It is never fun to realize in the middle of the night that your checking account will be overdrawn in the morning. Just as I was drifting off, I remembered our mortgage coming out today and the fact that we did not have enough money in our account to cover it or the life insurance premium coming out in the next few days, either. This does not mean anything dreadful for us, just a transfer from our line of credit to cover it. But it was while I listened to account balances that it suddenly dawned on me – we’re well on our way to having a very large amount of money owed. If we had no plans for the next few years regarding our home, it may not matter, but as it is, there are many repairs and replacements to be made. Not only that, but we have no money in savings, which means that our tax refund this next year needs to be devoted to that so that we have money for a down payment on another house. The thought of bringing another baby into this 800 square foot home is a bit scary to me, at least in the long term view of things.
So with this eye opening experience comes the death of a dream: our kid-free vacation. I suddenly realized, at a quarter to one in the morning, that if we took the vacation we’ve been planning, we would be borrowing another large amount of money from our line of credit – probably well over a thousand dollars. Added to that is the fact that while Mike will have no problem getting time off, his company does not bank vacation hours, so we would have to pay him his missed wages out of our line of credit as well, adding another thousand or more to make our bill payments. I had been counting on paying off the line of credit in the spring with what will almost undoubtedly be a large tax refund. When I thought about it, I could hear advice that someone must have given me in the past: don’t spend money you don’t have. I should be able to count on the tax refund, but I don’t actually know how much it will be, or if there could be unexpected expenses coming up in the new year.
I really did feel like something had died. I still do. Mike and I didn’t have a “real” honeymoon and the only trips we’ve taken without any children were before Jenny was born. With each pregnancy, I committed myself to finding time to take a trip of some sort on our own before the new baby came. The unfortunate thing is that due to one thing or another, we never took that trip. This time was no exception to my committment, although the planning had started before I knew I was pregnant. And this time will apparently be no different from the past – I will have dreamt about this week or so alone with my husband and having a break from my kids – and I will have to give it up. If the plan was six months away, it might be possible to work our way out of the debt and scrimp and save for this vacation, but as it is, we have a limited window of opportunity. If we went ahead with our plan to go on a cruise – my ideal vacation as I wouldn’t have to do any work – we would have to go no later than the 3rd of January. Our latest plan was to go in the middle of December, just before Christmas. And now that dream must die, for the sake of being good stewards of our money.
This would not be nearly so sad if I thought it was possible to have this vacation sometime after the baby is born. If I knew that I could go as soon as I was done nursing this baby (after May of 2011), I might be able to wait and not feel this so heavily. But Mike’s parents were reluctant enough to take three children – I can’t imagine that they would be willing at all to take all four. We have friends who were going to take our kids for some of the time on this trip, but if we waited, it would be our four kids plus their four and the one or two more that they plan to have in a year or so.
So last night was spent crying and trying hard to fall asleep, feeling that this thing had died in me. This dream of having time with Mike and time away from the kids must be buried now. I don’t know how I’m going to fully give it up and trust God to provide. I’m trying to talk myself into thinking that it was a selfish and self-centred thought to want this vacation in the first place, that it certainly wasn’t what God would ever want us to do. That He would frown upon us leaving our children and spending money on something frivolous.
With all of this comes the sense of responsibility to dig us out of this debt, to work towards fixing the house up to sell (new windows, paint, doors, etc), to save money to go towards another house, to limit our spending considerably in the future. I keep asking myself where I should draw the line. Is it so bad that I should stop going to Bible study because I have to pay for childcare each week and gas to get there? Do I need to get a job? We lived with a huge amount of money against our line of credit for years because of buying our van and we just paid it off last year – I don’t want to live with a shadow over my head again. Of course, there are lights of inspiration in my mind – what if we get another low interest credit card and transfer everything over? But then the answer is still the same – we may not be paying as much interest, but it is still debt. And the thought that we would somehow get some unexpected financial blessing is foolish to me – God would surely not reward our debt. Another little problem we’ll soon be facing is that Mike’s paychecks will be going back to normal again. He has been bringing in an extra five to six hundred dollars in overtime each paycheck, but the overtime will be gone in a week or two and I’ll be faced with making ends meet and paying off debt with that much less money to work with.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I assume that I will cry a bit every day over my lost trip – the lost time. I spent too much time dreaming about our plan and not enough time looking at reality and now I’m going to pay for it.