Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bills Suck

In an effort to get Big V to *see* the grand scheme of bill paying, what we owed, what we spend, what we should save for, I passed everything over to him. "Here you go," I happily announced. "YOU deal with it!" And he did. Just not in the way I would have liked. You know, in that, gee we have this electric bill due which means maybe I should pay it and not buy a new lawn mower kind of way. That's what I get for handing over my pay check and my trust.

Fast forward a couple months and I'm in a panic because the electric is surely going to be disconnected and I'll have to light candles around the house in order to see and the baby will knock one over and it'll catch the house on fire and then we'll all die.

So, I've done what any normal mature adult woman would do in this situation and I've taken the financially responsibility of this family back and placed it squarely on my shoulders. And I've whined and complained and cried and thrown tantrums and pouted the whole time.

That's because Big V doesn't exactly work a full time job. Big V works a kinda-sorta full time job. Sometimes he works full time and sometimes he doesn't. It's just the name of the game. Construction: and thousands are in the same position as he is. Sometimes he kinda-sorta doesn't get paid all the way. That's because they have to wait for the customer to pay before the workers can get paid. And then I get frustrated because it's really hard to pay the electric bill with a promise that maybe next week he'll get all the money owed him and then we can for real pay the bill. (Big V refers to this as "making good." As in "I only got paid half of what's owed me, but they'll be making good next week sometime.") Meanwhile, mortgages are due and babysitters need to be paid and school registration fees are waiting and I'm looking at a column of actual real money versus a column of someday we might actually get this money. It's hard. (Ask anyone in this economy who is employed in the construction business.)

And then I think of my parents who worked so hard the entire time we were kids, and still do. My mom always had two or three jobs, as did my dad. They worked together as a team to get things done. My dad would work first shift and my mom second so they could save on daycare costs. (Well, let's be honest, no one in their right mind would've watched four kids spaced five years apart. Unless they were crazy. Which we did actually get a crazy person once who watched us. But that story - filled with hands immersed in boiling water, dangling small children from one leg over a balcony and stuffing a child in a bin filled with plastic bags, is for another day.)

We turned out okay. I mean, not that great, obviously, but okay, considering the lack of dietary variation. (My dad made hamburgers every night except Thursdays when he made pancakes. Ask me why I don't like hamburgers or pancakes: because I overdosed as a child.)

I guess my point is to me it's obvious. As an adult you come to the table with a certain expectation, and to me that means you work a real, full time job. One that pays. On a regular basis. And if you don't have that then you do whatever is in your power to get as close to that as possible. I don't care if you work two part time jobs, or three. As long as you're working and pulling your own weight. This explains why I've always had more than one job, because I expect me to abide by my own standards.

I've always worked jobs where there was a paycheck on a certain day, and there were sick days, vacation days,  really great insurance and a 401K. Everything was always steady. Everything was always dependable. For the entire year. The idea of working in a business where there is no security, there is no guarantee of pay, is foreign to me. I have friends who work on commission alone and I just don't understand how that's done. How do you budget? Plan? Guarantee an income? It's so scary to be working in a business that slows and speeds up and then comes to a halt. It's simply unchartered territory to me.

I suppose there really is no humor in this post. But financial struggles are rarely cloaked in humor. Now a post about my Bisquick loving mother - that just might have humor in it. Bisquick biscuits, Bisquick shepard's pie, Bisquick impossible pie, Bisquick coffee cake, Bisquick dumplings....

11 comments:

Rebecca said...

Oh, how I so completely understand this post. Fortunately my hubby is the one who handles the finances, but I'm still aware of what's due and when. It's not fun to be in that "iffy" situation...no matter how used to it you are.

Rebecca said...

I should also add that when I first saw the title of this post, I thought it said "Bill Sucks" and thought it was for some reason about True Blood.

Brenna said...

I hate bill day. I am the steady earner. He works for himself and cares for the child. While his money does come, it's never the same amount each week. I gave him back bill duty when I heard too often that I wasn't doing it right. "Right" apparently involves 2 solid hours of running commentary.

HeatherB said...

I followed a link from one site to another to yours.

I have been working two jobs this entire year - one full time to cover all of our monthly bills, one part-time to cover daycare expenses. My husband, well, he, uh, has been working 16-20 hours a week and the rest of the time has been hanging with the boys and doing what he feels like.

I agree that you should have to contribute something. I wouldn't mind being the only one working, if he thought to do some laundry or dishes or mow the lawn, but that doesn't happen either.

Sometimes, being a girl (or woman or wife, mate or mother) just plain sucks. If nothing else, know that you are not alone out there.

Phoenix Rising said...

Thanks, Ladies! It does make me feel a lot better knowing I'm not the only one out there struggling with this. And, oh, how lovely it would be if the dishes and laundry got done by someone other than me! (Would I be selfish to add dusting and mopping as well?)

THE LETTS FAMILY said...

I hate hot dogs for the same reason. Can't choke one down to save my life.

THE LETTS FAMILY said...

I also thought it said "Bill Sucks" but I thought it was about Bill Clinton. No idea why.

THE LETTS FAMILY said...

OH! And I would never watch 4 kids spaced 5 years apart because 3 kids spaced 5 years apart is already almost killing me without plastic bags or boiling water. AND, bills do suck.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should not have gone on the vacation? just a thought!

Phoenix Rising said...

True, Anonymous. But I am thankful that we had the opportunity (through very kind friends) to give us their cabin for the weekend. The cost of gas was something I could give without. I'll have to do better at explaining my frustration: it's because finances rest SOLELY on my shoulders. I want to selfishly be the one who swipes the debit card without calculating what's left in our account. I want to not think about retirement funds, or if we have enough money to get through the winter if the furnace goes, or how much the car insurance is going to increase once the Bean becomes a driver. I wish I had partnered with someone who thought the way I do in regards to finances. It sucks being the one who has to think/worry/lecture about money when you're with someone who has such a casual approach to making money and what we need to live off of. (Also, it was the first "vacation" our whole family had ever been on. Not Disney World, but very close!)

Dave said...

Remember, the one you partnered with is the one with his name on the deed of the house. Gosh, I wonder what Ma..I mean, "Big V" would say if he ever found out about these little musings...