Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rant a little, cry a little, and then…Onward!

This may come as a complete surprise, but I have had a really dark, rotten, miserable, lousy, no good kind of week.

Yeah, I know. You’d never have guessed by the complete blog-silence all week.

But then, I really couldn’t do much writing, because I really wasn’t myself.

This month has been beyond dreadful, in a lot of ways. There’s the obvious emotional upset losing someone so young brings on, but there’s been…a lot more.

We’re at a pretty rotten place financially, and it’s got me pretty pissed off…mostly because what finally tipped us over the “nope, can’t do it on one income anymore” is not slowing down at all but rather accelerating…I’ve paid just over $6,000 out of pocket so far this year for medical / dental / vision combined, I’ve got another $850 in the bill drawer right now and damned if I don’t have at least $3,000 in orders in the “pending” file.

“Pending” me being OK with spending $3,000 I don’t have, that is. Let’s just say that things for the kids are receiving a slightly higher priority than things which are for the parents.

I’m having a lot of trouble getting any work, too. No surprise, really, the entire business world is basically hold its breath right now, waiting to see where the chips are going to end up falling. The same thing is going on with my husband’s company too, and we’re having to face the fact that his job is not terribly secure right now.

Nice. Right when you find yourself performing on the high wire without a safety net, somebody sets the damned support beams on fire…

And because life is mean that way (and also because my stress levels were impossibly high, and no matter what issues you may have, stress is never helpful), my perimenopause went from “mildly annoying” to “will someone please just shoot me, because I can’t take this for even five more minutes.”

Perimenopause started for me last year, and is apparently planning to settle in and stay for a while. It’s usually just a little annoying, one or two symptoms, the occasional (and always inconvenient, what’s up with that?!) hot flash, a little trouble sleeping, a little moodiness, a little more anxiety (catastrophizing) than is my usual…but generally speaking I just kind of roll my eyes, grouse a little and get on with life.

Well. These last couple weeks, and last week in particular, it was like suddenly perimenopause decided no more fun and games and just…slammed me.

Whew. Hot flashes suck. So does the deep-freeze that follows, when you’re wallowing in sweat and have kicked your blankets all the way to Bermuda during the burning up alive phase.

And insomnia is worse.

Except that you do get more knitting time, when you go to bed at midnight and wake up at 2:15 and can’t get back to sleep…and you might as well get to knitting, because the anxiety attack thing isn’t going to let you just doze around in bed until morning…

Fun, huh?

So now that I’ve ranted and raved…well. Time to roll up the sleeves and head onward.

We’ve got a new situation here. As prices continue ratcheting upward for everything from gas to eggs, I’m less and less able to absorb even small crises. We’ve already slashed retirement and college savings to keep the boat on a more or less even keel…which is one of those ‘short term gain, long term loss’ propositions.

Toss in average medical/dental/vision out of pocket costs of almost $12,000 each year for the last three years, and folks…we need to get ourselves repositioned, budget-wise. (Or one of us needs a job with a better benefits package…this is definitely a major topic of conversation around the Den right now…)

Also, we need more income, and we need it now. We need both of us working, we need that emergency fund rebuilt yesterday, we need the security of knowing that if one of us does find the old pink slip in the envelope, at least the other one is bringing home enough bacon to see us through the next job search.

It’s annoying as hell to be back in this position. We’ve done without a lot of things to avoid it. We haven’t taken vacations, we haven’t bought new clothes or cars or signed the kids up for after school crap or replaced broken appliances. We resisted the siren call of refinancing again and again and again…argh

It feels a bit like getting up the morning after a bad storm and finding your property got somewhat messed up. It isn’t a devastating total loss, it isn’t a Katrina-level event…but damned if it didn’t wipe out a lot of hard work anyway, and put a lot of new hard work before you.

Maybe I should have made the fences stronger. I surely should have heeded the warning signs a little sooner, put up the storm shutters, laid by more supplies. Lesson learned, eh?

And now, well, there’s really only one thing to do: Roll up my sleeves, put on some heavy duty gloves, and start cleaning up the mess. Turn the crap into fertilizer, plant new seeds, get the party started…get us back to that happy place where we have enough, plus a little bit extra…

Life is full of these kinds of cycles. Success and failure, good times and bad…we make our own mistakes and have to clean them up, or we might even do everything Just Right but some other person makes mistakes and we get to enjoy the fallout all the same…

I’ve got some serious thinking to do, once we get the initial mess cleaned up.

And I’m not even sure how big that mess will end up being. I don’t think the storm is over, not by a long shot…in a lot of ways, I’m wading out into it to start trying to secure property already being torn apart.

I won’t be surprised if the setbacks are many, and brutal.

But…well. I’m not the quittin’ type, push come to shove. I rant, I rave, I agonize, I complain about unfairness and wish it were otherwise…but come right down to it, there’s only one way to go, for this little white chicken: Onward!


Leoal said...

I wanted to let you know I have been thinking about you all week. The situation on the news gets more and more infuriating every day, and I am watching corporations smothering regular people in the US and dragging down economies here in Canada and overseas. It is an outrage.

I wanted to express my sympathy for everything you are going through, and to your family as well. I can't imagine. Hopefully it helps a little to know you have faithful readers the world over thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

I have no magic wand, just knitting needles. I've waved them, just in case.

Leoal is right - you do have faithful readers thinking of you. Now if we just owned a big, rich, company near you...

PipneyJane said...


You've had a crap month. I'm sorry life is piling on the bad stuff when you've been hit by one of the worst events possible, ever. You don't want to have to deal with stuff on top of grieving for your niece. How is your family holding up?

I'm not sure if the past month's avalanch of bad economic news isn't making us all feel a bit less financially stable. (The UK has had one bank forceably taken over and another nationalised by the government.) You aren't the only one worrying about job security - to me it seems that the less happy I am financially, the bigger target I'm carrying on my back.

[ sigh ]

At the end of the day, we just have to pull on our big-girls' panties, batten the hatches and try to ride out the storm in the best place possible, even if that means doing the unpaletable.

You're in my thoughts, Tama.

- Pam (apologies re the spelling. Brain's gone.)

Kate Linnea Welsh said...

Good luck. I hope things look up for you soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry your world has sucked wind the last month. I can sympathize with the perimen. situation - I'm finally on the upswing after about three years of hating everything and everyone. I met someone a few months ago whose motto was "Suck it up!" I have taken it to heart and all but written it on my walls with a black Sharpie. Glad to hear you are sticking to the same plan - it'll get us through!!

Nicole said...

i've come to the realisation that everything sucks all at once. which is so much harder to deal with than little bits of sucky-ness at regular intervals.
i thought about you this weekend when i was away... and i'm sending some good thoughts your way.

Yarnhog said...

I don't know where I heard it, or if I just made it up, but anytime I find myself in an awful situation, the little voice in my head just keeps repeating, "The only way out is through." Good luck on your journey through. I'll be here listening and sending positive energy your way.

Unknown said...

My doctor told me once, with a straight face, that perimenopause/menopause doesn't last forever--that I should be through with it in a few years. That was of very little comfort at the time. However, he was right, and life is much more peaceful now.

On the other hand, it is so frustrating to do everything "right" that you can think of and still have it all shot to pieces because of the greed and irresponsibility of others. We're there right now, too, but our kiddies are grown and not depending on us. Now I just worry about them and their families!

You also have my sympathy over the death in your family. There are some things that are just awful in life.

Thanks so much for the joy I get from reading your blog.