Tag: waiting

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 Hopeless, Dark Part of Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll be so disappointed.

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

Tomorrow will be a brighter day.

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

That Rollercoaster Feeling

When you check the bank first thing Wednesday morning to check and make sure unemployment was direct deposited.

It wasn’t.

Cue my stomach falling to the center of the earth.

As panic rises, I log into the online system and see that – according to unemployment – the desposit is complete and went to the correct bank account.

Not entirely trusting myself, I check the bank account again both on my computer and on my phone. Just in case.

It’s still not there.

I realize there is nothing I can do until tomorrow because it could still go in at any time today and calling a representative from the bank will yield standard timeframes because I don’t think any bank’s customer service is trained to say, “Government payments go through at 9:15am, ma’am.” Even though that would be bliss.

Yes, we have an emergency fund. It’s why I’m able to form words in my brain and send them through my fingers to the keyboard. It’s the only balm that is keeping me from a full on panic because if you have the right mindset for your emergency fund you still feel like you have $42 in your checking account and a long way to go until spring.

On a personal and petty note, I was really looking forward to doing a “How We Spent It” post today.

I will update this post when unemployment goes through. I hate being left hanging, too.

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Selling Your Life and Unemployment Stuff

book-collage

One of the things we have been doing around here in order to:

A. Not be hoarders.
B. Make the house easier to clean.
C. Make moving easier if we need to do that eventually.

…..is cleaning and throwing away and decluttering.

Of course, we are trying to make money at every possible point in this process.

Yesterday, Randy took a bunch of books to Half Price Books nearby and for some DVDs and a whole lot of books he got $125. Then he took our old CDs (get it, because we have it all on the cloud and on a backup drive in the hosue) and got another $30 from Disc-Go-Round. Certainly not the biggest score of our lives, but a hell of a lot more money than, “Let’s throw it in the trash.” for sure.

 

It was nice to add another $155 to the “Cash we might need one of these days” envelope we keep hidden deep in the bowels of the basement of the house. (You know we live in a ranch house that’s built on a cement slab, right?)

Especially since you know our run of great money luck had to end here any minute.

I was all excited yesterday, dancing around and singing, “We’s gonna pay our car payment early.” I kid you not, it was literal dancing and literal singing and I was in heaven.

This morning? The unemployment payment didn’t go through.

I check the information on the unemployment website (yea, technology!) and everything is correct. I call my bank and they cheerfully, lovingly tell me that there are no deposits on hold and no deposits have been rejected. I took a break from being freaked out about the payment to really enjoy the level of customer service I get from ING Direct Capital One 360 and how the promise that service would not decline has actually held true.

Then I go back to freaking out because the website says he was paid but no bank has the money.

The only thing to do is wait until tomorrow and hope it was just delayed a day because unemployment reliability. I was going to pay the car payment with that money! Okay, two weeks of his unemployment pays half the car payment, but I have the other half here, in cash, ready.

No one really has security if you think about it. Sure it might seem silly of me to rely on government payments in a state that’s pretty much bankrupt in a country that can’t decide on anything except how much money it’s running out of. I know a secret, though. It’s not any better anywhere else. I used to run accounts payable for an boutique advertising agency in Chicago. She would use angel investors and then transfer the money into the payroll accounts so the employees would get paychecks.

No one is truly secure. Down here at the bottom end of the spectrum, those mistakes can just mean a little more. They cut a little more deeply.

The worst part – for me – is that from where I stand there is still a long way to fall. I could pay my car payment today but I don’t because I require a little bit of “just in case” money to be in the checking account at all times for emergencies. For many families on unemployment not paying the car payment wouldn’t be a choice based on fear/comfort/risk levels … it would just be entirely impossible.

Making the smart choice in these situations requires so much planning and thought. That people with money think that anyone is capable of such mental gymnastics is just living in a fantasy world.

Another Two-Question Day!

1. What was the last bill you had to skip paying?
2. What did you do to catch up?