Keeping things in perspective

While I was whining about the cost of getting my car fixed, my friend was losing her father. My friend L, who recently had her Dad diagnosed with fatal cancer, lost him last evening.

Even though she knew it was going to happen, there is never enough notice or preparation for this to happen.

Tomorrow I will go to the wake, when I was supposed to be picking up my car. Definitely time to put things into perspective.

Why does being broke make me want to spend money?

Why does being broke make me want to spend money? (

Today I took my car in to the mechanic’s to get some work done. Brakes, a persistent oil leak, etc. were on the list. At the end of the day I’ve been given the news that the repairs are going to run me approximately $2,000. Talk about sticker shock!

I have the money. Thanks to the fact that I’ve actually spent this year economizing and putting money away, I do have the money. I won’t need to borrow it (as I had in the past) or put it on a credit card (which I don’t have anymore) or not pay a bill (yes, I did that too). I simply had to transfer money from my savings account to my spending account.

It takes me months of budgeting to save $2,000. Honestly, last year I wasn’t capable of saving any money (even though I made the same amount of money). Two years ago I was spending more every month than I made. This year I’m actually being a grown up and responsible with my money. So I do have the money.

I turn 40 in eight weeks. I had planned all sorts of celebratory things, including a weekend road trip and a nice gagdet for myself. I’m going to have to cancel all of that now or risk spending money I cannot afford now.

But I want it! I want it! I want it!

I want the weekend trip. I want the dinner party with friends and family. I want to buy myself an ipad with all the accessories.

The funny thing is that a week ago I was arguing with my family that I was considering not doing any celebration at all. That I didn’t want the hassle, the expense, the work. And, really, what’s wrong with a quiet birthday?

Today, I want all of that so strongly I’m tempted to go out tomorrow and put down deposits, order my toys, pay for everything. I want it all and I know it has more to do with my feeling that I all of a sudden don’t have enough money, that my financial goals are further away, that my decision in a career have crippled my ability to provide a good life for myself.

I often react this way. It’s like how I eat more after going on the scale and seeing the numbers that tell me how bad my weight is. It’s like how I’m less motivated at work after being told that I missed a deadline or didn’t do something that was expected. My reaction is always to do something that makes it worse.

I am the queen of self destructive behavior.

If I can make it through the next week without going on a spending binge, then all will be well. If I can make it to my birthday without going off the rails, then all will be well.

And if I win the lottery, things will be much better. I guess I have the same chances of that too.

Choosing a Hospice

This is an update to my post about my friend and her family, specifically her Dad’s battle with cancer.

Today they are choosing a hospice. To those of you who don’t know what that means, it means that her Dad is dying. Her Dad is dying.

I haven’t seen her in person since she got the news. She’s busy with her family, as expected, and I’m trying hard to let her know she has my support without being a burden. But I’m beginning to think that there’s a fine line between discretion and invisibility.

I’m hoping that she knows that my thoughts and prayers are with her (and her family) and that I’m here if she needs anything.

Any suggestions?

Do not resucitate

A friend of mine shared this via Twitter tonight:

Family made a decision for a DNR order tonight. Hard night for me.

It’s been just a week since she told me that her father was in the hospital. Less than that since they found out it was cancer. Mere days since they started using the word “fatal.”

A week ago everything was fine. Today her family made the decision to sign a Do-Not-Resucitate Order.

I know what she’s feeling. No, my Dad didn’t have cancer. My Dad had Parkinson’s Disease. His slide from wellness to death took years, not days. I had time to know that it was coming, to understand that the disease was going to cause his death, to know that he wasn’t going to get better. I had years. But it was still sudden.

I want to help her, be supportive, do something to help ease her burdens and fears and anger and helplessness. I want to be a good friend.

How do you help a friend in this kind of situation? When my Dad passed away I just wanted everyone to leave me alone. I didn’t want well-wishers, condolences, or well-intentioned sympathy.

I’m not quite certain if I need to go to the hospital and hug her, even as she sits amidst her family. Am I supposed to call her to make sure she’s taking care of herself while she tries to take care of her family? Should I pop in and bring lunch or dinner, making sure everyone eats?

What’s appropriate, while ensuring that I’m not intruding?

I know that I’m going to pray for her. I know that I’m going to keep in contact. Other than that, I will see if I can actually be helpful.

Pay me, Please

I have come to the decision that I’m not doing any reduced-fee or free projects from now on.

I have the very bad habit of taking on projects (either public relations or social media/web) on a volunteer basis or for which I charge considerably less than normal fees. What ends up happening is that I feel taken advantage of and it all goes to hell in a handbasket from there.

I need to always quote for what my time is actually worth.

The trap I fall into is that I know that I don’t need the money to pay my bills; that’s what I have my full-time job for. But I do want to be paid for my time and expertise.

So that’s one of my new goals: charge what I’m worth instead of what I think they can pay.