Saturday, July 31, 2010

On a Wild Ride

My life has been a roller-coaster of money woes.  I go through times of complete panic and distress, to relief and enjoyment when it comes to money.  Yesterday I received $100 cash at work for having a great June.  I know some people get thousands of dollars in bonuses but this $100 was special because as much as I needed the money, the people around me that received it needed it even more.  The company I help run hasn't had the greatest of times in the past few years and it just starting to turn the corner so passing out $100 bills to it's employees was a nice way to appreciate them.  The day prior, my husband texted me that he missed HIS bonus by 200 hours (they are measured in hours worked by employees  - he's a recruiter) and his bonus would have been like an extra paycheck.  So I was pretty happy with my crisp $100 bill.  I texted my hubby and he texted back - "COOL", and it felt like I was coming over the hill to see a nice stretch of smooth-ness on the tracks ahead.  Out of no where we hit a bump and my little cart started spinning out of control. I got a panicked call from my husband that when he went to order his medication (for MS) it had gone from $50 monthly (after insurance) to $150, so I may as well just hold on to that $100 bill.  Lovely.  This pretty much set the tone for my day. I was unnecessarily rude to him, then him to me, and after that, everything that could go wrong at work did. By the time I got home I was really worked up and we proceeded to argue about anything and everything.   I decided to pick that night to pay bills and to my horror saw the electric bill was $300!  In our defense, we had a HOT month and the a/c was on a lot, the kids are home more because it's summer, therefore the TV is on, the dishwasher is going, the laundry , etc etc.  Unfortunately, I had only been making minimal payments on the electric bill so needless to say, we are up to $800 and change now.  Over the years when times got tough Don has sold his gun collection, we have cashed in the kids savings bonds, borrowed & returned, and scrimped and scrounged money out of anywhere we can to get us by, with me barely losing anything besides pride. So, I got to thinking.  I have previously considered gathering up old jewelry to turn in but realized I don't have a whole lot of real pieces I could part with and I have even considered pawning my wedding ring, but chickened out.  I've talked about getting a 3rd job but it's not fair to the kids. I've thought about having a garage sale, but again, we don't have much people would want and I prefer to give what we can to those who need it and can't pay for it.  Let me clarify a few things at this point in the story: We are not desolate. We both have nice jobs, health benefits can buy groceries, drive two cars and pay our bills, however, we haven't always been smart in the money department. It goes way back to those darn credit card tables in the college commissary.  Anyway, there are SO MANY more way worse off people than us, this I KNOW.  I am not asking for sympathy. I include these anecdotes to make people in our situation relate, laugh and to vent about the un-fairness I feel even though I'm incredibly lucky and have been dealt a MORE than fair hand.  So let me just be a baby about it and just laugh with me....  Anyway, the problem with the Electric bill is that I have been making minimal payments so I can pay a little to everyone rather than leave someone out. Unfortunately, the bill is one delivered via email, so you don't really pay a lot of attention to the warnings and red flags and you think you are smooth sailing.  I said to myself - how many times have you used that silverware that was given to you when you were a little girl? Twice. It looked nice, but I never got the China that would have made it look even nicer.  My Dad's Mom would send me a piece every year for Christmas, and until I was around ten, I never gave it much thought, but I know my Mom was excited for me to start the collection since she never had any real silver.  At some point we had to send my twelve place settings back to my Grandma because they had discontinued the pattern my Mom had picked out when I was a baby, and my Grandma had to start me all over again, but I got to choose the pattern and being a young girl I chose the most feminine one.  I probably would have had 24 place settings had the original one not run it's course, but I ended up with 12 place settings, 48 pieces in all, that I have used two times and in the last four years looked at once.  It seemed like the right thing to do, so we picked two places to try against my hubby's better judgement.  I was determined and convinced it was  a good idea.  On the drive there I was such a jerk. Our house was hot with the a/c now off, and I think I just wanted to get the ordeal over with, plus the whole event was making me feel like such a loser.  One bright note is that I have two daughters, so how could I possibly decide who to give the silver to anyway??  We arrived at the first place and with a number in my head after good research the night before, we discovered the store was CLOSED.  I was so mad because now I couldn't do a comparison.  As we headed back to the car because we had gotten out to read the tiny note on the door the owner had left, he yelled from his car that we was back. WHEW!  He was an odd man, but seemed fair. He had left to watch his daughter's tennis tournament.  He never asked us why we were considering selling, and even talked about how no one used real silver now. So much so that I started to get nervous he was saying that to soften the blow of a low offer.  He took his time and when he gave us the figure we knew right away it was more than fair and a real blessing.  I didn't feel sad afterward like I thought I would.  No one really ever mentioned my silver, we didn't have fancy dinner parties, and I put it to good use and am grateful to my Grandmother for giving it to me and my Mom for helping me save it. On Monday I will pay our debt in full.  Afterwards we wanted to feel like normal people who don't have to sell things to get by,  so we went where all the wealthy people go, had lunch, and did what any parent of two beautiful girls would do - we bought them each an inexpensive gift.  (Our son was at a friend's house during this little adventure, otherwise we would have gotten him something too but for him, having the freedom from his sisters is a little gift! ;)....  )
So I'm back on track heading up a slight hill just coming out of a dark tunnel and I can see the light, but my hat flew off while we were in the dark. It was a very nice hat, one I'd had for a long long time, that traveled with me from house to house in a box and was only worn twice. As it flew off , I was sad to see it go, but I I didn't need it, the girl in the very last seat of our car might catch it and use it more than I ever could...
I hope the table looks beautiful ! ;)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Red, White and Blue

RED - My toes are now a bright red.  I got a pedicure and instead of my normal color - "Magnifcent on the Miracle Mile" the well-meaning girl thought I needed something a little younger looking....My daughter agreed that it wasn't my color and now I am stuck with it for a few weeks.... This is why I need to stick to my own personal style.

WHITE - I just got done wiping melted marshmellow off my lips from our campfire, and brushing ashes from my hair.  The lightening bugs were just waking up and the sparkling lights in the trees were amazing.  We roasted hot dogs and the girls played with sparklers. It was fun until the mosquitos started eating me alive...

BLUE - The color of every member in my family's eyes. Today at lunch, I looked at my husband's face and his blue eyes were amazing.  Then I looked at my kids faces and their eyes were amazing, and even though I may not be completely thrilled with my looks, I might have amazing blue eyes too.
Have a Happy a safe Fourth and Celebrate your Independence thanks to so many men and women who fought and are fighting for us.