Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is a Sugar Daddy a "Want' or a "Need"?

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I feel like a Chinese restaurant today, my post is kind of a combo platter.  I have one topic  from column A, one from column B.  Column A - Wants vs. Needs.  Column B - the Sugar Daddy arrangement.

Money is on my mind right now, a lot, So I share with you my brain bulimia, I've been binging on thoughts, now I'll purge.  As I've said before, due to my ex-husband that abandoned his duties as a Father of our three children, financially and physically, there have been times I've been destitute. Well, it's not only his fault, it's also mine that I don't have a degree in anything that would earn me any decent money.  I work in marketing and a lot of times hours get cut, clients don't pay, times are slow, that's life.  Everyone is quick to say, "just find another job"... well yea because those $60k a year jobs are just falling out of the sky.  *slaps forehead*  Silly me, I forgot about that extra engineering degree I have, let's just go get a job in that!  Not.  Oh wait perhaps I'll just pull that nursing degree out of my butt...

So, times are tough for me right now.  I need to find more project/job opportunities to make ends meet and feed 3 teenagers, which has prompted me to examine my budget.  This brings me to my first point, wants vs. needs.  Y'all need to get this one straight.  A "need" is something you must have to live, i.e. food, shelter, clothing.  A "want" is, well... anything else.  In lean times, pairing things down to "needs" only, enables you to get by.  Even when times aren't tough, trimming the fat and contributing more to savings helps prepare for future crises.  Anyway, you need to  be discerning about the needs, yes you need food, but surf and turf from Black and Blue is not wise when a can of Campbell's chicken vegetable soup serves your dietary needs just fine.  Not as pleasing to the palette of course, but it keeps you alive.

And you may be at wit's end and incredibly stressed out but a vacation is not a "need".  Sorry.  Neither is a new outfit, manicure, or cocktails.  Oh no, not my cocktails!  Uh, maybe we need to rethink that one.  I'm Irish, booze to us is like oil to a car!  Ok, ok just kidding.  No, alcohol and entertainment are not a "need", much as we'd like them to be, they can be benched 'til we get on track again.  *in fetal position sobbing*

Which brings me to Column B - the Sugar Daddy arrangement.  I was discussing my issues with friends and someone of course suggested I find a Sugar Daddy.  A Sugar Daddy is someone who lavishes money and gifts on a woman just for the pleasure of her um, company.  (actually I have known kept women that said sex was not part of it)  Now, me personally, I've never been able to take gifts, money, etc., from a man that I didn't intend to pay back or didn't have a deep, emotional ongoing relationship with and I gave back in love and support.  I just can't use men.  Sometimes I kick myself about that when I'm taking money out of my kid's piggy bank to  buy some milk.  But alas, it's either the Catholic guilt or honest upbringing that prevents me from taking some poor schmuck for a ride.

But sometimes I see these women that married for money, got divorced and are now financially secure to live on their terms... and I wonder if I'm stupid.  It got me thinking, and someone told me there are actual websites to find these arrangements.  Well, you know I just couldn't resist because people watching is like a drug to me.  I'm like that kid who's Mom says to stay out of her room near Christmas time, and I'm headed straight in there, going in for the treasure hunt!  I went to a certain website and for experimentation purposes only, signed up.  Seriously, I didn't sign up to get a free meal, I just want to eavesdrop!  As you all suspected, there aren't many "real" people on there, and those that are, are completely clueless of what a Sugar Daddy is and think they are on Match.  Seriously, a few guy's profiles said, "I'm looking for a really sweet girl to love".  Dude, really?  Is the word "sucker" tattooed on your forehead?  And some girl's profiles say, "I'm financially secure but I'm looking for a mature, sophisticated man to spend time with".  Bitch, please.  Either stop the denial, or go back to Match.

What have I figured out so far?  Nothing.  I'll have to keep you abreast on my experiment.  I'm determined to figure out if this Sugar Daddy (or Mama) thing is real and or lucrative.  In the meantime, I'll be eatin' my damn soup...  the side dish of integrity or stupidity is yet to be determined.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hire Me, I Give Good Hair!

Having been born a creative being is a blessing and a curse.  Oh, I have a lovely imagination and can be mildly entertaining, but financially... I ain't gonna' lie, honey it blows.  Blows like a humpback whale.

I went to college for four years in the mid 80s for broadcasting.  It was a new up and coming "thing".  But it turns out when I got into the field, no one else had a degree in broadcasting, you didn't need one.  Any schlub could get into radio, in TV you needed to at least have good hair.  Oh, and they paid you minimum wage, they didn't have to pay more because everyone was clamoring to get into radio and TV because they thought it was so cool.  It was kind of cool, but it was also run by major league nerds-turned-narcissists.  The worst kind.

The industry then got even more competitive as ownership laws loosened and stations were consolidating.  I needed to reinvent myself.  The route I chose at the time was stay at home mom but I still did some marketing stuff on the side that I learned while being a sales assistant in TV.  Thus began my long long long journey of doing piecemeal marketing work and searching for jobs on and off for 17 years.

So, I feel well-qualified on the topic of job searches.  I may not always find my dream job, but I guarantee you, I always find A job.  Something, anything.  I don't understand when someone says, "I've been out of work for a year".  I do understand that sometimes you can make more on unemployment than working retail or some other entry level job, but if it's been that long, it's time to regroup.  And you have to accept the fact that you will probably have to take a job that's barely tolerable until you find your ideal job again.  Life isn't fair, stuff happens, pull up your skirt, Sally and suck it up.

 In this economy in the past few years, job loss is all too common.  Everyone knows at least one person, if not more, who's been effected.  Once again I find myself looking for a job after having my hours cut at my current place of employment.  Unfortunately in my line of work, (marketing) my job is always the first to be cut when things are slow.  I would love to make this my full time job, but I've yet to find a way to make blogging lucrative.  So, if anyone would like to syndicate me in their publication, leave a comment with contact info below.  *wink*

(That's my professional look, take me seriously now?)

Ya' see what I did up there?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  I asked for help.  Rule number 1, let everyone know you are looking.  Don't beg and whine or make a cardboard sign and stand on the corner of Monroe and I-490.  Be dignified and matter of fact.  A simple Tweet or Facebook status, even a broadcast email to friends... "I'm currently looking for a position in Prehistoric Pancake Making.  If you or anyone you know hears of any openings, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know.  I'll be glad to help you in anyway I can, as well.  Thanks."  It's as easy as that.  You'd be surprised how many people love to help.  The key to finding a job really is in "who you know".

Rule number 2... Network, network, network.  Oh and did I say network?  This is an offshoot of letting people know you are available.  Get out and meet more people and let them know you are available.  I know it may be tough for the less sociables out there, but it really has to be done.  There are so many networking events in this town, it's ridiculous.  Yes, they are mostly all free, sometimes there is maybe a $5 fee, but there are plenty to be had.  Get online and look up "networking events".  Also LinkedIn has tons of groups promoting networking events.  Also your local paper (available online) usually has a calendar of events.  If you are really stumped, just email me, I'll direct you on where to look.

I could go on and on with tips, but that's a good start.  Jesus, I can't hold your hand!  You gotta' just jump in and get going!  Well, but wait, you do need a decent resume.  Have someone dependable look yours over before you start sending it out.  And if you really suck at resumes, I HIGHLY suggest having a professional do it.  I write for a living and I still had a professional look over mine.  Hey, even best selling authors have editors, another pair of eyes is always wise.  Take it from your Auntie Madge.  Oh good Lord, I started channeling "Hee Haw", it's time for me to wrap it up...

It's all in who you know.  Start talking.  Ask for help.  Circulate resumes.  Get on LinkedIn. Be unique.  Stand out.  Hire Madge for all your marketing and writing needs.  *wink wink nudge nudge*

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Love Your New Prada Bag But Sorry to Hear You're Losing Your House.

Let me ask you a question...  What's the first thing you do if you have financial problems?  Is it?..

A.  Go out and buy a new outfit?

B.  Go through your finances and see where you can cut back?

C.  Open up another credit card because you need more cash flow?

D.  Get hammered to drown your sorrows?

Go ahead, be honest.  And I'll be honest with you, just out of college I would have chosen options A and D.  When I was married in my late 20s, early 30s I would have chosen option C (although I had a feeling it wasn't right but I bowed to spousal pressure).  And I have to admit, although A and C are still looking good, I've learned that option B is the best.  (damn you, common sense!)

I learned out of neccessity and maturity, of course.  I've had times in my life where new expenses come into play (braces, new roof) or you're selling real estate and things are slow, your income goes down, and I had no choice but to cut back.  And yes, I even had to cut back on nightlife, ugh.  But it's funny how people don't want to drink alone, you still go out with your friends and you say, "No, I'm not drinking, trying to save money", it almost becomes a personal mission then for them to get you drunk.  Cheers! 

I digress...

However, there were times when my income was cut in half, for instance after my ex suddenly stopped paying child support.  It then becomes a situation of, you have for example $2,000 in monthly expenses and your income is now $1,000... at that point dropping HBO and saving $20 a month isn't gonna' do squat.  Although, it's still a good idea to look at those things for the long run, the little things do add up, but at that point you need to make major changes like changing your living situation and getting gov't aid.  Yes, folks that's a situation it's designed for, not a way of life, but a safety net for when you need short term help.  But this is all needs to be another blog.  I'll get to that next time.

My point is... when the going gets rough, tighten up, don't go get your hair did and take a trip to Aruba.  I know it may be a natural reaction (fight or flight, right?) to want to run away and indulge yourself and ignore it. (hey, haven't I mentioned that self indulgent thing before? I see a pattern.)  I can't tell you how many times I've been somewhere and someone is telling me all of their financial problems, like they are going to have to refinance their mortgage because they are two months behind, but in the same breath are telling me about their upcoming trip to Hilton Head.  Uh, what's wrong with this picture?  They may think they deserve it because of all their troubles, but it's just adding new ones... and it's making them look like an idiot. 

There, I said it!  Yes, I said it, other people judge you.  Gasp!  Normally that wouldn't really matter, but if, you having to stop and think "What Would Other People Think?", will help you not do something stupid, like spending a fortune on something unneccessary, when you just blabbed about your financial troubles, then so be it.   Stop spending money you don't have!  It's really that simple.  Keep a record of income and expenses, keep accurate track.  Get rid of the credit cards, or keep them out of your wallet.  Sorry, it might screw up the economy a little more but it will keep a roof over your head and save your sanity.  You can do it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How to Keep Your Daughters Off the Pole...

I've been in a relationship for the past three years, well only about a year and a half of it has been serious.  That would be this last half of the relationship.  Before that, I hadn't been in a serious, monogamous relationship since my marriage 9 years before that. (well my husband didn't practice the monogamy part, but that's another story)  Every time I make that statement people often ask me what the hell was wrong with me.  I'd like to think common sense was "wrong" with me. Well, maybe it was just guilt.

Oh I dated a ton during those 9 years.  There were times I had two dates in one night.  I had several instances of dating the same person casually several times over a few months but we never formed what I would call a serious relationship. I'm not like some peole who call a guy my boyfriend after two dates.  I take relationships very seriously, I don't label anything that until there is monogamy, expressing of feelings and coupledom (you know, planning things together).

There were men I wanted something more with but they didn't want it with me.  There were men that wanted something more with me and I didn't want it with them.  I was a fiend at some points, having conversations going with several men at once.  It was fun, I wasn't misleading, we were all just trying to get enough information about the other to see if we wanted to meet in person.  I could write a book about my Match experiences, oy.  I'll share a few at a later date.

Ok, to get to the point... why did I take this route in dating?  Simple answer: because of my kids.  No, I'm not some sort of saint, but it was just a natural first thought for me, "why do I want to subject the kids to my dating life?".  When my ex left the house my children were 6, 3, and 18 months.  I kind of thank God they were so young, because they didnt' really notice much of a difference, their Dad travelled all the time with work, he was never home before the divorce.  But still, I wanted them to feel as comfortable, happy, loved, and secure as possible.  Also, within the year their Dad started hanging with and eventually moved in with the girl he cheated with who the kids knew as an occassional babysitter for them previously.  (oh yea, it's quite a story)  So, anyway, my thought was, that was enough confusion for them.

I only went out or went on dates when the kids were with their Dad on every wednesday night and every other weekend.  That part was really hard, I wanted to go out more, especially when I got asked out and had to say no, not tonight.  No man ever came over when the kids were there, let alone sleeping over when the kids were there.  Oh hell no!  No man ever met my kids, unless it was by accident at the store or an event.  The reason I'm telling you this is to show you it can be done, you can put your children first.  Sure we all are tempted to run away and be self-indulgent, especially after being hurt by divorce, but in the long run it's better for our most precious possessions, our children (and screw the PC, yes we do own them) to use some restraint in dating.  You will only be raising kids with resentment, abandonment, and commitment issues, and then you'll be bitching later about, "I don't know what's wrong with my kid!".  Yes, you.

Also, if you keep moving mates in and out of your house, your children will also learn that relationships are not built on foundations of trust and love and friendship, but are slapped together out of convenience for temporary comfort, sex, and to share living expenses.  And in return they will have revolving door relationship all of their lives, I'm sure with multiple kids by multiple partners.  Might as well have a deli counter take-a-number dispenser at your front door.

I've heard so many stories about women who their kids didn't like their boyfriend, or men whose kids didn't like their girlfriend, and it was a bone of contention.  Or I heard of people getting married and the kids hate the step-parent.  Hey, guess what, maybe somebody should listen to those kids!  It's not all about what the parent wants, you selfish bastards!  Kids are pretty perceptive, they can spot a jerk before you do.  And even if the person is very nice and you think the kid is acting out, you definitely need to address that.  The kid is acting out for a reason, they have been through enough, they don't want to share you or have to deal with a new person in the house.  Trust me when I say, you have to work through those issues first before you can plop somebody else into the middle of your family.

I won't lie, there were nights I cried myself to sleep because I was lonely and tired of going to every event at the kids school alone.  But today, as I look at my secure, well-adjusted kids, I thank God for keeping me on the path he did. (and I'm not overly religious)  It wasn't always easy, but I feel good that I put them first.  I knew men would always be there but my kids would only be young and impressionable once.  And I'm happy that at least for now I don't think my daughters will be on the pole headlining at the Klassy Kat and my son won't be a multi baby-daddy.  Knock wood, fingers crossed.