Being Unemployed

Being unemployed is no fun.  DSC_0977I worked for a company for three and a half years.  Some of that time was great.  Some of that time was really terrible.  I’m in the process of changing careers.  I worked in an industry that I loved for more than 20 years and now I’m taking a leap of faith and pursuing my one dream; to become a published author.

So, being unemployed has not left me with nothing to do.  In fact, it’s been the busiest time I’ve known in years.  I’ve written a book and I am now in the process of editing and re-writing and it keeps me incredibly busy.  I’m also hoping to become a contest winner in which I’ll be introduced to the writing industry.

Here is the part of unemployment that I’m finding isn’t any fun: I’m being denied unemployment benefits.  My crime?  In order to remain connected to our company email, I had my iPad on me.  What is really busting my … faith … is that a former employee, who was fired for getting into a fight with another employee, was able to collect unemployment !!!

Seriously, is it me…or does that sound so completely unfair?

Today we are expecting between 2 to 3 FEET of snow.  I think I’ll make sure we have enough hot cocoa and tiny marshmallows on hand to survive this storm.  For today, I’m going to spend time with my 10 week old Chihuahua, Juice, and work like mad on my book, so that one day soon, maybe I can actually make some money!

Blessings to you all.

Be well.


A Letter to My Niece and Nephew

I wanted to take a minute to express how sorry I am to hear that your Nana, Cindy, passed away.  She was a wonderful woman and will be greatly missed. Image

Long ago, my little red-headed sister came home with this cute guy who drove a Jeep, liked to climb rock walls and had a ponytail.  Of course, I liked him immediately!  As we got to know him better and it was obvious to us all that he and Lynne were getting serious we were introduced to the rest of the Labasik clan, little by little.  What a blessing it was to know that my little red-headed sister was going to be married into such a lovely family. 

Each Labasik brought more and more joys; there were the stories of Mike’s Grandparents, who we all fell in love with! If I’m not mistaken, they had a similar wedding day as Lynne and Mike; where it snowed until there was 25 inches of the white stuff covering the ground!

But what struck me about my sister’s new in-laws were these two things: the love that poured from Cindy to Lynne was over-whelming and beautiful.  I’d had my own mother-in-law for five years before Lynne got married and as lovely a woman as she was, I never had the feeling that I could see happening between Lynne and Cindy.  There was a mutual love and respect that happened between these two women that never changed and it was truly a blessing to be a witness to. 

The other thing that struck me was this: I knew Lynne would be well-cared for by Mike because of his devotion to his own mother and the fact that he’d spent his entire life watching the way a husband should love and honor his wife by watching his own parents.  I remember watching Mike and Cindy dance at Lynne and Mike’s wedding and thinking to myself that what I was seeing was True Love.  There was a mutual respect that they had that is, unfortunately, too rare in many relationships. 

Those are some of my memories — I wish there were a way for us to all live forever — but that’s not God’s Plan.  I’ve come to believe that while God calls His favorites home, long before we are ready to let them go, still he blesses us with memories of them that will last our whole lifetime.  That way, the lives of those we have lost will never be forgotten.  

My heart is broken for you guys, because I know how much you adored your Nana.  I wish I could be there to give you big hugs and let you know that LOVE heals all wounds and I know the two of you are surrounded by a whole lotta love! 

Your Adoring Aunt and Biggest Fan, 

Auntie Jill

An Update

I guess I should give everyone who’s interested a little update about my particular situation.  Once my love and I decided the best course of action, to save the house, was to file bankrupcy, there was a feeling of relief.  We set an appointment with the lawyer to meet two days before the auction was to take place.  It was down to the wire and a little too close for comfort (I wanted this to be a two cliche comment), but we had a plan and that felt better somehow.

The Saturday prior to the Thursday auction I found myself not feeling well.  Funny how these things seem to manifest themselves at “just the right time.”  (Being said with the greatest of sarcasm.)  I was at work at 0400 Saturday morning and had spent most of the night up with stomach cramps and a lot of time in the bathroom.  (That is as graphic as I’ll allow things to get.)  I worked a flight to (somewhere in) Florida and then a Nassau flight.  I’d already made two trips to the bathroom by 0800 and my situation felt desperate; I’d found only blood in the toilet both times and I was feeling the onslaught of a full blown panic attack.  I asked my Lead if I could leave and explained my situation.  She directed me to the Supervisor who, bless his heart, kept it cool as I began to lose it in the hallway at gate 32.  He asked me if I needed a ride, or if I felt that the paramedics should be called and through my sobs I just said, “I want to go home.”  He okayed me to leave and I knew that if I could just get home, I’d feel better.

Back home, in my pajamas, I still felt awful.  I called my doctor who, after I explained my symptms said, “I want you to go to the Emergency Room, darling, right now.”  She has this way about her that I just love; she’s Southern and has this ability to be stern  and professional and all I feel is that I’m being really cared for.

The ER decided I should stay for the night and released me almost four days later.

There are still tests to be run; one of which I have scheduled for this Thursday (one week post-auction), and I’m unfortunately, still out of work.  This is the part I dislike the most, not being able to be at work but I know that part of the healing process is my having the time to rest and recover. 

With any luck, I will be back to work a day or two after this procedure I’m having done Thursday.  I’m more nervous about the “Prep” for the thing, its a day and a half without food (clear liquids only) and a whole bunch of stuff I’ll have to drink to clean out the ole pipes.  I’ve been prescribed the drink before and have never made it past a few sips before…well, before not being able to finish it.  Hopefully, this will be an easier process and it’ll be all behind me (so to speak) in just a few days.

I was still in the hospital when the appointment with the lawyer came up, so instead of meeting at Starbucks as originally planned, we met in my hospital room.  The papers were signed, and when he left, I knew that the paperwork was as good as filed.  Before 0930 the next day (the DAY before the scheduled auction) I received notice that the paper work was in and that even if anyone showed up on my lawn the following day, I was not going to lose the house because leagally, they’d been stopped.

Its really funny when I have this vision of myself and I think that I’m really handling things well, and I’m just about to pat myself on the back when my body does this thing and puts me in the hospital and then out of work for an undecided amount of time. 

You see, while I was in the hospital I started to feel the old twinge in my right kidney.  I knew what this meant and I mentioned it to the doctors while I was there.  At 10pm Monday night I was wheeled down to Radiology for a CT scan.  The hospital doctor said she thought what I was feeling was the strain of being in a hospital bed for two days and that it wasn’t a kidney stone.  I smiled politely and when I spoke with her the following day, she told me that there was, in fact, a kidney stone in my right kidney.  When I asked her the size, and she told me what it was I knew there was a really good chance I’d be able to just pass the thing and be done with it.  As of last Monday, it was still floating around in my kidney.  Today, it is making its way to the bladder.  With a little prayer, and a lot of fluids, and a little luck, it’ll be out before I have the procedure Thursday…oh joy!

Thanks for reading.

Be well.

…and then today, at work…

I can’t thank all of you enough for your kind words and support about my post yesterday!  It is THE reason I posted in the first place; to get the word out there that we are not alone…and in hopes of reaching out to help another.

In all of the aftermath of the past week, I find myself at work yesterday (doing what I love to do most in the world…) and when I arrive at my post to start working a particularly heavy flight…I found myself face to face with one of the cutest boys I’ve seen in a long time.  Seriously, he was tall, clean-shaven with a baby-face and a smile that wouldn’t stop!  He was a delight just to have in the boarding area and then I realized that the customers in the gate area were all pulling out their iPhones and getting his picture.  I was curious about this and wondered who the good-looking guy on crutches was…but I had a task at hand; to get my flight out on time, so I continued working.

At the last moment of the flight I was asked to go on board and see if the customer in one seat would move to another so we could accommodate a family and have them all sit together.  I did this and the customer I asked to move was all the way back in row 21, so on my way out of the aircraft I stopped briefly at row 11 and turned to the clean-shaven, baby-faced customer and held my fist out to him.  He responded with the cool, casual way that young peeps these days do and I said, “Hey Gronk, couldn’t let the flight take off without letting you know how much I think YOU ROCK!  Take care of that injury so I can continue to watch you on the field (playing with my all-time favorite football team, the New England Patriots!).”

Oh yeah, it was HIM, all right!  Again, his beautiful, genuine, sweet smile stayed with me for the rest of the day.  How cool is that?  I LOVE MY JOB!!!

Be well.


I Have A Story to Tell

I really dislike the fact that I’m going to tell you all this story; partly because I’m embarrassed and a little ashamed and partly because I was really hoping that things would turn out differently.  But I know I have to get my story out because although it feels to me, like I’m the only person in the world this has ever happened to, my story is not unique.

I’ve been having trouble with the mortgage off and on for a little more than a year now.  There are specific incidents that set this all into motion but I’m not going to talk about those because that is the smaller part of this story.  The big part is this: I’ve lived in my house since 1994, I’ve owned it myself since my divorce in 2004 and it is worth a whole lot more than I owe on it; now the mortgage company is trying to STEAL IT FROM ME.

I’ve thought about how I would write this out and the only way I know is to tell MY truth.  Getting behind on the mortgage was something that I lived with from 94 until 04 and from 04 until 2010 I never had a late payment.  Not one.  Not one, “Oops, I forgot to send the mortgage payment in…” or anything like that…I was always on time and I took great pride in that fact.

Last year, after this incident that started my whole issues with being able to pay the mortgage, I had a two month bout with kidney stones.  I was out of work for two months while I was in and out of the hospital.  I called the mortgage company and told them about what was going on and their answer to me was, “Well, since you’re not in default right now, there is nothing we can do for you.” 

Okay, so my two months of kidney torture and a lack of a pay check later, I’m on the phone again with the mortgage company.  They seemed so sincere that it never dawned on me that they might have alterior motives.  Not once did I think that I was being played or that I would ever end up in the position I am in right this minute.  Could I be so naieve that I’ve allowed myself to end up here? 

They said they would work with me.  They said, “For the next three months, instead of paying xx for your mortgage, we’ll let you pay only ww and then, after the three months, you’ll resume your original payments.”  I was elated.  This came at a time when I would be just getting through the holidays and the fact that I was just recovering from kidney surgery was a relief to know that I would be okay.  Financially, I knew that without any problemor any real struggles, with this reprieve I’d be able to get right back on track. 

I paid ww for the three months and when the following month was due, I had my xx payment ready for them…only to find that they were not going to accept ANY payments from me unless it also included the difference in payments between xx and ww for the three months.  Let me put it more simply, I now owed a month’s mortgage payment plus more than a thousand dollars.  I don’t know about you, but I rarely have that kind of money lying around and it put me into a full-blown panic.  I couldn’t understand their reasoning; don’t pay the full amount for three months, but you’ll still have to pay it once the three months are up.

There may be many of you out there, reading this who are well versed on this kind of shell-game shenanigans but I was not.  I was furious that I’d been “taken” and was in real trouble of losing my house. 

Finally, I got to the point where I was two months behind and I was advised, by my mortgage company, that they would only be able to accept a payment that would cover a full three months payment and I would need to have all of that money the day my third payment was due.  I did everything I could and was able to pay the amount at the due date.  Now the problem was that they were no longer taking my calls.  Seriously.  I would call the numbers I’d always called before and I would be given so and so’s voice mail and I’d leave a message and they’d never call back, so I’d call again, and again and finally, it got to the point where, when they did call, it was to tell me that I was now four months behind in my payments.

At that point I was put in touch with someone who would personally oversee my situation and she advised me that although it was going to be a lot of money, I could still see a way out of this mess if I had available to pay (on the 11th of November) four months’ worth of payments and an extra 2500.00 that they’d needed to pay out for an attorney.  I was told this on October 21st, 2011.  I don’t know why, but I believed it when they said they didn’t want me to lose my house.  I cried on the phone to someone I’ll never meet about how, after my divorce, this was the only thing I owned and it was all I’d been counting on for any kind of a retirement fund.  I sobbed so hard that I gave myself a headache for a week. 

By the sixth of November I had scrounged and gathered enough money to make that one-time gigantic payment.  I called my mortgage company.  I spoke with my personal overseer and told her that I had the money.  Her first comment to me was, “I can’t imagine HOW you came up with that money in that time.”  And in that instant I realized that she had NO INTENTIONS of helping me.  She was playing a game with me.  She had me thinking that it was her only job to help me keep my house.  The only house my kids have ever known; the only source of a nest egg I had to my name.  I BELIEVED her lies and when she stammered on the phone that day, telling me that it would take too long for the payment to reach her on time…and that I would never be able to get the money to her in time and furthermore, that it was my last chance…I knew I’d been duped.

The feeling that came over me was more than overwhelming.  It more than caused my entire body to shake with panic and anxiety.  I was screwed.  They weren’t going to LET me make the payments they said I’d need to make and I was as good as out-the-door.

I wish I could tell you that this ugly, lying, scamming dispicable mortgage company was the only institution that took me for a ride…but unfortunately, the company that I turned to, well, they ended up doing the same thing.

I hired a law firm to get my house back.  They said they would be able to stop any foreclosure and that I would have a re-negotiated mortgage and would not pay more than what I was currently paying.  That I would NOT have to pay the lawyer’s fees from the mortgage company and that in the end, I’d be happy with the results.

…they just needed four payments of $975.00 over the next few months and they would slay the dragon.  I was advised to not accept calls from the mortgage company, if they tried to contact me.  Or if I did, inadvertently pick up the phone, I was to give them the number of the law firm that was now handling my case and they would need to go to through them if they had anything to tell me.  I felt great.  I couldn’t wait to kick the tar out of the big bad guys and just be able to keep my little house until I chose to sell it.

The day I read in the paper that my house was in “foreclosure” was a devastating day.  What caught my eye, though, was the date.  I guess companies have to file these cases and it takes a couple of weeks for the word to seep out to the news people.  (I now find them deplorable for reporting such “news.”)  The day I read the notice in the paper, the day that anyone who lived in this area could read that my house, my address, my name, clearly printed out, and was in forclosure, was in mid-November.  But the date that the paperwork was filed by my mortgage company at the local courthouse was…October 21st, 2011.

For a few months the law firm asked me for documents and I made the copies and sent them out and we did this for almost four months.  Just a few weeks back I was sent a notice in the mail saying that there was a “sell date” for my home and that there would be people on my lawn who will hold an auction and my house would be sold to the highest bidder.

If this story doesn’t have you screaming and wanting to kick the tar out of someone, please stop reading now, because you don’t get it.  But if you know someone this has happened to, or it’s happened to you personally, continue reading.

I am just 8 days from the auction date, right now.  Tonight, the law firm called me to let me know that they heard from the mortgage company and they have closed my case.  Apparently, there is some paperwork I never sent to them (that the law firm didn’t know about either) and that I’d had my last chance at trying to redeem myself and keep my home.  So the law firm advised me to “seek out local counsel and file bankrupcy in order to stop the auction next week.” 

That’s it.  They were going to close my account and wished me the best of luck.

What they didn’t realize is that last week, when they called me to tell me that they were going to be collecting the final payment of $975 for our contract, I let them know that the money will not be in the account until this Friday.  They agreed to wait.

Now they will not be able to get it…because I have put a stop to the payment.  The money that I’ve saved there, will go to the local attorney I hired last week, when my partner and I decided to take a pro-active step in this rotten scheme and find out what our options were.  We were told that the first thing people should do in our case is to file bankrupcy…but so often, people, like us, wait till the eleventh hour to file and quite often end up losing their house.

I’m not sure how this will end.  But I’ve only got a few days before it does end.  One way or another, in a little more than one week this whole disgusting ordeal will be over.  I’m not going out without a fight and I have a good man at my side who is keeping his feet firmly on the ground in order to keep us both standing up straight, but together, we’ll get through this.

I just know there are others out there who, like me, believe that there is good in all people.  Maybe that’s true for some, but when money is concerned, don’t trust ANYONE…  And if it’s a big corporation you’re dealing with, get out as fast as you can!  These are companies run by individuals who should be in jail for the crap that they are doing to us and I will not go down quietly.  I will not go down without that fight.  I will not go down without everyone I know being alerted to these scams and these crooked businesses that plague this country and give a bad name to so many.  Theives.  They’re nothing more than common theives.

The last time I spoke to Veronica, from my mortgage company, my personal overseer, I uttered these words to her before disconnecting the call, “How do you sleep at night?”

Be well.




Being Grateful for the Darkness

It may seem odd to some that I would post such a concept; being grateful for the darkness, but I believe it is the darkness that teaches us to appreciate the light.

Think about it…if all we ever had were good times, times of great sunlight (albeit natural or a product of GE, etc.) how would we ever have anything to compare?  If we only lived the moments of ecstacy and passion, how would we know to appreciate the moments of despair and lonliness? 

I’m not saying that I think we should roll around in the dark times and let them become a part of who we are, but I am saying that sometimes it’s okay to acknowledge the sadness, fear or insecurity in order for us to completely appreciate when those feelings are not present and we are feeling joy, contentment and confidence. 

It comes back to the bottom line as this: it’s all about perspective.  If you have something to compare then you are able to make better decisions.  If all we ever got were A’s, how would we know what it is like to get a grade (like mine in school) that didn’t top a C-?  How could we have empathy for the student who, despite her high IQ score, couldn’t BUY anything higher than a C+? 

If we have perspective, we have everything we’ll ever need to live the life we were meant to live on this great Earth.

Please, tell me what you think.

Be well.