The Game of Life

May 18, 2006 at 10:52 AM | Posted in Journal | 4 Comments
  I have a problem.  A big problem.  A money problem.  Trying to look at
it from the big picture, not as big of a problem as other people have. 
Nevertheless, it’s my problem, and therefore seems more important.  Is
that selfish?
  I got into this all by myself.  Even though the wife has been out of
work God knows how many weeks–I think 7 or 8–we had our money divided,
where mine paid the bills, and hers paid groceries, clothes, expenses.  It
seemed to work for a while.  In fact, it allowed us to pay our debt off
and buy a house.  The problem really began last fall, but didnt show up
until January.  I was starting to get a little behind.  It seemed like it
wasn’t too serious, I could make it up.  I couldn’t really afford to pay
for school, but I did anyway, and there the downward spiral began.
  That put me more behind, and then because of the school schedule I had
no opportunity for extra hours or overtime.  I was still working the
second job at the restaurant, but couldn’t pick up any extra to get back
ahead.  So the house payment slipped behind.  Yeah, that’s bad, I know. 
Come on and lecture me, everyone else has.
  And then, the money that I should not have counted on, but did, my tax
return.  We got a decent amount back last year, almost 2 grand.  And we
hadn’t even owned the house the whole year, just three months.  I figured
we were in for a bigger refund this year.
  I figured wrong. 
  I tried to do the taxes sooner, but look, I had a lot of things going
on.  I figured I would get to it.  Between two jobs and school, I didn’t
have time to wipe my ass.
  We paid an accountant to do it last year, and I figured, armed with that
return, and some software, like turbotax or something, I could do this
myself.  Used to do the short form, because we never owned a house, so we
never had any deductions of note.
  So I buy the software, and it takes me a week to get time to sit down
and do it.  The software gets to 22% and stops installing.  Great.  I try
it a few more times, trying different things, always the same result.  It
takes another week before I get the chance to take it back and exchange
it, and then another week or so before I get the chance to try the new
disc.  Before I know it, it’s April.
  I’m doing the taxes, running through the prompts, entering every
possible thing I can think of, spinning the big refund wheel.  Instead of
the several grand I expect, it’s several hundred, like three or four.  I
check and recheck, change some figures, try different things, trying to
figure what the problem is.
  I sit before the computer and a slow, sinking feeling overcomes me.  I
am fucked.  I am completely fucked.  Would anyone else care to lecture me
on not counting on your goddamn tax refund?  Cause I’d love to hear it. 
Can’t get enough of that shit.  Please explain to me some more how stupid
I am, because I don’t quite feel bad enough.  I have a small amount of ego
still left, please stick in the fucking blender and puree the shit.
  And yeah, I know, buying the little car for $300 dollars might not have
seemed smart, but I can still rationalize it in the long run, especially
with gas prices, and how far I drive.  Just bad timing, which I am a
wizard at.  No one can time things badly like I can.  I am a better bad
timer than anyone you might know.
  So I try to make do, and try to get by.  The only problem with Linda
being out of work is that I can’t go to her for help, I have to pitch
in for groceries, while we eat hot dogs and cheap canned food for two
months.  She did manage to get some work she could do at home for the
first couple of weeks, and recently she took one of her weeks of vacation,
and our older daughter gave her a couple of hundred dollars once, which
bought a lot of groceries, that we horded like muskrats.  Squirrels?  What
the fuck kind of animal hordes food?  You get the picture.  I’m not a
botanist.  I mean . ..Fuck, I am a little flustered.
  But I gradually get a little further behind in everything.  Instead of
mailing the house payment, I do an electronic payment by phone as soon as
I get the money.  I run through the automated system.  I probably could
have kept this up for a while, but the last time I did it, earlier this
month, I entered my account number wrong, and it transfered me to a live
  Well, I am here to tell you that I would much rather have a machine. 
She made me feel like a child.  Wouldn’t accept a "partial" payment
either, meaning one month, which I think is bullshit, I think she was
lying to me, I think she gets a bonus if she can get someone to go into
foreclosure and default on the house.  I have over fifty grand in equity
in this goddamn upholstered noose around my neck, and she tells me I need
to come up with ALL of the back money (a little over 3 grand) or they will
foreclose by the end of the month. 
  So picture what I have, ladies and gentlemen.  Four weeks to come up
with an "extra" two grand.  Two jobs, finals for school, and a wife with
serious anxiety issues.  Do I want to tell her?  If I had sufficient life
insurance on her, yeah, I would want to tell her.  After the stroke she
has that kills her, I could pay everything off.  That’s one plan.
  But I wanted to have a solution before I bring her the problem.  Does
that sound reasonable?  I think about it, I write a few things down:
solutions to try:
 Borrow from bank: NO GO (not while I’m behind) 
 Borrow from Mike(son): in the works–
 Borrow from dad: doubtful, but make the call…
 Borrow from outside place:  call Matt (this guy I know who works
at different finance place
 call HUD housing counsel:  I can do this, let’s try other things
 Rob a bank (but not the one I work at, because they know me)
 Whom can I blackmail?
 Whore myself out–ten bucks a pop;  I’d charge more, but let’s
face it, I’m easy.
 I can be a sperm donor.  Want some?
 Do I really need  my liver?
  Definitely some viable options here. . .
  I ended up going to my son.  My adult son, my step-son.  He and his
sister inherited a chunk of dough from their uncle.  My thought was that,
I need to sell the rental house.  From that sale, I could pay him back.  I
need to sell the rental because being a landlord isn’t as glamorous as
they make it out to be on TV.  But nothing ever is, I guess.  When other
people have money problems, they commit murder or extortion, or get
involved with  mob trying to make it through gambling.  Why can’t I be
like that?
  Between the two, I thought my son would be a better choice than my
daughter.  Now I wonder.  They are hard to read sometimes.  Turnas out
Melissa was more sympathetic, while I got a lecture from my son.  Imagine
eating that crow, if you will.  I felt pretty small.
  He wanted to understand the how and why, and make sure it doesn’t happen
again.  It sure as fuck won’t for one thing.  But not everyone is like him
about money, and he doesn’t understand that.  And he is good with money. 
He is raising four kids on his own, after divorcing his leech-like white
trash whore of an ex-wife.  (My words, not his.  He’s a little more
harsh.)  He’s paid all his bills, paid for the divorce, takes care of the
kids, and manages to safe money, all on his one salary.  He should be
getting child support from her (she was deemed unfit to have custody), but
since the whore can’t keep a job when she’s not in jail, he doesn’t get
anything from her.
  In fact, the money he loaned me did not come out of the inheritance.  He
is going to use that to buy a house, and buy a business.  He has plans. 
They money he’s giving me is just what he has put back out of his checking
account.  So I deserve any lecture I get, plus I guess that is the price I
  So family helps you out, that is the lesson here.  We have all done for
each other.  And I remember about–was it two years ago?  Three?  Not
four, I don’t think.  I think it was three.  That would put his youngest
girls at 6 or 7.  He was living here in MO, but actually farther north,
even from me, near Hannibal.  There his wife could get away with alot of
stuff, like keeping a boyfriend or two, spending all of Mike’s money, and
letting the kids run around like animals.
  I don’t fault Mike for (much of) this.  He was younger and stupider, and
blinded by love.  He continued to work and make money, and not see the
obvious signs.
  She wanted to move out the of state, not telling Mike it was because she
was having problems with the Division of Family Services.  They were
threatening to take the kids away.  So they moved to Reno. . .Nevada.  She
moved first and took the kids, Mike went a few weeks later after he
wrapped things up.  We took his damn Rottweiler.
  Things went all to hell when Mike ran across a guy who was just an
aquaintance, a family friend, in Nevada.  What are you doing here?  The
bitch took her boyfriend with her.  Mike was supporting his kids, his
wife, and her boyfriend.
  Everyone reaches a turning point in their lives, maybe several.  I have.
 I think that day, and the days that followed, Mike had a series of
revelations about life.
  Melissa, his sister, was set to go get him, and my wife was going to go.
 I can imagine that road trip.  Instead, I went.  Melissa had a pretty new
van, still under warranty–which was good, after what we did to it.  She
took off work, I took off work, and we drove to go get him.  It was late
March, so we took the southern route to get there, hearing of a snow storm
in Colorado.  We left on a Thursday night, drove straight through, taking
turns, through Okalohoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, then up through
Nevada.  Arrived early Saturday morning.  Packed up his shit, the kids’
shit, the kids, and left, and left her penniless, with the car, in a
motel.  Drove back through Colorado, Utah, and whatever else states are
there, got back Sunday night.
  That was just the beginning.  He and the kids stayed with her, got them
back in school, he got work, she helped him deal with DFS, lawyers, and
whatnot.  Eventually he got full custody officially, and got a divorce. 
She moved back here as well, lives again up north, near her mother.
  I wonder if I lectured him, or how he felt about all of that.  Maybe I
did.  Maybe I was stating the obvious to him, like he did to me the other
night.  Maybe.  But that is the price you pay, I guess, for family.  They
are in your face, in your business, in your life.
  And I’m proud of him, from going to having nothing to being able to help
me, in just a few years.  These kids, both of them, only 10 years younger
than me, actually–they call me Dad.  I have a big-ass extended family,
lots of grandkids–
  So my wife found out last night from my son, right before I was getting
ready to sit her down and tell her.  So I get called on the carpet by my
wife.  Needless to say, I had a fun fucking evening.  I feel a sense of
relieve now, though.  Even though I’m in the doghouse–deservedly so–I’m
not in this alone.
  I’m not trying to make myself out to be a hero, or a martyr.  I was very
stupidly trying to shoulder it all myself.  I should have went to her
sooner about it, and tried to work it out.  She was pissed most of all
about how close we came to losing the house.  Well, yeah, that makes
sense.  In my defense, I can only say that before this, a couple of years
ago, I took us from in debt with no hope to being able to buy our
dreamhouse.  Her dreamhouse.  What she has wanted all her life, and never
thought, having raised two kids as a single mother early in life, that she
would ever have. 
  I made it happen.  I did it for her.  I like it too, don’t get me wrong.
 But I worked hard and threw it all together in a timely manner for her,
so she could enjoy some of it in her life.  I did it for her.
  I just made a series of mistakes and bad decisions.  Bad, bad, bad.


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  1. Ah B- guess you can\’t read your own writing on the wall ~ so let me help you decipher it……First off – yep when you started getting behind you should\’ve talked to the Mrs. She\’s out of work & you\’re going to school unless you\’re the one with the money tree in the back yard just makes sense the FAMILY is going to have a few cutbacks.
    Second ~ the IRS has free {that\’s FREE} tax software on-line and they update it every year [for FREE].
    Third ~ did I mention you \’ve stumbled in to a \’damn\’ fine family.
    And lastly ~ you\’ve got rental property  – BITE ME & stop whining. Next year do your taxes on the first Sunday morning in March  right after kissing your loving wife & drinking your first cup of coffee   [not your second -your first].
    And remember any one who tells you marriage is a 50/50 proposition is lying… marriage is a 100% commitment on both sides.
    Now ~ Go tell her you love her – she\’ll still be ticked but she\’ll let you back in bed ! As always, Mona

  2. I was going to say that we all make bad decisions – and not to beat yourself up – then I read Mona\’s message where she has actual solutions and I realize that I have no solutions! In her advice she even gets you outta the doghouse!! Hope you are well. Money, though we need it, isn\’t the same thing by far as great love. -patti

  3. You do have a great family.
    You got great advice from Mona so you don\’t need anymore.
    I guess we have all be in your position, I was in something similar and thankgoodness my family helped too.

  4. I don\’t know if you did it on your taxes but we get discounted for school. or at least I do and I know my ex did because we are both full time students as well. I understand your money issue, hell I am 27 and my parents are supporting my son and i. But I also have all those great things the loverly government can do for me to help me too. Don\’t be ashamed to ask for help from the food banks, they have great meal programs for like 15-20 dollars. Also I worked for bank one in the mortagae dept for 2 1/2 years, they will not forclose on you if you are trying to make your payments. if you are only able to make half and can make the other half up then you are fine, and you can always do extensions on the mortgage too. don\’t let them try to bully you into anything, untill you get that letter saying you have 30 days don\’t sweat. But still its good you are caught up.

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