Just a Pain in my ….. Hip.

princessbride-painI try not to complain very often…  but today… I hurt.

Pain in my right hip is at an all time high time. Vicodin barely takes the edge off, and only if I keep the joint straight. As soon as I sit down or bend my hip in any way, Ouch times a thousand.

But I can’t just stand all day because of the pain in my feet.  Seriously…  it feels like I am walking around with a tiny, sharp rock just under my heels all day.  But there is nothing there – no bone spurs, nothing.

lionking-pain-in-lifeI also can’t lay on my left hip, or that will start hurting in a matter of minutes.  And I can’t lay on my back for an extended period or my back pain flares up.  Which leaves me with the only position that even remotely relieves my hip pain — kneeling on my left knee on the dining room chair with my right leg extended straight out, while leaning over the table, resting my elbows on the table.  But even this position is not the best, as it’s causing my shoulder pain & knee pain to flare up – but hey, at least in this position my hip isn’t trying to murder me.

The one phrase that always comes to mind in times like this is from one of my favorite movies, Long Kiss Goodnight.

“Life is pain. Get used to it!”

So because I’m very cranky, despite the Vicodin, I’m going to do something I haven’t done here in a long, long time.  I’m going to Fling Dishes.

Things to Fling:

  • Maryland Homeschool Law. It was much easier & less paperwork intensive to homeschool in Virginia.
  • Obamacare & Maryland Health Connection. Because Obamacare is the driving force behind my husband’s hours being cut.  Also, since mom lost her job, I’ve been going around and around in circles with the numbnuts at the Maryland version of Ocare, trying to get her some healthcare covereage.  We finally had to go to Social Services in person.  But now I’ve got to ’round and ’round with the idiots again to make any changes needed to her coverage.
  • Stairs & Hills. Because Ouch.  Like seriously.  Ouch.
  • My children’s bad or apathetic attitudes toward school. Because. Pretty sure every teacher in America, whether you teach public, private or home school, has had to deal with this.
  • The distinct lack of Caffeine Free Diet Dr Pepper at every store in a 20 mile radius. Because this is my soda, yet it is no where to be found locally. And yes.  I know this is totally a #FirstWorldProblem, but I’m tired & cranky.

LifeIsPainAs always, a list of things to fling must be followed by a list of things not to fling, just to give me better perspective.  So here goes.

Things To Keep:

  • My kids. Because even though they wear me down, they are the awesomest kids in the whole, wide world.
  • My mom. Because when I’m having the worst day ever, she shows up with a peanut butter-y treat and a hug to make it all better.
  • My Husband. Because he keeps sane when I feel like I’m spiraling out of control.  He’s my rock, and he does so much around the house trying to keep things clean and maintained.  Also, he randomly brings me Reeces just because he loves me.  And the best part – he does laundry! Because God is my witness, I can never remember to swap the loads over.  Plus, in our new/old home, laundry = stairs, and stairs are the bane of my existence.
  • The Lego Movie. Because Everything is Awesome.  DUH!

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 4.

If you aren’t caught up yet, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 – then come back here.  I’ll wait.

While we were waiting to hear from our lender not just about approving the sale, but also about how much of the deficiency we would have to pay back, we got a call from my Uncle.  He sent us a check to help with moving expenses and let me know that the final settlement from my Grandmother’s estate would be coming through in a few days.  Wouldn’t you know it, the settlement check covered the truck rental exactly.  Yet another blessing from God, we had the money to move, without drawing more out of our meager savings.

Tony put in a transfer request at work.  In yet another blessing, one of the two stores he requested responded within the hour that they were desperately in need of a furniture guy, and when was the earliest he could get there? We were planning to move the second weekend of May, but knew there was a lot of repair work to be done once we got there, so we gave the start date of June 1.  It was accepted and our plans continued to move along so smoothly that it could only be the hand of God.

Then we got the letter from the lender, about 5 days early.  Not only had they approved the sale of the home, but they had also completely forgiven the deficiency!  It was a miracle from the Lord!  We had become only the second client of Advance Short Sale Service to have the deficiency forgiven by our particular lender. We would be walking away from the house debt free.  Let me say that again.  DEBT. FREE.

I cried when we got that news, or I would have if crying didn’t give me a migraine. It was such a relief, like a 50 pound weight being lifted off your back after you’ve carried it uphill for weeks on end.

We got word that Closing wouldn’t actually happen until the end of May, but proceeded with our plans because we had already lined everything up, and mom had already gotten a couple of guys from the church to help us unpack the truck.  Thing was, we couldn’t schedule the utilities to be shut off.  Instead, the buyer agreed to switch the utilities into his name, meaning we would NOT have to pay disconnect fees, & he wouldn’t have to pay connection fees.  Win for both of us, so of course we said yes.

In the end, we made our way to my mom’s house, and spent a few weeks making it home.  There’s still some work to be done, but we continue to be blessed. With the move, we gained an amazing church that support special needs kids amazingly well, and really listens to the kids and the families.  The store management has already recognized my husband’s hard work and has taken steps to get him the maximum hours allowed.  We also got much closer to my middle sister and her kids, who love to play with their cousins.  Mom got a membership to the local pool, so the kids are finally learning to swim.  And in the midst of it all, I had a problem with my website, and a good friend who works for my new hosting company, Arvixe, looked out for me and moved my site to a better server.

Throughout this whole process, everything went so smoothly, and all of the pieces just clicked into place so easily. It could only be the Hand of God, directing us, and leading us all along the way.  While the living situation isn’t the most ideal, and it was hard to lose the home we had poured our blood, sweat, and tears into for seven years, there is no doubt in my mind that we are right where God wants us for whatever reason.  There is no other explanation for the shower of blessings that got us here.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped us and prayed for us throughout this whole ordeal.  God is amazing, and He can work miracles. He did for us many times over.

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 3.

Quick recap – we were losing the house & almost broke, but we had a place to go and a great realtor who we trusted.  However, we had no showings, a poor housing market, and a bad economy.  But the blessings God had in store for us were just beginning.

Original image from West U Methodist's website.

Have you tithed this week?

One day in late March, a discussion about tithing broke out on my Facebook Debate Club group. While defending the practice to a young man who thought it was all a scam, it dawned on me.  When was the last time we’d tithed? See, we weren’t physically attending church due to various sensory issues and work schedules.  However, we continued to “attend” by watching sermons and tithing online.  We’d usually tithe a few weeks at a time, so I asked Tony to check.  Turned out, we were overdue.  Tony logged in and paid up our tithe right away.

About a week later, we got the phone call we’d been waiting for! Finally, a showing! Considering the house down the road hadn’t had a showing in months, this was great news! I didn’t want to get too excited, but still, a showing!  Two days later, we had three showings in one day.  That night, we had three offers! It was a miracle!

The best offer was for a few thousand more than the appraised price of the house, but the buyer wanted us to pay closing costs.  We weren’t financially able to do so, despite the hefty tax refund that had just come through.  So, at the advice of our realtor, we sent a counter-offer. The buyer would get the house at the appraised cost & pay closing. The total came out to about a thousand more than the buyer had offered.  Then we waited.

Malachi 3:10

Malachi 3:10

The buyer accepted our offer.  Now we just had to wait for our lender to approve the sale, and find out if they would come after us for the $80,000 difference. We had been informed that our particular lender had a reputation for demanding repayment of the difference. This was concerning because there was no way we’d be able to help mom with our part of the bills, pay off the difference, and save anything to try to get back on our feet.  The guys at Advance Short Sale Service warned us that they’d only had one other client with our lender who’d had the difference forgiven.  The most they’d been able to get from our lender was 50% off the difference. So while we prayed for the best, we prepared for the worst, and waited to hear from the lender.

The buyer had asked to close in just two weeks. We still hadn’t heard from the lender, but time was running out to get a truck rented.  So we once again stepped out on faith.  We rented the truck and made final preparations to move to mom’s house on the second Friday in May. God had already poured out so many blessings on me and my family, but He wasn’t done yet.

Stay tuned for Part 4.

Read the whole story:

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 2.

our VA Home  It wasn’t easy to face the fact that we would be losing our home.  Believe me, I fought it.  I begged the mortgage company to reconsider, I applied for work to try to help make ends meet.  The more I fought it, the more anxious and upset I became.  So I prayed.  We prayed then discussed it, and decided to stop trying to fight it.  We decided on a Short Sale, and made plans to move into my mom’s house with her & my sister & brother-in-law.  The instant we came to that decision, a sense of peace filled me.  It was such a relief after weeks of fighting the inevitable. I know we were blessed to have a place to go, but the blessings didn’t end there.

We needed a realtor, and fast.  I knew the woman who had sold us the house was no longer a realtor, but we figured she’d know someone we could trust.  Laurie Wagner had been amazing when she helped us find the house, and really trusted her.  A quick google search found her new contact information, and phone call later we had a referral.

Buck Heffernan was an answer to prayer.  A former Navy guy, and a solid Christian, he had such a calming influence from the moment he stepped in the door.  He let us know what we would need and who we would need to talk to to make this happen. He was a God-send. If you are in the market for a realtor in the Hampton Roads area, I highly recommend Mr. Heffernan.

Thing was, the housing market in our neighborhood was dismal. Not much had sold in the past 2 years, and there were houses on the market for over a year.  We needed to sell quickly.  It wasn’t looking good.  Then the state government enacted the tolls, and the city council made noises about raising the water rates again and other market-killing moves, and it seemed like all hope was lost.  But despite that, I just knew the house would sell.  I felt like we’d be out by the end of April – an impossibility considering the market and the amount of hoops and paperwork we had ahead of us, but still, I just had this peace about the whole thing.  So we put the house on the market and stepped out on faith.

February passed, and no showings.  March was almost over without a showing.  I started to doubt just a little.  I started thinking, maybe June? Hopefully? We kept praying, and trusting God to make this happen.  I researched truck rentals and started packing boxes.  The books were first.  We use LibraryThing to catalog our large book collection, so I used that to mark which books were in what box.  Before long, most of the books and everything else we could live without was packed up. Now there wasn’t much to do but wait.

We’d already been blessed with a place to go and a realtor with connections to make this happen.  But with no showings, things were looking bleak. On top of that, our mortgage hit the 7-year mark and our payment increased. Would the blessings continue?  Was this a test of my faith? Stay tuned for part 3.

Read the whole story:
Part 1

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 1.

What a difference 6 months can make.

Found online somewhereIn January, we were informed by our mortgage company that despite all of our best efforts to reduce our bills to the lowest possible, cut our spending down to nothing but the necessities, and do everything we were supposed to do…  the economy had taken it’s toll on our finances.  We were given two options:  Wait it out until our bank accounts were completely dry and our credit wrecked then go into foreclosure, or we could try a short sale.  (If you don’t know what a short sale is, check out this YouTube video, I’ll wait.)

What a lousy choice. Either way, we would be losing our home.  It had been our home for 7 years, the longest we’d been in one spot in our entire 15 years of marriage!  This was not easy to hear.

For what it’s worth, I meant it when I said we had done everything we were supposed to do. We had worked hard and paid off both cars while the military was providing housing.  When we paid off a car, the payment went into a separate bank account so we could “pay ourselves” and build up a nice savings account.  Our credit was excellent.  We paid off our credit card every month and were never late with a bill payment.  We even planned well when we bought the house, so that our mortgage payment would equal what we knew DH’s military retirement check would be – that way the mortgage would always be paid.  DH got a full-time job at JCP when he retired from the military, and we continued to save what we could.  When JCP started to decline fast under Ron Johnson, DH was a casualty.  He got laid off from his full-time position.  We immediately took measures to cut our bills to the barest minimum possible.  Then several Obamacare regulations kicked in, including the one that effectively reduced part-time hours to 29 a week instead of 39.  DH was able to find a part-time job with Big Lots, thanks to a good friend.  But you can’t support a family of five on 29 hours a week.  So we cut every penny out of the budget that we could, and started enforcing strict energy & water usage rules.  Then the City Council raised our property taxes and our water bill by 10%.

We filed a hardship packet with our lender, and in the process spoke to two different credit counselors & walked them through our budget.  Both were blown away by how tight we’d managed to make our budget, and neither could find a single thing to cut or reduce any further.  We were done for.  We’d already burned through so much of that nice savings accounts, we would be lucky to make it another 6 months.

I can already hear you asking, “But, where’s the blessing in this? You’ve lost your home, you’re pretty much broke, how is this good?”  Stay tuned for part 2.

That is NOT the Way to Make Money!”

140319_1163

Two teeth gone!

Last night was a busy night for the Tooth Fairy at our house.  At various points in the day, both PinkDiva & Capt740 mentioned they had a loose tooth that was bothering them when they tried to eat. After dinner, I pulled out my Dentist Mom hat & took at look at Capt740’s mouth first.  Sure enough, he had a tooth that was translucent and really loose.  With a little encouragement, it popped right out.  He was happy and ran off.

Then about 5 minutes later, he came out and said, I lost another one! Sure enough… 2 teeth gone! He said after I pulled the first tooth, the other tooth felt loose. When he wiggled it to see how loose, it came right out in his hand.  It quickly dawned on him that this meant he’d get two dollars, and he got even more excited.  I checked the rest of his teeth because, dude, that is not the way to money!

If that wasn’t enough, PinkDiva also had a loose tooth that had started to break apart while still in her gum. It needed to come out ASAP, but she HATES getting teeth pulled. I tried to explain this to her, but she freaked out. Tony talked to her & calmed her down. She let me get in there, and within a few minutes the tooth and all the pieces were out.

The little guy then chimed in and said that getting his teeth was payment enough. Then the three of them laughed about the fact that in our house Mommy is Santa Claus & Daddy is the Tooth Fairy.  Daddy’s wallet is little bit lighter today, but at least no one is complaining about pain when they eat anymore.

Time To Move On

For the last 13 months, I have been heavily involved in the local tea party, Hampton Roads Tea Party.  My involvement started out simple enough.  I was contacted because my local chapter’s co-chairs were not well-versed in Facebook. and they needed help.  My position quickly morphed into “Social Media Maven” as I added Twitter and YouTube to the Suffolk Chapter.  Not long after, I wound up taking over the newsletter.  In mid-November, HRTP sent me to the VATPP conference, along with several others.  It was amazing! I learned so much, and tried to help our group incorporate the stuff I’d learned.

130914_3279Our little group became more and more active.  We talked to the Budget Director, issued a challenge to our city council, and even won some victories on the local level at budget time.  I met some really wonderful people, and had a blast!  We were making a difference! A small difference, but it was enough that the local government started to take notice of us.  The Mayor would search us out at events to talk to us.  One of our Councilmen came to a meeting to talk to us.  We began to learn so much about how our city really works.

By April, I had been made Vice-Chair of the Suffolk Chapter of the Hampton Roads Tea Party.  In June, I was tasked with designing a new brochure for HRTP to hand out.  I also joined the HRTP IT Team, and began to help the awesome volunteers there to transform the website into something so much better than it had been.  In July, our local chapter waded into the Sheriff’s Race & endorsed the Sheriff’s opponent, Jen Pond.

0820131945After that, things kind of turned into a blur.  I was working hard to keep educating myself and the rest of the group about the inner workings of the City of Suffolk, pitching in to help Jen Pond’s campaign whenever possible, attending all kind of events and meetings, recording HRTP’s now-defunct weekly radio show for the podcast, occasionally filling in on the radio show as a host, writing to the local paper, and trying to keep HRTP’s website fresh & relevant with news from around the state.  All while trying to homeschool my kids, and keep up with the house – which admittedly, I failed to do the latter.  My husband, God bless him, wound up doing the housework for the better part of the last year.  My involvement in the Hampton Roads Tea Party was burning me out, and affecting my family in ways I didn’t realize.

So after the election this past November, I tendered my resignation to the board.  It’s been a heckuva a year, and I wish the group all the best.  But I need to focus on my family.  It was a tough decision, right up until a conversation I had with my 8 year old.  He asked if I was really leaving the Tea Party.  When I told him that I thought I was, yes, he responded,

“Good. Because I missed you.”

That was it.  That cemented my decision to leave HRTP in ways nothing else would.  Good luck guys.  I hope you are able to build on the foundations we helped build, and grow.  But I can no longer be a part of it.  God Bless America, and God Bless Hampton Roads Tea Party.

Broken Teeth

Broken TeethMy Youngest was playing in the backyard, and accidentally smacked his mouth with the metal handle of the wagon.

Major props to the Dentist at Portsmouth Naval.  Technically they are only there to serve the active duty, but he took a few minutes to check out my son’s mouth anyway.  Luckily the roots are not exposed.

Since we don’t have dental, the dentist gave us a list of free dental clinics in the area. Yay free!  They are all closed for the weekend already though, so it’s going to be a rough weekend.  I foresee lots of soft food in our menu for the time being.

On a positive note, if we did the whole Halloween thing, he could totally go as a vampire this year.