Life Gives Us Deadlines

This is an updated and abbreviated version of a post I have been meaning to write and have a couple times had partially written for weeks, and relates to mentions here (linked by Sarah in this awesome post), and over here, and perhaps elsewhere, like this, and on Twitter.

As you may know, we’ve been financially challenged. Things have become almost but not quite stable on the way to the end of the tunnel. We’re not in immediate danger of eviction for being behind on rent. We can eat. The phone and internet – vital to modern life and in our case making a chunk of money and seeking more – are being kept on. The kids have health coverage and Henry will get his one year checkup and shots – albeit not until almost 13 months old due to doctor vacation scheduling – and that’ll set us on the road to getting an even better handle on the allergy/sensitivity problems, which may also become less critical as he ages. It’s actually been I have no idea what I was about to type a little while ago when I stopped in mid-sentence. I think I was going to say it’s been good I’ve been so available, and that will make working from home a Good Thing, except I must be able to work for that to work which is a matter of some juggling and changes. But I digress.

Have to stop and try to remember where I was going with this in the broader sense. I load my thoughts in my head and risk losing them if they don’t spew right out the keyboard.

Um…

There’s been one big deadline coming at us. The gas & electric can’t be turned off if you have a baby under a year and financial hardship. Henry turns 1 on the 20th. We’ve accumulated most of a year’s worth of balance. In fact, it’s apparently a couple months more than I thought, and the peak bills in the winter weren’t much more than the bills have been this summer. Odd.

We assumed, not unreasonably, that I would get enough work before now to straighten that out and take us the rest of the way out of the basics. As it is, we should be able to cover the current utilities in the future, so it’s mainly about the arrears.

The bottom line is we have to pay at least $1425 by August 22nd to keep the gas and electricity on, and then the other half will be in six installments.

That means needing to come up with about $1000 above what we can otherwise manage.

I have an offer of $150 toward the second installment from a local charitable agency, but not the first, as they have to know the power will stay on and it won’t be wasted dropping in the bucket. That would effectively give me until sometime in October to have gotten the prospective job, or other work sufficient to keep it all rolling.

Someone finally expressed interest in buying the xtremeware.com domain I’ve had for sale for several months, so I thought that might do it, but I haven’t heard back. I just replied a third time, from a different address, making a time-sensitive offer to sell it at the lowest price I can reasonably accept. I’ll probably list it again in a formal service to expedite the possibility and give others a chance if the warm prospect bails. That would help some, if it could happen soon enough. We’re looking at what else we can sell in the next week, focusing heavily on my comic book collection from years past.

For the most part, family isn’t a viable source of help, so I won’t go asking them unless it comes down to, say, the last $100 or so between us and darkness.

At any rate, whatever we could say about how we got here, miscalculating and all that, it’s not as important as moving forward. The consequences, if we can’t keep the utilities on, will be the same as eviction. There are contingency plans for Deb and the kids to stay with a friend of hers. I have no such plans, beyond being acutely aware I still own a tent. That just sets up a much harder scenario to escape, makes it hard to make the money we now make online, makes it hard to get work, makes it hard to take care of the kids, makes it hard to keep Henry’s sensitivities watched and controlled.

I haven’t been eager to say anything by way of asking for donations, as we already got helped once beyond all conceivable generosity. We wouldn’t be so stable now, otherwise. I’m itching to get on the other side of the PayPal button and be able to do the same for others. Surely that’ll come, but isn’t here yet.

This was why I planned to do a fundraising edition of CotC, since that was a different audience and reason – appreciation of the carnival in the past or expression of a desire to have it happen in the future – it didn’t feel inappropriate. My spare time for that never became copious, even though the fundraising aspect made it paying work of sorts. Again, not to reflect on where and why but to resolve and proceed.

So. Anything I receive in PayPal (button at top of right sidebar) will go to the gas and electric arrears until that is paid up or something else is a more immediate threat. I’ll add to this if I see later I forgot something, or will post status updates as appropriate.

The other part of the plan, besides maybe mentioning this in a less frantic way, was a post soliciting micro-work of the sort I can actually do while taking care of the kids and having to fit it into minute or few bursts or sleepy midnight interludes. Ironically, planning that, composing it and so forth didn’t lend themselves to my time and circumstances. While that might not raise what a full-fledged getababysitternow job would, it would have helped. I still plan something along those lines, which was not going to be a mere post, but also a mass e-mail to contacts, some of whom might not even realize I am looking. Even some people I expected were aware things were grim had no idea, so on the periphery, who knows.

Oddly, everyone has left me alone long enough to ramble at length. This is as much as I wrote over the course of a couple weeks in an unfinished post on the topic that reached the point where I wasn’t sure what I’d said and needed almost a rewrite of an edit. However, it’s time to make supper before the kids mutiny.

Update:
We’re down to about $650 $600 $200 needed to make the deadline. Not there yet, but it’s progress. Almost there! Thank you all so much for your links, donations and purchases.

Update on August 19. 2008:

I’ve removed the sticky status from this post and am updating this one accordingly. While things won’t exactly be rosy and we still could use assistance if anyone feels generous (this big push was for half the arrears; it’ll be hard to pay both the installments on the other half and the current bills, if nothing else), with some juggling and astonishing generosity from several people, we’ve reached the immediate goal. Thanks!!

If you do still want to help out, the PayPal button on the top right remains. Deb’s shop still has a few physical items, though it is going largely virtual. We still have books for sale, and may add more along the line. Some have had to be removed after Henry damaged them, which is helpful.

You’re welcome to use the info in the sidebar where it says “Light the power!” to go directly to the gas & electric on our behalf. That’s going to be over $200 a month to catch up, after all, on to of an average of probably $300 a month over the year, with the big ones coming all too soon. That’s anonymous, unless you tell us you’ve done it. We’ll just see that part of the bill has already been paid.

I didn’t end up selling off some of my comics for this emergency, but I’m not attached to most of them, and will probably put many of them up for sale. Possibly right on one of the blogs, or possibly other places. Stay tuned.

I still am trying to sell xtremeware.com, though perhaps I should use that as the domain for selling comics. It has a higher Page Rank now than we do here. Anyway, the auction expires tomorrow, but until then I will accept a bargain reserve price ($500) for the thing. That’s somewhere between 1/2 and 1/20 of what it should bring. I’ll probably put it on longer term offer at a higher price, whether I also sell stuff on it or not. I also have xtremecomp.com potentially available, but haven’t really thought about price.

At any rate, thanks to everyone who donated, linked, and made a point of buying stuff. It was a big help.

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