How do I make money??

I played trivia with friends last night. Bought a $2 Lone Star, tipped a buck, then our team won and my share was $4.  So, essentially, I made $1 last night.  So now who's a bad ass?  

This is a question I pretty much have on my mind 24/7.  It's difficult to figure out the exact equation for job:loss ratio.  I mean, at what point is a $10/hour job worth it?  Should I get "just anything"?  When I was nannying for friends a few months go they paid me $12/hour, but I doubled my gas bill and was literally so exhausted at the end of the day I could barely sit upright let alone look for work.  I know it sounds so simple to so many, "Well, just do it.  You have no choice."  But really, I did the best I could and it involved not having so much left over to look for real work.

So, how destitute do I have to be before that $10 seems adequate and worth the time/energy loss?  I haven't figured that out yet, but I'm hustling other ideas.  I'm going to open an Etsy shop once I've built up a library of things to sell.  My parents want to give me a commission for selling some of their shit on Craigslist.  Rooster will give me 100% of the profits if I can move an old armoire out of his garage so long has he has no involvement in it.  I'm going to sell my old car.  And my sister -- the loving, sweet, big little sister that she is -- has been sending me a few hundred dollars a month that helps me just barely stay in the black.

I've considered moving apartments, but then I'd probably be further from the city and Hawk's amazing school if I wanted to keep the level of comfort I have.  Should I sell my car in order to save about $50/month in gas?  It's paid off.  Does that make sense?  I don't have cable and so I watch Hulu and the Instant stuff off Netflix which is $9/month.  Rooster suggested I get rid of my iPhone, but it's only $85/month and I need a cell phone regardless.  Does that make sense?  I basically don't eat on the weeks Hawk isn't here, so I save money on food.  When I go out and have to buy my own drink, I get $2 Lone Star, because yeah, having a life and socializing is imperative for my happiness.

I think I'm missing something, though.  I try and pretend that I receive NO income whatsoever and think about what I would do differently.  But honestly, my brain can come up with no answers.  I'm worried I'm secretly a loser (yeah, yeah, yeah, this post was me on a good day).  Lazy.  Good for nothing.  A colossal piece of shit.  Shouldn't I be doing something work-related right this second, for instance??

June has been a really great month for job opportunities, though.  I've applied to half a dozen jobs this month alone!  Compare that with half a dozen since March since I have limitations on the jobs I can apply to: I'm not flexible with hours and shifts I can work and I don't speak Spanish (ohhh, how I wish I did!), and for the last 3 months most available jobs were weird shifts and required a language I don't know.  However, I start volunteering at a reputable agency here in Austin soon and I found a supervisor I highly esteem.  Things aren't all bad.  (You see this circular internal commentary?  You suck --> you're trying --> try harder --> you still suck.)

Friends and family are always telling me I should get paid for my writing so I did some research on freelance stuff.  Ohmyfuckinggodareyouserious??  Pages and pages of bullshit.  Cents per copy.  Business relationships.  Contracts.  Legal issues.  Casting a wide net.  It's who you know.  It's a full-time job.  Blahblahblah.  Can you say overwhelmed??  Maybe I should have taken up all those advertisers looking for space on my blog. Anyone want a Better Homes and Garden link up?  A post-swap?  Maybe Kraft dinners?  I'm into it now!!  Please come back!

In a post-Bush economy, where do the over-educated and slightly-behind-the-eight-ball folks go for cash??  Please.  I'd really like to know.  I need help!



When I know I've done something right

My little boy's love handles are gone.

Being unemployed and muddling through a divorce is not fun.  No. fun. at. all.

I spend the better part of my day feeling like shit because it's somehow my fault I'm unemployed, because, naturally, if I were doing it right I'd have a job.  The other part of my day I'm feeling half way between joyous at being out of a painful relationship and crushed that my partnership with a wonderful human being is forever relegated to "father of my child" instead of "partner forever."  There's also a whole lot of swearing, laughing, searching, thinking and hustling going on, too, but that's the gist.

Sunday, as you all know, was Father's Day and Rooster decided he'd like me to join him and Hawk for the day.  It was my custodial day and I would have been happy to let them hang together sans moi, but I was happy to be a familial unit, too. 

Rooster and I have so many relationships with each other right now. We are co-parents, divorce adversaries (and allies), friends, and exes.  It's a lot to manage. 

Sometimes I have to ask him to not cross the streams when I hear him start a sentence with, "So..." I know it means DIVORCE and depending on which relationship I'm in with him at that moment I might have to say, "Please, can we just put that on hold and just hang today?"  He obliges, but I know he's waiting for the moment when the paradigm shifts and he can get whatever's on his mind out into the space between us.

Sunday was all friend and co-parent day.  Hawk has really melted into our new family structure and no longer clings to one or the other of us when we're all together.  We swam at Barton Springs and ate at a favorite greasy spoon.  When we dropped off Rooster Hawk was sad to see him go and even before we were out of the driveway he was saying he missed his Daddy.

I don't know how many times I've said something like, "I know you miss Daddy, Baby.  I bet it hurts in your heart, huh?"  He'll respond in the affirmative and I'll go on, "Daddy misses you, too.  And when you're with Daddy Mommy misses you and you miss me, too.  We all miss each other these days, but it's ok.  We all love each other and when you're apart from someone you love, sometimes it hurts.  It'll get better, I promise." 

He tells me misses me whenever he's with Rooster and that he loves me very much.  We hug, we hug tighter.  We talk endlessly about MISSING SOMEONE.  Oh God, how it breaks my heart that he's so familiar with this ache; his little, bitty heart.  Missing someone.  GOD.

And then Sunday nights and Monday mornings are heavy-hearted ones for the both of us.  By now Hawk knows that he's going to stay the night with Daddy the night after school on Monday.  He's excited, but then gets quiet.  "I live with Daddy, and you, and Papa-Mimi.  I live in lots of places.  But I really just want to live with you."

I know he doesn't mean it literally -- when he's with Rooster he says the same thing -- but it's his longing, his anticipated missing of me that makes him say such a thing.  He knows he's loved by these three households and loves them all fiercely in return, but his mind is trying to catalog all the players in his life.  It has to make sense in some way.

"When I'm gone living with Daddy you need to be strong," he goes on.  "Don't cry, don't be upset.  I love you and I will miss you, too, but I will see you soon."  I burst into tears and hold him close to me.  Where has this child come from?? This sweet, amazing, brilliant, tender child.

"I will, Baby, I promise, but it's ok if I'm sad, too.  But I'll be ok.  I just love you very much and wish we could be together all the time.  But I want you to be with your daddy, too.  He also loves you very much and misses you when you're with me. This is what we all have to do.  We all have to be tough."

I don't know if I'm rambling, if I'm showing and sharing too much, but I'm overwhelmed.  By his kindness, my feelings, my life.  Fuck, this is hard.

But I know I'm doing something right if Rooster and I can identify our strengths and spend an afternoon together celebrating his fatherhood and if my little boy can self-assuredly pass between me and his father and his grandparents.   I might not always feel like a success, but I think that maybe I might be a bigger happy ending than I give myself credit for.  The job will come in time, but success -- to some degree -- is already here.



Seriously, which should I get?

One attracts bees (lavender), one attracts ladies at tea (chamomile), one tastes good on just about anything (olive oil), and one is soft and fuzzy and makes a good brown-butter (sage).

I'm so conflicted.

Me v. The Trash Can

I'm 2 for 3. Take that, you tiny trash can 8 feet away!!


This shouldn't be easier

Fishbowl of life. This fish watched me my entire dinner.  So weird.

I had my wisdom teeth removed last Friday and spent the weekend in an opiate haze I struggled against despite having spent the better part of my undergraduate college career looking for exactly that sensation.  Hawk was supposed to be back in my arms on Sunday, but there was too much pain and too little thought process to make that happen, so he went back to Rooster on Monday and I missed out on 3 wonderful, little-person-filled days with him.

So there I was, toothless, kidless, and jobless all last week -- friends called on me, the internet entertained me, I scoured the internet for jobs whenever I was sober enough to do so -- when I got involved in conversations about balance, life, motherhood, relationships, and self.  Luckily I was 100% sober by then.

I'm miserable, but I'm also extremely happy.  Rooster and I are very certain this is the right thing to do, and as we proceed with all the divorce minutiae I wonder why the price has to be so high for this feeling of individuation, freedom, and excitement.  The weeks I don't have Hawk I am Jessica: all me all the time and it always felt utterly out of reach when I was in a pair.

I come and go as I please; see whomever I choose for however long I like; wake up and go to bed as I see fit; eat ice cream for dinner and stay up till 3 watching Murder She Wrote.

It's not as if I didn't or couldn't do these things when I was living with Rooster, I just never gave myself permission.  Why does it seem like couples worker harder and get less relief with two adults in the house than single parents on their own?? 

I have a theory on this (of course).  Lauren of Hobo Mama happened to post an article yesterday that really spoke to me.  I've been harping on the isolation of a SAHM for a while (how a mother is isolated, has no sense of self in this economy, all the while being pitted against other mothers), so it's always a boon for me to see it in published form and embraced by the general public.  So that's what's going on for the mama in the pair.

But here's the thing.  I don't want women the world over to have to separate from their partners just to get some breathing room and to feel like a grown up.  There has to be a middle ground and clearly Rooster and I had no idea how to make that happen and neither do any of my friends.  It wasn't until I left the building that he was able to spread his parenting wings and really take over for me.  I get that marriage and relationships are hard, but are we making them harder than they have to be by simply not giving ourselves permission to leave the house if that's what we really need to do? 

Or maybe it was a product of my personality and relationship... I don't know... what I do know is y'all are working really fucking hard and now I feel like I'm cruising.  Sure, I'm crushed with fear and stress about my employment situation, but over all, I am free.  And Rooster is free, too.  He can go mountain biking whenever he wants, or go for long rides on his motorcycle with no fear of my reproach because I want him home due to exhaustion.

I guess it's all about permission.  Couples need to embrace the idea that their partner has varying needs and then take it a step further and give them permission to pursue satisfying them -- whatever they may be.  Some mothers might need a lot of socializing time outside of the home and her baby; another might need to earn money; a father might need to be able to sit in his underwear and watch the game uninterrupted for an entire weekend.

We have to give everyone permission to find relief or else.  Literally.  There is always an "or else."  Not necessarily divorce or separation, but damage is done, certainly.

All this from listening to and watching my fellow friends struggle under the [self-inflicted and socially adopted] oppressive demands of being a parent.  It's not just the mothers who are suffocating.  I know the fathers are, too.  I'm here to tell you, though, that by 3 years old it does get better.  The kids might be ready for a pre-school or other organized activities (if that's gonna be your route) and you can breathe lighter and spread your adult-wings.  And I'm also here to beg you to find someone to watch your child overnight so you and your partner can go out and just be John and Peg, or Sally and Sarah, or whomever.  Not Mommy, not Daddy, not a butt-wiping, life-saving, cooking, cleaning, thinking-five-steps-ahead-at-all-times, parent.  Just. YOU.

It's such a weird position to be in these days, an outside observer of the nuclear family.  I get the definite sense my partnered friends look at my life with envy -- and I do, too.  Of course they also look at me with pity, and -- quite frankly -- I do, too.  Guilty on both counts.  In any case, we all need to look more closely at our system and our relationships if what I'm doing feels better than what I had.  It shouldn't.  It just shouldn't.