Posts Tagged ‘finances/money’
I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking, will the Grownup Girl EVER stop writing about how she is tired, over-houseworked, underpaid, etc?
I’m thinking the same thing, dear, dear readers.
Soon, I promise, I’ll get back to those crazy kids, my crazy past and my even crazier aspirations and observations.
But um… just for now… it’s literally all I can think about. I do the dishes… but then my shoes make the linoleum dirty. So now I have to mop. Again. REALLY. REALLY???
I feed the kids, the dining room floor becomes a mess again. Obviously. They are kids. And I fed them rice. And lentils. May as well have thrown a vat of rice and lentils at them, and yelled, “mouths open!”
I clean the floor of my girls’ room with the help of the expert cleaner, 5 year old Racheli. Racheli leaves to brush teeth, and just as I sigh with happiness at the sight of their carpet – by golly, I KNEW it was under there somewhere! – little Esther methodically removes every single “pretend food box” from inside the giant “shopping cart” where they had just been blessedly put away.
Honey. We need to put those back. Please. We just cleaned your floor.
That little whippersnapper has a scream that will see and raise any paltry hand of “nails on a chalkboard.”
Racheli and I hatch a plan to clean the boxes once Esther has finished unloading them. We do so, and Esther puts them out on the floor again. She will not allow us to replace them in the cart until she is safely tucked away in bed and can’t see the durn things.
Oh – and I clean Yehuda’s room before putting him to bed. Three minutes later, he has dragged his entire bedding, stuffed animals, blankets, sheets and pillows, halfway down the hall. Bad dreams. Naturally.
And don’t even get me stated on all the pee-soaked sheets.
But the kicker… is the oven. In my bleary delirium, drying/putting away dishes while my husband washes, I accidentally opened the oven to put away a pot, thinking it was the cabinet.
What? I told you I hardly ever use the thing.
And lo and behold… the freakin Easy Off I so proudly and suffocatingly used for the first time 2 weeks ago… was STILL IN THERE. White streaks, covering EVERY INCH OF THE DAMN OVEN.
My husband tsk-tsked… “Don’t you know you have to wipe it after spraying?”
GRRRRRRR. Like he is such the “Easy Off Expert.”
OF COURSE I WIPED THE DAMN THING! I NEARLY CHOKED WITH FUMES WIPING IT!
Though I admit, whereas I may have vigorously wiped the Easy Off, I apparently needed to also wipe the Easy Off… Off.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
You might say it’s “hard” to get everything done when you are a stay-at-home mom who also works part-time, blogs, volunteers, studies Kabbalah and keeps Shabbat, helps her husband with his work and is trying to learn guitar so I can actually accompany myself when I sing the songs that I wrote.
Then again, if you did say that… you’d be wrong.
It’s not hard at all!!!!
Why is it, that the minute I’ve folding four loads of laundry, there are instantly TWO new loads that must be washed? I haven’t even put the four loads away, for crying out loud! Seriously. They are spread out all over our living room couches.
No TV tonight, kids! It’s our clothes’ turn to watch their programs. Their soaps.
Did I mention I’m also losing my mind just a little bit?
The good part about THAT is that I seem to be losing the bit of my mind that actually thought I was able & CAPABLE OF FINISHING THINGS. Because I can’t.
The girls’ room was clean yesterday morning. Now every time I cross by it, my brain spasms ever so slightly at the sight of toys all over the rug. I WILL NOT GO IN THERE I WILL NOT CLEAN IT UP I HAVE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO LIKE – OH YEAH, EAT. OH YEAH, AND WORK.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
And by “mighty,” I mean those who used to have a full time housekeeper.
And by “fallen,” I mean they got trapped in a Sartre play, only this time the situation they cannot exit is the mess they live in.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
If you wanna hear one of my songs, just click on the audio link, below. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could strum along to my OWN SONG? Yeah. It would. WARNING: I HAVE NO TIME TO FIGURE OUT WORDPRESS SO WHEN U CLICK IT’S GOING TO OPEN UP A BLACK WEBPAGE. JUST SO YOU CAN HEAR THE SONG. YOU CAN SKIP IT IF YOU WANT. THOUGHT U SHOULD KNOW.
Folks, this GrownupGirl is tapped out. Tired. Done.
I wanted to try & sleep tonight before 11pm (I know, who am I kidding, right?)… just finished the exhausting & demoralizing process of applying for a partial scholarship for my 3 kids’ tuition… still need to read a script for work, oh, AND fold four loads of laundry. Literally.
Oh yeah, and wash my hair with the MOTHERFUCKINGLICECOMB because that’s what we moms do. When our heads itch.
And please don’t ask me if my room and my kids rooms still need to be cleaned.
So who has time to write a blog? No one’s paying me to write this, and my adoring fans numbering in the – uh – “aughts”? Is that a word? The adoring ones, plus the other occasional fans… still not quite the incentive I need to keep this thing alive.
So what is?
It’s an amazing creative outlet, for one. Duh.
And then there’s that ‘miracle’ aspect to it – the thing that I’ve noticed happened since I’ve been maintaining this blog, which is to say… a smoothness to life that otherwise feels mighty bumpy. That, and the direction of my professional life since I’ve kept up the blog has continued to move forward and – while not YET financially rewarding – it does appear a bit more exciting and promising, each and every month that passes.
I’ll stay up at least until midnight just for you.
And by “you” I mean, of course…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
I don’t like to use inflammatory language. Strike that – I love using inflammatory language, but I constantly fight against that love because I am well aware that it is usually damaging. Words have power.
So that’s why I didn’t use the title for the blog I originally wanted to use, which was, “You know You’re a Po’ Girl When…”
Whoops. Did I just say that out loud?
Anyway, my point is that I don’t want to call myself the “p” word. (No, not that word, dummy! The one ending in “-oor!”) And yet… relative to the financial state I am used to enjoying (i.e. some type of income flowing regularly into our household from some avenue or another, so that at the very least an occasional night out at the movies doesn’t feel like we are scraping together funds to fly to Africa), lately, things around here have gotten a bit… how shall I put this delicately… Jacked up.
For example: I can’t afford a new bra right now. That said, all of my bras are about 80 years old. And, miraculously, I lost a bit of weight recently. The problem with those 2 facts (other than freezing all day long), is that with my small boobs, no matter how tight I make them, my bras just slip right up to my collarbones if I’m not sitting still.
Solution? I’ve fastened safety pins about 2 ½ inches up from the regular loops (towards the underarm), and now I hook the bra hooks into the safety pin in order to keep the bra snug.
Like I said. Jacked up.
And then, there’s my pajamas bottoms. Grey, flannel, soft, warm… perfect. And, recently… broken; the tie that pulls the elastic around my waist snapped.
Yeah. Safety pin time. Gets a little hairy in the middle of the night when I have to pee and forget it’s there. But so far, no major accidents.
And… the long sleeve shirt I’m wearing right now has a hole. Earlier today, I hooked it over my thumb and pretended it was a Lululemon-style shirt. Then I noticed another hole a few inches down from my thumb. Dang it.
Keep your fingers crossed for me, readers! Or, better yet? Save me some of your safety pins.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
On the self-same night I single-handedly discovered the secret to instant sobriety, I also discovered something else: GrownupGirls (who are not married and don’t have kids) live like broke college students.
My husband and I did our pre-Purim drinking at the apartment of 3 friends of ours – 3 hot mamas (“mamas,” not “mommas,” all btwn the ages of 23 & 35 ish) who live together in order to save money, live safely and not be lonely.
And while each of these GGs (GrownupGirls) is, individually, beautiful, smart, socially savvy, spiritual and hard-working, collectively, they nonetheless keep their apartment looking like my Freshman dormroom. Not pretty. Correction: it isn’t messy like my college dormroom was (nor does it have those wacky Freshman year roommates I had – the Born Again Christian who confirmed that I, being Jewish, had a ticket straight to hell; the other ticketed passenger, our Canadian Jewish roommate, who went bonkers and was sent to a “psycho single” after she was found panting and salivating on all fours one day; or our bulimic soccer player roommate who let her heart get torn out once a week by the resident Freshman movie star-turned-Yalie….) But it was like my frosh dorm room in that no one takes responsibility for its appearance, no one decorates, no one puts out candles or pictures or fresh cut flowers…
No one buys any spoons, for God’s sake.
Apparently, the last spoon had gone missing months ago, and instead of just buying a new pack of spoons, the Three’s Company GGs just pilfer extra plastic spoons whenever they buy takeout (every day). When they run out, they make do eating their cereal or whatever with their forks. Or knives. Who knows, maybe they just eat the cereal dry, straight from the box.
Their handful of cups had also run out after my husband and I had been served our drinks, so our other friend had to drink his tequila from a soy sauce bowl. And let me tell you – watching a hedge fund manager who summers in the Hamptons and winters in Aspen drink fine tequila from a soy sauce bowl is almost as fun as watching his face as he is told there is no ice in the house but would he like a frozen bag of peas to cool the cup down?
Maybe it’s just the ‘roommate’ thing, where everyone who lives together is friends but no one wants to take financial responsibility for the others. Maybe it’s the fact that these particular GGs are in fact so broke they cannot afford a single set of spoons for about $5.99. But in the end, I don’t think it’s either of those things – I think my friends don’t bother to make their home a home because they are trying to “inspire” themselves to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible. Ideally, by making loads of money, or getting married, or both.
Good luck, Grownup Chiquita Bananas! My drink was delicious, even if it was mixed with a chopstick and served in an old water tumbler.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Dude. That title is NOT a metaphor. I am horrified by worms. And caterpillars. I would classify my horror as a phobia, since logically, I should not be terrified of a tiny squishy thing. But I am. Terrified.
Last night we decided that until I and/or my husband finds a new job, we (don’t have an income and therefore) need to cut back big time on any extra expenses. And while I’ve always vowed to myself, since college, that I would sooner pay a housekeeper at least once a week and go hungry than have to clean my own floors and toilets and do my own hand wash and ironing… I agreed to cancel our previously twice-a-week housekeeper’s services, altogether.
So, for now… I’m cleaning. I’m laundering. I’m hand-washing and ironing. (Or, I will be… tomorrow. Really!) And today, I got really ambitious. I took out the mop.
Now, I’ve probably only mopped a handful of times in my life. And once I finished, I immediately blocked out all memory of the traumatic event. So today, I couldn’t remember… exactly what WAS the process to proper mopping?
I poured some Fabuloso into a bucket and added water. The fumes from the Fabuloso made me want to sneeze and puke and itch, which in turn made me seriously consider buying some of those expensive yet “healthy” household cleaners. But then I remembered we didn’t have extra money for luxuries like toxin-free soap, and I’d better just suck it up.
Next, I looked for the mop. It wasn’t in the cleaning supply closet, next to the brooms and the Swiffer (these I do occasionally use, when I absolutely have to). Then I remembered – the mops were outside by the garbage bins in the driveway! Lord knows why our housekeeper kept them out there – maybe because they got so wet?
Didn’t matter. I knew where they were & I was one step away from a sparkly (if toxic) kitchen floor. I grabbed the prettier one (the red one vs. the green) and brought it inside. As I dunked it into the bucket, I immediately noticed the mop was broken – I may not be a “Mop Expert” but I know when you slide that plastic thingy up, it’s supposed to take the moppy-thingies up with it and kind of ‘wring out’ the water. You know? Well that didn’t happen at all.
Great. I was already getting annoyed at my now-fired housekeeper (oh, how quickly we turn) for keeping a broken mop at all. But I was already invested, and I wasn’t about to go switch for the green one now. So I started mopping the kitchen floor even without the plastic wringy-thingy working. And you know what happened?
First, it worked.
Then, I noticed little black things getting spread across my kitchen floor. I was puzzled at first, because I hadn’t remembered those on the floor… and then I realized, the mop had actually spread the black dirty things on the floor. Must have stuck to the mop from the driveway.
Great, I thought. Now what do I do? Keep going, and hope the Fabuloso cleans the black things before the black things overtake the clean floor? Stop everything and get a broom? But wouldn’t that just make everything more dirty, since the floor was now wet?
And that’s when I saw it. No, excuse me, dear readers, not it. THEM.
Small, wriggly, and ALIVE. ON MY KITCHEN FLOOR.
I am not joking.
Now if that isn’t proof this GrownupGirl wasn’t meant to do housework, I don’t know what is.
I hate conflict.
Which, in a word, completely sucks.
OK, I know! “Completely sucks” is two words; you are right!
See – I hate conflict so much that I anticipate it and try to defuse it before it even happens.
It’s no accident that I – a singer, writer and performer – spent about 8 years of my professional life overseeing the Customer Care departments for major corporations. It was my job to make sure everyone was nice to everyone, that all conflicts would get resolved and result in the greatest possible benefit for all involved.
Similarly, it’s no accident that despite my passion and talent and hard work I have poured into my creative endeavors, I have yet to reap any real professional (read: financial) success from them. Why?
I hate conflict, weren’t you listening?
(*sorry- was that too abrasive?*)
The older I get and the more I care about making money, I realize IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE MONEY WITHOUT CONFLICT. Whether it’s the contract negotiation process, the inter-office relationships, the client and/or lawyer disputes that arise in the independent contracting business… conflict is everywhere. The more famous a person gets, the more people ‘out there’ want to take that person down. How could a girl afraid of conflict survive out there in the real world?
It appears to me that the people who have the distinct advantage are the ones who are not just not afraid of conflict… they love and EMBRACE conflict.
You know those people? (Or maybe you ARE one of those people?) You know, the ones who gets all excited and high at the prospect of a fight; those people to whom the word “NO” rolls off the tongue easier than any other syllable. (I was raised in the improve comedy world of “yes, and” where everyone involved agrees to agree, no matter how absurd the premise.)
O, my kingdom for a hierarchical society based on the principles of improv!
But in the meantime… I think I have no choice but to toughen my skin.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Ahhh, the joys of doing more while having less. Which is bullshit-speak, of course, for the more honest way of saying “I’m trying to live life while freaking out about the fact that my finances are in the toilet.”
In this recession-laden environment, I know I can’t be the only one whose children’s boots have been sitting under our dining room table for three days because we can’t afford a daily cleaning lady/nanny and we’re too tired to deal with them.
So to speak.
Since there is always fun to be had at the expense of a list, here’s a compilation for ya:
THE TOP 10 THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN THE MONEY IN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT SEEMS TO BE DISSOLVING FASTER THAN A TAB OF LSD ON THE MOUTH OF A TEENAGER:
1. HOURS ARE SPENT ON THE PHONE WITH BANK TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF FEES THAT YOU NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED, BACK IN THE DAY WHEN YOU HAD MONEY IN YOUR ACCOUNT. You know – you run out of money unexpectedly, so that monthly auto-charge for your insurance or gas bill payment or whatever hits the account & suddenly it’s overdrawn and now you owe the bank more money. Makes me think of the celebrities who get copious amounts of designer clothing, high end vacations and sumptuous meals… all for FREE. Versus the rest of us… why is it we are charged for things exactly at the time we can least afford them?
2. CRAZY AMOUNTS OF CHOCOLATE CAKE AND DESSERTS ARE INHALED, with no discrimination at all between what “tastes good” and what “looks like chocolate so I’ll stuff it in my mouth right now and I’ll worry later about whether it was actually edible, thank you very much.” Yes, my dear, Mommy is binging right now. Now be a good girl and go watch Sponge Bob with your brother and sis.
3. KIDS’ BOOTS REMAIN UNDER THE TABLE FOR 3 DAYS. Hey, a daily housekeeper is expensive, and by the time I’ve gotten the kids to school, worked a full day, helped kids do homework, after school activities, dinner, worked more from home, ran to the gym and/or food shopping and/or Kabbalah class, those boots start to look like more of a “floor sculpture” than a mess. It’s all in the perspective, right?
4. YOU ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT TAKING THAT WEIRD “FRIEND” UP ON HIS OFFER TO “BABYSIT FOR FREE” BEFORE FLAGELLATING YOURSELF FOR EVEN HAVING ENTERTAINED SUCH A CREEPY PROPOSITION. Self-explanatory.
5. AFTER DENYING YOURSELF THE INDULGENCE OF HBO AND iTUNES, YOU DISCOVER HULU. Which is awesome.
So there’s that…
But at the same time… I feel hopeful again, now that the “holidays” have ended and the New Year has begun. Hopeful that my life will be more fulfilling and my relationships richer and deeper than ever before. Hopeful that this will be a year when wealth and abundance finally flow freely and continually into my life…
…Hopeful that there’ll be less occasion to be on the phone with the bank, and fewer days with boots on the floor.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
It was all wiped from my memory last week, as I drove away from Trader Joe’s with three different desserts on the seat next to me – mini chocolate cheesecakes, dark chocolate pretzels, and shortbread chocolate cookies. Each box opened, each dessert shoveled into my mouth as rapidly as I could manage while keeping the other hand on the steering wheel.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
I still don’t really drink alcohol, because – quite simply – I can’t drink alcohol without throwing up or feeling completely shitty the next day, or both. So I get my ‘alcoholic’ sugar the next best way – or the old fashioned way, via ‘actual sugar’ sugar.
Like last night, when it was “my husband’s birthday,” (there’s always an excuse for an addict to get her fix, isn’t there?) and I ate a cupcake. Or two.
Or the day before, when I had chocolate cake and flan because my guests brought it over for lunch. Or the night before that, when I had a slice of disgusting chocolate non-dairy cake because my child was eating it and it looked good, and I couldn’t reconcile the disgusting taste in my mouth with how yummy it looked, until I had already eaten the whole thing.
I haven’t gone back to my days of ‘chocolate every day,’ but I’m close. I keep thinking I’ll go off desserts again in January – isn’t that what everyone does? New Year’s Resolutions, yada, yada, yada. The truth is… it feels like I don’t want to miss out on all the delicious baked goods of this holiday season, but in my heart of hearts, I know what it REALLY is –
I don’t want to miss out on stuffing my feelings of anxiety (financial, career, life) back into a dark corner while I wait for things to go a little more “my way.”
And a very merry Christmas to you, too!
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
I know, I know. I know I said I loved high heels. And I do – I love them. High heels are fucking sexy, I believe was the phrase I used in my Ode to high heels. I’m wearing them right now, in fact.
There exists a parallel reality where high heels are also instruments of torture. For example, remember Roxana? That con artist bitch who worked for my husband for one year and during that time managed to steal over $70,000 and almost ruin our business? Yeah, her. She’s still torturing me. In the most recent incident, she used one of my most favorite pair of high heels to do it – my sky-high (6 inch) Stuart Weitzman snakeskin peeptoes with the wicker-like heels, that were a gift to me from my high heels mentor, Betsy Davis.
How, you are probably wondering, did Roxana the Con Artist Bitch use my shoes to torture me? Did she break into my house and beat me on the head with them? (God forbid) Did she steal them in the dead of night, my favorite shoes? Wrong again.
No, she lured me. Lured me all the way to the downtown courthouse on a Monday morning, when my husband was laid up in bed sick and I was the only one who could leave work (in my sky high Stuart Weitzmans), jet down to the courthouse (or 6 blocks away from the courthouse, to the parking lot, rather), in order to race those same six blocks UPhill to the courthouse, in order to make it there before 10am which was the deadline. You see, I was told by the DA that very morning at 9:10am that either I or my husband needed to race down before 10am if we wanted to claim a money order which Roxana had supposedly gotten for us for $30,000 (towards her restitution).
In return for such diligent behavior (ie, starting to pay us back for the money she stole from us), Roxana was bargaining with the DA, hoping for a lighter sentence (something we BTW had no say in – go, legal system!) Hey, I can use $30,000 as much as anyone. I ran down there. I didn’t stop to change my shoes. I even parked in the WRONG block downtown, and walked two blocks until I realized I was in the wrong place, then walked two blocks back to my car to drive “closer” to the courthouse.
By which I mean six blocks away. For any woman who is not a superhero, 16 blocks in sky-high heels (4 in the wrong location, 6 there & 6 back) is, in a word, torture.
Icing on the cake? As I arrived panting to the courthouse, at 10am on the dot, the DA called me. “You didn’t leave yet?” she asked me. “There was a mix-up. There is no check. I got the message wrong, or they left the wrong message, I don’t know. But there is no check. They are working on getting you a check. It may happen in a month.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I wanted to but did not say.
Instead, I limped the six blocks back to my car, and swung by my house on the way back to work so I could change my shoes.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)