Friday, July 31, 2009

School supplies

I hit a pretty good deal today at our local grocery store, of all places. They were having a sale on school supplies, but only if you are a "Homeland Card" holder ...

My total bill was $55...until she ran my card... :cool: $10.15 was my final total.

That $10 bought :
6 - 24ct Crayola Crayon boxes (he needs 4 for class, the other two are for the house - 4 for $1 - normally 2.99ea)
5 - 2ct Elmers glue sticks (he needs 6 sticks, but they were 5pkg for $1 normally 1.99ea)
6 folders at 10 cents each
3 - 150 sheet count wide ruled packs of paper (he needs 4, but they only had 3 - $.50 each - normally $1.79ea)
8 - 70 sheet spiral notebooks (he didn't need any, for now, but I go thru these like crazy 8 for $1-normally $1.19ea)

Of course the markers weren't on sale, those were $2.50 :roll:

:clap: I'm so pleased. When we got home we rounded up the reusable supplies from last year - school box, ruler, and backpack I'd already bought a couple of things..

So the only things I have left to get is a pair of scissors and Clorox Wipes. :clap:

And a pair of shoes, but was holding out on those for until I got the basics covered, as he's likely to wear his sandals everyday until it gets cold anyways... :roll: and with my luck he'll have the new shoes outgrown. :pray: That is not the case.

Of course I realize that 90% of what was bought is under the impression that it'll be all he'll need during the school year, therefore I shouldn't have to buy again, but in reality I know that most of it will get thrown into the "community" bin to help out those of his classmates whose parents may not be willing/able/whatever to get school supplies for their children, and that's fine enough with me. I remember being one of my very low-income parents' four children, and there were many times that just getting the absolute bare minimums in supplies was quite the hardship for them, so am happy that my son's school does the community bins so that other students don't have quite all the embarrassment I remember feeling in school.

Potty Training Vol 2

So after Mikaila's refusal to keep up with going in the potty I gave it a rest, figured she just wasn't ready to be potty trained, on top of the fact I was losing too much cool with it.

I planned on picking it back up after Mikeal went back to school, on the 12th of August.

Well, Mikaila has other plans.

She started absolutely refusing to wear a diaper or pull-up about a week ago. I'd put one on her and she'd have it back off before she got more than 5 feet away from me. Even would remove it in her sleep. The ONLY diaper that stayed on her long enough to actually get wet was one that I not only duct taped the straps down, but also safety pinned her pants to it, so she couldn't take off the pants to get to the diaper. She still got to the contents of the diaper and created a HUGE mess - got to the contents thru her pant leg...lovely, trust me.

So in the last week she has soiled three diapers, total.

Great you say! She's basically potty trained!!!

Yeah, not quite.

She has a preference for going in the floors. I can have her sit on the toilet and she can sit there for 20 minutes even - and nothing. Within 5 minutes of letting her up she's gone in the floor.

So I've been going thru a whole list of different ways to coerce her into actually going in the toilet. Its been VERY trying...but I think we're starting to make progress.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Child Support anyone?

I honestly don't see where the big deal lies in paying some child support. Okay, yes, I do agree there are some outlandish cases of where the payer is having to pay an outlandish amount, especially when the payee just sits around and lives off of the support paid and really does nothing in the way of providing support, themselves, thus decreasing the potential standard of living for the children they have custody of, such case is where I believe there should be a required minimum amount based upon cost of living, then anything the paying parent gives on top of that is bonus.

But that is not even the case where my ex-husband, the biological sperm donor of my son, is concerned. He is required to pay the state minimum, based upon minimum wage in 2006, which then was $5.15 an hour - so a requirement to pay $249 a month was made - honestly I think he was working at the time for some $8 an hour, but nonetheless, still QUITE reasonable, IMO. With minimum wage going up and up, this only means that his required payment amount will go up - higher cost of living = need for more money + higher wages so this should equal a greater ability to make this reasonable payment.

So back when first ordered, in March of 2006 my ex was to pay $249 a month. He screwed up again, thus causing himself to go back to jail from May of 2006 until November of 2008. He got himself a place to live and a job almost immediately upon getting out of jail that time. My child support case worker did an awesome job of tracking him down and his then employer. She sent out garnishment paperwork and his employer complied and started sending in his required payments. Payment received from garnishment in January...He quit his job mid-January because he claimed he couldn't pay his bills on what was left over - only 250 or so total was taken out of two of his checks.

He was ordered, in December 2008, to show up for court, every month, until he showed good faith that he was going to start making his payments each month. He did show for court in December and made a payment. Did not show for court in January, instead stated to my case worker, that he didn't think he needed to show because he was making payments... I didn't know that ONE payment counted as six months of good payment proof - but whatever. January he didn't send in payment, it was garnished. Then WAY at the very end of February he sent another payment - MAJOR shock for me. I mean come on! Three months in a row where payment was actually made, after almost three years of no payment - maybe he's grown up. You know, for being almost 40 now - I don't know, he's 36, something like that, born Nov 1973, anyways, ten years almost my senior - maybe he'd turned over a new leaf.

I'm still waiting on March's's only nearing August.

So a warrant was issued for his arrest, he was arrested in June.

He actually told the judge that he was working, and would start making payments, and was so sorry about not making payments...blah blah blah...she let him out on this "promise" with another promise to show up for court August 19th.

So I've been helping out my caseworker and I have been doing a bit of my own "investigating".

Found out that he didn't give the judge the full complete, correct address for his "employer"...and guess what, supposedly he's working for the same guy he was working for when we were married, so that means he's bringing home roughly $1500 a reasoning is there should be no reason why he can't spare just $250 a month for the current support....then there is the issue of over $10,000 in back support, but I'm not counting that right now, even though the judge did ask him to pay at least $40 a month on the back support, when he was before her in December.

Well, two weeks ago I was in the child support office, and talked to my landlord about some things - she works there in the office. There was a note on the case that he called in and said that he'd sent in a payment on the 11th of July. I understand I'm not some NASA certified genius, but today is the 30th...which means that check has had 20 days to go from his post office, which is 15 miles from the child support office from him, to the child support office, then be processed and added to my account. I think a snail could of made it already...

School does start in less than two weeks and that money would REALLY do me a lot of good and go a long way, but alas, it is not there. Go figure.

So I did something I haven't done since around the time Mikaila was born - I called Mikeal's great-grandma, my ex-husband's grandmother. She did NOT have one nice thing to say about him. See back when he first went to jail for the molestation and I was struggling, severely, as a single mother, she was very defensive of him, that I was the horrible wife for talking so horribly about him, that her grandson, the only one of her youngest son's 15 known children to actually graduate high school, and hadn't been arrested for anything drug related..and of course she believed everything he told her about his charges, that he just was peeing and a little girl walked in on him...yea.... It wasn't until after he got out of jail, then conned over $5,000 from her, admitted to her that he did beat me, did try to kill me, made several attempts to make me miscarry, and so forth. She since apologized to me, commends me for doing the right thing, has apologized soundly for him, and thinks its best for me to just keep him dropped like a hot lump of lead.

According to her he is NOT working. He has shown up on her doorstep numerous times, in the middle of the night, completely messed up, asking her for some money so he could make it back to where ever he's staying at and such. Messed up on you may ask? She's not totally sure, but knows that it's one of those white powdery ones that is smoked through a pipe. Just lovely. I have no worries about Mikeal as his sperm donor has made no attempt at a visit with him since March of 2004 - after a judge laughed him and his mother out of the courtroom while they were trying to get custody of Mikeal, before any divorce proceedings had even started.

So in my endeavors to make a solid case before the judge to prove not only his ineptitude but also that he is a liar I am confident that I have succeeded and am hoping that she actually keeps him in jail this time.

The child support payment really isn't all that big of a deal to me...I just hate living in fear that I might turn around some day and there be my ex standing there, or Mikeal be at school and the office folks slip up and let Mikeal go home with him, or that even my ex would happen to find out where I am living and just pick Mikeal up out of the yard, and worse. The better place for my ex is underground, but if that's not capable of happening, I'll feel better with him behind bars.

Court is on the 19th of August, wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Hardest Call

That I think I have ever had to make to my husband is the one I had to make today.

Ratchet, our new baby Colby Pit Bull, became very sick in the last couple of days. I made arrangements to take her to the vet today... The diagnosis was parvo. The chances of Ratchet making it with extreme measures being taken to make her well were stacked against the odds. Between the costs and moreso the fact that I have a neighbor who gives not one dime of care to his dozens of cats roaming around the chances of her getting parvo again are VERY great, thus making it so that she'd have to go through the rigorous treatments all over again...and again. Each time putting more stress on her immune system and making her more susceptible to it and other diseases.

I did let the guy who gave us Ratchet about the parvo, so that he can let others know whom he's given other puppies to, so that they are aware and be sure to get their dogs their shots like they're supposed to. I was going to be taking Ratchet in for her second round of shots tomorrow morning, no later than Monday morning.

She was such a sweet baby girl. I'll miss her dearly...even my momma cat,Piston, didn't mind her getting a snack once in a while.

Vacation Vol 2 Ep 1

I am taking my own little vacation! I will be going up to Tan-Tar-A Resort to hang out with some friends and their families for the day. I am packing this evening and will be leaving out around noon, to be returning sometime on Friday...or so.

Brian has to work, seeing as he was on vacation all last week, so I will be taking the kids with me...the four plus hour drive up there is not going to seem like quite the way to start a vacation, but I know it will be worth it once we *finally* get there.

I'll be sure to update upon my return! I can't wait!

Vacation Vol 1 Ep 2

Brian's vacation from work seemed to do him a lot of good...and surprisingly, despite our jesting prior to the vacation, I did not get tired of him being at home, and was not really looking forward to him going back to work.

We spent a lot of time just hanging out. We went down to the creek, hung out with friends...or at least the friends that actually showed up...just overall had a great time.

We didn't do anything fancy...never got more than two hours from home even, and that was just on one day.

I really enjoyed just getting to connect with Brian and am really hoping that we're able to keep up with our plans and promises to and with each other about our future...not just the big things, but the little things we discussed and talked about. I feel more at peace in my heart and mind because we were able to DISCUSS many of these things, without all the loudness that sometimes enters into our "discussions".

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Adventures in the Kitchen Vol 1 Ep 2

In order to cook something in the slow cooker it does NOT matter how HIGH you turn it up - if it's not plugged in it's not going to cook :bag: :doh:

Thankfully I'm just doing a pish posh of leftover cooked chicken from the fridge, added in some spices, LOTS of tomatoes, some onions, etc - for chicken tacos later, so the only reason for putting it in the slow cooker was so that the house didn't get hot from the stove and the seasonings would all blend together...but still...UGH! I've been waiting on that thing to at least get warm...for the last 5 hours...JUST noticed it wasn't plugged in. :doh: :bag:

So Proud!

Due to some trauma - I guess you'd say, I won't go into THOSE details - in Mikeal's early life he's basically always been utterly scared of water, unless it was shallow bath water, or a tiny kiddie pool, even if he was holding on to you for absolute dear life. :(

Brian has been really great at getting him to be a bit braver with it two years ago he was able to actually get Mikeal INTO a big pool without having a constant death grip choke hold on me. Last year we were able to get him to at least put his feet into lake water, then by the end of the summer he would go out into it and really enjoyed himself. This year though there have been a lot of breakthroughs!

A couple of weeks ago we went out to the lake and he was alright - so long as he had a floaty. Then last week the floaty had "died" but we had also went to the creek close to here where the "deep" spot is still only just about chest high to him - lower chest high - but there are a couple of spots where the current is a bit strong. Anyways, Brian worked with him for a little bit and got him to relax enough that he was able to figure out how to float on his own and had a blast floating on his back down the current. :heart:

The last two days we have done our swimming at the hotel pool where my FIL had been staying at. Yesterday Brian was able to get Mikeal to brave jumping into the pool - once - but he still insisted on hanging onto the edge of the pool or only staying where he could definitely touch. Today we were able to get him to actually allow me (he didn't have much choice really) to take him out to the middle of the pool, where it is deepest - 5ft - he fought with me, got mad at me, the works - although I do have to admit, it is NOTHING like the BLOODCURDLING SCREAMS he used to let out that would bring officers in off the main road into the apartment complex we were at two years ago - Then I gave him the deal - he wanted to be back in the shallow water, I wanted him to relax, trust us, and learn how to get himself to at least stay afloat. It took him almost no time to get the hang of not only to keep himself in check to stay relaxed enough to float, but also to trust that I wasn't going to just "walk off" and leave him like that. After about the 5th time of pulling him out to the middle of the pool he did get the hang of not only how to relax & float but how to propel himself threw the water to get to where he wants to go. Now there is still some tweeking in store of that bit, but he has the basic idea. :heart: :heart:

I'm so very proud of Mikeal for allowing himself to get to this point, even if we did give him a bit of a "push". :heart:


Mikaila on the other hand is a totally different story! She is COMPLETE water bug! We'd get out of the van at the hotel and she'd take off across the bit of parking lot there towards the pool. :doh: Everyday after lunch she knows she has the choice to either take a nap or go outside and play in the mini-kiddie pool we have - but if she goes outside before the nap she's learned that I'm going to cut it WAY short and take her in for a nap soon. At the creek she's fairly content just sitting at the very edge of the water & throwing rocks out of her way. :giggle: At the pool though it was a bit of trial and error. She didn't really want to be held close, but the smallest life vest we found is a bit bulky & big, she HATES the baby floaty that she can ride in and is constantly trying to figure out how to weasel her way out of it :doh: but today we found some of those inflatable arm floaties, she REALLY like those! They held her up just enough where she had a bit of "freedom" to kick her feet like she wanted, lay back to get her hair wet, splash, the like - yes, one of us adults ALWAYS had two hands on her - but she absolutely loved it! The steps at the end of the pool were her favorite part because she could climb up the top 4 ...then climb out and walk around the pool throwing in anything anyone left on the ground - our shoes, hair ties, towels, shirts, beach ball, you name it :doh: - before backing her way back down into the pool easily into our hands or took the steps back into the pool. She did do well with kicking her feet and actually floating on the water decently.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brian, my dear husband...

is really racking up those brownie points. :heart: :wub:

His dad came out on Sunday...with the basic intentions of trading a minivan he recently got - Ford Windstar - for my Taurus ...everyone just "feels better with me in a bigger vehicle" ((FWIW the only vehicles that I have totaled have been minivans that I've owned that were paid off :? :embarrassed: :bag: )) It was quite a practical deal, although I would of rather FIL would of brought out the Ford Ranger pick-up that could of seated everyone....Anyways today Brian went to go clean up the Taurus and spent a bit of time with his dad just the two of them earlier this morning. Came back and broke the news to me...They'd decided not to trade the Taurus for the Windstar....instead he's going to trade his Dodge Dakota for the minivan. :heart: He LOVES that truck...with the exception of the fact that besides the driver only one other person can ride in it - bucket seats & a console. Not to mention the Dakota is a SHARP looking truck.

So after my FIL sells off the Dakota he'll take the difference (cause the truck can sell at a higher price than what he had in the van) and apply that difference to a different truck for Brian - at this time the "new" truck is going to be an '87 Shortbed Chevy pick-up that he can at least haul both the kids in with him, but still also have a truck. It'll be a few months before that truck is brought out to us, but it's in mint condition with less than 70K miles on it (right now the *new* '99 minivan has 120K+ and my '02 Taurus has 192K miles on it...the '03 Dakota is around 130K... But when the new truck get here we'll have to pay the remaining difference of the price...but we're still getting a decent deal on it. ...Technically it works out - he wants $3,000 for the '87 truck - he paid $3200 for the van - he can likely get close to at least $5,000 for the Dakota - so the difference there is at least $1800 (he had the Dakota sold for $5500 before he brought it out at Christmas and sold it to us for $2500) - Bringing down the price we would have to pay for the Chevy to $1200...then when he takes the Taurus he can easily sell it for at least $2500 (likely much more than that) but at that number that'd put him ahead $1300. :cool: And we won't be out anything really - other than our poor insurance guy getting tired of changing our paperwork all the time (we renewed last week on the car & truck, now switching it tomorrow to the van, minus the truck...drop it to around $50 a month instead of $100 :doh: all the saved gas because the Taurus is SO much better on gas than the about 10mpg with all of that we'd technically come out ahead monetarily wise too.)

:giggle: I lose ya yet?

But it really warmed my the point I had tears in my eyes... that he would do that so that if his work schedule was to get worked out decently I could either go back to school or get a small part time job or something without us having to go through all the troubles of no room in the vehicles, thus preventing me from being able to do any of these things reasonably/rationally. Also we actually have a back-up in case something were to happen to one of the vehicles we can still haul everyone. :wub:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vacation Day 1

I had an AWESOME day with my FIL and step-MIL!

We started off going to the Wild Wilderness Drive-thru Safari of Gentry Arkansas. Mikeal and Mikaila both had a blast petting and feeding all the goats, one even tried to snack on Mikaila's clothes.

We then went on the drive seeing a great number of different animals...even had some emus who wanted to get REALLY up close and personal. There was a momma emu laying on a HUGE pile of eggs. A few white buffalo. Several baboons in cages. Many pretty Axis Deer.

Mikeal and Mikaila both rode the ponies and Mikeal took a few trips around riding a camel!

On our way back home - the WAY round about way we stopped off at Ruby Tuesday for dinner. They had a sign there alerting folks of the slope in the sidewalk...however the sign cautioned you to the step down...and it is clearly a step UP. ....FAIL!....

Afterward we took the beautiful scenic route home, through Noel, Missouri. The Elk River is so beautiful and the surrounding bluffs are quite awe-inspiring!

Not the best pictures in the world, but I took 90% of them through the van window and took absolutely no time to clean them up...the pictures, the windows were fairly clean. ;)