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2005-08-31 - 10:28 p.m.

I am enjoying the financial freedom of having a paycheck!

Whoo Hoo---- my first check was $85.00!

OK, so its not the freedom that would come with winning the lottery. But for me IT IS ENOUGH!
It will be enough that over the next year or so I can sustain this work schedule and start to pay off my total LEGAL DEBT from the custody battle of $6500.00

It will enough to spend the small amount I wish to on a few things for my kids in Buffalo, and cards or gifts in gratitude to all those who have been such good friends providing support.

It will be enough for me to not have to DISCUSS every purchase I make with WESTLEY. See he LIKES TO DISCUSS every purchase he makes-- GREAT HE CAN FEEL COMFORTABLE TO DO SO. I Don't like to HAVE to - so now I CAN FEEL COMFORTABLE TO NOT DO SO! Maybe I should SUPPORT this diaryland service I use.... maybe I'd like to TITHE a bit more than he does... I think having financial freedom is VERY important when it makes a difference in your ability to maintain and express INDIVIDUALITY that SHOULD NEVER be sacrificed in a realtionship.

$6500 was the grand total when I settled the case and knew it was time to move on. I knew I didn't want to carry any greater debt than that!

My creditor list:

Parents $1700
Westley $ 300

YES I OWE the dismissed lawyer that final bill! The one I got MONTHS AGO.... She worked for a while while I owed her.

I received that first paycheck and had to order checks. I then did something for ME which I haven't done in a LONG TIME. I did one of those marketing SCAMS -- the ones that CLAIM if you take advantage of a few "offers" they'll send you a $100 MASTERCARD GIFT CARD.

I have NO EXPECTATION of actually EVER seeing the so called "GIFT" I AM SURE this is just a scam! But in any case I filled out a credit card application, and did one of the other options of sending in bad poerty to the infamous International Poetry association , since I have a steady supply of bad poetry at my fingertips.

(Or- whatever that association is called. The same folks that run the POETRY.COM site- the ones who pull the great scam of publishing EVERYONE and sending letters about how YOU ARE THE MOST GIFTED WRITER!! Just pay $50 to get the book your poem is in..... THE ONES I THINK have a place in this world because wise teachers of the 2nd grade take advantage of their FREE ESTEEM BUILDING to get kids to LIKE TO WRITE! Hey I even heard of a developmentally disabled client at PEOPLE INC who was so thrilled to buy the book with his poem in it, and he keeps writing and he is SO PROUD and his whole identity is shaped by being a published poet! Some find that sad, I find it a wonderful thing that has given him great happiness in life and think his money is well spent! )

So I had fun with my gamble and forked over $20 for the legitimate BMG music club in exchange for the chance to think I might get a $100 gift card, and a few new CDS.

Its been YEARS since I bought a new CD. I'll keep some and will likely use a few as Christmas gifts. I will fulfill my obligation and buy another CD then get the remaining so called FREE ones (for the shipping cost- which is so much more than MEDIA MAIL REALLY Costs!) Its a good deal in the end though and I am looking forward to some new music!

With my fantastic memory I can't even recall what I picked! So it will be a nice surprise!

I'm waiting for my next check to then mail the attorney a check. I thought a $45 check to her would be a little insulting. I have to send her AT LEAST A LITTLE MORE so she feels like I really WILL pay her!

I am hoping that after we pay our property taxes this month, and catch up with the AMEX bill that in a few months Westely will spring for paying the attorney fees off. He just might since she has the VOLVO info as collateral. She could file a lien on it and a forced judgement to force sale! Since he in fact wants to drive that as his winter car he would in fact like to avoid that!

Today I had a blast spending yet more of the little bit of money I have!

I bought winter coats for Katerina and Soren. I found this (in pink) for Katerina

I was so thrilled! She needed a new winter jacket. I had asked her DAD the kids needed any clothes and he said they both needed winter jackets.

I then had a BLAST shopping for our whole family at TARGET today taking advantage of my 10% employee discount. Using the FAMILY budgeted money I took the girls shopping and got new school clothes for Sadie who is starting kindergarden next week! She really didn't need much, as she has fantastic LLBean jumpers which I swear still look brand new after FOUR YEARS of wear by Katerina! Katerina and I were both laughing talking about that on the phone today. The jumpers look great when long, then by year four they are adorable mini skirts! Before heading to the store I did the "bargain basement" shopping of heading downstairs to see what hand me downs I could pull up. Sadie was thrilled with her jumper, and Katie was thrilled with her two "new" dresses.

The TARGET shopping was the best deal though. When I sat in orientation they distatefully placed a TARGET CREDIT CARD application in front of us all, along with all the actual HR paperwork. I was the only one who RESISTED and didn't mindlessly fill that out. I in fact found it disturbing, and could only think of COAL CAMP GIRL and the shopping on advance at the "COMPANY STORE" as I wondered how many of these retail workers who are feeding familys on that income would be falling into that trap of thinking the credit card was a good thing.

Mindful of the fact we STILL owe AMEX a ridiculously high amount, (yet due to years of being clients with them they have made a great deal on the interest rate thankfully!) I looked at the crazy terms of the TARGET VISA and passed. THEN I realized that in fact I WAS DENIED a credit line when I had ATTEMPTED to get one INDIVIDUALLY for the sole purpose of paying my attorney a few months back. I had found a few with a DECENT interest rate and was denied from both due to an outstanding debt my EX HAD OSTENSIBLY taken responsibility of at the time of divorce. (Then I paid of HALF due, and he was to pay the OTHER HALF of the bill. HE instead KEPT THE CARD OPEN EVEN THOUGH I HAD CANCELLED THE ACCOUNT! HE HAD IT MAINTAINED IN HIS NAME ONLY and then ran up MORE CHARGES ... and after a few years they came to ME to collect!)

So in any case, despite the fact I have had that in dispute FOR YEARS, and the fact that when we had the property jointly owned we STILL had no problem getting a mortgage in VA, I couldn't get a simple credit card WITHOUT being carried by WESTELY's good credit rating due to that one issue on my report thanks to my EX!

Writing letters and dealing with EQUIFAX and the other reporting agency is another SAGA I could go on about some day... but I'll spare you, except for the one comment that THEY CLAIM THEY CAN'T find my info to update due to my address not being recognized.... HMMMM... they had no trouble finding it to report it to the bank I applied for the line of credit with...

So I thought I indeed should see if I could get the TARGET VISA with the ridiculous interest rate for the one 10% off shopping spree they offer as incentive (in ADDITION to the 10% employee discount), and also to see if getting the card in my own name might help me establish a better credit history. I suppose jointly owning a home in Loudoun (AND not a cheap one at that!) and payment of those mortgage payments wasn't enough for me to be credit worthy.....amazing.

In fact if I sat on top of the proceeds of that house sale (rather than pay the IRS which I so kindly did!), I STILL would have been turned down for a simple credit card as they couldn't even FATHOM being independently wealthy!(which although not common DOES happen- but then again those so wealthy don't NEED credit cards! But WHAT IF THEY WANT ONE?? Just to not have to deal with a check book or cash- I swear without a job they CAN'T get a credit card!)

Anyway, I am sitting here in my comfy new PJs bought at TARGET at 20% off.

Noe the kicker- and the whole reason this story is worth relating, is that after the being peturbed by the pushing of the company VISA, and REALLY mostly wanting it for the discount, I was really having ISSUES at the thought of even USING IT!

NOW WESTELY told me to go ahead and use it for the one day of 10% off for all the STUFF we have been putting off buying over the past few months: a working printer for me, to stock up on diapers, jeans for Westley that are not falling apart, mustard, children's vitamins and other grocery items that are a good buy at Target!

Hey I have really been using those cloth diapers for a few weeks. Good sacrifice, but I was ready to buy more disposable JUST TO HAVE for the days I need a break from the extra laundry.

I Also REALLY wanted to get Soren a winter jacket and a few of the TSHIRTS that hit the Clearance rack.

This week we heard it was a TAX FREE week for all clothing purchases in NY! So that was another incentive to go shopping now.

But I SWEAR I HAVE A HARDER time buying ANYTHING on credit than WESTELY. So when it came time to charge something on MY CARD, in MY NAME, when I HOLD THE RESPONSIBILITY

I said "NO" and waited....
and told WESTELY I wasn't going to get all the stuff we wanted. I told him I couldn't do it. I said I would figure out what my paycheck will be and will only charge up to the amount I will have in hard cash to actually pay the bill. He told me not to worry about it- He'll pay it off. But I STILL just had this anxiety about doing that!

Its so funny, but I have NEVER lived beyond my means (until now when we HAVE been doing so... although not quite as we will be able to catch up, but our spending was too concentrated in that heating system all at once!)

So once I realized that I have to get over that and TRUST WESTLEY to take care of that bill, I thought I REALLY SHOULD take advantage of that great 20% off for the sake of the whole family!
I thought about how HE HAS carried the stress of a $10,000 debt on the AMEX card for all of us for months, and realized I would really be a bit selfish to refuse to carry only a few hundred dollars UNTIL HIS NEXT PAYCHECK for the sake of the awesome discount for our family!

Oh-- and the thing is, they give a TEMPORARY visa # that you can intially shop with, and then mail the actual card in 10 days. I read the fine print... and I EXPECT that I MIGHT AGAIN GET DENIED THE ACTUAL CARD.... so that TEMPORARY CARD that they issue to employees is likely the only opportunity for us to get that additional 10% discount! I WAS EXPECTING THE ONLY CREDIT I WOULD GET MIGHT BE THE ONE TRANSACTION!

So I got out the door today ready to CHARGE without abandon! (HA HA-- within reason!)

And I got in the line, first with Soren's clothes (as I picked up some clearance shorts and shirts I couldn't resist as well as the winter jacket). I wanted to ring those up seperately as that part of the bill would be paid by me, whereas the rest of the stuff would be paid by Westley. (HE is on HIATIUS from Supporting the older kids! I am sure after some time he'll break that strike and will also stop all this HIS and HERS finances nonsense... but for a while I'll put up with it until he's over his hurt and he feels trusting again and is not feeling like he was unapprechiated and attacked!)

The cashier rang up the clothes and applied the employee discount, and then tried the 10% off voucher along with the accompanying TARGET VISA CARD temporary info, and the machine blurted out the message:

He said "The temporary card is only good for 10 days. Did you get the card in the mail yet?"

I said "No."

and he said "That's strange, it should have arrived."

I didn't tell him I didn't think I'd BE getting one... and perhaps a DENIAL LETTER takes longer....


So then-- The best thing of all happened! THE MANAGER came over and hooked me up with the 10% off while using my AMEX card!! WOW!

See TARGET has this absolutely EVIL policy that they offer a 10% employee discount ONLY WHEN YOU USE CASH, CHECK or the TARGET VISA!!

In other words, the so called DISCOUNT is REALLY a sneaky way of marketing their financial "services" to those strapped for cash, and a way to AVOID the fees it cost the company to run other credit cards! I think pulling out the AMEX when he agreed to let me use ANOTHER credit card was the best since AMEX charges retailors more than any other company! ( passive aggressive tendency coming out there.)

So not only the 10% employee discount, but the OTHER incentive 10% additional discount for opening a charge w/ TARGET were APPLIED to my purchases put on the AMEX card. Both which according to the policys I am REALLY not entitled to....not having either cash, check or an authorized TARGET VISA ready to use!

So before the transaction was over, I verified with the manager that the 10% incentive discount was for all purchases in one day, and asked if he could help me again as I pointed out that I had OTHER stuff in the cart and we were not NEAR done shopping but that I had needed a seperate receipt and wanted to keep that stuff seperate so had that rung up first before we even finished. He said he would be able to help me out again.

So I then went to do the FAMILY shopping, on WESTLEY, the sugar daddy of the AMEX credit line.... which is STILL CREDIT... as we are STILL not caught up, but on which at least we earn points on for every dollar we owe! Thanks to the wopping heating system and all those points we are VERY close to having enough points for the kick butt ORECK vacume we can get with the AMEX points. We have one in VA and are happy with it, and want one for here in NY. Final TOTAL OF POINTS EARNED TODAY: 353! Yes that's a point for every dollar spent.

Hey- until today almost ALL OF OUR CLOTHES have been received by redeeming AMEX points for LLBEAN and LANDS END gift certificates. So we actually rarely spend cash for clothes and just redeem points.
But since now in the market for the vacume its just as well to buy the clothes at TARGET.

So Westely told me to just get what I needed for him, myself and the girls. I had a blast with them. Westely had negotiated with Sadie over a very worn out hand me down Harry Potter nightgown the other night. He said "If you get rid of that you can get new PJS at the store."
She agreed, so she was excited to pick out the new PJs. KAtie was supposed to pick out new socks as it was a tramatic experience when yesterday I THREW OUT the BLUES CLUES ones with holes in them. OOPS.... we forgot that on this shopping trip! Katie and Raitlin were excited though as I got them each a summer clearance outfit (along w/ Sadie so all three match!) I didn't even THINK to get one for the baby! They had her size too.. but for some reason it didn't occur to me! I think it will be cute to take them to WALL MART for the super deal photo there. (I am the only one I know with the strength to go and get the ONE 8X10 and a few 5X7s and a few wallets that they sell for something ridiculously cheap like $5.99! The catch is you have to resist the hard sell and pick only ONE pose of the many lovely ones they put before you and JUST SAY NO to all the other package deals. IT takes TREMENDOUS WILL POWER! I know many friends who have more pictures of their kids from those hard sells than they know what to do with! I also was guilty of that when I was a novice and have an envelope in the VA basement with the excessive pictures in storage from OLAN MILLS of KAterina and Soren when they were very little. I now take the kids every year and get a great photo for us and grandparents and a wallet for each kid!)
Alexy has a pretty outfit that will complement the matching ones... so that will do. See what happens to the quiet one who is not demanding? I can't believe I forgot to even THINK about a matching outfit for her!Isn't that horrible!!! But the thing is SHE HAS MORE CLOTHES than any child EVER will need thanks to the aggregate hand me downs and new gifts!

I WISHED I could have snuck more off to consignement.... (But I was good, I didn't consign anything not WESTLEY approved when it came to baby clothes... and he wanted to hang onto the baby clothes "JUST IN CASE" despite my DEATHLY LOOKS AND RESPONSE that HE MUST BE INSANE TO EVEN THINK THAT LET ALONE UTTER SUCH A THOUGHT!!!)

Oh, an aside here: I picked up a $36 check from the consignment shop in Purcellville when we were in VA last! I also dropped off some Fall clothes (mostly Soren's old ones, a few maternity items and old Prom like dresses of mine). So in the end it most definately was worth the effort for me to do all that iorning and bringing clothes there. They really do take things that are in near perfect shape, so even with consigning I then carted A TON of little boys stuff off to SALVATION ARMY and have the itemized receipts for tax purposes. The tax deductions are WORTH MORE than actually consigning in dollar value-- but the deductions go to our FAMILY , and the consignent sales go to my so called personal "discretionary" spending. So if it were not for that I think it wouldn't really be worth it for anyone to consign if they have enough other deductions to itemize.

Now its time for bed in my new cozy nightshirt. I did purchase new PJS for me as well. The girls WERE THRILLED to see HELLO KITTY PJs in the women's section where I was looking. So I acquiesed and bought a basic flannel PJ bottom, a cotton nightshirt, and the HELLO KITTY set. Then after that I was LAUGHING as I couldn't resist the urge to go over to the INTIMATES and pick up the sequined HELLO KITTY THONG like black and fushia thang....

The item that I CRACKED up at when I saw it and stocked it one night with the comment "JUST WHO WOULD BUY THIS??"

I said then that it was THE WEIRDEST thing I had seen in the store!

It had me laughing then... and it still had me laughing thinking about it after I caved and had the PJS in my cart after the girls excitement.

NOW I KNOW the answer to that question-- ONLY A MOM of many girls with a sense of humor and a 20% discount!
And hey-- Westley hates any liscened clothing which he sees as FREE MARKETING for companys that CHARGE MORE FOR it to the consumer..... and he found the sequined sandles tacky and had issues with Sadies thrill of those! I figure it will be a good laugh, and cheap birth control. I can wear those on those OFF LIMITS nights during my cycle.

Or at least, wear them when we are both in need of a good laugh. I can imagine that will be the response. They really are just SO RIDICULOUS! I snuck them in the cart as I didn't want the girls to see them. Sadie caught a glimpse of them hidden in the cart and said "WHAT ARE THOSE!" I hope she doesn't have to go into therapy over that when she's older.....I can just imagine "I had this tramatic experience... I saw Hello Kitty on my mother's lingiere...."

But then again, maybe it will be Westely who needs the therapy from the shock.....

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