Category Archives: Family & Friends

From spouses to spit-up

How We Spent It 8-11-16

how-we-spent-it-workmans-comp

In this moment, I know the truth.

We are going to be apartment dwellers for at least two more years. I like being a renter in some ways, well, most ways really. I have checked calculators to see at what level owning is smarter than renting and can’t wrap my head around it. With Mr. Brickie being injured and off work for four months on the 18th everything feels unreal. Plans are nothing but dreams and we are living day to day.

We did get kittens from the County Shelter, though. Not the greatest financial decision since they cost $50 each and then we had to buy litter boxes and litter and food and take them to the vet for an initial checkup. They did already come neutered and with some initial vaccinations so the $50 was a great deal, but it was still money.

I also dropped the first $650 on Middle Sisters Orthokeratology (OrthoK) lenses. She has had them for a week and they are AMAZING. They’re hard contacts she wears overnight while she sleeps. They come out in the morning and *poof* perfect vision all day. She will never have to worry about her glasses or contacts while in a pool, while working out, while playing sports, while riding her bike. It’s probably my proudest moment as a parent to be able to give her that. Especially now that she seems to be over-the-moon in love with volleyball. No sport goggles. Hallelujah. I bought them with money I set aside from selling that domain name or I don’t know what I would have done. To be honest, I probably would have put it on a credit card. It’s my kid’s eyes and the lenses also reduce how severe her myopia will get through her life. It’s not convenience, it’s a possible life-changer. She’ll never have to worry – like I do – about retinal detachment.

Every night I put her contacts in for her. It’s awful. Tonight she will try to do it herself. I’m scared, but I know it has to be a hundred times easier to put them in your own eyes than to have your mom’s finger coming at your eye, right? I have soft contacts and can’t imagine someone else putting them in my eyes. I mean, it’s not physically awful, just uncomfortable for me knowing she’s uncomfortable with me coming at her eye with my big ol’ finger. (Tuesday update – she puts in her right lens and I put in her left. When she has the right lens mastered I’ll have her work on the left eye.)

How We Spent It!

Workman’s Comp: $721.30
Car Payment: $285.93
Subscription Savings: $50
Medical Savings: $15.37 (I went over on cat stuff last week and needed to put $15 back into this category)

That’s it.

The weekly checks get spent like clockwork these days. I still have an excel sheet (okay, a Google Doc Sheet, whatever) where I look at the current month and the next month in case something changes or comes up, but I don’t even know if that’s necessary anymore. I could just write where the bills go on an index card and tape it on the wall.

Which is pretty much my dream for how easy I want my budget to be every week. One index card. Heck, I could probably fit it all on a post it note. All leftover money goes to a credit card but right now there is no leftover money because he’s making 70% of his income home injured. (NOT that I’m complaining, thank goodness for workman’s comp or we’d be under a bridge living in a box. You think I’m exaggerating. I don’t see another outcome.)

How We Spend It Paycheck by Paycheck (after gas/groceries/tolls/spending money categories are filled which is $370/wk.)

1st Check: Credit Card AutoPayment Bills (domains, cable, cell phones), Medical credit card minimum payment, prescription payment, union dues payment

2nd Check: Car Payment, Subscriptions (amazon prime, hosting, costco membership, car registrations)

3rd Check: Nipsco, Insurance Savings

4th Check: No bills (Usually rent savings but I used the domain sale check to fill this category up)

That’s probably going to change next month when I figure out what our weekly cat expenses (food/litter/savings for vet bills) will be.

I need to fill the Christmas category and Summer 2017 category but I am pretty sure those won’t see a penny until Mr. Brickie goes back to work. I need to replenish the emergency fund because school supplies and cat stuff (neither one a real emergency) have me down to $493. September is a five check month regardless of Mr. Brickie being home or at work but I can tell you right now that if he could go back to work during a five-week month that would really go a long way to getting jump-started toward Christmas.

To mention Christmas is to summon an angry, magic blue fairy who comes down (or up) and curses me immediately. Saturday Mr. Brickie took the car in (because I was tired of him pooh-poohing the low tire pressure light every time I mentioned it) and there was a slow leak in one tire (covered by warranty) and the other tire had such low treads we needed to replace it … because it was a summer tire. No wonder I hated driving in the snow last winter. There went $169 I wasn’t planning on spending…but hooray for good tires for this winter! A good thing to come out of this is Mr. Brickie promises he’ll never doubt me again when I say something is wrong with the car. I know he meant it in a good way but my brain was like, oh, okay, it only took 13 years to convince you. Nice. (All the side eye. All of it. All for him in this moment.)

Or maybe my budget got thrown in the dumpster because I was talking about how smoothly it was going and how everything had its very own check.

But it probably happened because the tire treads wore down from use and it was just time to replace the tires.

The angry blue fairy is way more fun though, isn’t it?

On the super-bright side it’s looking like he might be cleared for work at his next appointment with the orthopedic surgeon September 7th. It’s all up to the doctor, of course, so I’m trying not to be TOO hopeful but by golly there’s a spark of happiness in my heart. He could be back to work next month. Yes, I was hoping for this month, but again, I trust the orthopedic surgeon and he’s done right by Mr. Brickie since day one. I really respect the guy.

In the meantime, Mr. Brickie is going to physical therapy and practicing laying mortar at home so his skills aren’t trashed when he goes back to work. He’s doing everything he can to get back and I’m so proud of him for working so hard to get well and go back. His work ethic is a beautiful thing.

I started writing this on Thursday and now it’s Tuesday, the day before school starts. This blog post should be amazing with all the time it’s taken to write!

So all the things I thought I had MORE time for this summer (writing, breathing, etc.) I actually had less time for with the whole family home all day. I will do my best not to forget that again.

Money is tight but not overwhelming. With Mr. Brickie on workers comp we qualify for reduced breakfast/lunch rather than free this year, which I’m cool with. My job is to provide accurate paperwork. Whatever I qualify for is based on a chart and I’m thankful for anything, really, because every little bit helps our forward momentum.

But let’s be honest…nothing is going to help like him going back to work is going to help. Now I have “It’s the Final Countdown” stuck in my head.

Paying Ourselves Back and Injury Progress

My tooth is fixed. It chipped again four hours after the repair appointment but it’s a small chip so I’m leaving it be until my follow up in two weeks. I think my bite is back to where it was before I started this whole extensive dental process so leaving it alone is the extent of what I’m comfortable doing right now. She asks me at the end of every appointment if everything is okay and I don’t understand how she doesn’t understand that it takes a few days for the jaw to realign and settle to see if it’s really working out. Plus she always has me check my bite while I’m laying back in the chair…when my jaw is settled back…so every time I bite myself because no one chews while they’re laying on their back.

I’ll have her maybe buff the sharp corner the tiny chip made. That’s it.

I think it’s time to find a new dentist. *sigh*

Tennis has been straightened out but the coach keeps forgetting to show up with the rackets we said we would buy for the girls. As long as they have loaner rackets, I don’t care, but it would be nice for them to practice with one another at the local tennis courts this weekend and that’s going to be impossible without rackets. They’re cheaper through the coaches vs. anywhere else, which is why I’m even bothering to wait.

In money news last week was stressful because we got the check a day late and my budget is basically done to the minute. I did have some leftover money that was supposed to go back into the rent savings to replenish what I took when I paid off the Macy’s card. It’s hiding in an “Other” category in the budget just in case. Hopefully his check comes in the mail today so it will be available tomorrow and I can deposit that “Other” money into savings and then put this week’s money that’s to go back into savings in that “Other” category.

I know it’s silly to have (basically) two buffers in the budget but things keep creeping up on me and I’ll be damned if I count wrong and have all my savings accounts shut down for doing 6 withdrawals in one month. I’ve been too addle-brained from stress to count on my memory or any other system that will keep track of the number of withdrawals. I think I’m at 3 right now. I figure there’s no need to push it when a bridge buffer is easy to handle with the budget program.

I’m still a little unsure how to handle five week months. The last day of the week is the first day of next month. If the check comes late and it clears on the 1st should I be using that for July expenses? If I do that turns July into the five week month so it doesn’t really matter either way, I don’t think.

We both know it’s best to wait until the mail comes to make that decision. The extra check is going toward rent savings anyway.

Next month we are back to being able to live off of three out of four checks. Summer activities killed me this year. At the end of summer I’m going to add up everything we spent and when I’m done crying over my bad money choices that made me feel like a good mother I’ll put that as a goal for next summer so it’s not a scramble.

Mr. Brickie has to go back to work sometime. He has an appointment today with his orthopedic surgeon. His surgery cut is healing beautifully and he doesn’t really wear the cast that often except when he drives or sleeps. He is hopeful the doctor will tell him he doesn’t have to wear it anymore after they do the x-ray in the office today.

I’m thrilled because his healing means he’ll be back to work soon. It will make everything normal again. Plus that healing means we are that much closer to finding out what the settlement is going to be. I’m thrilled the insurance paid him enough to live on. I didn’t know a settlement was even a thing until someone told him about it at his union meeting. I didn’t know until then there was such a thing! Now I know it’s based on how much use he’s lost permanently in his wrist and that means the settlement can fluctuate between, “Oh, hey, let’s take a weekend vacation to a local hotel with an indoor pool and order room service.” to, “Oh hey, let’s pay off all the debt except the student loans and have a fully funded 6 month emergency fund, too.” So here’s me, basically using the emergency brake in my brain to keep myself from counting different amounts of chickens before they’re hatched. It’s difficult because trying not to think about things is darn near impossible.

Is it any wonder I’m having trouble sleeping?

I Keep Spending…and Spending…

Is it a bad life decision to drain my emergency fund to pay for summer activities? Yes!

Am I doing it anyway? Yes!

I’m not sure why. I think it’s primarily because I worry I’m not a good enough parent. They aren’t over-scheduled and they will have 17 unscheduled days in August to just veg and read and do some worksheets before school begins but June and July have something or another every day for an hour here or an hour there. There are “better” camps I would like to send them to. There are math camps and specialty camps and electrical engineering camps I can’t send them to and it hurts my heart. I want so much for them. I want them to try everything before having to do the “adult thing” and choose something to specialize in the rest of their lives. I don’t want them to drift, like I do, unattached to any particular specialty at all. (I do love math, but a 40 year old who’s good at math is great for helping kids with homework and not much else unless you’ve already been specializing beyond that point, I think.) So they are swimming, learning tennis, attending a day camp for dance, one is in a summer volleyball league, two are going to overnight week-long camps, and two might be attending a volleyball day camp. It’s a hell of a list.

Plus my oldest decided she wanted to volunteer at the library. I couldn’t be happier and I told Mr. Brickie, “If she felt over-scheduled, she probably wouldn’t have added something else on.” I mean there are some kids who would and I don’t think she’s one of them but maybe she is and I don’t know it. They still have enough time to do chores, do a couple workbook pages a day, and fit in screen time so that doesn’t feel like a lot. I guess you never know until you’re looking back.

Let’s stop with that train of thought for now. It’s a rabbit hole I may never escape. Let’s talk about credit cards!

I withdrew the money I had been saving in my Digit account ($208.54) and put it toward the Macy’s card. I’m done. I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to talk about it, I want that card paid off and out of my life. I love my bed and it was absolutely the right decision to put it on the card but it needs to not be part of my life anymore. After the $208.54 payment the balance is $371.61 and between some creative accounting (putting off a bill until the fifth week of this month) and raiding the rest of my emergency fund, I’ll pay that off this Thursday and will feel like I accomplished something.

I haven’t had a financial win in a while and I think paying off Macy’s is just what I need to get me back on track and focused again.

Mr. Brickie is in physical therapy twice a week and does exercises that hurt like hell every day. He just wants to go back to work and I feel so bad for him because there is nothing I can do to help other than be supportive and tell him, “You can do it!” Which usually is fine but sometimes makes him glare at me because it hurts and I’m being super chipper and I’d glare at me sometimes, too.

Other than kid events and physical therapy it’s like our lives are on hold. We don’t go out, we don’t do much, we try not to spend money. It’s beyond boring.

OH OH OH OH OH I ALMOST FORGOT!!!

I did get new glasses. I mean, I didn’t GET them yet, I ordered them and they’re being made right now and I’ll be able to pick them up sometime in the next week when they’re ready. It seems that since I’m getting all old and craggy my eyes are getting more dense so my glasses are a little bit TOO powerful. It’s the reason I haven’t been reading books. My close vision is a mess because of my glasses. So when I get the new glasses I can read again!

I had seriously started to believe I was just giving up on life because reading is such a fundamental part of who I am and I pick up a book and it just feels like too much effort and it makes me so sad but now I know it wasn’t me, it was my glasses, and I’ll be able to read again soon!

Also, I did something I’ve never done before in the name of not messing up my eyes as I get even older. I ordered prescription sunglasses. I don’t wear contacts so saying I can just wear contacts and normal sunglasses is a pipe dream. In order to keep my eyes cataract-free as long as possible I neeeeed sunglasses. So I ordered some. They’re amazing. I hope the lenses are dark enough.

That being said my first pair of glasses were mostly covered by insurance (they’re never entirely covered unless I opt for such thick frames my eyes look giant and distorted) and the sunglasses were 30% off. It was still expensive at right around $600 for both complete pairs, but I won’t need glasses again for years and if the regular pair breaks I have my current ones as backup and we should be in a better position next year for glasses buying (I hope!) so maybe I can get a pair a year just because they’re cute and I can have options.

Wouldn’t that be dreamy?

So I’m afraid I’m ruining my kids because of the camps they are (and are not) in. I spent a bunch of money on glasses. I’m paying off the Macy’s card this Thursday (finally) even though it might not be the wise financial choice.

This has been my week. How is yours going?

I seriously cannot wait until Thursday when I can do the, “No more Macy’s” happy dance!

Staying Busy and Under Budget

There won’t be any tips or tricks on how to live with someone who is injured in this post because I’m struggling. He’s struggling. The kids are struggling. We’re all antsy and tired and stressed out. We are under each other’s feet. Slowly, we are learning ways to get out from under each other though so I guess that’s a start. I send him out to do errands because he can drive fine with one hand as long as he doesn’t do too much in a day. Errands make him feel like he has a purpose so he’s less crabby. He went on a walkabout last week and even though I was really worried because he was gone a few hours, when he came back he was in a much better mood.

mr brickie walkabout

I spend time in other rooms. It’s my therapy. He can watch TV and I’ll hide out in the kitchen….

clean kitchen

Or I’ll spend a few extra minutes in the bathroom……

clean tiny bathroom

 

Everything is clean and sanitized and if you look closely, yeah, even the sides of the toilet are clean. I’m doing my best to just…be productive. My computer is here in the living room and that’s why I haven’t updated. I try to type but there is no peace and quiet to collect my thoughts. The reason I have a minute to write this is he’s at Menards replacing the sink sprayer because I broke ours trying to take the limiter out (spoiler alert: It wasn’t the limiter. Oops.)

Mr. Brickie’s next appointment isn’t until the 18th. He’s trying to wean himself off the pain pills because his quality of sleep is awful on them. He’s doing good. I’m proud of him for even trying. He’s really being a champ and I don’t have any real complaints. It’s a stressful situation and he wants to be working and I want him to be working.

On the very, very bright side his workman’s comp checks are coming in regularly so far. We haven’t had any problems with the claim adjuster, the insurance company, his company he was working for when he got hurt, or the union. Everyone is being kind and helpful. We are still keeping detailed notes. The amount he gets paid is what he got paid when he was at 60% so we are struggling but making it, which is fine by me.

Okay, let’s have a really real honest moment though….it’s NOT FINE. He finally got the promotion where I could breathe. His paycheck was enough plus we could pay down debt a little. There was just a little bit extra. The noose finally loosened and we breathed. REALLY BREATHED. For probably the first time in years and now this. It’s killing me inside. It’s killing HIM inside. We are fucking gutted over it emotionally.

But then we remind ourselves how much worse it could have been, how lucky we are, all the things that you have to say so you don’t just lay in a puddle of sadz on the floor.

It doesn’t put us behind in terms of bills or our timeline for life. I mean, it does put him back a little toward his next promotion, because every week he doesn’t work is 40 hours he’s not getting credit for working toward his next promotion…but there is nothing we can do about that so worrying about it doesn’t do any good.

So I cook and clean and try not to spend money and he watches wrestling and runs errands and tries not to go stir crazy.

It’s a holding pattern. We are holding on to “being okay” with the skin of our teeth. Determined not to sink down into the bad place with the bleak thoughts.

Surgery Day (After) – Part 2

Oh wow.

He’s in so much pain. They gave him norcos (Vicodin + acetaminophen) but they aren’t doing a damn thing. In conjunction with the top and bottom ice packs it feels like we’re reducing his pain by, like, 20%. He’s in SO MUCH PAIN.

I’m scared but trying to remain calm because:
A) No one else is going to remain calm.
B) The doctor sees him at 11am and maybe he can help.
C) I don’t have any more energy for freaking out.

So we are here and he is suffering and it sucks.

I slept last night but woke up every time he whimpered, called out, or moved in his sleep.

Thank goodness it’s Friday. The kids are going to go feral this weekend because we’re all just going to hunker down and get through it.

Or try.

Thank you for all your kind wishes. We will get through this.

Surgery Day – Part 1

Surgery Day!

I’m so nervous I could … oh, hey, I have pills for this. One sec.

Okay. I should feel better in about 15 minutes or so. I used to have a prescription for klonopin and I didn’t use it that often but kept refilling the scripts so even though they’re on lockdown now (I need to find a pain management specialist locally) I have backup pills to take in times of great anxiety.

You know, like when you’re afraid your husband won’t wake up from the general anesthetic. That kind of anxiety.

My kids are all optimists and seem fine with the situation. I’m obviously not freaking out in front of them but I have told them I’m worried because I’m trying to walk that line between honest and selfish. I can’t use them for comfort, they’re kids.

He is still asleep, which is good, because he can’t eat or drink anything (including water) before his surgery. I’m not going to nudge him until about five minutes before we have to leave if he can stay asleep.

We haven’t received the first worker’s comp check in the mail yet. It should get here today, I hope. We haven’t been spending a lot of money, either, except for going out yesterday together for dollar taco Wednesday at the local bar because the tacos are awesome and he wanted a beer and to get out of the house.

Having a broken wrist is making him cabin fever crazy. He’s a doer and this is not going well for him. But he’s not crabby, so I’m counting my blessings.

Good thoughts are appreciated. I’ll update later today after surgery.

On Broken Bones and Broken Finances

Finance-Small-CircleOh my friends. We have come so far. Financially we have struggled. Lately I’ve been feeling a little weird because all this normalcy and regular bill and debt payment made me feel shy and like maybe it was only interesting to write about things being bad. I was assured by many kind and loving folks that it’s okay to celebrate stability when you finally have it.

Well, I guess when I had stability would be the appropriate tense. I did enjoy those two months in the sun, though, I really did.

On Monday, Mr. Brickie fell off a ladder and broke his wrist. He was being super safe, the ladder was not rickety, and he was almost at the bottom after taking care of some bolt thing. The ladder kicked out from under him and he fell on his right side. He texted me before driving home, “Hurt my wrist at work, should be okay. On my way home.” I figured he sprained or tweaked it a little and made sure we had enough ice in the freezer to make an ice pack of some kind. No problem.

When he got home his arm was hanging by his side, he couldn’t move it, and it was very swollen. I told him he needed to go to the ER and he said, “Yes, I would at least like to get it checked out.” Neither of us thought it was broken. Him because he didn’t think it hurt enough to be broken and I was just wishing the break away with all my might because you can’t lay brick with a broken wrist and we just got to this place where we’re stable and boring and were even doing better than we have in years and it couldn’t be broken it would be too awful.

The x-ray confirmed it, however, and he got his temporary splint cast until we can get to the orthopedic surgeon for a full diagnosis and permanent cast.

First off, I’m thankful for worker’s compensation and knowing we don’t have to pay for his treatment. I’m less thankful for all the hoops I feel we’ve had to jump through the last couple days to get a claim filed. The company he is with is new and I think this might be their first worker’s comp claim and, as such, they aren’t a whole lot more sure of the procedure than I am after a Google information binge. We should have what we need this morning, I hope. Then we can get him a cast and on the road to mending for good.

As for the finances, I have a little over $200 in my Digit account I can withdraw if I have to. I have the $555 in the emergency fund (yes, I do wish I had prioritized the emergency fund over debt payoff right about now) and I have no idea what his worker’s comp payment will be or when it starts. I assume we will find that out when the adjuster calls today. From what I’ve read it’s 2/3 of your after tax income based on the last 52 weeks of work. With rain days and winter off and a couple pay raises there is no reliable way to calculate that number. I mean, I do have all the paystubs but that seems like some serious overkill. I took the number from our tax return ($33k) and did the calculation with that. It’s not after tax but it’s also not accounting for a raise so maybe it’s close? I don’t know.

I’m working with the assumption that it will be eight weeks before he’s back to work. I will update my assumption when more facts come in. Eight weeks seems like a safe, middle-of-the-road starter assumption so I can at least start making a plan. Having your bills written down or in a spreadsheet really helps when you need to know the bare-bones of what you have to have to survive. (Bare bones? Really? Now is so not the time for awful puns…and yet…here we are.)

Tomorrow he will receive a full paycheck and the rest of this month’s bills will be paid. The last check of the month (next Thursday) will only have one day of work on it, but the whole thing was slated to go into savings accounts (rent savings and insurance savings) so I can make those up with the emergency fund or by not paying into them until he’s back to work.

I hate to put off rent savings, but I know myself well enough to know we can prioritize it once he’s back at work. We have until November 15th to come up with that money so it’s not an immediate priority. Right now there’s $485 in that savings account so I’ll try and avoid using it but at the same time I’m not going to feel bad if I have to use it to keep the lights on.

I thank everything good and holy that this happened:

  1. In spring.
  2. On a job that’s going to be years long so he has something to go back to when he heals.
  3. On a crew that considers him a real part of the team.
  4. On a crew where several guys he works with have called to ask how he is and making him feel better with their own broken bone stories.
  5. On a crew where everyone tells him they look forward to having him back.
  6. With a company that has changed when and how ladders are used so this doesn’t happen to someone else. It’s a small thing but very telling because it shows they view this as something that can happen to anyone and aren’t “blaming” him for the accident.

I’m trying to find my comfort in knowing this is temporary and I’m trying very hard to be thankful it’s only his wrist. It could have been so much worse but it wasn’t because he prioritizes safety and always faces his ladder so if he does fall he doesn’t fall off the edge of a building…because this happened on the second story and if his ladder was positioned the other direction he would have fallen two stories instead of three feet. He could be dead.

So….yeah…I’m kind of a messy jumble of emotions and emergency planning.

What the Middle Class Looks Like: Dentistry

middle-class-monday-header


Disclaimer: I am not 100% sure if we are middle class, but I think we live like we are. We live in the Midwest (so we aren’t paying LA rent or Alaska milk prices) and my husband is in a union so health insurance is an included part of the package and not a deduction from his check or something we have to pay for separately. The “Middle Class Mondays” series covers things I’ve always felt would be different when we had what I consider “enough” money and how those experiences compare to how things used to be for us or how they compare to how things were when I was a child.


I have a great dental insurance plan. I know this because my dentist’s office keeps telling me so. It’s been years since I’ve seen a dentist because the last one was a public aid dentist in cook county and I was pretty sure she was trying to drown me in my own spit. (I had to sit up with the drill in my mouth because when I raised my hand she put it down and when I tried to shift she held my forehead.)

Needless to say, I’m a little bit freaked out by the dentist.

Yesterday I got a periodontal cleaning (that deep, under-the-gums cleaning you get when you’re old, not just the scraping off the front teeth one, they numb your whole mouth for this cleaning) and since I was in good shape the dentist decided to get the cavities on the left hand side of my mouth out of the way so she wouldn’t have to re-numb me later.

Eight cavities. Eight.

All the while I was praised by the dentist and the hygienist for how well I had cared for my teeth. I brush 2x a day and floss once – sometimes twice – a day. So while I was not surprised they praised me such consistent praise seemed almost overwhelming.

Then they focused on one another and started talking like colleagues do about kids, school, and life. I was much more comfortable when this started because I didn’t have to participate and could concentrate on being quiet and calm and not a person who freaks out at dental visits.

It all turned out fabulously. Sure, my copay (on an 80/20 PPO plan) was $555 but I had a new card I had opened with 0% APR for the first 21 months on new purchases. That means I have time to pay this off without paying interest. Great! I still need more work to the tune of 10 more cavities, a front tooth cap replacement, and probably some kind of whitening action. I’m getting the cavities finished this year. That means I need to start paying $125/mo. now in order to pay off the whole chunk in 20 months from now.

Almost 10 of my cavities are because my previous (public aid) dental work was shoddy and cavities were actually UNDER THE FILLINGS. So it’s not from lack of trying and lack of care that this happened. Which is frustrating.

So my overall total by the end of next month when all this is done (not including vanity procedures like whitening or tooth straightening which are total pipe dreams in my life still) I will end up owing a hair over $2,500 … for my teeth. With insurance. Very good insurance, according to the dental staff.

We could not have done this any sooner than this year. It wouldn’t have been even a little bit possible. It’s a shame, too, because I have to tell you I absolutely believe that dental should be part of all other medical and get covered like any other regular procedure at any regular doctor.

Mouths are important.

How We Spent It 3-31-2016

how-we-spent-it

Sometimes it makes me really sad that my plans get derailed by doing normal people things like taking my kids to the dentist.

We used to go to this amazing dentist with a circus atmosphere (yes, even balloon animals) but once we moved it took an hour to get there one way. Too much travel for three little kids. We found a local dentist through a referral who is also a unicorn (small hands with long, thin fingers) and we couldn’t be happier with the office.

X-rays, sealants, fluoride, and cleanings for all the kids (plus x-rays for me) – even with insurance – cost us $198 today. Well worth it, sure, but still painful. My mouth is going to be a years long process because of the deductible + coverage limit per year. I’m fine with that but pretty soon we’re going to have to take Mr. Brickie and his trench mouth in there and then all bets are off and we might look into getting care credit because once you go in there you need to just get it done because his teeth have this tendency to dissolve when things are put on them.

But he’s the one from the middle class family. He got braces and everything. Seriously, don’t judge people by their teeth. You can only control that stuff so much.

Maybe I’ll get veneers so I can have a perfect smile. I could do it. Be amazing in all my pictures from now on. Sounds right up my alley, doesn’t it? (If you ever want to see how *not* into selfies I am you can check me out on instagram. Surprise, my username is jennydecki.) Sadly, veneers aren’t even an option for Mr. Brickie. Ah well, I always tell him, “If they don’t hurt you’re doing better than you could be.” We do need to get him in that dentist’s office, though, and I know he’s scared even though he would refuse to the moon and back that he even cares.

When I was younger and rebellious and conservative and thought everyone could succeed if they just tried hard enough and weren’t lazy (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) I swore I’d never marry someone who had less-than-awesome teeth because I had great teeth and had a good dental routine and the ONLY way you would have janky teeth was OF COURSE if you were too lazy to brush.

I truly hope it does not surprise you to know I’m deeply ashamed I held those beliefs. I’ve talked to enough people living enough lives from top to bottom to know how wrong I was. I do, however, understand the thought process that leads someone to hold on to those beliefs. I’m not a “my way or the highway” woman when it comes to personal beliefs because there is value in understanding. I’m not sure exactly what the value is, sometimes, but maybe someday I’ll understand why I crave to know others and how they got where they are and why they believe the way they do.

This week was the “extra” check. I set aside $350 for groceries, gas, tolls, and one night of take out food. With the one day of no work last week his check was $758.19

2016-3-31

Walmart is work jeans for Mr. Brickie (4 pairs) because he doesn’t have a pair without holes in them and I was like, “What the what?? No. You do not wait until the last minute to tell me you need work clothing. That is a priority!!” I put it on the credit card so when it shows up on the card (it takes a few days) I can pay it off immediately.

The emergency fund was half drained to pay off a credit card so I’m trying to put a little back in there. I really was most comfortable when that was at $1000 but every time we have a dime I’m torn between the emergency fund and paying down Macy’s.

That dentist bill is a biggie, though, but I have to prioritize the kids health. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night otherwise.

So at this point I consider myself very, very lucky I was able to pull out a credit card this morning, have her charge $194 on the card, and then I was able to come home and set aside the same amount of cash from today’s paycheck so as soon as it goes on the card I can pay it right off.

It’s a whole new world, really.

Plus the hygienist told me I was awesome and my family was awesome which is always a great thing to hear first thing in the morning. It’s kept me smiling since she said it. A great bonus in addition to good dental care, for sure!

Here is where our credit card balances stand:

2016-3-31 ynab

It’s a lot but we’ll get there. Tomorrow I’m going to pull down the Chase Freedom $187.28 cash back into my checking account. ($150 for spending $500 in three months, $25 for adding an additional user, 5% cash back on gas.) We used this as our gas card until today because of the 5% back and we put this month’s bills that could be paid on a credit card on this card to hit that $500 limit. Tomorrow the Chase Freedom card will be back in the safe until the next time the 5% bonus category is one we want to participate in because it’s something we would have spent on anyway.

I’ll pull out the Chase Visa next (2% cash back on gas and groceries) and put a little post-it note on it that says “gas/groceries” so Mr. Brickie knows what the card is for and doesn’t have to think about it.

Can you believe tomorrow is already April??

Why Can’t I be **THAT** Mom?

You know the one. List in hand, she totes around town running errands and stopping in to help at her kid’s school. She is put together and wears just enough makeup that everyone knows she didn’t wake up at the last minute. Not too much makeup, though because that would mean she was trying too hard.

That mom who knows the perfect present for every birthday party. The mom who knows which teacher loves chocolate, which loves coffee, and which loves both. The parent who knew what camps to put the kids in and was completely certain her kids were emotionally ready for what she signed them up for.

A mom who made sure her kids could swim while they were still in utero. Safety first!

I’m supposed to volunteer at the school and I’m having a full blown “maybe I should go to the ER but I know I’m not dying my heart is playing tricks on me” panic attack. Why can’t I just show up and be awesome. I’m sure the teacher doesn’t even need me to be awesome. I could probably just stand there like a statue and it would be more helpful than not being there.

Since we bought the second car (aka Mr. Brickie’s car) I’ve changed a lot of things and it’s only been a month! I do 90% of the shopping now. I drive my youngest to school so her big sisters can walk to school. (Kindergarten is its own building in our town.)

I pick up prescriptions and I do actually run quite a few errands so Mr. B doesn’t have to.

I guess I thought the momentum from doing all these things would launch me into the realm of being able to volunteer at the school. It does not seem to be working. I feel I may have made a gross miscalculation of my own abilities.

Frantically, my brain scans for excuses that I won’t be caught in at a later date. “I really wanted to but I died” probably won’t cut it. The worst part is if I had just kept my mouth shut I wouldn’t have volunteered in the first place. I could have just stayed the silent majority of moms who don’t volunteer. I could still do it. I don’t know how.

I’ve managed to turn a bunch of wins (errands, shopping, etc.) into meaningless nothings next to this big letdown of being nothing more than a person who doesn’t keep my word.

Now that I have my very own daytime car I feel like I have to do all the things all at once all the time while the kids are in school or I’m wasting the gift of having a car with me during the day.