1.103 – A Year In The Wallet

Here is a math lesson:

A parent makes 25,240 a year. (We’re not even going into taxes…so this number is already cushioned).

So, our starting point is 25,240.

But we have to pay rent for the year. Minus 8,220 for a two bedroom apartment.

Now we’re at 17,020 for the year.

Deduct 1,500 a year for Cable and Internet. This is probably a luxury to many people. Seeing as I use the internet for my writing and to stay connected to my family back home – I don’t regret it. The cable…yeah, we could probably do without that – I’ll be honest. 

Now we’re looking at 15,520 for the year.

1,500 a year on Gas Utilities (that’s averaging for the entire year).

14,020 is our dwindling number.

Electric is a much kinder bill at 720 a year.

We’re at 13,300.

Renters insurance drops us down 180 bucks to 13120.

Childcare is a big one, taking us from 13,120 down to 9,520.

Gas for the car for the year – we’re guestimating here – is about 1,500.

Now we’re at 8,020.

Groceries/diapers…if you shop off brands and only buy what you need when you need it – 2,080 for the year.

We’re down to 5,940.

But we are still trying to pay off medical/school debts which is about 1,200 a year.

So that leaves us at 4,740.

Now, divided by 52 weeks…that’s about 91 dollars in pocket every week.

91 dollars covers emergencies, car issues, birthday celebrations, holidays, clothes, medicine, and anything else that just so happens to be needed in any given week.

Take into account that the starting amount INCLUDES child support (which we are very grateful for) and all expenses DO NOT include taxes (which we pay), car insurance and cell phone.

It’s a tight number. Very. And some days, I’m not sure if I can make it. Some days, I’m looking at my house wondering what exactly I can sell off to make sure we don’t hit a speed bump.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Today, I took my son to buy his birthday presents. I decided to stick with clothes because he needs them and because he did the toy thing just a few weeks ago for Christmas. In taking him shopping, I stopped into a local clothing store that most would define as “cheap.” Inexpensive, trendy clothes. I looked around, thinking how cute a top was and how adorable those jeans were and damn…they were only 18 bucks. I could afford that.

And then I thought about my 91 dollars for the week. I thought about my sons birthday. One pair of jeans for me is two shirts for him. One pair of shoes for me is an entire outfit for him. One entire outfit for me is a weeks worth of food for him. And so, I left the store, empty handed. I took my son to a clothing store and picked out several items to celebrate his big day.

I wish I could do more. But I’m doing what I can. I admit, sometimes I slip. I spend too much on take-out. I buy cigarettes when I know it’s just money leaking from my pocket. I buy books when I should be at the library. I put luxury in the place of necessity. I always regret it.

I’m sharing this because it’s hard. But – it is possible. I’m sharing this because I doubt myself so much on whether I’m going to make it and yet I have, for the past 10 months. I’m sharing this because I have a list of IOU’s to those people who have helped me, from a place of pure kindness. I’m sharing this because it is only through the daily support of those who love my son and I that we survive. I’m sharing this because without my son – these numbers would make me wave the white flag. I’m sharing this…for me. Because, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how much I panic, no matter how it feels like it’s all going to crumble at the drop of a hat…I’m still okay. We’re still okay.

With 91 bucks to our name.

1.79 – I Am Angry

Papa Bear,

It’s been five months since you left. I think about you every day. I have so many mixed emotions. Just when I think I’m through the grief; it comes back to me. it tackles me like a beast. There are times when things feel so hard, life feels hopeless and I wish I could call you. I wish I could hear your voice. I wish I knew you were with me. But I now have more doubt than I ever had about what lay on the other side.

If anyone could reach out to me, break the barriers and show me that something else exists…it would have been you. But I don’t feel your presence, Dad. You are gone. And that kills me. I don’t believe people when they say they “feel” their family members, spirits, ghosts, whatever. Why would something reach out to them and you don’t reach out to me? Where are you? why the hell did you leave? I want to believe that you watch over me. But now I doubt that. That kills me. I am angry. 

When things are good, you are not here to share in the joy with me. When my son does something wonderful, you don’t see it. You don’t hug him. You don’t hold him. You don’t tell him you love him. That kills me. You left us and I’m mad at you for that. 

I know I shouldn’t need you. I’m an adult. I should be fine. But I’m not. You broke your promise. You promised you would never leave me the way they did. You would never abandon me. But you did. 

I had to walk into the house you died in. I had to walk down that hall. I had to walk into your room. I had to see your empty chair. I had to see your empty bed. I had to hold the clothes you died in. I had to carry you in a box on a fucking airplane. You are a box. A wooden box.That kills me.  And I’m angry. 

Christmas is in two days. I won’t call you. I won’t send you a card. I won’t get the one present I want. I will watch the ball drop on New Years and for the first time, you wont call. I will visit home in February…and you wont be there. I am angry. 

I work so I don’t think about this. I write so I don’t think about this. I read so I don’t think about this. I wont drink because I know I will go off the deep end. And I want to know when this will end, Dad. When is the pain over? You will never answer me. And I am angry.

I know I didn’t get my shit together in time, Dad. I wanted you to come live with me but you couldn’t. Didn’t want to. I didn’t have the comfortable life you got used to. I’m sorry I failed. I’m sorry I didn’t progress quick enough. That kills me. 

I would ask you to watch over me, to help me make it to the next level, to succeed. I know that’s pointless. I am many things. But now that you’re gone…I have no parents. I am a 27 year old orphan. I am no longer a daughter. I am angry. 

I will keep the mask on, Dad. I will try to figure this out. I will struggle to be better. I will fight to give more to my son. I will promise to never leave him the way you left me. And I will fail. That kills me. And I am angry. 

1.77 – My Dad Was Santa Claus

Once upon a time there was a pig named Humphrey. I ate him. The end.

I’m about as likely to tell my son this story as I am to tell him about Santa. You might think me a cruel mother. I’m not. I’m just one that thinks a lot about these types of things…the lessons I’m going to teach my son.

We teach our kids not to take candy from strangers. Then we take them trick-or-treating in which they knock on strangers doors and…take candy.

We teach our kids to dial 911 in case of an emergency but encourage them to sleep tight on Christmas Eve while a pudgy man slides down the chimney to walk about their house.

We teach our kids to not be gluttonous, to eat healthy, to never waste since their are starving children…everywhere and yet we cook abundantly for Thanksgiving only to throw away enough food to feed a nation.

We give our kids money for their teeth but what about all of the meth-addicts who lose their teeth? They are just misguided children trying to get some dough.

We stuff our kids with chocolate and make them search for eggs scattered about by a massive bunny for Easter. RABBITS DONT LAY EGGS! Where the hell is the Easter bunny getting these things from?

I’m the first to encourage a vivid imagination. It flows through the very core of my being to be imaginative. However, I don’t ever recall a time in which I believed in Santa. Santa was a story. A fun story. A story many people believed in. But one I always knew was just that: a story. Maybe its because I grew up on Gun Hill and Hull in the Bronx. There was no way you were ever going to convince me that a chubby white man climbed into peoples houses to deliver gifts and lived past apartment number 2. Not on my block.

To be honest, I don’t think I missed out. I don’t regret knowing that my dad busted his ass to get us all that he could. I don’t regret knowing that my father went without to make sure we had something to open at midnight. Why give credit to someone who didn’t exist when my father was my Santa? And my Santa delivered gifts year round. He loved me. He wasn’t a stranger. He was a jolly, pot-bellied man with a white beard and white hair. That is not a story. That is truth. A truth I have enjoyed thus far and a truth I will continue to enjoy.

In keeping with tradition, I will tell my son that story while simultaneously being my sons Santa. He can choose to believe in the realm of pure fantasy until his heart says otherwise or he can choose to enjoy the story and appreciate the reality.

1.76 – Supply and Demand

The next time someone becomes snippy, snobbish or downright spoiled in my presence – I’m going to officially say “you are having a Leawood moment. These Leawood moments are an epidemic. It’s a plague. A sickness. Well, call me Dr. Skylah. I’m all about fixing some shit.

Symptoms:

  • Waiting until the last minute to pick up a holiday gift and then getting mad at ME because the merchandise you want is now sold out.
  • Making a statement like – “you were doing (insert task) while I was off obtaining knowledge at college.”
  • Being purposefully rude and laughing about it. To my face.
  • Taking 12 things into a line when the person behind you just wants to order a coffee.
  • Writing a check for those 12 things while the person behind you just wants to order a coffee.
  • Getting pissy because you printed off 7 of the same coupon and I’ll only redeem one.
  • Doing the heavy sigh when I say give me a moment.
  • Acting like I’m not doing things fast enough/correctly.

I get it. You think you’re special. But here is the deal. Not all of us are the richie rich people of the world. Not all of us waited until this week to do our shopping. Not all of us are blowing our husbands/wives/parents money on gifts. Some of us are busting our asses trying to appease the hundreds of people strolling in and out of the main doors. Although you may look down on me for my career choice…I don’t give two shits. At the end of the day, you need me. You need every waiter, bookseller, McDonalds drive-thru employee. You need everyone who does the work that gets you through your day. Everything you enjoy and take advantage of during your superficial day is given to you by someone else. Someone like me. And that includes assistance. I get paid to assist you. I sure as shit dont get paid to be humiliated, spoken to in a derogatory manner or laughed at.

So, the next time you leave your house and go ANYWHERE of service – the gas station, a bookstore, a cafe, a clothing store, Burger King, the post office…I mean anywhere…take a friggen moment. Take a moment to recognize that people are hard at work. People are trying to survive. To pay their bills. To live without handouts. There are people in this world who actually enjoy the thought of helping others – even if its in the smallest and most unrecognized sort of ways. Take a moment – between your bitching, your obvious annoyance that you have to stand anywhere near the likes of me and say two words. Just two words that will – for just a moment make me feel like I’m doing this all for a reason.

Just say thank you.

Show a little gratitude and stop trying to make things harder than they have to be. You are the consumer. I get it. You consume my energy every time you choose to act superior. You consume it every time you demand instead of ask. You consume my energy every time you attempt to degrade me. BUT you will NOT and I repeat WILL NOT consume my emotional sanctuary. You will not consume my dignity. You will not consume the foundation that motivates me to get up everyday and work harder than I did yesterday.

I deal with you and the likes of the Leawood Epidemic for my son. To provide. To show that hard work does not go unnoticed. You need the products we sell. But more importantly…you need us.

1.60 – Toys A Fuss

After reading an awesome article via Bitch Magazine (Mom and Pop Culture: Beyond Pink and Blue Toys – BitchMedia), I got to thinking. It’s apparent to me, being the mother of a young boy, that the media markets through gender stereotypes. I consider my own holiday situation.

My sister purchased a full kitchen play set for my son. Set in neutral colors of white and brown, my son will have a full kitchen range to cook and play. Before finalizing her purchase, she called me to see if this was okay. I was thrilled. Just a week prior, I had seen the same kitchen set in a catalog and had considered making the purchase myself.

I informed my sons father that my sister wanted to get my son a kitchen for Christmas. He gave me the expected pause. My sons father is a “mans man.” Whatever that means. Yes, he was hesitant about this gift, unsure if he wanted his son playing as a chef.

But why not? My father was a cook. Bobby Flay, Iron Chef Morimoto, Michael Simon, Guy Fieri, Aaron Sanchez, Alton Brown, Anthony Bourdain, Wolfgang Puck…the list goes on.

After expressing this to my sons father, he agreed it was a reasonable gift. The funny thing is…if my son was not my son but my daughter, the explanation would not have been necessary. Because little girls are expected to have such toys.

Bottom line, my son is getting the kitchen. Along with books, clothes, and toys that were purchased with no thought of gender in mind.

1.47 – A Letter From T&G

Dear Humans,

For 390 years, you evil bastards have hunted my kind for the sake of your festivities. Every year, on Thanksgiving, you horrible little heathens slaughter our friends and family so you can pig out. Well, we think it’s about time we say enough is enough.

You kill us turkeys in our prime. Do you know what that means? You’re killing the majority of us before we get any turkey booty. We are turkey virgins! You sick f@&ks! How can you sleep at night?

And who the hell thought of stuffing? Not only do you kill us, rip off our feathers so we’re all naked and exposed with our nether regions all sorts of wide open but you stuff bread and spices inside of us. That’s…well, that’s practically turkey rape. And we’re dead! So that’s dead turkey rape! I hope you feel dirty right now.

Why not kill more pigs? They are gross as it is. Take them! Not us! I hear they taste like chicken.

And stop trying to impersonate us. We see your sad turkey impressions, waving your arms in the air, making that “gobble gobble” sound as you flap around like an orangutan! Yeah, I said it. You look like a damned monkey. We do not look like that so cut it out.

And lastly, we are sick and tired of you blaming us for getting all sleepy after you eat a few slices of our innocent flesh, some green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, two slices of butter pecan pie, pumpkin pie, cornbread, ribs and a five gallon tub of butter pecan ice cream. You aren’t tired because of us, fat boy! You’re tired because you are slowly going into a diabetic coma because you just ate enough to feed a small village in Ethiopia!

We are hereby filing a class action lawsuit against your asses in the estimated amount of 390 trillion dollars. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Yours Truly,

T Urkey and G. Obbler of T&G Attorneys At Law

1.44 – FB, Holidays, & Stuff I Hate

Warning: I slap someone with a tampon in this post.

Before I get started on my intended post for the day, I’d like to give a shout out.

People who put pictures of random people with some sort of socially unnacceptable physical attribute on their Facebook for the mere pleasure of it are assholes. I don’t care how pretty you think you are, your soul is ugly.

That being said, I’m now going to go down the list of things I feel like covering. I know that was vague and I don’t really care. Deal.

The holidays are fast approaching and I’m really in no mood to go through it this year. In fact, if I had my way, I’d fast forward to my sons birthday in February and continue to fast forward until March or April. Just so all of the chaos was over.

It’s an emotional chaos: this is the first time in eight years that I have lived alone. (Long long long story short, my sons father and I are seperated and it’s the best for all parties involved and we are getting along just fine as we are and if you don’t like it, shut up.) Nonetheless, it takes a lot of getting used to. This is also the first holiday in which my father is no longer with us. I’m sure I will mention him a million times over the season, death sucks, period.

Friday is the last day I spoke to my best friend who passed away on December 9th of last year. That’s nothing to look forward to.

Besides death, yeah, I guess it’s not so bad a time of year…

Oh hell, who am I kidding? I hate the holidays and here’s why.

The greedy people become even more greedy. It’s a gimmie gimmie time of year. No ones grateful for anything except the upcoming sales. It’s a self-indulgent time for a self indulgent species. Look for the upcoming “10 shoppers I Hate” post.

Movies suck. Do you notice they start the 25 days of Christmas on November 26th. THAT’S NOT 25 DAYS. Speaking of which, Happy Feet is featured on that list. That has got to be one of the most MORBID movies I’ve ever seen. The penguin looks like he wants to commit suicide when he’s in the zoo. Having a bad day…DON’T watch that movie. It’s for your own sanity.

Traffic is stupid. People can’t drive as it is and now I’ll have to deal with those dumb shoppers rushing to the mall and sitting on the highway during snow storms. Ugh Kansas for your unpredictable weather. 66 degrees today, possibly 22 tomorrow night.

Grocery shopping is horrid. I don’t want to wait in line behind the woman who is preparing dinner for 30 people. I just want to get some diapers, milk and eggs. And yet, I’m at the store for 45 minutes.

It’s cold. I hate the cold. I hate the cold so much, if the cold was a person, I’d slap her with a used tampon. Seriously, I know thats gross but I’d do it, twice, on film, youtube it and call it a day. The cold is a nasty hooker of a bitch and I hate her. I hope she dies. A lot.

And lastly, I hate the fact that everyone talks about visiting their family. Shut up. I don’t care. My family is 1300 miles away. And since I can’t get to them, I will dislike you instead. Intensely.

I’m really not a grinch, I promise. I’m putting up a tree and doing my shopping like the rest of the drones. I sing Christmas carols and get into the spirit, if for nothing else than to give my son a memorable experience. As long as people don’t annoy me, which will never happen, I’ll be fine.

Yeah, I know. See you on the next post in which I talk about people I hate.

I now return you to the 25 days of Christmas which lasts for 4 months, 23 days and 14 hours…already in progress.