Homesick

So here we are, entering our fourth month as Indiana residents. Again. I’ve gone back to the coffee shop on the weekends, we’re back in the old neighborhood. It’s like nothing has changed.

My diplomas sit neatly in their frames, doing nothing more than reminding me of my student loans accumulating interest.

It dawned on me today that, though I don’t regret much in my life, I do regret leaving Chicago. As I lay in bed, exhausted and feeling run down from lack of sleep and hours on my feet for the first time in a couple of years, I found myself ruminating. Playing the What If game.

What if we’d negotiated lower rent with the landlord? What if we’d really stretched out our savings. What if, instead of a couple grand in rent, deposit, and truck rental, we had just paid our rent in Chicago in advance? What if we’d started a garden and eaten from that, made a strict budget, and taken Bea to summer classes at the parks instead of paying for her preschool there? What if we’d sold a couple things to get by while I applied for full-time jobs on campus, and if I’d gotten one, Charlie could stay home? What if I’d made a lot more money than him? What if I’d taken those job offers and just asked to start a few weeks after the baby was born?

I don’t play What If with the baby. I don’t regret or resent her. She didn’t ask to be born.

I can’t stop thinking that we made the wrong decision moving back, though. I can’t help but feel more alone in Indy, a city supposedly filled with family and friends who were dying to help out with the baby, most of whom I haven’t seen more than twice since we moved back. We’re more sedentary, bored, overweight, and disappointed.

I have applied for more jobs, but each one leaves me feeling like I’d be settling. I feel like we settled for this house, for that job, for this neighborhood, for this city. I feel like I didn’t get a chance to put down roots in Chicago and every day, my heart aches a little bit for what we left behind.

We wanted Bea and Ellie to grow up around their cousins, and the kids our friends have. But it feels as if no one has the time and I’m left struggling to fill up our weekdays with mindless activities in the house. I’m spending all my mornings biding my time before Bea goes to her measly two-hour preschool program when what we could be doing is getting on the brown line and hitting the Lincoln Park Zoo, the beach, going for walks, taking a bus to the Shedd or a museum on the free days.

I missed Indy and people for a while after we’d moved. But it didn’t take long to find myself busy and happy and loving Chicago. Leaving felt like the “right” choice when we made it, but now I just don’t know. Was it the “only” one?

Today my heart told me it’s never too late to move back. It’s going to take something big to fill this windy-city-sized emptiness.

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Terrible Twos Times Ten

It’s been two months exactly since we brought Miss Ellie home from the hospital. In that time, I’ve seen Bea go from a bright-eyed, clever, independent little four year old to a rabid, hysterical, tantrum-throwing preschooler.

I know her life has been turned upside down; new city and state, new house, new baby and now a new preschool. It took us two months after moving to get her in to a place we could afford, but all we can afford is 2.5 hours a day/4 days a week. It’s not enough. I take her at 1pm (when she would normally be napping), and pick her up at 3:30. By the time she gets home, she’s exhausted and cranky. And by the time we go to put her to bed, she has lost all self control.

I’ve never seen anything like it. When people talked about the “terrible twos,” I had no idea what they were talking about. At two, she was so sweet and cute. At three, she was inquisitive and clever. At four . . . I’ve heard stories of tantrums, but this . . . this is something else. Foot stomping, screaming, wailing, crying, jumping up and down, throwing herself on the floor, “no no no!” and whatnot. I was sort of, kind of prepared of her to resent the baby. Instead, she loves Ellie and hates us.

It seems as though, every night, once Bea is finally passed out, Charlie and I are having a conversation where we devise a new plan of attack. But since I’m the one home with both kids all day during the week, I’m the one who has to implement it all.

We’ve tried talking to her about it, reasoning with her, sticker charts, time outs, threats, taking away TV or toys or games, and we’ve both resorted to shouting at her to just stop screaming (super helpful and effective, as I’m sure you can imagine). It’s getting to the point where I can’t even deal with her anymore. I get so angry that I just have to remove myself from the situation and I don’t feel like going back to give her a hug and kiss. It doesn’t help that I feel “touched out” from holding and carrying the baby, feeding and nursing her. By the end of the day, I just want to pass out and not move for like 12 hours.

The baby’s great, though. I thought Bea was an easy baby, but this one has been a breeze so far. Good sleeper, good eater, healthy (a slight cold Bea brought home when she started preschool), happy. The birth was pretty traumatic and a story for another day, but I worried throughout the pregnancy and right up until the moment she arrived that something would go wrong.

Charlie is still working full time, but is close enough that he can ride his bike. We have the car most days, but no money to do much of anything exciting. Trips are limited to grocery stores and walks around the neighborhood. We were hanging out at the coffee shop some mornings for a bagel and coffee, but then I started working there again. Just weekends when Charlie is home, but enough that I don’t want to hang during the week.

To top it off, I found out after my second week back that they’ve been paying me like a new employee, not like someone who spent almost six years there. When the manager told me what I’d be getting paid, I just started laughing. “Oh, were you making more than that before?”
“Are you kidding?” I asked. “Do you know how long I was here?” Granted, it took many months of badgering to get the raises I received, but it was still $2.50 more per hour than they apparently think I’m worth. So now I have to badger and argue to get more.

The manager at a nearby restaurant offered me a weekend gig waiting tables there. The tips sound fantastic. But the pay is really the only positive of working there. The employees are catty. The cooks are perverts. The owner is a bitch. The customers are wealthy, entitled assholes. I’d have to be on my feet ten hours a day just to make enough money to send Bea to preschool full time with nothing left over. People are like, “You should take that job. If Bea was at school during the week, you’d have more time to yourself.”

Except there’s now a newborn in the house. Despite being a great baby, she doesn’t really give me a lot of time to myself. So selfish.

So while I check job web sites in the hopes of finding something that pays more than Charlie’s working so that he can stay home, he’s studying for a personal training certificate. If he passes, he could go to work for his old employer and work 20 hours a week to make the same he’s bringing home now. If he doesn’t pass it, I have no idea what we’re going to do. There really aren’t any opportunities for advancement where he is now, and the pay just isn’t enough to change things at home.

And while I’d found positions at local universities that I wanted and for which I felt qualified, I was turned down twice in a row. Once was on my birthday. Ouch. But I know these are the kinds of jobs I want. And if I’m not qualified, how can I be? I started looking at other graduate programs and settled on one that I think I’m actually going to apply for, for next fall. If accepted, they require graduate assistantships, which means a guaranteed job related to what I’d be studying, a paycheck, tuition remission, and a practicum later on. Right now I just need to get the letters of rec and write the damn personal statement (300 words! Ugh). It at least gives me something to work toward.

If I could, I think I would just stay in college forever. If I can’t, I at least want to work for one. Not as an adjunct, though. I’m making more working 15 hours a week at the coffee shop, which is terribly sad and ridiculous. And if the grad program or university-job-finding doesn’t pan out, I have no fucking clue what’s next.

Chronological Concerns

A major part of the reason I’m allowing the landlord to give out my phone number to no less than four different apartment-hunting services (not including the guy we used to find this place and who we put in touch with our landlord weeks ago) is to show a good faith effort in renting this place, which we hope will guarantee most of our security deposit be returned.

It’s beginning to get really annoying, though. I get calls all day long from a variety of different people who are rarely here at the time they claim they want to see the place. We’ve shown it as early as 9am on a Sunday and as late as 8pm on a Wednesday. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal if we didn’t have a three (almost four) year old who’s tired and ready for bath or bed, or if I didn’t have to leave for work by eight in the morning. Last night we had to rush Bea home from dinner within fifteen minutes to show the place, but it took the people almost an hour to show up.

It also doesn’t help that the apartment has ancient carpeting, is being listed as a three bedroom, and he’s asking $300 more per month than we’ve been renting it. The garage space is also jacked up–$100 per month when we’ve been paying $25.

None of that is really any of my business. I just hope that someone fills out an application soon so that I can stop having to either drag Bea into the backyard in order to stay out of everyone’s way, or sit politely on the couch while people stomp through the apartment.

We did sign the lease on the new place yesterday, as well as mailing in first month’s rent and security deposit. As far as that house is concerned, I’m really happy with it except for two reasons: 1. It is listed as a 1.5 bath. The full bath is on the second floor and the half bath is in the basement. This isn’t a deal breaker,  but I do remember post-birth with Bea how difficult it was for me to get up and down the stairs for a while. 2. It is directly next door to the woman whose high-strung rescue dogs howled nonstop at our windows in the last place we lived. (It also has no garage or fenced-in yard, but whatever.)

Because, you know, our last place is directly behind the new one.

One of my concerns has become (prioritized in terms of chronology) how early I can get out of work. Though we need the paychecks to cover Bea’s preschool (and I have zero options in Indy for her at the moment), we are moving before the last week of classes, which is also my last week at work. I’m pretty sure that my situation is unprecedented at work–not many pregnant writing tutors in their halls. I don’t think they know what to do with me.

My next worry is finishing all the assignments for my last class. It’s a pretty heavy workload. Then I’m worried about what’s going on with Charlie’s job. He’s supposed to be transferred but his phone interview didn’t go well (according to him). So now there’s a concern that he might get stuck in a branch that’s really far from our place and we’re only going to have one car for a while. The interview was for a branch that’s 1.5 miles from our new place, which means being able to walk, bike, or take the bus (if that’s even an option in Indy). If that falls through, I’ll be stuck at home a lot.

Apparently, the district manager rather casually mentioned that Charlie could “just take an unpaid leave of absence” until a position opened up where he’d like to be. How exactly that DM thinks we would cover our bills, I’m not sure. So now Charlie’s a little paranoid and has begun looking into other options, which would leave us without health insurance just a few weeks before my due date.

Add to all of that the fact that my student loans are going to be due soon and I’m surprised I haven’t just collapsed in a ball on the floor. I think I’m juggling everything surprisingly well. I’m managing the gestational diabetes, eating well, getting lots of walking in every day (I kind of have to), and drinking as much water as I can without exploding. No kidney stones thus far [crossing fingers].

I will be quite relieved when this is all over and we can re-situate ourselves. Then I’ll just have to become accustomed to having two kids and even less money. And I sincerely hope that all of our cheerleaders back in Indy are willing to step in and help us out when we do arrived. Everyone has said how thrilled they are that we’re returning, but will they bring over a casserole when I return from the hospital?

Two Years, Reversed

ImageIt’s official. After just two years in Chicago, we are relocating back to Indy. So close to our old place that the backyards of each house touch. I mean, yeah, I wanted to be in the old neighborhood, if at all possible, but I did not expect to end up renting a place that was literally around the corner. I’ve walked past this house so many times that I knew exactly where it was based on the address

Okay, it’s not 100% official. I had to send in the application materials today and will hear back if they accept us within a day or two. I don’t see there being a problem, though neither of us has the most outstanding credit anymore. We seem to take turns. One of us works a decent full-time job for a while, paying all his or her stuff on time; the other is in school. The plan is that, pretty soon, I will be the one paying the bills while he takes nursing classes.

I’ve been decorating the new place in my mind for a couple of days now, and the excitement of finding something within our budget (the landlord was willing to come down a hundred bucks a month if we signed a two-year lease and did the yard work) in our old hood has given me a renewed energy. I try not to think too much about the lack of transportation, the struggle to acclimate to a new baby, and the depression that eventually settles for a bleeding-heart progressive in Indiana.

Our current landlord called today to see if it was okay to pass along my number to potential tenants who wanted to take a look at the place. At one point he said, “You know, it’s not too late to change your mind. If you need someone to watch the baby, I’d do it for free!” It was so sweet that I almost cried.

In the car on Saturday, Bea asked about moving. I explained that, yes, we would be going back. I heard some sniffling after a moment and looked back to see she had tears in her eyes.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
“I’m sad because I’ll miss all my friends at school.”
I felt awful. But I explained that all her friends at school would soon be going to kindergarten and that many of them would go to different schools than she would. I then began listing off all the people in Indy who we would be able to see a lot more because we’d be closer. After a few minutes chewing on what I’d said, she announced, “Thanks, Mommy! That really cheered me up!”

I felt so torn about bringing her here so that I could go to school. And, sure enough, we finally got into a good program that she loves, where she’s made all sorts of friends. And now, we have to go back. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t yet been on the planet for four years that you just can’t afford to put two kids in daycare; that you spend more every year on  preschool than you did on rent at your last place; that you can’t imagine having to drop off a newborn for someone else to take care of every day, just to work a job that barely covers your kids getting that care.

I think she understands a little bit and I think she’s pretty excited to go back. I know she’ll make new friends and enjoy seeing her old ones. I hope that we’re able to find something that lives up to the expectations she has from her current preschool that we can afford, and that we’re making the right decision for everyone.

Pregnancy Panic

Just in case you weren’t aware (because I never blog anymore and you may not be on the book face), I miraculously got pregnant last year (right before I was supposed to go in and have an IUD placed) and am currently in my third trimester with our second child. This was most surprising to me because I was under the impression, after my plethora of female-related health problems last year, that this was not even a possibility. “Getting pregnant” did not seem to be a problem. “Staying pregnant,” however, did. Due to the nature and placement of my fibroids, PCOS, and other funky lady issues, a fertilized egg would not be very comfortable or safe in my uterus.

This one, however, has now maintained its residency for over six months. Every time I go to a doctor’s appointment and they tell me “Everything looks fine!” I say, “Are you sure?” Maybe look again. There has to be something wrong. I am plagued with doubts and fears and concerns that, while relatively normal for any pregnancy, tend to outweigh any sort of pleasure of joy I would feel for being able to give my daughter a sibling. In fact, most everyone I know or meet is significantly happier about this pregnancy than I am.

Maybe the constant nausea and barfing for four months–which I never had with my first, Bea–took its toll. Perhaps it’s the extra weight, the headaches, the sciatica, the frustration, the inability to walk as fast as I used to, the constant urinating, the inability to sleep well. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m now in the “advanced maternal age” category, or that my doctor wants me to consider going on antidepressants prior to delivery. Perhaps I am not looking at this as positively as I could . . . My scumbag brain won’t stop ruminating over the upheaval it thinks this child is bringing.

The plan was to finish school (I graduate mid-June) and begin applying for jobs here in Chicago right before that, probably publishing/editing. Since Bea is in preschool and very happy there, I planned to work full time in a position with benefits. Charlie could go to part time at work, and then begin taking courses at the City Colleges in order to start working toward his nursing degree. No matter what, we would be making more than we’re bringing in now.

Coincidentally, this child is due approximately five days after Bea’s fourth birthday. That would also be sixteen days after my graduation, two months before our lease is up here, and about three weeks after my job is over. This position is tied to school–I am employed by the school as a student and, once I graduate, my stipend is over and so is my job. Which means, between the time that I finish working and the time that our lease is up here, I am kind of at a loss as to what to do.

Do we continue living in Chicago? Do we relocate to Indianapolis (cultural void that it is), where we have more connections, friends, and family? Where rent is cheap and parking is ample and free? Do we sublet here prior to the lease finishing, and have the baby in Indy? How does that work? Do you call the landlord? Put up an ad? Ask friends to come over and start packing for us? I’ll be over eight months pregnant at that point, so not super useful.

It seems as though every time Charlie and I manage to get things on track, something comes along to derail everything. That’s not really the attitude I want to have about this child. I’m sure, once she arrives (yes, it’s another girl), I will think differently. For the moment, however, I am in a constant state of mild anxiety, trying to figure out the next, best step. Any advice or suggestions will be considered.

Three Weeks Away

One thing I enjoy about other people’s blogs is photos, which really drives home how lackluster mine is in appearance. But since the battery charger we got to replace one that got lost in one move or another pooped out, I haven’t been taking photos with anything but my iPod Touch. Which, unfortunately, has a pretty disappointing camera on it.

And to be honest, most of the photos I take (I’ll be generous and say only about 95%) are of the kid. People on Facebook and Google+ have to see enough of her, and since I’ve run out of free space on my Flickr page, I’m not going to subject any readers here to more. Well, not in this post, anyway.

What I would like to do is get another battery charger and start carrying the camera around with me wherever we go. This is a somewhat frustrating idea because I already have to carry so much junk. I think one of the things I truly never understood about parents is WHY ALL THE CRAP? And then I became one.

Every trip out the door is an event. Struggling with her to just put on socks is sometimes exhausting. Then shoes, and, now that it’s colder out, mittens, coat, a hat, eventually a scarf. On really chilly evenings, I might bring a blanket and put it over her in the stroller. Then I have to check and double-check everything. Do I have an emergency diaper and wipes? Does she want a drink? Milk or juice? Do I need to bring a snack? Should I have a lollipop available for bribes?

The longer and more involved the trip, the more copious the amounts of junk. On our trip back to Indianapolis last week, our Toyota Matrix was spilling over with bags, shoes, pillows, toys, books. Charlie made a trip back home to work for two days and, when he returned, he brought even more stuff because, apparently, I had not brought enough shit the first time.

The trip itself was relatively uneventful. And I mean that in a good way. My dad did not show up to our family Thanksgiving. He never replied to any of his siblings’ emails asking if he was coming, what he might like to bring. He just called my grandmother Sunday morning to say he wasn’t feeling well.

It was a blessing, though. Once I knew that, my shoulders relaxed and I could breathe a little easier. Although now I wonder what the chances are of him coming for Christmas. My family always gets together on Christmas Eve, leaving the holiday open for “other sides” of your family. We would do Christmas Day at my mother’s folks’ house. These past few years, since things have begun to get sketchy in my immediate family, Charlie and I haven’t done much of anything. I really like that.

This year, barring any hideous winter storms, we will travel to Indy again, spend a few days at my friend Jill’s, spend Christmas Eve with my family, and get Chinese or Indian food on the 25th. We discussed the possibility of attempting to find The Muppets movie at a cheap theater and seeing how Bea handles it. I don’t know that she would like being inside a large, dark room with really loud music playing. Movie theaters give me a headache, so I can’t imagine how it would affect a 2 1/2 year old.

I do like the idea of having some sort of relaxed family tradition, just the three of us. I also like a new tradition that’s started on my paternal family’s side. Last year, when we picked names, we decided to do handmade gifts. I got the song “Beautiful Bea” from Will and Ben (no one can ever top that), I made my aunt Vicki a sugar body scrub and an apron, Charlie made a table for my cousin’s (now ex) husband, and so on. Since some people didn’t take too well to the idea, we decided people could do one of two things: either make a gift for someone, or absolutely keep the gift under $20.

I got my cousin Peter (on purpose. It helps to be the one in charge of the name drawing to ensure not getting someone who is impossible to shop for). I have had a plan for a couple of months now for something I’d like to make him. After mapping it out, I came across a second idea and now I don’t know how to choose between the two. I have neither the time nor the energy to do both, as much as I’d like to.

For the moment, I am working on my friend Maureen’s personal statements for grad school and trying to steer her in a direction that’s helpful. This weekend, I think I’ll buckle down and start on Peter’s gift. Our family Christmas is just three weeks away, after all.

Holiday Anxiety

We’ve been struggling with holiday plans for weeks now. Of course, we’d like to have Bea spend as much time as possible with everyone, but we are at the mercy of long-distance travel with a spirited toddler, which is not easy.

Most of the time, she’s great in the car. But we usually try to schedule our driving time around her nap. Charlie wants to head to Indianapolis as soon as he gets off work on Wednesday, 5:45pm, the day before Thanksgiving. We’d spend the day at our friends’ – Jill and Scott – and Charlie would leave late Thursday (or early Friday morning, despite potentially encountering hordes of holiday shoppers) since he doesn’t have to be back at work until 10am.

Then he’d drive back down Saturday afternoon when he left work at 3pm, and we’d all come home Sunday after my family’s dinner.

Complicated enough?

The most irritating part is that we actually had an opportunity to stay even longer — Charlie was actually off today (Sunday) and tomorrow, so we could conceivably have driven down one of those days. But we are also at the mercy of finances, and the longer we are in Indy, the more money we’ll have to spend on food and activities with other people we want to see.

We’ve done a decent job of staying on top of bills until this past week. Charlie finally gave in and went into a debt management program (I did not know until about a month ago exactly how much he owed in credit cards — it’s a lot.), so this program have been a lot more helpful if he’d signed up earlier. Instead, we had to continue making extra payments on everything while they decided whether or not to agree to the terms.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving will be my paternal family’s get-together, which, of course, may include my dad. Though I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t turn up, I am really not looking forward to having to see him. While I’m relatively happy with the way things are right now, I just cannot imagine having a polite conversation with him about “how things are going” without gritting my teeth to keep from screaming something about how much better things would have been if he hadn’t leeched off of us for almost a year.

There would be so many things I would want to say to him, and so many things I would probably not allow myself to say. But Charlie is a lot more confrontational than I am, so I’m also concerned that he might just go off, too. The chances of that happening are much more likely than of me doing it . . . I think?

I keep imagining two things: one is this really angry encounter – seething, fuming, hateful – and the other is me feeling like a human being, feeling sorry for him. This man lost everything, including his wife and family (he certainly hasn’t gone out of his way to develop any sort of relationship with me or my sister), job, home, etc… And now he has this dinky apartment in some crappy building in the middle of nowhere and he just wants to make it comfortable.

But then I’m angry again. Thinking about all the times he lied right to my face, all the times I knew he was trying to bullshit or manipulate me, and I don’t understand why I continue to feel sorry for him. It’s what he wants. He really thrives on other people’s sympathies. I don’t know how many times I heard him exaggerate or flat-out like about a circumstance in order to garner sympathy from a listener. His mom, his brothers, me, Charlie, a random person on the phone, bill collectors, you name it.

I guess this is the part where people are supposed to tell me I go back and forth because I’m “a good person.” Or, at least, perhaps a “better” person than he is. I don’t know what to think, feel, or do. I just know that I’ve done a pretty good job of managing my anxiety over the past few years and the thought of having to see him for the first time in almost 8 months, with absolutely zero contact (did I mention, not even an email for his granddaughter’s birthday? Yeah, I’ve probably mentioned it several times) gives me a sick feeling in my stomach.

Homesick-ish

It’s been two months since we moved, and I’ve started to feel the twinge of homesickness. The loneliness and unfamiliarity, I was prepared for; the profound disappointment at missing the Indiana State Fair, I was not.

The video above is one I took, just a few seconds, when Charlie and our old housemate Cavan went on the swings at the fair. Every summer for a few years in a row, we would go with Cavan to gorge ourselves, take photos, ride the rides, and people watch. People watching was definitely my favorite part (a close tie with buttery corn on the cob, elephant ears, and those corn dogs that probably don’t qualify as “food”). It never ceased to amaze me how many morbidly obese people I could count who wore overalls with nothing else. Or people in bare feet. Or mullets and rat-tails on children and adults.

And the best part was jabbing Cavan or Leti or Sarah or Audrey in the side and trying to nod subtly at the person you were making fun of, but didn’t want to notice you were making fun of them.

So I guess I’m not just missing the fair, I’m missing the people we would attend it with.

For the most part, I’m okay with hanging out at home. I know it won’t last forever, I know I will make friends — or get some old ones here. Katie, who used to work with me at the coffeeshop and started last fall at Brooklyn Law is transferring to Northwestern at the end of the summer! I actually don’t mind not feeling too pressured to socialize because we are so broke right now. If too many people wanted me to go out to eat, have drinks, go shopping, or even hop on the train for sight-seeing, I’d have to bow my head and admit we have less than $15 in our checking account for the rest of this week.

So, I think laying low for a couple more weeks is probably just fine.

A New Day

Today marks the beginning of my fourth week as a Chicago resident. Over the course of the past two(+) years, I’ve gotten pregnant, had a baby, graduated from college, brought my unemployed and mentally ill father to live with my family, found him another home, applied and was accepted to graduate school, found a job in Chicago, and moved.

Oh, my god. I’m so tired.

The funny thing is, I just made a personal commitment to myself to start blogging more frequently again because, as it so happens, I have “lost” that job in Chicago.

The short version of the story goes something like this: I applied to a chain coffee house as a manager. I interviewed twice for the position but didn’t get it. I was offered a shift supervisor position but didn’t take it. I became a lowly barista again, assuming they would pay me at least what I was making at my old job. They allowed this. Two weeks in, and right before Charlie started his new job, it became apparent that we were not going to find any trustworthy child care on such short notice. The district manager of the company that hired me did all their scheduling because the store where I worked did not have an official manager yet (six months after I’d applied for the job!). She put up this week’s schedule on Friday afternoon and I scrambled all weekend to find someone to watch Bea. Never happened.

I also did some math and determined that the cheapest babysitting option was still 30% more than what I was making. Staying home with Bea is our most affordable option. Also, Bea got sick, we had no one to watch her and I kinda got terminated. It was more of a mutual decision. I admit I was leaning towards that conclusion, but when the DM said she would begin “filing the termination paperwork,” I was a little surprised. Especially considering how well I was doing there.

Money’s going to be tight for a bit, but surprisingly, not as bad as it was in Indy taking care of my dad. Who, as it turns out, is not interested in keeping in touch with us. I haven’t heard a peep out of him in two months. The last time he contacted me was when I emailed him, asking if he’d be able to help out with our move. His response? “I’m not sitting on anything, if that’s what you think.”
I did think that, actually.

When he was approved for disability in December or January, he received a huge check which totaled the amount he would have received per month if he’d been approved right away. He’d also worked a job for three weeks that paid over $60 an hour. So at one point the beginning of this year, he would have had around $13,000 in his account, if not more. Perhaps closer to eighteen grand.
He paid us rent three times ($300 per month), and paid to have our car window repaired. Which had been broken out in June of last year.

Yes, I’m bitter. Yes, Thanksgiving this year is going to be SUPER AWKWARD. I am, however, excited to see what the next few months have to offer.

More to come . . .

Things Are Happening . . .

May 13th would mark the one year anniversary of when my dad came to live with us. Fortunately, it does not appear as though we’re actually going to have to celebrate that date. He found a place a couple of weeks ago south of Indianapolis that caters to people in bad spots; evictions, terrible credit, bankruptcies, foreclosures. They approved my dad’s application and he is apparently ready to move in this Sunday, March 27th. He couldn’t even be bothered to rent a truck. He’s just relying in his brother and Charlie to borrow vehicles for other people.

That is, to say, a bunch of other people are going to have to help him move. He is clinging to whatever amount of money he’s hoarding in his bank account, and repeating over and over again that there’s no way he can help us move.

Two weeks ago yesterday I got The News. I was accepted to DePaul University’s Writing and Publishing MA program. While I’m thrilled that they found my work acceptable for their program, I am disappointed that I was not accepted as a graduate assistant and will not receive a tuition waiver or living stipend for only working 20 hours a week on campus.

There are other options. I interviewed at Peet’s Coffee & Tea for a management position . . . except that was well over two weeks ago and I was supposed to hear a “definite yes or no” just five days after the interview. I haven’t heard anything. I have re-applied to AmeriCorps, but have not had any bites on the couple of positions for which I’ve applied so far. There are some work/study campus jobs, but they either don’t begin until classes start, or they need to be filled immediately. We’re sort of at a stand-still right now. We pay rent twice more before we’re free to leave, but we haven’t yet informed the landlord that my dad isn’t going to rent here. As soon as we do, I’m assuming he is going to want to list and begin showing the place. Since they don’t know about my dad and is four — err, three (one passed away Sunday night) — cats, we can’t put in that call just yet.

We also can’t quite look for an apartment since, if one is available that far in advance, we would need to put down a deposit to secure it. We’re doing everything we can to put aside money for Chicago, but it’s been tough. With my dad thinking he’s free and clear of any financial obligations, Charlie has begun doing side jobs for friends, helping someone finish a basement and whatnot, and I am trying to get in as many hours at the coffeeshop as possible. Prices went up a couple of weeks ago, and tips have been pathetic since then. I entered our Spring drink competition, which gets you a hundred bucks, but my drink didn’t win.

Now we’re going to start putting things up on CraigsList and Facebook to sell, and just put our heads together and down in an attempt to figure out how we can get rid of at least one car — short of literally handing over the keys to the dealership in a voluntary repo. Yipes. I don’t want to do that. Our credit is shot enough as it is . . . .

The really sad thing is how little responsibility my dad seems to feel toward us for helping him out the past (almost) year. It really makes me sad when he begins to rant about how little he has and how he is just “not in a position” to help us. Especially when you consider the fact that, two months ago, he was sitting on about ten grand. He told me this. Combining the “job” he had for three weeks and the prorated disability check, he had quite a prolific account balance. Never mind that he blew around two grand on stuff ordered from Amazon, alone. But now he needs “every penny.” I’ve tried to explain to him that our bills are twice what his are, but we are bringing in the same amount of money per month. Seriously. It’s sad.

I remember the sensation I had when I gave birth to Bea. Despite having an epidural (that was wearing off, mind you), I still had this tremendous feeling of relief wash over me when she popped out (sorry, gross, I know). When my dad gets the last of his things and hands me his key to the house, I imagine it will feel similar.

**WOOSH**

And if he doesn’t give us another dime, at least I’ll be done with the whole mess.

I hope.