Moving help – one last move

I am not now, nor have I ever been, rich. As a kid, I think we were just average middle class folks, although my mother’s thrifty habits often allowed us a few pricey items along the way. Not really for us kids, though, usually for the family. As an adult, my finances have waxed and waned – with more waning than waxing. There was a time when I was creatively coming away from the grocery store with some ground beef that wasn’t on my receipt, but that was directly connected with feeding children, so I don’t have too much guilt about it.

And then there were the very lean college years, which didn’t feel too out of place except that I was older than most of my classmates. Next came the 0-dollar years, when I was living in Italy. I really didn’t make much lire, either, but it was so much cheaper to live there that that never felt very hard. Once I got back to the states, thought, the waxing was mostly continuous.

I started working in desktop publishing which was great for my finances, but didn’t much feed my soul. I left that and went into “the field” of psychology – sort of. I took a cut in pay to do that, but considered it very worth it. Blah blah various jobs, grad school, licensure and yes, my finances were back on the rise again. Then I went back to grad school (I swear I had good reasons when I started). At first, things worked out pretty well. I mean, I worked a lot and was dog tired but I had my own practice and made enough to keep going. I wasn’t rich at all.


There was a marriage in there and some iffy finances related to that but only a couple of bumps in the road, really. Mostly, I had enough money to do what I wanted to a good percentage of the time. Than the divorce blah blah blah and now, internship.

For anyone who doesn’t know, internship is the part of the doctoral path for psychologists where they work you really hard for very little (or even NO) money. Sort of like hazing, or paying your dues or something, and it lasts one year. Of course there are a few reasonably paid internships out there, but the average pay the year I applied was $18,000. And the possibility of landing an internship in the area, for me, were slim. There was a great place that was offering 0 dollars, but with my mortgage, I couldn’t even consider it. As it turned out, I lost my house anyway.

I got a reasonable internship out-of-state and off I went, at the grand rate of $15,000 for the year. No one is silly enough to call this a salary, rather it is considered a stipend. I took out a little extra on my student loan to see myself through the year. Sadly, the first disbursement came too soon, and I had to spend it or lose it in the bankruptcy (if this all seems confusing, this is me explaining it a year later, imagine what it was like at the time!). I didn’t spend it on anything frivolous, mind you, just paid some taxes, for the past year and estimated tax for the coming year. What that meant, though, was that $3000 which I intended to use to help me get through the internship year was now gone.

Fast-forward to March 14th. On that day I landed an excellent postdoctoral fellowship at a prestigious university, with an almost actual salary! Fabulous!

Once the fireworks were over, though, I started thinking about the financial side of this, traveling, finding a place with a big dog, paying first and last month’s rent, security deposits, special fees for pets. Uh, yeah, on my current stipend of $880 a month ($850 going for rent), that was never going to happen. I decided, with a heavy heart, to take out THE LAST STUDENT LOAN EVER.

And it’s a good thing I did, too, because while I was making that decision, I was apparently coming to the end of whatever good grace was keeping me afloat all this time.

Just keeping my head up…

Here’s what happened: I applied for the loan. To my shock, I was denied, based on my bankruptcy. I was sure that I applied for the last loan at the same time as the bankruptcy, but apparently the timing must have been just right because, yeah, they were totally serious about denying me the money.

I had to get a co-signer and eventually bowed my head and asked my mom. Who castigated and shamed me, but co-signed.

Sing along with me now, Celebrate…

Fabulous, right?! Well, yes…and no. As I was navigating my guilt and shame related to asking for help, I kept talking the amount of the loan up and down. Some days I thought I ought to ask for more, some days I was convinced what I was asking was too much. It’s hard to think clearly about loans when you already owe so much, but once I knew I’d have to include my mom in the equation, I tried to minimize.

Apparently I under bid.

My life feels a bit…roller-coaster-y

I had to fly out to SF at the beginning of July to find an apartment. I found a roommate situation which I think will be great – and pretty much wiped out my little stash. That would be ok except I still need to drive out to SF. That means money for a Uhaul (my plan is to rent the smallest thing you can pull about $550) and money for gas. It’s a long way from Boston to SF! 3602 miles, more or less. That’ll probably take 12 tanks of gas – no, wait, maybe more since I’ll be towing something. Let’s say 18. 18 tanks of gas at something like $50 a tank. Yeah. That’s 900 smackers, baby.

And that’s without the fabulous gas station food!

I once asked for donations to help out when Bodhi had his heatstroke. I’m looking for help again, this time to help me to get out to San Francisco. I would appreciate any help anyone can give – I have a little Paypal button there on the right for donations – or if you email me I’ll give you my mailing address. 

Image from the helpful people at Community Helping Hands


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