The Quicksand Story

Our story through the quicksand of our own financial crisis

Archive for the category “Paul’s Point of View”

Happy Thanksgiving

I just want to post what it is Paul and I are thankful for this year.  We have 3 wonderful children that we love dearly.  They are smart, talented and loving people.  We are very proud of them.

We are thankful for all for the opportunities that have presented themselves to us and the hope and excitement that they bring with them.

We are thankful to have good employment in a position that Paul is happy and challenged to be in.  It is a blessing to love what you do.

We are thankful for this blog, a place that allows us to help others through telling our story.  We hope you will learn from our mistakes.

We are thankful for our readers and followers.  Thank you for supporting us and helping us tell others they are not alone through financial crisis.

We are thankful for our families.  When times are tough they were a tremendous support and we appreciate all of what you have done for us.

We are thankful for our friends.  You are always there when we need and supportive of the steps we take.  We love you.

We are thankful for each other.

By taking time to appreciate all of the wonderful things and people we have in our lives we open ourselves up to more wonder and opportunity.  Don’t forget to take time in your life to remember all you are thankful for.  It doesn’t always have to be a holiday to do it either.

Happy Thanksgiving and may you and your families be blessed with love and appreciation through the coming holiday season.

Living in Denial

As you could understand my life as I knew it was changing.  Everything was changing.  My family, my finances, my cars, and even my friends.  I had many friends through the year and many groups.  I have traveled across the nation and across the world with them.  We would usually fly first class and stay in the best hotels.  Money was really no object.

It was not uncommon for me to come home from work and at the drop of a hat jump in the car and go to Manhattan for a night, more specifically, Little Italy.   Drop several hundred dollars in an evening and not bat an eye.  Dinner at Angelo’s – several bottles of wine, usually a nice penne ala vodka for me and always a stop at Ferrara’s for a cannoli or three.   Life was good but when Karen and I started having financial trouble, more specifically losing everything I just couldn’t afford to make a trip and now with 2/3 kids it included a babysitter.  I tried to make excuses like, my kids need me to snuggle them to bed or last-minute my babysitter cancelled.  I was embarrassed.   I couldn’t tell these guys that I was broke and couldn’t afford to run with them anymore.

Looking back on it one of the main reasons we fell so hard was my unwillingness to change and to continue trying to keep up with the Jones.  If I had just looked at my situation and sold my house and my cars as soon as I my expenses were greater than my income Karen and I would have had probably had about a year of issues and then climbed out much faster.

I want to make something very clear; because I was sailing down a river in Egypt I made my situation so much worse. If I had truly and honestly looked at our situation and acted accordingly we would have lived a very different life the past few years, one that would have been much easier.

600 Bucks Short

This time was different.  I had cars yanked 3 times before.  But every other time I had some warning.   Either it was just so far behind that it was inevitable or I saw them pull up the street and down the driveway.  I always had the time to pull my personal effects out of the car.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.  It was June and since we couldn’t afford the AC on our windows were open.  I remember I lay their dreaming.  I heard the truck pull up to the driveway and back in.  I heard his truck door open and I heard him start to leave.  But I didn’t move.  I was still asleep.  It was as if I was having and “outer body experience” you know one of those mornings that you’re still asleep but you’re dreaming that you’re on stage dancing like a rock star to Sheena Easton.  Only to find have some dude chime in with the morning traffic report and you unfortunately wake up to realize you were dreaming to your clock radio.  Only problem this time is when I woke up I still herd the truck.  I jumped up out of bed only to look out the window and see the tow truck put on his yellow strobes and turn right out of our driveway with my truck on top.  I almost threw up.  I had so many things rushing though my head.  Oh my god what will my neighbors think, did they see,  what did I have inside, would they know I worked for AWD, I just got it washed, worse…I just filled it up with gas, even worse…did they see my mini-van and were they going to come back for that one later.

I jumped in the shower and was out the door in a matter of 10 minutes.  I knew that sometimes they would stage there repo’s in parking lots then grab another an tow one on the bed and one behind.  I didn’t want him to show back up and grab my mini-van too.  If I could have chosen one car for them to take it would have been the mini-van.  We have three kids and they are slobs.  They would have filled up 10 bags pulling all the stuff out of that van.  I am sure they would have stuck to a few things in there as well.  So I left Karen and the kids at home and I drove off to work and show up a little early.  Once again Karen was there to deal with something alone.  We spoke on the phone but it’s not like being there.

Later that day I called Ford.  The only way I could get the truck back was to pay it off.  I tried to just make it current.  I could have done that on Friday, I wouldn’t have had much food for a week but hey we have had less.  They wouldn’t budge.  They wanted it all or nothing.  I tried to speak to a supervisor.  They wouldn’t let me.  I couldn’t afford an attorney so I just let it go.  I gave up.  In the end I got a bill from Ford for $399.00.  The balance after the auction.  It’s just another thing to clean up.

Best Darn Meal I Ever Had

I guess to know me is to understand that I love food. I love the whole dining experience. The service, the ambiance. I love the way wine can be paired with cheese. I love the way a filet minion can taste wrapped in a little piece of bacon. I have eaten in some of the best restaurants in Manhattan, Miami, LA and Paris. I have spent over $700 on dinner for two. I will remember them, and talk about them for the rest of my life.

I was completely out of work and money. The only thing we were doing was working with a company called Melaleuca. We were trying to make it big there. But it was hard. I didn’t know it then but the people we were trying to get involved saw our desperation. I don’t know if they knew what they saw or just saw that something was off. Normally our checks were $20-30 dollars. I went to mailbox before I had to pick up the boys at school and saw the oversize envelope from Melaleuca. I knew it was money and a sense of relief swept over me. I figured I could get about a week’s worth of Pasta and Milk for $20. I opened the envelope and found a check for $405.00 dollars. Seems a couple of the people underneath us had introduced some new customers. It was awesome. I sat in my truck and cried. We had food. I called Karen and she jumped in our Excursion and ran and got the boys. We rarely used that truck because it was a V10 and expensive to run. Probably looking back on it now it probably wasn’t insured and the registration was suspended. I took the check and ran to the pawn shop. I couldn’t take it to our bank for two reasons. One it was an out of state check and it would take 4 days to clear and two we were over drawn by the same amount, so if I deposited it the check would be gone. So I would cash it at the pawn shop and pay 1.5% and get cash. I cashed the check then I immediately went to Burger King because it was close. I went to the drive in and ordered a Whopper meal with a Coke. I paid the cashier and pulled away. I didn’t even put the truck into park I tore open the wrapper and bit into the sandwich. I was awesome. The “special sauce” squeezed out the backside of the sandwich all down my shirt. I really didn’t care. To this day I can still taste the fresh crispy onion. I drank the coke like it was just given to me by Jesus Christ himself during his Last Supper. Just last week I went to a different BK and got a Whopper meal. I flashed back to that day. It tasted just as good as it did that day. Out of all the places that I have eaten, of all the delicacies I have dined on none of them tasted as good as that Whopper Did that day.

Perspective

There are so many reasons to write this story. Life experiences make us better people. As a former police officer I am often asked if I liked the work. My answer is always, ‘Yes I did like the work. There are times that I miss it. The experiences have shaped the person sitting in front of you today.’ My time in law enforcement taught me a lot about people and what drives us to do what we do. Most importantly I learned how to talk myself into and out of difficult situations. I convey that experience and knowledge to my children every day. I want them to learn how to make decisions without being in law enforcement. I don’t want my children to see what I have seen or do what I have done; I show them from a safe perspective. It is the same reason I want to tell my family’s story.

As a police officer I learned to hear what people were saying; sometimes what we say and what others hear is different. We can say, “I am having a tough time” when we really mean, “We’re filing for bankruptcy. My wife left me and I drink too much.”  Telling our story will help others learn what not to do or how to climb out of a tough situation.

When I was growing up and well into adulthood I never understood why people I perceived as poor were poor. As far as I was concerned it really didn’t matter. They are poor and I am rich. I used to think others were poor because they were lazy and I was rich because I worked hard. That’s just not the case. We all make choices.

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