Monday, July 19, 2010

Working Hard In Poverty (WHIP) July 19, 2010

Mateo emptied out the entire mud and branch contents of his Crocs sandal in the fragile bathroom sink. I swear that this sink is designed for prissy 6 year old girls. I've already used an organic drain cleaning made from sage and rosemary which cost way too much money but appealed to my sense of environmental responsibility. Then, when it made not one iota of difference, I tried my best to drain the water myself. What is a pea trap anyway? It is clean now, whatever it is. In desperation yesterday I went out and bought generic Dollar Store drain cleaner which must be what they make abortificients in 3rd world countries. Still not working. If I had skipped the drain cleaners completely and just hired Barmore plumbing to come from Alpine, it would have been about the same amount of money. Sigh.

The only other interesting aspect of this experience is its parallel to the mud cap procedure in the Gulf. They filled that hole with mud and it seems to be working. Perhaps they should have hired Mateo.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Working Hard In Poverty (WHIP) July 18, 2010

It's hard for me to admit how poverty stricken I am. At age 49, I've about $600 in my bank, a 3 year old son, a ton of freelance jobs that don't pay very well and not enough skills to warrant a full time post with benefits. I find myself wondering if this little town of Marfa will ever afford me something more than what I pay Mateo's caregiver per hour. Living here, or even in NYC, will mean a life of freelance options and bills above and beyond what a desk job would afford.

When we were in NYC we stayed at a friend's loft in Union Square. I shot a few camera movies of Mateo at a playground primarily because the equipment fascinated me. It encouraged a flow of young people from one piece of equipment to the other with a controlled abandon. I wanted to preserve Mateo in that swirl, to archive some aspect of his discovery but perhaps provide an analogy to my current condition. I am, with son, in a controlled drift at sea; waiting for the next job and trying to complete the ones I have committed to. I have maybe 10 more years of an ability to keep this up without collapsing in a heap.

These WHIP posts will not be lighthearted but they'll be honest. Maybe through my honesty and documentation of life on this strange front line, others will find some solace. Maybe I'll improve my own situation through this brand of honesty.

Every post will end with my grim financial situation:

$600 in the bank
$30,000 in credit card debt
$50,000 in family debt
$91,000 in mortgage debt

I must sell the house or resign myself to living with boarded up windows, sealed in to lesson heating costs. I feel as if I am a survivalist, dealing with debt and bills each month. Here's the cliff hanger: how long can I keep this up?