After five vet visits, Sandy’s eye is almost, but not quite, healed. We have another check-up next week.

She’s a great dog – happy, friendly, always up for a run on the beach, comes when she’s called – and has been relatively low-maintenance in the 10 years we’ve had her. I realize how lucky we are to have her. I would never have not taken her in – something was wrong with her eye, after all. But damn, what timing. Hundreds of dollars in vet-debt now, just after Bobby was laid off, right when we had Crescent City to travel to, a week before Nick’s next SF medical visit.

Once again, despite working more, spending less (trying to spend less, anyway), every month I’m struggling to stay at zero – success is getting through paying the bills and buying the necessities without going overdrawn. I heard someone talking yesterday about how his retirement is fortunately safe from the economic meltdown. Ha! What a far-fetched idea – a retirement fund?

Forget savings. Forget ever owning a home. Forget traveling anywhere further than Seattle or San Diego. Just let me have enough money to cover what I have to, give a bit to others and have a bit left over for fun – sometimes that happens. It’s not too much to ask. I work hard. I attempt to contribute to the world. Blah blah blah. Same song, different verse.

My brain ticks all night, worried about money, about the kids (about how the Surfrider event will come off).

Everything will be fine. I do not doubt that. It’s just the getting through to “fine” that gives me insomnia. What are the options? Go back to school for a different degree, one with a future? Find a better-paying, benefit-inclusive job with minimal flexibility to be beholden to? Tempting.

But what about keeping the fun and creative employment – said to be key in all those respected studies about what makes people happy – and resign myself to never advancing to a higher tier or being able to help my children get ahead in the world? That choice, as my dad has pointed out, is essentially “taking a vow of poverty.”

So hard to tell which path will provide the best regrets.

ADDENDUM: Sometimes I just need to get stuff out of my head to get perspective – and regain the advantage. Articulation is a type of power; if I remain silent, my fears control my mood, darken my vision. But post-spewing, my mind is clear and bright. Bright enough, in fact, that some guilt over my complaining in the midst of so much greater suffering creeps in. This week has brought unbearable sadness to some people and it should never be thought that my manageable problems blind me to that reality. This is a place for me to unload what’s accumulated in my own head, kept me up night after night. I don’t necessarily write here to be read – but because people do read these ramblings, I occasionally feel the urge to clarify something post-publishing. Consider this, that.