July 2015

I know I wanted to start this blog to stay positive, to focus on the good going on in our lives amidst all the chaos of extended unemployment, underemployment, mortgage drama, and dealing with social services like food stamps and medicaid for the first time in my or anyone else I know’s life. But I just can’t today. The girls are going ape shit crazy (because I think they are overtired but forcing them to rest is apparently the worst). Today has done me in. I’ve sobbed on the phone with my mom, and I don’t know what to do.

– got a call from the collections side of the mortgage company because we’re coming up on 60 days past due. apparently they don’t talk to the loan specialists who know our loan modification request finally went to the underwriters last week.

– got a letter from the state telling me we have 45 days from our notice of foreclosure to do something; now i have to sort out if there’s something i have to be worried about from the state and not just the mortgage company.

– got a letter from the food stamp office telling me we make too much money. the amount they have listed as our monthly income is a hilariously high number. it’s like they took our re-application (that you do every 3 months), did bad math, and ignored everything else in our account. i have a fucking college degree; i was under the impression i didn’t have to re-submit EVERYTHING, so if i did, i understand even more clearly how easy it is to go hungry. of course it’ll take about 2 months to sort out so yay! ramen for everyone in the meantime!

– went to planned parenthood for an IUD, have to go back in a week for actual insertion; have sufficiently freaked out uber conservative parents. but they take medicaid and don’t require me to wait 6 weeks for one of those rare new patient slots. i really just want to see my doctor, the one i have a 10 year relationship over 2 babies with.

– have 5 bills due this week and not enough money. husband has a separate “business” account for his handyman work (that’s about a weeks worth of ranting blog posts in and of itself) and says that money is being saved to fix his car (which has been parked out front undriveable since april) and he can’t give any to the household.


To friends who have gotten married in the past 2.5 years that we were unable to attend your wedding because it was out of state, or get you a wedding gift (I have a list for when we have enough money of what I’m getting each of you), I’M SORRY. It sucks to have missed out on multiple special days in our friend’s lives; and sucks that I couldn’t pick out a fancy and fun gift to give you to mark this important milestone.

To my kid’s friends who got crappy cheap birthday presents over the past 2.5 years, I’M SORRY. It’s not that I think you needed something big and expensive to show my kid’s love for you, but you’re kids. It’s hard to explain things like this to my own kids, let alone their friends. I think we did OK; I’m pretty sure everyone loves stickers and funky pens and fresh new notebooks and playdoh (always a cheap standby that everyone loves to open a new can of).

To my kids: I’M SORRY. We haven’t been able to go on vacation for 4+ years now. Or take trips to amusement parks or local expensive attractions that require tickets. Partly we can’t afford these things and partly the stress of the past 2.5 years has beaten me down I’m so exhausted I can’t comprehend taking a day trip. Even a low cost one where you pack your own food requires gas and ice cream and that add up when your budget is in the red every single month. I’m sorry you don’t get to go to camp again this year. I’m sorry we can’t go see the new summer blockbusters coming out in the theatre. I’m sorry I’m such a grump so often and lose my cool so easily. I have zero patience left and am in a constant state of alert. My body hurts and you just want to play with me at the pool and I discourage it. I’m so sorry. This whole situation has left me not the mom I want to be, and I know daddy feels the same way. It hurts my heart to hear you complain that you don’t see him often enough and that he doesn’t come to the pool to play with you (thank god for the pool, though). We love you, and we hope our love shines through and you see that despite having a summer very different from your friends.

To those who gave us money or gift cards, both anonymously or known, THANK YOU. I’ve thanked you personally if I know you gave, but if you are sneakily giggling to yourself and rubbing your hands together like an evil genius at your secret good deed like I’d be, THANK YOU. I seriously look fondly towards a time when we can pay it forward.

To those who gave us food, THANK YOU. Not so much because we were struggling and hungry, but more because of the stress and having a meal prepared for you feels like the greatest gift in the world some weeks. I want to do this for others. We shouldn’t wait only for illness or new babies to share food within our community; look for those who are struggling, or maybe forget trying to find a reason. Take someone some food.

To those who watched our kids so we could take a financial class, or meet with our pastor or deacon recommended financial planner, THANK YOU. Back to the bringing food thing, this is part of our village that we love. You watched my kids, I’ve watched some of yours, we should all be doing it more often.

To those who treated my kids like the special little snowflakes they are, THANK YOU. You filled in the gaps where we were unable – with trips to the movies, or a gift card to splurge on birthday presents, or just a silly trinket that brightens their day when it unexpectedly arrives in the mail. All those little things that cause me to do mad amounts of math in my head wondering if we can splurge once on three movie tickets but only if we go to the early show and I pack snacks in my purse.

To those who gave hugs, passed the tissues, or made us laugh through our tears, THANK YOU. I know we wouldn’t have made it this far without you. I feel like we’ve broken through that invisible barrier in so many friendships and gone from just good buddies to FAMILY. And that’s huge.

You don’t know stress till you have to re-upload all the loan modification documents, both the initial ones and the additional information ones, to your mortgage company a month after you sent over the first batch. They were all there last week when I called to check in, why they weren’t there today I don’t know. But I at least got a loan officer on the phone who gave me her personal email (not the modification assistance general mailbox) to send these docs directly to her.

Word to the wise: always track every conversation with mortgage or home equity loan companies. Even if it’s just the date, who you spoke to, and the result that everything is “in process.” You never know when all that will be essential, even the simplest of interactions. Thank goodness I love spreadsheets.