The running around wouldn't be so bad if my brain weren't in overdrive about what I think of as Grown-Up Stuff. The house: to sell or not to sell? The job: will I have one next week? Should I take the one I'm almost certainly about to get offered? Even when I'm not actively thinking about these things, they're back there, kicking around, taking up mental space, causing me to be distracted and irritable and, well, tired.
It occurred to me that there is a word for what I'm feeling right now: STRESSED. "Duh," you're all saying, "it's taken you until now to realize that you're stressed?" The answer, I'm afraid, is yes. I feel so weighed down by considering variables and weighing multiple unappealing choices. I'm not sure how to make the decisions I need to make, and I don't like making them without John. I've been yelling a lot lately, and the smallest thing will tip me over the edge. Yeah, the Grief Factor doesn't help, but right now it's quite simply the stress of daily life and big decisions that are making me edgy.
Regarding the house, I met with the realtor on Wednesday morning. He thinks I can get about $30K less than I paid for it, which will leave me with a check in my hand at the closing that's less than half of what I put down when I bought. His numbers are right on the edge of what had been my mental tipping point for selling, which puts me in a real pickle. What if I put it on the market and then can't get what he thinks I can get? As a number of commenters pointed out, if I go through the trouble of moving out of the house while it's on the market, then I'm going to be sorely tempted to take less money than I really want to just to be done with it all.
What I need to decide, then, is if it's time to be done with it all at any cost. Yes, I'll lose nest egg money that would be my next downpayment when I'm ready to buy again. But the reality of my current situation is that I can't afford my mortgage. I'm spending more money than I make every month, and while I can cover that for a while with savings, it's going to catch up with me eventually. With my 10% paycut, "eventually" is not all that far down the line. If I sell and move, I'll actually be able to start putting money in savings every month rather than taking it out, with the possibility of that nest egg slowly getting built back up over time. As it stands, I'm losing money every month and staying in a house that might not gain value for years.
The daily reality of my financial situation is pressing given that I have no idea how long I'll still have a job. People are dropping like flies around here, and I'm one level of management removed from really knowing what's going on. I did interview for another job yesterday, and while the interview went really well, I'm not sure I can take the job. I currently commute about 20 minutes each way, and my in-office hours are only 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to accommodate the twins' daycare schedule. This job I interviewed for would be an hour's commute each way, plus the expectation that I'd be in the office 40-50 hours/week. Yes, I'd make more money, but I'd never see the twins during the week. The extra money would be offset by commuting costs and the fact that I'd likely have to get a nanny, which would cost more than daycare to begin with plus I'd be paying her overtime. Additionally, I'd be taking the kids out of their beloved and wonderful daycare environment. So that's likely a no-go, although it's not even been offered yet so I'm putting the proverbial cart before the horse.
Even if this job is a no-go, be it on my end or theirs or both, the job-hunting process brings up a lot of fears for me. There is, of course, the general state of the economy and the fact that the number of people who want jobs far outstrips the number of jobs available. If that were the only concern I had, I would be much less stressed about this. I'm experienced and I interview well. I could get a job. But there's so much more to it than that. I have so many constraints on my time as far as being available for the twins. I need to drop them off; daycare opens at 8:00. I need to pick them up; daycare closes at 5:30. It's difficult for me to work regular overtime unless I can take work at home in the evening. I'd have to get a significant raise to afford putting Maddie and Riley in a daycare with extended hours or get a nanny, and I don't want to move them anyway. They are my kids, I am their mom and only living parent. I need to be there for them, but I also need to provide for them. It's a difficult thing to balance.
I don't mean to whine. I know many, many families are in situations harder than mine. I've just had all these thoughts swirling around in my head and I need to try to make sense out of them by writing them down. What's surfacing for me is this pull between what I want and what I have or can get. I want a job that challenges me and allows me to work with great people on interesting projects, but I want that job to be around the corner from my house and only require me to be in the office 9:00 to 4:30. I want to put my condo on the market and have someone be so captivated by it that they offer me more than I'm asking. I want universal health care. While we're at it, can I have a unicorn as a pet and a team of fairies that cleans my house and cooks my meals? Why not reach for the stars?
I told the realtor that I'd call him sometime next week with my decision. As for the job, I'll keep looking for something else, but for now it feels like the right decision for my life is to stay where I am, be glad I have a job and health insurance, and enjoy the time that my job gives me with my family. I'll either have my hand forced by getting laid off or I'll find something that fits my requirements, hopefully the latter.
We've got a pretty mellow weekend planned, which I need. I should have some time to physically relax, and hopefully I can find the switch to my brain to give myself some mental downtime. I could really use it. Anyone who knows the location of that switch should feel free to contact me directly, thanks in advance.