These Are Strange Times, My Dear


I have been a big ole’ lazy bones this week. The week actually started off awesome. It was our staff day on Monday and I had to take my boss’s place for a presentation. It was the breakout session-standing room only! The room was FULL and a ton of people were excited for our topic (International Pop Culture in Your Living Room.)

I’m not going to lie, I thought this was a kind of dumb topic. But I am not a librarian, and I wasn’t going to be presenting (or so I thought) so I didn’t say anything when it was presented at our department meeting. When it was apparent my boss wasn’t going to be able to present, I put together a presentation. I kept it short-Central Asian pop music, Ramadan Soap Operas and Middle Eastern Street Art.

It went GREAT! I heard people talking about my part in between sessions and I heard from the other librarians that people were asking about the “calligraffiti” aspect of my presentation. It was such a great feeling. It makes me want to be better at my job.


For about 30 seconds.

I had a doctor’s appointment Tuesday morning. I finally saw a psychiatrist to get on anti-depressants. She is fantastic and I am super optimistic about our relationship and the future of my mental health. That is a great feeling.

Since I took Tuesday morning off, I decided to take Tuesday afternoon off to “work on my shit.” Guess what I did? Went to the pub* with Mr. Beach Life and had a man give me a drink on the house. And then I did nothing. For the next 2 days. I will get out of this funk eventually. But it came from nowhere and it’s hard to pinpoint what will make it go away.



My uncertainty about the future in general isn’t helping. I don’t want to get too political but I also don’t hide my political affiliations. I am incredibly distressed by the current events in this country.**  I have decided that getting a passport is a priority for this month. Maybe I am over reacting but having a passport gives me options and options make me feel better. Also, perhaps Mr. Beach Life and I will use our passports to take a vacation. I miss traveling and I feel like an imposter in my own life without a passport. I’ve had one almost since birth and I cannot believe I’ve let it lapse.

We’ve also been watching The Handmaid’s Tale and that is doing nothing to calm my fears.

I’m not entirely sure where the money for the passport will come from. It definitely will impact how much I will be able to put into savings this month. Figuring out the financial aspect is almost as stressful as the current events.


The Lawyer

Compounding my financial stress is that I received another lawyer’s bill. I haven’t paid the last one yet and now it is up to almost $2,500. I have got to get that money to Ira because it isn’t right that he is doing all this work for me for free. But I don’t exactly have $2,500 at my disposal.

I have a 0% balance transfer check from Chase that is a 3% transfer fee that I am going to mail to him this week. It makes me sick to take on another monthly payment but not as sick as it does to take the money out of my savings account. I am going to call the office this week and ask if there is anything I can take on because the bills are getting to be higher than I can afford. I feel terrible doing that since Ira for some reason credited me $500 on the last bill.


Anxiety about finances

The plan I made at the beginning of the year just isn’t going to work anymore. I need to rethink my financial plan, find ways to earn more money, and lower my spending as much as possible if I want to stay on track.

I will continue to save every month. This month won’t see the $1,500 I had hoped go into savings. In addition to the passport and the lawyer, I am paying out of pocket for the last of the renovation expenses, and the monthly payments on the 0% interest credit cards. We are in the home stretch which is a relief. And I will reimburse myself what I am paying now when we get the HELOC to pay off the credit cards. Once I get the reimbursement it will go straight into savings.

I am trying to balance making more money and my own sanity. I am still mystery shopping, but I am trying to choose the shops with the most bang for the buck. Because I don’t want to spend all of my time working, I will turn down time intensive shops. I will be taking advantage of bank account bonus. While it may take a while to receive the bonus, it takes relatively little effort.


All that’s left is to continue to curb spending. Let’s see how I did last week!


The numbers:


Reminder: The numbers might be a little wonky because I am going on the day they were posted and not necessarily the day I spent the money.


May 5:

$14.99- HBO subscription. We should probably consider pausing this subscription but we are getting far to much enjoyment out of John Oliver and Bill Maher. We also haven’t finished The Leftovers and Game of Thrones will start up again soon…excuses, excuses.

$3.79- Another coffee.

$8.25- Dranks at the pub. Mr. Beach Life paid for my meal and my first round. Then the Cubs blew a lead in the 9th inning so we had to stay to see what happened.

$5.34- Mystery shopping job, fully reimbursed.


May 6:

$100- Sam’s Club Membership. I wasn’t going to re-up for the more expensive membership this year. Last year I only spent enough to get $20 in rewards, which didn’t justify the extra $55. But, as a university employee, I got a $25 gift card for renewing my membership. I think we might spend a little more than last year because we’re doing keto and can but a lot of our favorite foods in bulk. So I think with the gift card we might break even on the higher membership. This might have been a mistake though.

$23.59- Meat, cheese, pesto and other foods from Sam’s Club. This is after the $25 gift card.

$5.34- Wine.

$10.13- mystery shop at a grocery store. Including $10 reimbursement.


May 7:

$17.41- Grocery store mystery shop. Including $17 reimbursement.

$20.78-Grocery store mystery shop.Including $17 reimbursement.

$18.63- Grocery store mystery shop. Including $17 reimbursement.

$51.98- Mostly cleaning supplies for the Airbnb space, but also a rotisserie chicken from Sam’s Club.

$17.66- Big Lots for towels and travel sized toiletries for the Airbnb space. Ibotta had (and still has!) a 15% coupon!


May 8:

$14.39- Grocery store mystery shop. $14 will be reimbursed.


May 9:

No spend!


May 10:

$50- Lowes gift card. I bought it through and earned 200 SBs from Swagbucks for it. It helped complete my SWAGO card for another 200 SB. If we still didn’t have renovation expenses, I wouldn’t have bought it.

$9.36- Groceries.


Weekly Total: $371.64, with $80.34 in mystery shop reimbursements coming. I also had a crazy amount of Ibotta and Mobisave rebates this week-over $10 worth!

It’s a little more than last week, but still a respectably low amount of spending. I expect next week’s spending to be close to $4,000, so watch out for that!


Happy weekend, everyone!


(The title of my post is taken from an Ahmad Shamlu poem, “In This Blind Alley.”)


*I hadn’t start on the medication yet! Don’t worry!
**Obviously, I find Comey’s firing troubling. Everything that surrounds it is troubling. But what really got me was the jailing of a journalist. Maybe he was being aggressive, maybe he wasn’t. But jailing journalists is something that has happened in our country only under extreme circumstances. This wasn’t extreme.
It is not a crime to ask questions. It is not personal. Asking questions is the greatest way to understand something. And answering questions is the greatest opportunity one has to develop an argument and hone critical thinking. I am sick at the lack of critical thinking that goes on in this country. It is NOT a personal attack to be asked to explain your reasoning!
I’m not just upset with the right. The left also has crazy town ideas about questions. Instead of asking probing questions of the people they don’t agree with, a small (hopefully?) segment of the left has decided that they don’t want people voicing opinions because it makes them feel uncomfortable. You know what? I am deeply uncomfortable with the KKK. I do not believe in their mission and it troubles me that they still exist in 2017. But if they want to hold a demonstration in my town, I say go for it. As long as they are not committing violence or inciting violence they have a constitutional right to demonstrate. I don’t believe in what they believe in, but I want to know which fuckers in my community are part of the KKK. Then I can stop associating with them or spending money at their establishments or even just TALK to them to try to get them to change their mind. Shutting them down is going to do nothing but push them underground. I want the racists and bigots and misogynists of my community out and visible so that if they ever decide to run for public office, I don’t accidently vote for someone with view so contrary to my own.

5 Responses

  1. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Oy, I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time lately. The transition to meds is really rough, so don’t let the change in your body chemistry get you down too much. 🙂 I’m also distressed politically. The best thing we can do is continue resisting, donating to charity, and voting for the right thing.

  2. Sylvia

    >$5.34- Wine.

    Atta girl. I just tried Two Buck Chuck for the first time this week. It was… interesting. Much as my frugal side loathes it, I’m gonna have to spring for my more expensive tastes in the $5 bottles XD

    Sorry to hear you’re in a funk, but I’m glad you’re writing about it. Shared and halved burdens and such. I was on antidepressants for a period of time – a little bit of wisdom, if you’d like: be patient with yourself/your psychiatrist and don’t get discouraged if/when it takes a hot minute to see results. It’s a process.

    And like… I hear ya re: current events. I don’t want to just be financially independent. I want to be so obscenely wealthy that I can throw money at candidates, causes, and charities that I believe in. I even keep a list of organizations that I’ll donate to in my ‘when I’m rich’ folder. Maybe it’s a bit of a pipe dream, but it makes me feel better/proactive and lights a wee bit of a fire under my booty to keep side hustling/being frugal/investing/blogging etc.

    • Jax-This post may contain affiliate links

      And that was the more expensive wine! We usually buy Beringer for $3.99 a bottle at Kroger, but they don’t make a Pinot Noir (what?!) so we upgraded to Yellowtail.

      I took a genetic testing…test to see how my body processes different elements, that should help my doctor and me find medication with a higher likelihood of working should these initial meds not work. I am ashamed to say I haven’t even started them because now I anxious about taking aniexty medicine. Also, I signed a document saying I would drink alcohol (or do narcotics but that’s not an issue) while my doctor is treating me and I feel icky about that. I don’t drink a lot, a glass of wine a couple times a week, but I understand it can interfer with medicine.

      I love that you have a folder of future charity donations! That’s one way to keep positive about the whackadoodle times we like in.

  3. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe

    I feel for you and hope you’re able to work yourself into a better frame of mind. I know that current events probably contributed to my own less than optimal winter/spring. (and though I enjoyed reading The Handmaid’s Tale this winter, I’m avoiding the TV show like the plague. Too scary for me, thanks.)

  4. Save Splurge Deny Debt - Cameron


    Sorry to hear about things being stressful. Life has this cruel way of kicking you in the face when you are feeling hopeful.

    Keep kicking ass at all of your successes! You seem to be doing well at tracking your expenses and being aware of things to limit spending. Sure you could cut out wine, but that would just be silly 😉

    I have heard a quote that stuck with me that said, “life is never as good as it seems, or as bad as it seems.” For whatever reason, this keeps me pretty level headed with most issues. My wife complains that I am rarely stressed because of it while she is always stressed.

    I am sure things will get turned around for you! Keep up all the great work!

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