Thursday, September 18, 2014

Walking Through My Woods

4.12 miles walked barefoot through the woods yesterday, using a Runmeter app, leaving me inexplicably happy all day long, cleaning out my phone to download IOS 8 later, as it uses some 5 GB of storage.

As I walked, I listened to a Dave Ramsey podcast while he spoke of those zero interest for 12 months deals that are enticing.  I've done so before on appliances and I've then nerdily written into my line item budget exactly the payments needed in order to knock it off within 11 months, knowing if I don't, then the interest accrues from the beginning at some 24% sky high rates.

I've always paid it off within the time frame, but it's stupid of me to have done this.  What if?  What if something had happened like my other demanding other financial obligations?  Dumb of me to take such a risk, but that's not the most ignorant mistake I've ever made.  25 years ago I leased a car, referred to as a fleece nowadays by Dave Ramsey.

Who hasn't made dumb moves?  Dave Ramsey explains all the ones he's done as well, the important thing is to learn from them all.

If I could just go back and correct my own financial mistakes...

But I've made some great decisions too.  The number one great move was in continuing to learn all that I don't know, which is gonna take a lifetime, and getting the last good land deal in this county a couple of decades ago, buying this house and all this land, at nearly what a single family lot costs nowadays in a new neighborhood.  Paying down the mortgage principle systematically also paid off in a huge way for me.  Had I not done so, we'd have been sunk by now.

Ramsey stated some 88% of those who take out a zero interest loan do not pay it back in time.  That's staggering.  Nearly 9 out of 10 fail to do so.

A friend of mine told me of needing a new truck several years ago, but not going out to finance one, instead keeping his decade old, high mileage truck longer while he saved up cash for three years.  Then he brilliantly used that cash to pit two car dealers against each other, waiting for the best price to be offered,  plus he waited until this time of year when they're trying to unload the 2014s to make way for the 2015 models.

In the catbird's seat.

He wasn't in a hurry, wouldn't be pressured, had done his research, and he stalled, patiently waiting until he got a good deal.  Now he loves the truck all the more as it's paid for, it's exactly what he wanted, and he wasn't pressured into paying all of the excess fees that dealers try and cram into a loan.  Brilliant, just brilliant.

Car dealers aren't thrilled with folks who pay cash, the big money payoff comes for them when folks finance.  Car Dealers also know that folks who come in with cash aren't playing around, these are serious buyers who've already learned the manufacturer's suggested retail price and a gazillion other pertinent facts.

I've already taken my almost 33 year old son to an appointment at the V.A. Clinic, and, no, I didn't picture I'd still be doing this when he was grown.  However I'm simply glad that he's accepted the available help.  He has a 2 p.m. job interview that I'm praying will go his way.  He's gonna have to take a bus there.

I just got some awful news about a pretty young lady, Natalie, who used to come down here with my niece, Lauren.  Natalie's mom passed away suddenly, leaving a grieving husband and two devastated daughters.  Please join me in praying for this family.  My heart just breaks for them, plus I'm sad for Lauren who also adored this mom.  Lauren lost her own mom at age 7, this brings back spasms of her original grief plus the grief over this woman who drove Lauren home from school for years and listened   to Lauren.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Barley Night

Jack was three weeks old when I adopted Vanessa's sibling group, now he's in high school, and they're all grown up, most in their 20s, with Allen turning 19 next month and JoJo at 17, the tallest one of all seven of them.

Vanessa had called to ask what was for dinner, my barley, pasta and corn dish luring her over to join us, along with Evelyn and Sabrina, who is pictured below with her birth siblings.

It's been a long hard road, but they've gotten to be able to grow up with their birth siblings instead of separated in foster care, now there's an Abuelita (me) for their children, even though this sib group is a long way from having kids.

We're coming up on the anniversary of ten years since my last sibling group moved in, yet we don't celebrate these anniversaries so much anymore, as we've moved on past the adoption aspect of our family, evolving into the many, many years we have been a family, all so much longer than anyone had ever lived in their respective birth families.

We sat there cracking up last night retelling funny stories from years ago.  I'm sooooooooo glad we're past the Viper Girl years, the explosive behaviors, the fight-a-day moments at the high school, and all of the trauma we'd endured.  That just about did me in, lemme tell you.

Due to a poor impulse control and a dumb decision, Sabrina is out of the Army situation until March, she's living with Vanessa and her kids for now.  Vanessa has a large apartment and was asking me to hunt for another bed for them at a yard sale as soon as is possible.  Will do.

Maybe I'm just a slow learner, having absorbed so much personal finance information over the last 40 years, mainly reading, but nowadays the luxury of podcasts allows me to learn as I work, doubling my time availability.

I walked barefoot through the woods with my dogs, who don't follow the path at all, listening to Dave Ramsey's callers.  One in particular, a debt free woman, accidentally hit a dog that ran out in front of her.  Apologizing to the owners who'd financed this still unpaid for dog, the out of pocket damage to her car was $800.

Dave Ramsey suggested she offer this family grace and mercy, even though they were at fault for not restraining the dog, clearly they have no assets anyway, pay for it all her own self, as her premium would likely rise otherwise, and he himself, Dave Ramsey, then paid for the dog owners to attend Financial Peace University, because anyone who'd finance a dog certainly needed more money management knowledge.

There's a pet store near us that often marks down their adorable dogs with signs shouting $700 off this week, me afraid to ask what in the heck was the original price.  All the sad dogs in shelters needing homes, I don't purchase designer dogs, never have, never will, and I nearly hollered alone in the woods yesterday to learn that people finance dogs.

Hey, if you can afford to pay cash then fine, but to finance?

We've had wave after wave of financial issues lately, so much so that I projected my budget into my later years to make sure I could literally keep our house and land.  We've basically laid out a moratorium on any spending for the foreseeable feature, except I have a list of stuff I must buy for JoJo for Youth Challenge.

This is why I am glad to not own a credit card, afraid I'd fall to the temptation to use it, rather than just not spending at all.

Pat told me about Grandma Gatewood who'd been nearly 70 when she hiked The Appalachian Trail in Keds and with minimal gear, she ended up doing it three times, plus many other major hikes.

That soooo appeals to me.  What loner by nature wouldn't crave such opportunity?  So many trails, so little time...

GMA telling us that our average waistline for females is now nearly 38 inches, men's average is 40.  That's huge y'all.  They attributed it to not just overeating, but to stress and bad sleep habits.  OK, I'll buy that, but why are we so stressed?

May I simplify?  Because of money.  Because we've bought into the Stuff Theory.  We think stuff will make us happy, new cars, nicer homes, eating out, vacations we can't afford, then we are overwhelmed by our smothering bills, and can't sleep, turning to comfort foods, trying to maintain lifestyles we can't afford.

Am I listening to too much Dave Ramsey?

I don't think so.

And folks who can afford to spend and shop?  That's fine of course.  I'm talking to the folks like me who can't afford it and best not develop a hankering for that which is above our pay grade, as it'll only lead to misery.

It's probably better to have a mindset that sees it as a game, a challenge, an opportunity to learn more about managing money.

I'm not necessarily stressed over money, I'm weirdly drawn to the game of getting by each month, proud when we do, trying to figure what to do differently when we fall short.

I'm from that generation, raised by parents from The Great Depression, where thriftiness was built into us.  I wasn't raised to shop for recreation.  I was raised to earn interest rather than paying interest, but I blew that opportunity by adopting so many kids, but being a PK led me to it I'd surmise.

I watched a segment yesterday also on GMA on Flea Market Fabulous that impressed me, and I read further about a woman I'd referenced yesterday in her Triple Crown Hikes, which led me to the online journals of others, which kept me so fascinated.

There's a subculture of Triple Crown In A Year Hikers.  Dang, who knew?  I read of ultra runners and all sorts of extreme sports, while I waddle around out here barefoot?  Girl, amp it up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marconi Peppers

Yep, I've turned into one of those ladies who adores her dogs as evidenced by Junebug's appearance at the table. As if?  Tabby sweetly moved the dog out of her seat at supper.  I'd sauteed a great deal of onions and garden peppers (Marconi Sweet) from my gardens, whole wheat linguini, and tomato sauce also from the garden, topped with Fire Hot pepper Sauce for me while the kids prefer grated Pepper Jack cheese on their piles of pasta.

CW came in from UNG inhaling happily as I was drying cayenne peppers in the oven.  "Now that smells like home," he pronounced.

JoJo fell apart yesterday afternoon, crying his eyeballs out at the thought of our elderly dog Rosie's descent into very old age.  I think she's still fine, but JoJo is right in that she's aging, she's nearly 15, she's been here JoJo's entire life with us, and he truly adores her.

"Ya think maybe you're also upset over your childhood ending?" I asked him and he nodded, knowing in less than two weeks he will leave for Youth Challenge.  The plus side is that he'll finish high school now on time and he is truly excited to go, yet for severely traumatized children like mine, transitions just simply suck.  I'm gonna miss him more than he's gonna miss us.

"Honey," I began, sitting there on the floor with him, "I'm still your Mama, nothing changes except where you'll sleep at night for five months.  I'm still gonna be here waiting on you, visiting you and bringing you home on passes."

"I know," he said,  "I get it, I really do."  Here's hoping Rosie lives another year or so. She's a sweet, lovely dog we've had since she was a puppy, but she's slowing down a great deal.

I get up when I wake up generally, for some reason it was at five this morning, so I started reading this blog about hiking the Continental Divide Trail.  She's already hiked the Appalachian Trial and the Pacific Crest Trail, thus now earning her own Triple Crown.  Also she's earned her PhD.

Goals are fun y'all, just fun.

Contrast it with the aimlessness one sometimes sees where folks wait for stuff to happen rather than making it happen for themselves.  Everyone's in charge of their own choices and lives, and yes, some may be hampered by a lack of drive or even knowledge, but I simply believe everyone has a spark within them waiting to be ignited.

My couch surfers disturb me a bit, not getting jobs, or rather not holding jobs for very long, and therefore not carrying their own weight, full of excuses, yet they find the time available for ample and useless partying.  Explain that to me.

Even when I was a young lady, partying bored me, too much sitting around and chatting when one could be doing something fun, like getting a good night's sleep so one could garden the next day, or go hiking.  Hey, no one ever accused me of being too much fun.

I was nerdy enough to like studying, knowing that this education would help me earn a good living someday.  I was very motivated from within, high octane energy coursing through me then and now.

Even then, as a young waitress earning my living expenses while my parents paid my college tuition, I was always figuring in my head, how much money I'd need for rent, food, car expenses and utilities, always thinking ahead and planning.  Calculating how many tips I'd need plus my hourly wage, reading and learning about personal finance, not having a clue how much I'd later need this knowledge as the mom to 39.

As such, I'm still at this old age stunned at the "I dunno" mentality I see in some who have no idea what they're gonna do that day, much less in the future.  Sometimes I feel that I failed to get gumption and guts instilled in my kids, yet I know that the massive trauma crippled them in so many ways.

Nine years and four months ago I began this adoption blog, which evolved more into my consternation and trials into dealing with mentally ill kids, or merely those with significant emotional issues.  A dump site so to speak.

Nowadays I'm bored with all that turmoil we'd experienced.  I'm left shaken and different, yet still forging ahead with some ideas and plans.  I don't check my readership stats anymore, as they're unreliable what with various ways to access my blog, but that was never my goal anyway.  It was a bit of motivation at one time, but I learned that I simply like to write merely to process my thoughts.

If no one is left here reading, I'm good with that too, because selfishly it's is all about me right now anyway.  What I wanna read and write about, or grow in my gardens, or whatever.

I'm always intrigued with long hikes, with backpacking, and covering ground.  When Tabby has finished high school, will I be too old?  Nah.  I can't wait until this movie comes out, the book was superb.

I won't be gone for months at a time, due to my passion for gardening, but I do envision myself being gone from home December and January each year, I'll hike where it's warm, I'll just do what I wanna do, because by then it'll have been nearly 50 years that I would have had kids living at home with me.

Everyone will be over 18 by that time.

This Autumn I'm using a row cover on one garden bed, in which I'll try and extend my Swiss Chard growing season, plus also I'll do so out in the greenhouse.  I plan to spend this fall and winter doing some heavy duty catch-up chores in my garden areas.  In my mind's eye I have many, many plans.

We faced a bizarre situation that I'm not yet ready to discuss, one that enraged me as some very dangerous and idiotic lies were told by a disturbed kid in this county who doesn't even know us.  Word came back to me and I simply exploded in astonished outrage.  I even called an attorney in order to help this grown kid of mine who was as bewildered and shocked as me.  That this kid didn't go through enough already in his birth home and in foster care?  Why dump on him like this?  You don't even know him.

Listening to the news this morning, I was sad and dismayed on behalf of this family.  This beautiful young woman was the victim of a drunk driver, she was once a college soccer player, now in a wheelchair.  And I wanna whine about the laundry?  Get over yourself, Cindy.  I muted the TV to pray for her, to pray for a miraculous recovery.

Yes, I do believe that strongly in the power of prayer.  That's why when anyone asks us what we need, I answer that we need prayer.  Prayer opens the right doors for us, protects us, and sustains us.  I know many of y'all have prayed and I'm forever grateful to you.

I haven't cranked my truck since Allen's soccer game on Sunday after church.  That feels so good to me.  I cleaned, did laundry, cooked, and worked outside, nothing I'd rather have had on my schedule to do.  Today, not so much.  Dumb errands beckoning, soccer practice tonight for Nando, and I need to get Tony to and from his job.

Tony is being moved from cart boy at Sam's Club inside to groceries and I'm proud of him for working so hard in carts.  It's been a back-breaking job for the physically able, that he has some CP plus major developmental delays makes his accomplishment all the sweeter.  Doing so in our sweltering dog days of August is all the more impressive.

I'm weary of getting him there both ways during the week, but it's my job as a parent to do so.  How else could I expect him to earn money for a car.  He's stashing every penny away in his bank account, getting closer and closer to his goal.  I'm proud of that too.

Allen gave me his $60 share of his car insurance yesterday, getting his own policy would likely be double that cost.  Same for Martin.  I'm helping CW still with his, as he's younger than the others plus is taking a full load of classes at UNG, unable to work full-time, but he is working enough to pay for all of his other expenses.

I believe that my own financial need to work during college likely kept me from idle time or partying, but since I don't like alcohol, partying just seemed right pointless to me, it still does.  Who wants to get wasted?  To feel bad the next day?  I don't feel like I've missed out on anything by not drinking.  If anything, I feel as if it gave me a boost.

I pray that my grown kids will someday learn all of this, that self-medicating just doesn't do it.  The majority of my grown kids are living properly, thank God.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Burger Joint

I just said we never go out to eat, and what'd we do yesterday?  After Allen's soccer game, my son, Big Joe, asked to take the Bubbas to Burger King since they'd driven separately from me.

Well, sure.  I'd gone too for a little bit, not eating, but just enjoying Big Joe being silly, and my boys, Martin, Allen and JoJo were so bewildered at the choices available.

Seriously, we just don't do this, we eat at home.  I'd downed a quart-sized Mason jar of a pineapple/banana, chia seed and almond milk smoothie to tide me over.  I always tank up before I go anywhere so as not to be caught out hungry and depending upon fast food.  I always bring my water with me too, it's just a habit, but it's one that's saved us thousands of dollars over the years.

I'm sure I learned it from my parents, as we'd never been restaurant eaters either.  My mom still has the same round oak table that she'd refinished when I was still in elementary school, it's just where we eat, not in orange plastic booths.

Allen didn't play all that well, not his usual self, I could see that he was uneasy at first on this new team, but I know him well enough to know that he'll soon be in top form there.

The weather went weirdly chilly, we were scrambling to find sweatshirts that we'll likely not need again for another month.

Gina came by to dump her stuff in my compost pile, and I later worked until dark digging in a long neglected garden bed between the house and Mom's house out back.  I beat myself up for being a terrible gardener, but I know I only have X number of spare minutes each day, it's a wonder I've been able to plant or harvest at all for these last 25 years of extreme parenting.

And Emily C cracked up my family sending me a special pair of garden gloves to protect myself against poison ivy as my exposure therapy method sure isn't working to build me up any immunity.  "Can I read the card?'  Scotty asked me, laughing at how Mom needs a teacher too.

Jesse and Lena, such a photogenic family, sent Grandma and I their newest family photos, as did Daniel with his Captain's Promotion.  Way to make a Mama proud, sons.

I'm proud of Big Joe too, he's helping yet another grown son of mine who is struggling mightily, plus he's wanting to ride with JoJo and I to Youth Challenge Academy when JoJo starts in two weeks.  "Best thing I ever did," he crowed to JoJo.

Big Joe looks menacing, he's tattooed heavily and has a grumpy outward appearance, but he's one of the funniest guys ever when he lets down his guard.  He's also highly charming, flirting with the counter girl right in front of us all, the girl grinning and blushing.  I left the burger joint after awhile and my other sons stayed there cutting up with Joe for another hour or so.  JoJo later telling me, "I can't wait to go to Youth Challenge."

"I'll go to Family Day with y'all too," Big Joe suggested to JoJo.

And in unrelated news, I'd heard on the news that Pop Tarts are a $800 million dollar industry.  Unreal, just unreal, not an iota of any nutrients available within, just completely empty calories in such an over processed item, that in calling it food would just be a joke.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Green Is The New Black

Recently at a yard sale, Scotty offered to track the expenses so that I could concentrate on driving, using his phone in the Notes App, questioning me, "You really have two different categories for shoes and clothes?"

Well, yes I do.

I have a detailed line item zero based budget that tracks every penny spent, saved or earned.

Otherwise I'd just piss it all away, right?  I personally need to know exactly where it's all going, so I can fix the leaks, revise the categories, and continue moving forward.  What I do each month is basically financially impossible for a family this size with a limited income, but we don't spend like other families spend.  We simply can't.

We never go out to eat, we have take-out pizzas once a month, I don't buy sodas, and most of what we own was pre-owned.

My sons who are now earning money are spending a bit unwisely such as buying slushy drinks, but I say nothing, knowing life will teach 'em soon enough that they best buy gas for their cars instead.

I keep reading and learning.  These roommates spent nothing for a year, socking away a great deal into their savings account.  A good read.

From another article:

Now we buy to extend our personalities and express of ourselves. Everything from your car to your clothes and even where you shop are lifestyle choices. 

Goods also infer social status. We love the expensive and the new. The quality of a high-fashion handbag is never proportional to its expense.

Yet we’ve been tricked. Consumption doesn’t even make us happy. Study after study show that above a relatively modest income of $37,000 there is little correlation between wealth and happiness. Any gains are negated by the stress of work, a lack of leisure time and the embrace of a culture of things rather than people.

Well, son of a biscuit bum, who knew?

I'm guilty of lusting after beautiful homes on HGTV, or envy over a new Iphone that I truly do not need at all.  I notice nice sporty cars, I compliment women I know about how good they look because they do look good, but, honestly?  My lifetime of borderline chosen poverty level living?  I'm fine with it, totally fine.

Yes, I stress over some large and somewhat ridiculous bills, but I get it done.

This Professor is living in a dumpster.  Professor Wilson went to the dumpster not just because he wished to live deliberately, and not just to teach his students about the environmental impacts  of day-to-day life, and not just to gradually transform the dumpster into “the most thoughtfully-designed, tiniest home ever constructed.”

A fascinating article.  All of these articles today came from a blog I read, and on the weekend it's Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads. by Becoming Minimalist.

I've read of people who spend their Saturdays tending to and managing their massive clothes and jewelry collections, their accessories seeming like a second job to accomplish.  No, thank you, that's not for me.

Sure I'd look better if I had, or did, all that, but I'd bore myself to bits.  And, of course, my lifestyle alone would stress folks out, everyone's gotta find their own niche.

Tabby owns more'n a hundred shirts, all lined up in her large, long closet in the original master bedroom suite of this house.  She's happy with it because she once came from lack.  I understand this.  My closet is a fourth the size of hers and I'm happy as a lark with it.

Jack and CW, who've always lived with me, are spectacularly disinterested in clothes, actually all of my sons here at home don't care about fashion yet they're all handsome, decently dressed, more than decently dressed.

Stuff never made me happy.  Except my Iphone.  My Iphone made me happy.  My kids make me happy, my gardens thrill me, my grandkids are spectacular and good food too is a thrill.

Today is Allen's first game on an adult league, that makes me happy and yes, I'm going to cheer him on.  He asked me so so I emailed the coach to make sure.  I neither want Allen to be the only one without his mama there nor do I want him to not be the only one with his mama in attendance.  The coach reassured me.

Nando's team shut out the opposing team yesterday, the Bulldawgs lost to SC, and the Braves literally suck this past month.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rain, Please

My grandbaby's class got a surprise visit when David Chandley, my favorite Atlanta weatherman, showed up at her class.  His sister is Marissa's parapro and his nephews all have gone to school with my kids for years and years.

My post disappeared yesterday as I didn't save it, let a kid on my computer, who closed out the window, whatever. Just didn't feel like reprising it.

"Here's some information about adoption you might be interested in," a bright-eyed, chipper lady handed me at a yard sale fundraiser.  I used to be that bright eyed and optimistic one.

"Thank you," I answered.  I've got nothing to say, but a man who knows me snickered loudly and punched me in the arm.

I'd had dreams lately about foster care and adoption.  Do I think God's trying to tell me something?  No, I don't.  That's not how I hear from God, for me it's instead a very strong impression in my heart and mind, in which I simply can't NOT do what I feel led to do.

Now I only feel led to continue working here within my own family.

I watched the radar screen again for the last two days as my force field seemingly drives away massive downpours that un-materialize anywhere near me.  Gully washers to my left and to my right, leaving me green with envy, needing the rain so dadgum badly.

I took Scotty to look at the fence height extension that UGA uses in their trial fields out here in my deer-infested county, I'm gonna need to do here this winter to keep the deer gone.  We can do this.  22 years of gardening in this one spot, and this was my first year ever to have such major damage.

Daniel's having a party at his house 80 miles away to celebrate his 29th birthday, the UGA/SC game and his captain's promotion.  CW went yesterday to spend the weekend there, along with Yolie and her family.  Both Daniel and Chuck have been lifelong mentors to CW ever since his birth, amazing brother and brother-in-law, and CW knows he's blessed.

I can't go as Nando has a soccer game, and I've got to get Tony to and from his job today.  It'll likely rain on me at the soccer park while not a drop will fall here.  I might need to readjust my attitude.  Raise my expectations, lose my negativity.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


"I told y'all," I hollered, "How many times have I told y'all!"

Yep, using exclamation marks, I was again pointing out the obvious to two grown girls who'd come over in the middle of the day for beans and tortillas.  "See!"  I kept crowing, "No one makes beans like yo mama!"

Yes, it's Mayra and Sabrina.  Don't even ask...

"Mom!" Mayra yelled, because Mayra's loud like me, "I dream about your pantry all the time."

OK, weirdo.

After work, Chuy, Martin and Allen drove to Goodwill, a lifetime knowledge of very inexpensive clothes.  "Where's Mama when you need her?"  Martin was reported to have hollered in the store, because we are all a loud, boisterous and exuberant family, indeed finding several dozen shirts he wanted to buy, but in doing the math, he didn't wanna part with his money.

Imagine in a real store what it'd cost?

They were telling me this story later, and I pointed out that one simply doesn't shop at Goodwill except on Tuesday for the Senior Citizen Discount.  25% less, y'all.  Silence for a few minutes as they digested it, and clearly added up the years in their minds before they got to that magic age of 55.

Oh my y'all, I gotta say it sure does fly.

And the deer?  I'm losing my mind over the destruction, walking around the large already fenced in area that's gonna need to be heightened, doubled in height actually.  I'll slowly buy the stakes I need as I'm gonna cash flow it, but I best have it done by February 1.  I can do this.  I picked peppers, the only survivors at this point since I replanted with store bought plants, much to my chagrin.

Lowes is offering a 10% discount on fence installation.  "Dude!" I yelled at the TV, I'm giving myself 100% discount on the installation, I'll do it my own self.  I own a heavy fence post pounder thingy, and we've fenced and cross fenced several areas over the years.

Jack is as dependent upon crushed red peppers via cayennes as I am to my Fire Hot Pepper Sauce via jalapenos, a dietary necessity.

Dubs is sharing my truck while his car is being repaired.  I'd not heard from this most trusted mechanic so I texted him for an update, only to find his wife is in the hospital.  "That trumps car repairs," my usually insensitive CW remarked.  Yeah, no kidding, son.  Enjoy the truck.

Allen was invited to join an adult soccer team up at the soccer park last night, his social anxiety so acute that when his former coach approached him about it, he gave the man my phone number rather than his own.

"Why?"  I asked.  Dang, I hate phone calls.

"I just want you to deal with the details for me," he came up with, here at nearly age 19.

"Honey,"  I began, "You have a phone and a car.  You don't need Mama to handle this for you."

This is how I know they're not ready to move out yet.  The upstairs area over the 3X garage has five bedrooms and a bathroom, to the boys up there it's almost like a separate apartment, or maybe they just tell themselves that story.  But interestingly enough, after all these years, they're all taking an interest in doing more for themselves, even coaxing JoJo into getting out of lazy mode.

I'm not unhappy with this arrangement at all.

They're good kids.

We finally have a decent chance for rain this weekend.  The chard I replanted is up, I was happily toiling away yesterday, ripping out the aggressive Four O'clocks that reseed rampantly, still fighting several intrusive areas of poison ivy, my wrist aflame with the bumps once again.

Still barefooting it, still feeling emotionally better overall, due to so many factors, like no violence.  I still have a situation here that I'm praying about, a kid nearly 18 with some heavy duty issues, and on the other hand, my Tony, has put all of his earned income from Sam's Club in the bank and is close to buying a car.  Suits me, I gotta drag myself out at 9 p.m. every night to pick him up.

He's so happy and proud of himself, he'll be 19 in January, and he told me yesterday that he was reading about cyclothymia and was bothered to learn that shopping sprees are prevalent when one is in the 'high'mode of this disorder,

He knows I've raised everyone to be fiscally conservative, that he learned all of this on his own regarding cyclothymic disorder, is impressive to me.  He's still in high school, a senior, because I'd held him back one year, a very good move as he's delayed both physically and emotionally, this gave him time to catch up with his peers.

I've observed huge and major progress in him over the last 15 years or so.

And Darin had tagged me on Facebook regarding an article.  The advocacy for our kids is something my always brilliant caseworker had long ago stressed was necessary.  No kidding, y'all, so very necessary.

Imagine not knowing how to learn? This was what my son’s life was like. He was passed from school to school, with notes in his file about his inability to perform his work. Never a solution and never any follow up.

Great post y'all, advocating for your children will become your job.

I'm particularly blessed here to have had awesome teachers and incredible administrators here who understood, who cared and who bent over backwards to accommodate my challenging children.  A therapist told me last month, "That one would've already been kicked out of school if you didn't live in your county that helps you so much."

I totally agree.  I've heard some horror stories from y'all about the issues you face in your schools.