Full Up

That my last, desperate and furious post has been swinging out in the wind for all to see over the past week has had me feeling the slightest tinge of regret. I wonder, sometimes, if I go too far, if I neglect to filter things properly for a large audience; if I might care to refrain from letting it all hang out as I sometimes do…. But then again… Isn’t that why I’m here? Ah well. This week, I can happily report that things are again, as I knew they would be, better.

Our emergency heating assistance finally came through (I’m amused that our oil vendor’s middle name is Serafin… For to me, he is always an angel arriving in time to save us…). Our support from the ex arrived, so too did the renewal of food stamps. The end of the month is the lean time – and since I know this intellectually, it helps take the edge off to some degree, but when the heat runs out and the support is late and the food stamps are two weeks away and half of my students cancel… That margin of time can be a frightening place in which to exist. I know there are always folks who have it far, far worse, but still…

I heard yesterday on NPR that people who live in poverty are not good at saving (duh) because they can’t see past their next utility bill… Furthermore, folks who live in poverty can suffer a drop in IQ of up to 13 points. So ‘they’ say. Good Lord, I’m fairly sure I cannot afford such a drop in my intelligence quotient. While the segment had intrigued me enough to stay in the car and listen long after I’d arrived in my driveway, I couldn’t help but think (hope is a more accurate word, I suppose) that this study had nothing to do with my kind of poor, which was clearly a more enlightened sort of poverty. Or was it? Man. Just when things were feeling so refreshed and hopeful…  I sat there for a moment, wondering at what this all meant for me. And then, I heard my father’s voice in my head, and it made me smile. I know what he would have said to all this nonsense. Fuggem. Time to unload the groceries and measure the new oil level in the tank. Things are good once again, and I won’t let some stupid study tell me otherwise.

Ok. So the larder is refreshed, we have 250 gallons of fuel oil (who could ever guess that such a thing alone could bring me such joy and confidence??) and I have paid my utilities to date. Whew. Car insurance next, and with two new students this week, that’s covered. All this lifts my spirits, yes, but there’s another side to my financial concerns these days, and that’s The Studio. While I have assembled a board, and yes, things will finally begin to change – it’s still essentially all on me – and mom. There’s an insurance bill for $600 due in a week. Again, I will extend my open palm to my mother, knowing that her own nest egg is dwindling with every downturn of the market and every empty hand I offer to her. Next year, after The Studio has been up and running for a calendar year, our insurance cost will drop by a considerable amount, so that ember of hope keeps me going. We have our first ‘real’ event (that is to say, not all done by me alone) in early June, and yet, still it’s 90% on me. In a year’s time it may be much different, but for now, I still gotta hustle. And I am the first to admit – I may be a spunky gal, but I’m a lame-ass when it comes to business. I aim to get better, of course, but it’s a real force of will to follow through and keep things moving, let me tell you.

Right now, this very morning, I must turn my attention to stocking our incubator with eggs so that by Elihu’s thirteenth (?!?!?) birthday party on May 1st, all the new chicks will be hatching out. That has been a seven-year tradition here, but sadly, I have my personal doubts about the efficacy of our handsome but aging rooster. I am not entirely confident he’s been doing his part – I highly expect most of the eggs this year will be duds. Who knows though – we’ve been happily surprised in the past. I just hope that in spite of this last round of snow and cold, Bald Mountain has been taking care of business. A few years ago he was brimming with piss and vinegar – you couldn’t walk within five feet of him without suffering a charge from the testy creature – but now, he limps a few paces towards his target and then sort of peters out, appearing to have forgotten it was he’d set out to do. I still don’t like to turn my back on him, but somehow, I feel the fire may be burning much lower this year. We shall see…

This week has also seen the resolution of an open-ended health question of mine. For a number of years I’ve experienced a slight tremulous feeling in my heartbeat on occasion, so at my mother’s insistence (as she herself has afib issues) I had it checked out yesterday. Knowing all too well what my heart behaves like during the onset of panic attacks, I am pretty well attuned to what my normal, beating heart feels like. After an EKG came back looking “textbook normal”, and after my doc heard no abnormalities herself, I sat there on the crinkly papered examining table feeling a bit like the boy who cried wolf. But there is one thing my age and experience tell me for sure: do not ignore the ‘God voice’. And this time, I didn’t. So at least I can have the confidence to know that I paid attention – and thankfully, have the peace of mind to know that as of yet, the medical world seems to think I have no worrisome issues of the heart. Which is good.

My friend, board member, sculptor, multi-media artist and go-getter of a woman miChelle just called to confirm that I’d read her recent, ball-busting press release. God bless her for taking up the charge when I was so distracted by my own personal mess this past week. This made me feel good to be sure, and so did the tip she gave us on finding a place where we can likely get ourselves a half-dozen fertile eggs. A mile or so from her house we’re told to look for the joint with the six-foot iron chicken on the road. Will do.

Elihu and I are treating ourselves this morning to breakfast out. It’s been a couple of months since we’ve done this – and while I still have to scrape together $50 for a tuba lesson tomorrow, we’re lucky to have enough cushion to do this without too much guilt. Afterwards, we’ll drive off on a new adventure, looking for the six-foot hen and the new friendships and adventures that lie just beyond…

By the time we retire tonight we’ll be restored and ready, the incubator gently ticking away again in the living room, all of its rows full up with eggs ready to begin the big change.


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