It’s 11:56 PM on a Friday, and I’m about to do some dishes.

Welcome to the life of a 46-year-old widow with 4 teenagers.

And now it’s 12:48 AM, and I’m just sitting down to finish this post.

Did it really take almost an hour to do dishes?


Why are you doing dishes at midnight on a Friday?

Because they weren’t done earlier.

Why didn’t you do them earlier?

Because I was out driving deliveries for Uber Eats.

Why are you driving for Uber Eats?

Because I need extra cash right now.

Wait a minute. Don’t you have like a solid six-figure salary?

Yep. My salary is $150,000 per year.

And that’s not enough?

Nope. Not with 4 kids, all teenagers, who want things like braces and more braces and food and a young adult stipend and bowling club and clothes for band concerts and tampons and graduation announcements and driver’s licenses and emotional therapy and physical therapy and shampoo and the chance to go to a movie once a month. And because I have a house, which requires upkeep like paying the water and sewer bills and paying off the AC system from 3 years ago and fixing the garage door opener and unsticking the toilet and replacing the socket joint on the car so the wheel doesn’t fall off mid-intersection and paying the guy to complete your taxes because it’s so inconceivably complicated to understand the infinite-layer bureaucracy of the IRS.

Dude – you’re screwed.

That’s what I realized when I put together my budget at the end of January and saw that I have only like a few hundred dollars unaccounted for each month. That’s not enough. I don’t even have anything like an emergency fund.

Why don’t you have an emergency fund?

Because I didn’t change my spending habits during the few years that I didn’t have a full-time employment and was trying to build a freelance business.

That didn’t work?

Nope. I hated selling myself.

That doesn’t seem smart.

Well, I guess. And now I have to make sacrifices for a while to get back to a reasonable position.

So you’re driving Uber to make that happen?


How’s it going?

I made over $140 in 4 hours tonight, so that’s a positive. I’m targeting to clear, after gas, $1,000 a month. Plus when I have an anniversary at work in 2 months I’m going to make a solid case for a large raise. I figure it will be 6 to 9 months to get about 10 grand in that emergency fund.

Better be a pretty big raise.

Yeah. I think I’m worth significantly more.

Still – why were you doing the dishes at midnight?

Because they weren’t done before, duh.

But why were you doing them? Don’t you have kids that can do that?

Well, yeah. I guess.

So why don’t they?

Because I don’t make them do stuff around the house very much. They have chores, like one made dinner tonight and another is doing that tomorrow. But I haven’t enlisted them to do the cleaning-up stuff.

Why not?

Probably my trust issues.


Yeah, trust issues. I’ve been burned so many times by so many different people that I can’t really let go of responsibilities and expect them to get done in any kind of reasonable way. Or, if I did push additional responsibilities, then I would have to train them how to do it, manage that process, and that’s another administrative headache. Ugh.

So you’re just doing it all yourself?

Pretty much, yeah.

Sounds like you’re a control freak.

Well, not really that I have to control everything, but I just do stuff so that other people don’t have to. So I don’t have to ask them and make them see me as less than able to provide for them.

Oh, so you’re a martyr!

Yeah, I guess. It makes sense in my mind.

Not to me.

Who are you?

Your conscience.

Oh fuck.

Writing Practice 1/12/2020 – Budget

Prompt: “budget”

Good lord, don’t speak to me of budgets. How often must we talk of accounts, and income, and expenses, and allocations? Let us live our lives! Let us run free! Let us roam, let us expand let us explore! No more artificial, arbitrary constraints of a dollar here or a dollar there. No more abstract concepts of balancing from one ledger line to another. No more wondering whether we’ll be off and over by a penny, thus incurring the same warmth as if we had gone over by ten dollars or a thousand.

Why such absolutes? Be more fluid, more flexible, and see where life takes you. Fly! Fly free and enjoy the wind of life in your hair.

Ignore the boundaries of capitalism and embrace the freedom of poverty. Release yourself from the shackles of limitations and discover just how much you can accomplish with nothing, nothing at all.

Ignore the voices at the back of your head saying “worry” and “fear” and “save”. What do they know of life, anyway? What good is saving now for another day, when that other day, you are too feeble to use what you have saved?

No, tomorrow is not guaranteed. And, likewise, neither is a year from now not guaranteed. So, live your life. Love your life. Appreciate your boundaries, and run free within them.

When you find, as you absolutely will, eventually, that those boundaries no longer offer the stimulation you once received – when your cavorting within the confines of your budget no longer satisfy your curiosity for adventure, for exploration, and experience – then, then my friend, it is time.

You shall know it by the warning signs: when you are antsy with your routine – when you are bored of your friends – when your lover does not – when you see these, be aware, and be prepared, that the change is coming.

It will be difficult, no doubt. It may be violent, how strongly your subconscious rebels against the freedom you are exposing it to. But push on, continue, fight this good fight, for in doing, you dissolve the last barriers to true experience – those limitations on mind, on body, and, truly, on happiness usually called a “budget”.