Pop Culture Gadabout
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
      ( 9/24/2014 01:52:00 PM ) Bill S.  

OUR CRAPPY SUMMER: [For those who might have been wondering about why there's been so little activity here, the following may shed some light on things.]

My name is Bill and I'm an overspender. I don't like the phrase “compulsive overspender” (a term that is frequently used in the 12-step Debtors Anonymous program), rather I see myself as a “situational” one. I don't typically buy things impulsively to make myself feel better (though I would say I did that with books and music when I was much younger), though I have one big characteristic of compulsive overspenders: vagueness around budgeting, particularly when it comes to sharing facts about finances with my wife.

I've struggled with financial insecurity for years. Even with relatively steady employment in the social services/behavioral health field, I would readily get into debt and on one occasion had to go to a credit counselor who consolidated what I then owed and helped me to pay it off. This wasn't enough, though, and around ten years ago, I started attending meetings of DA in Urbana, Illinois. They helped me find develop some financial stability and learn to be more open with my wife Becky.

Seven years ago, though, we moved from my wife's home state of Illinois to Arizona, an area where the air better suited our bones. Working for a child welfare agency in southeast AZ, I was feeling fine until the recession hit big time and the agency laid off half its staff, including me. Spent months looking for a new job and accruing credit card debt to keep us afloat. Along the way, I fell back into old habits of vagueness and non-communication. By the time I was rehired, I'd fully relapsed into my dysfunctional ways.

It all blew up this week: after three years of living in a funky rental home in Pima, we learned last Spring that one of the two brothers who co-own the house wanted to sell it. (We'd been paying the other brother additional money as a down payment toward contract deed to buy, but apparently the two hadn't talked to each other about this.) Spent a frantic summer jumping through hoops to try and qualify for a USDA loan, but were told yesterday that we didn't make it. At issue is my lousy credit score – too many late payments on those damn cards. If I'd been open with my wife about the situation, let her in it, we probably wouldn't be in this mess. My sense of guilt and shame about the finances pushed me into shutting her out and into dragging my feet through the whole process. In so doing, I wound up betraying us both.

I spent much of the past summer, feeling paralyzed and anxious, dreading a conclusion that I know I helped to exacerbate My wife and I love this place, and we dread having to leave it – not to mention going through the process of once more packing up a house worth of lifetimes and relocating - but that's where we are. At this moment, I'm feeling totally disheartened, so understand why there will most likely be more radio silence for a while at this here web log.


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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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