Monday, April 11, 2016

Catching up

I haven't been blogging that much of late, but I did create a blog about my journey with cancer. If you'd care to read, it's over at 62 Months

Love to see you over there

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Somehow, I managed to dig out the AOL version of my AOL Journal that I copied over to Blogger. If you want to take a peek, please do so!

Stupidsheet Too, The AOL Version

A Reprint

This is a duplicate of a post I wrote in my cancer blog. I just felt like sharing it here today.

This is a little bit about how my heart works.

Last night I had quite a lucid dream. I was walking with a friend through what appeared to be some form of a Disney Store. The only merchandise on display, however, was an assortment of items that I had gotten for my kids over the years. Along with my friend, I was walking with my oldest daughter. She's now 22, but in the dream I was walking with a younger version of her, holding her hand.

We wandered the aisles, talking, when I realized that my daughter had wandered off. I looked and looked, and came upon her lying in a Disney Princess Bed (if there is such a thing). She was asking me, "Please, Daddy, can I get this bed?"

I had to tell her that we couldn't get the bed, because it was too expensive. She simply said, "Oh all, right." and wandered off again. She returned a few minutes later holding a small glass figurine of Goofy, her favorite Disney character, She handed the figurine to me, and I looked at the price tag. This, I could afford, and told her as much. My memories of her are quite clear, because she smiled the way she did when she was little and said, "Thank you, Daddy."

But she never took her eyes off the bed. She stood ruffling the blankets and satin pillow. 

That's when I woke up. And I woke up very sad.

I was sad because life has gotten to the point where we're barely getting by. I'm disabled now, and on a fixed Social Security income. My heart hurts because I was once a wonderful provider. I didn't, by any means "spoil" my children. They did get occasional gifts and treats aside from those given at holidays, but now I'm struggling to afford the bare essentials.

My youngest is attending a public high school with a rather affluent student body. Barely a day goes by that one kid or another is showing up at school with a brand new car. There was a time I could have done the same for all three of my kids. Now, I could barely scrounge up the money for the tires for one of those cars.

It's what makes my heart hurt. A lot. Every night I go to bed feeling a failure. I don't fall asleep smiling too often the past three years. It's not about giving them what they want, it's about me giving them what I want to give them. Or rather, it's about me not being able to do what I want to for my kids, Reversal of fortune, so to speak.

Heartache doesn't go away with medication. I don't know what makes it go away. I just wish it would stop.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Star Struck

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Long Time!

It's been so long since I've written here! Does anyone even read blogs anymore?

If you happen to read this, and you're still keeping a blog, please leave a link in the comments section, ok?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Step Three

Let's keep this one short and sweet. My feelings about bankruptcy were explained earlier. However...

I started contacting creditors to make amends. I informed them that I was working. I currently make less than  $30,000 base. It's awful. But it's a start. I wanted part of that income to go toward resolving my debts. However, firms like Saldutti, LLC and Pressler & Pressler wanted no part of negotiations. I wasn't looking to reduce the amounts owed, I was just asking for a longer timetable to pay my debts.

They offered no compromise or allowances. They wanted their money. Period. They sued and won. (who could afford a lawyer?) These particular bloodsuckers were ruthless in their pursuits of my money, with Saldutti being the more awful of the two. They sent a Sheriff to my home to try and access my and my family's personal belongings. I wasn't home at the moment the Sheriff showed, and my kids were frightened out of their skin. My oldest asked them to come back when I returned home, which turned out to be a good move. We were allowed, legally, to refuse them entry. I find it hard to believe that any respectable company would want to take my kids' things in order to to satisfy a debt. My daughter's dolls? My son's tv? This is what the evil Saldutti wanted to take.

I now know why people hate lawyers.

But I figure the only way to beat these so-called "attorneys at law" is hire a real attorney at law and avail myself of the protection of the bankruptcy laws. Instead of getting the money from me the best way I could pay, they'll get nothing. My son's TV? Really?

I hope there is an especially warm place in Hell for the likes of Mr Saldutti and his band of leeches. And I hope there's another couple of hotseats for Mssrs. Pressler and Pressler.

More later

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Step Two

Years ago, I was a Business Law student in a class that studied US Bankruptcy laws. I remember thinking that this was something to be avoided, that this was the "easy way out."

My own financial situation had gotten this close to bankruptcy, and every bone in my body felt that filing was nearly an immoral act. I had promised every creditor that they would begin to receive payments from me as soon as I was employed. I always believed there was a major difference between someone who is unwilling to pay and someone who is unable to pay. I thought I would be doing the honorable thing by making every effort to repay what I owed the best way possible. There were days where I literally did not have a dime to my name and I had three kids to feed. So naturally, I had to choose not to make payments on my accounts. But I always assured them that money would be forthcoming.

Bankruptcy was a most undesirable option to me. I thought my word and my honor would be enough. None of the companies I owe money to would be closing their doors due to a default by me, but I was raised to fulfill my obligations. I was forced to sign up for Medicaid and food stamps after my Unemployment Insurance ran out. Nothing like dire need to squash pride and get you over yourself.

But I worked at it. I applied for every position I was even remotely qualified for. I filed probably in excess of 1500 job applications. I remember subscribing to and I remember forking over $600 to TheLadders for a "resume overhaul." I had 30 years experience. I had Securities Licenses, I had my Life Insurance License in 3 States. Didn't matter. Nothing happened. My resumes went unnoticed. The worst part of applying for work in this country is the silence. They don't tell you "yes" or "no", they say nothing. But I did finally manage to speak to two recruiters. They both told me my resume was awful and that it was probably not even being read by humans.

I went back to square one. I laughed when I got an offer from TheLadders to "review" my resume some months later. They wanted more money to revamp the resume they'd written for me in the first place.

Needless to say, that didn't happen. I sat down and wrote my own simple, one-page resume. I applied to Sears Holdings for a holiday sales position. I got hired with my own version of the resume, not the Ladders version. I got the sales job at Sears for the holidays.

I worked well enough to get hired into a permanent position. But Sears only paid $6 per hour. (not a typo). I was trying to feed, clothe and house my kids on $6 per hour. (this was supplemented by "commissions" on sales, typically 1% of the sales I made. If you didn't make enough commission, they bumped you up to minimum wage, incidentally) That was not a fit, obviously.

I got hired by my current employer in September, 2011. At a lot more than $6 per hour. I'm still considered "low income", but my foot is in the door and the potential is there for raises and promotions. I have health insurance now. When I was an independent financial consultant, I was paying $2200 per month to Blue Cross/Blue Shield for Major Medical. Now I pay $50 per week.

And I began contacting my creditors immediately. I wanted to start making good on my obligations. And that's when things got dark again.

More to come.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Step One

Well, it's been quite a while since I posted to this blog. And with good reason!

I battled it out for a long time. I was struggling in the Financial Services industry for a few years. I picked a great time to try and market life insurance, IRA's, etc. People in this Country have often been face with the decision: life insurance vs. food. Guess what wins?

Well, I figured it was high time to accept things for what they were, and reinvent. I took a long, hard look at what I was qualified to do. I also thought about what it is that I like to do, and if there were a way to get work elsewhere.

It's no secret that I love all things food. In September, 2011, I found a match. I'm working for a food company that's quite prominent in my area. I'm doing something I love as much as, if not more than, my former Wall Street career. Wall Street, in my eyes, is no longer the prestigious, honorable industry it once was. The sub-prime lending debacle led to the massive bailouts, which led to more mismanagement, and more of the same. It's disgusting what this generation did to Wall Street. I saw it coming years ago when I realized that the only qualification necessary to work for a brokerage firm was a birth certificate. No more need for an impressive resume when patronage jobs were plentiful. I saw this practice put some very unqualified people into some very important positions. This led to shortcuts and fast-buck artists, and as Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch can attest, this led to a massive industry failure. So the time was right for me to give up all hope of securing a respectable position with any of the surviving firms.

Now I work for a company whose sole mission is to make people smile, happy, full and healthy. I get to offer great foods, menus, tips and tricks to my customers. And I get to learn about great new ways to cook, eat and be merry!

And let's face it: people will always need to eat, right?

Now I make about 1/10th what I made at Merrill Lynch. But after guys like Stan O'Neal and John Thain were done with Merrill, there was nothing left. Bank of America took Merrill Lynch over and helped it narrowly avoid the fate of Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns. They were a disgrace to the industry and I sort of feel lucky to no longer be attached to Merrill, particularly now that it is a part of Bank of America. (we all have a pretty good idea how honorable that company is, right?)

My new career holds a lot of hope and promise. I grabbed onto the bottom rung of the ladder at my new company, but I'm happy announce that I've already pulled myself up one rung.

More to come. Soon.

Love to hear your thoughts...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Well, life is slowly but surely starting to turn around. It got real dark around these parts, but the sun is coming up and I'm starting my comeback.

I was offered two positions, and for a short while, accepted both of them. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts led me to resign from one so that I can pursue a career with the other. I seem to have landed with a good company. I'm in a brand new field, completely unrelated to Finance in any way. I'm looking to sever any and all ties with Wall Street, which is no longer a bastion of honor, pride and decency. The industry has become quite ugly and I really want to wash it from my life.

While the struggles continue, they don't seem so insurmountable. I got a lot of consideration and assistance from some very understanding companies, American Water, NJ Natural Gas and Verizon for example. They've been very patient with my situation and worked well with us.

We applied for NJ Family Care for temporary medical insurance, and while the application process was one of the biggest runarounds I have ever, ever been involved with, persistence eventually paid off and I was able to secure health insurance to protect my children. We also applied for Food Stamps, but that process was one of the worst experiences of my life. At one point, "jurisdiction" over my case was transferred from one location to another, and they simply lost my paperwork. Months went by with no help from them, but now we don't need them anyway. I wish the Governor Christie's office was aware of what a sham that program is. People down on their luck certainly don't need to be subjected to that sort of torture, bureaucracy at its finest.

So for a few months, it was a lot of ups and downs, but a lot of businesses did their best to help us out and help us through. You just have to get past the phone jockeys at these places and get through to someone with a brain. I was able to do that with quite a few companies.

On the other hand, some companies showed no compassion whatsoever.

Cablevision proved itself to be a very ugly, cold and money hungry corporation (as if there were ever any doubt?) They offered zero negotiation room. They allowed no discussion, no compromise, they were cold-blooded and simply shut us down. But we can live without their TV services. Their internet service will not be missed, since it didn't work a majority of the time, anyway. And their internet phone service was something we never used at all because it too was unreliable. We're going to get good service from Verizon, a good and decent group of people and allow Cablevision to suck blood from somewhere else. I can't say they disappointed me because I never expected them to be decent.

Which brings me to two debt collection companies (which laughingly call themselves "Attorneys at Law"). Two of these have done nothing to improve the slimy image of lawyers in this country. Saldutti, Esq (haha, that's a laugh) and Pressler & Pressler LLC harassed and annoyed my family 7 days a week (including holidays) with phone calls and an endless supply of letters. These parasites were not to be dealt with. They wanted their money and that was it.

I figure the only way to beat down a slimy lawyer is to find a better lawyer, and we have done that. Hopefully, the bankruptcy will leave these vermin with exactly what I'd wish for them: zero. My lawyer kind of helped restore my faith that not all lawyers are ambulance-chasing bugs who feed off the misery of others.

So, it all begins again. I'm setting a goal for myself. With my new company, there seems to be a lot of room for advancement. The first attainable promotion for me would be an assistant manager position, and that is in my sights. I will get it done. I will become successful again. I will be able to put the vermin like Saldutti and the "law" firm of Pressler & Pressler, and the bloodsuckers like Cablevision far behind me. My lawyer will take care of the parasites, and Verizon FIOS will happily replace my former cable provider. (Verizon, by the way, offers excellent DSL service that's half the price and twice the quality of Cablevision's products, so it's a win-win).

We're still hoping to work things out with our bank regarding the mortgage. I'm desperately hoping to keep my home and keep my kids and I together here. US Bank has been very patient with us, so I don't really blame them if they go ahead and foreclose, but I'm hoping with my new start to turn that situation around too. Keep your fingers crossed?

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Life on the Firing Line

When the money troubles start, there is no peace. No quiet time, no "day off" from the difficulties. When you start being contacted by debt-collectors, it never stops. The phone rings from 8 AM to 9 PM. Every day. No Sunday's or holidays taken by these things. They call and call. And they send mail. Tons of mail.

There is a big difference between refusing to pay and not being able to pay. The biggest portion of my debt came from medical emergencies. Each one of my family of five had one in the past 2 years. I was basically under the assumption that my medical insurance from Horizon Blue Cross was going to cover the expenses. I was paying them, first $1250 a month through Cobra, and then $900 a month for my private insurance. I had a lapse of literally a few days in the transition from Cobra to private. That meant that they got out of paying any claims by claiming the "Pre-existing condition" clause. Now I did put in for all the proper pre-approvals, received them, and was told I was covered.

Until the bills came. Then I was not covered. That's about $100,000 I have to eat.

So the calls come. They call and they call. I found out there are debt-collectors who disguise themselves as lawyers. I try so hard to avoid generalizations. But lawyers really, really have shown themselves to be as slimy as people say they are. I'm hoping there really is a special place in Hell for this breed of human. They are relentless. The outside debt (aside from the medical bills) is about $15,000 but not in one lump. I had a couple of cards in amounts such as $2500. These are the type of accounts that are being handled by the so-called "law firms" which are really nothing more than bargain-basement debt collectors. Shylocks. Loan sharks.


The phone rings from 8 AM to 9 PM and I try to explain the difference between refusing to pay, and being unable to pay.

They don't care. I guess I don't blame them, since it's not their problem. It's just a little frustrating getting a phone call from someone who is barely able to put a complete sentence together in English, and having them demand money. People who barely have an 8th grade education level are calling and harassing my family. These "law" firms really have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to hire folks because decent people wouldn't touch these jobs.

They send mail. They call. You don't get a single day without contact from these parasites. These are not reputable lawyers defending the rights of a client. These are leeches who buy the debt from banks etc. and look to turn a profit by collecting them. That's the worst part. Someone who makes money off of others' misfortunes really deserve their own little cubby in Dante's Inferno.

Well, I think I've made my point. The phone is ringing. I'll tell you about my defense weapons in the next entry

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cold Hard Facts

So the darker side of life is this: medical situations involving each one of my kids and me have been out of control. Being that I was no longer able to afford my own insurance ($1250 a month, then $890 a month) and made just enough to not qualify for Medicaid, I ran up about $250,000 in bills.

Long story short, I've retained a lawyer to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. And I'm battling to keep my home out of foreclosure.

It keeps me awake at night, to say the least.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Some Upsides

I guess it's human nature to try and see the lighter side of things, no matter how lousy the situation. I've had a lot of time to spare, unfortunately, but I've done a lot to make good of the time.

I've had so much time to be with my kids. They're 17, 16 and 12 now. My oldest daughter, is set to graduate high school and head off to college. Unbelievable. My son is 16 and as big as I am, and my 12 year old girl is still the light of my life. I'm lucky where kids are concerned. They're not perfect, they get into trouble, but they are good-hearted and kind, even when they're grouchy.

I've become quite the chef. And I say that because my kids are especially picky eaters. My meals bat about 750, judging by the amount of leftovers I put away. I ask them to be honest and tell me what they like or don't like, and the "don't likes" don't appear on the menu in the future.

I make every effort to put dinner on the table every night I can, and to sit and make it a social thing. We talk, fool around, discuss each one's day, you know how it is.

The main thing is, we can and do talk. Times have been tough, but we're still us. My three kids and me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Prodigal Stupid

Life has certainly taken some insane turns since I last wrote. I wish I could report that things are great but they aren't.

This isn't going to be about whining, complaining and the like. It's really just something I want to do. I intend to make a major comeback with my life. I'm about as low as I can go right now, so it's got to be time for some upward movement.

I'm out of work. Not technically unemployed, see, as I am in business for myself. There's just no business to be had right now. I'm really hoping that this is a temporary "right now", because I have to believe that hard work will eventually pay off.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd use this as a record of the life I'm leading right now, and that I'll be able to look back on this once I've gotten things back on track.

So I have to say, it's nice to be "back", even under these circumstances.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hello Hello!

I find with Blogging, I have learned that it's always better to be to the point. So here it is.

My life has been an utter disaster. I'm considering changing my name to "Job" (as in the Biblical character, that is) But thanks to Kristen and Christine's guidance, I have learned a lot. And I'm keeping the faith. (Love to you both, Ladies, and thank you. Know that what you've said to me over the years really mattered.)

The recovery has begun. Apparently, I have 9 lives, and I'm down to 6. I have begun a new career, and it's really starting at the bottom. But I was a virtual flunky in my old career when I started, and I did well, so I'm hoping that I can do it again. A priest I'm friendly with told me that, in fact, while it's not ok to ask God for riches and wealth, it is quite acceptable to ask Him for help in the quest to provide for my family.

And so it begins.

A few years back, I found a lot of Blogging fodder among the people I commuted with on the Ferry. My new career calls for a 15-minute commute in my car, so that won't work. But I'm working in a retail establishment on a grand scale, and I think I may be on to something new. The cast and crew of this new place might be providing some new material, and I'm wondering if maybe I should run with it? Since "The Office" is a well-established TV show, I'm thinking I'll call my series, "The Shop".

Would love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


In an effort to get some of my silly humor back into my life, I've revived an old (way old) Blog that I first started with back in the early 2000's

Simple, silly stuff. Please join me?
Beautiful Thing of the Day

Back in the day, I was known for reading utterly idiotic news items and saying, "Oh that's a beautiful thing" in my inimitable New York accent. We kept piles of clippings over the years, and I'd post 'em online. We're back!