I hate money.

It happens: You try to remain cheerful about things going on, and you may even convince yourself, but then it catches up to you.

We just bought a house, so money is tight as it is. There are some things that most people probably wouldn’t have to pay for that we may–I won’t get into the details of that–but we’re looking at something like a grand. And then it occurs to us that the van might not even make the trip to the new place; it needs to be taken in. Who knows how much that will be? Oh, and did I mention that Piper became very sick, had to be hospitalized, and after all was said and done, that cost about $800?

Any money that we wanted to put into making the house nicer–to make it ours–is quickly dwindling away.

And as we all know, if there’s one thing I’m always worried about, it’s money. We’re a family of three living off my very modest income. It’s strange. I make so much more than I ever have in my entire life, but it seems like I have less money to show for it. Honestly, it’s because I have so many more bills than I used to. There’s just not much left after bills are paid. It’s difficult to have all this stewing in your head and feeling like you have to keep a lid on it.

Obviously, I don’t completely. On here, I pretty much never hold back, but in real life, I’ve been trying to curb how much I complain about money. I’m not doing a very good job, but in my defense, it’s pretty much all I think about. And for me, when I discuss it with other people, it’s just venting. In my family, money and bills are the things we complain about. It’s almost like a bonding thing. But I don’t think that’s how it is for other people.

I still remember the Monday after I found out I was pregnant with Vincent, we had been told overtime was being taken away. Keep in mind that up to that point, I was doing a ton of overtime because I needed to pay stuff (I know Jim broke the fridge in our apartment and I had to buy his college books, amongst other things), and I was working a ton to try to pay for everything, then I found out I was pregnant and unable to do overtime. I freaked out. How on earth was I going to afford a baby? Or move out of our one-bedroom apartment? I couldn’t even afford maternity clothes.

I fretted; my co-workers sympathized. I didn’t think much of my complaining. Isn’t that what friends do? Complain to each other, listen, sympathize? Then, one day, they gathered around me to give me a gift card of $100 so I could buy maternity clothes because they knew I was in a difficult spot. I was speechless. It was so generous of them. At the same time, I worried that maybe they felt compelled to do so because I was so open about my anxiety regarding our financial situation, especially given that I was also pregnant. I was just venting, though; I certainly didn’t intend for anyone to give me anything.

Something similar happened a few months ago, before my dad passed away. I made the mistake of openly worrying about money to Jim’s mom. Suddenly,she gave us a check out of the blue. I made Jim tear it up. I didn’t want her to feel like she needed to give us money; I was just sharing what’s on my mind (ALWAYS FREAKIN’ MONEY, ARGH)–I wasn’t trying to get anything from her.

Then my dad died. We didn’t have the money to go up north. We ended up having to borrow money from her anyway. It was not an easy thing on my pride, but what was I going to do? Miss saying goodbye to my dad just because I didn’t want to borrow money?

We paid it back within the month–my gain sharing came in not long afterward–but still. It stung.

***

Okay, so I need to quit fretting about money. In good news, our new house is coming along decently. We decided that while we will do renovations over time (when we have money, if ever), the 70’s smelly shag carpet HAD to go. I can handle a house with outdated stuff in it or stuff that just isn’t my style–hell, I’ve been renting so long, it’s pretty much all I know–but the smell of the carpet in the hallway and bedrooms made me want to gag. (The living room carpet is actually nice, so we’re keeping it for now.) So Jim and I have been ripping it out and praying for decent floor underneath.

Score! Beautiful wood floors. Oak, by the looks of it. And I bet if we refinish it, it will look amazing. One small problem: carpet glue.

I think with a lot of backbreaking sweat, elbow grease, and a good block of time, Jim and I could probably clear out the junk stuck to the floors in our bedroom. But Vincent’s room…that stuff is like tar. It just won’t come up. Goo Gone and Murphy Oil Soap, neither seem to be working very well. We’re scratching our heads and debating whether or not using a sander will actually work on it or just gum the sander up. We’re wondering if we’re ever going to get it completely taken off.

So we’ve come up with plan B: If we can’t get it off, then we’ll buy the wood flooring. You know, from Home Depot or something.

I’ll probably have to borrow money from my retirement for that.

It always comes back to money, doesn’t it?

 

 

Fuck.

I don’t even know how it started.

I was on Facebook. I could hear Vincent from time to time, making his settling-into-sleep noises in the next room. My sister Diana posted on Facebook: Mom’s late. I commented, Dad would be shaking his head right now, lol.

I was walking down the hallway, a million things on my mind. Work. New house. Kid who is a wonderful little boy but such a light sleeper. Stress, stress, stress.

What would Dad say about all this?

It’s a thought that creeps into my head frequently, but I push it out. I know what Dad would say. You bought a house! He’s not sleeping! Ooooh…I love you…well, I’m not good at talking on the phone, let me get your mother.

And then it hits me. Sunday is Father’s Day. I don’t have a father.

Fuck.

Literally, one minute I was happy and bouncing down the hall, and then next, I was bawling over the sink in the bathroom.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I don’t know where it came from. Maybe someone would say it’s been coming for months. I think about my dad a lot, but most of the time, I still feel numb about it. I don’t cry much. I think that if there’s anything after this, then he’s probably with Josh, and that makes me happy for Dad. Dad was never the same after Josh died.

If there’s anything after this, I imagine it’s peaceful. And I should be happy for them both.

But I’m selfish. I wish I could tell Dad about my new house. He knew how much I wanted my own place. I wish I could make plans with Josh to spend a week with me during the summer like he used to. I wish they could see Vincent, how he has Jim’s smile, but when he’s serious, he reminds me so much of a younger version of my dad. He’s even a light sleeper like my dad was.

I know what Dad would say to all these things. I know how he would say it. I can hear his voice in my head. He said the same things a million times in the same way, but I would give anything to hear it again.

I love you! I’m no good at this, let me get your mother…

Is this always going to be my memory of him? Me holding the phone, wondering why he couldn’t have held on a little longer?

Officially homeowners!

Today, after several false starts, Jim and I officially became homeowners! I cannot lie: The process was a headache. I bought one house before this, and I don’t remember it being this much of a pain. I’ve been told that the laws have changed since then, which is part of why it was so painful.

No pictures yet–and to be honest, we’ll probably be doing some work on the house before we move in, anyway–but Jim’s mom took some pictures of VIncent running up and down the hill that went from the driveway down to the backyard:

vincent_in_new_drives_060514-4 vincent_jim_new_yard_060514-2In all the pictures she took, Vincent looks so serious. It’s funny because, in actuality, the first thing he did when we plopped him down in his new backyard was lift his arms up, run a little ways, laugh, and then started babbling happily. After that, he discovered the hill going up from the backyard to the driveway and had fun running up and down it.

When we took him inside, he also ran back and forth happily, none of the usual cautiously looking around that he does when he first comes to a place.

“Oh, he knows,” Jim’s mom said. “He knows this is his house!”

Who knows? Maybe he does! Either way, I like to think of his reaction as a good sign. :)

 

Seize!

About a month or so ago, my friend Ryan suggested that Jim and I watch Vikings. I was like Eh, we’ll see, but I mentioned it to Jim because Ryan has similar tastes. Anyway, the weekend we celebrated our anniversary, we couldn’t find any movies in the theaters that we thought were worth their insanely-high prices, so we opted to buy a movie and watch it at home, except instead of a movie, we got the first season of Vikings.

We’re almost done with the first season, and it just keeps getting better. The more we get into it, the more we like Ragnar. And, no, it’s not because he’s “dreamy” (as Ryan suggested when I said I really liked Ragnar), although there is no denying that fact. I mean, look at this face:

Ragnar Lodbrok

Ragnar Lodbrok, played by Travis Fimmel

Okay, yeah, he’s easy on the eyes. No disputing that. But cute guys are a dime a dozen, and they tend to grow old and get beer guts like everyone else. (Except for my own husband, who’s still trim and as good-looking as when I met him, but let’s face it, the rest of us aren’t so lucky!) His looks aren’t what I like. It’s the character that I like. It’s the attitude. He’s generally upbeat, and even when he does get down, he doesn’t stay down for long. And he’s a doer. He’s definitely a “seize the moment” type of guy. One terrible thing that my husband and I have in common: We’re both indecisive as hell. Not Ragnar. He makes a decision quickly and then follows through unwaveringly.

So I’ve decided I need a little Ragnar in me. (Not in the dirty sense, get your minds out of the gutter.) Now I’m looking for something like a “What Would Ragnar Do?” poster to hang on the wall next to me while at work. That way, when things get stressful at work, I can be reminded of that air of confidence.

And if people piss me off, I can remind myself that the jerks’ fates have been decided. And grin.

My poster is going to need an ax. :D

 

Uncle Jim!

Jim and his new niece, Della!

Jim and his new niece, Della!

 

Jim’s sister Wendy had her baby girl on Saturday morning. It’s weird–I’m an aunt again, but for once, it isn’t my sibling having the baby. The situation is opposite for Jim. He was so cute with her. I thought it was funny how he tried to play it cool, but in the car once, his excitement got the best of him at one point, and he blurted, “Dammit, I want to see my niece!” Too cute.

Congratulations, Wendy and Nathan! You’re going to be awesome parents.

WHAZZUP.

Edit: Written on 5/5/14, but unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to post until this morning (5/9/14).

What’s up is that I took a day off. And it’s a nice day, too: I hear my wind chimes going, the breeze rustling the trees, birds singing…and right now, a quiet house, as both my husband and son are asleep.

That won’t last for long, though. Also, it sounds nice now, but keep in mind that Vincent woke up at 5:45 AM this morning, completely awake and ready to play. No, he doesn’t normally wake up that early. Seems like he only does in the the weekends or days that I take off–you know, the days where I usually field him most of the time so that Jim can get a break.

This has been a nice weekend. Jim and I celebrated our anniversary on Saturday–Saturday wasn’t our actual anniversary, just the day we celebrated it–so Jim’s mom took Vincent overnight. It’s not the first time she has taken him overnight. She’s done it twice before, I think. But I’m still not used to it. I tried to just enjoy being with Jim, but I missed Vincent. As much work as he is, I also genuinely enjoy being with him. He’s a fun kid.

But, wow, after we picked him up last night and he took a nap, he was FUSSY. Uncharacteristically so. A standard compliment that Vincent gets when we take him out is how good he is. Really, for a toddler who is so young, he behaves very well and doesn’t cry much at all. But last night, he was throwing fits left and right, and finally I realized that he had been outside a LOT with his Granny Lori. Perhaps he missed being outside? So Jim and I gathered him up, packed him in the car, open the windows, and took him for a drive.

And that was the ticket. He sang with delight as the wind hit his face. (He loves things blowing on him, whether it be the wind, fans, me blowing his hair, etc. He just thinks it’s great.) It calmed him down. We came back, put him to bed, and he slept THE WHOLE NIGHT.

Well, until 5:45, heh.

So, note to self: Vincent needs to be outside a lot more.

Anyway. Jim and I didn’t do much for our anniversary. We drove around, went to O’Charley’s to eat. I had a Mango Mai Tai, the first alcoholic drink I’ve had since…actually, since our honeymoon. And I think the time before that was two years. Anyway, Jim got a mojito, and we realized that we are not the drinkers we once were. Oh, we’ve always been kind of lightweights who got drunk pretty easily. But as soon as I took a sip of my mai tai, I could totally taste the alcohol. And I didn’t really like it, to be honest. I didn’t even finish it.

Next up: Movies. Except we weren’t really interested in anything out, so we bought Vikings, which was highly recommended by my friend/co-worker Ryan. We’re digging it so far.

Ooops. There’s Vincent. Gotta go. Will try to update more often.

Pushing on.

I keep trying to write this post.

A lot has been going on. My dad passed away and my son turned one. Two big events. How strange that just a week or so before my dad died, I was looking at Vincent, realizing that he reminds me of my dad when he was younger.

All of us kids have been calling my mom frequently. She ended up in the hospital herself a few weeks ago from cellulitis. And then she was struggling when she got out because her prescriptions were so expensive. One of them was over $600 for the generic! Keep in mind, my mother was in limbo because now without my dad’s social security, she had no income. She just finally got some money in the other day–almost 2 months after my dad passed away.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering what she’s going to do. I worry about it a lot. Diana and I have both offered to have her live with us. Mom seems pretty determined to stay in her house. I suspect it’s not so much as being attached to the house as she’s worried about burdening us. But I worry about her being by herself, how she’s going to get by. I live in a house with four bedrooms, Mom, I pointed out. If she could get rid of her house, she could come here where I could make sure that whatever her financial situation, she would have a roof over her head and food to eat and me and Jim to take care of her. Also, I would love for Vincent to have his Grandma Jenkins here.

But things are never that simple. About two weeks ago, Jim got a call from his dad. There’s this house down the street from his dad that’s for sale. It’s actually one that Jim and I had eyed before, thinking it would be nice to buy, not because it’s a fancy house, but because it was cute, looked like it had potential, and is on the street we wanted to live on. It’s the location that makes it so desirable for us: In the school district we want Vincent to be in, down the street from Jim’s dad and step-mom, and right across from Jim’s mom’s work. Also, it’s rural but just 5 or 10 minutes away from town.

To make it even better, they were selling it for half the appraised value. We checked out the house, and it’s exactly the type Jim and I had always talked about getting: A small house with a decent amount of land so we could build onto it. The “bones” are good, too. It looks as if the owner took good care of the house.

It’s a deal we can’t pass up. The sellers accepted our offer and we have the financial stuff in the works. Now, however, if Mom wanted to live with us, where would we put her? It’s only two bedrooms.

So I’m wondering if we’re going to have to add onto the house sooner rather than later. But I’m not going to worry about it for now. We don’t even know 100% if we’ll be moving in until we can confirm that the DSL there is fast enough for my work computer. (I had a friend who was burned by this, so I’m anxious about it.) I know, my mom is trying to stay in her own place, but I would like to have another room so she has options.

Speaking of work, as of last week, things started getting better. They started pulling us off the phones. I went from being on a minimum of 6 hours a day to only being on for 2 hours last week. I think I was only pulled on to cover lunches for a day. That’s really no big deal. Which is good because less time on the phones means less stress, and I find that I seem to do more overtime when I’m not so stressed. And, as you can see, I really need the overtime right now. We just have so much going on.

I think having so much going on, though, is what’s helping me cope. Jim keeps telling me that he’s impressed at how well I’m handling my dad’s death; truthfully, I don’t think it has sunk in. Or maybe keeping busy just keeps it at bay. But eventually, it will creep on you. I’m still having nightmares.

Happy birthday, Vincent!

Vincent and his daddy.

Vincent and his daddy.

Vincent and his daddy opening presents on his first birthday. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I can’t believe my baby is now officially a toddler!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, VINCENT! You’ve added so much brightness to so many lives, and we’re blessed to know you.

Gary Jenkins: August 28, 1944 – February 24, 2014.

I got a call from my sister Charlette just before I was about to punch into work that my father passed away at 6:30 this morning.

Daddy

Daddy

I want to say more, but my mind keeps going blank. I can’t seem to focus on anything. It’s the call I’ve been dreading for years, and I still wasn’t prepared for it. I guess you never are.

I love you, Daddy. Hug Josh for me.

Still looking.

Note the new look…it’s probably temporary. It’s a half-hearted attempted to cheer at least one of my “spaces” up, even if it’s virtual. And, let’s face it, the purple one was 1) old, and 2) starting to depress me.

These days, depression seems to be the theme. I assume it’s mostly because work has sucked so bad this winter (although it’s starting to show signs of improving again), but it probably doesn’t help that I’m starting to assess our financial situation, the goals I have in life and the life I want to provide for my son, and my worry that I won’t be able to provide it.

Lately, my work has been posting a lot of new job positions, ones that are higher up and pay more than my current one. Now I have the internal debate: Do I try for one? It would be nice to have more money, especially since I’m the only one working. The problem, though, is that, this winter aside, I really like my job. It’s the only one I’ve ever liked. Frankly, I pretty much think I’ll retire from here–something I’ve never said about anyplace, ever.

How many people can say that about their jobs? Is that really worth trading in for more money?

Sigh. Another thought for another time. Right now, I want to enjoy the quiet of the house. Figures, the one day I’ve had off this week, and I wake up at 5 AM, unable to go to sleep.

Man, winning the lottery would solve so many of my problems.