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Archive for October, 2011

Wow. Has it really been just two days short of a whole year since I last wrote anything here?

And should I write now?

We’ve all heard the cautions: “Be careful what you put on the internet because ANYONE can read it… potential employers…current employers… family members… people you’re writing about…”

But for a blabbermouth like me not to have checked in for a year, people are going to know that SOMETHING was going on, and maybe they’ll think it’s something even worse than reality. I mean granted, the past year has not been my best, but none of us are perfect. We all have “less than shining moments,” right?

Sometimes dropping from sight is a good thing because it means you’ve been too busy to doodle around. But this time, what I’ve been too busy with isn’t all that great. Apparently time flies whether you’re having fun or not…and I haven’t been.

Oh I’ve been blessed all around in that my family is fine and I’ve not had any scary medical diagnoses (knocking on wood) and believe me, I am cognizant of the tremendous value of those things. But you know how sometimes you can cope with one big “arch-enemy” type problem better than all the niggling little things that just wear you down to your last nerve? In the past year I’ve been fighting one battle after another.. Well no, actually, several at a time, they came and clung in clumps … that have left me exhausted, discouraged, and disillusioned. Of course many people have faced much worse… I don’t mean to whine … but damn, it has been trying.

First the bank made their last stab at taking my home of 15 years, but we managed to come to a meeting of the minds and spent six months going through a “Forbearance Agreement;” holding my breath, I continued job hunting while under agreement to surrender my home without a contest if I was even one day late with even one payment.

Why would I agree to such a crazy thing? Gee I don’t know; why does one play a crooked wheel? “If it’s the only one in town.” It was either suffer through this agreement or go to foreclosure immediately. I chose the former. It … along with everything else… almost made me crazy.

Job hunting became a full time job. I signed up for dozens of job boards, got into social media to network, applied for everything from maid’s work to executive director positions… if it was anything I thought I could manage or even fake my way through, I went for it. I cannot count the times I carefully ironed one of my last decent work outfits, put one gallon of gas in the tank, printed out yet another copy of my carefully tailored resume (usually on a friend’s printer because mine ran out of ink long ago) and went off just knowing this was the job for me and I was the perfect applicant for it. Hundreds …literally hundreds… of applications later, still nothing.

Am I too old? Too plain? Too dug in as a writer/photographer to be considered for anything else? Is my wardrobe too outdated? What am I doing wrong?

Meanwhile, to keep the bank-wolf from the door, I temped and smiled solicitously at bosses half my age and/or I.Q. and did things whatever half-ass way they wanted them done. I sorted through peoples’ donated crap, cleaned toilets, emptied recycling bins, cleaned windows in the Florida summer heat, stuffed envelopes, did data entry, sorted out and organized dead files and catalogued them, anything to hang on to my house while the bank played their little game:

Every week after the six-month-agreement ended I’d email or call my “contact person” at the bank and point out that the forbearance period (with its unmanageably high monthly payment) had ended, I had met their terms, and they were supposed to send me a modification application. Where was it?

They always responded that they would send it that day. And when it hadn’t come in a week later, I’d call again.

This went on for four months after the six month forbearance period. FINALLY I got the papers … misdated (as if it had been sent a week earlier) and informing me I had 20 days from the false date to return it.

I did.

I’m waiting.

And praying.

And still job hunting.

Meanwhile, my animal rescue work continued and our county passed an anti-tethering ordinance. A good thing in light of all the ignorant dog owners who tie their dogs out in the yard and then do every conceivable stupid thing from going to Disney World for a week to going to work every day and leaving the animals tied out without regard to how the blistering Florida sun moves while they’re away and bakes the poor creature who knocked over the water bowl (if there was one) within five minutes of the person leaving and is now chained in it’s own muddy little circle with it’s urine and feces. And that’s just the dumb people; there are also the evil dog fighters who chain their animals on four-foot lengths of heavy chain to purposely frustrate them into constantly straining and pulling (thus building up their chest muscles). Yes, we needed this ordinance.

But there are also good dog lovers who simply can’t afford to fence their yards, especially right now. So many families have lost homes and jobs that our animal shelters, rescues, and foster homes are all bursting at the seams with homeless animals. We don’t need families who love and want to keep their dogs giving them up because they can’t afford a fence.

So I took a clue from a great group up in the Carolinas, The Coalition to Unchain Dogs. They build (for FREE) adequate-size fenced exercise areas for neutered dogs if the family requests it. If the dog isn’t neutered they either raise the funding for that or get one of the local free or low-cost spay/neuter programs to assist. When I raised the subject here in Florida people responded with enthusiastic support and I was incredibly excited… until I ran into the IRS.

Who knew it was so hard to try to do something nice? The paperwork was ridiculous. I got a few believers together and we got a well-meaning attorney who would help us for free… except he didn’t seem able to do it. As nice a person as he was, the paperwork kept going back to him with spelling errors in peoples’ names and addresses, and blocks of copy that had obviously been left in from whatever group’s paperwork he’d been using as a guide for ours…

This went on for almost a year before I just gave up and started over on my own. The latest on this is that a nice couple from another charity believes in this cause and has volunteered to meet me at a coffee shop and go over the paperwork with me to see if I’m doing it right. That happens next week… God willing and the creek don’t rise.

Meanwhile the day to day trials of life have continued: Someone broke into my car and did $1400.00 worth of damage that I can’t afford to fix. They ripped the back window loose from the convertible top and now the car floods every time it rains. (Oh I cover it up when it’s parked, but on occasion the rain has not been forecast and has snuck up on me, plus when I’m driving through a heavy rain it only takes a minute before the tide begins seeping into the front floor and every time I turn a corner it sounds like surf’s up!) Question: Who breaks into the old used car of an unemployed person in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the area? That must be one dumb burglar…

A woman I thought was a wonderful friend and a great supporter of the Unchain effort turned nasty and petty over a promise she broke… and I wasn’t even unkind about it, even though her reneging totally threw me under the bus. Worst of all, she responded NOT by coming after me personally, but by bullying the charity I was trying to build, sending out emails that it was a scam, posting nasty cracks on a social media site … What kind of person does that? I was not only angry, I was heartbroken. And embarrassed. I felt foolish for having been taken in by this person who I thought was such an angel and true friend. “Choose your friends carefully,” my mama always said. Guess I needed a reminder of that.

Do you see why I haven’t been writing? I’m sure you’re not enjoying reading this drivel any more than I’m enjoying writing it. I won’t even go into the drunk that drove through my house and disabled my air conditioning and what a long, hot, miserable summer it has been not only for me but more for my poor dogs. Forget about the leaky roof too. And the extended-family problems.

So why am I writing now? I’m not sure. I think maybe I’m tempting fate, daring to hope that there are going to be better things to write about soon, that life is going to become better, that I am going to get a handle on all this.

And maybe I just will because … you know … anything can happen.

My new theme song. ENJOY!                                 :^ )

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