Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Freaking Out

I've been listening to my Enya station on Pandora for the last two hours, because it helps keep me calm when I'm doing things that cause my stress levels to shoot through the roof. Figures that as I come here to unload, a stylized version of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" would come up and make me all tense again. Thumbs down, down, down. 

I really need to talk about my stress right now, and I can't bear to mention it on Facebook or my normal blog because the people who read there are people whose advice tends to just irritate or depress me rather than actually helping. Here, on the other hand, I'm pretty sure no one reads anymore (because hardly anyone did in the first place), besides which I can also be a lot more open than I can in any of those other places.

The problem is, I don't know how Mike and I can keep going on the way we are, indefinitely. And indefinitely is exactly what we're stuck with, because our current situation keeps us from getting the things we need to get out of the situation. I have to finish my bachelor's degree (1) so I can get reference positions, which pay better—and I like better—than circulation positions, and (2) so I can get my MLS and become an actual librarian. But I can't finish my bachelor's degree until (1) I can finish paying back the $3500 I owe BYU so they'll release my transcript (looong/crappy story there), and (2) we make enough money that I can afford to go back to school. But I can't afford to pay back BYU or go back to school as long as I'm stuck working in part-time, $13-an-hour positions. I need the degree to make more money, and I need more money to be able to get the degree.

Similar problem with Mike. He's been working in pest control because it's the only field he can find that pays enough and is open to him (because he doesn't have a degree). He really wants to go to school so he can get a degree, but pest control involves long and unpredictable hours that prevent him from taking classes.

We made a big decision to move back to Texas when his old job offered him a raise to come back. We didn't want to live in Texas again, and Mike didn't want to be in pest control again, but we knew this would be our opportunity to get out of the financial rut we've been in, so we decided it was worth the sacrifice. Six weeks after we moved, the company was sold to Terminix, and everything was ruined. Terminix pays much less, and Mike hated the work environment. He put in his two weeks' notice, found a different job, and was supposed to be able to start without any gaps... But of course things didn't quite work out like that. Two weeks after that, he started a job with a different pest control company. It pays less than he was making at X-Out, but more than he would have been making at Terminix, and he likes the environment a lot better. Yesterday he found out that the company is in talks with Terminix.

The real problem is that we both have some pretty serious social anxiety and depression that limits what we can do for work. My work history is littered with jobs quit after four months, three months, a week—even one day, in the worst case. Of all the jobs I've had since I started working my junior year in high school—that's a total of seventeen I can remember right now, in a period of eleven years, and six of those years were taken up by only two jobs, meaning that the other fifteen happened in the space of five years—of all those jobs, I put in my two weeks' notice at only five of them. The rest, I just quit, mostly by just stopping going in. At Barnes and Noble, I wrote a note and slid it under the door in the middle of the night after having called in sick for the shift I'd been scheduled earlier that day. When I was a personal assistant, I sent my boss a text, and when she called back and left a voicemail (because of course I didn't answer that call), it took me three days to get up the courage to listen to it. At both Target and Firstline Security, I avoided their phone calls until they stopped calling me to find out where I was. At Joann, I went to training and then never even made it in to my first day of work; when Mike tried to drop me off, I sat in the car having a panic attack, so we ended up just going home.

My point is that, for some reason, I can handle library jobs like I can't handle anything else—and that means they're the only option I have, even though the hours and pay are never enough. (The only other jobs that have also worked are day care/nanny jobs, and those pay even worse.) Mike is stuck in pest control for the same reason. He's always been the stronger one in that regard, but he's taken a pretty solid beating for the last year and things are not looking great right now. He tried something like eleven jobs in the last year that we were living in Utah, and now with everything that's happened since we moved back to Texas—and his new job selling out to Terminix—we have no idea what we're going to do.

We both need help. We need to be in therapy, and we probably need to be on medication. But we don't have money for it. We've never had insurance in our married life (except for that lovely six months when the Affordable Care Act kicked in and I was back on my parents' insurance until I turned 26). Mentally and emotionally, we're doing pretty much all we can handle right now (in some cases, probably more, which will come back to bite us sooner than we expect, I'm sure). We need therapy and medication to be able to hold down jobs that pay more money. And we need more money to be able to afford therapy and medication.

At the moment, after paying our bills (student loans, rent, car payment, internet, phones, and car/renter's insurance), we have $450 each month that has to cover food, gas, and all other expenses. Which it obviously does not. Besides which, we missed a paycheck during the switch from Terminix to Mike's new job, so even though we technically make enough each month to pay all the bills, the paychecks aren't coming in at the right time. When I did the budget earlier today—which is when I turned on my Enya station—I discovered that if nothing changes regarding either of our jobs, we'll be un-catch-up-ably behind by the beginning of December. At that point, we won't be able to pay rent on time, the late fees will start adding up ($75 plus $10 for each day after), other bills will get pushed further back, and it will be 2009 all over again, with bill collectors calling fifteen times a day every day for about a year and our credit destroyed all over again.

I'm at the end of my rope here. Our credit card is maxed out (thankfully with no interest until next year). I applied for another one a couple days ago, but I'll be surprised if I'm approved. Last night I applied for three jobs in the Plano library system, and if I get one of them (fairly quickly), we should be okay. If I don't, I have no idea what we'll do. Not a single one. We're doing all we know how to do, all we can do, and I just can't think of anything else we could do. This has been our general situation for over five years now, and I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty much hoping for a deus ex machina at this point because I am one hundred percent out of any other ideas. 


  1. How close are you to your degree?

    -LG in AZ

  2. It depends on a lot of factors. Technically, I had either one semester or two left (depending on how I decided to finish up my foreign language credit). But we don't live in Utah anymore, and the classes I need to finish aren't ones I can take online. Besides which, I don't know that BYU would even let me finish anymore, because I couldn't possibly get an ecclesiastical endorsement. And it's already been six years since I left school, and I think I was still on academic probation when I left, too, which isn't going to make anyone inclined to cut me slack.

    If I can ever get my transcript released, probably the best-case scenario is that I'll be able to transfer some of my credits to a university here. BYU credits are weirdly specialized and don't transfer very well to other schools, though, so I'd be lucky just to get all the generals—and I might even have to start over with several of those, because at BYU I placed out of them with my ACT/SAT/AP scores, which will no longer apply because they're more than ten years old. So essentially... I'll be starting over.