Jeez, more than a month. Writing stuff for here has been on my list for a couple weeks now, but it got anywhere near the top only when it was late at night and I was half asleep already. So I'm going to cover a number of topics here quickly, end with a bit of angst, and leave the ones that should be treated as thoughtful essays for another time when it's not late at night and I'm not half asleep.
- Let's do the time warp again! It struck me recently that ten years ago I was living in a one-bedroom apartment and contracting at Microsoft. I wasn't making as much money, but I didn't have as many bills either.
- I hate the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Every time I have to deal with them, the result is the opposite of what any sane person would expect. I'm going to stop now because I really don't want to start thinking about them again.
- A good friend has been diagnosed with cancer of the uterinal lining. It's in a very early stage and evidently there are a number of options for dealing with it, ranging from medication to hysterectomy. She'd rather not have the hysterectomy, she's not quite old enough to be past child-bearing age. The last time I heard from her was a voicemail letting me know that she was going in for surgery either last Tuesday or next Tuesday, and I can't remember which. I sent her an email to find out and never got a response; I tried calling her today and just got voicemail. I hope she's OK...
And now for the angst! As I mentioned above, last time I was making as much as I am now, I had a lot fewer bills. I also didn't have a mountain of debt. Back then my paycheck covered everything and there was even a bit left over. Now, I'm several hundred in the hole each month, and it's actually worse than I thought based on my initial calculations. Which means that I have no money for almost anything, and if I want to go out to eat or play Laserquest or spend even just a couple dollars on a project, I have to plan for it all week. As I get groceries, I have to note down the price of each thing I'm buying, and I can't necessarily afford everything I want. I can't even remember the last time I had to worry about the cost of food! I was making spaghetti tonight and I realized that the half-pound of hamburger that I was frying to put in it represented a good chunk of my meat ration for the week. I'll probably have a burger at some point, and I guess there's some meat in canned stew and ravioli. I can barely afford to have a burger for lunch, and going to Denny's for a grilled cheese and hot fundge sundae is right out. I don't know when I'll be able to afford a steak again.
I suppose I shouldn't complain too much. Almost everyone I know is in a similar situation. For some, that may change if and when the economy improves. For others, that's just the way it is. A lot of people go through their whole lives like that. If I'm being honest, I have to admit that I still have more than enough to eat, and if I eat poorly, it's my own damn fault. I have enough money to eat healthy and nutritious meals.
So why do I feel so humiliated when I can't get a box of doughnuts because I can't afford THREE DAMN DOLLARS to buy it?