I Am That Girl Now

Monday, January 07, 2008

A link, a to-do list, and more on my Hub vs. the budget

Have you ever had a doctor dismiss your symptoms, telling you that they'd go away if you weren't so fat? First, Do No Harm: Real Stories of Fat Prejudice In Health Care is collecting these stories all in one place. If you have one, submit it. And if you don't think that this is a problem, just start reading-- you may be really, really surprised.

The last few times I've been at my PHP's office, I've noticed that there's a big stack of Weight Watchers material there. I think I may be mentioning FDNH to her, and handing her the website URL. I love my doctor more than ought to be humanly possible, and often when I'm sick I end up treating her like an extra mother ("heeeelp, I'm siiiiiick"), but after reading all this stuff I can't help but have my antennae up, just in case.

Today I need to:

1) Re-schedule my annual girly exam because I just realized while gazing at my Pill pack this morning that I've brilliantly scheduled it for the middle of my period;

2) Schedule an appointment to have the blood-donation folks suck my blood again, since apparently now that I'm on their list they will be banging on my door every six weeks;

3) Call the physical therapy folks and get another four weeks of PT scheduled. Which I know I have to do. I just... it's winter in Chicago, okay? Yesterday's (and apparently today's) freakish warm weather aside, usually it's cold. Often it's snowy. Often I must, as a habitual pedestrian, tromp over sidewalks where some bastards haven't shoveled*. And always, after four P.M., it's dark. We're due for relief on that last in mid-February, but I'll be tromping around in the cold and dark with a lack of constant footing and traction. Oh, and in-between such tromping there is the PT, which I am irritated with, too. ARGH.

* I suspect their thoughts on the matter are something along the lines of Oh, it's just an inch of snow, it doesn't really matter, I can get away with not shoveling when in practice, in a pedestrian-heavy city such as ours, an inch of snow does not magically disappear but instead is crushed down by many feet into a treacherous section of bumpy, dippy ice... at which point any sane person would be tossing ice-melt of some kind out there to avoid lawsuits, but apparently they're too far in denial to even contemplate that. Although, to be fair, some of them are such bastards that they don't shovel (or for that matter pay some enterprising pre-teen a lousy five bucks to shovel) under any circumstances, even when there's a good foot of snow on the ground and people have had to tromp a narrow path through, which is also treacherous because this is a dog-heavy neighborhood so the walls of snow on either side of said path are laced with dog pee. Which one wants to avoid. In short, I fully believe that there is a special section of hell reserved for people who don't shovel their walks or provide shoveling business to pre-teens who can't legally hire themselves out to fast-food restaurants.

Oh, and 4) Call my parents, because my out-to-dinner adventures last night fell during the time that I usually call them every Sunday night. The guilt is already suffocating. I do miss them, really, I just forgot!

So it's a busy day.

I miss my sister. I got used to having her around and I still wake up every morning with the vague idea that she's asleep in our living room and I must be careful not to disturb her. There's some sizeable part of my brain that apparently feels that her being in Chicago is the proper way of things, instead of something that only happens once in a blue moon, and that part of my brain refuses to accept that she's back in California. Sigh. Come back, sis!

My Hub is maybe feeling better. He slept a ton yesterday and last night, and is all zinc'd up and oregano'd up and vitamin-C'd up, but the real test will come around noon. He generally starts feeling weird around noon, if he's going to do so. Everyone we know seems to be getting sick, so it's a very real possibility that it's just that time of year, but if I can keep us both from getting ill at the same time this year, I would love to do so. Most of our functionality as a couple depends on only one of us being out of service at a time, which means being drunk, being stressed, or most certainly being sick.

I was going to do my physical therapy at home this morning, but ran out of time before we had to run for the train, so I hauled the giant rubber-band along with me and did them first thing at work. Went pretty well, and I'm pleased to have it over with for the day. I was doing it in the darkened interior conference room, though, since I don't currently have an office (only a cubicle), and every time someone walked by the door I about had a heart attack, expecting them to flip on the lights and ask what the hell I was doing in the dark with a big rubber thing.

Hub on Mvelopes is going vaguely well. Which is to say, I continue to do all the grunt work since I'm doing so on the other accounts anyway, and the real fun is going to kick in any minute now when his "discretionary" funds get low and he has to start making decisions about what other funds he'll have to sacrifice for whatever new thing he wants (which, when he's sick, I fully expect to be food and parking).

Now that I'm thinking about it, this is a more grown-up version of the budget game I played with the kiddos during our belated Thanksgiving visit. In that case, I told both of the girls as we went into their New Favorite Store (the craft store-- I'm so proud) that I was buying them each ten dollars' worth of stuff, but only ten dollars, and they couldn't go over. Immediately, the two of them became hyper-aware of price tags: "Oooh, this is cool! But it's more then ten dollars." They were given sudden education on the store practice of pricing things ending in $0.99: "Wait, you mean that $2.99 is pretty much the same as $3? But it starts with 2!" I wrote down each of their selections as we went, and pretty soon you'd've thought they were veteran penny-pinchers instead of kids from a house where the word "budget" has never been spoken. They traded stuff back in when they found things they liked more. They compared different kinds of yarn to figure out what kind was the softest and the cheapest.

My oldest niece hit a point where she became frustrated that she could not get everything she wanted, and tried to haggle her way out of it by seeing if maybe I might buy her things "for [my]self" and then just happen to let her use/keep them. It was a tense couple of minutes, but the rules of the game specified that $10 was their limit, period, so she eventually settled in and did some last-minute trading to get the most for her buck. Smart kid.

So now we're about to hit that limit with my Hub, and it'll be interesting, to say the least, to see what he's going to do. Will he start trading things in and be okay with that, accept his limits? Will he try to bargain with credit cards? (Which, considering the fact that I'm making him do this because he ran up a balance on the credit cards again, would be a dumb move.) Will he be frustrated and grouchy? And, the biggest question of all: will a few pay periods' worth of this sort of thing cause him to change his behavior? Will he content himself with buying a new video game every other month instead of every single month, and shift some of that money elsewhere? Or will he cut back on going out to eat? Or will he drive to work less often, saving money on parking? Right now, that's a mystery, since he wants it all and hasn't been forced to prioritize. Watch out.

(Side note: I am having a tight month with money, starting with my sister having been in town, continuing to my Hub getting sick, and including the friend-in-town dinner last night; next payday, my sister's birthday occurs and I've pledged $50 to the get-her-a-big-awesome-present pool that her fiance and our folks are part of. I've got enough money for clothes (oh God how I need a new bra), donations, and lunch with my always-lunch-on-Friday college buddy, but all the other envelopes have been ransacked to keep up and I'm going to be determinedly Not Buying Anything until February. So I'm a little tense. Oh, AND: we may be staring down the barrel of a tax issue, so I'm trying desperately to throw as much as I can at our savings account right now. That makes me a little MORE tense. My poor Hub has terrible timing.)

I fully admit that I wanted this, right from the get-go when I signed us up for Mvelopes, although I have been (grudgingly) okay with him not being on Mvelopes as long as he doesn't rack up credit card debt. Having him blithely unaware of his spending is one thing when he's accepting the finite limit of his paycheck; when he moves on to use the credit cards again, there's a problem. It came to my attention because he put a giant video game thing on the credit card, but it turns out that the $150 there was only about 1/3 of the balance; the rest of it was made up of his "day-to-day" expenses: parking, food, new games. Nope, sorry, unacceptable. The whole reason he has a "fun money" budget that's twice as much as mine is so that he can save money to deal with the big things, with the expectation that he'd be keeping the day-to-day stuff under the limit. It turns out-- here's the funny part-- that if he'd waited until New Year's Eve to buy his new game, he would have had enough money without resorting to the credit card, and I wouldn't have pulled that promise out of him to go on Mvelopes. The boy needs impulse control in a big way. I am hoping and praying that knowledge of his spending and a small amount of built-in planning will help.


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