Monthly Archives: April 2012

NaBloPoMo April: Happy Endings

I began this month with a challenge to myself and a couple of blog friends to write every day during the month of April.  I’ve never before been able to do this.  Why should I think I could do it now, especially when pressure is at an all-time high for me and I’m dealing with kids, finances, illness, work, and, well, life?  I actually didn’t think I would be able to make it.

I plugged away with a post here and a post there each night while the rest of the family snored blissfully on.  There were several occasions when The Hesitant Boyfriend (who cannot sleep with ANY kind of light on, not even the measly light put out from the screen of my iPhone 4) would pull off his fuzzy panda bear sleep mask and grumle, “Are you almost done, yet?”  There were several occasions where I tapped away on my iPhone while nearly nodding off myself.  There were plenty of occasions where I just couldn’t sleep so I tapped away, until sleep finally came my way.

I made it, and looking back, I’m a bit surprised and very pleased.  30 days of blogging during the month of April.  Not too bad.  It is a very happy ending to a pretty crummy month.

I’m not sure I’m going to keep up this pace.  I have three other blogs that are feeling pretty left out and needy, so I’ll probably give them some attention in the days to come.  You can be sure I’ll be blogging…somewhere…but it just might not be here.

But…if I can’t sleep…this is definitely where I’ll be.

April Recap And Random Money Musings

May 2012 is already shaping up to be a better month than April was. That’s pretty decent considering it isn’t even May yet. I get paid at the end of the month, and have already paid all my bills for May. That’s also pretty decent considering I paid up the ones I had to skip on last month just to survive. I absolutely detest living like this but one of the first things I learned in Divorce 101 is that sometimes you just have to survive. That was April’s mantra. May’s, I hope, will be more about recovering and stabilizing rather than just making it. By July, I actually hope to be moving ahead.

So, I’ve paid the bills, and there is money to eat on for the rest of the month; another reason May is already better than April. In addition, I did this without planning on the rental money, from the old Someday-The-Bank-Will-Decide-To-Foreclose house. I’m going to terminate the contract with the renters whether they pay or not on May 1. We are on a month-to-month and i can terminate the agreement with 30 days notice for no cause. The income is nice, the hassle is not. It is also a good idea for me to just get used to not having that income. After that, I’m probably going to need to begin not planning on the money from The Evil Ex, because I suppose that will go away soon also. I just can’t worry about that now. On the up side, I have a few gigs that opened up over the summer that will hopefully do much to get my savings going.

On another note, my son was sick all last week and he gave me whatever he got. I spent most of the glorious spring weekend indoors, sick with a killer cold. I’m feeling slightly better now, but won’t be heading in to work tomorrow. I’m certain my clients would not appreciate me coughing, sneezing, and hacking phlegm all over them. I’ve already called in my assistant. She can handle most of the important stuff, and reschedule the rest. I will be spending the day in bed sleeping, hoping like anything to speed my recovery. God knows I’ve taken enough sick time this year.

In all, April sucked. Bankruptcy is no fun and things were super tough. On the other hand, I do believe the home we are in right now was divinely appointed. There were not and still are not any homes of the kind and size we have for the amount we are paying. I’m not sure this is necessarily a forever home for us, but I can think of much worse places to land for a few years while we get back on our feet financially. Plus, it is low maintenance and I love this place. Things could be much, much worse.

So, here’s to moving through the roadblocks and challenges in life. After every hill climb, there is a glorious descent. Let’s hope the ride smooths out for the rest of 2012.

Thinking of Doing Something Different

Have you ever in your life thought of just quitting everything, packing things up (or getting rid of them), and starting life over somewhere else doing something else? A new place; a new life; a new history to look back on?

I have several friends, myself included, with college-age children. The kids are heading off to college. They are traveling; moving across the nation in some cases, to begin the next step in their lives. I sometimes, no, often, wonder what it would have been like to go back and do life differently. I sometimes also wonder if it is getting to be too late for me to do some of the things I’d really like to still do. Like live and work in the city. The real city, not just the smallish one I live in now, which is more like a bunch of overgrown towns pushing at each other than a real city. With a skyline. And a waterfront.

A friend of mine is making her dreams come true. She and her sister are combining households, saving money and in the next year or two, they will move to France, where my friend says she hopes to live until she dies. You can read about their journey at Lipstick And Baguettes. A dream like this is amazing to me, but to do it requires more than I can ask of my children right now.

I wonder if I will ever travel out of the country. If I do where will I go? Sometimes, though I am content with my existence, I feel as though nothing will ever change, no matter how much I might like it to or try to make it something different. On the the other hand it is wonderful where I am, and I think I could stay here forever. At the same time, I know I don’t really want to.

Of course, right now, nothing looks great. Everything is crummy because I don’t feel well. I’ve missed a perfectly grand, sunny weekend being sick with this cold. I had the The Hesitant Boyfriend go out and get me some NyQuil. I’m pretty glad he didn’t hesitate on that. Seems like it might be time to take another dose.

Now Guess What

Last night I felt it start. That sore, scratchy feeling that you hope is merely seasonal allergies. It turns out it might be something worse; upper respiratory something or other.

I’m exhausted from battling the sneezing and running eyes and nose. Now I have a cough.

The downside to being a parent is that you sometimes get what they got. Sadly, parents, especially single parents, don’t get the luxury of being able to be sick.

I am also out of NyQuil.

Surviving Difficulty in 20 Not-So-Easy Steps

Yes, I’ve bemoaned my pitiful luck this month here on several occasions.

No, this is not going to be another down-in-the-mouth, woe-is-me bitch session.

I’m actually going to be positive for a change and since I have only small change, I guess that’s a good thing.

I’ve bemoaned my financial fate of late and poured out my misery as to how deplorable and desperate I really am…economically…right now.

I’d like to make the following observations of the data of my financial life this month:

1. I began the month by ending last month in the negative numbers…oh…about $300. (This is NOT normal for me…at least not since those first few months after leaving The Evil Ex.)

2.  At the end of last month, in addition to the negative bank balance, I had to post-date two checks to my mechanic one for last month and one for May for the water pump that broke.

3. I am still trying to pay off utility bills for the rental unit (aka, my old house that I am walking away from).

4. I started my month with about $200 to pay over a thousand dollars worth of bills.  (That was after I paid some of the other bills first.  I don’t just have a $1,000 overhead.)

5. I was looking forward to a $3300 tax return, the first in 5 years, which would have been a nice windfall, allowing me to get caught up and all and I was required to turn this over to the bankruptcy court trustee.  Thanks to Ms. Trustee, I was allowed to keep the money I received from my partial rent payment I recieved.

6. I put everything possible up for sale on Craigslist.

7. I did have to write one post-dated check to The Good Ex for a hundred bucks to get through this week after the cat started oozing mysterious pus last Friday night. (Please, do not tell me I should have let the poor cat die.)

8. I sold nearly everything I put up on sale, except the stupid juicer, and paid all but two bills, small ones, which I will double pay tomorrow because it is payday in exactly 10 minutes.  At midnight that paycheck will dump in and I can start over for another month. The bills were the water and garbage and I’m writing the checks now for double the amounts.

9. I just checked my bank balances.  I have exactly $7.49. 83 cents of that is my savings.

10.  I have no credit cards.

11.  I have 83 cents in savings.

12. I am NOT overdrawn, in spite of this nightmare of a month.

13. Someone just called about a coffee table I had advertised on Craigslist.  20 minutes after answering that call, I now have $27.49 to my name.

14. I still have a $200 post-dated check that my mechanic will cash on the first and a $100 check that The Good Ex will cash tomorrow coming out of tomorrow’s paycheck, but…

15. I’m not overdrawn!!!!!!!!

This, in and of itself, is a huge step forward for me financially. It is small, but very definite, progress.

16.  I have not had an unexpected car repair this month…and I won’t because the car is parked and I’m not going anywhere tonight.  If it breaks down tomorrow that will come out of next month’s pay.  Let’s hope it does not break down.

17.  I had to pay $150 to an attorney last week on top of having to pay bills, put gas in two large gas-sucking vehicles, and feed a family of five, two of whom are teenagers.

18.  I got all my paper work in to the District Attorney’s office in response to The Evil Ex’s request to review the child support order. I feel better now.

19. I made a decision about what to do about the tenants in my house. I’m terminating the agreement, because I can.  The money and the stress are not worth it.  I feel even better now.

20.  I paid my bills, didn’t go into the red again, and I survived this month.

April 2012 was, by far, the most financially stressful month I’ve had in four years and I made it.

I can, for the first time all month, breathe deep, relax…and feel very, very good about being very, very strong.  Lesser people would’ve slit their wrists or swung from rafters if they faced my difficulties. (They do this because they have life insurance.  I do not have life insurance because I cannot afford it…yet.)

Radiation Celebration and Moving Buddies

Today I had my 5th of what is scheduled to be 33 treatments of Radiation Therapy. I call it my Rad Therapy. One of my friends, who has a much more serious cancer situation than I, told me that I’d meet people scheduled at the same time and get to know them. Well, it didn’t take long. On my second day, I started to get to know this other woman pretty well. At least, we talked easily and seemed to have much in common. She had the same treatment I was having; radiation, no chemo required. I was looking forward to not spending time alone and silent in a waiting room.

Today, she celebrated her last day of Rad Treatments. She was so excited. When she came out, she had extra stuff: a certificate and something else they gave her, which I’m forgetting. I didn’t notice because I was dealing with an unexpected rush of emotion. What was that? Where did that come from?

As she hugged her sister happily and collected her things to go, we said the customary, “Best of everything to you,” statements and then, just like that she was gone, and I was being called back for my treatment.

I will probably never see her again.
I am sad about that.
I didn’t even remember her name.
We didn’t exchange numbers. I would like to know how she is doing in the future.

I think life is a funny thing. No one wants to be diagnosed with cancer, and I certainly have it far less than some I know. But the most bizarre and surreal thing about this entire journey is that of all the things I am dealing with in my life right now, this one is the least stressful and easiest for me to cope with. There have also been great moments of joy tinged with sadness, like the one this afternoon as I watched my friend revel in completing this leg of her journey. I was very happy for her and a little sad that I won’t be seeing her every day after work anymore.

I feel a little lonely again. Sometimes when you’re heading down a new and unfamiliar road to an unknown destination, it helps to have a walking buddy. Kind of like the toys in “Toy Story” when they all had to find a moving buddy. Somehow Life is moving me. In January, it picked me right up and put me on this road marked by frequent stops for medical services. Like always, I’m an inquisitive traveler, so I’m learning a lot. I’m not afraid. I am very happy about how things are going in this part of my life.

But I’m going to need a new moving buddy.

This time, I’m going to make sure I get her name.

April 24, 2012 and NaBloPoMo

It is now officially April 25, but for me it is really still the 24th. I mean, if this is a blog that is supposed to be written when I should be sleeping, that doesn’t give me much time. After all, what single mom do you know gets to bed a minute before ten? Most nights, like tonight, I’m up doing laundry for some kid that told me they suddenly needed something for tomorrow. Never mind that we have laundry baskets in every room and the procedure is to bring your laundry to the laundry room, which is maybe five steps away. If I’m doing laundry, I’m matching socks, or putting away this or that which got left here or there. All that Momwork, leaves me two hours for writing. Tapping a post out on an iPhone takes a heck of a lot more than two hours.

So tonight’s post is my April 24, post in order to fulfill my requirements for NaPoBloMo challenge to write a post a day for the entire month of April and by, golly gosheroo, I’m going to do it.

It’s going to be quick, because instead of staying up late due to insomnia, I’m actually up late making sure I check off the last two of three very important and time consuming stress creators on my To Do list. I’m pleased to announce that this is one of those rare days in any life where one accomplishes all of the very most important tasks. Here is my To Do List for today, April 24:

1. Pay medical bills with FSA account. When The FSA account runs out, set up payment arrangements. Check.

2. Complete the child support inquiry forms my Evil Ex initiated. Gather and copy all documents. Write cover letter. This took most of the afternoon. It is ready to go in the mail. Check!

3. Write the ole “pay your rent or get out letter. This took less time than the other but. Check.

4. Go to radiation treatment. Check.

5. And now it is time for sleep. I’m going enjoy it! A few minutes after posting this, I’ll be working/nodding off.

Stress gone, for the win.

Check.

Global Warming and Insomnia

I love summer. I love it for a number of reasons, not the least of which is, I don’t have to punch a time clock and report to an office away from home. I also enjoy the things everyone else loves about summer: the blue skies and the warm weather.

Where I live, we usually have four seasons. The last few years, however, we have observed a reduction in the amount of the year allocated to Spring and Fall with an increase in time for winter and summer, with summer edging out winter a bit more with each passing year.

This year, we went straight from winter, to summer in April, and it happened this last weekend. I love that. Spring isn’t my favorite season anyway. But after experiencing the first dreadfully hot night where I tossed and turned till well past 3:00 a.m., I think I have come to appreciate the gradual lead-in to the summer heat which Spring provides.

Tonight seems like its going to be another hot one as well. I need the sleep. It gets tough to perform well on the job with no sleep, and it looks totally unprofessional when you begin nodding off in a marketing meeting with important clients that you really, really want to sign. Further, I started radiation treatment and the big concern about radiation is the fatigue that sets in somewhere around week three or four. I was hoping to be able to rest up in a feeble effort to avoid the fatigue and consequently having to take even more time off work.

What I need right now is a really dull movie.

Bang Head Here Moments

This sign is visibly displayed in my office. I have occasion to use it, every now and then.  Today was one of those days.

After freaking out about my cat and hitting the panic button by rushing to the 24-hour emergency vet, and then spending $159 to get the cat evaluated and injected with antibiotics, I realized the following day that I actually have a very good friend who studied two years of veterinary science. Great.  She informed me that she would have been glad to look at my cat even late at night to let me know if what I was dealing with was urgent or whether it could wait.

Too bad I don’t have the bang head here sign at home.

It was probably a good thing that we took the cat in anyway, just for the antibiotic shot.  I just think I probably didn’t need to go rushing down there at midnight. Oh well.

I was able to sell a few unused items this weekend and make some money.  Enough, to get us through the week for gas and groceries. Part of what I sold was a piano that I’d left at my house (which I’ve been renting out) which my children used to plunk around on. In spite of not having formal lessons, they managed to kind of pick it up here and there. My second oldest especially worked hard at learning and spent a lot of time on that piano.  It was hard to let that piece go. I wonder if maybe I will regret selling that.

Last night, I invited a friend over that I haven’t seen in a long, long time.  We  used to work together, but then she transferred to another division of the company and though we kept in contact via Facebook, we’d not had a chance to get together until last night. Due to finances being what they are, we decided to meet up at my place rather than go out somewhere for drinks. The Hesitant Boyfriend waited on us hand and foot.  Thanks to selling the piano, we had a few dollars to spend on food for the evening. He bought a cheap bottle of red wine, the large size, which I proceeded to drink a significant portion of.  This was after having 4 beers.  It was a great evening, what I can remember of it.  I hope to do it again soon sans the beer and wine, because it was 10 o’clock this morning before I could even move and it was afternoon before I felt solid enough to even workout.  Yes, I did workout.  Yes, it was painful.

There’s a reason I don’t drink wine, red or otherwise.  It gives me a headache.  It makes me feel icky for the entire day afterward, even if I only have one glass.  I know this.  I drank it anyway.

Another bang head here moment.

And I thought the reason my head hurt was due to the wine.

 

Someone Shot My Cat

This evening when I got home, The Hesitant Boyfriend noticed that a patch of hair was worn off my black cat. The location of the patch was on the meaty part of the back thigh. It looked, at first, like maybe a tick or flea was bothering the cat and he’d dug away hair to get at the pest. Upon closer scrutiny, we discovered a perfectly round puncture wound that was oozing bloody puss. And by oozing, I mean, this ooze was of volcanic proportions. THB thought someone might have shot our cat with a BB gun or a .22. We tried to clean the wound, but our cat fought his way out of that one and ran off.

I figured that cats are pretty good at fending for themselves, so we turned our attention to some episodes of West Wing a friend let us borrow. I couldn’t get THB’s comment out of my mind, though. What if something was lodged in the cat? It seemed infected. What if it didn’t heal on its own, but got worse? And who would shoot someone’s cat? Further, since he’s an inside cat, how and when was he out? I also didn’t exactly relish the idea of that ooze ending up all over the furniture and the house.

I searched the house for my cat. He’s a beautiful black shorthair. Exactly the kind represented on the Halloween decor each October. In fact, I make certain he’s safe inside during the fall months especially. Of the four cats, he is my own. I picked him out when he was a kitten after going to pick up another kitten my daughter reserved a few weeks earlier. He was pure black, so adorable, and I fell in love. Somehow this cat knows I love him, because as the most standoffish cat in our bunch cats, he is a cuddly creature only when he is with me.

I was worried that he might really be hurt, so we ended up taking him in to the emergency vet clinic not far from our place. Mind you, between the two of us, THB and I have less than $150 to buy gas and groceries for the next week. It’s not the norm for us, but with the Bankruptcy Trustee taking my tax return and, my car’s hot water pump and extra medical expenses coming due, we are ultra tight this month. Had I not sold some things, we would not even have this much.

I knew we were in trouble when we walked in the place at 11:30 pm and the sign said payment due at the time of service. And then we discovered they no longer take checks. I’m now wondering if I can just use my debit card and let it overdraw. The minimum cost to walk in the door is $105. I’m just sick. It is going to cost even more than this for sure. The last thing I needed was another financial blow and here it is.

Well, this is going to be interesting.

And, yes, I am worried about my cat.

Later…

The tech just came in and informed us that the cat is not the victim of a gun shot wound but of bites from other cats that have become infected or abcessed. Well, that’s the good news. Now, how about the financial devastation this is about to wreak on my life?

Even later….

We have been here nearly two hours. I am beginning to wonder if I will ever see my cat again. This place has never been this slow. THB mumbles,”We shaved too much hair off your cat so we are letting it grow back before you can go.” He’s delirious. He’s not a night owl at all. I’m tired, too, and might even be able to sleep if I were anywhere near a bed. I’d just like my cat and the bill, please. Well, I’d really just like the cat. You can keep the bill.

Much, Much, MUCH Later…

$159.00 later, I have my half shaved cat back, with the diagnosis of abscess of the left thigh.

That was our last amount of money until payday (I don’t even have a credit card to fall back on). How I’m going to get by with $20 for food and gas for the next week, I have no idea. I just need some sort of financial reprieve or windfall and soon.

At least the cat will will not need further care. It is a small comfort to know that none of the neighbors actually shot my cat.

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