Conferences and money guilt

Yesterday was the Women's Empowerment Conference that the HJ hosted. We had a lot of help to make it a reality in the first place. For instance, a law firm sponsored us and gave us the money to hire caterers to provide a free continental breakfast and a lunch to all of the women and vendors present. That's nothing to sneeze at, for the total head count was somewhere around 100, way beyond my expectations! I helped to run the registration table by the front door, then I sat at the HJ's booth. There were lots of flyers and information on our table, as well as those silicon bracelets that everyone likes so much, and there was also one of those informational tri-fold cardboard things, but it was very hastily put together for this event. E gratefully accepted my inquiry of making another one for us. I know I can do a great job, and it's important that our information be displayed attractively. Presentation is a large part in what draws people in. (That's why it bothered me so much that some of the books we had to sell in the summer programs were clearly outdated and very unappealing. It made them much harder to sell, and even believing what was in the books already I had a hard time reading them and taking them seriously.)

I didn't stay for the whole day, leaving after the keynote/lunch speaker, but I enjoyed what I was there for. I was there for the majority of the day, and it wiped me out! I did get a free chair massage from the massage therapist who was there, which helped my back pain for a little while. I was definitely glad I had brought my stick and a large quantity of pain killers, though. I can't wait to debrief about the conference on Tuesday at our HJ meeting. I am certain that it will be an event that will continue for many years. I'm so happy that we're becoming a presence in our community with annual events! There's the talent show, for one, and now this Conference. I love being a part of something that makes a difference in people's lives. I really do. I feel very fortunate that I have both the opportunity and the skill set to be a valuable part of the HJ.

I was very tired afterward, though. I came home and napped, then C and I went out to run errands, but I was in bed and asleep before ten last night. We went to the Verizon store and priced phone plans for when I switch over to his plan. It is so expensive! C and I went through the budget item by item yesterday, and I'm discouraged, frankly. I mean, I know we'll be okay, but... I feel guilty for being such an expense to him. It's not like he didn't know it when he married me, but I wish that I had ways to ease his financial burden. If I could work, that would be one thing, but not only am I not able to really work, I bring medical bills and expensive food bills on top of all that! If I could live on rice and beans I would, but I cannot digest beans (or most proteins, really) well and it causes me more problems. After taking out all of the necessities like bills, we have just above a hundred dollars to buy gas and anything else we need. I told him that I will buy my own gas, and not to worry about it. I can manage that much with my paycheck. I'm still trying to pay down my credit card, but it's a very slow process. E and I were talking about increasing my hours this summer, and I'd like to, if just for the sake of finances. (More than that, though, I savor the feeling of making a valuable, viable contribution to something other than myself.)

I was racking my brain, trying to figure out where I can cut expenses to help, but I can't come up with anything. Even when it comes to food, as expensive as it is, I buy only the basics. Fruit, veggies, sometimes chicken, cheese, or fish, rice from time to time, yogurt (though I'm cutting that out for other reasons), rice milk and cereal, oatmeal, applesauce... That's it. My big splurges come in the form of, "Omg, can I have raspberries this week?!" And I know that C's not upset with me for any of this, but I almost expect him to be. Weird, huh? I know where it comes from, at least partially, though, and C's called it on more than one occasion. When I'm fretting about costing him money, he says, "I'm not R, and you're not your mom." It's true. R gets very worked up about spending money, and Mom is not good at not spending it. I do not nonchalantly spend money on things that are not necessities, though from time to time I feel an insatiable urge to spend money on myself in a way that is not necessity-related, like buying a dress from Goodwill or a new bottle of nail polish or a new piece of jewelry from WalMart or Etsy or something. I do, but it always comes out of my own money, what little that is, and I invariably feel the pressure afterwards that I could have spent it on something more productive... but the pleasure in my purchase overcomes the guilt. Usually.

It blew me away the first time C made that comment about R and mom, but I immediately saw the truth of it. And you know what? I'm actually glad they're getting divorced. They have put much work into their relationship and into the family, but it's still very dysfunctional, and it's better for everyone involved if they go their separate ways. I think everyone will be happier eventually, even if they aren't at first. The kids are going to have to get used to living within much tighter means, and while it may be difficult for them it will be a valuable lesson. R is a good person, as evidenced by the fact that he's buying the family a place to live and will be giving them money for a pre-determined period of time. That blows me away. I mean, when you're divorcing someone... usually you don't volunteer to give them money after you're split up. I never had any doubts about him being a good man, but he needs to get his PTSD under control. He's also very moody, which I could never handle. One of the things that draws me to C so much is his stability in nearly every area. R is stable financially, to be sure, but his moods are so subject to change... I always checked with mom to see what kind of mood he was in before I called to talk about money with him. Mom has her own mood swings, but maybe I'm more used to those since I grew up with them. I don't know how to explain her, exactly... I mean, she's generally always upbeat, in the same way that people say I'm always happy, but she can go "manic" and be swept away in some idea of hers on a moment's notice. A trip to the store is never just a trip to the store. You may end up 3 other places before you finally make it there, which always wore me out and made me impatient. (Realizing now that it was probably my lower-than-normal energy levels contributing to that without my realizing it-- not enough spoons!) I mean, I love adventure as much as the next person, but I just want to get my errands done and then decide if I feel up to anything else. I suppose that's the fibro talking. I do cherish the memories of her coming home from work and announcing that we were going to San Diego that weekend. I dunno. I'm ambivalent about it.

There's so much more to the situation, but I'm pretty much just staying out of it. They're adults. They need to work it out on their own. There's a situation that Mom is involved in that I am uncomfortable with and disagree with, but I've made my feelings known and now I just have to let it go. I still love her to pieces, but I'm not her caretaker. It is strange for me to keep my hands off emotionally, but it's taken a lot of work for me to be healthy enough to do that. She's my mother, not the other way around, and though I spent much of my life trying to take care of her... that's not my job. It's not my place. So she knows how I feel and why, and I'm letting it drop. She needs to work things out on her own. (I do kinda feel like a parent watching their child make mistakes, though... it's hard.)

I am sad about not being able to visit for Christmas this year, but Mom has said something about her possibly being able to visit me sometime this year or next, so that's very exciting. I would love to have her here. I told her that she'll be so proud of me when she sees my little house and the life C and I have built, but she said that she's already so very proud of me. Warm fuzzies!

I was telling C about our conversation, and how Mom used to be afraid that being with him would hold me back, "live a small life", because she has always felt that I'm destined for great things. Now, as we're discussing the stability and love that C has brought into my life, we both agree that he's the solid foundation that has and will allow me to grow into my full potential. The analogy was that he's the soil that will let me bloom. When I told C that, we started this joke about how he's dirt to me and how that would sound if we said it around others. So now, as a term of endearment, I shout at him, "You're dirt to me!" It's pretty funny :)

1 thoughts:

  • Hope | July 28, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Being married to a farmer, I now realize that "dirt" is WAY more than "dirt" (actually, more precisely identified as "soil"). It has millions of things going on in it, it's like a whole universe of life that most people don't see or appreciate. Quite complex. All that to say, I agree with your assessment that to be someone's soil is a very noble position indeed :)

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