The Quicksand Story

Our story through the quicksand of our own financial crisis

Archive for the tag “parenting”

Holiday Reflections

So my computer has broken this week and it has been both a frustrating experience and a wonderful one. Without a computer to do my work I have only been able to check emails and the rest of my time has been spent preparing for Christmas. My week has been filled with baking cookies, pulling out our decorations, Christmas music and of course the joy on my children’s faces as this holiday season unfolds before them. These are memories that they will have for the rest of their lives.

That brings me to my subject. As I sit here writing on a borrowed computer I am thinking of all of the Christmases in the past, both the good ones and the not so easy ones. No matter how challenging the time before Christmas was it always had a way of working out for the best. It was as if the excitement of the holidays was infectious from the children. Their optimism was never-failing; Santa was never going to skip their home for Christmas. It is the law of intention to its core; the deep, unwavering belief that leads to success.

Just believe and it will happen. Children do it every year. Why can’t we as adults participate in this as well?

During this season is it possible to put aside all of our worldly stress and fear to capture some of the magic we felt as children?

How were we going to make that Christmas magic happen for our children? I had to make a choice to move away from the fear surrounding the season and just live in the moment like our children do. I used to find that by concentrating on the children and their excitement and their activities I could focus less on how we were going to afford the food and the gifts, by doing this, the season became something else for me. Joyful.

As adults, let’s look to our children for their example of what this Holiday season means. Let’s live vicariously through our children to bring peace to ourselves, and through our positive energy spread the joy and peace to others.

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The Best Intentions

The lessons I learned growing up were all about making sure you pay your bills and be a good citizen.  These are great values to have and teach children.  As a child, we need to learn right and wrong and it is all very black and white.  Life, however, is all shades of grey.

When I married Paul he was very wealthy, and we decided to purchase a home that was a little larger in a different town.  At the time we thought we could afford this home.  It was larger than any home I had ever lived in and I was very proud of it.  On the contrary, all I ever heard from my parents was that this house was too much for kids our age.  My parents felt we were living beyond our means, it didn’t start that way but it ended that way.

When our income fell, I couldn’t tell them that.  I would call my mother and talk about the struggles of being home with the children and the question of what our financial plans and means would always come up.  My parents were trying to help but the focus was always on what I didn’t have and what I couldn’t get. I wanted to talk to them but they pushed me away by constantly judging what decisions we were making.

I wasn’t practicing at that time to be home for the boys.  My parents strongly disagreed with this.  They were pushing me to work.  At the time, I felt they were looking for the doctor in the family and not what would make me happy.  I wanted to be there for the boys, and didn’t want anyone else raising them.  Raising my own children was and still is very important to me.  The phone would ring constantly with people wanting to be paid.  Creditors would call 5, 6 and 7 times a day, every day including Sundays.  I was inundated with trying to buffer this stress from the boys and dealing with the creditors harassing us.  This would go on for years to come.

All I wanted was a safe place to go, to talk about how I was feeling.  I couldn’t talk to Paul, he was unreachable.  I couldn’t talk to my friends because I was afraid of how we would be judged.  I couldn’t talk to my family because they were so concerned with telling me what I was doing wrong that they did not leave a door open for me to safely vent my feelings.  Those were very lonely years for me.

It was at this point that I began to feel the effects of negative thoughts so intensely.  It would be a few years more before I learned to separate myself from the negativity in order to move beyond.

I can only control myself and my own reactions I can’t control anything or anyone else.  That is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from my life.

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.

I just need to get out of this mess

I understand the idea of wanting upward mobility but to go from welfare to even middle class is a task that is not for the faint of heart.  I remember being in line to register for State Support after we lost everything.  It was the most humiliating experience of my life.

I was 3 months pregnant, needing to get health insurance for my children.  I drove down to Bridgeport and filled out the application.  Me, someone with her children in private school, wife of a business owner, living in Trumbull.  Was I elitist?  Probably.

It was one of the most degrading experiences of my life.  I walked into this building that was dark and depressing in a not so nice area of town.  I walk into the building to find the social services offices and the security guard tells me where to go like I am a piece of dirt.

 ‘ It’s through those doors right in front of you. ‘ he said.

 I mustered up as much dignity as I could and walked through a pair of dirty double doors.  The maintenance guys hadn’t been there yet so it smelled of decay and there was dirt smeared across the door at child height.  I felt like one of those streaks of dirt crawling into that room.

In contrast the room on the other side was relatively neat.  I filled out the paperwork, which took about 30 minutes, with kids crying and playing around me.  I was the only one over the age of 25.  I got called into my case worker’s office which is about 4×6 in size.  The woman who was there before me smelled. Cigarettes, alcohol, dirty body.

The case worker barely looked at me and asked, ‘Are you in the right place, honey?’

I assured her I was. She looked over my paperwork and asked for my tax returns.  I didn’t have them with me, partially because they hadn’t been done but I offered to fax what I had.  That’s good enough.  I was going to have insurance starting January first.  Then the woman looked at me and asked me if I knew what the children should be eating.  That they need to have vegetables every day and that they should be drinking milk.  She began advising me on how to discipline my children without hitting them and that I was required to take classes how to raise my children and how to feed them.  I’m a doctor and I could teach these classes but I had to take these classes.  Okay, that’s fine I said.  I just said yes to everything they said.  I was defeated.   Keep my eye on the prize I was going to have insurance.  And I walked out in shock.

I never did take those classes, I had to draw the line somewhere. How do you fight against that to climb up?  I can tell you it is not even remotely easy.

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