Monday, June 29, 2009

No Bones About It

This is only my second post--the first one was an introduction into my messy life and world and, quite frankly, how I feel bankrupt, sad and lonely.

In addition to not only feeling the above, but actually being all of those things, I am also a vegan. That means I not only don't eat meat, but I also don't eat dairy products. Nor do I wear leather (and of course NO fur) or use products of any kind made from animals. For example; I don't use lotions, soaps, etc. that contain milk/dairy products.

Being in such dire financial straits at this time, it's becoming more and more difficult to eat a healthy, balanced vegan diet. I am simply unable to afford what I need to maintain a protein based diet.

I keep using the word "diet" here; veganism is actually more of a lifestyle choice than it is a diet. It's more than just food, it's a practice and a way of life.

However we choose to deem it, it's costly to maintain if one doesn't already have the staples they need. So, I find myself eating like crap--just grabbing and eating whatever's around; potato chips, crackers and jelly--not having money for my "facon" (vegan bacon) faux chicken patties, wheat/whole grain pasta and/or other protein/soy based products which is not helping my frame of mind.

Before losing my job last year, I also had a membership at "Curves". I was not able to renew my membership after my contract expired and I miss it. Women are great motivators for one another, even if it's in the spirit of competitiveness rather than "sisterhood", which I'd like to see more of. Sisterhood that is.

I'm a great one to talk. My friends are mostly male; I grew up with older brothers and live with two men--hubby and son--so men are naturally whom I gravitate to. My "social life" primarily consist of my sons friends who are, for all intents and purposes, my kids (more on them in another blog).

My son just graduated from high school and is back east with his girlfriend for the summer (he paid his own way--with us not being financially able to contribute--ask me how much I feel like shit!!!!).

However, I digress. Alas, there is no sisterhood here. No sisters to form a "hood" with.

I find myself retreating more and more from society, not even really wanting to drive to the store.

So, life wins, it seems. It's kicked my ass all over the place and proudly displays the gaudy--yet mighty--belt of championship. I have fought hard against it--and self pity--for years, always being able to hold my head up no matter what. That is now becoming more difficult. I'm weary. To feel so beaten and battered nearly beyond recognition is new.

Hubby has been a self-defeated man, watching him walk in defeated every night for years has been hard to live with--we're barely surviving life and now it seems we're barely surviving each other.

I keep telling myself, this is merely a low point. Low point. Low point....

Finding another job for me as an older woman ("older" being all of--gasp!--43, I say with facetiousness) with no formal education or training (I stayed home and raised my kids, having gotten married young) and having only odd jobs here and there has been yet another failure and disappointment.

I hear about my husbands biological mother (who has never worked outside of the home--more on her in my blog titled: "Is It Time for Okay Yet?") running off to Europe every year and living in a truly lovely home by herself while we're simply struggling to put food on the table, literally. It's quite disheartening and I like my heart. It's always been an open, good, kind, compassionate, and loving heart. I'm so afraid of losing that. I don't want to be disheartened, bitter and afraid.

I want to be healthy of mind, soul, body and spirit. I want to wake up and be happy with my life and it's choices, from the little things (I don't want to sub-exist on coffee and potato chips) to the larger scheme of things such as not wanting to be afraid of what tomorrow brings (homelessness???).

To be able to wake up and actually be okay with the universe would be an enlightening and refreshing epiphany--and a glorious way to begin each day.

I've always strived for the mere basic and simple things in life; I don't ask for--nor do I expect--the impossible and, as women, we rarely get back what we put out. However, I've always been okay with that (I think most of us are), as long as in the end there is generosity of spirit and humanity to welcome me, meet me halfway and to keep me going.

I don't think anyone should ever have to live with the kind of fear and tightrope walking my family and I are now experiencing and feeling day after day.


Perhaps I simply want too much.

Peace, love and Zen to you all,
Jo

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Is It Time For Okay Yet?

In an effort to work towards a proper introduction--without coming across as to morose or narcissistic--I will attempt to condense my very first blog.
I ask for your patience as I'm still learning how to navigate this site. I would also very much like to make my page a little less drone/common and more like me.
There's that narcissism coming out already! Well, I did warn you.
As it states in my profile, and my "subtle as a train wreck" blog title, I am, as you may have guessed, not--at present--a happy gal. I haven't been for a while.
Let me get out of the way that I have a lovely husband. I am not in a "mid-life crisis/empty nest and I'm all alone" mode. Disclaimer: no offense intended for those who may be. I, actually, may not be too far off from the aforementioned but as of now the issues that plague myself and my family have a little more to do with some pretty serious financial logistics.

Long story short (which isn't typically synonymous with me):
When we bought our house (the one we lost last year) almost 17 years ago now, we had only been married a year (our kids were young; our daughter had just turned 6 and our son was 2) and we received the down payment for the house in the form of a very kind and generous wedding gift from my husbands parents.

Fast forward a few years later when, after 30 years of marriage, my in-laws divorced. It's quite a long story, but my father-in-law had a girlfriend (whom he's now married to and she is lovely--hubby now calls her "Mom"; I know it sounds heartless but there is much to this I haven't explained--another time) and my father-in-law asked if he could bring her to our house to meet us.
After wanting reassurance that this wasn't going to be just one of many women he brought around to meet the kids (he assured us he loved her--and it wasn't long until we did, too), we gave him our blessing.
Well, my husbands Mom came over one evening not long after we met my father-in-laws girlfriend/now wife, this was right after our sons 4th birthday who had innocently-- being little and not realizing what was going on--said something about his new bike that "Papa and _ _ _ _ _" had gotten for him for his birthday.
Well, my mother-in-law flipped out! She told my husband (her son and ONLY child) that he had two weeks to decide between her or his Dad and that he couldn't have both. He told her, naturally, that he's a grown man and that he refuses to choose between his parents. She was staunch nonetheless, she wouldn't budge and ordered him to be at her house in two weeks to give him her decision.

As she went to leave, she actually punched me in the face. She was out of control. Still, I felt for her and asked her to please sit down, try and calm down and discuss this rationally. She wasn't havin' it.

Hubby went to her home two weeks later and told her that his "decision" was refusing to make one--so, she made it for him; she disowned him, me and her only grandchildren.

About 10 years later, she decided--through her never ceasing bitterness ("Hell hath no fury...")-- to actually sue us for the down payment "she" put on our house as our wedding gift.

My father-in-law had relinquished all financial rights and turned them over to her upon their divorce just to be done with it.
He, of course, couldn't foresee that she would do this to us.

So, we had to take a second out on the house, pay her the $_ _,_ _ _ in cash to avoid a lawsuit and attorney's fee's, which then made our house payments sky-rocket (nearly doubled).

Since then we've been "robbing Peter to pay Paul", barely keeping our heads above water until we finally lost our home right after my losing my job last year (I worked in assisted living, which is where I met my friend who has MS--more on that another time).

We now rent. We have small a two bedroom house--it's all we need. We're not greedy--the other house was only a three bedroom--we've never had a den or a fireplace, or property. I've never lived in a two story. I've always only needed to be okay.

Anyway, when you walk away from a mortgage, you're free and clear by law (they can't come after you)--unless there's a second, in which..well, they nailed us.

So, the case went in front of a judge, we lost. We decided bankruptcy was the best option and we're still trying to figure that out. Our bankruptcy attorney is having trouble with the fact that hubby was working so much overtime and thought the judge would dismiss bankruptcy for us claiming hubby makes "too much money". He was only working overtime to make ends meet.



What we are facing now is that the financial company we borrowed from for the second, has now started to garnish 25% of my husbands wages--and it's killing us.

Our attorney made him stop working overtime (which was the only thing that was saving us) so he could present the judge with a regular paycheck (along with a letter from my husbands boss stating that the overtime has stopped) so we could then get the garnishment stopped. Our attorney said once he stopped the overtime (which he has), we would only have to go through "one pay period" without the overtime on his check and the garnishment--after that, our attorney said that the garnishment will have stopped, via the judge, and hubby can go back to working overtime, too.

But it's now going on three paychecks with no overtime and the garnishment is still in effect. As a result, for the first time, we will be unable to pay rent next week, only partial. We've never done that and I don't know how it's going to go over.

We're on the verge of renewing our lease for a second year. We'll be short about $500.00, even IF we do a cash advance on hubby's next paycheck.

So, I'm scared. I'm scared of homelessness, of not being okay. I am truly, truly terrified right now. We have no savings because of this mess, we don't go out to eat, we don't go to movies. We have Internet and watch T.V./cable (our only form of "luxury").

So, I repeat the question I asked in the subject box; Is it time for okay yet? If so, I'm so ready for it and will welcome it warmly and gratefully. Which is a small price to pay for okay in my book.

Wishing whomever was brave enough to read this, much peace, love and utter happiness.
Jo