This, that and the other

I’m writing this on Tuesday morning. In a few hours I’m meeting with my sister. We’re supposed to go for a hike, but it’s been sprinkling on and off. If it rains I’m not sure what we’ll do.

I’m not looking forward to this hike. Things with my sister are…complicated. I love her dearly, but she is not at all easy to have in my life. She has been struggling for a while–for a few months I was trying really hard to be there for her–but it’s hard to be there for someone who only wants a certain kind of support, and can’t really articulate to you what that support looks like. I feel shitty because I know how hard it is to deal with some of what she is dealing with, and to feel misunderstood by the people who are supposed to be closest to you, but I also need to take care of myself, and there is only so much one person can give. I’m working out now in an attempt to produce enough endorphins to get through an afternoon with her.

People so rarely acknowledge the more challenging sibling relationships, especially in adulthood. I write about it in part so that anyone else who has to deal with complicated sibling interactions can know they are not alone.

I guess the good news is that things with my husband are pretty good right now. We had a massive fight, and now things are better. The massive fight was actually kind of terrifying in that we didn’t raise our voices. Mostly we just sounded resigned. I think it struck a nerve with both of us and we are newly committed to seeking professional help. I am in favor of attending a workshop for couples, because I think we lack important skills and that if we learn them together we would have a better chance of actually implementing them.

My husband would rather see someone privately (as in, see a marriage therapist with me). I can absolutely see the value in that, though I worry we’ll get stuck rehashing old issues and it will take us a while to move forward productively. I also foresee finding someone we like, finding a time we can all three be present, AND finding childcare for the kids, will be exceedingly difficult even on a bi-monthly or monthly basis. I also anticipate most of that scheduling burden will fall on me (a concern I have articulated and he has genuinely acknowledged). So yeah. I’m going to email my husband a little pro’s and con’s list of going to a workshop and suggest that we try that first and if it’s not enough we seek help with a therapist.

I feel like I should really be seeing a therapist right now too, but I don’t see how we can afford it, or when I can find the time. Maybe this summer I could meet with someone a few times, during the weeks I’m not traveling. I wonder if a life coach would not be a better fit, as a lot of my anxiety right now surrounds finding a new job. I am ambivalent about that one major aspect of my life–I think meeting with someone who coaches people through these kinds of big decisions would really help me see the forest for the trees. If that one issue were resolved, I think I’d be in a much better place.

Speaking of the job search, one of the three spots I applied for has been filled with an in-district transfer. I wonder if that district transfer was leaving one of the part time positions that are listed for other high schools in that district, because nothing new has gone up. I emailed the other position in that district that I applied for–the one I’m more interested in–and got an immediate response that the applications were being compiled by an administrator who was cc’ed on the reply. That we three weeks ago. Strangely that school has not viewed my application. It makes me worried that they are expecting an in-district transfer to fill that position as well.

The third position is for an alternative high school that sounds interesting but has an exceedingly low pay scale. I haven’t decided if I want a new job enough to take one there. I would accept that job to get some high school experience on my resume; I could not afford to make so little money for very long. Of course they might not be interested either so I’m not thinking about it too hard. The only good part about that school is that it’s not a part of the union of the district (because of its alternative status) so they don’t have to fill it with someone in-district before they look at outside candidates. I feel like I have more of a chance of getting interviewed by them than at a traditional high school.

In the end it might be for the best that I don’t get anything again this year. (But damn it sucks that if I don’t get a new job this year, I have to wait an entire year to even look again!) The truth is, a pay cut would be hard right now.  We will probably be spending most of our tax refund on replacing our house’s heating system (we found out all our vents are insulated with asbestos, so the whole thing needs to go). We also have some serious water damage to deal with in our daughter’s room. We’ve called five contractors and none will take us on because they are too busy (except for one that will put us on a list and might get to us by October). San Francisco is evidently a great place to be a contractor! I have no idea how to find one I think I can trust without a friend’s referral.

The marriage work is also going to cost a pretty penny.

On the topic of needing the money, I actually maxed out my credit card recently with my flights to Ecuador, the family’s travel to St. Louis, my daughter’s summer camps and my son’s day care payments (it was one of the two months where the payment goes through three times instead of two). I’ve basically been putting everything on my credit card again, as my spending feels under control and I get points when I use my credit card. When I realized I had maxed it out I wondered if I should start using my debit card again. We had the money to pay the bill and I did so early, but I’ll definitely be watching it more closely in the future. I’ve been on a spending freeze since the first of April as I wait for the 17th, when my charges will go on the next billing statement. I can’t afford another giant VISA bill right after the last one, so I’m creating a bit of a buffer as I defer some more large charges (like the actual program I’m attending in Ecuador) to the next payment.

In positive financial news I only owe $100 more dollars on the bike, which frees up $350 a month going forward. I was going to start putting that toward 529s for my kids (I have not actually opened 529s for them yet which is a point of significant stress for me), but now I’m going to wait and see what the pricetag is on the water damage and heating system. Ah homeownership! The gift that keeps on giving!

{I say that while remaining very thankful for my house, as a dear friend of mine is being evicted from her place of 10 years and will most likely have to leave the city because of the crazy high rents. So yes, it sucks having to put so much money into our house every year, but at least I don’t have to worry about being evicted, which is a very real fear in this city.}

And with that I should go, because this post is already crazy long, and I still need to write that email to my husband. I hope you’re all having a good week! Sorry I’ve been so absent from this space, I hope to change that moving forward.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you!! I have a sibling with serious issues, mostly self induced, but it’s complicated. On the surface my sibling appears to be someone that would elicit great sympathy, which is exactly what my sibling wants. There only one me, and I’m really the only close (literally and figuratively) family member left. But I have myself and a family to take care of. I can’t fix someone who doesn’t want to change. There’s no solution.

    Sorry you’re struggling in other areas. We recently had to spend unexpected house $ also–there goes our tax refunds.

  2. Have a mentally ill sibling. Sibling relationships are powerful as we grow up. They remain powerful the rest of our lives. It can be very hard. Sending good wishes to you both for the day.
    Jobs and changing them are tough. Could you get credentialed for administrative job and would that be an option for you? Different option but still on retirement program. Might or might not be a fit for you. Sending good hopes and crossed fingers for an ideal solution.
    Cheers for working on your marriage. I think marriages are always full of tensions, but I find it hard sometimes to live with just me so clearly I am not a good source for relationship advice.
    So hoping the clean house and some down time from school this week gives you an energy lift for getting to the end of the school year. THANK YOU AS ALWAYS FOR WRITING.

  3. My sibling in law is a challenge. We cope by just minimally interacting, which is brutal given that the family is so small. I hope things get smoother.

    Yay it’s spring! Yay it will be summer soon! Yay for the hope of a job that suits you!

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