Red Light (Go)

I hate that every single blog is about money. I really do. It wasn’t always like that. But I can’t change the reality of our lives.

It looks like the move back together into a single apartment is not going to happen. Despite the best efforts of a few wonderful people, we didn’t raise enough to even cover the rent on Jani’s and Bodhi’s apartment for October so we could stay current. If we don’t stay current, the move is dead. The complex won’t let us move while we owe them money.

We needed $2100. I actually have raised that before.

But when I needed to raise it to get out of this eternal facing eviction, I couldn’t do it.

On Tuesday, we will be delinquent again.

That will start the eviction process all over again.

And that’s not even the worse struggle I have right now.

Oh, well. Sometimes when there is no hope, floor the accelerator.




21 comments on “Red Light (Go)

  1. How much longer
    Michael — Is it your expectation that the online community pay for 2 apartments, 2 utility bills, 2 cable bills and 2 internet bills until your book gets published a year from now?

    Note from Michael: No, which is why we are trying to move back into one apartment as a family and hope Jani does okay with the transition. The latter part is what I am most worried about right now. Nonetheless, we are proceeding with the move and hoping for the best.

  2. no way to live
    Time for some major lateral thinking methinks – you and your family have to stop putting yourselves through this stress every month. This will affect your kids – even trying to protect them won’t really work. Stress makes parents snappy and short tempered and no matter how hard we try the kids are aware all is not well.

    Note from Michael: Might be “no way to live” as you say but in some situations there is no choice. We do the best we can.

  3. update?
    Well, did you make the money to move into the two bedroom?

    Note from Michael: Not enough, because I have a tendency to underestimate what we actually need, but we are proceeding with the move. At this point, barring any unforeseen problems, it’s going to happen. Go tell it on the mountain, bemindful.

  4. there’s always choice
    I appreciate what you say – but there IS always choice. Everything we do is choice, it’s just that sometimes we can’t see it.

    Note from Michael: Easy for people to talk about “choice” when they don’t live this life. It’s one of the great failures of rhetoric. You must establish ethos, or the reason your audience should listen to you, before you begin to preach.

  5. Why?
    I’m a parent too. If I was to find myself having to seek donations from complete strangers every single month to keep a roof over my family’s head I would sit down and think again.

    My life is easier now my children have grown but as a divorced single mum life was challenging, almost to the point of having to cut myself in three to satisfy the child, work and home demands on me.

    You’ve been given many suggestions on this site on how to improve your circumstances and you have systematically and spuriously rejected them all, choosing instead, to stay on the same old treadmill.

    You may find your life tough but, with a moments thought, you would perhaps appreciate that most people in most of the world are much worse off than you are now, or ever will be.

    All life is choice – that’s not rhetoric, that’s a fact. With some lateral thinking there’s a myriad of options available to improve your life. Your attitude is that of the victim – but you’re not a victim – you’re an articulate, capable, adult human being who can take control and make things better.

    Change your mind Michael – the rest will follow.

    Note from Michael: Damn straight. I will not risk the stability of my daughter just because people like you don’t like me asking for money. Why anyone would think that anything else matters to me is beyond me. Sometimes I think people get an inflated sense of their importance in my life. There are a lot of people who matter to me. Strangers giving “advice?” Not so much.

  6. relationship with strangers
    But Michael, it is through the kindness of strangers that keeps you afloat. And this kindness extends to offering advice, putting forth ideas that you may not have though of. I believe if you and Susan attack your strategy for solvency with the same gusto and tenacity that you demonstrate with mental health advocacy then you will be successful.

    Note from Michael: Not quite sure what the issue is. We are moving back into a single apartment as I answered in your previous comment. So, no, I won’t be asking for money anymore, at least not on the scale of previous requests which have been high. I guess what gets me angry is the assumption that some people seem to make that I haven’t already thought of their ideas. Sorry, but I have. Nobody has ever presented me with an idea that hadn’t already crossed my mind. But I also have different relationships with different readers. Some readers I am closer to because we have talked and I don’t consider them “strangers.” Others, who only show up to criticize, no, how could I take what they say seriously? They have made no effort to establish a relationship with me.

  7. Jeez Michael…I am new to reading the blog, but not to your family’s story. I think people need to try to put themselves in your shoes, really in your shoes, not preach about how you need to figure some other way out. Family comes first…period, everything else is secondary. How the two of you have managed to get as far as you have, is incredible. I’m pretty sure most who are talking down to you would’ve cracked long long ago. I wish you the best of luck in getting the money together.

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Michelle. I will be the first to admit that we have been able to keep our family together because of the incredible generosity of strangers. I don’t think that is a bad thing. Every one who has given to us has made it easier to stay together. I will never forget that.

  8. I grew up in a similar situation, financially. Every month was a struggle to scrounge up enough funds to pay the most basic bills and it was usually through the kindness of our family and friends that we made it. That being said, I can see why people continually preach about changing your ways so you no longer rely on donations, but I also understand why that type of “advice” is so frustrating to you.

    When you’re in a hole so deep, a sudden turn around is practically impossible and it takes a miracle to get you out of it. And I can say that a child as young as Jani will certainly pick up on the stress, but she doesn’t understand the deeper implications that financial hardships bring. Yes, she senses her parent’s stress, but she is simply unaware of many of the complexities. I feel confident in saying this because you and Susan have dedicated your lives to protecting her and I know you shield her from the worst of your situation.

    Jani is resilient. You, Susan and Bodhi are resilient. The criticisms of your lifestyle, parenting and source of income are all a moot point because despite all of these supposed negatives you are still raising healthy, happy children. Jani and Bodhi are the biggest reflection on you and Susan as individuals and every indication is that they are as well adjusted and happy as they can be when faced with their individual medical/mental health issues.

    Besides, the way I see it, when Jani is older, you will be able to tell her the amazing story of people’s kindness that kept your family together and perhaps that will help her maintain hope for a society that will not always be kind to her.

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Elizabeth. That means a lot to me.

  9. Do you have the 2100 yet? I hope both your children are doing O.K. I hope you and Susan are O.K. too.

    Note from Michael: Pretty much, yes. Unfortunately it turned out to be less than we needed (I tend to undershoot-very frustrating only getting paid once per month) but are close enough that I think we will make it.

  10. Michael–what about working as a private tutor? Your English skills would be in high demand with high school/college students and kids working on college application essays. You could set your own hours/schedule…just a thought.

    Note from Michael: I actually have thought of that and will look into it after the move is complete.

  11. Another idea
    My father is a retired English high school teacher and now makes a good chunk of change tutoring students in SAT prep. Jenn mentioned it in her above comment. It might be a feasible option if you could get away for a couple hours at a time. Just a thought. I wish you the best.

    Note from MIchael: Again, that might be feasible. From what I’ve been told by other teachers who tutor, they make more doing private tutoring than they do as teachers.

  12. the tutor thing
    Gonna tell you what you already know…I managed to pick up 3 extra online courses to teach this term, I get “paid” via campus bookstore credits…blah blah blah…some of my students have asked about tutor help for next semester since right now things just are too full with Picks to add that to the plate. But what I wanted to say is, with any SSI stuff…if you tutor, be mindful of how you get paid. We lost medicaid and her ssi all over savings bonds a family got her for her “college” fund. aren’t even worth 100 bucks if cashed in, which I can’t do since my name isn’t even on them, but her ss# is. they are getting really, really, really nit-picky, worse than in the past. We also lost a chunk of my SSI/SSDI because they considered the rental value of the house, (since it’s in a family member’s name) were that family member to charge me market value rent. Just…just tossin’ it out there, with the donations to cover rent and stuff, be careful. with the internet asks, they could get crabby and consider it income…then the ssi and I don’t recall if ya’ll have any medicaid coverage for Jani, Bodhi, you 2…even as a supplement…but…just not trying to come off like a beast..just some heads up about how it’s getting….would suck if ya’ll got another knot in the noose over lame stuff.

    Note from Michael: Thanks. I’m not sure the SSI is worth it. Jani gets $186 a month. Sure it helps (usually closes the gap between what I make teaching and rent on one apartment) but losing it wouldn’t make a huge difference, unfortunately. As for Medicaid (Medi-Cal here in California), no. I am lucky enough to get health benefits through my job, as long as I teach at least two classes per semester. In that respect, I am very lucky. What the university pays monthly for my family health benefits is more than my entire monthly paycheck. Jani has Medi-Cal I think because she gets SSI but we never use it. We always have used private insurance. Bodhi, Susan, and I don’t have it. Like I said, so far (fingers crossed) we haven’t needed it. But this is why I can’t stop teaching. Even with the book (when it comes out and assuming it does well), I still have to teach or we lose our health benefits.

  13. Have you ever heard about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society? [url][/url] They are all over the country and offer all kinds of services like: emergency financial assistance, Rent/mortgage assistance, Budget counseling, Free pharmacy services, and have thrift stores. They are religiously affiliated but I don’t think that they discriminate or try to push a religious agenda on the people they are working with. Just a suggestion. If it doesn’t work for you then perhaps you might know someone who would benefit from it. Wishing you all the best!

  14. I think what you are trying to do for your children is wonderful. I know that people do the best they can for their families, but when it comes down to it sometimes it just might not be enough. You have done what is one of the hardest things for a person to do, break down and ask for help. I don’t think anyboddy should begrudge you for that. If they don’t like it they really don’t need to comment.
    I am a student and currently doing research on Childhood On-Set Schizophrenia. I have learned a lot from Jani’s story, although no one can fully understand your story, because they aren’t you, I admire all that your family has done to stay together.

  15. Are you guys going to be able to make the move?

    I wish I could donate, but I’m only 16 and with my uncle’s mental illness, my family can’t afford much else right now…

    I hope this all works out and I pray for your and Jani’s well-being!

    Note from Michael: Yes, we are going forward with the move. I am nervous, of course, because I know it will be an adjustment period, but we are pressing forward.

  16. I was just wondering what exactly happening with the book deal. I am eagerly anticipating its release, and I plan on buying a copy!

    What you’re doing for your family is extraordinary, and no matter what these internet hecklers say, you are a wonderful person and a wonderful father.

    Note from Michael: It’s still going on. Sometimes books need more time and that happened to be the case in mine. The release date got pushed back to August 7th of next year so I could do some more needed work on it.

  17. The only reason Michael is asking anything of anyone is because he has exhausted all other options just as any other parent would do in this or any other situation. Seriously, their family life is none of our business. People are very quick to judge others and put themselves on a pedestal when faced with the reality of someone humbling themselves for help, especially financial help. For example, people immediately want to tell the panhandler on the corner to “get a job” and that “he/she is only going to spend the money given to them on booze/drugs.” However, did anyone stop to consider the absolutely crushing loss of dignity that person standing there with their cup out already feels? That is dues paid as far as I am concerned. Michael has paid his dues and continues to pay his dues every waking moment of his life. No one can even comprehend how he must feel and even those who wave the “I have been there” banner can shut up too in my opinion. Just because you may have faced a similar hardship in life does not give you a PhD in telling other people how to live their lives or parent their children.

  18. re update
    Hi again. I am really confused because I saw you tell Carl “Thank you” on Facebook for him giving you the money you needed to move. Then later on I saw you make a post that said you needed professional movers and needed more money adding that your stress of doing the move yourself would make Jani stressful.

    But then like a week before that you said somewhere that you failed to put gas in your car thinking you could push it and your car stopped in the middle of the freeway with Jani in the car and no air conditioning! That had to have been extremely stressful and scary for her.

    You know, I have to wonder. And to the person saying that what Michael does is no ones business, I have to say that when it comes to a kid and making sure that the kid is not being messed up or used in any way – it’s everyone’s business. We care about what happens to Jani too. Maybe if you think you deserve privacy you should not have destroyed Jani’s privacy? She has rights to you know even though she is a kid.

    I am pretty sure you will either not allow this post to go through or write some hostile response as you always do but I guess that sort of makes the point of why others should be involved in what you are doing with Jani.

  19. Re: Rebecca
    Am in total agreement with Rebecca. If people want to make comments on how the Schofields are doing things, they ought to at least read ALL of Michael’s blogs, view the various documentaries about Jani’s life and read all the newspaper articles dealing with Jani’s difficulties over the years. Then they ought to go to the facebook pages and view the recent videos and notice how much Jani has improved. She is slowly and surely pushing the White Rabbit out of her life. And she will continue to do so as she gets older. I’m sure of it.

  20. thought….
    Have you tried posting on reddit? Post your story and your needs and Im sure redditors will help you. Make a chip in account!