Tag Archives: money

Not a real green dress, that’s cruel

Losing lottery ticket

Image credit: Mark Turnauckas via Flickr under CC by 2.0

I did not win the huge Powerball jackpot.

That’s probably because I didn’t buy a ticket. It’s not that I don’t approve of lotteries or gambling; I’ve rubbed the edge of many a penny over a scratch-off ticket, across the table from my Grandmaman, and I’ve carefully picked out special numbers for the Quebec 6/49. I like the fun of dreaming, and holding a little slip of maybe in my hand. Before the numbers are picked I’m not a winner or a loser, and possibilities are endless.

But some possibilities are more possible than others. Statistics are mean. They’re even meaner when everybody in the country is buying a dozen tickets each for a 1-billion-dollar jackpot. So, since the chances of me winning were almost the same whether I played or not, I saved myself a few bucks and dreamed about the jackpot anyway.

If I had a billion dollars (if I had a billion dollars)…

I’d buy me an exotic pet. But not like a llama or an emu. Just another cat. Or two. And I’d build an extension on the back of the house so they could have their own room full of sun and windowsills and great views of bird feeders. I would also buy bird feeders. The kind that defend the seeds by spinning squirrels off into space. The cats and I would all enjoy that quite a bit, I think.

I’d have a bunch more kids, probably, because I could hire a Fraulein Maria to come and governess them and teach them music and make them clothes from the drapes. And I’d buy super nice drapes for their clothes. Good thread count.

I’d go back to school and learn a bunch of things that I want to learn, and pay absolutely no mind to whether or not the courses would be applicable to real life and a good job. I want to learn more medicine and history of science, and literature. And maybe learn German. German is cool. I’ll need a big study to do all this learning in, of course, so I’ll add one of those to the house (over the new cat playroom). One wall would be all windows, and the other three would be floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, with those sweet rolling ladders so I can get to the top shelves. And a comfy chair, and a big imposing desk, and a giant globe and a telescope and microscope and maybe a full-size Dalek just for kicks.

I’d drink better coffee. I know, I know, life’s too short to drink lousy coffee, but the nice stuff is like 50c a bean, so I’m keeping the family budget in check by drinking Kirkland’s Columbian in bulk. So if I had that billion dollars, I’d definitely drink the really expensive coffees via a state-of-the-art espresso machine (Maria would also know how to work an espresso machine and draw narwhals in the perfect foam on my cappuccinos).

Image credit: Marc Smith via Flickr, CC by 2.0

Not many foam narwhals in the image banks, folks. Image credit: Marc Smith via Flickr, CC by 2.0

And yeah, I’d travel and fix up my house and make sure my family was all set for their futures, but that stuff isn’t nearly as much fun.

You’d rather hear about how I’d sign up for a while bunch of thing-of-the-month clubs so I’ll get new wines and bacons and cheeses and pies sent to my door regularly. Because I totally would. And Maria would bring me a slice of my April pie and my narwhal cappuccino and take the children out to the park in their drapes, and I’d spin my globe, poke my finger down to stop it, and see where we should visit next.

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Re-Engineering

It’s never a good day when you’re called into a conference room and find a Human Resources representative sitting at the head of the conference table with a slim folder in her hands and an emotionless expression on her face.

The organization I work for is making cuts. Lots of them. We’re being re-engineered, re-shuffled, made leaner and meaner and more competitive. And unfortunately, the executive vision of the organization’s bright future only includes 3/5ths of my job. I guess I’m grateful that they didn’t do away with my position entirely, like they’ve done to so many others, but that’s a whole lot less money I’m bringing home to my family.

I refused the severance package and stayed on part-time, for now, despite the obscene increase in my health premiums now that I’m only working 24 hours a week. So obscene that you should probably stop reading this if you’re at work. My cost tripled. That is multiplied by three. Double it, and then add a bunch more. Yay, US health insurance system. So I’m working for benefits, essentially. But I have a job, we have health care, and it could be worse.

I’m using my not-at-work days* to write and get housework done so maybe I’ll be freer in the evenings and on the weekends to just hang out with my family. Theoretically, part-time work is great. The mom thing is a ton of work and it would be lovely to have a regular day or two during the week that I could dedicate to the job of parenting.  Our daycare doesn’t have a part-time option, so kiddo is still there all week – no savings there. But that does mean that I’m able to handle errands and appointments and cleaning without a baby underfoot. And I could easily pull him out of class early on days I’d like to do special activities with him. I was able to enjoy the Halloween parade there this morning, and stay for a couple of hours to get him into his costume, walk him around to see the decorations, and take a million photos.

Financially, though, part-time work sucks. A lot. Lots of people are infinitely worse off, and I’m not going to complain too loud, but this means fewer nice things, fewer house projects, fewer vacations. And more importantly than all that, I get a sense of worth from my work, and being cut really hurt. I need to work, and it would be wonderful if I could work somewhere I felt I was making a difference somehow, and growing as a person.

I’m not sure I want to go back to the hospital labs, working weekends and holidays and being stuck there if the next shift is late, because the blood bank never closes. Besides that, the hospitals are far, and I’m so tired of long commutes. There are research labs around, too, and I’m looking into those, but I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t time to re-engineer myself a little. Who am I, who do I want to be, and how do I get from here to there? Do I need to cut any of my efforts by 2/5ths in order to move forward?

I read Wil Wheaton’s post about “rebooting” his life this week, and it’s still bouncing around in my head. Reboot. Re-engineer. What better time for personal change than a time when everything’s changing around me anyway? What can I fix? What can I focus?

Well, I know I want to write more. So I’ll write more. And read more, too, because Wil’s right that input is necessary for good output. I have a very long reading list to get to, and maybe being part-time for a while will give me time to make a dent in it. I’ve also got more time for writing now, which is great because I’ve got a couple of paid gigs these days, on top of my volunteer projects, guest posts, and this blog. Maybe it’s time to look into doing this more seriously. Am I good enough? Can I get good enough?

*Don’t you dare call them my days off. This isn’t a vacation, it’s 2/5ths unemployment.