bi-weekly? Well, whatever it is, it blows--ha!

Before I get to my bankruptcy update, it seems I am, once again, in the proverbial 'hot seat'--not a fun place to be.

Why can't I simply ignore the ugly comments? Apparently my being a cruel, ungrateful and insensitive daughter isn't my only flaw--the fact that I cannot let such criticism and opinions roll off my shoulders, especially when it is indeed so deeply personal, is yet another failure on my part.

My 'diatribe' about the day with my Mom at 'California Adventure'--since it clearly needs to be spelled out so as to further avoid any ugly comments or misunderstandings--was satirical.

It should go without saying how deeply I love my Mom. Is she a pain in my arse at times? indeed. As I am in hers.

I think it sad that I have to, once again, defend my post and to say that no, I really did not want to throw my Mom off the ride.

To convey ones emotions through writing is a difficult task--and one I obviously failed at--especially when the reader does not know me nor my personality personally (dry, facetious humor), especially if my post came across as anything other than in jest.

Mothers and daughters are an interesting dynamic and whether in good or bad times, the love is always there. Always has been, always will be.

A little history:

I'm the youngest of nine children, five are my Mom's, including myself: I'm a 'yours, mine and ours baby' with my Mom having three sons and a daughter from her first marriage and my Dad having three daughters and a son from his first marriage--I'm the youngest and the only 'product' between them both.

I'm also the only one who calls my Mom weekly and when she was evicted from her rental home ten years ago (courtesy of her oldest son--my half-brother...long story there), it was Ed and I who picked up the pieces and took her in. Ed and I, out of my siblings, were the ones least financially capable of doing so. So, she lived with Ed, myself and our two young children at the time in our small three bedroom house for six or seven months before getting her own place. She now lives about 5 minutes from us.

Truthfully, I thought nothing of it but did think it kind of shameful that no one else thought to help her out financially.

Before things got really bad for us financially, I would bring my Mom groceries, take her to the movies and to lunch or dinner once or twice a month.

Unfortunately, I can't do those things right now.


Now, for her birthday this year, she received only one phone call from my other siblings (my mid-west brother), although, my brother who lives closest to us (about 45 minutes to an hour) did come and take her out to dinner the week before.

No card or gift from any of them (excluding the one who took her dinner--that was her gift; it was thoughtful, well received and appreciated by my Mom).

We did our 'California Adventure' thing with her and I got her a paperback book of her favorite author (Nora Roberts) and a pair of warm pajama bottoms. I couldn't do much but I do talk to her at least two to three times a week, while the others only seem to call her on national holidays. However, the brother that took her out to dinner is making more of an effort to do those things now--he lives about 45 minutes from us and so, I do give him credit and am appreciative.

The other three live out of state: one has nothing to do with the rest of the family (since he caused my Mom, and us, so much grief by removing her from her home he rented for her after previously taking out a loan on her house up north, which he then lost and thus, she was twice evicted), the other brother lives in the mid-west and did treat her to a plane ticket to attend his daughters wedding earlier this year but both my Mom and my brother say that the whole trip was disastrous and neither will ever do that again. My Mom's eldest lives back east and, again, only calls on holidays--not even a call, nor a card, from her for my Mom on her birthday last month.

Also, I lost my Dad three years ago--kindly do not speak to me as if I don't know what it means to lose a parent or how valuable my Mom is to me. You're making leaps and bounds of assumptions.

In addition to being called a 'bad daughter' by the two bloggers in question, I was also accused of too much 'whining' and not enough volunteering nor helping myself.

I think that's how it went.

Whining?

You betcha. I set up this blog for the purpose of nothing but. Guilty as charged.

This is my place to vent by exuding brutal truth about bankruptcy and it's daily effects on an average working class family.

Do I think we're the only ones who are, or have, gone though this?

Of course not--most of the whole damn country is going through this and I am in no way delusional about that.

I attempt to get through this whole demeaning process with a little grace and dignity but, sadly, grace and dignity do sometimes fall to the wayside for the commiserating and whining I have been accused of.

Let me just state for the record that there is no handbook for this--I can only write about what I think, what I feel and what the day to day financial struggle is like.

This is simply my story. No one else's. It's told through my eyes only.

I do not pretend to speak for others.

For those of you who have written in support, telling me that you have gone through this, that you have survived it and that it does get better--your encouragement has not gone unnoticed.

It brings me insurmountable comfort and I thank you.

Onto volunteering.

Apparently, my MS (Multiple Sclerosis) fundraising and volunteering hasn't sunk in--maybe I haven't written enough about it.

It's an odd predicament: not wanting to preach nor to 'tally up' ones volunteering time, efforts and monies raised.

For the record, and simply to silence my critics, which I hope will be once and for all, here is what I do and why I do it:

I am about to embark on my third consecutive MS Walk. In two walk seasons, I have raised $10,000 for the NMSS (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) in the name of my friend, Scott, who has MS.

Scott introduced me to the plight of the MS cause and got me proactive.

Scott is 53 and lives in the assisted living where I used to work. That's how I met him. I will write more about Scott and our quest for a cause and cure for MS in an upcoming blog.

Prior to that, I volunteered in my kids school for years and years, winning the school districts award for parent volunteer of the year as well as Ed and I both managing our sons baseball teams for nearly ten years--all volunteer positions.

When I worked in assisted living (which was a bi-product that came from a need after my fathers death--again, please don't tell me that I don't understand the value of our elders...it's insulting) my son came in and volunteered in everything from moving furniture for residents, calling bingo and putting up holiday decorations.

He's also worked in soup kitchens.

But apparently, none of this is enough for some of my readers.

Again, I will be back in December to talk about the upcoming MS Walk '10.

I'm sorry to have lost some followers, truly I am. I acknowledge fully that I am not everyone's cup of tea and that it's easy to be misunderstood in writing.

With that said, you're all perfectly entitled to how you feel. Thank you for your previous support. No hard feelings and I wish you well.

Moving onto the bankruptcy update:

It has been postponed until December.

A new law was apparently placed in effect November 1st claiming Riverside County (where we live) to be in a lower cost of living bracket: 'they' claim (seriously, who are 'they' and do 'they' have a freaking clue???) that the cost of living has gone down.

Let's see: gas is still $3.00 a gallon. Groceries have gone up. Our rent hasn't gone down nor has our utilities.

This is almost laughable.

The way it works is this: in order to file bankruptcy you have to show six months of low income. So, we were starting in May to November, which is when we were to file.

Now, with this new law, we have to wait another month.

So, we just have to hang in there a little while longer--we have an appointment with our attorney on Friday, December 4th, to put this in motion. The day after we file for bankruptcy, the garnishment stops on my husbands wages, which by the way is $1,000 (one thousand) a month that's being taken out.

And to my critics who say I'm not helping myself: I have done a tightrope act worthy of 'Cirque Du Soleil' (sp?) to keep us fed and in a house with working utilities as well as pulling money out of my rear for Ed to get back and forth to work every day: he works in L.A. county, a good thirty miles from our home in a job he's been at for over twenty years.

Secondly--I am unable to work because my wages would also get garnished and we would be ineligible to file for bankruptcy at all due to 'too much income'.

We are $30,000 plus in debt from the second on the house we lost.

Without bankruptcy, it would take years to pay that off and we, quite frankly, cannot keep going like we are.

I have about $200.00 a month to spend on groceries for three people--and when I say 'groceries', I mean EVERYTHING: laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, dish liquid, toilet paper, napkins, etc. Not just food.

We have two beloved pets we've had for over ten years: a beautiful lab mix named T.J., who is ten years old, and a feline named Priscilla ('Prissy') who is eleven. Both are, of course, also part of our clan and are a priority and need to eat as well (twice a day).


The $200.00 naturally includes their care as well as ours.

So, it's a battle but we're hanging onto the end result and looking forward to that silver lining.

We hope it won't always be like this.

Time for me to pay bills and run through our finances. I'm going to try very hard to come back today if I'm able (not sure what time 'J' needs his laptop back) and visit my blog friends on 'their turf' as I've missed seeing all that's going on in your lives.

Thank you all for your never ending support.

Love, peace and happiness,
~Jo

8 comments:

  1. Darlin Jo,

    I love you and your honesty so much...I can not wait to the day when you are back regularly....as far as the comments by others, well it is easy to sit and type about someones life when you dont know them, how easy to sit in judgment of someone else...how good they must feel about themselves!

    You just keep being you, ballsy, brassy and lovely.....

    much love my friend;)

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  2. Just noticed you came back and i'm sooo glad !!
    Let me tell you that it's worthless to get seriously what others say and feel sad.
    Look forward to your coming back regularly.
    hugs hugs

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  3. Jo,
    Write your blog for YOU and however you want to. You can not be held responsible for how people react to what you write. If they don't like it, they don't have to come back. It's just that easy! Hang in there, December is just around the corner...

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  4. Jo, just keep being you. I love that smiling, bold, sassy lady who updates me on her frustrations and inspirations. I don't want it any other way. Be well and know we are all thinking about you.

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  5. Just for the record, Jo, neither Kaz nor I EVER said you were a bad daughter; both of us have less than comfortable relationships with our mothers, but Kaz is right, one day your Mum will be gone & you'll miss her. I've stopped following you because I thought you overreacted to her post, and I still think that you seriously underestimate just how lucky you are.

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  6. I am always caught off guard at how much a bad comment can hurt me. It is hard to develop that thicker skin but I'm working on it.

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  7. Isabella,
    Think and believe my words to 'Kazz' harsh if you must, as I believe hers were to me.

    Also, my telling her to 'jump off a pier' was also satirical (although, I felt appropriate considering her public scolding)--interesting what you take as a serious note...

    Kazz had never found her way to my blog before except on this one occasion to critisize and scold me publicly.

    Again, you're perfectly entitled to disagree.

    Furthermore, if you're going to stop following me--as you said you were--then please, by all means do so. I will not continue to tit for tat with you and shouldn't have done so thus far.

    With that said, a big hi to everyone else. I was delighted when Ed came home from work tonight with--drum roll, please--our fixed computer!!!!

    We've been six weeks now without, with occasionally borrowing J's laptop.

    So, now I can get back to keeping up with everyone--although, most likely starting on Monday; I am having to keep close watch on T.J.--our ten year old lab. B paid for him to go to the vet--more on that in an upcoming post--and I'm on med and food patrol...

    So, I will be back in a few days to say hi and to check up on everyone.

    I have so many people to thank for their support, advice, well wishes and friendship over the course of this past month and a half.

    Until then...

    Much love,
    ~Jo

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  8. Hi Jo,
    Thinking of you.
    Love,
    Herrad

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