Monday, January 25, 2010

Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3)

Call it Winter Blues. Call it SAD. Call it vitamin D deficiency. Call it what you like (being “misog” in Blake household parlance) but I’ve been feeling down and out for the last week or so. I’m not the only one. I know my good lady wife is too.

Suddenly it all seems... not exactly too much, just not enough. We’re both sick of chasing our own coat-tails financially. There can be nothing more galling than turning up to a job (that makes you sigh) every day to earn not enough money to cover all the bills. It is truly demoralizing.

And we feel tired. Deep winter tired. I suspect we should be hibernating. Curled up in a warm cave stocked with hot chocolate, sausages & mash and a host of other tasty comfort foods. My DVD collection wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

The winter is just not a great place to be.

But I’m trying to be cheerful.

Well, if not exactly cheerful (this is me we’re talking about after all) then I’m at least I’m trying to count my blessings.

I have a wonderful wife. Too wonderful rumbustious boys. A roof over our heads. Karen and I have both completed an accountancy course (ACCA) and a degree course respectively over the last few months – Karen is merely awaiting her final results (out in Feb). I’ve nearly completed the first rewrite of my novel – next step will be sourcing an agent. It’s very early days yet but we calculated than we’ve paid off about £9k from our mortgage.

So if we’re not rich in money we’re at least rich in assets and home comforts. And we’re not going to starve.

But a bit of elasticity would be nice. A holiday would be nice (I’m not even thinking “abroad”). To be able to buy a luxury item once in a while without feeling guilty would be nice.

*Sigh*

Although I’m not sure if it will help we have a financial advisor coming round to visit us this evening. Somebody independent and professional to take on board our haemorrhaging fortunes to see if they can apply a tourniquet. If nothing else she might be able to get us a better deal on our mortgage, I suppose. I’m not holding my breath though. I can’t help suspecting it will merely result in a tightening up of moolah elsewhere. Swings and roundabouts as they say.

Sorry. I’m meant to be being positive. Reasons to be cheerful and all that.

Ahem. At least she’s not a bailiff.

There, is that close enough?


27 comments:

ArtSparker said...

An advisor should be able to offer some help, in any case. I think that getting control back in some areas is huge in these cases, just for that great "At the wheel" feeling. Hope it goes well.

Steve said...

ArtSparker: that's a good way to look at it. A positive way. Back in the driving seat with our eyes open... as opposed to driving the vehicle off a cliff with our eyes closed...

Completely Alienne said...

It is so demoralising when you have nothing left for a tiny bit of luxury and January is a particularly depressing month. I hope the advisor can help you save something somewhere.

Tenon_Saw said...

Can you send her round to me afterwards?

Steve said...

Completely Alienne: ...actually I've come away feeling pretty hopeful. Confused but hopeful. I am crap with money. Thank God my wife and the advisor seemed to know what they were talking about! The advisor is going to go away and rattle some figures for us... hopefully it will mean better deals all round.

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: it may be a possibility if you're serious!

Löst Jimmy said...

I am the last person to give you advice about money Steve, I am simply rubbish at keeping it. Budgeting and me don't mix never have no matter how earnestly I try. As for feeling down I think the time of year makes everything seem that little bit worse. I know it exasperates me, but the only way is forward so try and keep positive (fix on getting the book in print to give you an extra angle in life - enjoy the experience of that too). Take care

Jimmy

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: bang on the nose as always, Jimmy, thank you.

missbehaving said...

If it's any consolation Steve, you are not alone, I think it is winter too, I am struggling every day to find some kind of bloomin mojo, something to get excited about, tuned in to. I try to hang onto that adage, ' this too shall pass', it's just a case of keep turning up, keep showing up till it blows over.
Financially, two years ago we rennovated our house, simply by changing banks and getting a better rate we were able to cut our mortgage payments, knock five years off and get out reform out of it. There is always a way!
Look forward to hearing what your guy comes up with.

Steve said...

MissBehaving: I think you're right. It's the Glums Season and mojo is pretty thin on the ground for everyone. Lord knows I can't find mine (I suspect Dr Evil has syphoned it off). However, our gal, the FA, seemed confident she could get us better deals all round - better on the mortgage and loads better on my pension. At the moment the ball is in her court... we'll see what she can deliver.

The Crow said...

I think part of it may be the seemingly-extra-long winter, too. I also think that it is the creepingly slow economy. It is hard to feel hopeful when the economy, worldwide, for 95% of us, is in the toilet doing the downward swish-and-swirl to the Financial Cesspool.

In the Great Depression, there was a slogan (here in the States, anyway) that "Prosperity is right around the corner." A bitter, but too often accurate retort to that was, "Right behind the sheriff!"

When we feel hopeful, it is easier to bear the misery of terrible financial or psychological woes. I think your appointment with the financial advisor is something to regard as hopeful. Good for you and your good lady wife!

(I'd ask you to send the FA my way, but the transportation fees would kill me before the tax man did.)

Knockers up, kiddo!

Steve said...

The Crow: the meeting with the FA left us feeling a lot more hopeful and with the realization that, far from being backed into a corner, we actually have a number of options open to us. I think everybody feels better when they can make a choice. By the way, love the expression "knockers up"... though fear something may have been added (rather than lost) in my translation...!

Gina said...

Good, I am glad that the Advisor came up with some positive suggestions. It is good to feel you have a little control - well, I always feel better if I have some.

As you know I have also felt glum. I don't find reasons helpful at all - either to explain why I am glum or why I should be cheerful. It's not about reasons - I think it is seasonal, and in my case, hormonal!

Hopefully we will all feel better when February arrives.

Steve said...

Gina: ...except I always find February the bleakest month of the year! However, I can laugh at my doom and gloom a little now. Things aren't as bad they could be. The FA came up with some really useful stuff. There really are reasons to be cheerful after all!

Mark said...

Good luck with the advisor. I know it's a cliche but we are most of us well off really - and I guess your thoughtful post acknowledges that.

Pity about the weather though - so **** cold!

Steve said...

Mark: yes, an injection of some heat would be most welcome!

Selina Kingston said...

I am so with you here. Late January into February always hits me hard - not helped by my birthday in February which makes me another year older which piles on the misery further!
Rolled up in my duvet is the only place I want to be at the moment.

But from experience, I do know that in a few weeks time when the first brave daffodils rear their little yellow heads, I feel better almost immediately. Nothing beats that - except, maybe, a luxury holiday in the Carribean, perhaps......

Steve said...

Selina: "a luxury holiday in the Carribean, perhaps"... ah, now if only I could grow one of those in my garden...! :-)

The Sagittarian said...

I feel for you, and not just cos I'm going to be back at work myself next week (finally, from Xmas/New year break)....

Steve said...

Amanda:... empathy is a wonderful thing. I share your pain.

KAZ said...

I heard on the radio that French peasants would simply hibernate for the winter.
But I suppose they had Mangelwurzels rather than chocolate.

Gypsy said...

I feel the same way Steve except I am exhausted from always being hot. My body always thinks it's at least 10 degrees hotter than it actually is so when we keep experiencing those 100+ degree temps it is beyond humane to me.


All I want to do is sleep until winter.


It took all the effort I possess just to do my blog rounds. You're the first one I've been to today and I'm already tired....please don't take offence to that. It's not you...it's me....tehe.


Glad the financial adviser could help and I hope it makes enough difference to make life a bit more joyous. You could always cut down on your daily chocolate....oh no, that would definitely cut into the joyous wouldn't it? I'll shut up now.

Steve said...

Kaz: I thought they invented chocolate? But maybe the mangelwurzels encouraged them to do that...?

Gypsy: well, I am definitely honoured that mine is the first blog you have decided to expend energy on - thank you! I do hope your climate drops down to a reasonable range soon. As for giving up chocolate... that's not a bad idea, I could save millions!

femminismo said...

You sound like such a dear person. I hope you and Karen find your rainbows and spring flowers soon, and a bit more "moolah," as we say across the Pond. If ever you want to go abroad, you are welcome in our abode in Oregon. We have it all here: mountains, seashore, deserts.

Steve said...

Femminismo: thank you - that has improved my mood a hundred fold. mountains, seashore, deserts... to my mind that is truly everything. One day I may take you up on that wonderful offer.

Owen said...

Am just getting here now, though you've already moved on a post, but just wanted to drop in to say something like : Hang in there... this winter has been hard on all of us here in northern Europe I think... weather wise, and financial wise, the economy just keeps crawling along, and it just keeps raining, freezing, freezing, raining, maybe some more snow this weekend. But you are right to count your blessings, with two (or too) wonderful kids to take care of... and remember, they are counting on you to show them the way, to be cheerful when all around is crumbling. I hear you loud and clear on the financial issues, we too have a mortgage that seems like it will never end, and the interest amounts are appalling, I feel like a slave to the damn banks, our mortgage interest at galling rates pay for their effing big bonuses; but don't get me started on that one... But anyway, your post really resonates, I'm sure with alot of people. I finally broke down and decided to break into a savings account that I probably shouldn't have touched, but throwing caution to the winds, we are going to escape for a couple of weeks to somewhere warm, much warmer than here... that project has kept me going through January... January and February are always the hardest months for me, like you said, combination of lack of vitamin D from sunshine, short days, bitter cold, inflexible finances... arrrrggghhh.

But I may have made this reference earlier to you, perhaps, I forget, but Keep the Aspidistra Flying...

Steve said...

Owen: I hear you! I think, like you, we are going to dip into some savings and have a proper holiday this year - we need one and we've earnt one. Sometimes you need some "soul food" to rejuvenate the old mind and body for the long slog ahead. As for the bankers... no wonder it is Cockney rhyming slang.