Budget & Finance

The Hopeless, Dark Part of Winter

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Winter becomes a bit hopeless around now. In between the Christmas lull where I have to scrape together even more money for two January birthdays and knowing that tax refund time is still at least a month away starts to get really dark.

Side jobs stop. Everything is cold and quiet. I start to wonder if they’ll call him back this year. Maybe this is it, he’s done being a bricklayer and there won’t be any jobs. Maybe the economy isn’t doing better even though everyone says building rates are up and more jobs are scheduled every year. Maybe the Bureau of Labor Statistics is lying about the jobs increase in his field. I start to forget he has a job that pays the bills when he’s working and start to feel my mindset shift back into that weird place where unemployment is all we have and the first thing I notice is I start to have a desire to spend money on things that are, frankly, a little weird.

Yesterday I told Mr. Brickie I absolutely needed to replace the scrub brush I use inside the water bottles. I argued for this five dollar purchase for an hour before he finally got a word in and said, “Ours is fine.” I probably looked like someone who had just seen a kitten thrown off a roof. I was shocked. How could he tell me I couldn’t have it?

Then I remembered we have a half-falling-off windshield wiper on the car and focused on that instead. I found the absolute cheapest one online and told Mr. Brickie I was going to get it. He asked me the price and when I told him said, “Oh, it’s cheaper to get that done at the dealership.”

Okay then. That’s two things I can’t take care of. I’ll be over here chewing my hair. (Not really. I haven’t done that in years and years.)

These are sure signs the low grade panic of seasonal unemployment is setting in … hard.

Even though we have a little bit of emergency fund left our one car needs a CV joint thing replaced so I know that’s going to go on the list of things that have to happen. Mr. Brickie says we can hold out for Taxmas (not that there is going to be a bunch of money left over after the rent and the car but hopefully that $750 emergency room bill for my stupid giant abscess is taken care of by the hospital’s charity program. We gave them two inches of paper proving we are poor so I like to think it will work out for the best.) Yes, we have insurance. It’s an 80/20 PPO so that was our portion. I didn’t realize you could apply for medicaid as a secondary insurance. We are in the process of doing that now.

I feel dumb I didn’t know sooner. I’m thankful to the friend who asked me why I hadn’t done it already.

Yesterday’s entry was a little skewed because my youngest daughter did get $100 for her birthday in September and wanted a Kindle. She wouldn’t let me buy it before Christmas unless Santa got it for her even though I explained a billion times Santa doesn’t leave high end electronics. I ordered it a few days ago and used the accumulated credit on my Amazon Rewards Visa to pay for the Kindle, the case, and get her a gift card to pick out some books and games. Then I took the $100 and put it toward the party for the other kids.

If money finagling were exercise I would be the fittest bird in the world.

I just want Mr. Brickie to go back to work. That’s all. He wants to as well. It’s the only thing that eases the panic. If I’m not able to pay off the car with the tax return because I have to pay for an emergency room bill, well, it’s not the end of the world.

I’ve been looking at the car payoff as the “tipping point” of our five year plan for a long time now.

I’ll be so disappointed.

I’m trying not to borrow trouble. I’m telling myself not to worry yet. I second guess every financial decision I made in 2015 and then I stop myself and remember I can’t change it so I try to stop thinking about it.

Tomorrow will be a brighter day.

Tomorrow is the food pantry, so that’s something to look forward to. Really I’m working on being positive. There is so much to be grateful for but I’m on antibiotics and my ears hurt and I don’t have the energy to be upbeat today so the best I think we can both hope for is a solid neutral. Neutral is better than negative. See, that almost sounds optimistic.

1 thought on “The Hopeless, Dark Part of Winter

  1. Part of the reason I love your blog is because it is so real and so honest. You guys are good, down to earth people trying to take care of your family the best you know how. I really admire you in many ways. Keep your head up, spring will be here soon, and things will get better.

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