You wanna get me worked up, just start talking about money and how tight it is...or will be. That's essentially what happened last night, quite by accident, as Becky and I began contemplating what it's going to be like when she's living alone, working part time, and going to school full time. Working it out under the assumption she'll earn minimum wage...Well, things don't look so good.
It started when we looked at some listings for apartments. We'd done this before, but it was always assumed that we would just get an apartment and live happily ever after come some time between March and June. We never discussed the finances. My assumption was that between her part time employment and my Social Security, we'd have more than enough. But if the rent is around $500 per month, we're going to have a few problems.
Becky is investigating today. She'll be making a few phone calls, as we saw plenty of ads that said nothing about how much the actual rent would be. One ad happily announced there were apartments for rent at $350 a month...but there's no idea what size it is, what's included in the rent, if pets are allowed...and, most worrisome of all, what kind of neighborhood it is. That one the landlord probably wouldn't say, regardless of how the question is asked. But it wouldn't be such a dream apartment if it turned out that the neighborhood was a crime infested area.
Ah, but there is a trick to learning about the neighborhood without seeing it. Call your local police station. Mind you, I only learned this trick AFTER I'd moved into my old apartment. Just call the non-emergency line at the local police station and ask how many times they've been called out to that apartment complex. (I think the answer for my last complex would have been, "We're considering turning one of the apartments into a mini-police station so we just have to walk there.")
My thought - the unhappy one - is that Becky will have to work full time while schooling full time. I worked out the numbers, and...well, it can be done, but Becky's going to be TIRED! There are 168 hours in a week. My assumption is that school will match the 40 hours of full time employment, so that's 80 taken up. Then take out 56 so she can get eight hours of sleep each night. That leaves us with 32 hours left in the week as free time. Divide that by 7, and it looks like Becky will have an average of 4.5 hours a day to with as she pleases. And if it EVER works out that simply, I'll be utterly shocked. The reality is that she'll probably have entire days with neither work nor school, and end up with others that she'll be lucky if she gets eight hours of sleep.
What upsets me about this is that I want my lady-love to be able to concentrate on school. The only distraction for her should be when I decide to make her crazy by putting on dress clothes. (Which apparently has her thinking I'm sexy. Go figure.) She can obsess over finances, and that could be a distraction unto itself with her. School...nursing...that's all she should have on her mind.
Relief will come with my permanent arrival in PA. My personal income is now around $800 a month. Add the $4oo a month she'd earn working at minimum wage (after taxes) for a mere 20 hours a week, and we SHOULD be okay. We'd have to live lean for a few years, but we'd be okay. Then she'd have her nursing degree, and we can swiftly run off to start working on that aforementioned happily ever after.
I am, of course, a bit irritated by my own spending habits here in KS. The guys haven't demanded anything from me. It's all been volunteer additions to financial stuff. Of course, when things like the AC conk out, it's in my best interest to help pay for repairs. But I've been buying plenty of extras, even though no part of me needs them. I don't NEED the "House" box sets. I don't NEED another book to read. I don't NEED another computer game, what with there being at least two MMOs I can play. But that's how the money's been spent, and I'm now berating myself after the fact. I should have been saving up for...whatever.
In fact, once Becky and I started talking about being together forever, I should have started acting more responsible with my money. I didn't. And the next few months don't appear to have a great deal of opportunity to save. I'll be seeing Becky next month. I'm financially committed to pay for at least one night on Long Island at the motel, as well as some of the gas and food. (I refuse to let her pay for EVERYTHING.) October and November...? Well, I need clothing. I might be able to save some money by making all purchases at Wal-Mart, but things like diabetic socks will cost a pretty penny. There will also be the usual expenses, which drain much of my monthly income.
Then, come December, I'll be heading to PA again. This time, we won't have to shell out money for a motel, so we'll save there. But it would seem Becky will no longer be in a position to buy bus tickets, so that'll fall to me. In fact, that'll have to be a November purchase if I want to get a discount on the tickets.
Alternatively...Well, December may end up being moving time for me. Becky's gift from me for the holidays will be me in her life permanently. Why? Because the financial in PA will demand my presence. That means I'll only be able to swing ONE more surgery before the move, and then I'm gone from the doctors who know me. Time to start from scratch. But I will do it because my sweet, beautiful Becky needs me. I'll work on having a final surgery, if needed, once I'm there. I may wish Becky could live alone for the experience, but if my love needs me, so be it. I'll make the move while she's off for the holidays.
And the whole thing about the surgeries...It's not a sacrifice of my health. It's just a pain in the butt. With Becky working part time and going to school, there should be time in there along the way to get me to doctors, so I'll be able to re-establish medical care.
Finally, living lean won't be such a bad idea. Becky and I will be able to lose a bit of weight. It's not that either of us is actually overweight. (Stop judging me again!) It's that we could still lose a few pounds and not miss them.
See? A silver lining in every cloud.
My move to PA was supposed to happen next June, and that remains the plan. We've had fantasies about me moving during Spring break, but I've been maintaining a tenuous grasp that June be my moving time. Now it seems that the December holidays may rapidly become the deadline for me to get my butt to PA. Not what I wanted, as I would rather Becky live alone for a significant amount of time so she can get a proper taste of what it's like to come home regularly to an empty house. Still, if my baby needs me, then my baby will have me.
And, hey! Asking someone to marry you during the holidays tends to be rather romantic, eh?