It’s an Update, People!

Do you remember last year, where I had so much time on my hands that it allowed me to write daily on here? Yeah, me neither.

there’s a number of reasons for the radio silence on here, of which the most important one is my job. I can not even begin to describe how different my life looks from a year ago, where – around this time – I started to actually consider the possibility of moving back to Belgium.

I always thought that ‘writing’ was the sole thing that would make me happy in life, the happiest I could be, that is. It was a dream and the answer to the question you’d inevitably hear during times of job-distress: “what do you want to do?”

“Write!” I woud think and say. Only to be confronted with the dilemma so many people in pursuit of making a career out of artistry: what about the money? And the time? And all the good luck you obviously need to actually land whatever deal it is to get you to that point of self-sustainabilty.

I still ponder about that, though. How cool it would be to write on SNL. How amazing it would be to see my name printed on a Kindle screen. But it’s not that important anymore, because I actually love my job. And not just because I’m currently able to put 1800$ a month towards my debt, and actually SAVE money, too. (note: that’s not just because all of a sudden I make a shitload of money, it’s also because I moved last summer and saved 700$ on rent).

But yeah, I do love my job, and with that, I learned that there’s no such thing as a certain passion in life. Passion is for grabs, peeps, and today is as good as any to find a new one.

In my case, it’s not so much “a new one” as it is a sum of who I am. I always loved history – in any form: art, architecture, culture and politics: it’s wonderful how every event in history is intertwined with everything. I may not be writing a lot of stories these days, but there are many in my daily life. And so I find myself not so much at design events anymore, drinking cheap vodka out of plastic cups while filling my stomach with lobster rolls… I attend lectures about Neo-gothisism and Palladian architecture instead. I read about all the French Louis’, from XIV to XVI. About the Federal Style and what “colonial” really stands for.

It’s a hoot, really.

 

But more than my shameless tale about how I re-invented a passion in my life, I’m sure you wonder whatever happened with the guy and that money talk.

Well, the money spoke and now my lower rent is cut in half, because we moved in together.

 

via friends.wikia.com

via friends.wikia.com

I know. Mind-blowing.

To shortly recap, it’s a typical boy-meets-girl-on-tinder story. Only that this guy wasn’t so much interested in a hookup as any other Tinder encounter I had had. This guy actively pursued me, rather old-fashioned, even.

On the third date, he bomb-shelled me with the information of a previous marriage (“separated”, was the exact term, which I should have googled on the spot, because I now know that’s not even close to “divorced”.) and four kids. By all means, do wonder why I didn’t run at that exact point, because that’s what I do too (and him, too, for that matter).

7 months later, we live together and split the rent and bills. Which, seeing that in writing, seems awfully soon, but against my very expectations, nobody has really questioned it – to my face at least.

His divorce is still ongoing, and I managed to keep that part of his life far, far away from me. I don’t mingle, I don’t want to know about fights and arguments about the house. Quite frankly, I don’t really care, as long as it doesn’t take all that long anymore, since we’ve been holding off on introducing his four kids to me until things are final, and, well, my head can’t really wrap around the understanding of what four kids means. And when he says that at some point, 1 or 2 might even want to come live with us… all I think about is how that will work, logistically, since the apartment only has one bedroom, and I can’t even imagine what a 2 bedroom must cost in this city (which, of course, I’m not planning to leave.)

Truth be told, I’m not all that worried about all that, because my life feels fairly fitting at this point, and I love my job. The importance of that is enormous. A year ago, even the thought of 1 kid and a guy while dealing with a Horrible-Boss-Situation, would have had me burst into tears.

What is nagging a bit in the back of my mind, nibbling at that edge of reason, is the fact that his financial state is worse than mine ever was, bad credit score and everything. Which had me decided that I shouldn’t pin wedding dresses on Pinterest just yet.

Part of me sometimes worries about the rush of moving in together might have been just that: a rush. For him to have an affordable roof over his head during times of uttermost distress. For me to up my debt-contribution to a level that has te be called “aggressive”.

But, and this is going to sound new-agey, I remember the moment where he told me about the separation and the kids that broken marriage came along with. Because even when the air was sucked out of my lungs and I eagerly stared at the corner, forcing Ashton Kutcher to jump around it yelling “you got punk’d!”, I knew that I was right where I needed to be, and this person was right who I needed to be with.

And thus, the conclusion of this post is this: I don’t know what’s going to happen with the relationship, but I feel I’m doing the right thing.

 

PS: I will try to find a certain frequency in writing again, an write more in depth posts about my job, finances, and love-life 

Building Credit is Like Building a House. It Takes Time.

I know you’re all dying to know how things went with The Talk and whatsmore, but I need to write that post with a little more time – the good news is, though, that all is well that ends well.

 

Something completely different, however, is how I went to the bank today, because I had to cancel a payment I made, blah-blah. As I was already getting up and ready to leave, the clerk stated “oh, I see you are pre-approved for opening a credit line with us!”

And then all life froze for that split-second-long momentum and I fell back in my seat, frown on my face, head tilted a little, asking “excuse me?”

via friends.wikia.com

via friends.wikia.com

 

It has been months since I wrote on here about how I wanted to start building credit in the States. I had then applied for a credit card at my bank, but assumed that – as previously – it would get denied. But no-no, people. I’m officially credit worthy! Hurray!

The card I got granted is not one of those limitless deathtraps that people can get sucked into. It’s just a way for me to – with no costs! – start build a positive credit score. That means that I will use the card on a monthly bases, for things that I would normally pay with from my debit card, knowing very well that I’ll be able to pay the complete bill once that comes.

I have no annual fee on this card, and a limited credit line of 700$ – so I won’t be escaping to Turks and Caicos any time soon. Best of all, if I do actually pay back the bill in full, I’ll be avoiding fees and interest rates.

It’s a small thing. I know. I got granted this card solely because I have a proven record at my bank of money coming in, and paying all bills on time. They don’t care shit where I come from or how my financial future looks.

But to me, this is a little victory. A positive sign that I’ve established the solid foundation to build a rock solid structure on. That I can proceed in the direction I’m heading.

 

Hell. Yeah.

Money Talks

My boyfriend and I have been talking about moving in together. It seems like a huge step, but given the fact that he’s been spending 99% of his time at my place anyway, that hardly seems like a step at all

A couple of times now, he’s been asking me what amount of money I’d be wanting a month, and I’ve been unable to answer that so far. Partly because I don’t like to turn a relationship into a business transaction, but on the other hand, because I think there’s more money talk needed than just me dropping a number and pocket the dough.

 

via tumblr.com

via tumblr.com

So before I sit us both down and dive into the grown up thing to do, I wanted to take some time and list a couple of questions, concerns, thoughts and other things I’ve been mulling over in my head. You are most welcome (and that’s a plead) to comment with your wisdom below!

 

  • he’s getting a divorce. In like ‘he’s separated now, but we have that entire bullshit coming’. So what can he pay? Should I consider the child support he’ll have to pay? Is that any of my concern? And is that any of my business, for that matter? Should I be empathic about the costs he’s facing in regards to this divorce? Does that account to this at all? It seems unfair if it does – she’s not my ex-wife and they are not my children. Right?

 

  • What do you split? Rent, I guess. ConEd and Time Warner? How about the grocery bill? The cleaning supplies and toilet paper? Laundry? And if I’m making a list, should we take his car into account as well? Should I contribute to a vehicle that I don’t use and only very, very, VERY rarely never benefit off? I don’t need a car, haven’t needed one in forever. Should I contribute in parking, though? After all, he is using the car to get to me. Which would be ‘home’.

 

  • I’m not sure – and I guess I should be once we have this talk – but I think I make more money than him. Should that matter? It feels to me that his financial contribution is going to benefit me: it’s extra money, isn’t it? On the other hand, in the weeks gone by, I feel like I’ve been putting in more financial effort already (groceries, rent), and I don’t like that one bit. I might make more money than a year ago, but I’m not in the figures that can support two people. Nor am I willing to support a man, for that matter.

 

  • I’ve kept this blog from him, but I did tell him it existed, and why. I did tell him about my debt – not the full amount, but he knows I’m paying off a debt. He knows where the debt is coming from, and that I’m in the process of coming clean with it. He has debt, too, he says. I don’t know how much, but I’ve been urging him to add up some numbers so he can tell me how much he CAN contribute. I mean, I know hardship, I don’t’ want to put a knife to his throat… but I don’t want to support him either (see above). Not at this stage in the game. Things would be different if we had been together for years, but we’re not.

 

  • I’ve been avoiding this money talk, I must admit. I’m not even 100% sure I want to commit as I’m about to, to be honest. Not because I’m not certain I could spend my days with this guy, no-no. Because of the uncertainty of his situation. Is he able to share my life if he’s still so occupied ending a past? And also… where on earth are 4 children going to sleep in my 1 bedroom apartment? Does this mean we’d be moving once this lease ends? Aaaarrrgghh!!! The horror!

 

  • And if we’re moving, holy cow… we’re staying in Manhattan, right? I can’t move to New Jersey. I’ll die.

 

Yeah, there’s some clarification needed. Pronto.

A Year of More.

Last year, I wrote a post on Fit is The New Poor, where I listed 12 Ridiculous Resolutions, determined to stick with them throughout the full twelve months. But as it appeared, even ridiculous resolutions are hard to hold on to, and while they served their purpose for a good while, it got harder to dedicate my time to them as my life took a turn.

It was resolution #10 that stirred some commotion, in the early hours of 2014. I had toasted loudly to the switch of years, proclaiming that the time had come to for me to Fall in Love. A statement that had some people believe I was jinxing the very possibility of that happening. For a while, it didn’t look good. Being broke and financially instable, I felt anything but diving into the dating scene, let alone dipping as much as a toe in the pool of fishes. But then a new job came, accompanied by a new salary, career opportunities and newfound hope… and weeks after that all fell into my lap, I was able to check off one resolution of my list as completed. For the first time in forever, I won’t be scanning a room, looking for the next best victim to kiss when the clock strikes midnight and the ball makes a stop above Times Square. This time, I’m just gonna kiss my boyfriend, full on the lips.

Although I’ve definitely proven that resolutions – in any shape or form – are bound to be broken, forgotten or dished along the way, I now also know for certain that you do get what you set out to acquire.

I had to give that some thought for the year to come. Was I going to make a list again, a second attempt to stick with stuff that seemed worthwhile in the final days of a year passing? Or was there any other way to approach the New Year with a clear statement of my expectations?

So I decided not to be modest, and just take a bigger bite out of life – that’s how hungry 2014 has made me, as it was a year filled with miracles, however small.

So for the coming year, I’m setting my mind on…

… more love. More adventure. More work. More happiness. More friendship. More champagne. More laughter. More Money. More humor. More writing, maybe. More prosperity. More success. More small acts of kindness. More giving. More yoga. More parties. More healthy food. More sports. More summer. More affection. More Kundalini. More kisses. More New York. More travel. More hugs. More small things. More big things. Meer fun. More joy. More knowledge. More books. More days of “la belle far niente”. More busy days, adrenaline rushing. More opportunities. More dreams. More listening. More miracles, for sure. Meer Being. More me, but also more of him…

… you know, just a little bit more of all the good and pretty things. That’d be more than enough.

And for you, I wish for the same.

Cheers.

via  stylabl.com

via stylabl.com

Oh, Hell No!

A couple of weeks ago, my health insurance started sending me emails, reminding me that it wasn’t too late to get my (free!) annual check-up AND receive a 40$ Amazon gift certificate. The latter is what had me cave in. Plus, it seemed legit to have my health checked – better to be safe than sorry.

So, I got online and browsed their list of doctors, and chose an office close to my job, so I could head in prior to work.

Needless to say, when I called, I double-checked whether this female doctor whom I hoped would become my local generalist, accepted my insurance. I checked again when I finally got to the appointment, and when they wanted about every bodily fluid to exam at the lab, I triple-checked whether all these costs would be covered. I’m not peeing in a cup if it’s going to cost me 400 bucks, thank-you-very-much.

But all was good, the results came back without anything to worry about. Healthy as a horse, this one!

Until I checked the page at the insurance’s website today and I nearly died of a heart attack: it stated the lab work claim had been approved (for an amount of 483 dollars!), but my visit to the doctor itself got denied, and I owed 398 dollars.

Say what!? Hell, no!

via degrassi.wikia.com

via degrassi.wikia.com

In the past, I probably would have cried a little, and then eventually shrug and spend about 400 dollars on a doctor’s visit I hadn’t really needed to begin with. But I refused to let this go. And so I send them a nice an email.

I emailed this to customer service also, but I’m so aggravated that I wanted to address this:  

a couple of weeks ago, I got some emails calling for an annual check-up. No harm, no foul, I thought, and since 2 doctor’s visits are included in my plan, I used your search tool for a doctor.    

Now, I see that the claim for this visit was denied and I should pay almost 400$??? for someone to put a stethoscope on my chest and have me pee in a pot??? Because she’s “out of my network”? How is that even possible if I found her through the your recommended doctors?? 

No. 

We pay over 400$ a month get my ass covered here in the States, and I cannot agree with this way of working – which, since I found this doctor through your search engine – is misleading. 

 

I had an email back within the hour, stating there had been a mistake, and I didn’t owe a single penny.

And that, people, is why you need to question everything.

May the Odds be Ever in My Favor.

I haven’t been sharing much about my new relationship. Don’t think that I’ve just been holding off writing about it… I haven’t been talking about it all that much, either, apart from a very select group of friends who I’ve confided in.

Against my better judgment, I hadn’t informed anyone about that first date. I always let at least 1 person know where I’m going – just in case I vanish from the earth and a search party needs to be organized, you know. Can you imagine the delay if the police first has to rumble through my online life? Yeah… But this time around, I didn’t tell a single soul about the date I had set up with a Tinder prospect, one Friday night in August.

Against every word of advice ever given by my parents and every sane person around me, I did get in the car with the stranger he then still was. He had gotten kinda lost in the city, and (again) against my rule to not chase a guy down, that is exactly what I did: walk in his direction while coordinating him on the phone how to drive, like a remote co-pilot. And when our paths eventually crossed, I got in his car and kissed him on the cheek as if we were old acquaintances running into each other in the French countryside or something. He’s still shocked about that.

via fmgmoscatolife.com

via fmgmoscatolife.com

Then, two weeks in, and sitting on the stoop of my new apartment, he dropped a bombshell on me, informing me of his marital status (separated) and of the amount of kids he has (FOUR!). Yes, that read 4, I so kid you not. Part of me was expecting Ashton Kutcher jumping from behind the corner yelling “PUNK’d!!”, but the voices in my head screaming “RUUUNNN!” were absolutely loudest. I was thinking ‘who the fuck has FOUR kids in America!? Hello-oh, college tuitions!? ‘ But against my very expectation, when I opened my mouth (after about 10 minutes of utter shock), the words coming out were “well… you are not your circumstances, and I kinda like you, so yeah… let’s see where this goes.” He’s still shocked about that one, too. So am I.

I don’t know how we got matched, because he lives far beyond the boundary I had set for my heart to seek for someone else’s. But against my rule to not cross the Hudson River, he comes driving from New Jersey over the George Washington Bridge to see me… often. Very often. Actually, that often I’m starting to question whether we’re living together or not.

When I finally did start telling people about my next adventure in dating, there were frowns all over. Hell, there were so many frowns I can pave 5th Avenue with them. They were also exactly those frowns I had been trying to avoid, but I braved them with sentences like “I can handle this!”

As the weeks and months are passing, their frowns and worries are disappearing, turning into “you make such a cute couple!”. I met his parents. They loved me. He/we/me (no idea, really) still need to struggle through a divorce and all the financial and emotional shit that’ll bring. I still have got to make him understand that I have absolutely no desire to move to New Jersey. Ever. I still have to accept that I will always loose from his children, and he still has to learn that he can never beat Manhattan.

Theoretically and on paper the odds are anything but in my favor… but I’m pretending that they are.

1044374_10151733604013875_95019154_n

Update: Getting a Raise.

Yesterday, I got to witness the difference between working for a horrible company and working for an amazing company.

Without even having to ask and regardless of my thoroughly written previous post, I got offered a raise. My bosses’ way of telling me they’re happy with me, my efforts and appreciative of how I’ve been handling my job.

I had a huge migraine last night, keeping me from jumping up and down and doing a little crazy dance on the Subway home, but man, ‘happy’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.

happy-dance-o

Next up: revising my budget…

And stepping it up at the job even more.