The Early Bird Gets

The Worm

But I do not happen to like worms. I’ve never actually eaten one, of course. I suppose that makes me a hypocrite. I tell my children they should try something before deciding they do not like it, but here I am holding a worm-prejudice though no worms have ever been knowingly ingested by me. I say knowingly, because there is that one book How to Eat Fried Worms by Rockwell, Thomas/ McCully, Emily Arnold [Pre (Google Affiliate Ad) wherein they found numerous inventive ways to attempt to hide worms in meals. It is possible that my dear mother used it as a cookbook at some point, but improbable.

What was I blathering on about…?

Ladies, gentlemen, and that guy in the back who looks lost, I’d like to to take a moment to consider the future of my life and whether fate is truly fate or the end result of a series of theoretically strategic decisions on the part of the fated.

I am at another impasse–these things come up often in life, don’t they?

As a recent graduate school graduate (say that five times fast while spinning on your head in the rain!), I am attempting to map out the next phase of my life. I have several key things I must keep in mind:

  • I have children who were entrusted to my care by nature, genetics, or some well-meaning deity;
  • I have now and will continue to have bills to pay and debts to repay regardless of geographic location;
  • My earning potential, though currently increased, is still not at level with my financial obligations;
  • My career is too new to expect an optimal income bracket without even higher education (PhD);
  • I look damn sexy in a professional wardrobe; and
  • I never speak in absolutes, but bullet lists are always fun.

With all of that on the table, considering where the future may lead me and what I can do about that process seems harrowing.

This month, the mortgage on our house has been raised to $600. Yes, we do have a flat rate mortgage, but apparently the homeowner’s insurance tied into the mortgage (it goes in escrow) continues to rise exponentially. On top of that, summer months create electric bills such as this month’s whopping $255.12. In the winter, that number will go down, but then the $28.94 gas bill will rise up to take it’s place–our central air is electric but the central heat is gas-powered. I cannot remember the exact amount of the water bill, but I know it was over $50. That amount fluctuates depending on the amount of laundry and showers, but usually isn’t the scariest bill each month. We also have cable-based internet. This may count as a luxury to some, but as a writer with an itch to randomly research topics and a budding college professor, I need my daily dose of the world wide web.

Sure, I sometimes unwisely use my time to water imaginary elderberry crops, but who can blame a gal for the occasional wild-and-crazy adventure? That bill is $53.99 this month. Technically, I also have an automobile insurance bill. For just my car, that runs around $100 a month. I forget what it costs to also insure my husband’s truck. Then there’s gasoline–my 1.5hr work commute runs me about $300 a month on current gas prices, but we all know those could rise at any given time. My husband’s truck laps up gas like a hungry kitten does milk, but he doesn’t drive it near as often or as far as I do my car. When one considers the rising costs of caring for and feeding children, keeping the entire household healthy, and looking into medical concerns as they arise, we’re talking a monthly needed budget of two or three times what I am currently bringing in–minimum!

But, Ashley–

Shh! Do not interrupt me while I am talking!

I knew what you were going to say, though. You were going to ask why my husband or the girlfriend I mentioned in previous posts aren’t shouldering at least some of those financial burdens. Frankly, sometimes I ask the same question. Sometimes, though, I have answers.

Childcare is the first issue. Either my husband stays home with the children as I did for all of those years, or we fork over hundreds of dollars a month to keep them both entertained and educated at day-cares and after-school programs until one of us can be home with them. Luna just barely started kindergarten and Freya turns two in October–these aren’t the ages where children can let themselves in with their own keys and just relax til Mommy and Daddy arrive.

The girlfriend is another story entirely. She had a job; it paid what food service jobs usually do–barely enough to feed the worker for a month, let alone pay any bills or cover transportation costs. Still, she was handing her entire check over to the husband each payday to put what unfortunately amounted to less than her share towards the bills. She could not help it, of course. The earning potential of a college graduate in this economy is lower than it should be. Someone who has yet to earn a degree has little hope of landing a living-wage job. Then there was that whole incident about her telling them she was considering moving at some point and them telling her she no longer worked for them on anything but an on-call basis (which probably means not at all).

So what are your plans?

First, I want to be closer to my job. Shelling out $300 a month for gasoline just to get me to a job that only at present brings in thrice that has to fit into the definition of insanity somewhere. If I found even a cramped but liveable apartment closer to work, the rent would be lower than our mortgage, and applicable utility bills would not be near as high as that of the house in which we currently reside. Basically, I could survive on my current salary if I lived closer to work. I could pinch pennies so hard they thin out like paper. I could keep a hawk eye on my budget.

I have discussed my concerns with my husband. I pointed out the benefits of living closer to work, and stated that I would be doing so at my earliest convenience, children in tow. I told him that he was welcome to join me, but that I was not inviting the girlfriend. I am not anti-poly, but this particular arrangement (embracing a relic from the days of our painful separation as a member of my household during the reconstructive phase of our marriage) is likely to continue to put more strain than pleasure into our marriage and household. I am not forcing him to end the relationship; he is welcome to struggle with the above mentioned bills on their current monthly income of $0 + whatever can be sold around the house while the kids and I struggle on my current monthly income of $1050 – fed and state taxes. He is welcome to go out and find a local job (also likely not at a living-wage in this economy).

I would prefer, though, if he realized that I am someone he loves and finds important. He seems to be quite willing to come with me. The house will probably end up foreclosed upon with or without the move, sadly. He will probably have to sell off quite a bit of his personal affects in either case–I hate that it has come down to that for him. We are sinking right now. I, however, feel quite confident that making this move will eventually help us go from sinking to treading water to swimming strong against life’s current. I feel that once we get into a new place, we will be able to budget the heck out of my current salary while I do whatever it takes to land additional teaching positions in the area or online as supplemental income.

Enter another discouraging element…

My frustration with moving is the costs contained therein. Rather than shelling out $2000 a month that I do not have in order to sustain my current household, I would need to shell out nearly as much towards moving (once you add up the costs of deposits, app fees, first months’ rent, and the Uhaul). But it would be a one-time scary-ily large lump sum. That’s it. $2000 right now and the husband, kids, and I are in a smaller home or apartment closer to my job, where my $1050 – fed and state taxes stretches over the expenses like a ladies’ medium t-shirt over my tetas–it’d be a sight to see, for sure, but totally doable.

Alternatively, I suppose I could try to expertly juggle my current household expenses through to February when–in theory–I would have a larger income due to increased workload either through the current job or supplemental jobs. Doing this, though, would probably mean continuing our awkward love/hate/indifferent-towards relationship with girlfriend in order to have extra potential income (assuming she got a new job and kept it) and in order to have help with the other aspects of maintaining a household in a home ownership situation (yard work, housekeeping, childcare, etc.).

It is a hard play to call. I feel caught between a rock and a place that isn’t all that soft. I feel backed against a flat vertical surface. I feel forcibly separated between two prospects. I am pureeing metaphors again…

Okay, so what do you want us to do about it???

Well, audience I pretend exists so I don’t feel silly about blogging for over seven years now, I am glad you asked that question. You see, I would like you to do one of several possible things:

  1. You could financially sponsor whichever endeavor you feel is best suited for the future of myself, my husband, and our children;
  2. You could flip a coin or shake your magic eight ball and tell me what to do;
  3. You could drop whatever you are doing in your life and rush here to help me out;
  4. You could laugh uncontrollably at the tangle webs we weave;
  5. You could send me a lecturing email or leave the same as on-blog commentary but leave me feeling decidedly un-helped;
  6. You could give me $5 and drop me off at a casino to try my luck;
  7. You could purchase for me a stack of power-ball lottery tickets and expect none of the winnings;
  8. You could tell me about that one time you were in a similar boat and how deity/fate/that guy on the bus helped you out of it;
  9. You could write to your favorite talk-show host and beg them to sponsor my family;
  10. You could write to your local congressman and convince him or her that the current wages need to be tripled all around the board;
  11. You could hire me to write, edit, transcribe, take dictation, clean, babysit, cook, or do whatever other stimulating or menial task you may need doing.

To make a short story long, I need help. I need a leg up, not a hand out. I need someone who can clearly see how much I have already accomplished in the face of adversity and where I am headed from here. I need an angel, only without all that gossamer glitzy winged showmanship.

Amanda Perez–God send me an angel from the heavens above.

Alabama–I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hours, to show us how to live, to teach us how to give, to guide us with the light of love.

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