Friday, May 21, 2010

Random complaints

I'm stressed out. I'm so stressed out that the other day I threw a can of PAM at the wall and left a large round dent in the paint and drywall. I don't think Brent has seen it yet. Matthew saw it happen, and reported it to Ayden, "You know, mommy threw a can at the wall. And it left a HOLE THIS BIG!" Why did I throw the PAM? Because it wouldn't stay in the cupboard. Obviously.

It's not the PAM that is the true source of my stress, though. It is money. I've been feeling a mounting sense of being financially squeezed since December, and it is getting out of control in my head right about NOW. In fact, I often can't sleep because of it. And I just don't understand WHY we are having such a hard time staying afloat. The last five pay periods we have had no money two to three days after payday, and have to wait 12 to 13 days til we get paid again before we can get anything. More food. Vitamins. Gas. Etcetera. I just. Don't. Get it. I'm not being frivolous! Food, gas, underwear and socks, house payment, bills, and BAM it's gone. The thing is, we make more now than we ever have before, so what's up? It feels worse than ever before. Well, not EVER--those first two years of marriage were pretty stinking frugal. But since then. I guess we own three cars right now, all insured, and are making payments on two of them.
Since Toyota had a rash of major recalls suddenly nobody wants a bloody Toyota. They are GOOD CARS, and our Matrix had not a single part recalled, but still. Nobody wants a Toyota. The car lot offered us $8,000. Nice try. We still OWE $10,000.

And our kids eat way more now than they used to. They eat a TON. Jeepers. I should train them to scavenge, what do you think? Plus, they cost more: Hip Hop and swimming and music lessons and soccer...not all at once, but still. I know it's a fraction of what the kids will cost when they are teenagers, but hopefully we'll make more income then.

Seriously, this lack of money thing dominates my thoughts from morning til night, and now here I am up at 3:30 (woke up at 1:00 when Brent came to bed), worrying about it again. I can't handle this. I feel like we're drowning and I can't see how it's going to get any better? We want a house, which will put our house payments up to almost twice what they are now--if we're drowning now, what's it going to be like then?
In order to counterbalance the drowning, I have been working more often since December, but it doesn't help. We're in serious standby mode on travelling to Regina to see my brother in law graduate from RCMP training, which is a big deal in my extended family, and something they did for us when Brent graduated. At this point we have six weeks until he graduates and no money to pay for flights. I can't handle this. It's springtime, full bloom, gorgeous, lush, hot (except for yesterday--random wind and pouring rain), flowers, walks to and from school, vitamin D out the ying yang, long daylight hours--this is usually my best time of year! I'm usually MOST happy during springtime! But this spring I'm so full of stress and worry over money that I can't sleep and I can't think and I am overcome.

Most days I remember that we're not that odd, but today I really feel like we're so much worse at handling finances than everyone else on the planet. Everyone else seems to be able to afford their lives...It's hard to remember I'm fortunate when I feel like I'm drowning. How is this going to get better? And when? And how will we survive on just Brent's income if I quit my job and go to school?
Insert screaming here.............

I've been contemplating getting a full time job instead of the part time one I have now--provided I don't start school in the fall. Since Ayden was born I've felt that my full time job is to be a parent, and I squeeze some work in around the edges for my own sanity and some financial padding. Not like, savings padding. Like, pad Brent's income so we can survive padding. Part time, I could live with emotionally. I generally disapproved of both parents working full time, though I try hard to remain open and non judgmental with regards to individual families and individual jobs. I definitely disapprove of the amount of time paramedics in my ambulance service spend at work--an average of 90 to 100 hours a week, which is so pervasive it's normal--you know, like porn or violence: if everyone is engaging with it it starts to seem normal and ethically sound? Men AND women--it is few and far between to find someone who is employed part time (like me) who actually works PART TIME. And full time employees pad their meagre incomes working overtime. They don't see their families at all. WRONG. Outright. [Though many of them live in townhomes or condos and drive cheap cars and never go on vacation--the cost of living around here is absolutely ridiculous].
Here I am, seriously contemplating a full time position because just for once I want some breathing space. I want to be able to have money in our bank account until at LEAST a few days before the next pay period. I want to NOT pull out the credit card for groceries because our cupboards are bare and our bank account is overdrawn. I want to be able to pay for soccer without hyperventilating. I want a bigger house. That one borders on need. Our family has way outgrown this townhouse. I have way outgrown this neighbourhood, with their anonymous notes about our cat, and their harassments about dog poop and kids' bikes and extra cars (three is too many: we have to park our extra car down the street in another complex, according to the 'warning: next time you will be fined' I got from strata), and their mismanagement of funds and nitpicky nosy CRAP. No more strata. I'm DONE. Period.

And then UBC springs a possible acceptance letter on me, and I'm freaking out. I want to be a midwife, I just have a hard time letting go of complete control of our income and just resting on Brent's. I want to go to school so badly, but I was so prepared for the eventuality of UBC not accepting students this fall that I started to make plans for this full time job thing, and it's hard to know how to switch tracks, you know? I would only work full time for a short period. But if I DO work full time we need a nanny and there's the stress of trying to find someone with flexible hours part time. The position I want is 4 on (two days, two nights), 6 off. Brent works 4 on, 4 off. So sometimes we would overlap and need childcare, and other times one or both of us would be on days off and able to take care of our kids ourselves.
If I go to school I need a nanny, too. And THAT way, I'm not pulling in any income to pay her. How on earth? Jeepers. It really is overwhelming.

I think I'll try to go to sleep now.
Thanks for listening.



ms emili louann said...

wow. i'm sorry. if it's any comfort, i'm beginning to feel this same surge of "ahh! how are we going to do this?!!" crap. jonathan's the only one working right now, and with just his income, and after everything we need is paid off (allotting $25 for groceries) we have FIVE DOLLARS left over every month. i'm thinking i may need to get a part-time job. we have college loan payments starting up in november, which is going to be another 500 a month.... AHHH! i don't know how we'd do it otherwise...

sorry. i don't mean to go on about my woes - BUT, i do want you to know that you are not alone, that you have a friend out here who feels your worries. i totally would have chucked the PAM, too :)

Louise Chapman said...

Okay, reading this was stressful! I'm sorry. It was def. a jump financially when I was unable to return to work which is why we accepted so many weddings this year (photographing). So, now we have no life for a billion weekends in the year but at least we're still okay.
I'm sorry. I hope that this midwifery acceptance or not makes everything so much clearer.
AND, I have to remind myself that even though my boys are little I need to cook like I'm cooking for adults because they eat so much.
AND, you do need a bigger house:) (I mean that in a nice affirming way).
Hope you have a better sleep tonight!

sara said...

we have lots to talk about this weekend.


Caryn Ouwehand said...

Money. Oh, the money stress. How it never ends.

I was talking to my Mom a while back about how the cost of living for young families getting started these days is sooooo much higher than it was for their generation. Granted they made alot less salary wise back in the 70's, but cost of living today has in NO WAY increased equally. For example, 2 teachers in the 1970's brought home $25,000 bucks a year. Small salary... but they also bought their first home for $28,900! When you compare that to today, that means that the average family bringing in $70,000/year would be buying a home for a little over $80,000! Are you kidding me. $80,000... you could hardly buy half a garage for that in today's market.

Mortgages are huge. Payments are huge. Young couples today are in more debt than ever before in history. IT IS FLIPPIN BRUTAL. I think so many people feel the way you do Mel, including myself... where does the money go?

In honour of your post, I am going to go darn some socks that I just threw out.


tamie said...

I'm so sorry it's so hard. And these are tough decisions. Oh Mel, if you get accepted into school, you should go! What a huge opportunity! And it's what you really, really want. But...I know it's a tough decision, so I'm just kind of offering my two cents, though I am at a distance and would prefer a long talk in each other's kitchens. Money stresses are some of the absolute worst. They really are. I don't have many helpful hints...just, I hope you find a way to peace soon.

Asheya said...

Money is very stressful. I'm so lost when it comes to how to cut back. I've looked at our expenses and nothing is frivolous but everything just costs so much, when you add it all up.


Jen said...

This is really tough stuff you are dealing with Mel. I'd be super stressed too! Could you push the midwifery program back a year? I too think you should do it as I know how much you want it (and you will be so damn good at it!) but you def have some serious things to consider. All I can do is pray for you, friend. For peace and wisdom. Love you.