Troubled

So I know I haven’t had much to say the last few months.  I just haven’t been able to put my thoughts into words for anyone to read, and I’m still trying to sort through my feelings about a lot of things going on in my life.

I have been really depressed the last few months.  If you were not able to tell it without me saying so.

I am not sure if the whole downward spiral began when I started taking the Prozac or not; all I know is for the last few months (since probably about April) I have not felt myself.  I have been very troubled and at a loss about what to do about many things.  The best word to describe me lately is apathetic.  I’m unhappy with myself, and my home, and I want more for myself than I feel able to produce by my energy alone.  Energy? Hah.  I have none.  Most times, I feel as if I have not one iota of motivation or energy to work with. 

Some of these things are really superficial but bother me anyway.  Our financial situation is in a terrible mess…basically because of my apathy.  You have no idea how much we have had to pay in overdraft charges on our checking account in the last few months.  I spend indiscriminately without reviewing our account balance.  My mind is not as sharp as in past years when I was able to remember the balance on our checking account to the penny and keep a running tally in my head.  I forget things I bought, think I have more in there than I really do, and a $13 check will cause major havoc in the account because I wasn’t paying attention.  We are consistently 2 weeks behind in both our first and second mortgage payments.  There are other bills that get paid catch-as-catch-can.  Hell, I can’t even keep groceries in the house.  I had $300 in my wallet to go to the grocery store, I have had it in my purse for almost a week, and I still haven’t gone to the grocery.  Instead I am lazy and order pizza, or take the kids out to eat, etc., instead of going and getting what we need in the house and now I have $150 to spend on groceries because I dwindled the other money on other things.  This isn’t me!  Or should I say, this isn’t like me in the past.  It’s getting to a crisis situation — if I don’t get this under control and get a fire lit under my ass to keep up on it, we’re going to end up in foreclosure or something.  Seriously. 

I know, I could give this to my husband to handle, right?  But what the hell am *I* doing?  I just sit here all day and I’m sure as hell not doing my other jobs of being a good housekeeper or parent — why SHOULDN’T I have the energy to do our money stuff?  If I hand this over to him, he who is already working 80 hours a week to help pull us out of this mess, wouldn’t that make him having to shoulder almost all the burden of this entire marriage and family?  Anyway, every time I mention it to him he rejects it.  And I can kind of understand it…why should he have to take over my duties that we agreed upon when we married, and again when I began to be a stay home parent?  We actually sat down over the weekend and worked out a financial plan that is simpler and common sense.  We are selling our extra truck, and we are paying off both our credit cards and a couple other really irritating bills with that, and then taking the remainder and splitting it up as follows: 1) $1000 for work on the Jeep to get it ready for snow plowing this year; 2) $3200 in the checking account which is one month’s take home pay. 

With that one month’s take home pay we are going to start paying our bills once a month.  We have created a budget that is basically a “trickle-down” budget that prioritizes all bills and expenses in the order of priority.  We start at the top with the money we have and just pay down the list.  Where the “Zero” dollar sign falls, everything below the list is just going to have to wait.  (And with credit cards paid off and either cut up or frozen in water in the freezer everything below the line should usually be not a big deal).  What we need to make sure of is that our living expenses, housing and utilities are always addressed first so that we are not delving into already appropriated funds for bills and then going into the negative. 

We are going to use the “envelope” method to handle our food and other living expenses, and we are going to keep the checking account just for paying bills.  I will continue to do the accounting, and we are going to sit down every two weeks at payday and discuss what is coming up for the next month.  We will then just deposit the paychecks in between monthly bill paying sessions, and work with what we have when it’s time to sit down and write out the bills.  He is willing to sit with me, and I think the thing he could do to help me the most is to just help me to make sure I do the grocery shopping as soon as I have the funds, and kind of keep track of where I’m going when I’m out and be the little Jiminy Cricket that reminds me not to spend.  This should not be hard, considering whenever I am out and about we are usually on the phone a lot.  I just try to get that “high” of buying something to make me feel good, or can’t resist buying something for the kids.  I love to buy things for them.  I really need to curb that.

I know you guys don’t need the dollars and cents of it all, but I think I will record below what our budget looks like, numbers and all.  This may not be the same as you do it, or our priorities might not be the same as yours but maybe you will understand where our money goes.  At this point, we are taking a vow as a family to pursue only free entertainment, and dining out is only going to happen when we have extra money outside of the basic bills for it.  Surprisingly enough when we leveled with Princess about the situation she was totally calm and agreed that we needed to get on a better budget and that she would help.  This is because she took a class this last year on finances that I think really opened her eyes to the whole thing (yay for our school for doing that!).  Anyway here goes…

Monthly budget – take home $3170 (will be more after our loan from his 401(k) is paid off).  Now keep in mind that this is his base, 40 hour week take home pay.  Often he gets more than this, esp. if he has made up his mind to get overtime.  This summer, our checks have often been double the normal.  We have been able to fund our trips to Tennessee etc., this way.  Now we want to apply that overtime to paying off a few little misc. debts we have (dr. bills, etc.) which shouldn’t take long if we can stick to this budget.  What I’m doing different is that I am taking a little bit of the money and putting it away in a savings account even before some bills are paid.  Hopefully this will help us.  We also have snow plowing to look forward to.  I never thought I’d ever wish for snow, but nowadays I do because it’s dollars from heaven.   Ignore the blank lines at the bottom, they’re there for months that we have extra expenses, and I couldn’t erase them once I’d pasted onto my journal.

Priority #

Description Amount Paid Running Fund Balance
1 Mortgage #1 – HSBC 920  2250
2 Mortgage #2 – Citibank  320  1930
3 Groceries ($100/week)  400  1530
4 Kelsey Lunch $$  40  1490
5 Pet Food/Litter  30  1460
6 Gasoline ($100/week)  400  1060
7 Electric (DTE)  125  935
8 Heat (Consumers)  100  835
9 Car Insurance  140  695
10 Household Expense Allowance  30  665
11 Savings (10% of current fund balance) 65 600
12 Regular Phone & Internet (AT&T)  70 530
13 Cellular (AT&T)  120 410
14 Dish Network  45 365
15 Trash Pickup (Hornback) 15 350
16 Life Insurance  140 210
17 Credit Cards  0 210
18 Other Debt  100 110
19 Mad Money (up to $100/week)  110 0
20 Save – Expense Account (50% of leftover balance)    
21 Save – Extras Account (remainder)    
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 So anyway, there it is.  I know we have a lot in mortgage payments, but we are going to refinance and hopefully roll them all together.  If we sit down at the beginning of the month together, he can make sure I pay everything that needs paid, and I think I’m going to give my checkbook and debit card for the account to him to hold so that I don’t get tempted to mess with the money in there.  At least for a while, I’m sure this will be distasteful to him, he will feel like an ogre for even going along with it, but it is for our own good.  What do I really need?  If we have food in the house, gas in the cars, and the kids have clothes, etc., there is NOTHING that I need to buy right now.  Now I just have to give myself some tough love to make sure I don’t mess it up for everyone else because I’m in a slump.

Pretty pathetic huh?

There are other things that are on my mind and bothering me lately too.  My house is so dirty, it seriously needs to be deep cleaned and sanitized.  I just let it go, and let it go, and let it go and it is a sloppy mess.  I guess it is all part of the fact that I have a 2 year old, but mostly it is my apathy and not feeling like picking up things after myself or anyone else.  Really, the house is filthy.  But I can’t bring myself to do anything about it.  Especially with this kid hanging off me 24/7. 

And then we can go in to my general feelings of depression, poor health, body pain, and all the things that are very obvious that I could be doing to overcome all of this.  The path to feeling good is so apparent yet I can’t seem to bring myself to go down it.  I am quite literally paralyzed, mentally, physically, emotionally. 

I have stopped going to therapy.  I really ought to go back but it seemed like we kept going over and over the same thing and I can’t seem to get what I am supposed to be getting because nothing has changed and I can’t seem to do what I need to do.  I went off my meds because I feel that the Prozac made things worse, and anyway I probably should go back on the Lamictal because that did seem to help some, but I have to start all over because it is out of my system and you have to step it up gradually when you start taking it or it could cause problems.  Which means another trip to the p-doc and having to explain that I went of my meds.  This is a big no no to those doctors.  I guess I am just dreading the accounting to them for what I’ve done and not done. 

I was feeling ok a few days ago, started thinking maybe I could come up with some natural remedies to cope with my mood swings and hormonal issues.  But yesterday and today, I’m feeling bad again.  Lola was driving me insane yesterday and by the end of the day I was actually thinking I should go back on all my meds and that I am a nutcase.  I hate being labeled Bipolar but maybe I am.  I don’t know.  I’m so confused about everything.  Everything. 

So, I wish there was more that I could write about that would give you joy or laughter but I have nothing.  Zip. Zilch. Zero.  I’m sorry.  Now you know why I haven’t been writing.  Nothing good to say, whatsoever. 

Let’s hope I get a handle on myself soon.  OK?

CG