Saturday, September 24, 2016

Listen

For the past couple of days I've been a little bummed about the whole social security debacle until yesterday afternoon.  I was at work and it was time for a quick break.  Just something to clear my head and get away from my office for a bit.  I went to my usual places and eventually stopped and sat in one of the big comfy chairs so I could play a quick game of Phase 10 on my phone.  As I started to play the game and seemed to be moving through the phases rather quickly I overheard a man and women talking.  I couldn't help but overhear their conversation and I felt a little uncomfortable as the young man explained a few things that were going on in his life.  I've never seen this man before and the woman he was talking to was someone I've noticed around in the office from time to time, although I have no idea what her name is or which department she works in.  The woman must have been the young man's manager was my best guess.  The young man went on to explain a few details of a messy divorce he was going through and how the house he was living in was eventually going to have to go through a short sale.  And then he said that the hardest part through this whole thing was trying not to lose his two little boys through this whole thing.  I guess the young man has custody of the boys and struggles to work, get them off to school on time each day alone, and be there when they get home from school because of his work schedule while he also tries to not take much time off work so as to be able to not lose his job and keep food on the table.  By the time he was done both the manager and I were both feeling for the young man.  The manager assured the young man that she would do what she could to help and explained that he really didn't have to share all of this if he didn't want to.  She was trying to help him to maintain a little of his self respect I guess. The two finish their conversation and go off in their separate ways and I am now left sitting alone still thinking about what I just heard and all of a sudden my own situation didn't seem as bad as it once seemed yesterday. I was now feeling thankful that Kevin and I have never been in a situation that like this young man found himself in and being concerned that he might lose the two children he obviously dearly loved. As I thought about this and realized my own problems, even though they seem quite large at times, are nothing compared to what this young man was experiencing and tears began to stream down my face. It was time for what was going to be a quick break, but turned out not to be more like a normal break instead of a short one, to be over. I wished I would have had the courage to stop that young man before he disappeared to tell him what an awesome father he was and how incredibly lucky those two little boys were to have a father that loved them as much as he obviously did. I know that young man was feeling just like I often do. He was feeling all alone with the weight of the world on his shoulders and holding on for dear life. 

As I went back to my desk I suddenly felt a little better. All of a sudden the wait for just about everything in my life wasn't as hard of a thing to endure anymore. My burden became a little bit lighter. Funny how that happens when you hear about the struggles someone else is going through. 

I am a firm believer that if we all came together and put our struggles into a big pile in the middle of us all and had the chance to take any of the trials in that pile away, that we would each come back with the same struggle we started with. It's true. As I sat there listening to this young man I suddenly realized that I could handle the struggles we are going through and I was very grateful to NOT have to go through what this young man was going through.

As I got on the elevator to go back to my office I said a quick silent prayer thanking my Heavenly Father for this little reminder and then repenting for my murmurings from yesterday. 

Once I was back to my office I only had about an hour to go before I had to make the trip home. A few days ago Lexi helped me download a digital library app to my phone so I could listen to audio books on my phone. In fact, you can download entire book, magazines, movies, and music to just able any electronic device....all for free! When I got to my car I started the car and turned on the book I had just downloaded and began listening. The last time I listened to audio books was when I took a car trip up with some friends to go to BYU Women's Conference several years ago. It made the trip go by quicker and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to books instead of music all the way up to Utah. Now listening to a book makes my little trips to and from Phoenix a lot less stressful and I hate stopping when I arrive at work or home and have to stop the book. Since I downloaded the app I've only listened to three books. I downloaded the app on Monday. The books have taken the place of Netflix for me and I have stopped watching TV or movies at all. Speaking of TV, I don't think the TV has been on in our family room in weeks. None of us watch it anymore. That's strange to me, but not a bad thing in any way.  

As I was finishing up my work day I decided I would come home and try to call social security myself. I'm glad I did. After waiting about an hour to get in touch with an actual human being, I was greeted by a young woman who asked to speak with Mr. Schmidt so she could verify that it was okay to speak with me. I took the phone into Kevin who had no idea I was calling and who happened to be sleeping.  I called his name about three times and finally got him to wake up after I said his name the third time. He woke up abruptly and agreed to take the phone and go through their verification and password process.  Once that was done, I explained why I was calling and that I needed to know how long his case had been in "quality review" and that I needed to know if asking for a supervisor would help speed things along. The women on the other end of the phone said Kevin's case had been in quality review since May not April and that she needed to put me on hold to review the case and get some help from a co-worker.  I was on hold for what seemed like half an hour when she came back and thanked me for waiting. She then explained that Kevin's case was no longer in quality review and had been out of quality review since the end of August. She then said it could take another 30-60 days for Kevin to receive his first benefits. We then discussed the other part of the case. You see, several years ago, when our older children were still in elementary school, Kevin was on social security for a short time. I asked if that prior case was slowing things down. The woman assured me that it wasn't and that everything was in good order now and that was that. I then thanked her and told her she had made my day. So, now we wait. Yes, again, but I don't care. I am just happy to finally hear that Kevin's case is out of quality review. Finally!

After my call to social security was over I immediately got on the phone again, this time with SRP. I wanted to set up an over the phone payment for the M-Power service we use so I didn't have to make so many trips each week to add money to our power card. Frankly I hate the M-Power service and intend to switch back to regular service as soon as we can. What is M-Power? M-Power is a card based service that lets you pay as you go for electricity. The deposit for electrical services is around $200 each time you move here in the valley of the sun, but if you go with M-Power that deposit gets cut in half making it a little easier on the budget. We have used M-Power since before our oldest children graduated from high school. The only bad part about it is that you have to go to certain locations across the valley to add money to your card in order to use the service. During the summer, and depending on our budget, I'm making trips to add money to our card several times a week. Plus depending on my budget I have tried to use as little power as possible in an effort to preserve the power we have and make it to paydays. It's been rough some times when I turn the air conditioner up to 80 or even 85 in the blistering heat of summer. I was just doing what we had to do. Well, long ago I had heard that you could call SRP and give them debit card or check information over the phone to add money to your card, but I had never used the service. Until yesterday. Yesterday I called and gave them my information and set up a payment. This still meant that I had to go to add one dollar to my card in order for the over the phone payment to be downloaded to my card, but in the long run I'd be making fewer trips to add service to my card. Then I asked the SRP representative about when these types of services might be available online and he assured me that changes were coming very soon. I was happy. Happy because I remembered this option and finally decided to use it, and happy to not have to make so many trips to the payment locations anymore. This makes me a happy camper!

Last night when I was talking with Lexi she said something funny happened earlier that day. You see, Kyle is working a crazy schedule for work and so his sleep pattern is a little crazy. I guess he woke up yesterday around noon and came out into the family room and said, "Where's Curtis?"  He obviously was sleep walking. Lexi then explained to Kyle that Curtis was in New York and all of a sudden Kyle was awake and looking at Lexi like she just said something completely odd. 

There have only been a couple times that we have ever seen Kyle sleep walk. Curtis is the one that does this a lot. In fact, one time he woke up in the middle of the night and Kevin decided to have a little fun with him. Kevin told Curtis he was late for school and that he needed to hurry and get ready and get going. Curtis hurried and got ready and then headed out the door. Thankfully as soon as he got outside he realized it was still dark outside and he headed back into the house. When he got back inside there was his dad standing by the door with a big grin on his face waiting to tease Curtis yet again. The poor kid. That story will forever be one we look back on with fond memories as we think about missing our missionary. That with the story of Curtis pretending to be Danielle when an old boyfriend called the house desperate to talk to Danielle because she had just broken up with him. These little stories make us smile and stop us from ever feeling sad about not being able to see Curtis right now.  

Last night as I crawled into bed I mentioned the young man and his two little boys in my prayer. I asked that if this young man was sincere and as good of a father as he seemed to be that our Heavenly Father would do everything within His power to help this young father keep those two little boys if that was what was right for the little boys. (it sounded like the mother had given up her rights as a mother.) I then said this young man knows what is important and He needs your help to keep his little family together and be able to be a part of his little boys lives and those little boys need a father that obviously loves these little boys more than they will ever know. That wasn't the end of my prayer, and I found myself on my knees for quite a while as I pleaded with my Heavenly Father over many things and thanked Him again for all that I have and all that we had not been asked to endure thus far. I must have been on my knees for over half an hour when I finally ended my prayer and felt that I had said all I needed to say. What a blessing it is to know my Heavenly Father is there for me always. I couldn't make it without Him. 

Well, I have a lot to do today. First we plan to do a chemistry experiment with Lexi, then I'm off to run a few errands, and of there is lots to do around the house as well. 


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