Saturday, June 21, 2008

Broke, Bored, and Bummed

Well, the title of this post pretty much describes how I’ve been feeling for the past couple of weeks. Broke because trying to live off one income (my husband’s) is next to impossible, bored because between being broke and my husband’s night shift work schedule, we either never have the time or money to do anything, and bummed because I’m frustrated with being unemployed.

The nonprofit organization I was doing the grants proposal for decided at the last minute not to pursue it. I’ll still get paid for the time I spent working on it, but now I’m just waiting to get paid. I sent them an invoice last week, but their accountant is on vacation this week, so I won’t get the check until someone time next week.

In the meantime, I have bills piling up and need to buy groceries and get my kids’ asthma/allergy medications refilled. Did I mention that I hate not having a job? My husband’s been working as much overtime as he can at his job, but we just can’t live off one income, especially with gas and food prices skyrocketing. Gas alone is killing us, with my husband driving nearly 50 miles round trip to work 6 days a week. And then I read that food prices are expected to go up even more with the floods in Iowa and Missouri destroying so many crops.

One of my former coworkers emailed me last Monday, and told me someone from the nonprofit organization (one of the women I interviewed with) called her for a reference for the permanent position I interviewed for (the research and planning associate). She gave them a good one. Everyone I’ve mentioned it to thinks it’s a good sign, that they’re checking my references, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up in case I don’t get the job. I'm still keeping an eye out for other jobs I'm qualified for in the meantime too.

I told my husband if I don’t get a job offer in the next week or so, that I’m just going to have to take any job I can find, even if it’s just something at Wal-Mart, because we need to have some other income coming in. It’s the bills, and also just never having any money to do anything with the kids. Bethany tells me about her friends and classmates that go on great vacations every year with their families – cruises, trips to Europe, trips to the ocean, to Disney World, and here I am so damn broke that I can’t even afford to take my kids to the movies or to an amusement park, and it makes me feel like just a lousy mom.

A few weeks ago at preschool, Dominic’s class had “bike day” where the kids can bring in their bikes and get to ride them in the playground. I felt horrible because my son only has a tricycle, that he outgrew last summer, and so he didn’t have a bike to bring in. He’s been asking me for a “big bike” with training wheels, and I feel so terrible not even being able to afford to get him one. I told him I’d buy him a new bike when I get another job, and nearly every day he asks if I have a job yet, and it hurts to have to tell him no, because he gets so disappointed.

On top of worrying about my job situation, I’ve just been totally overwhelmed with my husband working nights. The schedule has him so exhausted that he spends 90% of his time at home sleeping, and I feel like I barely have five minutes to even talk to him anymore. And things are going to get worse because he’s going to start welding school at
Lincoln Electric on Monday. He’s going to work his night shift, get home at 7, and then have to rush out of the door about half an hour later to go to classes. He won’t get home until about 4, and then he has to be back at work at 10:30, so that barely even leaves him time to sleep, let alone time to see me or the kids. The classes don’t end until the first week of August, so by the time he’s done with classes, it'll almost be time for the kids to go back to school. On top of that, I’m worried about how he’s going to manage on so little sleep. He’s not exactly young anymore – he’s 42, and he’s diabetic, and doesn’t feel good some days, so I just hope he’ll be OK health wise with the lack of sleep.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that my husband has the opportunity to go to school – his company is paying for the welding classes, and once he finishes he’ll have the opportunity to move into a full-time welding position and make more money, but with the work and school schedule, it’ll be impossible to have any kind of normal family life. I’m tired of sleeping alone every night, tired of not having any help with the kids, and tired of missing my husband. I’m not mad at him, just overwhelmed.

The kids spent the night at Grandma’s (my mom) house last night, with some of their cousins, my sister Desiree’s 11 and 4 year old daughters, and 6 year old son. Desiree and her husband were going to some event downtown and then spending the night at a hotel, so my mom asked if I wanted to bring my kids over too.

My husband and I very, very rarely go anywhere by ourselves without the kids, so I’d have loved to have gone out to eat or to a movie or something, but between us being broke, and him being exhausted, we just stayed home. He fell asleep early, and I stayed up later crocheting and watching TV. Some exciting Friday night, huh? The kids had fun at Grandma’s though. They ate a ton of junk food, had a water balloon fight outside, watched a movie, and all fell asleep together on the living room floor. That was Dominic’s first time spending the night away from home, but he did well. Speaking of kids, that reminds me that I have a new picture of my baby niece, Jenna. She's 5 months old now.

That's me feeding her at my brother Joe's (her dad) house on Memorial Day. Isn't she cute?! I told Joe that he and Jenna have the same hairdo (because she's bald, and he's losing his hair) ha, ha!

About the only good thing that’s happened lately is that I got a letter from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland saying that they awarded me a $500 grant towards Bethany’s tuition for the upcoming school year. I applied for assistance before I lost my job, and initially wasn’t awarded anything. Parents who don’t receive any assistance can reapply if their financial situation changes (assuming grant funds are still available) so I reapplied and surprisingly got something. The tuition starts at $4,150 for non parishioners, but parents can get money off for doing volunteer work at the school, participating in fundraising, etc, so between those, and the $500, that knocks her tuition down to $2,915 (plus all the various fees). Still a lot of money, but every little bit helps.

Fortunately I won’t have to pay any tuition for Dominic. He qualifies for an Ohio EdChoice scholarship/voucher because the public elementary school he would be assigned to for kindergarten (if I sent him to public school) is on the No Child Left Behind list of persistently failing schools. I wish I could get a voucher for Bethany too, but it’s only for incoming kindergarten students or students who have been enrolled at a charter school or a failing public school for at least a year. I’m not complaining though, because if not for Dominic getting the voucher, I couldn’t afford to have two kids in Catholic school.

I also got a nice surprise a few weeks ago when a fellow Clevelander and blogging friend
Gretchen sent me a box full of yarn! She sent me 3 skeins of Simply Soft Brites in Berry Blue and white, and 4 skeins of Cotton-Ease in the discontinued Candy Blue color. I got a cute handmade card (decorated by her 4 year old daughter) too.

I used some of the Simply Soft to crochet a poncho for my daughter (ignore her hair – I didn’t have a chance to brush it before I took the picture). The pattern I used is a free Lacy Shells Poncho from Chelle of
Luv to Crochet. She has some beautiful patterns. This pattern is great because it has instructions on how to adjust it to fit an infant, child or adult. I want to make one for myself in pink. My daughter decided that she doesn’t like pink anymore, but at least I can still make pink stuff for myself. I started a Stitch N’ Bitch “Cupcake” sweater for myself about a month ago, with some hot pink TLC Cotton Plus from my stash (that pattern is a mess – more on that later), but I ran out before I could make the second sleeve. : ( Oh well. When I get another job, I’ll have to buy another skein to do the second sleeve.


Deneen said...


Christina said...

Sorry to hear that the grant you would have been doing got cancelled. That really stinks. *hugs* I can totally understand about feeling bad with no vacations. We live on my income only too, so we don't take vacations either...just can;t afford it. I was lucky that my parents took Pi with them on vacation in 2006.

Its a great sign that one of the places you interviewed with is checking your references. If they weren't interested, they wouldn't bother. And there's nothing wrong with working at Walmart for awhile. My hubby worked at Target a few years ago and it was actually nice because we got the employee discount. We stocked up on Christmas gifts early that year for better prices than we would have gotten anywhere else.

As for the bike, have you tried Freecycle? I'm a part of Brooklyn Freecycle and there have been tons of people giving away bikes that their kids have outgrown. Its worth a shot. There are some gems there too sometimes, like craft supplies and yarn. I'd give it a shot.

When I was working full time and going to school, I didn't sleep much ut got through it for 4 years. Your hubby can do it! Just make sure he takes his vitamins, so his body doesn't get run down.

That's awesome that Bethany got a grant for school and Dominic is paid for! I'm shocked that her school is so expensive though! Pi's tuition is $3500 for the upcoming year. They don't give us discounts for service though...its mandatory! If we don't volunteer, they tack on a bill at the end of the year.

I know you're going through a rough time now, but it'll get better. This time will prove to you how you guys can handle a tough situation and still be a close family. If you ever need to talk or vent, e-mail me anytime. You know my e-mail address!

Bezzie said...

Ha ha, I was going to mention freecycle like Christina for the bike. It takes some patience, but I'm sure you could get one.

How are you with the coupons? I just had a stellar coupon grocery shopping trip. But the whole time I kept thinking how much MORE money I would have saved in MI where groceries are so much cheaper than out here. Google Money Saving Mom--they've got some awesome links to great coupons.

Lesalicious said...

I am so hoping all you luck for your family change soon. I know what you mean about don't want to give all your hopes up. So hoping by late this week you have something.
I know how it is to want to do things with your little ones. Our money problems hasn't been to good so mainly to keep my girls mind at easy they been having more fun at the parks lately.
Hope all works for you Laura Good luck.
Loving your daughter's poncho cute. I guess girls do out grow pink one time or another.:) still waiting for my little one to out grow it lol.:)

Gretchen said...

See, I knew you'd do something great with the yarn! Better than letting it collect dust in my stash.

My Best Friend Calls Me Martha said...

you poor thing. I'll tell you what tho. When I was Freshman in high school my dad left us and my momma had to support us on her small, single income. We had 3 years of not eating out, going anywhere, etc. but I never felt neglected or un-loved. Now, I'm so thankful that my momma was so strong. I couldn't imagine doing all that she did for us by herself. I'm sure when your kids look back on this time in their life, they'll understand and even feel proud of you and your husband. Keep your chin up!

Katrina said...

Hi Laura! My heart is reaching out to you about your situation. I totally understand that you're not complaining but just overwhelmed amd sometimes you have to just get it all out. I agree with 'my best friend calls me martha'.... I know it breaks your heart not to be able to buy or do the things you want to do for your kids but when this time has passed (and it will) and when your kids are older they will remember how wonderful their Mom and Dad are and the love you gave them. That will stay with them forever! Hang in there.

On another note... I found some more High School Musical fabric today! Can you believe it? I'll post a picture later today or tomorrow. Not looking at your emails right now, but let me know again what you think your daughter may love the most Hannah Montana or High School Musical. I think you've mentioned Hannah Montana. If so then let me know which one you like the best. I have 3 different types of fabric shown on the blog. I will be surprising you as soon as I can work on the projects! I so look forward to making something for you and your kids. ;-)

Laurah said...

Sounds like they are seriously considering you for the job. That's wonderful!
When I was a kid my mom supported all of us (dad, brother, me) on her teacher's income for about a year. It was pretty tough on her and my dad, but I just remember wanting to spend more time with my mom.
I love the poncho! That pattern is so cute and it's probably my favorite poncho pattern. Christina made it a while ago in purple and I think hers turned out really cute as well. The blue color looks really good on your daughter!

Christina said...

Thanks for the link! That is going to be amazing! My job is moving next year and it will only be about 10 blocks from there! Woohoo!

naida said...

hi, sorry to hear that you guys are going through a rough time.
you are not a lousy mom for not being able to take the kiddies on lavish vacations right now!
my mom raised me and my sis by herself, and we didnt have the $$ for fancy trips or name brand clothes. It taught me to appreciate what I had and to be grateful for my family.

the baby is getting so big, shes so cute!

thats great about the grant for your daughters tuition and that Dominics is paid for.

naida said...

I forgot to say, 'nice poncho'! I like that color, it looks cute on her.

Carmell said...

i know how you feel. though i don't work by choice. but hubby has 2 jobs and is only around at night and weekends. we don't do anything cause he wants to rest. hes 41. i also worry about him working himself to death. i know i will eventually have to get a job. i haven't worked in almost 6 years. i have 2 toddlers at home and 3 in school. so until the last 2 go to school or day care cost go down i will be at home. well i hope things get better for you and your family and that you get a job soon. i also thought about working at wally world over night!! just something for some extra money!

Leti said...

I just love the crochet flower.She is beautiful an so the poncho.