punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

The Zen of Housework

Well, with Christine gone to pick up Fran in Florida, and CR being gone most of yesterday in Science Olympiad, I have gotten a lot of housework done. I'm not sure why, but I get housework done faster and better alone in the house than any other time. Maybe because I feel I can swear openly.

"Goddamit, who leaves CHEESE WRAPPERS in the TOASTER???"

Friday night, I was totally stressed out because we had run out of money. This came rather unexpectedly, and after drilling down with reasons, it turned out our medical expense now reach over $200 a month, and that's just in co-pays. I spent several hours with spreadsheets tracking all money and money losses, and the same crap I always see is still getting worse: things are becoming more and more expensive. My raises have been marginal, and Christine hasn't gotten a raise since 2000, so on average, our income has only increased 2% every year, while our costs seem to have gone up 34%. When we started living here, we had about $500 extra a month we put in savings. Now, we are losing about $230 a month. Our savings are gone. There were several events that led to this, like the horror that was late 2001, and of course, our recent not-as-horrible-but-horrible-just-the-same events. We're pretty much one emergency away from bankruptcy. Our tax refund has been wiped out already, and if it wasn't for the fact we kind of have to go to Vegas at this point (we already paid for most of it, and Tracie has paid for some of that), we would have canceled Vegas. As it was, I had to make some "devil's deals" with Credit Card companies that we had. Thankfully, I didn't have a high balance on any of them but one, but I got the limits bumped up (they were, by my request, very low, so this was not an issue... I was stunned how easy it was to get your credit limit raised).

Sean and Lou came over Friday and talked to me about money, and Sean had some interesting advice that might work, but might complicate matters financially, because it involves financial juggling that I am not comfortable with. Everyone pretty much agrees I shouldn't get a second job, but I am a simple man, and I just equate work=money. I was just glad to have someone to talk to who would not be affected by my possible financial collapse.

Saturday morning I had to get up early to see CR off to the Olympiad (a dad a friend of his was going to pick him up), and we both overslept. But he made it out, and I got to work. I started with the lawn because it's just growing like crazy. That took a few hours, and I think I finally have the Zen of the lawnmower worked out, and it's not so difficult to start anymore. I do need to get it tuned up, like new spark plugs, blade sharpened (or replaced by this point), and oiled. But I don't have the money right now. But it mows, and that's important. I also replanted two tomato plants to the outside in pots, to see if they would survive. Then storms blew through, and I slept through them. Then I woke up, and saw all the debris, I went, "Oh, crap! The tomatoes!" But they were fine. I think on Thursday I'll plant the rest in the garden.

I tried to call Christine, and the phone was dead. Both lines (Christine has a fax line for work). I called her on the cell, and she said to call Verizon, which I did, and they stated something very alarming: "On April 16th, you asked to have this service cancelled in two weeks." Uh... no! They then stated they had proof that someone, with my wife's name, had called from a Baltimore number saying they were moving and to have the phone shut off on the 30th. I really doubted this, and they had to get a supervisor into the call. But she was nice and friendly, and said the mistake might be on their end because they were lacking a "transit number" (or something) on the order, and suspected that someone else with my wife's name had called for another account, and if the account info didn't match, they wouldn't have been able to do a work order. They had to verify who I was, and then they said that there was a small chance that we would end up with a different phone number! Because, see, we had cancelled, and the phone number was put back into a pool of available numbers on this exchange. They reactivated our voice mail immediately, but said it would take up to 24 hours to reconnect our service, but they would wave the reconnection fee. I got a call only a few hours later from them, asking if it was me. So the outage only lasted about 12 hours, 3 hours from when I discovered it. But what a pain!

I had a huge "To-do" list to clean up for Fran's arrive Sunday (later today). There wasn't a whole lot since we cleaned for Debbie and Penny's visit. Penny is Christine's cousin, and came up to Maryland from Florida a few years ago. She only recently started helping out because she only recently heard about the whole thing, and she's still living fairly well off due to a worker's comp settlement from a few years earlier. She drove Debbie down to our house, and will probably visit here soon again. She left on Friday to go back to her temporary living in Maryland (she's moving back to Florida soon), because she just got a dog (a Chihuahua) who was in the vet's office, which Debbie and Christine went down to Florida to pick up Fran. So the majority of cleaning I had to do was touch-up. I managed to get some more cleaning done that had taken a while to get to, including our own bathroom next to our bedroom. It was amazing how much expired medicine we had. Some expired back in 1999! There was other stuff, too. You know how almost everyone has a "junk drawer?" Well, we have several "junk boxes." I went through a lot of those, and filed stuff away where it's supposed to go, tossed it, or just left it in the box. I got it down from 5 boxes to 3, so I feel pretty good about that.

Well, Fran, Debbie, and Christine just arrived so I'll see you all later.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000475.html
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