The Quicksand Story

Our story through the quicksand of our own financial crisis

Archive for the tag “we are the 99%”

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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Relapses

Like any recovery there are times where some days are more difficult than others. It is how you overcome those challenges that matter. Let’s take yesterday. There is no reason I should have had a bad day yet I did. What didn’t help this day is the fact that not only was Paul feeding into the energy but the kids were to. Where ever I turned I was facing negativity. Though I find I am good at buffering negativity from my life when everyone around me is feeding off it than I find I fall into the trap.

So back to my bad day; I need to look at it in the big picture, It’s okay to have a bad day as long as I don’t feed into it. So what do I do now?  Bad days are the most important days to baby yourself.  Watch a movie, read a book, disconnect from it somehow. Lick your emotional wounds and then move on.  Sometime talking about it helps too, just find a way to let the energy go.

Let me tell you why my day is bad.  I am feeling beaten up.  Paul goes to work at 6:30 in the morning and doesn’t come home until 6:00 or 6:30 at night.  He is inundated with work to do, not only his own but others as well so this leaves him tired and grouchy.  We are one of the few people I know who make a good salary yet can’t get a mortgage, and are subsequently forced to rent a home.  We also in making a good living somehow barely manage to make ends meet. Some weeks this is more difficult to do than others because of the cyclical nature of bills it always ends up that they are all due at around the same time.  The end of the month and the beginning of the month are always the most stressful. This is where my bad day comes from.  I am tired of making a good living but never able to set money aside, I am tired of having to rent a home rather than owning, I am tired of having to pay more for my bills because my credit is not stellar. I am tired of feeling behind on everything.

Now I’m going to turn this thinking around: I am thankful I have enough food to put on my table, while eating a full meal myself. I know that it always gets more difficult before a big break comes, so this bad day must mean a really good day is around the corner.  I am thankful that I can pay all of my bills; there are many people out there who can’t. I am thankful I have a home to live in because there are many people who are living on the street or in hotels.  I am thankful for this opportunity to help others by telling my story.

I am okay with what has happened to us as long as I can make something good come out of it.  I am thankful to everyone who helps me with this mission.

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.

Life begins to crumble

I think about where this all started and I can vividly remember one event….

We were living in Trumbull at the time.  Emily was not born yet and we were struggling every month to pay our $3600 mortgage.  It was always a battle to figure out where the money would come from to pay it.  This particular month we had the money in the account and the check had been sent.  It was such a good and bad feeling.  I felt a sense of freedom that it was paid for another month, but, I can remember thinking that this was probably going to be the last time we were going to be able to pay it.  I was bothered by that and was quite depression about it.

I remember fighting with Paul.  He would say to me why can’t you just enjoy what you have right here and now.  You are making yourself miserable…  I would say I just want to pay my bills.  I am not looking for anything more.  Why can’t we downsize and just pay the bills.  This repeated fight was a big issue for us at the time.

Well the next day. He goes to work and comes home in a wonderful mood.  A better mood than I had seen him in in months.

I said,” What did you do today you’re in a good mood?”

He said,” I went shopping.”

“Oh” I said,” what did you get?”  I thinking he would say a shirt, a pair of pants something for the boys….

“Some clothing, a couple of suits, some shirts.”

I sat down heavily and asked,”So you cot a check today?”

“No” he said,”We had the money in the account and we paid the mortgage a few days ago, so I thought I would take the extra money and buy some suits at Mitchells.”

I was shocked… I couldn’t speak because I was choking.  I felt like I was lost at sea and sinking. I felt abandoned and betrayed.  I couldn’t breath but managed to ask how much he spent.  He very happily and easily replied $3000.

“We had the money…”  I began to cry.

He asked, “Why are you crying now?”

I asked, ” Was the mortgage check taken out of the account by the bank?”

He said,”No why?”  And then he realized what he had done.  He spent our mortgage money on suits at Mitchells.  He spent our mortgage on clothing for himself.  How could he be so selfish and shallow.  So idiotic.

At that point I felt myself sinking down into a pit of despair.   I began to sink into quicksand that would take us almost 6 years to get out of.

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