Stalled & Starting Credential Program (To Do List)

I’ve been feeling stalled again.

I was trying to stop whining and start doing things, which is why I haven’t written. I want to concentrate on the progress being made, not on my failings.

Good things over the past week:

  • Did dishes 3 times. (Yes, I know, but this is really good progress for me.)
  • Cooked dinner 3 times. (Again, really good for me.)
  • Took C to the state fair. We had a great time!
  • Walked over 10,000 steps at the fair.
  • Went for a 1.8 mile walk tonight.

I am registered for the first class in my teaching credential program at National University starting Monday. I’m excited to finally be moving on with this stage, and nervous about screwing it up. I’m not great at getting paperwork done in a reasonable time, and this is key for this program.

I hope that the format of one online class every month, and the quick pace will prevent me from doing my usual nuttiness where I stop going to classes half-way, and then spend the last couple weeks of class trying desperately to catch up.

There’s a ton of stuff I have to do this weekend, before the class starts:

  • Work through an online pre-class orientation.
  • Fill out 3 forms that I have to turn in at orientation. 
  • Gather together a few MORE things for VA Voc Rehab guy.
  • Write my statement to get Voc Rehab guy to buy me a new computer.
  • Check out what I need to start the class Monday.
  • Write an email to my existing students’ parents explaining that I’m returning to school, and will be STRICTLY enforcing my cancellation policy, and that rates for new clients are going up.
  • Get the house a little cleaner.
  • Go for another walk tomorrow.
  • Look at some recipes to try.
  • Go grocery shopping.
  • Do a blog post for the friendship fitness blog.

Goodness, that’s a lot, but it’s mostly computer work, so I better get started.

Perceptions of family

I don’t really know my brother, well half-brother. We share a father, and he’s 9 years younger than me.

I’ve only met him twice: just before he turned 4 and when he was 16.

We recently connected on Facebook. We chatted online, and then called each other on the phone.

We had a second talk last night, a really long one (I’m out of minutes now!)

Interesting things came out in the conversation. I don’t want to talk to much about other family members here, and I don’t want to say too many negative things. But my brother and I share certain viewpoints about our dad and his mother.

Considering that my major exposure to the both of them was when I was between the ages of 5 and 9, with a little sprinkling when I was a young teen, and he’s known them his whole life, I found this extremely interesting.

Our experiences are completely different, but at the same time, we agree on so much. I used to think that my point of view was a little skewed, but hearing that my brother thinks many of the same things that I do is very cool. Maybe I shouldn’t second guess my impressions so much.

Hoarding Shows and Cleaning

I’ve been watching shows like Hoarders and Clean House, both of which are dwarfed by this CNN story.

I watch them and get inspired for a couple of hours to do something about my apartment. It’s helping, kind of.

My apartment is a mess. Part of me wants to post pics, and part of me it way too embarrassed. Maybe I’ll do ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics when I get it clean.

Thing is, I haven’t always been this messy. Actually, it’s beyond messy and into disgusting.

There was a time when I lived alone, and my place was CLEAN and organized, highly organized, even. When I went through what I call the Great Depression (a clinical depression lasting several years, not the economic depression of the 1930s), I gave up. With an elementary school aged child, things were never where I left them, and things never got put away. I became absolutely blind to clutter, mess, even food being left laying around.

I haven’t taught my daughter anything about regular house cleaning. Thing is, I do know HOW to do it. Bill made sure I did. I know that doing dishes every day, cleaning bathrooms once a week, vacuum at least once a week, dust and polish furniture once a week, clean the kitchen floor once a week, all help make a nice home. This was probably the biggest lesson he tried to teach me.

I don’t know why I can’t make myself do these things. I did when I lived alone and when C was younger. For some reason, now, I find it nearly impossible to do.

Yes, like most people, I’m tired when I get home. I’m working a day job and running a small business in the evenings. Some nights, when I have to pick C up at tae kwon do after tutoring, some nights I don’t get home until 9pm, and I like to go to bed at 10pm. But even when I come home earlier, like right after the day job, I don’t spend time cleaning. I jump on the computer and turn the tv on, and lose myself in mediocrity.

I should.

I don’t need to spend 5-10pm just sitting on my butt. I could use some of that time to make my place a little more pleasant. 

Money Monday: Embarrassment

Well, my bank balances embarrass me this bright Monday morning.

I didn’t go totally crazy buying a ton of stuff I didn’t need, but I did make a few impulse purchases. Today, I need to buy oil for the truck, milk, and cereal. That should be all I need to spend for the next few days. I get paid tomorrow night, so it will be better by Wednesday.

Hmm, I’m experiencing a great deal of resistance at the idea of posting this. But I should, in the interest of honesty.

The Positives:
Bank Savings:                                          $25.01
Bank Checking:                                       $25.00
Credit Union Checking:                            $49.43
Credit Union Savings:                                $0.72
Black Belt* Savings:                               $601.27
Summer (7/2011) Buffer Club Savings:          $5.00
Summer (6/2011) Buffer Club Savings:        $10.00

The summer buffer for July was deposited into my acct a few days ago, and, yes, I needed it, a little too much. I was initially hoping to roll at least half of it over to next year, but I needed it. There were a couple of bills that I almost forgot to pay, which is embarrassing.

Am I not an adult? Can I not handle things like this? I need to improve my memory systems. And clamp down on my spending.

One mistake I made was doing the bulk of my grocery shopping this week at SaveMart instead of Food Source. When I do that, I spend about $20-30 more, and I know it. I should be able to make sure I do that.

Family & relationships

Family at its best can be supportive, encouraging, and wonderful.

Unfortunately, many of us have family members that do not meet that ideal.

I had a fight with my sister through facebook the other day. I had intended to write a blog post that day, but the fight had me so upset, I was afraid to write.

I don’t want to write a ton of bad stuff about my family, because, after all, they made me who I am.

My sister means well, and I know it.

Thing is, she remembers things very differently from how I remember them. I don’t think either one of our recollections is more valid than the other, they are just different. But it’s hard for me to reconcile her visions with my memory.

She also seems to have an overly-optimistic view of Family in general, and ours in particular.

But, the bottom line for me is that I have to make decisions about what is best for my daughter. I don’t really want to explain this here further, but, I’ve made a decision that my family is not going to be happy about. And I have to learn to stand my ground.

I’m such a people-pleaser. I want everyone to like me and to understand my decisions. My friends on another forum have been trying to make me realize that it is not possible to do.

Some people who only know me casually think that I’m really strong. My family thinks that I’m a selfish bitch. Neither is really true, from my own point of view.

I’ve done things I’ve had to do to resurrect my life after screwing it up completely. That doesn’t seem particularly strong to me.

I feel that I’ve had to distance myself from my family in order to maintain some sense of self, some personal sovereignty. I don’t think that makes me a bitch.

What I am is someone trying to navigate my way through life, while raising my daughter to not be as frightened of others as I am. I suppose that means I have moments of strength, and moments of bitchiness to balance out my moments of losing myself and allowing myself to be bullied.

Being stuck and fear

At Get Rich Slowly today, April Dykman wrote about doing nothing.

She was talking about being stuck. And barriers.

People throwing up barriers of their own fear and projecting it on you.

It’s so easy to come up with reasons to NOT do something.

I’m a master at this.

I have a million reasons why I can’t do anything.

  • I can’t exercise until I find the headphones for my ipod. Then I have to have the right clothes, the right socks, new shoes.
  • I can’t start a real business until I get out from under my debts and have a huge amount in savings.
  • I can’t be a real teacher until I finish this schooling.
  • I can’t be a writer because I don’t have original ideas or an interesting life to talk about. I can’t start a blog because I’m not an expert in anything.
  • I can’t help out with my kid’s school because I don’t have time, and I’m too introverted.

See, millions of them.

When I’m depressed, these thoughts take hold, and I can’t get past them. For years, I was stuck, unable to do anything, even simple things like the laundry, much less the complicated stuff.

When I was in that space, people telling me to “Just Do It” didn’t help. In fact, it was infuriating. I simply couldn’t.

My friend N has commented several times lately that she’s amazed at how much I’m doing lately. I know this is because she remembers when I just couldn’t do anything.

But I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special. In fact, I’m not even doing all the things other people do (witness how messy my house is).

I’m not sure how I started turning things around, but I’m really glad I did.

I know that part of what helped me was taking steps to start tutoring in January, 2007. I just put up an ad on craigslist.

It was scary to meet my first couple of students, and I was unprepared for some things. But people gave me money. And asked my advice. And looked at me as an expert.

It was a kind of ‘high’. That gave me enough energy to start making other changes.

And I don’t even remember what upset me enough where I actually made that first craigslist ad.

April’s un-stuck moment came after she did an informational interview with someone. I’m not sure that’s something that I could do. When I’m stuck, contacting other people is very hard.

What kind of things get you unstuck?

Money Monday

In the interest of accountability for my finances, I’m going to write about finances on Mondays.

Mondays are often when I feel a spending hangover and panic from the weekend spending.

I’ll talk about my budget and such on other occasions. Today, I’m just going to start off simple, with bank balances and savings goals.

I use YNAB (You Need A Budget) to track my balances and spending.

First, some background: I have some debt that is in collections from my bottom point. It’s been almost 4 years, and I have not made any payments on it. I will not track that here. I may eventually declare bankruptcy for that debt. It’s around $10,000, most of which is interest and late fees at this point. This means my credit is trash already, but I’m trying to be diligent about my current debt (mostly student loans).

I recently set up accounts at another institution from my primary credit union. The credit union is my primary account, the bank is my new savings and business checking.

The Positives:
Bank Savings:                                          $25.01
Bank Checking:                                       $25.00
Credit Union Checking:                          $326.18
Credit Union Savings:                                 $0.72
Black Belt* Savings:                               $601.27
Summer (2010) Buffer Club Savings:       $205.43
Summer (2011) Buffer Club Savings:         $10.00

The Negatives:
Checking OverDraft/Personal Loan:       $382.53
Student Loan Company A:                 $2,160.71
Direct Loans:                                   $21,692.90
Perkins Loan:                                    $5,760.00

*My credit union offers what they call “Club” accounts that one can name the terms of when they mature. It has to be a minimum of 3 months, to a maximum of 5 years. You can add to it any time, and start with a small balance. It’s modeled on the old idea of Christmas Clubs, where people used to save money for Christmas spending. With the customization, the small amounts needed to start, and the slightly higher than the savings account interest rate, I think it’s a great tool for me to use to save for specific things.

So, this is where I am now. Next Monday: My Ideal Budget.