money again

money again ( love having my weekends back. It’s been so long, more than a year and a half since I started to work a full-time and a part-time job at the same time. On top of being in charge, sort of, and trying to retain my sanity. There were times, days, weeks, months when I thought I wasn’t going to make it. But I did, in my opinion, and now I have my weekends back. Great.

…or not so great…

One of the things that I didn’t miss about having time off was having to deal with my family. Especially my mother. She’s become so much more difficult over the past few years. I’d like to blame it on age, but then I remember that my mother was never a model of logic to begin with. It just seems that the more free time she has, the more she acts up. It’s like being in charge of a child with credit cards and mood swings. Not pleasant.

One of the other problems I have with having my weekends back is that lack of extra income. I do make enough money to live off, kind a, if I’m very very careful with money. Being smart with money is one of the things my parents never got around to teaching me. And it’s one of those things I haven’t been able to teach myself. I’m still frivolous, spending money on things I don’t need when I know that I can’t afford them. And it’s not big things; it’s a string of small things that just sort of creep up on me and my bank account. Before I know it, I’ve spent too much, gone over budget and am in need of being bailed out.

The thing is that money had stopped being a problem. I was making loads of it and didn’t really have to watch what I was spending. I lived too many months with that kind of freedom and now find that I cannot get myself into the budgeting thing. With the loss of my extra weekend job income and the addition of my new car payment and its increased insurance bill, I’m barely making it.

I’m hoping, for my peace of mind, that my freelance work starts to really take off. That’ll pick up the extras quite nicely. Unfortunately, other than my one real client right now, I’m still in the maybe stage with a few others. That’s okay, it’ll work out. It has to.

practical things

I have always been a practical person. Even when I was the one flirting with other girl’s boyfriends and racing my car on the highway outside the little Mexican town where I used to live, I always made sure that the consequences were manageable.

Taking a close look at my parents, I have often wondered where I got the ability to sit down and make things work no matter what. I know for a fact that I couldn’t have gotten it from them. That would require that they be something other than the emotionally draining, selfish people that they are.

But that’s a separate issue.

So here I am, in the aftermath of the complete chaos my parents have created, trying to make sense of it and trying to make sure that nobody is completely destroyed by it.

Things have to change.

I sat down and figured out what money comes into our house and what money goes out in bills, food and other stuff. We might make it. Barely, but we might make it. If the car doesn’t ever break down. If nobody ever needs to go to the doctor’s office for anything. If nobody needs anything extra. Ever.

Taking that into consideration, I figured that the most sensible thing to do was to bring more money into the house. That is, more than was coming in. That means that I have to find a new job. One that will pay me enough that I can take up the slack, the void in finances that this catastrophe between my parents has created. That means that I’m going to have to stop being so damned picky and actually choose a job based on more than just whether or not it’ll be fun.

Does anyone know how long it takes to find a good, semi-interesting, well-paying, full-time job in the communications field? No. Well, neither do I, but I’m sure that it takes longer than a couple of weeks. And, armed with this knowledge, I went in search of a part-time job that would give me the extra cash we need while I look for a job that pays enough that I don’t need a part-time job.

Am I making any sense?

Never having looked for a moonlighting gig before, I didn’t know how limited my options were when I started. Basically, I could wait tables, I could go to work at the mall or a fast-food joint, or I could go into telemarketing. Yuck. Things sure have changed in the four or five years since I started doing temp work in college and said good-bye to the part-time life.

When presented with these possibilities, and with the fact that I needed something NOW, I chose telemarketing. To be more precise, I chose to do telefunding, which is a little bit different. Telefunding is calling up people who are affiliated with an organization in some way and asking for donations. I know, I know, it’s still calling strangers and bothering them and asking them to give me money, a credit card or an order for a pledge packet. But at least this way I’m affiliated with a known arts organization and I’m not actually selling anything. And that makes a difference to me.

Today is the week-and-a-half mark of my part-time employment. I work a four-hour shift three nights a week and both weekend days. I’m no longer considered to be in training, but they haven’t begun to bug me about making my quota yet. It hasn’t really been that bad. The manager is very nice, the people I call are usually very polite even when they decline to donate, and the other people working there are all doing it as a second job. As moonlighting gigs go, I could have done a lot worse.

And, for those of you interested in such details, it pays six dollars an hour plus bonuses.

Don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to work part-time. I don’t want to have to leave work at 5 o’clock on the dot and drive in the opposite direction of my home, down the most congested freeway in Houston at the busiest hour of the day. I don’t want to have to rush and miss dinner and wonder what else I’m missing. I don’t want to have to call strangers, giving them a combination script/ad-lib conversation designed to make them give me money. I don’t want to have to worry about when my manager will start expecting me to produce above my quota. I don’t want to have to cut my recently emerging social life because of financial responsibilities.

But I figure that at the very least I can stick it out telefunding until I either find a more interesting part-time job or I get that full-time gig I’m actively seeking. Or at the very least until I find a part-time job that doesn’t require a 40-minute drive home at the end of my shift. Either way, the most practical thing to do is to continue with this job and use the extra money as a buffer for the “in case” scenarios I keep coming up with.

And I am always so practical.

Image source: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

a liquor day

Today I’m wearing a pair of black heels that I love. They’re plain black high heels, closed toe, with ankle straps. They make me feel like a girl. Pretty. Fun. Nice. They’re just on of the little stupid stuff, the frivolous details of my life that have kept me sane recently. My red red lipstick, just a shade too bright. Little silver clips in my hair. Extra eyeliner in the morning. Dark pantyhose. Dessert for lunch instead of real food. Extra strong hazelnut coffee throughout the day. Personal calls made during work hours. Renting movies that I’ve already seen too many times. Bubble baths. Flirting with the guy behind the counter. Keeping an eye out for the good parts, the things that make everything worthwhile. Pretty black heels that make me feel like a girl.

If one more bad thing happens to me, I’m going to lock myself in my newly acquired bedroom with the bottle of brandy I found at the back of my closet when I packed my stuff to move. And I’m not coming out until I’m too drunk to care.

My car is currently at my mechanic’s shop. I took time off work yesterday to take it over and talk to him in person. I usually just drop the car off before work and leave the keys in the ashtray or something and then call him and tell him what’s wrong. But this time, because he hasn’t been able to fix it yet, I wanted to talk to him in person. My reasoning is that it’s easier to dismiss someone over the phone than it is to dismiss someone in person. And so, I told him what’s wrong and gave him the keys and he promised to give it a once over. I don’t know that I believe him, but it’s the best I’m gonna get right now.

In the meantime, I’m bumming rides off of my sisters. That’s really not that inconvenient. One sister has to drive by school to get to her job and both sisters have classes here on alternate weeknights, so a ride home is not problem. I just miss my car.

I tried to put my computer back together after the move and found that I couldn’t get it to work. At first I thought that the cable that connects the CPU and the monitor had been damaged and took it in to work to get a replacement. After using the new cable my tech person gave me and finding that the monitor does turn on, it turned on twice, but that the computer itself is stuck on booting up and that I still get a blank screen 9 times out of 11, I have realized that there is probably something very wrong with it. Something beyond my hooking up the cable the wrong way. I’ve sent a note to my support person and am waiting for a response. I think I know what she’s going to tell me: bring it in. (Did I mention that the computer belongs to the university that employs me? It’s a PowerMac 7600, I think.)

I took my father to sign the lease of his new apartment yesterday. He actually starts moving in today. That’s a step in the right direction. Just a week ago he was still going on and on about wanting to get back together with my mother.

My mother hasn’t seen him or spoken to him since it happened, two weeks ago.

He and my uncle will be moved in by this weekend. I’m supposed to be calling the light company to set up his electricity and the telephone company to have his phone changed to the new place. He says that he can’t handle doing any of that. It’s ironic that two weeks ago I would have said that it was my mother who wouldn’t do anything for herself, and she’s the one who got the electricity and phone service put in our apartment.

Well, I’m supposed to be calling the utilities companies, but my mother is doing that for me. That’s kind of weird. She’s calling to have the utilities put in to my Dad’s apartment. She says it’s no problem, and I know that she’s doing it to make things easier on me, but there’s a part of me that questions the sanity of allowing her to do this.

But I’m still selfish enough to get over my doubts and just let her handle it.

on a normal note

I got my car back today. Late today. The mechanic replaced the motor mounds and the gas filter. I knew that that wasn’t what was making it stall or pull or whatever the correct word for what my car was doing. I knew that my car wasn’t going to be fine when I picked it up. But my mechanic assured me that they had taken it for a test drive and that it was all fixed and ready. He told me that if it was still acting up I should feel free to bring it back in.

It’s still acting up.

I know that, for some reason, the mechanic is not going to listen to me. He thinks that it’s all in my head or I don’t know what I’m talking about or something. And I don’t really know what I’m talking about, I don’t know very much about mechanics. But I know that when I accelerate from a stationary position my car goes forward and then kind of stops. Well, not exactly stops. It’s like the motor takes a moment’s pause or the gas stops going or I can feel the gears shifting or something. The result is that for just a couple of seconds, it stops accelerating, at least until I step on the gas a little more. And then it stutters a little and continues going. It never actually stops, it just threatens to stop. And this only happens at less than 35 miles per hour. Once I get the car going it works fine. I never have any problems on the freeway and once the car has been running for a few minutes it stops stalling all together.


The little pseudo-tantrums my car has been throwing give me an awful feeling. It makes me think that the car is going to stop in the middle of traffic. That the cars behind me will plow into me because they don’t know that my car is acting up. That I’ll be trying to drive into ongoing traffic and it’ll break at the absolute wrong time and I’ll be the cause of a major wreck. That it’ll stop somewhere on the other side of the world and I’ll have to get a wrecker in the middle of the night, or worse, in the middle of rush hour traffic and have to deal with that nightmare.

I hate having to deal with car troubles.

Am I just naïve in believing that if I take my care in to the mechanic’s place I should get it back working just as well as before it broke down? Is it too much to ask for to expect that the mechanic will listen to what I’m saying with more than just mild indulgence and then go from what I said rather than what he thinks I should be saying? I don’t know much about dealing with cars, but I do know that if I take my car in and say that it’s been stalling and stuttering and my mechanic tells me its $200.00 because he’s fixed it then it should not be stalling and stuttering anymore. Doesn’t that make sense?

Maybe he doesn’t feel it. It is, after all, my car. I know it better than anyone. I know when it starts to sound squeakier than usual. I know when it’s heating up and I know when the AC isn’t quite working the way it should be. So, it stands to reason that I’m the one who would feel what’s wrong with my car more so than anyone else. But that doesn’t mean that others can’t feel it.

Oh well. I need to give my mechanic a call tomorrow and let him know that, in fact, the car isn’t fixed and he got paid to do work that didn’t solve the problem. And I need to let him know that I won’t be able to bring the car back in this week because, surprise surprise, I actually need my car to get around and I’ll either be moving into an apartment this weekend (if they say yes) or I’ll be looking for a new apartment (if they say no). Either way, he’s going to have to take care of it.

money matters

I’ll go ahead and admit it: I am awful when it comes to money. It’s not that money intimidates me; I don’t tend to fear inanimate objects. It’s not that I find managing money to be difficult; it simply takes a little patience and some planning. It’s just that — and I know that this is a terrible thing to say — I find handling money to be boring. It’s boring! Not just detail-oriented, not just controlling, not just time-consuming but tedious, unimaginative and drawn-out. Okay, I know that there are people who find personal finances exciting, and there are even people who have made it their life’s work, but I cannot relate to them. Oh well, they probably think that writing for a living is a pipe dream and cannot relate to me. It takes all sorts.