That's a money tree. I'd like to plant one in my back yard. It needs to bear fruit. Immediately.
I find myself in the ridiculous position of complaining about money. Why? Because I have a good job that pays me well, I have a part-time job that doesn't pay well (music writing), but that pays something, and my wife has a good job that pays her well. Together we ought to be able to, say, make the mortgage payment, which is not an extravagant one.
But it's increasingly difficult. The biggest variable here is two kids in college at the same time. As in we will spend approximately $42,000 in 2008 to send the kids to school. They are not going to fancy private schools. They are going to state schools. And I'm looking at 2009 and I don't know how we're going to do it. They have one and three years to go, respectively. We saved what we could. And now that's gone.
There are never-ending, unrelenting demands and requests for money. Some of them -- bills of all kinds, cars breaking down, various parts of our house falling apart -- we can't ignore. Some of them are are legitimate requests from good people who represent good causes we'd like to help. And we can't. Because we have no money.
And I find myself increasingly frustrated. I don't want my life to be driven by money. This is not how I want to live. I want to be generous. But I work for an employer who keeps finding novel and creative excuses not to increase my salary, in spite of stellar performance reviews. I look at the price of gas, which has doubled since I started working for that employer, and the price of food, which has risen by more than 60% since I started working for that employer, and the price of everything else, particularly the price of education, which has skyrocketed. And for the life of me I don't understand how I'm supposed to do this. I'm using all my vacation days this year speaking about music at various universities and conferences. You know why? To earn money. I enjoy it on some levels, but one thing it is not: a vacation. It's a lot of hard work. And I can't earn nearly enough to compensate. We're losing ground, rapidly.
I know, I know. It could be a lot worse. And it could be. I know that. I'm thankful for my 1.5 jobs, and for Kate's job. But it's stressful, and we're going backwards. I'm thinking about using the techniques I saw when I lived in the ghetto: use all your spare cash to play the lottery, and buy the kids a bag of Cheetos for dinner.