dysenteryIt’s kind of like Dr. Seuss but totally different.

Because stress makes people – especially already loopy people like me – a little crazy.

Not “be careful” crazy, but if you were on my couch you might have heard me wax poetic about how The Cabin in the Woods is perhaps the best analogy for life ever created. Or how if aliens came down to earth how depressed they might be if they came during a rainstorm. Or trying to figure out how global warming can create drought and record-breaking rain. Or how I want to change my first name because if I ever want to make it big on NPR I have to have a crazy first name AND last name. One just isn’t enough.

You know, normal Jen stuff.

But here’s the thing, this particular spike in stress-related harmless insanity is caused by this … thing … that has invaded our lives.

The past two-ish weeks we have been filling out this amazing little Workable Solutions Packet. It’s where you tell the mortgage company about pretty much everything you spend and on what you spend it and they decide if they can help you keep your house. Page upon page where you have to somehow tell them that the reason you’re as behind as you are (thousands, in our case) isn’t a big deal because going forward you’re a whole new person with a whole new budget and a whole new everything and even though you were all horrible before now you’re awesome.

It’s kind of like someone who thinks you’re ugly and then you go get new clothes and put on a bunch of makeup and then stand there like a pig in lipstick trying to convince someone you don’t even like that you are way better than they thought and not only should they not dump you, they should marry you.

Pretty much against my entire personality because if someone doesn’t like me, I’m cool with that, I’m not super-likable except to a pretty narrow group of people. But here I am, trying to put on a short skirt and stumble around in spike heels to show I really, really can balance on these shoes and you should just marry me already. Oh, and pay for the wedding, too. Then we can stay together forever and live happily ever after.

Okay, enough of the analogy, because it gets gross in my head after that with paper cuts. Ick. So let’s get to a Workable Solution, shall we?

I keep a pretty strict budget, but I have my moments that I cringe about like the $20 in beach food we got while we were in Michigan the other week. Or the $55 in cherries we got at the orchard. (Which is now jam in my fridge, y’all, so it’s not like it all went bad, but DAMN that’s some expensive pie and jam when you break it down!) Because you have to pony up bank statements. This is definitely one of those times I’m glad hubby and I don’t subscribe to porn sites or anything else that would come up as SerialKillerTools.com on our bank statement. Someone is going to SEE all that.

*shudder*

But it’s a long, drawn-out process and in the meantime we’re on some magic freezy buttony thingy that keeps us from losing the house. But I am completely obsessing about it every day. I look at my coffee and wonder if I just drank a cup less a day would that somehow magically save my house? (Spoiler: It won’t.)

What’s going to save the house, of course, is more income. That we can prove the “latest possible dates” of the next two and a half years of raises for the husband is what is going to save us.

But I still have to go through the last year of utility bills and you should see my desk. It’s looked like something out of a horror movie based on The Office for almost a month now. I’m kind of a wreck.

I got a tarot reading a few weeks ago that told me I wouldn’t lose the house. Because yes, I’m the person that when I have a chance to get a tarot reading I’m all, “So, cards, how about this mortgage situation?” Makes perfect sense, right? If my cards can’t predict it, well, what’s the point. So I try to rely on that comfort when I’m giving myself paper cuts on the property tax bill or trying to iron out the crumpled up piece of paper that turns out is actually very important and thank goodness I didn’t throw it away and just tossed the crumpled ball on my desk with every other piece of paper in my entire house.

On the super-bright side I’ll be done with this paperwork this week. (Because I put a self-imposed deadline on it! I’m not going to let this drag out! The exclamation points make it seem more legit!) I’m guessing my stress levels will go down dramatically. They better or you’ll find me in a kPin coma, drooling on myself while the kids live on frozen waffles and fruit snacks.

Oh, oh, I completely forgot. The reason I was telling you about the workable solutions thing in the first place!

When was the last time you went line by line through your bank statement?

It was one of the most depressing – and liberating – things I’ve done in a long time. Okay, to be honest I didn’t do it myself. The husband did it and then reported back to me on levels of expense on all kinds of things. It was really interesting to see what we spent money on and where.

For example, I discovered when my car passes that state line into Michigan, I completely forget that the money I’m spending comes from my bank account. I’m free and easy with the cash going wherever it needs to because vacation mentality. That, plus the fair dose of guilt for not having my girls in any summer activities because we are saving money really boosts the spending when we’re out there.

Now that I know – I can do something about it. Budget for those trips and take cash so I know when the cash is gone the spending is over. We already do this when we go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday but now it’s going to happen in other areas, too.

In fact…hold on to your hats…I think we’re going to institute the envelope system. (I hear the collective gasp!) Putting cash in envelopes like my great-grandmother used to do. When the money is gone, it’s gone.

What could be more simple? (…and there we have the kiss of death phrase that will ensure it won’t be simple at all, eh? Go me!)

I will, of course, let you know how it goes with the envelope system. I’m pretty excited about it but also scared and NO, I won’t be keeping the envelopes out somewhere burglars could burgle them.

No matter how stressful this paperwork is and no matter how crazy it makes me, just knowing there is another side to this mountain keeps my spirits up and my determination strong. We are going to get there if I have to drag everyone kicking and screaming one at a time through the rocks and dirt and mud. I’ll throw them over the summit if I have to.

I’m going to get there if we get Oregon Trail dysentery. Because I didn’t start as the banker, that’s why! (I have no idea where that tangent came from, I have to go download that game now. I’m sure it’s available free online somewhere since it’s from, like, the 1800s of video game history.)

Do you have any questions about how we budget or what we needed to do to get where we are? Feel free to email me any questions and I’ll answer them on the blog. You can also send questions via FB message or Twitter. Let me know if you want the question to be anonymous or if you want a link back to your site! I’m happy to do either.

Have you ever filled out a Workable Solutions packet before? What do you put for the suggestion for making up the arrears? I was thinking of offering to sell my kids, but I’m pretty sure that would horrify them and make them not want to marry me forever and ever. This is much less a love story and much more Boxing Helena.

In the meantime I’m going to go brainstorm how to make more Oregon Trail related posts. Because awesome, that’s why.