Rollercoasters are s'posta be fun, right?

Sorry for the long break between posts. As the title presumes, last week was quite a rollercoaster ride. And no, it wasn’t fun.

It started off pretty fun. The whole Obama Rally/Election Day excitement thing was a major thrill, and probably one of the most exciting moments of my life.

But what happened next, just a couple short days later, made me feel like the stock market on a really bad day.

I got an eviction notice.

Now I must explain a few things here. This had been snowballing ever since my bout with kidney stones a year ago. I was in and out of the hospital for nearly a week and missed a lot of work. I also called in to work a lot because I was still in so much pain after the initial hospital stay. I used up all of my sick time, and the majority of my vacation time as well. So if I got sick for any long period of time, I ran the risk of not being paid for those days. Thankfully I have an extended leave of absence clause at work due to health issues, so I can’t be penalized for those days off… but still, I was in a really bad place.

I worked myself out of it for a while and then the holidays arrived. Back down goes the rollercoaster. I took out loans on my 401(k) to catch up, then maxed out my loans. I was okay for a little while and then it seemed something else came along to knock me down. I never could find my way back.

I had been paying my landlord what I could, when I could, but it simply wasn’t enough. And she had had enough of all of it, obviously… so she did what she had to do.

Now before you begin envisioning me homeless on some dark street, sleeping under a train trestle, I want to dispel your concerns. I did what I had to do — and I called someone. I’m not going to say who. You can guess, and I won’t tell. But that someone helped me out and helped me repay my debt.

The problem is, I still feel like I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul. I wish I could just be independently wealthy and not have to worry about calling someone to bail me out. I wish it were just easier to live my life and do the things I want to do. But that’s the way the cards have been dealt to me, and I have to play them the best way I can.

I am still living in my apartment, and my lease is up in April. At that time I plan on either downsizing to something I can afford, or taking in a roommate. It sucks. I’m 37 years old and I still can’t make ends meet. Back when I was 27, I thought by now I’d be settled down and living the good life with my husband and our two dogs (and two cats) in a lovely townhome in Lincoln Park. Obviously, I haven’t grown up that much in the last ten years.

But I also realize that I am not, and never will be, alone in this situation. I’m sure a lot of my friends have the same troubles I do, and even those who look like they have “it all” really are barely getting by. It doesn’t help my finances get straightened out, but it does make me feel somewhat better.

So where do I go from here? Well, I will be having a very meager holiday season, and will most likely not be having my big holiday/birthday party. That alone will save me some major bucks. But in the meantime, I just have to be on time with the rent and everything should be fine. I’m paid up until December, so I can start paying now for December, which is great. As long as I keep myself in line, I’ll be fine.

And I’m staying away from rollercoasters until further notice.

0 thoughts on “Rollercoasters are s'posta be fun, right?

  1. I have a friend in a very similar situation in Oak Park. The loss of his previous roommate threw him into a financial quandary. A couple of potential new roommates fell through (although it is a fabulous apartment) and now he is considering downsizing to a smaller apartment, potentially in another town, in the next couple of months.

    Too bad you both have your own apartments. I'm just enough of a yenta to try and make a linkage here between the two of you. Let me know if I should put on my Dolly Levi hat anyway! My email is of course submitted with this comment.

  2. I totally feel for you.

    I think a lot of us are looking at our lives and going “huh?”. Where is all the success we dreamed of? We see ourselves growing older and wonder why we aren't living the American dream.

    I know that for me personally my life and financial situation really turned south in 2000. I got let go from a really good paying job, and I've been struggling to find a career job with a nice salary, not just employment, ever since. If it wasn't for my other half, I would have gone under financially a long time ago. I drag him down, but he keeps me afloat. Must be love.

    Don't feel too bad. We've all been there (if we're not currently there!). Sometimes it's when we're at our lowest points that we see things most clear. Take stock of your life, decide what is really important, be thankful for what blessings you do have, and NEVER GIVE UP!!!

    You have more friends than you realize, and although I can't help you financially, you can lean on me for any other reason any time you need me.

    Keep your chin up, Rckt dude!

  3. P.S. As I said, everything began to fall apart for me about eight years ago. It's almost if something happened that year… something of national significance perhaps. I wonder what it was.

    I have this strange feeling though that particular chapter is about over, and a new day is dawning. 😉

  4. All I can do is tell you that I'm sorry that you're having a rough time, send you lots of hugs from afar, and tell you, like Scott before me, that you're not alone. I sometimes feel like I'm holding a perpetual Disney “E” Ticket or FastPass. But when I look around, I notice that there are a lot of other riders with me. Somehow, that does make the ride a whole lot easier.

    Love you.

  5. A lot of people are feeling your kind of pain. I have the husband and kids, but we took a major hit on our house when we had to sell it to relocate, had to borrow the money, and will be paying that debt for a long, long time. Not to mention student loans. Sigh. I think that what got our generation in trouble was that we were led to believe that our lives would be better and easier than our parents', and we have had access to easy credit. After the Wall Street meltdown, I read that one change we should expect to see in our economy is that cash will once again be king. People like us are living proof that cash has to be king, or we will all sink. Together.

  6. This is the second time today I'm hearing the phrase “robbing Peter to pay Paul” for the first time.

    Sorry to hear about the hard times! Constant Vigilance!

  7. Rick, I know exactly what you mean. I'm 45 years old and still struggling to get by. I too thought I would be living in my own house by this point in my life but here I am in a rented apartment. I have to believe it's going to get better… least that's what I tell myself every hour on the hour. Keep your chin up and know that you're definitely not alone.

  8. Hang in there. It's universal, these situations. When I finished college and before I went to my “big” first job I fell into the no-insurance hole and had an emergency that I spent the next two years paying back for. We expect future bumps too. Find a way to live within your means, and count blessings – family, life, cheese, etc. (can you tell Pollyanna is one of my favorite movies?).

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