Wednesday, July 30

The basics

Okay, well this is the first post. A lot of pressure on me to be witty and such, especially since I just watched Lewis Black's "Root of All Evil" wherein blogging was made fun of.

On the chance that people actually read this -- which would imply this isn't the navel-gazing exercise I suspect it may be -- I suppose I had better fill in the broad strokes from the profile.

Yes, this is a frugality blog. Yes, my husband and I are paying down debt. That, at least, is probably familiar territory to many of you.

Here's where it gets a little, uh, unique. First, my husband's medical condition. Tim has really severe eczema, which he's had literally since the day he was born. Most doctors say it's the worst case they've ever seen. And if a flare-up gets particularly bad, he can often not stand to wear clothes.

More recently, he's been battling MRSA which (of course) loves eczema patches. He's had about 8 or 9 breakouts in the past 6 months. Between the two conditions, Tim's health made him miss so much work that his employer had to let him go.

So he's working on getting healthy again and trying to figure out what sort of work he could do, since eczema breakouts are bound to occur. (I'm encouraging him to look into the local vocational rehabilition center.)

As for me, well, mine goes back a long way too. When I was 19, I contracted a rare neurological illness called Guillain-Barre Syndrome

I won't go into the gory details (that's what the link is for) but suffice to say my case was severe and it left me with pervasive fatigue. I am on some medication which helps, but only to a certain degree.

Now, I know I shouldn't care about naysayers who will inevitably write in and say I'm a slacker or a drain on the system. But it's a touchy point. So let me be clear: When I say medication helps, I mean that when I take it, I no longer wake up and spend the first few hours of my day in an exhausted fog, fighting not to go back to bed, then giving up and taking a nap somewhere around 2 or 3 p.m. The medication means that most days I'm physically able to leave the apartment. And, often, I can run two or three errands in a day. Running three errands in a day, along with perhaps a walk for exercise, is an exceedingly productive day for me. And if I push myself too far, I become so exhausted that it seems like too much energy to chew, even if I'm hungry. If I really overdo an activity, I can become so tired that it hurts to breathe.

That said, I'm convinced there is work out there that I can do steadily for pay, because besides the fact that disability doesn't cover much more than rent, I miss the empowerment of earning a paycheck.

As for debt, we have under $2000 in his student loans left (this is down from $20,000 when we first met, thanks to deals with collection agencies, a loan from his parents, and general grit and determination on our part) but $10,000 on credit cards. $7000 of that is on a temporary 0% but it is still a lot more than I am comfortable with.

Currently, we're using hubby's unemployment checks to pay down debt. Out of a weekly $341, we pay $100 on the credit cards each week and $200 on the student loans every other week. (And yes, I know that's the same as $100 every week, but hubby insists this system works best for him.)

So that is the basic sketch of our lives. I hope I haven't made anyone run for the hills with all the talk of health conditions. I'm looking forward to posting about our progress and our life as this adventure continues. I hope I can snare some readers along the way to share the journey.

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