Decade Meme

2000: Lets see, in 2000 I was 20 and unemployed, and for most of the year still living on the naval base with my ex-husband. In November my father had a stroke that paralyzed half of his body. Not only that but he fell off a roof and hit his head on a metal beam when it happened. It was cut open clear down to the skull.

I was in my apartment on base when I got the call. I cried in the shower, getting dressed, and the whole 4 hour drive home to Maryland to the hospital. Thankfully he fully recovered. It was then that I decided I needed to move back home. He lived alone and I couldn’t bare for something to happen to him while I lived in another state. My ex-husband I were drifting apart quite severely at this time.

This is also the year my mom eloped a deranged man without telling anyone, and that’s when things started blowing up with my sister’s custody trial, which would continue for the next several years.

2001: In April I moved back home, and my cat of 18 years passed away two weeks before I got there. I officially started blogging on a domain called “acoustic-life.com”. And I got rehired for part-time minimum wage (About $5.25/hour) at a Rock and Gem shop that I had worked at before I moved onto the naval base. I don’t think I was there very long, but I think I got a QUARTER raise. A WHOLE QUARTER.

My grandmother also collapsed and later died. We buried her on her birthday. She somewhat resented me I think due to my involvement in my sister’s custody case, which I don’t know if I’ll ever fully get over.

2002: In August 2002 dad was told by his doctor that he had to quit working or he would lose his leg due to the ulcers that were starting to get worse. He quit working that day, and I was unemployed at the time. He applied for Social Security Disability, but it would take 6 months to process before we got the first payment. Later that month I fortunately got hired on at an emergency veterinary hospital at $8/hour, which is what we lived on for the next 6 months.

I also started attending events at the Grove for the first time.

2003: In May of 2003 I got fired from my vet job for falsely being accused of stealing money. They eventually found the real culprit after money continued to be stolen after I was gone. I got a job at another vet but was fired a month later when someone from the previous vet told them why I had been fired. Because I was only there a month, I was also denied unemployment.

This is the year I joined ADF after attending the Grove for a year first and became the Grove’s official webmaster. I also got contacted by a record company about sending in some music, which I never did.

2004: In March I was rehired at the first vet, with an apology, but I quit in June due to my co-workers finding my online journal and it causing a major hassle for me. That same week I got hired at Terminix, however, and it was a huge blessing of independence for me despite how devastated I was about losing my friends at the vet.

I was in 3 bad relationships during the next year or so.

2005: In 2005 I was getting frustrated with my bronco because of all the work it needed, so I decided to try and buy a car. Unfortunately my credit was 525 at the time and I couldn’t find anyone that would give me a loan for one at a non-ridiculous rate. This was my eye-opener about my financial situation.

I opened up my first two credit cards at the beginning of the year to start working on my credit, and they have been my only cards since.

I was used and abused by a guy I met from CoM, but not much later found my sweetheart who I’ve been with ever since and loving it :)

2006: In January, Capital One gave me a loan of about $14k which I used to buy my pre-owned 2004 mustang. It still had a warranty on it and was a black manual, which is what I wanted. I was really upset the day I bought it, thinking there was no way I could afford to buy a car. Turns out that I did just fine.

A few things started happening at my job at Terminix that made me start looking elsewhere. That’s when by chance the first job I applied for was the perfect job for my skillset, and got me $10k more a year in salary. And that’s where I’ve been ever since, what a life-saver this job was for me. You really have no clue.

My divorce was also finalized in June. I did it all online, by myself. Internet Divorces for the win.

2007: This year was full of a lot of financial changes. I really stepped things into high gear to get myself into a better financial situation. I also dyed my hair with henna for the first time, which helped kick-start my improvements on less chemicals in my life by using natural products instead.

I started compiling genealogy information on all sides of my family. Our landlord had died recently and things were starting to look a bit gloomy on our home.

2008: Another year of financial progress (credit score then 690), but also a year of heartache turned blessing. After trying to bargain with the estate of our farm (of almost 30 years) since our landlord died without a Will, we were finally given 30 days to get out. We sold off all our animals, put everything in a storage trailer, dug up all the crops and lived with family for 2 months because we had nowhere to go. I call it being homeless, even though we did have a roof over our heads. I eventually bought my first house in September and fell in love with it.

2009: 2009 I paid off my car 2 years early and got used to being a homeowner. Despite having a tree fall on the house in May, it did little damage, but what little damage it -did- do bought us a new big back deck out of the insurance money. I also got a large raise at work and paid off my dads loan that he’s had for many years within 8 months.

I suspect to be debt-free besides the house in 2010, and to really focus on my health more. I plan to keep going up, either way :)

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The Life of Crystal the last few weeks

I haven’t really had time (somewhat literally) to make any heart-felt journal post recently, so I’m going to try to sum up what I’ve been up to in a list for easy perusal.

  • Dad’s leg has an infection again. He’s on antibiotics and special wrapping materials right now. I’ve also ordered some items that I’ve done research on that are supposed to help these types of skin ulcers. The next time he has it unwrapped, I’m going to take pictures for my own archiving purposes.
  • Class is going well. It has a very laid back atmosphere, and I find myself asking questions which leads me to believe I’m actually learning. It’s a lot of material to go through though, and I’m studying almost daily to keep up. I’m going to try to switch to spending the afternoons on Sundays studying for the entire week so I have time for other things. I told a a friend of mine that they eventually teach us about tax fraud and the different methods people use to try and commit tax fraud. He says I’m going to be a Tax0r.
  • The last 2 or 3 weeks I’ve been working 15 hour days between my full-time job and freelancing. One evening I was up until 2am (and still had to get up at 6am for work the next day), and am not sure if I went to bed before midnight for an entire week. It’s quite “taxing” on my brain and I’m glad things are settling down some. I can’t complaint too much because the extra money is more than welcome. (this is part of the reason I haven’t been answering emails, fyi)
  • I had the Grove up to my abode last weekend. We were going to have a small bonfire out back and drum, but it rained so we stayed inside and ate food, drank Art’s homemade blueberry wine, and watched old bad movies. I’m grateful for having such wonderful people around me. And I’m also grateful for the two men that helped carry a new storage cabinet upstairs for me. (Thanks Art and Mark :))
  • Upcoming this month, I have to work for my full-time job on a Saturday all day. Several Grove events, some of which are pretty exciting. I’m going camping out near Berkeley Springs again, and am suspecting I’m going to freeze my ass off. And hopefully enjoying the harvest and season.
  • My wisdom teeth healed fine, in fact during my follow-up appointment the doctor said they were healing beautifully. I’ve had absolutely no pain from the surgery, and no pain since the surgery, which leads me to believe the one partially impacted wisdom tooth was indeed causing me the jaw pain. The whole thing only cost like $250, and that came out of my HSA pre-tax money anyway. Very painless.
  • Dad and I had either mormons or Jehovahs Witnesses stop by on Saturday, which I guess makes this officially our home now? I didn’t go outside because I was all henna’d up, but they did stop my dad on his lawnmower (rude?). I saw when they got out of the car that Bastian started jumping all over their nice suits and licking them, so I decided not to worry about bringing him inside. One of them was actually really scared of Bastian, and when they got back into the car I saw him using hand sanitizer :D Oh well, at least I have a pamphlet if I want to learn about God.
  • Holiday shopping has started. I’ve got the sweetheart done, and dad started. I have a few more things to pick up for my dad and maybe my sister and I’ll be finished. Of course the money used for this is money I put away throughout the year so it’s not hurting my finances right now. The sweetheart and I are trying to decide whether to get dad a log splitter or a new lounge chair as his big gift. The log splitter would help a lot since wood is our main source of heat and I’m discovering more and more that dad needs things to be as easy as possible right now with his leg. I’m fine with splitting the wood myself, but dad is not going to wait until the weekend when I can do it. He’s that stubborn. The lounge chair is nice because it lets him relax, the one he has now is falling a part, and it’s his main seating place throughout the day. It’s fairly integral for him. I guess I’ll have to think about this more.
  • Our well situation is finally fixed. We broke down and bought a new pump, since the one we got from our old house didn’t work quite right either. Now everything works fine, we have a new pump, new parts, new tank. Eventually we’ll need a new water heater, but I’m going to try and use this one up first.
  • Speaking of planned expenses, during my trip to Berkeley Springs later this month, I’m going to stop by a wholesale tire place that has been recommended to me for years and pick up 4 brand new tires for the mustang. I’ve already got a quote between $80 and $123 each (includes mounting), depending on which tire I choose. So while I’m out that way I’ll use the money I’ve saved up for this and get some new tires before the winter.
  • I got my car inspected for PA (where they told me I’ll need new tires before winter, which I suspected anyway), so I think I’ve completed pretty much everything to get myself officially transferred to PA now.
  • I seriously need to downsize my rock collection. I started filling up the cabinet that my friend Caryn gave me, and it’s overflowing due to rocks. We are having a goods auction to support the Grove in a few weeks, maybe I will downsize then.
  • Dad and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary in our new house on October 1st. Doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but we’ve adjusted to it. I’m still not fully unpacked :x. Slacker.
  • I had to call Comcast the other day because my “promotional” period ended and they raised my rates. I had to threaten to cancel in order to be rebundled to a better rate, but I’m set in stone for another year at least.
  • Work had its annual party a few weeks back. I don’t think I played as well this year, but I had fun so that’s all that matters.
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Thanksgiving Thankfulness

The trend in the blogosphere today is to post a list of things you are thankful for. And boy do I have a lot to be thankful for in 2008.

1. My dad never has to worry about where he’ll end up. Being that my father has no retirement, savings or a silver dollar to his name, I am very grateful for the ability to be able to provide him with the security of a home, and knowing that he will always be taken care of, even if I had to work 3 jobs to do it. I’m just grateful to have the best dad one could ever ask for. One that respects my beliefs, supports my dreams, and puts up with my inanities :)

2. Devoted friends and even people who aren’t really close to me, but felt the need to support my father and I in our time of need. All of the people that raised the $7,000 we needed to get our home, some of which I know very well, and others of which I don’t know at all. I’m very grateful for all of you.

3. The house, how can I not be grateful for the house? It’s an awesome home, it came at the perfect time at the perfect price and in a perfect location. To go from living in a condemned home to being homeless to owning our own perfect home, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m grateful that I had the strength to pull myself together when all I wanted to do was crack, and all I could do was cry knowing that we were about to be homeless. I am grateful that we were only homeless for two months.

4. I am grateful for my Aunt that let my father and I come into her home to live while we got our bearings together to find our home. The most self-less act you can give, is to offer your life and home to someone else.

5. I’m grateful that the blinds over my eyes regarding finances were pulled off, and I’ve come to realize that all of the clutter and unnecessary crap laying around was just unused money left to rot. I don’t need all of these things, and I don’t need to buy anything new.

6. And I’m grateful for the sweetheart for his constant amazing support, and all of the people I’ve become close with over the last year. You’ve all become a part of me.

7. I am grateful for my job and having the best bosses and co-workers that I could ever hope to have. They’ve supported me and encouraged me, and gave me a chance despite not having a college education. I hope I serve them well in return.

8. I’m grateful for the opportunities and chances I’ve been given over the last 3 years since I started reflecting on my life. I know now that everything that has happened had a purpose, whether not being able to buy a used car, to finally buying my mustang, to not having a penny in savings, to now having a respectable emergency fund and a house. To having a 525 credit score in 2005 to a 690 credit score in 2008. To just knowing that I have the ability to change whatever it is I don’t like about my life, and all the bad things that happen. I look forward to the challenges in 2009 and hope I grow and learn from them just as much as I did in 2008. Afterall, no one else is going to fix them but me.

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