Truth and Consequences

My name is Jodie and here is my truth: in less than a week I will be homeless.

You may think that I should be panicking right now, but I am actually surprisingly calm. You see, this is my consequence: I have wanted to move out, and now I have my wish. I cannot complain about the situation I find myself in because it is the situation I put myself in.

While I have looked at several places, I need somewhere for myself and The Bish, somewhere with a cat flap so that he can come and go as he pleases. It has become even more apparent, in the nice weather we’ve had (at times) over the last month or so, that he loves his time in the garden, and I hate having to bring him inside in the morning before I leave for work. Usually my housemate will let him in and out when she’s around during the day, but I wouldn’t want to leave him out all day if we’re not around. For one, the neighbourhood bully, Felix, comes around quite often shit-stirring, although Bish now knows exactly what to say to give Felix the two-finger salute, which sees Felix sauntering off with his tail between his legs. The other reason, well, Bish will sit at the door and miaow and miaow and miaow and miaow and I like to think I’m a little more courteous to my neighbours (and my cat) than that.

So while it’s important for me to find a place which is right for me, I need the right place for him too. Almost fourteen years later, and we are still together. He is my longest relationship with a male with the exception of my dad and brother. He’s my responsibility and I want to help him the way he has helped me over the years.

Another reason for my so far not having anywhere to live, is my change in budget. I currently pay £900 a month for rent and bills (not including my mobile phone bill). Even in London, that is a lot of money. For me, who doesn’t earn one of the great London salaries, that is a lot. When I first started looking, I set my budget at £650 a month max, hoping to find somewhere cheaper. I saw a couple of places at that price which weren’t suitable. I was then contacted about a place which is £400 a month.

I interrupt this blog to bring you news of a Felix Ambush. Luckily, Bish chased him from the garden. Felix is now sat in next door’s garden. Bish is standing guard.

Anyway, as I was saying, the £400 a month room gave me a lot to think about. While at £650 I will be saving £250 a month on what I’m paying now, £400 would allow me an extra £500 a month. As someone who has drowned in debt before and is nearly always living to the end of my overdraft, I realised what financial freedom that could bring me. Money to go back up North to visit my family more often. Money to socialise. Money to buy those Converse I’ve been hoping for for the last few years since my last beloved pair went into the great rubbish bin in the sky. At the end of the day, you need to live somewhere you can be happy. Paying £900 a month in somewhere that I am not happy is a killer. I figure I’d rather pay a lot less then at least I have money to go out and live my life rather than being stuck in a home you hate.

So, I’ve been holding out for the £400 place, but the landlord has been working away and keeping me waiting. Thus I find myself with less than a week to go before I will be out on the street.

The truth: I need to stop holding out for what I see as the perfect option. As I’ve discovered many many times with men, if you wait and wait you will wait and wait forever. Sometimes you just have to admit that it is not going to work out how you thought. The consequence: Begrudgingly, I am forced to admit that I’ll need to pay more for my room than I was hoping, and while it will give me less to live on, I’ll still have more than I would if I was staying in this flat.

I spoke in one of my recent blogs about having faith. Not religious faith, just faith that things will work out. The truth: I still have that faith. But faith alone will not keep you warm and dry. The consequence: time to find somewhere to live.

I am going to take some inspiration from The Bish, who provided me with a great photo opportunity earlier this morning. We are sat in the garden, the warm sun on our faces. I am finishing this blog before I start looking for rooms. Bish is sleeping after his encounter with Felix, knowing that while I am here, Felix won’t be back. As Bish showed me earlier, no matter what is going on around you, look for the sunshine and try to relax.

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Kitchen Sink or Swim?

Do you ever feel like you are drowning? So out of your depth that you wonder how much longer you can keep your head above water?

That is how I feel right now. As you know I’ve had money troubles since I literally ran out of money before Christmas, and it really doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Last weekend, I had a big fall-out with my housemate over house-matters. While we did kiss and make-up, it left us both examining our futures within the flat, and while she has decided that, for her, the best option is to stay put, for me, my only choice is to move to somewhere a lot cheaper.

By looking for a place to live where the rent is inclusive of the bills, I am confident I can find somewhere for £300 less than what I’m paying now. Right now I am being financially crippled for a mistake made out of impulsion, when I and my housemate evicted ourselves from a stressful situation in the flat we were previously in. Out of the frying pan, into the fire, so they say, and while the freedom I desired to feel at ease in my own home was given in shed loads here, the price I paid was a high one. The currency had an actual monetary value, which in turn has taken its toll on my health. As someone who doesn’t handle stress particularly well, I have struggled to keep my head above water in this material world we live in, and the idea that this will not change for the foreseeable future is what has prompted my itchy feet.

While I will be sad to leave the flat and even more my housemate, I need to have money to start paying off my debts, as well as being able to live without worrying (about that at least), and to be able to feed myself with a balanced, healthy diet. Having no money and already being a Diet Coke and chocoholic, I will always choose to spend my last few pennies on these. With the Sugar-Free Me challenge coming up in less than a fortnight, I hope that I have an opportunity to break the habits that are costing me my health and wellbeing, not to mention money.

So now all I have to do is find someone to take over my room, find myself a new place to live, and start managing my new-found extra money better. Moving (again) will be costly, so it’s a good opportunity for a clear-out of literally the baggage I have been moving from one place to the next the last decade or so, and to make some money. Baggage, in both its literal and metaphoric forms, do not make it easy to move on, as I have learnt more times than I care to admit.

Wish me luck, people. Seatbelts on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. But hopefully, the car won’t be too overloaded this time round.

Jogga-Blog No. 4 and 5: AKA The Return of 33andlostinlife

Out of all the titles you could possibly have expected me to pick for my first blog post in almost two months, I bet you didn’t expect to see the words “Jogga-Blog”.  In fact, this is the fourth and fifth Jogga-Blog combined, because my first London-based jog occurred on Thursday evening.  While afterwards I was most pleased with myself, the closest I got to blogging about the experience was thinking about it.  Well, you know what they say, it’s the thought that counts.

Today I was up early, so I decided to take advantage of the nice morning, before the heat became too overbearing, and take myslf off on another jog.  Once round the park without stopping this time.  I was most impressed with myself.

You may be wondering why it has taken me so long to write another blog post since the publication of The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 1.  I’ll do my best to fill you in on what has happened in my life over the last seven weeks, and from then onwards I shall attempt to keep you updated on a more regular basis.

I managed to find a lovely flat in West London, which I’ve settled into now.  My “housemates” are slightly older than me, but it’s nice to be with people who are full of stories from their lives.  I love listening to them talking, because it gives me inspiration for writing.  While this is the first time I’ve put virtual pen to paper in some time, I’ve been jotting down notes in my mind.  My little notebook that I use for my writing ideas got dusted off the other day, and I’m delighted to say that some of my ideas made it onto the page.  But I finally feel like my creative juices are starting to flow, which makes me happy because the pipes have been clogged for some time. Now though, that all my university work is finished, I can write for pleasure, without having to worry about deadlines, and I am thrilled that my ideas may finally find a place in the world.

It took me a while, but in mid-June I finally found a temp job, working in the Head Office of a high-end retail company.  The office is located only four tube stops from where I live, so the commute takes around 30 minutes door-to-door, which is not too bad considering I work with people who commute up to four hours a day.  The work is very similar to what I did in the NHS, analysing data, but instead of patients, it’s handbags and high heels.  I had a job interview for a writing position for one of these Daily-Deal websites just before I was offered this post.  While I was slightly disappointed not to have got the job, I think I’m coming to the conclusion that, for now, I’m happy with a nine-to-five job that I can do without having to stress out over it, where the people are nice and the commute isn’t too long.  I can get work on getting my finances back into a manageable condition, and use my free time to do what I have wanted to do for so long: write.  This job is temp to perm, which means it may become permanent in a few months.

You may be wondering why I bothered to do a degree in American Studies, if I was only to get a job the same as what I was doing before.  Well I got my degree results the other day, and I will graduate from the University of Lincoln in September with an upper second-class honours, or a 2:1.  This is reflective of the work I’ve done over the last four years, and while last year I may have been disappointed not to have received a first-class honours, right now I am just glad to have made it to the end with some sense of sanity.  When I started my degree, my life was very different, and what I want to gain out of a degree now is not necessarily the same as it was when I enrolled back in September 2009.  While I would still love to have the opportunity to work in America, I am learning to pick and choose my fights, and the opportunities for someone like myself to make the USA my home are slim.  What I’d rather do is focus on what I want to do, which is writing, rather than where I want to do it.  Days like today, where the weather is 26 degrees centigrade (79 Fahrenheit), and the forecast for the next six days is much the same, I’m more than happy to be in London, which is like a little greenhouse full of heat, where I can spend my lunchtimes sunning myself in the park, and the early evenings in the garden.

So I have somewhere to live, a job, and lots more time on my hands.  One thing I don’t have, is a relationship.  As you know if you’ve spent any time with me or my blog, that is high on my list of wants.  Right now, as much as I’d love to meet someone, I don’t have the money to spend on dates, or buying new clothes for dates.  But that is ok, because knowing myself as I do, it would be wrong to rush into finding someone, and people do always say it happens when you don’t expect it.  I can enjoy settling myself into my new life, and eyeing up the hot guys on the tube…

For now, life is good.  This chapter is still very new to me, and I’m very much finding my feet.  I’ve put on weight since my arrival, hence my desire to jog, and knowing that I won’t be able to afford to join a gym until possibly later in the year, I’m going to have to rely on my own resources and free exercise such as jogging and walking, in the tree-lined areas close to where I live and work.  By the end of September, I will have graduated from university, signaling the true end of the previous chapter of my life; potentially have secured a permanent job, and have made myself financially stable.  All the key ingredients for the basis of a happy life, on which I can build the foundations of the me I’ve wanted to become.  Please join me as the journey continues.  I’ve missed talking to you guys.