lextopia

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Nothing’s Working

November 28, 2007 By: admin Category: Living, Randomosity, The Album

Sometimes it’s maddening how someone will behave. You give and give and they respond like you’re from another planet. I’m in debt and I’m wondering how I got there. i remember living outside Boston and being sooooo happy. Now I’m jealous of my brother’s house and wondering why I’m not moving back there and buying my own. I’ve broken the cardinal “Alexia” rule: I’ve gone and trapped myself.

I watched “The Descent” last night. It’s really not at all as scary as everyone said. Not even a little bit. Actually, it just ROCKS. It’s awesome to see a bunch of rock-climber chicks open several cans of whoop-ass on many unsuspecting cave creatures. Made me feel like I used to: like a woman who takes control of her destiny. Now, I can’t. I’m as buried in my life as those chicks were in the cave.

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No wonder I’m having nightmares… Last night’s was a doozy. I thought I’d be all freaked out dreaming of cave creatures, but NOPE. I dreamed instead that I was driving a HUGE mack truck. The really, really, really big ones that movers use to haul families of twelve cross-country. When I “woke up” into my dream, I was driving one of these. At first it was okay. I was in control and surprised to find out that someone had trusted me behind the wheel of this thing. Even though I didn’t remember getting in the truck, I figured, “well, I’m dreaming, so I must just have let my mind wander for a moment. I’m sure I know how to drive this.” And with that, I pressed on the brake a little. To my great surprise, the truck responded like it was a sports car–too sensitive! Anyway, so I relaxed and thought, “well, maybe I’ll leave this dream situation as quickly as I entered it and all will be well.” No such luck. As soon as I thought that I “re-re-awakened” and was still driving, although the traffic ahead of me was coming too close. WAAAAAAAAAAY too close… I breathed deeply, trying to settle myself down and looked down at the gear shift. “I can do this,” I said to myself. And, sure enough, I slammed my foot on the clutch and threw the truck into gear. But I was still going too fast. I hit the brakes. Put ALL my weight behind them, but I literally wasn’t heavy enough to have any effect. Additionally, when I’d looked up this time the cab of the truck was open, as if it had been halved horizontally by something it had hit. I was also going down a steep hill–racing fast!–so I had to lean forward to stand on the brake. My hair was whipping around frantically, slapping my face, and my seatbelt wasn’t on. I turned to look at it, thinking I could reach back and pull it forward, but I realized I was too bent forward and that the force of the wind and the speed were too much for me to take one hand off the wheel.

So many things ran through my head as I careened toward the traffic: that I was going to die, that M. was going to die (even though I didn’t remember her being in the truck), and that the hit was going to be a hard, hard hit. I really felt, in my mind, that this was REAL. I kept telling myself to try something, that this was REALLY happening and that I should do something to get myself out of it. Before I could I woke up for real. In my bed. With M sleeping beside me.

The truck definitely represents something I can’t control. Something that has me by the throat. It’s the way I’ve been feeling for a couple of years now, and it sucks. Just sucks. I used to be more disciplined, but when you’re in love sometimes discipline is the first, and eternal, casualty. I try to be more frugal, but it never works. I see something I KNOW M will need for her music stuff, and I HAVE to buy it. There’s just no two ways.

It’s funny, I’m in the business of training people to constantly reevaluate, reassess, try to find a solution around a problem by rethinking the traditional — now I have to do it for myself and I can’t. Awesome. My dreams of owning my own home have all but evaporated unless I change things rather drastically. As the saying goes: I CHOSE this.

1 Comments to “Nothing’s Working”


  1. here’s what me and Ivana did when we found ourselves in the same circumstance. I’m not saying that this will work for you, but hiding money and granting ourselves a nominal allowence helped immensly.

    First, we figured out what we could *afford* for a weekly play money; essentially the amount that we give ourselves for whatever stupid, random frivilous bullshit we want. Say, $50 each. We take it out in cash, and that’s our personal spending allowance for the week. Enough for one or two middling sized items, a whole lot of lattes, or stuff like that. Or in my case, enough to stash a chunk of cash aside week to week, so every month or two I can build up enough to buy a “big ticket” item. Thing is, when the $50’s gone for the week, there’s no more dipping into the account, until next week. It’s hard in the beginning because it forces you to think about it, but after a month or two of discipline you settle into a rhythm that’s not too hard to sustain. You get kind of a peace of mind about not buying expensive shit you want but know you don’t need, because you have to match it against your allowance budget, not your total budget.

    Most of the rest of our money is automatically shunted away into “difficult-to-get-at” money sinks, such as an account (that we don’t have an ATM card for) that all our bills & student loans & mortgage are paid out of (via automatic electronic withdrawl). Since it’s hard to get at the money, we really need to think twice about blowing it on frivilous stuff; spending becomes a chore.

    Oh, and a third chunk gets automatically deposited into our Orange Account (at ING direct). It’s essentially our emergency cash that we have on hand for no-foolin’ disasters. We managed to silently build up enough cash, “unseen”, to allow me to take 3 months off after I left Amazon earlier this year.

    It sounds complicated, but all of this is something that a couple of smart folks like yourself can get set up in a weekend. We had several years where money flowed in and out and had precious little accounting. We stopped, set up some artificial structures to enforce some discipline, practiced a little more discipline & accountability on ourselves, and the “where the hell does all the money go?” anxiety went away. It also allowed us to finally get entirely out of credit card debt, for the first time as adults.

    Good luck,

    -mike

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