punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,
punkwalrus
punkwalrus

Taking the day off

I took today off. Why? Well, I was *supposed* to have Monday off, but then I got a call stating that our main Linux server was down, the new hard drive we put in was bad, and then two people went in and broke it further trying to "fix" it. So I went in, and with the help of another guy, we realized that some asshat had changed the fstab (directory that Linux uses to tell where stuff is on the hard drives and such), and left a typo. Thankfully, I fixed that and had it working shortly thereafter. Then I had to fix and placate people and services affected by this outage. Then I changed the root password so no one could "fix" anything while I was gone today. Again, I was rewarded by my insistent backups.

Then, more bad news, my son was tested for allergies, and he is allergic to 30 out of 35 major things they test allergies for. The places they pricked his skin swelled up like a relief map of a lava plain, and his arms looked like they had been scalded with acid and a ballpoint pen. Now, we knew he had this weird allergy to cold. If his skin is exposed to cold, it breaks out in hives. He's had this since he was an infant. Apparently, this is deadly, and now he has to carry some sort of adrenaline pen with him wherever he goes. Plus, he's allergic to animals, dust, mites, mold, pollen, and a bunch of different foods. Heather, Christine's niece, had the same thing, and so we're turning to her for advice.

On top of this, our company's insurance decided they aren't covering stuff in full anymore. They dropped to 90%, and will shortly drop to 80% with rises in co-pays and so on, which means CR's new medicine is only partially covered, which means our medical bills have skyrocketed. My company has been petitioned about this, so they decided to hold a meeting about it... after the insurance window has closed. So I have to either choose whether or not to renew based on no facts whatsoever. I think we're going to go with my wife's company's plan, since she's the head of their HR and everything. Today, she told me, "Thank god none of us got into an accident, we'd have gone bankrupt!"

On top of this, I did a full detailed analysis of our family's financial status, and learned we are losing $230/month more than we are earning. Savings are depleting at a rapid rate, and we have to take emergency action to try and stop this leak. If another disaster occurs to our family that involves money... we're screwed. Totally screwed. A few years ago, we were doing okay, but when I tried to figure out what happened, I realized that almost every utility bill we have had has doubled or tripled (not in consumption, in $$$/unit). Same with gas, car insurance, and a bunch of other bills. Also, our pay has not increased very much. I have had two raises since we moved here, both of them 3-4%. Christine has never had a raise, because her company is barely making it as it is. So our income has not kept up with inflation. I don't even want to talk about our investment portfolio. The economy stinks, and I don't think I can hold out much longer before I have to cash in what little I have left, no matter the loss.

My family won't let me take a second job, either. I figured I could make money as a part-time cashier for $10/hr at the shopping center behind our house. I figured if I worked part time at 20-30hrs a week, I could bring home about $600-900 more a month, which would put us in the clear. But they won't let me, citing health and sanity. At this point, worrying about keeping my house payments on time erodes my health and sanity. If I am going to be in a depressive funk, I might was well earn money while doing it. So we're butting heads on this.

We have a lot of options, more than most, so I am grateful for several things. One, that our marriage is pretty strong. I am fairly confident we could both be destitute and not leave one another. Second, I mean, if push comes to shove, we can sell the house, a lot of our possessions, cash out our 401k, possibly get a roommate, and sell off what little investments we have left (not necessarily in that order) before we're living out of our car. We have emergency plans in case one of us loses our jobs similar to that. Third... well, we have had worse. I was unemployed for two years once. Yes, we starved, lived in the projects, and were generally miserable, but we survived. And finally, I could always just try and make money writing, but I don't want the pressure to MAKE MONEY to write, because the odds are so low of making a living wage as a writer.

So, yes, I took today off. I frickin' earned it. Days like these make me GLAD I don't DRINK!

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000271.html
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