It’s not flowing

As a therapist who works for a nonprofit which contracts with various school districts, I invariably drive a lot. It can be assumed I listen to an unfair share of talk radio. I listen to the gamut from cocky Rush Limbaugh to Hannity to Mark Levin. Larry Elder has in on-again, off-again. Of course there are the “fillers” like financial gurus Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard. This is just the secular stations, I’ve got at least one Catholic station saved on the AM dial as well.

In August I usually take a good, long hard look at my budget. The bills that increased in July, are starting to come in; I’m waiting to hear from my property manager about whether rent will increase when my lease terminates at the end of August. Things aren’t computing. I’m not spinning this, I’m not at all related to Bill O’Reily. I promise! On paper I look excellent, earing $47,500 prior to taxes. After my wages are manhandled by greedy, bloated government, I have a ghastly $30,264 left.

Out of 30,264

  • Rent (900 x 12) = 10,800
  • Internet (34.99 x 12) = 419.88
  • LADWP (87.39 X 12) = 1,048.68
  • SoCalGas (8 x 12)= 96
  • Gasoline (304.10  x 12) = 3649.20
  • Car Insurance (336.37 x 12) = 4,036.44
  • Car Loan (276.91 x 12) = 3,222.92
  • Student Loans 1 & 2 (242.28 x 6) = 1453.68
  • Student Loan 3 (88.46 x 6) = 530.76
  • Groceries (min. 100 x 12) = 1,200
  • therapy (100 x 52) = 5,200

What I am left with: $-2,255.64 annually

2015 budget reality

What I didn’t include in this is the annual fees for CA DMV registration (upwards of $170), registration with BBS ($75), AAA auto club (IDK), &c. With these included in the deduction, I’m left with nothing. I live in the red.

Routine oil changes on the car cost about $180 annually. What about brakes? Hey, my coolant tank and/or hoses have been leaking. What if I go beyond the $20 grocery budget? Need new shoes/clothing? The water or electricity bill goes up, as it will? How about this year I’m trying to get licensed and just registering for the exam is $200; not to mention testing fees and study materials? How about having to pay off my credit card bill?

In actuality, I don’t have $160 left at the end of the month. Through my account on mint.com I’ve been able to see where each dollar goes ( I pay with my debit card, I don’t carry cash). I have, on average, $40-60, via credit card. Don’t get me started on my parents asking, “Why don’t you have any savings?” Like, really?!? Are you kidding me? Even better, “Are you planning on going somewhere for vacation?” It’s a hoot when I’m asked if I’ll get a raise. I get a 2% raise, which is 20cents added to the hourly wage which is the base for my salary. I’m trying so hard right now to keep myself together. Let’s not consider the likely increase in rent, and my financial inability to afford the cost of moving.

If you could say a prayer for me, I’d really appreciate it.

A Phone Conversation

I received a letter last Monday, the 16th, from Mother superior informing me that I should really call the Novice Mistress, or if that’s inconvenient, to email her. The irony is that I sent a letter because there was no response from the email I sent her two weeks ago. I called and let Sister know when she could call me.

She called on Thursday (traditional Corpus Christi). In the middle of an initial session with a client and her parents. This kid needs a lot of prayer, her parents, more. Anyway, the call went to voicemail.

So I called later after Mass and Eucharistic procession, around 10pm. We did eventually speak on Friday the 20th. She told me about how they still maintain duties for hospitality because they follow the Order of St. Augustine; they are a “daughter” of a religious order over here. Sister spoke frequently of “if you’re a serious discerner” and “you could come visit”. Sister seemed to be understanding of my work schedule, but suggested visiting on the weekends. I may be able to find a time to visit for 4-5 days (especially if I take advantage of weekends), perhaps as early as the middle of July. I’ve also received a copy of the “simple” vocation questionnaire. I can answer most of these easily, I’m only concerned about how to phrase the response about my family.

I need prayers for this.

I spent time today driving to Hermosa Beach to speak with my spiritual director about this, but he had a previous task which ran late; it was cancelled after I got to the residence. Since I don’t know when I’ll be speaking with him, I didn’t feel confident in thinking about it (I like to do my thinking while hiking). Instead, I cleaned my room. I have a ton of junk: chargers with nothing to charge, an ereader without a charger, books, 3 trashbags of clothes, jewelry, etc. It took all day and a set of plastic containers from Target to sort, organize & clear up. I also found my old vocation story and acceptance letter. Heh! That was strange; I felt like I was reading about someone else, and back then, still living at home and hampered, I was someone else. I’m not going to use any of the previous materials in this questionnaire, since I’m more fully myself today than I was in 2008.

Please keep me in your prayers; the spiritual attacks are, well, you know how they get difficult.

Apartment Advent

I wrapped all the gifts. Put up the lights & opened my nativity set for the first time.

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But the cats are meowing and mice stirring.

Money

My roomie “forgot” to pay the cable bill last month. I came home this evening to find a past-due notice on the table, opened but the repayment stub still attached. I called her, no answer. I texted her, no response again. I pay it in full & drive to a mail drop box I KNOW gets picked up at 8am so the funds might arrive at TWC tomorrow, which is when the notice says service may get cut.

Roomie texts me saying “I paid it.” She comes home at 9:45 and says “I haven’t paid yet. I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Don’t lie to me. I said I would never go through her mail (it’s a federal offence) because it’s her responsibilty. And she can’t forget additional payments for gas or electricity because it effects others in the apartment, namely myself. I said that if she has problems asking me for half of the payments each month (i.e. previous roomie said asking for money made her feel bad) that she needs to figure something out.

Heat

Its a steady 90° at night here. The mousies are sleeping until I put their water bottle in the fridge. My pinchy-pinched nerve acts up at this hot, breezeless hour. Nature’s on a humidity kick to boot, making all bedsheets useless, including the flipside of a pillow. And I feel like i’m being watched.

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This orange fuzzy blob waits for me all day.

By the by, I have a phone call with a convent tomorrow, long-distance. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Now if only I could sleep…but fuzzies are running on rattly wheels, nibble on crunchy bits, and sniffle at the heat. Oh, and roomie’s cat like to play hide-n-seek under my bed. Nothing like leaping out of bed at meowing to help me sleep.