Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Do you ever wonder how you got here??

I'm going to apologize now for the depressing post, but I guess I just need to let off a little steam. Have you ever gotten to a point in your life where you wonder, "How in the Hell did I get here??" I'm at that point right now. Financially, things are pretty bleak for us right now. And I just don't know what to do. I went to college with all these high expectations for a "better life". My parents didn't have a lot of money and I remember the lean years vividly. Neither went to college. I grew up on a farm. It was a really nice, hard-working life. But there was never a lot of money. I made my own money babysitting, and waiting tables when I was 16. I got a scholarship to a private university, but I worked hard when I was there too. I always had a job. When my friends from Chicago were playing and hanging out, I had to work. The year I lived in the sorority house (no laughing here folks.....yes, this goth girl was a sorority girl!), I never got to eat dinner with the girls. I worked ever night 4 -7.

When I graduated, the job market wasn't great. I stayed on at the place I was working part-time. I did books and reservations for a limousine company. (It was run in the same building as the owner's jewelry store, which I also helped out in) and I bartended some nights and most weekends. Student loans to pay too (private school ain't cheap!) But I found a job in a good company. I started low...one of those mailroom type gigs....and have since moved up from a Class 4 to a Class 21 management employee. This is where things are supposed to get better. I met and married my husband. He started working for the Mitsubishi Manufacturer in Normal. A great job. Finally lots of money. And we started spending. We bought a house, nicer vehicles, started having kids. The real American Dream.

But things started falling apart about 5 years ago. Mike got hurt at work. His back. And if you've ever been through a workman's comp claim you will know what I'm talking about. He was out of work for over a year and ended up having surgery on his upper spine. Mitsu fought it all the way. We went for almost a year without any sort of pay from them, wiping out most of our savings. We had been in the process of some home improvements, and had just taken out an equity loan. A big one. He finally ended up getting most of his pay back, but it ended up breaking him. He used to like his job. Now he hated the company. They had called him a liar and he really took it hard. He also hurt his ankle in the injury and it was never the same. He ended up going out on disability. What that meant was he still received a check from the company, but at lower rate. And it was about a $25,000 a year pay cut. They finally laid him off during bad times which is where we are at now. It's amazing what losing that much money a year can do. Especially when none of your expenses go down. Kids cost money, more so each year. Gas and electric prices skyrocketed. Insurance goes up. Healthcare goes up.

So here we are now....five years later. Struggling again. Mike seems to be a broken man...and it's left to me to make things right. And I've done a horrible job so far. I never thought to plan better 5 years ago. I thought it would get better instead of worse. I don't want to claim bankruptcy, but right now I don't even know if that will help. I can't lose my house or my cars. And I want to be able to do things with my kids. But I am willing to go the extra mile and take a second job. I would love one of those work from home data entry things, but I don't even think they do that anymore. Mike is working part-time now, but just above minimum isn't $30/hour, that's for sure.

So, I'm sitting here today looking back and wondering how I got here. I can't tell you what I would give for about 50 grand right now. That would just about take care of all my debt and car payments. Put my money market back where it should be. Pay off the equity loan. Ah.....to win the lottery (of course the odds of that are so slim, it's not worth the buck!) I just wish I could get a handle on this. I would love to work for myself. That was always a dream...but there's no way that could happen now.

Again...sorry for the depressing post. It feels good just to let it out. I pray every night for some sort of solution, but one never comes. So, if you know any billionaires out there.....let me know!!

Later!

14 comments:

Kimmie said...

I know what you mean. I've been broke forever. It started last July when Rufus ate my glasses. Then I need tires. A visit to the dentist began a $2000 journey. Brakes...$400. I keep telling myself soon there will be nothing left to buy. But I know better. I'd settle for 5 grand and a millionaire.

Chris said...

I'm so sorry to hear about all that Stephanie. I wish I could throw a miracle solution your way...what I will throw your way is lots of happy thoughts and all my positive energy. I really hope something turns around for you soon. Hang in there.

kookiejar said...

Stephanie, there are very few people who haven't had money troubles from time to time (sometimes endless money troubles), but we make it through. Even if you have to sell a car, or leave your house, you will still have your kids and your husband and that is all that matters.

When I was a child, my family lived in a run-down old house that my grandparents had given my father. It eventually was condemned (it was in really bad shape) and we had to leave. We had no money and no where to go. We (the five of us) actually moved into a hotel room until my parents could get some money together and we could get an apartment.

Anyways, you'll do what you have to do, and you'll be fine. Be strong for your kids and remember that you have friends. (too bad we aren't all rich friends...but what can you do?)

Best wishes to you and your family.

Stephanie said...

Thanks guys! And I know. It will all work out in the end. We have the 5 of us and that will never change. Truth be told, I've been happier in the last year with my husband and family than I have been in quite a long time. But I always have money in the back of my head. Sometimes I feel like the stress is getting to me. Today for example. I'm really stressed. I wish things were easier. But they aren't. Period. We'll get through it. And hopefully I won't have to sell a kidney or something like that!!

Marg said...

Oh Steph! That's a lot to be thinking about, especially when you add work pressures and things on top of it! If I was there I would give you a hug, but for now I can only give you my thoughts.

Chris said...

Stephanie- I'm so sorry that you're going through this. It sucks. I must be hard to stay positive and you seem like such a cheerful person.

~Lisa~ said...

Girl, I think you are simply amazing. Hang in there with all this stuff -- and suge, you better believe if I land me a Sugar Daddy, I'm adding you to "my payroll" pronto!

Love you, babes!

XOXO,
Lisa

This Eclectic Life said...

Aww, Sweetie, I'm so sorry. Sometimes trouble just comes in droves. It's hard. You've got your family and you've got friends. Have you considered talking to a financial analyst or something? I know, I know, they cost money...but sometimes there are free services out there. Hang in there. You'll be ok. It just doesn't feel like it now. I keep buying lottery tickets...if one wins, I'll send you $$.

Literary Feline said...

Sometimes things can seem so helpless, I know. My heart goes out to you, Stephanie.

Bellezza said...

Oh, Stephanie, who hasn't felt the pain you describe? I have been through several hard times, but the good news is, they eventually fade to be replaced by good ones. I will pray for your strength, encouragement, and many blessings to be poured out on you in this dry spell.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Dear Stephanie, been there (AM there) and feel your pain and discouragement. My roommate changed jobs ... and suddenly, with changed paydates, we didn't have enough to cover the April rent. She thought that meant we would have to move out immediately, which sounded like living on the streets, but I talked to the manager and got him to agree to accept my half of the rent until she got a payday. Now we are okay, sort of, even though it still feels very touch and go.

Yesterday I got a call from one daughter telling me her twin had been admitted to the hospital and will have emergency surgery tomorrow (their birthday) because the medical folks had to get her WELL enough for surgery. Seems she has a massive infection from last week's D&C and will have to have an emergency hysterectomy on her 47th birthday tomorrow. She'll be off work about seven weeks, starting now. Bad news never comes in "ones," does it? I have you in my prayers along with my daughter. Hang in there, dear friend.

Kristy said...

I'm so sorry Stephanie. I'll be thinking of you and keeping you and your family in my prayers. I know you are a tough one, so hang in there.

Kailana said...

I haven't even graduated yet, and my boyfriend is already on disability. I have to say that they have been really good about it at his job, though. It is just stressful because he cannot help out at all and I start out in debt because of student loans. So, I can sort of relate, and we are just starting out. He might not be able to work again, either, and because he was young he did not pick a great long-term discipline plan...

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