Skip navigation

Tag Archives: bankruptcy


Sorry there was a lapse in time. I started classes. Today as a matter of fact was my first day interning at a local high school. I will elaborate on being back in college at a later time. Oh boy, I am definitely not used to getting out of bed at 5:10 a.m. The school’s first bell is at 7:20 a.m.

March 20, 2009 – Time for court! My husband and I arrived in a downtown urban area where the court was housed. We walked four blocks to the court building, took the elevator up, and entered the waiting room. The court was PACKED. It was like a sardine can in there. I couldn’t believe all the individuals there for the same reason. Since there wasn’t any room, we stood up against the wall near the entrance and waited for our attorney. When she arrived, she took us into the actual court area we were seated and waited for our case to be called. Supposedly the trustee we were assigned was a real hard ass. When our case number was called, the trustee asked if counsel was present. We approached the table and answered all his questions. He was actually very nice to us. My attorney was shocked at how well he treated us. We explained everything. He had a copy of our Quickbooks. It was very easy to see how much money we lost from this lemon. Listening to him read back our situation left a sour taste. We were sitting with him no more than 10 minutes. He concluded our meeting by saying, “I am assuming you wouldn’t be here if it had not been for this business, correct?” We answered, “correct” in unison. That was it. Our attorney bought us lunch and we left our future in the trustee’s hands. It was another waiting game.

In the next month and month and a half we received news on both fronts. My test scores had come in to ETS Testing Service and we received a letter in the mail from the district court. Nervously I logged into the test site. I clicked on test scores and up they came. WOO HOO! I passed! I got a 164. In order to get a Certificate of Eligibility, a score of 162 had to be obtained.  

When my husband got home from work we opened the letter from the Bankruptcy court – DISCHARGED! The feeling was unbelievable. It was like having an enormous weight lifted off our shoulders. Bye Bye Albatross! We craved a fresh start and now we were going to finally have the chance to get one. One can only watch The Secret so many times!

When I received my Certificate of Eligibility in English in the mail, I started to submit resumes for a Teacher of English position to various districts. I even submitted for Teacher Aide positions. I had two interviews for an Aide’s position out of the 30 something resumes I sent out. This is another situation one has to laugh at. I wonder if people even look at resumes before they call you in.

The Alternate Route path was not working out. A friend of my husband’s who is a principal told him for every position open, the district was receiving 200 resumes. He also said that when he received resumes he separated them into 3 piles – Experience, No experience, and Alternate Route. If someone was alternate route, he didn’t even bother with the resume. Apparently student teaching was a very important component to most districts. That prompted a discussion with my husband about applying to college and getting the certification the standard way. I hadn’t been in college since 1999. Now at 34 I was applying to go back.

Advertisements

Happy Labor Day World! Hope everyone had a nice weekend! The hubby and I ordered new wedding rings this weekend. Finally we are going to match! I can’t believe I start classes again tomorrow. I don’t know if I am ready for the harder part of the journey. Speaking of the journey, let’s get back to it.

It was March 14, 2009 – Praxis Test day. It was literally only a month and a half since my father died. I woke up early, had breakfast, and drove down to the University I am attending now with my husband to take my exam. My body had not been able to come down off the stress yet. I kissed my husband goodbye when he dropped me off at the front of the building. I entered the building and got in line with the other test takers. As I was waiting to go into the auditorium, I got two text messages – one was from my husband wishing me luck and telling me he loves me and the other was from my best friends, Melissa and Frank. They told me they were thinking of me, wished me luck, told me they loved me, and to remember I had a little extra help this time around. They meant my dad was with me. I absolutely prayed for his help and to get me through.

I took my seat and broke the seal when the proctors told us to. I had two hours to finish 120 questions based on all things English related or so I thought. Some of the questions had absolutely nothing to do with teaching English. Isn’t that funny? Two hours for 120 questions? REALLY? It takes several minutes to answer just one question. In some cases, you have to read a paragraph to answer the questions, yet they expect you to take only a minute to answer each question. It’s just absurd to me that it’s mandatory to take a test in order for you to get your teaching certification. Some people are horrible test takers but brilliant in the classroom. It’s just like when you want to obtain a Master’s Degree. What the hell does the GREs and Analogy Test have to do with you wanting to better yourself in a field that has nothing to do with anything that’s actually on the exams? In my opinion, it’s all a bit of nonsense. Just sayin . . .

In any case,  this test was a lot harder than the other two I had taken years ago. As a side note, they raised the score to pass to 162. The first two times I had taken the test, you only needed a 155. I guessed on a lot of the questions. It got to point where I had such a weird feeling. I was on auto pilot. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience and someone else was doing the work for me. When I was finished, I didn’t have a good feeling. My husband was waiting for me in the hall of the building outside the auditorium. He asked how I did. I gave him the raspberries and said, “Forget it! This one was the hardest one out of the three of them.” Now we played the waiting game for the score. If I remember correctly, I think the scores were going to be available in four weeks. Relieved that the test was over, the focus went back to the bankruptcy which was the following week. What was going to happen when I actually had time to sit and digest everything that had happened starting with my father? At this point, I didn’t know because my mind was on court and what our trustee was going to do in regards to our case. I can’t imagine that our petition for Chapter 7 would be denied. We never made a profit in the 2.5 years we owned the gym, I had lost my job and was on unemployment. He had to rule in our favor. Stay tuned!


During the week we lost Tweetie, we shut down the franchise. Another domino down. We had met with our bankruptcy counsel and had the petition filed. This was our third attorney. She was a very get the job done and matter of fact individual. She advised us not to notify our employees, clients, or landlord we were filing bankruptcy and shutting the business down. She wanted us to just put a note in the window or have the locks changed. While I agreed with not notifying the landlord, I didn’t agree with not notifying the clients. We set a date of February 6, 2009 to shut the doors for good. I typed up a letter and mailed them out to all the clients on a Friday. I also contacted all the employees and said we were going to have a meeting Saturday after we closed at noon. By the time we got to the gym Saturday morning, all the employees had already found out because the first thing some of the clients did when they got their letters was of course call “Devri” and complain. When my husband and I explained our personal situation, how we couldn’t do it anymore, how the corporation was of no help, how our attorney advised us to not even give notice and how losing my father put a lot in perspective, “Devri” responded with a VERY selfish comment. But what else was new . . . This woman had the audacity to say to us “I wish you would have told me this the other day. My husband is in Italy. I purposely didn’t go because there wasn’t anyone to work. I sacrificed the trip. I could be in Italy right now.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? My response? “Um well, I just lost my father so no disrespect to you, but I really wasn’t thinking about people’s vacations.” Pardon my French, but what balls! To add to her character flaws, she had the nerve to steal supplies that WE purchased in addition to member folders in order to pass them out to those that wished to go to another facility. Her mentality that she ran the place continued even to the day we shut the doors. When the employees left and we realized what she did, my husband left an unpleasant voicemail on her cell phone. We called our attorney and told her what “Devri” did. Our attorney said we could have filed a police report. We decided against that because we still had to live in the next town over. We put a “Closed due to bankruptcy” sign on the door and left. That was the last time we ever saw the women’s fitness facility again. The albatross was slowing removing itself from our necks.

I had to have all the utilities turned off. Before I had the phone disconnected, I checked the voicemail. There were at least 6 on the machine. I only listened to one because I knew that these trust fund babies felt a sense of entitlement to know ahead of time and were only going to degrade us for doing what was in our best interest. God forbid!  The one voice mail from one of the clients said she didn’t appreciate how we did this. She said she understood why but that customers were loyal to us. Who was she kidding? The women’s loyalty was to “Devri” just like “Devri’s” loyalty was to them. They never participated in any of the promotions I had going on in terms of bringing in friends to workout or to try the circuit workout itself. It was social hour and time to get away from their husbands and be with the girls. They didn’t care if my husband and I were struggling. I think they expected us to stay open regardless.  

With all this going on, I had to make time to study for my Praxis exam which was taking place about 5 weeks after the closing of the gym. That’s all I focused on. I threw myself into studying and attending workshops for extra help. I had to keep myself busy to get my mind off everything else. During my study time, we received our letter from the court. The bankruptcy court date was a week after the Praxis. Can you see the domino pattern here?

Through all this, there was one positive. My best friend was pregnant for the first time with her daughter – My God daughter.


At this point with the garbage the Corporation was pulling, there wasn’t any way we could survive keeping this business open. The bank wouldn’t refinance our business loan, we were getting no help from the corporation, I had lost my job, and the only money coming in on my end was from unemployment. We had no choice. We had to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and shut the franchise down. We had to file two separate bankruptcy cases – personal and business because we made personal guarantees on the franchise and the loan. Honestly we had no idea we had made a personal guarantee. We were counting on our small business consultant to be just that – our consultant and let us know what we were getting into. As I stated a few posts up, he dropped us after the meeting we had behind his back with Kevin about prepays. The first attorney never cared. She just wanted to make the firm money. Our second attorney we hired kept saying we didn’t have enough evidence or money to file a lawsuit. There was no other way out of this. We contacted a bankruptcy attorney and started the ball rolling with the corporation to shut down the franchise. Of course the corporation wasn’t returning phone calls at first with our attorney. They were trying to bleed us just a little bit more. After we received the necessary paperwork from the franchise, we filled it out, made copies of all our debts, and prepared it for the attorney.

During this time, the New York Giants had made the playoffs. This was 2009 meaning season ending 2008. The year before they had won the Superbowl. We are season ticket holders. My husband and I split the season with my father and my brothers. One thing about our family is that we are HUGE New York Giants fans. My father never went to a playoff game. His big thing he always said was he wanted to go to a playoff game before he died. It was on his bucket list. My father and I went to the playoff game vs the Eagles on January 11, 2009. Incidentally, my father had recovered pretty well from the heart attack and hospital visits. They had put a stent in, he was working out, taking his meds, and eating right. He even lost 20 pounds. Out of nowhere, he started falling into old patterns – Drinking wine every night, smoking his cigars, not going for follow-up blood work and he stopped going to the gym where he was being monitored. He chose to play racquetball instead with my uncle. Should a heart patient be playing racquetball? 

While we were on our way to our bankruptcy attorney’s office on January 22, 2009, my husband’s cell phone rang. The next thing I knew he was pulling up a side street not far from our attorney’s office. He parked the car and just kept saying,”Ok. Ok. Ok.” He grabbed my hand and squeezed it and started breathing heavy. I thought something happen to his mom who lives out in Illinois who is in her late 70s. My husband hung up the phone, looked at me, and said, “Your dad is gone.” I asked what he meant by that. He told me that the phone call he received was from my father’s best friend Dave telling him that my father passed away. My half brother who has P.D.D. (Pervasive Development Disorder) found him dead in his recliner when he got home from school. Dave didn’t want my husband to tell me right away. He wanted my husband to lie to me and say he was really sick because he thought I would lose my mind. My father’s group wanted to say when we got to his house that he got really sick and just didn’t make it. Of course my husband wasn’t going to lie to me. In any case, I was in disbelief! How could this have happened? The cardiologist said he was doing great. My heart was pounding in my chest. I texted my friends and called my mother at work.  Even though my parents were divorced and my father remarried and had two sons with my stepmother, my mother never stopped caring about him. She started yelling NO and started to cry. We turned the car around, called our bankruptcy attorney, told her what happened and we had to reschedule. My father’s friends kept calling my husband to find out where we were because individuals came to take my father’s body out of the house. My stepmother wouldn’t let them take him until we arrived to say our goodbyes. We were probably about 45 minutes away. I couldn’t wrap my brain around this.

When we arrived to my father’s house, family and friends were on the porch of my father’s house. My uncle (my dad’s half brother) approached me, hugged me, and said he was laying on the floor and it looked like he was sleeping. My husband took my hand and we went into the house. My dad’s lifeless body was in sweatpants and a t-shirt on the floor. My stepgrandmother was on one couch and my stepmother was standing up with friends. They all exited the room so my husband and I could have a moment alone with him. I stood with my arms wrapped tightly around my husband and we both talked to my father. As much as I wanted to kneel down and kiss his head or get closer, I just couldn’t. (I’m actually crying as I am typing this because I am reliving it all over again). 

To be continued  . . .