Random Thoughts by MommaSquid

Thursday, January 06, 2011


I have been very neglectful of this blog--shame on me. My apologies to my reader(s).

Yesterday I visited my last place of employment (has it really been two years since I held a job?!). The managers I worked under were both present and they barely recognized me. In the past year I have started wearing glasses, cut my hair short and lost 40 pounds, so they both did a bit of a double take when I greeted them by name upon entering the store. We had a pleasant visit and I purchased a few items before leaving with a smile on my face.

I have worked with some lovely women over the years, and I am grateful for that. I'm even more grateful to be a housewife. I'm sure I'll have to get a job again someday, but for now I am happy to leave the hustle and bustle to someone else.

Happy New Year.

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Monday, June 21, 2010


I had a mammogram at the beginning of June, and a week later I got a phone call telling me I needed another one. Just a precaution, she said. When I asked for details she told me I needed to ask my doctor. Fuck.

The doctor’s office called me before I even had a chance to call them (which was nice) but they couldn’t give me any details either. There was just an area that looked different than my previous mammogram. Better to be safe and have a closer look.

I had to wait a week for the second mammogram, which I had today. I had a spot compression mammogram, which focuses on the area of the breast in question, not the entire breast. It hurts like a bugger, too!

The radiologist looked at it immediately after it was taken, and reported that it was a non-issue. The mammography technician explained that my breast tissue is dense and just needed a little extra compression to get a clear picture. Once a clear picture was available, the radiologist confirmed that it was normal, healthy breast tissue. Good news.

Then why am I so pissed off?!

I’m pissed off because I wonder if the first mammogram was done incorrectly. How would I even go about questioning the imaging center about the experience level of the first mammography technician I encountered?

I’m pissed off because I think there should be different standard for routine annual mammograms when the woman has dense breast tissue. There should be a way to avoid the need for a second mammogram and a way to avoid the waiting period. Not knowing if your body is trying to kill you is hellacious!

If the first technician had the ability to do spot compressions during the same appointment, I wouldn’t have spent a week trying not to freak out. I wouldn’t have spent a week wondering if I should warn my family that there was a potentially life-threatening health issue looming in my immediate future. I wouldn’t have spent a week wondering if my next appointment would end with me having to decide whether to have my breasts removed!

There has to be a better way.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010


I recently returned home from a two week visit with my mother. My father passed away in April 2009, and I have spent as much time as possible with my mother since then. I have been supportive in every way possible and I now feel like all that love and support has just been flushed down the toilet.

I suppose I have myself to blame for this recent turn of events. My mother is a very controlling, manipulative, selfish and jealous person. As a child, my every move was scrutinized, insulted and controlled. The fact that I moved thousands of miles away from home is no accident. The only way it was possible for me to become my own person was to move away from the influences and scrutiny of my parents. My husband and I have made a nice life for ourselves and have even managed to find a level of contentment after the death of our son.

After my father’s death, I felt that my mother needed my love and support, so I began spending more time with her both on the phone and in person than I have since leaving PA 16 years ago. I called her almost every week for the past year; I spent two weeks at her house in April 2009 after my father’s funeral; she spent Christmas 2009 in AZ with me and my husband; and I just returned home from another two week visit. This last visit was very different than the previous visits.

The worst example of her behavior is this:

Two days before I left, we went to visit my grandfather. Mom doesn’t like other people driving her car, so I knew she would be driving that day. Before we left the house, I told her I wanted to stop at a store and buy some flowers for grandpop’s birthday. My grandfather will be 90 in June, and since I wouldn’t be around for his party I thought it would be nice to wish him a happy birthday before I left. I told her I wasn’t picky about the type of store; a grocery store or a flower shop would certainly have something appropriate. She made a face and said it was a nice thought, but Grandpop wouldn’t appreciate it. I said, “Well, it’s something I would like to do anyway.” There are two grocery stores and a flower shop within three or four miles of Mom’s house. We got in the car, and we did not head in the direction of those stores. While mom drove she pointed out the location of a flower shop that had been closed for many years, and several small corner grocery stores that, according to her “certainly wouldn’t sell flowers”. I hoped there was a shop along the way that did actually sell flowers. (I moved away 16 years ago and am unfamiliar with the city my grandfather moved to recently.) When we pulled into the parking lot, Mom parked and removed her seat belt. I said, “I am very disappointed that we didn’t stop anywhere to buy flowers.” She sniped, “Grandpop wouldn’t appreciate the gesture anyway.” I calmly replied, “That wasn’t your decision to make. I wanted to give my grandfather flowers for his 90th birthday.” My tone was firm and although I was angry I didn’t yell. She yelled, “Well, there was nothing on the way!” She then slammed the car door and stomped toward the building.

When we returned home from the visit, I asked for the car keys. Mom demanded, “Where are you going?” I said I was going to the mall to buy a gift for my niece. “But you already gave her a present!” I replied that since I don’t get to see her very often I was going to get something for her from her favorite local store. Mom glared at me but surrendered the keys. Free at last! After a quick stop at the store, I drove to the cemetery and sat at my son’s grave. It was the only peace and quiet I had the entire visit.

My main purpose for returning home was to help my mother clean out the attic. The house I grew up in has a three room attic and it was stuffed to the ceiling with junk. My father never threw anything away; he hoarded junk like it was treasure. Last spring I hired a hauling company to clean out the back yard and tool shed. They filled three pick up trucks and a dump truck full of junk: broken air conditioners, broken tools, broken lawn mowers, buckets filled with rusty nails, piles of wood, etc. It was like the television shows on hoarding. It broke my heart.

This spring, I labored for 10 days carrying boxes and bags of trash down two flights of stairs and out to the alley behind the house. I hauled away broken window fans, lawn furniture that needed to be repaired in the 1970’s, empty shirt boxes from stores that closed decades ago, more rusty tools, and boxes filled with magazine article clippings. Dad wasn’t the only person filling the attic. My mother saved every Christmas decoration she ever purchased or received as a gift. As she opened the boxes, she told story after story about the items. “I got this from your Grandmother the first year we were married.” Other items made her exclaim, “I wondered what happened to this!” We sorted items into three piles: keep, yard sale, and trash. Luckily the keep pile was only about a third of what was in the attic originally. She admitted that it was time to get rid of some of the things she has been holding on to, yet seemed to resent my ability to throw things away so easily. (I am not a hoarder.) We filled several boxes with gifts she had received over the years from co-workers; things she didn’t want but also didn’t throw away. I was surprised by the amount of stuff in the attic that was hers; I knew my father hoarded, but I didn’t think mom did, too.

Day after day we discussed whether to keep, throw or sell items in the attic; and day after day she grew angrier and more resentful. I encouraged her to keep items that were of sentimental value, but to let go of the stuff that meant nothing to her. She yelled at me one afternoon; “This is my life!” Gently, I said “This is just stuff. Your life is in your memories and in the people who love you.” That seemed to make her even more angry, which I find baffling.

On our final day of attic cleaning I was sitting on a folding chair tossing items towards the garbage bag at the top of the stairs; mom was sitting on another chair sorting the items I tossed. Suddenly, she started crying and yelled at me, “Don’t be mad at me for all this junk. Be mad at your father!” I calmly replied that I wasn’t mad and that we were almost done. After days of back-breaking work in temperatures that ranged from 50 to 90 degrees we were almost finished! And now she decides to have a fit.

After that, I couldn’t do anything right. She didn’t like the way I mixed powdered tea; she got upset over the amount of beverages I drank in a day; she disapproved of me changing clothes after I did yoga; when I asked to use the car she demanded to know where I was going; she complained about the amount of trash I placed in the bathroom trash can; she complained that I let my alarm clock ring too long in the morning. The complaints were endless!

I know she is still grieving the death of my father. I know she faces an uncertain future as a widow. I know she was upset about throwing away the items from the attic and was taking her frustrations out on me. What I don’t know is if I am willing to put myself in this position again. I don’t want to be her verbal punching bag—I had enough of that as a child. I wouldn’t put up with that type of behavior from anyone else, so why should I have to put up with my mother treating me that way?!

Maybe I should take a cue from my brother and only call mom a few times a year instead of nearly every week. Maybe I should only email her sporadically and not offer to help her with major projects. Maybe I should distance myself from her again.

My own mental health may require it.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

It Makes No Sense

This morning my husband received a phone call from a woman who said a package had arrived at her home for him. The box was delivered to our previous address and the delivery information included his phone number, so she called to ask if he wanted to pick up the package.

The woman is the new owner of our previous home; the one we lost to foreclosure. She said she had only been living there for two weeks and had paid $120,000 for the home. We originally paid $212,900 and made several thousand dollars in upgrades to the home before the housing market in Phoenix collapsed. When my husband lost his job and had to settle for a much smaller salary in order to stay employed, we were no longer able to justify the expense of a mortgage that was so far upside down.

You may recall that I tried to negotiate a lower mortgage payment, a lower mortgage principle, or a short-sale; after several months of phone calls and paperwork, none of these options were approved by our lender.

Why was our lender content to sell the home to another party for current market value, but they wouldn’t offer us the same deal to stay in the home? What sense does it make to toss us out after two years of faithful payments simply because our situation had changed? The lender would have lost significantly less money had they negotiated a change in terms with us. That would have allowed us to continue owning the home at a rate that was more in line with the current economy and it would have saved time, effort and money on the part of the lender. Sounds reasonable to me.

I’m sure thousands of foreclosed-upon people are finding themselves in the same situation.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

It’s Been a While

I didn’t realize I had been away from my blog for so long. Let’s get caught up, shall we.

Hubby and I refused the credit union’s kind offer to grant us a short sale if we agreed to pay them $15,000 in order to receive said approval. The credit union did not change their stance regarding the denial and we received our notice of trustee’s sale.

A few days ago, we moved out of our house and into a very nice rental home in our neighborhood. The house is bigger than the one we owned, more affordable and repairs don’t come out of our pocket. Sweet!

We are completely protected from any collection attempts on the debt we left behind. The proposed changes to the Arizona Anti-deficiency law (which I referenced in my previous post) were not passed.

We do need to rebuild our credit score, but in a few years it will be like none of this ever happened. We won’t drain our savings in order to hold onto a house that is sadly in need of repair and worth a fraction of the mortgage amount. No, it hasn’t been an easy process; but I see this as a positive resolution to our problem.

Your mileage may vary.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The End is Near

After two months of paperwork and phone calls, we finally heard from the credit union regarding our short sale request.

Yesterday the loss mitigation manager advised me that Fannie Mae (our mortgage lender) is requiring a $10,000 note at 0% interest for 60 months be carried by us in order to move forward with the short sale.

Today the loss mitigation manager called again to inform me that the private mortgage insurance company, Genworth Financial, requires a $5,000 note to be carried in order to approve the short sale. So between the two companies they want $15,000 in order to approve the short sale purchase or our house. I thought it was very convenient that we have that exact amount in a savings CD (our emergency fund).

I was also told that even though he stated yesterday that we had five days to decide what we were going to do, pre-foreclosure procedures had already begun. (Whatever that means.)

The loss mitigation manager went on to insist that we are not really a hardship case and that is the reason for the penalty. I was told that according to federal guidelines, my husband’s income is more than sufficient to continue paying the mortgage. I told him it may look that way on paper but in reality we are spending more money every month than we have coming in; thus the need to get out of our mortgage. We can rent an identical house in our neighborhood for 1/3 less than our mortgage; and renters have the added benefit of not spending money on repairs.

He also advised me that the state of Arizona is modifying the anti-deficiency law. (I was already aware of the change and have read the new statute; we are still protected.) He stated that the change places us at risk of being sued by the lender for the full loss amount. He stated that we may also find ourselves with a 1099 for the loss amount as well, meaning that we would be liable to pay federal taxes on the loss.

He continued, saying that if we foreclose it will ruin our credit for 7 years and there is an 8 year statute of limitations on law suits. Since we have no debt and adequate income (according to his guidelines) he urged us to do the moral thing and become current on our loan and continue paying the mortgage for at least 2 years, at which time the situation may look different. He stressed that this advice was coming from him “as a person” and that it was not legal advice. He talked about how foreclosure takes tax dollars away from every American since our lender is Fannie Mae.

If we still want the short sale, he said the only way to avoid being sued and taxed was to carry $15K worth of debt to the lender and private mortgage insurer.

My realtor and her broker, who have been processing short sales for the past year, have never heard of this situation from any lender. They have never before had a client faced with the prospect of carrying a note with their lender in order to be approved for the short sale. She said they are probably trying to scare me and that they were successful in scaring her. (She owns several rental properties and may find herself in a similar situation if the economy continues to slide.)

Like I said, I’ve read the changes to the foreclosure law and we are still protected. I am meeting with our real estate attorney later this week to confirm that I am interpreting the new law correctly.

With every phone call, the loss mitigation manager is sounding less and less like a banking professional and more and more like a debt collector. Foreclosure is something I had hoped to avoid but it is a legally available remedy to our situation. I am not going to let this guy scare me.

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Friday, July 17, 2009


Why is the anniversary of my son’s death so painful? It’s not as though I haven’t been missing him every minute of every day for the past five years; and yet I still find myself a blubbery mess on the actual anniversary. Am I subconsciously allowing myself to feel things I normally try to suppress (without much success) other days?

Whatever the reason, I haven’t left the house in two days and I keep breaking out in tears. Time does not heal all wounds, and whoever propagates that lie should be slapped.

Pass the Kleenex.

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