goodbye to an old year

I can’t begin to describe (in clean terms, anyway) how glad I am to see 2008 go away.  I wanted to like it, but in the end I didn’t.

2009 is going to be my hopeful year.  I’ve decided.

I have been researching programs, both those offered at the technical college where I work and elsewhere.  Here’s the kicker – there are no jobs – at least none that I’m qualifed for and none that pay enough to leave my current location.  Todd’s found something to apply for.  It pays $9.00 an hour and won’t cover the deficit we have, but it”ll secure the fee waiver for us, so that’s something.  The scary thing is that it’ll still leave us short and we’ll have to decide what else to cut.  As I noted before, that means goodbye to the cell phones.  With the new job we can’t pull Bren out of childcare, so we’re stuck there.

I’ll keep looking for better paying jobs but you know that old phrase about snowballs and hell?  That’s my chances of finding something else.  I’ll keep tutoring… that’ll bring in about $150 a month.  If he got the mail services job, we’d have about an extra $275 a month from that, with none of the extra money he gets from working holidays at his current job.  So that’s $425 and we need $900.

In a long past life, I’d say that I’m not so good at math and that doesn’t add up, but I AM decent in math and that definitely doesn’t work.

Another option, one that we could give another shot is trying to sell the little car.  I just don’t believe it’s going to happen.

What I need to figure out is how to add to my income if Todd does take that job…  I’ve scoured the retraining certificates and there is nothing that will work.  I’ve even looked at doing the professional truck driving program.  Yeah.  That’s desperate – not because it isn’t good work to do, but because I have a family and need to be home with them.  Being gone on the road would be bad for my children.

Gah.  It’s giving me a headache.

So hello to the new year that is right around the corner, peeking at us.  Please, please, please bring us something positive.  I’m not asking for anything else…  I’ll stay overweight.  I’ll stay away from my sewing machines.  I’ll eat healthy foods and give up sugar.

Ok, so that last one would probably kill the overweight issue…

…Well.  I’ve got nothing.  No ideas.  Blech.  Do I wave the white flag?  I guess so, at least for tonight.  I give up.  Maybe something will come to me next week.  In the meantime, I need to drop my classes and get out of that path.

That’s it.  I’m gone.  Have a good evening.  Enjoy.  Be safe.  Happiest of New Year’s to all.



home again…

It hit me today – my job is unnecessary.  With all the budget cuts at work, my job is the most easily discarded.  I don’t know if this bothers me or not.  The two major duties I have were given to someone else back in October.  It wasn’t done as a punitive measure, at least as far as I can tell, but it left me with little in the way of complext duties.  Essentially, the work I have left could be shifted to the front desk ladies and I could be gone.

Part of me wants to just have them get rid of me so I can move on with life.  Part of me wants to hang in there and use the fee waiver so Todd can get through the spring.

Part of me doesn’t care either way.

I go into work and the apathy starts from the moment I hit the outer door to our building.  By the time I reach my office, I feel almost totally numb.  Nothing I do there is significant or challenging.  Nothing I do there needs me or my skill set.

When I do an assessment of what I have to offer an employer, I am gradually feeling that I have less and less to give.  I used to have advanced level skills in Access – both working within an existing database AND designing one.  Now?  I don’t think I could even pull a query.  I used to be intermediate in Excel…  now I can do the basics… but not much else.

I’m no good at sales, at least as far as I can tell.  I hate trying to persuade someone to buy something.  I can’t do collections.  I like kids.  I find adults are fatiguing.  I like figuring things out and analyzing patterns, whether in data or processes.

I don’t know what all this adds up to.  By my count, we’ve got two more months – January and February – before things are beyond the point of return.  Best case, I think we can make it through March.  That’s dependent on several things…

I know this isn’t all on me.  We need to keep trying to find a job for Todd.  I still have to figure out how I can find another job and not just that, but find one that pays more than I’m making now.  It needs to be a plan that will work within the January – March timeframe.

Not much pressure at all…  yeah.

My head hurts…  I want to run away from everything.  I want to beat my head against a wall…

I keep looking at options.  How do I choose?  This isn’t a “forever” decision.  It’s something to help us get through this time.  I guess that’s the most important thing to remember.  In a year or two or more, things will turn around and my time will happen.  I’ve got a short window in which to work, to get some quick training that will put me into a marketable state.

It has to be something that will pay off.  I know I can’t depend on my existing experience and skills.  I’m one of many at this point.  I have to change those odds.  I can’t do anything to change Todd’s situation, so I guess it has to be mine…


Or do we funnel the money into Todd’s training and get him up and running?

Crap.  Another option.

It doesn’t change the problems at my job.  So maybe I need to keep on this track and find something to help me move.

Is it any wonder I’m stressed out and feeling completely insane?

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn….  What the hell am I going to do?

Some small thoughts

I thought a lot about what I’d write today, while I was walking in to work, but now that I’m sitting here I just don’t know what to let out first.

A first quick note to Ann:  Thanks for mentioning that posting yesterday… I’m not qualified for it, but I appreciate that you let me know about it.

On the cold walk in, I thought about how you can be intellectually capable of something but not emotionally capable.  In my case, I know I have the intellectual capability for academia…  the issue I’ve been facing with the gradual slide of our family’s situation is that I simply don’t have the emotional capability right now.  It’s this combination of events and circumstances that have caused me to crumble…  We never thought it would be so hard for Todd to find work.  I didn’t expect to have the fee waiver yanked away.  The contract that we thought would help tide us over has evaporated and the reserve of funds we had to keep us going is now gone.

I want to be able to handle school on top of this.  I want to pursue this dream and feel some kind of peace about making steps towards that dream.  Instead, I know that going into those classes now is a disaster just waiting for an opportunity.  This isn’t hyperbole… it’s just the straight truth.  I can’t focus. 

If I can’t focus and I go into those classes, I could end up blowing it and that will close the door on my goals for the master’s degree.  One bad semester can be forgiven.  Two?  No. 

The bigger issue for me, beyond the need to escape the black hole that is secretarial work, is the immediate need my family has for increased income.  Todd continues his disheartening search and as sad as it is, adding me to the search mix would increase our odds of getting something.  The difficult part is that I have to be able to increase my income from the current level and it’s almost impossible to do that when I am apparently only qualified to be a secretary.

Now I’m sitting here, re-reading that paragraph, and I feel the weight of all of this sitting on me.  There were so many points over the years where I could have changed things.  I thought school was the path and I stuck to it, even when it didn’t go quite like I had planned.   Now I think about those missteps and cringe.  I wonder if I’m in the process of doing the same thing. 

I woke up at 2:30 this morning and attended to a couple things, then I went back to bed and tried like hell to go back to sleep.  It was misery.  The worry and the defeat I’m feeling rolled through my head, over and over.  I know I finally drifted off, since the baby woke me up about 6:20… but it was a long, slow process to conk out.

So let me be clear here…. Todd is in a degree program that is going to take years.  He’ll be eligible for better employment next year, but for now nothing is coming through for him.  We have immediate need to turn our income around because the things we can cut are now down to the minimum.  I’ll dump our cells when our contract expires in March (presuming we’re still in this mess).  At the end of February, if necessary, we’ll pull Bren out of the before and after-school childcare program – which will make it very difficult for Todd to take employment, even if it comes up at that point.   We’re searching for a less expensive internet provider, but that not having internet isn’t an option for us because many of Todd’s courses (including one for spring) are online and require high-speed access.

None of these things, individually or collectively, will close the gap.  Even finding a cheaper place to live (difficult to do, given that we are in an 18-month lease) wouldn’t help.

So if I seem upset or cranky or depressed… well, it’s because I am. 

I’d love to write more, purge it and then move on to more interesting topics, but the fact is that I’m worn out and losing faith that we’ll pull through this. 


Message from the universe?

More bad news today, this time on the job front for Todd.  Between that and the overwhelming financial worry, I’m evaluating my need to be in school this spring and I’m beginning to think this is not the time.  How am I going to concentrate on my classes when I can barely function right now?  This coming weekend I need to do the assessments for my tutoring students and that is about all I will have the energy for, outside of my own little family.

Maybe by the fall we’ll have a more secure footing and I can step up to it then.  Right now is not the time.  I’ve been struggling with that knowledge for a while, but I’m getting it and I’m finally listening…  the message from the universe is that this is bad timing.  Todd can focus on his studies and I’ll keep the family going.

I’m going to give it another week or so before dropping those classes, but I don’t see this changing before January 20th (or the due date for fees).

I’ll talk to my student loan people and see if I can get a deferral due to economic hardship – even if for only 6 months… 

I’d love to say I was upset about this, but the truth is, I’m already upset about too many other things to feel much about letting go of the classes.  On the off-chance things will turn around, I’ll hang on to them a bit longer, but I think I already see where this is heading.

You know what has been going through my head?  I started thinking about it and realized that Todd needs to be the student now.  Yes.  I want to be a teacher and my time will come back around, but right now I just don’t have anything more to give.  I can be his cheerleader and try to figure out what I can do on my part to improve our income generation.

Maybe that’s what the universe has been trying to tell me.

The year ends pretty much as it has been… blah…

I have nothing exciting to report.  The kids are off to gramma’s house for the day, Todd is sleeping, and I am at work.  I’ve already had someone come to my office and call me the wrong name – this even with my name plate outside of my office.  Hmm… what else?  Nothing much really.  Still no word on the job search for Todd and we’re now on the countdown to March when our cell contract expires…  they are the next item on the chopping block if we can’t find a way to increase our income.

My weight is still up and looking to remain there for quite a while. 

School is starting January 20th, a date that seems way too close even though it’s still December.

My horoscope told me to reign in my optimism and not have unrealistic expectations.  Talk about wildly off.  My pessimism is rolling on at an all time high.

Good thing there’s only 3 days left of 2008.  I’m ready to kick it to the curb.

Signing off – one grumpy moonfire.

Mysteries of the universe

Why why why is Paris Hilton in Cat in the Hat?

And has anyone noticed that the girl completely lacks rhythm?

And has anyone notice how weirdly “rhythm” is spelled?

Why do small children do the same action over and over, even though it causes discomfort and/or pain to them?

Why do husbands, male roommates, and sons always take their socks off in the living room, consequently crumpling them into small, stinky, formerly sweaty nuggets that eventually end up tucked under furniture?

(still stuck on the Paris Hilton question)

And why do all the foods that taste really good have to be so bad for a person?


It’s Saturday in our house and chaos reigns supreme.  The floor is covered with toys, the dog is sprawled out with the baby attempting to bond to him, and the oldest son is enjoying (yet again) another day in Nintendo DS land.


Yet somehow satisfying.  Very odd.

I’d like to clean but I think that a hot bath is more likely to win out.  A hot bath with some kind of fruity bubble bath would be even better but that’s simply asking too much.

Hmm.  Well that it for now.  I’m tired and I have to think about doing just a bit of laundry.


Boxing Day

I’m originally from Canada.  We celebrated boxing day up there.  Now, we moved when I was a kid, so I have to be honest… I’ve never really understood the significance of boxing day until now.  When I was little I thought it was related to the sport and considering I’ve never been that into sports, I found the day uninspiring.  Now though, I’m looking at all the crazy food we have at the house and I’m thinking boxing some of it up and getting it out of here isn’t such a bad idea.

But I won’t.  I’ll freeze some, for future days that are likely to be very slim indeed.  The rest will be “repurposed” so I can avoid having to make much other food this weekend.  Isn’t repurposed a good word?  It’s descriptive, yet interesting and makes you stop to think for a moment.

I like it.

The kids had a great time for Christmas.  It’s hard to insulate them for that one day and let them just be free little kids, but I think we pulled it off.  On a weird, yet interesting note, our little family got a cool gift from Todd’s aunt – it’s a counting coin jar.  Put the money in and it tells you how much it is and gives you a running total of what is in the jar.  We got out a sharpie (me and Bren) and labeled it “The Mahoney Wii Jar!”  The idea is that we will keep packing in all the miscellaneous found coins and any other money we deem appropriate to dump in there.  We have a little over $35.00 in there right now, having cleaned out various piggy banks (with express permission from the owners) and my purse.  I’m doing laundry today, so that’s sure to net a buck or two.  Explaining to the 6-year old that we need to save up a minimum of $249 was hard, but he already put in the $50 his grandpa sent him for his birthday (on the condition that we get Legos Indiana Jones for the console when it happens)…

By my counting, we’ll probably have enough saved by next Christmas…  but Bren said something that I thought was very smart for a little guy – he told me that we’ll just have to appreciate it more because of how much work it’ll take to save up for it.

I thought about it, as I sat there shoving pennies into that jar (and that was SOME work let me tell you!)…  I realized that this is the best thing we can do.  It’ll show him, and us for that matter, just how hard it is to save and how long it can take.  I realized this was the best way to do it, no matter how impatient I happen to get.  Found change is a constant, even if it isn’t much.  It’s not accounted for in our budget and it’s something that we seem to stumble across constantly in any given week.  Now I’ll have a way to motivate him to roam around the house picking things up!

And I’ll start looking for rebates and things like that.  Those could be considered “found” money and go into the jar.

I should get up.  I put the baby down in the crib because he was getting grumpy and fussy, but it’s been about 15 minutes and he’s still up there playing.  I think I’ll pop up, get him and bring him down for a snack.  Maybe some warm milk and orange pieces will calm him down.

It was a lovely day yesterday, although my mum stayed home with a really bad cold.  Todd’s family was funny and welcoming as always.  There were only minor moments of weirdness, but you get those with any family gathering.

I wish Todd didn’t have to work this weekend.  I really miss having my husband around on evenings and weekends.  And I know I want to be a teacher, but right now the thought of school makes me feel very tired.  I think about our schedule this spring and cringe.  Even if we could afford to put Bren into extracurricular activities, we don’t have the time.  Isn’t that awful?

I need to think more positively.  I refuse to cycle into this same negative thinking that has been dragging me down…

On that note, I think I’ll write a family letter to send out with the pictures to my family in Canada.  It’s something, anyway.