Tag Archives: money

For Love or Money

You have a life decision to make.  Which is more important, your career or your boyfriend/girlfriend?  Do you choose love or money?  Which is right?  Which is wrong?  It’s not as black and white as that.

As I discussed before, I moved halfway across the country to Colorado with my ex.  We had been dating for about 6 months.  I was young (26) and in love, and knew long distance wasn’t for me.  I had nothing really holding me back, so I moved with him.  Was it a smart move?  While I do get a bit embarrassed about my actions (“I moved 1200 miles away for a boy!”), I also know that my life would not be the same if I hadn’t done it.  It was one of those true catalyst moments, a new beginning, a whole new world.  I don’t regret it.  But I swore I would never do it again.  I leaned on him too much, since he was the only person I knew.  That clingyness, while not the only reason we broke up, was certainly a part of it.  When we broke up, within months of the move, I was alone, in a strange land, and the only person I knew was no longer a person I could lean on.  It was not a pleasant feeling.

While dating The Pilot, he mentioned several times the possibility of him getting a job flying out of Dubai.  He had even asked me if I would go with him.  I thought about it a lot, what would happen if he decided to go through with it.  Would I move with him?  While I was completely enthralled (in that scared kind of way, like being on a big rollercoaster) with the possibility of living there, I knew I wouldn’t do it without a ring on my finger.  Dubai actually forbids couples living together who are not married, so that was a handy excuse when The Pilot and I discussed it.  I wasn’t demanding marriage, the country was, if he wanted me to go with him.

Somehow I’ve ended up in a similar situation.  New Beau spent 6 months in Europe last year for his job, and loved every minute of it.  He had told me there was a possibility of him going to the UK for a similar position, so when I got a text from him the other day wanting to talk about something important, I figured (hoped) that’s what it was (as opposed to a “We need to talk” talk).

Beau did get a job opportunity overseas, potentially leaving by the end of the year.  But it wasn’t to the UK, it was to Finland.  And it wasn’t a six month contract.

It will be for two to three years.

We both realize that this is a terribly long time to be apart.  And the timing is simply awful.  We’ve been seeing each other for three months.  That’s not all that long.  Certainly not long enough for him to be basing a major life decision on me.

Just to be clear – this is a HUGE deal for him, career-wise.  Huge.  I can’t even tell you how astronomically huge it is for him.  This position will basically allow him to write his own ticket for the rest of his career.  It’s a big deal.  I get it.  I understand how much he wants it.

And he’s hesitating.  Because of me.  Not a position I’m comfortable with.

There are other drawbacks he has to consider, of course.  Selling the house, his car.  Essentially giving up his dogs.  The fact that he’ll be living on the arctic circle, with long, cold-ass winters with no sun.  He doesn’t speak the language, and there’s not a whole lot of opportunity to learn.

But the pros outweigh the cons, in my opinion.  He wants it, too, I know he does.  The only reason he’s really considering saying no is me.  He would get past those other things.  I’m what’s holding him back.  And I’m not comfortable in that position.  Mostly because I don’t want him to regret his decision and blame me.

  • Scenario 1:  He takes the job.  We’re three months in now, we would have six more months together, then be apart for 2-3 years.  I don’t know about him, but I would be heartbroken.  Completely.  Like, I’m going to cry just thinking about it.  I will spend the next six months thinking about how much it’s going to hurt when he leaves.  And, let’s be frank – chances are, his leaving will be the end of the relationship.  We are not in our twenties.  I’m 35, he’s 38.  Two (maybe three) years is a long time at this age to be holding onto a relationship in its infancy.
  • Scenario 2:  He takes the job.  We break up now, just so we don’t get further attached.  I feel like this is a complete cop out, but a little hurt now is better than a lot of hurt later.  At least, some would argue that.  And, honestly, knowing how much it will hurt later…yeah, I’m one of those.  It’s cowardly, and I would hate myself for it, but I see the benefits.
  • Scenario 3:  He doesn’t take the job.  We break up in four months, and he spends the rest of his life cursing himself (and me) for not taking this opportunity.
  • Scenario 4:  He doesn’t take the job, and he and I live happily ever after here in the States.

Scenario 3 is the scariest for me.  Not that I foresee us breaking up, not that I want us to break up, just because that’s really the worst case, in my opinion.

As I told him, I can’t make the decision for him.  I’m not going to ask him to stay.  I’m not going to tell him to go.  I want him to stay, because I know his leaving will be the end of us.  I want him to go because I know this is a huge deal for him.  And I can’t say at this point which I want more.  And because of that, I will do what I always do, which is give.  If I had to choose, I would tell him to go.

As a friend mentioned, there is another option:  I move, too.

But I’m still very adamant about my “not without a ring” viewpoint.  Even more so, considering it’s a foreign country.  And, let’s face it, what are the odds of us getting to the marriage point in the next six months?  Not great.  Doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen.  Just means it’s not probable.  And none of this means I want to marry him at this point, or that he wants to marry me.  It’s simply too early to be thinking about it.

This is one of his catalyst moments.  Will he choose his career or his love life?

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You’re breaking me (and my scale)

I’m dating someone new.  Two months in, and it’s still that wonderful, fun, “I have a boyfriend!” mindset.  Everything is new, and you want to do stuff with this new person. You go out more than you did before.

Which means you spend more, eat more, exercise less, and have less time to do the necessary mundane things, like pay bills.

For me, especially now that I’m working again, I find I have absolutely no time to do things.  My kitchen and bathroom are a mess, I am running out of clean underwear because I can’t find time to do laundry, and I’m in danger of being late with my mortgage payment, because I haven’t had time to log online and pay it.  I also haven’t had time to blog, workout, or watch the Royal Wedding.

My new boyfriend has recently complained about putting on a few pounds, a combination of eating out more and having less time to exercise.  I’ve always encouraged him to get his workout in, but he recently asked me to help him eat less.  I told him that I’m naturally a nurturer, much like the mother in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  “Here, have the rest of mine, can I get you another cupcake, here just finish this off so there’s no leftovers.”  I’m doing my best to stop trying to feed him, though.

Another issue, which we’ve briefly touched on but not really discussed, is money.  Obviously, if you’re going out 2-3 nights a week, eating and drinking, the cost for two people (which he naturally is going to pick up most of the time) can get to be a little much.

All this is to say, dating can lead to financial loss, weight gain, and a drastic reduction of free time.

But sometimes it’s worth it.  🙂

(Note – I wrote this post longhand a week ago, but haven’t had the time to log in and post it!  I am safe from foreclosure, have done laundry, but still haven’t seen more than a glimpse of the Royal Wedding.)

Another day, another…unemployment check

Well, I’m officially dipping into savings.  I went almost four months without having to do it, so I guess I did pretty well.  Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.  And I’m afraid it won’t last long.

Of course, in the meantime I’ve also put about $800 on my credit card – Christmas stuff, health insurance, groupon deals, the dinner or two out when I suddenly realized I may not have enough in my account to cover it.

I’ve been fairly good about living on budget – even this month, which was a surprise.  Other than my bills, I’m living on $15/day.  That’s groceries, gas for the car, and “extras.”  I’m going to see if I can go down to $14/day in February.

I’m sure you’re thinking – $15/day?  That’s easy!  I only spend $7 on lunch each day.  But think about how much it takes to fill up the car – that’s several days worth of budget there.  And the grocery store – that’s a couple of days.  I should be spending less than that, but, hey, I was at $25/day a year ago, so I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

It sucks, though.  I’m in one of those vicious cycles, where I know I need to get out of the house more, but getting out of the house means spending money, even if it’s $2.50 for a cup of tea at Panera.  So, I stay home all day, and I’m slowly driving myself crazy.

Okay, not completely crazy.  Some days are better than others.  But I’ve had more than my fair share of alone time at this point.  If you read my How to Be Happy post, you know that the happiest people get 8 hours of social interaction a day.  On a good day, I get about two.  And that’s about once a week.  So, yeah, there are days where I can barely move I’m so depressed.  I’m working on that, though.

I know I need to start volunteering, but most places I’ve looked want a 6 month commitment, and I can’t give that.  I hope to have a job soon, in which case I won’t be available during the week.  I’ve had “Go to Humane Society” written on my to do list for several weeks now – I just can’t pull myself out of my fog to do it.  But I’ve got a volunteer thing tonight, and I’m going to start helping my friend out with her non-profit, so hopefully that will help.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get the book revised and edited.  It’s slow going, because I’m having to go back and do a lot of research.  And I’m still not sure how I want to work the ending.  But I’ll get there.  And I have another book idea in my head, and I’m dying to start that, but…one thing at a time.  I’ll never get the first one done if I start on another. I’ve done that before, and currently have two half-finished novels (not including the current one) that are just sitting there…waiting for some TLC.

I’ll get there…

In the meantime, I feel like I’m ready to start doing match.com again, to finish up my subscription, but then I worry about the money I’ll spend on going out.  It’s great if the guy pays, and a lot of the time he does, but can I afford to take the chance?  We’ll see.  And then, of course, there’s that fun “So what do you do?” question.  I hate saying I’m unemployed.  I think my new answer will be, “I’m writing a book.”

“I need a win”

In case you haven’t guessed, I’ve been having a pretty rough time lately.  I’ve been in a serious funk for the last three to four weeks now, and I can’t seem to pull myself out of it.  I don’t know if it’s the job situation, my personal life, the holidays, my financial situation, or (most likely) a combination of all of the above.

I had a mini-meltdown on Facebook last week, and since then I’ve been trying to see the happy in each day.  “Today I am happy for central heat and warm fuzzy socks.”  “Today I am happy I have Aleve in my medicine cabinet.”  Small little things, but I thought it would be a good way to help me see the bright side of things.

It hasn’t, to be honest.  But at least I’m trying, right?

I had lunch with a good friend yesterday, and I was (reluctantly) telling him about my funk.  He nodded, he understood, he’s been there.  He said, “I was telling someone else recently, ‘I need a win.’  If I just had something go right, go well, if I just had a win, it would help.”

That’s what I think I need.  I need a win.  Not just a goal, like a bright spot in the day, but a WIN.  Yes, I have plenty of good things around me, but those aren’t quite the celebratory moments I need.

I need a response to my resume.  I need to win $500 from the lottery.  I need to win a $500 gift card to Harris Teeter (yes, I filled out their little online survey to be entered).  I need the vet to call and say my cat is perfectly healthy.  I need the mechanic to call and say, “Just kidding, it’s only going to cost $50 to fix.”

I need one of the damn stones taken off my chest.  And no more added on.

In the meantime, “22 days until 2011, and today I am happy for leftover chocolate pie filling (now a souffle) and leftover cupcakes.”

Wham!

It’s hitting me today.  I knew it would happen sooner or later.  Over the last 5 days, I’ve had brief freak-outs, but it hadn’t really hit me.  Now’s the time for that, evidently.

I paid bills this morning.  And I looked at what’s left.  And I thought, “This is it, this is all I have.”  Of course that’s not exactly true.  I still have my severance check coming, and unemployment, so I know that’s not really it.  But it feels that way.

(Side note – while writing, WordPress suggests tags for the post based on keywords.  My recommended tags are:  University of Oklahoma, Landry Jones, Colleges and Universities.  Now, why on earth would they recommend those tags?  Do you see anything in what I’ve written so far to suggest I tag this post that way?)

Back to my freak out.

Holy crap, I don’t have paid health insurance!  Not that I’m a sickly individual, but do you know how much COBRA costs?  Anyone want to get married and add me to their health insurance?

On the bright side, I did start writing last night.  I have a story idea, and I wrote down some plot points, lines of dialogue, scene ideas, etc.  Did some research.  I think it’s a pretty cool idea – we’ll see how the final product turns out.

Still working on bulldozing my place.  I wasn’t quite as diligent last week as I intended, since I ended up with far more time on my hands than I thought I would.  I need to buckle down and get it done, though.  Clear out the clutter so I can breathe.

I think I’m going to go take some happy pills now.  I think I need them.  (Don’t worry, it’s just Evening Primrose Oil.)

And then, before publishing this, I went to check my email and got some bad news about a friend.  Breakdown complete.  Going to go take a shower so I can cry as much as I want.  I’m sure to feel better after that, right?

It’s not easy being Green

At my office, we have recycling containers all over the building. There are containers for plastic and aluminum in all of the food areas, and boxes for paper at everyone’s desk. We have a group of people that are on a sort of environmental team, with a focus of being green, and they have encouraged us to bring in phone books and put them in the recycling bins, as well.

There was a rumor a few years ago that the cleaning crew was taking the paper in the recycling bins at our desks and just throwing it in with the regular trash. Our facilities group was asked about this, and they said they would talk to the cleaning crew and make sure that didn’t happen anymore.

Recently, someone asked the facilities group if we recycle, and again mentioned hearing that the cleaning crew was throwing stuff in the recycle containers in with the regular trash.

According to Facilities, we are not currently recycling any materials, because of the cost factor involved. We got very little revenue from cardboard, and no revenue from aluminum or plastic recycling, but we were paying for dumpster rental and pickup. Because of this, we are not currently recycling, although they are “still looking for ways to make recycling happen.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that this is a business, one currently trying to save money and cut costs so it doesn’t go bankrupt. But, correct me if I’m wrong, the point of recycling isn’t actually to turn a profit, it’s to be environmentally conscious. To “save the planet” and reduce our carbon footprint and all that.

My condo complex doesn’t have recycling bins. There a several reasons for this – there’s no room for an extra dumpster, the HOA board worries about the cleanup involved (people will overthrow trash into the normal dumpster and leave it, making someone else, usually a board member, clean it up), and the cost of the dumpster. It would obviously raise our HOA rates, which no one wants. I get that. Instead, I take my recycling to the center, which is less than a mile away, every couple of weeks. It’s not difficult, and I feel like I’m doing my part.

The difference between the HOA not wanting to pay for recycling and my place of business not wanting to pay for recycling is in the encouragement factor, even if silent. Why put bins out if you’re not going to recycle? Why encourage people to bring in phone books to recycle? If I had known the company didn’t recycle, I probably would have been taking my plastic bottles home to recycle. I think it’s a little disingenuous of them.

And how about this for an idea? How about someone takes it to a recycling center? Maybe they could get volunteers to take it a couple times a week. Even offer the person an extra half hour on their lunch break or after work to go and take it? Someone with a truck, who cares a smidgen about the environment. Heck, I’d even offer to take some to the recycling center, but I don’t know how much we actually go through in a week, and I don’t know how much I could hold in my car.

My life’s okay

Blog post in haiku:

My life’s okay,

Have Job, Home, Food, Health, Friends –

It could be worse.

Seriously. I realize that there are people far worse off than I am, and that my problems and issues don’t add up to spoonful of the heaping mess that some people deal with.

I’m employed, and have money in the bank, and can pay my bills and have some spending money. I own my own home, and don’t have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from.

I’m college educated, have reliable transportation, electricity and running water.

I am healthy, disease free, with no real physical or mental limitations.

I’ve never had a man hit me. I’ve never had to deal with date rape or unwanted pregnancy or a psycho stalker. I’ve never had to deal with divorce and custody battles and child support. I’ve never had to deal with the death of a child.

I have a loving family that I get along with quite well. I have friends who care about me, who would (and have) jump in their car in the middle of the night to rescue me from the side of the road, who would offer me a place to stay and food and clothes off their back if I needed it.

I know all this. Which is why I feel really bad when I have my “Woe is Me” moments. Oh, boohoo, I can’t afford a trip to Europe. Oh, boohoo, I can’t afford a new car. Oh, boohoo, my boyfriend cheated on me and dumped me (although, does it count as being dumped if he just disappeared?). Oh, boohoo, I don’t get to go out to eat as often as I would like. Oh, boohoo, some days I don’t like my job very much. Oh, boohoo, I can’t run 3 miles in 30 minutes.

Boo-freaking-hoo.

I get it.

Doesn’t mean I don’t want things to be better.

The head can say it all day long, yell and scream and shout through a bullhorn, but the heart, the soul, the core of you doesn’t always listen, or pay attention to reason.

Sucks, don’t it?

What do you boohoo about, even though you know it could be worse?

Another Life

I used to have a whole other life.  A life I kind of miss sometimes.  Especially on nights like tonight, when I’ve had a glass (ok, two) of wine and taken a trip down memory lane via an old friends website.  I don’t wish I could go back, not really, but I do fondly remember the good times. 

Anyone who knew me before, or knows me now, would never figure me for that life.  I spent almost every weekend camping in the backwoods, sleeping on either the ground or in the back of a pickup truck (and, a couple of times, even in the passenger seat of said pickup truck).  I would take a shower Friday morning, go to work, leave right after work, and not take another shower (or use indoor plumbing of any kind) until Sunday night (did I mention it was usually 95 degrees in the shade?).  I would climb all weekend long, until my arms and hands and legs and feet ached.  I would go to work Monday morning with scratches and bruises all over my body, cracked nails, and a big smile on my face, because it was so much fun.

To answer your question, yes, there was a man involved.  I probably never would have done that, every weekend, if it weren’t for a man.  But it’s not that I did it for him.  Although, of course I did, because he and I never would have worked if I hadn’t.  But I actually did enjoy it for a time, and I really did have fun.  I still liked indoor plumbing, but I put up with not having it, because I had such a great time.

Then things changed.  They always change, don’t they?  It stopped being fun, and started being a chore.  It stopped being about going out and having a good time with friends, and became about how much more you could do, how much better you could do it.

There were other factors.  A move halfway across the country with a man I had known for six months.  An accident along the way that changed said man.  A very lonely existence in a new place, with no family, no friends, and a man who wasn’t the same, a man who was angry at himself and shut the rest of the world, and me, out.

Is it any wonder it didn’t last? 

I mean, there are so many reasons:

  • The person I was, the person I really was, was not what he wanted in a girlfriend.  That’s not to say I was faking anything, or pretending to be something I wasn’t.  But he introduced me to a whole new world, a different world, and I threw myself into, excited about the possibilities.  I was willing to explore, willing to see what it had to offer, and in the end, found it wasn’t really me.  I didn’t know that at the beginning, though.  I discovered who I was at the same time he discovered who I was.  
  • The accident he was in, it was a horrible accident, but he walked away.  He had some injuries, of course, injuries that didn’t allow him to pursue his passion.  He had moved specifically to be closer to that passion, could see it out his window (literally), but couldn’t do anything about it.  He…was not the same man I knew before.  And I tried to be understanding, I truly believe I did my best, but after a while, I lost my patience.  “You rolled your car doing 70mph.  It flipped ten times.  You walked away.”  His response:  “It would have been better if I had died.”  It’s hard to live with that.  And by that, I mean that person, that mentality.  It takes a toll. 
  • I was so alone.  So very alone.  I had left everyone, everything, I knew, moved 1200 miles away, with no job.  He was all I had.  But he was gone.  We engaged in almost  a reverse tug-of-war:  I clung, he withdrew.  I clung more, he withdrew.  I clung harder, he withdrew.  I never felt (and I still don’t feel) as if he really ever appreciated what I was going through.  I was drowning in a pool of loneliness, and his own self-loathing just helped to weigh me down.  I was unemployed for four months, sending out 15 resumes a day, and I think he didn’t believe I was really trying. 
  • We had seriously differing views when it came to money.  They say more marriages break up over finances, and I believe it.  I was raised to be money-conscious, but that it was okay to splurge on occasion.  He was (I’m sorry, there’s no nice way to put this, and besides, he would tell you himself) cheap.  Really, the warning signs were there on our first date, when the manager of the restaurant came out to make sure everything was okay, because he had only tipped 3%.  I just refused to read the warning signs…and started carrying small bills and laying them on the table when he turned his back.
  • I stopped climbing.  He urged me to continue, encouraged me to go out and have fun, but it was hard to leave him behind, knowing that it was more his life than mine.  I felt so guilty every time I did it.  And on top of that, I found out that I really enjoyed climbing with him – not with just anyone.  I trusted him, we worked well together, and the comfort level, the joy, wasn’t present without him.  I didn’t enjoy climbing without him, and (ironically) I didn’t enjoy him without climbing.

He’s a wonderful man, a wonderful person, and the more distance I get from that situation, the more I believe that.  We just weren’t right.  There were so many signs pointing to it, but you don’t see those until afterwards.  I was too happy, too in love, too sure that this was it and he was the one and we would live happily ever after forever and ever. 

I hate him just a little bit, for different reasons.  But most of the time, when I think of him, I smile.  He taught me so much, and was such a willing teacher, so excited to share information and make everyone around him a little bit better.  But he was never superior about it.  He would teach you something, and then turn around and praise you for figuring out something so difficult.  “But you taught me that,” I would say.  He would smile, shrug, and say, “I just gave you a couple of pointers.”

Mostly, I thank him when I think of him.  Because (and I know this without a doubt) I would not be HERE  if it weren’t for him.  I would not live where I live, have the friends that I have, have the life that I live, if I hadn’t moved with him.  He took me 1200 miles away, so I could move another 2200 miles. 

You have a special place in my heart, Spiderman. 

           

       

Thankful Thursday

Today, instead of dwelling on the worries of everyday (and not so everyday) life, I thought I’d reflect on some of the things I am thankful for.

  • I am employed and have a roof over my head. I am far better off than a lot of people right now.
  • My dinner decision consists of the question, “What am I going to eat?” rather than, “Will I eat?”
  • I can see the light at the end of my debt tunnel.
  • I have friends who love me enough to worry about me.
  • I have The Pilot in my life.

What are you thankful for today?

“Wait, so you want us to actually PAY your property taxes?”

I refinanced my condo, and the closing was yesterday. But it almost wasn’t.

Back in May, I found out that the county showed me delinquent on my property taxes for 2006, 2007, and 2008 – since I’ve owned the condo. Since the property taxed are set up to be paid through escrow, I contacted the mortgage company. They said they’ve been paying, and it must be a mix up. Long story short, the mortgage company has been paying the property taxes on the wrong parcel number. Once we (read: I) discovered the error, they were working on correcting it. I checked online in July, and the county showed me with a $0 balance, so I thought it had been resolved.

Flash forward to yesterday. My closing was scheduled for 3pm. Around noon, the title company discovered that I am now 4 years delinquent on my property taxes – 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. I contacted the mortgage company, and they said that disbursements had been made, and they would open a work order to research the issue. I asked if the disbursements had been made on the correct parcel number this time, but they were unable to answer that question, so they transferred me to the tax department.

The tax department showed the disbursement for 2009 taxes, but said that the other “disbursement” that should have covered the past three years was actually a refund from the county “for payment on the wrong parcel number.” Okay, so did they then reissue payment on the correct parcel number? Doesn’t look like it, but they’ll open a work order to research it.

The title company asked for something on letterhead stating the mortgage company would get this taken care of, otherwise I couldn’t close on the refi. I was told that the “supervisor is not authorized to issue any sort of promise to pay,” or, for that matter, any sort of letter stating that they were researching it. The turnaround on the research department was generally 10 business days, and “there’s no way to expedite it.” I asked for the number to call the people who would be researching it, but…they don’t have a phone number.

Great. It’s now 2:27pm, I have to leave work in 3 minutes to make the closing, if the closing is even going to happen, which, at this point, it doesn’t look like it will. My friend and mortgage guy says to go ahead and head that direction, they may be able to work something out.

Another long story short, I essentially had to promise to cash out my 401(k) to pay the taxes, should the mortgage company not get this worked out. The lawyer I was working with was flabbergasted (don’t get to use that word too often) over the whole ordeal, and recommended I threaten to contact the banking commission.

The closing went through, so yay. However, I was expecting to get some money back, and I was looking forward to buying new appliances for my condo. I didn’t find out until the closing that that part didn’t go through. I was, however, getting a whopping $125 back. Not quite the $1600 I was expecting.

I’m now on a 30 year loan at 5.25% interest, and I really never want to deal with any of this again. Of course, I know better than that, but it’s possible that I’ll never move. I’ll stay in my tiny condo for the rest of my life, alone, but for a series of cats. I don’t think it’s in me to become a crazy cat lady, but it might be worth it if I never have to get a new mortgage again…