Thursday, February 19, 2009

Surviving Bad Times

Being an adult is the only way you and your children can usefully survive these bad times on earth.

How do I define and adult: For me, an adult is someone who will do whatever it takes to keep himself, herself and their children from living on the streets.

If you are over 20 and don't agree with me then I wouldn't consider you to be an adult if you were 90.

Though I have never lived on the streets myself I have been in a Van in the woods in below freezing temperatures with my wife and baby because the student loans I was promised didn't come through on time and because I had counted upon them to move into a new apartment to go to school and had moved out of my house and put everything in storage.

So my lesson to you is don't trust any student loans or grants until you have the check in your hands and you have cashed it and it is good.

So, because of this I didn't go to the University that quarter and had a very awful experience, probably the worst financial experience of my life and our dish water froze outside our van every night because it was so cold. All we had was a bonfire outside for heat until we got in our down sleeping bags with our baby. We lived like this in the forest until we could arrange for another home. This took about 2 months. Once again don't trust student loans and pell grants until you have cashed them and they are good.

My wife got so hysterical one day that all I could do was to hold her hands while she tried to strike me so I didn't get bloody. Though I understood her hysteria being in the woods below freezing with a baby, I also knew this was the best we could do for then until we arranged something better. We did. We rented finally a home on about 1 acre of land with black cherry trees and about 20 other fruit trees(apple, plum, pear) and were quite happy there except the home was built in 1925 and not insulated except for sawdust in the attic which was a fire hazard. As my 15 year old son and I insulated the attic with 6 inches of fiberglass insulation we noticed that the sawdust had caught fire and some of the roof trusses were partially burnt up in the attic sometime in the distant past before we moved there. However, after insulating the ceiling and wrapping the house in plastic so the wind didn't blow through we could finally heat the place through the winter. Oh, it also had huge 75 foot tall black walnut trees that I put a rope swing on for the kids.

We also now have a God daughter who is about 30 and lives now in another state whose mother died on the streets in another state. She lived with her mother on the streets until her mother froze to death when she was 12. Though we have helped our God daughter get 3 degrees now including 2 Master's degrees, she still is emotionally fragile from what happened to her on the streets. So though she is very street savvy, her mother freezing to death on the streets is hard for her to forget.

Never let your children or wife live on the streets. It is so psychologically damaging for women and children that only the strongest even psychologically survive it long term.

For men, though living on the streets tends to make men crazy if they aren't already, many times they can recover their lives because living on the streets is about as hard as going to war and fighting in battles. It is something men have learned to cope with for thousands of years.(both wars and living on the streets)

I talked to an old friend who told me a story that likely took place between 1975 and 1985.

He said that he and his wife and kids were living in the country and had moved there for a quality life in raising their kids away from big cities and gangs. However, they both eventually got laid off their jobs and when their Unemployment compensation started to run out the husband said, "Let's move to the big city where I can more likely get a job to support us!" The wife said, "I won't leave a country life where it is safe for the kids!" So that was that. One day he went to a friend who had lived deep in the country for about 20 years already and his friend said, "Look. You guys are living on 10 to 20 dollars a week for food. You are living on baked potatoes, beans, rice and homemade bread and what vegetables and fruit you grow here or trade for. You sell goats milk but that barely pays for the feed for the goats and so you get goats milk and make goat cheese. But this isn't going to work much longer. You either have to split up and go get a job or stay here and guard your wife and family. If you go away and work someone might hurt your family or take your wife and kids away.
So, since this is California I recommend you go on AFDC" The man said, "But anyone who has got food stamps or medi-cal is mentally tortured by officials!". His friend said, "That is only if you get only one thing. If you get all those things together by filing for AFDC they leave you alone. The workers don't like all the extra paperwork for those things individually. However, if you do all three with AFDC and pass they will leave you alone."

The husband thought about all this and finally said, "I guess you are right. If I want to keep my wife and protect my family this might be what I have to do."

Later on this man and his wife found out about a program offered to AFDC recipients to start their own businesses. Since both the man and his wife were educated they said to each other, "Since you almost have to have a degree to be able to successfully fill out AFDC,Medi-cal and Food stamps forms, what difference would it be to fill out a few more forms and start our own business sponsored by the state. So they did. By doing this they started their own businesses and got off AFDC much sooner because the recession like now was very bad, especially in the country and unemployment likely was above 9% like now in California.

My friend told me that it is important to note that only in California and New York can the husband legally live with his wife and kids while receiving AFDC and starting a business.

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