Monthly Archives: October 2014

Squeaking Through the End of the Month Again

Yet I feel profoundly grateful. Only one utility is past due and I’ll be able to pay it in just a few days. Sure, I’d love to be behind on nothing, but being not terribly behind on one thing isn’t too bad.

The new job saved me by the skin of my teeth. I am barely able to pay my health insurance on time and buy just enough food to cross over into November. If not for that one utility bill, I would be doing a happy dance.

I had a moment of complete panic earlier this week. I ran out of flour. Costco stopped carrying my safe brand and the price is significantly higher everywhere else. Not to mention the sizes just don’t work. Walk out of Costco with 40lbs of flour and nobody bats an eye. Walk out of Target with 40lbs of flour and you’ve cleared a shelf.

Money was so tight that I didn’t buy any. I thought it would be alright because I had already purchased extra meat for a dinner with my father. I roasted it at his house and portioned it off into a few days’ worth of planned leftovers. Afterward, I went home. Flourless and meatless! I forgot much of this week’s food at his house. That’s when panic set it. No flour and a lot of missing meat. We were gonna have sandwiches and fried rice and stew and…well, you get the picture.

Did I mention he lives a little drive away and I work two jobs? I couldn’t have run back for it even if gas money wasn’t an issue. <sigh>

Fortunately, he was happy to freeze everything up for when I can come back. This week’s fright will turn into another week’s boon. Meanwhile, I hit up pretty much the last of everything I had at home. Boy was I happy to discover pork chops I thought I’d already used and a nicely sized turkey breast that fit almost perfectly into the slow cooker. The freezer is pretty bare, but there is food in it. At least enough to get by for a few days, albeit very creatively.

So, I made it and I’m grateful to have done so. Off to figure out November.

Second Job Conflict

So, yeah, I took a second part-time job. Because I need one. Because I nailed the interview. Because I can’t find a full-time job. Because the kids said they could pick up some slack and don’t always need me around. Because somebody offered me another job and who the fuck do I think I am to not accept.

Coincidentally, my child’s depression was growing. Two days before I began the new job, I found out just how bad it had gotten. I spent that day working to keep my little one’s emotions in the + column. I found a way for my child to release some of the pain and worked to keep smiles and laughter plentiful. Anything to loosen Depression’s grip on my precious child.

And I would slip into the kitchen here and there where I could cry privately, because sometimes the tears just come. The lid just won’t stay tight on this one.

And I debated about even starting the second job. Individually, the kids expressed that maybe I just shouldn’t. Maybe I should just tell them there was a family emergency and I had to attend to it. Hours from starting the job, we all agreed that I would start the job, but reserve the option to quit if it negatively impacted the kids. Each week, we agree that I will give notice on the coming Friday if the time away detracts from my little one’s healing.

I have refused to become attached to this job and the people I work with. I feel for the manager, I was a different person in my interview. Surely she has no understanding of why the personable, cheery woman she first met is standoffish now. I haven’t known her long enough…I haven’t been there long enough… Timing just sucked. I can’t be attached because that would add stress and make it harder to cut ties if I need to.

The thing is, it’s not an awful job. It pays less than my other job, but it offers me more hours. I have to clean – a lot – including toilets…but, that is exercise and it’s less than an hour total per day. It can get hectic, but it gives me a lot of time to think. I have the potential to make more there than I do at the first job. I could quit the first job and just devote myself to this one, with maybe less stress on the family. Or maybe not. The overall environment at the second job is more than a billion times healthier than the first. That is fucking refreshing. On the other hand, I can bring my kids to the first job. Like, not even just for a visit. We have a routine. My boss almost does not care. The depressed one comes with regularly and nobody bats an eye. Healthier environment or not, I cannot bring any of my children with to work at the second job.

I am so conflicted about whether starting was the right thing to do. Maybe it will work out. Maybe it won’t. Maybe the hours will balance out perfectly and it’ll never be a problem. I don’t know. I just don’t know. And I don’t know what to do about not knowing.

I’m not Intending to Ignore this Blog

Things have been hectic. I haven’t shared with you all yet, but I really should have.

I decided to go back to school full time. I am intelligent enough to succeed. Time management has proven challenging, however.

I have also found another job. I’m still underemployed; I’m just underemployed in two locations, with two commutes, and two tiny paychecks now. See time management.

One of my children has fallen into a significant depression following a situation with the ex. This is, by far, the most important thing on my mind at this time. I am working with all of the appropriate professionals, but this situation won’t just evaporate. It’s going to take time and work. I’ve already decided that second job is optional if the extra time away proves to be too much. I can’t undo what he did or the depth of the scars he has caused, but I can skip meals if I have to in order to be there for my child.

I’ve learned some things over the last few weeks. One is that I need this blog. It’s a release. I’ve been losing my damned mind without it. Another is that I can take some credit it when it’s due. I AM a single mother with all the duties of an 1800s housewife (all food from scratch, lack of major appliances – seriously bread making is a much bigger chore when you have to hand wash all of your dishes after you’ve invested a couple of hours into making the bread), school, two jobs, and the emotional needs of children who have been traumatized by circumstance (well, circumstance and a very large asshole). I balance more on my plate in one day than most people deal with in a week or a month and that is big.

Rather than hating on myself when I pass out with a sink full of dishes,  an overflowing trash can, or the fact that my lazy ass didn’t get bread made on a given day, I’ve learned to appreciate what I did accomplish. Getting everyone to class, finishing homework, making sure nobody had to walk home, hand washing favorite t-shirts because I didn’t have the money to go to the laundromat, cobbling 2-3 meals together from my pantry and freezer, meaningful conversations with each kid, washing *most* of the dishes we used that day, putting in 0-12 hours between one or both jobs, and making sure the kitties got some quality petting and scratching. Maybe what I didn’t finish doesn’t make me a failure – maybe it just makes me human. And, maybe, just maybe, what I did manage to do makes me a worthy human. I’m always searching for ways to improve, to be better, to be worthy, to be more efficient, just to improve. I think I’m learning that my drive to improve at everything doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a failure at everything when, in reality, I’m managing to almost hold my own against nearly impossible odds. Fuck feeling like a failure; I don’t have a minute to waste feeling anything that isn’t contributing to improving our circumstances.