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Saturday, September 28, 2013

That wasn't supposed to happen

Today started out rough. Daniel started on another vomiting spree sometime in the middle of the night, and kept it up for several hours. The Dude came over at 4:30am as usual so that I could go to work, and I made the decision to take the day off instead. So I got the kids up and ready to go to school, he loaded them up and took them, and I crawled back into bed with Daniel. At some point, The Dude came back and brought some Gatorade and ginger ale - I vaguely remember him coming in to the house and leaving again.

Daniel and I got up around 11:00am and puttered around the house for a bit. I figured that since I had an unexpected day off, I could maybe get some stuff done around the house. The Dude had to be at work at 11:00am, so I knew that I wouldn't be hearing from him for a while.

A little after noon, my phone rang - and it was him. I had a really bad feeling, and as soon as I answered the phone I knew that I was right.

"Babe, I'm headed to the hospital. I fell and I'm pretty sure I broke my wrist."


We talked for a few minutes until he got to the hospital, and then the texting started. He kept me updated as things were happening. At 1:13pm, I got the text from him - "And its broken"




I met him at the hospital and took him back to work to fill out paperwork, and then dropped off his prescription and picked Alex up from school. We had to run a couple of errands and then I had to get back here to make supper for the kids. After we were done with that, we made supper for him and his mother and ran that over to their apartment, and then ran a few more errands.

Needless to say, he's not a happy camper right now.

So now we wait until he sees the ortho to find out what the plan is from this point. All I know is that he is miserable and in pain, and I hate to see him like this. I'll be out of town all day tomorrow for a Scout outing with all of the kids, so once we get back I'll be able to check on him and make sure that he's ok. But it looks like he's out of commission for a little while - at least until the pain eases up and he can start to function again.

It could be worse. It could be worse. It could be worse.

It. could. be. worse.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I never thought it would happen. Never.

You know, it's kind of funny. When I was kid, I loved to draw. Whenever I drew a house, it always looked the same - kind of like this...

I never claimed to be an artist.

Anyway, as The Dude and I have been out shopping for houses, we found one that we both like. A lot. And the funny thing is that it really kind of looks like the house that I always drew as a kid. Except it's straighter. And prettier. And has a front porch. And a hot tub. But I digress.....

We were shopping for houses with the knowledge that my credit wasn't quite where it needed to be yet. I've been working on it, but as anyone who has shoddy credit knows, it's a process. I have been working with an agency that has been busting their butts to get negative stuff removed for the past few months. We thought that I was where I needed to be a couple of months ago when my scores suddenly tanked. I was heartbroken. As it turned out, an old debt (to the tune of $3000+) that has been in collections for years - and that I have been faithfully making payments on for years - was sold to a new collection agency, who in turn started reporting it as new debt. It killed my credit.

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago when I got a letter in the mail. It was from one of the credit reporting agencies. Nervously, I opened it. 

According to the letter, that particular negative piece of information was deleted from my credit report. Deleted. Thinking back to how much of a negative impact it had when it appeared, I wondered what kind of a positive impact it would have when it disappeared.

As the battle against this particular creditor was happening, I paid off my credit cards. I also paid off a couple of smaller debts with the agreement that those creditors would remove the negative information from my report. I also got the raise at work, and the Social Security that Daniel and I receive increased at the same time.

So on Friday, I was able to check my new and improved credit scores through an online deal that was set up by the credit-report-cleaner-upper-people (my official name for them). I already know that the numbers that I see are slightly higher than the official numbers, so when I saw on Friday that they were high enough, I anxiously contacted Mortgage Lady (also her official name). She was excited to hear the news, and we agreed to meet this morning.

Fast forward to about 2am today, when Daniel's official name changed to Sir Pukesalot. He kept that up for the rest of the night, but seemed to level out a bit. The Dude had planned to go and meet with Mortgage Lady with me, but because Daniel was so sick I emailed her and asked her to just pull my credit report without me and to call me, rather than run the risk of Daniel hurling in her office. The Dude came over and we waited by the phone. Finally she called.

It's official. My credit score is now high enough to qualify for a mortgage.

I started shaking and pacing around the house while I talked to her. I'm not officially pre-qualified for anything yet because there is still one account on my credit report that is showing as "in dispute" - so I have to contact all 3 agencies and tell them to remove that because nothing can happen while there is an active dispute. Minor detail, really. But qualifying for "our" house will not be an issue - and we can actually look at houses in a higher price range than I would have even thought possible.

I contacted the realtor who has been helping us, and "our" house is still on the market.

I am completely and totally overwhelmed right now. Just over 3 years ago, I was on the verge of being homeless. People were sending me money to try to help me save my old house, but it wasn't enough and it went into foreclosure and we were forced to move. We moved into this house only because I qualified for assistance at the time - but I had no idea how I was going to pay the rent when that assistance ended, which was only 3 months. Then my ex passed away and the Social Security started and through the emotional turmoil that followed, the bills started getting paid regularly. It was a horrible way to get the bills paid, but I did what I had to do with what I had - and it's led me to where I am today. Between the Social Security and the job - I will be able to own a house, and soon. 

Me. The same person who was days away from being homeless just 3 years ago - will be buying a house within the next few months.

It's crazy and mind boggling and overwhelming and exciting and scary and surreal, all at the same time. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is it worth it?

So things have been kind of crazy around here lately.

I started my full-time gig at work a while back, and I have mixed emotions about it.

Seriously. We all know that I'm not a morning person. Getting up at 4:30am five days per week sucks. My days off are unpredictable. I come home greasy and exhausted and cranky and sore.

I work with some really great people. Some really awesome people. But there's always that one person who ruins it for everyone - and in our case, it's one of the people in a position of power. There are days when the stress of being totally overworked and underappreciated gets to be too much, and I have to convince myself (and others) not to just walk out of the building and never return.

And then I get my paycheck, and I seriously wonder.....is it really worth it? It's not like I'm making a ton of money, which would make being miserable slightly easier to handle.

At the same time, I need this job. No, I need a job. This one was handed to me at the right time. My credit is *thisclose* to being repaired enough to apply for a mortgage. Seriously, *thisclose*. I got word the other day that one huge thing on my credit report has been deleted - and this was something that had a serious detrimental effect on my scores. So I'm waiting for next month's report to see if maybe, just maybe, it was enough to push me over the top. The extra income from this job will make it easier to get us into a house - without a doubt.

I sat down last night and figured some bills. My van is so close to being paid off - like, if I really push it, I can maybe pay it off by the end of the year. And the medical bills that appeared over the summer - instead of taking 7 months to pay them all, I think I can do it in four. I can't do that without the income from a job.

So the job is good. Or at least the income from the job is good. Or good-ish. It definitely helps.

But at the same time....

I was off the last couple of days because I was sick. Well, today was supposed to be my day off, but I took off yesterday as a sick day. And honestly, these were the best two days that I've had since I started this job - because I wasn't there. I got to take the kids to school, and I realized how much I miss doing that. I got to putter around the house and get stuff done (when I wasn't sleeping) and I realized how much I miss doing that.

Don't get me wrong - I love that The Dude does so much with the kids so that I can work. I love that he does it and that he does it willingly. But I hate it. He's spending more time with them than I am - and as a mom, that's not ok with me. He shouldn't be the one meeting with the principal over behavior issues - that should be me (ok, it really shouldn't be either one of us, but the kids aren't perfect). He shouldn't be waking the kids up for school - that should be me. He shouldn't be the one running them to last minute appointments - that should be me. And now that he's working, I'm having to turn to other people to help out with the kids from time to time - and while I trust them completely it still makes me feel so incredibly guilty every time I have to do it.

I know that this is what working parents go through, but I hate it. I made a promise to myself 2 1/2 years ago that I wouldn't work as long as they were little and I could afford not to do it - and I'm breaking that promise - to myself and to them.

I have to stop and ask myself why I'm doing this. I keep saying "it's to get us into a house of our own" and yes, that's true. But at the same time I have to wonder if I couldn't do that without the job. Or maybe without THIS job. Sure, it might take longer, but it could happen. I know it could.

I'm seriously questioning my "need" to work right now. Is getting into a house of our own right now so important that I should be sacrificing time with my kids and my own happiness to make it happen? Am I being greedy by wanting this to happen right now, when realistically we could wait a few more months for it to happen? Or is it something that we can put off for a few months in order to save our sanity? I don't ever want to look back on this period of my life and say "wow, that was so not worth the stress".

I'm not a quitter. I'm not one to walk away from an obligation just because it's hard or stressful. But this is one of those situations that really has me questioning what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

Decisions, decisions....none of which can be taken lightly.

Stress doodles while working on computer
stuff tonight. No point, really.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Where I am...

You may or may not have noticed, but I haven’t been around as much lately. Some might think that’s a good thing (ha) and some might be wondering what is happening.

There is so much going on in life right now. This job is kicking my butt. I know, I know – people work every day and it’s not that big of a deal. But face it – I’m not used to it. I didn’t work outside of the home for years and I was still busy every day. Now, I’m gone for roughly 45 hours every week – yet I still have the same amount of stuff to get done around the house. There’s still the same amount of laundry (if not more, thanks to my greasy work clothes) and the same amount of housework and the same amount of yardwork….. except now that all has to get crammed into the time that I have left.

The Dude helps with the stuff around the house when he can, but as of this week he is now working full-time as well. So now we both have crazy schedules and somehow we have to try to fit in time for us to be able to spend time together along with everything else that has to be done around here.

Fall sports have started, which for me means volleyball games every Thursday night. Emily has a tournament tomorrow morning that is being played about an hour from here, and could last all day long. The girls have practice every day after school, so on the days that they come back here they don’t get here until after 6:00pm. By the time we eat and do homework, we’re all so tired that we crash – and then have to get up early the next day and do it again.

I finally got a new phone the other night – but now that I did that, I no longer have my unlimited data plan, which is what I use to access the internet. We added a phone to my plan for The Dude so we share the (now) limited data – he doesn’t use much, but we have to be really careful about how much we use, or it’ll get really expensive, really quickly. So I’m just not online as much, unless I go to his apartment to use his computer or go to the library to enjoy some peace and quiet. While I’m not online as much, I’m working (still) on freeing up some space on this ancient machine so that it’ll hopefully run a little smoother.

So needless to say, I just won’t be around as much for a while until things calm down a bit. I’m looking into options for cheap home internet so that I don’t have to worry about the data usage on my phone as much, but honestly that’s not a high priority right now. We are still working on getting a house of our own, and that is taking longer than we had hoped – but with each month that passes, we are one step closer. My credit is *thisclose* to where it needs to be, and hopefully it’ll be over the top before the end of the year – and then we can actually start the purchasing process.

So many things that are changing in our lives right now – at times I sit back and think about all of it, and it can be a little overwhelming and chaotic and stressful to say the least. But I know that we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re going to just keep on going until we get to where we want to be. I know that we're going to get there - it's just going to be a little crazier than usual along the way.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thoughts & stuff

September 1. We've lived in this little ghetto-esque house for exactly 3 years now.

It's been 3 years since I felt like I lost everything, but it's also been 3 years since I started my life over again.

Life is better in so many ways. I'm financially secure - not rich, but secure. My kids are doing great in school and are healthy for the most part. I have a wonderful man in my life who loves me and loves my kids as if they were his own.

But no matter how good life is at the moment, I know that it can change in a heartbeat.

Things have changed so much for us in the past 3 years, and to sit here and think about it can absolutely blow my mind. I don't ever want to forget about the struggles that we went through, because those struggles made me and my family who we are today. We are better people for what we experienced.

I continue to carry my Vision card (EBT, food stamps, whatever you want to call it) in my wallet. It's right there, under my checkcard where I see it every time I open my wallet. It hasn't been valid for a couple of years now, but I won't get rid of it. It reminds me of where we were not so long ago, and seeing it there reminds me of where we want to go. It keeps me grounded.

With the amount of progress that we've made in the last 3 years - I can't wait to see where we are 3 years from now. I know where I want to be - and now I just have to make it happen.