Archive for October, 2011
No, I don’t mean I am one who sweeps with a broom…although I do that too! I mean, I am now on my way to becoming a sweepstakes queen! After seeing the show High Stakes Sweeper that premiered on the TLC channel in August, I decided to try my luck at it. I quickly found some good websites that explained the whole process, the dos and dont’s, along with super long lists of open sweepstakes to enter. The more I read, the more excited I became. After all, I am a stay-at-home mom and a night owl, and with school back in session, I have a lot of time on my hands. I also loved the idea of winning things for my family, especially money, during these hard economical times. And wouldn’t it be awesome to win a totally paid for vacation?! Heck yeah, sign me up!!
After spending a day or two researching, I started entering sweepstakes. I bet I entered around 300 in just the first 2 or 3 days! Some of them were one time entries, some where instant wins and others were daily/multiple entries. For the daily/multiple entries and instant wins, I book marked each site and always made sure I went back every day to re-enter. It has actually become kind of a daily ritual for me whenever I get online, whether it’s early in the mornings after I get the kids off to school, or late at night after the kids are tucked in bed. Within the first 2 weeks, I won a gift card for $100.00 from Better Recipes. My husband was very skeptical about the entire thing. In fact, he wouldn’t believe that I won anything until I received the card in the mail. And even though it was an American Express gift card, he was skeptical about there actually being money on it. Ha! I showed him!
I have been sweeping on an almost daily basis since late August and so far, I have won the gift card, 2 adult tickets to see Puss In Boots when it opens in theaters, and a box of oatmeal. Yes. A box of oatmeal. Don’t hate! When I won the box of oatmeal, it had been almost a month since I had won anything (one of those dry spells the experts talk about I reckon), so as soon as it notified me I had one (it was an instant win spin thing on Facebook), I immediately ran to the bedroom where my husband had just gotten in bed, threw my arms up in the air in victory and squealed “I won another prize!!!!” Oh, he got really excited, thinking I had won more money or a vacation package. “What did you win?” And I said, ” A box of OATMEAL!!!!”. You should have seen the look on his face. It was priceless. The first thing he did was pick up his phone, while laughing, and posted it all on Facebook. Whatever! I didn’t care….I won a box of oatmeal I didn’t have to pay for! Yeah, I’m awesome. LOL!
I still haven’t won anything big yet, but I”m not going to give up. It’s just a matter of time. And when I win, you know I’ll be blogging about it! Stay tuned!
Yup, today’s post is about Child Support. I have become somewhat of an expert on the subject in the past 14 years. It was 1997 when I had my son… I was 16 years old, the father was 15. It was a very very hard road I chose, and I have no regrets when it comes to the birth of my son (I do wish I had waited a few more years). I do not believe in abortion and I couldn’t bring myself to give him up for adoption and I was very very blessed with supportive parents. They didn’t want that life for me at that age, they were very disappointed in me, but they were there to help me raise this little boy. And I needed all the help I could get.
About 7 months after Christian was born, his father and I broke up and went our separate ways. But something unexpected occurred about a year later….the father dropped out of Christian’s life all together. I guess things got too hard for him. A file was opened in juvenile court for Child Support, originally set at $17.31 a week (the father was still a minor and making minimum wage). A few payments here and there were made, but an amount of several thousand dollars accrued in arrears over the next 12 years (over 11K as we speak). The amount went from being $17.31 a week to $300 a month in 2004. A relationship was re-established in 2008 between father and son (via an almost year long process of getting to know each other in stages). Still, only sporadic child support payments were made, whenever he held a job long enough for the state to garnish (giving credit where it’s due, he did once go almost a year with payments every month).
And let me say right now that I have an awesome husband. He has stepped up from day one and raised my son as his own, both financially, emotionally and physically since we married in 2000. But even he gets frustrated and angry that my ex doesn’t care enough to support our son. To a man like my husband, it’s completely unfathomable that anyone could go 11 years without a relationship with their child and that they could continuously put themselves and his other family members ahead of his oldest son. And what’s really sad about the whole thing, Christian knows exactly where he ranks in his biological father’s life. I really hate that for him, that he had that knowledge at such a young age,.
So anyway, my ex has had a steady, well paying job since May (he has had sporadic employment all his adult life and has went as much as 2 years without one single payment) and he has only sent one…ONE payment of child support for his son since then…in July. And that was only after I got so fed up that I threatened him with court. I shouldn’t have to do that. And of course he is being paid under the table, so CSE can’t garnish his wages. And now, here it is almost November and we are struggling. My son eats more now than ever, he needs clothes, medical treatment, braces, etc etc etc, and I can’t afford everything on my own. It would help alot if his father would man up and pay his responsibilities (yeah, he’s supposed to pay for half of medical and dental too, but that’s not been happening either…but I see HIM getting medical treatment). If it where not for this major issue, I’d say my ex and I get along fabulously. I just HATE seeing our son suffer and I wish my ex would care more for our son than he does. And what makes it 100000 times worse is that my son and I see him buying things for his family (sometimes expensive things), his other child can play year round sports, going out to eat all the time, etc….and I am having a hard time putting our son in ONE sport, let alone year round sports. My mother had to help me buy his school supplies this year, and new shoes for school. It sucks.
I guess he thinks that I won’t go thru with my threats of court. Well…it may have to wait until after Christmas, but I plan on retaining an attorney and file contempt on him as soon as I can. I will be borrowing the money somewhere (love you mom!) or…well there is income tax….I know we are due for a chunk of change then, so I can use part of that. And that’s another thing that sucks! That I have to retain my own attorney because the powers that be in Knox County Juvenile court / child support attorney is ALWAYS letting my ex get away without out paying. My ex has a system and he works it well. Once the state files contempt on him (sometimes it takes a year or two of non-payment before they do that), then right before court, he will make some kind of payment. During court, he will be admonished, but since he made that one payment, they will let him go scott free….and they can see his history. Seriously? All this stuff they can do to the people that don’t pay child support and they just let him go and trusts that he will do the right thing (he won’t). The only way they will actually punish him, is if I have my own attorney that I have retained to fight for my son’s rights for me. CSE in Knox County Juvenile court is a JOKE. Someone needs to Don Dare their arse!
My experience with 4th Circuit Child Support and my husband….is somewhat different. Ok, alot different. In that court…they would put you UNDER the jail for doing what my ex has been doing for 13 years. After several court and custody battles, and us being awarded sole custody of my step-kids (where his ex was paying us child support), there was a custody reversal (I should totally blog about all the crap we’ve had to put up on this side some day). My husband still had (has) joint custody, but they live(d) primarily with his ex for the past several years and he had to pay her child support. He willingly gave her custody for several reasons, but the top was because we got tired of having one custody battle after another, we couldn’t afford the battles and because her husband came into 2.3 million dollars (meaning, the kids wanted to go live with mommy…I guess they mistakenly thought the grass was greener on the other side, and honestly there was no way we had the kind of money for the stuff she was throwing at his since she had money to burn) So, I also know what it’s like seeing your hard earned money go to someone you don’t even like…but my husband never had a problem with it because he loves his kids and wants them to be taken care of. There were times when he didn’t think he got a fair amount set on him, but rest assured, if he didn’t pay it willingly, she would have put him in jail. You do what you have to do to survive, but you must always make sure all of your kids are taken care of before even thinking of yourself. And you don’t chose one child over the other. There were times when we had to go to food pantry after food pantry just to have food to eat, but child support was always paid before any other bill (my husband has actually over-paid child support by around $1500.00, give or take). And we were not lucky or poor enough to qualify for welfare. Those were hard years. I’m glad things are not that hard anymore, and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. As the 2 oldest kids aged out, child support was lowered and my husband makes more now. But we still struggle, living paycheck to paycheck. I swear, my ex should get down on his knees daily and thank God that I’m not like my husband’s ex wife.
I really hope my ex reads this, because it’s not too late to turn things around. I really don’t want to see him placed in jail, but if he continues to just go the way he is….yeah, that may be the best place for him, to show him that he has to abide by the laws and to support your children…ALL of them, not just one or 2. They have a work release thing, where you spend your nights and days off in jail, and are only released to go to work. That would be best since he has a job now. I wouldn’t want him to lose it. Actually, what would be best is for him to man up, step up and take care of his responsibilities and avoid any jail time at all (his kids DO need him), but I just don’t see that happening. And I have to say, I don’t have much respect for his wife either. For years, she has been the main bread winner in their home (she kept a steady job), and she wouldn’t even help him out by paying SOMETHING to go towards his child support and possibly keep him out of trouble…I mean…even the smallest effort…$20 a month…would have been something. I realize it’s not her responsibility and I totally thank God that it’s not a step-parent’s responsibility, legally. But at least it would have shown that they cared, even if they couldn’t pay the full amount. Maybe she just doesn’t love him enough? I don’t know. All I know is I could never have done that if I was the main bread winner in my home. If my husband, for whatever reason, couldn’t meet his obligation, I would step in and try to help. I wouldn’t want to see my hubby in jail. I love him too much. And what’s funny is if…this stuff wasn’t an issue? I would have no problems with them. I mean…they are mostly likeable people. Just very selfish and seemingly uncaring. Even still, I don’t hate them. If I was in a position where we were not struggling, I wouldn’t make much issue about it. But it makes me so angry that Christian is missing out on certain things and that he is getting the short end of the stick all the time. He NEEDS medical treatment, he NEEDS braces, he NEEDS clothes and shoes, etc. And I can’t afford it all on my own.
Pet Peeves. Most people have them; some more than others. Pet peeves are described as (per wiki) a minor annoyance an individual identifies as particularly annoying to him or her, to a greater degree than others may find it. I have quite a few pet peeves, some of which….has turned into ginormous pull-my-hair out go off the deep end peeves. Those that know me, know I have a temper and it doesn’t take much to set it off. Some of my pet peeves are:
- interrupting others–oh, I can’t STAND it when I am interrupted….and it happens frequently by either my husband (yeah him) and my daughter, Faith. Sometimes I get really upset when I’m interrupted. I’m all like “excuse me, I am talking!” Well…more like screaming it….I’m not perfect.
- missing a spot when one is mowing. My dad used to get me up at the butt-crack of dawn every Saturday during the Spring and Summer months so that I can mow our 500 acre yard (yeah it wasn’t really that big, but I thought so…it was less than an acre). And he would inspect my work. If I missed a spot, I had to go back over it. So, because of that, I can’t stand to watch my husband or kids mow. I’m always nitpicking about how they missed that lone blade of grass at the edge of the yard and how they need to go back over it. I’ve become somewhat anal about it. But sometimes…I just go and pick the blade myself. See? I can be a nice mommy, too!
- not getting dishes clean enough. I blame my lovely mother for this one. Hand washing dishes was another wonderful chore I had to do when I was a kid. Every evening after dinner, I had to scrape and rinse the dirty dishes (that had been piling up all day, I might add), wash out the sink, then hand wash dishes, and when that was finished, I had to wipe down the counters, stove and table. I hated that chore so much (and still do) that as soon as I was old enough to get a job, I started paying my mother…yes, my MOTHER, to do my chore for me. She wasn’t going to turn down the $10 or $20 that I was willing to pay her to do it. Smart woman. To this day, it is still my most hated household chore (especially since I have to hand wash again…ick). Now it is my children’s job to wash the dishes…they are old enough at 10 and 14, so they take turns. I find myself doing exactly what my mother would do to me…inspect the dishes (especially the pots and pans), running my finger around them to make sure no particles of food or grease are still on them. If I find it, well, they have to wash them over again. Bad mommy again! I also have to do dishes a certain way, and have them done a certain way, but that’s more of an OCD post. Actually, the this pet peeve and the one above would also qualify for an OCD post.
- Texting at the dinner table and texting when I’m trying to talk to you. My step-son, Evan, is really bad about this….in fact, he is the one that turned this into a pet peeve. You can’t have a conversation with him without him having a phone in his hand, texting away! Whenever I see him, he always has his head down, looking at his phone….I think he must be the fastest texter in the nation. But he never stops. I’m not sure what he would do if he didn’t have a cell phone…I really don’t think he would survive. I heard he ran into a pole once (maybe more?) because he was too busy texting to see where he was going. And what’s really bad is my husband is getting bad about the texting too. God help me.
- Washing machine left open. My husband is really bad about this, and I totally understand why he does it (to let it dry out), but I can’t stand to see that lid open. I guess this is an OCD qualifier too.
- All the lights on in the house. Faith does this All.THE.TIME. Every room she enters, she turns the light on, whether she needs to or not. And then leaves it on after leaving the room. I wake up one morning at 6am to get the kids up and ready for school…and our house was lit up like a Christmas tree! I continue to work at trying to break her of that habit.
I’m sure if I sat and thought about it some more, I could come up with several more pet peeves. These are the biggies though. Some of these makes me want to pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs. What is YOUR pet peeve?
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged simply because life got a little stressful and I didn’t feel like blogging about it. Life is still stressful, but my head is in a better place. So, my blog today is going to be…what can earn you the title of a Bad Parent. I have so many of them, and of course…most of these are just my honest opinion. I do welcome any and all feedback..and if you have a “You may be a Bad Parent if…” to add, I would love to hear it so I can maybe add it to my list. That means that this list will be updated periodically! Most of what I list today will be what I have seen myself, either by an ex or by a family member or friend, some I’ve read about. I am by no means perfect….far from it. But some things are just…common sense parenting. If you fail at those, then you automatically suck as a parent.
- You abuse your kids in any way, shape or form. Physical abuse described as hitting hard enough to leave welts, bruises and/or cuts. Emotional abuse such as telling your child that they are worthless and will never amount to anything. Verbal and mental abuse are words that attack or injure an individual, words that cause one to believe an untrue statement, or words that speak falsely of an individual. Verbal abuse constitutes psychological violence and is damaging to the spirit.
- You willfully let your infant child or toddler play with small parts, money, etc. Anything that can be a choking hazard.
- You feed your kids junk food all the time. If you have an infant, you should be feeding the child formula/breast milk AND baby food, whether you make your own or buy it by the jar. At a certain age, they should be eating this stuff on a regular, daily basis. Your kids need to eat fruits & veggies, not just snack on chips and wingdings and dingdongs or whatever.
- You move your infant child to a toddler bed before he is even a year old. Sorry, that makes you a sucky parent.
- You upgraded your infant to a front facing booster/car seat before the age of 10 months (child should be in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible..more like 2 years old). http://www.carseat.org
- You constantly push your child onto someone else, even if that person is your spouse. And if you are a stay-at-home parent? You should be doing pretty much everything….from changing most of the diapers to cooking every day for your spouse and kids. You don’t immediately shove the kids off on the tired, hard working parent as soon as they come in the door, because part of your JOB as a SAHP, is to cook, clean and take care of the kids.
- You leave your infant or toddler child alone in the bathtub while you are on the computer Facebooking. There was an article recently about a little 2 or 3 yr old child drowning in the bathtub because his mom was too busy Facebooking in the other room to bother with watching him. Statistics say that about 100 children under 5 years drown in the bathtub each year. Drowning can and does occur in as little as 2 inches of water and most of the deaths occur when the child is left alone in the tub. More info can be found HERE
- You hate your ex more than you love your kids. Your child’s happiness and well being should come before getting back at your ex.
- You don’t financially support your child/ren. It takes more than a weekend visitation to be a mom or dad. If you are buying yourself something expensive rather than paying your child support, then you are a deadbeat. If you have a regular job, and you chose to support one set of kids over the other (or none at all), if you are buying cigarettes and beer rather than food for your kids, if you are sporting pedicures, manicures and your hair is professionally styled while your electricity is getting cut off, your kids are hungry and need clothes…etc you are a bad parent and a deadbeat.
- You favor one child over the other. And you don’t even try to hide it, making it 100 times worse! You give the oldest child a curfew of 9pm, but the favored child gets to stay out until 11 or 12. You ground one child for making a bad grade or mouthing off, but let the other one do whatever he wants, making Fs even…and no punishments for it. You let one run the roads, going to friends and girlfriends homes and movies, but you refuse to let the other (the one with awesome grades) take the car out anywhere except school (for the most part). Etc.
- You are an absent parent. You choose to not have a relationship with your child, for any length of time. Totally unacceptable and immediately earns you the title of a Bad Parent.
- You are an enabler (said in my best Dr. Phil voice)! One that enables another to achieve an end; especially : one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior.