32B's Blog

…where I write my words

Eat My Words?

Last month, I wrote this blog post about a guy I was dating.  Basically, I wrote this about him:

One day I was venting to my sister about a guy I was dating.  I told her how he does not have a retirement savings account (this is all before the recession), he does not have adequate life insurance (it was enough to cover his funeral only if he died debt free), he had no bankable skills to mention (career wise), he cannot afford to live alone (not enough income), and he is kid free never married in his right mind.  I wondered how we would live, how we would cover our bills, who would pick up most of the financial obligations, and who would be the breadwinner.  I wondered if one of us died earlier than we expected (any time prior to retirement) and I wondered if he had more children.  I wondered all these things also taking into consideration that he was about 8 years older than I, working on his credit also, making less money than I, and not degreed in any field or skill.  Looking at his financial outlook, there are slim chances he would amount to anything with so many factors not in his favor.

Long story short, he read this post and made one line in particular his Facebook status.  “…there are slim chances he would amount to anything with so many factors not in his favor”.  I read it on his page and thought to myself, “what happened now?” so I texted him.  He then told me that I had written those words and that he now knows how I truly feel about him.  Inside I struggled with myself over my response…I replied “ok” and that was that.  Do I eat my words and regret ever writing them knowing that there was a chance he would read this blog since it is public?  No.  Honesty prevails whether I should have told him how I felt or not is another subject.  I never meant any harm and, if you read the post itself, I was making a point of how those in relationships should and must consider the financial state of the other person because it may no longer be a “their debt” category if the relationship progresses into something serious – it becomes “our debt”.  I even commented about my huge student loan debt, I write here often about paying that down and accepting the fact that I may die first before that balance is zero.  I have written about my own personal bills, getting my personal finances in order, funding my emergency account, and having finally gotten life insurance for myself in the event I die sooner rather than later and leave my family struggling to cover my expenses.

Did what I write change how I felt about him?  No.  Does it matter now?  Nope, but I am sure my name is apart of some Gold Digger file cabinet guys register ex-girlfriends under when the female even hints at money in any way that makes him uncomfortable, insecure, or less than a man.  What he replied back to me today, “I know what you think about me” is so far from the truth that it’s apart of another galaxy.  Money does not make the person or else I, and a lot of other people, would be piles of shit laying along the side of the road.  And, quite frankly, if money was ever an issue I would have not bothered from day one, I would have ran when he lost his job and started collecting unemployment, would have chucked the deuces when he couldn’t afford to go out like we used to,  and I would have bailed when he was searching day after day for housing knowing he was getting kick out of his apartment pretty soon.  I still stayed you asshole!  Is the amount of money important to me?  No.  Is stability important to me?  Yes.  Is what you do with your money important to me?  Yes.  We need to be able to pay our bills, take care of any kids we may have, and plan for a brighter future where we live more than work ourselves to death – that is my goal as far as finances and notice I said we (had to bold and underline that one since most guys think women are looking to be taken care of financially – wrong chick).

I talked to him about his life insurance.  I told him the policy he has (or had, not sure anymore) was a rip off and he should get out of it and buy his own policy for the same if not lower price with a much higher death benefit if not now than later.  We have talked about stocks, investments, retirement accounts, and savings.  I have been very outspoken on what I think he should do, what I have read, what tips I plan to utilize, and what he should be doing at his age at this point in his life.  I talked about my student loan debts and told him they amount to the price of a small home.  He knows about a car loan I am still paying off.  He knows about defaulted credit cards I had way back when in college.  He knows I am in school now denying every student loan thrown my way because I would rather pay out-of-pocket for any expenses my company does not cover than dig myself in deeper doo-doo.  He knows this and I talk about my finances openly like everything else we have ever talked about.  My frustration was because he did not listen to me.  Ok, maybe I wanted him to do what I said on some of those suggestions – I’ll admit that but I think I am right on most esp the retirement account.

There is nothing else to say about the topic, the fact that he read my blog, or was offended by anything I wrote about him.  I would make the same financial analysis with any other guy and I have with every other guy so no one shall ever be exempt just like I would expect a guy to make the same analysis of my financial state before we get “serious” because my small house of student loans and car loan debt will interfere with our monthly cash flow as we merge all of our monthly expenses into one cash pool.  My debt does not go away with marriage as his debt does not go away – we gotta budget for them both so just face the facts!  And, just like I access every other compatibility within a relationship, it is amazing how sex and money are the sensitive buttons when it comes to guys.  If you even insinuate they are inadequate in either, they get pissed, call you names, and/or say you never really loved them.  Newsflash, the many times I brought these topics up – that showed I cared enough to talk to you about them, wanted to offer my suggestions, share what I have read, or tell you what I was doing to make my own finances better just like you have talked to me about areas in my life where I totally suck or need to “get it together”.  Lastly, I do not regret a single line or word I wrote on this blog and I will not apologize but I do acknowledge how my words offended you deeply so for that I am truly sorry.

October 20, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , | 4 Comments

My Life – Updates

Went out today with the intentions of running another 6 miles – my usual.  It was warm today but not humid which is great because my breathing does not do well in humid conditions which is why I am praying for cooler weather come Sept for just that weekend at least.  Anywho, I fuss over what to wear.  Not sure anyone else does this but I do.  I wear simple basic clothing (not always famous brand names) that must fit my body well.  Today, I wore $3 running shorts from Family Dollar and a white tank I bought from the corner store for $2.  The only famous name brands I wore was my Nike shoes, Nike watch, and Victoria’s Secret racerback bra.  My shorts and tank fit snugly and I looked good (imo, my booty is to die for).  I was going running but I made sure I looked good running lol I know, sounds trivial!  By mile 1 I was feeling good telling myself to stay relaxed and just run since I decided to just run and not focus on time although my watch was still ticking.  I was feeling so good I kept running past my normal turn around points till I had finished 9.5 miles.  When my mind started to progress the distance, it was too late….I had already ran to the point of no return and had to run back unless I didn’t plan on going back home at all.  That is what I do to myself.  By the time I reached about the 8 mile mark, my thighs were beginning to feel fatigued from the constant movement although I was careful not to overspend myself.  One foot in front of the other, inhale & exhale through my nose only, relax my arms/shoulders/face, and enjoy the run to see where it takes me.  I am proud of myself.  It’s supposed to rain Thursday but a little rain never hurt anyone.  Truthfully, I can be a bit of an exhibitionist.  No one calls you that if your body looks good.  The fat chick?  Call the police now!!

My personal finances have stalled a little bit.  I lost track of bills since switching to e-bills so now I have switched back to paper.  Yes, I am killing trees but these late fees from forgotten bills are no joke.  Not too far behind but it is messing up my monthly contribution to my savings account which means June may see no contribution at all while I fix my mistakes and pay other bills completely off.  May saw a $200 decrease.  July should be back to normal with my goal of $500-800/month put aside till the kids get back from summer vacation.  If I fall behind on my emergency funds goal then I will not be prepared to invest full-time next year.  Still into my investing books for now.  I have most of my papers squared away.  My friend joked that I am “ready to die” lol …. on paper?  Yes.  Spiritually?  Hardly so.  I read in one of my books that the people who have enough money set aside to take care of small emergencies and/or to live on for a few months sleep more soundly at night than those with not a dollar saved.  I do sleep soundly but I do not put faith in my account balance.  God has a way of showing you who’s God and making sure you always put your faith where it should be so, quite frankly, I am still afraid of Him.  However, I am not stupid.  God does give us common sense.  Save save save!!

Job is going well.  I officially work independently which I can state with confidence since I’ve had that line on my resume for years now.  My supervisor acts as if I work for myself, by myself, and am in need of little to no supervision.  So, I do just that.  If I have a question, I find the answer on my own.  If I need a connection to a database made, I contact our Director of Implementation and finish my work.  If I need my supervisor at all, it’s to go through him to our manager for something.  Other than that, I work as if I am a department of one.  I am in charge of my customers and anything they have an issue with and any place where I drop the ball.  Lots of responsibility and room to prove yourself but also lots of room to make mistakes with no hiding them.  I have had customers who did not like my answer, go to my supervisor with the entire string of emails we’ve sent back and forth expecting my supervisor to reprimand me.  He stood by my decision.  Vote of confidence indeed.  Weight on my shoulders as well.  I went from a department of 2 to another department of 2 – I don’t think I’d make it in a regular job with a bigger company where managers love to micromanage the hell outta everyone.  I like the freedom and the trust placed in my abilities.  I like making sure my solutions/suggestions will stand up in the court of my manager’s critique.  I like the independence.  I like being held accountable.  I like being challenged.  I like finding the solution.  I like staring at my computer for hours trying to solve various puzzles.  I like it all.

Mr. D – nothing to comment on really.  He is still here.  I broke up with him.  He asked if we can get back together.  I broke it off because we rarely do couple stuff together like go see a movie, grab something to eat, sit outside for hours and talk – ya know?  We talk on the phone for hours and hours but that is no different than friendships I’ve had with guys!  Normal stuff we hardly do because he works like 3 jobs.  Then I ask myself, what if he worked only 1 job?  Well, then I wouldn’t want to go out as much, he’d probably be clingy, and I’d be annoyed with him.  I told him he spends more time with his brother than he does with me.  He said that’s because they are roommates.  This brother said Mr. D is always with me and prb has a toothbrush at my apt.  One day while at the mall, his brother told Mr. D to just buy a ring already and make it official.  Mr. D replied that he’s not ready for marriage just yet.  He asked if I was happy.  I said yes as long as we spend more quality time together.  I asked if he was happy.  He said no because we had broken up.  I asked if he sees me in his future.  He said yes.  He promised to stop and smell the roses more instead of walking right by them.  I said we shall see.  So far, he has made good on his effort to carve out QT.  His brother and I seem to think Mr. D is spending lots of time with the other person (kinda funny).  My friend told me to get a life.  I have one.  I work, run, play mommy, and have my own social life too.  Work only consumes a small portion.  The rest is spent smelling roses.  I want someone who is into smelling roses too from time to time or just wanna run through them for fun.  Like I said, Mr. D – nothing to really comment on.

June 2, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roles

Relationship update: everything is going surprisingly well.  We have our moments individually and sometimes collectively but, overall, the good moments actually do outweigh the bad ones.  I used to hear people in relationships and marriages says that often but I never really understood how that could possibly be.  When things are bad they tend to be really bad and result in a blog post on my end as I try to make sense of it all, vent, and criticize him in every way I possibly can.  Mr. D said it will be one year this July since we started dating again.  I call it the one year anniversary since he took me out to lunch and dropped me off at home but not before surprising me with a kiss.  Things seem to be flowing but I still have my control issues which rear their little heads often.  Sometimes Mr. D does not want to listen to me so I take offense to that and think to myself, “this is not gonna work” only because he is not doing what I think he should be doing.  My uncle asked about it and I told him what recently happened and how I feel Mr. D gets all “manly” when I wanna take the reins.  He seems to wanna check his penis size in the mirror, drink a gallon of creatine, do a few hundred push-ups, and check his testosterone levels whenever I do this.  I told my uncle that Mr. D does not like a woman in charge over him in any way.  I expected my uncle to say something in agreeance (sp?) with me but, instead, he said “most men don’t”.  What?!

I know the traditional roles women and men tend to fall into.  I know what role the women in my family usually take on.  I know which role my mom played since she first married my dad till now.  I see those roles and I have an immediate identity crisis.  I cook but mainly because I have kids and I feel like it once in a while.  I do not make anything from scratch because it’s just not that serious to me.  I do not loathe anything from a box or can because I flat-out do not care.  And, I do not shop only local organic farmer’s markets because I have more serious things to waste my time on.  Basically, cooking is not a priority to me.  If I do it I do it.  If I don’t I don’t.  I clean.  That is probably the only thing I do well is clean but that’s partly because I like to control where things are, how they are organized, how clean things are, and how sanitized or neat my area is.  Clean up behind others?  Only my kids and that expired a short time ago.  Some roles are not required nowadays but Mr. D is a traditional person who likes women who cook and clean and things of that nature.  Clearly, I do not think he is concerned and I have made it clear that I will not conform to any sexist expectations.  Cooking and cleaning are fun things both parties can share but the main issue still involves where I love to dabble.  Money.

I have never required a certain amount of money or account balance or portfolio.  I just think that each person should be allowed to exercise their strengths to the betterment of the relationship.  I guess I want control where men rarely give it.  I want not only a say in the finances but also the final decision in all financial matters.  I do not agree with letting a man be a man when it comes to finances.  Not every man is equipped to handle money.  And, I know that every woman should support his decisions but I this is not “what to cook for dinner tonight?”.  This is a little more serious – in my opinion.  Each day, week, month that goes by I learn a little bit more about Mr. D and his finances.  From the outside, you would assume he has money because he loves certain brand names which stand for quality.  Under the surface, he could use a little help.  I know I talk finances a lot and this is not the only post I’ve written about it but I wonder how much emphasis to place on this category when he seems to get A’s in every thing else.  The good thing is that he answer every single one of my probing questions even my indirect ones which do not really ask how much in dollars but how many so I can do the calculation in my head and come to an answer. 

I butt heads with my dad often before he passed away.  He raised me to be an independent thinker, focused on my studies, and impervious to any obstacle that stood in my way whether it be gender roles, tradition, men, racism, or economic class.  We butt heads because his gender roles only applied to my mom but never to me.  But, I wonder what he would say now.  In this situation.  My dad controlled all the finances.  My mom was powerless and had to ask him for money.  My mom was the dumb wife most women were back then (and now) who thought cooking and cleaning was enough completely trusting of their husbands without a dime to their own name if he decided to leave (which he did).  Nowadays, most men do not want a woman who just cooks & cleans.  One of my friends does that.  She brags about how good a cook she is and how she cleans well but her boyfriend can’t stand how he is financially dependent on him & how absentminded she is because she’d lose her head if it wasn’t connected to her neck.  I wish Mr. D was a little more aware or smart about his finances but now he does seem to hear me about something as trivial as grocery shopping instead of spending $20-30/day on take-out food.  As much as he hates when I am right, outline all the reasons why he should be doing “A” instead of “B” with his money, and warn him of all the pitfalls that await him if he does not change some of his ways….he does not get angry at me.  So, maybe it’s as much him needing time to accept that money is not an every man role just as cooking is not an every woman role.   I hate roles anyways.  And, I hate that my vagina is supposed to automatically pre-qualify me for something I do not want to do. 

But, he still loves me and I do pick my battles (translation: I only get on him some of the time and it’s still his money not “ours”.)  I do think submission goes both ways though 🙂

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Race

For some reason I have gotten a lot more hits recently which makes me nervous.  I kinda like to think I write to a crowd of about 6 people who know my whines and pesky little issues like they are their own.  When I check my stats and see the number hovering where it normally isn’t….I wonder who the heck are these people.  I forget this is a public site.  Silly rabbit. 

Anywho, I have only registered for 2 races this year mainly because races are expensive and this is the year I promised myself (and my kids sorta) that I would get my finances in check.  Well, the Chicago Half Marathon was $60 I think which will be the longest race I have ever ran (and hopefully I will finish).  The 2nd race this year is the Lawndale 5k.  It’s only 3.1 miles compared to 13.1 miles but it is an inner city race in the neighborhood where I spent all 4 yrs of my high school experience participating in after school programs which paid for my books for a year during college.  I spent summers in this community with the same program during summer jobs and other work to rebuild the community, etc.  There aren’t many races within the black community so I run along side other people who look like me because it helps to see and know that we do run.  What is frustrating is that the Lawndale 5K is the next weekend after the Chicago Half so I will literally run 13 miles Sunday and 3 miles that upcoming Saturday.  Not a good thing so I will play it all by ear till the last minute.

I searched online for Chicago 2010 races and found not many in the urban areas where I or my friends grew up.  The Lawndale race draws quite a few people, is organized by a nondenominational church, and most (if not all funds) go toward the Lawndale Community Clinic in the ‘hood whose patients are usually black or hispanic.  Another program I was apart of growing up (my mom had us in everything free) does not have a race but they have a special relationship with the Chicago Marathon so they can give away registration slots to the race even though it is sold out.  A certain number of slots have been set aside for certain community organizations.  This is all good but it is not great imo.  I didn’t see anyone who looked like me organizing these events.  I didn’t see anyone who looked like me on the board of this agencies.  And, I did not see anyone who looked like me smiling in the pictures while all the little kids who did look like me reminded me of a Feed The Children commercial.  These folks do not live on this side of the tracks but they come here making cheddar off those who do and, yes, black folks run the race(s) that are organized here but I need to know how they (my people) benefit from the $35/person contributions when the race registration maxed out at 300 people not including those who donated but did not run.  Yeah.

A co-worker of mine has a church campus (yes, they are that big) in the Cabrini Green neighborhood and they do community service there all the time.  He was co-coach over a baseball team in the same community 2 yrs ago.  But he lives up north near Montrose about 10 minutes from Evanston.  I know because I have been near his condo one night after we all went out after work and took the Redline train home.  Where does the rest of them live?  I am not sure.  Why aren’t more black churches, black organizations, black communities involved in races?  That is what I wonder.  Do you know how much these events bring in?  I just said I paid $60 to run 13.1 miles to get a medal when I am done all for my effort but I am essentially paying someone to let me know on free land all because I want to say I finished an officially organized 13.1 race with an official time and rank.  It never occurred to ask where this money goes to and, as we all know, 100% does not always go toward whatever need or cause they advertise.  I do not doubt Lawndale is using their money wisely but I am a realist in knowing that looks can be deceiving.  And, I am not saying that blacks organizing events for blacks and collecting money for the needs of blacks would go toward what it should.  Even our own people are not always for us.  Greed comes in many forms so when I (trust me I have) ask questions about the money folks get upset and bothered which is counterproductive when your goal is to serve the community so why come it’s asking too much to show where money went?  I do not belive anyone or any agency is above my inquiries.

It feels weird to sign up for a race to support our communities and not know with certainty where the money goes.  But, me being me, I will not be content unless I can track the funds from registration to use.  I want to follow the money trail.  I want to see which “business” account the money sits in and to what transaction the money is used for.  I like to tell myself I sign up for races as a way of community service.  I don’t give my time but I give my $60 each time toward a cause but I’d like to see more black people benefit from the events held in their communities while non-black folks pull the emotional strings of other people getting them to loosen their purse strings and give give give without knowing what percentage goes toward helping that little black boy and girl you used to elicit an emotional response from someone who lives up north near the Lake but likes to tell the world they help the poor coloreds in their spare time.  I guess I would love to see more of us step up for us.  We don’t all have to lace up our sneaks and run 3 miles (although that would be awesome) but imagine signing up for a inner race and most of the people there look like they are here just for the day.   I think about starting a race in the inner city all the time but no one cares to help me (it’s not a one person task) or believes in it as I do.  I don’t even have to handle the money….it’s doing something that benefits and gets our people running for their health.  Money is a lovely cherry on top.

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stress

Sometimes I wonder where all the regular folks went.  Growing up, we had our own little circle of people who talked about home, relationships, marriage, finances, love, work, school, kids, church, God, sex, food, clothing, fashion, technology, etc with honesty.  Now, I keep running into people who want to talk about things that do not matter like celebs, movies, music, etc.  I knew what to expect from life because people talked about their lives openly.  A few weeks ago, a friend asked if I thought she was conceited.  I told her “yes”.  She thanked me for my honesty and I thought the conversation was over until she had to ask “why”.  I told her.  In return, she told me how she felt about me and gave me her honest opinion about a number of things.  I appreciated the feedback and, on some things, I took her advice.  On others, the jury is still out.  I find that I like life more when I am surrounded by people who are real honest about life.  I do not handle stress well….as you can tell.  I never have been good at handling stress.  It scared me, confused me, shook my foundation, and left me confused on where I was supposed to go.  I grew up sheltered by many standards but exposed to the harsh realities within my own home. 

My family is in shambles.  My sister who asked for the $180 went to get her hair done for her and her boyfriend’s 1 yr anniversary while eventually she will complain about being broke and running low on insulin.  My mom is crazy (literally sometimes).  She took out a life insurance policy on my sister because she is convinced her live-in boyfriend is going to kill her.  My mom is in a deep financial hole.  She has struggled with finances from day one and, when God gave her a way out, her spent that on a necklace (thanks Kanye).  She doesn’t qualify for a certain type of bankruptcy and works her life away trying to stay afloat.  My step-dad is an alcoholic.  He has one DUI that I know of, had his license taken away, got a fake license under his brother’s information (identify theft), and has wrecked maybe 3 cars this year so far.  He wrecked this recent car which my mom put in her name (about the time she asked me to buy her a car) and is still driving illegally around Chicago reminding me of the several fatal accidents of drivers with DUIs on the road who killed pedestrians.  My other sister is pregnant without money and her current baby daddy is in jail for whatever reason and all she has is her Link (food stamps) card and whatever agency pays her rent every month.  My ex-hubby is still out of work and still always out partying, eating out, and living it up without so much of $5 in the mail for his kids.  My brother’s prom is next month and he was promised a car but since our step-dad has no license and my mom refuses to let him drive anything but a big wheel, he is screwed and pissed.  My bro is mad at me for not taking his exam for him, he is mad at my parents for not taking him to get his license (or at least take one of the exams), and he is mad that he will not get his shiny new car to rent for prom.  I sound pretty damn normal in comparison.

This is why I do not come around family too much because my head begins to hurt, my heart races, I feel like I can’t breathe, and I wanna cry because they stress me out sometimes.  Yeah, I sound weak.  No, I do not need to toughen my skin and no I do not need to get stronger.  It’s not a matter of me letting them stress me out (at least I don’t think so).  It’s a matter of caring about a bunch of stupid people so much their failures hurt too much.  They are too stupid to see their mistakes.  If I help, I begin to carry their burdens because they will all come with a hand outstretched.  If I stay away from family, my actions are misinterpreted as anything but positive.  That is what I have chosen thus far.  Some things will never perfectly align and connect every dot or even compute.  Some things just refuse to feel right.  My life in its soon-to-be solo state of just me and my kids (until summer vacation) is perfectly peaceful.  No one’s calls to screen, no one’s text messages to ignore, no one’s FB status’ to roll my eyes at, and no one to delete so I do not see their tweets.  If I could, I’d make my blog accessible to folks I approve only but that requires too much work and may be counterproductive.  I wish I had the time to write about health care, immigration (can these folks just get a damn SS card?!), drugs, violence, gangs, economy, politics, or Wall Street.  I read other blogs for those posts.  Right here at least for right now, I feel like talking about what’s going on in my own backyard with my own blood and my own people. 

And yes, I do not anticipate this relationship lasting….he is pissing me off weekly now.  I shake my head oftentimes wondering why I am destined to be single for life.  I tell him to quit his job because he is their slave….he acts like it was his idea.  He runs a business but his employees run him to the point where he must stay nearby to check on them as if they are infants instead of grown men.  I told him to fire them.  He says “they have families”.  I say “they don’t care about their families to skip half a day at work without notice”.  They show up to work when they want to, complain about him to his brother, his brother has to cuss them out to get them back on track, and then he has to pay them out of his savings account.  It’s bad business all the way around but my degree in management means little to his years of entrepreneurial/management skills.  He even asked me if he could do my job.  I replied “yes but they require a college degree first and you have to pass a test to even get an interview”.  He said he was only asking cause he likes computers.  I like math but that doesn’t mean I am good at it!  I told Mr. D I would never hire him to manage anything of mine so why would a relationship work?!  Is that not a form of business with love as the foundation? 

No IRA, no 401k, no investments, upside down on your car, not enough savings to carry you thru a lay-off because you use it to pay lazy employees, a business barely in the black, and more expenses than income…yes, we can talk about everything else that is all cutesy and girlie because that is what will make me happy.  But, when I outline all the ways in which your ship is sinking either now or later, he says I am getting too personal.  Money is personal.  Being an entrepeneur with business cards and driving a Lexus is a front.  You are no more wealthy than the crackhead outside your door.  You just have a better chance of getting that small business loan than he does.  But, his money matters are too personal because I struck a chord when I said “I am right”.  Of course we aren’t retiring at the age of 65 anymore so you might have another 20 yrs but time is the valuable component available to you when it comes to retirement esp when you are about 30 yrs from the traditional retirement age which means you will have to set aside more monthly than someone 21 yrs of age would to play catch-up.  Compound interest.  Time.  With little savings, no retirement account, and existing debt with the hopes of children….this is one fool who is too arrogant to listen to some skinny divorcee chick who runs miles for fun and can see a liability before it sees itself.  But, most black men are always complaining that black women do not see the potential.  I see potential but I also see defiance and refusal to listen.  It’s not always about who is the head of the household.  Where is the respect?  Why do I care more about your financial future than you do?  And who pays a car off just to buy another one?  Idiot!

I still pray for them.  I honestly haven’t prayed in forever but I started again because someone needs to pray and since it’s my family I guess that someone is me.  Mr. D?  He’s a man….they figure these things out naturally.  Isn’t that what that Y chromosome is for?  Let them tell it…

May 3, 2010 Posted by | Life, Love | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stacking Paper/Building Wealth

Monday I came home to find a check waiting for me from Peoples Gas (our gas company) in the amount of $100+ so I was confused.  It said “CR” but I am sure I never over-paid anything.  I flipped it over and it said something about a deposit refund plus interest.  Looka here looka here looka here!  I have never received my deposit back before so I was proud of myself.  I know I usually require a deposit because of my crappy credit history but paying on-time for however many months they require was a good accomplishment.  So much so that I didn’t even know I was doing well.  I have been doing good with my e-bills sent to my bank account, setting up payment when I get them, and paying by the due date.  So, this extra money will go straight into my savings account.  I was complaining about having to buy a new dresser for the kids when Mr. D asked if I’d filed my taxes.  I said “yes” and he said “you must have spent it already” to which I said “naw!”  Who does that?!  Spend their entire tax refund check??  I told him I put a good chunk of it into my savings account too to which he said “wow, I’m impressed”.  He sleeping on moi.  Somebody wake this fool up!  I found some nice real wood dressers on Craigslist but I need someone to deliver which has been a hassle.

My sister lost her job so she asked if she can borrow $180 until further notice.  Trust me, I laughed out loud on that one.  She says she needs it to pay her half of the bills but I was wondering why can’t her live-in boyfriend pick up the slack.  Why live together if you can’t cover me until I find a job?  What kinda relationship is that?  If he ain’t got it then ok but don’t ask me because next month will be the same issue and I’m nobody’s ATM.  Here she is constantly calling me cheap calling me “notoriously cheap” just yesterday.  Here is she spending her financial aid check on a $1,000+ laptop when all she need is a basic one to write papers and research stuff.  Here she is spending $200+ on braids and other hairstyles when she really need to do her own hair once in a while.  I don’t get how people complain about shoes all the time.  My sister will likely get all her bills turned off before I give her any money because a) she is clearly living beyond her means and refused to hear me in the past so I know she won’t now b) I’m not her man and blood ain’t that freaking thick lol and c) you gotta let some folks fall on their butts so they can see their own mistakes.

My budget has gone to hell but I did ok for my first time.  This friday I start all over hopeful that I have learned some discipline and how to be more responsible with every penny I have.  My landlord qualified for a mortgage modification something program with her lender so now she doesn’t have to sell the building right now.  She still wants to move but she probably can’t afford to so soon.  Did she lower my rent?  I wish!  I paid April’s rent and now I have 2 more paychecks before I have to pay May’s rent.  I am going to put more into my savings account, get my freaking life insurance settled, and pay my bills careful to keep track of extras since my child support check is a distant thing of the past for a while.  I am looking for a part-time job during the summer while the kids are gone hopefully in accounting or bookkeeping since I do not want to go back to school and most accounting positions require a degree.  I even looked at internships too since the experience is what I need to break into higher careers.  But, I need to control my own spending and track it properly before I can do so for someone else.  Still building my money/wealth one dollar at a time.

April 9, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Monetary Idiots Bleed Broke

My mom texted me last week asking what is my credit score.  I answered her text with the same question.  She replied 450 (the lowest it can possibly get since she’s going through bankruptcy) and then I replied with mine.  She then asks me to get her a car.  When did I become rich?  Someone please tell me that.  I was irritated at the audacity of her question so I reminded her of the fact that I do not have a car myself (more out of preference & money sense) while biting my tongue to remind her that I am not nearly as stupid as she thinks I am.  Why would I get her a car to take on another liability all because she eff’d up her credit and hasn’t learned a freaking thing at all about money just to be left with the full debt later on?  Yes, you gave birth to me so thank you very much for not aborting my existence.  When my older sister died years ago, my mom won her settlement out of court and got a big pay-out.  Big as in hundreds of thousands of dollars up front.  To someone who has always been poor or living from check to check, imagine the whirlwind her life and spending took.  She got a house (not sure if the deed is in her name alone or her’s and my step dad), she went shopping galore, she bought any & everything she wanted, and she spent maybe a quarter of my 1st check without my knowledge (long story).  My attorney friend told me to sue.  This is my mom.  I learned my lesson.  She has not.  She continues to this day spending as soon as she can get her hands on it, calling me cheap, saying negative things about how I manage my money while at the same time thinking I have a joint account with Warren Buffett.  Sometimes it’s no one’s fault but your own.

I have a friend who swears up and down to be a victim of the economy, a victim of the American Dream gone wrong, a victim of some upper echelon white person who bamboozled her into getting all these stupid loans just to have too many degrees and no job with no prospects in sight.  Several times (I stress the word several) I have told her to move out of her high-rise apartment which is costing her at least $1,000/mth in rent.  No, she told me.  It goes with the image of her career she’s trying to project and is more of an advantage than a disadvantage.  This was all before the recession hit our area so now the talk is “woe is me”.  I listen but I remind her of what I said earlier.  I heard the complaint about bills, the internet being turned off, the little things here and there bought from fairly expensive stores when she didn’t even have adequate groceries.  I remembered it all and now, if I say so, I get my head bitten off in 2 seconds flat.  How dare you think this is MY fault!  It’s the economy!  The executives with their bonuses!  The mortgage bubble which burst all over my career!  It’s not my fault!  I’m a victim in this!  But, to myself as I retreat away before I start another uproar, I say sometimes it’s no one’s fault but your own.

Most of us come from families with no money so we were not taught how to properly manage money when we have it IF we ever had any left over after paying bills.  That holds true for me as well.  I truly believe some people have an innate refusal to see their mistakes as their own faults.  I truly believe that some people cannot learn from their mistakes which is why you see them making the same mistakes over and over again as if they suffer from short-term memory loss.  My mom never learned from her own lesson and, if someone threw money at her right now, she’d be broke in record time back to singing her “woe is me” anthem.  My friend is too arrogant with too many downright stupid folks in her corner to know she is the idiot she must stay away from.  How can the #1 person in your corner tell you just months ago to move out, live with roommates, and eat Ramon Noodles but now this person grabs an instrument to help you in your “woe is me” song?  How does this work?!  Do you both have short-term memory??  You must because I remember that conversation and I agreed with the idea of roommates but her pride was bigger than her reasoning so now you find yourself on the verge of eviction with nothing but a bony finger pointing at the other person to blame who does not even know you exist but you can’t seem to get their name off your tongue.  Accountability.  Responsibility.  Caring enough about self to know you have to self-educate you on what parents and schools failed to do. 

My intention is not to complain or point fingers at anyone I know.  It’s actually sad and disheartening to see someone kill themselves, tell me the person responsible ran that way, but they are holding the knife covered in their own blood.  I shake my head and wish they’d wake up pretty soon and learn from their mistakes.  We all make them but very few learn from them only to become serial repeaters.  This should be a mental disorder.  This love of disorder and dysfunction and ruin in one’s personal life.  The love to play the blame game but shout from the rooftops about how much smarter they are than everyone else in upper management positions.  Who is 2 months away from living on Lower Wacker Drive?  It sure ain’t that ole stupid manager with the corner office.

March 22, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Period, Raise, Boyfriend, & Running

Seriously, I’m not feeling too well 😦 two hours before I was set to leave work my uterus started tightening every 5 mins or so and I had to stop each time and grimace a tad bit.  Cramps!  I hate when my period starts while I’m at work but there was nothing I could do about it….Mother Nature refuses to get my opinion or views on anything.  So, I left a few minutes early and made a trip to the bathroom.  On my way home, I stopped to pick up tampons and chocolate and Scope…last one was random.  I sat down in front of TV, ate, watched people fall during downhill skiing, and dealt with my 8yo refusing to think long enough to finish his math homework.  How can you be mentally lazy?!  Ridiculous! 

So, before Mother Nature attacked my body, my manager called me into his office.  I never get called into his office unless we all have a meeting or he wants to show me something work related or I need his signature on something.  So, I get up thinking “is he gonna lay me off??” but he just wanted to tell me I was getting a raise!!  This is monumental because we have been in a recession since 2008, majority of my friends have been laid off or are still laid off, our sales were significantly less than last year so last year brought no raise at all (but we did get a bonus), and most companies are reigning in spending so it is still hindering our sales dept.  But, the big wigs gave out raises and I was one of those blessed folks 🙂  I got a 2.44% raise and a bonus!  Bonus is actually more than the bonus last year so I’m super happy.  He told me the dollar amount of my salary increase but I think a percentage looks better although 2.44% anything is almost nothing no matter what the 2.44% is added to but I will surely take it.  Then my manager asked how things were going and I explained I was learning more still (going on my 3rd yr here), doing more when boss lady stops hogging all the work because she’s obsessively anal over every small detail, and I feel like I’m always busy with something so that’s great.  He warned that a major company was coming to our dept pretty soon so our current workload would increase and the big wigs have already told him “no” as far as hiring more help.  Honestly, I think the boss lady and I can handle it well ourselves….but I say that now.  He told me to keep learning as much as I can & get ready to get buried (in so many words).  My dept is the bread & butter of the company (so says boss lady)…we bring in a nice revenue with outsourcing services so if more companies sign up then I should always have a job but I won’t bank on that too much.  So, my extra money which will be back paid from the 1st of the year to now will go right into my savings account along with my bonus when I get that.  I am really working hard on my emergency fund account & not spending on silly stuff I don’t need.  I am more than half way to my savings goal and then I can start working on my next goal to financial freedom!

I moved back to Chicago for my current job in June 2007.  In September 2007 I met this guy named D but I started calling him Chocolate Drop because he’s dark like chocolate, looked good like chocolate, and I just knew he had to taste good like chocolate too.  Anywho, we dated for a couple of months but then he said something about women being Pastors of churches along with a women-in-leadership comment that royally pissed me off so we stopped dating.  We remained friends for the next 2 yrs partly because he’s my boys’ barber and he is a cool person who I kinda still liked.  He is a property manager by day, barber by night, and co-owner of a cleaning something business with his brother for whatever part of the day is left.  So, July 2009 we started dating again and recently (after I wrote The Best saying how awesome he was although we didn’t work out) he asked me to be his girlfriend.  I thought he was joking because he hasn’t had a girlfriend in 10 years & the word “relationship” kept him frightened.  After writing The Best, I stuck around as his friend and we talked more, completely stopped arguing (a miracle), we laughed all the time & we swapped stories about random stuff and then about actual meaningful stuff.  He’d bring the boys milk, orange juice, candy for Valentines Day parties (all things I never felt like going to get), something I needed printed (I don’t have a printer at home), tacos, and anything else I call him for.  We just kinda started having fun & enjoying each others’ company again but then I realized my feelings hadn’t gone anywhere but neither had his so that’s how it happened.  I thought the next couple of days he’d freak out & say he made a mistake because 10 yrs ago this chick did blah blah blah and he no longer believes in love and he would rather be friends because of blah blah blah that will never make sense to me but then he said I was the best woman he’d ever dated and I realized while I had written The Best about him here he was thinking the same thing about me (altogether now……AWWWWWW!)  So, I have a boyfriend now and his name is Mr. D.

I officially registered (paid my money) for the Chicago Half Marathon this Sept so I have about 6 months to get my butt into run-13-miles-under-2-hours shape although I’d settle for 2.5 hours however ridiculously slow that sounds in my head.  Now…..I need to watch some more TV, read some more about ETFs, find some good accounts offering a decent interest rate in this economy, & actually get my forms notarized tomorrow.  Geez!  I was supposed to do that today but my lower body was cramping too bad to think about anything else.  No reason for the pink converses other than they’re freakin cute and uber girly! Over and out.

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Divorce = Priceless!!!

Well, my vacation has been awesome thus far.  Last week, I had MWF off work and TTh I worked from home so I didn’t have to leave my house unless I honestly wanted to.  The kids were off from school last week as well so it made me realize that being a stay-at-home mom was NOT in my future!  I swear my kids eat around the clock, fight around the clock, play non-stop, and only sleep when their bodies completely shut down.  That was last week.  This week their dad picked them up Christmas day for his week of visitation so mommy had a week to herself to do whatever it is moms do when their kids are away at dad’s.  That first weekend, I cleaned my apartment and literally stayed on the couch.  I watched movies, ate, watched TV, ate, talked through my Mobile Anytime minutes, ate, spent a few mins on the internet, and ate.  Oh, I did some reading but not too much.  Yesterday, I went to Avatar…I heart that movie!  Really pretty movie and very good story.  I kinda wanted to find that land and see if they could transfer me from my body to a new one cause this world I currently live in kinda sucks.  I went running and realized I need to stop doing my 3 mile run so often and up it to 6 miles.  I ran on snow for the first time ever! It slowed my pace down because I didn’t know if I was about to step on ice or what looked like ice so I slowed down just in case my foot slipped from under me but I still finished my 6 mile jog in about 53 minutes.  Not bad but I need to run once a week throughout the winter or my fitness level will be screwed!  I went to my doctor appt which is hard to do since you can’t bring kids to these type of appts and I went downtown to see a movie while walking up Mag Mile because I love Mag Mile and all the people walking about although I had no money to spend.  Well, I had money but nothing I needed that bad to throw my budget into a deficit 🙂

Anywho, in the midst of my doing nothing, my friend/soror calls me to ask if my ex has talked to me.  I reply “no” to which she says “maybe he should tell you” and I say “tell me what?” and then she says “oh, I have your kids while he’s at work” and I say “um, ok” and then she says “he texted me this morning to say his car got repo’d”.  Jaw drops.  My first response was, “how am I gonna get my kids back?!?!”  She laughs and says, “I have no idea”.  Then I say, “I wonder why he hasn’t called to tell me. He a lil punk!” and she says “I wouldn’t call you either cause you’ll snap” and I reply “no I won’t.  That’s on him” cause it is.  You strive to believe the good in people no matter how much it shatters and breaks your heart.  You want to believe so bad and hope that one day they will see the light and change.  Doesn’t even have to be a big change because you’ll settle for a small minute change but a change in any form would be a small step in the direction of progress and a giant leap in telling yourself that all that belief in this person was worth it to some extent. I hate these moments because I can’t depend on him to rescue me if I might end up in financial hell.  I, again, gotta safeguard myself and hoard cash just in case he does something stupid and ends up jobless/homeless/moneyless etc.  It’s like I brace myself for an impact that may never come or I prepare for a disaater when it’s someone else who’s causing it.  My friend/soror told me not to depend on him anyways but, dammit, it’ll be nice to once in a while.  One minute he has a car…another minute he doesn’t.  One minute he has his own apt…another minute he’s on someone’s couch.  I cringe at instability because you never know when that pendelum is gonna swing but you do know it’s gonna swing eventually.

Now, this repo’d occurred Monday.  I’m writing this post Wednesday night.  No phone call from him to tell me his self about his car situation although I’m sure he knows my friend/soror has already briefed me but the courtesy of telling me would help.  But, then again, will it??  If he figures this out without asking for a handout (I really can’t afford to give) then he might be making progress although him not asking me simply means he knows I ain’t about to give him shyt.  Bridge….burned.  School starts Monday.  No idea what he has planned but I’m sure it’s something spectacular.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the rest of my vacation and see what happens.  My ex’s money/financial issues?  I don’t think age has the problem to cure all things.  Some people never learned money mgmt skills (I being one of them), some teach themselves or learn from their or others mistakes (I being one of them), and others have no interest in learning while they spend all they ever have & blame it on the economy. The funny thing was that he bought the kids all these Christmas gifts and I knew his child support was still coming like clockwork so excess funds was impossible but I didn’t say anything.  Then he told my friend how he wanted to get the kids a portable DVD player for his car but he also needed new tires so he had to pick one over the other.  Is that really a decision at all?!  One of those things should have never been in consideration.  How about making the car pymt and then adding little extras.  I don’t know.  Just a thought but who am I to talk.  I’m just saying you’d think someone would have learned a lesson after the 4th repo.  Learned that lien holders don’t play with those pymts.  Lesson given but lesson never learned which is why I continue to laugh when someone has the audacity (normally someone from church) to ask when we’re getting back together.  As soon as God takes Satan back.  When Satan gets his halo back then that fool will get my hand in marriage….again!  I should probably be careful what I write….God has a way of “technically” making crap come to pass.

December 30, 2009 Posted by | Life | , , | Leave a comment

Forgo the Crowd

Unintended_Commentary_by_mtsofanThere are a few things I need to write about but the most concerning right now is my future.  I have decided to forgo my Masters degree ambitions at least until I have a good reason to pursue them.  Talking to my uncle a few weeks ago, he explained how he was going back to school to pursue his  MBA/MIS degree in hopes of a better paying position and to safeguard his self from the recession.  He called it investing in yourself.  I listened as he explained the rat race of working in IT which consisted of getting certified in all these different softwares, programs, or platforms etc (not sure what all those really mean) and having to deal with companies like Microsoft who change the requirements or certification specifications to assist the schools so that you are required to sit and get re-certified all over again after a couple of years and they intentionally change the dynamics of newer versions of programs so that it gives valid reasons for it.  Basically, all the upkeep to remain “certified” and compete with the college kids fresh outta school was becoming too much esp when his yrs upon yrs of experience was becoming obsolete to some new certification that was out. Now, he is investing in his self and that is what I question. 

I don’t get computers and, as he was talking to me, my eyes began to gloss over and he started laughing.  He said the look on my face reminded him of his wife’s face when he gets carried away talking about IT stuff when all she wants to do is send an email.  I never questioned anything he said.  I simply stood there and listened absorbing it all to take back with me and apply to what makes sense to me and what has worked or will work in reality.  Investing in myself.  Is that really getting an advanced degree?  I am constantly reminded of friends and friends of friends and family members of friends who bought into that lie and are now in debt pleading for a salary that will justify this advanced degree.  If I go back to school for my MBA and I finish school to land the same job or a job with a slight pay difference then what??  I’d find myself justifying my yrs of schooling along with the loans I took out as a reason for “investing in myself” when I am now in more debt than I started and making only a small percentage more than I was before just to pay for my pretty little piece of paper on my wall.  I’d show it to my kids all the while hating it because it was not really an investment at all but a liability.  Not an asset but an expense that has yet, if ever, to reap any benefits to me in my lifetime and since it’s attached to my name and is not transferable so it will likely not ever be worth the money I paid for it.  But, I bought 2 GMAT books (which I will likely sell and get some money back) and spent a good portion of 2009 studying for a test to get into a school for a degree I only want because everyone else is getting advanced degrees or once you reach a certain age that is just the thing to do so you will remain “competitive” and “marketable”.  Realizing I was following the crowd took a lot of strength on my part because I knew I was following the crowd a long time ago which is why I have been dragging my feet on studying.  I could have taken this test months ago but I didn’t because I wasn’t sure about it and uncertainty is something I always have to pause and question.

I’m too embarrassed to say how much I owe in student loans but, knowing I went to school in Indiana as an Illinois resident you can best believe it’s a hell of a lot of money!  Maybe one day I’ll reveal that amount.  One day.  I have a medical bill for $1,300 for my recent trip to the ER due to chest pains and heart irregularities.  I never go to the doctor unless it’s for my annual exam or other womanly issues.  Other than that, I’m healthy as someone my age should be so I don’t have many outstanding medical bills.  I have set up a payment plan to pay off my $1,300 medical bill which will likely come from the remaining balance of my medical flex account funded from my paycheck.  I have a $700 balance on that so that will leave me with about $600 to pay.  I’m only paying this medical bill to keep it off my credit report because I was once interested in buying a house and I know how important credit scores are.  But are they?  Sure they are but should they be that freakin important?  I’m beginning to re-think what I’ve been taught over the yrs and working on sifting through the bull’ish and unlearning a lot of things.  I even requested all 3 copies of my credit reports with the goal of paying things off and leaving only student loan debt (which is waaaay too much to think about right now) and medical bills I may have.  Credit cards and misc bills I neglected from yrs ago are what I need to work on.  Or should I?  How important is my credit score when I can just walk in and buy something outright?  They teach you that establishing credit shows you are financially responsible but does it really?  I know if I have a credit card I’d likely keep it for emergencies but what dictates an emergency?  For that reason, I don’t need one because I don’t trust myself and I’d likely cut it up but leave the account open without a card in hand tied to it.  I know me and that’s the best knowledge you can ever have.  I am my own weakness sometimes and I need to control me before I can control anything else.

That said, I am abandoning a lot of things I thought I needed to do in life and looking at other non-traditional avenues.  Spending thousands of dollars just to fight for a job with a decent salary to pay back that and other debt is ridiculous to me.  I don’t like to work.  I don’t like to work any harder than I have to.  I am the laziest person I know but I’d get up and run 10 miles and enjoy it because it benefits me to run 10 miles on many levels but what does slaving at a job benefit me?  I get a check.  I can pay my bills.  I like my job and my co-workers and what I do but it’s still only “like”.  I’d love all of those if I didn’t have to depend on that check as much as I do now.  There is a lot I don’t know and there is a lot I want to know so I have asked some of my friends and people who I barely know to let me in on what works for them.  They are all doing what I desire to do but I need more education on it.  The good thing is that I am an extremely disciplined person.  I thrived in online classes and simply hate classrooms because I find it a waste of time to go to a building to sit down and listen to some overly educated person lecture me on something I could have stayed home and read on my own.  I found out that I learn best when I am in control of things.  Most of my friends fail online classes but I pass them with ease.  It’s not that they are unmotivated.  They just sometimes need someone to stay on them.  I have realized that all I need to know I can learn for free or at a fraction of the cost of an MBA.  I sit during my free time reading tutorials, reading books, reading articles, applying what I learned in simulated environments to gauge what I have learned and what I am still lacking.  Right now, my greatest investment is my cynical nature and strong dislike to follow the crowd when I notice they aren’t any better off than I am along with my natural ability to question tradition when it reaps no noticable benefits.  Along with that, is my laptop & internet which allows me to study from home during my downtimes.  I am in school but I didn’t have to pay any tuition thus far and you will be amazed what people will teach you if you’d only open your mouth and ask.  Rat race.  It’s for some but it’s not for me…..anymore.  I’m redefining “investing in myself”.

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments