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Night three of horrible sleep. Night one: the Puking. Night two: fever and snot and massive squirming and crying. Night three: all of us were exhausted, B passed out straight away only to wake in the wee hours squirming and crying. Twice. UGH. Teething? Sleep regression? General unwellness? Who can say? But Adam and I slept through our alarm and I was 15 minutes late to a meeting with the financial director at school. No big - I am so grateful for Welsh country time! Paying a bill late? No big deal.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about how quiet my life is here. Outside of the drama of money (I think there is only one other time in my adult life when I've been this poor) and the general drama of having a toddler, there isn't anything else to discuss. I don't follow the news. There's no gossip. No trauma in the community (that I can see or know about). Life is peaceful here. There's space for all the thoughts in my head. It's conducive to navel gazing and spiritual work, if you're into that sort of thing. And Adam and I are, quite a bit. Every day as I walk down the hill, taking in the trees, birds, smell of earth, fresh air and green, I am grateful for being here. I love that there is space to be. That Adam and I have space and time to be with Bennett. It is a gift and absolutely worth the financial stress.

I do miss friends though. I've been dreaming about three things I'm not getting enough of these days: sex, exercise, and social gatherings. But this morning I was reminded of the blessing of friends far away. [ profile] keypike sent us a surprise! The postman put the package inside our door (obviously we slept through his knocking!) - I love that it's not weird that the postman would just open the front door and lay a package inside. In the package were bright, cheery, stripey, fleecey footie pajamas for Bennett and socks with grips on the bottom. YAY!!! I cannot wait to put B in his new jammies. So thank you, Ms Keypike! I look forward to having money once again and being able to do the same for you and others. The reminder of love from afar was the brightest and best way to start my zombie-rific day.
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I have a head cold. I had the shakes when I went to sleep last night, but THANK YOU JESUS Bennett slept like rock (a baby rock), so until my sinuses blocked up completely and I became a mouth breather I slept quite well. Bennett is full of energy this morning. I must leave the house if I want to rest or read. Really I just want to crawl back into bed and sleep some more, but I think having a kid has effectively rendered that wish null and void.

I need to take a shower. I could just pull the hair back and not care. I need to study. My office will be conducive to that. I need to find about about this fees thing, maybe it can wait one more day? That's really stressing me out. I am so stressed out about money these days. What I think would be really helpful is a big fat cry, but crying just doesn't come easily to me. It's such a good release. I'm trying not to beat up on myself - I'm really proud of how much money I saved before I moved here. I'm proud of how Adam's business is coming along. I'm proud of the smart steps we've taken to manage our debt and be frugal. I'm proud of the tasty nutritious meals I'm making on very little money. But forgetting to budget in the break in business over Christmas and this fees fiasco may just be our undoing. I'm really, really not ready to leave Wales, so I hope it doesn't come to that.
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I'm in work mode. Working on getting productive and being focused. So far, so good. Turned in version 2.1 of essay. Working through a book. Taking care of errands I hate: financial. My remaining school fees were doubled in November. I though maybe I could pay them. But I can't. So I'm trying to figure out who to speak with to knock some heads about. Trying to pay some bills via skype. I'm cranky, let me tell you. Good thing I have glass #3 of red wine by my side and a belly full of fabtastic lasagne. Yes. That's right. I did spell fabtastic.

I have two other posts I want to make. One on the recent Economist "We did it" cover and articles and one on some theological thoughts. But I just haven't had the time or space in the last 48 hours to do so. I'm also reading waaaaaay too much right now. I'm discovering that too many things open ended - books, shows, tasks - makes me feel spacey, just like too much time on the internet. I'm actually on LJ and Facebook far more than I post. Not the healthiest thing I don't think.

Ok. Break is over. Back to student loans.
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Courtesy of shitmydadsays:

"Everybody's broke, so here's the rule for Christmas this year; if you still shit your pants, you get a present. Otherwise tough shit."

Pretty much, yup.
But. I also think that kids who are still in diapers don't care about Christmas presents (you can wrap up and empty box and it's THE BEST GIFT EVER). It's the adults who are so busy taking care of the poopy pants that need the pick me up. 'What about the children?' No, what about the stressed out, over tired parents?

So is it gifts for the mamas and papa, or gifts for the wee ones? We can't afford both. The 10 and 4 year old nieces win though, because they fall into neither category.
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We live under a rock. With our internet time so public and infrequent, we hardly check the news. Today I see (thanks to Facebook status updates, at least they're good for something!) that Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Really?! That seems absurd to me. And NASA is crashing shit on the moon. I used to be a news junkie, but it feels good getting a media break.

Things I love about Lampeter:
*Lace curtains - Most houses have two sets of curtains, one set of lace and one other heavier set. The lace are always drawn. They let light in and you can see out, but it's very hard to see in. The curtains make even a rundown place look just a little classier. Very nice.

*I live next to a cemetery. Have I said that? The biggest cemetery in town is my immediate neighbor. So cool. Our house also is beloved by spiders. This too is really neat. Inside, outside, all different kinds. None of them are very big (well, a few outside are fat) and none are poisonous. I love it. It seems a good omen, if for nothing else than for the environment, indicating a rich biosphere.

*Again, the grass fed meat and dairy are amazing.

*This place is so small that I can leave my house 5 minutes before I have to be somewhere and I can walk there and be on time.

*When I walk to my office I pass a large field that has two pony paddocks and four ponies. At the bottom of the hill, next to the paddocks, is a large childrens'/picnic park with a gorsedd (standing stone circle) that modern Welsh Druids built. It's really beautiful.

*Autumn has fully set in. I've been meaning to comment on it for two weeks, but in the last few days the temperature has dropped and the mornings have been frosty. It's so gorgeous here: greens, greys, golds.

*I love the culture of tea here. The Chinese students in the offices meet for tea every morning at 10.30. I love going over to people's houses and being offered tea. 'I'll go and put the kettle on.' So cozy and hospitable!

*The local public library is wonderful. One librarian in particular is a doll. I mentioned that there is a book coming out at the end of the month, the third in a young adult trilogy (Nancy Farmer's Sea of Trolls trilogy) and was the library going to carry it? No, but she said she'd order it for me.... and well, we can't have the third if the library doesn't have the first two, right?

*The grey streak in the front of my hair is growing daily. It's fabulous. Although I actually got carded at the store when I bought a bottle of wine last week. They card if they think you look under 25. !! That hasn't happened to me in a long time....

Books I have read:
*Every single Sookie Stackhouse book and short story.
*The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - so good!
*The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters' latest. Ok.
*The Little Prince - how is this a classic? It's banal.

Also, I don't know what the Heavens want from us, but clearly it's to go bankrupt. Our internet is scheduled to click on next Friday. What arrived in the mail this morning? A notice from the power company that next Friday the area will need maintenance and power will be off all day. I just had to laugh out loud.
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Tina Beattie's God's Mother, Eve's Advocate is rocking my world.

Bank of America is taking us for everything we're worth and making understanding the problem so difficult to discern that I doubt I am smart enough to complete my advanced degree. How do they make stuff so complicated and so hard to find the answers?

Thanks to Chiv, I have found a cheap furniture place that will deliver to Lampeter. OH THANK YOU JESUS. I cannot live out of a suitcase for another week. I cannot. Three months is it!

I love having an office. I think we're getting internet at home next week.

Today at 3pm the family we like and know here is coming over for a play date. They have a 3 year old and a 17 month old. Both are great kids. I have realized that I pay attention to the kids to see if I'll like the parents. At least at this age, where so much of the kid is still formed by the parents. Bennett sooooo needs more playdates. We still have no answers to our child care quandry.

Lastly, tonight I am attempting to make nachos. I found Doritos with no flavor. I know, it's disgusting, but a world without Mexican food is not one I want to live in. Gotta make do with what's at hand!
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Lampeter, you better watch out, because I am coming.

The next few months are going to be INTENSE as Adam and I scramble to come up with several thousand more dollars and budget so tightly that we're only eating toast for two months. I foresee some confusion and nail biting, but I believe this is happening.

My adviser was so encouraging and enthusiastic. She even feels confident that Adam will be able to find a job.

Wales, here we come!
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*I'm not sure it's a good idea for a woman in her thirties to wear sparkly blue flower barrettes, on both sides at once, to work. But whatever. I'm doing it anyway. My usual at work attire involves jeans. I'm sure my professional outfits are what people in NYC wear when they roll out of bed for brunch on the weekend.

*I think I'm starting to lose weight. My pants are getting baggy. This surprises me since I am in no way attempting to lose weight. In fact, my heart rate never gets elevated and lately I've been shoveling as much sugar and dairy into my mouth as I possibly can.

*Speaking of heart rates, I have never in all of my life been as unfit as I am now. I was an active child, swam on the swim team for 6 years, hiked, walked, went to the gym, did yoga. Even pregnant I was more fit than I am now! And I finally understand why people don't like exercise. It's hard. My heart aches and my lungs hurt when I get aerobic exercise. Not in a "I'm having a heart attack" kind of way, but in a "you haven't used us in 6 months, what are you doing to us now?" kind of way.

*On Monday, Adam and I will find out what our raises will look like. Our ED also made the caveat that they would be guaranteed through June (end of the fiscal year), but after that we might have to take pay cuts. WHICH I THINK IS BULLSHIT. I will quit before then and Adam says if the leadership give us pay cuts he'll quit. Gah.

*It's raining today and I love it.

*Adam's parents arrive tomorrow morning. I look forward to pancakes at brunch and to having the grandparents play with B all afternoon so I can work.
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I decided to create a community: [ profile] themoneyproject

I am just getting the hang of putting it together so I am open for suggestions and definitely open to new members! The idea is that it is a members only and friends locked community so that we can talk openly about money. I was so inspired by [ profile] thekitchenvixen's post yesterday that I decided to bite the bullet and do it.

Because I'm going to have limited access to the internet for the month of January, I welcome a volunteer to help moderate the community. Please let me know if you're interested!

Here goes.....
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Today at work I realized that I hadn't thought through this whole "having a baby" thing. Why I am working while he is an infant? Right, I need money, and I was seduced with the whole "you can bring your baby to work!" This meant that I had only 3 weeks of honest-to-goodness maternity leave and have been working more or less since 2 weeks after giving birth. Bringing B to work no longer is effective - I don't get anything done and he doesn't get the attention he needs. So now I have to work to afford the childcare he needs - and for my rent and bills.

Lately I've been giving serious consideration to quitting. Partly financially, partly because I find myself caring less and less about the work we do, and I am more and more dissatisfied with the leadership. It's difficult because I love my coworkers and boss, honestly I love them, and they love me; no other office job could be as flexible as this. But this is not my life's passion and I find myself slowly moving away from what is. It feels much like how I've ended up here 5 years on - I was always planning to move back to Alaska.....

Two final nails in the coffin of my job:
1) Pumping. Why am I pumping and working? Why didn't I take this year OFF when I'm breastfeeding and go back to work when he's older, can eat solids and will fare better with childcare?? Pumping in the bathroom is about the most demoralizing thing. I'm either on the floor in the handicap stall or in the main part facing the wall, hoping no one else needs to come in.

2) Adam and I met with our ED to discuss our raises. I laid out that we had to have more money. My part time hours cover my rent, one bill, a smidge of savings, B's costs and what ever is left over is my spending money. I can't cover childcare too. Adam pays his rent, all the utilities, two other bills, his spending money, and almost no savings. Oh yes, my student loans are on hold so those aren't factored in. We laid all this out. Even with raises we would be making only slightly more than $60,000 a year (that's as a household). This is still too little for a couple in the Bay Area to have a child AND save money.

Our boss said how much he loved us and our work and wanted to provide for us to stay. Then he dropped a huge bomb. One of our big donors was an investor in this Maddof guy who has bilked people out of billions. If any other donors have been hit we may have to all take pay CUTS. This does not bode well.

Adam and I are going to have a big ol' discussion of today's meeting over home made mac n cheese and a bottle of wine tonight.

And finally, one last reason to find a new place: it is COLD. It's quite cold for the Bay Area, but not even freezing. Yet in 1930s apartment building, with single paned windows, the draughts are severe. The hardwood floors are too cold to sit on. I am bundled up in knee length wool socks, jeans, a tank top, long-sleeved thermal, wool sweater and scarf. B has his socks, baby carharts, wool diaper cover, long sleeved shirt, and lined knit sweater, and I'm still debating shoes and a hat for him. Did I mention the radiators are all on?


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October 2010



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