Monday, August 15, 2011

New blog

Please proceed to my new blog, April in Maine. This is where I will be blogging for the foreseeable future but reserve the right to come back here whenever I feel like it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Damned if I Do, Damned if I Don't

I have been in Maine for almost 2 months and I'm starting to wonder if I am ever really going to get to go back home to California.

For those who don't know, my grandmother had a serious fall in March breaking both wrists. She had surgery and I was sent home to take care of her until she could get back on her feet. Since my 20th high school reunion is coming up in July, I figured I would stay until August and attend the reunion as well as a couple of family weddings. Honestly, I figured my grandmother would be back to normal, or at least able to care for herself, by the end of June and I would get some relaxation time before returning to my jobless, car-less, life in California.

My grandmother has been great. She is constantly telling people how she doesn't know what she would have done if I hadn't come home and reminds me every day that she appreciates my being here. Her progress has been good. Her left hand works better than the right so she is adjusting to be left handed. Unfortunately, she had another fall yesterday and cracked two ribs. I keep trying to tell myself that she is just off balance because of the splints but the truth is, she has been unsteady on her feet for a while. In November she had a serious fall on the escalator in the Philly airport, and when she was visiting California at Thanksgiving we were constantly reminding her to focus on what she was doing as she gets distracted easily and starts stumbling around. I honestly don't know if she can live on her own anymore and I'm wondering what that means for me.

I knew the day would come when I would have to move back to Maine to take care of her but, as my life in California has become more full, the more I was hoping that day would never come. I know that comes off as selfish but I like my life in California, with the exception of my unemployment, and it was hard for me to leave it behind even for the few months I thought I would be gone. The thought of being here beyond the summer makes me sad. I miss my friends, I miss my cats, and I miss my life. This isn't where I want to be but I can't not be here if my grandmother needs me. Basically, I think I am screwed and I'm not sure what I am going to do about it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I spoke with my attorney this morning, at an hour when most unemployed people are still asleep, and we discussed my options with my bankruptcy arrangement. To sum it up, they all suck.

Option 1: I convert from a chapter 13 to a chapter 7. I lose my car but am able to add the new debt to the bankruptcy and get rid of it.

Option 1A: Same as above except I pay what I owe to this date on the car, minus what the trustee paid, then resume regular car payments. I don't know what the exact figure would be but I estimate between 1,000 and 2,000 dollars are owed on the car to get the payments up to date. Also, the car payments are only about $100 less than what I pay to the trustee.

Both option 1 and 1A come with a $700 attorney fee plus court fee of $25.

Option 2: Surrender I was writing this I was interrupted by my older cat, Punkin, having a seizure. It is her second one of the day which is unusual for her since she usually has them at night and rarely more than once a week or so, that I know of. She recovers quickly but, while in the middle of the thrashing about, it scares me. I've had her for 15 years, almost as long as I have been in California, and I don't want to lose her. I also feel guilty because all I can think about is "be okay because I can't afford to take you to the vet".

While this incident certainly puts things in perspective, I still don't know what decision to make about my bankruptcy. Basically, in order to save any money, I have to give up my car. With no car, how do I function? I don't exactly live in a city with a good public transportation system and now I am thinking about Punkin having an emergency and me not being able to get her to the vet quickly. I can't afford my current situation but I can't afford to lose my car. I just don't know where to go from here so for now I am just going to hold onto Punkin and be thankful that she is okay.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

As the ship sinks

I just read the comments on my last couple of posts and, first, I want to thank you for your good thoughts, second and please be sure you are sitting down for this, I agree with Waffles. The ship is sinking, the lifeboats are full, go down doing something you love instead of living those last few moments in fear and anxiety. Just like the scene from Titanic. The string players pause, realize they aren't getting off the ship, and go down playing their music. I don't think I fully understood that scene until now, I just thought they had given up, but they hadn't. They knew the outcome was grim and they made a choice.

That said, I'm not going down without a fight, I'm just not going to work myself up into a panic or a deeper depression. I'm going to take things one day at a time and weigh all my options. The first option being converting my bankruptcy to a chapter 7, or at least discussing it with my attorney. I can't afford the trustee payment and I have debt collectors breathing down my neck, when you combine that with the little amount of money I'm getting from unemployment, I think I have a good chance of qualifying.

I don't know if this will free up any money for a trip to Vegas, but it will relieve some of the pressure. Then, I can reevaluate and figure out how to make Vegas possible. Like the last couple of trips, I won't be eating in any expensive restaurants or buying much alcohol but I should be able to make do with whatever I can scrape together because, quite honestly, I need this trip.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Post Script

I'm sure some people have read my previous post and thought, "why is she sharing such personal information. Does she want sympathy, pity or something else?" I think my reason for revealing my true financial situation is because I needed it to be real. It is in writing, others have read it, people know my situation, and I can't pretend it doesn't exist anymore. I still have no idea what to do or how to fix the mess but it's out there and I can't ignore it.

I actually felt some relief after I posted it, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. While people have known I am short on money I think I did a fairly good job of hiding just how bad it has been. The fact that it is getting worse instead of better has to be dealt with before I'm in a hole I can't get out of, though it may already be to late.

No matter what I do I can't get ahead. No one will hire me and any money I earn from Mystery Shopping or other freelance work has to be reported to unemployment, at least legally. What that means is I get less in the unemployment check and really don't earn any more money than if I sit on my ass all day playing around on Facebook. It means I can't actually afford to go to school, unless I agree to a program approved by unemployment and even then I have to use that money to pay for it so I'm still not getting ahead. It also means that I have no business going to Vegas in December as there really is no money available. I can't justify the trip but I can't miss it either. My head and my heart are struggling over this and it is tearing me apart. I need this trip but I can't justify it.

I keep trying to tell myself that if I can make some extra money I can go on the trip but honestly, any extra money should go to the debt collectors or in my savings to be applied to the bankruptcy. While Vegas is always good for my mental health in the short term, the guilt I feel over spending money that should be applied to the bills ends up making it worse in the long term. So, do I not go to Vegas and succumb to the sadness of having nothing to look forward to or do I scrape together the money, have a good time, then succumb to the guilt of spending money on something fun? Or maybe I pray for a miracle? I just don't know.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I haven't written here much over the last year because I don't like to fill my blog with all the crap that is a part of my every day life. I have been unemployed for a year and a half, I declared bankruptcy at the same time I lost my job, since declaring bankruptcy I have incurred medical debt that is now in the hands of collection agencies and on top of that I have clinical depression. All are things I really don't like to talk about but are such a huge part of my reality I don't know what else to do. So, I bottle it up, tell everyone "I'm fine" and wait until the day when I'm up against a wall and can no longer pay any of the few bills I have left. It's coming soon, I can feel it.

When I declared bankruptcy I didn't select the chapter 7 everything goes away kind, I selected chapter 13 which means I pay a certain amount of money every month to a trustee who pays the few bills it was decided I would continue to pay (mainly my car). Everything else was discharged, but every month, for 5 years, I have to pay a set amount of money that is almost the equivalent of one unemployment check. This leaves me with about the same amount to pay car insurance, medical insurance, gas, food, and a few other things I can't remember at the moment. Basically I am living on less than $1000 a month and only because my dad has waived my rent and I am ignoring the collection agencies. Last month I actually waived my bankruptcy payment (something I can do once, maybe twice within the 5 year period) because the money wasn't there.

Now it is looking like I may not have the money for this month's bankruptcy payment because I have to wait on a telephone interview with unemployment regarding me taking 1.5 college credits. I'm not supposed to take classes without their permission and it has to be in a program that they approve. Unfortunately the one program I want to study, Veterinary Technology, is not one they will approve because it is a 2 year program and they will only allow the unemployed to take programs that are 1 year in length. It is a messed up system and I am hoping that since I'm not currently taking classes full time, I will be okay. Problem is, I don't get another check until they make a decision and if they decide I'm violating the rules, I won't get another check.

This all leaves me wondering who in their right mind would still even consider going to Vegas when they can't even pay their monthly bills. This is where I become so overwhelmed I just about lose what little sanity I have left. See, Vegas is not a decision I make with my head, it is one I make with my heart. The anticipation of this yearly get together gives me something to look forward to and a reason to get out of bed. It gives me a reason to continue applying for jobs even though I never get called in for an interview. It is really the only thing left keeping me from giving up (I'm not talking about suicide but more about detaching from reality). If I make the logical choice, the obvious choice, what do I have left to look forward too?

I really don't know what to do. Plane tickets are bought and a hotel is booked but I owe someone else for the tickets and can't, at the moment, pay for even my half of the hotel. Then there is food and a poker tournament plus other expenses that may come up. This is when I wish money grew on trees because I would pay off the bankruptcy, pay off the bill collectors and make my dad happy by paying rent again. I feel like I am drowning and just when I might be able to take a breath, something pushes me under again.

This is why I stopped blogging. No one wants to read about my crap, not even me.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

One Step At A Time

The application for the Vet. Tech. program has been sent and my transcripts should be on the way soon but I still have an interesting conundrum to consider. Only 40 applicants get accepted to the program and, if they get more than 40 qualified applicants, they select through a random draw. I won't find out until after July 15th but I probably have to take 2 online introduction to veterinary assistant courses this summer that start in June. I hate spending money on classes before I know if I'm getting into the program but if I don't take the classes, they may revoke the offer if I do get a spot. Plus, I have to deal with unemployment if I want to do any sort of schooling. I was hoping to put that off until September, when the program actually starts but now I may have to deal with them in the next couple of weeks. Ugh...just when I thought I could sit back and wait for an answer.

If I knew I was getting into the program I would probably take Chemistry this summer as well. It is one of 2 General Education requirements I have to take because it has been over 6 years since I had college Chemistry and I didn't exactly pass it with the requisite "C". I also have to take Microbiology at some point but they recommend taking Chemistry first. Since Foothill is on the quarter system instead of semester system, both classes meet almost every day of the week and for several hours on lab days. It would be nice to get it over with before I start the Vet. Tech courses but, again, it's a lot of money to spend for something I may not get into.

I think I will probably take the 2 online courses. I don't think they will cost that much and the information will be good to have even if I don't get into the program. I just wish I had decided to do all this sooner so I wouldn't feel quite so overwhelmed by it all. Unfortunately I can't predict when moments of clarity are going to hit me and that is what really started this whole journey anyway.