Sunday, November 20, 2011

financial peace

The fish is still alive - he/she is in the hospital tank and improving. I'm hopeful.

I don't feel like a long post because I am tired and sick but I wanted to share something that has been life altering for my husband and I. Look up the Ram.sey website to see what I'm talking about.

We started his program (without any cost to us, the important info is free) about a year and a half ago, just after we filed bankruptcy. We did not want to end up in the spot we were just getting out of and knew we had to do something different. Before we had always relied on credit cards in emergencies. If the furnace broke down, the car needed tires, I needed new school books, or we had a trip to the ER - we broke out the plastic. That led us to hanging on by our fingernails after I was laid off, paying the minimum payments that equaled $900 a month. Missing one month of work when Aiden died was absolutely disastrous. We had no hope of ever catching up and the banks wouldn't work with us so we were forced to file bankruptcy. We didn't ever want to be in such a desperate situation again, so we started following the guidelines from Dave's site. We concentrated on saving an emergency fund - that was truly for emergencies - and then paying down our remaining debt.

18 months later and my 14 year old car has broken down twice to the tune of $1500. Without the credit cards, two years ago that would have meant only having one car, which would have been insane since we work in different towns. Now after working this program we were able to pay cash with half our emergency fund remaining. We will be able to pay off my husband's car by January and after June the only debt left will be our student loans.

It's such an amazing change. I went from panicking about a $50 medical bill to just shrugging when the mechanic said I owed him $650 on Friday. I highly recommend looking into this if you're like me and were never taught how to manage money by your parents. And let me tell you - we don't make much. This program is designed for people like us. We're above the poverty line but don't make enough to afford new cars or to be able to easily save up for a down payment, but with this program we may even be able to buy a house in another 5 years.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Murdering fish

I just got back from a 4 day conference for work. I've been fighting off a cold since last Sunday and just finally succumbed to complete misery today. I stayed home with my throbbing head and overstuffed sinuses but there is very little chance I will get much rest today. I'm trying desperately to get enough function back to save what's left of my poor fish.

I've been very neglectful lately. I knew my tank was getting dirty and really needed some fresh water, but it wasn't until I had a casualty last week that I tested the water. The nitrate and nitrite readings are high; I am poisoning my poor fish with their own wastes. I tried to clean the tank last weekend but was so busy that I didn't get to it. Then I left early Monday and got back late last night. Since Monday I have lost 3 more fish. I wish my husband was a little less useless in these matters and had done something when the first fish died, but I am on my own. This is causing some distress this morning because I am so miserable with this stupid cold that I REALLY don't want to clean the damn tank, but one of the remaining fish is closely linked in my mind to the short little life and tragic death of my son. You see, when I was pregnant with Aiden I bought a bunch of dalmatian molly fish. I did not know that they breed like guppies. Just after we got our horrible news about Aiden just about all the the fish had babies. Suddenly we went from 6 fish to dozens of fish. I was very resentful. I was mad that those fish were having babies while mine was dying inside me. K was thrilled so I kept up a good front for her but I hated those stupid fertile fish.

Enter two weeks later, approximately. I can't remember if this started before or after Aiden actually died, but a weird disease hit all of my fish. They started losing the ability to move their back fins. After a while most of the fish were swimming around in circles with their bodies bent in a C shape. I was horrified. Apparently I can't keep anything healthy and alive. I lost almost all of the fish pretty quickly. Only one little baby Molly survived and a couple of wild ones. I have added wild fish accidentally caught at work since this happened but I've been reluctant to buy more fish because I don't think the disease, whatever the heck it it, is gone. The molly is still alive and it seemed important to keep it that way. I'm not particularly attached to it, but it's survival was a sort of sign to me that maybe I don't kill everything I touch. So now my neglect has caused the deaths of most of the wild fish and that Molly is still hanging on. She doesn't look too great but she is still alive. I'm really hoping I can get off this couch long enough to keep it that way. I know I will be sad when she is finally gone.

I guess if I can't find the energy to clean the 40 gallon tank I can put the survivors in a bowl for now. I just wish this once I could wallow in my misery and be sick without any damn obligations. Stupid fish.

There - whining is out of my system, time to go save some fish.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Not what I was hoping for

The permanency meeting was frustrating. When I mentioned that the idiotic school system here had their finals one week AFTER the winter break, they all decided to postpone the transition instead of speeding it up. So now we are looking at another 2 months of only getting her on weekends. We were all disappointed but I do have to defer to the opinions of the people that have been doing this for a long time, although I question their evidence.

The good news is that we have a move in date - January 13th. At that point she will be officially placed with us as an adoptive placement. After 90 days we can petition to adopt and she will be ours for good as soon as we get a court date. Two months seems like a long time but I'm sure it will go by pretty fast considering the holidays will be all intertwined with the time we have left. It will be really nice to have something positive to think about this year instead of remembering how horrible this time of year was 2 years ago.

But that leaves me with a problem. I love this blog and all the connections I've made through it. It was easy and healing to talk about the loss of our son and the impact it had on my life and hear from so many that have walked in my shoes. Now I don't think I will be able to talk as freely. I'd love to keep writing here about how our new family is doing but I don't want M to ever find something written about her and lose her trust in me because of it. I know someone else in blog land that is struggling with this worry right now. It is the dark side of mommy blogging. How much is too much? When is it not about you, but about the information you are sharing about your children? I'm pretty much okay with mommy bloggers that talk about their kids, as long as they are respectful, but if those kids come from a history of trauma? Maybe not such a good idea. These kids have been given many, many reasons to never trust anyone. It would be kind of hard to explain why it's okay for their new mommy to discuss their mental health and behavior on a public forum. So - I don't know where I'll go from here. I may keep the blog and just make sure there is never anything identifiable on it (which might make it pretty boring). Maybe I'll go password protected. Maybe I'll give up on it altogether.

I started a new, anonymous email that I linked to my profile on this blog - but I really wanted to change this blog over to the new account so it doesn't show up if I am logged into my main email. That way I can stay logged on with my laptop and everyone can still use the computer without being able to see this blog. Does anybody know if/how I can do that?

If anybody has a magic solution to privacy, I'm all ears. I'll give everyone plenty of warning if I am going to shut down. I hope it won't come to that. I consider my readers to be friends, even if I don't know what most of you look like. I don't want to lose that.

Maybe I can write more about cooking and my volunteer activities. Anybody interested in community gardening?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Permanency meeting today!!

This is unofficial, but today we are meeting with M's social worker, guardian ad litem, therapist, and foster mom to decide when she will be moving in with us!

It's the first step in the adoption process here. After she moves in we have a minimum 90 day "trial" period before we can petition to adopt. After that we petition the court and wait for a court date.

I'm so excited! We are hoping M can move in the weekend before Thanksgiving. I would have been happy with next week but I will be out of town for 4 days the week of the 14th. We're worried she won't settle in well without all of us here. M sounded happy with that plan but we have to clear it with all the official people first.

I can't wait for her to be here. She is really struggling in school and I think that has no hope of changing until she is somewhere stable. If how I feel is any indication the poor kid probably feels like she is in the middle of a tornado right now. I don't think I'd be able to concentrated on school either. I just wish her foster mom thought the same way. I have a feeling M will be grounded again by the end of the week.

I also really wanted a quiet weekend at home with our new family. That is very hard to do when we are transporting between houses and try to keep up our normal obligations.

Anyway - wish us luck! Hopefully in a couple of hours we will have a date for when we will officially be a pre-adoptive family!