Tag: failure

Realism ≠ Negativity

Warning: Possible incoherent rambling ahead due to frustration. I should be participating in Come Play in May but I am not right now because I cannot stop thinking about this. At first I was wondering if I should share it, but hey, self-improvement is the reason we’re doing everything we are with our lives and the finances so I guess this counds under that umbrella. Or something.

I managed to see a therapist three times before swearing off of the whole thing forever. Again.

My biggest problem? She had me journal and then insisted (I really mean INSISTED) I read her everything I wrote. I told her if she wanted me to read everything how was that different than her just reading my blog (because audience) and she said, “Because of the interaction inherent in the Internet.” <– you saw those quotes, right? I asked her what that meant and she said that I censored my thoughts because I have an Internet audience and I said, “But I don’t know you, either, so if I know you’re reading everything you know I’m going to censor that even more than I do my blog. I mean, I know most of my readers. I LIKE them.” Or, I would have said that if I wasn’t trying to process what she said and how those words seemed to mean something to her when she said them but I would be damned if I could figure it out.

That’s okay. I realized through the relaxation therapy we did together (even though I told her I do guided meditation every night before bed and am well versed with relaxing breathing and do it every day) but she just ignored me and then took me on this awful “meditative” journey to the beach. (I find that the beach is very romantic to people who don’t GO to the beach. I’m sure I’m wrong, but it feels that way to me because when I walk through the sand I look like a land hippo with gorilla arms trying to wade through unseen jello.)

Plus, her overwhelming desire to talk about my husband because she seemed absolutely incredulous that I could be happy and calm about him when I was an anxious wreck about other things. She asked me why I didn’t want to talk about my husband and I told her, “Marrying him is the one decision I have never regretted.” I even thought right after I said it, “I should write that down. That was a really cool thing to say!” It’s also true. She just gave me therapist-nod-half-smirk and I was like, “Whatever.”

If we are talking about the cause of my anxiety it certainly isn’t Mr. Brickie. He has been a calming influence in so many ways and I adore him for that and many other things.

The other thing she just kept bringing up was how negative I was. “You have to be less negative. It’s bad for you. Being negative is going to kill you.” When I responded, “Then how do you explain so many crabby old people?” She smiled her therapy smile and responded, “See, there it is again.”

THUS BEGAN A TWO WEEK PARANOID-MADNESS-FILLED EPISODE OF ME TRYING NOT TO BE NEGATIVE AT ALL.

The reason this is more difficult than you might immediately think is that I’m actually not a negative person. I’m a realist. My motto is, “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” (Thank you Maya Angelou for that last part on the end. I really love that part.)

Preparing for the worst, however, means running all scenarios … including the negative ones. I’m very optimistic, I mean, have you read my blog? You all know I think I’m coming out of the other side of what we are going through right now and into a much better situation for my family. I really do. I mean, find me a percentage of people who are where I am at right now that are happier or more carefree.

This woman, though. The hubris of grinning at me ear-to-ear at the end of our first appointment to find out during the second appointment she has decided she’s figured me out (or something) would have been unbelievable if she hadn’t been doing it to me. I tried to go along with it and trust the system. I asked her what a positive person sounded like so I could model the behavior. She couldn’t come up with an example. She just kept telling me to focus on the positive because anything else was, I am not kidding, “BAD FOR YOUR ORGANS.” (not the musical kind, I have to assume).

I am jealous of everyone who has a therapist that helps them. One that gets you through things and lets you vent. I was hoping to get one of those, but obviously, I did not. I have no ill-will toward her but she was – for me – a very bad therapist.

She kept getting me in a catch-22. She would call me negative, I would try to explain why it wasn’t negative, and then she would gently chide me for overexplaining.

Now for all of you smart people or psych majors or both (they’re not mutually exclusive or inclusive categories, natch) I’m thinking she was just doing some basic cognitive behavioral stuff. But causing a traffic jam in my brain because you tell me I can’t have Option A or Option B but there is no way to learn what Option C is and there are no examples to be found but you have to have Option C or you will die from organ failure is nuts. To tell a person who is in therapy to only talk about things in a positive light and not talk in a negative way during sessions and the rest of your everyday life – including your thoughts – is nuts. I’m thinking to myself , “Are you sure you don’t read ALL THE BLOGS where people are doing that and how utterly unhelpful it is or maybe FACEBOOK where people are only sharing the most positive things for the most part?” Being fake does not make a person positive. It makes them fake and just crushes the negativity down.

But I didn’t say that because I wasn’t being negative.

Instead, I did the most positive thing I could think of and I cancelled my next appointment because the amount of negativity I felt after the last one is something I would like to never ever ever repeat again in this lifetime.

If you’ve read my post from a while back about not being allowed to try new churches anymore because of the disappointment I feel when they inevitably let me down? This was very similar. I guess churches and therapists are things I just don’t have good luck with.

My husband – in one of those rare moments where he just amazes me with his insight – said, “Of course if you look for someone else to fix you, to give you community, or make you someone you are not you are going to have a problem. Every church or therapist you have gone to was because you wanted something only you could do for yourself.”

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Chicken Update & Check Anticipation

Okay, I promise I won’t write about this again until Wednesday when I have the actual, real number on the actual, real check. I just need to put out there that when your primary household breadwinner gets a raise but you haven’t been able to figure out the “check math” that you pretty much obsess over what the magic number could be while trying to be patient and wait to find out what the number actually is.

I’m cycling through anxiety, fear, joy, and a desire to just do math all day with different percentages.

The reason I can’t figure it out (even though I’m really quite awesome at math) is because here are the things that come out of the check. Not the Federal taxes, state taxes, FICA, and medicare. Those are well within my wheelhouse and there are even websites that help you calculate those things. No problem, right?

It’s the overtime that gets me. Well, the overtime and the union dues. I can’t seem to figure out the formula for those.

So even though he just got a $4/hr. raise I have no idea how different his check will look because part of it will be normal hours and then there will be 18 overtime hours on top of it.

Which means I can only speculate and wait. I think I already mentioned his check last week was about $740 and that was the last check before eh check with the raise on it.

But you know what, let’s do some math and we can all check back on Wednesday to see how close I got. Feel free – if you’re bored – to try and solve the problem with me. We can sit around a campfire and drink wine and mock me for finally being so excited to have a different kind of money problem!

I found a cool website article called How to Calculate The Taxes on Overtime. Sounds perfect! If only I could figure out how to calculate union dues! I’m pretty sure there’s some easy calculation I just haven’t found.

After some searching online it looks like the union dues are a flat per-hour rate. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say what they are but it doesn’t seem like I would be breaking the rules since you don’t know his local or whatever. I checked two checks with different hours and it looks like he pays a flat $2.20/hr. in dues. (If that seems high please remember he pays to the local and International funds and there are multiple pensions he’s paying into along with other fringe benefits. Two pensions. Be still my heart, right?)

So let’s figure this out.

58 hours.

40 at his new rate of $21.29 = $851.60 ($604.14 after deductions)
18 hours at OT rate of $31.935 (Yes it goes out three decimal places, I checked a previous check.) = $574.83 (No idea after taxes I just cut it in half. So $287.45)

I have to go with my best guess because that link to the overtime pay kind of broke my brain because the layout on the IRS circular E did not allow me to understand what I was supposed to choose in terms of the rate scale for income tax. For real. It was confusing, feel free to click the link and check it out. I think it’s going to be right around $891.59 but if you look at my math I didn’t do a good job.

I only added in the union dues for the first 40 hours but after taking out 50% from the overtime it’s not going to be that extreme. Even now he makes $250 a week in overtime above and beyond his base and I can’t imagine only getting $37 more. I should probably just delete all this stuff because it’s just admitting my calculations are awful and I’m not smart enough or patient enough to figure something very important out.

Because we’ll find out on Wednesday, anyway, so I should just post about being patient and waiting with the calmness of someone totally into Zen and cleanses and green smothies and yoga. You know, pretend I’m the person I want to be instead of being all honest and showing you what a hot mess I actually am.

IT’S CALLED BLOGGING, NOT HONESTING. I’M TOTALLY DOING THIS WRONG.

Also, I’m not sure if union dues are a pre-tax or post-tax deduction. I think they’re post tax because you can claim a credit for them on taxes. I think.

I’m done talking about money for the day. I’m going to move on to chickens and then make a sidebar graphic showing credit card debt so I can show it getting crossed off as time goes by. I hope.

Chicken Update

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Gertie’s feet aren’t messed up. It just looks that way in the picture.

Another one bites the dust. Except this time in a good way. Well a far better way than when Penelope passed away after those horrible seizures. We realized a few weeks ago that our beautiful longhorn Gertie was not a hen but a rooster. My detective skills, as well as the crowing very early every morning which I would only wish upon my worst enemy, led me to this conclusion. I’m a genius, right? I mean, look at her (him) you’d never guess that was a rooster, would you? (Laugh. It’s okay. I did.) Besides wanting to sleep in the morning we realized we had to get rid of him because roosters are illegal in my town.

The last thing I want is a ticket for harboring a rooster. No matter how funny the story would be.

Mr. Brickie turned to craigslist I said, “No way.” because my deepest fear is that this sweet, loving animal that had never hurt any of us would end up being used in cockfighting. I will always remember the chicken I saw on the side of the road ten years ago that was so beat up and his legs were so messed up and later I found out that he had probably been used in cockfighting based on his injuries. So, knowing I’m in/near an area where that happens, I insisted on not using Craigslist.

I’m really happy a friend of mine recently took her kid horseback riding and there was a petting zoo there and she talked to the lady who said she takes in animals and Mr. Brickie called and she said she would be happy to take Gertie and make her (him) part of the family. The relief I felt at getting our mornings back as well as a safe home for Gertie was incredible.

We will miss Gertie but can go visit him at the petting zoo we gave him to. I’m really pleased because he’s used to being around people and being touched and held. He’s a great animal and deserves a good life.

Plus I’m super happy we can tell the kids, “He went to a farm.” then take the kids TO THE FARM so they know I’m not a liar that killed the rooster.

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Three chickens. Was it an omen all along?