November 24, 2004 (second entry)
Aggggh! Found this and have to fill it in now!!
A is for Age: 43
November 24, 2004
I feel better, having come up with a decent financial plan. I have complete faith in the miracle department, but I am also a firm believer in "pray to Goddess, but keep rowing for the shore."
More on that later.
Many of you know that I am not able to watch much prime time TV. Night times around here are pretty active and settling down for some good TV doesn't usually happen. I'm fairly frustrated, in fact, that I only got the final 5 minutes or so of "Scrubs" last night. A few series have really taken hold with me. One was "The Dead Zone" on USA network with Anthony Michael Hall. I was pretty happy to read that it has been picked up for a fourth season, but there's no announcement of when that will be. Next, I got all involved in "The Sopranos," starting with the seasons that were on DVD already and going through the most reason season airing on HBO. It ended in June and the 6th (and final) season is supposed to go into production sometime early next year. My next aggressive addiction was "Dead Like Me" on showtime, which I think might just be the greatest show ever made. Shall we all sing together on this one? It ended on Halloween of this year and again, I'm out in the cold. There's no word yet of new episodes being ordered. Order the first season on Netflix. You'll be glad you did. I missed the first 9 episodes (!!!) of the second season which is being aired on something called Showtime On Demand or something like that. Something Dish Network doesn't carry. >:<
That leaves me trying to catch "Scrubs" when I can and otherwise without TV interest. Of course, daytime is different and I have a "schedule." At 8am, it's "Deep Space Nine," 9am is "Chicago Hope" (LOVE that show), 10-12 is Buffy reruns, 12-3 is ABC soaps, 3-4 is Dr Phil and after 4, I have to clean. I hate when network changes screw up my flow. >:<
I figure if I was supposed to be cleaning from 8-4, there wouldn't be such good TV on.
You have to follow the signs...
Today I really do have to clean. My house isn't as bad as the lady's who was on Oprah a few days ago. Yes, yes, yes, I watched Oprah, at least one segment. It came on and I wasn't in a situation where I could change channels, so I watched the first part. Between that one brief portion and the previews and such that aired during that time, as well as the Maurice Benard segment on manic-depression that I also recently watched, my extreme disdain for Oprah is reaffirmed. I previously discussed it here. I have met very few people who are as sanctimonious, who interrupt so much and who are so excited to show how much money they have. *full body shudder*
Speaking of the money, I do have a plan. I'm going to give it a couple of weeks, then if the miracles haven't manifested (yet), I'm going to tell the older kids that they'll get Christmas, but it'll be late. That postpones that expenditure and leaves me buying only for my little kids and the grandgirls. I showed the budget to Eric last night and he agreed it was grim, but he was willing to have the kids not have Christmas this year if that's what it took. (Grinch) His response was, "they'll get over it." I'm not that easy, I'm afraid. I *did* learn my lesson last year, when I made Christmas promises that my bank account couldn't back up. This year, they don't have any expectations, so surely I can come up with enough cheap stuff to impress them for the day.
I've been wracking my brain for ways to make money for Christmas and I've only been able to come up with one and it's so dorky, I hesitate to even mention it, but I think I am going to offer online Tarot readings for people. I'm not as good by remote as I am in person, but I'm still pretty good. I could do a pretty fast turn around and send people a few pages of a good reading. Hey, I (literally) wrote the book on Tarot reading! ;-) Well, a book anyway.
This also means that I'm going to need to depend on you folks to carry EOS expenses for December because if we don't make the $200 site expenses for the month, there's no way I can carry it.
The good news is that after the first of the year, everything should be fine. Unlike our tough times before, this time there IS an end in sight. And Eric really isn't trying to be a scrooge about the kids' Christmas. He just knows that we worked really hard to get our essential bills caught up and try to improve his credit rating so we can get a good refinance on the house. That is likely to happen in January, so our mortgage will go down and we'll be able to pull out some equity at the same time and have a nest egg for emergencies. Meanwhile, Eric's friend, Jason, is interested in having him do some electrical work on the side, which will fill in the blanks. It feels good that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's just the now part that is a real challenge and the timing is atrocious.
I heard something on "Chicago Hope" today. Mark Harmon was talking to Hector Elizondo (one of my very favorite writers) about a financial crisis and said, "One thing about it is you don't die." Or something to that effect. It's simple, but it really is the crux of the situation. Things get bad, the Wheel turns, things change and you move on. It's life. You just have to make the other things in life matter and be more important than the crisis that is going on. It's amazing the degree of control we actually do have over our thought processes. Too often, we feel awash in emotions and at the mercy of our feelings to the exclusion of anything else, but there really is a shut off valve where you can step out of the fear and the resentment and the guilt and panic long enough to objectify it and see it as external from yourself. Once you can get there, the rest is a cake walk. If you can get it out of you, you can manage it much more effectively and you become you again and the the crisis become something that happened, no more, no less. It's just a moment in time, a blip on your life's radar, the blink of an eye in the full spectrum of your life. Like labor, you just hang on, breathe through the pain, exert pressure when you need to and then welcome the new life that is born.
I have just under a month until Winter Solstice and I am by Goddess going to make it. This is going to be the best Christmas ever. Last year, there was zero hope and Christmas was WONDERFUL. This year, it will be even better.
Gosh, whine, whine, WHINE! ENOUGH of that!
In fact, I've been whining all through this journal strip! Maybe it's the petulant little blue Winter fairy at the top or something.
OH! My friend, Linda from the Ranch Board actually had a translation for the hungry animal dream! She has had hungry animal, hungry baby, hungry kid dreams (the only other person I've ever heard of who does) and a doctor told her that it meant you were not nurturing your inner self.
Judging from how my house looks, I've been a little too self-nurturing (and indulgent), but hey, when the hungry animals speak, who am I to argue?
I have to shave my cat a bit. I wish I could get him drunk first. He has terrible mats for the first time in his 5 years of life. Of course, he normally rules concrete city blocks and not jungles of fir, pine, cedar and manzanita trees, complete with coyotes, wild cats, skunks and other critters. (They don't call it "grizzly" flats fer nuthin.) I guess such things take their toll on a cat's silky long-hair fur. (May he thought "fir" trees were "fur" trees and has been trying to wear them.) It's going to be very, very interesting getting the electric clippers around him. He's not even very into cuddling unless it's specifically on his terms. I figure I'll lock us in the bathroom so he can't escape and afterwards, force him to cuddle me again, not letting him go until he's over his piss off. Considering that he doesn't even like to be held or carried, we might be in there a lonnnng long time.
And with that, I'm closing up computer shop for most of the week and devoting time to home (read: house cleaning), kids, hubby, food, cat shaving (checking e-mail, of course, I mean, I'm not that disciplined) and maybe even some self-nurturing to stave off the hungry animals dreams. No doubt I will now start having shaven cat nightmares. Since Creep (my cat - Josh named him) ascribes to the Shylock philosophy ("If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"), I should expect to pay for a good, long time.
Happy, happy Thanksgiving! Eat good food without remorse! Relax! Enjoy the bounty! Life is sooo good and this is the perfect time to revel in the good stuff. :)
PS!! I forgot to mention! Last night, I dreamed that Jeff, Joe's biological father, finally called us. We've been looking for him for 3 years and I haven't heard from him since 1988. I got a letter from the Social Security Administration a couple of months ago saying they'd forward my letter to him. I hope they can find him and that he contacts us soon. The dream made me want it that much more!
November 23, 2004
May I be excused, my brain is full!
Actually, it has already binged and purged. I read my friend, Coggie's "Cubbyhole[s ic]" column and it got me off on a tear about human motivations and the afterlife and a little bit of everything else and poor Coggie got the brunt of it in about a 146kb e-mail. Bless'er, she takes so much philosophical rhetoric from me, she has no doubt well received her sainthood by now via martyr.
I'm all sated (you folks should feel blessed that she bore the brunt of THAT one or else I might have inflicted it upon the teeming masses here) and ready to talk about more mundane issues. (Thanks, Coggie. I U.)
I am trying to process my current mood of want and deprivation and whininess from a higher, more sacred level and I'm not convinced I'm succeeding. My mind keep drifting to thoughts of the profane and selfish. Maybe if I type it out (you guys are going to be WISHING for that huge sermon Coggie got by the time I'm finished whining here), I can get my head wrapped around everything.
Remember The Wheel of Fortune from last entry? More and more, I am feeling "under The Wheel." I feel like I've been putting out fires right and left lately. Overall, my sleep is fairly well caught up, although I could sleep given the chance. I don't know whether that's fatigue or escapism. Taking my own advice from last entry, all I have to do is hang in there and keep things as stable as I can until the Wheel turns again and takes up above sea level.
I had the hungry animals dream again a couple of nights ago, where I go into a house where I used to live, go upstairs (even if the house didn't have an upstairs in real life) and find hoards of pets that I've forgotten about who are now starving, dirty and with babies who are also starving and dirty. This time, I didn't recognize the house, but went upstairs and there was a tank of 2 large semi-aquatic turtles (not God and Q, the ones I own now), two larges cages with 5 birds (4 male cockatiels and a small, blue, African parrot) and a large metal cage with lots of guinea pigs inside. The cages were horrifically dirty and the animals were dying of hunger. Normally, I wake up at some point in the dream where I am frantically working to right things for the animals. Same thing happened this time, three times, in fact, but each time, I forced myself back to sleep and actually re-entered the dream. By the time I woke up for good, I had changed out and cleaned all of the cages and had the animals fed. I hope that means we can pick a new repetitive dream.
The kids are off school all this week, so I don't have to wake up and swing into action, pushing the kids out the door. Delena is still sleeping (it's 11:30am), but she had a rough weekend. Her 12th birthday was on Saturday. She had a friend from Sacramento come up on Friday night, then a local friend joined them on Saturday night. They had a bonfire with s'mores and a weenie roast, then a sleep over. Delena then went back to Sacramento with her friend Sunday afternoon, spent the night with Josh (her older brother), getting in some good brother, nieces and baby nephew time, then getting picked up and brought home by her dad last night. I really missed her while she was gone!
The boys have been really, really sweet, but extremely busy and messy. That hasn't coupled well with me being tired, starting (another) diet and wanting to do little but write. It's been great to have them to cuddle and laugh with and enjoy, but I wish they'd be... tidy or something. I hate cleaning up after other people. My life is pretty well based on cleaning up after other people. As Dr Phil says, people will perform undesirable acts to achieve a desirable result. I love being home with my kids (and my computer) and the other side of that is that the housework is mine.
Fortunately, kids are getting bigger and I can delegate like mad.
I did get some particularly interesting information at Nathan's parent-teacher conference on Thursday. For one thing, she told me how musical Nathan is (*blink*blink*) and evidently is also has some little girl named Kaitlyn who is his Lord and Master (he's very dominant at home). ALSO, the teacher, who is also the principal, told us that there is a very good chance that DYLAN will be able to go to the little school when they go back after Christmas!! NO more home schooling! No more kids here during the day. Nathan even goes to full day kindergarten after Christmas! The last week we heard, second grade was full and there was another child on the waiting list before him. Boy, did I pray. Nathan LOVES the little school and Dylan does OK with home school (much better than he did with 2 hours of bus ride a day), but his speech isn't as good as it was and I know he misses being with kids. This will be such an incredible opportunity for him (and for me). Nathan is really excited about the idea of Dylan going to school with him (they will be in the same class until Dylan goes into 3rd grade) and we are all really hoping it happens.
This is particularly fortuitous because I have been feeling an intense urge to get back to the novel I wrote many years ago. I pretty well finished it (I was down to about 2 chapters left) almost 19 years ago after writing it on 5-6 different typewriters before computers were in the average home. I was talking with Sherry Mercurio about the basic plotline and that got me all kinds of excited about it again. I did manage to send out the Tarot book last week and the clock is ticking loudly in my ear as we dive into the "up to six months" it can take to get a response from the publisher. If Dylan goes back to full time school and Nathan is gone all day, I'll have hours to write alone. It will be like a new part of my life has begun.
THAT will be my Christmas present because wow, I did our budget through the end of the year and baby, it is GRIM! When Eric got a regular, steady job, I hoped our times of financial crisis were behind us, for the most part. We were lucky to be able to find a way to get a safe vehicle for Eric to drive in the coming snow and ice and the monthly payment and insurance hike is something that we can pretty much afford. The problem is the down payment we had to come up with, that depleted us last month AND this month, leaving us just done.
I am a firm believer in miracles, as you all know, but the timing of this is atrocious. To pay the bills that we have to pay, get a skeleton crew of groceries and cover gas for Eric to and from work, we will take a graceful and exquisite nosedive into the red around December 17th, continuing on into the following payday as well. We celebrate Solstice on Dec 19th, so I have until then to bring on the miracle party.
Eric learned we may be able to re-finance the house earlier than 2 years, but that involves an up front payment of $350 for the appraisal (yikes!). We know the house has built up mad equity since we bought it because the housing market in California is still completely insane. Our neighbor's house, which is on half as much land as hours, just appraised at $100,000 more than it did last year. There is also a large addition to our house that is not coded (therefore, could not be included in the square footage on which the previous appraisal on this house was based). All we have to do is draw up "as built" plans, have the room inspected and then file the inspection and our equity goes way up. Out here in the wilderness, it is extremely common for people to build onto their houses without having the plans approved or the final result inspected. No one much says anything about it until it is time to sell the house, then it's an issue (we don't plan to ever sell). Now in Sacramento, non-permitted building, even remodeling your kitchen, is dealt with harshly and expensively. Of course, inspections and plan filing and things like that ALSO cost money. It's the ol' "It takes money to make money" conflict.
As an aside, I've always loved to hear people talk about home equity in terms of, "My house made me $50,000 last year!" Pfft. No it didn't. If it did, you would have called in rich to your job all that year (or this). What it did was give you more money that you can borrow if you choose to. You still have to pay it back. It's not like a bank just gives you money because you have a decent house in an absurdly favorable housing market. I've been equally amused when people talk about a baseball card or comic book they own that is worth obscene amounts of money. To me, it's worth whatever the guy behind the counter will give you for it, which is never what's in the price guide. To me, your house is only worth as much as the appraisal after you sell it and have the money in your hand. Until then, it's the same house you bought for considerably less a few years ago, just with a few more memories and a little more wear to it.
Eric is still working on the money issue and I'm lighting candles, praying and letting ideas come and go. I've done it before and St Jude and I will do it again!
To show you how my day has gone, it is now 3pm. I started his at 11 and have spent the hours getting up and down and up and down to problem solve. All I want to do is go to bed and pull the covers over my head.
My house is destroyed. I have hundreds of loads of clothes to fold and not a clean dish in the house. I'm looking at it and just feeling weary. I want to demand more of myself and just get up and do it, but my head hurts and I'm tired and I feel like if I do it, I will die.
We have guests I've never met coming for Thanksgiving. Eric has invited a guy from his work with his wife. They are staying the night so they don't have to drive back the same day. Another guy from his work will also be stopping by. David, my son, is coming as well.
I left home in 1978 and I have cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner absolutely every year since then. How long is that? Twenty-six years. Just once, I'd love to go to someone's home, sit down and eat a holiday meal they have prepared for me. The woman who is coming to visit is going to cook dessert and whether they would have been here or not, I'd still be cooking the same stuff. I wish I could get the cooking muse going again. Now, whenever I have to do it, I just feel tired. I think I must have had some kind of 35 year warranty on my cooking initiative and it expired.
Speaking of expiring, I'd better start cleaning or I'm going to be put out to pasture.
God, that sound good.
Sage sent me this Thanksgiving Funny: