Vacation

I was just thinking that I could post up a storm this week, since I am on vacation. The last post I started writing met the all too common fate of staying a draft, never finished or published, on fire as I was when I started writing it.

Anyway, the spouse-like person is in Oregon, seeing her mother for the first time in 4 and father for the first time in 7 years, and seeing the adorable new nephew. He is the first cousin on that side to my kids, the first grandchild on that side besides our kids, and the one the grandparents will actually get to see regularly.

If I could have afforded it, I’d have taken the kids and brought the whole gang there for a visit, but that is some distant dream. The only reason she could go is her brother flying her there and her family covering everything. Instead, I took seven days off from work. Which I’d have done anyway, but thankfully at least five of them will be paid. Only 3.5 hours a day, versus the 4.5 hours I’ve been averaging at current volume.

Just before she left, I finally finished the offer in compromise for the IRS and offer in settlement for the state, to get the tax debt squared away and stop the collection actions. Which, I just learned Sunday, included the state snatching our security deposit right out of the landlord’s bank. I will have to pay that back to them over the next few months, which will stress what would otherwise have been financial relief. I’ve been having about $250 a month taken out of my pay toward federal debt, over a fifth of my income. The state chimed in, too, bringing the total up to about $267 over the year, more since they started just a few months ago. Between the state adding to the burden and costs of groceries getting completely out of hand, and the fact that we will need a car within a year, tops, it had to change. I’ve been capped at $209 a week net. $125 is rent. $10 is car insurance. $10 is gas. I seldom spend less than $20 at a time for groceries anymore, shop multiple times a week, usually stopping for what we need on my way home from work, and can easily drop $100 a week, even with the other parent also contributing to groceries and sundries. In the past few months, it stopped computing. There is more hope of being able to add income, with 2 of the 3 kids in school, but we’ll see.

The best thing that tax settlement does for me is relieve stress. If there were no additional money, if it required paying installments equal to what I’ve been, it would still be less variable, random, and, frankly, point-of-a-gun in feel. Be easier to manage money, too, when I can go back to having a checking account without it being siezed.

But I digress.

All this time off, right? And done with the tax paperwork, which totaled probably 150 pages of stuff – almost $18 to mail, so no need to focus on that. No zombie effect of the crazy hours. It’s just a vacation, so not frantic the way it’d be had our babysitting situation thrown me out of work, as could happen any time. Tons of time!

I have at least 22 computers and computer carcasses to go through to see what is what, what works and is worth keeping or not, fixing or not, etc. I have a bunch of monitors, some dead, some working, mostly obsolete in any case, and need to figure out which need to go and how to dispose of them. I have old parts and could stand to test those, too. Might even have enough to build a computer better than most of the aforementioned, but need to actually work them.

I have massive house cleaning to do. The deeper the better. And it’s amazing the laundry, once you have a bunch of blankets to wash.

Most of all, and related to the computers, since some of them have been taking up space there, completely purging everything out of and rearranging my room. It was originally my office, though it never did well at being that alone. I ended up with too much general household stored there. And not enough office-like, potentially income producing purpose to it, of course. In a way, I had it arranged with office/cave at the back end, and the rest of the room for whatever. I had a desk against the back wall, a space, then a desk the other way, with the back of a large bookcase behing it. The bookcase was what you’d see on walking into the room, like a privacy wall. The spousal unit hated it. Eventually she got me to rearrange it. At the time, I was job hunting as well as attempting the apparent impossibility of drumming up new self-employed computer work. I paused that, thinking aspects of her idea for how to arrange things had merit, and eager to purge a lot of the general household stuff as the plan seemed to entail. The big closet would be my parts, software, spare computers I wasn’t using, tools, etc. I got that all set up so I could step or reach into the closet and get stuff off of shelves.

The big bookcase went away, to the room the kids were in. Two desks make an L, with one against the wall and the other with its back facing the door. I’m completely open to the doorway. It was nice, on one level, having floor space opened up, and having it feel roomy. I was not sure I ever liked it as much, though, but I wanted to make her happy, and was thrilled about using the closet for computer stuff.

A couple weeks passed, I was mostly done, then it was urgent that I stop and get back to trying to make money. Which, yeah, important. What I found out then, though, was that there was no plan for the general household stuff I’d removed from the closet or planned in large part to get out of the rest of the room. I had to stuff the closet hurriedly, perfectly organized at the back but blocked at the front to the point of a cartoon caricature. Instead of making it easier to conduct computer-related work and keep track of the stuff, it froze the stuff in place. I was left unhappy, and never stopped being unhappy about the entire incident or the way my office ended up. I’ve felt like I was frozen in time, unable to proceed from there, and not readily able to change it.

Ultimately, I ended up sleeping in the same room, rendering it really weird. I boxed and stored most of my books so there would be shelf space for other things, including my clothes, but my clothes still ended up mostly a pile in the corner. I couldn’t hang much of what clothes might be hangable, since the closet was too stuffed. It still is, though less so.

What I need is to get rid of more stuff from the room, and make it function as a place for sleep and some clothes, but also for computers to work at, as I am now, and have a place to work on computers, which currently has to be done with some finagling at the kitchen table. Everything has to be rethought and streamlined. Some stuff has to be tossed. There is stuff belonging to the spouse, which needs to go in her room. There are years worth of filing of paperwork in file drawers I have not been able to access.

My current idea is to make a sleep area at the back of the room, either along the back wall or along the side wall, similar to the way I had a more private office work area originally. I’ll probably move bookcases that have been in the same spot for 6 years and put a table-like desk there, empty, as a work surface for computers only transiently. I’ll try to get down to one computer desk and a table for a printer, dismantling one desk, or giving it to the kids in trade for the one I expect to take back. They will be getting a traditional desk, at some point, so may not have room for a full-sized computer desk anyway. We’ll see, but there may be furniture shed along the way.

So back to the point. I feel like today and the next three won’t be enough! Which is why I am spending way too much time typing verbosely…

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