Myriad on my Mind

Well, the whole not being able to sleep much thing is getting pretty old. Will try again tonight to see if I can do any better.

Con Crud hasn’t fully set in, but it’s not any better yet, either. On the fence, I guess. Fencing Crud.

Squirrel saga is still ongoing, but in part because I haven’t heard any news yet this morning. Hopefully no news is good news – or at least not bad news – but we’ll see.

So much drama and stress and sadness, man. I can’t even tell anymore how much of it is directly mine to carry, and regardless, there’s so much I can’t talk about, anyway.  My heart and mind are tired. 

I got a lot done yesterday, at least. Saw a periodontics (is that the word?) dentist guy for a consultation, and have mostly decided to go ahead with the procedure he’s suggested, but I really need to make sure it’s covered by my work benefits first. It’s going to be dicey, anyway, because I have to pay the whole thing upfront and get reimbursed later, and since it’ll cost more than, say, my rent, I need to time it just right so that I can get reimbursed in time to pay said rent. Maybe even eat in the meantime.

At least the animals are mostly stocked food-wise for a bit.

Managed to change my address with the Ministry of Health, so I expect to be receiving threatening letters any time now about switching to a photo health card from my sweet old red and white one. I’m proud to still have it, but last time I went for blood tests, there was apparently a note warning me to contact the Ministry and update my current address…which I then forgot to do until yesterday. So that’s good, I guess. I have to get more blood tests done on Saturday, so at least I can tell them that the process has begun.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of what was probably my girl’s biggest loss to date, and I have no idea how to, like, acknowledge that for her, or with her, or anything. Not being in the same country doesn’t really help with that, either, of course. But I’m not sure how much of a comfort I would be, anyway. I guess some journeys have to be taken separately and/or on our own. I do hope, though, that she has a similar experience to mine, in that the first year is the hardest, and once you get through all of the firsts, a greater sense of your new normal can be found. It doesn’t suck any less, but I found that, for me, the dread became less. The fear of facing each unavoidable first gave way to a kind of grim acceptance of all the remaining anniversaries to come, and the knowledge that I will get through those, too, whether I like it or not.

I hope it’s similar for her journey through grief, too.

I renewed my zoo membership for another year. I think this is the earliest I’ve ever done it – more than a month early. Now I just have to remember to pick up my new card when I go there next – hopefully on Saturday. It’s supposed to rain, but I kind of don’t care. I plan to be shooting for Canada In A Day, and what better way to show off one of the things I love about a day in my life than to spend at least part of it immersed in one of my favourite places?

Of course, my weekend is already filled with things that need to be done, so there won’t be any rest, and if I am still fighting this cold, I may yet lose the battle as a result. If all of my money for the next year or so is going to dental bills, though, I intend to make the most of the days in between!

Time Is Money

Know what’s crazy?

How much money concerns can alter a person’s perception of time.

I was thinking about it a bit this morning while getting ready for work. It’s Friday, but not a payday Friday, and even when it is a payday Friday next week, it doesn’t really count, because most of that paycheque will go to rent. I have a mental list (and notes in my phone) of things I need to buy before the end of the month – or, more specifically, before my first July paycheque – and beyond that, in my head, June is already over.

Even though it’s only the 17th, and barely halfway through the month.

So much of my time, it seems, is spent calculating what I have left, what’s coming, and how much I will need to spend, to see if there is anything left for what I want to spend money on. I pay my bills out of the first paycheque of the month, and rent out of the second, and everything spent on life in between comes out of whatever is left over from those two. It’s constant, really. Even when extra cash comes my way, like a tax refund, it generally goes into my non-existent savings to act as a kind of buffer between me and a bounced cheque or another bankruptcy. It gets set aside for the unexpected expenses which inevitably come up throughout the year.

And so as my mind lives from paycheque to paycheque, and from month to month, I find I’ve begun to think of time that way, too. Since I’ve already paid my bills and made a list of the things I’m running out of, June is now, essentially, done. June is dead to me! Haha

I jest about that part, but not about how weird time is when it’s measured in paydays and bills. I don’t even really bother to save up for things anymore. Not like I used to. TIFF passes, Fan Expo fun – I already know I won’t be buying a TIFF package again this year, and as for Fan Expo, I’m not expecting to be able to get much, if anything at all. Hopefully a photo op or two, but until I know the prices, even that won’t be guaranteed. My goal right now, and for the past little while, is to get a new computer. Or new to me, and better than the poor beast I have slaving away at home currently. For Mind Reels stuff, Guinness World Record stuff, Etsy and Ebay stuff (if I ever find time for crafting again), writing, and several other little side projects that have been put on hold for now – all of those things require slightly better technology than I have, at least in order to do them well. I’ve been getting by, but things could be so much better.

I could be so much better.

Then there’s the ever-growing list of things I want to do “someday”, but when time is measured in paydays, “someday” rarely comes, even as we speed ever closer to when it might have been.

The larger problem, of course, is that it’s also panic-inducing on a regular basis. Every time I pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, every time I am close to running out of cat or dog food, every time I obsessively check my bank account before my rent cheque comes out, to make sure there’s enough money to cover it. Every time I’m too tired to make lunches to take to work but force myself to because I know I can’t likely afford to go buy lunch. I know I said in another post that all I really have to do is make different choices; sacrifice some things to make it easier to cover other things. I just haven’t really done that yet.

Which is also kind of panic-inducing, really, because time is going by so quickly in some respects. Someday becomes some week, some month, or some year – usually in the blink of an eye, or what seems like one. It all happens so fast. Thinking about what I need to do, then suddenly realizing I should have done it long ago and would have been further ahead, instead of still just thinking about it.

And yet actual time – between the start and end of a work day, between paycheques – that stuff slows right down.

I guess time is relative, in a way. Each of us measure it differently, yet we also measure it in a variety of ways, each ourselves. Vacations, time spent actually sleeping, weekends/days off – that stuff all flies by. Measuring time in paycheques flies by without even moving, because I’m already thinking two paydays ahead. I could probably give the actual time it’s been since I last saw my conjoined other half, yet no matter what the calendar and clock says, to me it feels so much longer, and with no definite end to the wait in sight.

Maybe I just have to find a better way to measure time – to slow it down when I’m having fun, and speed it up when I’m bored to tears. Alter perception with regards to the motion of time.

If I could bottle THAT, I’d never have to worry about the relationship between time and money again.

Time-Quotes-5

The Price Of Free?

So, the Ontario government has decided to give free tuition for post-secondary education to low income families.

Part of me is, like, where was this move 20 years ago?

Though that makes me feel like the rest of the whiners who are all, “But what about us? Aren’t you screwing everyone else?” Blah blah blah.

What I mostly think about is how I just finished paying off my student loans a couple of years ago, if that. And of how proud of myself I was when it was all finished and my account balance finally said zero dollars owing.

See, as with most of my friends, my parents couldn’t afford to pay my way through school, either, and nor did I expect them to. Instead, I did wacky things like get jobs, both over the summer, and even during my final year of University (Val’s Video – ah, those were the days). And I applied for financial assistance in the form of student loans. Actually, I think that first year there was also a small portion that was a grant, but then that was gone and replaced with a percentage of your loan being forgiveable, so that you could have less to pay back, potentially.

Every year I stood in line-ups to get the proper forms to fill out, and then in more lines to drop them off. Back in those days, we didn’t have the interwebs. We actually had to line up at the bank, and the school, and stores, and talk to another human being in order to get all that stuff done. We even had to go to a physical classroom after that, where there were even MORE human beings strewn about. Except for some of those 8:30am classes. We learned pretty quickly to not bother taking those, as we’d never make it to them on time. Ever.

I didn’t even have my first email address until I was in my fourth and final year of University, and it was a school address, accessed via the campus computer labs, because I did all my assignment typing on a TYPEWRITER! Whaaa?!

Anyway, where was I?

Right – most of us put ourselves into debt to pursue a higher education. We came out of there with an expensive piece of paper that we’d take more years to pay for than we’d put in to earn it. Some of us would even do it again later for more paper, and more debt.

I mean, tuition wasn’t the only thing, either. You had to live for each year without having a full-time job. You often had to pay rent, eat occasionally, pay phone bills (like, landline, not cellular), buy and consume enough alcohol to kill a horse but you’re in your 20’s so you bounce back like rubber the next morning, more or less. There were text books to buy (and thus more line-ups at the campus book store), and school swag to wear at the football games when you possibly should have been studying. Tuition was a chunk of change, to be sure, but it wasn’t everything. Not even close.

There was, however, a certain sense of, like, pride, for going through all of that. Not just anyone could go on to post-secondary school, and not everyone should. I don’t feel that a person’s ability to do so should be set by their family income, but nor do I believe there should be hand-outs, either. I believe when someone works for something, there is a greater sense of accomplishment once it’s achieved. What’s more, we learned better balance. We knew what each of our hard-earned dollars was worth beyond the classroom. We made choices in how we spent what we had, or even if we spent what we had. We made sacrifices. Not like babies on altars and virgins in volcanoes, but sacrifices just the same. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we did earn everything we got.

Now I’m in my 40’s with no children or career to speak of, but I’ve paid off my student loans, and am essentially debt-free. I still make choices, and sacrifices, and I still have rent and bills and the like to pay for every month. I still struggle.

But the difference between me and my peeps and those getting free tuition is that we know we can do it, get through this whole financial, adulting phase (please let it be a phase) because we already have. We learned certain life skills in addition to the book knowledge we picked up in the classrooms we paid to be a part of. We knew what those hours were worth, because we’d worked for them. Many of us would work several years after to pay for them, too.

I guess really I just don’t understand the all or nothing mentality, of this and so many other things. Why not raise or lower tuition based on family income? Like with tax brackets? That way, those hours in the classroom will have the same worth for everyone inside them, not just the ones who struggle to afford it. So much in the world is all or nothing, and while I would have loved the idea of free tuition back in the day, I’m not sure it’d be worth giving up the feeling that I actually accomplished something, and the crazy satisfaction I felt when my loan balance finally hit zero. I’m sure there will still be loans and debt, because school is expensive. I’m just not sure giving part of the experience away for free is the way to go, especially when the real world – the one that happens after schooling is done – doesn’t quite work that way.