House Divided: A fellow blogger needs some helpful advice…….

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Earlier this week I wrote about an ultimatum that I was given regarding my furkid, Lily….my post resonated with a fellow blogger who is currently going through a similar situation. After reading her email I felt her pain and asked her if I could share her current dilemma with you all in hopes that she can get the encouragement, wisdom and strength that she so needs.

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Clara is married, has 3 children under the age of ten and lives in a quaint suburban neighborhood. Back in October of last year they decided to add to the family and adopt a dog, I will call him Fido. Fido was less than a year when they got him so he still had those puppy tendencies.

This was the families’ first pet (besides the occasional fish) and it was a major adjustment for everyone, but mostly Clara who took on all the responsibilities that come with owning a dog. As the weeks went on, her husband grew irritated with Fido…he never allowed himself to bond with him. She assumed this was because he never had any pets growing up, where she had. She knew there was a problem when she had to go out of town for a couple days due to her job and her husband refused to take care of Fido while she was gone.  “You will need to kennel him or find someone to watch him” he told her. He didn’t want the responsibility of caring for this bundle of cuteness while she was gone…..knowing that  kenneling the pup would be costly and her tight wad of a husband was now making things difficult with her regarding Fido, she told her employer that she wasn’t able to attend the conference.  She also thought maybe the best thing she could do was give Fido back to the family who adopted him out because of all the tension that was brewing at home….she called the family and they were more than happy to take him back. She changed her mind 2 days later.

A month ago Clara noticed that Fido wasn’t acting right and took him to the vet; after many tests and several Xrays it was determined that Fido had several objects (toys,hairband) in his stomach and surgery was necessary. $1200 later Fido was recovering.  While he was under the watchful eye of the vet, Clara was home being made to feel as though Fido’s incident was her fault, her husband demanded that she get rid of the dog and that she owed HIM $1200. (You heard me, she owed him)  She was beyond stressed and beside herself, she tried to sell things to pay her “debt” back to her husband, there was no reasoning with him at all, a day didn’t go by that he didn’t send her into a tearful mess…..just his crude words and cold heart towards this pup baffled her. He made her feel guilty for wanting to get together with her friends for her birthday stating that she still owes him $1200 and how they can’t afford it.  (They have money).

Tension just grew between them, she knew he was being unreasonable but talking to him was like talking to a brick wall. He claimed he never wanted a dog and only agreed to shut her up…..she didn’t know what else to do so she called the previous family to see if they would take the dog back, they agreed. The thing is they live in Texas and can’t get him until sometime in March. Clara was broken hearted, cried daily…this little furkid was her baby, she loved him.

Clara told me that she got the courage to talk to her husband about everything …. He claimed that he never told her to get rid of him, granted he never spoke those words his actions spoke loud and clear. She thought maybe she could go back on her word  (again) with the previous owners but her husband still refused to have anything to do with Fido if she had to go out of town and the money issue would never be dropped. She then blamed herself because she knew he wasn’t going to own up to his coldness towards this whole thing.

“What do you think I should do?” she asked.

I went over what she sent a couple times; we exchanged a few emails just so I could  get the full story. I finally told her that:

1. She shouldn’t have to OWE her husband anything. She’s in a marriage not a business, they both work and financially contribute to the household and that it was their decision to bring Fido into the family. Granted, if he never wanted a dog this should have been addressed….he shouldn’t have just gave in to “shut her up”.

2. I told her that I didn’t understand why he isn’t willing to take care of the dog when she is required to go out of town to attend seminars for her job. She shouldn’t have to kennel him … she should be able to count on her spouse to take responsibility for their four-legged furkid, plus would the cost of kenneling him be tacked on to the debt that he claims she owes him?

3. I also told her that the issues with the dog are just the icing on the cake…..there has to be more. She needs to find her voice in that marriage because in my opinion she doesn’t have one, not really. When finances are concerned he can buy what he wants (2 laptops in a mth….computer time/games) and come up with a valid reason for these non-budgeted items but when she needs something “its not in the budget”  is what she hears.

4. I told her that she can’t go back on her word again with the previous family who had Fido, they are looking forward to having him back…..plus it’s not like her husband is going to change his mind…..any unforeseen expenses with be HER FAULT, the tension will STILL be there, he isn’t going to change. Plus, Fido needs a yard to run in, he needs a family that will love him completely.

My heart breaks for her…..I can’t imagine being in her shoes right now.

Please feel free to leave your comments for her here…… she will read all of them!!  Thank you  🙂

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I was so close to dusting off my Packer gear and painting my face Green and Gold !!

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Why couldn’t I be some selfish bitch who is an “all about me” kinda gal and could care less about our finances……shit, I felt guilty just buying a bra and some warm pajamas today….. ohhh and a Starbucks skinny vanilla latte. It’s not like we are penny-pinching but still.

See, yesterday a friend of ours told me that she has 2 extra tickets to go to the Packer / Eagle game on November 10th in Green Bay, Wisconsin!! The price for the tickets are $250 each ….. well, of course I got super excited just thinking about setting foot back at Lambeau Field and just taking in the whole experience……but besides the cost of the tickets there would be added expenses like  the cost to travel to Wisconsin, kenneling the furkids, of course buying some new Packer apparel…. plus this would also give me the chance to spend a day with my sister and her family.  I looked at my husband with a huge grin telling him about this Packer fun-filled weekend that could be ours for JUST $500. He didn’t say no  but he didn’t say yes either……but after I really thought about it,  I couldn’t see us spending close to $1000 after all was said and done.

I continued to silently think about this all night and well into the  morning…… this would be such an awesome way to celebrate our anniversary/Christmas and my 40th birthday (which isn’t until January) ….kinda like huge combo celebration.

While standing in line at TJ Maxx, contemplating whether or not I REALLY needed a new bra and warm fuzzy pj’s I checked my phone and saw a message come through from my husband.

“Honey, if you really want to go, ok- just understand that it will be a Christmas/birthday/anniversary rolled into one-tkts plus travel plus dog kennel will be over $1000”

I wanted to scream “I’m going to the Packer game bitches” while jumping up and down. He SAID yes!!…well, he said “ok” and for a brief moment I was already planning on what I was going to wear…I was going to call my sister to tell her to expect us that Friday night and I was already preparing what I was going to tell my boss. Then reality hit…..yeah, I REALLY wanted to go…that was true….but I also

would REALLY love for my son to get over his fear of airports and fly to see me for the holidays.

I would REALLY love for all my kids to come see me for Christmas

I would REALLY love a good camera to take some really beautiful fall pictures.

I would REALLY love to go hog wild at Hobby Lobby and buy tons of Christmas decorations.

I would REALLY love to do a lot of things, like to be seated in section 114 row seat 44 in Lambeau field but I have to be that responsible smart person…..it’s NOT all about me….so I replied back to my husband that there would be other opportunities to go to a game but right now it wouldn’t be financially smart….a minute later he replied “I love you too”.

I became THAT woman ….without knowing it.

You know, THAT woman who doesn’t know anything about the finances because “her husband takes care of everything”. I used to cringe when I would hear stories of how  someone’s father passed away and now the mother was clueless about the finances.I even remember talking to my sister years ago and telling her that she needed to be “in the know” of her household, that she should know where the money was….just in case.

My husband and I have been having those “what happens if one of us dies” talks, these talks became more frequent since his friend suddenly passed away in a horrible accident, leaving his wife and son to handle things by themselves. “Jolene we should look into life insurance for you”, I would make a joke and say “planning on killing me off?” ….. just to lighten the conversation. I knew it was for burial expenses and whatever else……and it wasn’t like I was going to get a million dollar policy, something smaller.

Yesterday, I was talking to a Life Insurance Broker over the phone, we knew what we wanted but this lady was adamant with increasing the policy amount…..which ticks me off more than browsing Bath and body works and being bombarded with “can I help you? try this…..heres a coupon…are you looking for something special?” This is how the conversation was:

“Do you have a mortgage?”

“yes”

“How much do you have left on the house?”

“uhm, I don’t know” (shit Jolene why don’t you know this)

“Debt,credit cards?”

“yes”

“how much…ballpark”

“uhmm….I don’t know, $_____” (Jolene you just sound stupid)

“Does your husband have life insurance, if so how much is his policy”

“he does, but I don’t know” (she probably thinks I’m an idiot)

“Do you have stocks or bonds?”

“uhm I don’t know”  (Jolene, you’re an idiot…your clueless)

“How much does your husband make?”

“Why is this important?” (wanted to throw her off, because i didn’t know)

After a few pointless questions, she asked me about my health ….. which besides my aching knee; I’m in good health. I can afford to lose ten pounds but I’m working on it.

“Well, after my calculations I think you should purchase the $250,000 policy”

“uhm no, that’s not what my husband and I discussed”

“I was figuring the lack of your income,burial expense,the mortgage and other fore seen expenses”

“well, my husband was doing alright before my income he will be fine without it……and I don’t want some fancy casket or big hoopla after, shit I would be surprised if ten people showed up!!” I laughed. …she did to.

Her job was to sell……all she was doing was irritating me and making me realize that I became someone who I thought I would never be…. “A financially clueless wife”. Yes, I have enjoyed not having to stress out over bills, having to make sure things are being paid on time…..since I was 18 I’ve had to worry and stress and penny pinch. I had to carry the burden when ex-husband #2 continued to lose job after job …… it sucked. It is such a relief now to be married to  someone who is not only smart but financially smart.

When I got home I told my husband the conversation I had with the nosey insurance broker and how I felt like an idiot and  that I became someone who I thought I would never be. “I didn’t know these questions and I felt stupid….I knew she was thinking how can I possibly not know this, because I was thinking the same thing!!!”

“You’re right, you should know…..go grab a pen and paper” he said.

It was nice to be in the know of our household. We talked in detail where money should go if we were to pass on.  He told me how much he would give my kids (I even mentioned how I wanted my furkids to get $1000, hey Lily needs a dress once in a while)….I waited patiently to see how much he would like me to give his daughter and step-daughter from a previous marriage. He said “it’s your choice how much you want to give them, they probably wouldn’t even care if I died“.

I wanted to hug him……he was in his head, I knew he missed his daughter. I sat back and told him what I would say to them if they even dared to ask for their monetary amount that they thought was due to them.

“If you feel that you deserve something then let’s do it this way…..how about we figure in $1000 for every birthday you acknowledged, $1000 for every Fathers day you called and talked to him….how about random calls?? what about visits on Christmas or calls?……. hmmmm since I’ve been with your father you have done zero, no calls…no texts, no cards….so I think you owe me? why don’t you write a check in the amount of $_______ and send it to the D.V.A or Billy Graham or some other charity in your father’s name”. My husband grinned. He knew I would handle things just fine.