The finish line

The finish line

Sorry for not posting for a while. Real life has kept me busy. However recently an event occurred that was an important milestone for me and Smudge. I paid off the debt consolidation that I have been on since 2008. We finished the program two years ahead of schedule due to serious belt tightening and lucky windfalls. When it was all added up it was over $61,000 and for the last two and half years it has dictated every aspect of my life.

To make the plan succeed it required me to sacrifice almost everything to make it work. I could not regularly visit more distance friends and family members because the budget would not allow for the extra gasoline. Food budgets were managed to the penny. Elective medical treatments postponed. Art supplies to trimmed to the bare bones and with the exception of Further Confusion we had to forego all conventions. Smudge and I have seen a handful of movies in the theaters over the last few years, and most of those have been in the last year when our situation was already beginning to improve. Auto repairs were deferred. In some case too long with unfortunate results. Clothes and shoes were worn until they were falling apart. No air shows, car shows, auto races. I cancelled all my magazine subscriptions on only a couple of occasions did I buy new books or magazines. no trips to the firing range. In fact I just avoided having sell all of my collection.

However last month I finally crossed the finish line, and like a runner who has just finished the toughest race of his life I am just happy to get across the line. Where I placed in the race was irrelevant, for I have succeeded in saving three of the most precious things in my life.

1. I have saved my relationship between Smudge and I. One of the leading causes of failed relationships is money problems, and for her part Smudge's faith in me held fast. Although there were some rocky moments in 2008. Now though I know that in the face of adversity we can be victorious. Now we can start planning for our future together and leave the past behind us.

2. I have removed a major stress from our household. Not only was this a trial for Smudge and I but also for Rindis and Tom Clowder who are our roommates. If I had failed in this the fallout for all could have been disastrous for them to.

3. I have salvaged some of my dignity. I was taught that if one borrows or takes something that one is responsible to pay it back from its original owner. To not do this is a terrible reflection on one's character. Yes I had to negotiate new terms with my creditors but we did not file for bankruptcy. All it was touch and go at first. Still I paid back all the money we owed our creditors. I still owe some money to friends who helped us during all this but now I have means to do that.

So how does it feel to be out from under a giant metaphorical rock. Strange. For so long now it has dictated every aspect of my existence that actual feels odd to not have it lurking in the background. In our studio we have a white erase board. Originally it was used to keep track of conventions we would be attending or sending our work to. Once BackBreaker closed it was used to keep track of all the different creditors, what our outstanding balances were to them. How much they got a month. What their interest rates were and projected dated of how long it would take to pay them off. Now it is empty.

One immediate benefit has been an explosion of creativity from me. For most of the last two+ years my sleep/ dream cycle has been very irregular with me only having one or two dreams in my dreamscapes a week. Now I am almost having nightly dreams. Sometimes multiple ones that I can remember. The Equestria dreamscape being a strong example of this. Also my health has improved and I don't so weighed down by stress.

I am still struggling to find time in the studio but when I am in the studio I am not having to force myself to work. It is starting to come naturally again. Now I just need to find more hours in the day.