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I had to complete my Direct Loans exit counseling the other day.  I’ve done this before, the first time I went to grad school, but apparently I needed to be reminded that this new chunk of money will need to be paid back as well.  This time, however, I immediately applied for the Income Contingent Deferment.  This is not something I’m going to slack off on, as I do not want any more interest to accrue than necessary.

They asked what my present salary was, and as I typed in the figure $90/week, I realized that I haven’t made that little money since I was working at Dairy Queen when I was fifteen.  Once the entire process was complete and they seemed satisfied that I both understood that the money must be paid back, and how to do it– I re-thought my previous figure and realized that I make $70 per week.

I knew this was coming, but I keep thinking of it as my summer of underemployment failing to take into consideration that I’m not going back to school in the fall.  I won’t have a cushy assistantship to carry me along, and I may remain underemployed (soon to be unemployed, I fear) far longer than that.  I think I missed the window to apply for more grad school too (I can always use a third masters, right?).  Even though I swore up and down that I wouldn’t take that route…. academia is less scary than real life.

I’m really not freaking out as much as I thought I would though, for two reasons: 1. it really hasn’t sunk in yet 2. I’ve been so busy giving myself assignments that I simply haven’t had the time.  Rather than scour the want ads and painstakingly crank out cover letters, I’ve taken to scheming.  It may be less financially rewarding, but the feeling of accomplishment I get is stupendous.

Schemes include:

Filling out online surveys, which I mentioned before.  This nets me a little bit of cash, and points which can be redeemed for amazon giftcards or airmiles.

Becoming a coupon goddess.  There is a coupon exchange at the library where I work, I’ve started going in about five minutes early for every shift and seeing what new deals there are to be had.  Unfortunately, most of the coupons seem to be for food I would never eat, but every now and then, there’s a great deal.

I’m going to start writing fiction again.  This won’t make me any money, but the sense of accomplishment will give me warm fuzzies to last and last and last.

I’m going to blog more.  Culture Friend got in my face last week as she was preparing a delightful meal for us and said “If you’re going to have all this spare time, there’s no excuse for you not blogging more!”  This is true, although, if I’m not having wacky adventures, what the hell am I going to write about?  I’ve got time to scare up some wacky adventures, or I’ll start a series of posts about sitting in my chair.  Maybe I’ll get all introspective and examine my life, or something.

I’m going to do more cooking.  This will not only save me money on food, but potentially make me healthier.  Gentleman Caller is a bit miffed that I’ve refused to learn to cook meat (it’s gross, and I’m not touching it), but I’ve told him that he can add his own bacon to whatever I prepare.  That will have to be good enough.

Free-lancing type stuff.  I’ve got a gig teaching screenwriting at a library, Don the Appraiser has said he now wants to write a book, and, as his assistant, I feel like I’ll be playing some kind of role.  I’ve always meant to try to find freelance writing work, and I realize that this is not the best time to find projects, but I have the time, I might as well see what’s there.

I’m going to read more.  Last time I finished a masters degree, had no job prospects, and had a mini freakout, I gave myself an arbitrary reading assignment.  It gave me a goal to work toward and made me feel less useless.  Library = free books.

Sew more.  I really like sewing, but my skill set is a bit limited in that I’ve never moved past skirts and pillows.  Just so happens that I need some pillows and skirts, and I’m going to recover the cushions on my bamboo lounger.

I’m going to watch more classic movies.  I’m fairly well-rounded when it comes to cinema, and when I first got netflix, I made a point to watch a lot of movies I’d heard were essential, but never seen i.e. Casablanca, North by Northwest, The Seven Year Itch etc. Gentleman Caller and I just watched the original Cape Fear, and are now all set to compare and contrast it with the Nick Nolte/ Robert Deniro version.  It’s entertaining, but I feel like I’m learning something.

So I’m swamped, book your time with me now because it’s chaos.