I’m a case worker. Someone save me.

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Today, those of us in training learned our assigned units. I was assigned to the GEMS unit. GEMS doesn’t stand for anything. They just wanted a name that was appropriate for the value of the workers who manage the ongoing cases once the Intake unit determines someone is eligible. GEMS is better than Ongoing Cases unit. That’s so dismal sounding.

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It’s pretty much sink or swim at this case worker job. The turn-over is unbelievable. I have a friend from high school, JoAnn, who worked at the York office for 25 years. That is amazing. I was told most people do five years or much less. She left while I was in Harrisburg for training. There were people in our training class who left during or shortly after the training in Harrisburg. In fact, Harrisburg has a 100% turn-over rate. No one ever wants to remain a case worker in Harrisburg. There are so many opportunities for positions that pay more and are less stressful.

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I’d never go back to Harrisburg. Not with my husband working at the York City Schools. I like that we’re in the same city and hope to eventually have similar enough schedules that we can ride together. So I’m excited to have a job that is challenging to the point no one wants it. Seems like job security to me. I’ve been handling cases for about two or three weeks. My supervisor said I’m doing well. I follow the golden rule: don’t let work carry over to home. Once I walk out that door at work, I don’t think about it again until I walk back in.

That keeps me sane.

Hope everyone is doing well!

~P.

The Call You Don’t Want

Today I was told something that no one ever wants to hear, something that I’ve dreaded hearing for years now. My mom went back in the hospital yesterday, after being out for a few days, after being in for 19 days, because they removed her permanent port (direct IV line) for the last time. She has had 5 ports now and each lead to her getting blood infections.


Today, on my way home from work, she told me the doctors said there’s nothing else they can do. Her organs are slowly shutting down and they said it could go as quickly as a month or as long as a year. My mom is going to die way too young.
My mom and I are really close and I can’t wrap my head around her not being a phone call away. I see my friends share posts about missing their mom after they pass and I’m always thankful I still have my mom. My dad is calling Pittsburgh, another hospital she frequents, and see if they will admit her for a third opinion. I know she’s been sick for a long time, but 65 is too young to die. It’s just not right. My mom is awesome and never did anything to anyone. I pray for her all the time.
Would you pray for her also? Her name is Lorrie and she’s a wonderful mom. Pray there is a doctor that can stop her organs from shutting down.

Thank you,

~P.

A Day of Awesomeness

Today was just awesome. My husband was baptized AND my daughter Tesla. That’s right, a twofer today, in Heaven. You know there’s a celebration going on as two more believers shared their stories of accepting Jesus as their personal savior. This year our church has had 109 come forward to be baptized. That is God working there.

The day wasn’t without drama. Tesla mentioned to her father the night before that she was getting baptized today. So this morning John called and asked Tesla if she wanted him to come along. She said yes. I know this isn’t very Christian of me, but I didn’t want to have to deal with him. Hey, I’m still working on controlling my anger towards her father. Especially now that he’s divorcing yet again and already has made a dating ad online.

His soon-to-be ex talks to me. He knows it. What’s he going to say? We can’t talk? I guess I’m her listening ear through the process. I get that.

The situation just has me sick. I tell her she will get through it and come out for the better. If I can survive and have to continue to interact with him because of Tesla, she can get through it. She has her grandson and a good job and car that she can afford. I didn’t have any of that and I came through. God, family and friends and readers who read my story, followed my life through the tough times and now the good.

I got through those toughest times by leaning on God. I prayed SO much. Sometimes I wondered if I was just wasting sleeping time. The struggle was REAL. Realizing my bad choices, my lack of ability to stand up for myself, giving into demands I shouldn’t have. It’s easy to get down on yourself. Beat yourself up over the past. Don’t fall for that. Focus on the now.

Being an example to Tesla is important to me. I try so hard to not let the issues I have become Tesla’s. She looks up to me. She knows God, Jesus and church are important to me and so, they are important to her.

I am so thankful Tesla has realized her faith so young and proud of her to come forward and tell everyone. And, I’m so thankful for my wonderful husband sharing his story. This has been a fantastic day in the name of God. We had a little celebration at home after the baptism with our family and friends and our neighbors came over and shared lunch with us. We told them about the baptism and it was awesome. Invited them to church in the future…see how that works…

Now my thoughts are focused on decorating for Christmas. I can only tackle one event/holiday at a time.

Tesla was happy her dad came to see her get baptized. I was happy there was no drama.

God is Always Good,

~P.

7 Month Sentence

Life is just crazy. The things that happen, sometimes we see coming, other times we’re blindsided. That’s how it is for everyone.

I don’t write as much as I used to, but I’ve really been thinking about writing my book. I’m just not sure how to go about it. Really, with how life is going, I am still tied to my ex-husband. Tied through the mortgage for the house and, of course, having a child together. I have so many notes, calendars, scraps of paper, etc. to use for the book it’s nearly overwhelming.

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He and his wife are over after 7 months. You know who I feel bad for, Tesla. She’s the one who has to endure their fighting, her father calling the police to document an argument in which he started. Like the police are there to take his argument calls. Seriously. And Tesla get dragged into it because he’s claiming Gina, his wife, soon to be Ex-Wifey #3, was harassing Tesla.  His lies, his name calling, his bragging, his carefree fake bs that only he can pull off as a wounded man of an endless string of women who weren’t good enough.

Wow, does this bring back memories or what? I had to deal with his drama every single freaking day. Throw in the secretary La, and occasionally John’s one brother, and it was off the hook insanity. I couldn’t trust ANYONE.

And when I did, they stabbed me in my back. It was vicious.

So John’s down yet another wife.

He has a pre-nup that covers him for the house. I’m sure the speed dating will resume.

Poor Tesla.

~P.

Working with Those in Poverty

I had my first day of training in Harrisburg for my new position as an Income Maintenance Case Manager. I had my doubts about the first day because the speaker was going to talk to us about poverty. I wasn’t sure what exactly she was going to say. I’ve seen poverty in India and know that poverty there is much different than poverty in America, but just the same, it is poverty.

From Being Poor by John Scalzi

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is hoping that toothache goes away.

Being poor is off-brand toys.

Being poor is needing that 35 cents raise.

Being poor is knowing you’re being judged.

Being poor is a lumpy bed.

Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

Being poor is running in place.

Being poor is people wondering why you didn’t leave.

I can’t help but once again compare America to India. What I saw in India were people who were poor, but found a way to survive. (And if they didn’t, they died and were burned by the Ganges River.) While they were helped from within their village, they didn’t expect help from anyone, certainly not their government. Even getting help in the government hospital is beyond sketchy. (Check out my blog post with hospital photos http://wp.me/p1j2Ur-2Nk)

So getting assistance in Pennsylvania really isn’t that difficult. Come in, show you are in need, and, in as soon as 5 days, food stamps can be available. Did you know ALL the guidelines for receiving assistance is online for anyone to read and perhaps fact check things like:

  1. The state gives illegal aliens benefits. (False)
  2. Illegal alien’s children can get benefits. (True)
  3. It doesn’t matter what car a recipient drives as long as they have insurance/registration. (True)
  4. Legal aliens can move here and sign up immediately for benefits. (False-must live in US 5 years legally first)
  5. The state pays people to go to school. (Somewhat true)
  6. Recipients can have a boat load of money and still get benefits. (True)

There are two types of poverty that cause a person to apply for assistance: Situational and Generational

Situational is caused by a specific event and is shorter in time. I personally am relatively fresh out of situational poverty. My journey into poverty wasn’t really unique; poverty due to divorce is one of three big reasons that poverty happens. The other two are death and illness.

It was incredibly strange to apply for food stamps and medical assistance for Tesla and me when I drove a Mercedes. Yeah, crazy huh? If it makes you feel any better about me getting assistance, eventually the Mercedes was repossessed. Then the state paid $750 for a car so I could drive to college on my state-funded scholarship. If it makes you feel any better, I still had to take out student loans to pay rent and utilities and anything else I needed to pay for (lawyer fees!!) to survive. I still drive that car everyday to my state job. 1992 Honda Accord…I will drive it until it doesn’t run.

The other poverty, generational, is much different. It is a cycle that seems impossible to break. The speaker today gave us a piece of advice and I am taking it to heart. She said that it’s none of our concern what recipients spend their money on, and we shouldn’t even concern ourselves with it, and in the long run it will save us tons of grief and an early burn out.

According to research, those in poverty live in the present and money is to be spent, and since they’re living in the now, they might as well get what makes them happy and helps them to feel their life is normal.  Something clicked in my head while we went through the research and I listened to the speaker. Those in poverty don’t want to be in poverty, but they can’t seem to escape it, so since they’re stuck, they might as well make the most of it while they can.

I want to love my job and do the best I can to serve the public. I’m not a social worker, I’m a case manager. Most people I’ll never even see or talk to. That’s just how it works. It’s all about managing the cases in quantity because, the programs we direct them too, and that’s who helps them handle their lives.

And that was just day one of training.

~P.

Comment your thoughts, ideas, opinions, what you had for lunch and your favorite color.😉

Link to the cash assistance handbook.  Check out the policies if you’d like an easy way to fall asleep.

http://services.dpw.state.pa.us/oimpolicymanuals/cash/Cash_Assistance_Handbook.htm#Title_Page.htm

“I’m Ready to be Done”

Tesla and I met my nephew, Blaine, and my sister, Suz, and went to see our grandmother. She’s my dad’s mom and we’ve always called her Nanny. For the most part, everyone calls her Nanny.

Nanny isn’t doing so well. My aunt, Jane, texted me today while we were working that she was told Nanny only has a few more days. I’m surprised at how fast she suddenly took that turn. Two weekends ago when Tesla and I visited, Nanny was pushing herself around in the wheelchair and using the bathroom in the hallway.

Now, I don’t think she gets out of bed.

She said, “I hurt all over. I’m ready to be done.”

I understand. It’s nice that she is still able to communicate. My mom’s mom, who passed away just a few months ago, had no quality of life. She didn’t even know she was there. When I last saw her, which had been years, she was living in a nursing home in Philly, still sitting up and eating at a table. Her food was mush and she wasn’t eating it no matter how many times you tried.

Even then, Grammom didn’t know who I was. At the end, she didn’t know who anyone was, not even her daughters. God took her in her sleep, and I was happy for her.

Nanny’s been saying for years that she just wanted to die. It wasn’t until she moved to Normandie Ridge Hospice that a spark of life came back to her. She loved participating in all the activities, especially bingo. She liked getting her hair done weekly and eating at the snack bar, her favorite is the cheeseburger.

She couldn’t keep anything down and didn’t want to even try to drink. She had thrown up liquids right before we got there. Her legs are so thin. For years all she talked about was losing weight. Ironic huh?

Nanny had bladder cancer. It was removed and didn’t come back. We never talked about it. She didn’t have to do chemotherapy. That was a blessing.

She wants to be with my grandfather and my uncles, Bill and Wayne. Uncle Bill passed away when I was young, 12 years old, I think. He was 16, or almost 16. That tore Nanny up, my whole family was torn up. We all lived in the same lane and were super close. Bluebird Lane was all Criders.

I miss those days.

~P.

A MisText: Texting the Wrong Number

I was reading my Facebook feed, catching up on my friend’s day. I came across this status update by my friend from high school, Ben Snelbaker:

My daughter got this text last night by mistake, it is so heartfelt that I had to pass it along. Im doing this in hopes that people will put her in there prayers or want to reach out and say some kind words to her. My daughter text her back and I text her for awhile, she was so overjoyed that two strangers would reach out and give her words of encouragement. I know everyone on Facebook knows someone or maybe even struggled with there own addiction. After texting her, she is depressed because she has lost everything and believes there is nobody left in this world that wont judge her for what she has done. This girl is in her early 20’s.
This is her text sent to my daughter by mistake:
” Thank you for getting me out, thank you for being the only one to ever help me like everytime before this time. I wish I could say this to you in person, but I really want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for how I screwed up I am and the horrible things ive done to you and grandpa… I was extremely selfish and ungrateful. . You guys have always given me everything, the car,the trailer, the money, clothes, shoes, school, everything. .. im very sorry that I let you down but I was always the good kid before I started doing drugs and it just completely changed me as a person and I didn’t even know who I was… I still kind of dont but im trying to figure it out and get back on the right path. I never wanna end up in jail again and I just to start proving to you guys and everyone else that I can be a decent human being. It really hurts me that I did what ive done to you guys and it bugs me more than anything else. Besides the money and everything it can buy, I want you to know that I really do love and appreciate you and everything you do for me.. I just want to show you that I can be different and worth it this time”

Everybody deserves a second chance in life, I would hate to see her going back to being an addict or even worse, dead from an overdose.
Thank you all if you read this and at least said a small prayer.

(Ben)

I’m praying for this young girl, that she stays strong and lives a better life, fixing her wrongs and hopefully finds Jesus as her savior if she hasn’t already.

If you pray, I hope you’ll join us.

~P.

It pisses him off

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I haven’t written about life in a long while. My need to write or fear or explosion is gone, but this not writing at all is unacceptable. It’s my husband and television to blame.

I had someone who has been reading my blog, from the beginning, in one day, drop me a note.

Hi! I just found your blog today and really love your writing!! It’s comical, edgy, and heart wrenching all in one!

I’m trying to catch up on the story… did your divorce ever get finalized? Did your ex marry Heather? Are you still with Dale? Who is Brian? Sorry… I know I’m cheating like flipping to the end of the book! LOL

I’ve skimmed through as many posts as I have time for (at work!) and can’t seem to find these milestone posts! Hope you and your daughter are doing quite well!

Good to know I can help someone get through their day at work. LOL

Ok, so I’ll just kinda pick up with today.

Even though I divorced John over a year ago, my name is still on the mortgage. He had six months to remove my name. We went to court 6 weeks ago and I said he could have two more months to assume the remaining mortgage or remortgage our property. This was part of the settlement and a payment plan that I agreed to stretch-out for 8.1 years so he could easily afford it and keep the house.

He hasn’t even applied. I talk to Wells Fargo more then he does and I don’t even live there. I’m over his drama. So, it’s back to court again.

Brian had to pick up Tesla at John’s tonight. I felt bad for him to be honest, because I know John can’t shut up. No matter who he’s around, he has to bitch about me. So John’s mouth is running like that proverbial duck’s backside and Brian let’s him ramble on and on as entertainment.

It’s worthy to note that John thinks I act differently in front of Brian then how I would if he weren’t present. John implied that I actually wasn’t the great person that Brian believes. Really John. It’s over. Let it go. I’m married to Brian now. (Is the song in your head suddenly?)

Part of his rambling was about Tesla not wanting to go to Disney World next year with us over Father’s Day weekend. I told Tesla we would go then because it fit everyone’s schedule that was attending. She feels guilty and wants to be home with her dad. I get that, but there are eight people involved in this trip. Brian’s parents are taking us, and now Brian is trying to work out other dates with his nephew’s and son’s schedule. Yes, I’m frustrated.

I think John should have been supportive considering the situation and just said to Tesla that it’s fine for her to go on a week’s trip to Disney and spend Father’s Day with her stepdad and step grandfather next year. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

I have other opinions. Like Dale should stop trying to contact me. Yeah, that PFA has expired but that doesn’t mean I want be friends. My friends don’t even want to be his friend. Dale shouldn’t be texting John to tell me “hi” and John shouldn’t be telling Tesla to tell me that Dale says hi. WTH? Dale and John are both duh, and I’m being nice.

So my favorite part of Brian telling me about John’s monologue is: John said it pisses him off every month when he has to sign that $500 check that’s being mailed to me.

That made my night.

~P.

Opinions: everyone has them

I read something yesterday that at first really didn’t bother me that much.

I’m very involved in social media because it allows me to be social with friends and family and stay in touch.

So what bothered me, after thinking about it all day, was my third cousin’s post about being old-fashioned in the sense that he doesn’t believe in…hold on, I’ll just copy his post.

“Sorry but I’m old fashioned. I have a right to my opinions. I don’t believe there should be public breastfeeding or gay marriage. Everyone has their opinion and I respect that. Just don’t put down my opinion because you don’t agree with it. And I won’t put down yours. Simple as that”

Pattie Crider I don’t let either bother me. Has nothing to do with being old -fashioned, more open minded. I’ve been judged, I don’t judge.

Ok, my third cousin gets to have his opinion and I am more than fine with him sharing it on Facebook, but I would like to point out a few things to him.

First, you’re 19, not married, without kids, working in the family business and living at home. (I think I got that all right, not that you’ll probably read this) And you are a redneck, just as I am.

Second, when you’re not the things I just mentioned (except perhaps the family business and redneck part) you might feel differently.

Now I base this reasoning on how much I’ve changed over the years. I am much less judgmental then I was at 19. Notice I say “much less” because I’m still judgmental. Everyone is judgmental, you can’t escape it.

I never hid from my family, or anyone for that matter, that I was in a relationship with a woman for a long time. I’d say around 3 years of my life. We walked in public holding hands, did activities as a couple including going to my family events when we were “permitted” to attend. Sometimes I wasn’t invited or if I was, it was just me and I chose not to attend. Some of my family REALLY held it against me, others didn’t seem to care. Clearly I have chosen to marry a man and live as husband and wife and not have any involvement with anyone else, male or female.

So I chose men, specifically one man, to have physical relations with for the rest of my life.  Would I have married my now ex-girlfriend had it been legal? Probably. Good it wasn’t legal for me at least, because divorces aren’t cheap and I know now I was in a wrong relationship. It was wrong for me because I’m not a lesbian. If lesbians want to get married and it’s legal, feel free. Same with men. Not my business to judge them. God will do that in the long run.

Now for the breastfeeding in public, my very sweet, nice guy, third cousin; babies need to eat and sometimes it happens to be in public. Should women have their boob out, all making it dramatic, and showy? No, that’s just ridiculous. Feed the baby with a light blanket over them and all is good in the world. The baby gets warm, easy access, healthy milk and no one ever notices. Someday, if you have kids (and I hope they are not homosexual because you obviously might have an issue with that), you’ll appreciate the availability of the milk that comes free from a mother. Breastfeeding is natural and not something that should be found on a no-no list.

Just my opinion,

~P.

What was Esther Schmucker doing on Mother’s Day?

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Every now and then I check-in on my buddy Esther’s Facebook Page. See what she’s up to and all. It’s been pretty dry lately, no mention of what she’s been sewing or baking. I scrolled down to see if she made any type of particularly moving post on Mother’s Day because while mothers were celebrating, Esther was busy becoming a third time mom.

On Mother’s Day, Esther became mom to “Baby C” a girl, but she hasn’t mentioned her and Mirkat’s arrival yet. I’m not sure what’s she’s waiting for. I’ve known she’s pregnant, but I guess this is even more top secret than Levi having an English girlfriend and a baby girl named Lyndon. I’ve seen a picture of Lyndon. ADORABLE!!!!! But I don’t think I’ll be seeing a photo of Baby C.

So what about Esther’s other two children? Teenager “J” is in ND living with his dad who DID NOT rape Esther (I mean, would send your son to live with your former rapist?) and her daughter “A” is living with her paternal grandma.

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Wow, the cameras really ought to still be on Esther. She’s living on a crazy coaster.

Will she actually raise this baby? What’s up with her and Mirkat? They together? Going to do the family thing until he decides to beat the crap out of her again? It’s a true life soap opera.

I bet she still owes people cookbooks and aprons.

LOL,

~P.

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