April 2008

Within the last hour I was going over my personal budget. From each paycheck I try to deduct a about $150 and distribute that between two savings accounts. The remainder of my pay goes to recurring bills such as my Department of Education Direct Loan, Sallie Mae loan, a car payment and a collections agency payment. After that is squared away, I budget $80 for two weeks worth of groceries. Then there’s $17 for cable and $40 for gas and $267 for my share of the rent (very cheap, I must say). Everything else is an odd or an end and when that cash is laid out (the closer to pay day the better) I usually have about $200 to burn.


Because of unforseen expenses, that amount has fallen quite about for the next two weeks (I was paid yesterday). I’m around $148 to spend and for some reason I’m going nuts about that. But why? There are people who live with far less than that for every two weeks. This last pay period, I had more than $20 remaining in my account, so I put that in savings, towards a trip to Portugal next year. If I could have had $20 remaining after laying out cash last pay period on three dinners (two of which I covered a guest) and some other things I didn’t anticipate, then I can surely get by. There are people really struggling to get by.

I figured I’d split the $148 in half to $74 for the next seven days and then $74 for the next six days. But why do that, I realized when I have some cash hanging out in my wallet? It is only $34 but I really don’t anticipate needing to spend more than $34 on anything until next Tuesday so long as I have my groceries paid for, my car filled up (which I barely drive nowadays) and some other stuff that I need. I think I can do alright with that. I’ll let you know how it turns out, whether I’m pressing buttons on the cash machine or living out of the greenbacks in my wallet until next Tuesday. I’ve also got some change in my pocket, too, and I think that makes $36!

I wrote a post on panic disorder, but for some reason, for the second time in a row, something I’ve written has not been posted to the site. Perhaps it’s the browser I was using. So, for all of you with panic disorder, I’m sorry. I don’t have the time at this moment to write about panic, but just so you know, I tried!

I work in government. It’s budget season, and though I am not privy to any of the dealings–as my line of duty is much different–we are all busy and all stressed out.

It’s been more than a week since I did laundry and the burgandy checkered shirt I wear right now is the last of the clean shirts I have. Being a person who would rather not rewear a shirt that hasn’t been cleaned, I’ll sooner go to Wal-Mart tonight to get another one if I can’t get laundry done tonight.

This week has been chaotic for everyone. Even the maintanence guys and security guards and people who have nothing to do with the inner process are putting in long, dedicated hours. Who knows how long it will be. I put on a pound this week and took one off. I haven’t slept well in days.

Yesterday afternoon, as the gridlock continued, I felt myself on the verge of an emotional meltdown. Not the crying fit or explosive anger and name calling kind (for I would surely be shown the door). What I felt was an overwhelming negativity. Because human decency dictates that you don’t let loose on others, where else does that anger and furstration go? The less sleep you have, the more potent it gets.

I’ve come to realize that mental energy, like physical energy, is neither created nor destroyed. It simply has to pass from one area to another. Even after a 14 hour day yesterday and a 15 hour day the one before, I could not sleep. There was adreneline rushing through my veins. Whereas I would have preferred to see myself on the peaceful beach in the warm relaxing water my imagination brings me, I was back at work, thinking about things. Thinking, thinking, thinking. I answered a friend’s email in late afternoon and found myself writing gibberish. Complaining about the lack of rest and how my feet hurt and how I hadn’t gone grocery shopping or organized my apartment and that I was tired of looking at people and wanted someone to speak with, anyone, about anything but what goes on here.

After a while, I remembered my Uncle Charlie, who spent days on end in a combat zone in World War II, including long stays in a foxhole. If he could do that, then I definately can do this. This is nothing. Still, when I tried to rest last night, I lay awake in my bed, tired, tired, tired but sleepless, sleepless, sleepless. I was frustrated. I wanted to sleep. If not sleep, then run, but my body would allow for neither. It was purgatory.

Eventually, I did pass out and when I awoke this morning it was to an alarm I had to snooze for more than an hour. I missed the morning run I’ve missed since right around the time the Governor got the heeve-ho. Still, the rest was good. I’d acknowledged to my body that it had energy it had to release and that it was alright that my body was still working overtime and that it had permission to shut down for a while and rebuild itself.

Thinking about it, I realize that a dream I had yesterday morning was the result of not telling my body it could go home so-to-speak.

In my dream my roommate who is a close friend and me were throwing snowballs here in Albany. We were launching them at each other, but the police arrested us for trying to start a riot. We were brought to a jail where we were forced to stand, stand, stand, as I have been doing a lot this last month and a half. I was tired and wanted to sit, but my jailer told me, nicely even, I had to stand until someone posted my bail. If I was convicted, I would again have to stand. The alarm woke me up. The aura of the dream carried with me all day. I was so tired and yet full of negative energy. Hopefully today will be different, but either way, it’s alright to want to shut down for a while.

I suppose that it may be a little rash to compare my apartment to a bombed out building in Beirut, but it feels that way.

Today is the tenth day in a row that I have put on a shirt and tie and gone to work. Normally, I have weekends off, but with the state’s fiscal budget (now past due) in the works, all of us who work at the Capitol are here extra hours.

I feel as if I haven’t been home in days. To some degree that’s an exaggeration, but that’s how I feel. I haven’t had much time to spend with my dog or relaxing and haven’t gone grocery shopping–and by that I mean filling a cart–since the early March, right before the last governor publicly disgraced himself. I have put on a pound, taken one off and pout on back on again. As of this morning, I was up to 188. I intend on taking it off. I also haven’t been able to do much running. My room is a mess. My whole apartment is a wreck and I don’t like how it feels.

I really hope that we can be sprung for the weekend. My mind works better with order. It will be nice to have a good few hours to mindfully clean my apartment, do laundry and go grocery shopping. In the meantime, what I can do for now is to clean off the pile of refuse on my desk which actually does resemble Beirut, circa 1975.