Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just something that explains a bit about being poor, and poorer

So I was searching Digg for something interesting to read and found this.  I think if you are poor, aka earning less than 30k a year then this thingy explains your situation, if you make an adequate salary, say 50K a year then this might explain why your poorer friends declined lunch last week.

The Cost of Being Poor

Well Duh!

News of the Duh.

 I must say that I already knew this, trying to convince a doctor something is wrong at age One is just simply impossible, ask my Aunt!  Doctors seem to think that disorders like Autism is something that occurs after age 3, but it is not.  I know not because my Aunt told me she just knew Baby Gaby was different, but because I saw it when I ran a Home Based Daycare center.

Children with Autism or other disorders like ADHD show up early, very early, like a few weeks or months old.  My child Nicky showed signs that he was different at about 2 weeks.  While I wait for a formal diagnosis, and I have been waiting for over a year, getting help while poor is very, very difficult.  I am certain that Nicky is ADHD.  He was colic as a early as a week, you could not get him to take a nap unless he was in your arms, if by chance you got him down to his crib while asleep, hope that the door didn't creak!  The child literally drove us all nuts.  By the time he was 6 months old he decided that breastfeeding was not fast enough-just a bit impulsive at that point too!  He switched early to bottles and bit big wholes in the nipples, I have never had to replace so many bottle nipples!  He was always needing to change things, he didn't have enough toys and we did not have enough safety things.  By Nine months he was trying to put things in electrical sockets and throwing things at the mirrored wall.  We took the mirrored wall down as a safety precaution because we feared he would pound the mirror to the point of it breaking!  He could not be still for diaper changes, his older brother was often needed to sit on him so he could be changed!

Anyway it was obvious he was impulsive, by the time he was 18 months old I was certain that he would loose his virginity first.  Nicky is going to be trouble, but my biggest concern is that if I do nothing, like the school district wants to until he is in the second grade he will find himself needing to change baby diapers before he graduates.  So I say, Duh parents know something is off early!  The signs are there.

And as a child care provider of other peoples kids, you can tell when something is different.  It gets really easy to see that something is off if there is more then 2 kids the same age.  As that happened when I ran a home based child care, and his behavior or lack of it was just a red haring!  I told his parents that he seemed different then the other children and that I was concerned, but was ignored.  He is nearly 5 now and is severely autistic, something I knew when he was about 15 months old.  And yes his parents, an RN and School Teacher, were very offended and pulled him from my care, but years later apologized for doing so.  They regretted not seeking treatment earlier too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Did I really sleep last night?D

I have been wondering around for days in a fog.  Today I am wondering if I am actually sleeping.  Did I sleep last night?  I can't say for sure.  I know I laid down in bed.  I know I stared at the clock many times last night.  I know that I every time I seem to get to sleep I am startled awake.

Take a nap, fall asleep, husband opens door to bedroom to get socks.  Scared the begibize out of me.  I could not go back to sleep.

Baby wakes up.  Not really fair to call him a baby since he is nearly two, but he started sleeping in his room, but he still wakes up in the middle of the night.  I got up and brought him to my bed, it was already 5:45 am.

Finally back asleep...  Husband enters room frantically searching for his truck keys!  Where did I put them he asked.  Like I misplaced them.  And yes I often misplace things I pick up, like his keys, but I swore I put them back on the hook.  I got out of bed, checked the hamper, searched every pocket, could not remember what clothes I wore last! He suddenly leaves the apartment, but did not tell me if he found the keys.  I look out the window, he is not in the truck.

Where the hell did he go?  For a walk, he went to look for the keys in the grassy area near the kids bus stop.  Oh, great I did not misplace the keys, he did.  And now I can't go back to sleep.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Are We ever going to have enough....

Just three minutes ago I resolved to do something about this plaguing problem!  I decided without discussion with my spouse that "We" will save some of our tax return in a savings account not connected with our checking account, and that "We" will save some of "His" paycheck in that account.  Huh, I bet I, I mean He will think we should have discussed this.  He is probably right.

I watched another documentary today.  I like watching those, it is like watching Fox News channel without all the commercials or theatrics.  Just in case you did not know I love to park the TV on Fox News, it is like my white noise machine.  Anyway the documentary was called "One Percent".  If you haven't watched, I don't recommend it for entertainment value as I have seen far more moving documentaries about the same subject, maybe it was the poor sound track choices.  Anyway.  For some reason I decided to do something a few minutes ago.  "One Percent" is a show by a Johnson & Johnson heir who is concerned about the disparages between the Richest One Percent and the rest of us.  He interviews a few of the riches billionaire's and a few heirs to their fortunes as well as poor folks.  He is unhappy with how big the gap is, and seems to be concerned that their is not a way out of the cycle for the poor, but he does not offer any solutions on what could be done to change the plight of the poor.

While I am not a fan of President Obama's policies on social services, I find myself literally torn in two on the subject.  First I think the idea of Universal Health Care for all is a ridiculously bad idea, not just Obama Care.  I don't like big government or the United States debt, and most of the policies.  I am not certain I am a Republican, but I do find Glenn Beck entertaining, and most of the redistribution of wealth ideas presented over the last 20 years appalling.

But as a poor American Citizen trying to redefine what the American Dream is I currently accept Food Stamps and Medicaid.  I know I said Universal Health Care is a bad idea, I also have to accept the bad choice, because individual private health insurance in Arizona is completely unaffordable. (Note: Arizona's private health insurance is unaffordable because the State Government has Mandated coverage of many life saving treatments, as well as many alternatives.  These Mandates about the types of minimum services covered has greatly reduced the number of providers to choose from which has increased the price.  Something about Supply v Demand, limited supply/choices in AZ means those rotten Insurance companies that are mandated to cover stuff can demand higher fees.) So as you can see the health insurance issue leaves me with two bad choices, spend 2/3 the yearly salary on health insurance or accept state Medicaid.  Oh, and it is only two choices that I have at this moment, the second I find an employer that offers health insurance I am so off this medicaid program.

Not sure why that popped into my head.  We are considered poor.  My household qualifies for food stamps, medical care, probably section 8 housing, pell grants, discounts on utilities, food boxes and other assistance from charities.  We have lived paycheck to paycheck for as long as we have been working.  I lived paycheck to paycheck before I was married and thought that when I got married that would end.  It did not.  Does not seem to want to end.  So how to change it?

So how do I solve the Are we ever going to have enough problem?  I think I will start by building a savings account.  Not a lot, because we all ready spent half our tax refund on a new to us Truck, paid off the loan shark installment plan to Pruitt's Furniture for our couch and 2 chairs.  And yes, my husband had to take time off work because I had surgery, and no his employer does not provide any paid leave, not even sick days, so some of that tax check went right to helping us bridge the gap created by the missing pay checks, something that makes me rather angry!  I so hoped that the tax check money would do something to help pull us out of the whole we are in so we could be come Middle Class Americans instead of Poor Americans.   I can only hope that setting aside just 25% of our tax check helps us in some way, may the economy have mercy on our savings, and may we learn new ways to make the two pennies we got go that much further.  Damn to hell the $5.00 gas that is coming!

to do

Feeling very overwhelmed today.  The anxiety level in my chest is unusually high.

The to do list
Finish the kids pinewood derby cars
get the pinewood derby cars weighed
re do the to do list
pay some bills
look for a job
finish laundry-right after it gets started
call the clinic to figure out when my appointments are
put up the letters in the kids room
re do the needs and wants list
figure out something

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kids Allowance

A big stressor in my house and I am sure yours if you have school aged kids is the toys they want.  We all know that toys are not a "need" the way the kids whine it is.  And if you keep giving in and buying just 1-2 toys per month, plus some ice cream from the ice cream truck, an ice when you stop for gas or candy at the grocery store so you can get out without a big tantrum then you are secretly spending tons of money on your kids.  I know I was.  It was an expensive way to go.

If you have babies and have never encountered this problem of "I need" coming from your child's mouth you will as soon as they can say it.  The "I need" problem is much worse when you have cable or let your kids watch weekend cartoons on broadcast tv.  The kids see commercials and instantly they Need what ever it is.  It has always been this way.  My kids are not special, I am certain I did the same thing to my parents.

Now I am older, a tiny bit wiser?  I never learned the value while I was a child or the value of saving my money and did not even Know how to manage money.  Yes I can add and subtract, and I even had a calculator when I was younger to check the math, but never understood the value of money.  If you read that statement and it did not make sense to you, you also do not know the value of money.

On the stressor of "I need".  I tried chore charts.  You know the kind where your kids check off the things they did like setting the dinner table, making their bed, ect.  I found the problem with this was my own problems with ADHD.  It was simply complicated to remember to ask the kids to do a daily chore and then remind them to check off that it was done.  Lord knows I won't remember how many chores they did that week without a list.  When I did the chore chart, I paid ten cents a chore.  I know it does not sound like a lot of money, but just having your kid make their bed 7 days a week is $.070, add a few other chores and it could add up to a whole bunch of cash.

After several weeks of forgetting to pay my son's allowance on time we discontinued the whole paid for chores thing because little kids can't keep up the list and Mommy simply doesn't remember to remind them to do it every time.  While my kids liked the money they got for doing their chores, they did not like the hassle of checking things off everytime.  I did not like seeing the disappointment in their eyes after not getting paid for the things they did but forgot to check off.

So we went months without a good answer to the "I need" problem.  And about a month ago my husband okayed a new allowance plan, just give them each $5.00 each week.  Before you go say that is stupid, it comes with one rule: For every dollar they recieve, they must put twenty-five cents into their bank account.  That rule goes for when my oldest gets extra money from his Nana and Tata for good grades on his spelling test or helping with something at their house.  This rule also applies to gift money. Don't get mad, cause if you are you don't see the point and you are probably dead broke too.

Why this rule?  I am not trying to teach charity, that comes later and out of the goodness of their hearts and pockets.  This rule teaches the one thing I did not get about money, saving is critically important!  It must be automatic by the time they are in high school otherwise they will make the same unwise choices we did.  This savings account will be their money when they are old enough, that could be 16 for a car, or when they go to college or buy their first house, or they may never need it and someday retire billionaires! (That is not a joke, if inflation continues it will take billions to retire in 80-90 years. )

So what happen when we took AJ to the bank for the first time.... Wow, what a tantrum!  He kicked and screamed, said it wasn't fair, he wanted to go to the store and buy a toy!  Oh, how angry he was when he did the math and realized that if he put twenty-five cents from all his 4 weeks worth of $5.00 bills that he would not have enough for his toy.  He pouted all the way to the bank.  He pouted while he stood in the long line with Nana.  He grudgingly gave the $5.00 to the bank teller, who gave him a reciept.  His tears of anger turned to tears of joy with the sudden realization that he had $517 in the bank.    He suddenly wanted to put more in the bank, but we reminded him that he could not take this money out until he was much older.

So what happens when you take the younger brothers Nicky who is just 4 and Danny who is only one.  It turns out they don't care that they are giving their money to a strange man at the bank.  They like the sticker.

The lesson I learned... Nearly 8 years old is too late to start teaching the lessons of saving money in the bank for later, but just right for teaching kids to save their money for toys.  At 4 years old, Nicky doesn't know anything, money is something you give the ice cream man and you get something.  Maybe when he is older and can save money to buy the new it toy he will throw a tantrum when putting some into the bank.

The lesson I hope they learn, that saving money should not be an after thought and it should be nearly automatic.  I hope that they see us put a little money aside from each paycheck into savings and learn its going to save their life or at least cushion some hard knocks along the way.

An end

So the world has literally ended.  All the trouble of last week has, well resolved.  I guess that is the simplest way to put it.  It is not very nice to say it that way, a life ended, another will be changed forever, and others will simply need to learn to live again.  Bad things last week resolved themselves badly.  It hurts, makes you feel empty, hopeless and like life just is not fair.

Coping.  So today everyone who's world changed must get out of bed, though it seems impossible to do so.  Today cousins got dressed, fed kids, went to work, made plans to remember.  Tommorow Aunts, and Uncles will do the same.  And the next day sisters and brothers will rise and start the day missing one.  A mother and father will take more days but will start again soon.  That is all that can be done.  Clean the kitchen, vacuum the floor, scrub the bathroom, then again tomorrow.  Eat.

Most of the confusion about my own place in the world still exist.  What can one do?  What can you say when someone else doesn't think your entitled to your own pain?  What can one do when you see your family treating each other badly though they were grown years ago?  What can you do but watch the anger, feel frustration and know that everyone is simply exhausted?  Can anyone relive the tension or help each other rest so that tomorrow is better?

On the death.  Those who are asking why,  I think there is an answer.  I think we die when we have learned what we were here to learn.  There is some lesson God wanted us to learn, and when we have the answer we get to go home.  For some of us, we find the answer and learn the lesson early and we die young.  For those of us unlucky souls, we live long lives, grow gray, some watch their own children go before them, for us left here on earth we haven't found the answer or learned the lessons of life God had in mind. So have faith, you can get home too, it just may take some more time.  I say we ought to envy those who have died young for they were blessed and just maybe if you listen they can provide you clues to the road home.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

life through margarita lenses

Okay.  I am probably going to say something I shouldn't cause I had 2 large margaritas.

Today I decided to wash it all away, with some salt and lime.  Because tequila is always a great idea when you life is tough.

First we were definately stressed out.  The whole lack of work vehicle for my husband not working out.  The whole family.  Well if you read the post before you and your family that makes perfect sence.  Alcohol is always a good way to fix problems, oh and that is sarcastic.

Applebees.  We arrived with three kids and by miracle left with three kids, I am pretty sure the same three kids.  Of course those margaritas could have been better then I thought!  The waitress asked what we would like to drink.... "A margarita, on the rocks with lots of salt!" I said.  So of course she brought the biggest margaritas Applebees has.  Repeat the extra generous margarita and tequila from the bartender.

Right now Let me apologize for the poor spelling and grammar.  My margarita was good.  I took a sip and asked my equally grumpy and stressed hubby, "they should make something for extreme stress".  He replied, "they do, its called weed".  That made me wonder if weed will be prescribed for anxiety disorders in Arizona, I mean it will be available for us by prescription.  I also thought or said out loud, "damn, I should have gotten my cousins number, perhaps one of them could share, or provide a hook up."  That seems like something that would work.  Yeah, weed.  I heard Oregon was trying to add ADHD to the list of things weed could be prescribed.

Until any of those wonderfully dreamy things happen alcohol is the only legal thing that gets rid of inhibition.  SOmething I used to be really good at not having and now I can't even apply for a job to get a job interview.  I worry endlessly.

Everything worries me.  Obviously my personal issue with the whole work truck stresses me greatly.  And as if I could forget, even though it has been more then 24 hours since I stepped into ICU, that stresses me.  The whole we are messed up peeps with possible mental health issues that are undercontrol stresses me.  What I ate for dinner stresses me.   The fact that my eye glasses have scratches on me, or that I weight 180 again, or my hair is cool aid red stresses me.  The problem is everything causes worry and I have a prescription for an anxiety medication, but I worry about taking it.  Especially since the last one make my former co-workers think I was drunk at work.

My head is woozy.  I think I should find some tequila and drink it before I realize I am drunk.  Cause if you keep drinking you can't get sober and remember what was so concerning, what was it that made your heart pound, pound so loud you could hear it in your ears.  And pound fast, fast enough to make you think you should stop at the drug store and get your blood pressure checked.

So a few really good margaritas, a stop at Fry's to pay the electric bill at the M-Power box, a bit of junk food and regret for not getting margarita mix.  i know I have kids Advil, Tylenol and stuff  but I had to try really hard not to buy more cause my baby got vaccines on monday and has a fever.  I wonder if he is actually sick.  I guess we will find out when either I or my hubby sobers up.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011



You might remember me from a few weeks ago.  I was very stressed out about surgery, my husband returning to school and what it would mean for his current job and our only income at the moment.  I was also stressed about getting my son seen and evaluated for ADHD.  I vaguely remember other things like wanting an iPad 2, which I still don't have.

Today I am very tired.  It has already been 2 weeks since surgery, which seems to have gone well.  My husband took off some days from work, which we can't actually afford, but was really needed.  I am able to move again, play with my kids and off pain medication.  That is not why I am tired.  I am tired, I am wondering what my relationship is with my family, should I have more of a relationship with them or is what I got far too much?

I know everyone has family issues.  Everyone has people with issues, both mental mostly medical and those that are from bad choices or behavior.  It seems lately my family is troubled.  If you are my family and your reading this then you know about recent arrests, general association with the wrong crowds, bad relationships and I mean violent in every way, bad health, preventable deaths, financial troubles, mostly all the bad things.

So why so tired?  A personal crisis and a set of family crisis.  Monday was a rather bad day.  But it all started last week.  Last week an older, but still young man in my family past away and was buried on Saturday.  Saturday night a pair of my cousins went for a ride in a stolen car.  One hangs on for life the other is expected to live, recover fully, I don't know.  It is hard being alienated from my family because I found out about the crisis with my cousins Monday evening about 5pm.  That alone was rough, be ware of family messages posted on Facebook, they may bring awful news.  So the personal cries also happened just before 5pm.  My husbands work van broke down.  He is the owner of the vehicle and no the person he works for does not care that the van does not work, he is not going to help us fix it or provide a temporary work vehicle, so now my husband can't work.

I stayed at the hospital a while Monday night, not knowing what was happening or what my role should be I sat in the ICU waiting room.  It was reported that I was the calmest person there.  Not certain that was true.  I think I might have been the most distracted there, possibly that was confused for calmness.  I returned home late last night and for the fourth night in a row had trouble going to sleep.  My eyes are puffy, dry, heavy, dull, lifeless.  My reaction time is no existent.  I remembered to take my baby to his wellness doctors appointment this morning, though we were late and the doc was annoyed.  I stopped by the hospital since I was kinda close after the doc appointment, and found that small children are not welcome in ICU.  I waited around awhile, but I did not find any cousins or aunts in the waiting room this time so I did not see my cousins though I want too.  I hear Star is doing better, but has not been told her brother is in bad shape.  And he was when I saw him late last night.  He seemed too young to be so gravely injured, yet strangely did not seem to have more then a mere scratch on his arm.

I tried to sleep this afternoon when I returned.  My husband is rather upset and stressed about the work vehicle issue.  I can't get more then a few harsh words out of him today.  I tried a few minutes ago to start a spaghetti dinner and was told he did not want spaghetti.  I asked about some drumsticks, which I was told to never buy again because he can't tell if they are cooked all the way.  So I stopped making the dinner and asked what he wanted but never got an answer.  I started writing this.  This made him angry.  He started making the spaghetti dinner I was going to make after slamming around the dirty dishes.

So I am tired.  Wonder if I will sleep finally.  Wonder if I should be closer to my family, should they have my telephone number?  Do I belong in an ICU waiting room or far away in my usually isolation? Just tired.  My eyes are burning.