Just Gravy

Where are you and where are you going?
Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

The previous owner of my little bungalow painted the kitchen a bright, cheery orange and laid down terracotta red tile. The counter tops are original to the 1940s--tiled a light baby blue with the grout redone who knows how many times. I built a cabinet to go between the odd space between the fridge and the stove and I tiled it in loud talavera tiles. There are two windows--three if the door is propped open--and the kitchen is always warm and happy and colorful. I really love that kitchen. I love the gas stove and the cabinets that won't close all the way. The dumb Ikea lights some previous owner installed. The way my cutting and prepping station looks out into the backyard. It was at this station that I stood yesterday, having just taken a picnic lunch out to the kids. I stood, chopping vegetables for a homemade veggie and lentil soup (my oldest is sick), and watched my son, the spitting image of my father, pick up blueberries one by one with his chubby little fist and shove them into his tiny little mouth. I watched my daughter fussily pick apart her sandwich and eat just the ham. I watched their father sitting just behind them, playing on his phone. The base of the soup was already on--garlic, onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, olive oil--and the fragrance permeated my happy little kitchen. I'd spent the majority of the morning in that room. I had already made sausages, eggs, coffee, french toast with challah bread for breakfast and now their lunches--ham sandwich for my daughter and french toast sticks for my son (he wouldn't touch them), both plates laden with fresh carrots and blueberries and strawberries. I had done the dishes, swept the floor a few times, unloaded the dishwasher. Every time a kid ran through I'd pester them with, "are you hungry? do you need something to drink?" and wipe their faces. It was, I pondered, as I stood chopping potatoes for the soup, a very Americana morning.

I'm waiting to hear back from a realtor on a house I made an offer on. It's a couple of doors down from my mother, about $80k cheaper than my current home, and almost twice as big. It has a utility room, people, a utility room. The kitchen is a drab grey, but it's big and open and sunny and I can fix it. I can fix pretty much anything. I thought the one downside would be losing the ability to commute to work by bike, but the longer I stood looking out the window at the kids, the worse I felt about the decision. It's a very low bid, so maybe they won't accept it. Maybe they'll make my decision for me (a tactic of which I am very fond, apparently).

But I'm talking to you like you know me. Some of you may remember me--previously I had a journal on this site and went by Gravy Train (as in, ride the gravy train of dividends, yo). I deleted that journal due to some upset in my personal life, but I've wanted to rejoin the community for awhile. Y'all are my kind of weird, after all, and some great things have come into my life by virtue of this site. I'm not sure I have much to contribute, and my path doesn't align very well with the ERE path, mostly because I chose to have children (which I wouldn't recommend), but, yeah, here I am, all up in your condo, sittin' at your table with you.

I guess lemme [re]introduce myself. I'm 32 years old, the sole earner for a family of four, a devout atheist, and a frugal mom that is prone to swearing and drinking. My hair is too long and I have very unresolved issues about my mother. I like to bike and run and hike and get funky tan lines and brag about asphalt dives. I cherish the simple pleasures of life: Belgian tripels, fresh coffee with a splash of milk, early morning sex, stringing words together in clever configurations, and reading books to my kids. I believe that life is utterly meaningless. I enjoy the occasional jigsaw puzzle. I work in the legal field and my current position ticks most of the boxes for me: good pay, boss, benefits, flexibility, commute, coworkers, and an almost perfect blend of boring/interesting and easy/difficult. Due to COVID and my boss's magnanimity, I'd say I'm physically in the office around only 20-30 hours a week now. I try to bike to work at least three times a week (for the other days I take public transit paid for by my job), but I recently had wrist surgery so I won't be able to bike for another two weeks or so.

Here are, approximately, the numbers (all in USD):

Retirement Account: $65,000
My half of the Home Equity: $40-50,000
Brokerage*: $4,500
Kids' College (or whatever, braces, who the fuck knows) Fund (Roth IRA): $3,000
Cash on hand: $6,000ish
Daily net income: $142
Car Value: $1
Weight**: 141 lbs.
Days Sober***: 14

*I liquidated a joint brokerage account in late February because: 1) shit was gonna hit the fan; and 2) my husband and I decided to split our finances. I blew $6,600 of my "sale proceeds" on a six-month lease for an apartment down the street. I've been slowly buying back in to some stocks since May.
**I had two babies in two years, but I'm back to my pre-baby weight. Shooting for 135.
***To quote an esteemed Supreme Court Justice, "I like beer." (Kavanaugh, J.). I'm attempting to stay sober for six months.

I'm not sure what this iteration of the journal will be. I'll probably start with good intentions and keep it mostly generic and boring with lots of quantitative measurements, and then I'll devolve into philosophizing about most everything and ham-handedly warning people not to have children. I don't see a point in putting up my budget right now. We've gone from a two income household to a one income household, and every dollar that I don't spend on supporting the family I'll put into a retirement account for my currently-stay-at-home-husband, because that only seems fair. There won't be, like, globs of money left over, though, so he's not getting such a killer deal.

Anyway. I'm still figuring my life out and just trying to enjoy as much time with my little "biscuits" as I can while they're still young and cuddly. I'm thankful to my younger self for very consciously putting away money and maintaining a relatively frugal lifestyle. I learned a few tricks from this site and maybe I, in turn, can pass along some knowledge, wisdom, or tricks to some young gun. Day at a time.

classical_Liberal
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by classical_Liberal »

Your writing style/attitude was a dead giveaway, I thought maybe she was your twin or something. Nothing so exciting I guess. Welcome back!

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

The giveaway is my old-school adherence to the Oxford comma, isn't it? :D Thanks, man, glad to be back.

Cheepnis
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Cheepnis »

The oxford comma is underrated, underused, and under-appreciated.

Welcome back and I look forward to following along.

Also, biscuits (child) and gravy (parental love) might be the best analogy for the situation ever, good job!

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Cheepnis wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:04 pm
Also, biscuits (child) and gravy (parental love) might be the best analogy for the situation ever, good job!
I smother them with my love. 8-)

Frita
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Frita »

Hey, I like the Oxford comma and use it too. Nothing like communicating, “Hey, dummy, this is a series.”

Welcome back, Gravy, it sounds like you’re in a better space. That is awesome. Early motherhood can really kick one’s ass. I am glad you made it to the other side. Jim would be proud. ;)

Biscuits and Gravy
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Hm, you’ll have to define “better space.” Haha, kidding, I am in a much better space, thank you. It’s been a tough year, but the changes and conversations and confrontations were necessary and long overdue. I’m proud of the personal growth I’ve made this past year and I feel strong enough to take on anything. But yeah, early motherhood is no joke. First Gravy Tip, y’all: Next time you have a friend that has a baby, forgo the casserole and instead offer to pay for some counseling sessions.

Thanks for the ‘welcome backs’, pats on the back, and throwbacks. And lets keep these Oxford commas rollin’.

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unemployable
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by unemployable »

The opening post had an in medias res feel to it, so I do appreciate the backstory.

I learned AP style in college and can't unlearn it at this point, so no Oxford commas for me.

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Alice_AU
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Location: Sydney Australia

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Alice_AU »

Great to see you back, and glad you’re ok!

ertyu
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by ertyu »

I also have very unresolved issues about my mother. Cheers!

mooretrees
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by mooretrees »

Yah!!! It's great to read your voice again! If there was a subscribe button, I'd be hitting it. Can't wait to read more of whatever you want to write.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

@unemployable Aren't all of the stories here in medias res? Ain't no one starting their ERE journey from the cradle.

@Alice, ertyu, and mooretrees :D Missed y'all! Missed this forum. I'll try to be more active this time around and not just come up here to complain about my personal woes.

The realtor got back to me on the house and the sellers basically said, "Great! We accept! But at $15k more!" so that was easy to walk away from. Plus, the realtor mentioned that she's going to take a 5% commission from the sale of my house. Wait, what? What exactly did you say you do here that entitles you to $14 grand of my money? Oh, you're gonna take some pictures and use the internet and work with the title company? Thanks, I think I can do that.

So for now I get to keep my great commute-by-bike and public transit options. The house is small and with the babies' junk everywhere I don't have an inch of personal space within it, but maybe it'll be better when there aren't two cribs and we can instead have the kids in a bunk bed. Dunno. And while it'd be great to be a few doors down from my mother, I'd then be... a few doors down from my mother. (See above, unresolved issues). Also moving to that area would add 20 minutes a day to my commute, and while that doesn't seem so bad on the face of it, that's equivalent to my evening jog. Lose my evening jog and I'd probably lose my mind...

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Days Sober: 15 (I miscounted above)

Had to come home during my work day so DD could get a COVID test. She’s been sick for six days now, but don’t worry, she’s got a long line of tough as shit women before her streaming through her veins; she’ll be fine.

DS went down for his nap. It’s just me, in the kitchen, and that last can of Odell Witkist White making a ruckus in the fridge. Came here to recommit to not drinking (thanks for the [probably imagined] silent external motivation). Instead, I’ll make enchiladas verdes from scratch then go back into the office when DD and her dad get back. Yep. 15 days, Gravy, you got this.

ertyu
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by ertyu »

Biscuits and Gravy wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:47 am
Days Sober: 15
GO GRAVY :muscle:

Inspiring. When I read of this ppls success with various forms of sobriety, I get motivated. And then I become a depressed mess way beyond what I can handle, and I know some of *bad habit thing* would stop it. F, as the kids say on the internet these days.

Stay strong, you got this!

classical_Liberal
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by classical_Liberal »

Biscuits and Gravy wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:47 am
(thanks for the [probably imagined] silent external motivation).
It's not imagined, I'm rooting for you. I haven't drank in... wow, it's been 12 years! I used to drink too much though, like really buzzed multiple times per week and using it as a crutch to get through life. But, at the time I wasn't really happy with my life, so there's that. It was pretty hard quitting, although not as hard as quitting smoking cigarettes shortly thereafter.

Funny thing is, I've been considering reintroducing it to my life as a social concern. Like, people always think it's weird I don't drink at all and I already have too many odd circumstances in my life. Reading about your struggles here makes me reconsider, I don't wanna have to quit if it becomes a crutch again. So, thanks. Goooood luck!

ertyu
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by ertyu »

The social aspect is real. It’s a crutch for me to compensate for substandard social skills, and it’s a crutch to self-medicate shit I should really be in therapy for, e.g. most recently a stressful conversation with parents (yay issues) and the resulting scandal and strong emotions as I was moving out.


Are you in therapy for your mom shit gravy?

Biscuits and Gravy
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

ertyu wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:02 pm
Are you in therapy for your mom shit gravy?
Good lord no. I shove that shit way down. Plus, I have more pressing fish to fry right now.

Thanks for the encouragement, y’all! Gave me real glows. I’ve recognized the pattern of alcohol consumption = whee! for an hour or two, and then crushing depression for two days after. It’s (usually) not worth it. The next six months are big for me, so I’d like to be as clear-headed and even as possible.

@c_L Obligatory ‘Congrats on 12 years!’ :P Kidding, that is awesome, man, and I hear you on the crutch thing. That was me from 24-29. It took me off guard that you expressed some self-consciousness about how unusual you are. I mean, from what I’ve gleaned from years on this forum, you are unusual, and that’s (probably) a great thing. Certainly all of us other weirdos have benefited from the insight and model your strangeness provides. So, thanks to you, too.
Last edited by Biscuits and Gravy on Sun Feb 07, 2021 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Days sober: 20

August isn’t up yet and I’ve already incurred $1,000 of unexpected expenses, both related to inclement weather. A storm broke a branch off one of my pine trees, so I had a friend of the family remove it and trim the other trees ($540) in preparation for hurricane season, which, sure enough, there are two hurricanes brewing/in the Gulf now. It’s an inevitability that my house will flood at some point, and with the kids I’m not taking any chances, so I’ve booked four nights at a hotel an hour outside of town ($450) in case we need to evacuate. If the hurricanes change course I can cancel it, but it’s nice to have that backup ready. (I managed to grab one of the last rooms available. We Gulf-coast Texans know the routine.) I’ve already cleaned the house and yard up in anticipation of flooding, and, if we do evacuate, I’ll turn off everything and put as much stuff off the ground as possible. Especially the rugs. One of the worst things to pull out of my MIL’s house last time it flooded was an 8x10 area rug that was absolutely drenched with bayou. So heavy. So stinky.

So, that’s me right now. I’ve got two rambunctious toddlers, an unusual amount of stress at work, a marriage on the brink of dissolution, and now a hurricane barreling towards me, my loved ones, and my property, but... I’m actually quite happy. I feel aligned and at peace and fully alive. Prolly ‘cause I carry flood insurance.

Edit: Hurricane gonna hit us. Had yet another unexpected weather-related expense crop up ($237), so I let my mother talk me into staying with her for the duration of the hurricane instead of blowing $500 on a (safe, dry) hotel. There's the possibility she'll flood as well, but she's got a two-story home. We'll hope for the best, prep for the worst. Staying with my mother for X days does mean that my 21 day sobriety run is certainly doomed, however.
Last edited by Biscuits and Gravy on Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

ertyu
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by ertyu »

hope all goes well :muscle:

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Alice_AU
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Alice_AU »

Oh dear. I hope all goes ok for you @JG.
I’m sure no-alcohol will help - with so much pressure (young kids, work stress, covid, relationship troubles, AND natural disaster looming!) anything you can do to support your nervous system is a must. Sending hugs...

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