So, 2015 Sure Started Out Weird…

Holidays are OverTaken February 3, 2015 with Samsung Galaxy S3

Holidays are Over
Taken February 3, 2015 with Samsung Galaxy S3
Greeting card for sale at Les Becker Designs

I’m not sure I even know where to begin…

I was asleep when the ball dropped – woke up when the kids all called for rides home at the same time. It took me three trips, and I drive a mini-van. That’s a lot of drunken 20-somethings…

That old saw about “how you ring in the New Year is an indicator of how your year will go” is flat-out bullshit, if my January has anything to say about it, by the way. I’d have thought January would be a calm and steady same-old, same-old kind of routine month.

BUT.
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Budget Is a Bad Word…

Budget Is a Bad Word…

money31Nobody likes that word. Budgets hurt. They’re limiting. They make us feel poor.

They’re necessary.

If you’re in debt right now, the reason you are is that you didn’t write a budget BEFORE you started cranking up those credit card balances.

If you’re in debt, and don’t have a clue how to start getting out of that hole, CONSIDER THIS. It’s one of the steps I took to get out of debt.

If you’re newly out of debt, you need a budget to KEEP yourself out of debt. It’s not that you can never use a credit card again – you just have to change your mindset about what money and cards ARE to your budget.

They are not a way to have it now and pay for it later – that’s how you got into debt in the first place. Money and credit cards are TOOLS. They help you budget your income so you can get AHEAD.

Unless you want to be right back into debt hell again in short order, it’s time to change your spending habits. Follow these steps along with me, and before long, you will be pre-paying next year’s expenses with this year’s income, and you won’t feel deprived.

You’ll feel relieved.

The Next New Thing…

The Next New Thing…

Summer Daydream

“Summer Daydream”
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Ky’s finally sleeping again, and is back to school for her morning classes, which is good. I’m assured by the school that she’ll manage to get those credits without a problem – music class, which is hardly surprising (the principal tells me she’d have passed that one based on her talent, never mind that she doesn’t bother with any assignments – I don’t know whether to be proud or pissed off), and geography. Now, that surprises me.

Two credits is better than no credits, though, I guess, isn’t it? I’ll try to be proud.

My own sleeping is not happening again, now. I’m a little concerned about my job. I’m getting there, but it’s difficult. Luckily, I don’t have to drive to get there, so no lives are in danger – unless I blow the place up, but there are safeguards in place against idiots, so maybe that’s not such a big worry…

I need to finish the latest novel. That’s that “hard” one I mentioned a while back. It’s still got a lot of the same elements that the sitcom had in it, but the entire pilot plot has pretty much disappeared, along with a character or two. I’ve kept the bare bones of what would have been the first season. I tried to change the main characters’ names, but they just will not be renamed. All I’ve managed to do is steal away their last names completely.

I had a lot of false starts trying to pick this project back up again. There was a time that I ate, slept and breathed it. That turned into boozing and smoking it, and I think I just wanted it to go away. Working on it kept bringing up nasty, bad thoughts that I didn’t want to think.

I lamented about this to Ky one day, and she surprised me by telling me I should be getting it done and over with. When I told her I didn’t want to listen/watch/write my main characters anymore, she rolled her eyes.

I told her I’d noticed she wore the one and only promotional t-shirt made for the project all the time, even though she’d once told me she was glad it was dead in the water so what’s up with that, huh?! And then, she made me laugh by paraphrasing Holden McNeil: “They’re fictional characters, Mom. Fictional characters. Am I getting through to you at all…?”

So I’m working on it. And it gets a little easier (and a little closer to done) every time I sit down to it.

My blog is turning back into a place to air my grievances, and although that’s part of what it’s for, I really want to get back to telling the Ruby stories (there’s a ton of them), and The Father Chronicles (there’s a ton of those left, too).

And I talked to my Mom today, and she’s feeling a little lost and lonely without my Dad. She said it’s gotten worse, lately, and she’s been rereading his letters from World War II. At first, they made things worse, but now she finds them a comfort and is glad she saved them…

Wait a minute…. “You have letters from Dad during the War…?”

“Yep.”

All his letters…?”

“Yep.”

Wow. I didn’t know this….

“Can I read them…?”

“Sure!”

“Really?!”

“Yep.”

“Ummmm…… can I blog them…?”

“Yep.”

So as soon as I can get myself down to Teeny-Tiny Town, I will have a new category here: Dear Maude…

Another worry is my imminent move. Far, far away.

I’m not certain how imminent it is, now, considering new and ugly turns of events of legal and financial persuasions that may (shudder) bankrupt me (not if I can possibly avoid it), but I will be moving to Vancouver and will be there for at least a year, once I manage it.

I’m going to be going back to school (yes, again), in an accelerated screenwriting program at the Vancouver Film School. I chose this program, because a Canadian school somehow seems more “doable” than trying to get into one in the States – although I’d rather be in the States. I have more friends there. 🙂

It’s going to cost me a mint, though. I don’t know where the money’s going to come from, yet, but then again, I bought the Prissy-Van with money I didn’t have yet, and so far, so good, she’s still mine. I’ll manage this. Somehow. Gulp…*

I didn’t think I’d be able to convince Kyla to go with me, so was working out an alternative arrangement for her, but when I told her about it (actually, I let it slip in a moment of upset over all this stress), she surprised hell out of me by telling me she would love a change of scenery.

It’s amazing how fast things change.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Black Coffee” – Ella Fitzgerald

“Money Isn’t Real, George…”

“Money Isn’t Real, George…”

Birds on a Wire

Birds on a Wire
Taken March 15, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

In the movie, “Blow”, George’s dad tells him that money isn’t real. “It doesn’t matter, Georgie…”

My dad would have disagreed with that one. I sure as hell disagree with that one.

I am about to embark on a legal battle of epic proportions.

Well… Epic for me. The Sire has gone AWOL.

That still doesn’t change the house situation, though.

This should not be affecting me. I have a very legalish sheaf of very legalish-sized paper that says I don’t own that house. If he were to sell it, I could not demand a cent from the sale.

But (Ain’t there just always a “but”?!).

Six years ago, the house was supposed to be refinanced and my name removed from both deed and mortgage. It was not.

Every now and again over the years, I have “reminded” The Sire of his legal obligations. He has always promised to “get right on that”. And then did not.

There are a couple of “should haves” that I “should have” taken care of between now and then…

I should have legally forced him to refinance the place the first time he kakked on doing so.

Better yet, I should have told him to kiss my ass when he asked to keep the house, and forced a sale. I gave him my half of that house. How stupid is that?!

Life got in the way, though, and I have a tendency to take the easy way out.

But now… my name is still on that mortgage.

The mortgage rep. tells me I am legally responsible for half of the mortgage left owing, never mind my legalish sheaf of paper. Yet (and this is insane), in the same breath, the same mortgage rep. tells me I don’t have a legal right to know what’s left owing on the mortgage, because my legalish sheaf of paper gives me no rights to the house.

That particular bright bunny argument, I hope to win with the next phone call. I had that argument with them a while back and won it with a few choice words.

In truth, however, if The Sire really has walked away, the bank will come after me for the whole amount owing. They are not going to piss around going after him, if he pulls a disappearing act, when they already know where *I* am.

I will find him, though…

But this is where it really gets dicey…

I’m really worried about what all of this is doing/going to do to our daughter, which is the biggest of the reasons why I haven’t done what I should have done a long time ago.

But (Again with the “but”! Apparently, I have a but fetish.) I can’t live like this any longer. I have plans, dammit, and those plans do not include bankruptcy over a house that I no longer own, don’t want, and won’t shoulder.

“Money isn’t real.” Let’s find out, finally, shall we?

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Yours Truly Confused” – Ray Davies

Sometimes, Wishing is Enough…

“What Lies Behind…”

“What Lies Behind…”

Taken October 9, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

My boss called me today.

Asked me to come in to work to “have a little talk.”

Scared the shit out of me.

I LOVE my job. I want to keep my job. The only thing I don’t like about my job is my seeming inability to negotiate gracefully between day shifts and night shifts, which I’m beginning to despair of ever getting a handle on.

All I can manage to do is sleep. House is a wreck. The Idiot Child must feed herself or go hungry – not to mention, wash her own laundry (as well as mine), and Sheikh the Cat has begun spending his awake hours sitting next to my head, intermittently placing a paw on my face and sliming kissing me, wondering why my eyes are always closed.

This despair of accommodating the fluctuating schedule got me wishing for a work routine that I’ve only experienced once, Way Back When, remember that? I wasn’t particularly fond of the “job” part of that job, but the schedule was perfect: it was the same. damned. schedule. every. day. With weekends off, to boot.

My house was clean. The cats were happy. The Idiot Child was still a teenager, but I think she preferred the sameness, as well.

I have been wishing I could approach my boss and appeal for a Same-Damned-Shift. Even if it was the night shift. I dreamed of the conversation being short, sweet and successful.

Me: “Hey, how ’bout I work nights? All the time. Just nights. Cuz nobody else seems to like nights.”

Him: “Yeah, great idea! Thanks! I’ll just go ahead and change the schedule right now! How ’bout I give you more shifts with that? You want more shifts? There’s more money in more shifts. How ’bout I give you more shifts, too?”

There are a bzillion reasons why I couldn’t do that. I mean, I could do that, but he would either laugh, thinking I was joking, or take me seriously and still say no. Several reasons for the “no”:

1) I’m still The New Kid on the Dance Floor. Yes, others have come behind me, but I’m still new enough that I can get away with “I’m New Here” to cover a mistake I’ve made. Much longer, I’d have to use “I’m Old” for an excuse. That’s probably more apt. 😉

2) Nobody has a Same-Damned-Shift schedule. Nobody. Why should *I* get that lucky?

3) It’s obvious to all and sundry that I’m having trouble adapting to the shift changes and if they coddled me (cuz I’m old, maybe?), it could possibly cause a revolt.

So, I’ve been schlepping along, loving the job part of the job and hating the schedule part of the job, wishing for the impossible, and for shit’s sake, my boss calls me today for “a little talk”.

I knew I was fired. I wanted to ask if I was fired, but Boss is not the kind of guy that does that over the phone, I’m pretty sure. I settled for asking, oh so casually (yeah, right) “Sure, what’s up? Something wrong?” the whole while repeating the mantra, “don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad”, which, for the record, has never once worked before. In my experience, if it feels like it might be “bad”, it’s generally much, much worse than “bad”.

So, yeah. I knew I was fired, even when he said, “Oh, no. Nothing to worry about. Just wanna go over something with you.”

Uh oh. What horrible thing have I done? Shit, he read about me finding cocaine on the dance floor! No, wait, I told him that story myself and he laughed really hard. Can’t be that.

Or maybe, I didn’t do something that I should have done? It’s not like I forgot to lock up, or anything (once did that while working for Louie, and nobody even noticed, can you believe that?) – I mean, we’re open 24/7. I’m not even sure there is a set of keys for the place.

Not that it would matter what the “little talk” was about, I still had to have it. So, I pulled on my boots and crossed the street.

And my boss said to me – no word of a lie, here, either, I swear – I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest little bit:

“I’m hoping I can change your schedule. Would you be willing to work straight nights, with weekends off? You’d be guaranteed five shifts that way, (employees who have been there longer, of course normally get more hours, unless they book a shift and hand it to me) and if I need you on the weekends, I’ll call – you’ve never turned down a shift, so you’re the first one I call. Would that work for you?

Well, gee, lemme think on that….

I’m dumbfounded. I agreed immediately, though, and he was all thanking me as if I were doing him a favour. Maybe I am and just don’t realize it, but it’s like he read my mind.

Or my blog….

Hmmmmmm…..

So, he hands me my newly-minted hours, starting Sunday end, or S/M if you read the little date box on the schedule, and I trotted back home to write this post, and marvel over never having to wonder when I’m working “next week”… and there followed shortly a call requesting me to work an extra shift tomorrow. Already, I’m booked for overtime. I love my job.

Now, I have to clean a cat-box. Maybe then, Sheikh will quit sliming kissing me in the middle of my version of night.

~ Just about to hit the publish button when I get another call from work – this time from the assistant manager: apparently some deer-hunter I was joking around with a week or so ago (told him he should bring me some deer parts, since my dad was gone, and nobody ever brings me deer meat anymore), just dropped off a venison roast for me. Can I please come pick it up, as it’s grossing her out? ~

Well, gee, lemme think on that….

Excuse me while I go pick up Free Dead Wild Animal.

(Did I tell you how much I love my job…?)

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Surf Wax America” – Weezer