Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 9, 2013: Bridging the gap... again.

Look who just "bridged" Daisy to Brownie today?


Sorry I don't write as often.  Life is good here.  I am watching Julian RUN from room to room singing and screaching with joy.  Ali is laying next to me watching last week's elimination round of The Voice.    While I am still devastated at the early exit of Judith Hill, I am still all in for Sasha Brown.  The two of them were my faves.  There some real talent on that show, man.  I mean, I've watched entire seasons of Idol where the where ALL 5 of the finalists in the Voice had a better voice than the winner of Idol (in my humble opinion, of course).

But I don't blog on here to talk about TV shows.

What I would really like to talk about is my latest area of life where I have been really struggling, because I am willing to bet I'm not the only one who struggles with it.

I'm blessed that I've never struggled with my weight.  I know that's a tough one for literally millions of people.

I'm blessed that I've never really lost my faith.  I lost any clue how to talk to God, but I never lost my belief in God.  I know that is an area that many people struggle with.

But I'll tell you what.  I have never - I mean since I was 16 - had a comfortable relationship with...

... money.

Two weeks ago, I noticed my credit card balance had JUMPED (again), and I literally jumped in my chair, and said out loud, "How did THAT happen?"

Have you ever had an experience like that?  I understand if you haven't.  I know for a great many people, money is clear to them... how it works, etc.

But when I stared at my account screen, it felt like someone else was "at the wheel," not me.  But that's not the case.  When I looked at my account history, I quickly saw that I had purchased the whole of Ali's summer camp in one charge on my card... but thing was, I had NO MEMORY of that transaction, or any real relationship to what my balance would be when I made that transaction.  It's like I erased it from my consciousness as soon as it happened.

In that moment, I heard all the past "me's" who had stared at either a credit card statement in the mail or logged online and looked with apprehension, like it was going to be a big surprise.  Again, as if someone else was at the wheel.  As if I didn't use the card myself.

When I had my first savings account in Fairfield, CT in 1988, I would walk up to the counter, and the gal, Ved, (I still remember her name, because I made her the enemy) would give me my account balance, and I would literally gasp out loud in the line as if SHE took the money from me.  Looking back, I can see and feel the awkward response of other employees and customers who were within earshot.  Poor Ved.  She had to put up with me that whole summer.

Back in my office, I literally feel to my knees.  I had run up my credit card yet again. Something that I knew was happening but had been keeping a blind eye to since my main hospital contract ended.  I knew I wasn't making enough to get by, and sensed I was financing the difference on my card, but I was really hiding from the stark reality of what was so.

Have you ever PROMISED to do something (over and over), or NOT do something (over and over) and found that you just couldn't manage your promise?

I sat in the full heat of that realization on my knees in my office.  I felt panic overcome my body.

It was time.  Something had to change.  I realized I am forty years old, and this is IT.  I don't get a second chance, and I am lucky to be alive.  I've buried friends, children, patients, all younger than me.  I'm LUCKY I get the rest of today to manifest whatever I want.  Could there BE a greater gift than LIFE?    One thing I've learned through my work in the hospital and my personal life is that tomorrow does NOT follow today for thousands of people... every day.  If I get a tomorrow, what shall I do with it?  For it is GENUINELY A PRESENT given to me by God.

Within this game of life, there are some areas that are kind of 'lynchpins' that affect many others.  Money is one of them, and whether anyone wants to believe otherwise is their choice, but my car doesn't run on love, the bank doesn't want love at the beginning of the month, and neither does Julian's daycare.  They all run on money.  For better or for worse, it's kind of a lynchpin in our society.  Yet, I've been confused about it my whole life.

No more running.  I can't take it anymore.

And so it began.   Time to get some help.  I'm not as strong in math as other subjects, so you know what I did to get through in college?  I got a tudor.  How did I get through music theory?  Tudor.  Algebra?  Tudor.  Stats?  Tudor.  Did I feel "less than" or "weak" in those moments?  Nope, not really, because I was committed to an outcome (graduating with a 3.0 or higher GPA) and was willing to do WHATEVER IT TOOK to create that outcome.


New outcomes:

Solvent business.

Debt free graduate.

Well prepared for retirement.

"Up close and intimate" with money.

Not because I'm obsessed with it, but because until now, I've been afraid of it.

I've joined a support group that works on helping each other break the cycle of debting (I didn't know that was a verb!) and have gotten A LOT of relief sharing my story.  The laughter of recognition in the room from those who have begun this road before me is refreshing.  To hear levity in the midst of something that heretofore has been so frightening...

... gives me hope.

I love this game of life.  Today, I get to re-write my story.  If I'm lucky enough to wake up tomorrow, I get to do it again.  Same for Tuesday.

So many chances for success.

What a gift.

God night.


  1. I am glad you found yourself a support group...Awww the comforts of like-minded people, lol!! Good luck to you Tim!!
    Blessings to you and the family!
    Kelley from MO

  2. Hmm..... not what sure what a support group can do though. Life is expensive and the middle class is struggling to meet ever increasing expenses at the same time that wages are stagnant. If there is a gap between minimal living expenses and income, often you have to pull out a credit card. You need a car to get to work, your car breaks down, you have to fix your car. If you don't have the cash, you have to pull out the credit card. Debt is often not the result of frivolous spending but of the cost of life in a struggling economy. I'm looking forward to updates as to what you learn from this group, etc. (I fully relate to looking at credit card balances with trepidation!)

  3. Applause to you, bro, for getting help. My hubby and I finally faced our financial issues a little over a year ago. It was scary and I didn't know how we were going to do it, but we did. And it has been a year since we have touched a credit card. I can't wait to hear the good report in your future on this journey. :-)

  4. First: I love that picture of sweet Bella. I have not logged on to blogger in forever, and I missed you all! I am so very excited to see you this weekend. Second: I think that the struggle with money is the worst battle. We aren't that great with it either, so I'm hoping you'll post some tips! :) Much love to you all! See you soon!

  5. Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is am awesome place to start!

  6. Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is an awesome place to start!

  7. A support group is an interesting step. I too would suggest Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University but if you can't find one or can't spare the time at least buy his book. It has it all in there. Also, his worksheets etc are available to be shared. They are great tools!