It really has been quite some time since I last posted. It is a truth that this platform provides a freedom for many when things are tough, but also when you need to “get things out” to vocalise them and predominantly to people you don’t know. Somehow there is safety in articulating in that way, however it is important to point out that even though you don’t know these people, you are sharing an experience. It is a truth and a reality and it provides a perspective. It provides us all with a perspective.

When I awoke this morning I considered the world as a kaleidoscope. You twist the bottom and peer in, at times you see such brilliant colours, blues and yellows, sometimes even brilliant reds. Yet at others, as the beads shift into place there is a pause and a darkness. You wait to see the outcome, what pattern will appear? Yet it isn’t clear. You squint and narrow your eyes but no, you cannot see.

My life at present has this darkness and lack of clarity.

If you read back on my blog posts you may see some of the journey undertaken by my husband and myself. We have never really had a good deck of cards yet we tried to make the most of those we had. The IVA gave us a focus for better times ahead yet of course never stopping to realise that we had to live for each day.

A few weeks ago my husband suddenly started passing blood. It was red but without colour such as a kaleidoscope gives, it had no beauty. A UTI was suspected so he had antibiotics and despite intense pain he seemed to recover.

This week a rather different view has been given. After tests and consultation we were shown into a room. They came in two’s, I read the nurses badge it said Macmillan. I knew really, even before the meeting, we both did. Ironic as it was almost as if we wanted to reassure Consultant and Nurse that we knew, we were flippant, even laughing. Gallows humour…

My husband has renal cell carcinoma, he is 44. More than that the tumour is the size of a CD and the consultant said at the meeting that he originally thought things were “hopeless”. To have any chance the kidney and surrounding area must go. There is another tilt to the kaleidoscope, he has suspicious nodules on his lungs and in the retropetrioneal area. They wouldn’t tell us how many, they were sketchy, I think because they think we cannot absorb and after all, no operation, no chance at all, so the kidney is the first port of call.

I don’t know what will happen next other than the specialist will decide if it is feasible. Don’t ask timeframes, again we don’t know, we don’t know much but what we do know we are trying to come to terms with.

We need to do Wills, Husband said so. We have little to “Will” yet it is sensible. He is brave, he seems strong. It makes me worry that he hasn’t absorbed but maybe it is just different if you have the disease, what do you do other than accept? Your life continues. He has a cough. He has lost so much weight it is like having a new skinny version of him. He laughs at this. I need to get him a dressing gown, for when he has to go in, if/when, odd how your mind flips from thought to thought.

I am alright, I work like a Trojan which is my method of coping. I was so cold in bed last night, shivering for my thoughts too were cold. The cat pawed my face in the darkness, so gently. We are conspirators this cat and I. Both of us purring at the World when really it is teeth and claws we wish to display. On occasion. Chemotherapy and Radiology don’t work for this type of cancer, apparently, however there are drugs which can help. I cling to hope but of course your eyes mist and you do look into darkness on occasion.

I have a *Game Face*. I use it on people when I tell them that we have a different outlook right now. Our life has shifted and money doesn’t seem to dominate our every waking thought. I should be honest and say that the protection of the IVA gave us focus and safety, it really did and I remember ringing Vincent Bond all those months ago on my Husband’s birthday when we knew that we had too much to juggle. We have had our IVA now for nearly 3 years. I am glad for it gave us calm, it did, it let us breathe. Alpine air actually, after what had come before.

Besides my *Game Face* I also have a *Car Face* and a *Bath Face* those one’s are usually tearstained.

I laid in bed last night staring into space, I really must get a grip I thought. My IT Department had mailed me to say that my Mailbox was too full. I am a creative so there tend to be large files in there, I let them lie. They didn’t seem important initially. Ironic it is that this Work Mailbox is full as friends and family seem to be playing hide and seek, I understand this of course. It is a huge shock. Mind you, I have few friends as I can be rather insular, I write instead. I feel safer that way, eyes downcast with no expectation and no *Game Face* necessary. Yet still with freedom and a chance to cast perspective. To add colour to what seems to be monochrome.

I thought of the Wizard of Oz, I don’t know why, but stick with me, after all you have got this far. The Tin Man had no heart, The Scarecrow no brain and The Lion no Courage. Yet all are inexplicably linked. When your heart feels as though it may break you take courage and think of positive things. However in reality they all had those things already. The Tinman had a heart, The Scarecrow a brain and the Lion was not cowardly, see how he put his fists up to the World? We all have them. Use your brain, Have a heart (when you already do) and Find courage.

They just thought they were lacking, those three Musketeers on that yellow road to wherever.

Thought can be damaging, at least too much of it can. So it is better off expressed, throw your cards on the floor for all to see, twist the kaleidoscope so that you see every colour. Give a three dimensional view to all.

Use your *Real Face* and live your life. However long that may be.

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Long time no blog and it’s less a may day call for help more a lovely sunny morning and I have some time spare so thought I would update you.

I was surprised in all honesty at how the months have flown since my last blog posting. I think that’s a good thing, it means that we have made several more payments into our IVA and also that we are not clock watching, simply getting on with our lives with the IVA running alongside. It’s always there naturally, in the back of your mind but when you have struggled previously with debt for 10 years it somehow seems easier…I’m whispering that as the IVA Gremlin might be listening…

It was nearly a year ago that we decided things were really not manageable financially, infact not manageable at all. Truthfully they had never been manageable and we have had further upheaval and turmoil since that time. Namely car problems which seem to hound so many of us with IVA status and the house was completely flooded at Christmas. There is no way of saying that was fine, that and the months which followed were awful but “Nobody died…” and that truly puts it into perspective. Also the end result is a true reflection of the phrase “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

The house is now completely restored, beautiful and it doesn’t feel as if it is ours…well to be truthful it isn’t as we rent. However we now have a fixed annual term with our landlady and I feel like a bit of a WAG without the orange tan (fortunately) and Christian Louboutin shoes (unfortunately). For we have new furniture all new…shinier than the shiniest shiny things from Shineville. Please forgive me if I sound braggish, it is not so and I have to pinch myself to think that these new things are real but they are so and therefore the turmoil has ironically had a positive result. Everything has been painted, each nook and cranny of this rented house, decorated to befit WAG status and as I look around I cannot believe it.

Because we were so good (frightened of being homeless!?) when the house flooded, so stayed put and suffered our Landlady now feels that we are the best tenants ever. And the fixed term means I feel safer, less likely to be thrown onto the streets, until I just wrote that I had not really considered how afraid of that I was. Years ago when my first marriage split up it had nearly been a reality. The house I rented was sold from under me. I literally came home from work and there was the For Sale sign, no word no warning, then the Sold sign and I had no money for a deposit to go elsewhere.

I asked to see my Boss at my old job on the Monday and nervously in the tiniest voice requested a salary advance, how I agonised over it. Foolishly it seems for he just nodded and said “Of course, anything to help you through this time, just pay us back when your divorce comes through.” I went upstairs to the Financial Realms to pick up the promised cheque and found that it was for the sum of £3,000. I felt so relieved and yet so ashamed at the same time. But I paid them back quickly although I was stuck with all the other marital debts which are now IVA’d.

Perhaps May is going to historically represent change for me? Last year the cogs of imminent financial ruin started whirring in my head and this year I have secured a new job. I think that also reinforces the fact that you cannot put your life on hold just because you are in an IVA. I have a secure job at the moment but keep banging my head against a glass ceiling and it hurts. I don’t want my life to stand still, time is so short that I want to feel alive, that I am contributing, that I have purpose.

However there was also something at work which had bothered me, a harrassment incident, unexpected, unwelcome and unforgettable. I reported it but didn’t name the person initially – said that I was putting it down to a VERY bad error of judgement. I am used to banter with the guys at work, I am the only woman on occasion but this was something different and I was alone in a separate part of the building and the comment was particularly profound and definite. Also I have hardly spoken to this person, maybe once or twice as he is relatively new so I don’t know him well enough if that makes sense? Anyway I felt uncomfortable and upset enough to report it. I managed to escape unmentionable man by making excuses, edging past him. He knew he had overstepped the mark simply by the look on my face but much to my chagrin I found myself saying “Sorry!” just to get out. “Don’t worry about it.” I said. I am so annoyed with myself for that. He replied “I thought it, but shouldn’t have said it outloud.” I don’t even want to think of him thinking it!

I didn’t tell anybody else, just my Boss and promised to inform him if I experienced or heard of anything similar happening to anybody else. Well…I did, I heard something last week, from a third party who happened to see this person pull into the car park. “I have been hearing things about him.” Third party said. And so I went directly to my Boss without revealing to the individual concerned and told my Boss I had heard that it had also happened to two other females. Therefore my Boss said he would deal with it…all this time I still feel uncomfortable with unmentionable man, I look away when he walks into the room, if I pass him in the corridor. I never make eye contact, ever, but I know he is there. I am a mentally strong, outgoing and mature woman, what if he does it to somebody younger?

Boss isn’t going to do anything yet….I know..I know…what can I say? He said that the individual concerned might be sending out feelers to see who is available!!!!!?????? I did not realise that I was walking around with TRY ME on my forehead…I am not Alice in Wonderland but I did feel like I had fallen into the deepest darkest rabbit hole. However I cannot protect anybody, I am without the tools or means to do it, I said what happened and it has been ignored…from me and from others. A hopeless situation which I am certain probably happens elsewhere, C’est la Vie…yet I am not so flippant, it’s just a coping mechanism, to move on…to make changes for my own wellbeing. Sometimes you have to look after you.

I had already been applying for jobs and have secured a new one. I am nervous of the change, of the job insecurity, of meeting new people and assessing office and company, you know what I mean…All those barriers we throw up for ourselves not to make changes, but I am making the change.

I went to the new job yesterday, to meet people, to see how it felt. There is much to do there and I think they probably suspect that I am slightly crazy, which of course I am! But as Bob Dylan said “There is nothing so stable as change.”

It means more travelling and the exhaust is blowing on the infernal car and I won’t have a pay rise until 6 months has passed by. Therefore on paper I might be considered worse off, but mentally I shall not be. Mentally I have removed myself from a situation which was draining. And besides if you turn the music up in the car you can hardly hear the exhaust!

The only other change that I can think of apart from the small change in my purse, is that we have started growing vegetables and making wine. I cannot believe how much pleasure it has given us and of course the opportunity for home grown food and liquor! How we exclaim at our cabbages and carrots, how clever we are..even with all this rain in the middle of a drought…wow! :)

So some change is good it truly seems.

More later.

C – Thinking about inviting OK magazine to her home 😉

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Now I am not particularly superstitious, well ok, I know that I wrote previously about saluting magpies..ahem..and I still do. But I do feel that we have had rather more than our fair share of Bad Luck of late. People often say that the Gods and Goddesses throw bad luck at those who are stout of heart and have the determination to see it through but I do feel a little overwhelmed with such a string of bad luck. Which always seems to come in threes, and ours most definitely has, i.e car, house, car. Written like that it almost seems trivial but it started on Christmas Eve, yes the Night before Christmas.

Incidentally why do we say that they always come in threes? Is it that we haven’t had enough after the first or second arrow? Ahh..the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune, that’s true enough.

So back to this Night before Christmas. We were travelling down to Kent, we have been in our IVA for just two short months and are still getting used to the differences and budgeting but all in all it’s pretty good…or was…We were going to Husband’s parents but then with just 30 miles to go the car started clunking. Turning the radio up didn’t seem to drown it out so we stopped at the services. The car has been in our possession less than a month. Husband’s parents kindly purchased it for us as our other one was an MOT failure. It’s an oldie, but we have always had oldies.

The attendant at the garage was most helpful in pointing out an expensive oil, as after checking the oil it appeared to be empty. We did let the engine cool down of course and were perplexed as to where exactly all that oil had gone since leaving home. After topping up we continued on our way and limped to Husbands parents house.

A couple of days later a mechanic came out from the Recovery Firm, I have recently changed insurance companies and decided that we needed cover for breakdown, thank goodness for that. After a bit of humming and ahhing the engine was condemned for over indulgence during the festivities and had an ailing head gasket. We needed to be towed back Oop North at the earliest time.

I did have to dig my heels as they wanted us to stay in the area and get the car fixed, in all honesty I knew not how we could afford to have it fixed so the only option was to be towed home. And we had small animals who had been fed by a neighbour but were expecting us back later that day.

So…6 hours later making small talk in a Recovery vehicle we arrived back home. I had left the keys to the house in the car, I am not always forward thinking I confess but I haven’t made it a New Year’s Resolution to be more so in 2012 as I should undoubtedly fail and besides life (or Gods and Goddesses) tends to throw things at you anyway.

As I approached the front door with Daughter I made the fatal mistake of saying “I wonder what’s going to be wrong in here then…”

Opened the door and was confronted by a flood that would challenge Noah. 2/3rds of the house underwater, ceilings down, electricity gone, darkness, dampness and wondering where my animals were and in what condition.

I am pleased to report that cats and house rabbit are well. It’s a miracle that the rabbit survived as he was standing in water and the ceiling had come down around his cage. We are now in the process of drying out which will take some weeks and the landlady is conspicuous by her absence. The rebuilding is likely to take 5 weeks alone and the drying probably 4 with a massive electricity bill which we can claim back from the landlady but will have to find the money initially. I confess that I considered a move but we don’t have a hefty deposit and our credit rating is of course IVA.

The car was sorted eventually, I woke up following our return and felt particularly low as I viewed the garden from the damp living room. I am human of course and despite being stout of heart can become down like the rest of us. I called the garage and pleaded amidst the odd sob or two, or three. Initially he said he could not help us but then called back and agreed to swap the car for another as we had only driven it for a month. However we needed to find another £200 to put towards it which has been a struggle and I am still worrying constantly about money. British Gas still have to change over our accounts. Our IP has chased them as we included a debt for both Gas and Elec in our IVA and if we pay anymore then the debt will be less than that included if that makes sense…..but today I received a threatening letter saying they would cut us off. So we will need to call again and probably ask our IP to do the same. She has been brilliant throughout the whole process.

And then yesterday on my return from work I hit a pothole in the new car that replaced the other new car. I knew that it had damaged something and somehow managed to make it to our local garage. It’s the coil spring, it needs sorting and it will cost £90.00. As a car is essential for me to work we have to have it fixed.

I know that there are many statements of old such as, reap what you sow, chickens coming home to roost, or even that what you have done in a past life comes back to haunt you. I prefer what my Mother used to say, that “Into every life a little rain must fall.” Although I am of course ignoring the obvious reference to water.

And whilst I feel low at times I then think of my son’s best friend who is undergoing a kidney transplant at the end of January. A scary prospect indeed and his uncle is kindly donating one of his kidneys which kind of makes you realise what life is about.

So Gods and Goddesses listen up and if you have any Good Luck, then please throw it in their direction for they truly need it.

C – who must have been very wicked in a previous life 😉

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A day closer to Christmas

It’s been an interesting month or so since I last wrote. The first thing to note is that we are now officially insolvent as our IVA proposal was accepted on the 29th November. The day itself dawned like many others, apart from the odd feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had to go to work and so Husband remained at home to await the call from our IP. The call arrived less than half an hour after our creditors meeting time to say Yes we are accepted, yes we were on our way to debt freedom, yes we were in control of our lives for the first time in 10 years+.

She ran through the legalities and how we needed to inform her of increases in wages etc but all in all it was far less onerous than the money juggling we used to do every pay day, especially once in the Pay Day loan cycle. A day or so later I felt the urge to view the insolvency register to check if our names appeared, and yes, there we were. It didn’t bother me actually, I didn’t feel a stigma, we are human, we didn’t fail, money problems can be caused by all kinds of circumstances. From illness to relationship breakups, job losses and yes even over spending which most of us are guilty of us at some time or the other. Especially at Christmas! It is not a moral thing, admitting you are struggling is the first and often hardest step to make. I would advise anybody reading this (who is not thoroughly bored by now) to make a call or two or three to any of the companies listed on the Forum if they feel that their debts are too weighty for them to handle. The advice will help, trying to cope and soldier on will not.

I felt such utter relief at our Acceptance, so glad that we had made that call way back in June, on Husbands Birthday when I broke down at the dining room table as I could no longer juggle things, WE could no longer juggle things. We had separated the previous December because of the strain of everything, it all become just too much although we still saw each other every day and Husband moved back in June.

It’s truly hard to put it into words how you feel on IVA Acceptance Day as your emotions are so confused. Relief that you have a solution, tinged with regret for finding your finances to be so out of control. For us, with all the utility companies included as many of our household bills were also debit balances, we have 27 creditors. I think that is a great many and a reason why it took perhaps longer than some to set-up our IVA. The majority of creditors are a legacy from my previous marriage and ironically there were only two creditors who voted against the proposal. Barclaycard were one of these, which is a little odd as initially they couldn’t trace my debt even though I have continued to make token payments over the 10 year period.

Still…we are now in our IVA and Christmas is on the horizon, so very different from last year when Husband and I were apart and I wandered around town feeling bereft and at a loss. Sparkling lights and tinsel that held no magic, just utter depression and an inability to gain even the smallest amount of sleep. Money can be such a strain for families in general but Christmas certainly adds to the pressure, there is no doubt of that and I read somewhere that legally the 4th of January is known as Divorce Day, as many seek legal advice after a turbulent Christmas. Whilst this won’t be due to money worries entirely it is a sad thought worth considering.

This season is so very different for us, we paid our first IVA repayment just ahead of Acceptance Day and so December 25th is actually our second repayment date. We have bought any presents that we needed to procure from our own cash and will be spending Christmas Day not only as Man and Wife but also with my Husband’s parents who miraculously got back in contact after a period of many years just after his Birthday in June. They are fully aware of our IVA and my new (even though Husband and I have been married for 10 years!) Mother in Law said that my voice sounded very different when we spoke yesterday on the telephone. I was telling her that life is good, that we are happy, that we feel we have a future and that I have decided to become a volunteer for the British Heart Foundation having seen an advert in our local shop window. I do have a very busy life, my job is demanding, however my Mother died suddenly from a heart attack on Christmas Eve 14 years ago and I would like to give something back. It’s perhaps telling that I have seen the advert at Christmas, a reminder maybe. Especially as money is now not the primary, all absorbing concern. We have a budget, we stick to it and in 5 years time we will be solvent again. Our IVA has given me an injection of life, even though we are tied in for 5 years, I feel free. It’s odd…

Another milestone is the fact that this year I will see both of my children together on Boxing Day. I lost custody of them 8 years ago so it’s always been a strange time. Daughter came to live with us 2 years ago, it was her own choice. She doesn’t wish to visit her Father this year and whilst that does truly sadden me she as most teenagers, has her own mind. I hope that as she matures she realises that we all act and do things that make us human, I never blamed him for taking away the children from me, I just missed them more than anybody can imagine. It seems that she does blame him, but in my experience bitterness doesn’t make you happy and of course being a teenager things are viewed in black and white without the necessary elements of grey.

Son will be meeting with us at his new Grandparents house on Boxing Day. Even as I type this it’s hard to believe it. I have read it back, could it be real, Yes it is….it’s my life and it’s real.

As I sign off I just want to wish you all a peaceful, happy, healthy and (maybe frugal!) Christmas and New Year.

C – Enjoying reality x

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A day in October..

Hello, yes I know, it’s been some time since I posted and people who comment that after the initial flurry of activity you fall back into the ether are of course correct. However I should tell you that after that initial flurry of information gathering back in June/July and it seems August too..we, meaning my Husband and I are still in limbo. I know that these things take time but we haven’t gone to proposal stage yet and I am still unsure (although have sent an email today) why that might be?Maybe there are just so many people who are in the same boat, maybe the case load of our case worker is too large? We do have a great many creditors for the 28/29k we owe, so maybe it’s that? Maybe, Maybe, Maybe…? No definites however as you will see, and life in Limbo Land is quite unpleasant, your life is on hold although you do your best to live it, but on hold it is….nonetheless…

I have tried to be patient, to be understanding..well… actually I confess that it’s almost been out of sight out of mind (I am human!). As in, well our case worker is dealing with this, that and the off the creditors letters, ignore the phone calls…so that we can continue in Limbo Land..but then it starts to nag, it starts to irk and you take responsibility because you want control, and you are puzzled as to the lack of progress? After all, facing up to your debt was the control mechanism in the first place. Taking back control…so I have emailed today, a plaintive email as I decided to seek sympathy. Aggression rarely gets you anywhere and leaves a nasty taste in your mouth…but I do of course desire answers.

HMRC are howling for the overpayment of tax credits as Husband and I got back together in June. I cannot blame them, they want the money back, but I don’t know if it can be added to the IVA, despite asking for advice on three separate occasions. I simply don’t know what to do? I suspect it can be, but I am not an authority….Limbo, Limbo, Limbo..but I’ve knocked off the bar and it lies on the floor with nowhere to go..other than back to Limbo Land.

If I sound melancholic it’s because I have been unwell whilst in Limbo Land. Some severe gastric bug that then decided to attack my gallbladder. It’s been a fabulous diet but with time spent in bed your mind is rarely your friend and worries come to the fore. Isn’t the human mind an annoying thing? You try and drift off into your ill and melancholic state (indulgent I know!) and then your mind fractures and splinters come and stab you. And if they are financial ones there is truly no escape. Ouch!

I am a little better today but I have felt rather more mortal at 41 than I ever have. I am really not 20 anymore, I cannot continue as if I am…..well..not immediately :) and I guess it’s something that we all feel, more mortal, at times.. so let’s try and make this life the best that we can…a cliche but “There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.”

Which brings me nicely back to this day in October..when I have tried to take control again and come back to the Forum and the Blog where the air is clean and crisp and friendship abounds. It’s like being in an Alpine village.. you can breath again without pain, the scenery is wonderful and you could catch a different train if you like to another village. All the time knowing that you can and will return to this village when the air becomes claggy again. It’s been claggy in Limbo Land but a breath of clean air has already filled my lungs. And I’ve put back the Limbo bar so here’s hoping somebody can help me manoeuvre under it and stand up tall again without knocking it off.

C – Limbering up!

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It’s ok – Day 32

It’s been a few days since I last wrote. I am feeling less Blue, although admittedly I am still having the odd down moment which I am trying to shake off.

We had our call with the IP practice on Monday evening. I was so nervous about it although I  kept myself busy at work throughout the day which helped.

I have a young lad on a work placement with me at present. He’s really good, bright, enthusiastic and he picks things up really quickly, such a help during this busy period. I emailed my Boss to ask if I could keep him, tongue in cheek of course as Young Lad is hopefully off to University after his A-levels.

“His enthusiasm won’t last….” replied my Boss rather cynically.

Then he finished his reply by calling me Mrs Robinson! Haha! It made me laugh as Boss knew it would.

Waiting for the call from the IP practice on Monday evening was rather the same as waiting for a dentists appointment or your driving test or maybe a job interview. Same feeling in the pit of your stomach, same anxious glancing at the clock where the time never seems to change. And then when the dreaded moment arrived both Husband and I jumped at the phone which we had propped up on the coffee table. As if it was something unexpected, a call from nowhere.

The lady who asked us all the questions regarding the information she had received from our debt advisors was truly lovely. It must be hard for her, I guess she might feel intrusive, probing into our deepest darkest finances. However I am so used to being transparent about it throughout all the years of debt, that it did not worry me. After all, it’s necessary and she did comment that we had provided so much information which makes things easier. The hardest thing for me was talking about the loss of my children, how the debt accumulated in my first marriage. And at that point, much to my own chagrin I broke down. I do so hate it when that happens, you feel like you are in control and then this stupid wave sweeps over you, your voice cracks and you blub. I kept apologising and she reassured that it was ok.

And you know what? It truly was. I was exhausted after the call, yes so tired that I could have slept for a week. But despite this, and despite the fact that it took some time to go through everything – 1.5hrs…it was ok.

She asked us about things on our bank statements, things that were not terribly clear, amounts in, amounts out and we clarified everything. She asked if we had any pension provision, sadly we do not. Like many I think we have never been in a position to pay into a pension, never had the disposable income to do it. Retirement is unlikely for us right now, but at 41 you kind of hope that you might have a few years left, you push how you will survive your old age to the back of your mind. And there’s always the Euromillions 😉 I joke of course but maybe in 5 years if we are accepted we might be able to save something for our silver haired days? Maybe before…? Who knows?

We are now awaiting the letter of engagement from our IP and also other documentation that we will need to check through. And there is other information that we need to supply, log book for car to confirm the vehicle we have stated, confirmation that I no longer receive tax credits since Husband moved back and other things too.

I felt, reflecting back to the statement regarding enthusiasm that my Boss made about Young Lad that perhaps my own had waned with our IVA application. My enthusiasm drained away, a flurry of activity, compiling paperwork and feeling positive to be followed by darkness and blueness. Afraid that the bumpy road was a little too bumpy although to be honest we were already crippled by potholes before this road. That sounds almost romantic, it is of course less so in reality.

C – Not Mrs Robinson but hoping to graduate from the school of IVA

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Feeling Blue – Day 23

The sun shone all day today, blue skies, sun and the air was so humid that you constantly felt uncomfortable. I work in Engineering so a factory is not the place to be during weather like this, phew!

Along with the blue skies, I have also been feeling rather blue, although that sounds almost whimsical when in reality I have felt ready to burst into tears at the slightest thing. Edgy, my nerves are brittle and my lip is sore where I continually bite it, a bad habit.

How stupid that sounds and self-indulgent. After all, it was a positive day today, our debt advisors confirmed that they would be passing across our case to an IP. I was glad about that, I want things to move along. We are bombarded with calls and letters daily at the moment and for me it’s like going back years. The feelings are exactly the same and I admit that I don’t want to “feel” those feelings again. So much misery at that time, tied up with losing custody of my children. So I’m bluer than the bluest blue but in time it will pass, time is a healer although I am not sure that deep seated feelings ever really fade.

I also discovered that I have omitted one of my debts from the initial paperwork we sent to our advisors. I cannot believe that I forgot it, how careless, how can you overlook a debt? My only plea is that the majority of my debt is old but still I am so annoyed with myself. It wasn’t on the old CAB statement I used at the time to remember things with. I don’t remember seeing it on my credit report in either my old or new married name. Still…once again I am annoyed with myself and I came home to a letter from Barclaycard written in blue although the message was in red. Mind you, at least it has been remembered before any proposal has been signed or creditors meeting called. I have emailed our debt advisors informing them immediately and asking if I need to send the statement to the company who will be proposing our IVA.

So many questions I still have about the whole process as each new thing happens. Although fortunately there are many who can answer them for us and do so willingly.

My Daughter has been struggling too over the past few days. Her schoolfriend was in remission from cancer, although this same friend lost her own Father to cancer late last year. Unfortunately now her cancer has returned. It’s devastating – for her Mother, for all who know her. It makes you feel humble to see how she is coping with the news and when she says smiling.

“I am going to beat it this time.”

It is hard therefore to come to terms with your own failings, after all no amount of money can ever buy your health. Goodness this sounds like a sermon but sometimes you do find yourself wondering “What is it all about?”.

I think of my daughter’s friend and then of my own fear at things that I do not know or understand. I am nervous of the next few weeks – the IVA process but then I feel guilty for feeling so when somebody else has much worse things to deal with. It’s what makes us human I guess, our failings, the need to have a wake-up call. To realise that you are alive with no threat as yet over your own life, just the threat of ever increasing, non-diminishing debt. However that’s not to say that the worry or anxiety about debt should be taken lightly. It can and does make people ill. Often they are not aware of a solution, they are just gripped by their own fear. They can see no way out…

The weather has changed since I started writing this, it’s cloudy now and I can see the odd spot of rain dropping onto the window. The air is cooler too although the sun is still struggling to break through the ever accumulating clouds.

I hope to push away my own clouds sometime soon. I am a strong person, I know that much for sure and yet for me the last few days have indeed been blue. Not azure like a sparkling and dazzling lake, but blue as in a down turn of mood, a sadness and hopelessness.

And there goes the phone, which I will ignore as the cat flicks back her ears in annoyance.

Actually her reaction made me smile, even she is disturbed by the creditors calls! Thank you cat :)

C – waiting for her own sunny disposition to return

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Cloudburst – Day 18

It was a very eerie light when I woke up this morning and looked outside. There was a glow to the sky and I guessed that the weather today may be changeable. And so it has been. Torrential rain showers, which last for such a short time but the raindrops are huge and ensure that you are truly soaked through by the end of the shower. Then the sun breaks through and were it not for the puddles on the pavements and smell of dampness in the air you would never believe it had rained at all. And the light is still eerie, dark, but with a sepia half-light behind it.

Husband had an email from one of the Pay Day companies today asking him to contact them urgently. We forwarded it on to our debt advisors. The Pay Day company said that he had broken his promise to repay. They talked about resolving the matter and attached a default notice to the bottom of the email. I still feel uncomfortable about not paying, after all we have had the money. However in time we will of course repay what we can.

There seem to have been several people on the Forum accepted for IVA’s which makes me hopeful that before long we will also join that band of folk. It is lovely to see their positive posts and all the responses of congratulation. Personally, we only have a few pieces of paperwork outstanding. My proof of debt with John Lewis and we both have a debt with another Pay Day loan company. I think the John Lewis one will be tricky but hey ho! And we deferred the Pay Day loans before we contacted our Debt Advisors so the amount they have chased Husband for already is not the full amount. We need confirmation of the full amount outstanding for us both. I expect that before long we will receive correspondence, either by email, or by post to confirm that we both owe the full amount.

The debt chasing storm will begin for me on Friday. Many of my debts are already with collection agencies due to the age of the debt. The collection agencies therefore chase very quickly if you default. I will forward on all communication as I have been advised to do. I know that sounds almost blase but it doesn’t really convey the knot in my stomach. The sick feeling you have never really learnt to deal with.

It’s Son’s Birthday today, I always feel a lurch in my stomach at the thought of not seeing him on his Birthday. The feeling is of bereftness, you think you have dealt with it but then there it is again. I know that as children grow up you inevitably miss out on some of them because your children find partners and ultimately have families of their own. However Son is still a teenager and I have missed 10 of his Birthdays thus far. It’s a wrench and I have thought of him a great deal today and also when he was born.

It was a very hot June and I can remember standing with him in my arms in the Maternity Ward, the evening of the day after he was born. There is rarely much air in hospitals anyway and with the humidity and weather conditions it simply exacerbated conditions. He was hot and as I held him in my arms both he and I grew hotter! Incidentally he was a poor sleeper from Day 1 and at 18 months old was up in the early hours doing jig-saws. Even now he doesn’t seem to need as much sleep as others.

The Maternity Block was at the top of the building, several floors from the ground and as I looked out the whole sky glowed as lightening sparked and crackled in the air. It was a sight to behold. No rain just lightning, electrical arcs that illuminated landmarks of the City for a split second before things became dark again. It didn’t clear the air at all but was a fabulous light show.

It is less hot today but still the air feels charged with electricity. Flaming June indeed…

I will call Son tonight and it is not so very long until we see him again and can exclaim at how much he has grown.

The IVA process so far has been very positive for me personally. Naturally we hope for ultimate freedom from the debt that has held us for so long. Repaying as much as we possibly can for the term allocated. However it has also provided me with the opportunity to reflect on some past events, perhaps even conclude them and truly think about our future. And that feels really good.

“Bad weather always looks worse through a window.”


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Day Off! – Day 17


C – More tomorrow…

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Bells and Whistles – Day 16

The Sales Meeting went well, I had something to say, which is always useful. Mostly it was about the new website, and I rambled for a while and showed the team the visuals which were well received. I believe the finished article will have all the bells and whistles required to ensure a flurry of new and then sustained enquiries. Although I need to hire a photographer to take product shots and I don’t think that was included in the original budget. Therefore negotiation skills will be needed at some stage.

The IVA application proceeds and I have been surprised that Husband hasn’t been chased more to date by the Pay Day loan company. It’s not that we wanted more chasing, we just expected them to call full time more quickly and demand that we pay it back or at least contact them. Fear of the Unknown again, the worry is perhaps worse sometimes than the outcome. Time will tell…

It was quite peaceful at work today, the sun shone and I had my window open enjoying the breeze. The local church tested it’s bells for well over an hour and the whole office was treated to the wedding peal, the Sunday summoning and then the funeral lament. It’s funny how you can recognise them all without really thinking about it. I often look at the Church as I drive to work and wonder about the people who have crossed it’s paths, doorways and are now buried within it’s walls and beyond. I’m a people watcher and am interested of course in people and all their nuances, odditites, what it is that makes them unique, special and where they fit in the world.

I’m not quite sure, at times, where I fit. I have never tried to, which perhaps is why I am in this situation. Who knows…? There is no point in blame or looking back. Anyway for once I feel that I have people around, albeit in cyber world who have had similar experiences and understand how sometimes you mess up, it’s what makes us human.

I have had no joy on the John Lewis front, my debt advisors suggested as indeed did the Forum that I do a credit search in my old married name. And so I wait for the PIN number to arrive so I will be able to see what is registered against that name.

My wedding day to my first husband was a gorgeous and happy day. Strange how events then tear you apart, although I rarely think it’s that dramatic, more that you drift, you no longer communicate and ultimately no longer want the same things. That day was so hot and we all waited at the church, me included. Strange I hear you say, well yes because the vicar did not arrive on time. There stood the Groom and the Bride (me) waiting outside. Where was the vicar?

I should tell you that the vicar was a hilarious soul. When ex-husband and I moved to the village we were not married and therefore residing in sin. Not such a big deal these days, actually no big deal at all but in the late 80’s there was a bit of a stigma still. My Grandmother was shocked, appalled even. Sadly my first wedding day was the last day I saw her alive. My new husband and I called into the Residential home where she was living, she was too unwell to attend the wedding herself. I remember her looking at me in my dress, she wore sunglasses permanently because at 92 her eyes were sensitive to any sort of sunlight. She peered up at me, held out her hand to take mine and then smiled at my new husband and back to me. All was forgiven, we had done the right thing.

Anyway, I digress, back to the vicar and his inattendence. My Mother was frantic, she did like things to run smoothly so much so that she had arranged all the flowers in the church herself. They were wonderful and amusingly my cat sat in the church the whole time that she arranged them.  My house was just the other side of the graveyard and the cat obviously realised that people she knew were up to something that she had to be a part of.

The vicar on my wedding day was rummaging through a skip on the building site where my new house had been constructed. We had bought 2 years previously so many new dwellings had popped up in that time. So, there he was, right at the end of the site, looking for anything useful in a dirty old skip. He wasn’t even dressed in his robes ready to officiate.

My Mother reprimanded him when she found him and blew the final whistle on his activities.

“Don’t you have a wedding to conduct?” She said. Fixing him with her hardest stare.

He apologised and ran to the church. We were late with our service but there wasn’t a wedding to follow ours and so there was no real panic.

Another Pay Day loan company will be disappointed tomorrow by our lack of fulfilling our promise. I am trying not to panic about that. I have read the advice of others, to stay strong, don’t worry they say. But it’s hard and takes some getting used to, even if you have been in debt for as long as we have. I think it’s true that we called time on further escalation into debt. It’s pointless, borrowing yet more money to pay money that you already owe. It has to stop sometime and that’s where we are.

Round 2, ding ding! Once all the paperwork has been collated we will be another step along the road.

C  – wearing her Grandmother’s wearing ring

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