TMI?

May 19, 2006 at 9:01 AM | Posted in Personal | 4 Comments
Perhaps.
But I am trying to be honest here.  And I am trying to focus on writing for myself.  It’s a subtle difference, I know.  But I am trying to be true to me, because I think that is what you all (fans, groupies, stalkers, and hangers-on) appreciate most about what I write.
Most people don’t talk about money.  My wife doesn’t want her finances discussed with anyone.  My mom paid off a loan in cash rather than answer what she thought were too personal of questions on a credit app.  And me, I’m an open book.  Ask me what’s in my wallet–nothing.  Ask what my checking account balance is–hold on while I look it up.
But I gave the details because what I wrote was more about how I felt, and I had to put it in perspective.  But the whole money thing–
I have never been rich or well off.  Or even –well, according to what we make, we are firmly in the bottom rung of the middle class.  My wife’s family, brothers and sisters, all have high paying union jobs, fantastic houses, great cars. . . American dream.  I remember this, this sticks with me.  Sticks in my craw like a bone splinter in a piece of meat.
  My wife’s sister Tina works at the Post office.  Government job, pay, benefits.  Her husband is a union carpenter with years of seniority.  They were discussing their oldest son, Brian, a few years ago, hour he got this job making 13 bucks an hour.  She (Tina) lamented that he’ll never make it that way.  "That ain’t no ‘real money,’" she said.
  I only recently began making that kind of ‘no real money.’  Five years ago it was just a pipe dream, that kind of money.  But to be in the ‘real money’ bracket, you have to be in the 20 dollar per hour range. 
  For all my fucking brains, I’m a complete spaz, I know.  Only now am I finishing college, something I started 20 years ago.  And only an associates degree.  My wife is a victim of demographics.  She had two babies while she was a teen, and it kept her out of the big money.  Finish high school?  She didn’t even go.  She had kids when she was 14 and 15.  Single mother, teen, with babies, and that young age–she was going no where. 
  But she perservered, worked hard, and made it.  Made it the sense that she was able to provide for her children live a life, and the kids turned out okay.  They are happy, healthy adults, with kids of their own.  Nothing is perfect, of course, but she did okay in that sense.
  I come along, on my white horse and chariot, and I’m supposed to save the day. . . 
  Well, that is for people with more motivation than I.  I made some poor career choices, starting with doing drugs and flunking out of college.  Then doing menial jobs–when I got promoted to store manager, I really thought I was on my way.
  When I got promoted to store manager the second time, not so much.  More of a "well, this’ll do for now."  time slipped through my fingers slowly, unnoticed.  But that second time as manager, we were in the money.  Adjusted for inflation, those two years were my highest grossing.  When they moved me to another store (not technically a demotion, but nominally so) the loss of bonus money cut my salary substantially, put me in the poor house, and took eight or ten years to climb back out of the hole.
  I was able to fix our bad credit without declaring bankruptcy–I recommend everyone in trouble check out a legitimate credit counseling organization, that’s what helped us–and buy a new house.
  Our first house was a gift from my parents.  It was a tiny, tiny thing–930 square feet, no basement, no garage.  It was cheap.  It needed work, so they bought it for about half of what other houses like it were going for.
  We did the work to it, and now it appraises for three times the original price.  It was put into me and my wife’s name, and we owned it free and clear.  We were able to borrow against it to pay off the rest of our debt and put a down payment on the bigger house.
  (Why didnt we stay in the small house?  Well, everyone is different.  We honestly needed more room.  Four people, in that tiny house–I had to go outside to change clothes.  The neighbor hood was starting to go bad, like neighborhoods do, and I wanted my kids to be in a better school.  And like I said, for all my wife has been through, I wanted to give her a piece of the American dream.  It may have been ego, but I wanted her to feel like an equal to her sisters and the rest of her family.  And maybe I don’t want them to look down on me, her choice in husband, either.)
  But, like Mona said, I have a great family.  I mean my close family, my kids, and stepkids, and grandkids.  These are the important things in life.  The house was only a means to an end.  A way to provide for my family.  That is it’s only importance to me.
  So we kept the small house, although I owe on the home equity loan.  I rent it out to a girl I know who is a single mom with four kids.  So I give her rock bottom price on rent.  So much so, in fact, that I am not only not making any money off of it, but considering what I have to pay on the heloc and taxes, I am probably losing money.
  She may want to buy it.  I hope so.  One way or another I’m going to have to sell it.  I can barely take care of one house, I sure as shit can’t take care of two.
 
I’ll be moving on to other topics now.  This one gives me a headache on one side of my brain.
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4 Comments »

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  1. I\’ve got something for you  : )
    check it out
    at my place
    no… not that! *shaking head… men!*
    well, maybe later
    *looking around to see if anyone is looking.. coast is clear*
    hugs and gropes and special treats
    Kim

  2. Think of the stuff that you are doing right – concentrate on that and I\’m sure, not only will you have a smile on your face, but more good will come. You are a fabulous person and remember, a gifted writer – I still think you should check in with a local magazine – take some of your favorite writings from here – (cut off the ends that have this blog address on it- so you can keep writing whatever your heart desires here) and take writing samples. i\’m telling you – you\’ll get a job that you might love!!! Pay is decent as well and you do it in your free time as a second thing – couple interviews a month or a column and you\’ve got some extra dough and some fun!! just a thought 🙂 – patti
      

  3. Remember how when you were a kid you always thought it would be easier when you get older cuz then you could do what you want to and you\’d have a job and lots of money?
    yeah, right
    still waiting for that easier part.
    and we\’re supposed to get wiser too.  part of the compensation for getting old. 
    I\’m still waiting for that to happen too… the older part happened, but the wiser part? heh
    Maybe the wisdom we pick up along the way is the knowledge that a good share of what happens to us is caused by….us.
    Some people never figure that out.   They just whine about how unfair life is and and wonder why there\’s always shit falling on them.
    Congratulations on knowing that since you caused it, you can change it.
    Hang in there with your writing.   I agree with Patti.  You\’re good enough to be able to make it work for you.  And I\’m selfish enough to encourage you so that I can continue to be entertained!

  4. I think the fact that you have gotten your degree and trying to provide for your family is awesome. The thing that fucks me up is that I will never make as much as my mother or my grandfather. Our ecomony sucks, and my generation is paying for it the most. With a little of yours mixed in. So congrats on everything you have gotten done.


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