Posted by: Hannah | 11/11/2014

one step forward, two steps in the soup

I’ve spent too much time lately thinking about money.

I’m a big Gene Kelly fan, and so I’ve seen An American in Paris approximately one million times. There’s a moment in the movie where Gene’s character, a poor painter named Jerry Mulligan, is talking to an heiress named Milo Roberts. I love this little exchange so much, because it’s basically where my life is right now:

Milo: Why do you always talk about money?

Jerry: Because I ain’t got any. And when you ain’t got any that takes on a curious significance.

We aren’t poor. I’ve been poor. My early childhood was spent living below the poverty line. I remember poor, and believe me, this ain’t it.

We are temporarily in a broke-ass cash flow situation, though. And after almost three years of keeping our credit card & line of credit at zero, I am disgruntled that we owe money again.

It’s not really through any fault of our own. First, the minivan unexpectedly needed two new tires. (Fun fact for those of you who, like me, don’t know much about cars; when you get tires put on, ask if an alignment is included in the price. An alignment is not the same as rotation or balancing. And if you don’t get one from Giant Megalithic Store That Rhymes With Blanadian Spire, your tires will wear bald after a mere 20,000km and then they won’t honour the warranty because they will claim you refused the alignment.)

Anyway! Two new tires and an alignment. Then the car needed a whole bunch of stuff (wheel bearings! brakes! other things that I don’t know what they are or what they do, whee!) Then of course the plumbing, which ended in us paying Plumber A $600 to tell us he couldn’t fix the problem, and Plumber B an additional $1800 to diagnose the problem and install a new pump.

There were some other smaller things that all sort of came up at once, including snowpants for the kids, and flea / heartworm meds for both the dog & the cat, and then of course Christmas shopping, and and and…

Bottom line we shelled out around $3000 in about three weeks. Three thousand dollars that simply wasn’t available in our careful, week-by-week-in-a-jar savings.

We have a plan to pay it back – it’s workable, and we’ll get there. But in the meantime, it’s frustrating. I don’t worry about our ability to provide the necessities for the kids. I worry a little bit about providing for the adults in the house, though. Yesterday the underwire on my one and only properly-fitting bra broke loose, and because I have Large Unmanageable Boobs I can’t just run to La Senza and pick up a replacement for $20; I’m on the hook for at least five times that to get something that doesn’t give me neck & back pain. So all today I had a little wire jabbing me under my right arm.

Builds character, right?

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Responses

  1. I feel your pain…believe me. It’s the whole reason why I started this whole new blog with my husband that’s all about finances; it’s our way of keeping ourselves accountable. We have plans and goals and being a coupla broke-ass bums aren’t it.

    Hang in there. It sucks right now but you’ll get back to where you want/need to be. 🙂

    • Oh, I know. We dug ourselves out of a major hole after George was born – we call him our $10,000 baby because that’s how far in debt we went while Michael was on parental leave and I lost three full-time clients in the space of a month (pregnancy, it seems, is contagious, THANKS CLIENTS.)

      This is pretty small in comparison. And when George goes to school and I can get a job that pays more, we will have more wiggle room. Our budget is comfortable & realistic; it leaves room for some hiccups, just not this many all at once.

      Your post today about the milkshakes made me chuckle ruefully. Been there. SO MANY TIMES.

  2. Oh, the bra one I can help with! You can stitch that sucker back in and make it work a bit longer. I bet you can find a tutorial on Google if you aren’t naturally handy with mending.

    • I am the worst at mending but I’m going to try. THANK YOU.

  3. I’m done with this slow bleed of adult responsibilities.

    “Funny” how when you most need a vacation is when you can’t have one!

    Hang in there. And I’m not talking to your soon to be braless boobs. 😉

    • Yes, exactly. It feels so Sisyphean.

  4. One day at a time. We are still in debt, but our cash flow steadily improves as other obligations fall away, but, when we were most stringently in debt, I found the constant awareness… boring. The ‘slow bleed’, as Eryn so aptly calls it, is so fucking *tedious*.

    Here’s hoping you come through this one more quickly than you were expecting.

    • Yes! Exactly. Tedious. Boring. That’s just it. It’s an ever-present worry, like a mosquito bite that you can’t quite scratch

  5. I’ve heard fixing a protruding underwire with moleskin works and is a no sew option:)

    When things are tight here – pretty much all the time since I left my former career to stay home/do daycare – I always feel better if my husband and I each have some kick-around money. We end up paying down debt a little slower but its oh so much better for my sanity. Its never much but it makes me feel less “deprived”. AND I don’t feel guilty then when I do give into temptation for a little treat because its my fun money to do with what I like.

  6. Ugh. Snow pants kill me almost every year. I’m think I’m fine and then someone (the big adult size one) needs new once around January when all hope of used or clearance is gone. I may have done a happy dance last week when I realized I could get some for her on clearance for $10 and everyone is fine with my hand me down bin.

  7. Oh Hannah, that is absolute balls. So sorry.


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