Personal Stuff

Occasionally I let some personal stuff in that isn’t just about my struggle for better health.  But when I think about it, it’s all intertwined anyway, so really it is on subject.  Emotional and financial struggles can lead to feeding feelings, so yes, definitely on topic.

Most my friends absolutely hated 2016… the deaths, the political stuff and for personal reasons.  I really couldn’t complain because 2016 brought me my new (and last) baby.
Everyone had high hopes for 2017 and promptly, I feel it has really been a letdown so far.

First, multiple people have spent the majority of the New Year sick.  It hit our family, luckily just a miserable cold… no fever, no throwing up.  We’re finally feeling better, but about half my Facebook friends are dealing with some sickness right now (or their family members are).

Then there’s financial stuff.  January is always a hard month for us anyway.  December wipes us out… presents for family, postage, travel, accommodations, and the fact that there is just no overtime allowed past August and when my hubby only brings home a minimum paycheck, things get extremely tight.
On top of that, with the New Year, both of our car taxes are due and now we have an HOA payment to make as well.  Ugh.
Those are big hits when money was tight anyway.  I had to use 3 credit cards over the last few months to help us get through.  Hubby also took out a $2500 loan from his 401K back in October because we knew we’d need it (it represents how much extra we’d normally get in OT or on-call money that we’re missing in the Fall… clearly, we are far too spoiled the rest of year and got far too used to having that cushion).
That’s all gone now.  Even with that influx, I used those 3 credit cards.  Luckily, I think our $330 motel bill in Maine while visiting my mother was the most I charged on any.

You know it’s tight when I have to start making our dinner meal menu via stuff in the freezer.  I know we spend more than that average family of 5 on groceries as it is… we have ALWAYS been higher than the average no matter how large our family was.   I think the average for a family of 4 was $600 per month (I think this was a couple years ago?).  Ha!  I was lucky if we stayed under $1000.
But now?  I spend $160-$200 on my Walmart order (love their newer pick-up service), but then hubby always has a secondary list (some items are not yet available to order online and/or I’d rather have my hubby pick it out than the Walmart employee – things like meat, bacon, veggies, fruits).  I always think I give him such a “small” list, but then he brings home recipes over $100!  My eyes bug out every time, but then I realize that most of it is the formula for the baby.
So that mean that easily we’re spending about $300 A WEEK on groceries (this includes non-foods like toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, cleaning products, clothing, etc.).
Well, since we don’t have any money this month after bills are paid and there is less than $300 in our savings, I figured out we’d need to only spend $160 per week until he gets paid again (2 weeks from when I budgeted).
This is when I think “we should only be spending this much anyway” and I can make it work for 2 weeks, but only because we use up a bunch of stuff in the freezer (which was mostly provided by my MIL) and when those 2 weeks are up, we ALWAYS have a major grocery bill (usually over $300) because we need to refill on the staples… crackers, cereal, juice, mayo, toilet paper, etc. – basically all the stuff we let run down to nothing or run out of during those 2 weeks that normally I would have bought ahead of time so we don’t run out.
I am the classic ‘buy 2’ personality.  It settles something deep inside of me when I know there are extra of whatever it is.
I blame my stepmom.  Whenever I visited her home, I was always in awe of her basement.  There you’d find a utility room with tons of shelving and tons of food… can goods, cereal, chips, boxed snack items, drinks.  It always looked like she was ready for an apocalypse (when really, it was just overflow from her small kitchen and she probably got multiples of those items all on sale only).
Being the lover of food that I was (who am I kidding?  Food ADDICT), I imagine the same feeling happens to woman who love shoes going into a department store with all the most beautiful styles of new shoes on a large wall display all lit up… my eyes would get big and I’d consider all the possibilities.

When I visited, after they’d say goodnight and I went down to the basement (the ultimate play area… a TV with cable, a Nintendo with all the favorites to play (hey, it was the early 90’s), a pool table and my guest bed), all I needed was a cold drink from upstairs and it was a pre-teen’s dream who suffered from feeling unloved by her father and tended to eat her feelings.  (Thank goodness I only visited them 2 times a year)
They’d have 3 bags of the same kind of chips, so I’d open and eat one ENTIRE bag (as not to leave evidence) and hope that they’d just not notice the missing bag since they had more (I’d never stoop to eating the last of anything).  I even made sure the empty bag was well hidden, deep into the trash can.  Sick.
I can’t tell you how many times I did that.  It wasn’t just chips either, sometimes it was an entire box of granola bars.
I’d also go into my father’s bedroom and steal probably about $5 worth of the massive quarter collection he always had on his dresser in a decorative bowl.  I figured he never seemed to be using them!
What a winner of a relationship we had!  Oy.  So many issues.

So apparently I think of that stock pile as an adult goal to recreate.  Like if I could stock my pantry that well, I’ve made it.
No idea why that stuck, but it did.  I classically buy more than one of several “staple” items.  In my adult life of trying to be healthier, I do not apply this to chips… thank goodness for that.  But if you go in my pantry right now, there’s the current open box of cereal with a brand new one sitting behind it, there are at least 3 of our favorite dressings, 2 ketchups, 1 mayo, 3 jars artichoke hearts, 4 cans of pears, 3 containers of peanut butter, 3 containers of jelly… and the list goes on.
I *try* to only buy multiples when they are on “rollback”, but I can’t promise that’s the only time I do that.

After 2 weeks of sticking to a budget roughly half of what we’d normally spend, you can imagine my “stock pile” in the pantry has seriously dwindled.  It honestly makes me feel better to fill it back up.  Even half full gives me a level of anxiety.
Shit, I’d probably benefit from therapy.

Just when I want to think ‘woe is me’ with my limited financial strain (which will get better come March – a 3 paycheck month plus hubby will be on-call which means extra money), I start seeing my sister’s statuses about her insurance.
It’s the same insurance we have as my brother-in-law works at the same place as my hubby, but we’re far healthier and don’t have as many needed drugs or medical supplies.  Both my sister & BIL are diabetics.  My sister also had her thyroid removed, so she needs to take drugs for that for the rest of her life.
Her first status (which I guess she removed because I can’t find it now) was stating that they’d have to start paying way more per month for their meds.  The next day, she sent an email to me, my brother, and my dad & stepmom (which was really weird for her to send/share something like that, I guess proving how bad it really is) stating:
Sadly, yesterday we received a huge financial blow. All of our medications were removed from the preventative care list and we are now required to pay full price and fully meet our deductible before receiving any help. We’re pursuing every avenue of prescription assistance plans and drug company coupons, but not having much luck. The insulin has had such a gigantic price increase, that to pay for it, I must now switch to a synthetic hormone for my missing thyroid at a cost of becoming very ill with side effects.
She went on to say she’d cut their phone to just cell phones and dropped cable… just a start in all that they’ll need to do to make it by.
Then today, her status: “and so comes down the final nail on my coffin. Was just informed that if the hubby and I want to test our blood sugar, it will now cost $3,576 a year. Please remind me why I pay so much for health insurance, when they are clearly trying to kill me?”

After that, she messaged me (she was supposed to come over to my neighborhood to play our monthly BUNCO game): “I’m sorry, but Bunco is not going to happen. I have spent the morning crying and trying not to have a heart attack. I don’t have the energy to put on a fake smile tonight. Now that all the official numbers are in my $110 monthly cost for meds just went to $2300. I can’t even comprehend right now how we’ll survive without filing bankruptcy by next year.

Yeah, so no ‘woe is me’ anymore.  Clearly someone very close to me is having a WAY harder time.
I hate to tell her, but even if she did bankruptcy, how would she continue to pay afterwards?  I have no idea what she pays in credit card minimums, but I’d be shocked if it was $2300 or more in order to cover the new costs.  But I guess it could be.
I ask about meeting deductible and hitting the max out of pocket… that still means she’s out $4000 by February and $600 each month after that.  Basically, that would have her hitting the max just on the last month, but if she has absolutely another other medical bills/co-pays, she wouldn’t have to pay them.  But she just wasn’t expecting to HAVE to go all the way to almost $10,000 in 1 year, especially when this has never been required previously.

If she does end up going bankrupt, that would mean both daughters of a CPA going bankrupt twice in their lives.  Now there’s something you don’t hear very often.

Even though I’m going through my own dark tunnel, at least I know there is a light at the end of mine… my sister doesn’t have that luxury right now… at least not that any of us can see.

And she isn’t the type to fight this.  I mean she’s made some phone calls, but I can’t see her writing a letter and taking her fight elsewhere.  I am nonconfrontational as well, but not to her extreme.  Both she and my mother have both been in situations where they had all the right in the world to complain, to get their money back (or whatever the situation may be) and they don’t do it.  It’s just not their nature.
She needs that to change if she doesn’t just want to be screwed by the insurance company this year.  People have told her to get her physician to write a letter on her behalf.  Will she ask her doctor to do this?  Probably not.

I don’t know how to fight her battles… she’s got all the technical terms and exact prescription details.  Knowing her, she wouldn’t even tell me because whatever I get done, it would still involve her talking to or writing to someone else, so she wouldn’t even give me the information.

Let’s change the subject.

I’m going to win the 2017 HGTV Dream Home in GA this year.  Go ahead and laugh.  But hey, I’ve got as much chance of it happening as the next person!
I love that it is within driving distance of our home and I’m not completely hating the interior design like I have for other seasons (except that hideous guestroom with fucking plaid wallpaper – why, just why???).  All I need is for it to be in an area that allows the house to be a vacation rental, and for once the winner wouldn’t have to sell the home (or lose it later because they attempted to live in it).

What I love about my mom is that I can say something like “I’m going to win the Dream Home this year” and she doesn’t laugh.  She’d never call me silly or a dreamer. I tell her all about it and she’ll actually say “oh that will be nice for you” completely unsarcastically.  I love my mom for that… we can both go on and on about something that most likely won’t happen.  We are good at dreaming together.

2017 will be and interesting tax year anyway because we’re losing our former home Deed In Lieu to the banks.  We’d been trying to sell it on and off since 2008 with no luck.  We’ve been renting it out since 2009 and let me be the first to say that being a long-distance landlord to a 1933 home SUCKS.  Sucks big time.
We made one last attempt last spring to sell, even short sale, and still, no takers.  So, we’re done.  A process that should have taken a couple of months has been going on since last June.  Ridiculous.  I wanted it all to be finished last year, but nope.  One more usual set of taxes for us to file this year with our deductions.
But next year when we’re filing for 2017, we have to fill out special forms not to get hit with the tax consequences of letting our home go that we still owed almost $160,000 on (2 mortgages).  We had included the home in our bankruptcy back in 2009, relieving us of the liability of the debt, so by all rights, it should not count as income.  We sunk our blood, sweat and tears into that home… spent $40,000 (what the 2nd mortgage was for) remodeling the kitchen, adding a half bath, upgrading the electric and putting in new tile.  And we get nothing for that.  The home is currently worth LESS than what we paid for it almost FIFTEEN YEARS ago.  Pathetic.  Really, really pathetic.

So why do I bring this up?  Because if we win the Dream House in 2017, we’d be losing a home and winning one in the same year.  Our taxes would be totally fucked that year anyway, so if we can’t get out of owing taxes for an additional $160,000, that’ll be chump change compared to the 1.7 million dollars’ worth of income will be responsible for paying taxes on (which will roughly be close to $700,000 – see, this is why most winners have to sell the home… that measly $250,000 Quicken Loans gives you just doesn’t cut it).  So why not go all out and have a stellar crazy tax owing year???  Clearly we’ll have to hire a tax specialist and pay for that too.
But even according to a former winner that ended up losing the house, he’d do it all again… it was worth it and he still tries to win the next prize house every year.
Let’s just say I’d be happy to take on the headache because whether we have to sell or could start renting it out, we will be better off financially in the end.
It would still be easier just to win the million dollar secondary Powerball prize, but oh well.

So these are just a few things that have been dealing with and going through my head recently… in addition to trying to take back control to start losing weight again.

Today was much improved on that front.  I swear you just have to bitch to the universe and things happen.  My last post mentioned sleeping issues and that I feared they were once again my downfall and I wished my baby would stop getting me up 3 times a night.
Last night I only had to go into my 5-month-old’s room ONCE.  It’s been over a month since that happened.
I got her in bed by 11:00 and she talked and kicked (I can hear her feet hitting the mattress over the monitor) for a bit, but I think she finally got to sleep by 11:30pm.  She did call out around 12:30am (I was in bed by then), but I waited to see if she called out again and she didn’t, so I didn’t have to get up for that and since I wasn’t actually asleep yet, it wasn’t a bad interruption.
Then she didn’t call out again until 5am.  I couldn’t have been happier to not get up around 3am like I normally do.  I fed her and she went right back to sleep until 11:30am!!!!!!!!!!!!  I got to enjoy several those hours of sleep, though interrupted by my 4-year-old.
But I got to get up at 10 am and had time for a shower and made breakfast all before Mavis woke up.  Mornings like these are awesome.
What mom of 3 ever gets to sleep until 10am with a 4-year-old and a 5-month-old at home?  ME!
So I had no sleep issue excuses and made better decisions by far today.
It feels so nice to get enough sleep and feel in control of my day.
Tonight it’s taken over 45 mins to get Mavis down for the night.  She’s finally quiet now (almost 11:20pm).  Oh please, please, please go at least 5 hours for this first stretch baby!  PLEASE!
Mommy’s tired and she lost at BUNCO and for the first time didn’t make my $5 back.

Off to go dream of my new vacation home…

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About gwenacious

Always a person in progress. On a mission of self-improvement and exploring my artistic side.
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