Showing posts with label money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money. Show all posts

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Final Assignment


            As I have mentioned in my online-themed posts, there is a daily checkpoint question given each day.  For the most part the questions will be on the class subject of that particular week. The basic classes (the ones given to brand new students) will often throw in questions about finances and career choices. The economy class I had recently taken was/is a basic class.

            I had originally decided to approach my assignment from a different angle as I had asked my instructor about non-profit organizations during one of the lectures.  I had wondered it any would be considered oligopolies and so had pulled up references for that.  I had actually tried three or four approaches before I had about 20-30 references.  I knew I would not end up using them all and actually ended up going in the same direction as my post.  I called my final assignment  "Show Me the Money"  and added a thesis statement though I probably didn't need one since it was a starter class for many of my peers.

             APA Style is the writing style that is required by the school.  APA stands for American Psychological Association.  Many instructors seem to put a greater emphasis on the style itself than they do with the content.  I think that is annoying.  I had more examples, but it was only supposed to be 600 words and I have over 800.  I'm pleased that I have received full credit for this assignment.  I double spaced for the assignment itself, but will do not so here.  It just looks weird as a post.
                                                   Show Me The Money Conflict

            "Everyone  should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized. - Albert Einstein.

            All people deserve to be treated with respect regardless of  what position they hold.  A single mother struggling to put food on the table should not be treated as though she does not matter, nor should a president of a large company expect to be worshiped or take advantage of others because he has more money or power.  We are all human beings, not statistics. Oligopolies and poverty levels are statistics.
            An Oligopoly can be defined as a few large firms that control a larger percentage of the market than all the other competitors put together (Study, 2013).  Oligopolies form from competition and advertising enticing the customer into believing that theirs is the best product (O. Market, 2017) .  They do this by offering goods at a lower cost or a deal of "buy one get one free" or some other "reward" for purchasing said product from them and not their competitors.
            For example, there are several cell phone providers - but according to (2013)  it appears that AT&T  and Verizon deal with more than half the consumers' cell phone plans, followed by T-Mobile and Sprint.  Those four cell phone plan providers make up for 99% of all consumers with cell phone plans leaving every other cell phone provider all lumped into one percent.
            Some of the lures these markets have used is, "keep your same cell phone number" "switch for free" "we will pay your old phone bill if you make the switch" and there are consumers who actually go back and forth between companies trying to get the best deal. Then there are those who choose not to deal with the larger companies because they all seem to fail at great quality customer service.  It is not just cell phone plans that have an oligopoly, but fast food chains as well.
            I have never considered the food industry as having oligopolies and yet Welker's Game Theory (2013) used two popular food chains to explain oligopoly.  Burger King and McDonald's have long time seemed like rivals - trying to outdo one another enticing consumers with prices or selling how the  meat is cooked or how fast service.
            Some people are under the impression that it is the American Dream to get ahead, to build an empire and earn billions of dollars.  That may be the case for some, but not all Americans have that dream.  According to The Founder, the McDonald Brothers had set up shop just to make an honest living.  It was not their dream to blow up so big that they would lose control over a concept they had.  Ray Kroc believed it was his dream to head a food empire and kept the McDonalds name, though the McDonald brothers were no longer involved.   Kroc paid a high price - though not as high a price as did the McDonald brothers (Hancock, 2016).
            According to 20/20  the top six fast food chains - including Burger King and McDonald's -  made up for 6.6 billion dollars in 2015 and yet 52% of their employees are on some kind of welfare assistance.  The cameras followed Terrance Wise, who worked for both McDonald's and Burger King.  As he spent most of his day either working or traveling to get there, it gave him little time to spend with his family.  It's disheartening as he watches unsold food being thrown away (Reality, 2017).
                        I live in Douglas County, which once was a thriving community.  Sawmill workers may have had dreams about how they would spend their money after they retired from the saw mill where they had worked for many years and expected more to come. When the sawmills closed in 1978, those who could afford to leave Myrtle Creek packed up their belongings or sold off what they could, to find work in another location, generally in another state.  Circumstances changed whatever dreams they may have had  (Heilman, 2014 p 78).  Very few people (if any) choose to be poor.
            A rich person may donate $1,000 to a local charity and  use it as a tax write off.  For him to write a check for that amount is no big deal.  For him, it may be just chump change.  Another man may spend only $7.00 on a swimsuit so that his daughter may have a birthday gift to unwrap (Reality, 2017) and though the amount of  $7.00 seems so much smaller than $1,000, the poor man is giving everything while the rich man gives something that he may consider small. 
            If we treat one another with respect, regardless of our position, we create better human beings.  Humans should be made to feel humane and not a statistic.  Respect may be the first step taken towards stamping out the poverty.
            The pictures were not a part of my assignment, but are there for the affect of the post.       On Monday I start to more classes.  Management: Entrepreneurship and Math.   

Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Don't Wish to Be Normal or Average

                I always thought I was unique about seeing faces in patterns or saying a certain vegetable or color that is not the same one that everybody else thinks of.  Jenna has watched a lot of "Brain Games" and as I have watched it with her, I have discovered that I fall into the norm.  What?!  I don't want to be normal.  I want to embrace my differentness.  What differentness?

                Last night Roland and I were watching 20/20 (found here and here) in which Diane Sawyer interviewed a number of people and took us into a piece of their lives and I cried about the struggles of the average American working hard for so little - holding multiple jobs just to stay afloat.  And that is what most of us are doing - just staying afloat.

                My parents weren't the wealthiest of couples, but my dad was GREAT at math and budgeting. With the help of clipping coupons and knowing where to find the great bargains, mom and dad made it work.  They gave us everything with what little they had.  Every year my family would go on a vacation together.  Every year.  The one year that we couldn't afford to go on vacation, we spent each day doing family outings.  (see here and here)

                I had wanted to do that with my family whenever I had one.  I didn't know I would be so dirt poor that just going to the movies would break us.  I know there are many who are better off than we are (financially anyway) but apparently we're still doing better than average.  And that's scary.  What kind of a nation are we living in that people are donating their plasma to make ends meet or try to provide their child with a birthday gift or sleeping in their cars during the day so that they can taxi other workers home at day's end?

                Why is a firefighter doubling as a paramedic not getting paid a decent salary?  Firefighters put their lives on the line for us and they're only getting minimum wage?  What kind of crock is that? Why are so many educators working second and third jobs?  Why are so many people spending so many hours apart from those they are trying to support?

                This morning we were watching a documentary on the roots of Joseph Smith - how his father had been cheated out of a sale made, how the family moved from place to place and continued to struggle.  Evidently, we stand in good company.

                We have always had a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes to wear.  Currently, Roland does not have to travel to work which saves for gas money and wear and tear on the car.  He hasn't had to spend 2-6 hours on the road to get to McDonald's just to make ends meet.  We have been blessed.  

                I still would like to take our entire family on vacation.  I'd like for all of us to go to Disneyland in October.  That is when mom and dad were married, and that is where they spent their honeymoon.  It would be hurtful to go at the expense of somebody else - struggling just to put food on the table.  It makes me sad.  It would be truly amazing if Trump could single-handedly turn us around.  Six more days.  Kayla's birthday.  What a thrill getting a new president inaugurated every four birthdays.  LOL

Monday, August 24, 2015

Easy Money - for her anyway

            When Jenna was three she had learned what goes into the recycling can and what waste goes into the garbage - something her dad and brothers never seemed to catch onto no matter how many times I tried to spell it out for them.  They either just didn't get it, were just too lazy or just didn't care.  Often Jenna and I would scold them.  It was pretty funny when she was the one who called them on it.

            Since we've been in Oregon Roland has improved a great deal.  Still not perfect, but much much better at recycling in Oregon than he was in Salt Lake.

            In Salt Lake there were few who would actually collect the aluminum cans and physically take them to a recycling and get paid so much per pound.  Here, in Oregon, deposits are paid at the time of purchase.  In order to get our deposit back, we need to recycle.  And we can't crush down cans and bottles the way we did in Salt Lake.  The item is deposited into a machine that will read the barcode and tally each bar code read. 

            The machine then spits out a receipt for the total amount of containers returned.  That is then taken to the register of whatever store the machine resides and a deposit is collected - which we should just apply to our next purchase, but somehow we have given Jenna the honors of collecting the cans and water bottles and taking them to the machine and allowing her to keep the money for her part in.

            Jenna's got a good head on her shoulders.   When she is not making money out of recycled products, she is creating.  As I have mentioned in several posts, Jenna had a healthy imagination. 

            The idea behind this creation was to roll paper out as though it were a tongue, and she could tear off the amount needed as one would with tape. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Loaded Paintbrushes and the Rest of the Story

After we had purchased the house
Roland put the boys to work
painting the trim red.
That was seven years ago.
Time to paint again.

Randy needs money
and Roland puts all three boys to work
and says he’ll pay them 100 dollars each
as soon as the work is done.
The instructions are fairly simple: 
Everything that is red needs to be painted over in green,
everything that’s white needs to be repainted white.

Biff was the first to show.
He works graveyard and comes
straight from his job
though two weeks ago
I think he went to the gym before coming here

Roland had to work that day
and so I had told Tony that he could be in charge
I didn’t want Randy to be in charge
because most of the time
he doesn’t even know what he’s doing
as he has managed to disappear
each time Roland taught the boys a trade

Randy appears to be genuine about helping
or at least that was the case two weeks ago
But he loaded the paintbrush
so that it dripped onto the cement below.
I know that’s not how Roland taught him
but listening has never been his greatest skill.
I am so grateful that he hadn’t tried painting Jenna’s room
Otherwise she’d have blue splotches all over her floor
not to mention we would have run out of paint
before all of the walls were finished
We put Randy in charge of moving the lawn.

All three boys showed up the week before last.
When Tony and Biff both took off
Randy continued to work
and may have finished
except for we ran out of green
Of course none of us were here last week
as Jenna had her 5K.  
That was the first morning
since Tony’s been married
that I remember him showing up on time.

Roland wants the job done ASAP
It’s taking too long.
He hired some other people to finish the job.
They didn’t finish.
They said they’ll be back on Monday.
Roland wants the job done NOW
so yesterday  Biff and Tony showed up
(Randy is out of town)
More got done.
It isn’t finished though.
There is more red trim to paint green
Jenna’s old room needed painting as well

After Biff and Tony left for the day
Roland recruited me to help him paint
We put a light beige over the pink
in Jenna’s old room.
The wall came out a light tan.
I like the color.

After the room looked finished
(though there are still a lot of flaws)
Roland took the bed apart 
and leaned it against the wall.
He then drilled a hole into the floor
and went under the house
to change the cable.

There was a time in my life
when I had gone spelunking
with a large group
and actually had fun
exploring the cave

It wasn’t until just before our exit
that I became freaked
at the very idea of the closure
and the "what if"s.
I have not been underground since.

Roland’s not at all fazed by the crawl space
but I am definitely having problems about it.
So he was in the crawl space and I was
over the hole that he drilled.
He could hear me. 
I could not hear him enough to
understand what he was saying to me
so I sent Jenna to stand over the crawlspace
and translate what Roland saying.

She hung upside down as she watched him.
The cables were too short and he and Jenna went to the store
to pick up a longer cable.

I tried to take a nap while they were gone
but my body was so sore that
I couldn’t relax.
I’ve never been eighty.
I’ve seen some 80 year olds who are quite healthy
and move like they’re twenty.
But I’ve seen more who seem hunched over
and have trouble walking
as though they are experiencing a shooting pain
with every step.
That is how I feel –
like the misshapen 80 year old
and every part of me hurts
even went I’m not moving

I couldn’t sleep
and so I turned on the television
to see if that might help
I flipped around until I landed on the BYU station
announcement is made that
Granite Flats first episode is coming up next”
I hadn’t ever seen it. 
I started watching it although
I figured Roland and Jenna would return
before the program ended
and I still would not see it.

The doorbell rang
and I got up to answer the door.
Roland and Jenna were standing there with several packages
half of which were food
I helped them unload their bags.
When I returned to the other room,
the TV had been turned off

Roland returned to the crawl space
and we threaded the cable through.
He then moved in the computer from one room
We hooked up and moved the desk
from the bedroom
Hard work
Both of us were tired.
Both of us were sore.
My mind was the only thing NOT sore
as it kept of thinking of things
I wanted to post.
I’m still sore.
When I got out of bed this morning,
I walked slower
and less gracefully than
Frankenstein’s Monster.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Clipping Coupons and Providing Family

My brother just recently shared this post on his facebook page:

When Mom was 13 her parents divorced. When she was 16 her mom remarried. Both of these events were very difficult for Mom for reasons I won't go into here.

In this entry of 1982 she says the following:

"It was also during my teens that I made some vows: 1) I would never raise my children in an apartment 2) With all my heart I would do everything to avoid a divorce 3) I would do my best to be home with my children 4) I would try not to lay guilt on my children 5) My children would be involved in family councils in which they could present their ideas."

Check, check, check, check, and check, Mom. Well done!

I remember mom clipping coupons from the back of the carton of Highland Milk.  Even on a budget, those coupons provided us opportunity for going to the zoo, amusement parks, and so forth.  Mom and dad held strong family ties and taught us values – though we didn’t know it at the time.

Shortly after my brother, Corey, was born, our monthly bills seemed to outweigh dad’s income.  Apparently he and mom discussed his taking on a second job – fearing that the long hours would become a strain to his health (not to mention that none of us would ever see much of him) mom decided that she would go back to work.  She decided she would find a job that would provide hours after my dad got home. 

Mom worked at the ice cream store longer than needed.  When a manager was needed, she volunteered as she was not thrilled with the idea of other candidates being her manager.  What started out as a necessity eventually became extra income for the family.  I believe she was there until the store closed.  

Mom took on other forms of employment after daddy died.  By then Patrick was married and out of the house.  Corey would come and go with education and employment.  She took on day hours when we were each old enough to care for ourselves.

I appreciate both dad and mom’s strength and sacrifices.  My sibs and I are truly blessed.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hope that Smoke was Worth the Fine!

Yesterday morning was quite interesting.  It started off with Jenna and me taking the bus.  We were running late and saw our regular driver zoom by before we arrived to the stop.  The other route was not so far behind him and so we were okay.

I had volunteered to be the subject of a hair specialist but was unable to make it to the designated area at the scheduled time and so the one who made the appointment offered to drive me there.  We agreed to meet behind Jenna’s school.  Turns out that Megan has the same sense of direction as my mom had, and so it took a while before we actually got together.  It also took a while to get her car turned in the direction we needed to go (as she was very turned around)

As we were headed to our destination, the hairdresser called to tell Megan that she had mono and NOT to bring me – though the message was not received until we were near the location.  I wasn’t bothered really nor did I feel put out and apologized to Megan for having gone out of her way to come and get me (I actually hadn’t known how far she had come to get me until we were on our way there) and she felt bad that I had wasted my morning.

I told her that I would have taken a train to the library and as the library doesn’t open until 10:00 I would have spent that time waiting anyway.  She offered to take me to the library but I had her drop me off at TRAX station instead. 

I exited the train at the time my appointment would have started.  I still had to wait for the library doors to open – even with the bizarre morning excursion.  After I picked up the items that had been placed on hold, I returned to TRAX with three minutes to spare before the train’s departure.  I watched a man talking on the cell phone. He had a cigarette in his mouth standing less than six inches from the “no smoking” sign.  Really?

Before the train pulled away he’d been approached by a kind police officer – or so it appeared.  The officer was smiling as he pointed to the sign.  I sensed that perhaps he was a smoker himself (or had been) and was not thrilled with the idea of writing this guy up.  The smoker, of course, was not happy. I don’t know if the officer was writing up a warning or citation.  The train pulled away as the smoker stood waiting for his identification to be returned.

UTA fines are heavy from what I understand.  I may have violated crossing where I’m not supposed to, but I was never sited for it.  I don’t know if they cite you for that or if they just enforce you to walk to the designated area for crossing.  I know they’ll cite individuals who cross the tracks while on their cell phones, I just learned about the enforced “no smoke” policy yesterday.  And I know that there’s a huge fine involved for those who can’t produce proof of payment. 

I’ve actually not had many opportunities in which I’ve had to show proof – maybe it’s because I don’t ride the train all that often.  But I have seen police at various locations boarding other trains – or perhaps the driver will pick them up at an undesignated stop – I don’t know.  With the few times I have needed to show proof , it seems like the enforcement officers appeared out of nowhere and then were gone just as instantly as they had appeared.

Jenna and I did see two police officers interrogating two youth or young adults rather.  One may have been nineteen but the other was still considered a minor.  I’m guessing the two rode the train without having paid and got caught.  After the citations were issued the one that must have been eighteen or nineteen (though I suppose she could have been older), she walked passed me and Jenna like it was no big deal. The other girl was humiliated and ashamed. She appeared to be in tears as she was escorted to the parking lot by the two officers who stood behind her watching like the Gestapo. I assume waiting for her parents or guardians to pick her up.

I can’t imagine any amount of money attached to the fine to be worth the ride or the smoke or talking on the cell phone or crossing at the wrong place . I do understand each of them and I’m grateful to know that they are being enforced.  Oh, I’m certain that there have been many who have gotten away with it.  Perhaps more than there have been those who’ve paid.  Some sadly haven’t had the opportunity to pay with money.  Some have sadly paid with their lives – which is why the rules are enforced.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Comparing Roland to Uncle Lynn

             My aunt Alice was 32 when she announced her engagement to Lynn Brown. Grandma Helen had a problem with it – I think her suspicions must have spread. He was okay.  I tried not to pass judgment on him.  He was an odd fellow.  But in time I could understand.

            Of course Corey had his own reasons for not wanting to like him.  I don’t recall how old he was. Nine, I think.  He was already suspicious of any man who wore sunglasses or a beard or who had a bald head.  Uncle Lynn happened to have all three. 

            His mom gave birth to four boys before him.  I don’t recall how many years are between Lynn and the others – but it seems like it was six or more.  His mom had wanted a girl. She had planned for a girl.  She had picked out the name Lynnette Darcy Brown – and that is what it says on his birth certificate.  

            Lynn’s mom is ODD.  I don’t know that she always had been – but something happened .  I don’t know how old Lynn was when he went into foster care or why or for how long.  I don’t know how often he saw his mom – if they lived in different states or what.  I’m not certain why I know what little information I do have.  But I know he was living with another family when he graduated from high school.  Lynn’s mother actually reminded me of the mother that had abused her daughter Sybil not that I suspected her of having abused – perhaps it was the actress who had portrayed Sybil’s mother   

              Aunt Alice passed away.  She and Lynn had four boys together.  The eldest was a senior in high school when Aunt Alice passed.  The family seemed to distrust Uncle Lynn even more as he had cheated us out of an inheritance and seems to continue to swindle and bribe.  But I don’t know the full details.  It could have just been bad investment on his part.  
            I think my sibs may think of Roland the same way as they do my Uncle – or at least my brothers anyway.  Kayla and I are in the same financial boat married to husbands who like to spend – though it is usually for the benefit of others.  Kayla has NEVER been a materialistic – not that my brothers are – but they do have more insight to finances and expenses than do either Kayla or I.

           Roland doesn’t swindle and cheat intentionally.  Sometimes his investments are not as great as he had hoped for.  Not his fault that the economy went caput.  I do think he handled his divorce poorly however – and the courts in Utah have been totally unfair.  Therefore we have struggled.  He doesn’t have the best track record for finances.  I don’t suppose either one of us do.  But I don’t believe he’s anything like Uncle Lynn.  But I know my brothers don’t trust either one with money.  And I do understand.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Biff does not have common sense about money management – but than it’s not as if he’s had fine examples to follow.  Roland and I have borrowed money from all four of our children.  We’ve also paid back with interest.  Except for Randy – who will constantly remind us whether we actually made a deal with him or not.

Randy is a go getter.  He found someone to buy the reject truck that nobody else in the family wanted – leaving Biff carless once again.  Biff had enough money to for a down payment on another car and to build his credit back up again – only when the time came to purchase, he had considerably less money.  Randy was ticked.  Where did it go?  How do you spend that much money?

I don’t know what Randy was thinking to co-sign for Biff.  Nor do I understand what Biff was thinking to let him.  But the car remains parked in front of our house – unregistered.  Biff still is not managing wisely.  I don’t know how to help him understand.

Then yesterday Roland came to me and said that Biff had purchased an airline ticket so that he could go visit “his girlfriend” Hailey.  Who the heck is Hailey?
Now I have learned just because Roland uses the word “girlfriend” does not make it so.  Roland doesn’t believe in platonic relationships.  That’s crazy.  It’s also crazy to go to another state on a gamble.  But Roland doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.  He said he would be willing to travel the distance for me.  Biff probably knows more about Hailey than Roland knew about me when he proposed.

I had heard Biff refer to Hailey once before.  Only once though.  And it was a different Hailey from the 10-20 that are facebook friends with Randy.  But still . . .

Biff also plans on visiting his brother, Tony.  I’m betting that Tony and Hailey live in two different parts of the state.  And Roland is betting that Biff will be calling us when he runs out of money.  I wonder if Biff will actually look for work while he’s down there.  I wonder how long his car will sit in front of the house before it is towed away.

It’s a nice car, actually.  I wouldn’t mind trading the car I drive for it – the car that’s got a dent on the side and faulty electronics.  I feel quite blessed to have it though.  I may have mentioned on two different posts actually.  Aside from its faults, my car can still get me from here to there – and even farther (as Biff has proved)

He’s going to Texas.  I wonder what arrangements he has made to get himself to the airport.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Actually, Location Does Matter – but not Always an Option

I went out to see my mom at the assisted living yesterday.  The last two times I have gone, I’ve taken her out to see Aunt Trudy – who is currently in rehab and in a facility with a name similar to the place where mom is staying, but such radical difference in the two places.

Granted, the facility my aunt is in is not the last place that she will ever call home. It is a rehab center.  But it reminds me of some of the assisted living facilities that Corey and I had looked into but could not afford. I don't know how this rehab bill is going to affect Aunt Trudy – for I know that it will be more pricy than the bills Corey gets for mom.

The center where mom is currently seems understaffed.  And each of the staff members assists with the seating and the feeding and the meds and forms of entertainment.  They start setting up and bringing residents to the table starting at 11:00.  They don’t eat until 12:00.  There is one cook.

At the center where my aunt is (or even Sunrise – the place we would have put mom if money was no option) has staff teams.  I don’t know how many people were in the kitchen.  But there were three people at the table where my aunt had been seated (really fine dining atmosphere by the way – like some posh club or something) and there were three people that served them.  So each resident gets his/her own waiter?

I was asked if I wanted soup.  I was hungry but had brought my own lunch so as not to saddle my aunt’s bill with an extra expense.  I was told there was no charge for the soup.  It was really good soup!  I think they could have charged $5.00 a bowl, it was that delicious.

The residents (temp residents or patients, clients?  What would you call them) have a choice of menu items.  I don’t know how many people are in the kitchen.  I imagine the kitchen is bigger than the entire house where I currently reside (and that is NOT an exaggeration)

The food at mom’s facility? It is okay. Not that I’ve had a lot of it.  Usually there is no place to sit.  They don’t get to choose from menu items.  Eat what is served to them or don’t eat at all.

Aunt Trudy’s bed looks like it is just a single – but her room is huge!  Her bathroom is huge (but it has to facilitate a wheelchair and at least one nurse) I don’t know how often each staff member stops by.  But it’s routine clock work – I don’t guess there’s a single hour when somebody isn’t looking in on her.

Mom’s place – well . . . they have a schedule.  It gets altered a lot.  Things don’t always happen on time.  Sometimes personal items get misplaced (bras in the laundry – all with worn out tags) and sometimes overlooked.

I’m not blaming anyone.  You get what you pay for.  But there’s a lot of love and concern that goes into my mom’s place because they’re so small.  They know not just their residence, but all the family members who come to visit.  I see some smiles and genuine positive emotion with some of those who have worked with my aunt (or at least there in the facility) but I have seen just as many who are “just doing their job” who are there to get a paycheck and be polite – but their priorities don’t always seem to be set on those they serve. 

I could be wrong.  I’ve only been there twice.  Each time I’ve been overwhelmed by the “luxury”.  At mom’s I am underwhelmed for the most part.  Though I do appreciate the devotion of the staff.
I had a friend who had done rehab in an assisted living facility or nursing home, rather.  It seemed overcrowded and understaffed and reminded me of a veteran’s ward, actually. I knew of two real people that had been sent there to live for the remainder of their lives – one of whom is younger than I.  She had Huntington’s disease.  And her mom was not in a position to take care of her full time.  Same facility.

But my friend was in good spirits.  It’s certainly not the place she would have chosen for herself, but it was an option through the insurance company – and unlike many that were there, she would be returning to live with her family and would not be there until she died.

Sometimes we find that we just have to settle due to our own lack of control. Because we haven’t been blessed with financial wealth.  Because the economy robbed us of our house and were forced to move to a less expensive area.  Because the government is dipping into your paycheck because they say you owe money even though you were on welfare the last two and a half years.  Because the income you depend on has the name of your deceased spouse on it, it is automatically given to medical and you have no say in it whatsoever.

I love the school Jenna goes to currently.  I have to drive her two miles south each morning and then drive back to pick her up.  She rode the bus in her last four months of kindergarten.  We had moved to a different school boundary – one that caters to those who come from homes with a language barrier or those that are learning challenged or slow.  Jenna wasn’t happy there.  Neither one of us were.

It is such a different situation – entirely – when comparing the two schools.  Teachers at the former school kept everything under lock and key – even while in the classroom.  At her current school, teachers seem to trust students.  They close the doors and turn off the lights and that’s usually good enough for a student not to go in – or if he does, it’s to go through his own desk – never the teachers.

Jenna’s in a portable classroom this year.  I have had to use a pass to return to the main building.  The students at her current school are so polite.  They open doors for adults and stand there until the adult has passed through.  I don’t think that would even cross the minds of those in the other school that she went to.

At the former school, instruction seminars were held for the parents once a month – they would have the opportunity for learning proper hygiene, basic nutrition, things I had learned in junior high.  All of the seminars were done in Spanish and the school would supply English translators for those of us who didn’t speak Spanish (I’d gone to a seminar to meet other parents; I felt like a fish out of water) but the opportunity to mingle felt so limited.  I only went to twice.

At Jenna’s current school, there are very few that don’t speak English.  And there are several bilingual parents, teachers and students that no one should feel out of place.  There probably are a few parents who could use the basics, but no seminars are offered or morning mingles (which I learned was just a name – I did try to associate – but it just didn’t take.  But it helped me understand why Jenna was having such a hard time as she couldn’t seem to communicate either)

I loved the friendly faculty of the former school and didn’t feel threatened by anybody – but there was definitely a different atmosphere from the school Jenna attends today. 

Location.  The former is a boundary thing.  The one today.  Ironically she’s learning Spanish in the dual immersion.  But she has friends there.  She tried but made only one friend at the former – and then that friend moved.

It seems like I heard these words in Sunday morning’s session of conference: “It doesn’t matter where you live; whether it’s a nice neighborhood . . ." somehow I let those words set off my emotions.  There was a fuel burning inside of me that made me explode.  We didn’t choose our neighborhood.  We’re here because we had to settle. But perhaps I took the message out of context.  Perhaps it was my own interpretation made set me off.

 We are still struggling just to make ends meet.  The house across the street must be a section 8 and someone else is helping to fill out the required paperwork in order to get state support (I know they have to have assistance – the woman who resides there isn’t smart enough to do it herself) The police have been called I don’t know how many times because of her undisciplined children.  We certainly had absolutely no say as to whether we wanted them for neighbors or not.

Currently the police department in West Valley is being investigated by the FBI.  Should I be concerned?  I know that values start in the home – I know we can help instill learning in Jenna.  She is happy with her family.  But she shouldn’t be afraid to leave the house because of the idiots across the street.  Location does make a difference.  Sure, attitude does also.  But it’s hard having to be the strong one all the time.  It’s hard being one of 25 who volunteer and show up to see the same ones doing it again and again.  I’m worn out. 

I don’t want to have to settle because my husband’s ex wife is a habitual liar and the government won’t cut us a break.  I’m tired of living from paycheck to paycheck.  I’m tired of having needs that aren’t being fulfilled – forget about the desires.

The facility where mom lives seems to struggle just as my family does.  But they are family.  They are bound.  The facility where Aunt Trudy currently resides may have some caring family members – but I think the closeness that brings people together is lost somehow.  Who really has the greener grass?

We have been blessed with transportation.  And yes, we do have shelter for the time being.  Jenna and I have both been blessed with her current education.  And we’ve been so blessed by Church welfare and friends and family.  I guess there are pros and cons to every situation.