Category Archives: Support

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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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

Eating the Ugly Frog First

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After Dave and I got married, I had about a week where I thought, “Wow!  It’s strange to not be planning or up to our eyebrows in preparations!”

That time has passed.

With Dave now a full-time college student (way to go, baby!) and essentially a stay-at-home dad/housekeeper, me working full-time, both of us coaching Thing 2’s junior baseball team two days a week and Thing 1 in baseball practice another two days a week, we’re stretched thin.  Very thin.  I posted on Facebook the other day (my first post in a couple of weeks), “I wish all the running around we do for kids (and ourselves) could count as exercise and burn calories, because I’m exhausted!”

I see the benefit of all these activities, however.  First, we’ve been forced to become more organized.  Dinner has to be planned, and we all have to be ready to go when we need to go or the whole day gets set back.  Second, we’ve been forced to do tackle activities we don’t necessarily want to tackle but are for our benefit.  For example, I realized I let tasks such as balancing the budget and laundry slide over the past month and a half.  Did laundry get done?  Yes.  But it was on an as-needed basis, rather than regular up-keep. 

Now, after the boys go to bed, I’m more consious of what I do with my time.  My first awareness came when I attempted to watch a movie while Dave was doing homework.  At first his head turned, then his chair turned, and eventually, he would be turned all the way around, watching TV instead of doing his work.  As much for me as for him, I realized there are activities I need to do, and I may as well do them while he is doing his work.  He can focus on his homework done (letting us get to bed earlier), and I feel better about my massive to-do list.  Coinsidently, this revelation came at about the same time as Dave read “Eat the Ugly Frog First” in one of his assignments.  What does this mean?  Simply put, do what needs to be done before doing what you want to do.  You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, and have one more item checked off your to-do list.

The third, and probably greatest, benefit I see, is that I see the love and support the four of us all share for each other.  We are constantly there for each other, and by “we”, I truly mean ALL of us.  Things 1 and 2 (and I!) are extremely excited that their “Best Dad” is in school, Dave and I are supportive of them in school and sports, and the three of them are all supportive of whatever I do.  This family dynamic continues to amaze me, as it’s not what I (or the boys) knew only a couple of years ago.

I can never say it enough, but THANK YOU to all of you who have been there for me/us through the years.  It’s with your love, support and encouragement that we have gotten to where we are now, and for that we are EXTREMELY grateful.

XOXOXO