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
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 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:
Never, ever ask yourself the question, “How much worse can things get?” If you do, you are tempting fate, and you are likely to discover the answer to your query. I must have asked this question. This year has been nothing, if not a direct answer to that very inquiry. I’m ready to be done with all this (insert expletive here).
I mentioned last month that The Evil Ex, had requested a review of the child support he barely pays. The Hesitant Boyfriend, picked up the ticket for the certified letter from the District Attorney’s office yesterday and failed to mention it to me. He texted me this morning and mentioned it. I was mildly annoyed that he’d done this, knowing as he did, how the whole situation has created such angst for me. I had him take a picture of it and message it to me, I then emailed the picture to myself and printed it off. I spent my lunch time dashing to the post office, praying for good news the entire way, only to find that I was losing over $200 each month in child support. Welcome to the genius of our current child support system which seems to somehow punish the decent people who pay into the tax system while rewarding those who do not. Never mind that I am a single mother with four children I am still responsible for, while he has a second and third income–I make more money than he does. Never mind that I am now responsible 100% for ALL the medical expenses and I don’t even have an order anymore requiring him to pay half of all the uncovered medical expenses. Yeah, it pretty much bites.
I could request a hearing, but I think the income he stated is accurate. I don’t think the DA will consider other issues. Like the changes in our out of pocket medical expenses. The stress and likely cost of getting an attorney involved will be more expensive than just adjusting my lifestyle and moving on. The less I have to do with this man, the better it is for me.
On a good note, I feel completely free to be vindictive and inflexible when it comes to planning the summer schedule. My answer will be no, plain and simple, unless it works for me.
Sigh. Words cannot express how much I detest this man and all he says he stands for. I have to move through that, but I am just not there right now.
On a better note, I do have three weeks of work lined up this summer that will help me get caught up on bills and, hopefully, stack some aside in a savings. On an even better note, The Hesitant Boyfriend, has been getting anywhere from two to four days of work a week subbing for the school district. This means a couple of things. First, half of that will go to his Evil Ex. That’s a good thing. He has been unemployed and unable to pay anything for so long that quite a bill has accumulated. So, please, State, take your half and leave him alone. The second good thing is that he can now begin paying some of his own bills and pay me back for some of what I’ve had to put out to support him this year. That should make next month do-able even though I’ll lose the child support.
If he HESITATES with any of that, I’m kicking straight to the proverbial curb. And then I go get a second job. And a housekeeper.
What I really need is a sugar daddy; good-looking, intelligent, wealthy, and willing to share the wealth. Right now, I have everything but the wealth. I’m really not looking to trade in The Hesitant Boyfriend, but money matters. It especially matters when you don’t have enough of it. The lack of it can create real strain in a home. I just don’t want that.
Now that I’ve said all that, let me finish by saying after being really disappointed and unhappy about this financial turn of events, I’ve already begun thinking of things I can do to cut costs and increase income without a whole lot of upheaval. It’s going to be okay…isn’t it?
May 2012 is already shaping up to be a better month than April was. That’s pretty decent considering it isn’t even May yet. I get paid at the end of the month, and have already paid all my bills for May. That’s also pretty decent considering I paid up the ones I had to skip on last month just to survive. I absolutely detest living like this but one of the first things I learned in Divorce 101 is that sometimes you just have to survive. That was April’s mantra. May’s, I hope, will be more about recovering and stabilizing rather than just making it. By July, I actually hope to be moving ahead.
So, I’ve paid the bills, and there is money to eat on for the rest of the month; another reason May is already better than April. In addition, I did this without planning on the rental money, from the old Someday-The-Bank-Will-Decide-To-Foreclose house. I’m going to terminate the contract with the renters whether they pay or not on May 1. We are on a month-to-month and i can terminate the agreement with 30 days notice for no cause. The income is nice, the hassle is not. It is also a good idea for me to just get used to not having that income. After that, I’m probably going to need to begin not planning on the money from The Evil Ex, because I suppose that will go away soon also. I just can’t worry about that now. On the up side, I have a few gigs that opened up over the summer that will hopefully do much to get my savings going.
On another note, my son was sick all last week and he gave me whatever he got. I spent most of the glorious spring weekend indoors, sick with a killer cold. I’m feeling slightly better now, but won’t be heading in to work tomorrow. I’m certain my clients would not appreciate me coughing, sneezing, and hacking phlegm all over them. I’ve already called in my assistant. She can handle most of the important stuff, and reschedule the rest. I will be spending the day in bed sleeping, hoping like anything to speed my recovery. God knows I’ve taken enough sick time this year.
In all, April sucked. Bankruptcy is no fun and things were super tough. On the other hand, I do believe the home we are in right now was divinely appointed. There were not and still are not any homes of the kind and size we have for the amount we are paying. I’m not sure this is necessarily a forever home for us, but I can think of much worse places to land for a few years while we get back on our feet financially. Plus, it is low maintenance and I love this place. Things could be much, much worse.
So, here’s to moving through the roadblocks and challenges in life. After every hill climb, there is a glorious descent. Let’s hope the ride smooths out for the rest of 2012.
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.)
This evening when I got home, The Hesitant Boyfriend noticed that a patch of hair was worn off my black cat. The location of the patch was on the meaty part of the back thigh. It looked, at first, like maybe a tick or flea was bothering the cat and he’d dug away hair to get at the pest. Upon closer scrutiny, we discovered a perfectly round puncture wound that was oozing bloody puss. And by oozing, I mean, this ooze was of volcanic proportions. THB thought someone might have shot our cat with a BB gun or a .22. We tried to clean the wound, but our cat fought his way out of that one and ran off.
I figured that cats are pretty good at fending for themselves, so we turned our attention to some episodes of West Wing a friend let us borrow. I couldn’t get THB’s comment out of my mind, though. What if something was lodged in the cat? It seemed infected. What if it didn’t heal on its own, but got worse? And who would shoot someone’s cat? Further, since he’s an inside cat, how and when was he out? I also didn’t exactly relish the idea of that ooze ending up all over the furniture and the house.
I searched the house for my cat. He’s a beautiful black shorthair. Exactly the kind represented on the Halloween decor each October. In fact, I make certain he’s safe inside during the fall months especially. Of the four cats, he is my own. I picked him out when he was a kitten after going to pick up another kitten my daughter reserved a few weeks earlier. He was pure black, so adorable, and I fell in love. Somehow this cat knows I love him, because as the most standoffish cat in our bunch cats, he is a cuddly creature only when he is with me.
I was worried that he might really be hurt, so we ended up taking him in to the emergency vet clinic not far from our place. Mind you, between the two of us, THB and I have less than $150 to buy gas and groceries for the next week. It’s not the norm for us, but with the Bankruptcy Trustee taking my tax return and, my car’s hot water pump and extra medical expenses coming due, we are ultra tight this month. Had I not sold some things, we would not even have this much.
I knew we were in trouble when we walked in the place at 11:30 pm and the sign said payment due at the time of service. And then we discovered they no longer take checks. I’m now wondering if I can just use my debit card and let it overdraw. The minimum cost to walk in the door is $105. I’m just sick. It is going to cost even more than this for sure. The last thing I needed was another financial blow and here it is.
Well, this is going to be interesting.
And, yes, I am worried about my cat.
The tech just came in and informed us that the cat is not the victim of a gun shot wound but of bites from other cats that have become infected or abcessed. Well, that’s the good news. Now, how about the financial devastation this is about to wreak on my life?
We have been here nearly two hours. I am beginning to wonder if I will ever see my cat again. This place has never been this slow. THB mumbles,”We shaved too much hair off your cat so we are letting it grow back before you can go.” He’s delirious. He’s not a night owl at all. I’m tired, too, and might even be able to sleep if I were anywhere near a bed. I’d just like my cat and the bill, please. Well, I’d really just like the cat. You can keep the bill.
Much, Much, MUCH Later…
$159.00 later, I have my half shaved cat back, with the diagnosis of abscess of the left thigh.
That was our last amount of money until payday (I don’t even have a credit card to fall back on). How I’m going to get by with $20 for food and gas for the next week, I have no idea. I just need some sort of financial reprieve or windfall and soon.
At least the cat will will not need further care. It is a small comfort to know that none of the neighbors actually shot my cat.
The cats are at it again. Sometimes I really wish I would have paid attention to the fact that cats are nocturnal creatures before I allowed my children to talk me into getting one. I really wish I would have realized how wild their behavior can be at night before I signed on to take in four of the homeless creatures. Tonight they are flying around the house like they’re on speed, claws fully bared, tearing the place apart and me with it. It’s not cracking up to be a peaceful night of slumber.
In addition to that, finances have me tossing and turning. My daughter needs to apply for financial aid so she can continue schooling and because my cash flow and ability to help is zero, it’s creating some stress. No, it’s creating a lot of stress. I’m filing for bankruptcy, which is a smart move, but the paperwork burden and getting the right documents to the right people in the right amount of time has me twisting up the sheets as I toss and turn.
Then this cancer thing, yes, it is cancer, gnaws at me. While it really is the least of my worries right now (early stage, non-invasive), it still has me wondering sometimes about how much time i really have left on this earth. I hate thinking about that. Then that thinking leads me to realize I have no life insurance, and that I probably couldn’t get any now anyway. Then that leads me right back to stressing out about money that I don’t have now,and the lack of it I’m likely to face after I can no longer work. If I live that long. Then, of course, that spins me into a cycle of worrying about the kids, which takes me back again to the money. And so on.
I swear this all giving me dementia. I forget things more often now. I can’t remember where I put things. I can’t remember entire conversations, sometimes. This is terrifying to me. Today, I had $40. I stuffed it in my pocket until I could get it into my wallet, which I wasn’t carrying with me at the time. Between then and an hour later, that money completely disappeared. I retraced my steps, searched everywhere. No money. Now my mind is obsessively reviewing my day trying to figure out where the money went. I didn’t spend it. This I know for sure. Where is it?
There appears to be a momentary lull in the cat craziness. Now the place feels like a tomb, and the silence is problematic. I can’t win here.
I think there are some of those pain pills left from my last surgery. I didn’t use them for pain since I didn’t really have any pain, but they were rather effective in helping me sleep. Something I can’t do when wearing a bra to bed and after breast cancer surgery, that’s exactly what one is instructed to do. In fact, I was instructed to sleep but also to wear the bra. These two instructions were really mutually exclusive orders. I blew through the pain meds using them as sedatives. I think there might be one or two left.
I think I’m going to have to go find out for sure.