A few things about me

Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

On my mind

On the news today:

After the release of the national budget or finansloven as they call it here, a total of 44,000 Council employees are to be fired by end of next year in effort to meet budget cuts.

On the news yesterday:

A school put out an ad for a maintenance man and recieved 625 applications in comparison to the usual, 15-20 applications recieved when such a position is advertised.

In the news a few weeks ago:

The third largest employer in Denmark fired 2000 people.

Keep in mind the following fact. Population size is 5.5million. Workforce is approx 2.4million making the afore mentioned job cuts a significant knock on the economy.

You’re still wondering how does this affect me.

Here we go.

My plan was that at the end of my maternity leave I would not be returning to my job. (In case you are not in the know I work at a laundry folding and packing away hospital clothes). Instead I would have secured a job more in line with my desires and mentality of “this is the kind of work I am supposed to be doing”  or I would have started my own gig (those plans have been shelved indefintely… maybe one day I will tell you guys about it) These cuts signify that the economy is still shaky even though I thought it was on it’s way up after  house prices had started creeping up . The fact that intrest rates are still  low should have reminded me otherwise. To sum it up things are still shitty economically and I find myself very interested in this meeting taking place in Seoul with all these powerful heads of state.

In the midst of all this depression one little thought/fact keeps me bouyed. I got a job for life, I have an income for life. So for now I just have to ride this tide and keep my plans in focus.

One sure thing is that I am not quitting this gig until I know that I have another source of income at hand.

A part of me feels like I am stuck between a rock and hard place and the other feels.. just thank -God you have work and thus a decent income.

Hello world!

Meanwhile;

I looked at the bank account and almost fell off my chair.  A deeper look at the statement revealed that YES WE have been careless this month, spending on this that and the other. The amount left for the next 20 days is rather appalling. The challenge is on though, see if we can live off it with out going into red. All plans of going into town to manga manga and treat myself to hot chocolate, a waffle and some magazine have been postponed til further notice 🙂

Have an economically sound day.

True life Hero?…think not

When we moved in about 4 weeks ago, the cable TV connection for the previous owners had not yet been disconnected. Suddenly after 9 months without cable tv, we had cable. Yippee. It lasted 2 days and with a quickness it was disconnected. Hubby punched the numbers and realised we could afford it until the end of this year given the ridiculous offer the cable company was giving. Will we have it next year.. don’t think so. After 9 months without it, we don’t miss it, we don’t watch it much…. but lets wait and see.

With that introduction I will delve into the purpose of this post. There is a lot on my mind, a whole lot and I once did a post about it and deleted it the next morning. I checked my blog stats and realised 2 people had read it. Ouch! I was upset that night, the feelings were honest but presented harshly, crudely with underlying anger and frustration.

Today I think I am ready to present it “properly”. But first about cable tv.  As I type, CNN Heroes has just ended. I could not help but think that even though CNN is the messenger and distributor of all news bad, once in a while they carry good news and it touches my soul.  CNN Heroes in one of them and every time I see it, I am left feeling helpless and useless. Useless that at 32 my circle of influence and helping others had not reached out beyond my nuclear family. That only once in a while I will help my extended family but even that is not a given. And it all comes to money.

I feel an enromous amount of guilt that I am not able to sustain a regular monthy allowance to my mum. There I said it. It eats me alive.  I should be able to, I mean, people hear that I have bought a house and I am having renovations done, so how come you cannot send money every month. It bothers me a lot. Sometimes it depresses me to the point I don’t want to call home because then I don’t have to deal with knowing that things are tough and I have not made a contribution. I have no excues except to say, I sometimes do not have enough to go around. It’s as simple as that and yet so complicated. 

So when I see CNN Heroes or read about people doing such wonderful things for others, I look at myself and think, how can I even think of others when those in my own back yard still lack.

I understand it is about giving what you can and when you can. And so it continues. I look forward to next month. I have worked more hours this month, so there should be something left over.  Like I said, when I can, I do, when I can’t I don’t and that’s just how it is.  The tough part is  living with that.

what to do? to do what

I want to be a hero and that was part of the dream that I lost a long time not so long ago.

There are many thoughts on this issue in my head. I will bullet them

  • African equivalent of welfare system. We support each other
  • Dependency and the burden it places on the person depended on
  • Duty giving or love giving
  • Expectation and payback/giving back
  • Ensuing distance and resentment btw giver and reciever.

discuss.

You

If your job consists of sitting at a desk. Thank your god. If you job has you sitting at a desk using your brain, even more thanks. If your job entails you actually using your education, your brain and sitting a desk, you need to make an offering of thanks to the powers that be.

I HATE my job. My body tells me everyday we need to quit. My brain says, “good idea.. then what do we do after we quit”. At the end of the day, my fingers hurt, my feet hurt and ache, now and then I get crinks and aches in my back. My job is slowly killing me, meanwhile my job applications are still soliciting “we are sorry, we regret, at this point we will not being going further” responses. Ugh!

Last year I joined a women’s network and was hooked up with a mentor. Point of the mentorship is that she is there to provide guidance, advice and encouragement on how to “intergrate” into danish society and help the mentee build a professional network with the aim of getting a job. The women’s network is targeted towards non-danish, university educated women living in Demark who are having a hard time getting employed. I have met women from all over the world at this club. Before I got my current Kibarua (job) I used to attend the meetings, trainings, seminars etc until I realised it was going nowhere..then I got my job and I stopped going. Towards the end it just became too much of negative stories. I got tired of hearing how companies were not hiring foreigners, how hard it was to get work, how women had to re-train as social helpers or daycare nannies and I was like.. this is not for me.

The reason I am going on about my job is because on Friday I got  hassled around about a potential job.  There was a position advertised internally at work and after two weeks of seeing the job ad, I decided to try it out. It would have meant more more money and a later start time. Currently I start work at 6.15am. which means I am usually up by 5.00am to catch the 5,30am bus that gets me to work at 6.05am giving me enough time to change into my uniform and be at my work station at 6.15am. The new job had a start time of 7.00m and a later finish at 14.45 as opposed to my current 14.00pm. Anyway, I talked to my superviser, she was like.. nope the positon is not filled and if you are interested, let me talk to the supervisor at that station and get back to you. She gets back to me saying I should go there Friday, get a hang of the job, if I like it, the job’s mine.. if not, report back to work on monday morning as usual. This conversation took place on Monday.

Come Friday I am at the new place.  I get into uniform and get attached to my trainer of the day. Oh I forget.. the job was as a “Sengevask” = bed washer. The job is exactly what the title says. Wash beds. The beds come in from the wards stripped of all linen. You wipe down the mattress, then move it to position A.  Roll the metal frame of the bed into the wet area, using a nice powered hose, hose the bed with water. Then move it to poisition B. GEt matteress from position A. Lay it on bed, make up the bed with the linens, roll bed out into corridor. Bed will later be picked up by some other guy.  The job is more physically demanding than what I currently do. The mattresses are the issue, they are heavy and you have to move them from bed to position A and back from position A to bed. I did two beds and figured this job was not for me..

Anyway later in the day, after me asking if the position was filled and everyone drawing a blank, the supervisor comes to me and says the position was filled internally on Thursday and had no one told me not to come. I was like huh! I spoke to supervisor on MOnday and all was settled. I did not work thursday so I got no feedback.. but if position is filled no probs.

I was kinda put off by the lack of info and them wasting my time. There was talk of me being used as a substitute when they are short and I was like. No thanks, I wanted it a full time positon. Working as a sub won’t work for me and my life right now. Thanks but no thanks.

So that was my work drama this week. At the same time I am glad I did not get it because the bus connection out to that place is hellish and with us moving out of town soon, it would have been a hassle. Big Al and I have talked back and forth about a second car. Jury is still out. Car ownership in Denmark is very expensive. It’s not the price of the car nor fuel. It is all the taxes. There a two yearly taxes that you have to pay. Then there is insurance which is bloody expensive etc etc. When you add the cost of having two cars.. Most Danes actually have one car. Very few own two cars.

Remember if you have a desk job. Thank God! What I would do for a desk job. Imagine you sit at a desk the whole day. Me I get to stand for 8 hours straight doing some repetitive motion. I need to get something else soon. Screw finance crisis.

Happy sitting

Mchuzi mix

I have just been at Mashada reading a thread about Development or something to that effect. About the possiblity of creating fedral states in Kenya aka Majimboism etc etc. I have forgotten the title of the thread. I read the first 3-4 pages in their entiriety and started getting agitated and stressed. I know that by opting not to follow any kind of news or “African development/the way forward for Africa” I am in essence burying my head in the sand. That’s fine with me. Why, because I look at my circle of influence and say to myself, “what can I do here and now for Kenya or Uganda, what am I doing” the answer, nothing. So then why should I stress myself by getting embroiled in conversation, speculation and postulation about things I can hardly do anything about. I have agreed with myself if I decide to do anything then I shall go into politcs or development and since that is not what I want at this point in my life.. my head continues to be buried in the sand.

I will say this though, that there are many intelligent, passionate dedicated Kenyans out there who all want the same thing for thier country and tribes. PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT. My mind struggles to find the solution to this. I have always said to my husband that I have dictatorial tendencies. God help everyone if I ever became president. I would just kill everyone in my quest to put Kenya/Uganda on the map. I think someone needs to blow up the whole sitting parliament so that we can start afresh with a new crop of leaders. If they then succeed in screwing things up like the current batch, then once and for all we will know that as a people we are seriously fucked up! That’s just the way I see it.

Haya on to other stuff now that that’s off my chest.

Finally finally my 2 year old son is sleeping through the night in his crib. HALLELUJAH! What a ride this sleep thing has been.

It is not all perfection. But it is 100% better than it used to be. He wakes up once for his bottle between 2.30 and 4.00am then again at around 6.30 then he sleeps till 8.00am. He gets to bed pretty late , usually at 9.30pm.. now that summer is here and in winter at 9.00pm. Any earlier than that becomes a waste of my and his time. He is saying more and more words.He speaks to me in English and to his Dad in Danish. When hungry he say.. “mummy food, eat”  When I say speak I mean 5 or 6 clear words.. the rest is just baby speak jumbled stuff that as a mother you learn to decode. But there certainly is a lot of progresss. Today for the first time he came into the living room and said “how u mummy” 🙂 He is so grown. He is still not the biggest eater infact he is the thinnest in his  day care class, but not the shortest. At his 2 year check up he was a little under the normal weight gain curve which had me worried. Eating is still a bit of an issue. As long as he does not snack during the day, then he will eat very well. Once he snacks or has sweets.. that is his eating ruined for the day. Big Al keeps saying that his eating genes have not kicked in yet given the way the both of us like to eat.  Did I say he is lovely. God he is beautiful!

My man:

Where to start. Very interesting stuff between us. I’ve told you before that me and him talk a lot. So the other day on a drive to an animal park we got talking about personal development and I was telling him how I had a light bulb moment,( courtsey of some “live your best life” podcast): that tweaking and reevaluating your life is a continous process. There never comes one point where you can say “ah I have fixed this once and for all, never have to look at it again”  One has to keep checking, taking stock, tweaking here and there, straigtening out priorities because things change, time goes by and life is never static.  He laughed and said that is how he felt about money issues. Big Al hates dealing with money issues.

In a perfect world he would only have to deal with going to work earning money and the rest sort out themselves. This worked fine in England, we both worked, I did all the nitty gritty and would just give him papers saying “sign here, sign here and there”. As long as the money he wanted was there, he did not bother with the rest. I on the other hand like to tweak, move, save, do this and that to the money. Funny thing is that he is easy with letting money go and I hoard it. His attitude is “I can always get money” mine is “Hoard all you can cause you never know when you will see it again” Anyway like I said.. it worked perfect in England.. then we moved here  Denmark that is.

and things just went to hell in a handbasket. Suddenly he had to do the tweaking and stuff because of my language deficiency. He has hated every single minute of it. When he finally said this to me in the car I was like “I know.. and I have hated every minute of having to give up that control to you.. but guess what soon I am going to be able to do this on my own”. He says  “can’t be soon enough for me” More and more I am taking control over it. If you think other countries have a confusing tax, pay, banking system, you haven’t been to Denmark.

It got me thinking about how relationships work. There is no one true way. A couple has to find what works for them. My husband hates having to deal with the nitty gritty of money. I love to get my hands deep into it. It works for us. Find what works for you and to hell with what everyone else says.

My career:

Monday is around the corner. That means my exams which means FINALLY FINALLY I am through with this course. Lord I cannot wait! I have gone from not caring whether I pass or fail to “girl you have to pass cause we just don’t do fail”.  I am still to find out if I am to be employed on a permanet basis at my current job ironing clothes. I hate my job, I love earning money at the end of the month. I love the freedom of having just a little bit extra to buy shoes, save some for the house. But I need to get a better job. So with my exams around the corner, I finally relaunched my job hunt. For the record. I ABSOLUTELY HATE HAVING TO LOOK FOR WORK . At 32 I feel and think it is humilating that I still have to be looking for “the right job”. Just this past Friday I was crying about it. Crying tears because a friend said she thinks I have opted to give up. I was hurt and hurt and pissed off. So all I did at work was look at my life and choices and came to the conclusion that I am doing the right thing for me for now and that my plans are on the right track and if that fails.. I get up and try again. But let me tell you this, I am TIRED OF picking myself off my career floor, dusting myself off and trying again. Fuck it all. But I want money. So like I said to Big Al, “new strategy in place…. playing lotto just got added to the mix”. He laughed till he cried. Looked at me and asked me how that is a strategy. I said “i have been doing this career hunt thing for about 7 years and nothing has come up yet.. keep doing same thing and expecting different results = madness. Play lotto = changing strategy doing something new.. watch this space 🙂

My break is almost over gotta hit the books.

see ya

Another money post

To buy or not to buy? That’s the question that has been plaguing me for the past two weeks. I finally got my answer from Suze Orman. I have said it many times; I am obsessed with money. That’s  a slight untruth. The truth is that I am scared, AFRAID of poverty. I am so afraid of being unable to afford mine and my family’s NEEDS. I make no apologies for being afraid of being poor, living hand to mouth and being obsessed with financial security. I have seen real life examples of people who HAD money living in plush Nairobi or Kampala surburbs end up living in the village or with thier grown kids. I have seen and know kids who went to British system schools, used to having drivers, etc etc start having to live hand to mouth, become alcoholics, lost….I have seen it and that is why I am obsessed with securing some level of financial security and freedom for me and mine.

That said, I was obsessing about buying gifts for my immediate family. It was driving me crazy cause I was trying to figure out where to get the money from, what to cut back, skimp here, pinch there and it was just not coming together, hence Mrembo fretting and going nuts. Then Suze spoke the truth on Oprah and said some things that made me realise that I AM NOT OBLIGATED to buy the gifts. It would be wonderful if I could afford them, but right now I cannot. If people are disappointed I brought nothing but chocolates and biscuits, tough! I feel so much better having made that decision! (now I can buy that dress that I wanted ) ok…. so that was not a funny joke!  I will admit I feel silly/ ashamed not taking anything but I will get over that.

I feel soo much better having decided that.. i really do… so now I can focus on other things like clean the house, peel the potatoes for supper, then off to town with baby to check on the portable high chair for baby, call KLM find out if it is ok to carry baby food, and how many kilos is baby allowed to travel with… and stop thinking about money, the month has just begun and the bank balance looks really scary already…

Note to self….. I will not freak out, I will not freak out, everything is under control.

Confession: when I start thinking about money and my getting employed and pension plans and us ever being in a position to buy a house and having another baby, and me buying the clothes I really want, and being able to buy Big Al the things he likes and affording day care and……. I begin to hyper ventilate and my vision goes dim… and I can’t swallow or think properly.

Confession number 2: Big Al and I do discuss financial stuff and we are on the same page and we do put aside something every month and we have no debt apart from the car…..and we budget every month and pay all the bills on time and………….. so why do I freak out……..because because…. non of your business 🙂

More Money!

I want money, I want lots of it! So much that I could literally sit on it! 🙂 that’s how much of it that I want and anything less than that will never be enough!

That being said, I will also be the first to acknowledge that I have a very unhealthy relationship with money. First thing is that I want it. When I get it, I want to hoard it so that now and again I can open my books and salivate about how much money I have… bad bad bad! I know.

The reason I want it is so simple. Money = Security. Kapish?!.

Eons ago I used to think that a house meant security. Owning my own house was my security. By owning I mean owning it outright, no mortgage or what have you. My dream was to be accquired the Ugandan way. First work, then buy the plot, then start building. It may take 5 years to complete the house but that’s ok because every brick would be owned by me and no bank. Life happened and I let that dream go. Owning a house is no longer mission number one in my life. I would still like to own one, but that fire no longer burns nor are the coals amber. Its more like hot ash situation.

All I want now is money, more money, lots of money. I want to work for it, but I do not mind winning the lottery. Not sure I want to be given it. I want it no strings attached.