Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vali-ho Motel Is Hiring

Vally-ho Motel is now hiring. Anyone need a job?

Direct from their website, and I quote (not really, it's more like copy and paste):
   Welcome to Vali-Ho Motel. In the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, feel Texas at its very best. Weslaco is different than other cities in the Valley. You'll find more than friendly people and a relaxed atmosphere. You'll discover great shopping, golf and the best way to get to Mexico for an afternoon adventure. So come one and come all !
   At Vali-Ho Motel, our staff strives to make you feel welcome. 24-hour service means that you will always have a roof over your head. While you explore nearby attractions, our staff will take care of your room. We think you will like Vali-Ho Motel so much, that you’ll wish you could take us back home with you !
   Rio Grande Valley is filled with various attractions. One of the top attraction that draw people here is its variety of birds. Every year thousands of visitors floak the place to watch the spectable of nature. Besides bird watching, You'll discover great shopping, golf and the best way to get to Mexico. So what are you waiting for ?
   Tired of looking for directions ? Well, to reach us you won't be, because it is easy to find us. We are located on East Business Highway 83, between McAllen and Harlingen. If you coming for first time, use the interactive map below to find distance and estimated time from your place. If you feel stuck or need any help, we are here to assist you.
   Weslaco is different than other cities in the Valley and Vali-Ho Motel is different than other motels in the area. You will find relaxed atmosphere and friendly people at your service. We have a long list of happy customers and we look forward to serving you. We are the Weslaco, Texas preferred motel!
I've often wondered what is the best way to get to Mexico. So come one and come all (snicker, snicker). And along with thousands of visitors "floaking" the place to watch the "spectable" of nature they have a long list of happy customers.  I bet they do!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Buy 1, Blow 5 Of Your Fingers Off For Free

One of the few places open on Christmas day were several fireworks stands along Hwy 107.  This stand next to my home was still open at midnight tonight and all lit up, well, um, like a Griswold Christmas tree. There are several thousands of these stands all over south Texas. Most of the year they are boarded up but I've noticed twice a year they sometimes come to life just before Christmas and 4th of July.

I've been told, because I'm too lazy to do research, these fireworks stands are only allowed by law to sell a few days before New Years and 4th of July after which time they are forced to close. And that's only IF there is no drought which around here is about 95% of the time. Luckily we've had a fair amount of rain lately, the first in more than a year. Saturday the sky dripped all day like a leaky faucet. But how is it that this is a profitable business especially when you can buy 1 and get 5 free?  I imagine there is a 5,000% markup but I'd still suggest these sellers don't quit their day job.

P.S. I must be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because every time I hear the fireworks going off in the hood, I hit the deck and crawl like I'm trying to avoid bullets. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Uphill Battle and a LONG ROAD

I'm waiting for the moving company's call. It's costing me a fortune so I hope it all goes smooth.  Meanwhile my sister is cleaning out the brother-in-law's house of all broken and nasty furniture.  His bed (actually was my sister's bed) wasn't too bad, but I'd get the heebie jeebies knowing he slept on that bed so it has to go too. My furniture will go into the house at least temporarily. Whether the boys get to remain in their home is up in the air.

The boys will have a great Christmas thanks to my sister.  Some relatives seem to think that we've got what little money Alfonso had to cover our expenses. NOT TRUE!  Getting custody and rights to be administrator of the estate takes time. Nor have we received any social security benefits yet.  It is doubtful that Alfonso had mortgage insurance.  The mortgage must be paid monthly. My ex-husband came up with December's payment. My sister who is on FMLA so she isn't getting a paycheck will cover January. Andrew got his new glasses thanks to the school and my sister who covered some of the expenses. Along with food, transportation, piano lessons, clothes, and all general expenses in raising children.

I hope to be in Iowa by the New Years and I've promised the boys another celebration.  My youngest nephew is 7 years old and he has asked Santa if he could have enough money to go back to his own home. They've had their world turned upside in the past two years. Right now he is sharing a bed with his big brother at my sister's house, but you can't blame them for wanting to go home. To sleep in their own bed. To have access to all their toys. Being where they are familiar. Friends and neighbors.  Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hunting Students Is In Season In Texas

Apparently hunting middle school students is in season here in Texas, or at least at Harwell Middle School in Edinburg where I live. The school was having basketball tryouts for the boy's team. The hunters must have mistook them for ducks.  One of the students was sitting on a curb, the proverbial sitting duck, and the other was going for a layup making him a moving target.

Maybe they are practicing for the spillover violence from Mexico under the guise of hunting fowl. If more of these good ol' boys are thinking of using more human targets in this vicinity,  I may be heading for higher ground (Iowa) sooner than later. 

Zoo Anals

I'm back in Texas, temporarily, where running around in shorts and flip flops in December days are numbered. I guess I could still do it in Iowa if I don't mind frostbite and toes falling off.  The boys are in the care of my sister Deana who is impatiently (and rightfully so) counting the minutes until my arrival. Yesterday she started her day at 5:30 AM yesterday and finished at 10:30 at night while I write this... wearing shorts and flip flops. The cavalry is coming to the rescue.  OK, it's just me, my Mazda MPV, Miss Daisy Dog, and Mr. Sam Katze ashes.  Yes, I am bringing home my cat for burial in Iowa. When I get back to Iowa I need to do a serious blog overhaul and update to reflect my new life. Any ideas for a title?  It will probably include lots of cute and gushing mommy-like praise for things like this story my 7-year-old nephew wrote.  The translation is below the picture.

"If I caught a turkey I would take it to the zoo and the turkey will have a great good life. It will be a zoo animal."

This is a keeper. That turkey must have been injected with steroids or the people are midgets. And thank goodness for my teacher's training at the university where I learned how to translate 1st - 6th grade spelling plus two years of experience in Mexico for deciphering inventive spelling. Unless Alex really meant that the turkey should be a "zoo anal".

It's been a while since I raised young'uns. Ah, yes, my nephews will be new fuel for my blog writing but I still hope to sneak in some reminiscing about the good ol' days in Texas and Mexico.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Blog For Therapeutic Anger Management

It's been a couple weeks since I made an emergency trip to Iowa.  It's been a whirlwind.  First and foremost is caring for my nephews.  Life goes on and so does school, checking homework, making nutritional dinners, washing their clothes, driving them to piano lessons, birthday parties, and making sure they get to sleep early enough to start all over again. 

Then there is the dealing with Alfonso's estate, getting a lawyer, getting custody of the kids, and getting rights as executor.  Holy cow, what a mess.  His filing system was to throw everything in a box, junk mail and all.  What I have discovered is not a pretty picture.  Since the death of my sister in February 2010, he has blown through $80,000, not including his yearly (before taxes) salary of $36,000 and $2000 a month social security (tax free).  Now I really understand why my sister was in charge of the finances. She had told me that he would spend all the money if he had free access. Hopefully, his life insurance will pay out because although his death certificate says it was accidental, the cause of death was listed as carbon monoxide poisoning and acute intoxication.  Do insurance companies pay out for acute intoxication, AKA extreme stupidity for shutting a garage door and passing out before shutting off a car? 

Here is a rough accounting of $80,000 all gone in 18 months (not including his salary and social security which is also gone).
1. $16,000 in Moneygrams to various individuals including $3200 to Dominican girlfriend Ana Luisa Lora since July 2011.  Alfonso was planning his 3rd trip in one year to the Dominican this December. He was planning on abandoning his boys for 3 weeks during Christmas to marry the girlfriend WHO the boys never knew existed until the day of his funeral.
2. Traded in the Mercedes plus an additional $6,696 to buy a Lincoln Navigator which he subsequently shipped to the Dominican last June. He was suppose to sell it there and, as far as we know, it is not sold yet. The boys will never see the money.
3. Paid $5000 down on a Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV a year ago (this is a man that makes $14/hr). Cost $500 in registration and $1000/yr for insurance. Still owes $27,000 on Escalade which about what we might be able to sell it for. It is going back to the bank.
4. Alfonso did not file his 2010 taxes correctly. He neglected to include the 1099R form for the early distribution of Lynn's IRA $18,000 that he cashed (money she earned before meeting Alfonso). His estate will have to pay the taxes, penalty and interest which will amount to about $3000.
5. And of all things, Alfonso bought a time share in the Dominican last summer. He put $1755 down, plus $200 for maintenance, plus $100/mo is being auto deducted from his bank. I don't know how we can get any of this returned!!! He has a reservation in December that he paid $527. I've called twice trying to cancel reservation and contract and all they want to know is if I will be taking over the contract. Yeah, right!
6. With Lynn's life insurance of $50,000, Alfonso was suppose to put down 20% on his home. He only put down 10% or about $15,000. Where did the rest of the money go? I am guessing Moneygrams and cars.
7. Alfonso has taken $3600 from Andrew's savings account and $300 from Alex's account. My sister set their savings accounts and he stole from his own children. 
8. After they sold their home in November 2009, my sister had $15,000 from the sale in her account. This went to Alfonso and it is gone.
9. Alfonso received $14,000 tax refund for 2010 taxes. It is gone.
10. Alfonso was never home. Either working or playing ball or out drinking and leaving his children home alone for hours. Andrew did all the housecleaning, laundry, a fair amount of cooking and caring for his brother. Andrew needs glasses, braces, and didn't even have a winter coat. 

The only family member for Alfonso to show up for the funeral was a nephew who lives in New York. I believe the only reason he came was to try to extort money.  During our first meeting with us, he asked us for $14,000 (in addition to the funeral expenses in Iowa) for a big funeral in the Dominican Republic because he was a local hotshot baseball hero (Alfonso played professional baseball for minor leagues in the USA).  He told us that if they didn't get the money, the family, who all live in the Dominican, will sue us for custody of the children. These people wouldn't even know the children if they passed them on the street!  Thank goodness the children's social worker is on our side.  There is no chance the boys are going to the Dominican Republic to live. Or visit. Ever. They are only interested in the children now because they think they can get some money out of it.  Well, they are welcome to come and inspect Alfonso's finances.  The man was up to his ears in debt and broke.
Yes, I am seething with anger. I will get over it, eventually, with the help of therapy.