I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Lifetime Movie Formula

If you don't watch Lifetime movies, this post is going to interest you zero.

Recently Lifetime unveiled a cheerleader-themed batch of movies.  There were five.  Off the top of my head, I believe they were called Undercover Cheerleader, Identity Theft of a Cheerleader (Maiara Walsh is AMAZING), The Wrong Cheerleader and two others that I will look up at the end of this post*.  I watched three of these with my 13-year-old daughter as we bond over horror movies at the theater or ridiculous Lifetime movies at home.

ALL FIVE of these movies had these things in common:

1) They were about cheerleaders.
2) Each girl was new to a school after moving.
3) Each girl was being raised by a single mom (some were widows, some were divorced), and can we say daddy issues??
4) Being a cheerleader equated to instant popularity.

I think most of the girls ended up dating football players except one where the girl dated an older alumni guy... Cheerleader Escort, maybe?

Lifetime notoriously follows patterns with their movies.  I make fun of Hallmark movies that follow the same formula: successful woman moves back to her hometown to help out with something and ends up falling in love with a guy who she went to high school with.  I can't tolerate Hallmark movies.  The level of cheese and gag-worthiness is too much.

I think those fans probably feel the same about my dear Lifetime movies.  I once had the thought that people at the Lifetime headquarters have three bingo rolling machines.  The first machine contains adjectives.  The second machine contains nouns and the third machine contains a conflict.  Every month someone runs the bingo machines and they assemble the regular casts (shout out to Josie David, Leslie Hope, Gail O'Grady, Josie Bissett, and Ashley Scott) to crank out the next "psycho" or "wrong" or "killer" or "babysitter" or "dad" or "mommy" movie.

The upcoming string of movies actually has a unique spin as they were all "ripped from the headlines."  The only way I can convince my husband to watch Lifetime movies with me is if they are based on true events, so this is a big score for people like myself that are fascinated by kidnappings and "real" happenings.  I definitely will NOT be watching the College Scandal one because that's just dumb.

In closing, as a highly educated woman that finds romance to be gross and cliche, I have no idea why I am so drawn in by the idea of a man that is stalking his new neighbor and has a dead ex-girlfriend in his backyard... or a couple that moves to suburbia because their daughter got in trouble at her last high school and develops a relationship with an abusive jock.  I am captivated and my DVR will constantly be filled with these time-wasters.

*The last movie was The Secret Life of Cheerleaders- that memorable, huh?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The things they don't tell you about child support that you should know!

I decided to write this in blog form because I feel it will be easier to comprehend in writing.  So here is the back story: when I initially filed for divorce from my first husband, child support was calculated based on our incomes at the time.  I wanna say that I was getting like $181/mo for two kids.  Fast forward a couple years and my ex filed to have the support lowered based on an income of him not having a job.  In Iowa, the state minimum for two children is $48/month.  I *think* it's $35/month for one child.  For the past three years, I have been frustrated, thinking that it was yet another reason why our government was broken.  How is it fair that I work two jobs and pay for everything while he skates by with only being obligated to pay $48/month?? 

Image result for child supportIf you are a parent who has their kids full-time, you know they aren't cheap.  Child support is supposed to cover the necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, utilities.  Plus think about the extras: birthday party gifts, field trips, sports fees, club fees, school fundraisers, medicine, toiletries... the list goes on and on. 

And God forbid you complain about it on social media- I've heard every response in the book (mostly from men) about why I'm a horrible person for expecting a dad to help support his children financially.  But that's not what this post is about.  It isn't about who is right and who is wrong because I think that the majority of decent human beings know.  And this also isn't a post to bash on my ex.  I am writing this for women who thought they were getting screwed over because the biological dad didn't work (or worked under the table) and they had no choice but to accept getting nothing in child support.

THE GOOD NEWS:  So for three years I stewed about this.  I tweeted law-makers and complained on FB posts.  I vented on social media.  Then about six months ago I decided to start doing some research.  I found the child support laws for Iowa.  It was updated in January of 2018, so I don't know how far back this section goes, but I came across this:

Rule 9.11 Variance from guidelines. The court shall not vary from the amount of child support that would result from application of the guidelines without a written finding that the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate as determined under the following criteria: 
9.11(1) Substantial injustice would result to the payor, payee, or child(ren). 
9.11(2) Adjustments are necessary to provide for the needs of the child(ren) or to do justice between the parties, payor, or payee under the special circumstances of the case. 
9.11(3) Circumstances contemplated in Iowa Code section 234.39. 
9.11(4) The court may impute income in appropriate cases subject to the requirements of rule 9.5. If the court finds that a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed without just cause, child support may be calculated based on a determination of earning capacity. A determination of earning capacity may be made by determining employment potential and probable earnings level based on work history, occupational qualifications, prevailing job opportunities, earning levels in the community, and other relevant factors. The court shall not use earning capacity rather than actual earnings or otherwise impute income unless a written determination is made that, if actual earnings were used, substantial injustice would occur or adjustments would be necessary to provide for the needs of the child(ren) or to do justice between the parties.

Now that I had this information, what do I do with it?  I went to the Child Support Recovery Unit website (in your state it would be whomever is responsible for collection and distributing payments.)  I filed for a review since it had been more than the required two years.  Of course their review came back as no change because he still had no income.  I felt a bit disheartened, but when you receive your report, it says that you can request in writing a court hearing for review if you disagree with the findings.  You have to send back a letter stating that you want a review and why.  I wrote that my reasoning for why was based on the above court rules for variance from guidelines.  I was still a bit worried that it was a pointless venture, but I commented on a local FB mom support group asking if anyone had gone to court over child support and what the outcome was.  I got soooo many responses from moms in the same position I was in, but only one response from someone who had actually gone.  Her ex had taken HER to court for a reduction because she was voluntarily unemployed so she could be a SAHM.  The court imputed earnings on her based on her prior work experience and education.  This was not good news for her, but good news for me if that was going to be how it went for me.

Fast forward to the court hearing.  I had all my necessary documents, pages of notes, print-outs, everything I thought I would need to plead my case.  I didn't use any of it.  We sat down with a public attorney for the state who had all our information on record.  She presented what she thought would be fair based on his "earning potential" at the time, based on an income of $24,500 a year with me making more on my end.  The total amount of monthly support for two children based on that income was $522!  However, her job is to try and get it so that you don't have to go in front of a judge.  In order for that to happen, the two parties must agree to an amount.  Of course my ex was opposed to that amount and he tried to argue HIS side about why he shouldn't have to pay that much.  The lawyer made it clear that the judge would impute earnings on him whether he had a job or not and that it was likely the judge would impute a similar amount.  So after a couple hours of listening to him argue, we settled on a lesser amount.  I won't give the amount, but it was a lot more than $48/month and even more than the original $181/month in our divorce decree.

Justice was served... for me anyway.  Now it is your turn to try and get what you and your children deserve.  If you find yourself in the same position I was in, do not just accept it.  Iowa is definitely not leading the way for anything when it comes to fair laws, so unless you live in an even shittier state, I'm sure the law is on your side.  It just takes a bit of digging and some paperwork.  If you have any questions or need help, please contact me!  aborderlinemom@gmail.com  You deserve what is fair.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Book Review: My Magic Breath by Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor

Short, but impactful, My Magic Breath is a children's book that teaches the importance of mindful breathing.  Using beautiful, sprawling illustrations (by Michelle Polizzi), the book gives kids the instructions needed to change their thoughts into deep, magic breaths and exhale them to create something amazing. 

Since my kindergartner is rather sensitive when it comes to his emotions, I was excited to be able to try this book with him.  He loves reading and being read to and this book was able to keep his attention as it wasn't too wordy, but he also enjoyed the breathing exercises that went along with it.  At the time, he was in a good mood, but I definitely think reading this when he is upset would be a great way to redirect his negative emotions.

When he outgrows the book itself, I intend to donate it to his elementary school, as I think that it would be a great book to have in a classroom with younger students.  I was given a gratis copy for review.

This is a great book to keep at home or take along on trips, as it helps kids process their emotions and turn them into something beautiful.  With the author's permission, I have created a video of a reading of the book.  Definitely get your own copy as this video doesn't replace the great bond you can share by reading it aloud with your child.  My Magic Breath is available for purchase on May 15!