Category Archives: writing

On Hold

I regret to say that my kitchen remodel is on hold. At this juncture I am not sure for how long the project will remain on hold. SIGH! The life of a single mother on a fixed income šŸ™.

With the kitchen holding I have another project that will not cost me money(at the moment). I am revamping the library/guest room.

Currently this how the room looks. It’s a small room but has a lot of potential. The walls are acceptable colors and there is a closet.

The Plan:

1. Move things out of the room

2. Build desk

3. Make closet into book shelf

4. Make and find things to hold craft supplies

5. Write/paint favorite quotes from books on wall

6. Move everything back into the room

I have already started building my desk. My brother-in-law has picked up some used shipping pallets from his work. They were going to throw them out!

The book shelf will be built after I get everything out of the closet. My house isn’t very big so I have to do things in stages or Anastasia and I won’t be able to move. Not mention the dogs and cat freak out when the house is clutteredšŸ˜±.

This new space will be our creative area. It is bright and welcoming and sure to get some creative juices flowing šŸ˜Š. I already have an idea for a series of children’s books and I am writing about my experiences since losing my husband. My lovely, unique Anastasia has also started writing! She is collaborating with a young artist and I am hoping the book will be out by Christmas šŸ¤ž.

Here’s to revamped spaces and waiting projects! I hope everyone else’s projects come together without delays!

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Confused

Have you ever made a decision thinking it was a good one and then a week or a month later began to think maybe it was not such a good decision? That’s where I am at right now.

I took a promotion at work with some trepidation. I had been offered the job twice before and declined each time. I didn’t feel prepared to take the job. My daughter was still very young. She is a few years older now. The time I can spend with my daughter is very precious. I am lucky that I have a very supportive sister and mother who will care for my daughter anytime I ask. Being a single mother I worry about babysitters and child care services, I am not always trusting when it comes to my baby girl. Not to mention the money those services cost. When I was offered the job this time I considered it briefly before accepting. I asked for a 90 day probation period, I was given 60 but told they would prefer 30. After almost 30 days I spoke with the owner and received a salary offer that wasn’t quite what I hoped but was sufficient. I waited a few days and then accepted the offer. It has been 4 days and I am now wondering if I made the wrong choice. The scope of the work is quite a bit more than I have handled in several years. I am capable of doing the work, I just am not sure that I want to do the work. I was also hired with an assistant. She got a new job and will be leaving, no new assistant to be hired at this time. Looking to the future I wonder if a new assistant will be hired and worry that if one is not hired that I will not be able to keep up with the work my assistant did as well as my own work. I want to be fair to the Center Director and the owner and let them know how I am feeling. The truth is I am not sure I really want this job. I thought I did, but second thoughts are creeping around inside my head.

I feel like I am in one of those cartoons where the character has to decide between doing two things and the little angel and the tiny devil pop up on each shoulder. Instead of an angel and a devil, my little people are my daughter and my checkbook.

My checkbook is constantly yelling at me about the bills I have to pay. I feel like there are alarm bells ringing all the time, “IT’S TIME TO PAY ANOTHER BILL”! That damn checkbook always reminding me that there never seems to be enough money to pay for every necessity, every bill and still have a little fun. When I think maybe I have bit off a bit more than I can chew by taking on this new job my checkbook begins to whisper in my ear. Well, it starts whispering and then begins to scream a list of everything I am responsible for paying. House payment, gas, electric, car insurance, car maintenance, gas for the car, groceries, pet care, student loans, medical insurance, co-pays, clothes, shoes, camps for my daughter, debt relief program because at one time I couldn’t control my spending, Dad’s funeral bill that, according to my Aunt, should have been paid off awhile ago, the kitchen remodel that I started (and now have no time to keep working on because I am working more hours), school field trips, and next year school uniforms and the list just keeps going and going until I feel like I am drowning. Oh, how that checkbook makes me feel so damn guilty!

On the other shoulder is my beautiful, smart, loving daughter. She is backed up by my writing wants and needs, as well as at least one of her aunts. When I was trying to figure out if I should take this job I considered the impact it would have on my daughter. She is my priority, always. I thought about it and the bulk of my working hours are when she’s in school, with the exception of school breaks. I talked to her about it and she was all for me taking the job. Now I am left wondering what I am going to do with her for part of the summer. She has 3 weeks of day camp, but then what? Summer break is 9 weeks long. I am working extra hours and I feel like I cannot make some school functions and as though I am not spending much time with her, not like I was able to before. Despite the fact that I am at work mostly during the day while she is in school, I feel that I am taking something away from her. Then there is my writing, something that I really want to make a priority in my life. By the time I get off of work I am so tired that I am ready for bed after dinner is made. There are dishes in my sink and I haven’t done laundry in 2 weeks. One of my daughter’s aunts told me that she wouldn’t accept the job if she had social security like I do, she would stay home with her kids. If you are new to my blog I receive benefits from social security until my daughter turns 16 because my husband died 6 years ago. I can understand the aunt’s point. It was my intention to only work part time until I was no longer eligible for the social security and then go back to work full time. I don’t really care about money. My daughter isn’t going to remember all of the things that I buy her but she will remember the times we spent together. For this reason, it was a difficult decision to go to work full time. A decision that I am now struggling with.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, my dilemma with work is small potatoes, but I could really use some advice. I feel like I have been deceptive to the owner and the Center Director and unfair to myself and my daughter. I am conflicted because I want to do well at this job and not give up so easily and yet I want to be able to give as much of my time to my daughter as I can. I don’t have another half that can pick up the slack for me when I fall short. I have a wonderful family that helps out, but it isn’t the same. I have roughly 2 months to make a decision before I will lose my social security benefits. I feel that taking those 2 months would be very unfair of me, so I am trying to do my best and decide what it is I want and make a decision within the next week. I am so very confused.

 

Change is in the Air

Hello! It has been awhile since I have written anything :(. Big things have been happening around my house :)! I am considering a promotion at work, I have started the process of publishing my second children’s book, I have started writing a for all ages book(sort of) and I have contacted a plumber to try to get the ball rolling again on my kitchen remodel. Lots of things happening!!!

I am really excited about my upcoming children’s book! It is called No More Hugs and is super cute! I get to meet with my illustrator, John Olmstead, towards the end of May to go over some of the rough drawings. I am hoping everything will be completed by the end of June so I can have it published by September. YAY!!!! I have also begun work on a book about enduring the loss of loved ones. The book is my story of loss and how I found my new normal. It is a hard story to write so it may take me awhile. I think it’s time to write it though, maybe someone else can benefit from my perspective.

The plumber is going to come to give me an estimate on moving my dishwasher sometime this week. I am not sure why the dishwasher was across the kitchen from the sink and not next to the sinkĀ in the first place. If I find out that it can’t be moved I think I will have it completely removed. I have found this amazing piece at a great local store that is handmade. It’s a bit rustic looking and I think would fit great in my house! With a kid and animals I don’t want to feel like things have to be pristine. I want that loved/used look that let’s people know I like to cook and makes my house feel comfortable and inviting. I have never felt comfortable in houses with formal living rooms and formal dining rooms. You know, the ones with the furniture you are afraid to sit on because you might break it or get it dirty? The houses where you feel like you can’t relax and sink into the furniture, instead you sit on the edge of the couch or chair to make sure you don’t somehow mess it up. I am glad that I can start that project within the next month! I told myself that I am not in a hurry and can be patient, but I am ready to start the next phase of this remodel!

I was recently offered a promotion at work. I have been considering taking the position for about a month. During this time I have been training for the job on a probation period. I think I will be decent at the job. My struggle with taking the promotion has several layers. Layer #1: I have had social security benefits since my husband died six years ago. This has allowed me to work part-time and be home more for my daughter. By taking this job I won’t always be able to take off work for day time school functions. On the flip side, I will get off most nights between 5 and 6. Which means I will be home to make my daughter dinner and help her with her homework. If I officially take the job I will lose the social security. This means if the job doesn’t work out there is no getting that back, I will have to get another job. Another job that may not be as flexible with lunch breaks and child illnesses. Another job that may not allow me to pick my daughter up from school and bring her back to sit in the office until I get off work. This is a scary prospect. An unlikely one, but one that must be considered.

Layer #2: I like teaching and working part-time as a tutor allows me to teach. Becoming the Director of Education will not leave me much time to teach. I have spoken with the owner and the Center Director and I will be able to teach a couple of hours a week. It isn’t the same as being a teacher, but at least it’s something.

Layer #3: I like to write and would really enjoy making that my full-time job. Taking this job will make writing more of a part-time job. On the other hand, taking this job will make it easier to pay for my illustrator. At least I think it will. I have not yet spoken to the owner about salary. During my probation time I am considered hourly. I have an appointment tomorrow to discuss salary. I am crossing my fingers and sending out as many prayers as I can that we can come to an agreement about salary that will make it worth giving up the short-term financial stability that I have with the social security. Social security isn’t much and there are some months when I wonder if I am going to be able to pay all of the bills and put food on the table, but it isĀ a guaranteed amount of money coming in every month. Taking this job means losing that stability. Which in turn means that I need my salary to be more than what I get from Social Security after taxes to make it worth losing the benefits and the ability to be available for my daughters school functions.

Layer #4: Since 2011 my priorities have changed. That year I lost my husband, my grandmother and my Dad. Making money has never been first on my priority list, but that year made me realize that life is too short and too precious to not spend time with the people I love. My daughter comes first. She always will. I realize though that money is needed to provide for my daughter and living on social security and a part-time job does not always provide her with opportunities to experience life and learn new things in interesting ways outside of the classroom. As I said earlier, there are times when paying for food trumps paying the electric bill. Taking this job might mean that I can take her on vacation or send her to a summer camp. It might mean that she can join after school programs like track or take a martial arts class or purchaseĀ the drum set she wants so she can learn to play the drums like she’s been wanting to do for a year now.

That’s it! Big things happening here! Decisions to be made and lessons to be learned. Life is bittersweet and losses sometimes happen with gains. Until next time my friends! I hope your life is filled with a great mix of ups and downs. May the downs not be too low or too long and may you always be grateful for the ups and everything in between. As someone wise once said, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” Lots of love friends.

A Budget of $0

Hello, family and friends and readers of my blog. This is just a note to let you know that I am not crazy or in an irrational state of mind :). I am, however, in a mood to do something that I have been wanting to do for a long time, remodel my kitchen. Here are some pics

I have been watching DIY shows and looking through Pinterest and HGTV magazines for years and I finally have an idea of what I want to do to my kitchen. No, I do not have a budget. I am a single mom with a part time job and the dreams of being a professional writer. My bank account frequently screams in agony and every time I use my debit card I hear alarm bells sounding. This will not stop me and here’s why.

Life is really fucking short! It’s too short to wait until the “perfect moment” and definitely too short to wait for my bank account to always be in the black. Life is too short to sit around and whisper “someday” into the air. My someday is now. To some of you, this might seem foolish, stupid and perhaps a bit absurd. I mean who starts a remodel without having a budget in place!

The answer to that, perfectly understandable, question is this: someone who doesn’t need near instant gratification, someone who plans on doing most, if not all, the work herself. Yes, I do have big plans. Yes, I do know that not all of those plans will work. After all, I am not a plumber or an electrician. I do know how to hang drywall and swing a sledgehammer, I can use a saw and put down tile. I plan on doing things slowly and scouring places like the Habitat for Humanity Restore, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army for materials. I also plan on using some material from my basement that will no longer be needed down there. I will price and shop around for needed supplies and buy them as money comes available. I am in no hurry. In fact, I want this project to take a little while. Believe it or not, this project is helping me deal with stress as well as satisfy my desire to remodel. I am not perfect and I am sure there will be times when I curse myself for even starting this project. Mostly, though, I am happy. I am adding to my coping skills. In the past, I have used retail therapy and food to cope with stress and feelings of inadequacy. Today I am using my writing, the gym, and now home improvement projects to cope.

The last, almost, 6 years has been rough. I have walked that long, lonely road of grief and I have done and said some stupid and crazy things. Through it all, I have had my family and friends standing beside me letting me know that I am safe and loved. These past 2 years or so I have finally decided it is ok to be happy and I am figuring out what that means. I have had to rediscover who I am and who I want to be. Please try not worry, I am ok and I do know what I am doing, for the most part ;).

Just so you know, I will still complain about not having any money. That is a never ending situation no matter what I am or am not doing. Love to all! I will continue to share my Remodel on a Budget of $0. Demoing is kind of fun, the clean up not so much.

Don’t Eat My Cereal

If I have invited you into my home for more than a 5-minute conversation I consider you my friend. If you have spent the night in my house you are, more than likely, considered family. I only have one hard and fast rule in my house, do not eat my cereal.

I am aĀ generous person for the most part. We are all a little selfish from time to time and I am no exception. I will let you read my books, use my shampoo,Ā make your dinner, I will even sleep on the couch and let you have my bed. You can borrow my clothes and use my computer. DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

See? I am generous. I am loyal to a fault and I usually share everything I have. However, if I am eating please do not stand over me and say, “I want some!” and then expect me to hand over my bowl or give you a bite. Have I not already given you everything else? Do not take another mile if I have already given you 2. In other words, DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

You want something from my garden? Ok, it’s yours. Want me to bake you some cupcakes? No Problem! Just DO NOT EAT MY CEREAL!

Welcome to my house, where the only hard and fast rule is:Ā DON’T EAT MY CEREAL!

 

 

This a work of fiction, maybe ;), for all those generous people out there who would give you the shirt off their backs. Also for parents because we all know that if we were eating a shit sandwich our children would want a bite simply because we were eating it :).

P.S. If you like my writing check out my children’s book, Stuck by Valerie Prather, on amazon.com