Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Darius Rucker "Alright"

For now I'm just going to say God is amazing.... it's been a while since I posted a song to my blog but it's well overdue.... and this one is just plain perfect!

Alright, Alright
Yeah it's alright, alright

Don't need no five star reservations
I've got spaghetti and a cheap bottle of wine
Don't need no concert in the city
I've got a stereo and the best of Patsy Cline
Ain't got no caviar no Dom Perignon
But as far as I can see, I've got everything I want

Cause I've got a roof over my head,
the woman I love laying in my bed
And it's alright, alright
I've got shoes under my feet
Forever in her eyes staring back at me
And it's alright, alright
And I've got all I need
And it's alright by me

Maybe later on we'll walk down to the river
Lay on a blanket and stare up at the moon
It may not be no French Riviera
But it's all the same to me as long as im with you

It may be a simple life, but that's okay
If you ask me baby, I think I've got it made

Cause I've got a roof over my head,
the woman I love laying in my bed
And it's alright, alright
I've got shoes under my feet
Forever in her eyes staring back at me
And it's alright, alright
And I've got all I need
And it's alright by me

It's alright by me, yeah yeah
When I lay down at night I thank the Lord above
For giving me everything I ever could dream of

Cause I've got a roof over my head,
the woman I love laying in my bed
And it's alright, alright, alright, alright
I've got shoes under my feet
Forever in her eyes staring back at me
And it's alright, alright, alright
And I've got all I need, yeah
I've got all I need
And it's alright by me
Oh yeah, it's alright by me

"Alright" by Darius Rucker

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ultimately alone

It's no secret that I've been dealing with a lot recently and, to many, it's known that I have hit the point of not caring and then somehow managed to muster enough care to keep going. There is a lot to be said about the people that are around you and the people that interact making a difference in your life and that difference can be both positive and negative. Probably one of the biggest things that I feel is a huge loneliness inside and a huge lack of purpose -- ironically I think those are both directly related since if there isn't anyone else around then there really isn't any purpose for anything.

One thing that's made it especially hard for me is that, while it's true that there are people that I interact with at the fire station, I am ultimately alone. I live alone and I work alone so the majority of my life is lived alone. With all of the things that I have been facing I've ultimately been facing them alone. The thing, above all else, that bugs me the most is that anytime I've tried to express this in a facebook status or a twitter update I always get the same thing over and over again... people coming out of everywhere to say that "no, that's not true" or that I mean something to them or that I have them or whatever but ultimately those are just words. Now, granted, some of those are from family who live 4 hours away and it's no fault of theirs but ultimately they can't be what I need and it's certainly not something I hold against them. I know I have people that are praying for me and I don't want to discount what that means to me in any way because it's huge -- but when I express this aloneness that I am dealing with it's not something that is going to be solved by someone saying that they are there but, instead, its going to take action.

I don't want to sit here and blame the world tho.... I know that at least some of this falls back on me, at least according to what some others have told me. Should I be going out and meeting people? Well, sure.... but where do I find people especially when doing anything requires money which just goes right back to other struggles in my life right now but besides that, after so long you really seriously start to believe that there is no one else out there like you. You can only have so many conversations before you start to realize that you look at things in a totally different light than all of the people around you and while a part of me is proud of who I am and how I look at things there is also that huge part of me that feels more and more alienated because, well, there isn't really anyone that gets me. I'm sure that I've made subconscious choices that have led me to this lonely life that I live but then, at the same point, many of those choices may have been made to protect me because I'm guessing it's better to feel alone than to feel rejected.... but what do I know since the lonely feeling brings it's own feeling of rejection.

I don't know what the solution is... I don't know if there is one.... and this isn't really a blog asking for advice but, rather, its just trying to get things off my chest.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Oh, My Life

Sometimes I really struggle with life but its not the struggle I question but the reason for the struggle that bugs me. I have a lot of things happen to me that people have to look at me and say "quit being so irresponsible and you won't have these problems".... and while there are some people that certainly respond to me that way the thing is that I also have to question where I'm being irresponsible and then when I find few places that I could change I start to think that I'm just simply blind and lost which ends up frustrating me even more.

I know there is a concept that I've mentioned in my blog before that I still struggle with simply because, in some ways, it actually sounds like I'm indicating God is wanting me to be irresponsible. I don't believe this at all but what I struggle with is if God is just letting me get into scenarios where the end result always looks like I'm being irresponsible. What's the reason? Well, its the climb I guess. In 1999 it was really hard to find anyone that thought moving to Florida to work at Disney World without even having a place to live was a responsible move..... and quite honestly when I look back I wonder if it was but then I realize the reality of what 2000 looked like for me when many people who I knew before and after where constantly commenting on how much more mature I was after coming back. There were so many other things that happened as well like the college education for only 1 year, and the decissions I made with certain jobs that just didn't seem logical..... my life is full of them and I can't really blame anyone for looking at me as being irresponsible because sometimes I have to ask myself that question. What I've learned, however, is that illogical and irresponsible don't always go hand in hand especially when you're trying your best to answer to a supernatural God who has an understanding far above our own.

It was somewhere between 2 to 3 years ago that my life started to feel stable for the first time. I had bought a house (a house that, at the time, I could easily afford), I had ended up running my own business that was really doing quite well.... things were just awesome. I thought that maybe God was done letting these horrible things happen in my life. In May I turned 30 and there was starting to be a bit of a financial pinch at that point but ultimately I felt like I had become one of these so-called adults and was only dealing with normal adult stuff. In reality, it was the peak and the little struggle was just the start of that downhill descent that is possibly one of the largest that I've had to deal with in a very long time, if at all.

Ultimately, this economy has kicked my ass. In 2009 my income had dropped drastically to the point where I made just a little over half of what I made in 2008 and while I had some good months in 2010 I also had some really bad ones as well..... things that I just couldn't get around. I fell behind on bills and on my mortgage but had been paying regularly. The short story is that CitiMortgage has started the foreclosure process and tomorrow at 10am my house is to be sold. I find myself looking back and trying to figure out what I did wrong or what I could have done differently but ultimately I don't see anything. For the last couple of weeks I have been working with HOME of Virginia which is a HUD counseling agency and at many times you could just tell the shock in my counselors voice at what CitiMortgage has been doing. The reality is that the date CitiMortgage started foreclosure on me was only a couple days after I was 3 months late which, for most places, is unheard of. I know many people who are many months behind on their mortgage and, while they get letters, no legal action has been taken yet, for me, I end up getting the worst of all.

I know I'm not alone. What is beyond me is CitiMortgage. Here's the story of what happened. I sent a payment of $1400 to CitiMortgage at the end of September and, according to my bank, it was processed by Citi on 09/28/2010. Shortly after I scheduled that payment I received notice of foreclosure from an attorney acting on CitiMortgage's behalf. About a week after that I received a letter that was dated the part of September that explained CitiMortgage wanted to work with me regarding my account but, of course, this made it to me nearly a month later after the foreclosure was processed so that was null and void. Prior to this I had monthly filled out their online assistance form because they said I was eligible for assistance but then the system said that I was not eligible for assistance. I immediately filled out the information to work with HOME of Virginia in trying to save my house and was assigned a counselor on 10/26/10 and by this time I had already received a letter from CitiMortgage dated on 10/15/10 that indicated they were selling my mortgage account to IBM Lender Business Processor Service effective on 11/01/10 which was interesting because the day before I received that letter was when I received the notice that my house was being sold at foreclosure on November 3rd at 10am. Obviously I was confused but had no idea who to talk to because, well, who owned my loan? I received an email from CitiMortgage's attorney asking for information so they could work out a modification and I replied asking them what the status was and let them know that I was working with a HUD counselor but never received a response. So at this point it looked like I was going to be starting over on November 1st but, then, on the 27th I received another letter from CitiMortgage basically saying they changed their mind and that they were NOT transfering my loan to IBM. In talking to the HUD counselor I've found out that Citi is required to process me through the HAMP program and that, by law, they have to send me a letter indicating that I was denied that program before they can foreclose. I contacted Citi's attorney and they said they had not received any copies of those denial letters and that they would check into it for me but that they can not postpone unless Citi tells them too. I then contact CitiMortgage and they began to argue with me and contradicted everything that I had just been told by my HUD counselor. My HUD counselor attempted to contact them the following day but they said that they had no record that she was allowed to act on my behalf. She informed me that she had proof that the fax had been processed but that she was resubmitting it. Everything that Citi has been doing seems to be shady ways of getting around the system and even if they are violating laws they are playing stupid because they know the sale date is so close. So here I am, having no idea what to expect tomorrow..... and oh, yea.... the $1400 that I sent to Citi? They said they received it but that they aren't crediting it to my account and when I asked for them to send it back they said "No, we're keeping it"......

I, again, can't answer the question "Why me?" I'm not losing my house for lack of trying... I'm not losing my house because I bought something I couldn't afford (I had no problems paying the mortgage until the economy hit me this year).... I just had a horrible string of bad luck and, yes, I know, I know.... I seem to have a lot of that.... and believe me, I ask myself all the time what I'm doing wrong and why in the end I'm always turning out to be irresponsible and, with the exception of a few people who know me intimately, I can totally understand why many people think that of me. People always question why bad things happen to good people but finding an answer to that is extremely hard. There is only one thing that I can hold on to right now and that is that the previous times when things like this happened to me I ended up a happier person on the other side of it. All of the pain I endured and will endure I know is not for nothing.... there is a plan for this and I believe in the post I made last week (I actually began working on this post first and it was in the middle of this post that God really impressed the roller coaster concept on me). I don't know what's ahead.... and I'm scared to death... but I can hold on to the fact that the track of this ride has been laid out by God and He's taken everything into account and knows what He is doing. I may be getting sick of this ride and want off but thats the thing about roller coasters... you can't just get off of them in the middle of the ride like you might be able to on other types of rides.

"Why?" is such a popular question and a valid question but we don't always get the answer we want, if we get an answer at all. Why am I going through all of this? Most people want to say that I'm irresponsible or I've done something to really screw up and sometimes I have to fight myself to not believe that because I know that I've done everything that I could.... the only way I can answer that is quite simply that God is letting me go through something in order to make me a stronger person and maybe in the future I'll be able to help someone through a similar situation. Am I going to lose my house? It looks like it. What am I going to do? I'm sure crying will be one of the big things but ultimately I just have to focus on the fact that God is watching over me whether it feels like it or not.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Life is a Roller Coaster

There are many people that say about life being like a roller coaster but I don't think many people stop to think about the anatomy of a roller coaster. What is it about a roller coaster that is so exciting? Is it the climb up the first hill? Not at all... sure, you may be anxious but that's not exciting. When you see the fall your about to take that fear is interpreted as excitement because physiologically our bodies respond to fear the same way as they respond to excitement. When your starting over that first hill your scared but you also know that the ride is designed to keep you safe..... its then that your body still responds in the same way but your mind knows you're safe. As you climb the next hill your body is still in an aroused state and your smiling because while there is a climb and maybe not any excitement your body is releasing endorphins and your mind also knows that the ride did its job and your safe and you prepare for the next drop. Even if you were terrified of the ride at the start you are now simply enjoying it. Sometimes the ride runs out of momentum and the designed puts in a second lift hill because the train isn't going to climb it on its own.... you need assistance.

A roller coaster really is a great representation of life. It all starts out with your parents helping you through those first stages of your life. Its a slow climb but, as is demonstrated by every kid saying they can't wait till they are grown up, its a time of anticipation for what will come. It often seems like the top of that hill is so far away and you can't wait till to get there but then the closer you get there the more that anxious fear sets in. Suddenly you start going over the top and your parents are barely holding on because the chain is ending and your own momentum takes over and you pull away from that chain and its scary and exciting but the track holds you even though you may feel out of control. Your life continues with ups and downs and you've gotta work to climb the hills and you feel like your about to run out of momentum but you just make it over the hills and fall again. Sometimes weird things happen and because of the wind or some other weird anomaly the train just doesn't quite make it over a hill that it was supposed to but because this is a possibility the designer already put a safety that prevents the train from going backwards down the hill.... and then there are those times where the train runs out of momentum and the designer places a climbing hill with a chain that pulls you up that hill so that you can start again with fresh momentum. Sadly, all rides eventually come to an end and its only memories that last and it may mean that you're no longer around but its your experiences on that ride that make others look forward to it rather than be afraid of it.

God has placed many things on the tracks of our lives. There are people there to catch us and keep us from falling until God comes and pushes that train over the hill that it didn't quite make it.... and there are people that support us when we're down and out and just don't have the momentum to get over the next huge phase of our lives. He's put our parents in place to get us to the top of that first hill and designed a track that keeps us excited and catches us before we hit the ground. It's all thought out and planned and there to make the most out of this life. If those ups and downs were not there then our lives would be simply like the train in kiddie land that goes around on flat land -- in other words, boring. Those exciting times in our life are the times where we are scared to death but have an understanding that God is there to catch us at the bottom and guide us back up to start the next hill. We never really know what is ahead in our lives and that's by design. If we could see the entire roller coaster before we get on it then we're not quite as thrilled because part of the thrill is being taken by surprise. What makes life exciting is all of this but the important part is knowing that the designer knows what He was doing and you're eventually going to make it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rally To Restore Sanity

If you aren't yet aware Jon Stewart is holding a rally in Washington D.C. this weekend at the National Mall.  With all of the mess going on in our political world I think it's awesome that someone other than Fox News is promoting a rally of people who represent the larger portion of our nation who are not graced with video cameras connected to the entire world.  I hope that we see a large turnout at the rally this weekend and that, above all else, everyone has a fun and safe time.  You can watch Jon's announcement on The Daily Show's Website and you can get more information at www.rallytorestoresanity.com.

From the rally's website:
Ours is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.

Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement; the Million Man March, only a lot smaller, and a bit less of a sausage fest; or the Gathering of the Juggalos, but instead of throwing our feces at Tila Tequila, we’ll be actively *not* throwing our feces at Tila Tequila. Join us in the shadow of the Washington Monument. And bring your indoor voice. Or don’t. If you’d rather stay home, go to work, or drive your kids to soccer practice… Actually, please come anyway. Ask the sitter if she can stay a few extra hours, just this once. We’ll make it worth your while.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Who's Money is in Your Wallet?

People make mistakes -- and so do companies. A tough question is where do you draw the line that a mistake becomes a huge issue but personally I think the biggest place where you decide where to draw the line is in customer service. I've had accounts with Capital One for many, many years and just last year I decided to move my checking accounts to them as well since I've been somewhat pleased with their service. Initially, I had issues setting up an account because for some reason my zip code wasn't recognized as being in Virginia. Personally, I don't think this is their fault because I've had this type of issue elsewhere and there really isn't an explanation -- maybe its the fault of the postal service? In any case, I was able to contact the manager at the McLean, VA branch and get 2 checking accounts set up (one for my business and one for personal). One of my primary requirements was that I would be able to easily transfer money between the two accounts via online banking which I was told wasn't going to be an issue -- unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Besides the fact that it wasn't able to happen, I understood the reasons and the customer service that I had received at the McLean branch far surpassed nearly any banking experience that I've ever had and so I decided to keep my accounts there. In some cases I would send a fax to the branch to transfer money and in other cases I would mail a check written from one account into the other account to the McLean branch.

Unfortunately, issues continued when my checks that I mailed seemed to never make it to the branch but then a week or two later it would show up in my account but yet no one at the branch ever touched it. It was determined that my envelopes were, for an unknown reason, being redirected to New Orleans and processed there. Personally, I could care less where the check gets processed but when it's taking at least a week to process it can create issues for a business that's still trying to stay afloat in this economy. There also was one point where the New Orleans processing center deposited my check that I wrote from my business account into my personal account back into the business account (I literally saw the check debited from my account and on the very next line the same check credited back to the account). The manager at the branch continued to work with me on this and any fees that came up as a result of these errors he was more than happy to refund for me and that customer service continued to keep me with Capital One.

What's the point of this post? Well, ultimately, that's the backstory to what happened to me this weekend that completely blows my mind and makes me question the legalities of what the New Orleans (or wherever) processing center did. In many cases when I receive a check from a customer of mine I put it in an envelope with it's endorsement stamper and then I also include another check that is written from the business account to the personal account because, in most cases, the business account is only there for accounting reasons. Early last week I received a check from a customer which I endorsed and included in an envelope to the McLean branch along with a check written to transfer those funds from my business account to my personal account and later that week the same scenario with a check from another customer. It was earlier this week when I saw that second check deposited with still no sign of the first but, because I know this weird routing happens sometimes, I figured the first just got routed to New Orleans. On Friday, I figured out that that was the case, however, something drastic happened. I received a call from "Computer Customer" (name changed) asking me what I did with the check that I had received from them. They were looking at their accounting and they found that there was a payment made to their credit card account that they had no idea about and after calling Capital One's Credit Card Center they told them that the check was written to "Ransom Tech Services" but yet could give no explanation for what it was that happened. It's apparent that what happened was someone processing that check decided to look up Computer Customer's credit card account and then write that account number Under the Ransom Tech Services endorsement stamper which included the Ransom Tech Services account number and credit that check to Computer Customer's credit card. This is where I don't understand how someone could make such a huge error because, first of all, my account number was on the endorsement stamper, and secondly, regardless of why you would look up the company that wrote the check how can you deposit it to that company when they check is written to a company that is, in no way, associated with the source company. So what about that other check that I included in the envelope written to my personal account? Well, of course they took the time to look up my credit card account number and go ahead and credit it to that account which overdraws my business checking account because the money that they were supposed to deposit into my account they gave to someone else. Unfortunately, this takes place Friday afternoon and the branch closes early for the holiday and, therefore, I have a negative account (meaning I'm broke) and I can't even think of getting something done until Tuesday because of the holiday.

So, that's my amazing story. There are crazy things that happen at small companies and small banks but when something like this happens at such a huge institution like Capital One it really makes you wonder how much you can trust these people with your money. I'm curious to see how this turns out but, despite the absolute amazing customer service at the branch, I think I'll be opening a new account somewhere else because I simply can't deal with the incompetence of this mysterious processing center that occasionally receives my checks despite them being addressed to an address that is many states away.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm a mess

It's been a long time since I've posted a blog and an even longer time that I've posted about stuff going on in my life but I guess this is the post that breaks that streak.

To sum things up, they aren't really good right now. First and foremost is financial issues. Running a business that depends on computers failing seems like it would be a stable income but the truth is it's not but while it's always had it's ups and downs it has never been anywhere close to this bad before. I occasionally get stressed about money but I usually deal with it and move about my life and just trust that God will take care of it and while I'm trying to best to do that now as well I'm struggling because I've honestly never been this scared about money before in my life and it hurts exceptionally bad that I worked so hard and 6 months ago had my credit score up to over 700 and now I'm lower than I've ever been. This is all I'm really going to say about that right now.... Just thinking about it gives me the sensation of a pending panic attack -- and that is something that I really seriously hope that I don't have to start experiencing again. I guess until they take my car or my house all I can do is my best.

I guess the second thing is the panic issue.... actually, its more of a depression issue. If you look years back in my blog posts you'll realize that I was really having difficulties and that is a place that I never want to visit again, however, this period of my life is the closest that I've ever been to those issues and I'm afraid of a downward spiral taking place. Why is this? Quite simply, a lot has happened. Currently I'm taking a break from firefighting and that is taking a toll on me. One of the largest reasons I joined the fire department was because it was something to do since I really didn't have anyone around me and it really did fill a void. I think what's toughest is that it seems that a lot of people that I figured were friends outside of the fire department really aren't as much as I had thought. It's not true of everyone but at the same time I'm kind of realizing that being part of the fire department is a good thing but it's not quite as good as it had initially seemed. I want to go back and you may ask why I don't just do that but there really isn't an easy way to answer that. There have been some issues at the department that I haven't felt comfortable with for over a year but I did my best to deal with it but recently those things have been getting a bit worse and I've been feeling a bit alone in certain things and I just plain don't feel comfortable with things right now. I pray to God that changes soon but right now, I need to stay away. I am still working with the computer systems at the county level but even that has been a bit stressful with the way some people have been. There's a lot of times that I just plain wish I didn't join the fire service at all.... but on the other hand, I miss it and I want to get back to it as soon as possible. Of course this happens when I volunteer places because I want to help so much and I do and then it just unintentionally becomes something that is taken for granted. You end up deciding you'll never volunteer again but then your volunteering nature comes out and it happens again. I guess its the person I want to be but sometimes it's really tough to deal with and I guess it's exceptionally hard for me to deal with because outside of my volunteering projects I'm all alone. Most people have a group of people that they can fall back on but looking at my life over the last few weeks I literally have not left my house with the exception of going to work, stopping to buy groceries, or bowling a few games (alone, of course). I'm not exaggerating when I say that I literally have gone stretches of 3 or 4 days where I didn't so much as walk out on to my porch. It sounds pathetic, and I guess the reality is that it is pathetic.... but, on the other hand, there isn't anything to do outside of my house.

I don't know what the solution is. All I really know is that I'm scared to death and really just a mess right now. I've been here before.... I got through it.... but the last time I was this much of a mess it certainly didn't clear up overnight..... I know God is out there.... in my heart I know that He has a plan..... and maybe it's just me screwing everything up and thats why His plan isn't working.... I just don't know. Please just keep me in your prayers right now.... I could really use them.... more than ever.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


After many MANY years of loyally supporting Blogger despite there being other solutions that may have fit better it seems that Blogger has given up on me. Why? Because I use FTP to publish my blog to my own site without using Google Hosting, etc. Google/Blogger has announced that they will be stopping support for FTP in the near future and this has left me in a position where I need to move... and move quickly it seems.

Reference: Blogger deprecating FTP publishing

I am very disappointed that after being a user of Blogger since September of 2003 that Google has decided to leave me no option but to find another solution. I feel that I've grown and changed with Blogger and Google and now am just abandoned by them because they have a user base and no real need for those that have stuck by the product.

In the future I will have to be making changes to both notepad.bobkmertz.com and http://blog.bibleboy.org. It is my hope that I will be able to keep these domains with another solution but that is undecided at this time. I will try to update everyone as soon as I have more information.

UPDATE: I have decided to go ahead and move over to Google's hosting since they are now offering subdomains of domains you have DNS hosted elsewhere. I'm not exactly happy about this scenario but this is the result of the Google overlords I guess. To the end-reader this blog shouldn't change at all, however, there may be broken links on some of my old posts. If you find a broken link in one of my posts, please make a comment on that post and let me know about it so I can try to fix it.