After a weekend of house searching and researching, we are still no closer to finding the perfect eco-friendly home. We have been looking for the perfect eco-friendly home for at least three weeks now. We want something that doesn’t harm the environment and something that doesn’t break the bank. Our current neighborhood doesn’t allow solar panels, so we have been looking at neighborhoods surrounding the area as close as five minutes away and 20 minutes out.
The first issue, I have noticed is the pricing of the neighborhoods that allow solar panels. The least expensive house in one of those neighborhoods is around 189,000. If you add in the 20000 for the solar upgrade you are looking at least 200,000 for the house. I would like to find a house around 120,000 to 150,000 thousand and then add all the eco-friendly addons. However, I have yet to find a neighborhood that allows them in the areas with cheaper housing. I am not debating the Green New Deal, but I really wonder how anyone would work that sort of thing out given the obstacles of finding eco-friendly neighborhoods. Some of the older houses would not be able to sustain the upgrades needed for solar panels even if the neighborhoods allowed the houses to do the necessary upgrades. Where would the money from the new roofs come in and the money for the panels? Perhaps, we need to start building more eco-friendly neighborhoods and slowly start moving people in that direction.
I have land in the country that would allow us to build, but it is at least four hours away which would take the children away from their friends. I am not trying to do that because the children need their support systems, so we have to find a peaceful medium. It is all a little confusing to be honest. We talk about going green, but there are many HOAs that frown upon the addons for solar enhancements. If we are going to get serious about going green we need to get serious about rewriting some of the rules outlined in HOAs across America.
I am having difficultly understanding why HOA groups are allowed to dictate what I can and can’t do in a house that I aim to buy. If I want to help make our environment better it is a good thing. So, at this point we are still looking and searching for that perfect neighborhood that offers the chance at eco-friendly living without reaching into the 200,000 range.
With the current issues in Saudi Arabia and the risk of going into another war, I think now is the time for all of us to get serious about going solar because we do not know what will happen in the future. Oil wars are not cheap and I do not want to be a casualty of war. So, I will continue looking.
An article came out in Forbes on 8/23/2019 detailing how Republicans aim to get Trump to cut Social Security and Medicare. We have known for a while that these programs have been on the brink and if Trump gets a second term we might see some real movement in revamping them system.
Many people use Social Security and for a large percentage of people, it is their main source of income. Due to our national debt nearing 21 trillion dollars the government will have to take drastic measures to balance the books. At this point the Republican Senators are hinting at a much needed overhaul.
We know that the system is currently flawed. In prior articles, I wrote about people who used the Social Security system as a way to scam benefits. The problem comes into play when an entire country gets caught up in a whirlpool of drama because some people are cheating the system. I would caution leaders to be thoughtful when dealing with this situation. Perhaps, the overhaul is needed in the screening of people trying to apply for services.
I do not want to see our elderly people thrown to the wolves over circumstances that they cannot control. I would like to see tougher guidelines for parents placing their children on SSI and the use of preschools if the children are able to attend them. Sadly, I have seen people get diagnoses for their children as young as 5 years old. I worked a case involving a mother who had all three of her children diagnosed and was currently awaiting her diagnoses. When I questioned her about working, she stated that she wanted to take care of her children. Ironically enough, she continued to leave them with other people.
When I worked in mental health, I saw these situations all the time. People would come in trying to perfect mental illness because their loved ones told them that hospitalizations were the way to go. We have to break this cycle. Eventually they would learn just enough information to get their benefits. After three or four stays at a mental health hospital you learn all you need to know about the signs and symptoms of mental illness. It truly is sad that the scammers are mixed in with the people who really need the services. In the end it just overburdens the system and forces unwanted results on those who really need services.
I am sure we will hear more on this story in the near future. I have mixed emotions about slashing benefits that help the elderly. However, I am tired of seeing people take advantage of loopholes. Yet, I cannot help but wonder how much this current administration has helped to add to our debt situation and if slashing these programs will stop the bleed.
If you really want to know what’s going on check out this video. I could tell you, but it’s better to hear it from the people who know about the issues due to their location. I was floored to see that climate control is one of the issues that is bringing people our way.
If you are anything like me, you are more than ready for 2020 to arrive and leave. One of the main reasons I can’t wait to see 2020 come and go is because we are in desperate need of new blood in Congress. We have two types of people occupying Congress right now. We have people unwilling to disturb the waters, and people who are jumping into the deep end of the pool, without knowing how to swim.
Meanwhile, we have this issue with Speaker Of The House Pelosi and President Trump. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that these two have a secret flirt affair going on. On one hand we have Democrats calling for the impeachment process to start. On the other hand,Speaker of the House Pelosi wants to see President Trump locked up.
So, what am I missing? The last time I checked the president can’t be locked up without being impeached. If you aren’t going to start the process, repair your relationship and move on. The bickering and jabbing is starting to get old. Most of us just want to see results that benefit our country. We want to see a fair immigration system, better healthcare, a judicial system that works for all, and climate control.
We want to see an immigration system that does not destabilize countries that need each other. We also need to focus on making sure people have the right to healthcare and that they aren’t kicked off their plans due to preexisting illnesses. There is a mental health crisis in this country and nobody seems to want to talk about that. The truth is, treating mental illness is more expensive than treating asthma in some cases. I recall going to the doctor to schedule an exam for my daughter’s ADHD it was going to cost us over 300 with insurance. We aren’t even talking about the medication, we are talking about the mental health exam. Estimations show that we have at least 66 million people that are documented having some sort of mental illness problem occurring within 1 yr. https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
Those estimates are based on people that we track, there are millions more who are suffering from things and they will never go into a clinic. They will stay in the dark due to the fear of stigma attached to being mentally ill. Yet, we argue about gun control and forget about the very things that cause people to act out. If congress feels the need to proceed with the process of impeachment , then so be it. However, if there is nothing there, we need to move on and fix our issues as a country. We have seen enough dancing between Pelosi and Trump. If I want to be entertained, I will watch a dancing show.
I wish I could tell you that cases like the Central Park 5 no longer exist. I wish I could tell you that all investigations are done with fairness, but I won’t insult your intelligence today. The movie When They See Us is a painful reminder that not everyone with a badge or a title can be trusted to work for the betterment of their community.
I’m sure if you have been following my blog, you know my story. I turned in my badge over a year ago after I saw railroading techniques being used to trap minorities. It takes a strong person to go against their livelihood. In my situation, I transferred from another region because I wanted to move my family to a smaller town. I thought a smaller town would offer better people and a better foundation for my girls.
After I got here, I immediately started seeing issues. I came from a big city and investigations there weren’t easy. I was nearly raped, threatened by a weapon, and was even surrounded by racist at one point. Yet, I loved my job and I could see the good in helping out my community. I had a supervisor who clearly looked out for her community, she cared about trying to help children, and she cared about helping their families learn to rehabilitate in difficult situations.
I came here with background in removing children from parents using cocaine and meth. I also had the removals that resulted in removals from people who no longer wanted to be parents. After I got here, my very first case was a case involving an African American mother from another state. She had relatives here and a mother hours away. Not only did she have a mother hours away, the children had a father who was trying to see how he could get in route to pick up his children.
While I was trying to work with the family on finding a solution my supervisor was trying to push a removal on the mother due to her getting arrested. Keep in mind, there was an aunt living in the household and people who could have been here within hours. The policemen looked at me and asked me if I was really going to let that happen, and I reaffirmed them that I would do everything in my power to stop it.
After going back and forward with my boss I was able to get her to work with the family until we were able to get the father or grandmother headed in our direction. The thing about removals is that they often do not get overturned. They last for at least a year and children are forced to stay in foster care. So, if there is a family member, we were taught to do everything within our power to unite that child with their family, but in this unit they didn’t do that. Even after this case was ready for closure, and the female had her children back in another state my supervisor was trying to get the state to take action against the mom. The state politely let us know that the mother was doing good and to bud out at this point.
I have always been very careful about removals due to the stress that it places on the children. I removed only when I needed to and questioned anything that looked fishy even when it wasn’t my removal. A few cases later I came across a female who had just gotten out of the hospital. She tested positive for marijuana. Marijuana is not something that we remove for in the state of Texas. People get a quitting marijuana packet due to it not being crack or meth.
When I gave her an oral swab her medications that she had been given at surgery showed up. Keep in mind she had just been released from the hospital and her urine didn’t have any traces of those drugs nor the baby’s prior to or while giving birth. I still went on and confirmed with the nurses as to the type of medication that this lady was given. My supervisor wanted me to remove once again due to her results coming back positive even though she knew she had just had a c-section.
She swore up and down that a positive meant she had used something. I told her to google the medication and see what positives would show up and she did, but she still didn’t want to believe me or the medical professionals. I informed her that I wouldn’t be doing a removal because this mother wasn’t doing anything that warranted a removal. I even gave her another drug test which came back negative two days later.
I have always had issues with investigators who removed and placed kids into foster care without trying to locate family members. She and others stated that it took too long. The process could take hours, but it was still worth it if you could keep the family together and maintain safety. She talked about how she would talk only to PDs who would lean towards removals because she didn’t want to do family placements. Again this is killing the families, but she didn’t care. Once she joked about being the Removal Queen. All I could hear was I’m messed up so many families due to not wanting to put in extra time on family placements.
We already knew that in most cases that minorities were targeted by false calls. Did you know that only 15 percent of CPS cases are real abuse? That means that 85 percent are lies and anyone can call in on people. While we have had some cases that were real, we have had so many more that were nothing more than vendettas.
Here’s the cold hard truth about cases in the black community and Spanish communities. When people look to remove often times these families will not be able to get their children back. If they have any sort of record dealing from old cases, criminal cases or people in the house with any central registry case they will be voided out as a potential caregiver. There are so many minorities with charges on them due to possession of marijuana, criminal trespass or failure to identify. Then if that doesn’t get them there’s a case on them for being victims of domestic violence.
They changed the regulation on domestic violence about 1 yr or 2 yrs ago. Prior to that if you were involved in a domestic violence relationship and were a victim they could put a reason to believe on you. So, the victim would get victimized twice. In some states they still do this, they still charge the victim with a reason to believe which knocks them out for any job dealing with children, or elderly. It also prevents them from taking family members if children are ever removed in the future.
I finally quit my job because of a case that should have been a removal, but my boss didn’t want to believe the children who were the victims in the case. I worked the case with at least three other law officials from two other states. The parent was a runner and drug abuser. She was grooming her children to be sexually abused while their father was looking for them. The father spent time in prison for manslaughter only because the state didn’t have a law on the books for self defense. I found out everything about the dad. He was a good hardworking citizen, paid his dues, took parenting classes, and even earned certificates. He had held down a job, his only true crime was being black and trying to stop a white man from killing him.
I found out that he had been looking for his children for years while the mother was letting them get beaten and molested. So, I let him take his children and my boss knew this, but you better believe she lied to the program manager about it. The program manager who was just as crazy as she was wanted us to get the kids back. Here’s the issue, because they didn’t want to remove those kids, they would have went back to the mom and the abuser. So, there was no way in hell I was going to do that. I called the dad told him to get a lawyer. Needless to say, anything else would have been just as crazy as the prior cases, so I quit soon after that case.
This father wasn’t going to be able to protect his children because of a conviction he got due to him trying to defend himself. He was already victimized by the system once and then we were going to let his children become victims of the system again. If you are poor, black or mentally ill the system will not work for you as it would for someone with a different stack of cards. Your only hope is to get a person who cares. When They See Us might be about the Central Park 5, but the issue is that, the stain of racism has soaked so deep into the fabric of what and who we are. It is in outcomes of child abuse cases, criminal cases and even family courts in some arenas. We have to understand that the fight isn’t over. There’s still work to be done.
If your family vacations are anything like mine, most of them result in trips to the ER, after all the fun ends. YEAH!! However, this year we are planning to go about it another way. We will plan the perfect vacation for people on a budget. The first thing we do is look for fun things near our state. It gives the children a chance to go out of state without making us pay so much in gas. This year the winner is!!
The winner is New Mexico. Some of you might be wondering why New Mexico. Well New Mexico has an ice cave! My husband and I love the idea, I’m wondering how the children will like it. I think it will be a surprise because they aren’t into science like me. However, I want them to respect nature because while it is beautiful, it also has the ability to change life as we know it. Most of our trips have something to do with nature. I would love to go to Yellowstone, it really is a dream. Yet, it isn’t close enough for us and would hurt the budget. We try to find fun things that will allow us fun minus the guilt of spending after we get back home.
This year I plan on learning more about the adventure prior to pulling up to the site, God Willing! I will be a good mommy and make sure I pack lots of water and bananas. We will need to bring a bag with clothing that will protect us from the coldness inside the cave which shouldn’t be too costly. We have bags around the house and we can just use our normal cold weather clothing.
The first thing I like to do is google the distance of the place. It should take us around 13 hours to get to the cave. I have a Jeep that uses e85 gas so I think we are looking at 300 bucks in gas give or take 100 bucks either way. My husband is a state worker so he can get hotel rooms a little cheaper which will get us a better rate on a room. Trying to spend no more than 100 on a room per night which gives us at least two nights without drama. The park fee is 12 per adult, so we are looking at 60 for the whole family. Breakfast will consist of something from the hotel and packed lunches while we are touring.
While I bet New Mexico has nice local authentic food, we normally just stick to the dollar menu for dinner. Normally, our vacations always end with an ER visit because someone does something crazy. One vacation my husband hit is head on the cave ceiling. I was just about to say something to warn him before he hit his head, but I was too late. He started having severe headaches which warranted a visit to the ER.
The other incident involved me sitting in a hard spot for five hours. LOL Hardspot! Get it! LOL okay, my sense of humor is my own. Anyway, after we made it to the car, I sat with my leg bent in the air for like three more hours. By the time I got home, I couldn’t walk. Turns out I hurt my butt, I didn’t even know that was a thing. I still swear I felt something jiggle around when I was walking. The nurses in the ER were laughing about it, but I was quite worried.
Lastly, my daughter’s spider bite got infected by the other place we visited. We were having fun in the water which turned out to be irritating her bite. The doctor said it happens more times than people realize. We think those bandages are good for protection, but they can fail. Alison’s bandage came right off and that was what caused the infection. So, this year we will be adding a first aid supply kit to the trip. We are just too clumsy not to have one.
Are you planning anything fun this summer for your family?
My husband and I moved into this house a little over a year ago. When we first moved in our electric bill was around 250 per month. The 250 per month included an energy saving plan with TXU. Supposedly, the green plan would help save us money and lower our bill. After about six months of seeing very little savings we decided to move to another plan with TXU. This plan was supposed to save us more money because we wouldn’t be paying for energy on the weekends.
About a month or so after the plan we noticed that our bill started to get out of control. It was no longer in the 250 range, it was going into the 300 plus range. The weather was starting to change and the house was starting to get colder. So, I asked a TXU representative why were our bills so high. He told me that basically, I needed to mimic the outside weather. So, if it was cold outside, my house would need to be a representation of that in order to have a normal bill. I asked him are you saying we need to freeze, he said bundle up!
That was clearly not going to work with three children in my home. So, we started cutting back on other bills. No matter how we limited our usage, or what we did, the bill was still high. The area we were spending the most money in was still heating.
After my year ended, I linked up with Direct Energy. I have since noticed about a 200 dollar drop. TXU called me back and wanted to know what they could do in order to get our business back. They stated that the plan I was on prior to leaving was a plan that cost 14 cent per kilowatt. Average households pay about 12.7 to 13 per kilowatt, but TXU had us paying 14 cent. This was the reason my bill was never going down. I now pay 10 cent per kilowatt.
If you are having trouble with high energy bills, you need to talk to the company about the amount you are paying for your electricity. You shouldn’t have to freeze in your home in order to save money. Pay close attention to where the most energy is being allotted. In our case it wasn’t about computers, TVs or even appliances it was something we needed. Study your bill, and look back at your usage from a year ago. I hope your home stays a climate friendly zone.