Dave spent 20 minutes this morning venting about money worries and then another five minutes at the front door trying to get me to cheer up before he went to work.
"I'm not going until you cheer up," he said. I smiled crookedly, fuming on the inside. Really? Let's get all depressed and then be cheery on the way out? He feels guilty, I think. He just bought a used motorcycle, using his credit line. Nah, we couldn't afford it. We were stupid to do it. Then again, life is short. If it's at all possible to do something you love, do it. Another one of my acquaintances is in hospice with terminal cancer, came right out of the blue. She was fine, she found a lump, two months later she's in hospice.
Dave grew up with motorcycles but he hasn't had one for 20 years. When my brother-in-law Don got one, when our friend Richard got one, Dave got all itchy to get one, too. Peer pressure, I guess. Next thing I know he was cruising the online classifieds and before you can say Bob's your uncle (thanks Susan), there was a motorcycle in our garage.
Last night we went for a ride. It was fantastic. Cool evening air blowing in my face. Watching clouds scud across the setting sun. As miles ticked by my frustrations of the day slid behind us like our lengthening shadow. Last night it was worth every penny.
This morning reality has set in yet again. Dave wants to talk about budgeting. Just the word budget makes my teeth ache.
We have our own money, Dave and I, although it's not like he hoards it or anything. We share. But he has his bills, I have mine. Because he makes twice as much money as I do, at least twice, he pays the mortgage, the taxes, the trailer payment and the utilities. (Fecking hydro is enough to choke a goat.) I pay the Jeep payment, groceries, internet and my own credit card. I also give my ex-husband, Doug, a little money here and there for child support. Not a lot – because I don't have a lot – but what I can. He's good that way. We have an agreeable relationship, not like some who only see each other in court as they either demand more money or refuse to give more. Anyway, times are hard for Doug, too. He has asked me for more money and I honestly don't have more money to give. My pay cheque disappears as soon as it lands in my bank account.
I haven't had a substantial raise in pay since I started working there (yes, there has been an occasional cost of living increase, which is so barely noticeable that I'm not 100% sure if I got them or not) and I have just found out I won't be getting one. Ever. Period. I am at the top of my pay scale so it doesn't matter how hard I work, or what I contribute to the company, I will not be compensated for that extra effort financially. I must be content with what I bring home right now. This, in spite of the fact that my responsibilities have increased substantially. Sometimes I think, "why bother?" Just do what you have to do, try and keep your nose clean, and forget about the rest. But that's not who I am. I have to do my best, all the time – that's just the way I roll, baby.
I'm not alone there, that's for sure. There are a lot of other people in the same boat. We're all lucky to even have jobs, I know. But being lucky doesn't help put food on the table.
Meanwhile, the cost of groceries has pretty much doubled in the last six years. Back then $130 paid for food for a family of four for a week. It's rare that I spend less than $230 these days. Gasoline has also jumped. So has hydro. Everything keeps going up and up – everything except my pay cheque.
I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to look around for another job. Or perhaps take a second job. Maybe delivering pizzas or working at Wal-mart. Every time I drive by Domino's and see the sign in the window that says "Now Hiring Drivers" I want to run in there and apply. Maybe me and Dave could do it on Friday nights, together, like a date. Maybe we could do it on his motorcycle, tomato sauce in the saddle bags, the smell of pepperoni in the wind in our hair ...
|Dave takes Angus for his first ever motorcycle ride. Gus loved it!|