Thursday, June 02, 2005

Grumblings from the home front

Yargh. So what I thought was going to be the Summer of Laziness is quickly shaping up to be the Summer of Suck. My plans to loll about in a little blue pool are quickly being replaced by plans to write curriculum and to move...

That's right. Move. (Beware - ranting to follow. Disregard as needed.)

Why move, you might ask? Why might a family of three find it necessary to forsake their comfortable, if not ideal, amply-bedroomed and bathroomed house-like dwelling (not really a house, but sort of like) in favor of a smaller, less-amply-bedroomed non-house-like dwelling (read: two-bedroom apartment) less than two miles away? Why might these people find it necessary to downsize their domicile at a time when their family is expanding?

Because we are Poor, people. Dirt Effing Poor.

Oh, how I hate to admit that. All my life, I have lived in comfortable surroundings. Not the Lap of Luxury or anything remotely resembling it, but I never had to go without when I was growing up. Sure, we budgeted wisely and definitely didn't live extravagantly, but we were nicely middle-class. I made it through college with no student loans to repay (thanks to my enormous brains, not to my parents' finances). I was thrifty with my money. I had a savings account. I paid my credit card balance in full each month (when I had a balance at all). I didn't spend unwisely.* I had to take out some student loans to finance my grad school, but so did everyone else, and I locked in a very low interest rate. I was living the lower-middle-class High Life.

Considering the massive amounts of debt and poverty that are rampant in America right now, I was pretty lucky. I recognize this, and I'm grateful for everything I had growing up, and for the frugal genes I inherited. This phase of blissful and economical living, saving, getting by, etc. lasted right up until I got married.

Somehow - I'm not really even sure how this happened - we are in Debt. You know the commercial on TV, with the man who has all the nice, pretty things, and says, "How can I afford all this? I'm in debt up to my eyeballs!" with this desperate look on his face? That's us.

First there was the move. 500 miles, and who knew I had so much stuff? It would never fit into my hatchback. Someone would have to help... and help they did, to the tune of $lotsofmoney$.

Then there was the housekeeping. No more laundromat - we need to buy a washer! and a dryer!

Then there was the extended unemployment. What do you mean, I can't get a teaching job in January? School already started? Where was I for that memo?

Then there was the unplanned pregnancy.

With that came the baby-related improvements. Your car isn't safe enough. Really? That's ok, we can buy another one! We can't fit two carseats in the back of a two-door hatchback! Really?? That's ok, we can buy *another* one! None of my clothes fit! Really? That's ok, we can buy you more!

Add to that two jobs that pay HORRIBLY and the skyrocketing price of gas (I was commuting almost 400 miles a week) and the outrageous cost of daycare, which we had to pay because we needed my salary, and the bills and the loans and the immoderately high rent on our too-nice-for-poor-people place, and you have our current situation.

Did I mention that my husband, as his contribution to "all his worldly goods," brought to our marriage a hideous amount of debt?**

So here we are, dirt poor, unable to make ends meet. All of which necessitates our moving into a smaller, cheaper place to save on the rent and having a garage sale to get rid of superfluous furniture and various household goods.

Oh, how I hate change. I have spent the last week in a twisted nightmare of nausea and sleeplessness. Change does things to my digestive system that no one can explain. I hate change, it freaks me out. Why can't I just win the lottery?*** I don't want to move... ::commences whining and self-pity::

*I'm really cheap. Such a tightwad am I. Frugal, I like to think.

**Not entirely his fault. Nobody ever taught him to budget or save or plan. Foreign concepts. Thank you, in-laws, for fostering the notion that living beyond your means is somehow ok, and that saving is silly. I'm forever indebted to you. (Get it? InDEBTed?)

***Way too cheap to buy the ticket. Such a catch-22.

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