I received a package in the mail today, containing blackberry bushes (2 blueberry plants are on order, but haven't arrived). Oh what joy! This purchase was made possible by the generosity of one of my readers and I am eternally grateful. I will plant them where a hedge used to be in the yard. They will stay after we move, so that future renters will be able to enjoy the fruits. It makes me happy to pay it forward, even in little ways.
The chore list and chore jar are helping a lot. I am having to spend significantly less of my time on housekeeping and the kids are getting much better at cleaning up after themselves. The chore can still gets used about 3 or 4 days out of the week. Like I said before, though, I won't complain because it means that the guilty part does one of my chores, which makes up for the time that I had to spend picking up after them.
The financial worries are a little lessened at the moment. Some amazing people in my life have contributed what they can to keep us afloat and it has helped so much. I have been selling items, mostly in online auctions. It's not going to make me rich, of course, but it's become a part-time job that's allowing me to pay a few bills and the fees for the upcoming exam to get a limited legal license, which is required for my next internship. YAY! Things are still tight, but not as dire as they were.
On the child support front, there are mixed blessings. I knew that the Big's father had been working again and wasn't paying any of his support obligation, as was the case with the last half dozen jobs. Last week though, I lost my temper with him about it. I was told that I just don't understand how hard it is to try to get by on a small amount of money. I would like to say that I handled myself with class and let it pass me by but, that would be a lie. Truthfully, I yelled at him and told him that, not only do I understand what it is to get by on nothing, I have to figure out how to stretch that to meet the needs of children. "I don't have the luxury of only caring for myself!" is the phrase that I actually used. Perhaps someday I will be able to conduct myself in a more dignified manner and not let him get to me, but that wasn't the day.
Child Support Enforcement had asked me to hold off on my own enforcement efforts because they had some attempts planned. That was in June and not a word from them since. So, I called them back. In June they sent out letters to most recent employers to verify employment status. At the end of July, they got the confirmation that he was not with any of those jobs at that time. No surprise, of course, since he works construction, most of his jobs are short term. Apparently, at that point, they didn't want to revoke his license in case he found a job. That part I understand. What I do NOT understand is the fact that, since that time, no one has reviewed the file to see the jobs that he has had since then OR to make any enforcement efforts whatsoever. They didn't even send one of their little letters. After my phone call, though, they decided to move forward. If I understood her correctly, they were sending out a notice to him and, if he didn't make a payment within 10 days, they would make further efforts.
Well, he made a partial payment. Which is good, since the money is badly needed. I worry, though, that this will be like last time they sent him a letter. At that time, he made a small payment to get them off his back and didn't pay anything else until now. Hopefully, though, he will continue to pay voluntarily since this partial payment will stall their enforcement efforts. According to what the Child Support Enforcement worker told me, they won't do anything unless there had been 90 days without payment. So, he may have bought himself some time. I will be writing up some subpoenas, over the next few days, though, and will ask the court to reset the hearing for my own enforcement efforts. It is clear that I can't count on the state to assist me, so I will advocate for myself.
On a more happy note, the whole family is getting excited about graduation. Only 202 days! There is a light at the end of this very long tunnel...