Friday, August 20, 2010

Collecting is hard.

One day I decided I would try to normalize myself into society by doing things other normal people did - have a collection; much like I did when I tried to normalize myself by becoming a Regular at Satrbucks. That particular quest failed, but I vowed not to let that deter me from collection success. I figured beer steins would take up too much space and I never understood those miniature spoons people put in frames. Besides, with quarters all I'd have to do is spend money, which I was already doing. (read: required no change in the physical effort I was currently exerting.)

Anyway, I basically announced to Big V and Dotter that I was collecting quarters and it would now be their responsibility to look through change from time to time and put the quarters I needed (and they found) in the official quarter collecting map book. The process was grueling, to say the least. They took forever to find Arizona.

Now, just when I thought I was done and could pat myself on the back for a job well done, I find out there's MORE. The US Mint decided to do up a new District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and something referred to as the Northern Mariana Islands, which I'm going to have to Google because I am not recalling that at all from my high school geography class.

Collecting is really hard.

I don't think I have the time or energy for it anymore. Ever since Big V went all Debit Card on me he never has any change. That means I'd be the one responsible for drumming up the cash to sift through. And Dotter is suddenly all, "but, Mom, wouldn't you get more satsisfaction from finding the coins you need yourself?" (What does she know; she's eight.) No, kid, it's all about being on top delegating to the peons to do your shit work. You'll learn all about that at your first job.

Since my family is obviously not supporting me (just wait to see what you get for Christmas. I see lots of socks and underwear in your future!), and I vowed not to fail, I figured I better enlist the help of others so I can get this done and put it to bed. Figuratively speaking. Although I do keep the official quarter collecting map book under my bed so it's kind of like putting it to bed. Weird, huh? Anyway, I'll be posting these around town later today:

Feel free to help a blogger out.

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....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just one more minute....

I promise to tell you all about our time up north.
But for now, I want just one more minute to savor it...