Ah, life. It’s never what you expect it to be. Before you bust out the booties and rattles, I should tell you that my husband and I are not pregnant. But we are starting a pack!
About two years ago, a woman t-boned my car. This resulted in torn ligaments and a pinched nerve that caused tingles and numbness down my left arm and made me think I was having a heart attack at age 25. When the other driver’s insurance offered me the paltry and rather insulting sum of $500 to cover my $600+ first office visit, I informed them that I would be getting a lawyer.
To make that year and a half long story shorter, I got my settlement in December. This was it, I thought. I could finally take John to Scotland and make him fall madly in love with her green hills, pristine beaches, and golf courses veritably flowing with delicious scotch. Then I’d publish my book and we’d move there, where we would build a wee cottage in the highlands and start a family.
The next twenty years flashed through my mind. We’d raise kids bilingual in English and Gaelic who spoke with Scottish accents. We’d have a couple huskies and some intrepid kitties — maybe even a wee Scottish fold cat! We’d spend our summers exploring Europe and Asia and Africa and our Christmases in the States with our families. I’d have a library to write in and shelves of books to surround me. Spouse would have a recording studio in the basement, and our kids would run amok through the highlands and learn to swim in freezing cold lochs.
Funny how a little piece of paper can make weeks of daydreaming evaporate.
This particular piece of paper is known as a 1099. It’s also a piece of paper that I had no idea would arrive. Back when I was teaching, my program gave us a grant through Americorps to cover the cost of either our grad school tuition or to repay student loans. How great, right? Apparently not so much. They failed to inform us that this grant was taxable income. So when I hit a rough financial place this year and used it to pay Sallie Mae, they started tallying up what I spent, and that amount (about $4000) got stamped on the 1099 and arrived at my door a couple weeks ago.
That’s the sound of my tax return (and my daydreams) evaporating. Now, instead of possibly getting a hefty return, I’m looking at owing a significant amount. Did I mention I’m broke? Thanks, Well-Known Teaching Program for your full disclosure. I appreciate your forthrightness.
Scotland suddenly seemed very far away, even farther than a jaunt over Greenland and skirting the Atlantic. No way could I pay for two plane tickets, a month’s worth of bills (two weeks off work for both of us when neither of us get paid vacation) and keep us in scotch and haggis for the duration of a trip.
What seemed a sure thing turned to ash. I twisted through different options, trying to figure out how I could save $500 a month for the next nine months to afford it when Spouse is down one of three jobs. I’ve never been great at math, but one theorem I know quite well is the one that says you can’t bleed a stone.
In spite of that, I did have a little chunk of change from my settlement. Between working full time slinging beers and working full time to grow my platform and write, Spouse has been feeling a bit neglected.
So I hatched a plot one day at work on my break. And I found something that we can do, something that we have wanted to do for a while. And so, gentle viewers, I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our clan.
She is six weeks old, and she’ll come home to us on March 2. This, my friends, is Buffy.
Buffy is a Siberian Husky — she’s playful and energetic. Her parents are gorgeous and healthy dogs. We had decided earlier to go to a breeder — not because we don’t want to rescue a dog, but because we wanted to raise her ourselves from a puppy. Huskies are very independent, strong-willed dogs, and they require consistency from the start. They also love to have a companion, so we decided to rescue a kitten.
I don’t have a picture of Buffy Puppy’s kitteh counterpart yet, but we’ve filled out adoption applications at two local shelters, and we’re either going to bring home an adorable little ginger kitten who is about 16 weeks old or one of four little babies from a litter rescued by a different shelter. Ironically, one of those kitties’ names is already Buffy. If we get her, she might need a name change.
Thus begins our pack.
For now, Scotland will have to wait, as much as it grieves me to say it. Money and financial freedom will come in time, and until then, we’ll build our family.
Has life handed you a ticket to a change in plans recently? What did you do with it? I’d love to hear from you!
And to show my love for all of you, here’s your belated Valentine’s Day gift — some cute overload to brighten your Wednesday doldrums.
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