Catching Up–my thoughts on money and life these days

For a writer, the act of sitting down and writing feels torturous. The act of opening up YNAB and updating my budget to get a sense of where things stand feels worse. It is easier to move slowly through my messy house, straightening piles of things that have nowhere to go.

My divorce will be final in December–two months away. The state disability I’ve been receiving for the past year just sent me my final payment–$335.15. I’m not sure how much longer it’s going to take for the long-term disability provider to decide whether they will accept my claim–the process has been ongoing for two months. Whether my new mortgage gets approved so I can buy my almost ex-husband out of his portion of this house I’m living in will be determined by the disability decision. If I don’t get the disability approved I will go back to work, in a new position with my long-term employer because my health can withstand the grief and travel and time spent in hospitals required by my last position. If I go back to work I will have to find childcare for the kids on my days.

My ex moved off this property three weeks ago and we’re in the process of transitioning to 50/50 custody. I got my first child support payment this month–$587 plus the $200 I asked him for in exchange for my continuing to watch the kids during his days as we transition.  I suggested a slow transition because I knew it would be hard for all of us, for different and similar reasons. I knew I was offering more than I was getting in exchange–my energy and care in exchange for money–and I waved the mental red flags away because it felt important and worth it. After two weeks of providing most of their meals and doing almost all of the drop offs and picks up and trying to be a safe space for the many emotions coming from my four kiddos, I got resentful and sick and asked to speed up the transition. This weekend was really the first time I faced my quiet house and stayed here when they’re not here–I’ve run away every other time. Run to San Francisco where I can hide out and be a couch potato. Not deal with my life. Not deal with my house. Not deal with my aloneness.

This month I also became a landlord for the first time. I took over all the bills for my own house that’s not quite my own yet–car insurance, water, garbage, electricity, cell phone, cable and internet. All of those things were in my husband’s bucket when I had a husband. I’ve called the home warranty company twice to come fix things in my house and now my tenant’s house. I’ve paid the house cleaners twice to have them come make this place look beautiful for the few moments before the kids and I come in and destroy it. I’ve watched the pool get greener and murkier because I wasn’t dealing with it for a while and because the filter needs to be cleaned and that is a monumental task I have not been up to.

I’ve fallen off my special, restrictive, health-improving diet because the act of shopping separately for food for me to eat and food for the kids to eat felt over-whelming and expensive. Even though eating well made me feel cared-for and energetic and healthy.

I’ve been spending money and treating myself and eating what I want because it’s felt like the way I’ve wanted and needed to be cared for. Even though to take care of myself, to truly practice self-care, I need to feed myself well and look at my budget. It just feels too hard and too scary.

That’s where I am right now. Slowly cleaning my living room, noticing that I would like more light in here and wondering if I can afford a new light and what kind I would want.

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