Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shot down

Josh mentioned something about how I should figure out when I can take a week off from work this summer so we can go on vacation. It's possible that I accidentally laughed in his face. There is no way in hell there will be time to go running off somewhere. Never mind having to bust ass to make up for the money Dani won't earn if she's off eating pizza in front of the Tower of Pisa. Never mind taking four classes over the summer. Never mind Alex. Sure, let's just drop everything and go somewhere fun. "I think you've accidentally mistaken me for your other girlfriend - the one who doesn't have any responsibilities, or income goals for summers."

I felt a little bad when I saw Josh's expression. He looked like a little boy who'd just been told his beloved puppy was shot to death. I couldn't stop. "You go ahead though. Have a great time going to Europe, and spending a couple of weeks on the Cape." Damn straight I'm bitter. Nobody seems to give a shit about actually getting things done except me. When I suggested maybe Labor Day weekend, Josh wasn't happy. "But that's the END of everything!" Exactly. School has ended. Nobody will want tutoring then. Arnie won't want me to work that weekend.

Maybe I should just break up with him, because it seems like this is never going to change. Going to Florida was lots of fun, and it was cool to see how people vacation. But I don't think I really need that on as regular a basis as Josh does. A gelato and Coney Island for the afternoon is plenty for me.


Anonymous said...

You seem really angry. Hope the post allowed you to blow off some steam.

Maybe you can compromise and plan to take a long weekend to go somewhere with Josh sometime during the summer between classes.

I don't see how breaking up with Josh and surrounding yourself with only poor people who are in dire financial straits and don't go on vacation is going to do anything except add to your stress level and make you more bitter.

Y'all need to talk it out--you and your therapist, you and Josh, you and Dani. There were some good comments on your previous post about Dani and her camp. Have you expressed any of these concerns to Tom and Laurie? They always seem to have sensible advice, perhaps they can help with this situation.

I'm sorry you're feeling so badly.

Anonymous said...

I know this sounds harsh and some other anonymous out there is going to jump down my throat over it, but..

I think you're acting selfishly and making yourself out to be a martyr here. Does Josh deserve that kind of attitude for wanting to spend some of his summer vacation with you?

I'm not saying you have to acquiesce to his request if it doesn't work for you. But try to approach him with the kind of understanding and grace you want him to have for you and your needs.

Josh may break up with you first.

A little bit of, "I'm sorry to miss out on time with you, but..." or "I'd love to but I'm feeling a tremendous pressure to accomplish so much this summer..." would go a long way.

pressure-brings-out-my-inner-bitch said...

Agree with 10:44 Anonymous and 11:45 Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Yes. The solution is TOTALLY to break up with the guy who loves you, supports you emotionally, is good to your sisters, treats you well...because he wants to spend time alone with you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sam, you sound not only understandably angry and bitter in this post but also actually a little mean.

Didn't you agree with Josh a while back to a week of vacation each summer?

The very fact that you are going to be working so much and taking four classes means you will need a vacation. Remember how last summer it felt like a vacation that you only had work and home responsibilities and no school? You won't have that this summer. Remember how relaxed and easy-going you felt after you came back from Florida? You are going to need that.

You are very good with your budgeting. Have you yet sat down and figured out what the net loss of Dani's summer income will be for the household? Surely much of her income would have been for her own expenses and her own savings; you don't have to make up for that. How much were you expecting her to contribute to the household expenses? And how much will you save on household expenses (food, utilities, but not rent) with her not there? And how much of the missing amount will she be able to make up by providing it as it is needed by working more during the coming school year instead of having earned it in advance over the summer?

How had you been planning to pay for summer classes? If you are indeed successful in keeping up your end of the bargain so that you get your expenses reimbursed, will getting that money back make up for some lost income?

If there are two summer sessions, is there a break between them? Can you go away for a week then? If not, for a long weekend, which combined with Labor Day weekend would be a full week in total?

People take vacations from work over the summer. Arnie and your tutoring clients will understand. Yes, of course the issue is lost income opportunities. The mistake you are making is not figuring in the time off from the start. You must treat the week of vacation as a given when you figure out your income goals for the summer and how to achieve them.

Ask Arnie what you'd need to do to qualify for paid vacation time? You've certainly been working there long enough and shown more than enough responsibility to be entitled to a paid week off that reflects how ever many hours you average weekly.

Now, if you get sick again you'll have to miss work and classes. A couple of long weekends over the summer could help avoid that, could help avoid you getting all run down.

Yes, you are thinking that's all very well and good but you can't afford to lose the income. Again, what you have to do is consider the time off a necessity, for your own sanity, for your own health, and for the sake of your relationship with Josh. It is not a luxury. No one could say that it is. Consider it just as much a factor as all the other factors.

And Alex will have her camp during the summer. Will she have that still Labor Day weekend? While camp is in session, she could stay with a camp friend for a week, and maybe with Josh's parents on the weekend. This might feel to you like less of an imposition than having Josh's parents take her over Labor Day weekend when she has nothing scheduled for herself.

Also, has Alex come up with a plan for earning money this summer? Has she lined up steady babysitting jobs or other odd jobs? Will she be earning enough additional money this summer to pay for her fall expenses herself? Will she be able to get a proper job once she turns fourteen this fall? Will she then be contributing to the household expenses beyond the cost of her cell phone? Every little bit that she provides lessens your burden. Tell her what you will expect.

Please don't just dismiss these suggestions. We understand that your financial situation is limiting. We understand that you aren't easily free to lose the opportunity for income for things that might be better on balance or in the long run. We aren't making light of your financial situation. And we know you know all the details of your financial situation and we don't. But this is doable! It is doable and it is important.

Anonymous said...

Previous commenters are totally right. You are cruel and insensitive to Josh. You don't make him any kind of priority. You don't recognize that he wants to spend time with you. You consider breaking up with him for a ridiculous reason.

Perhaps you actually do want to end things with him? Perhaps you want to drive him away because you are scared of a future with him?

Perhaps you are simply not thinking clearly at all.

You've previously worried that you might be a gold-digger. Clearly you are not. But you are obviously someone who puts making money ahead of her relationship and her own health. You are in a much better financial situation than you were three years ago. You can relax a little. Income is a priority, but not the only one. You are no longer starving and about to become homeless. Your situation is no longer desperate. You have built up savings in case of an emergency. Your sisters are finding ways to pay for expenses themselves. You have good jobs and are well on your way to earning your degree and having a salaried full-time job in your chosen profession. You need to separate out the necessity of earning income from the extreme that goes beyond what is necessary at the cost to other areas of your life.

Anonymous said...

What are you charging for tutoring? If your rate is still only $20 or $25, you need to raise it, starting this summer!

$35 an hour is more than reasonable given that you now have the experience of doing this for a couple of years already, are further along in your college career, and most of all seem to have a knack for doing this very well with impressive results. You could even be charging $40, since you travel to your clients instead of them coming to you.

Raise your rates. This isn't an uncommon thing to do. It's business. No one will be angry. Give your existing clients notice that you will be raising your rates as of, say, June 27. Give any new clients your increased rate from the start. Your reputation and your performance will support a higher rate of compensation.

Do this. Over the course of the summer alone, this will increase your earnings by more than a few hundred dollars, without adding additional hours. More importantly, you will be receiving a more appropriate remuneration for your work.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for several months now, even though I don't usually comment. This post really made me want to comment: please don't break up with Josh!

The only view I've had of Josh and your relationship with him is through your words. It seems pretty clear to me what you and Josh have is special. Don't throw that away lightly.

All the other commenters have said everything that I would have added in this comment. Especially Anonymous #5.

You are obviously a very special person in terms of intellect and emotional strength. You'be had to work your butt off because of the situation life has put you in. But I strongly feel that its time to ease the pressure on yourself by letting it sink into your sisters that life put them into the same situation too. Thank God you've been a buffer for so long, you've probably done way more for their physical and emotional health than you or they can ever know. But they're older than 9 now: remember that's how old you were when you took responsibility. Now let them become parts of the family, so you too can enjoy the easy parts of family life.

And please, remember that the pace at which your pushing yourself is not sustainable. You need Josh as much as he needs you. Don't let yourself push him away.

I wish you all the best.

-Anonymous #7

Anonymous said...

Your therapist is there for you to work through your anger....anger at being abandoned (through death), anger at all of the responsibilities you have, anger at "why me", etc.

Nina said...

Echoing the comment about possibly raising your tutoring rates. As a freshman in college nearly 10 years ago I was charging $35 an hour.

I think your comment that "nobody seems to give a shit about actually getting things done except me" seems to point to the undercurrent of resentment bordering on martyrdom in this and your previous post about Dani going to Italy and your sisters not helping out with cooking and cleaning. You have a right to expect your sisters and Josh to contribute to the family income, cooking, cleaning, etc. That should be something that's worked out between all of you. But it doesn't seem fair to say that you're the only one concerned about getting things done. You've taken on a tremendous amount of responsibility and you should be commended for it. And you should be entitled to some level of expectations that your sisters and Josh will pitch in. But you can't expect them to be or think like you.

I don't comment anonymously (and I feel like a few of the previous anon comments were unnecessarily and insensitively harsh) so...I just want to be clear that your anger and resentment is understandable, but I'm just saying all this because it doesn't seem like a healthy path for you and your relationships going forward. I apologize if this is totally presumptuous of me to say.

Anonymous said...

Hi - two thoughts, which you can take or leave, follow. My opinion of whether you are being mean or angry doesn't matter because I am not directly involved. But as a stranger on the internet, I can tell you that (1) things generally have a way of working out if you are transparent about what you want and, possibly more life altering, (2) you are not charging enough for tutoring. I live in an NYC suburb and people charge $50 / hour to read with kindergartners. NYC is a weird place, sometimes by raising rates you become more "exclusive" and people want your services more. If asked, you could start the new fee schedule with new clients only (and explain it by saying "my hourly rate has changed since Johnny's mom hired me, I am now charging X per hour."

Good luck with everything.

Tam said...

Whoa! I have mixed feelings about what the pp have written. I can relate to what you've expressed because I've been there. I put myself through college while working full time. It was a struggle. I remember doing my internship & wondering how I was going to pay for travel, rent & tuition while working full-time for Free at the hospital !?!?

Lots of people have these ideas that they are "entitled" to a vacation (& other things). If you can't afford it ~ don't do it on credit because then you'll be working the next year to pay off the "vacation".

I think you are wise to think about this ~ not sure it's "anger." ? Is it? I'm sort of a "reactor" to issues like this too & then after I have my melt-down I usually figure out a way to make it happen or fix it. I like to think of it as my "process"....:) I guess I see that in your post ~just that you are reacting to the situation.

I'm not sure that Josh is the innocent...well, actually he really is innocent because from your description he hasn't seemed to ever really have to worry about how to pay for a latte' or for that matter school tuition? It's sweet (but naive') for him to keep expecting you to just take off on "vacation" whenever he thinks he's ready.

Maybe he could ask you to plan a "vacation" for the future for you both. It could be a lunch in a park or a weekend at his parents apartment ~ when they're away of course.

Hope I'm not stepping on your toes ~ I hate that because it really hurts!! :( Follow your GUT & listen to your internal voice. You already know the truth. T

ps~ I'm not going annoys because all the pp did & I just can't do that. you can email me, yell at me to talk ~ whatever ~ it's all ok :) It'll all be well!

Mizasiwa said...

I wish i had your email address i dont feel like arguing with all the 'anonymous' out there. ps your not a matyr and i think you do need to speak to them - the problem may be that your sick of being expected to always explain and discuss something that they should all understand. i think the people that comment on here should be sensitive to the fact that your entitled to feel like breaking up with Josh would help - your also entitled to wish that you could break up with your sister(s) at times ;-) i know iv felt like that often.

Mizasiwa said...

also i dont think people understand how much pressure not having Dani around for an entire summer (??) has put on you. I dont think you would make that kind of decision based on the situation at present. no matter how amazing it may be or how 'once in a lifetime' they can be. Its also not once in a lifetime necceserily but once right now in this current state of being - i don know if this makes sense but its taken me forever to figure out that some times when you dont have the money its ok to stick to your plan of action and not go on vacation, while it would be great for Josh if you did go on vacation or take a weekend or something you will not enjoy it unless you are in a situation that you will not be pressured into. im so sorry and i hope that this is clear but thank you for sharing this with us.

Elaine said...

You are naturally angry and feeling martyred. That's quite understandable. You need to talk about this -- a lot -- with your therapist and with Josh. And perhaps, as people suggested with the previous post, with your sisters as well. Then this can become the sort of event that's a positive turning point, rather than a negative one. Even if you did end up breaking up with Josh, you should at least try to talk with him -- then you'll at least have that learning experience. BUt it does seem as if you've reached your limit in bearing responsibility and need to figure out some way for your sisters to take on more.

Elaine said...

Actually, after reading back over things a bit it's very clear to me that you have reached your limit with bearing all the responsibility. Perhaps having been as sick as you were has made you think about this on a subconscious level. But reading back over a month or so, I see a lot of anger and a lot of stress. Whether it's family meeting-style or what, you really need to sit down with your sisters and talk.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Elaine has put this very eloquently, in my opinion. I can understand how the difference in life style and perspective about money between you and Josh can seem insurmountable. If you love each other, I don't think it necessarily is.
For what it's worth, I tend to let my family (my adult children) slide when they should be helping with housework or financial contribution when they live with me, and then I end up resentful. It's not a good pattern, and it's one that I have learned in the last couple of years I can break.
I highly recommend talking to everyone about the pressures you feel and asking for change.
"Don't throw the baby out with the bath water" would be my advice. Don't break up until you have exhausted the communication avenues.
And definitely get your sisters' buy-in on reducing your load.
Therapy. Shrinkage. It's what's on the menu.
Good luck, and I wish I could help.

Anonymous said...

I'm a "grown up" with three kids, but I totally feel like you Sam. I have my own little consulting business, and if I don't work I don't get paid. In theory I do factor in things like vacation and sick leave into my rates, but in reality, it doesn't really work that way. Everytime a friend wants to go to lunch, I have to stop and think. It's not just not working for an hour. It's a double whammy. It's losing out on the revenue for that hour PLUS the out of pocket spending that you do in that hour. What's an hour? You add up enough and then it's a day, week, month, etc. There are more than enough days I need to take off to tend to one thing or another for one kid or another, so there's always something mundane that eats into those available working hours. I truly feel like I can't afford to take a vacation. It sucks, but it's reality. I don't think it's right to spend money on a vacation when there are other pressing issues to spend your money on. At the end of the day, I think i'm much to practical, and that seems to be very similar to Sam.
I disagree with most of you, and think that Josh is being insensitive, not Sam. All the cards are on the table. Josh knows Sam's situation and knows how she feels about these things, and yet he's forever asking her to go out of her comfort zone and do what I think of as frivolous things with him. What does he need the vacation for? to get over his last vacation? People trying to make the point that Sam needs a vacation don't seem to realize that the vacation ends up being a bigger stressor, and is often not worth it. Some people need a fancy starbucks drink, others are just as satisfied with an instant cup of coffee. To me the satisfaction YOU get is the most important thing, and different people are satisfied with different things. Commenters should stop forcing Sam to accept fancy drinks when she's more comfortable with simple. Excuse me while I fix myself a cup of instant coffee.

Elaine said...

After reading the comments here, it seems there are two issues -- the issue of your relationship with Josh, and the issue of you assuming so much responsibility.

While I'm not sure that Josh is being insensitive by asking you to take vacation -- a week doesn't seem unreasonable -- it could be possible that, like you, he's using it as a kind of test of your compatibility, however unconscious it may be. Talking with him still seems the best bet -- mention to him, as you said, that a day in the park or a smaller level thing would be just as satisfying to you. Maybe there's a compromise you can make, halfway for both of you. But talking seems essential before you take any drastic steps.

The responsibility issue is a separate one. Even if Josh weren't in the picture, you've probably still reached your limit on this one.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with most of you, and think that Josh is being insensitive, not Sam.

Josh knows Sam's situation and knows how she feels about these things, and yet he's forever asking her to go out of her comfort zone and do what I think of as frivolous things with him.

People trying to make the point that Sam needs a vacation don't seem to realize that the vacation ends up being a bigger stressor, and is often not worth it.

Just because Sam is being insensitive doesn't mean Josh isn't. Josh did, however, ask Sam to plan for two weeks of vacation per year after Sam asked him a few months back what he'd like for her to plan for him. They also talked about her making a vacation budget. The other week Josh was asking Sam to drop everything and go on a spur-of-the-moment trip across the country and was enthusiastic about the idea of many little vacations to run marathons, but here he was suggesting, seemingly more sensitively, that she start thinking about when this summer she could take a week off, which is planning in advance and for one vacation, and may have been with the understanding in mind that she had agreed to this and was eager to do so. Yes Sam was stressed out before the Florida vacation and had a couple of stressful moments during it, but she also enjoyed herself a lot and, after, reported being very relaxed and feeling languid and happier and joking with Arnie about whether it was too early to put in for another vacation.

The comments to this post are quite varied. Each, I think, has some truth to it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam,

I think Elaine is right, that you seem to have hit your limit with bearing (and feeling "in charge of") all the family responsibility. We all hit those points, when things just build and life overwhelms us emotionally. Maybe your anger at Josh isn't just about Josh and vacation -- it was just the straw that broke the camels back, so to speak.

Anyway, we all feel anger towards the people we love at times. Whether that anger is enough to break up with Josh only you can know. And, if you decide it isn't, then just try and move forward.

It's not simple and I wish you luck....The hard part of a relationship isn't creating the love, it's figuring out how you can take that love and create a life together that (most of the time) meets the needs of both people.

An anonymous poster who wishes you well.

Isabel said...

Without analyzing why you are so vitriolic towards Josh about this issue, perhaps it is best to realize that he will always want a vacation, you apparently will not, and that appears to piss you off. If you can't handle that part o your relationship, then it's best to end it.

However....remember that, in doing so, you are forfeiting any and every right to take his parents' money for school. You can't go there when you're ill. They won't treat your sisters...and really, you can't expect them to be there for any of you at all. You can't treat Josh like shit for wanting to go on vacation yet accept his family's overwhelming generosity in the same breath. Think of how much your life...and those of your sisters...will change if you dump Josh over a vacation. Seriously. Think about it.

It will take a long time for you to grow out of your fear of destitution, if you ever do. But you need op start realizing that families and poor...take vacations. It means nothing negative about their character. You need to stop being psychotic about the topic.

Chris said...

Sam, we all know (Isabel does, too) that you are not with Josh because of the advantages you get, with rent and his parents being there for you and everything. But they really are there for you, and all this has been a good thing.

Josh loves you, it seems, and you care for him. I've never liked that you are living with your boyfriend, but none of us would like to know that you're going to live in some nasty place, either.

We're all happy that even though you could have taken advantage of Tom and Laurie's money and become a spoiled brat, you chose not to. You are not a gold-digger. But now you're in danger of becoming the opposite. You are effectively punishing Josh for being born in a rich family. As highly important as it is, you can't let your financial independence be the ultimate goal. It'll eat up not only your relationship with Josh, but ultimately your love for your family (it sounds impossible, but sadly it's not).

This is a very tough situation for you. I can see it. I understand what you mean about nobody seeming to care (I'm the oldest girl in a family of ten). But you have to take some time to relax. Or, as another poster said, your body will ask for vacation in the form of you being dangerously ill again.

Please reconsider your position, see how far you've come, raise tutoring rates, and work things out with Josh.

Anonymous said...

People take vacations, Sam. Most people, even most poor people, take vacations. Most people, even most wealthy people, don't take as many vacations as Josh does.

When I was little most vacations were simply traveling not all that far by car to visit relatives or friends. Or they'd come to us. We'd do some touristy things but it was mostly just visiting and having fun. For some years we did rent a beach house for a week with another family each summer, something planned way in advance each year. And of course at various times throughout the year, we'd take a day to go off and do something fun.

Vacationing usually doesn't mean first-class flights, luxury hotels, and a packed schedule of sightseeing. Vacations can just mean time off. You've told us of some nice relaxing days you've had going nowhere at all.

Is there a pride issue? Do you think you are letting yourself or others down if you let yourself take a break? Do you have a need to be able to say you never take a vacation? Do you fear not being seen as the person who works the hardest? How much of your drive to earn and not waste money is common sense and necessary and how much is above and beyond? Could the absolutist aspects of it be about control, something like anorexia?

Do you so strongly fear being financially where you were before that you have an inability to see how far you've come and where you're now headed? Are you able to be realistic about money, or will you never feel safe and able to relax and able to spend more than only what seems absolutely necessary no matter how much you are earning and have saved?

What would you do if you suddenly won ten million dollars? Would you let yourself enjoy some luxuries and finer things, cut yourself some breaks, remain frugral but be able to spend on some major non-necessities?

Some comments may come across to you and to others as harsh. None of us, I hope, are trying to tell you how you should feel. If you feel like breaking up with Josh over this vacation conflict, that is how you are feeling, and it is a measure of how much stress this conflict causes you. If you feel like being hurtful to Josh, that is how you are feeling, and it is a measure of how angry you are.

I think what people are trying to do by being critical of your behavior is help you to keep it in check. How you feel is how you feel, and your readers know that, so while some have offered you some compassion, most have skipped to addressing what you actually do with those feelings.

Put another way, it is understood that if you are feeling even fleetingly that you should break up with Josh over this vacation conflict, this issue is causing you a great deal of stress, and commenters are worried you might not realize in your stressed-out mindset that acting upon that feeling and actually breaking up with Josh over this would be ridiculous.

I don't think anyone is faulting you for how feel, but rather everyone is concerned that you might let how you are validly feeling lead you to making rash decisions and huge mistakes.

Abby said...

This is an awfully long time not to hear from you. I really hope you're OK.

JJ said...

Wow, I was not going to comment on this post, because I'm not a big blog commenter, but I am STUNNED by the number of people in here telling you you're being selfish for not taking a vacation you can't afford. Jesus.

I think you should talk about this with your shrink, but not because you are being stubborn by not going into debt. I think you should talk about ways to talk with Josh so that he understands what you can and can't afford, and ways to talk to your sisters so that they can help you out a little more, financially and around the house.

I mean, honestly. I don't know why your normally-reasonable commenters are so weird on this issue, but...I think the perspective in here is somewhat skewed.

Elaine said...

I think very few of us are truly saying that Sam should take a vacation she can't afford. Mainly, it seems to be the symbol of her frustration with a lot of other issues -- that it may seem like the main issue, but isn't.

Also, I think more people are advocating simply for some time off, not expensive unaffordable time off.

Sam, I hope you don't feel ganged up on. What I see here is a lot of concern for you, a lot of people cheering you on. Because many of us are farther on in life, we all know that sometimes it's hard to see things clearly under stress, and that this can sometimes lead to making mistakes that wouldn't happen with some perspective. (Boy, do I have a few in MY past!) This is why we're all so free with advice. If people didn't care, they wouldn't answer, and especially not at such length.

Anonymous said...

Today's Groupon is 50% off at Old Navy. It can be used on stuff that is already on sale. $10 gets you $20. You've mentioned that you shop there. Were you planning to buy anything there in the next two months? You only save $10, but perhaps this helps a little with your summer budget and income plans.

sam said...

Thanks Anonymous groupon mention-er!

Anonymous said...

You are welcome! Thanks so much for the thanks!