Friday, March 19, 2010

One toe on the edge...

Have you ever had one of those days, months or years.......well I am having them all at once.

My whole life I have been raised one way and now I am on the edge of doing everything the complete opposite.  (To all who are reading this is not one of those feel good stories with a happy ending, lol)

It all started when we moved to Saint Augustine for my job transfer.  We moved up there loving the area and had thought that we would be there for a long time, like as in forever.  We first had to sell our house in Orlando and in the meantime we moved into a condo rental.  Once the house sold we bought the house we wanted to live in (again) forever.  I loved that house and so did AJ, it had everything we wanted and more. It had a lovely kitchen and huge backyard with no pool, my two requirements when we were looking.  We owned a home with a pool before and I did not want another one. :)

We lived there very happy until I got notice that due to the unfortunate circumstance that building houses in that area had pretty much ceased.  Everything in Jacksonville and St. Augustine pretty much halted overnight.  So about that time AJ's job had started cutting back and they took a LIFO approach to it (last in first out). My job gave me the opportunity to move back down to Orlando and take my job here back.  So we packed up and had to move back in with my parents until we could lick our wounds and figure out what to do.  We still had to sell the house up in St. Augustine, yea right.  So we talked to a realtor and she said nothing is selling, everyone is renting right now, you are better off renting it out.  We found a property manager who was very reasonable and who could show up at midnight if there was an issue with the house.

So we had thought that in about 6 months most of the stuff would straighten itself out and we would be able to start listing the house and move on.  What is that country saying about if you want to here God laugh tell him your plan.  God has a reason as to why things happen and when and it is not ours to question why, all will be revealed in time. 

Well we were only able to get rent paying half of the mortgage and we had to come up with the other half.  My wonderful parents were letting us live with them rent free so we could pay off a few bills.  In the meantime the house next door to my parents went up on a foreclosure auction and we were able to get it for next to nothing.  We had now not been living in the house in St. Augustine for a year and we had not had a tenant for 6 months and the house was now going to be in a short sale process.  This process is, for example, when you owe $250,000.00 on the house and the current market value is at $150,000.00 and you get the bank to approve the $150,000.00 for another buyer, which takes 6-8 months and a lot of paperwork.  We had an offer and everything was clicking right along and the bank approved it and the buyer walked away.  Arrgghhh. We put up the house again, now at the "bank approved" price of $150,000.00 and got the new offer, hopefully we will close in 60 days. That is the story of the St. Augustine house and the short sale.

So in September of 2009 AJ stated complaing about his back more and more and he finally went to see a orthopedic doctor. They did a Cat scan that showed a herniated disk and they tried therapy, hot and cold, massage, physical...etc.  None of these were helping and because his job is bending, pushing, pulling and lifting about 6 hours a day it was exasberating the problem and the Dr. said they would now try epidural steriod shots, once a week for 3 weeks.  So in November was when this started and before his third shot he was not getting better, it was getting worse.  He was only sleeping 1-3 hours a night and getting up and down all night and then sleeping on the couch to the lazy boy to the bed. So after talking to the Doctor he said the last resort is surgery and the sooner the better before he herniated another disk.  Even better news was that he would not be able to work for about 2-6 months and no they could not narrow it down any closer until he started therapy 6 weeks after the surgery.  So December 22, 2009 he had the surgery to remove the herniated spot on his back, luckily they got it before it got anymore inflammed and herniated another disk.  Since it was the end of the year and we were close to our deductible we only had to pay 350.00 out of pocket,everything else was covered.  6 weeks later he started his therapy and noticed a difference in the feeling in his arms and legs which was a fantastic sign, before the surgery the nerve on the left side of his body was pinched so bad he was dropping stiff.  His left leg hurt all the time and he was having random spasms that added to the no sleep, now they were virtually gone and with time as the nerves healed it would disappeat completely.  He was also himself again, not so grumpy, tired and hard to be around, he was my AJ again, loving, funny and wanted to do stuff.  His therapy though was 2-3 times a week and costs $50.00 each visit.  His job was keeping his position open just in case he could return in the first 2 months.  When he called them to say he was allowed to work in February but only 5 hours a day and it had to be sitting for 3 of those hours, they decided to let him go.  Which would be a blessing because with no work we had no money, at least now he could claim unemployment and we could eat again.  Well that was about 6 weeks ago and we have yet to see a check from unemployment.  When he called they said that since he was let go for medical reasons and that they were investigating it before they would pay any money.  He still needs to claim his weeks and they will pay in one lump sum at the time the investigation is done.  In the meantime he is looking for work and trying to get a job but no one is hiring for desk jobs and certainly not for 5 hours a day.  So luckily my old employer was having some issues with his employees and was looking to outsource the work to AJ.  My old job was working with a sports authentication company, we bought and sold sports memorabilia, authenticated signatures, graded sports cards..etc.  He was looking to sell most of his stuff on Ebay and we have an EBay store and AJ lists and sells stuff for him and AJ gets to keep a percentage of each sale.  It will take about 3-4 months to where we are making a profit but it is a start, such that even if he gets a job he can still do this and I can help out too. 

So now back to why I have one toe on the edge.....  We are drowning and I feel like everytime I swim to the surface I get one gulp of air and I am dragged back to the bottom again.  We have fought this idea with every ounce of will power and have tried to think of so many solutions that we are out of options.  AJ and I have always been they type of couple that never really fight, if we ever do I am more the person who is irrational and screams and yells.  Go figure and Irish, Taurus, redhead with a temper, never would have guessed.  :)  I have learned over the eight years we have been married to just let it go and not yell but try to have a rational discussion and it gets me a lot farther and AJ tends to listen to me better when my face is not beet red and spinning around like crazy. LOL  We have sat and talked and talked until our mouths just want to fall off and we have written down and tried to plan on how to pay back all this stuff. We also learned in the interim of all this that they bank can come after us for the $100,000.00 difference on the house.  We also have racked up the credit cards due to him not being out of work and having to pay for therapy and other stuff when the money wasn't there.  I have been raised that if you do not have the cash you don't need it, but when it comes to your health I am sorry but I am going to charge something if it means my husband getting better.  So now the lake is getting deeper and I am tired of trying to swim to the top, we have decided to claim bankruptcy, sell one of the cars (since AJ works from home), my Dad decided to let us use the truck, since he has the smart car, in case AJ needs to go somewhere or he gets another job.  It has been the HARDEST decision of our life and we really do not want to do this.  I decided to put this on my blog to help me, mostly because I don't want people to think bad of us and even if they do I do not have the will anymore to really care.  I am tired, depressed and really in the mood to hit something.  AJ has been such a help in taking care of the stuff at home so that is a huge weight off my shoulders.  He works at the computer about 8-11 hours a day listing items for sale on Ebay and it is picking up.  Hopefully we will hear something on Monday about the unemployment (I really hate that word, to me it means defeat).  What really gets me though about this whole thing is that AJ and I are really hard workers.  He has been working since he was about 14-15 years old. He always bought his own clothes, food, etc., because he said his Mom really didn't care about him.  I always worked for my Mom and her business when I was younger during the summer throughout high school and even through college.  Both AJ and I have had jobs where we worked 80 plus hours and have never asked the goverment for help.  I have always paid my bills on time and paid them off and kept them down, had a savings, yada yada yada.  We have been paying into the system forever and the one time we need it he is being investigated. We stopped the fertility treatments back in November due to the fact we knew all the stuff AJ needed was going to cost money and we wanted to save for that but the money goes faster than you think.   I could sit here and go on and on but I hope you understand and know that we need a fresh start, we need to be able to breathe again and not feel so hopeless.