29 April 2010


I met with my attorney (praise be to God for getting corrected on that spelling. Really, I had been up at night openly weeping because I found out I spelled the word "attorney" wrong. Finally the tears can stop) on Tuesday, and the results were encouraging. He answered my questions, was calming and reassuring, and made the process feel much simpler than it might actually be. I was also required to complete credit counseling, something I will have to do again after I've filed. It was actually pretty painless, and the woman I talked with on the phone was very nice. I'm a little worried things are going too well with the whole thing and something is going to explode in my face. This in combination with end of the school year stress is bad for me. On the bright side, however, the collection phone calls are OVER! Hooooray!

I have also rewarded myself for pinching my pennies over the month of April. I don't own a DVD player, so I use my Xbox 360 as my primary DVD player. Last month the controller I had broke and died, so I'd been living without DVDs and my Netflix subscription for a month. I had money left over at the end of the month (I get paid tomorrow! Woo!), so I bought a replacement controller. A worthy investment, I think.

I've had really strange dreams for the past two nights. Two nights ago I dreamed I shot myself in the stomach. Like to kill or harm myself. I wandered into a strange building for awhile, then called my family for help. They said they'd help me by driving me to the hospital, but I'd have to wheel myself in. Then I was suddenly in a wheelchair. Once I wheeled myself through a labyrinthian hospital, I went to the desk to check in. The desk attendant was, why not, my 10th grade history teacher Charles Blakely. He would not let me check into the hospital. I then wheeled myself over to the waiting area and just sat, apparently waiting to die. The super weird part was, when I woke up, I had this horrible stomach ache. I'm not sure if I had the stomach ache in my sleep, and my brain conjured up this reason for it, or if I had that dream and, in the process, wretched my own stomach in pain. Either way... crazy.

Last night I dreamed I was teaching in my regular classroom, but the eastern wall of the classroom was gone, leaving it open to the hallway. My students (I'm assuming I was teaching a particular class period that is particularly... lovely...) would simply not settle down, and I was losing it at the front of the classroom. I was screaming, pulling out my hair, all that good stuff. When I finally got them settled down, a bunch of students came to the opening from the hallway and talked to them, and they got to going again. It was this intense feeling of hopelessness when I woke up. I pray that is not what happens in 7th hour today in the computer lab!

26 April 2010

This line is metaphysical

Tomorrow is the big day! I'm meeting with my attourney tomorrow, paying him an obscene amount of money, and giving him my paperwork to file for bankruptcy. I feel a strange mix of excitement, fear, and anticipation. I just want to know how it's going to work and what's going to happen. I have to pay $50 for a credit counseling course as well, and after tomorrow I will have all of $1.51 in my checking account. Thankfully I have some cash on hand- I need gas in my car! I get paid Friday, and through some generosity from my sister, my friends, and some serious restraint on my part, I'm going to make it through this month.

I finished what I could of the paperwork tonight, but a few things aren't clear to me, and I am going to have to ask my attourney what to do. The paperwork is ridiculous, the amount of money you have to pay to file is ridiculous, but I imagine that is all purposeful. Bankruptcy isn't to be taken lightly, I know. I actually had a woman on the phone from Chase Bank try to tell me I was making the wrong decision because I'm so young. I see it as the exact opposite- I'm young, single, and fluid. I don't have a family or spouse whose credit I'm ruining (nor do I plan on having one anytime soon), so by the time I might be settling down for that sort of thing, it will be off or nearly off my credit. This is a chance for me to finally make smart financial decisions- something I anticipate doing as soon as this process is over.

I'm going to try my best to still do the things I love- including my now annual trip to New York City to stay with my wonderful friends Erika and Adam in Harlem. It might only be a weekend instead of a week this year, but that's okay. And, really, it all depends on whether or not my school district is actually holding summer school this year. I'll be buying my plane ticket with actual money rather than credit. In the past I'd tried to pay it off with the summer school check, but it always ended up being most of it, so something like $100 would be left on the card. In any case, if I can't afford it this summer, I'm going to try to save up and go in the fall- maybe November or late October. I'd love to go late enough to see Rockafeller Center decorated for Christmas. Anyway.
Part of the filling process required me to get old pay stubs- and to do this I must go to the downtown library in Joetown which also houses the school district offices. It is a beautiful old building, and I took some photos of it while I was there.

22 April 2010

Allow me to gloat

This in no way relates to my finances, but I felt the need to reflect a bit.

This evening I had the wonderful chance to do one of the best things about my job- creative writing club sponsor. We have creative writing club meetings once a month, and it's always wonderful. I have fantastic kids in the group, they are supremely talented (certainly in comparison to where I was as a writer at that time), and I'm so happy to get the chance to hang out with these awesome kids. This evening we met at Hazel's for coffee and writing fun, and while we were there, I saw one of my former bosses.

I have had two former bosses tell me I'd never make it as a teacher. One said it explicitly, and the other implied it through what she thought was a cleverly veiled insult. The boss I saw this evening was the second of those two, and she was, easily, the worst boss I ever worked for. It was the only job I was ever fired from, actually. It was over a single mistake I allegedly made. A mistake I actually don't think I made, but let's say I did. It would be ridiculous to fire me over a single mistake. This woman was looking for a reason to fire me because I had to leave work every day to go to class at the college. Something they knew when they hired me. She resented it like crazy. I had personal photos hanging on a bulletin board in my office, and when I was fired she ripped them off the bulletin board. Like ripped my pictures nearly in half. She was a monster.

I didn't notice her right away, but when I did, a small part of me smiled inside. I'm at a meeting for a club I sponsor that I love, doing a job you didn't think I could do, and being really freaking good at it. I'm freaking great at my job, and these kids are rock stars. You, ma'am, were wrong. And not much feels better than to be able to rub that in the face of someone who doubted you.

What I said to myself as I left Hazel's was something along the lines of, "Hey, you, former boss lady- fuck you. I'm fucking great at my job, and everyone at your office only kisses your ass because they need your money. By the way, I've followed my dreams, achieved my goals, and have almost anything I could ever ask for. Did I mention you should go fuck yourself? Because you should."

Not that I'd be bitter and resentful and harp on the past or anything. That's just not me.

19 April 2010

Why you comin' home at five in the morn'?

It's been a week since I last updated, and progress did not go as quickly as I'd hoped. I have almost all of the bankruptcy paperwork completed, but I still need to get my last six bank statements and my last six pay stubs. Those will be easy to get, but it's hard to find time. Teaching at the end of the school year keeps me pretty much exhausted and sans extra time. The beauty of it is that, knock on wood, things are running about as smoothly as they have all year in my classroom. I'm in the middle of the Shakespeare unit, and it's the thing I feel most comfortable teaching. We had a successful day today, and I hope tomorrow is as good. It helps me get through the day of phone calls.

The phone calls are intense. I've had nine calls today from three different numbers. I asked last week to one particular caller if the simple intention of filing stops the calls, and it doesn't. I have to have actually paid my attourney. So I've called and set the date- April 27th. One week from tomorrow. A day I'm calling "Freedom Day." I have spent as little money as possible all month to be able to afford to file. $1000 to file- it's nuts. But I'm happy to do it. The only problem is that, according to what my attourney said last time I met with him, you have your court case 30 days after the filing. May 27th is the first day of summer school. I'm sure it'd be okay if I missed, but in summer school you have to pay subs out of your own pocket. Well, to be fair, summer school might not get funded by the SJSD this year, so maybe the problem will solve itself. That would be a loss, though, because I teach summer school for the extra paycheck. Bah.

As has been the case in the past few weeks, my personal life has been good. My friends and family continue to be supportive and fantastic. Pictures!

The sunset at LeBlond High School after my cousin's track meet.

I recently bought some firm tofu at the store, and I fried it in olive oil I attempted to infuse with garlic. The garlic flavor didn't really come through, but the crunchy/crispy thing caused by frying it was wonderful. I had it two ways- one time I just put it in some spinach leaves with some raspberry vineagrette I had in the fridge, and the second time I cooked it with two scrambled eggs, more of that spinach wilted in, some diced tomatoes, and made a little scramble situation. The second use worked much better!

11 April 2010

Fear Mongering

I have got to move forward with the bankruptcy. It's strange how much I look forward to life after it, but getting there is so hard. I'm trying to fill out more of the paperwork tonight, and it's impossible. I just don't understand a lot of it, and I'm going to have my dad help me with it tomorrow night. Part of it, or all of it rather, is my own fault. I keep terrible or non-existent financial records. I don't know account numbers, amounts owed, so on and so forth. I guess I'm going to have to call these people. I just have to push forward, but it's harder to do than I possibly imagined. It's my goal to get this figured out this week- I'll have to post progress reports. I at least want the actual paperwork completed in the next couple of days, then I'm going to complete the online credit counseling, then I'm going to call my attourney. Small goals, people, small goals. When it's all finished, I look forward to being able to SAVE money every month, which is incredible. I look forward to making purchases with actual money- not credit. I look forward to not feeling a constant pressure on me.

In less feeling sorry for myself news, I have wonderful friends, and last night we watched SNL on the roof of my building. It was fantastic, and I'm profoundly blessed to have people who are supportive of me despite my complete failures as a responsible adult. Here's Tina Fey blurrily (that's a word now) projected outdoors.

08 April 2010

Poke Your Grandma, Stan!

It has been eight business days since I found out my home was foreclosed upon- I was told I would get a letter from Bank of America within 5-7 days which said whether or not I would be asked to still pay the money I owe on the house. I need to know this information in order to file the bankruptcy- I'm playing the waiting game in the meantime. I'm dreaming of a day where I have enough money left from my paycheck to actually start SAVING money. Putting money back?! What a dream indeed!
South Park, on occasion, makes fantastic social commentary. The facebook episode did just that. Anyway.
We have something like six weeks of this school year left, and it is simultaneously foreand no time at all. I just finished Act I of Taming of the Shrew with my students- we're just getting into the good stuff- and now it's warm outside and they're not as focused as they could be. It's okay, though, because I love me some Shakespeare and will pull them through.

I'm really enjoying writing this blog- and I like trying to take pictures to post on here too. Here are more:

My TAG students have began their work on their films, and their movie posters are due tomorrow. I got a sneak peak of one yesterday, and it's pretty awesome. The film is a parody of Paranormal Activity- so I should probably see Paranormal Activity before I watch their film.

So it's just Hamburger Helper, but I added a red pepper and an orange pepper, and it was totally awesome.

06 April 2010

On Why I'm Not Into Politics

This entry begins with information that in no way relates to my financial woes. Most of you know my dad ran for city council at-large in St. Joseph this year. Today was the election, and the results were disappointing for the good guys (a.k.a. us). Here's what I'll say as briefly as possible

1) I'm incredibly proud of my dad. Watching him work from my position was amazing to see- his heart was truly in the right place, and his desire to do the right thing was inspiring. What's all the more amazing is that over 5,000 people voted for my dad. This time last year there were probably hardly 100 people who knew my dad's name. It is a miracle that we got as much support as we did. It speaks to the quality of my dad's character. More importantly, my dad ran his campaign the right way. He followed the rules, he campaigned positively, and he did absolutely everything he could do make this city a better place to live. I'm happy for his effort, happy that so many people saw what my family sees in him all the time, and happy he is able to have the experience he had.

2) To all of you who told me you voted for him, put a sign in your yard, told your friends/family to vote for him, donated money- THANK YOU. We appreciate your support more than you know, and without you this experience would have never been as big as it was. I am genuinely in awe of your support. Thanks a million times.

3) St. Joseph... ahhhhh it's a unique place. A name can take you awfully far here. It's been that way as long as I remember. It makes me wonder if it's like that every place, or if other towns have voters that consider issues and experience over name recognition. Looking at the results, we were fighting an impossible battle. We did, literally, everything in our power to make my dad's qualifications clear, his experience supreme, and his name out there. With all of our efforts, we still fall short. It's hard not to be disappointed, saddened, and negative about the voting process. Like I mentioned in my last blog entry, sometimes bad times intensify what is good about life, and this situation certainly makes it clear that this win doesn't diminish how great things are for my family generally speaking. Our love is huge, our support is strong, our children are adorable. Hard to beat really.

To shortly address a big issue- I AM KEEPING MY CAR! A loan renewal was approved, and my monthly car payments will soon be HALF of what they were previously. I'll be saving approximately $200 a month, and words cannot explain how much of a difference that makes. I'm still waiting on the letter from Bank of America, but I'm so thankful for this current development.

It's been a long day/week/month/year, and things can, and will, go up from here.

05 April 2010

Disturbing non-progress

I haven't heard from Suzuki. I haven't heard from Bank of America. I haven't heard from anyone. I received several 888 phone calls today, but I don't answer those because they scare me. I know one of them may have been Suzuki, but none left me a voicemail. I suspect they were one of my credit cards. It's a simply horrible feeling, and, frankly, it's scary. I've realized this evening that among the reasons I don't answer those calls is because I'm scared of their consequences. I know it's counter-productive, but I eagerly await the day when I don't have to be scared of my phone ringing. I look forward to the day when I will change my ringtone, and that day is coming. I'm like Pavlov's dog with that thing, except salivating when I hear it, I cringe with fear.
As far as things not related to my finances, things are pretty fantastic. I had a beautiful Easter. I started the day with church, and as much as I've been saddened by things that have happened at my church in the past seven or eight months, it was nice. I liked singing the songs, and, despite the fact that it was a message I'd heard every year of my life, it never hurts to hear it again. Then I had lunch with my family, and they are fantastic. I'm so lucky and blessed to have them. Finally, I played four square with my friends. They are amazing, too. God has blessed me with an abundance in these areas, and the lack of abundance financially has highlighted for me how great the rest of life really is for me. And the weather for four square was absolutely perfect. And now there's a tornado watch, and that's just about my favorite weather situation.
A few pictures to highlight:
1) Jell-O cake is the best thing ever.

2) Cleaning happened.

3)A great joke written on the chalkboard in the men's room at Foster's, my favorite spot in Joetown.

4) I love karaoke. My friend Lu and I recently rocked some karaoke... and yes, this is "Summer Girls" ("Summergirls"???) by LFO.

02 April 2010

Did I just get prank called?

I guess I'm old now. I got prank called (I believe) tonight on the land line in my apartment, and I spent 10 minutes trying to look up the number on the internet. It was the equivalent of telling them to get off my lawn. The girl on the phone just talked really quick, and all I heard was "if you don't pay..." by "April..." something or other. But it was clearly a girl on the line. Not an adult, nor any of my actual debtors. Maybe I'm going to be murdered by the mob or something! That'd be new and interesting!

I didn't hear back from Suzuki today. I could have called them myself I suppose, but, eh, it's okay. The silver lining here is that they didn't call me today. Generally they call me like six times a day (seriously), and I didn't hear from them once. I'm choosing to see that as good news!
I had a busy day today- hair cut, lunch with mom and sister, grocery shopping, and later this evening it will be fun/movies with friends.

The grocery shopping was successful- as suspected, they did not have the frozen gnocchi, though. I bought some frozen ravioli instead as a sad, poor substitute. I'm super excited about the shrimp dish I'm making, though. I'll try to post a picture.

Not much news financially today. Still waiting on a letter from Bank of America about what they're planning to do with the money I owe them on my house. When I get that letter, I will file for the bankruptcy soon after. Playing the waiting game for now.
And now- a pictoral journey through my day:

First storm of the Spring today- here it is from 22nd and Mitchell just as it was warming up.


I am both loveable AND huggable!

01 April 2010

Bieber or Die!

My mental health day was beautiful. Firstly, I woke up to get my car through the car wash. I thought someone might look at it over the course of the day, and I wanted it to be all pretty like. Here is the result.

Yeah, it looks pretty good.

I headed to the credit union and, because I'm on this honesty kick, I told them everything about the bankruptcy upcoming. They were not interested in "getting involved" in a bankruptcy. I was pretty crushed. Before this year, I had never missed a payment on the car, and now it was looking more and more like the car was going to be taken from me. I went to my parents' house and talked to my dad about our options, and we decided to see if I could trade the car in for something with a better (a.k.a. lower) payment monthly.

For Joetowners, we went to Anderson Ford. For non-Joetowners, it's the biggest car place in town basically. I thought they would be most willing to work with my credit issues. The guy I talked to was incredibly nice and understanding, but they weren't going to work with me until the house was not on my credit anymore.

0 for 2.

Regrouping at home, taking some advice from my dad, my attourney, and the dude at Anderson Ford, I decided to call Suzuki and see if they could refinance the loan themselves. The guy I talked to was really nice, and I should find out tomorrow morning if it went through. If all goes as plan, my car payment will be lowered from $401 a month to $188 a month. That means I'll be paying on the car forever, but at this point, that monthly savings is worth it. I'm cautiously optimistic. If they don't agree to the refinancing, I'm in a serious bind about my transportation related issues. I'll cross that bridge only if need be. I'll be sure to update tomorrow with the result.

Tomorrow I'm grocery shopping on a budget. I've been introduced to the Poor Girl Eats Well blog thanks to my friend Amanda, and it has been an economical way for me to eat healthier. I'm looking forward to making the gnocchi and feta situation on there provided Wal Mart has frozen gnocchi. I figure, if worse comes to worse, it's probably good on any salad.