Monday, April 30, 2012

My eyes adored you: The reprise.

I am reposting this because I now have 6 pairs of glasses and four of them are missing. Actually, 7 but one is bent up and cockeyed. So they don't even qualify as emergency back up glasses unless my cheekbone on the right side rises two inches higher. Otherwise I have to hold it to my face with my finger. The point is, I have 6 1/2 pairs of glasses. Somewhere. This is why.

For years I wore the same pair of glasses. They were from the Harry Potter children's line and had little glow in the dark balls at the ends in case I needed to find them for Quidditch in the the pitch black.  My head is large child size.  My glasses fit me perfectly. Which is why I was so bummed when they fell out of my sports bra when I was running on the beach. Well, mostly why. The other why was because I am, as we have established, flat broke and could not afford another pair at conventional prices.

Most of us figure out a way to meet the bills. Or at least know that we are quickly approaching not being able to meet the bills. Or know the structure of our financial woes when it comes to not meeting the bills. But when the car breaks down and it turns out to be your catalytic converter. Or your teeth start aching from a hole rotting in them and you don't have dental insurance. Or your glasses fall out of your bussom and you can't drive without them, you sit down and weep because you go from barely surviving to feeling  helpless and ruined. I couldn't get to work if someone called me for a job or go to the store or take my child to the doctor because I cannot drive without them. This wasn't a "want a latte" situation. This was a "can't function in society" situation.

Well, friends, desperate times blahblahblah. I remember hearing about this website called In fact, I had perused the site prior to this sceptically because the glasses started at very low prices. Prescription ones. My Harry P's were old and bent by the time they fell out of my chest. I had toyed with ordering a new pair but I am a conditioned name brand snob. And  I couldn't see what I was getting. The glasses are all presized and the dimensions are millimeters. Plus the prices went up in level with better materials at the top of the price chain (around 40 something....wooheeee...fancy!). How good can a pair of low budget glasses be?

I love them. LOVE them! They are pink wire frames. Not the most lavish materials.Very light.You might even say disposable.  But they look nice. They have UV protection and have anti scratch coating on the lenses and even come with a full guarantee. They will last awhile unless I use my bra to hold them. They cost less than an entree in jungle themed chain restaurant. The website has a good instructional how to order area when you aren't too lazy to go look deeper like, say, me initially. I found out how to convert inches to millimeters and got a general idea of my dimensions.

There are a whole lot of styles, not all of them would fit me but there were so many that I had choices. I considered going nuts and buying ones in the less cheap but still cheap area. In the end, I  took my chances and ordered a pair of low priced plus reasonable shipping fee prescription glasses. They arrived in a timely manner in a little hard plastic box with a cleaning cloth in a padded envelope.  Which may have cost more than the actual glasses.

 I may even go nuts and buy another pair. Maybe acetate frame ones. Maybe prescription sunglasses!  I always wanted to have a variety of choices. And when I have money again, I think I will buy 20 of them in all different styles that I can lose without weeping. Because that is what one pair normally would have cost me. How cool is that?

Post Update:  I did order that pair of prescription sunglasses.  And two pair of plastic frame panther pattern glasses and another pair of plastic frame tortoise shell glasses.  The pink metal frame glasses sit in my car to assure that I can always drive even if the ones in my bra get lost. I still LOVE this place!

Image via hill.josh/flickr at

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Googling Marriage: Money Stress Combat 101

I spent the better part of a decade completely wound up about money. My husband is in school, living in a lab trying to finally get done with ten years of life in higher education and get on with life. I am a control freak who uses focusing on minutiae to avoid internal issues. It's not a good combination when dealing with finances.

Our communication issues didn't help. I would obsess about finding money to get from debt A to debt B and he would turn to worrying about future expenses. I would resent him and block him out.  He would feel left out in the cold.  So, of course, eventually everything blew up in our faces.  And I'm glad. He began to look for solutions for future debt resolution and I quit caring about what happened to money when I needed to work on the multitude of problems I'd been avoiding with the obsessing. We began to communicate. And we came up with a neat trick to cover each other's asses.

Both of us use Google products. We have several blog sites, email addresses, etc. A while back, the husband's lab started using Google Calendar to coordinate their projects. He suggested I add on to it so that we can both see each other's schedules. His work needs, my gigs, what have you. His schedule is in blue, mine is in red. It is free.

I began to write down gig payments in detail and keep my book on my calendar. That way when tax season rolls around, I could get a better look at my expenses. There are options to look at the calendar weekly, monthly, etc. so I could look at the whole picture or concentrate on a smaller amount of time. Also, there is a section on the event that you can put notes on. So, if I did a show, I could put down who for, location, payment type, etc. We decided to take this a step further.

I have been the keeper of the bills for the duration of our marriage. If something needed to be paid that he had the most access to, I would tell him the day of to do it. This probably lead to a little resentment because I felt like I was doing all of the thinking, having to remind him of everything sometimes multiple times because it was not in front  of him. And he felt like he couldn't tread into my control freak turf without angst.  Now, I put it on the schedule, marking the day we should pay it, the day it is due and whoever pays it marks it as done.  I can alert him of our money...or lack there of...situation in the bank account and what I've paid on the calendar. Every day we update it and check it.

Lately, I've been keeping my money stress isolated to the calendar. Say the bank account is low in funds? I don't need to bother him at work. I just write what is in there, what has been written against and the end results. He's a smart man, a scientist. He can figure out why pulling out 50 dollars when you only have 40 is a bad idea. And if it falls through? We miss something? Oh well. Two of us did it together. It's not just my problem...not that it ever really was....anymore.

Also, I used to be adamant about protecting my performing stand up schedule and he would have a hard time figuring out his own evening life around it. Part of the problem was that it as often short notice and I had planned my set, my travel, whatever else around the event and part of the problem is he didn't feel allowed to work around it, assume that it was a done deal without finding alternative solutions.

We have recently shifted to include his needs more and by marking everything on the calendar, he can see what the conflicts are...and I've dumped the ones that aren't necessary to manage the family better...and if we want to do something at the same time we usually have some time to figure out how to address child care issues, appointment bookings, and  how to coordinate potential conflicts down the road.

At first, I was a little skeptical about this new system flying. Letting control go really kills your inner self martyr.  This whole I do all of the thinking thing that I had going on took a boot to the proverbial crotch. But we both read the calendar daily. We both deal with what's on there. We both note when the deeds that need to be done are finalized. Gigs, doctors appointments, all potential conflict are put in as soon as it is possible so that when something comes up we can communicate and deal with solutions. And we haven't forgotten a thing so far.

Bills aren't just my soul problem in  my head anymore. He is getting more freedom to go do things that he likes without a backlash from my schedule conflicts. I have to say, it really has made a difference. And it didn't cost us a thing. Got to love that Google.