Monday, November 19, 2007

Five Figures.

Here's something I never thought I'd write:

Ten thousand dollars isn't really a lot of money.

Well, it is. But it isn't.

Not that I'm ungrateful for it. Don't get me wrong: being handed a check for ten thousand dollars is, by any way you look at it, a whole hell of a lot better than not being handed a check for ten thousand dollars.

But still.

I suppose I should give you the backstory: For four years earlier in the decade, I wrote, as a favor to a friend, a series of stories for his Christmas-based website. Little 'newsy' blurbs about the goings-on at The North Pole. They ran from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. The stories were fun, and funny, with a real 'serial' quality to them--there was always some sort of crisis that called into question the viability of Santa delivering the goods on Christmas Eve, but--whew--the crisis was averted in the nick of time, and all pulled together and made it The Best Christmas Ever.

It was fun, but it was work--creating an interesting 32-episode story arc, taking into account that our readership dropped by 60% on weekends, and making it simple enough for seven-year-olds, and fun enough for their parents (and teachers--which we think explained the weekend readership drop) ain't as easy as it sounds.

I did it for free, because he's a friend--who also wasn't making any money from the deal--and because he kept almost getting sponsorship. After the fourth year, we stopped, partially because we were discouraged, and partially because my life was pretty much in the shitter for a while. The site went dark for two years, and last year, my friend told me he was thinking about reviving it. Would I be willing to write again? For a lot of reasons--the lack of compensation being a large, but by no means not the only reason why--I declined. However, I suggested he dust off one of the old story lines, and see how things went.

They went well. This year, he found a backer, and I'm going to get paid. That was where the last post ended. Friday night, he told me he needed to see me. I was working a football game, but told him I could stop by after it was over, so at 10:30 in the evening, the whole ten grand check thing happened. The backer not only wanted to sponsor the site, he wanted to own it. And my friend negotiated a deal, and got the money, which he could have kept for himself. But instead, he designated me as a 30% stakeholder in the enterprise (he gave himself the same cut, and divvied up the remaing 40% among half a dozen other helpers and his lawyer).

So now I've got an extra ten grand sitting in savings. And that's a good thing. Especially if one is financially secure, and already with a sizeable bank account. But that's not me. I've got waay more than ten grand's worth of things I would like to do with it. There's so many different ways I could spend it, and justifiably so: I've got an eleven-year-old car with a leaky head gasket and nearly 170,000 miles on it, my home is decorated in an eclectic mix of Late Relative and Early Curb, and I can't remember the last time I purchased clothes for myself, other than underwear.

And there's other things, too.

True story: Friday morning, while I was meditating, I asked God to help me with my son's education. He really wants to go to the Jesuit High School his oldest brother (Lt. Trouble) went to. The school's annual tuition? Eight grand. How, I asked God, would I be able to afford that? Sixteen hours later, God said 'Keep the change.'

Actually, there probably won't be change. There's taxes to pay, and depending on how my friend sets it up, the bite anywhere from fourteen to thirty-nine hundred dollars. On the other hand, even with this windfall, I'm sure I'll be eligible for financial aid at the school.

But still.

Here's the thing--and it's something that's just as improbable for me to write:

I want some of it.

Some of it for me. Not my creditors, or my kids--me. To buy something nice. Something fun. Because I deserve it.

That last sentence took a lot out of me. I may have to lie down.

There's a voice in the back of my head that tells me I don't deserve this--that success is for other people, not me. I spent a lot of my life listening to this voice. It took me a long time to even admit it was there. Now, I'm doing my best to ignore it.

Saturday morning I called my Mother and told her the good news.

Emerging from bankruptcy, getting additional income, and now this--all good things, wouldn't you think?

Mom's take on the subject: "You'll just blow it."

Seriously. That's what she said. Of course, she prefaced it with "It's none of my business, but..." so that makes it OK.

Thanks, Ma. I thought I recognized the voice.



Blogger terry said...

you DO deserve something fun. something just for you.

tell that voice to shut the fuck up.

2:05 AM  
Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...


Definately do something for yourself with some of the money. You deserve it.

Cranky says mothers have a "way" of talking to their sons. I told him I wouldn't do that. His response: "YOU BETTER NOT!"

Yeah, what Terry said. :)

8:50 AM  
Blogger GC said...

lol@ your furniture.

But that "keep the change" statement was awesome.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

ok, mom needs to back up and take a chill pill

congrats on the cash...i think you should keep some of it for yourself. once taxes are paid on it, then keep something for you and either leave the rest in the bank to get interest or use it for tuition. do what YOU want to do with it

12:13 PM  
Blogger Jay Cam said...

i hope you magically get lots of money! and if you do, mind sharing?

but yes, $10k isn't alot of money in the long run... but to find it in a paper bag, yes it is!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Jay Cam said...

i hope you magically get lots of money! and if you do, mind sharing?

but yes, $10k isn't alot of money in the long run... but to find it in a paper bag, yes it is!

4:02 PM  
Blogger Guy Wonders said...

It's certainly okay to pay yourself first for a change. . . .

6:57 PM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

DESERVING is something I struggle with too, so I totally understand this. I've been spending the last week running this through my head. I bought a pair of winter riding boots. I need them if I want to keep training all winter, which I need to do, and I don't want to freeze like last year. I took January off because I just couldn't keep going.

But my son needs winter boots too.

I'm holding out faith that it'll all happen for us. We have food in the house, and that's always good. Things could be worse, and have been.

Still struggling with what I deserve though.

Hang in there. Keep telling yourself that things are looking up.

9:06 AM  
Blogger ell said...

congrats on your windfall - that is wonderful news! and please take care of yourself with some of it too.

have a great holiday.

9:27 PM  

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