Archive for the 'Money Blues' Category

The Light at the End

I feel terrible for not posting this earlier. I mean, how could I forget?! I suppose the same way I forgot to post Monster’s 12th birthday letter until well over 16 days past his birthday. I think it was the unemployment thing, the stagnation of life that happens and enfolds you when you’re scrabbling to search for that light at the end of the tunnel. The long ass tunnel I was stuck in for 2 months. That was torture.

My last post, on the 5th, was at 5 in the afternoon. Hey, that’s kind of neat. Anyway, I posted shortly after returning home from an interview wherein I got the job. I can’t believe I didn’t mention it or anything, but I guess I was high on life and feeling goopy with emotions towards my son. I’ll never know. The past week was a blur of activity and happiness.

I can honestly say that for the first time in a year I thorougly enjoy what I’m doing. My first job was taxing and frustrating, trying to squish a 40 hour position into 20 hours was too much to ask of one person. My second job was easy, but boring. I guess it was a nice break in the monotony, though. My third job, the most recent past one, was trying in its own way – a personal way.

This job, however, is brilliant. I’m transcribing dictations for two lawyers and helping around the office as needed. I love my boss, even if he is batty, and I love the office manager and other lawyers here. It’s relaxed enough to not make me feel stressed, I don’t have to battle 7 a.m. traffice since I start at 9 a.m. and lunch isn’t a thing to plan around, it just happens. I can’t say it’ll always be like this, what if it won’t? It doesn’t matter. I didn’t fall into a position that was overwhelming in its duties and priorities. I’m easing in, slowly taking things on as they come at me, learning the programmes and systems as things flow. I’m just starting to answer the phones on a more regular basis, with slightly more confidence than last week.

I’m looking at long term employment here. I’ll work here through my transcription degree and transition into a part-time medical transcription job while continuing to work for this law firm. I hope that after two years, I’ll have accrued enough in-field practice to bid the firm adieu and focus full time on my medical transcription job. So I’m going to be insanely busy.

One thing I realized, with great sadness, is that we will be living in our same apartment for another year. Which means Monster is stuck at the same school for another year. Which means we’re stuck in our crappy neighbourhood for another year. Tihs also means we wait another year to get a dog. Which kind of destroyed me for about three days. I want a dog with such a ridiculous passion, I imagine every dog I see on the street as being our dog and how it would work out. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Another year to plan isn’t too bad, though.

The last thing on my mind right now is TTC. It’s still there, though, gnawing at my brain. Every time I see a little baby, my heart gets that fluttery feeling and I wonder when our relationship will get back on that track. Not any time soon, and I’ve accepted that. I cherish that knowledge and hope that when we are ready, we have everything we need to hit the ground running. This includes a dog first. And a bigger place – a rented house, maybe? Who knows.

Right now, I’m happy. I haven’t been happy in months. My last job was sucking my soul straight from my body, and unemployment just made me feel terrible about myself. This job seems to be restoring a huge part of my personality to ‘right’. I’m also spending a lot of time with my best friend, and that seems to be helping substantially with my cabin fever.

My next post will be about the hardcore/awesome/amazing weekend I just spent with her. Let me just say that we communed with nature.

(Also, yesterday was my cat’s birthday. Nefertiti turned 6 years old. I remember the day I got her, she was only 8 weeks old and tiny as can be. It was the middle of summer and she used to cry because she couldn’t get onto the desk to sit with me. She learned how to crawl up the side of my bed, using her baby claws, just so she could sleep by my head. I miss the tiny, sweet kitten who watched Law & Order: SVU before bed and slept with her favourite toy mouse betwee her paws.)

In Sickness

Posting around here has been slim. Things at chez moi have been grimmer than they’ve ever been and I can’t seem to find the optimistic spark that usually gets me through horrible times.

This is how things went after unemployment. At first I was purely depressed. Fil was away – for a top secret reason – and I was stuck alone in a big empty apartment with two sleeping cats. I pretty much watched TV and ignored my parents’ phone calls. Once Fil got home, what got me to the next day was the optimistic ‘what if’. Applying for jobs always leaves that sense of “I could get this, and I could earn that salary and get those benefits and be OKAY.”  It always leaves me with a great sense of possibility and fulfillment. So I tend to apply myself in abundance, knocking through Craig’s List, Yahoo! and the Chronicle with wild eyed enthusiasm. This wears off fast, and what kept me sane and afloat was the extension of my friend’s Netflix account so I could stream movies and TV shows online. It seriously saved my mental status from breaking.

With the introduction of this remarkable thing, I suddenly had pleasure. Something I hadn’t even felt while working. When you have money, things need to be done. We needed to run to the store to do Christmas shopping, or we needed to get groceries or something like that. Without money, there are no errands – except for grocery day, which happens since we get food stamps, but that’s once a month. So, with unemployment came free time, and with Netflix came something to fill the sucking void with noise and shiny happiness.

And then, here I am, saved by alternate realities. Some shows post their episodes as they air – Spartacus: Blood and Sand is one (Legend of the Seeker also has the current season streaming) – but most shows I just watch to enjoy. Mostly sci fi. There, I admit it, science fiction has saved me. And it dawned on me today how startlingly nerdy I am, how I am totally in love with that fact. I may have hurt my ankle (the one that I sprained a while ago) while running and had to put that on hold. I may have the worst writer’s block since forever. I may not have a job and have heartburn and argue with my partner on a far-too-frequent basis. But goddamnit if I don’t have something to keep me sane and happy and it’s science-fucking-fiction. (Don’t mind the cursing, I’m a passionate person at 4 a.m.)

What I’m really posting about is that, despite the unforeseen advantage of finding myself unemployed (as in, reacquainting with a friend who eventually gave me access to Netflix) is that I can finally take Monster to see his asthma specialist. The asthma specialist who put him on this great inhaler and super expensive name brand nasal spray that we couldn’t afford without Medicaid. This guy is wonderful, and although he seems to devalue our knowledge of our own kid, he knows a lot more about asthma than we ever will.

For the past two years Monster has become increasingly sensitive to the allergies in Austin. Anyone from Central Texas will tell you the allergies here are unique and terrible and no one is truly immune. I like to say I’m immune, but I right now I’m feeling the effects of Spring blooming in the form of painful headaches and a sinus infection brewing. I also get hit hard with cedar fever and I feel sick when the molds get crazy high like they tend to do. When Monster first moved here, it was like a light at the end of a long painful tunnel. His asthma seemed to resolve itself! Shock! The lack of constricting smog and chemical vapors seemed to help a lot and he rarely needs an emergency inhaler – usually during a coughing fit to relax his lungs, rather than during an asthma attack. But the seasonal allergies are so intense and cause such bronchial irritation, it is adversely affecting his asthma. Though he hasn’t had any asthma attacks – he takes a nightly inhaler for that – he never goes 3 weeks without getting mucus-y lungs and a terrible cough.

So, this free time I have to take him to his doctor will be used wisely. He’s got that terrible cough again and it woke him up about 30 minutes ago. I told him to turn his alarm off, I couldn’t send him to school with a good conscious, not after hearing how deep and booming it is.

I feel bad for him, because he’s always taken medicine of some sort; nebulizer, ADHD medicine, allergy pills, inhaler. I have no idea what that’s like, so it’s hard to understand how weird it makes him feel. I rarely got sick as a kid, my only regular medicine was a Flinstone vitamin in elementary. Until recently, when I started taking woman’s vitamins, glucosamine and Nex!um I only took medicine when I needed it (i.e. ibuprofen, antibiotics). He’s gotten a rough hand, but I always remind him it could be worse. He just takes a small pill, uses an inhaler and nasal spray every night. He could have to stab his fingers for blood glucose readings all the time, like his aunt, or eat a special diet like his cousin with Crohn’s. I feel bad for him, sure, but I never want to see him feel so bad for himself he thinks he’s been dealt the worst hand. Not a lesson he’ll ever have to learn, because someone always has it worse.

*I’m writing Monster’s year letter. It’s taken me a bit to get it together, but I’ve been … well, blocked.

Day 30: I promised…

Okay, at first, I promised myself I would do NaBloPoMo even if it killed me.

Obviously it didn’t kill me. But I didn’t do it.

And then, last week, I promised myself I would post once, or twice to make up for the whole non-posting thing.

And I broke that promise too.

It’s not like I don’t have anything to say. I could tell you the four wonderful things about my job… and the four terrible things about my job. I could tell you that we may have a donor on hand. I could tell you that I’m so excited about my birthday this Sunday I can hardly keep a smile off my face. I have a lot of things to talk about. Tofurkey day, our new phones, our slow redecorating process, the excitement of February. I really like typing out the word February.

And I guess I will talk about those things. It’s very hard to find myself motivated to blog lately. I feel like we’ve been in TTC limbo for so long, that this blog barely applies to the community I’ve foisted myself upon. I feel surrounded, loved and understood, but I don’t feel like I belong. Most everyone on my blogroll has done the deed and is looking towards #2 or #3. Fil and I are just getting excited and talking more and planning even more (how is that possible when I have a plan tab?!) and it’s starting to seem tangible and real. Maybe it’s this possible-donor. He’s a friend of WonderSperm, our amazing KD who got HIV. The poor guy feels guilty that he can’t donate, and has scoured his friends for a good match. Someone he likes. It kind of hurts the heart. WonderSperm has Fil’s hair, and eyes like mine, and a jawline like McDreamy out of Grey’s Anatomy. The man is gorgeous, and kind, and a beautiful soul and I would have loved to use his DNA, again. So maybe what happened with WonderSperm is holding me back from blogging about this possible YAY! When me 2 years ago would have been all up on this shiz.

And Tofurkey Day was great. We had a big family one at my parents’ house and a small one with my best friend at home. We didn’t weasle out of making a feast, but the tofurkey we did on Saturday was so good it was so worth it all. I can’t say we have much to be thankful for (since we’re still poor and Fil is still sick) but we’re happy that Fil’s tumours seem to be responding to the radiation and that I have a good paying job with benefits.

Speaking of my job.

Here are the 4 good things.

  1. The hours. They’re perfect. Even though I get stuck in the worst of the traffic, it gives me time to think things over, listen to music, and relax away from work and home. I do get stressed, but I tell myself to relax. It’s my only ‘me’ time and I cherish it.
  2. The people. I have great friends here. The receptionist is marvelous, and everyone is incredibly friendly. I’m close with the people downstairs, and I like to park my butt for a few minutes during my mail run and chat with them. I can count on a good laugh at least twice during my run.
  3. The pay. I can gush on and on about the pay because it is so good. I know I don’t make as much as much as most, but it pays the bills and takes care of Christmas. As far as I’m concerned, that is damn good. Also, the overtime pay is great and I get mileage, a big tax free bonus.
  4. Benefits. It’s weird to be getting benefits from my job. It feels so grown up. My first job I was part time, but it didn’t matter because I worked with my dad and was already on that insurance as a dependent. Then, as a receptionist, I could have gotten insurance but it was contingent upon being able to get steady employment, and at a temp agency that’s almost impossible. So, having gotten my 3 months under my belt, I’m ready to receive my benefits. From the looks of it, it’s 90-10 with a $750 deductable. It pays for a lot of stuff my dad’s insurance doesn’t cover. Like artificial insemination. 100% coverage of all treatment after a $30 specialist fee. Yeah.

The 4 things I hate about my job.

  1. My boss. I said it, my BOSS. If Dooce has taught us anything, it’s not to disclose work crap on the net. But I’ll let that go, because I tell everyone with an operating ear. I hate my boss.
  2. The location. It’s a nice area, and I’d love to live here in the future, but it’s far away from my current home and I don’t know if we can afford to move near by. Nor do I know if we’d want to be near by, since my parents are close.
  3. The building. It’s gross, smelly and old. The management company takes very poor care of the place and I have to run to the first floor to use the facilities. Also, the elevators have been broken so many times most people are too scared to take them!
  4. I feel like I’m not good enough. Like nothing is ever good enough for my boss, she always finds something to pull apart, and when I do amazingly well, there’s always a ‘but’. Maybe I’m just sensitive, but some days I just want to cry from all the pressure to be good. I know, I know. Welcome to adulthood.

So, there you have it. My job. It rocks, it sucks. That’s life. The best thing is the benefits. I feel like my TTC limbo visit is all but over. We just need the sperm and a new place and soon we’ll be staring at OPKs, trying to figure out if that’s really a line or the angle of the light hitting the stick off the mirror.

Congrats to all of you who finised NaBloPoMo. You are better than I, this time.

Day 17: Lame

So, I’m lame. I can’t even keep up with NaBloPoMo. In my defense, I have been incredibly busy since the 12th.

Let me start off by saying that, yes, I realise it’s only Novemeber, but as parents, Fil and I start thinking about Christmas 1 to 2 months in advance. So, while we haven’t even bought our seasonal tofurkey, we’re already thinking about Black Friday deals and wrapping paper.

I only get paid twice a month, the first Friday and the second Friday. It’s obvious where the first pay check goes (rent) and the second pay check is used on bills and household necessities. Due to the time of the year (Christmas), the majority of that second pay check is getting rerouted to presents for the boy and for the family. So far we’ve managed to tackle 4 presents for the boy and one family member totally knocked out, while two others remain partially done. As for my parents and grandparents, we’re at a loss. To cut down on cost, we’re doing joint presents for each pair, but we’re not sure what a good present would be. Eh.

We’ve become ridiculously skilled at managing our budget around this time of year. We’ve made money spread thinner than the last bit of butter on 3 slices of toast. Monster has always had presents under the tree. I’ll admit, it was much easier when he was a Lego freak, because we could fill in holes with Star Wars sets. But, now that he’s gone through and sold all of his Legos and grown past that stage, we’re panicked about what to get him. Thankfully, both sides of the family have promised to pitch in for a group present (Fil’s side is getting us the XBox 360 while my side is getting us the PS3) and we were able to fill in huge gaps with new games he’s been drooling over for months. He’s only getting a few games (4 total, 3 for the new systems and 1 for the old PS2 that he’s getting in his room) but they’re expensive enough to take up a good chunk of our $350 budget.

We’re smart about these things, now. Last year, if you look at the pictures (in retrospect, I didn’t actually get around to posting them), he got a good amount of kids toys. Legos, Nerf guns, plastic warriors. You get the picture. We were completely unsure about our purchases, because he was on the cusp of “too old” and rarely played with his toys that he already had, especially the Legos. We made an agreement, “this is the last year” we said. And it was. We’ve now made the same promise, about light sabers and other kinds of toys, unless he specifically asks for it. It’s a hard thing to swallow, because that means we’re parting with his childhood. Not completely, because in most ways he is still a child, but we’re still packing up the last of his boys sized clothes and getting him shoes that look enormous (and they are, he wears a size 9 in mens, and even at a half size too big, they fit my feet).

I guess what I’m getting at here is that this coming Christmas will be, in many ways, bittersweet. How tightly do I hold onto the memories we’ll make? Will this be the last year he writes a letter to Santa? What about the Candy Cane Monster? Will he still thrill at the sight of a hand written note and candy cane-turned-monster stashed away in his room? I know each memory we create with our son is more precious than gold, but how hard do you hold onto such things, when you never know how long they’ll stay a child?

Next year, we’ll have a whole new set of worries and joys (TTC) to focus on accompanying the Christmas distress. So I’d like to focus hard on my son this year, and think long and hard about what kind of cookies to make Santa this year, because he loves both snickerdoodles and chocolate-chip-peanut the best.

As for song of the day, I think I’ll go with In a Graveyard – Rufus Wainright. I first heard the song in 9th grade, after a friend posted it when the days got long and cold. Because of that, I will always connect that song with the odd cold days here in Texas, and like the past few days, today is one of those. (Also, it’s a beautiful song.)

Day 1: NaBloPoMo, SotD 1

As usual, come November, I realise my original aspiration to do NaNoWriMo is stupid and concede to NaBloPoMo. Why I don’t start off that way is a question I have no answer for. Maybe it’s because I dream big.

That’s the theme for this month, I think. “Dreaming big.” Because dreaming is all we’ve been doing chez moi. That’s what you do when you don’t have any money.

In order to keep up the momentum for the month, I’m going to pick one song for each day (and no, it won’t be representative of the day or my emotions, it’s just going to be a song I like) and give a reason why I like it. That way, there will be content every single day, rather than rambling filler posts… because that’s cheating.

Here’s today’s song: Empire State of Mind – Jay Z feat. Alicia Keys

I’m a sucker for pop and hip hop. It’s true, I know how disappointing that must be. I like to think of it as a cheap, dirty high. Turn on the radio and you’re bound to eventually stumble on something that isn’t grating (or, isn’t Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus) and that makes you tap your feet or hum happily for 3 minutes at 37 seconds. Anyway, yeah, cheap high.

So, a few months back, Fil and I were watching the MTV VMAs and watched Jay Z (I don’t like the – in his name) perform the above mentioned song with Alicia Keys (who wore sparkle pants and shoes, but I forgive her). It was good and had an incredibly infectious beat. Plus, Alicia Keys! I love her voice.

Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this pays off and I have 30 days of interesting content for y’all. I hope you keep reading!

Happy NaBloPoMo!

Michigan’s Still Up

The option of moving to Michigan is still on the table, and is getting much more real than ever. I’ve put a deadline on this ridiculous hope that I’ll get a job. September 14th – if I don’t have a job by then, we’re going to start making arrangements. I realise we need to move soon in order to get myself situated in a job up there, and start our lives over again.

I’ve had a few interviews since I lost my job. Two of them were dead ends – one was through a temp agency and another failed to call for a follow-up interview – and these recent two just happened within the past 5 days. In fact, I have a follow-up interview with an HR director in a few hours.

It all sounds promising. It’s all quite exciting, the idea that a job may just be around the corner. I’m so hopeful it’s spilling into all aspects of my life, where depression usually lurks. Yes, I’m still having issues sleeping, but I have managed to sleep in both days this past weekend, and even managed to have an uninterrupted day of fun on Saturday. We saw our nieces, played card games and ate some good food. This may be TMI, but we’ve even found our spark back and we’ve actually had sex lately. It’s amazing.

Despite all this good cheer and hopefullness, I’m mindful to keep an eye on the potential future. What if we move to Michigan? Can I honestly find something good about this place that Fil paints as a terrible place to live. I’ve been thinking, weighing the pros and cons of this new place. And here they are…


  • It’s cold
  • There is no Mexican food, whatsoever.
  • Queso is just melted cheese.
  • Did I mention, it’s cold?
  • The poverty rate and unemployment rate are much higher than here.
  • Crime is terrible.
  • Chemical valley.
  • Apparently, the Canadians drive everyone insane. (Not saying anything about Canadians…)
  • It’s very hard to get out of there.
  • Out gay couples are very rare in that city.
  • We would be leaving my family.
  • And our nieces.
  • And my best friend.
  • And Fil’s best friend.
  • Monster’s asthma most likely will come back.
  • Which means he’ll get way sick.
  • Oh, and it’s COLD.


  • We would be surrounded by Fil’s very large family.
  • Everyone in her family is very pro-baby.
  • It would be much easier to get state assistance there.
  • Canada is next door and we could get married.
  • Michigan IS a blue state, after all.
  • French is more widely spoken.
  • Fil would have a lot more available treatment for her cancer and bone problems.
  • She already has a file with a local pain management specialist.
  • Rent and food are much cheaper there.
  • It’s not Sahara-desert like in the summer.

We would miss way too much about Austin to leave voluntarily. Hopefully we’re not forced into it, but there it is.

Yes, Fil’s family is very excited about the idea of us having more children. They would be incredibly supportive and more excited about it from the start than my family. Fil would get more help for her cancer and arthritis than she’s getting here. And rent is way cheaper (her brother rents a 2 bedroom for $300…)

But the cons are quite stark, because we love it here. Mexican food, warm winters, music and a large gay community make this place perfect for our little family. I want to raise all of my children in this city and it makes me panic when I imagine driving away from those wide blue skies and purple sunsets.

I pray to who ever that this interview goes well, and that I can come home and take a long nap (since I haven’t slept yet) with the knowledge that things are going in the right direction, finally.

(As a complete aside, I might be allergic to silicone. Anyone have some advice?)

Ink Me 2009/Monster’s First Day

Thanks to Calli, I am participating in the Ink Me 2009.

I have already posted my first tattoo (pictured here), but the explination didn’t accompany it. Mostly because that tattoo is fairly self-explanitory, Fil and I got the same tattoo (a triquetra blended with a heart) to symbolize our past, present and future and that our love is linked to them all. Insert “awwww” here.

My second tattoo was a bit more of a thought process, I spent a long time searching for something that I felt deeply about. Naturally, it turned out to be a Celtic knot (how can I not have my body decorated with the history I find myself so deeply connected to?) that symbolized motherhood.

Motherhood Knot

Motherhood Knot

The little purple dot is Monster’s Celtic birthstone. I realise the ink looks poorly done, and it’s mostly due to my skin. Most of the ink got pushed out, and it needs to be hit again, hopefully by a different artist (perferrably female, since it’s on my chest) and such. It means a lot ot me, because there is loads of space to add more dots for more children.

I’ve noticed that in a lot of body ink renditions, the dots are placed on the outside of the heart. For me? I put him in my heart because he will always be there with me, on my skin and in my heart. (Insert louder, longer “aaaawww”)

Now, onto Monster’s first day of 6th grade.

He’s at a special school here in town, a Science Academy, that (so far) is requiring a lot from us. He needed special kinds of clothes (navy blue or khaki pants/shorts, grey shorts/shirts for gym) and loads of expensive school supplies. We’re flummoxed because said school is supposed to cater to lower economic status families like ours. Since we’re strapped for cash LMIL sent us $100 to get him school clothes and supplies, but we could only afford a few pairs of pants and the cheapest supplies we could find.

It sucks that we’re so strapped for cash, but luckily we had enough for new socks and undershirts (it’s wonderful that he has to wear a uniform polo, even if they were $18 each… THANKS DAD!) but that was about it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping he doesn’t come home with loads more supply needs.

Perhaps the thing that made Fil most livid was that he was pulled aside and given a warning for wearing the wrong colour of navy blue (EVEN THOUGH I saw other kids wearing the SAME shade and another one wearing blue jeans!) even though we stood in front of the principal and he said nothin’!

But, what made me the most angry was that he didn’t get to eat breakfast, because the cafeteria was closed all morning and they were painfully late with lunch. My kid was so ravenous that he ate 8 chicken fries and rice and veggies for dinner. I plan on feeding him breakfast tomorrow and every day until I’m sure that school has their ass on right.

First day of 6th grade!!

First day of 6th grade!!

He’s pretty cute, huh? And I know his belt is on all wrong, but I didn’t realise it until I got home and glanced over the picture. I hope he figured it out!

In other news, I still am jobless. My parents have helped a lot with bills and are going to help with rent, but if I can’t land a job soon we’re going to have to move to Michigan to live with LMIL until we can get on our feet. Fil’s mom managed to land me a job and we’d have the option of finding a cheap home up there. It’s definitely not something we want, but we may just have to resort to it. Bleh.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.