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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Well this just SUCKS!!!!!

Yesterday our baby Clawdia  was extra lovey and playful. She insisted on playing fetch with the nerf dart...we toss them down the hall and she would race after it then bring it back for you to throw again. She normally would lay beside you on the couch and let you pet her, but yesterday she laid in my lap for a long time and just purred. I thought it was weird but also thought maybe she was just learning to not be so skittish. Sadly though, I think she was saying goodbye because last night my husband went over to the laundry side of the basement and she asked to go with him. She meowed at the door and he let her in, she went over to the cat bed that was down there and just laid down. This morning I went down to check on her and she was gone, passed away in the night in the quiet of the basement.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's been HELL!

The past few days have passed in a blur, it's been very hard on all of us but mostly the boy. On Thursday we awoke to another 18 inches outside and as all the neighbors crawled out of their homes to clear out driveways and mailboxes I couldn't help but notice that the next door neighbor kids were again there. One of our neighbors made his way over to inform us that Jim had sadly lost his fight for life.

Jim is the sweetest neighbor you could ever want. He literally bought his house when it was the only house on the street! He was the kind of neighbor that watched out for your house when you were here and when you were away, he knew all the in's and out's of every neighbor, knew everyone by name and always offered a helping hand....even if you didn't need it or want it. He offered his tools, his truck, probably would have offered you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it....and every year from the day my son was born he bought him a Christmas and birthday present. He treated Orion just like any of his grandkids, he held a special place in our hearts. From as far back as I can remember Orion called Jim and Ellen his other grandparents. Jim had a special jar of cookies that he kept only for the grandkids....and Orion. He didn't buy the boy video games or electronics, he bought him flashlights because he knew Orion loved flashlights and kept losing them because of his ADHD. He was a great man and it was so sad to see him leave this world.

So Thursday I explained to Orion about Jim, he wanted to go to the wake and say good-bye. I wasn't sure but the boy insisted so I allowed it. He walked in there, signed that guest book and was ever so brave as he walked the line of family members, shaking their hands and telling them how sorry he was to see Jim go.  He got to Ellen and gave her a hug, he tried not to cry because everyone was telling him how brave he was to be there, then he walked to the casket and just stared. He's never seen this sort of thing and it's way different than seeing a dead pet, this was tough. He stood there clearly in a state of shock, I had to physically steer him away. All he could ask later was "What did they do with his wrinkles?" He didn't sleep well that night, none of us did.

Then yesterday, after the family got back from the funeral Orion took Ellen a card. He walked into that house as brave as can be and hugged her. He sat with the family and they all talked of Jim, how nice he was and how he used to give Orion his special cookies. I spoke with Ellen in the kitchen and she told me how special Orion was to Jim and how it would have meant so much to him if he knew that Orion was there. I decided I needed to take him home as he sat and just stared at the picture of Jim on the wall, I could tell he was going to fall apart soon. As we were leaving he ran back in and hugged Ellen so tightly she started to cry then he looks up at her and says "If you ever need anything, shoveling, yard work, whatever. I'm around most weekends so you call and I'll be right over." The he goes on to say "Jim was like a grandfather to me and I loved him!" he turned and walked away leaving all of us in tears and his mom exceptionally proud of the wonderful child I have raised.

Jim will be dearly missed, but the healing for the boy is going to take some time. He can't sleep at night because he says he keeps seeing the dead Jim....I'm sure it'll be awhile before he gets that image out of his mind. It's been hard watching him deal with this and try to be so brave, at night his bravery is no longer hidden and it comes out in his sleep as he cries weeps over his first real big loss.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today was a good day

I am starting to get into the mode of things and am finding a way to balance work and life. Although I am still working more than ever but it's feeling more smooth and I am adjusting.

I have decided to not start answering questions until after I have had coffee in the morning so that I can start my day in a more relaxed mode. I hang out with Orion watching him play video games and drink my coffee. Once he is off to school I head for the computer where I begin the mystery shopping job. Since my questions can be answered at anytime of the day I bring up the list of questions while I'm on hold for a price quote and look for something that I can answer easily without too much research. I basically do both jobs at the same time. Around noon time I take a lunch break where I leave the office, eat lunch and watch a tv show that I have recorded from the night before (today I watched House) After lunch it's back to the computer for a couple more hours. About an hour before I have to pick up the wild child I stop work, take a shower and toss a load of laundry into the washer. I pick up the wild child from school and if I haven't hit my goal for daily income for the mystery shopping job I head back to the computer while the boy unwinds and I finish up my day. My goal is $25 per day minimum. Today I had to make 3 calls to hit that goal afterschool because of the fact that I had to stop work a little early to snowblow the driveway since it had another 3 inches of fresh stuff out there. I was pleased with my success and Orion thought it was fun to play on his dads computer next to me while I worked.  Right after that we did homework, which Orion flew right through tonight because it was bowling night for us.

After homework it was cook dinner, then head to the bowling alley where Orion and I kicked major butt and we won all 3 games! Came home, hung out with my kid, and then read him a chapter of Harry Potter and then came to work for the call center. I think it's going to go pretty smoothly as long as I stop stressing so much!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sorry I've been neglectful....

As I mentioned in my last post I have been venturing into the world of working some daytime hours mystery shopping car dealerships over the phone getting price quotes. It is challenging to stay motivated because it is the same thing every single day, every single call and it begins to feel a bit tedious after awhile. It is easy work though and I am sure I will feel better about it once I see my first paycheck.

It's not big money mind you, in the past week I made just just about $85. That was doing a lot of on and off time, trying to figure out how to fit in laundry time, family time, Orions playtime with his friends, hubby time, life in general and working. I'm still working the 9 to midnight on my other phone job as well so I can't do things like laundry at night like some other people.

Right now my schedule is a little hectic, I'm sure I'll get it settled in soon but for now I feel a little frazzled and have neglected the blog because of it. Basically I get up in the morning, take the dog out to the bathroom and then go to work on my LiveWork job where I answer questions. I get paid 35 cents a question, so it's a little something and I can make a few bucks before Orion gets up. I enjoy my coffee while answering those then it's get Orion up, fed and off to school. Once he goes to school it's the mystery shopping job for most the day while he's at school. I do break to take the dog out and to have some food, refill my coffee cup etc. but for the most part it's just calling and getting those price quotes. Like I said, simple work but tedious and boring and some of those guys seem to realize that I'm not booking an actual appointment so they don't want to waste their time with answering my questions. After that I try to get in a quick shower and then go pick up Orion from school. Then it's the homework battle that can take anywhere from one to 3 hours depending on his mood, his meds wearing off and how much he actually has to do. Then it's cook dinner, feed the family, make sure the wild child takes a shower and story time where either I read to Orion or he reads to me...mostly I read to him since he loves being read to. I take full advantage of it since I know he's 10 and he isn't going to want mom reading him stories at bedtime everynight forever. Someday he'll feel too old for such a thing but until then I'm going to soak it up and enjoy it. After an hour or so of reading it's bedtime for Orion and back to the phones for me for my other phone job unil midnight. Then it's off to bed until the next day when I get to do it all over again.

It's not easy, it's not the most money, but between the 3 jobs I manage to make a fair enough wage that the bills get paid and my son does not have to go to an afterschool program or camp in the summer. The daytime job I can do any day except for Sunday and they encourage you to work with kids at home since that makes it sound a bit more realistic. So if it's a vacation day or a snow day or a Saturday I don't have to worry, I can work while Orion plays video games or plays on hubby's computer right next to me. I can pause to talk to him, I can walk away to help him with something if I need to. Basically it's nice and flexible and that makes a huge difference to me and makes it all worth it.I won't become a millionaire working from home but I'll have a child who always has his mom around when he needs her.  A lot of people don't understand how I can work so much for so little, but since I make at least minimum wage per hour I don't feel it's that bad. I don't have the best education, I scraped my way through high school and I didn't finish college. I couldn't afford to finish and I went with just making money to pay the bills and having a place to live. Unfortunately as a foster child, once you turn 18 you have no one to turn to, no home to go back to when the going gets rough or even during the summer while struggling to get through college. You have to make it completely on your own from that point onward and it's a sad reality check. I had to have a place to live so the money went to that instead of college. I managed to work my way up the ranks at Dunkin Donuts and was a manager for awhile but once I got pregnant and had to go on bedrest that all ended. I have not worked outside my house in nearly a dozen years! April will be 11 years since I have had a job outside the house, that's a long time to not be employed. All these jobs working from home are independent contractor jobs and I am not an employee so I have no employer references other than myself...and apparently I don't count lol So I take what I can get and I live with it, I accept it and I try to make the best of it. I try to look at the positives like Orion getting his mom here at all times, but the reality of it all is that money rules the world and it's tough to make ends meet this way.

I hope that someday  when I am through my online course that I am doing I can get a good paying job outside the home, but until then I will just make the best of things and take life day by day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

And so it begins............

Tomorrow morning I will send my little man off to school and I will begin work. I will work most the day while he is in school. This is a new job for me, but at least it's still working from home.

When I first became a mom I was determined to raise my own child, I wanted to always be here for him no matter what. The problem was that in this day and age it's near impossible to live on a single income. I started looking into ways to work from home, envelope stuffing (I had previously worked in a mail processing plant) was my first dream but unfortunately I realized all too soon that pretty much all those are scams. I looked into a few home business ideas, but those required money that I didn't have so I couldn't do those either. I tried telemarketing, but that didn't go over well since I'm not the type to hard sell people or enjoy harassing people at home. Cold calling is not my thing. Finally I found this phone job, an at home call center agent! It was great, I was making money and I was happy...until they went employee and decided that they didn't want to employ people in my state. I quickly found another at home call center job and I became happy once again. The calls were easy and I was making a fair wage. Unfortunately the economy and "As Seen On TV" stores has brought my line of work to a snails pace. I have gone from making $15 an hour to making $10 an hour on a good night, most nights around $7 or $8 an hour. I have found that nights are better than days for this particular work.

Because the call center work is not being as profitable as it used to be, I have had to once again look for something to help me make money. I am working on taking a course online to become a Medical Administrative Assistant, but in the meantime I need to make some I started looking at blogs for working from home jobs. I found this one that looked interesting and I put in an application but nothing came of it until suddenly a few weeks ago I received an e-mail that my application was reviewed and that they would like to call me for an interview. I was definitely interested, so I arranged the interview. I spoke with the gentleman and it sounded perfect for me. 20 hours a week minimum and no more than 6 days per week. I would be a mystery shopper over the phone! I call up car dealerships and get some price quotes and then report those prices back to them. It sounded great so I was thrilled to be accepted. I did my training last week and did 1 hour of work which seemed pretty easy to say the least. I made almost $10 in the 45 minutes I was working, so it's not a ton of money, but at 20 hours a week it's a world of change for our lives here in my home! I look forward to making more than that and seeing our lives change!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This week I had a situation with my son that took me back to my childhood, it involved the school, him making a bad decision and trying to lie to get out of it. Our situations weren't exactly the same, but as I found myself asking myself "What would the egg donor have done if I did this?" I couldn't help but think back to a time when I was about his age and I made a bad decision and tried with all my might to lie my way out of a hole.

When I was about 9 or 10 years old I had basically 1 friend. She had been my best friend since 1st grade, we played together at recess all the time, we played together before school and tried to sit next to each other in the classroom when we got to choose our seats. We tried to sit on the rug together, read together in the library and be on the same team when it came to gym class. We were basically inseparable and I loved having someone who actually liked me and didn't hit me or hurt me in any way. 30 years later we still talk (through facebook) we have kids the same age and we are still friends. Back then though, we didn't want to be apart from each other ever and so one day we spent recess creating our master plan to get to play together after school. Her mother would never allow her to have friends over without their parents permission or without knowing the parents. My mother would never allow me to have a friend over ever and besides the point I wouldn't want her to witness the hovel I lived in or risk her seeing me get hit. So we both sat and very carefully wrote letters to the others parent. We thought we were being really smart, copy our parents handwriting, tell the other parent that we were giving permission for (in my case) me to go to her house on the bus after school and (in her case) her to have me over for the afternoon. W didn't think much beyond the fact that we just wanted to play together. We signed our parents names and our big plan went into action. We figured each parent would read the note, see the nice handwriting and agree. We thought we would get away with this and her mother would be too tired to drive me home after work so I would get to spend the night too. I thought my egg donor would love the chance to get rid of me for a day and I would, for one night, be safe from the rape and hurt that always happened there.

We went home that day with notes in hand, handed them over to our parents and then something unexpected happened.....a phone call. Darn it, I knew I was in trouble before she even got off the phone. You could see the manic gleam in her eye as she spoke with my friends mother who was simply calling to verify that it was ok for me to come over. Apparently our handwriting wasn't as neat as we thought it was and it wasn't really believable. As they spoke the egg donors lip got tight like it always did when she was mad, her knuckles around the phone handle began to turn white. Her face became reddened and her breathing began to get heavy. I knew I was in for it, I knew I should have run for it before she could get off that phone but somehow I was there in major trouble and I didn't know what to do.

I tried to lie and say it was all my friends idea, that it was a joke and we hadn't really meant it. I cried and said it would never happen again...but it was no good and I was in some major trouble! I got a good beating for that one and locked in the closet for good measure.

My son will never learn his lessons the way I did, he will not learn through fear.


This week has also been very special on a good note. When I was growing up I had an amazing uncle, his name was Hiram and he was my all time favorite uncle. He was a great man, so funny and he could play the harmonica so beautifully! I haven't heard his harmonica playing in close to 30 years but I remember it and loved it. Well his granddaughter, my cousin, is one of my friends on facebook and she sent my son some maple candy for Christmas. She told me to be careful opening the tissue because she had put a little something in there for me too and so we opened the box with care when it arrived just the other day. Inside the box we found plenty of maple candy, enough to last the boy almost a year LOL Then, in the very bottom of the box, I found a cd. It was an hour long cd of my uncle playing the harmonica! I burned it into my desktop and my laptop and I sat here listening to his music and I began to cry. I suddenly remembered sitting in his living room singing along to him playing the same songs I was listening to, it was such a beautiful sound. He passed away last year, so I feel very honored to have him here with me now playing his harmonica forever.


Ok peoples that's it for today. Enjoy your weekend and remember....if your kids lie to you or they do something bad, don't teach them a lesson through fear and violence, teach them instead with love. It works much better!

Monday, January 3, 2011

So much to do and so little time it seems

I need to get money in the bank, I need to pick up the dog from the kennel, I need to reschedule Orion's med check appointment with his doctor since he kinda missed his appointment over vacation....bad mommy I know! I totally screwed up and didn't look at my trusty calendar on the wall and neglected to read that he had an appointment scheduled. I need to pay the 1st of the monthly bills, I need to finish laundry. I also need to clean the house up, take care of dishes and hope for the e-mail telling me what time training is supposed to be for this new job I was working toward getting.

This job is actually pretty cool, 20 hours a week working from home doing mystery shopping on the phone to car dealerships across the country. I applied with them awhile ago and was accepted a couple weeks ago but the holidays put training on a stand still. The lady I've been in contact with (my supervisor, so to speak) seems to send out very last minute notices on the training sessions. The last one, she sent the e-mail at 10:25 in the morning saying that training was going to be at 11am that same day. Like I sit at my computer all day waiting for an e-mail that may or may not show up.  It sounds like a good gig to make some extra money if I can get through training so I replied to that e-mail (well after it had been received because of holiday activities) to appologize for not being able to make it and explaining that I would be more available after the holiday. She replied that there should be a training session sometime today but that she would e-mail me the details on time and the number to call in for the online training. So here I sit at the computer waiting, but I haven't seen any e-mail so I guess I'm going to have to just go about my day. Unfortunately if I do not pick up the dog from the kennel by 12 noon they will charge me for an extra day so I have to get that task completed. I also need to get to answering questions for my other at home gig and do all the other stuff that I've already mentioned.

Oh yeah, I gotta go scoop those litter boxes downstairs because I didn't do it after snowboarding yesterday and with 4 cats....well those boxes get pretty nasty after a good 24 hours of not being scooped say nothing about the 48 that it's going on now lol