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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nine to go

The last few days I've stayed off the computer (except to post) and working steady on this quilt. I had talked with the owner last Saturday and she wanted to pick it up Thursday. It's the only day she can come. Could I have it done by then? I told her yes I could have it ready. I had one on the machine I needed to finish first and then I'd start on hers.

I called last night to tell her I had it finished and that I would be home today. No doctor appointments. She tells me she can't come until next Tuesday or Wednesday. As a professional quilter, I get this a lot. Rush, rush, rush to accommodate a customer.... the customer changes their plans without telling me. This is how some of the stress of quilting for others happens.

Oh well.... it's one more to cross off the waiting list countdown.

The pictures are already cracking and peeling away from the fabric. I found out that the customer's son made this quilt for his wife for their first anniversary next month. It's his first quilt. Not bad for a beginner. The saying across the top says.... God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you. Awwww..... that's nice.

I put a feather around the border.

Flowers around the words and curly ribbons on the sashing.

Flowers on the corners of the blocks around the photos.

Another look at the flowers.

Larger flowers on the blocks without photos. I did large open flowers so they would not be quilted too tight. The photos are not quilted and I wanted the blocks to have fairly even density.

This is the flower block from the back. I think this is a Pam Clarke flower design. Could be a Diana Phillips one though.

A look at the corner flowers and the ribbons from the back.

This is the photo blocks from the back. It leaves a gap in the quilting when there are photos on quilt tops.

One more photo from the back. Can you see how these make it look as if I didn't finish the quilting? I'll be glad when the photos on quilt fad goes away.

In my haste to make a post then get back to quilting, I failed to explain how my daughter can save money by moving home. Right now she pays 800 a month rent. To me, that's a house payment. It was far more than she could afford so I've been helping her. Sometimes a mother has to let the kids learn from their mistakes. Her lease is up in October and she can hardly wait. She tells me constantly that she should have listened to me instead of baby's daddy about the apartment.
She pays 100 a month for utilities. Mine were 260 but are being reduced to 170 due to the insulation work I had done. Baby's daddy pays day care, cell phones, and cable bills. This amounts to a little over 1100 a month. Both buy groceries.
My mortgage payment is 400 a month. If she gives me 200 on the mortgage and 100 on the utilities she still comes out with quite a bit to save for a house each month. She should also be getting an end of year bonus, a raise, a tax rebate, and a small settlement on the accident. The one when she was hit by a drunk driver. Baby's daddy will continue to pay the day care. He's moving back with his parents. She will start paying her own cell phone bill. I already have cable. We both know how to bargain shop for things and how to make meals from almost nothing. She has no debts at all although she is still in college.
She has already researched houses. She knows how much she can afford and how much she wants to put down on it. On her salary, an 800 a month mortgage payment is not going to happen. She will go with a smaller, cheaper house and a larger down payment. She came up with the plan all on her own. I'm so proud! When explaining her plan to me she said...... see Mom, I really was listening to what you taught me when I was growing up. I can do it the same way we did it before. I'm so proud!
How long she stays here is up to her. I'm always glad to have my kids near me for whatever reason. About the only time we don't get along together is when she has PMS. Oooo is she really cranky! I stay out of her way. If things don't go exactly as she planned we can work it out.
Now here is when I need to tell you about how it was I came to have this house. It's sad for me to tell it but is important to know in order to understand why my daughter will succeed with her plan. When my daughter was about three, one of my sons was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He fought a brave battle for almost a year. He died at age 14.
Near the end of his battle, I couldn't be with my son at the hospital and working at the same time. So I gave up my house by quit claim deed and my daughter and I moved into a homeless shelter. The older boys lived elsewhere. In a shelter I didn't have to think about paying rent or buying groceries. I had the freedom to be with my son.
After my son's death, I started plans to buy another house. This one. When I first saw it you could barely tell it was a house. It had been abandoned and was nearly falling down. I contacted a construction company and worked out a deal. If they would buy this house from the city and fix it up... I would buy it. I knew it was in a bad neighborhood but it was what I knew I could afford. I asked them to give me one year to get enough for the down payment and closing costs. Each month I would show them how much I had in my savings and they would show me what they were doing to the house. If I failed to get the money I needed then the house could still be sold.
I don't think they believed me at first but slowly saw my determination. Each morning my daughter and I would get into my raggedy car and start traveling through alleys, behind schools, and behind stores collecting aluminum cans. Soon we expanded to going into a new subdivision being built and picking up small pieces of copper wire the construction crews threw on the ground. The same construction company I had contacted was building several of those houses in the suburbs. Each evening we would take what we had found to the recycling center to sell and then a trip to the bank to put it into our savings.
How I taught my daughter to pick up every can and every piece of wire she found was to tell her it was worth a nickle. At four years old, a nickle is a whole lot of money. All those nickles would buy us a house with her own room.... complete with princess furniture. It worked like a charm.
Soon the construction crews and those who lived along our alley route started noticing her picking up aluminum cans and copper wire. Some got mad and ran us off but others asked us questions. I think she won the hearts of the construction men when she told them she was picking up nickles for her new house. Her brother, the angel, was helping to build it. They started putting cans and pieces of wire in a cardboard box with her name on it. I had to tell her it was her name. I could see the men peeking around the corners as she ran to get her box of nickles. Sometimes there would be a hand full of change or a small toy in there too. She would squeal with delight. Mommie look! Mommie look!
Four months after my son's death I managed to get a part time job. At six months after, we moved into the projects from the shelter and I started getting food stamps too. We continued to travel our route as often as we could and put it into our savings. It grew a few dollars at a time.
At 11 months after, I saw that my house was nearing completion. I almost had enough in my savings so appointments were made with bank, inspector, closing lawyer, etc. My loan was approved. I think the construction company told the bank about what I had done. Otherwise, I'm not sure I could have gotten approved for the loan. My salary was too low.
One year and 6 days after my first contact with the construction company we moved into our new home. Secretly I had gone to Sears and bought a canopy bed and dresser with all the princess stuff to go with it. Ruffle curtains, bedspread.... the whole bit. I had it all set up in her room before we started moving our things out of the project apartment. You should have seen the look on her face when she saw her room for the first time. Priceless!
I've never been anything but poor (low income). My whole life has been one of making do with what I have or can scrounge together. Hmm.... maybe that's why I love quilting and cardboard furniture so much. Odd bits and pieces to make something really nice. Growing up, I spent time with whatever relative or orphanage I was sent to live and learning with each new adventure. I'm in no way sad about my life at all. It's what makes me who I am. I'm an expert at making do and living with very little. A skill I can teach to those who are newly poor in today's economy. I think maybe my life of living poor was in God's plans all along. I mean really, someone had to be the one who lived and learned in order to teach others. Am I right??
I may get frustrated at times and moan or groan; but, there is always a way.... providing a person is willing to work hard and accept lower standards. Boulders in my path don't bother me for long. I can't miss what I've never had. After moving into this house we stopped traveling our route. I never saw the construction guys again but they knew if I stopped going that I had finally gotten our house. I think of them every now and then and say a prayer of thanks.
So you see my daughter does know what it is to set a goal and work toward it one small step at a time. Did I tell you how proud I am that she learned?


kathi said...

THAT is an amazing story. I am still brushing the tears from my eyes. some tears of sorrow, but many tears of joy. YOU as well as your DAUGHTER are truly AMAZING WOMEN. Thank you for sharing.. and THAT would also make an EXCELLENT BOOK. get to writing already!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anita, for sharing some of your history. Your courage and tenacity inspire me to be more appreciative of what little I do have, to be more careful with everything, and to try a little harder to make do. You go girl! Ann

Laura said...

Wow, what a powerful story! You are an inspiration to us all. Love your blog and it's one of the few that I check every day. I wish you luck as you countdown to retirement and I hope life after retirement provides you with good health and continued happiness.

jhwolf said...

You are an amazing woman and your daughter is a very lucky woman to have you as a Mom and teacher.

Judy in MO

SandyQuilts said...

Thank You.

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

What our country needs is more people like you, willing to work hard and save for what they want. And fewer of those sitting around waiting for their entitlements. I sure hope it all works out for your daughter. And doesn't it do your mother's heart good to know she WAS actually absorbing everything you were trying to teach her? We don't always know that until years later.

I'm really sorry to hear about the loss of your son. Cancer is always bad but seems even worse when it takes a young person who should have their whole life ahead of them. A classmate of my DGD, also about 13-14, is fighting cancer. I took her a quilt to give to him just yesterday. I just hope he gets to use it for a good many years to come.

Anonymous said...

you are an inspiration.thanks
for sharing your story.