Monday, December 31, 2007

"A"s job

Well, it's day 7. An official week, since he started on the 25th, today is the 7th day. He's only worked about 80-90 hours this week... one shift was about 28 hours. But, he's fixing the system, and he's been promoted, again... he's now the "official" trainer and trouble shooter for the five Des Moines stores. I'm proud, but also a little worried he's going to burn out and then not want anything to do with them. We'll see. Wish him luck.

"a" just got home from daddy's last night. He had a blast as always, and tons of presents. I think grandma and grampa on his daddy's side is spoiling him - as the "horse" I assume it's stuffed? was in the back of Daddy's SUV and when "a" wanted to put it in mommy's car, Daddy said that mommy wouldn't want that "big ol' thing" and that he'd take it home and keep it at his house. I was curious - as I think there's an animated horse that responds to the kids that ran a couple hundred dollars that it might be. But who knows?

Anyway, on to the financial aspect - I'm cashing out an IRA to try to keep things from going bad to worse. Once I get that money I should be able to buy some groceries and make my payments on some of my debts to keep me out of trouble. I thought about fighting the garnishment since I'd been making payments every month on the debt, maybe not as much as they want, but something. But if I can make it through the next couple of months, that would be one last debt to pay on. And with "A" working the hours he is, he can help cover some of the expenses so that we can get through it.

Like Phil, I'm going to post my progress a bit, so that I can keep myself on target.

Saturday I did my 6 loads of laundry and I pulled out three boxes of baby toys. I didn't get them cleaned until Sunday, but as I was digging out toys from various piles and bins of stuff, I sorted out a lot of his toys and his room is about half-clean right now as a result. So on Sunday, I sorted and cleaned the toys I pulled out before I drove to Iowa City & back to pick "a" up. So, I feel pretty good about that. Last night, "a" helped me pick up even more because he was excited to see his room getting clean; and I found a few more items to put with the others that we're getting rid of. I'll clean them tonight; and then sneak them out to the car (where I've hidden the others) after he goes to bed tonight. I'm going to post them on free-cycle.... I had thought about trying to sell them, especially as right now we're in a money crunch; but it's not really worth the time to mess with them. And I know that with free-cycle, they'll be appreciated and hopefully, they'll be gone before "a" figures out what I'm up to.

I'm trying to work today, but it's completely dead. Nice thing is that I finally get to work on the stuff that's been low priority for forever... problem is that it's hard to motivate myself to work on something that isn't very important. It also doesn't help that "a" and "A" are both here distracting me and it's really something that needs focus.

That said, today's de-clutter and home work is to take down and pack up the Christmas tree and some of my Christmas decorations; and post the notice to free-cycle about the toys.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Long list of chores, too little time

It's really nice having some peace & quiet, I can't remember the last time I was in the apartment alone. Unfortunately, Aunt Flow has arrived and I feel like doing squat. Ah, but time is of the essence. So, here I am still in my pjs and wasting time on blogger! LOL

So my to-do list that I am going to SHRINK down to a manageable level.

1) Shower & Dress (yes, that needs to go on the list these days!)
2) Get cash & quarters for laundry
3) Do a minimum of 6 loads of laundry today ($18.00 in quarters! ugh!)
4) Seek out, clean and hide the box of outgrown toys

It is feasible, but that means I actually have to move and DO it.

I would also love to put away x-mas decorations & tree; clean my room; clean my bathroom; clean my kitchen and living room... but me thinks that's not going to happen. I'll have a hard enough time getting my short-list done given all I want to do is crawl back into bed and put a heating pad on my cramps.

I did commit to myself that I will no longer put of my gyno exam - I WILL schedule it in January and I WILL discuss other options for relieving the endometriosis and fibroid pains as well as massive ( I mean MASSIVE ) blood flow thanks to my blood thinner meds. I HOPE and PRAY that this will also help with the iron deficiency issue since I'm bleeding through around ten overnight maxi's a day.... my biggest issue is that I'm certain the answer will be complete hysterectomy, which while I don't think I'd hate it entirely, I'm just certain I'm not ready for it if I can't take Hormones... without the hormones to help me through, I'm just not sure I wouldn't be trading one bad situation for another. So, here I go... shower, cash, laundry, toys... and then I'll be back searching for information about hysterectomy's and surgical menopause and non-HRT remedies!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dreaming of a New Year

"A" has started his new job, and seems really proud of himself. I'm very proud of him as well. I always knew he knows how to work hard, is smart and learns fast. He just doesn't always chose to show it. Often for xmas, I try to find a funny t-shirt (although he doesn't love it, he'll wear them). This year, I found an awesome one. "Born genious, slacker by choice"... LOL! A company came in and bought out a few convenience stores in the area; a trainer from Omaha came in and started staffing them up. She's thrilled with "A" as he's able to not just learn quickly, but since he's computer literate, previously a chef, and good with his hands (as I've always made him help me around the house as a handy-man); he's been able to fix broken equipment (like the hot-dog machine); and figure out quicker and easier ways to fix the register system when handling inventory. So, basically, now, he's showing the trainer the short-cuts he's discovered that makes their job easier. Which is pretty darn cool. He knows how to do inventory, to order new stock, close the register, etc. after only being shown once or twice. They're right now in the process of hiring (and firing the ones that don't get it)... and I guess they hired one guy as a potential manager, but she's mad at him because he came in late one day to open. Although "A" has management experience (a couple of months at the race track); he's just not ready for that kind of responsibility just yet. I'm sure she knows it as well, but that doesn't mean that they won't keep their eyes on him for the future.

They want to go 24/7, and I know "A" would love to work the overnight hours. Only issue is that since he's still sleeping on the couch, it'll be next to impossible for him to sleep during the day if we're around. It's just short-term right now just trying to figure out how we're going to make it through the next couple of months... but I've asked him to think about his longer-term prospects and plans as if he's going to be around more than six months we really ought to consider moving into a 3-bedroom apartment. But where else can he work late nights, flirt with all the girls that come into the store, not have a lot of supervision because he's proving himself trustworthy (thankfully) AND he can text on his phone as much as he wants when he's not busy.

"a" is going out to see his dad this weekend, which is awesome. I'm looking forward to being able to clean his room and cycle through his toys and get some of the baby toys out of there, put some others into storage so that there's less around to make messes with... not that he can't figure out a way anyway.

Me, I'm totally freaking out... I've been totally bankrupt for so long, and basically this past summer started making payments to my creditors... I've got eleven companies I'm seriously in debt to. I discussed filing for bankruptcy last year... but when I realized I made too much money to really improve the situation much... all I was going to be able to do was "re-organize" my debt... I decided I'd rather send that money to the creditors instead of the lawyer.

So, I spent the first part of the year getting into a position where I was decreasing my expenses and trying to figure out how to survive on less money. Then I started paying my creditors each $100/ month - not as much as they want, but by the time I've got 11 creditors $1100/ month is what I can afford... add my car payment it's $1700/month towards debt (which is 50% of my net income). I figure the companies I owe the most to, this won't hardly cover the interest... but, the ones I owe less too, eventually this will pay them off. Once they're paid off, I could then take the extra money from that debt and apply it to the larger creditors. Based on my math which was a bit concervative, this would get me out of debt in about five years; which I figure was worth it.

However, this leaves me about only $200/ month for gas, entertainment, lunch money, clothing allowance. Everything else was going to rent, car payment, car insurance, insurance, day care and groceries.

About the only "extravegance" I have left was the YMCA membership of only $58/month - which I might have to consider discontinuing... why? because one of the companies that I was making payments too - managed to garnish my wages, even though I'd been making payments and I hadn't received any notification they were taking me to court. They are going to garnish $600 per paycheck ($1200 per month). I'm SO screwed. I'm going to go to the courthouse to try to fight it, but geez! That's money I really don't have. If I can't get it stopped, I can't afford to pay any other creditor and then they'll have reason to take me to court. Add to it I was already going to be on a tighter than normal budget for the next two months.... 1) I have to pay my daycare while I'm putting away pre-tax dollars to pay my daycare before I have enough in the account so that they can pay my daycare for me which is double the expense and 2) I have a new deductable all over again for my health insurance which means all my medications have to be paid for instead of being free (like they've been for the past nine months).

I'm screwed. The only good news is that "A" wants to help out financially. My issue is that as much as I can use his help, and will probably accept it in the name of repayment for the debt he's never repaid; it's the principal of the fact that he needs to get his own act together and not just help his mother out. It's not supposed to work that way... you know? I'm not supposed to need his help. It doesn't matter as I basically have few other choices. I may still have to go back and declare bankruptcy after all, as if I can't get the garnishment stopped, I at least have to stop any further legal action against me. I thought that even if I wasn't paying "enough" that my payments were at least the "right" and "just" thing to do.

Well, now that I've vented... I've freed my mind and can now consider my goals... I don't usually believe in New Years resolutions, but this year, I need them!

I'm going to start writing POSITIVE posts for 2008!
I'm going to lose at minimum 10 pounds with or without the Y membership by cutting back on snacks I can't afford, reducing my Pepsi intake and exercising.
I'm going to get out of the house ALONE at least once a month, even if it's nothing more than a walk in the park.
I'm going to continue to knit & crochet, but am going to LIMIT the time spent so I don't mess up my wrists.
I'm going to capture more pics of "a" and get them online which is safer than on my camera and my now wiped hard-drive.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Almost Ready for Christmas

I spent too much money, as always. But "a" should have a blast.

"A" is getting what he's asked for, and not much more... I couldn't find any coal for his stocking, so limited gifts seem appropriate. He should be at least thrilled to be home for Christmas. He got out on "pretrial release". Which is supposed to be a good sign that they don't expect to sentence him for more than a few months... as "pretrial release" usually means that they think holding you until the trial (six months from now) would be more time served than the crime committed. Since he's charged with felony burglary (up to 25 years) and assault (two months max), there's a good chance that he'll get the burglary charges dropped (we hope). It's a lot like probation. He has to check in with his probation officer, he can't step foot in Jasper county, and he can't screw up. We'll see how it goes...

Me, I'm struggling with the thought of going to my step-dad's house on Sunday. Driving three hours each direction to exchange gifts in a house without my mother in it, and without her "all out" Christmas decorating, and her all out Christmas treats with items that at least one person in the family considered their favorites. It just doesn't seem right. I have gifts for my nieces & nephews and a warm sweatshirt for my step dad who's lost over 100 pounds and all his clothes are WAY too big now, plus he's always cold now... and it's a big plus that it isn't on Christmas Eve nor Christmas day... but it still doesn't feel right. It's just too depressing.

Other than that, I have a new tradition that I think I'm going to implement this year - starting tonight. I'm going to gather up all of the presents and wrap them with a generous serving of Bailey's and Buttershots on ice with Christmas carols playing. I think the drink addition will add a great feel to the holiday mood.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thank GOD for online shopping

For some silly reason, in November when I had 1) a teenager living with me and available for baby sitting & 2) three (3) whole Parent's night out events where I left "a" with capable hands for very little cost to me and was given FREEDOM... I did not do all of my Christmas shopping?

Why you ask? Well December will bring more parents night outs right? Well, no - they don't have them in December. And certainly my teenager will still be living with me in December? Technically true, but obviously not!

So, thank god for on-line shopping. I've got one tab open to a very boring text-filled web site, and each time the little tyke comes my way, I flip over to it. He has no idea that santa is checking out the on-line deals and trying to get free shipping on all his gifts.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Well, I went to go see "A" this week, took him some underwear, socks and shirts... I guess they can do laundry, but they don't provide very many good "options". who knew?

It was hard. He didn't want to be there, and I didn't want him there, but I'm deliberately choosing not to make this easier on him. Which is hard, but necessary.

He had a hearing today to see if he could get a pre-trial release. And then if he gets out, he's thinking that after Christmas (or much later?), he'll plead guilty to a lesser charge. I'm thinking that if he wants to plea bargain, he should do it sooner so that the DA doesn't go through the expense of a trial, so they might agree to the plea bargain. If he goes to trial anyway, they don't have any reason to agree to letting him off at the lesser charge of assault. He says that there's no evidence that he broke in, that the door was unlocked, and that there were witnesses who saw him walk in without having to break in. But, my bet is that if those witnesses were willing to come forward now, that the DA wouldn't be trying to charge him with burglary. Ah, well.

In the meantime, I called mediacom, who is my phone provider now and do I have some serious complaints about their customer service.

1)I called in from work, the guy was escalating to level two tech support and had me on hold and somehow managed to lose me in the system - I was re-routed to another first level technician
2) and was told that they couldn't even open a ticket, let alone talk to another technician on the issue if I couldn't read them numbers off of the back of my modem "because the technician didn't record the numbers when they set up my modem".
3) Then she got pretty rude about the fact that in three months I've never received a single call AND I didn't report it until now. Like I knew that if you dialed my number you got a disconnect message... how would I know, it's not like I'm going to call my empty apartment. And I felt it was none of their business that I wasn't giving the number out to anyone.
4) So, after work, I called back again to read off the numbers off of the modem so(which they said they didn't need after all)
5) So then, then we went back on hold so they could escalate to another technician.. and then I got told that they would either email me if they had anything they needed me to do, or they would be calling me up (which would be great) if they got it working
6) So then I didn't hear anything for four days... so I call back
7) Apparently the call on Tuesday, they did a work ticket to program the numbers that were on the back of the modem in... but never did a work ticket to fix the issue... so no one was working on it, even though they swore to me that a second level technician was "working on it as we spoke"

So basically, I can call out, I can use the internet... but if anyone calls my number, they get told it's disconnected. Since I never give the number out, it didn't bother me none... however, with a cell phone at my step-dad's... I kind of need a way for someone to reach me.

SO then, my sister, who hasn't come for the past two weeks, even though they had promised to bring my cell phone to me, I finally get a hold of her, and they'd completely forgotten they had promised to pick my cell phone up two weeks ago and bring it. About that time, I figured I'd call my step-father and have him mail it to me - would have had it a long time ago by now if I'd just done that in the first place, but they talked me out of it.... so now, I finally reach my step-dad, and he doesn't have it any more because my niece picked it up the night before. So, god only knows now when she'll ever bring it. Do I get to be pissy about this? Or should I just shut up and grin and bear it, they didn't have to try to help me out after all? Knowing me, I'd probably just grin and bear it anyway. Wouldn't do any good to complain, not like either of them know what the word responsibility means.

OK... I'll quit wining now.

"a" is so excited for Santa to come. We hung the stockings up last night and this morning he had to announce that Santa hasn't come yet and show me his sadly empty stocking... and then he searched through all the stockings just-in-case. In one of them there was an old elastic band that must have been on some stocking stuffer one year... so he wore that to school today as it was a special bracelet from Santa!

Tonight we went to the Y and we did Christmas crafts... or I did most of them, while he watched me... as tv and eating cookies was a little more interesting... !

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Destressing by knitting

Well, I've been knitting like a maniac these last few months, more so this past week or so. It lets me busy my hands and keeps me distracted enough that I'm not dwelling on my troubles.

I wish I was decorating the Christmas tree or sitting around with my sister & niece. But nothing seems to want to go my way lately.

Did I mention?
- left my cell phone at my father-in-laws at Thanksgiving
- Sister was going to bring it to me last weekend - but a snow storm killed that
- Sister was going to bring it to me this weekend, but my niece couldn't get ready in time to come out apparently, I don't really know, because I keep calling her and getting disconnected
- My regular phone doesn't seem to work - I can call out, but if anyone calls in it tells them it's disconnected
- So, my sister can't call me, and every time I call her, if she answers, it disconnects
- oh, and I canceled out of a play time for "a" because my sister was coming, which obviously didn't happen, so he missed out there
- I can't call "A" while he's in jail - but he could call me, that is if I could get calls...
- I was going to go see him yesterday - visitation is Saturday afternoon & Thursday morning... but I can't take "a" and my sister didn't come to see me after all
- my lock on the garage broke about half-way through bringing up the Christmas decorations
- Adam managed to keep the garage keys in the ruckus, so even though I've called maintenance to fix my lock, I have no keys
- Called maintenance on Friday to say, hey, have no key to the garage, after you fix it can you drop off a key? - they said, hey, pick it up on Saturday
- go in on Saturday, they didn't have a spare, said come back in an hour and they'll go run and make one
- came back an hour and fifteen minutes later - office was closed

... so I'm feeling a little bit frustrated.

At least we have a tree - I bought some lights for it, but that's about it. I didn't get to go see "A" and I have no way to let him know that I wasn't coming so I'm sure he's upset - and since he can't call me, I'm sure he's feeling even worse.

So, for two days now, I've sat around in my pajamas and knitted. I think I've almost finished all my Christmas gifts, but a couple of finishing touches on a couple of items... so I'm just dreaming up things to make... not sure who for, but hey, I'm de-stressing, so I'm thinking it really doesn't have to be for a purpose. Right?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Another work week down

Things are starting to settle down a little at work. I'm delegating out some of my "issues" work so I can work on planning for future releases, which means a little less stress.
"A" is at the county jail, he's been indicted for felony burglary and assault. Bond is about $1500 - which I don't have. So, he'll be there at least a week.  He's trying to get bail reduced so he can get released before trial; and the hearing is on Thursday. Worst case, if convicted he can serve about 20 years. Best case, they drop it down to assault and he gets a couple of months, perhaps with time served. So, we'll see. I guess the felony burglary is "entering a home with intent to commit a crime" ... the crime being the assault. He says he was "invited" in, so the burglary should be getting dropped, we'll see. I've got some good questions for him when he calls me again, but do not know if he'll discuss it over the phone since they are recorded, to see if it's really his word against the friend, or if they have evidence that he broke into the home... if he's going to get a couple of years anyway, I'm not sure it's worth sabotaging Christmas by paying for him to be out for a couple of months if he's going to be sentenced to a year or more.... we'll see. If he's going to be serving the time anyway, in a way, I'd rather he stayed at county lockup instead of having those months end up in his sentencing and he's at the federal prison. I don't really have a clue, but I'm thinking county is a little less "intense" than prison and if he's going to serve the time anyway, county is a little easier for his health and well being?
I don't know... I honestly don't. I'm trying to be helpful, but then again, since I know he's guilty of the assault, I also want him to have to accept the consequences of his actions. Plus it's not like I can make all of this 'just go away'.  He screwed up and he knows it. He feels bad about it, but that doesn't mean that the guy he beat up has any fewer stitches or bruises. I really hate that he went back to Newton at all... let alone that it ended this way.
As much as I looked forward to the move and I did love my house, there was just something really "negative" about the social life in Newton. People weren't overly friendly, there's a lot of drug use, a lot of "class anger" between the haves and have nots; and there really is quite a big division between the two groups.  And "A" made a lot of friends who didn't think there was anything wrong with dating underage girls, drinking every night, etc. 
What I do know is that if I were to bail him out, which I'm not sure I will; that he's going to have to agree to surrender what would normally be an adult's rights to move back into my house.  He's proven to me that being an adult or not, he isn't mature enough to handle his own decision-making; and if he wants the right to live rent-free and get free meals, free bus tickets, etc... he's going to have to play things my way for a while.
As for me, I'm doing a ton of stress-reducing actions to survive through this. In my mind I know that this is far more stressful for "A" than I, but I'm going to be selfish for a minute and admit that this is really hard for me to deal with. I just don't understand him and why he felt that if his friend 'deserved it', that it was ok for him to dish it out.  I grew up knowing that people didn't always get what they deserved, but that it wasn't up to me to 'level the playing field' and fix it.
I keep thinking about all my mistakes when he was growing up, about the fact that I truly think he might be bipolar and needs to consider treatment, and then I think about the fact that he's 19 years old, he knew perfectly well what he was doing, and he did it anyway... even with all I did RIGHT when he was growing up and even with all the programs and extra steps I did to try to help him understand right from wrong. I gave him everything he needed, I supported him as much as I could, and I stood by him when everything else would fall apart. I loved him through thick and thin, tough times and good times, when he was sad and lonely and when he couldn't stand the thought of coming home but wanted to spend all his time with his friends. I did the best I could, I asked for help when I needed it, I sent him to counseling and special programs for kids with difficulty getting along with others.
I still love him, and I always will. It doesn't mean I have to support him when he's screwing up and continuing to. It doesn't mean that I can't help him straighten himself out either. And it most certainly doesn't mean that I have to like what he does. He seems to act like he doesn't deserve a better life. So, I'm working on goals for him & I to help him see that things can be better and what he has to do to get there.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Had to try out the email to blog thing & add the email address to my contact list. Who knows? Emailing might be an awesome way to start venting and de-stressing again!

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Well, here we go again

I'm majorly sressed out. Work is nuts as always, only now not only do we have a ton of work, but we're spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out when we're going to (not going to) provide the update. Which can change hourly. And if it changes and we already have the work done, we have to undo it. And if it's ok, then we have to repeatedly change all the "other versions" for future work so they are consistently including or excluding the changes that are being determined on an hourly basis they should or should not be included. I'm going to go stark raving mad if they don't knock this shit off.

In the meantime, "A" is now arrested. I don't know the details, but I do know he admits to beating up his friend and that he was actually arrested for a robbery. He asked me if I would pay his bond, but we're looking at $15,000 bond after I never got back the $500 I gave him for his $5000 bond last time. SO, I'm tempted to tell him to stick it out, if the charges for robbery fall through from the start - they'll release him - unless his friend presses assault charges.

The sad thing is that I'm just so stressed out I don't even want to know if he's innocent or guilty or what even really happened. I'm just trying to make it through the week every week. If that makes me a terrible mom, well, then so be it. I should be the one to stick up for him, and maybe tomorrow I'll have the energy and capacity to do that. But, honestly, right now, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. Cry for all the good things that I've ever wished for him to happen. Cry for all the pain he went through. Cry for the fact that he doesn't believe in himself enough to try to do and be better than he has.