One Income, One Car

So our family has become a one income, one car household.   I’m hoping it will be short transition period, but I’m not as upset as one might think.   This path started last spring when my husband’s sister approached him about being in a movie.   They are starting a film division and wanted him & Lars to star in their movie, “2012: Devolution.”   I believe that filming was originally supposed to start in May.

Well, what happened is that a tree fell on Lars instead, putting him in the hospital.  He had a close shave with death, honestly.  He’s lucky to be alive.   In any case, filming was postponed until the fall.  Leif was still a little on the fence about acting, but Lars also asked him to be in it, and when your brother who almost dies asks a favor, well then . . .

In addition, over the summer my mother called and wanted to know if we could do a family vacation, my parents, brother, Leif, Rowan, and myself.  She offered to pay for a beach house, we just had to get ourselves to Maine.   I figured we should, because after this baby is born we probably won’t be taking any vacations anywhere for quite awhile.  My mom didn’t actually know if she could get the time off (she’s a nursing administrator) but she did.  And that’s when the problems started.

My husband’s work denied his request for vacation, though he had the vacation time.  Someone else was off that week, although that person has a totally different job function.   As he knew that he would also need October off (far more than one week in the summer), he decided to resign.  Oh, there were other factors of course, but like me he is paranoid about posting detailed information about his job on the web.

So come August, he put in his notice.  We spend a week in Maine, which was enjoyable for the most part.  It was the first time Leif and Rowan had been to the ocean in New England.  And we got back and Leif has been Mr. Mom, as Rowan started kindergarten this year.

Of course, the day before we flew out the Camry started acting weird.  I managed to drive it to the mechanic and left it there for the week we were gone.  Turns out the transmission was shot–I could replace the entire engine at a cost of $3,000.  We decided to junk it at that point and try our hand at living with just one car, as my husband is not working.  Well, let me rephrase–my husband is no longer bringing home a paycheck.  I think this September was a great month for him.  He got to take Rowan to school and bring her home, and worked on some house stuff that he’s been meaning to do for ages.

And now that it is October, he has been gone quite a bit for his role in the upcoming movie.  He’s not getting paid for it, but he’s not financing it either.   Financially, we have been holding our own, but he will most likely need to bring home a paycheck when this is all over.  Which is too bad, he would really love to stay home with the kids if he could.   So funny, because I’ve always known that though I want kids, I do not want to stay at home with them.  Nope, being a housewife is not for me.

And sadly, it comes down to our debt.  We probably could make it on my income if it weren’t for our debt load.   So next year, after the baby is born, it will be time to get serious about erasing that once and for all.  Money is one of those things I have both loved and hated, and part of my growing up this year is tackling the thorny problems that I have ignored for a long time.   I am ashamed that I have debt, I have always considered myself good with money.  And yet, here we are, hemmed in by a multitude of spending choices made over the years.

This year started out pretty rocky, but I am happy that I am pregnant with a healthy baby.   If everything goes well, we’ll have this baby, I’ll get myself fixed, and I won’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll ever be pregnant again.   Leif’s job situation is a little odd, but I’m trying out this new belief system, the belief that though you can’t see the road, it will be ok.  And sometimes to move forward, you have to step back and away–it could be from a job, a relationship, anything.

I don’t want to be complacent anymore, and if I really want a great life, I’m going to need to be open to the impossible and open to change.  And right now, we are paying our bills, and we have food and roof over our heads.   I have a husband that I know loves me and gives me my freedom, something that I’ve discovered is probably the most important issue for me.  I have a daughter who is funny and smart, whose beauty I still marvel at, and she loves me too!  And I find the most fabulous people to be friends with.  I think I’m at the point where whatever I decide to do, I will find the people who will support and challenge me.  That’s great.  And I want to be that kind of person for my family as well, my husband, my kids, the people I care about.

Homemade Drambuie

And now,  for something completely different. . .

It’s fall and you know what that means–Christmas is around the corner.   Blech.  Okay, so part of me loves Christmas.  The tree, christmas lights, mulled cider (yes, it’s not just for Halloween) ah, these are great things.  Not so great is budgeting for gifts for relatives when you don’t have any money and they’ll probably hate what you get them anyway.  And especially this year, as we are down to a one-income, one-car household, I am trying to be especially creative.

Every year, thinking about what to get my parents gives me a headache.  So this year I decided to go for liquor.  I personally love Drambuie, but I didn’t know if I could just get away with buying them a bottle, so I decided if I made it from scratch it would count more as a proper gift.   I found a few online recipes and have cobbled them together.  This is a work in progress, I figured I’d give myself two months for steeping, so I will update when it’s actually done.

Homemade Drambuie

1 Liter Chivas Scotch Whisky (Note that this is not cheap, so right here you may be better off simply buying commercial Drambuie unless you like the challenge)

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1/3 tsp fennel seeds

1 whole dried angelica root OR 3 tsp chopped dried angelica root (also known as dong quai)*

Zest of one lemon

12 oz. heather honey (Because I’m sure your grocery store has this.  Mine didn’t, so I’m going for Buckwheat honey specifically because it was the darkest single flower honey I could find)

To 1 L of Chivas, add rosemary, fennel, angelica root, and lemon zest (but not honey).  Shake frequently for 24 hours, then remove the angelica root, which will now look like the shriveled brain of morbius (obscure Dr. Who reference).  Let the concoction sit for two weeks, shaking occasionally.  Remove the rosemary, fennel, and lemon zest.  Add honey, shake, and let sit for a month and a half (or more, if you’ve got the time)

*Angelica root is a pain to find, the internet said to try health food stores.  I had a whole root from my magic stuff–it was incredibly hard, so chopping it was out of the question.  So I added the whole thing in.  However, I found that angelica root is undeniably funky.  I removed it after 24 hours and could still smell and taste the funkiness in the liqueur.  But, a week later and with some extra lemon zest, my drambuie wannabe is doing much better.

I’ll update when the experiment is done.

Edit as of 2 weeks later: Well, my feeling is not good so far.   I added the honey in two weeks ago–man, that stuff does not want to go into solution, much daily shaking was involved–and I can still strongly taste angelica root.  Apparently, I hate angelica root, who knew?  Leif says it is not bad, but definitely not Drambuie.  Dammit Jim!  Next up is to have my brother taste test for a neutral opinion.  Looks like he’ll be getting the whole batch anyway.


Saturday Night

Sometimes it’s strange to look around at the place that you live in, especially when you’ve lived in it for years, and realize this is your life.  Right now my family is in bed and all is quiet, which is why I am still up when I should be in bed too.  But it’s a luxury to be alone, just me.  Even the cats are sleeping.

I stayed up and surfed YouTube.  Why?  For the simple reason that I can.  And I prefer to do it after my husband is in bed, because I feel silly watching music videos and tribute videos to tv shows he would never watch.  And it’s fun, I don’t do it often, so it’s a luxury to waste time like that.  But then I realize I should stop, and that’s when I look around my living room and come back to who I really am.  Sometimes it’s boring to come back to reality.

Most days I like my life, and even find it interesting.  I like making new things, today’s project was cheapskate screenprinting.  Maybe I will post some of the stuff I did later.   But surfing aimlessly also has the side effect of leaving me dissatisfied, a little, with my life.  Ah, how fun it is to watch the beautiful people in the media, then you realize it’s not you, not your life.

I was musing how I’m not really goth anymore.  I don’t wear black everyday, though I still wear my winged eyeliner close to everyday.  When did that happen?  A lot of it is for good reason.  I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin now, I don’t need a lot a fashion rules, and I still seem to have friends.  I’m not generally depressed or lonely, though I still feel a need to make more connections.   I would still love to find a mentor.  Really wish I had one of those.   And a small part of me worries that by relaxing too much, I will fail to be interesting.  I don’t want to be like everyone else.

I had two major goals for this year, one of which I’m on track for (a child) and the other I’m not (because of the child).   Next year, I really want to concentrate of some responsibilities I have been neglecting for, well, years.  I wonder if perhaps that is a side effect of the years of depression.   I certainly didn’t suffer from depression to the extent of other people, but looking back, there are many things that seemed too overwhelming to deal with.  So I didn’t.  I read my fantasy books about people I will never be and watched shows about chicks kicking ass, which I will never do.  And now I’m opening myself to the possibility that my life could be fun and interesting and great, and even better, satisfying.

I’m still trying to find my calling.  I really still don’t know what it is.  So I have been doing some self-reflection on things I feel strongly about.  One thing that comes to mind is that I want to help with the holes people hide inside.   Sometimes I’ll meet a person and find them totally uninteresting, and usually it’s because s/he seems to have no depth.  Then I’ll meet someone else who is just a vortex of pain and it’s way too much.   So where’s the median, where’s the point where you can be compassionate and non-judgmental without getting sucked down?  And how could I help?  Because it seems that a lot of people hide their true selves and then even forget it themselves.

My other thought is that it is all about people.  Everything in this world is about the connections we have.  I often visualize myself as a little red blood cell in the organism of the Earth.  (On my self-confident days, I visualize myself as a white blood cell, I always liked those better.)  We all think we’re so independent, so guiding our own choices, and yet as a mass we are very predictable.   I was listening to Wayne Dyer and he was talking about cancer, how it’s basically a few cells that start thinking they live in a vacuum, so they start growing aggressively, refusing to take into account that they are part of a larger whole.  And then they end up killing the larger whole, including themselves.

None of us are in a vacuum, and it seems like individually we have no influence at all.  Yet I am fascinated by these studies that show we have subtle, yet very real influences on the people we know.  Not only that, it seems to extend not just to our friends, but our friend’s friends.  How crazy is that?  It makes it even more important to be someone you can respect in the morning.

For a long time, I’ve had secret shames and the fear that I’m really an impostor.   And yet I know that I open myself up more and show my weirdness more than some do.   So I’m working on those hidden things I still feel bad about, and I’m working on taking myself to the next level, to the person I can be 100% proud of.   I don’t know if I’ll get it done in this lifetime, but I’m at a point where I believe that that’s about the only thing you can take with you.  Not necessarily your memories, but your growth.