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.