"Grippers" #3 (how to get homeless without even trying)

Recap: #1, Bob Slider is laid off; #2 Tracey loses her unemployment. (scroll down for these episodes)

Episode 3: Confronting finances over beer & pizza

When Bob returned home the first thing Tracey asked him was, “Did you talk to coach?”

“He pulled in behind us. He was late too. Jake is fine. Stop worrying.”

“Okay, that’s good. His worrying wears me out sometimes. Look Bob, we have to talk about money.”

“I know Tracey, I know. I know all about it. I live here too.”

“Well, you don’t have to get nasty about it.”

“Tracey, for God’s sake, I was laid off today, I get home and find your car is broke down and then you tell me you were cut off unemployment. Cut me some slack, all right? Hey look, let’s go to Carmine’s and get a pizza. We can talk there plus, it might be good to get out of here for an hour or so. Then we’ll head over to Jake’s game. What do you say?”

She agreed and, as they got into the truck, Bob paused and looked over at her car. “I’ll check your car in the morning. Can’t worry about it right now.”

Carmine’s Pizzeria was doing their usual brisk, Friday night business and Bob and Tracey were only able to get a table for two in the middle of the dining area. “I really wanted a booth. We need some privacy.”

“It will be all right, hon. We’ll talk low.”

Bob ordered two beers and a pepperoni pizza. As they took their first sips of beer Tracey asked, “So, how much money do we have?”

An astonished look covered Bob’s face. “Are you kidding me? You always know down to the penny how much money we have. Why would you ask me that? Didn’t you check the on-line balance this morning? We have direct deposit, don’t we?”

“Remember the storm the other night? The computer is fried. There was no way to check anything on-line.They cut my unemployment. Remember?”

“Okay, yeah, but I didn’t understand exactly what happened with this unemployment thing.”

“Very simple. I was supposed to sign in, on-line, by yesterday, to stay certified. Our computer did not work. So, their computer automatically kicked me out of their system. I finally got through by phone this afternoon and I was all ready to run over there and— Oops–my car did not start. Now I have to wait until Monday to re-apply. I guess we can go together and apply.”

“Well, don’t think for a minute that I will need to get unemployment. I WILL be getting work. You just watch.”

“Well, how much money did you get today? I think there was about $400.00 left in checking.”

“Well, my stub said they deposited $876.34 and then I was given an extra $500.00 as sort of a severance pay. So I guess we have about $1775.00. Plus, we also have about $900.00 left in savings. So a total of about twenty six hundred. We’re okay.”

“Oh my God, Bob. Are you kidding me. this is a disaster. Tuesday is June 1. We still owe Mr. Margolese $700.00 for May’s rent. Add in June and it is $1650.00 we owe just for rent. Electric is $276.00 and that is after a ten day extension and is due Tuesday or they can shut off our power and the car insurance is due and that is $158.00 and don’t forget the May truck payment of $278.00 and now two payments will be due.” Tracey paused and was adding the numbers on a napkin. Suddenly she had tears coming down her cheeks. “If we pay all of our bills we won’t have a penny to our name. Oh my God, we could lose everything.”

“Stop it Tracey, just stop it. I am not crippled. I will get work. We’ll be okay. Plus, Greg Margolese is a good guy. Maybe I can do some work on some of his houses.He’ll understand our situation. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.”

Bob’s confident demeanor was calming his wife. He knew that they had not even discussed money for food, Tracey’s car repair, Jake’s medicine, gas for the vehicles, and the water bill. Heck, Jake was growing and they went through at least five gallons of milk a week. That was $75.00 a month right there, just for milk. On this particular Friday something else was going on with Bob Slider. Hiding inside the big, burly. tough looking man, was a cowering and suddenly very insecure little boy.

Next time: Episode 4; Dealing with the landlord

EBOOK GIVEAWAY in celebration of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf Blogoversary

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dDZZMFNaSWtvYVBYVS1OUEJLeDVwUWc6MA and go to Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf blog at: http://marthasbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/06/mbs-blogoversary-spotlight-4d-tribute.html

Giveaway of eBook Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes – Three Winners OPEN WORLDWIDE – ENDS JULY 15, 2011

Doesn’t this book sound adorable???

Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes
by Larry Peterson

Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly ShoesSlippery Willie Synopsis:
Willie Wiggles hates his slippery feet. He just slips, slides and spins all over the place. But what he hates even more are the special shoes that have been made for him that will help him to walk just like all the other kids. Willie thinks that they are the “stupidest, ugliest shoes in the whole world.”
Discover how sometimes we worry about things about ourselves when actually there is nothing to worry about in the first place.

Buy links

"Grippers" #2 (how to get homeless without even trying))

Recap: Episode #1 –Bob Slider is laid off (click on “grippers” tab to view)

Episode #2–Tracey has more bad news

Due to a “fender-bender” on US 19, Bob was a half-hour late and did not get home until 6 p.m. Jake was nervously pacing back and forth in the driveway dressed in his baseball uniform. Bob had not even turned off the engine before Jake was standing by the window, all hyper. “Dad, where have you been? I’m supposed to be at the field by six. We gotta leave right now.”
“Hey Jake, slow down. Slow down. Why didn’t mom take you?
“Her car won’t start.”
“Oh great, just what I need. Okay, wait here. I have to talk to your mother. I’ll be back in a minute.”
“But dad, coach said—“
“Stop it Jake. Just stop. Now, wait here and I’ll be right back. Don’t worry, I’ll talk to coach.”
Jake’s lips tightened, he folded his arms and leaned against the truck. Bob headed into the house glad that Jake was outside. His ever present smile was missing but Tracey did not seem to notice. She just started speaking. “Where have you been? My car won’t start and you’re not going to believe it but it is so nuts and—“
“Whoa, Tracey, slow down. I can always fix the car.”
“I don’t care about the car.”
“Well then, what? What is going on?”
“What’s going on? I’ll tell you what’s going on. They cancelled my unemployment because of that thunderstorm when our power went out and I didn’t sign in on line on time and their computer kicked me out of their system and I don’t even know if I can get it back and—oh my God, what a disaster. I needed that money for grocery shopping. Boy, I wish they would start giving you 40 hours again. This is getting a bit scary.”
Bob was stunned and seemed to go into a bit of a daze. Only six months earlier the two of them had been bringing over $4300.00 a month into the house. Then Tracey’s company “downsized” and a new computer system replaced her and eight other people who were suddenly considered
non-essential. Tracey’s take home pay went from almost $1500.00 a month down to $126.00 a week in unemployment benefits. In less than six months the family’s monthly income had been reduced by over $2300.00. Hack off another $504.00. Now it was over $2800.00 a month less. They were already one rent payment behind, had missed a truck payment and were at the end of a two week extension on their delinquent power bill. The car insurance was due, May was ending and June was only three days away. Inside Bob’s head it was like a “demolition derby” as all of these thoughts crashed into each other in a matter of seconds. All he could say was, “Huh?”
“You heard me, Bob. They cancelled my unemployment.”
Jake came into the house. ” Dad, we have to LEAVE. I’m so late. I won’t even be able to play.”
Bob turned and snapped at his son, “Jake, I told you to wait outside so just do what I told you. I’ll be there in a minute. I said I would talk to coach. Now, don’t worry and just go outside and wait, okay?”
Jake stomped out in a huff and Tracey said, “We really needed that money for food. Your check was going to cover the electric bill and a partial rent payment. Plus, Jake needs his inhaler and that’s $68.00. Mr. Margolese has been real good about the rent but we have to pay him something now. The new month is next week.”
“C’mon, Tracey. We’re in this house 12 years. I have maintained it for him, paid for repairs out of my own pocket, even repaired some of his other houses. It’s like our own house.”
“Oh Bob, that sounds so nice but the fact is–it is NOT our house.”
“He’s a good guy. I’ll talk to him.”
“Look, you better get Jake over to his game. Then come back and we’ll talk about this. So, tell me, why do you have that funny look on your face. Is there something you’re not telling me?”
Bob rolled his eyes upward, tightened his lips and breathed deeply through his nose. She could always see right through him. “Look Tracey, I may as well tell you right now and get it over with.”
“Tell me what?”
“Bildot closed down today. Out of business. I don’t have a job.”
“Oh my God, oh my God.”
Next time: Incident #3 Trying to pay the bills

"Grippers" #1(how to get homeless without even trying)

Episode #1 Meet the Slider Family

Bob Slider is a 37 year old, blue-collar, happy-go-lucky, hard working guy who loves his family, enjoys taking care of his house and yard, plays fantasy football, drives a pick-up truck and loves a “cold one” now and then. He and his wife, Tracey, and their 12 year old son, Jake, live in a modest, three bedroom, one and a half bath house in Pinellas Pines, FL., a town located in the Tampa Bay area bordering St. Petersburg. High school sweethearts, Bob and Tracey have been married for 14 years.
Bob is an assistant manager at Bildot Building Supply, one of the largest suppliers of commercial tools and construction equipment and materials in the area and he has worked for the company for 16 years. However, as the economy sputtered and and construction slowed, Bildot immediately felt the squeeze. As things rapidly got tighter and tighter Bildot, within a nine month period, was forced to lay off 16 workers leaving a crew of 12. But things went from bad to worse and, on this particular Friday, the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, James Bildot called the remaining employees together and, with tears in his eyes, announced that effective immediately, Bildot Building Supply was closing its doors for good. After 55 years, the company was going “belly-up”. Just like that Bob Slider and his co-workers became statistics. They were unemployed. Bildot too, was a statistic–just another company that had failed
Bob had earned $16.00 an hour and, for years, averaged 48 hours a week earning more than three grand a month. Hours had been gradually reduced and for the past two months he had been working 30 hours a week, sometimes less. After deductions he was bringing home less than $400.00 a week. As he and his co-workers drove away from Bildot it was as if everything was moving in slow-motion. Bob gave cursory waves to the other guys and choked back an unexpected tear. This place had been like a second home and just like that it was gone. It was almost like someone close had suddenly died. Fear of the days ahead suddenly grabbed Bob Slider in a choke hold. He could not breathe.
Next time:Incident #2 Tracey has more bad news

"Homelessness and the Grippers" Introduction on how to get homeless without even trying)

There are more than 1.3 million people in the United States that are homeless. One in four of these people are children and many of them have not reached their tenth birthday. (I believe there are many more but many go uncounted). They live in alleyways, under bridges, in abandoned cars, condemned buildings and wherever else they might find makeshift shelter. It is reported that at least 13 homeless kids die every day on the streets of America. This is a national tragedy.

Having been a member of the St. Vincent De Paul Society (www.svdpusa.org) for almost twenty years I have had the honor of working directly with many, many homeless people. I use the word honor because they too are God’s children and they have privileged us by asking us for our help. They are our “masters”. We are supposed to serve and it is humbling to be able to assist them.
Having said that it is important to remember that there are millions more across this great land of ours that are pre-homeless. I call them “Grippers”. These are the folks who are hanging on, still having a roof over their heads, still taking care of their kids, still being productive. But suddenly, due to circumstances, they are losing their grip, slipping and sliding, holding on for dear life. Gripper families have begun their journey into the bog of homelessness and they do not even know it.
Next week I shall begin posting a series of blogs that follow the journey of the Slider family as they begin their pilgrimage from “average American family” to “Grippers”. Whether they will lose their grip and become part of the 1.3 million on the streets or whether they will hang on is yet to be determined. Please note that the “Slider family” is a composite of so many families that I and my Vincentian brothers and sisters have worked with over the years. What they experience is based on fact and are things that happen to people every day across America.
Stay tuned.

Mymcbook's Blog review & giveaway

Mymcbook’s Blog
June 3, 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes by Larry Peterson
by Ella Johnson

My Review: Willie is finding it difficult to walk and is always slipping. His mother got him some special shoes to help him walk better. But he doesn’t want to wear them afraid kids at school will laugh at him. The children at school laughed at him even his teacher and principal but it turned out to be a bad dream.

Author Larry Peterson delivered a much needed educational subject about accepting each other differences and an excellent message for kids. Apart from the word Stupid used in this book (which I don’t like) it sent a delightful message not only to children but the parents and teachers as well.

Age: 4-8 Hardcover: 24 pages

Free Giveaway (US Only)

Go to: http://mymcbooks.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/book-review-giveaway-slippery-willies-stupid-ugly-shoes-by-larry-peterson/

Author is giving away a copy to 1 lucky winner.

Giveaway Ends 17th June @ 12 noon

Comments like these would be deleted – Great contest, Please enter me, Love to win this!, This is so cute!

Mandatory: So leaving a helpful comment relating to this book would be appreciated and valid to the giveaway.

Mandatory: You must be a Subscriber to Mymcbooks Blog by clicking on Email Subscription on the right hand side of the

blog. You will receive a notification email in your mail box. Click to confirm. Thanks.

Mandatory: Leave your comments and email address in the comment field below.

All Mandatory must be completed or entry will be disqualified.

Winner will be chosen at random and inform via email (US ONLY)

Mymcbook's Blog interview

Mymcbook’s Blog
June 3, 2011

Interview with Author Larry Peterson
by Ella Johnson

Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As a freelancer, he has written many newspaper columns for local publications. “Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes” is his first children’s book. Peterson has lived in Pinellas Park, Florida for the past 28 years.


I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog today.

What is the last book you read?

I’m reading (again) the last volume, #7, in C. S. Lewis” “Chronicles of Narnia”. The title is “The Last Battle”. So I guess the last book I read is volume #6, “The Silver Chair”. Anyway, I love how Lewis let his creativity run with these books. And it is always, from beginning to end, about good vs. evil. Of course, good triumphs. Characters are wonderful, from “Aslan” the great Lion, to Jadis, the “white witch” and Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer and—well, on and on. It is fun.

What were your earliest memories of writing?

I guess in 6th or 7th grade. I use to like to write stories about people and their “imagined weaknesses”.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?

No, I think I just did it.

Are you working on a new book?

Yes, I just finished a novel called “The Priest and the Peaches”. It is about five kids from the Bronx who find themselves orphaned during Christmas season of 1965. IT is about their initial attempts to stay together as a family and how their parish priest gently guides them on their beginning journey into “grown-up world”. I would classify it as YA or Adult contemporary fiction. I don’t know if it will ever get published but, you never know. I am always insecure in the work I do—never really think it is very good.

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?

I worked in the building trades in NYC for 15 years (Metal Lathers & Reinforcing Ironworkers—even worked on the Twin Towers). Had to leave the business when I was diagnosed with MS. (It was not in my best interests to be stumbling around 50 or 60 stories above the streets of Manhattan—LOL). Anyway, my wife, three kids and I moved to Florida 30 years ago. I went to college, graduated with a BS Degree in Computer Programming and could never get a job although all my interviews were very “pleasant”. (I was on crutches, could hardly walk, and I guess I did not
present a long term promise to prospective employers. I look back and laugh about it. Plus, I hated computers anyway. I got the degree because they told me
I would be in a wheelchair and yada, yada, yada. Whatever—I got myself walking (no easy task by the way) and started fixing up houses and did that off
and on for about 15 years. Today, I work part-time in a high-school cafeteria, write when I can, and take care of my wife who has cancer and is undergoing
chemo etc.

What inspired you to write Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes’?

We were foster parents in New Jersey and the state sent us two brothers, aged 3 and 6, who were supposed to stay for about a week. Anyway, the youngest, Brian, had no self controls and would just get up and run right into things; the wall, the door, off the steps—he never got hurt and he and his brother stayed with us for two years. So, it was Brian who put the idea in my head.

How did you come up with your characters?

I guess from people I have known and/or met over the years.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

Absolutely—to get rid of it I start to write, write anything, even doodle. Sooner or later a coherent thought kicks in.

How do you react to a bad review?

It is the “nature of the beast’ so to speak and I always can learn from any review. No problem.

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?

Never thought about something like this. Maybe Hemingway, definitely C. S. Lewis and his buddy. J. R. R. Tolkien just to be able to listen to them.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?

Find books that deal with “giving” to others and that show that ALL people are special.

What advice you would give to new writers?

“Keep on truckin”—it is a very winding, up and down road with many, many potholes, soft shoulders and detours but you must be tenacious and stay the course. And NEVER take rejection personal.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

That I appreciate the work that you do and thank you for taking the time to do this with me.

Thank you for this interview.

Splashes of Joy review

Splashes of Joy
June 1, 2011

Slippery Willie’s Stupid Ugly Shoes by Larry Peterson Book Review
by Joy Hannabass

Willie had a problem that no one, not even his Doctor could figure out what was wrong. His feet were so slippery his socks and shoes would not stay on his feet. So finally special shoes were ordered for Willie, and his feet would not be slippery while wearing them. I really felt sorry for Willie. He just did not want to wear those shoes, even if they did help him not to slip and slide. He didn’t want to go through the embarrassment of everyone at school and everyone he would be around to and from school laughing at his stupid shoes. Just what was he going to do about these shoes? Could he really wearing them to school, or would he rather slip and slide his way around? Would mom make him wear them, or would she understand?

This is a really cute story teaching children about peer pressure, and teaching then what can happen to them when they worry too much. It shows a child that is ok to be different, and especially when it something that will be helpful to them. This book is well written and simple for children to understand. And the graphics are awesome! What is a children’s book without really good graphics? They are essential to the story, making the story more dramatic so the child can better understand what he or she is reading. The pictures themselves tell the story in a well illustrated book as this one.

Since all children will face being different at some time or another, I feel this book would be good for any child. It is wonderful to have books like Willie’s Slippery Feet to read to you child even before he faces being different around his or her friends. And the pictures will make the lesson more clear for them as well.

Heavenly Savings review

Heavenly Savings
May 31, 2011

Slippery Willie Review!

by Krista Whiz

Slippery Willie
By: Larry Peterson
Willie Wiggles hates his slippery feet. He just slips, slides and spins all over the place. But what he hates even more are the special shoes that have been made for him that will help him to walk just like all the other kids. Willie thinks that they are the “stupidest, ugliest shoes in the whole world.” Discover how sometimes we worry about things about ourselves when actually there is nothing to worry about in the first place.
My Thoughts
I am fortunate with my daughters school uniform policy. The kids dress the same and there are often times no teasing due to the clothes that are worn. But, I have found that my daughter is very picky about how her hair looks because she does not want to be made fun of from her classmates.
Slippery Willie is about a boy who thinks that he will be laughed at because of a pair of shoes his Mother is going to make him wear. I love how Larry Peterson was able to capture the overly dramatic thoughts of a child and bring them to life in this adorable book. I found Slippery Willie to be funny and interesting all at the same time! My daughter and I really enjoyed reading this book together and we were then able to talk about what we should do in a situation where you are being made fun of or what she should do if she see’s someone else being teased.
At the end of the book the Author has come ups with neat little interactive ideas that you can do with your child. For example having them wear something ‘ugly’ to school to see what the kids really think about that item or even volunteering at a local hospital to see the kids that might be ‘different’. I love the interactive thoughts at the back of the book and it was wonderful to have a book open up the discussions that were opened up after reading Slippery Willie!
Buy It!
You may visit HERE to make a purchase!