Friday, December 30, 2011

Final Friday Financial State of Affairs ~ 2011... Is it over yet? God, please be over!

Here we go...

12/30/11 ~ Bank Account Funds Available:     $ 1,472.28

I'M RICH!  Electricity, hot water, running water, waste pick up, interwebs... you are mine!  All mine... for another month at least.

Blessed today I am able to:

  1. Make Dec.16th car payment of     $627.90
  2. Send Dec. 27th phone/cable/internet payment of     $227.35
  3. ........ I can't do it.

    I'm finding it hard to continue.  Keenly becoming aware of what we "do" have.  Feeling sense of serenity from realization that I have been able to keep utilities on; we did have food to eat all year, I was able to catch up on car payments... took me nearly the entire year, but I DID IT!  We have each other, our dogs are still with us, we have a reliable vehicle, and everyone remained relatively healthy in 2011... and I didn't have to resort to prostitution!  Yet?

    Friends and Family in California - all over the county... around the WORLD - saw us through, sending what they could; keeping us in their prayers.  It was hard making phone calls asking for help; embarrassing posting concern about need.  But, I was heard and hands were outstretched to help.  Some fed us for a day; some for an entire week, even two.  Barb kept us feeling clean and soft and smelling good. One friend, Patty, made sure my girls had some new clothes; Lorraine made sure I could get them much needed school supplies.  Thank you everybody.

    Ending the year on a positive note... there's money in the bank.

    Must be grateful.

    How-To Help

    I know what it feels like... you want to help.  I've donated cash, clothing,

    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    How-To Forget Your Troubles, Come On Get Happy....

    Relish in fact that there is wonderful talent and beautiful music to help get you through the day.

    For example... What Are You Doing New Years Evedelightfully performed by the deliciously charming Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

    Courtesy of Hello Giggles

    Painful year, really...

    For so many.  Take my friend in California who is living this:   "My ex decided to not pay my car so now is going to be repossed... he has ripped me off of everything. I'm homeless, without my kids, dishoners my visitation with my daughter and has my car taken away soon. I just owe 5000 and the car would be paid off. Yes, I'm upset. But I will make it."  She is a pillar of strength, and I am amazed at her courage; Happy to hear she's found some work through temp agency this week.


    I hurt quite a lot, for different reasons at different times; mostly self-inflicted emotional hurt, mostly brought on by fact that I'm unable to provide for my children.  But, one incident that has constantly prodded me since it occurred kinda broke my heart - I was presumed a liar by a perfect stranger.  It was a Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.  Safeway managers were setting up a special table promoting Colorado state lottery.  We walked past it after making last minute Thanksgiving meal purchases, and it caught my eye and curiosity.  I wished I could win the lottery, I thought.

    Before we reached the store exit, I found myself turning around and returning to the table... just to ask a question or two.  You see, I don't play the lottery - I don't have that kind of luck.  So I asked how much tickets cost... $1, $5, $10 and up; What you had to do to play... buy a ticket, scratch off, win a prize (or nothing), or choose numbers (or have them automatically chosen for you) and hope come announcement day that the numbers you have match the ones revealed by the state lottery commission. AND CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE A WINNER... of millions and millions of dollars.

    Anyway, back to the hurt.  The store manager has the nerve, after sizing me up, to say, "Oh, I don't believe that.  You don't look like someone who can't afford to buy lottery tickets."  after I mentioned I didn't have that kind  of money ($1) to spare.  In my head, I thought, "WHAT?!?"  I walked away in shame.  You see, my son, who at the time was working part-time earning minimum wage, was the one purchasing our groceries.  He still does.  That's where his money goes... to feed his family.  He selflessly, generously, puts food on the table without once ever complaining about it.

    Might have only felt slightly worse that time some attorney's office called on behalf of  *insert credit card company, health provider, etc, here* demanding payment for balance on delinquent account.  After spewing out our financial circumstances - through sobs, standing in front porch so as to spare my kids overhearing me this way - law-office-girl offers this tidbit, "to earn some much needed cash" as a solution:  "You should try to sell your blood at the blood bank."  Yup, selling my blood would put food on the table.  I was furious.  That was around the time my cousins rallied around us and paid a month's worth utilities and friends sent grocery store gift cards.


    More than anything I should feel proud and honored to have such a loving child anytime he and I exit a store with bags of  food... I do, actually.  But for some reason I can't let the shame I felt from that Thanksgiving eve comment by the Safeway manager go - which explains my finding it increasingly difficult to go in stores lately.  Must work on that.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    How-To Lessen Severity of Downward Depressive Spiral...

    Do not make sudden and drastic changes in daily habits and typical patterns during the holidays.  Especially if this is the first year - in last twenty - you are spending the holidays off various medication for mental illness like bipolar disorder.

    I've reduced television viewing this week to 1 hour CNN in the morning, and an additional couple hours in the evening, as opposed to having cable news shows tuned from 7:00 am to 1:00 am - with only slight interruption from a smattering of favorite episodic television programs here and there, depending on the day, or sometimes a movie.  I think I made a mistake forcing myself to not watch as much television - doesn't help there really isn't anything great on or much to catch up on recorded on DVR - because my brain can't take this "down" time.  Not only have I been terrifically bored, scary thoughts have been weaving about, kinda freaking me out.

    It's winter break and my girls are home from school all day, but they pretty much keep to their rooms, also, my boy is at work during the day, and the husband keeps to his room almost 24/7.  Although we enjoyed a late morning outing into Denver today, I guess since having returned, I'm reminded just how lonely I am for some company and conversation.  Not much our dogs, Shadow and Sombra, can do about that.

    So before I go completely out of my mind, I'm gonna go get my CNN on.

    The thing about "poverty"

    ... is you become a great keeper of secrets.  You hide things.  You become an actor... try to pretend (sometimes with every ounce of your being) that everything is all right.  My current role involves faking being able to see clearly.  I don't remember when the last time was I had my eyes examined, but I'm pretty sure it's been over a year since my eyeglasses were replaced with stronger prescription lenses.  Today, my vision has become noticibly fuzzier with glasses on.  I've cleaned them repeatedly over the past couple of days to no avail.  I need new lenses.  Constant headaches may be confirming this as well.

    My daughter's don't complain that they've been wearing their last pair of contact lenses for well over the 30-days recommended amount of time (more like months and months over 30 day limit).  Grateful my son recently qualified for health benefits through his job at the bookstore so that he could soon have his eyes examined and lenses replaced.  Last time I bought him a much needed pair of glasses they cost over $400 without insurance.

    *Keep in mind, I am a child of welfare, raised by a single, physically impaired mother and I never went without.*

    There's one major reason why it's critical I work and earn money... to properly care for my kids; resume wellness and healthcare maintenance for us all.

    Heaven help us.

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    How-To Feed the Hungry at Home

    During holiday breaks from school it's easy.  You avoid the whole "Mom I'm hungry" issue by sheer luck.  Teens like to sleep.  So, I let them sleep in.  Like now, it's 11:57am and my youngest just came down stairs, found some stale croissants from Christmas day and seemed genuinely excited to find ramen soup in the making.

    $ SAVING TIP ~ For the household with $0.00 food budget ~ On sale, four packages of Ramen soup and a bunch of green onion:  Total $1.50 (approx).

    Dinner under $10.00:  Pork chops - skillet fried, and Knorr garlic pasta shells satisfactorily fed four.  Dad took the boy by the grocery store for his dinner - "on sale" frozen pizza  - after picking him up from job at bookstore.

    2011 Your days are numbered

    And I'm forced to figure out what the hell to do about "starting the new year off right."  Like, with a job... even though I have no recent experience in today's workforce.

    So, in my effort to avoid cleaning house or sorting bills I can't pay, I'll try to use these last free days in "create" mode.  Will attempt to conjure a resume - out of nothing... no education, minimal skills and zero talent - in hopes of finding gainful employment earning substantial wages (enough to support my family) at a job located within walking distance from home, where hopefully I don't have to deal with people who go out in public still in pajamas and house slippers, or who are not considerate enough to properly dress themselves by at the very least pulling pants waistband up to within a couple inches of their navel, or worse yet, not get off their wireless devices to conduct business.

    Sadly, lack of socialization & economic isolation has left me unprepared; I'm not ready for contact with society as we know it.

    And, just to spice things up a bit, had somewhat of a panic attack last night during the short time I was awake between late-evening nap and when I finally fell asleep for the night.  Not sure what brought it on, other than maybe just a "trigger" to New Year's Eve and memories like, THIS. Also, forgot to pull the ottomans away from the windows so I froze whenever my throw blanket fell off and exposed an arm or leg - I think my head's used to being froze!  So I had a not-great night's sleep... just what I need.

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Last Week of 2011... Updating

    Updating blog title & heading.  As I expect things to remain unchanged, prepare for more honest, heartfelt, fear-filled, chronicling of life as I know it.

    Happiness is so goddamn over-rated, right?

    Oh, and since this blog touts itself  "a how-to guide,"  I'll throw in a how-to tip every now and then.

    Sunday, December 25, 2011


    It was what it was... may never have the same old feel of years gone by again.  Kept a stiff upper lip though, glad there were a couple small packages delivered by mail for the kids.  No tree to put new ornaments on however... maybe next year.  Learned my kids don't have much knowledge of true meaning of Christmas; not pleased I let that happen.  Enjoyed viewing Little Drummer Boy and Nestor the Long Eared Donkey together.  Grateful three stockings were filled with some peppermint candy canes and chocolate Santas.  Best part of the morning:  The gifts *Santa* left for the girls... books by their favorite writers.  Richard Paul Evans for S and Jim Benton for E.  *Thanks, R.J.  You're a sweet big brother.*