Mission accomplished and then some, no further help needed!



Should take you to my paypal page, if not my paypal email is darksydothemoon [break-remove]-‘at’-aol-dot-com name Steve Andrew. Physical address available on request in comments.

I’m well beyond halfway almost three-quarters of the way there in only 24 hours, because of godless often demonized fellow atheist who themselves often have almost nothing to spare (Believe me, the five bucks some chipped in, they mattered and I was so grateful because I know how bad things must be for those folks!) Thanks to readers things are looking much better. I’d get all blubbery on you, but I’m gonna save that for a Daily Kos post where I compare and contrast the generosity of atheists with so-called followers of  Republican Jesus for all the world to see.

In fact I just did exactly that!

At first I felt worthless for even having to ask for help, and it’s not the first time either, virtually panhandling is not how I envisioned my golden years. Then this morning I realized, here I am, up at 3 AM working on my second job ( I guess FTB counts a third, part time job, but it’s more a labor of love and my one stop for sanity). A few hours from now I’ll put that aside and go work from 10 AM to 11 PM tonight, where incidentally I am the highest producer out of about 300 people. Like millions of working poor, one of the 47% of the moochers Romney was referring to, it’s not lack of work or unwillingness to work that is killing me, it’s the rate of pay and the bad planning to suffer a massive heart attack.

After three raises over three years for a few pennies each raise, I make about 12 bucks an hour at my main job, where I trouble shoot PCs and Macs down to the component and network level over the phone to suppport the most complex software this side of the DoD,  and via web ticket and chat. It used to be each of those raises was a buck or two, and our healthcare copays were much lower, but even though my company is very profitable, they put an end to that right after I got hired. I can’t even apply for an internal job because I have not reached level three in my current role, and I haven’t reached it because they keep taking down the leveling system and fooling with the requirements for months on end. Even when it is up and running, the end token raise you get has to bottleneck through one guy far away, and in my case it took months after I already met the stated requirements. This is what class warfare looks like, from inside the bunker. So that Bill Lumberg’s stock would go up a quarter point. Actually I worked it out, all those raises combined for all my coworkers add up to less one tenth of one cent for one quarter’s earnings on the stock.

The thought of being homeless terrifies me — it’s not that I’m suicidal, my whole problem is I love life! But the thought of a lingering death from untreated heart failure and untreated Anklyosing spondilitis had me toying with ideas about what would be a more merciful way to go. I know plenty of good people deal with it, and sure I’d get by for a few weeks surfing on friends’ couches. But with an eviction on my record I’d have a hard time getting another place to live; it’s about as far away from the no stress my cardiologist recommended as it can be. Living in a car or shelters would mean, sooner or later, I wouldn’t be able to hold down at least one of those jobs, and I’m not sure what would happen after that. I live in Texas, th social safety net here is a bed of sharpened spikes for the unfortunate to land on.

The day is going to come when I lose that main job or move on to bigger and better things, there are signs we could be looking at a layoff in the next few weeks. On the day, I’ll provide more details about just how unethical that company has become when treating — or imo opinion pickpocketing — its lowest paid, least influential workers. Suffice it to say it was the worst career decision of my life. And by the worst, I mean it was a signficant factor is almost causing to lose everything.


  1. Badland says

    I chipped in some Australian dollars and was more than happy to do so. And if you find you get a bit more than you right this very second need, don’t for god’s sake go offering it to charity or anything daft like that. Keep it. Even though the money is given to you unencumbered and with all goodwill, I will be highly miffed if my cents do not in some way directly increase your quality of life, be that physical or mental

  2. says

    Reading about your situation made me think of the news article I read yesterday, that the richest Americans actually saw their wealth go up 20% during the recession (surprise, surprise!) while comparatively everyone else’s went down.

  3. says

    Rampant capitalism is failing. We are all victims.

    Sad. The west is rich, it’s people poor.

    What will it take to change the situation. I simply cannot imagine.

    Good luck to you in your plight. At least you have a job.

  4. Eristae says

    Andrew, you need to check your rental agreement for what it says about late fees. I’m not an attorney, but unless it says that they get to charge you this much for being late, what your landlord is doing (charging you more in a late fee than the apartment actually costs) sounds legally suspect, not just morally suspect.

    Texas Late Fees

    Texas law now requires late fees to be in a written lease agreement to be charged, and recognizes that tenants should have a grace period before any late fee can be charged. The grace period is one day at present. So, if your rent was due on the 1st, the late fee cannot be charged until the 3rd day of the month. Section 92.019, Property Code.
    The Texas Legislature recently placed a limit on late fees that is not specific: a landlord can only charge a late fee so long as it is a “reasonable estimate of uncertain damages to the landlord that are incapable of precise calculation that result from late payment of rent”. Section 92.019, Property Code. The late fee must be based on some damage to the landlord — that is key. If a landlord has not been harmed at all, then no fee should be allowed. If there is a $50 fee for being late (past the grace period), that might be acceptable depending on the amount of the rent, what the landlord has to do each month to collect rent from tenants, how much it costs the landlord for tenants to pay late, and other factors. Clearly, many landlords hope tenants pay a little late each month because late fees can really add up. If a judge were to agree that the fee is too high, you are entitled to $100, three times the amount of the illegal fee charged, court costs and attorney fees.

    (Note that a lease is not a loan of money. Usury laws, which put limits on interest rates and fees for loans do not apply to leases.)

    Sometimes a tenant may not be aware a landlord has even charged a tenant a late fee, or sometimes a tenant disputes whether the rent was late. Being the greedy people that they are, some landlords deduct a late fee from the tenant’s rent and then claim the tenant is behind on rent again the next month. Then the landlord charges late fees again. You may wish to challenge this practice. A court also may also refuse to evict a tenant if the tenant has merely not paid an unreasonable late fee. (However, this is a very risky and is not the best strategy for challenging a late fee unless you simply don’t have the money. Having an eviction even filed against you is probably harmful to your rental history whether you win or lose.)

  5. Eristae says

    Oh, and here is some more:

    Legal stuff

    Sec. 92.019. LATE PAYMENT OF RENT; FEES. (a) A landlord may not charge a tenant a late fee for failing to pay rent unless:

    (1) notice of the fee is included in a written lease;

    (2) the fee is a reasonable estimate of uncertain damages to the landlord that are incapable of precise calculation and result from late payment of rent; and

    (3) the rent has remained unpaid one full day after the date the rent was originally due.

    (b) A late fee under this section may include an initial fee and a daily fee for each day the rent continues to remain unpaid.

    (c) A landlord who violates this section is liable to the tenant for an amount equal to the sum of $100, three times the amount of the late fee charged in violation of this section, and the tenant’s reasonable attorney’s fees.

    (d) A provision of a lease that purports to waive a right or exempt a party from a liability or duty under this section is void.

    (e) This section relates only to a fee, charge, or other sum of money required to be paid under the lease if rent is not paid as provided by Subsection (a)(3), and does not affect the landlord’s right to terminate the lease or take other action permitted by the lease or other law. Payment of the fee, charge, or other sum of money by a tenant does not waive the right or remedies provided by this section.

    Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 917, Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2008.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1268, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

    I don’t know what your rental agreement says, but there’s some information if it’s helpful. Either way, you’re right in that you need to move, move, move.

  6. badgersdaughter says

    I’m in complete agreement with Badland up there. If you get more money than you need, please use it to improve your standard of living a bit.

    Nothing has ever made me angrier than the social worker who scolded me for paying three dollars for some overripe flowers to brighten up the dinner table at the battered women’s shelter I was staying at. Not only was it a “waste” (though we all needed some cheering up), but “You can’t be thinking of your own happiness right now”. Well, then, I guess I got schooled.

  7. markr1957 says

    I chipped in so I hope I can keep the roof over your head for a few more minutes at least. I do hate that some greedy A-hole landlord is the one who benefits financially from it, but I do want one of my favorite bloggers to have a home even more.

  8. verbascum says

    Could you explain your email address? I’m not sure what break remove means. Is it a symbol?
    I want to help, but I’m not very clued up on such things.

  9. Eristae says

    And if you find you get a bit more than you right this very second need, don’t for god’s sake go offering it to charity or anything daft like that. Keep it

    Also, this^

    You’ve been through an incredibly rough patch and you really deserve a chance to unwind.Take whatever money that you get but don’t need to get through this particular crisis and pretend that I/we took you out to dinner or something. Pay some other bills, buy a neat book, squirrel it away to help with the buying of property thing, whatever it is that would help you the most right now, mentally, physically, and emotionally. As someone who has been suicidal and continues to vacillate around suicidal urges, I know how important it is to take care of yourself before you have absolutely nothing left to get yourself through.

  10. Eristae says


    I feel weird having so many posts on this page, but I think perhaps my donation went to freethought blogs instead of to you directly. I had a message in there saying it was for you, so hopefully it’s clear that it was for you. I don’t really know how this donating with paypal thing works.

    *peers about*

  11. michellekothe says

    Like Badland I have chipped in some Aussie dollars (and a positive use of the high exchange rate at the moment).

    And ditto to everything Badland said. Take it easy and get well!

  12. Francisco Bacopa says

    OK, so you paid up. That’s this time. Don’t let there be a next time. Demand a receipt every month with a full statement of all charges.

    And find some pro bono legal help in case this happens again. I think you could have gotten out of paying the fees, but I understand why you settled. But please get ready for next time.

  13. thebookofdave says

    I had chipped in a few bucks. Now that you have exceeded your goal, my recommendation is to use the remainder to shore up your own economic security. Don’t feel pressured to return or donate the remainder. And don’t feel ashamed over asking for a break when things get tough. You already deal with more than your share of that kind of stress on your day job. We’re glad to lend a hand, not out of pity, and not just because we like you, but because you have already made it worth our while (and it’s the right thing to do).

  14. deltamachina says

    The Culture Industry – The Ideology of Death



  15. says

    I’ll join the chorus. If you have more money than you need right now this nanosecond, then please use my little donation for whatever kind of stress-relief works best for you, whether that’s beer, DVD rental, or having a modest emergency fund ready for the next nasty surprise. I know another blogger who finds that tiny luxuries are very therapeutic.. Have a couple on me, please.

  16. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Very glad to hear this. :-)

    Plus know that if one day you get to visit Adelaide, South Australia, then please let me know and I’ll be delighetd to show you around and shout you a beer or five! Or beverage of your choice presuming my own somewhat limited budget allows. You have your fans worldwide and don’t forget it! Um, please.

  17. says

    Yes you do need to find a different place to live post-haste, and feel free to slip a few notes under doors outlining to your neighbours that the landlord’s late fees are most likely illegal. A landlord doing that should not be in business anymore. Wish I was licenced to practice in Texas, I’d gladly take the case and knock on tenant’s doors all day long to keep the money train going.

  18. fastlane says

    Also, don’t think of it as panhandling. You provide a service here, we partake of it. You deserve something more than our effusive praise. ;) …and occasional argument for what you do.


  19. elpayaso says

    Also, don’t think of it as panhandling. You provide a service here, we partake of it. You deserve something more than our effusive praise. ;) …and occasional argument for what you do.


  20. OpenMindedNotCredulous says

    No further help needed? I can only hope to exhibit your pluck if I find myself in a similar situation. I was diagnosed with skin cancer a couple of years ago after ignoring a “mole” that I knew wasn’t normal. The diagnosis had a five year survival rate of roughly 80%. The fact I had excellent health insurance which immediately got me the best treatment money can buy has no doubt improved my odds. Not to mention an employer that I could count on not to fire me because of the time off I needed for the surgery or the subsequent risks.

    So while both of us have experienced life changing events recently my stress was a fraction of what you’re going through. Mostly because I fortuitously decided to become a software engineer rather than a forest service ranger (the latter being what I wanted to become my first year of high-school).

    I’ve kicked two hundred dollars your way. Do let use know if you’re still at risk of losing your housing or other essentials. I know I’m not alone in valuing your contributions to the dialog at FTB.

  21. Radi says

    Chipped in. And echoing Badland at #1 above – please keep what I sent, and use it for whatever purpose you need it for the most.

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