Category Archives: Money

Are We in the 47 Percent?

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I normally ignore politics.  I followed the Obama campaign four years ago because I thought he would be good for America, but ever since then, my following has been just about non-existant.  Well, until the last couple weeks that is.

Dave and I have been working on a couple (BIG) projects and in effort to get our name out I’ve been working on developing a presence in social media.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, we’re on them all.  Twitter has been my primary concentration, however, because I’m realizing that in order to build a presence over there, you have to be consistently active.  As such, Twitter has become my news source.

Although not always the most reliable source for the latest news story, I was looking through the posts of those I follow when the video of Romney and his 47 Percent leaked.  Having just come back from laughing my butt off when hearing his interpretation of “middle class” income, my jaw dropped.  I HAD to watch the video.

In case you missed it, you can either click above or read what he said:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Again, my jaw dropped.

When I left my ex-husband, I was unemployed.  Feeling it was necessary to get my sons and I into a safer environment, I looked to the state for public assistance.  Did I expect help?  No.  But I was EXTREMELY appreciative when I received it.

In order to qualify for Ohio’s Cash Assistance program, I needed to be actively looking for a job or be employed.  Let me preface this by saying that it was not my choice to be unemployed.  I am a college graduate with my bachelor’s in interior architecture.  I am an artist, or at least I would like to believe I am.  Two years prior to leaving my ex I lost my job.  While I tried to secure another job in the industry, finding an interior design job in the midwest was, and still is, like finding a needle in a haystack.  I applied at gas stations, fast food restaurants and local stores.  For TWO years I applied to all of these places just so I could contribute to my household.  The response I got was always somewhere along the line of, “You’re overqualified,” or “We don’t want to put time into training you when you’re just going to move on to something better.”

Finding a job after moving out turned out to be a whole lot of luck.  I was in the right place at the right time with the right person, when I secured my first job in more than two years.  But I didn’t get a job because somebody was telling me to.  I was doing it because that’s what I needed to do for the boys and I.  I didn’t believe anybody owed my a job.  I simply hoped somebody would give me a chance.

Every Friday morning, recipients of the cash assistance program were required (I’m not receiving the assistance anymore so I don’t know if it’s still the same) to attend an open interview session at our local job office.  Upon hearing about this I was excited.  I thought it would be my chance to get a job.  I was wrong.  Walking into the office, I was visably one of the very few attendees who cared about getting a job and getting off the program.  First, I had bathed.  My hair and teeth were brushed.  And I had worn a suit.  Looking around, I was surrounded by unkempt people wearing pajamas and sweat pants who looked as though they hadn’t showered all week.  I was flabbergasted.

But it got worse.  The employers, knowing this is how people were approaching the mandatory open interviews, had stopped attending.  There was ONE employer there, a gas station, and they were looking for somebody to work third shift.  As badly as I needed a job, I couldn’t work third shift with the boys.

I’m digressing, so I’ll get back to my point…

I work full-time now and Dave is in college full-time.  The cash assistance and food stamps are long expired, and yes, we struggle.  But no, we don’t believe the government “owes” us.  I don’t EXPECT them to give me housing, healthcare and education.  I didn’t even apply for housing assistance when I left my ex.  What I do expect, however, is that all Americans be given the same opportunities for equal care.

I have been employed by the same company for the last 17 months and have been a great employee.  I get my job done and don’t create drama at the office.  I get paid every week and pay for health insurance out of my paycheck.  I repeat, I pay for health insurance.  With that said, paying for health insurance doesn’t provide me with the same benefits as somebody receiving public assistance.  Example: Dave and I found out we miscarried earlier this year and I had a D&C shortly thereafter.  A month later the bill came in the mail.  We owed $8500.  Out of the $9000 bill, our insurance had covered approximately $500.  Does this sound right to you?

When I had the boys 7 and 10 years ago, the entire pre- and post- natal bills for each boy equaled $500.  This included monthly-turned-weekly check-ups as well as delivery and the hospital stay.  For the youngest, it also included an extra week in the hospital for me when he tried to come two months early.

Following our miscarriage earlier this year, Dave and I had two more (miscarriages).  During the third pregnancy, I found out that women who met specific (low) income guidelines could apply for pregnancy health care through the state.  While I didn’t want to apply, I did.  With a bill of $8500 from an out-patient procedure, it scared us to think what the labor and delivery would cost.  Would we be shelling out the cost of a full-year college tuition to welcome this miracle into our life?  Bah!  When I started miscarrying the third time, however, the fear of cost played into my health decisions.  I went through three days of excrutiating pain and dizziness before finally going to the ER.  That bill has yet to come, and I’m sure it’s not going to be pretty.

I can’t say who I’m going to vote for, however I can say that I don’t like being generalized.  Dave and I DO take personal accountability and responsibility for our lives.  Can we always pay the bills we have?  No.  But we’re not applying for assistance we don’t need.

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Impromptu Mid-Day Vacation

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At the end of the school year/beginning of summer, the boys’ daycare sent home a stack of field trip forms for us to sign.  Ranging from (multiple) visits to a nearby nursing home or the local Lowe’s to build a birdhouse, Dave and my interest was peaked by a field trip to Ohio Caverns.  Right away we knew Thing 2 would LOVE it, as he collects rocks and is very curious about what he can do when he grows up that involves rocks.  My mind gets excited thinking about the corners of the world he’ll be able to see if he pursues geography, archeology or any other fields that I’m not smart enough to know about.

Right away Dave expressed interest in accompanying the boys on their Ohio Caverns field trip, as the form clearly stated parents were invited.  Despite being radically right brained, I, too was interested, however the thought of not getting paid for half a day made me squash the thought of me going really fast.  As time went on, Dave finished his second session at school and entered his third (which he is currently in) and got bogged down with a LOT of school-work.  I’m proud of him for his dedication as well as the awesome art he is producing.  Anyway, his work-load made it doubtful that he would be able to go.

I was sitting at my desk around 8am yesterday morning, thinking about how the boys were about to go on their field trip.  I stared at my Excel spreadsheet and out of nowhere got hit with a F*** this smack.  It was as if I was taken over by the slacker sitting on my right shoulder.  After a quick (pleasant) conversation with my boss I was given permission to take a half-day, mid-day, vacation and accompany the boys.  I called Dave, told him we’re going because I’d rather spend the day with my gentlemen than think about how I should’ve later, and left work.

As written on the Ohio Caverns website,

Concealed beneath the rolling farmland and wooded countryside of Champaign County, Ohio, the caverns were formed thousands of years ago when an underground river cut through ancient limestone and created vast rooms and passageways that later filled with countless crystal stalactites, stalagmites and other amazing formations.

You can read more about the history on their website, as I want to share some of my pictures…

Ohio Caverns - 2
Ohio Caverns - 3

Thankful Thursday: July 12, 2012

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Here are a few (of the many) things I am thankful for today…

  1. Besides allergies, my little family is healthy.
  2. Dave is enjoying his classes, and in my opinion is doing exceptionally well.
  3. I have a Senior Manager in my office who was willing to give me 5 minutes of time and his suggestions about how to get hired full-time (and permanently) within the company.
  4. We have money in the bank.
  5. Both cars continue to run, despite the issues that both are having.
  6. I work with people who make smile and laugh all work-day long.
  7. I am married to a wonderful man who makes my heart smile 24/7.
  8. The bills are getting caught up, slowly, one-at-a-time.
  9. It’s been sunny for weeks.  Yes, it’s been hot, but at least it’s not dreary and depressing.
  10. I have friends and family who love and respect me.

Un-Perfect Parent

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Before I start criticizing other parents, I have to share…  I’m not a perfect parent.

I…

  • Let the occasional cuss word slip in front of the boys
  • Play Monopoly with Thing 2 on my Kindle just so I don’t need to pick up the mess

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Don’t always serve fruits or vegetables with dinner
  • Will tell the boys they can play on the PS3 if they let us sleep longer
  • Have overflowing laundry baskets waiting to be taken care of

    Rated R

  • Let the boys watch rated-R and scary movies

Hide and Go Seek
  • Will play Hide-and-Go-Seek with the boys, then take a little longer to find them just for a few extra minutes of quiet
  • Am a push-over and will let them have second desserts

With all this said, however, I/we support our children in Every.Single.Way.Possible.

Thing 2 likes to ask me, “Mommy, what should I be when I grow up?”  My only response, thanks to my parents, is “Whatever you want as long as you are happy and it’s legal.”

Seriously.  How can I/we NOT support our children and their dreams and ambitions?  When it comes time for them to graduate high school (attending/graduating high school is NOT a question, unless they become a superstar before then, at which point private tutors will be hired), I can not deny that yes, I will push them in the direction of college.  However…  If college is not for them, that is their decision, not mine/ours.

Just recently I have met a really great young lady, in her very early 20’s, who is in college out West.  During the course of conversation, it came out that her parents don’t want her to go to college, so they are making it as difficult as possible for her to go.  For example, they purposely turn in the FAFSA forms late so she doesn’t qualify for aid and can’t get student loans.  Yes, I’m serious.  And because she’s not yet 23 she can’t file independently.  I want to drive 1,000 miles and smack them.

I don’t care if you have money to put your kids though college.  If any of ours were heading off to college next month they would be on their own (financially).  We could/would send them monthly allowance, but beyond that, our assistance would be co-signing on student loans.  But we would do that.  Without a doubt, we would do that.

Between Dave and I, our oldest is about to be 13.  This gives us 5 years to prepare for what she wants to do post-high school.  In the meantime, we have 8 years and 12 years before Things 1 & 2 will be old enough, and that many years to have any say in their lives.  We can control our kids’ curfew when they’re old enough to go out without us, have a say in whether or not they can drive, and try to have a say in who they date (but I only plan on having a say in that if the age difference could get either of them in trouble).  Beyond that it’s our time to support and nurture them.

In the time that has passed since I left Turtle (the name we have given the boys’ dad), I have been amazed by the progress our little family has made.  With Dave’s help, the boys have become much more responsible, respectable young men.  Rather than have to think about what we can’t do because of their bad behavior, we now look forward to what we CAN do as a family.  It’s all a matter of respect, both given and received between the four of us, and we’re a happy, healthy family unit because of it.

Family Picture

My Latest Theme Song

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I heard a great song when I was listening to slacker.com at work today and right away had to share it with Dave.  (I’ll share it with you in just a second.)  While it seemed like it written especially for me to share with him, I related to it just that just more because of the line:

Everyday a million things cluttering up my mind

Let me share the song with you, and then I’ll write more…

What Means the Most – Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat – What means the most from Miss Whatever on Vimeo.

OK, so back to a million things cluttering up my mind…

I have so much on my mind lately.  My brain never ceases to tease me with a bunch of “what ifs?’ and to-do items.  My to-do list feels as though it’s a million miles long, and by the time I get home from work I really don’t feel like working on any of them.  My brain is exhausted from thinking all day and I just want to veg out.  Unfortunately that’s not how I work.  Here are a few of my many thoughts…

  • How many words can I write in my book tonight?  Yes, I finally started writing a book about a month ago.  I have the general story line worked out in my head, but how to get from here to there is puzzling to me.  I’m about 3,500 words in, and from what I’ve gathered on the internet, an average size chick-lit starts at 60,000 words.  So, yea.  I’m struggling.
  • I have an idea for another non-fiction book, however I believe it would be best written under a pseudonym.  While my family and loved ones will know it’s out there, I’d rather that a big part of my past doesn’t.  I think the fear of its discovery has kept me from starting to write it.
  • How do I get hired permanently by my employer?  I’m working my butt off, as I have for the past 14 months, and would like to be a permanent associate.
  • Do I want to pursue another degree and open my job opportunities up tremendously?  I’ve been applying for jobs at a local (great) university in hopes that I will be hired there and be able to pursue another degree for free.  (Yes, they pay for employees to take up to a certain number of classes for no-cost besides books).  My only dilemma is that I have no idea what field I would want to pursue degree wise at that university.  I want to be creative and not pursue a field just because I could make more money in that field.  I just wish I knew what creative field I wanted to go into.
  • What do we need to do and how do we do what we need to do to buy a house?  Plainly said, we’re paying too much rent for what we’re getting, but other apartments in the area are even more expensive than ours.  However, we could buy a decent sized house and pay the same as we are now.  Unfortunately I’ve heard that a temporary job (even if it’s 14 months long so far) doesn’t get viewed as a “real” job by mortgage lenders, and my credit score is…  less than favorable.  I know I need to work on the credit score, however the job situation takes me back up to “How to get hired permanently
  • Four short years ago I got paid double what I do now and was tremendously unhappy…  And broke.  I was living off credit cards, unable to pay their bills, and paying thousands of dollars of year in bank fees due to interest and a constantly overdrawn bank account.  Now, we still live paycheck-to-paycheck, however I have learned to budget.  No, not all bills get paid every month.  But rather than pay tons of money in bank fees, we’ll deal with phone calls reminding us that our payment is late…  again…  But I’m happy.  We’re happy.  TREMENDOUSLY HAPPY!

Mixed Excitement

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I have the tendency to get excited by the littlest hint that better opportunities may be coming.  And it’s happening again.  I work as a temporary employee for an extremely well-known international corporation in my town.  I love the people I work with/for, and I’m good, if not great at my job.  However, the pay is lacking.  With student loans, rent, car payment and insurance, utilities, food, gas, etc. to pay for, there’s nothing left at the end of the month.  But…

“So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” ~1 Timothy 6:8

And Dave and I try to be content.  We really try.  We get excited when we’re able to make a delicious meal out of ingredients already in the house.  Would a $10 trip to Kroger kill us?  No.  However, $10 saved is…  $10 saved, haha.

Anyway…

I’ve interviewed for no less than 5 full-time, permanent positions with the company I work for.  Unfortunately, with a number of graduating college students, other temporary employees, and an entire outside job-applicant pool, I’ve struck out on each one.  At my post-interview reviews, I was always told, “We thought it was a great interview, you just didn’t show enough company name examples in your experience questions.”  I would always reply, “I won’t give up!  You’ll see me again!”  And they did.

Two days after the miscarriage/D&C, and two days before our wedding, I trudged into the office, on my day off, to interview for another two open positions.  I felt I did good, however with the pain I was in I just wanted to come in, interview, and go back home to bed.

Yesterday, over a month later, I received a follow-up email from corporate HR, which is located across the country.  They want references and a salary expectation.  Is it acceptable for me to get excited?

On a side note, my work load is VERY full.  My planner is filled with items needing to be completed, and I get frustrated when, at the end of the day, I’ve checked only one or two off.  It’s not that I’m not working, however, that keeps me from completing items.  It’s my boss with a seemingly endless box full of random supposedly-“small”-tasks specifically meant for me.  While analyzing how I can achieve more checks in my planner each day, I realized that if anyone gets me started I can be quite a chatterbox.  To keep on track, I put a spot in my planner to keep track of my chat breaks.  Since then, I’ve also been listening to my headphones (slacker.com), which also deters my chatty co-workers from distracting me.  My chat sessions have DRASTICALLY decreased.  Yesterday, for example, I had none. 

A closing thought…

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” ~Colossians 3:23

Daily Chore Avoidance

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Like our boys, I continue to struggle with my daily chores. 

  • Right now in the middle of the living room I know I have three overflowing baskets of CLEAN laundry to fold. 
  • My budget/check book is a month behind.
  • My dresser top has a stack of (my) CLEAN laundry on top to be put away
  • The bottom drawer of my desk is a mess of bills and paperwork that need to be filed
  • My bookshelf is a wreck, and I’m not even reading paper-based books!
  • My closet…  whoo…  I won’t even describe that mess…

And on top of my daily chores are all those one-time projects that if I could just get them done once, I would never have to look at them again. 

But for some reason, I avoid them.  I avoid my chores as though they were the black plague.  But avoidance is infectious.  It spreads around my brain and body, wreaking havoc on all it touches.  The guilt of not doing what I should be eats away at my gut, making me think about my chores while I am at work.  My brain sends out repetitive reminders of what I should have done last night, exhausting my mind.  By the end of the work day, I’m tired of thinking about what I need to do, and am more interested in relaxing…  Again. 

And the cycle begins again, as though I started a dose of antibiotics, but never finished it.  The plague lives on.

I think I need to break into my bookshelf and call upon my backup support.  The Flylady.  If you’ve never heard of The Flylady, and you are struggling with organization and keeping your house clean, I strongly urge you to check out this free website and program.  While I don’t agree with all aspects of the program (ex. wearing my shoes in the house), most of the other topics helped me tremendously when I did the program years ago. 

I must say, however, that despite MY struggles with organization and chores, Dave keeps our house clean and presentable.  Despite the laundry baskets in the middle of the living room, I would not be embarrassed if someone knocked on our door unexpectedly.  (Thank you, baby!)  I just don’t like my avoidance.  I want to go to sleep having done all I could for the day, including having time to relax with the boys and Dave.

Just a thought…

How much easier our work would be if we put forth as much effort trying to improve the quality of it as most of us do tryign to find excuses for not properly attending to it.”  ~George W. Ballenger