Monday, August 22, 2011

Point Zero

Yesterday we bought a frozen Pizza.

It was hard to do the math because the kids were sick of shopping and starting to scream like crazed monkies, but we also bought some bagels and other things and tried to spend our last thirty dollars in a reasonably sane way. We ended up with $11 dollars in change, which is not bad. Technically we owe this money to our son for his allowance. He is four and won't notice, but we try to be reliable anyway, because some day he will.

That was it, though. We have two bank accounts, and now both of them are empty.

We are kind of used to this because we've never really had steady jobs, but it can still be scary at times, especially because we haven't dipped this low since before we had kids. I spent a lot of the morning doing deep breathing exercises, and the rest thinking about what our worst-case scenario options might be. Sometimes, this is freelancing.

Even at times like this, we have a lot to be thankful for. We own our home outright, the utilities have all been paid, and we have a fridge full of food. James has two days of wages owed, and one day of maintenance work lined up for later this week. There are also a few recent purchases (some construction materials, mostly) that we can return if we really, really need some cash. This is the list, at least, that I found myself going through over and over as I tried to stay positive.

Things had been getting tight for a while, though, so we felt like splurging a little before we were out of money entirely. We baked the pizza and the frozen cookies that came with it, and made ourselves drinks. suddenly, while we were waiting to eat, J got a phone call from a last-minute client who wants him to DJ a wedding in two weeks. This kind of timing is almost unheard of and extremely fortuitous, and the pay is good. We can hold out until then! Crisis averted! (This is also freelancing.)

Today, J is helping a friend move some things, and I'm trying to clean the house while I keep the kids alive. When I counted the change that I found on all the floors, I had $1.07. I put it in the change jar. We are moving up in the world!


  1. I'll tell you flat out that I have interesting feelings about being so much higher up the socio-economic ladder than you. I made different choices at every step of the way because I wanted different things, and that's ok. But it's weird. It seems like you are more committed to being an interesting person. I feel like I am fighting suburban drift.

  2. I have interesting feelings about that, too, and complicated feelings. It's true that I have placed a really, really high priority on not being bored. Besides getting married and having kids, that has probably been my primary life goal, and I've had some success with it. That said, I feel like besides being unemployed and poor, I still think I struggle with a lot of the same issues that you do about maintaining a positive self-image while parenting. I mean, yes, I do art, but that's maybe five hours on a good week. Other things that interest me about myself, I sometimes have a hard time even remembering what they are or why I should care about them. That's part of why I am so obsessed about writing my stories right now, I think. And of course being poor hasn't always helped me to be interesting. I spend a lot of my twenties being so destitute and at war with my own privilege that I missed out on a lot of different interesting opportunities...I'm sure I'll write more on that eventually.