A Mixed Bag Life Update VI

Life Update

It’s time for another mixed bag life update, we are up to episode VI. And we start with remote learning for my kids, as we didn’t want to send our kids to in-person school, given the COVID-19. For Conner, my sixteen-year-old son, he had no option but to attend school virtually, and, we chose to also have our 10-year-old daughter, Alya do her schooling from home, to avoid any risk of COVID-19 coming home.

Conner is doing excellently, he currently has straight A’s across the board, it seems that remote schooling really works for him, we never had these sort of grades when he attended in-person school. Alya, on the other hand, likes to lounge around, no matter how much I tell her to sit up and pay attention. Inevitably, she falls asleep, missing vital class time. I set her up with my Surface Pro 3 and a Bluetooth keyboard at a table with a chair, but every time I take a break from working, she’ll be on the floor laying down.

We’re in the process of getting her evaluated for autism and ADHD, as she is all over the place, squirrel-like, and gets easily upset at minor things, which would not bother most of her peers. With a diagnosis, we might be able to get funding for therapy, to help her cope with possible autism, or more likely, ADHD.

In the meantime, we are considering the option of in-person school for Alya, as she does better when in a more structured classroom situation. This is not ideal as my wife, Erin has a compromised immune system, making her high risk for COVID-19 infection and death, so it’s a tough choice.

Moving onto my wife, Erin has been getting progressively worse, her Fibromyalgia and Lupus are sending her to the ER every 2 – 3 weeks for painkilling shots after her pain exceeds what her pain management doctor prescribed can cope with. Erin has been getting Remicade infusions, which is supposed to help with Lupus flares, she has had two rounds, with a 3rd round being delayed due to other medical issues.

The rate at which my wife’s health has declined is very concerning, especially for the future, when acquiring healthcare insurance could be impossible for many Americans, not just my wife. At the moment, our premium is over $1,200 per month, of which, we pay $247, the rest is picked up by the ACA. If Trump and the Senate GOP push through Amy Coney Barrett, the ACA could be a thing of the past, bringing back the bad old days of people with pre-existing conditions being denied medical insurance coverage.

Onto the ever-present financial struggles, with the $20,000 of debt I am personally liable for, $8,500 in credit card balances, $8,600 in personal loans, and another $2,600 in car loans, plus another $2,500 my wife is liable for, in addition to her hefty student loan balance, we are in terrible financial shape. We have gone overdrawn for the past 3 months and are a double-digit charge away from maxing our bank VISA.

We were considering buying a home after our rental rate for our current home increased by $70 last month, and we elected to not sign another 12-month lease, as the month-to-month penalty is only $30, bringing the rental rate to $100 extra. If we cannot manage to make it through the month without going overdrawn, buying a house should not be on the agenda for the time being, that’s too big a commitment.

We still have not received our tax refund for 2019, I had to send Form 8962 to the IRS after initially e-filing without it, which was my mistake, I misunderstood the instructions after the ACA individual mandate was repealed. Because this form had to be sent by snail mail, coupled with the backlog of returns at the IRS, as of today, October 2, 2020, we have not seen a cent of our 2019 federal tax refund.

The refund is only $3,200, but that would’ve made a significant dent in our debts and more importantly, paying less in interest charges, which is the real problem, the minimum payments we make barely cover the interest payments. The interest alone between February when we filed and now is over $1,800. I feel sick every time I look at our financial situation, fuelling my depression, I feel like I am failing my family.

As I mentioned before, with Erin’s health deteriorating; this might mean she is unable to work at all in the coming years, losing $1,200 per month is no small loss. If that happens, we’ll have no option but to file for bankruptcy, if we did not have this massive, over $100,000 of debt all in, I could afford to support my family on my income alone, but that is not the situation we are in, and I feel absolutely hopeless.

Something positive to end this life update, I have earned $800 in additional money from companies, who had used my photography without permission when they took over ownership/management of said properties from the company I work for. That took a little time to resolve, but every one of these companies agreed to pay in the end, making legal action unnecessary, which obviously was the desired outcome.  And the company I work for gave me an additional bonus of $1,200 for going above and beyond during the transfer of the six properties, which was more like $950 after the tax man took his cut.

This did help pay down the debts a little, being able to pay double the minimum payment on each credit card, meaning all that additional cash went to the principle, instead of just the minimum payment, of which 50 – 70% is interest charges. And paid some regular bills earlier than I normally could have, to keep ahead of the curve, giving me more wiggle room, instead of payment at the due date or just after.

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