Category: Family & Friends

From spouses to spit-up

How We Did With Mr. Brickie Gone #Relationships

I’m going off the rails with this post.

After fifteen years you get into patterns in relationships. The big pattern Mr. Brickie and I have is he does things and I plan things.

When we would argue we would always go back to him telling me I couldn’t get things done without him and I’d tell him he couldn’t plan his way out of a paper bag without me.

We don’t have good arguments because we are pretty happy with one another so we basically get snippy and state facts. It’s actually great we are both able to use our natural personal strengths within our marriage to get things done. He trusts my plans and I trust he’ll get things done efficiently.

But when you’re annoyed and arguing even lovely, practical things get twisted around.

So, when he went to the east coast for two weeks and everything was on me I honestly wondered how I’d handle it. I know he wondered.

I did great. I shopped, cooked, cleaned, got the kids where they needed to go. We got through Halloween, early SATs for two of the kids, and all the other days. We got the trash out and the house was just a little less messy than it was when he left.

Meanwhile, he planned a day in Annapolis, got Ubers to and from his destination, he found a tour to go on, and had a blast. He went to training every day and wasn’t late once. He did his laundry and he planned everything so he wasn’t wearing dirty clothes and wasn’t late for the tour.

We were both just fine on our own.

He expressed a bit of frustration that every time we talked I was so excited about how great we were doing without him. I told him it was because I have always told him I’m not with him because I need him, I’m with him because he’s my favorite person… and always will be. He’s my first choice in the morning and my last choice at night. He isn’t some guy the rest of us are all putting up with because he takes out the trash and we don’t want to.

He’s not the default. He’s the preference.

Once he saw my perspective, he was much happier and I think it put a lot in perspective for him because I didn’t realize that bragging on how well we were doing would come across as a negative.

I never want him to forget I love him for who he is. We all love him for who he is. He’s a great human being and the fact he wants to come home to me?

That is a gift I will never tire of.

(If you have an issue with that last sentence, read why it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition here.)

Money and Budgeting and Opportunities for My Kids #NaBloPoMo

I got the kids to testing on time!

I was sure I was going to mess it up. I even managed to make scrambled eggs and toast for them for breakfast before they went. I packed snacks and water bottles. They had sharpened pencils and calculators. I WAS ON FIRE!

I got a few odd looks taking my 12 and 13 year old kids in among the hundred plus high school kids in line but no one said anything and no one questioned it. I’m guessing they were all too nervous. The ladies checking my girls in didn’t look at them twice. I saw one lady look at them then walk back to someone else, say something, and come back but I’m going to choose to believe that was coincidence.

Generally, I keep what I’m doing with my kids close to the vest. I was always an awful “mom blogger” because I hated violating their privacy or telling stories I felt were theirs and not mine. I’m doing what all parents do. Looking at what I’ve been given to work with and figuring out how to best turn it from a lump of kid-clay into a grown-folk who can go out and have a life of their own. I don’t know loads of important people, so I need to get them into environments where they can be seen. I don’t know, really, how smart or talented or funny my kids are. I think they’re great people but I’m not an objective judge of what they really bring to the table. So I research and choose to have them tested to see if they qualify for things like the Northwestern Center for Talent Development. If they don’t, that’s fine. If only one does, that’s fine. (DukeJohns Hopkins, and the Western Academic Talent Search have similar programs.)

I don’t mind if my kids turn down any opportunity, but I would be heartbroken if they didn’t have the option simply because I didn’t do enough research. Of course, the programs they may qualify for will cost money. A lot of money. The summer program is thousands of dollars. It’s the reason Mr. Brickie and I are so happy about the opportunity he has been given through going to this training in Maryland. Our family sacrificing him for two weeks is truly for the whole family. If we can get him in there making money as soon as possible and pay down debt, we’ll be able to use the freed up money to send the kids to camps that will allow them to learn new things and meet new people. People from different places and cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Every day I look at my children and feel this crushing pressure. I have to be good enough for them. I have to do the research and read the reviews and figure out how to help them find what they truly desire in this life. To guide without pushing. To ask without expectation. To help them learn to make decisions and choices on their own. In the meantime, I want them to try as many things as possible so they don’t miss the thing that could have been THEIR thing.

The way I’ve always felt like somehow I missed what my thing was supposed to be. I’m fairly good at a large number of things but there’s no one thing that really defines who I am. I have always wished there was. Like an anchor. Hello, my name is jennydecki and I’m an accountant. Hello, my name is jennydecki and I’m a spree killer. You know, whatever, something that makes me….me. Beyond just my name.

I don’t want my children to spend their lives feeling this constant sense of being adrift.

Training Pays Off and SAT Testing Tomorrow #NaBloPoMo

I’ll split this between Mr. Brickie stuff and Kid Stuff so if you’re only interested in one or the other you can find the heading.

Mr. Brickie Update

When I talked to him earlier tonight (he’s a good egg and calls every night before bed) I reminded him that yesterday after our call he was supposed to get in touch with the gentleman from the union that might have a job lead.

It looks like it’s going to pan out. He told Mr. Brickie to call as soon as he’s back in the state to get more information on the next job.

As much as I believe people when they say work is abundant and as much as I know that when he does this work it’s lucrative there is still part of my brain that lives firmly in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” place.

I’m feeling good about his prospects. Really good.

Even better? I can tell in his body language and bright eyes he’s having fun in training. He truly enjoys this work. It makes my heart so full.

Family Update

I miss my husband. I comforted myself today by repeating, “Next Friday he’ll be home. This is the last repeating day he’ll be gone.” It helped.

I was so worried about not having him home for Halloween and am really proud of myself for handling the holiday as well as i did.

The SAT is tomorrow for the older two and I had to do a last minute run to Office Depot for a calculator for one of the girls. She’s in Algebra but she either uses her phone or her Chromebook for a calculator in class. I didn’t get a graphing calculator because they don’t know how to use them yet and it would have been a waste of money.

After tomorrow’s testing the two younger girls have a volleyball game.

The holiday and the testing are things that would normally be in Mr. Brickie’s wheelhouse. He’s the doer, the buyer of last minute calculators, the driver. But I’ve been fine.

I plan on rewarding myself by doing absolutely nothing on Sunday. You can find me on my couch enjoying tea and a good book.

It’s Dark and Everyone is Sleeping #NaBloPoMo

I considered doing National Novel Writing Month this year but then decided against it because I’m in a place where I’m saying, “No” to everything. Okay, not everything. I’m saying, “No” to everything that isn’t “Yes” to me for the rest of the year.

The kids and husband are part of me, so they don’t have to worry.

I’ve been hesitant to mention this but Mr. Brickie is out of town. He went out of town on Sunday and will be gone until next Friday. A full 12 days gone.

Up until this point in our fifteen year marriage we’ve been apart for two nights, tops. Part of that is because we had nowhere to go separately but another part is absolutely by design.

He’s in Maryland for a couple of certifications. Originally he was going to be back next Wednesday but then it was recommended by someone he knows at the Union to do a two day add-on class so they switched his plane ticket to Friday and he’ll be getting two certifications while he’s gone.

From the sound of it he’ll go straight back to work once he’s home. I’m not 100% sure on that but the signs are good.

I thought I’d be a wreck without him here. So far, I’ve been okay. He calls and we talk for an hour in the evening before he goes to bed (thank goodness for video calling) and says goodnight to the kids and then I put the kids to bed.

Then I have an hour or so to myself and I have to tell you, it’s really peaceful. Like, really really peaceful. I plan what I’m going to do the next day and have a cup of tea and decide to participate in National Blog Post Month (or NaBloPoMo) because no matter what else happens I can’t seem to stop writing.

The biggest fear I had with Mr. Brickie being gone was Halloween. I have the anxiety thing and Halloween is the hardest day of the year. So many strangers. My older two ended up taking the youngest trick or treating without me. I stayed home with my phone ringer up as loud as it could go (in case they called for a ride or needed something) and read a book.

We still haven’t closed on the property and can’t until Mr. Brickie is back in town so that’s still hanging in the air being mildly annoying.

I’m really excited about these certifications. There’s a lot of money in this skill set and a lot of places in the Midwest that need people. It’s all indoor work (as far as I understand) so it’s not affected by the weather. That means we may not suffer through winter waiting for the weather to break this year! (He couldn’t get these certifications or do this work as an apprentice.) The thought of being able to really have a quality shovel to dig out of debt is absolutely thrilling.

A great side-effect is knowing the house and family don’t fall apart if he travels. He knows of someone who plans to go to South Korea for a fifteen month gig and it’s a serious payday but Mr. Brickie just laughed when I asked if he would consider it and told me there was no way he’d stay away from his family that long. I couldn’t argue or complain with that. I did semi-jokingly float the idea that we could retract our offer on the duplex, all move to SK for fifteen months with him, and call it an adventure! He considered it for a little bit with me but ultimately decided we love our current plan and want to stick with it.

The last hurdle for me as “person who does all the grown things” while he’s gone is getting the older two to the SAT on Saturday. No, they’re not in high school yet…It’s to see if they qualify for opportunities with the Northwestern Talent Search. A nice bonus is taking the SAT a few times before they’re in high school will make them more comfortable when they take it for college application purposes. This all started because the youngest scored high on a couple of standardized tests so I got her checked out by an individual who specializes in tests and lo and behold now she’s taking the PSAT because she’s going to get noticed by the Northwestern Talent Search and once she was in I thought I might as well have the other two test as well since they are also gifted.

It’s not something I think about a lot or dwell on, but it is part of the parenting duties, so I do the research and make the best choices I can.

The budget is still a wreck because we are only spending the bare minimum to get by in order to keep the closing money in the checking account free and clear. According to the mortgage guy, even though we only need X amount of cash for closing, in order to get the green light from underwriting we need about 3k more than that in our checking account. I don’t understand why and the way he explained it I don’t think he understands why, either.

So money that could pay off/down credit cards has to sit in the checking account. I try not to think about it but I’m not good at not thinking about things. I want to be done with the closing so I can do a normal budget and get to tax season so I can go back to pre-paying the mortgage with the tax return. Since we won’t have a November lease I can use the entire tax return toward the mortgage and see how far that gets us. I’ve gotten spoiled not having to worry about a monthly housing bill and I’d like to get back to it as soon as possible.

For now, though, it’s time to go to bed. Happy All Saint’s Day, whatever that means to you. Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day so we will put out an extra plate for the souls who are not with us anymore. Next year I think I’m going to let my spirituality freak flag fly a little more, too.

The Secret We’ve Been Keeping

It’s been quite a long time, hasn’t it? October 9th would have made three months!

Well there was something going on I couldn’t really talk about. I wanted to share it very much but couldn’t.

We were closely guarding a secret.

I spent months scouring the internet for advice anonymously. Read books I could get my hands on even though our local library had only one and it wasn’t even very helpful. Spent so much time keeping my mouth shut I didn’t know how I’d ever start talking about it. I had to make a plan completely without help from my online friends and I hated it!

It’s nothing bad.

I know that might make someone wonder why it would be a big deal, unless it was something negative. It’s simple. I’m very, very good at talking about bad things. Uncomfortable things. I don’t mind talking about food pantries and the best way to make multiple meals out of five dollar’s worth of food from Aldi. I’m comfortable talking about struggle, about strife, about the things that go bump in the financial night.

Good things aren’t my wheelhouse. Saying anything good feels like bragging even if it’s only stating a fact. I don’t have the right words for great stuff on the horizon.

That means when we started seriously considering buying the triplex we have been renting a floor of for the past four-years-in-November I didn’t know how to share the dream. I didn’t want to jinx it or mess it up or have someone read the blog and somehow swoop in and snatch it up. I was scared to share the good thing because I believed that sharing would put it in danger of being taken away.

That’s the mindset you have after years of being poor, I think. It’s the mindset I have, anyway. Your mileage may vary.

We close next week.

The first thing we’re doing is turning it into a duplex. The third apartment is in the basement and the entrance is in the backyard and it’s just a mess all around. It wouldn’t be an apartment that anyone I would want to rent to would want.

Oh my goodness.

“I would want to rent to….”

We’re going to be landlords, y’all.

Space is currently a real struggle in our three bedroom apartment. We’re at right around or just under a thousand square feet, but part of that is a room no one can use and part of that is the very large master bedroom with the ever-so-small closet. So we’re going to expand our apartment into the basement and make it a two-story, four-bedroom, 1.5 bath luxury apartment. We will expand, make improvements, give the kids more space, be landlords, and stay here until we pay it off.

Then we want to buy another one.

In the meantime, we’ll be back to bare bones living in order to pay off the massive debt we’ve accrued over the past few years as well a pay off the mortgage in five years.

You heard me! The goal is a five year payoff. I think we can do it, too.

So this little financial blogging corner of the Internet is back open for business. Not the kind of business that makes money. This blog’s job is to document our lives for future generations. So when I’m old and crabby the grandkids can log on and be shocked I had a sense of humor back in the day.

I am sorry it’s been so long since we’ve talked. I didn’t know what else to talk about because our lives have revolved around buying this property for almost a year now. Well, in theory, even longer. But I still remember first moving here and changing my Twitter background to the picture of the lease with our key on top. That was such an emotional day.

Now when we close, we’ll be getting more keys but will continue to use the same one to open our same front door just like we have been since we moved here.

There aren’t words to properly express how much I really love the idea of not moving. We’re less than a block from a park, two blocks from a bike path, less than two blocks from the middle school and maybe five blocks from the cute downtown area. It’s a great location for the kids.

It’s going to take a long time to get the basement renovated. If you ask Mr. Brickie it won’t take long at all, but I think he’s underestimating how long it’s going to take to do demo, move the furnace and water heaters, and then reframe the whole thing. Then there’s all the stuff that comes after framing.

Loads of work. Plus making changes here on the main floor.

Which means this isn’t just a finance blog anymore. I guess it’s going to be a finance and renovation blog. Or a house hacking blog. Or a fledgling real estate investing blog. It’s still going to be a blog about getting debt-free even though we’ve strayed way far away from that path and getting back is going to be a bit of a struggle.

Take your pick. I’m happy to be blogging again.

How to Stay Healthy

Short Answer: Dumb Luck

Long Answer: Follow doctor’s orders. If the doctor says, “Stay still. Don’t lift things.” Do that. Otherwise you’ll find your incision is trying to open itself and you’ll become really paranoid.

Also, I got my first medical bill from the first leg procedure. It’s just over $250 and I called to set up a payment plan. As the next four bills come in (presumably for a similar amount?) I call and they will add them to the payment plan in some kind of rotation so I’m not overwhelmed. I’m not sure what the damage on the chest wall surgery will be.

GREAT NEWS ALERT!

I totally buried the lead here. I didn’t do it on purpose, though, I just got distracted. Mr. Brickie is a 90% apprentice starting Monday. As of monday he is 750 work hours away from being a journeyman and no longer will be an apprentice! *gasp* It’s taken a long time to get here and sometimes I wondered if we ever would.

It comes with a raise and we will find out Wednesday after next how that will look on a paycheck. I’m excited because we need to get moving on that rent savings. It’s looking a little sparse.

DISNEYLAND UPDATE!

We booked our tickets! I booked them on Southwest for $142/person. ROUND TRIP. I caught one of those $47 fare specials and decided to fly into LAX instead of John Wayne (we’ll just take a shuttle for 45 minutes to Disneyland from the airport) and the price went from $1800 for all of us to fly down to $710 … That’s a heck of a difference.

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.