I started writing this blog, because I figured if I was awake maybe putting some of my worries and rants down in print might help me dish off some anxiety. I hoped maybe it would allow me to work through some of the stress and tension I experienced on a daily basis. I certainly wasn’t having any success tossing and turning at night. I usually ended up exhausted from the ordeal of attempting to force sleep. So, I started writing down what bothered me, or stressed me out, or sometimes what interested me. When I first started this blog, I was living with a man that was a sorry mess. As I look back on my life, there are a few episodes I wish I could completely erase. This man was one of them.
As the relationship unwound, I found myself filled with anxiety and I brought that anxiety here. I also found myself awake at night worried about my career and supporting my family. In those days, I was struggling financially, after a divorce where I ended up with ALL the marital debt. That was my reward for marrying a man who never paid his bills. I worried about everything. It kept me up. I ranted through it all here. My life is in a very different place than when I began this blog almost four years ago. Read the rest of this entry
A while back, like last July, there was a great deal of hoopla about President Obama’s comment, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” Okay, I can see how the hardworking business people of this country could get really sideways about that, but reading the entire comment in context it completely makes sense. After all, in context, what Obama was really saying is that others have paved the way to make us successful…no man or woman or business person is an island.
I’ve recently heard people, friends and colleagues, espousing the ideal of “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps”. I have been thinking about this a great deal lately, in conjunction with President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” statement. I have a lot of questions. I mean, I love the idea of rugged strength and determination overcoming all obstacles, but…I wonder…what if the bootstraps were to break? Who’s wearing the boots? If I’m wearing the boots, who’s supporting the ground the boots are supposedly firmly grounded on while I do my own bootstrap pulling up activities? I don’t know. Kind of makes me wonder.
So often people experiencing hard times are accused of taking the victim mentality just because they are experiencing hard times. Yes, I know. There are people out there who are making choices that lead them to a place of dependency on others’ good graces, whatever form those good graces come in. There are many who appear content to live this way. They milk the kindness of other people and “the system” for their benefit all the while escaping the responsibility of every citizen to give back and help pay for the freedoms and luxuries our great country affords us. They do this, in spite of the fact that they are able to do more for themselves. For them, it is a lifestyle choice rather than a helping hand in a time of need. We could accuse them of being lazy. We could say it is the system’s fault. We could point fingers at a number of different reasons why this is the case, and all of it, to some degree, will be valid. All of it, to some degree, will also be bunk. I know of people who have received more in food stamps than I, as a working professional and single mother of four children, can ever afford to pay for groceries. It is these very same people who sell their food stamps for money. This should not be. I agree. But not every person who is a victim has a victim mentality. And not every person who needs assistance at some time or another requires it forever. Not everyone collecting welfare is a victim. And not everyone, experiencing hard times is able to get themselves out of their hard times on their own. Sometimes, even the most stalwart need a helping hand….or a miracle.
I, myself, have been a “bootstraps” person for most of my life. I figured if I just set my mind to it, I could make it happen. And…generally…that was the case…when I was younger…and prettier. Two divorces and four children later and, try as I might, no matter how hard I work, or how hard I try, or how much effort and genius I put into things, I can’t catch a break financially these days. Well, okay, I lied. My water bill was half what it was last month and I’ve paid off the surgeon that did my cancer surgeries this year. Wow. Big deal. I’m still pretty, but the wrinkles are beginning to be obvious. No one has a clue what my age is unless I tell them (they often guess I’m in my mid-30’s, I’m not). Wow. Big deal. I have worked hard to pay off debt that belonged to me only because an ex-spouse incurred it. I have experienced drama and demise of one disaster after another none of which I was responsible for. Try as I might, I can’t seem to catch a break. I really am trying. I’m not taking handouts. I’m working extra hours. I pay my taxes, my insurance, my bills. I’m not getting ahead. When I am able to get a little bit together, something unexpected and totally out of my control descends upon my life to evaporate the savings as quickly as I deposited it. I mean seriously. I couldn’t control my getting cancer. I had no say in the decision about health insurance costs and premiums and deductibles. I have no control over my daughter, one very normal Sunday morning, getting into an accident that meant yet another cost ($500 deductible) and stress (What the hell are we going to do for transportation now?).
I have changed my opinion about the bootstraps thing. I mean, sure, people can have an amazing impact on the course of their own lives. A child from poverty can go to school, do well, make plans and achieve great things. A child from wealth can squander all the benefit he/she started out with and end up being pretty much nothing. We all have great power to do great things with the energy and intelligence we’ve been given, in spite of our circumstances. I still firmly believe this. Sometimes, there are things that happen that are just beyond our control. Sometimes these things are so monumental or so continual that we can’t, no matter how hard we try, change our circumstances. We are, in essence, pulling as hard as we can on our bootstraps, making progress even, but someone, something cut the bootstrap just a little higher up. I know. This is tough for people who’ve never really known hardship to fathom. If life has always been pretty easy for you, it is difficult to imagine others’ struggles.
This bootstrap cutting from higher up has been my life this year. No matter how hard I try, I can’t catch a break. I worked extra hours, I cut back on expenses, I even moved and made colossal changes in lifestyle to try to get ahead. Under normal circumstances, the efforts I’ve expended would have paid off. What I didn’t account for was the stuff in life that no one can really ever account for. Early this year, I knew it was going to be bad when the biopsy came back with results that required surgeries, radiation and additional out-of-pocket medical bills that I could not have planned for. (Remember, I’m a divorced, single female trying to support four children on my own salary which is decent, but not what someone with a graduate degree in a professional position should be earning.) I also filed for bankruptcy, and that has not gone well. I was assigned a trustee who is Evil Incarnate and completely non-communicative, so I couldn’t plan for the surprise billing she threw on me in late September. A billing of over $738. In spite of all my attempts, and my attorney’s attempts earlier this year to avoid this scenario, it happened and it is beyond my control. To add insult to injury, my daughter recently was involved in a fender bender. She rear-ended someone. No big deal, but the deductible is $500. Since I just paid $817 on this vehicle to service the transmission and replace brakes, rotors and all just a month prior, I have absolutely no discretionary spending or savings to get this vehicle repaired. It isn’t because I haven’t tried. The point I am trying to make is this: From cancer costs, to Evil Incarnate Trustee, to daughter wrecking car, to insurance deductible, to unexpected but required car repairs, none of this was in my control.
What the bootstraps people don’t seem to take in to consideration (and what I didn’t consider for years) is the fact that sometime shit just happens. Sometimes that shit can be dealt with quickly, and other times the shit just keeps coming and you can’t recover before the next load drops. Such has been my life this year, which gives me a greater appreciation for the words President Obama uttered when he said, “You didn’t build that.” I understand the value of having others around to collaborate with and to support you in your efforts. No man or woman is an island. Though success does require our own initiative and efforts. Our own initiative and efforts can’t always guarantee success. There’s just too much out there that we can’t plan on, budget for, or anticipate. Sometimes the bad fortune rains heavily on the parade we are trying to conduct in life. These days, I can’t catch a freaking break because the shit just keeps dropping. It keeps dropping in spite of my good choices, in spite of my efforts to be a responsible, contributing, law-abiding citizen of this great country. Sometimes, the bootstraps don’t help. Sometimes, your success is predicated on the kindness or efforts of others, whether you are willing to admit this or not. Sometimes it is just complete chance or fortune. Sometimes it’s a miracle.
Last month, as I endured the worst month ever since my divorce and trying to feed a family of four on $350 for an entire month, I needed a windfall. I even whispered the prayer, “God, I know you’ve done miracles for other people. I’ve tried. I worked. I couldn’t plan on the demand from the BK attorney. I need help. I need a windfall. And not a $500 or $1,000 windfall either. I’m not asking to win the lottery, but I need help with the car and Christmas.” Okay, sometimes in desperation, we beg for the miracle.
Call was at 12:30. My daughter had stressed how important it was to be on time to the call for her show, so I made sure I was ready. !2:15. 12:30. She drove up in my Durango at 12:45. I didn’t wait. I hurried out, locked up the house and turned to climb into our beloved SUV that we affectionately dubbed, “Rango.” I glanced in the window and panic shot through my psyche. My daughter was in tears, her eye makeup streaming down her face. My daughter is not prone to obvious displays of emotion. I was alarmed.
“What happened?” I asked. “Are you okay?”
She sputtered and sobbed and finally got the words out. “I was in an accident. My phone vibrated. The sound startled me. I looked down. I hit the car in front of me.”
Every mother’s nightmare.
My daughter, who is usually so very careful and cautious behind the wheel had rear-ended an F-350 which tore out the fog light on our vehicle, leaving a gaping hole. The Durango, otherwise, seemed unharmed.
As insurance issues tend to do, this one unfolded in slow motion, as did my understanding of exactly what was going on.
“Oh no,” I thought. “Another at-fault accident on our insurance and a $500 deductible to fix. Great. How’s this going to work.”
Remember, I had $350 to my name and I had to feed my family with this and I still had most of the month left. I drug my feet for a week getting my car into a body shop to get an estimate.
“I’d like to take your car back to my tech to have a look at this,” the young handsome adjuster said. He was getting to know me by name. This was the second time this year my vehicle had reported to his shop for repairs.
Before he took the car to the garage, I asked, “So, what are the chances that this vehicle is actually totaled?” He smiled, “I’m not sure, but that frame is bent pretty far back there.”
We waited. My daughter cried. I waited. As I waited it dawned on me. If the vehicle is totaled, then there will have to be some sort of cash settlement. I glanced over at my daughter and whispered, “Honey, don’t despair. This could be a blessing in disguise.”
Three weeks later, and I am I going to pick up my 2012 Nissan Altima tomorrow (today). Never in a million years would I have anticipated ever driving, let alone being able to afford a recent model anything, let alone a vehicle which is fuel-efficient, comfortable, reliable, has low miles on it and is absolutely luxurious in a color I like! I would love to sit down and detail all the ups and downs between then and now, but it would be tedious for you though it was an exciting ride for me. The insurance settlement came in much higher than I dared hope. It provided a substantial down on this new car, and will replace the money that Evil Incarnate took out of our Christmas/Emergency Fund coffers. In addition, it will allow me to pay off the rest of my medical bills and pay down my credit cards. It is an amazing windfall, and not a little one either. And one further thing…there was nothing I could do to make it happen. It just did. I’m grateful, but I’m fully aware that, “I didn’t build that.”
Sometimes bootstraps and strength alone are simply not enough. Sometimes we all need a little good fortune or a helping hand. I got an assist through some bad/good luck and a bunch of events that were beyond my control which happened to turn out well. They could just have easily turned out badly, leaving me without transportation at all. I’m really grateful for how things turned out, but I did nothing other than make my insurance payment to deserve this. I didn’t do any of this on my own, but all of it seems to be the turning point for my little family as the savings in gas costs and repair costs will far outweigh the new car payment, plus it will put money in the bank for us. I just wonder, does this make me a victim or does it mean I’m able to recognize that I am not all-sufficient. I can appreciate the miracles in my life, even when they walk in clothed in disaster.
Ever had one of those weeks when you were a day ahead of yourself? You thought it was, say, Thursday, but it was really only Wednesday. All day long, you’re excited as anything that tomorrow’s Friday, then somewhere, oh, around 4:00 pm, you realize that you were off by a day. Welcome to my world. I don’t know what I was thinking in my last post. Eleven days left till payday? Ha! I don’t even know how I arrived at that number, except that I must have been so exhausted when I wrote that post. It registered today, when someone mentioned that it was only 14 more days until Halloween. I then remembered my 11 day thinking and got myself all in a wad trying to figure out how I even came up with the whole 11 days until payday thing anyway. Early onset Alzheimer’s? Clearly, this was more than just a minor soon-to-be-senior moment. Even so, the disappointment was not nearly as great as it might have been, had I been a day ahead of myself. I’m in the same place I was when I wrote Countdown. Nothing much has changed, except, I’m adding another thing that I’m counting down to.
A few days ago, my daughter arrived home late from an activity. She was in tears. She’d just rear-ended someone. It seems that her little sister had texted her, the phone vibrated, startling my daughter. She glanced down to see where the noise was coming from (the car had been totally silent) and when she did, she hit the car in front of her, who apparently had either slowed or stopped. I don’t know many more details than this. The accident happened so recently. My daughter is 18, so she will be dealing with the insurance company, the DMV, and whatever entities she must in order to resolve this, as much as possible, on her own. Fortunately, she is fine. Our vehicle, however, is not. Welcome to another completely unexpected financial disaster. This time? The $500 deductible. The best part? This is the third time this vehicle has been in an accident like this, this calendar year. (Each incident involved a different driver.) In fact, I just had the same repair done on this car in January.
This year has been, for me, the absolute worst on record. The year my dad died, 1984, was pretty bad, but only that part of the year. The rest of the year had some pretty wonderful aspects to it. All of the years between 2000-2005, when I was married to The Evil Ex, were completely disastrous. This year, however, I just can’t catch a break. There has been one disaster after another each month, all year long. Just when I hope life might let up just a little and grant me a reprieve from the deluge of bad luck, another crisis occurs. I’m finally calling “Uncle.” I really can’t take another disaster. I’m going to be glad to be done with this year.
I’m counting down the days to January 1, 2013.
2 months and 13 days left.
Unless the world ends in December.
Today started out all wrong. The problem is, I didn’t know it was going badly until it was too late to correct. Today I arrived at work 30 minutes late. There is nothing like walking into a meeting full of people, when your company has called in a consultant and designated you as a leader, with your boss present…and you are a full 30 minutes late.
I would have actually been on time, however, the competent individual who sent out the information via email stated an 8:00 start time. Everyone else got the follow up memo with the time correction. Everyone except me.
You know it is a bad thing when you are walking down the hall to a meeting, thinking that you perfectly on time, maybe even a few minutes early and your boss is texting you, “Are you coming?” That awkward moment when you feel the dread thickening in the pit of your stomach as you open the door, take your seat and discover, everyone else has been there for 30 minutes.
Sudden, overwhelming insecurity and paranoia.
I, did, in fact check my memos. All of them listed an 8:00 start time. There was no follow-up memo, at least, not to me.
How is it that every one else knew of the change in time, but me? And then my next thought, Was this an intentional set up? Who would do that? Why? Read the rest of this entry
So, go figure. My finances suck. We’ve been over that. My love life is non-existent. I just had a guy I supported walk out on me after two years. He gave me three days’ notice and he was gone. Haven’t heard a word from him since. After my two epic fails at marriage, I don’t know which hurt worse, to have the marriages end, or him walk out after I invested so much financially and emotionally for two.fucking.years. It is now all water under the bridge, but at times, it still stings.
I’m at an age and in a demographic where there isn’t much dating action, and if there is, it isn’t serious, nor is it even remotely authentic. Face it, after 45, there are so many obstacles to overcome, so much history to wade through, so many people’s scrutiny you have to undergo before a relationship can even be viable, let alone long term. I’ve given up on that area of my life ever being a source of pleasure or happiness. People who really know me, will know what a big deal that is. Most people tend to understand that it is the nature of the beast these days. Dating after divorce is, at best, a difficult thing, and unlike wine, this does not improve with age. Oh, to be 35 again. Before the wrinkles. Before the mistakes. Before the calendar reveals the stigmatizing number of years you’ve been on this planet (because you cannot lie about that).
In spite of all that, the little surprise I’m experiencing is this: I’m actually having fun. I’m enjoying life more than I ever have. I’m happy, in spite of the fact that nothing (except my delightful children) is as I would have expected it and most of it reeks of pathetically miserable failure. I can’t keep a relationship. I can’t catch a break financially. I rent, on purpose, instead of owning. My car is ready to self destruct at any moment. I should sell the thing and try, if possible, to get some money out of it to put down on a more reliable car. But…how to do that? It’s crazy. I have more problems facing me than solutions. I have experienced more endings in the last year than beginnings. I have more reason than ever to despair, instead of hope. Read the rest of this entry
He wanted to meet up this weekend. It sounded like a good idea over the phone. The problem is it was a meet up. The problem is he lives 150 miles away. The problem is, while the designated meet up point was lovely, it required 40 minutes of drive time and gas expense for me. With three and a half weeks left in this month and, now, $200 left to feed my family of four, I just can’t spend money on that kind of thing.
And how does one explain this without coming off as some sort of destitute woman looking to find someone to financially bail her out, or worse some sort of trailer trash? No offense intended to those who are destitute and live in trailers. I’ve been there. I really have. What I’m talking about is an attitude that oozes “needy” or “rescue me” or “life’s unfair” or even worse, “why bother?”
So, I zipped an email to him stating a partial truth. Due to my daughter’s stage production in a nearby town, she would be needing the car. I would not be able to make it. I said all the right things about how I still wanted to meet up, and I left everything in his court.
Not like this is any big surprise. People go silent all the time. After all, he doesn’t know me. I’m merely a few profile pictures, some well-chosen words and a voice over the phone to him. That’s easily forgettable.
Not like I care. I really don’t.
I’m far more worried about how I’m going to feed my kids this month. There isn’t a food kitchen in town that will accept me due to my income, which is pretty decent for the area I live in…if I weren’t dealing with the financial fallout from a horrible marriage and the resulting bankruptcy and car repairs.
I have friends, though, and these friends know how to cook on a pittance. They are helping me with recipes that cost virtually nothing, but which will sustain us. I can hardly wait until this month is over and I can celebrate the fact that we survived. I’m looking forward to being able to post about how we made it through what seemed like impossible odds without over drawing the bank accounts.
You watch. You wait. I’ll win.
After all, everyone experiences hardship, right? So, the real issue is how we deal with it. Do we cave under pressure or do we conquer?
I fully intend to conquer. Caving, while tempting, is just no fun. Kicking a challenge? That pretty much rocks. Living to tell about it? Even better.
Life turns on a dime. One moment, you are sailing along enjoying everything, even though everything might not be perfect. You’re thinking to yourself that, even though things may have been rough, they are now looking up a bit. You worked a little extra, got a little money set aside for Christmas; something that hasn’t happened in years. Then one wonderful day, as you finally, just barely, allow yourself to begin to believe that there might be hope for a brighter financial future for you and your family, you get an email. Read the rest of this entry
I’ll cut to the chase. I’m an idiot. Who signs up on an online dating sight at the most busy time of their professional and personal year? I do. Like I said…I’m an idiot. I admit it. I have only one excuse. I was three sheets to the wind when I did the signing up. Yep. Had one of those down days. One of those days that proves living a block from the local liquor store is not necessarily the benefit you might think it would be. I don’t know the particular circumstances. I think I successfully drank them out of my memory. I just remember it was one of those days, which, for whatever reason I was feeling blue about the whole situation that transpired in my life recently. Actually, I wasn’t really feeling blue about that situation if the truth be known. I was feeling blue that I’d wasted the last two years of my youth on the man. Okay, enough with the drama. It is also very possible that I was feeling happy. I feel that a lot these days. In fact, I almost get giddy with the lack of stress and the ease with which my family functions right now. No more walking on eggshells. No more having to ask permission or wonder when the next derisive comment is going to come. No more worrying about money. Since I’m not paying his bills, there’s an extra amount in our coffers this month, and that makes me genuinely silly with the giddy factor. Read the rest of this entry
I wonder, is it my payment for doing a good deed or is it just that somewhere along the line, maybe when I was a kid, (I was a really bratty kid and lied a lot to my parents) I earned up some really bad karma. Or maybe, it is that bad things, sometimes really bad things, happen to good people. I don’t know. My right wing fundamentalist evangelical Christian friends might say it is because I’m being punished by God for not attending church every week, tithing, and being a faithful servant. Well, as for not attending church, tithing and being faithful they’d be completely accurate. I’m just not sure that’s how God rolls though. I mean, think about it, when Jesus walked the earth he hung with some of the lowest of the low according to society and the religious elite of the day. Rahab, a harlot, was used to save some godly peeps and, well, I kinda think God tends to look past the mess in our lives right into our very inner being and that is where he deals with us on an individual basis. I think the outer stuff, the yuck that I am dealing with now, is just life. It is also the result of me being a naive person, when I should not have been. It is also the result of me simply making some very foolish choices. Hindsight is always 20/20.
But about the next bad thing that has happened in my life. The thing that makes me wonder what kind of evil karma I built up throughout my life only to have it be dumped out on me this year has to do with the rental. I’ve only alluded to it. Here’s most of the story.
Last year, I made the decision to go through bankruptcy (actually a smart decision given all the details which I will not disclose here). In the process, I decided to surrender my home. This was also a smart financial decision when you run the numbers, again, something I won’t bore you with here. This was not a case of me being angry at the bank for whatever reason. I just wanted to make a fresh start financially and the home was more financial and physical burden than I was going to be able to deal with. However, the entire process has ended up taking far longer than expected (over a year and counting). I knew it would take some time and I was not able to stay in the house and risk a move during the middle of the school year. I have three school age kids and my own career would not have been able to accommodate such a transition at such a time. I was getting legal heat from the Evil Ex and needed to make sure my daughter was enrolled in a good school and that she was doing well and liked it. I decided to move to a nearby town and in September we found a place to rent and settled it. And that, was going to be that…or so I thought.
I was approached by a friend….(you can see this coming, can’t you?)…who mentioned that her son and two friends were looking for a place to rent temporarily and would I be interested. Well, no, not really. I mean, I really had no desire to be a landlord or make the place a rental; I just wanted out. But this was a friend I have known and worked with for 14 years. Her kids and my kids grew up together, went to school together and our kids are now graduating together. This woman has impeccable character and is a top notch quality person. Her son is also. The friends came highly recommended. So, I did a bit of research, wrote up a rental agreement, we all signed it, they paid their move in money and I moved out. I left the place in pretty decent shape. It wasn’t perfect. I had some stuff in the garage still to move out, but the place was, for all intents and purposes, a clean and homey dwelling. The friends of the friend’s son turned out to be disastrous.
Things started being a problem almost right away. I’d drive by the place and see that it wasn’t being maintained, then the rent began to come in partial payments. Two months in and I was working on evicting them. Fortunately, they ended up getting out within the 30 days after being served the rental termination notice. Then I got another renter in, who was actually, at first, responsible and timely in her payments. She got some roommates to help share the rent and utility expenses and all was golden. That lasted about two months and things began falling apart. There were violations of the rental agreement, which I followed up and she attempted (though not satisfactorily) to remedy and I gave her a 30-day notice of termination of the rental agreement (we have a month-to-month). Rent was not paid completely last month and rent didn’t appear at all on the first. I went by to collect on the first, no response. I went by the next day. The house looks deserted, but the door is wide open. No answer when I ring the bell. I try contacting my tenant with no response. I drive by the house the next day, the door is closed, otherwise there is still no sign of life. The dog does not bark when I go to the door. This goes on for a week and I’m beginning to think they’ve abandoned the house. Finally, I get in touch with the tenant, over a week after the missed payment and the termination notice. She confirms that she received the notice. She also confirms that they have indeed abandoned the place, with the intent to come back for her stuff by the end of the month; the others have already gotten all their things out. In a phone conversation, I express my concern about the security of the home if no one is living there. She agrees that she will get her stuff moved out within the week and move the rest of her stuff to the garage. I gave her till the end of the month to get her stuff out of the garage. In exchange I get the possession of my home and I won’t go after her for the late rent. Her week to move her stuff ended yesterday. Today, after my radiation treatment, I went over to the house to check things out.
This is the scene that greeted me when I drove up to the home:
I just had a really bad feeling about this. I immediately texted my tenant asking about all the stuff and she actually texted back saying she’d had a garage sale and this was the leftovers. On the mattress, there is a sign that reads, “Free. Please take.”
This is what the living room looked like when I entered:
Those are the window blinds that were in great condition when I moved out…now all broken and scattered on the floor. The big black stain in the middle of the carpet was not there when I moved out. You can’t see it well from here, but there is also smoke damage on the fireplace brick. Nice. Here’s the other side of the living room:
It gets better, before we head back to the bedrooms, let’s check out the kitchen.
The back slider was left open. Check out the grass in the back yard. We left them a lawn mower. It sure looks like they made good use of it. Here are views of each side of the kitchen:
And some food for any guests that might stop by:
I just can’t fathom how people can operate like this. They were in violation of their rental agreement for trash being left around. I gave her the appropriate amount of time according to state law to correct the problem. An attempt was made, but it was nowhere near satisfactory. Look what they left behind in terms of trash:
The thing that really irks me about this is that for the entire time I was renting this house to both sets of tenants, I paid for the garbage service which included a recycling bin and a yard debris container. What kind of mentality is it that thinks that it is okay to live in squalor like this let alone leave it for someone else to pick up? But let’s just do a quick tour of the rest of the home. My skin is beginning to crawl and I’m glancing around for the rubber gloves and sanitizer.
Part of the rental agreement stipulated no smoking in the house or garage. Apparently, the rules don’t apply to these folks.
Those aren’t just carpet stains you see in that picture with the pillow in the corner. That is dog poop on the carpet.
Of course, no rental trashing by tenants is complete without some damage to the walls. This hole is about a foot long from top to bottom.
That wasn’t the only hole either, but it was definitely the largest one. In all there were three holes in walls, and a wall had been repainted a hideous purple-blue color. The wall was previously white. Other damage to the home included damage to lighting fixtures:
Broken glass on the floor:
No, this is not going to be another down-in-the-mouth, woe-is-me bitch session.
I’m actually going to be positive for a change and since I have only small change, I guess that’s a good thing.
I’ve bemoaned my financial fate of late and poured out my misery as to how deplorable and desperate I really am…economically…right now.
I’d like to make the following observations of the data of my financial life this month:
1. I began the month by ending last month in the negative numbers…oh…about $300. (This is NOT normal for me…at least not since those first few months after leaving The Evil Ex.)
2. At the end of last month, in addition to the negative bank balance, I had to post-date two checks to my mechanic one for last month and one for May for the water pump that broke.
3. I am still trying to pay off utility bills for the rental unit (aka, my old house that I am walking away from).
4. I started my month with about $200 to pay over a thousand dollars worth of bills. (That was after I paid some of the other bills first. I don’t just have a $1,000 overhead.)
5. I was looking forward to a $3300 tax return, the first in 5 years, which would have been a nice windfall, allowing me to get caught up and all and I was required to turn this over to the bankruptcy court trustee. Thanks to Ms. Trustee, I was allowed to keep the money I received from my partial rent payment I recieved.
6. I put everything possible up for sale on Craigslist.
7. I did have to write one post-dated check to The Good Ex for a hundred bucks to get through this week after the cat started oozing mysterious pus last Friday night. (Please, do not tell me I should have let the poor cat die.)
8. I sold nearly everything I put up on sale, except the stupid juicer, and paid all but two bills, small ones, which I will double pay tomorrow because it is payday in exactly 10 minutes. At midnight that paycheck will dump in and I can start over for another month. The bills were the water and garbage and I’m writing the checks now for double the amounts.
10. I have no credit cards.
11. I have 83 cents in savings.
12. I am NOT overdrawn, in spite of this nightmare of a month.
13. Someone just called about a coffee table I had advertised on Craigslist. 20 minutes after answering that call, I now have $27.49 to my name.
14. I still have a $200 post-dated check that my mechanic will cash on the first and a $100 check that The Good Ex will cash tomorrow coming out of tomorrow’s paycheck, but…
15. I’m not overdrawn!!!!!!!!
This, in and of itself, is a huge step forward for me financially. It is small, but very definite, progress.
16. I have not had an unexpected car repair this month…and I won’t because the car is parked and I’m not going anywhere tonight. If it breaks down tomorrow that will come out of next month’s pay. Let’s hope it does not break down.
17. I had to pay $150 to an attorney last week on top of having to pay bills, put gas in two large gas-sucking vehicles, and feed a family of five, two of whom are teenagers.
18. I got all my paper work in to the District Attorney’s office in response to The Evil Ex’s request to review the child support order. I feel better now.
19. I made a decision about what to do about the tenants in my house. I’m terminating the agreement, because I can. The money and the stress are not worth it. I feel even better now.
20. I paid my bills, didn’t go into the red again, and I survived this month.
April 2012 was, by far, the most financially stressful month I’ve had in four years and I made it.
I can, for the first time all month, breathe deep, relax…and feel very, very good about being very, very strong. Lesser people would’ve slit their wrists or swung from rafters if they faced my difficulties. (They do this because they have life insurance. I do not have life insurance because I cannot afford it…yet.)