31 May 2009

I'm not relieved

My ex is back. He was in jail! And the woman he was dating, the reason he was IN jail, bailed him out! Gee, thanks. Just what we all wanted.

Part of me wants to call her and tell her off for that. Seriously. I'm considering it.

He says he's going to a rehab facility tomorrow, and I hope he does, but I'll believe it when I see it. There's still 24 hours between now and then, and a lot can happen in 24 hours. How many seasons has 24 been on? ;)

In the meanwhile, the kids are doing okay, I'm angry but okay, and we're chugging along. On the bright side, my garden looks beeee-u-ti-ful. Love it.

25 May 2009

oh, if only every day could be like today

I gauge the success of my days by how dirty we are. If the kids are dirty and sticky, and I smell like dirt, then it's been a wonderful day.

It's been a wonderful day.

We woke up and had breakfast on the screened in porch, and then went for a walk. A coworker gave me his son's outgrown bike and my ex's dad came over and filled the tires and got them adjusted for the boys to ride. We chalked and swung on the swings and played tag. We listened to bluegrass on Pandora and ate lunch outside in the backyard.

And the garden! Oh, it's so pretty. It's almost done- the right side of the path is completely finished. Look how cute it is:

(from left to right: sugar snap peas, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and basil, chinese leeks)

Cute, right?

24 May 2009

making my village

I had a really interesting conversation with a professor at work on Friday. He was saying how he'd decided to leave the college and move on, and how he'd developed this nomadic lifestyle of saving up like 50,000 dollars, taking a job somewhere interesting (he'd just come from Hawaii), living off his savings until he got settled in, build the savings back up while he worked, and move on (he was planning on heading to Spain next). He said that, at his age (mid 50's) he didn't expect to be unmarried, childless, and living place to place like he was, and for a while people sort of felt bad for him, and he felt bad for himself too. But now, he was the envy of all his friends! (And me!)

So we started talking about families and marriage and single parents and communities and he said something about single moms that kind of bugged me, something about how it wasn't natural for them to be alone. I explained to him about how I've done my best to create an extended family for my children by staying close with both sets of grandparents, and by having cousins and friends over as much as possible. I told him about my Thursday night ladies' night (if I haven't ever mentioned it, my girlfriends come over every Thursday for dinner, drinks and tv) and my cookouts and how my kids are close and comfortable with an extended "family" of people who care about them. And I told him I thought this was just as good as having a husband.

And you know what he said? He said, "Just as good? It's better." He went on to say how many married people are isolated in their marriage, how they don't spend time with friends and their relationship revolves around their children. He felt, and I can see why this would be true, that this model of the family: one dad, one mom, 2.5 kids, evolved as people moved out of villages and into suburbs, where there is no town square, no central spot for congregation, no connection with the community you live in. You know that expression "it takes a village to raise a child"? Some families have lost their village, if that makes sense.

And for me, I may have lost my husband, my partner, but I reconstructed my village. And villagers, since many of you read this, I love you.

21 May 2009

not giving up

I woke up yesterday with a new lease on life. After the previous evening's misery, I was shocked at how different I felt the next day. Then I found out why- it was of the hormonal variety. Oops. I need to check my calendar before I make any rash life decisions. It just goes to show you, you should always sleep on it.

Anyway, I'm not giving up just yet. I'm shuffling my priorities, going back to the Dave Ramsey "Pay off the smallest balance first" plan. I figured it out yesterday, and out of my 4 debts (3 credit cards and one car loan), I can have the car and one cc paid off in a year. One caveat- I need to defer my student loans to do this.

I have decided that this is the best option for me right now because my student loans are not going anywhere. They are massive, I'm making NO dent in them right now with the payment I AM making monthly, and even if I did file for bankruptcy, they wouldn't qualify as dissolvable debt (I checked). Plus, student loans don't affect your credit like credit cards, and putting them in deferment won't hurt your credit like missing a credit card payment.

Basically, for the small impact on my balance, I will pay off more in credit card debt, pay off my car, and retain my good credit score. This might be a last ditch effort, but I think it sounds like a smart one.

19 May 2009

the jealousy

Thanks to facebook, I now know every detail of the lives of pretty much everyone I've ever met, gone to high school with, etc. In many ways, this is a good thing. But it's also caused me to realize something: if there is such a thing as a "normal life," I'm really not living it.

Basically, everyone I went to high school with went to college, got a job, met a someone, got engaged and had things like engagement parties and wedding showers (I know this because there is photographic evidence to back it up), got married, bought houses, got pregnant, etc. There seems to be no end to the cute, smiling wedding photos, the baby announcements, the mentions of things like "girls weekend" and sailing trips, buying houses, calling plumbers, etc. Normal things that 30 year olds do, or are starting to do.

Now of course I realize that this is not a realistic portrayal of everyone's whole life, it's not like they are posting all the bad parts, but seriously, these people seem happy.

Me? I married a drug addict, had two babies with him while living in crappy apartments and then got divorced. No engagement party, no house. No girls weekend. No boat. No Pottery Barn Baby bedding. And it's fine, right? It's fine. I'm fine with it. I made my decisions, I have two beautiful children, I got a master's degree somewhere between the eloping and baby number 2, and I have a great job that I'm good at and have enjoyed some success (I was in a national magazine this month!).

But truth be told, I'm jealous. With my ex not paying child support, my debt payoff goal has been pushed back by years. YEARS. I've even been wondering if filing for bankruptcy is my best option. I'll probably never be able to buy a house, or not for a long time. And buying your first house at 40 or something is depressing. I'm working my butt off to fix things, to stay afloat, and I know I'm doing right by my kids, but what am I doing for me? I'm essentially working my butt off to make up for a bad decision I made when I was 24 years old. I've wasted more than half my 20s and now probably all my 30s because I was too afraid to admit that I knew I was making a mistake. I had no idea.

It's hard to admit that you feel jipped by life, when you know it could always be worse. I could be homeless. Heck, I could still be married to him. Something could have happened to my kids. Something could have happened to me. But it still doesn't make me feel better when I see those "my hubby hung up the baby's shelves tonight!" status updates. I'm just being honest, I guess.

18 May 2009

Balance Transfers

I'm considering transferring some balances, to help lower my interest rates. I've been getting some of those "3.9% until 2011" offers and that's lower than I'm paying for most of my debt, so I have to work out how that will be most effective. In addition, my ex's parents are helping me (although only about half of what he was giving me) and they are giving me money monthly, instead of weekly, so I'm thinking about just paying off some debt in a big chunk, rather than weekly bits like I was doing before. It all requires some math and some time and concentration to figure out, which I don't really have much of at the moment.

It's really hard to figure out what to do since I have no idea what the future holds. My ex is still MIA, so I have no idea when he'll come back, if ever. I'm incredibly stressed about it, and angry too. And sad for my kids. I just don't understand how anyone could do this to any child, and I certainly don't understand how he could do this to our children. So I'm just trying to keep it together for them, keep them in their schedules and have family around a lot. I mean, what else can I really do?

11 May 2009

Garden Update 5/11/09

Here's how things are looking:
(from left to right- peas, lettuce, marigolds)
spinach, broccoli, beets

that's spinach, in the middle. I thought it was a weed at first!

strawberries, the same ones I had last year- they came back.

my seedlings- the pumpkins look great!


08 May 2009

how I saved 40 dollars a month by buying an iphone

First of all, let me say that I'm working things out financially. I think I'll be okay, and if I'm not, I'll figure it out. I always do, right?

So anyway, the phone. I have a smartphone. It is sort of the thing that keeps me together. I take notes for work in it, put my grocery lists in there, get directions when I get lost (which is often). So when my phone died a few days ago, I had a crisis of conscience- do I replace the smartphone with another smartphone, or buy something cheap, or go without?

So I called my service provider, talked to them about my phone bill, cable, internet, and then my cell. After all that talking, they knocked 5$ off my phone bill, took a 5$ "insurance" charge off that I highly doubt I agreed to, and informed me that the data plan for the phone I want was $30 dollars less than the one I have (why, I have no idea). So just like that, I saved $40 a MONTH off my bill, all by breaking my cell phone! By the way, that's 480$ a year. Seriously!

So no matter how financially savvy you are (or think you are), there are always negotiations to be made. And no matter how screwed you think you are (or really are), there's very rarely NO WAY out. It just takes some faith, some creativity, and a little congeniality to boot.

06 May 2009

the party's over, but not in a good way

I'm screwed.

I can't afford to pay my bills. My inlaws offered to help me, but even that isn't enough.


I'm running all the options through my head- what if I cancel the cell phone, the cable, the long distance... transfer a credit card balance... put my student loan in forebearance... I have no idea. I really have no idea.

04 May 2009

Invitation to the Pity Party

I'm so, so bummed out.

Basically, my ex doesn't seem to care that he's left us high and dry. So now I don't know what I will do about my bills. Basically, if it weren't for the debt he left us with, we'd be okay. I make a decent amount of money, and I live cheaply. But I have this mountain of debt to pay off, and I can't do it by myself.

I can file for the back child support, but he doesn't have a job, and it hasn't been that long (a little over 2 weeks).

I can ask his parents for a loan, but who knows when I could pay it back.

I could file for bankruptcy, or sue him (maybe, I don't even know for sure).

Or I can just sit here and cry, which is what I'm doing.

03 May 2009


Is there a way to get them to not be leggy without a grow light? The big guys in the foreground are sugar pumpkins, followed by peas, carrots, sunflowers and watermelons.

02 May 2009

on the bright side

My garden is doing GREAT! I have the following things actively growing IN the garden- potatoes, lettuce, sugar snap peas, spinach, beets and broccoli. Plus, I have a seed tray going with some very healthy looking pumpkins, watermelon, shelling peas, carrots and sunflowers.

The ex is still on the lamb, but he's been heard from so I know what he's doing. Still no word on how I'm expected to pay my bills, but I'm hoping for a miracle.

I don't really know what to say. I mean, obviously I'm pissed, but at the same time, I barely care what happens to him. I'm really only pissed on behalf of the kids, and because of the money. What he does is really beyond my realm of care.