Tag Archives: bright side

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.

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Good Wine, Good Food, Good Friend

Five years ago I felt like my world collapsed. I honestly thought I was only surviving so that my daughter wouldn’t have to lose both parents. I didn’t want her to feel any more pain than she had to feel. Then in April, I was slapped by death again as I lost my grandma. I kept going because I couldn’t do anything else. In June of that year, death beat me down again as my Dad lost his battle with cancer. Keep moving, wall up the heart and close the gates of emotion. Ha! Not easily done. Honestly? It was probably the worst thing I could have done. But let’s fast forward five years, I think I have dwelt enough in the past.

This weekend I spent some time with friends. It was great! It usually is, I have pretty good friends :). We went to the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw, Illinois. It was the second time I had been there and it was just as nice as the first. The first time I went with a group of friends to a wine and chocolate tasting, this time, we went and saw a murder mystery. It was so much fun! Dinner was tasty and the company was great! The little murder mystery play was put on by a small company of 2 people, a married couple, with the assistance from audience members. All of this with dinner and dessert in between. The wine you could purchase by the glass or by the bottle from the vineyard. I am partial to the sweet wines and really enjoyed their Edelweiss and Diane’s Desire.

All of that was great, but the nicest and scariest part of the night was when a person that I had gotten to know during the horrible year of pain came up to me and said hi! I haven’t really seen much of anyone from that year in person for quite some time. I was a mess that year and not my best me, so when I run into someone from that year in person I have to stop a second and try to remember through the fog. I remembered her right away of course and was happy to see her. I’ll call her K for the purpose of this post. K looked happy and was with her husband. It was really great to see her happy and to get to spend time with her. The scary part, for me, is the question. The question that everyone who hasn’t seen me since that time asks, “How are you?”. My standard answer is I’m good. I found that this time it’s true. I really am doing good. I mean my life isn’t cake or anything, but it’s good :). I have a great daughter, a wonderful family, awesome friends and a life that I didn’t think would be possible 5 years ago.

The second question I hate getting when I meet someone after a long absence is “What are you doing now?”. I hate this question because when I explain my current life to people I get mixed reactions. I was not able to secure a teaching position after I finished my Master’s in Education degree. I know why and it stings horribly. I have been told by several that I would make a good teacher, so why don’t I have a teaching job? Well several reasons possibly, lots of people looking and few jobs in my area are at the top of the list. But I know the real reason and it bothers me tremendously. That, however, is a story for another day. The main reason I hate this question is because there are those who see my lifestyle as lazy or irresponsible. My choices are my own, for the most part, and I weigh each one heavily. Some do not agree and others just nod as if this all they expected of me. While I don’t always like the path that I have been forced to forge on my own, I am ok with my decisions. Yes, even the ones that I later regret.Why? Because I know that life isn’t easy and it so frequently lobs rocks and digs pitfalls and tries to drown a person at every turn. I have a choice, I can constantly bemoan those rocks, pitfalls, and tons of water, or I can see past all of that to the rainbows, the helping hands, the green trees and the blue skies. I can choose to see the smile on my daughters face or hear the laughter of my friends rather than the tears I have cried and the pain that I endure. Life is about choices and I accept the responsibility of all of my choices, the good and the bad.

My lost acquaintance/friend asked this very question and I asked it of her in return. K seems to be doing well and really likes her job. I am so happy for her! When I told her what I am doing now there was no judgment in her face and for once I didn’t feel worried that this knowledge would cost me a potential relationship. This was also the first time that I called myself a writer, so that was a little scary. I am so glad that I ran into K and her husband! It was nice to see someone from that year of hell and not feel awkward or like an utter failure. K is just as nice as I remember her and I look forward to getting to know her again.

As for the other stuff. I think too much! Here is me, my friends, down and dirty! I am a mother, semi-hoarder(I’m getting better at that), an artist, a teacher, a writer, a gym goer, a pescatarian, an art lover, a B-movie watcher, wine drinking, cussing, animal loving, goofy, middle-aged, young at heart, emotional,  thinks too much about herself and not enough about the world around her(working on this too) person. This is me, unapologetically me!

This weekend taught me a little bit more about myself and I am good with what I learned. Also, this weekend rocked! I had good friends surrounding me, good food to eat, good wine to drink and it was amazing!

So here is to you, my friends! May you always have enough of everything! Love to all!

Let’s Take A Walk

Do you walk the smooth path or forge your own path? Should we take the smooth path? Is there really such a thing as a smooth path?

I think all paths are bumpy. I think they should be. We weren’t meant to walk smooth, sunny paths all the time. We are meant to discover things and live life! How can we do that if we stay on a smooth path all our lives? Sometimes the roughest paths can lead us to the most beautiful places. Places were we find ourselves and really learn what life is about.

We need to climb the mountains and walk through the forests. Stumble over a rock or tree root, be afraid, take a leap, fight the storms, feel the pelting rain and the hail. Climb over a fallen tree, stand on the edge of the cliff. If we never have the fear, the pain, the grief then how can we appreciate, really appreciate, the hope, the love, the beauty that surrounds us?

I don’t want someone to smooth the path for me. I want to walk the bumpy road. Maybe a note or sign “Make sure your sneakers are tied it gets really rough up ahead” or a hand to hold during the really tough parts. I want to learn from life, make my own mistakes, listen to the stories of others who have lived and walked the same path, learn and pass that on. I don’t want trees cut down or rocks moved out of the way. A cheering section might be nice:)

I know that there will be times I will be the first to walk a path and that I might I have to leave a sign for the next person or pause lend a hand to someone else. I’m ok with that.

Life is a journey. Sometimes it’s rough and you fall a lot, but there are so many wonderful people and things to pick your self up for and keep moving ahead. So go ahead, take the tough path. Maybe we’ll run into each other 🙂

Kick Me, I’m Down

So I have been trying very hard lately to see the positive side of life and not let the negativity of it bring me down. Today I am failing miserably at this.

It all started last night when my 6 year old daughter decided to regal me with all of the things that make me a horrible mother, it was a surprisingly long list for her very short number of years. I honestly didn’t think I’d have to listen to that for at least 6 more years…I was very sadly mistaken 😦 This morning I attempted to shake it off, after all she was very tired last night and upset about something to do with a video game. But the day just won’t cooperate….AHHH! I can’t quit thinking about some of my apparent missteps that Anastasia rehashed. In truth I don’t play with her as often as I should and I don’t buy her everything she wants (I do not regret this last one in the slightest). I am in the mind set that a child should have to earn some things. These of course were just the tip of the iceberg…I wonder how many more atrocities I will pour upon her before she hits her teen years and puberty makes even those tiny things seem like giant mountains of failure? Sigh

Sadly this was not the only thing that weighed me down this day…oh no there was more to come. 

I am trying to open a business, one that will help children and the environment all at the same time. I won’t go into more detail here for my passion about it would carry me away. Unfortunately finding a bank that will loan me money is proving rough. Today I spoke with a very helpful women who said that she could probably help if I had some equity in my home. I told her that it has been about 7 or 8 years since an appraisal has been done. She kindly worked some computer magic and found that the county assess the fair market value of my house to be $65,899…something to feel good about since I bought my home for $63,500, that is until I tell her that I refinanced my house those years ago for over $70,000 because is was worth that much then. Needless to say I still owe about $68,000 on that mortgage. CRASH, BOOM, BANG! That would be the collapse of my hopes.

Shortly after this conversation I receive a phone call from a debt collector telling me I still owe the hospital money…shall I jump in front of the train that runs behind my house, or run away and change my name? 

BANG, BOOM, POW as they say in the comics, I am now flat on my back and staring at the ceiling and wondering what I did that was so bad I deserve to be kicked again and again. YES MAAM I AM RIDING THE SELF PITY TRAIN! 

I know that my problems are nothing compared to other people’s problems. Hey at least I have a house, a daughter and money coming into the bank (never mind that it leaves it just as quickly). And as they say tomorrow is a new day perhaps I’ll get off the pity train at the next stop, but for today…CHUGA CHUGA CHOO CHOO

Tomorrow will be better……..;)