We really thought Mr. Brickie was going to get some work in this past week. Now the weather forecast looks horrible for yet another week. I’m balancing bill-paying with writing work and unemployment and trying to gauge the weather because if he does work that’s going to cost gas money and money for the toll-road and food for him to take for lunch because he needs to eat more when he’s doing physical labor outdoors for 8 hours.

Things We Sold This Week

  • Baby Swing
  • Baby Walker
  • Over 200 books, records, DVDs, and CDs
  • A mini-fridge
  • Two office desks (we actually gave these away because they were huge, clunky, ugly, and we couldn’t get them sold. I just wanted them out of the house at this point)

Of course, most of the money went to buying our new (to us) kitchen table. It’s perfect and the table and five chairs are in great condition and we got it for $80. While we really didn’t have the extra money, I feel the time I’ll be able to spend (and Mr. Brickie will be able to spend) with the kids at the table will be worth it.

The first night we had dinner together and the kids talked more about school and what happened during the day than they have in weeks, so I’m really hopeful that Board Game Night (on Sunday evening) goes as well!

But back to selling everything we own…

Selling all our stuff is twofold. One, it’s less to move if it comes to that. Two, it gives us a cash buffer in case we run out of money. I guess it is us building our emergency fund so we don’t have to use the credit cards ever again. I’m not comfortable cutting up the credit cards because I need to sleep at night and that’s how I’m getting through.

The voices in my head (the ones we all have, nothing special) chastise me for complaining because there are so many stories worse than mine. “How dare you share these things?” the voices say. Because I have enough flour and yeast in the house I can make a loaf of bread if we run out of the bread in the cabinet (which happened ten minutes ago so guess who’s making bread today). The kids will eat. Work will begin again. Even if it does not begin as quickly as I would like that is better than having no job at all, which is a situation we were in at this time last year, right when Mr. Brickie started his training program and before he found “his company” he would be an apprentice for until he becomes a journeyman. So sometimes I feel like since there is hope on the horizon I don’t deserve to tell my stories because there are others with more deserving stories than mine.

Then I remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Maybe someday this will be the backstory of how my financial empire started. Maybe I can be the less-religious do it because you can not because the bible tells you to financial person on the radio.

Maybe not being able to pay my mortgage payment for months and repeatedly going to court and working through credit card debt, student loan debt, and all the bills while keeping the lights on will give me the background to give others sound financial advice. Hilarious, right? It’s okay, I think so too. Pretty much daily because I can’t quite shake the notion that if I keep learning through this I might be able to help others with what I’ve learned.

It’s part of what gives me hope to keep going and not just stop caring and trying every day.

When we had completely run out of unemployment and had to pull my youngest out of her preschool because we could not afford the gas to get her there anymore? That was painful. My youngest thrives on social situations with other children. Taking that away was horrible and she was so sad. She still talks about “her school” and remembers it clearly. I let her tell me the stories because it makes her happy, but it also reinforces the voices in my head that tell me what an awful parent I am because I cannot provide basic services to my child even if I have qualified to receive them free of charge. Free preschool with lunch and I just couldn’t do it. I remind myself that soon she will be the right age for Kindergarten. Well, sort of soon. Due to her birthday she can’t go this year even though she will be 5. She has to wait until next September to begin. Another blow to my mom-ego. I read to her at home and we play math games and I talk to her a lot so she is learning things every day, but it’s not as fun for her as preschool would be.

Some Days Are Easier Than Others

Today is kind of a low day. I have a friend who needs financial help and I want to give it to him but I just got enough payments in to cover the car payment and I’m afraid if I give a really low amount like $5 it will be offensive. When it’s anonymous like with the Jenn post, I know she won’t know so it’s okay to only give a little because my name isn’t attached to it. I don’t want someone to think it would have been better to give nothing at all. Of course writing that makes me think how stupid a thought that is. As long as nothing really bad comes up in the next week I can be down $10 and it’s not going to affect what the children eat. There is frozen beef and more beans and frozen chicken and so much rice. We even have Aldi-brand Bisquick (shi-shi, right??) So I think it’s the right thing to do because I know I would appreciate $5 over nothing and I’m going to do unto others. Again, you don’t have to be religious to realize a good idea. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sure, some people will be jerks, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk. I have enough hope to give.

I have enough faith, even if it’s kind of an agnostic kind of “love thy neighbor because you have a heart to love” style of faith to feel we will be okay.

Wishing It Away

I know so many parents who believe you should just be in the moment and not wish anything away. I was totally fine wishing diapers away, I don’t miss those moments. This part, though, where we are poor but together? I worry I’m wishing this away for more financial security down the road. Like, I’ll be more engaged when I don’t have to answer questions about extra-curricular activities you want to be in with a sad, “No. Not yet honey.” It feels like I’m wishing this part of my life away so we can get to the part where I can take my daughters to the mall to go shopping. Okay, that will probably never happen because crowds, mall, overpriced, crap, mall, yikes, but I want the option!

I also want to know I spent as much time as I could with my children when I had the chance. We do game night once a week but while it is still winter I wonder if we couldn’t do more.

The wondering always turns into the should-ing and when I feel we should do more then there is never enough to make the should go away. There is always one more word I could write, one more ebay listing I could submit, one more item I could list on Craigslist. It’s enough to drive you crazy.

Right now I’m going to focus on getting a kitchen table from a Goodwill store or other Thrift store. That way I can do homework with my kids more easily. Plus, I can sell the school desks I got for them on Craigslist. They’re big, bulky, and really are pretty ineffective at doing anything for the girls except accumulate junk.

Becoming more minimalist in how we live is giving me great joy. Not just because we could move quickly if we had to, but because being surrounded by stuff has always made me nervous.