Another financial rant.

That Man, my father, has yet to pay his alimony this month.

Granted, it is only a few days late and he probably just forgot, but here’s the thing…

Money is tight at the moment. Like, our mortgage is due tomorrow and if The Zen Master and I pay My Mom’s share too, we will be down to about $50 and the mortgage on the other house is due 3 days after that. And we won’t get the rent for the other house until the 15th.

Things have been a little bit squeezed the past two months.

wpid-back-to-school-shopping.png.pngPrincess Punk started High School last week and the amount of money we had to lay down to get her ready was ridiculous. She needed new clothes. Not like, “I just have to have something new for school Mom,” but Holy Crap this girl has put on about 10lbs of pure muscle, her body shape has changed again and the jeans she has look like leggings, assuming she can actually zip them. And I promised her that there would be minimal thrift shop deals this year. I actually like shopping at the thrift shop. I like getting compliments on my clothes and being able to say, “This? 2 bucks. No, seriously. Great find right?” Princess Punk, not so much. Especially considering the difficulty shopping for her body shape anyway and the fact that she actually wants to be more individual and have her own style. Which I really can’t argue with.

So clothes, binders, pencils and a new backpack (the old one is busted and the other ones we have are apparently too small).

Then soccer. She did NOT make varsity, but only because there are not enough JV players. She has been playing with both JV and varsity so it’s clear that the coach still recognizes how awesome she is. Oh, and the coach and the sweeper, who is currently a senior, are “grooming” The Princess to be sweeper on varsity next year. Meaning she will pretty much be running the defense as a sophomore. Fucking-A, that’s MY girl. Unfortunately… She generally has practice or games 6/7 days a week. Practice consists of a 2 mile run and then an hour-long (or longer) practice. She needed running shoes. New cleats. New shin guards. And, since the uniform didn’t include socks, a pair each of white and green soccer socks. $10 per pair. Seriously.

Oh, and don’t forget the first $200 installment for the Girl’s Soccer July ’15 trip to Venice. Granted, she doesn’t have to do that, but it is such an amazing opportunity and if we do some fundraising and participate in the team fundraisers which get split evenly amongst participating girls, we can scrape together the $3200 for her to go. Plus we’ll have to come up with another 3 grand for My Mom, since I am SO not comfortable sending a diabetic 15-year-old to Europe without a family member. And it’ll be nice for Mom to travel. Her half is likely to come out of her rapidly dwindling 401K though.

Grocery shopping… With school starting and Princess Punk busy from sunup to sundown between high school homework load and 12 hours of soccer a week plus travel to away games (yesterday’s game was in St. Johnsbury, easily an hour each way), we have decided to provide her with as much “on-the-go” food as humanly possible. Because of the D-Monster, she needs to make sure she has food available all day. And making PBJ sandwiches isn’t particularly realistic since they 1. get mashed and 2. are not a fast snack for a kid with braces. So a $450 trip to Costco for the basics (TP, paper towels, sugar, splenda, etc.) and a shit-ton of pre-packaged granola bars, muffins, cheese crackers, protein bars and microwave meals for her to scarf if she has 5 minutes between school and practice. And lots of PowerAde Zero.

I'd say it weighs about 6oz?

I’d say it weighs about 6oz?

Because Princess Punk her insulin pump is the size of a pager (remember those?) and is attached to her infusion site on her arm or leg with super-thin tubing, it can get yanked out, or even hurt other girls while playing. So she is not able to wear her pump during practice or a game. so 2 hours without an insulin pump = blood sugars in the 4-500’s. Since her body knows that’s totally fucked up, the first thing it does is pull all the water out of her cells in an attempt to flush the sugar out of her blood. It’s why diabetics have to pee a lot. It’s also why she gets dehydrated when she plays.  Blood sugars in the 4-500’s + hot and humid weather = a 32oz PowerAde and about a half-gallon of water (if possible) every day.

So there’s that. Then the super-high electric bill (not enjoying the pool, but at least everyone else is), various expenses here and there and I FINALLY got the bill for my responsiblity from the jaw surgery I had a year-and-a-half ago. Four. Thousand. Dollars. After insurance.

wpid-pro-obamacare-photo-1.jpgBut universal healthcare is a bad idea. Fuck you Michele Bachmann.

And in that same vein… I have recently started Abilify. Which is freaking amazing. Like wonder-drug amazing. But thanks to Big Pharma bending us over the pharmacy counter and sticking it to us in a not happy way, my co-pay, after insurance is over $400 a month. I got my first month free and there is some kind of coupon to pay up to $200 (I think) of refill co-pays, but that’s still over $200 a month. For a drug that actually works. So far, anyway. not sure what I’m going to do when I run out of my first month supply.

My Mom’s healthcare premiums for her multiple medicare, medicare supplemental, prescription and prescription… whatever, are an arm and a leg, which I suppose means they can just get more money from you after they amputate. On top of all that, her prescription co-pays vary so much, we have no idea what to budget for, but it seems they are at least $200 a month.

And My Mom… My Mom seems to be having some kind of blood pressure reaction to one of her psych meds. So the idea was to wean her off of it. Simple right? Not so. A few days after dropping just one of her 3 doses in a day threw her into a downward spiral that was honestly quite terrifying. She saw her therapist and my (and now hers too) medication APRN yesterday. She is most likely going to go to the hospital for a week just to get her off this stupid drug that makes her BP drop 10-15 points when she stands up. And hopefully find something to replace it with. Because titrating down the medication at home is a scary prospect given the fact I had to have Our Therapist call her and confirm she wasn’t actively suicidal.

That last one wasn’t exactly financial. Except for the fact that I may need to cut back on OT in order to make the childcare schedule work. But honestly, I need My Mommy WAY more than I need an extra $200 this month.

 

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The fine line between persuasive and pushy

The Zen Master is an extremely intelligent man. Clearly, he married me.

That sounds totally conceited. How about this… Clearly, I married him.

You see, I am intelligent. Not a rocket scientist genius-type, but I’m pretty smart. And I don’t think I would have fallen so profoundly in love with The Zen Master if he wasn’t smart too. Smart enough to keep my interest after that initial flood of hormones has worn off. Smart enough to challenge me, my brain, to send me scurrying to Wikipedia to figure out something he just said. Smart enough to hold a conversation about something other than what the weather is going to be tomorrow or a stimulating discussion about favorite sexual positions. Not that we don’t talk about that… Heh.  He has intelligence and wisdom (although not always common sense).

But the thing that really makes him shine in that intellectual arena? He questions. He learns. He wants to learn. He soaks up information like a sponge and maintains interests that are both wondrous and totally weird. I listen to NIN and The Dixie Chicks and Carmina Burana and The Eagles while I clean. Eclectic right? Not compared to his playlist.  The Zen Master listens to everything. Classical and rock and pop and some hip-hop and a lot of stuff in various other languages. Mostly Japanese I think, but definitely some Korean and French and maybe some German? If he isn’t listening to music, he’s listening to lectures he’s downloaded. Like college lectures about genetics and biology and history and economics. Even when he’s not cleaning, it isn’t uncommon to find him sitting down at his computer, watching a lecture on YouTube about genetic traits and how they affect behavior. Or something equally banal.

Heehee… banal.  

He has a high school diploma. Some vocational training in culinary arts. But that’s it. He cooks breakfast at a resort in Stowe. But that’s it.

I really could care less about what my man does for a job. I’m perfectly fine in my current role as “breadwinner.” If he loved his job and really desired to do that and be the best damn breakfast cook he can be? Sure. Whatever babe, if it makes you happy, I’m all for it.  But it’s just a job. It’s familiar and easy and it’s a job.

I want The Zen Master to go back to school. Take a few classes, look at a few new directions. I think he would make an extraordinary early education teacher. But even if he doesn’t pursue a degree, I want him to step outside his comfortable little box and see if there might be a career out there that he could be passionate about. Not just a job. Because he’s brilliant and he has the opportunity to have that.

Therein lies my dilemma… I’ve mentioned it. A couple of times. He balks every time, in his own quiet way. I don’t want to pressure him, or change him or improve him. He’s perfect the way he is. Truly. I don’t want him to earn more money or even change jobs if he doesn’t want to. But I want him to just see if going back to school, pursuing something new is even something he wants to do.

And now I don’t know what more I can do. Because if I keep pestering him about it, I’ll be nagging. And it will be especially uncomfortable for him. Because (although he’s only ever hinted at it), I’m pretty sure he feels some sense of inadequacy because of the disparity between his background and my own. Both my parents have graduate degrees. I have a BA (and an AA and an AS, but who’s counting). His parents are both (incredibly smart) blue-collar, high school educated, as is his sister. He’s just as intelligent as I am (and, I suspect, more so in some ways) and he can hold a conversation with any college grad like it was nothing. But he’s said, about both of my parents on separate occasions, and about some family friends, that he feels intimidated sometimes because they’re so smart (read; college-educated).

So I don’t want him to think that I care about whether or not he has any letters after his name. Or that he makes (a lot) less money than I do. Because I really, REALLY don’t. I love him just the way he is. He’s my Zen Master. Compassionate and patient and loving and funny and the best father I have ever known. But it’s because I love him that I want him to be… fulfilled. I have a job and a career that I love and excel at. I just want him to have that too.

Maybe I should just leave it alone.

Finding the new normal

M74~Normal-People-PostersRelatively speaking of course. I mean… Seriously, I could never have described myself as “normal.” What is normal anyway? Is anyone really normal?

I digress.

Things are starting to settle in. 90% of our crap is moved in. The other 10% are the various odds and ends that you end up throwing into one big box because you’re just so damned tired of packing already. Stuff that you pack because you probably don’t need it, but you might.

Although 90% of our stuff is moved, I’d estimate that only about 60% is actually in the place it’s supposed to be. And because this is a big new house with a big new family configuration, figuring out exactly where exactly those places are is… Challenging. My new kitchen? Great. With about a million cupboards, drawers, pantries and cubbies in which to stow our myriad of dishes, pots, pans, utensils and multiple kitchen appliances. Who the hell uses a yogurt maker anyway? Trying to suss out where to put all our stuff so that I can actually use the kitchen efficiently is becoming a headache. At least once, every time I cook something, I find myself saying, “Now why the fuck did we put that there?” The pantry is built-in, massive and deep. As in, God help you if you need a can that migrated to the back wall deep. So we’re trying to figure out how to utilize all the space so we won’t have to put a miner’s light on The Peach and send her into the void just cuz we want some mac n’ cheese.

My Mom’s space is crowded, but seems mostly moved in. Unfortunately, the act of moving combined with increased Peach-care has left her too tired to use it most of the time. We’re trying to get to get the chaos down to a moderate level so we can work out a childcare schedule that doesn’t completely suck every ounce of energy out of her. There’s no reason she should end up watching The Peach any more than she did before she was living with us. Since The Peach is now a F5 tornado with the tendency to speed through the house, naked and screeching, I think it’s wise to work that out soon before My Mom completely loses her shit.

The Zen Master is slowly taking over the basement. We’ve been married 3 and a half years now, and I still cannot even venture a guess at how his brain works about some things. He seems to have a system going down there, but it looks like he’s just moving things around randomly. The stuff that isn’t random is peculiar. Since the laundry room is in the basement, he’s now taken over the entirety of the chore. It used to be Princess Punk’s job to fold, but now he does that too. And then puts the neatly (sort of) folded clothes in neatly labeled drawers for each of us. In the basement. 2 floors down from my dresser. When I asked him about it, he said, “People can just come get their clothes when they want to put them away so I don’t run out of baskets cuz they’re sitting there with clean clothes in them.” “People” in this statement would be referring to ME.  3 points babe.

Legos are AWESOME. Laundry Baskets are AWESOME. Legos and laundry baskets are AWESOME!

Legos are AWESOME. Laundry Baskets are AWESOME. Legos and laundry baskets are AWESOME!

The Peach? LOVING IT. Although, she’s so enthusiastic about everything, it may just be everyday life in general that is making her so cheerfully gleeful. I gotta say, I never get tired of coming home to, “Mommy home!!! Hooowaaayyy!!!” That statement is however, frequently followed by a hem tug and, “Mom. Mom! I hungwy. Go get me to eat.” With a subsequent “Peeeeeeeeze?” if I’m very lucky. She has a “big-girl-bed” now. It’s actually quite pretty, honey oak and solid wood. Cheap too. Thank you Random-Asian-Laborer who makes less in a month than I do in a half-hour. I feel shitty about buying that stuff because I know it promotes unfair labor practices. But I still do and hope that maybe those underpaid workers will figure out us fat-assed Americans have been taking advantage of their cheap labor and revolt, cause a paradigm shift in the world economy and subsequently establish us as a utopian Roddenberry-esque world. Anyway. Where was I? Right… The Peach’s new bed. Twin-size and tucked under the window in her new room, she has slept in it since we put it together (about a week and a half) and, for the past 3 nights, has not only slept alone, but has fallen asleep alone after a bedtime story and a tuck in. She is enjoying having her own room and actually stays quietly in bed for a little while in the morning after she wakes up. Amazingly, I got to sleep until 7:30 on Saturday until I woke up to, “Moooom. Mommy… Geh UP Mom.” And, when I appeared bleary-eyed in her doorway, “Mom, I pee in the bed, look…” We need to find her some better diapers.

Princess Punk has claimed her space and it already looks like her closet, backpack and desk simultaneously exploded in the middle of her bedroom. And she HAS unpacked already. But she’s happy. And she’s able to walk to school and she absolutely Can. Not. Wait. until the weather improves so she can use our amazing backyard and POOL. Oh, and she’s already planning the 8th grade graduation party. We’re trying to navigate rules and chores and guidelines in the new house. It was apparently her belief that in the new house, there were no established rules so she could do whatever she wanted. Which she learned (the hard, “you’re grounded,” way) that this was, in fact, not the case. But the adults in the house are also adjusting to new disciplines and structures since the way we did things before doesn’t always translate to our current situation.

BTW, she did a drawing on her ipad that was so good (as her drawings frequently are), I went to Snapfish and got it put on canvases and it now hangs in our new living room.

My girl is talented. Nuff Said.

My girl is talented. Nuff Said.

As for me? Still don’t have my own space worked out. The bedroom is nice, but I can’t sit in bed comfortably with the new mattress and therefore, have no place to type. Hence the no posting for a while. The 3-season porch where my space will be is currently crammed with boxes and freezing cold. There is a hot tub on the way (YAY!). It’s small, plug-and-play and one of the most energy-efficient on the market. It’s also going to be a tax-write-off since I’ll be using it as therapy for chronic pain (actually suggested by my physical therapist). There’s a small, disconnected gas stove out there that we’ll need to hook back up, and that, combined with the heat from the tub and some plastic sheeting on the windows should make it comfortable enough to sit in even if the hot tub is not in use. So I’ll be putting a chair out there and some speakers so I can blog and listen to my audiobooks and chill out to my heart’s content. Definitely looking forward to that.

Nice, right?

Nice, right?

And our bedroom is nice. Oddly shaped because of the way the roof and dormer windows are, but big enough to fit our furniture nicely. Plus, some built-in drawers to put linens and towels in since our bathroom is the size of a closet and doesn’t even have space for a trash can let alone shelves or even a towel rack.
 

So settling in. Moving things along. And finding a new, often better, happier way to be a family.

Breaking point

After a flurry of text maessages from both my husband and my teenage daughter, I sent the following email to both of their cell phones, since my texting was no longer working, probably overloaded by the aforementioned flurry of text messages:

Subj: Now my fucking cell phone is not working

 
You know what? Fuck this. I’m not being Mrs. Newlife* anymore. Being Mrs. Newlife sucks. I will be Georgiana from now on.I will be home around 4pm. Iwill happily accept a hug and a kiss but the next person who asks me something that another person in the household can answer, I am going to completely fucking lose the tiny piece of sanity I have left. And Princess Punk**, before you start getting pissy about me yelling at you, know that I am sending this to more than one person.
 
*Obviously, I used my real name in the actual message
**Ditto for The Princess

Uncertainty

Things are… sketchy right now.

Nothing bad really, just nothing particularly good either.

My Mom is waiting for her divorce settlement to be finalized.

And she is waiting to see how much actual cash she will have at that point.

Because we need to know if we can come up with a minimum down payment for the house we’d like to buy.

Which is a moot point unless we sell the house we are all uncomfortably crammed into at the moment.

Which has produced a single brief phone call since it was listed 7 weeks ago.

And I will be extremely lucky to walk away with anything more than a few thousand. For a house I put over 30,000 dollars down on. Thank you Grandma for leaving me enough money to buy a house after you passed. I’m sorry I seem to have pissed it away in this economic clusterfuck that is particularly discriminatory against mobile homes.

My Mom is in The Peach’s room. The Peach’s crib is squeezed in next to my bed. I have to scoot to the end of the bed to get out in the morning. Which is not particularly easy when you have to pee. My Mom and Princess Punk are sharing a bathroom. Which tends to end up in some sort of drama at some point almost every day. I have no place to get away. None of us do. Except The Princess, the only one who has her own room. But nobody wants to go in there anyway, it’s a stage 6 biohazard zone. I can’t even have privacy in my bathroom. The door doesn’t lock, and my brilliant, not-quite-2-year-old is quite adept at opening doors. So I frequently spend time on the toilet or in the shower yelling, “NO! OHMIGOD, Do NOT touch that!” or, “Mommy is going peepee in the potty. Could you please go see Daddy instead?” To which I’m met with raucous giggles and much squealing and “nooooooooooo” and cockroach-style scrabbling all over the room.

Everything is crowded. And claustrophobic. And loud and crazy and it’s making me want to run away and hide.

Oh, did I mention that HE is living in a 2800 sq foot 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house? By himself.

Just sayin’.

I just want to know what to expect. Even a dim idea about what to expect. I just want one less thing to worry about. Something I can think about. Look forward to. Even make some tentative plans around.

Please?

I love…

I love the way you smirk when I make a snarky remark and then I tell you how clever I am.

I love the way you instinctively reach for my hand when I’m sad.

I love the way you always know (whether I’ve told you or not) that I’ve had a shitty day.

I love that you hug me when I walk through the door when I have had a shitty day.

I love that you send me a frowny face text when you leave the house without a kiss goodbye. Although, I still appreciate that you don’t come kiss me goodbye when I’m sitting on the toilet.

I love that you send me an “I love you” text every day (almost). Even if we’re both home all day.

I love that you take the girls when I’m getting stressed (most of the time).

I love the way you look at me like I am the sexiest, most beautiful woman in the world. Even when I’m in my sweatpants, haven’t showered and am bloated and grouchy.

I love the way you are constantly trying to gross me out, just because you think my reaction is cute.

I love how you remember stuff I say, like how much I wish we had season 4 of The Walking Dead. And then, a week later, you sit down and fuss with your computer and all of a sudden it’s streaming on the TV in the bedroom.

I love how you try to make Princess Punk laugh when she’s pissed off at me.

I love, that when you bring The Peach in the room for a diaper change, I will shortly hear insane giggles and squealing and you playing “Tickle Monster.”

I love that Princess Punk became your daughter too. No question. No hesitation. Just love.

I love that we made The Peach.

I love that you have seemingly infinite patience with our children. And me. And My Mom.

I love… that you love me…

And I love you too.

Bitchier than usual

I’ve been a mega-bitch lately.

And honestly, I’m not proud of this.

I cried in a meeting at work today because I was mad at myself because I was being such an antagonistic asshole. Cuz crying is so much more professional.

I went home early.

I’m grumpy and irritable with my girls, The Zen Master and My Mom. Ok… Granted, Princess Punk is 14 and I’m usually just tossing back the bitchy she throws at me, but The Peach and My Mom and The Zen Master are not deserving of my horrible, scowly, foul mood.

I want to escape. Just for a bit. When I’m at work I just want to go home and when I’m at home, I just want to go… maybe not to work, but somewhere else. But I don’t have anywhere to go. And I think, in fact, I’m pretty goddamn sure, that even if I did have another place to go, I still couldn’t escape, because the thing I need escape from the most?

My own head.

I need to not be me. Just for a little while. Just so I can catch my breath and step back and have a moment of quiet, calm, serene, nothing inside my head.

Because my brain hurts. And I have so much emotion, good and bad, racing around in there, that I can’t sort anything out and I don’t know whether to scream or laugh or cry or throw something large and breakable at the wall.

So I just bitch. Because apparently Bitch is my default. My poor family.

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