I am a 37 year old shipwright apprentice at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Before joining the apprenticeship, I was an electrician for 11 years. After my daughter was born & the relationship between my daughter's mother & I didn't work out, I was determined to be the best father I could be. My daughter's mother (Sarah) & I agreed upon visitation & a child support amount that worked for both of us. I even offered to help pay for the hospital bills from when she gave birth to my little girl (Mollie Mae). After 2 months, she informed me that I could not see my daughter on the weekends until these hospital bills were taken care of, mind you I was still paying child support also. I informed her that it was Christmas time & was doing the best I could. Apparently that wasn't good enough. So I immediately consulted a lawyer who recommended I file for custody & visitation, which I did. After grueling months of stress & court dates, I was made to pay $620/month plus arrears from the time my daughter was born to the court date. When I asked the judge how I was supposed to afford my house & car payment plus $620 in child support when I'm only making $18/hour as an electrician, she simply replied, "It's not my problem." I was forced to move out of my home & back with my mother & father. I still could barely afford to live but now had a bigger problem, how would I ever be able to retire? The company I worked for offered no such retirement. I then applied at Norfolk Naval Shipyard several times as a mechanic but heard nothing. I decided to apply as an apprentice in hopes to get my foot in the door. It worked. I am currently going through the apprenticeship, starting off at $12/hour & slowly working my way up. I am now at $16/hour although I should be at $19/hour as of 9/20, but someone screwed up. I went to payroll this morning to try to get my rate of pay fixed but apparently everyone who can help me has been furloughed, and no one can even tell me when I will be getting paid for the work I'm doing. I immediately tried to borrow from my TSP account to pay my overdue bills, put gas in my car & buy food. To my disappointment, the government website will not let me borrow during the shutdown. I am currently working on the USS Eisenhower project but have no idea when I will be getting paid.
After worrying, pacing & stressing myself to no end, I called my girlfriend to vent. She was very encouraging to me but has about as much faith in our government as I do. She informed me that while at the grocery store she saw a woman with a shopping cart FULL of all kinds of foods & toiletries. This woman paid for everything with food stamps & or WIC. Living in Portsmouth, Virginia, I see a lot of this. People that don't work at all live better than hard-working Americans. Why is this? What happened? This country encourages laziness & apathy & punishes those willing to go to work every day & break their backs in order to provide an HONEST living for their family. I love my family. I love my country. I despise my government. The rich get richer & the poor get poorer. Things like this will eventually drive decent citizens to do things they normally would not do. We will provide for our families by any means necessary! I say "we" as in "We the people..." This country is nothing without the people. We want our country back. "We" are fed up!
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