Can’t Catch Up to Get Even

[WARNING: Whiny, complaint-laden post ahead. Proceed with caution and self-pity]

As a parent there are some days where everything just seems to click effortlessly and life just falls into place without lifting a finger. An unexpected bill arises but it’s OK because you got that bonus at work just in time.  That bill you thought needed to be paid? It turns out you already paid it and just forgot. Everyone is healthy, you’re managing to put a few bucks away in your savings and the real estate market/economy are improving.

This is not one of those days.

We’re in a rut where nothing seems to be going right. I thought everything would drastically improve once MJ landed a job, but that hasn’t exactly been the case. We literally ran out of money a couple of months ago and some bills went unpaid. And now they’re coming to collect. Worse than that, in addition to the bills we knew we missed, we’ve found a half dozen we thought we paid but haven’t.

There’s something wrong with my stomach, yet finding a primary care physician has been more difficult than searching for meaning in a Vin Diesel movie. But at least I have health insurance right? Well, thanks to the tanking economy I found out that in a month I’ll have to dish out an additional $150 a month to keep the same health care plan. Not to mention the company stopped its 401k match.

And just for fun, Haley has infected ears again. I want nothing more than to take my poor dog to the vet, but we can’t afford it. She has all of her shots due next month and we can’t afford two appointments. Because anytime you bring your animal to the vet — and in this case knowing there’s antibiotics and everything else necessary — it’s at least $250. I thought we had done the smart thing and were on the road to saving money by giving up Fenway and only having one dog. Guess not.

It’s just one thing after another and just when you think you’re caught up, something else happens. All we want to do is get back to even and we can’t. One step forward, two steps back. MJ gets a job, my health insurance co-pays go up. We get rid of Fenway, Haley costs twice as much to care for. We pay off the rest of this year’s car payment only to find $600 in hospital bills that slipped through the cracks. Not to mention our condo is currently worth $100,000 less than what we paid for it four years ago, so we can’t sell it or even rent it out to try to live somewhere cheaper.

I just want to be able to give Will everything I had as a kid. But honestly, that’s not possible. We went to financial counselors for the first time ever and what a waste of time. You know what they told us? That we pay out more than we make. No fucking shit! Thanks for that news flash asshole!

What do you do when you’re trapped in quicksand with nothing to grab onto? Right now, I’m just going to hold my breath and claw like hell.

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12 thoughts on “Can’t Catch Up to Get Even

  1. Man, do I feel your pain. I’m in a similar situation, but you know what? You can only do what you can do. Keep up with the important stuff, and get to the other things when you can.

    There is more to life than keeping up with the crap that comes in the mail.

  2. Hang in there. We went through something similar a few months ago. We’re just getting back to good now but not doing as well as we were before. Pay the bills that matter most (heat, water, electricity, etc.) and don’t worry TOO much about the rest yet. No point worrying about things you cannot change (that’s what I learned in therapy last week, haha). The hospital can’t take back its medicine or services and if they call to bitch tell them they will get paid when you actually have money. It’s not like they can take you to court and get something out of you that you don’t have! Lots of times they will work out payment plans with someone – they figure getting a little at a time is better than nothing at all. I’m thinking of you guys, I’m sure it will all work out. xoxo

  3. Just do what I do…go shopping…buy a new toy…get Will something really freakin’ cute to wear (like a tshirt that says “Are you my Daddy?”)…………and remember, there’s always food stamps!

    Believe me…we’ve been there…and are there… Some of it is poor money management on our part…some of it is just plain bad luck…a lot of it is the economy. I just keep reminding myself that we’ve made it through hard times before and we’ll do it again…somehow. In the meantime, how about a pizza for dinner?

  4. We are having the same stupid conversations at my house about these same stupid issues. It seems like it is impossible to get ahead, or caught up and when/if you do something else immediately goes wrong. BUT – I have 2 beautiful healthy kids, a fantastic husband, a loyal dog, a good job (even if it doesn’t pay enough), and I get to go to the beach on the weekends. You just have to make your own happy list! Good Luck!!!!

  5. I know hearing that you are not alone in the boat does make you feel better, but it still doesn’t pay your bills. I ALSO know what it is like to be a parent and took look into those big eyes and just want to be able to give them everything, at the least stability.
    I think there really are a lot of uf in the boat and all we can do is love our kids completely to and pay what we can when we can, and like the other commenters said, count the many blessings we do have… and is there a bigger or better one that Will?

  6. This won’t help much but…

    Take the dog to the vet for the ear problem. Get the perscription but DON’T GET THE MEDS THERE! Go to…much less expensive and very quick. The only shot a dog Haley’s age truly needs is rabies booster. You can get that for free or cheap at a rabies clinic run by your local Humane Society/Animal Shelter. The other shots she can skip a year (or two.)

  7. I have no good advice but to say hang in there. You could schedule another meeting with the financial adviser just to kick their ass.

  8. ugh-times are tough-but remember it WILL get better…even if it gets worse now…the one thing to try to do (which I know is hard) is to think of all the positive that will some day come out of you going through a hard time.

    Knock on wood, but things have been getting better and better since David was a baby-we just stayed thankful to what we DID have and how things just couldn’t get any worse. We have loving family and friends who helped us in need.

    Will soon will be in school or in daycare that as he get’s older it gets cheaper.

    Have a yard sale…get rid of all the junk, put some money away for a day to have a nice dinner with MJ to sigh and take it the good. Then use the rest to pay off some small credit damaging bills.

    I had someone tell us the same thing “You need to make more money” well…that was silly…

    But even if it means food stamps, getting those creditors off your backs by paying the min. with a CC agency, you will pay them off. We had $10,000 in debt, and then some with medical bills, and owed family 4 years ago.

    Today ZERO. our credit is still low but it’s getting better.

    Sell what you don’t need, freecyle what you do need.

    Sorry this sucks-it’s hard to enjoy the little things when the big things hang over. You guys are smart and hard working, wonderful parents. You’ll be okay.

  9. Hope that the dread pirate Roberts is there to hack a vine and jump in to save you. I know….inconceivable.

  10. First off- JEE you are hilarious. Just thought I’d mention it.

    And secondly, all day yesterday I though about your post Aaron and wondered what I could possible say that would be helpful and came up with nothing. All my thoughts seemed…inadequate or repetitive. But then this morning I thought- hospital bills! There’s something I do know about. If you haven’t already done so, call the billing department for the hospital and let them know that you intend to pay the bill and will send them a payment right away. It doesn’t matter how much you send- give them $5-but send a payment every 30 days. They won’t like it but they can’t waive the balance because you have insurance (it’s fraud) but they can’t send it to collections or small claims either because you are making a good faith attempt to pay. Hope this helps! PS- don’t tell on me! We billers aren’t supposed to advise this course of action- the doctors don’t like it!

  11. I know that this sounds silly coming from me, but I feel your pain. While I may be comfortable on the homefront, my student loans and credit cards are killing me. My credit, which use to be perfect, has tanked due to having large amounts of debt, even though I make my payments faithfully. It’s the economy. I want to buy a new car soon but I can’t get a loan because I have too much debt.

    Hang in there, babe! Pay the stuff that matters and give pennies to the stuff that’s not as important. As long as you’re showing good faith they can’t come get ya.

  12. Dude, I’m sorry. That just sucks. I’ve been there before and it’s awful.

    I’ll fax you some vodka.

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