Friday, February 18, 2005

Counting my blessings, hating my bills

Pasta, again. I've come to hate fucking pasta. But it's cheap. When it's on sale, you can pick up four boxes of something or other for a buck. Throw a little jarred sauce on it, sprinkle a little parmesan, and you've got another meal. Tonight, my 7-year old is staying with me, and she opted for chicken noodle soup--her favourite. She'd live on it. Luckily, her dad fixes elaborate meals at his house, so a couple of meals a week of chicken broth won't do lasting damage.

But today, I'm really feeling it over the damn bills. Too many bills, not enough paycheck. I've already talked to the phone company--I have until Wednesday to pay them what I owe them. Next, I'll talk to NYSEG, and TWC, and the hospital, and my car insurance company.

I am extraordinarily lucky. I know that. I have an assistant professor's salary--but academia is not where you go to get rich. With two advanced degrees, I should be able to get a better paying job, but that would mean moving away from this small town where my daughters live, and I'm not willing to desert them. So, I'm stuck.

Most days, I blow it off. Tell myself, "it's only money." But today I feel badly. My oldest daughter asked for her allowance, and I had to tell her Id used it to buy groceries. I'd pay her on payday. She was gracious about it, but what kind of parent uses their 13-year old's money?

I love my life. I really do. I have amazing children. I have a roof over my house, a car, good friends. I laugh often and much. But I didn't expect to be 42 and living this close to the edge. I have no margins. I am fortunate enough to have friends who are willing to loan me money, but I wonder sometimes when I'll ever be in a position to pay them back.

It's only money. Why, tonight, does it feel like it's part of my identity?

21 comments:

Sheryl said...

The whole concept of money definitely sucks. :( I've thought that for a long while.

Last year I was living on rice and beans for a while because I wanted to stretch my savings. If you need some tips for making money go further, let me know and I'll share some of my tactics.

Best of luck with the bills. Do you have any income tax refunds from last year you can apply for?

I think eggs are probably a better investment costwise than pasta. For between 12-15 cents you get a good source of protein there. Three eggs will fill you, so you get a good source of protein for between 36-45 cents, as opposed to pasta, which is all starch and carbs (leaves you hungrier.)

When I am eating really cheap, I also do the rice bean thing as well, which is also cheaper than a bag of pasta if you make them from scratch. If you soak the beans in advance overnight and throw out the water afterwards, you won't get gas from them (or at least not bad gas.)

Anyway, probably I am not being helpful. But I have lived on the cheap for periods of time, so if you need some hints, let me know.

lorraine said...

I like rice and beans. My children, however, do not. My eldest would much prefer to eat Indian curries; my youngest would live on chix noodle.
A pot of pasta will be eaten by both. One likes eggs, the other does not.
My favourite meal as a kid was eggs, chips, and beans (English food--eggs, fries, and baked beans).
Mmmm. Beans.

Sheryl said...

Yeah, beans are good, but it kind of depends on how they are prepared. Some of these canned beans really gross me out--more sugar and corn syrup in them than beans. Blech!

The best beans, to my tastes, are tex mex style refried beans (pinto beans), but godness are they caloric! :(

Yeah, I guess kids are fussy, but at least they know what they like, eh? :)

gubermintcheez said...

The bills do suck and they never stop coming. I understand exactly what youre saying. Ive learned to distance myself from these things and not let them run my life. You have to. Or they take over and become part of who you are. Just put them away, you know when youll pay them. And nothing else can be done unless you wanna worry and fret over things you cant control. I say fuk em. I do what I can and thats all I can do.
Keith

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