Saturday, December 27, 2008

Recent Developments & Changes

WARNING: This will probably be a long, rambling post. I am mostly venting and trying to not be an ostrich any more!

Ok, I am going through something not-so-great right now and have debated back and forth with myself over whether to blog about it or not. Obviously since I'm typing this and you are now reading it, I've decided to go ahead and blog about it. I do not want to continue my ostrich pattern any longer and hopefully I will get some good advice on how to handle this sticky situation.

This story can be a little confusing and somewhat complicated so just bear with me...

Ok, as most of you know my JOB is babysitting children in my home. The money I make from doing this is in no way "extra" money for us. It is used as actual income and goes towards paying the mortgage and our monthly bills.... just like most anyone's paycheck does. It is money that we count on to make ends meet each and every month.

When this job started almost a year and a half ago... my "friend" & neighbor (Mary) approached me about babysitting her 3 kids. I had started working in November 2006 and it lasted only 6 months because I wasn't making enough money to justify the expenses that we incurred so that I could work, daycare, gas, clothes, lunches, etc. Plus, our youngest son Ryan was not handling daycare well at all - to put it mildly. So, she knew we were struggling financially.

It just so happened that Mary's mother (who happens to live across the street from me) had been babysitting her kids and had recently decided that she was not going to continue to babysit any longer. So, Mary came to me to see if I would be interested in babysitting her kids instead of me trying to find another job outside of my home. I had been praying for an answer to our financial problems, and this seemed to be it!! It seemed to be the perfect solution to both of our problems.

Mary's best friend, Michelle, also happened to need a babysitter for her little girl too. I also happen to know Michelle through Mary. So, Michelle approached me and asked if I would be interested in babysitting her daughter as well. Of course, I accepted the offer.

So, that's how it went for an entire year. It was very hectic and stressful ... but I did everything I was asked to do and then some. I kept the kids when I was sick, when my kids were sick, when the kids I babysat were sick, etc.

This year, right before school started, Mary's mother decided she wanted to babysit Mary's 3 kids again. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Mary's mom...but she isn't always dependable to say the least. There is SO much drama with her, it's unreal...but she has a good heart. Anyway.... when Eric (Mary's husband) found out that his mother-in-law wanted to keep the kids again, he was a bit uneasy about it. He was afraid that she would just decide one day out of the blue that she was done babysitting, or that some "health" issue would come up for either her or the grandpa and that on any given day she wouldn't be available for the day, several days or weeks to babysit. Which would mean that Mary & Eric would be stuck without childcare for their 3 kids, which would be a huge problem for anyone.

So, Eric, (who is a lawyer) came over one evening and asked me if I would be the grandma's backup if he committed to me that he would still pay me the same amount each weekly to keep me on "retainer" so to speak. He said that this arrangement would last through the end of the summer of 2009. I felt a little odd about taking money from my friends and not really doing anything... but he assured me that this is what they wanted to do and that it was a small price to pay for security and stability for childcare. So, I accepted their offer. This was right before school started this year.

And, just like Eric thought would happen, there have been several times since school started that the grandma couldn't keep the kids, so I was there to do it. No problem... I held up my end of the deal consistently. In fact, there have been times when their 3 kids just showed up at my front door in the morning without anyone letting me know in advance that I would need to keep them that day.

In the beginning of this arrangement, Mary or Eric would come over and give me a check on time. Lately though, I have had to walk over to their house and ASK for my paycheck. Doing that makes me feel extremely uncomfortable and I've told them that I hate ASKING for it. They have always told me not to feel like that, that they just get busy and forget.

As of Friday, they had not paid me for the past TWO weeks. Finally, I decided to walk over there yesterday and tell them that I need it. Our mortgage payment is due on Jan.1st. So, I get there and Mary is at work. No problem, I'll just talk to Eric. I ask for the check for the two weeks. He says that he doesn't have the checkbook that Mary has it with her at work. (I did eventually get paid for the previous two weeks today - Saturday.) I take a deep breath and ask if everything is ok, and ask if this arrangement is something they want to continue to do because I'm getting a strange feeling about things.

Eric then drops a bombshell.

See, Mary & Eric are planning to take their family to Disney World in February, which I already knew. He then tells me that the law firm he works for has always given their employees a BIG Christmas bonus each year. It turns out that a couple of weeks ago, Mary & Eric had to pay for their trip to get whatever price it was that they were quoted. Well, at that point, Eric had not yet received his bonus. So, he called his mom & stepdad and they agreed to CHARGE their trip to mom & stepdad's credit card. Yes, you heard me. They charged over $3000 to someone else's credit card without having the money to pay them back. Well, guess what happens next?!?! That's right.... turns out that Eric's firm had a change of heart this year and they are not given their employees a bonus at all.

Long story short, Mary & Eric have decided that one place they can cut their monthly expenses is to cut me off. The arrangement that THEY offered to me and that I counted on for income is over. They will use the money they used to pay me to pay his mother back. But wait, it gets even better.

Michelle is also losing her job due to the company that she works for centralizing their sales force to Oklahoma. Her last day of employment is Jan.23rd. Michelle is a single mom with no family in the immediate area. Claire (Michelle's daughter) goes to a private Kindergarten and one of my duties included taking her to and from school. When Michelle found out a few months ago that she was losing her job, she asked if once she finds another job would I please continue to be Claire's babysitter. Of course, I said I would. Problem is now I won't be able to do that since the amount Michelle pays me isn't enough to make ends meet for my family. So, that leaves Michelle up a creek for a babysitter as well. Mary & Eric have agreed to pay me through Jan.23rd.

With all that Jan.23rd...I will no longer be babysitting kids. Unemployed. And, with the kind of "job" I had, I'm not even eligible for unemployment benefits until I can find a new job. This means that I MUST find a job (quickly!) and go back to work outside of the house which means that I may have to put Ryan in daycare and maybe Lane in a before & after school program at a daycare as well.

Needless to say, I am not happy at all. I feel like I was used, betrayed, lied to and taken advantage of. Mike often asks me why I don't have many "girlfriends" that I am really close to...this is a perfect example of why. My close inner circle consists of my sister, my mom, my daughter,my friend Dawn, and my friend Polly (who happens to be Mary's sister!) and that is just fine with me. For years, I considered Mary to be a really good friend of mine. Now, not so much. Lane and Mary's oldest son are best friends, I am close friends with Polly (Mary's sister!), our mothers are friends. Our families are very much intertwined. I am really hurt that they chose to do this.

All of this is happening so that Mary can take her family to Disney World. Eric told me that he asked Mary about cancelling the trip and getting a refund. She told him no that if they did they would lose a $500 deposit and she WANTS to go. Mary was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and I now realize that she wants what she wants when she wants it and will do whatever it takes to make it happen. In my book, this is not how you treat your friends.

So, if anyone in the Baton Rouge/Gonzales/Prairieville area knows of any job openings... please let me know. I would greatly appreciate it.

I fully believe that God has a plan for ALL of us and while I may be surprised by this recent turn of events, He is not. I may not understand His plan, but I have faith in Him and in His plan for me and my family. I have faith that I will find another job and that my family will be ok. Please keep us in your prayers!!


Dawn said...

Sista, I'm so sorry you are going through all of this and you know I will get on the finding you a job thing! There could be things in the school system that would solve all your daycare issues and I will see what is out there. I was worried about your neighbors and that retainer thingie. In the end, they will be the ones who are sorry because they will lose their dependable babysitter for a pleasure trip. You keep praying and maybe this is God's way of saying enough is enough! You have gone above & beyond what you should have done for those kids. I love you and you know I'm always here if you need me. And YAY for not burying your head in the sand! We have both learned so much this year! I love us!

Michelle said...

I just want to say I'm so sorry all of this is going on right now. I know you probably feel very overwhelmed about what to do right now. It's ashame that people take advantage of OUR time like they do. Us being in the same line of work, I understand how you must feel. I just hope God will provide the right answers as to your job situation and first and foremost the kids care. You know if I were closer I would help you out if you ever needed it. And Dawn's right,good for you for talking about what's going on. It helps to get things out in the open. I'll pray for you and your family.


Les, Karen and I can relate. There are few things that are certian- death, taxes, and friendships ending when financial matters are at hand. Karen and I have lost a good friend over a financial deal. Short of it they tried to sell us their van knowing it needed $2000 in repairs.(How do I know? They said they had it checked out and it only needed "minor repairs".BS.) Glad my inner man knew better and had the van checked first. They pressured us to buy it and I told them I don't mix friends and money no matter how good of a deal. They kept pushing, K wanted it, so I said on one condition let my mechanic check it out. Sure enough, $800 just to pass inspection, and another $1200 needed soon.Antifreeze leaking into the oil. Not Good! I learned after the fact the reason they were pressuring us is so they could use it for a down payment on their new van. After that, frienship went south. Soooo, money and friends are never a good thing. Karen always said no matter how nutty your family and those that are like family are they are the only ones you can count on. We live in a society of wanting now what it took our parents 30 years to get. Your friends finances are out of control. Sad, but their world is beginning to crumble. They are worried about losing $500 to spend $3000 plus? they can't afford to go. Now they are in debt to their inlaws and if they can't pay it now you can gaurantee they probably never will. My company cut our bonus too but I didn't go out spending before I "thought" I would have it. So this really is a blessing in disguise.
Don't worry, God has a plan for you. Plans to prosper you and not for calamity. Change is never easy, sometimes it hurts, but pray about it and you'll move into this with peace. Sharpen your resume and apply at a daycare that maybe Ryan can attend. I know all too well losing one income in a blink of an eye. God provided, we tightened down, watched every penny (you never really realize all the little money leaks that add up), started to get smart with our money, and above all let God be in control. If you and Mike are ever interested in some ideas to manage your money let me know. I justed finished a book that automats it and even though it was a lot of common sense I realized I wasn't doing it but this week I'm going to start. This book and program was good for those of us that hate detail budgets. You will get through this. Take a deep breath, relax, and put it behind you. The Devil wants you to worry, God wants to take you to the next level! Proud of you for opening up!

Anonymous said...

Lesley, I'm proud of you for opening up about this, and allowing others to pray on your behalf.
As we talked about, you don't have to worry about daycare. I'll gladly keep my boys, as we discussed. Maybe that is why I lost my job, so I would be available when you needed me for them. One problem solved. I wish I could solve them all for you, but I can at least do this much. Pray about the job situation, and let God lead you to the job that is right for you. Who knows how He will answer, or how He will choose to send that answer. that book and program the one by Dave Ramsey? I've listened to him on the radio, and he makes good, common, old-fashioned sense, and puts God at the helm. Lesley, if that is the program JoeJoe is referring to, talk to him about it. I think both you and Mike would like it and benefit from it.
I'm here when you need to talk, you know that.
I love you!

Lauren said...

You know I am always here for you. I know that this has set you back on your heels but there HAS to be a reason it happened, we just don't know what it is yet! I keep thinking about the old saying, "When one door closes, another one opens!" So we just have to keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to the other "door." I love you bunches, stay stong, and don't let those type of people steal your happiness! They aren't worthy of it.

HerstoryGirl said...

Oh, Lesley. I am so sorry this happened, but I am even more sorry that I did not read this until NOW! I don't know how I missed this post??

I'm glad that everything seems to be working out and that you have found a new job, but I'm very sorry that you feel betrayed and used. That really stinks.
God is so good; when we give it to Him, He always comes through!
Congrats on the new job!