Monday, September 22, 2008

Grinding to a halt

I had to quit my "Independent Contractor" job. I wasn't able to earn enough to make up for the price of gas. Fortunately, that's one of those jobs that I can pick back up again if gas prices drop and no one will be the wiser. I also have put my Amazon bookstore on vacation hold. Early last summer I was selling two or three books a day. I cancelled my Endicia account which allowed me to mail sales from home because of their monthly fees and the job uncertainty. Then the price of gas went bananas. Now that my sales have declined to one or two books a week, the numbers work out that driving to the post office (when I didn't have another trip out scheduled anyway) eats up all my profit.

The release date of Harvest Moon Tree of Tranquility was pushed back to October 1. Our family has a long-standing rule that you DO NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING FOR YOURSELF AFTER SEPTEMBER 30 because I usually start Christmas shopping in earnest on October 1. I'm collecting things all year, but the serious shopping begins 10/1. So, I can't get myself the game I've been waiting months for.

So here I sit. I've packed pretty much all I can without boxing up things we need for everyday living. I can't really clean any more because, as I learned from the hall walls I cleaned earlier this month, there's no keeping anything clean and it will just have to be redone. I have no distractions to keep me from obsessing over the job situation. I have nothing to do but sit and rerun numbers in my head: How long till the money runs out? How much do I have to make to get family health insurance and break even financially? Can I make that at Walmart? What is the billing cycle on the electrical, and how much can I save if I turn off the AC now? If gas costs x and it's y miles to the grocery store, can I save enough in coupons to go to the "good" store or do I have to shop at the store that's closer where the meat department smells suspicious?

The kids have started having nightmares. A sure sign of stress they're sensing from me. Christy couldn't sleep last night because she didn't want to go to heaven (!). It was a "fear of change" moment, and I wasn't in an emotional place to help her. I'm more in a "fear of not change" thing right now. What if we DON'T get a job soon?

Keeping busy used to help. Now that there's less to keep busy with, I'm floundering. I'm failing this test that I want so badly to pass.

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