Friday, June 09, 2006

Falling behind

I’ve enjoyed the comments on my Amazing Lace Challenge #1; the teatime pictures seem to be particularly popular. After I snapped the those two pictures, I gave that alpaca bully a stern talking to, then put him in the back of the stash for a time out. Boys will be boys.

Now that I have fixed the small errors in my Balmoral progress spreadsheet, I have discovered that I am slowly but surely falling behind each day this week. I now must complete an average of 2,160 stitches each day in order to meet my August 25 deadline. I should have a productive weekend especially with the Worldwide Knit in Public outing planned for northern Virginia.

Merry (my Amazing Lace teammate) is doing quite well, though she is showing a somewhat disturbing tendency to split during a particularly strenuous stitch. However, her stick-to-it-iveness is superior -- we've had one dropped stitch close call that Merry saved by a fiber’s breadth -- and she's acquitting herself quite well.

Has anyone else been following Eunny’s progress with her Norwegian jacket? I’m positively on tenterhooks waiting for her to finish and publish the pattern. It’s gorgeous, and it’s destined to be listed in the sidebar here at For the Love of Wool.


I had all the above composed last night for posting today but during this morning’s walk, my mind starting turning over a new topic. Crazy Aunt Purl calls it living out loud; I call it musings.

I was supposed to have a fabulous life. When I was a teenager – a compulsive overachiever even then – I had a basic life plan mapped out: a successful career in a finance-related occupation, a respected professional, financially secure investor with a healthy personal portfolio, a world traveler, have a beautiful home, have a happy and close-knit family and a small circle of trusted friends, have an attractive and chic appearance. Let me tell you that all has not gone according to plan.

That’s a whole lot of musings summed up in one brief paragraph so I am going to stick with the one that is bothering me the most right now: a financially secure investor with a healthy portfolio. What’s the opposite of that? Well, in a nutshell, it’s me.

Just over a year ago, a custody battle with X (to shamelessly borrow Snow’s terminology) began. It cost me every penny I had saved up and every penny of credit card funds available to finance the lawyer and to fund double apartment rent and utilities for four months (a strategic move on my part that paid off big time). Luckily I didn’t have to cash out my 401(k) but would have for the sake of my daughter. I ended up winning; everything I wanted went my way.

However, I am now saddled with a debt figure well, and I mean well, into the five digit range. How the hell do you dig out from under that when gas prices won’t stop spiraling to the heavens, with interest rates hot on the heels of gas prices, when the stock market wreaks havoc with the retirement savings, and a housing market bubble the size of northern Virginia’s? What do you do when you’ve cut out all the extraneous crap from your monthly budget and have consumed all the extra supplies in the pantry? What happens when the clothes in your closet start wearing out because you haven’t bought any new garments in more than a year?

That’s the situation I was in when, thankfully, things finally started easing up two months ago. Utilities are being paid on time and I have food to eat every day, but how do I make a dent in the massive amount of debt staring at me every day? Suze says to pay off the lowest balance credit card first and maximize your 401(k) match. Thanks, Suze, but that’s a no-brainer. David says to eliminate your daily latte. Thanks, David, but where can you find ten extra bucks to put on the credit card payment this month when you’ve already cut out designer beverages, magazines, gourmet meal ingredients, and whatever else in your budget that isn’t a necessity.

Not being able to find a book that had a road map for me – and wouldn’t buying that book be a luxury anyway? – I put my professional knowledge to work in my private life and devised several clever methods to get my financial well being jump stared on the road to recovery. Being that compulsive overachiever, though, I get frustrated when things don’t show progress quickly enough and I have bad days when I stagger beneath the weight of the debt. It gets tiring to be constantly vigilant with every penny that leaves the wallet when all you want to do is run away to Europe for a month-long vacation. That’s where my mind was at this morning during my two mile walk.

I’ve been told that I should write a book with my tips and tricks but do we really need yet another self-help book out there? I’m considering writing up my ideas and posting them here on the blog. Anyone interested?


At 2:01 PM, Blogger KnitNana said...

Always interested! B/c you never know when something new will come along (new to you, new to me!)
But I can sympathize - I'm still behind from years of no child support (and the DD is almost 30 now!)


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