It’s hard to decorate a ficus

Times are pretty lean in the casa de Nadja right now. I’ve always lived on a narrow margin, as the medical bills and student loans alone are pretty steep before factoring in living expenses and a decent car to get me to and from work in order to have insurance and be able to pay off said student loans. Now that I’m alone it’s doubly hard, and my credit cards are all maxed out, so I’m finally learning how to live on exactly as much as I bring in, and no more, because there *is* no more. Bills get floated from paycheck to paycheck, and the only portion of my budget that can shrink is my food allowance, because bills account for about 90% of my income, and gas takes a giant bite out of the rest of it.

Rice is delicious. I’m about to find out how delicious it will continue to be as I learn to live on it. Staple foods are all I was able to buy at the store the other day, and I used all the budgeting tricks I’ve taught my clients for myself, for reals. It’s not so bad so long as all the vital items are purchased, though when I got to the car I realized I’d forgotten a few things (most of the things I went in for, sadly. My memory is terrible.)

For extra fun, I’ve missed one to two days a paycheck since my breakdown this summer. This paycheck gets to see four, as I had a stomach bug right before Thanksgiving, and then had a mixed episode when I got home, and now a massive panic attack today with suicidal ideation. I left early on the first day of the pay period to get maintenance done on my car, and I came in late yesterday morning due to a panic attack. I am totally screwed financially.

This paycheck? Is going to be utterly horrible. I’m trying to hold back whatever I have left of this one to hopefully at least get the rent paid, and I can hopefully schedule my phone bill for the following check, when I thankfully will have the extra income of the crisis phone, and maybe, magically, I will manage to make it to work all ten days of the pay period. If I could just be consistently AT WORK a lot of my financial woes would be better. I can only go one day at a time, and every day I try, and I’ve been working as hard as I can when I’m there. Work is stressful and my team is fracturing from burnout and stress heaped on unnecessarily by my supervisor, but my notes are on time, and I’m busting my butt looking for things to do to get my productivity up. I know November is a wash, but there’s always December.

So, you might be wondering… what the hell does a ficus have to do with this woe-is-me nonsense?

Due to being horribly broke, and my not owning a Christmas tree (because my roommate bought ours, and obviously kept it as it is her property), and my utter broke-ness, and my complete lack of desire to haul a live tree up three flights of stairs and then back again? I turned to the only tree I own: a ficus, which was one of the many housewarming gifts my mother gave me when I moved in here. This is a live ficus, and only about three feet high, so the branches are pretty wibbly-wobbly. I’m not kidding, even putting lightweight plastic micro-ornaments makes it look like Charlie Brown’s. It’s so pathetic it’s utterly adorable. My glass ornaments are going to be hung on the curtain rod in the living room, and my tree angel has supplanted my Buddha statue on a shelf. Buddha is now hanging out down on a lower shelf. I’ve got a wreath for the door, and lights I have no idea what to do with, because there was absolutely no way my poor bitty ficus could handle their weight. I might wrap the shelving unit the angel is hanging out on, or maybe a random piece of furniture. I’d already found the yarn I needed for Christmas presents at a steep discount, so most of my Christmas presents added up to $30 (and I have a lot to make and have been ignoring it. Bad Nadja.)

So despite having very little wiggle room, I have a roof over my head, the bills are current, gas for the car, and food. It might not be very exciting food, as I will be eating enough spaghetti, and chicken, rice and vegetables to make me never want to eat it again, but it is food. Christmas decorations are attacking various items around my apartment, and I have the materials to make most of my Christmas presents. The last few will likely be purchased once I get a paycheck with a full two weeks’ work on it plus the crisis phone, right before Christmas, or afterwards. My sister and I will both be giving presents into February, as she is only marginally less broke than I am. I still have her, and my boyfriend. Despite the stress of worrying about getting the bills paid, which I know I can figure out if it comes down to it, things are okay. I see both of my doctors this weekend, and will talk with my psychiatrist about maybe changing my mood stabilizer, as my moods aren’t exactly stable, or at least taking my Wellbutrin up another dose as we’d discussed earlier.

I just have to actually make it to work, every day, ON TIME or a rough approximation of it. I should probably stop writing blog posts at 1:40 in the morning. That might help. My sleep schedule is all screwed up after my mixed episode.

I’ll make it. Somehow. By the skin of my teeth.

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