Tuesday, May 31, 2011

For love and money.

So, when we headed up here to live at the doorway of the Northern Highlands (1) I had the crazy idea that I would work just one job. No more running around like a crazy person stitching this bit to that bit to keep the bill collectors and the bank happy. One job that started after breakfast and ended before dinner.

One job that would let me write and do silly little projects and learn to play the piano (2).

And, truth be told, it all seemed to be working out pretty okay. Until, that is, I made the mistake of thinking about tomorrow.

Not tomorrow, tomorrow...but distant but not too distant future tomorrow. With one of those birthdays that is divisible by 10 on the horizon and the opportunity to pursue a BIG benefit, I started making contributions to a 401K.

This has always been something that made me laugh, the joke being that I'd really like to find a job I love doing before thinking about retiring from it.

But here's the funny thing. The addition (3) of that one little line item has thrown my balance (4) completely off. With just one small change, the kind of change that we are all told is the right thing to be doing, one job is suddenly very barely enough.

Now, as is often the case, there are things that I can do. There are things that have been paid for ahead of time and plans to reduce the scarier budget items that lurk up here in the land of vacations (5), but it was another moment when all the numbers and statistics and articles in the paper came sharply into focus.

I don't think that I want to ever hear another expert scold me for my inability to save. I don't want to hear the utter disbelief in the voices of journalists opining on the new study that showed that most Americans say they don't have $2,000 in reserve cash for an emergency. Don't tell me I need 6 months worth of mortgage put aside. Don't tell me to pay myself first.

Because it all sounds really, really good. Pay off my credit cards. Pay off my student loans. Contribute the maximum to my retirement plan.

I know all the things that we're all supposed to do.

But, really, what good are all those pieces of advice to folks for whom the balance is not just tipped, it's broken?

What happens then?

1. Which I've been told is an actual thing. I'd quibble but, truth be told, growing up I had no idea that the neighborhoods in this rural city we now call home, had actual names...so what do I know?
2. I never had any intention of learning to play the piano. 
3. Or, subtraction as the case may be.
4. Literally.
5. Three words: fuel oil bill. Screw you Stephen King...you are not the scariest writer in Maine. That title goes to our oil company.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

drum roll.

I'm trying to make something new happen.

If it does happen, if I can get all the pieces to come together, it's going to be awesome.

Or, at the very least, it's going to be kind of cool.

Maybe.

Maybe a little cool.

It won't suck.

Entirely.

If it doesn't, however, if it dies on the proverbial table, then...well...you'll never know. Because, odds are good, I won't tell you.

This is one of the advantages to having a secret identity.

And, you know, a really cynical outlook on life.