<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Just Thinking
 

Viewing the 'Just Thinking' Category

Back to School

August 13th, 2018 at 05:36 am

Final vacation tally ended up being right about $2,000. I've already paid off all the charges. I usually enjoy the float a wee bit more, but paid everything off while trying to figure out next job steps. The extra $2,000 balance would have just stressed me out, and I wanted a clearer idea of where our cash stood. I needed to pay off the (travel) reward credit card anyway.

Our road trip was 2300 miles. 8 days, 7 nights.



After that, kids went back to school. I would say we have done about nothing for that. Last night I frantically signed forms very late. I passed everything else off to MH. Absolutely nothing has been purchased. It sounds like the kids don't really need anything. DL is Year #3 at his school and MM is year #2. School before that provided all supplies in exchange for $25 every year. So we did buy a lot of supplies the last two years as they transitioned to new schools. No one needs new PE clothes or anything like that, this year.

DL has two music classes and a free period this year. I think the break will be good for him.

MM attends the polar opposite school and has to take an extra class in to get in his one elective/art class (needs an art class for college prep?) We were relieved to find out the first day of school that he got the art class. So that we don't have to figure it out later or scramble for summer school one year. Phew! He is taking a 0 period class so that he can squeeze in the extra class. The timing is good for me. As I am considering a longer than 10-minute commute, or an employer who may not be super flexible, etc. I told him I thought the timing worked out pretty well, even when discussing this many months ago. It really frees me up. He starts school at 7am every single day. Next year he will be driving himself.

This is all well and good unless I end up in a job situation where I can't take him to school. In that case, MH will murder me. Big Grin (He is a night owl and I am an early bird). MM(15) is an early bird so this is no big deal to him.

Exit Plan - Part II

August 12th, 2018 at 08:35 am

So, I decided to quit my job. But I know I am stalling. I have never been unemployed, since the age of 15. I could be guilty of "one more week" syndrome. I don't know.

{I've taken time off. But never without another job lined up}.

Then the Universe screamed at me the last two days to quit. I can take a hint. Wink

#1 - I woke up stressed out like crazy around 3am Friday and it hit me that I could take unemployment if I quit.

I would mostly roll my eyes at the idea of taking unemployment in this situation. (I saw some conversation recently about never quitting a job, waiting to get laid off, for unemployment. Stuff like that). Yeah, we aren't that broke and unemployment is pennies in our state. Staying at a crappy high-stress job in the hopes of maybe getting unemployment if I wait around long enough? Sounds like a terrible plan to me.

I doubt I will end up in a position where I have -no income-. I am sure I could pick up some part-time or consulting work which would be more profitable than claiming unemployment.

Just to explain why unemployment was not on my radar whatsoever. But, on the flip side, the safety net is nice. For sure. So I woke up thinking how I've seen my client's employees over the years take advantage and rarely been denied unemployment claims. Surely this situation is one really worthy of unemployment. So I did look it up and I have a case. It may be that our state is more lenient than others.

It's not a 100% thing, and I doubt I will bother appealing if I get denied. But I think it's a feasible option and will help me to sleep better at night if it takes longer than anticipated to find a new job.

{To be clear, I would absolutely claim unemployment if I was laid off. It just hadn't crossed my mind, because I knew I would be voluntarily quitting}.

#2 - My parents offered to pay me $15,000 (Friday night) if I quit my job.

I am completely dumbfounded.

The thing about them is they have more money than they know what to do with. The flip side of that (why they have so much) is they don't give away their money. Just to say, I never in a million years expected this!

I am totally in shock and relieved. My stress level really dropped after getting this news. I know job searching is stressful and I will still face a lot of stress, but I am relieved to get my stress level down to a more manageable level.

I told my parents we have never had such a rough year and I hope they know how much we appreciate it.

What I realize the more I think about it is I really need this to just walk away and not look back. It's still going to be *really* hard to just walk away and say, "I didn't make this mess and I don't want to/have to clean it up." But I do think without this check I would have been more, "I don't have another job lined up and maybe I can help you out in the interim."

I have no idea how on earth this is going to work out. But I do know it will be a lot easier to cut the cord with this check. Maybe I "need" this to move on in the healthiest way possible. I'd otherwise be a little more desperate for income in the short term.

This gift means I can be unemployed through the end of the year and not touch our own reserves. It's an amazing amount of peace of mind that I wasn't expecting.

#3 - I haven't discussed MH looking for work because DL(13) is a complete wreck these days and he really needs his father. It's also not fair to MH if he finds the first full-time job he's had in the last 16 years and then I ask him to quit because DL needs him and I find a job that pays 3 times as much. We just aren't there yet. If we get more desperate, for sure, he will be looking for work.

That said, about 1 minute before my mom called me with this gift news, I saw a job ad that sounded pretty perfect for MH. For whatever reason, I kind of blew it off. I don't think the job itself is perfect, but the location, hours and industry were right up his alley. & I am sure it is much better than his current job. But for some reason I wrote it off, didn't say anything, and then took this call with my mom.

After the call I told MH about the gift. We discussed things a bit. As we were wrapping up I picked up my phone and said, "By the way, I just saw a job ad." I don't know why I felt compelled to say that. He was SO excited about it and applied then and there. So... What the hell do I know?!

I don't know if anything will come of that. But it would help a LOT because the work would be year-round. & we've both been so slammed with everything. I think it was kind of a "duh" moment that he should be looking for better part-time work. I think that will be the plan if this one job doesn't pan out. (We would have figured this out eventually. But just so knee deep in CRAZY that we hadn't gotten that far yet).

So... DEEP BREATHS. Bracing myself for another work week from hell. But counting down the days...

The Well Timed Vacation

August 4th, 2018 at 05:41 am



I don't know if I have ever been happier to get the heck out of dodge. Big Grin

Just checking in. Will be driving home today.

I questioned our sanity doing a road trip in a small car because DL(13) has had a rough time on the mental health front. Which translates into super moody and not talking a lot of the time. Anyway, it hasn't been all sunshine and roses, but he has enjoyed our road trip 1,000 times more than I would have imagined. So maybe this is just what he needed.

I think I was envisioning a more frugal road trip. We probably squeaked by ($1,500 budget) with $500 in hotel expenses, $200 in gas, and about $800 in food spending. But we did do a few expensive museums (or, adds up with 4 people, even if not expensive). & it will be about $250 to board our cat so long (dropped him off a day early and will pick him up tomorrow, just to allow for extra time and also their hours).

The hotels were only so expensive because our last two nights were on the coast. We had to scramble to even find a room. What was left was beautiful but more than I'd spend otherwise.

One funny thing about this trip. Well, two. The first entire day was cancelled due to wildfires. Not funny funny. But our last attempted road trip was mostly cancelled due to government shutdown. So it was a little deja vu on day #1. & given the year it's been I thought this might just be a total disaster. I was really wary like what the hell are we doing?! We should stay home... #2 funny funny is on average once per day our food orders have been wrong so we keep getting tons of free food (keeping the food we didn't order and also being given more food to compensate). It's kind of hilarious. It keeps the teen boys happy and is probably why we've barely touched our road trip snacks.

As to canceled day #1, we had to cut out a couple of things due to time regardless, and so we may just make a day trip of it at some point in the future.

Highlights of our trip: Crater Lake (actually could see it on Day #2, but was hazy). AMAZING. I put it as #3 in the most amazing views I have ever seen, even with the haze. MH wants to go back and do it right on a clear day. Mt. St. Helens (which really awed my moody DL). Olympic National Forest. Except for Seattle we mostly stuck to the great outdoors.

Audiobooks?

July 25th, 2018 at 06:48 pm

We are gearing up for our Pacific Northwest road trip.

The first 4 nights of hotels added up to $561, or exactly the amount of our credit card reward! (I did not plan that, whatsoever). Crazy!

I wanted to ask if anyone has any audiobook suggestions. (Or podcasts).

I am open to anything. But my kids are probably pretty picky. (They are book snobs, would be bored out of their mind as to anything geared at kids). Non-fiction might be better.

(For any frame of reference, the picky kid's favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. Which might be what we end up with because my family is frustrated I never read any of his books. It just sounds like a huge commitment. So they will trap me in a car and make me listen to it! Which is fine, but I might want something a little lighter to break it up. Maybe we can compromise with that).

We hadn't really thought about it, and we realize it's going to be harder than in the past to find something we all agree on.

I think the rest of us are pretty open to whatever. So we might get some new ideas we wouldn't have otherwise.

TIA!

Horrible Week

July 22nd, 2018 at 09:11 am

We were blindsided last week when we learned that MH has a second brain tumor. My first impression is that the odds of this happening are extremely low. & I'd say he has a pretty rare health diagnosis with just the one. Lucky him! We are anxious every year as we monitor tumor growth on tumor #1. I can't say it ever occurred to us that they would find something new.

For the short run, it was good news as could be I guess. Tumor #1 didn't grow. We will consider that a win.

Tumor #2 seems to be of little concern. But it's one more thing to worry about. I don't remember what kind of Doctor MH has at the moment. He was the cyber knife Doctor. I just call them brain doctors. But cyber knife/brain Doctor was going to consult with some neurosurgeons. We are waiting to hear back. He's been so dismissive that we will probably get another opinion. We have a million questions. (Silver lining: He isn't too concerned?)

If that's not enough bad news for one week...

My co-worker told me she gave her notice around 5pm on Friday. I am beside myself with this news. Frown

She was the one who was optimistic about the whole thing and talked me off the ledge. In the end, I think it just comes down to commute. From what she told me about the job, I am surprised she took it.

Awesome Admin left right after tax season. She was very conflicted about quitting, but she lowered her commute by about 1/2 hour (if not more) and her husband was going back to school and she needed to get a job with her degree. It took her 5 seconds to find a job. I am definitely not concerned about finding *a* job.

This co-worker (leaving now) is my "twin". I think we are just very similar in personality, experience, work style, etc. Everyone always confuses us though we look nothing like each other. I've been blessed to work with her for 15-ish years.

That said, she was part-time and never quite put in the effort/hours I did. She went full-time for 5 years to get her kid through college but never really got into the full-time mentality. For this reason, I am rather shocked she took a FT position at a very high hours firm. ??? We only talked about it for a few minutes, so maybe we will talk about it more next week. It's right by her home and her current commute sucks, so that honestly might be most of it. (Beyond that, she wasn't even looking for a job. They matched her current salary). It could be she just took it as an opportunity to shorten her commute and to get the heck out of here. Maybe she is hoping to turn it into a part-time position eventually.

It's back to the drawing board for me. She left me in a HORRIBLE position. I don't blame her and it's not her fault. I really never thought she would leave before me (or without giving me more of a heads up). UGH!

Silver lining? It sounds like this other firm is interested in hiring me and willing to pay very well. For now, it's a longer commute and more hours so I am not interested at all. But, I welcome that she is willing to test the waters. If she is really happy there, I would consider it. I don't think I would seriously consider this other job until after tax season. When I told MH about this other job he said they sounded a little desperate. Um, yeah, they are a CPA firm. Of course they are desperate. They promised her the moon. Will see what they actually give her.

Before all this she had talked me off the ledge and we had kind of agreed to stick it out one more tax season. I would say that my "old employer" has bent over backwards to take care of his employees, and it would help him a LOT if we stuck it out one more tax season. My loyalty does not go beyond that. (& I don't know if it even goes that far. But I am trying).

I think the problem is that this is more my ideal job so it's a higher bar for me. The only feedback I've gotten is that my salary is very high and most likely won't be matched (looking at job postings and talking to recruiters). & I mean when it comes to matching my current work hours and job duties. Yeah, I am not surprised my co-worker got a salary match for a management position with crazy hours. Not apples to apples.

Where does this leave me? I don't know. I think a lot of clients will leave, and so I don't really know how to gauge the futility of staying for one more tax season. Clients will leave regardless. Clients are leaving regardless. (If they are leaving, then work hours will be reasonable). Honestly, maybe she saved our jobs. I just don't know.

I don't have a commute (nothing I'd call a commute), so all I am looking at is longer commute, more traffic, lower pay, etc.

The pressure on me is tremendous. MH told me "that place will fall apart if you leave." It's true. I think it would have fallen apart anyway (if just I left). But with both of us gone...

I think I am going to give it a minute. We are going on vacation in a couple of weeks, so I won't do anything until I get back. But it's time to seriously job hunt and see what else is out there.

It will be interesting to see how "new employer" responds to all this. They are completely MIA and I know nothing more than I last posted on the subject. While searching jobs (about a month ago) I did notice they are hiring a management position (to replace "old employer"). That is going to be make or break for my job. My expectations are low. (My expectations are low if they will react at all to the latest news and also as to the quality of any new hire).

Will see...

For now, I think I am willing to take a significant pay cut just to jump off the sinking ship. Until Friday, I felt like I should just keep the good pay/PTO/flexibility (for 9 more months, or as long as possible). Now I don't know if this job is worth any of that. So if I get offered a job that looks good but pays 20% less tomorrow, I think I'd probably take it. I have a job in mind that is close to home. I think I will finally pull the trigger on applying.

Edited to add: It's not cancer (MH's tumors). Thank Goodness! (Hence, the very unexpected new tumor. But I guess I could have clarified). & trust me, brain tumors SUCK and are deadly (if you don't treat them). But, cancer is just another can of worms.

& please no unsolicited medical advice. I don't even know where to begin with that, so... please don't.

July 16

July 17th, 2018 at 08:10 pm

July 16
$81 Groceries
$12 Indian Grocer
$50 Sushi (birthday) lunch
$18 Amazon
Dinner: Chicken Satay

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Not much to report for Monday. MH took the kids out for their birthday sushi lunch.

MH did the grocery shopping for the week.

MH picked up some Amazon Prime Day deals (some power strips and charging cables that we needed).

MM(15) did hand me $40 cash to deposit into his bank account. $20 from in-laws. $20 he just found in his bag (???). It might have been $20 I gave him for something or other (or I wonder if my dad gave it to him for spending money on their river trip). But, whatever. Finders Keepers. He did also receive $20 from his great-grandfather. His cash balance is up to $1,250 and he is due for a study visit (medical study that pays well) so he will probably get up to $1,500 soon.

If DL received any cash, he hasn't told me. I am sure he got the same $20 from MIL, and he does have a $20 check from the great-grandfather.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One In, One Out

I did choose a shirt to pull out of my closet. It was one I bought for a couple of dollars last year (patriotic). When I pulled it out to wear it around July 4th it was too itchy. (It seems that clothing is getting more soft over time, so this feels like sandpaper). Anyway, I should have just thrown it in the donation pile at that time. But I made sure to do so when I brought home my new shirt. & I did offer it to the kids first, but no one wanted it.

I put MM's old shoes in the trash today.

July 15, Crazy Errand Day

July 17th, 2018 at 06:34 am

July 15
$10 Gymnastics
$ 2 Target
$50 Birthday Dinner
$22 shoes (will probably return)
$28 Kohls
$22 Groceries
$47 Fuel (minivan)
Dinner: ~out~

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Sunday was pretty exhausting. I am starting to regain some strength and probably was overly ambitious on the chore front. By 5pm I was pretty much done and ready to go to bed. I am sure the heat didn't help.

It was MM's birthday. He had his gymnastics class and he was thrilled because it ran long (extra 1/2 hour).

I got a lot of errands in. I was going to take DL shoe shopping but he was in a mood and refused to go. which was probably for the best, because he would have freaked if he knew we'd be waiting 1.5 hours for his brother. His feet are roughly the same size as mine, so I shoe shopped for him.

There is some expensive shoe store right by gymnastics and Target, but they have good clearance prices. So I perused over there. I checked the size 12s and would bring MM back if there was anything I thought he might like, but the pickings were slim. I found a $20 pair of flip flops for DL. DL told me at some point plain black was fine, but I have yet to find anything. Until today. With tax, spent $22.

Ran to Payless because DL is perfectly happy with his tennis/every day shoes but they are falling apart. Was just going to buy the next size up. All the shoes in his size were all mostly brown/black and they had few tennis shoes anyway. Wondering how big they make that particular shoe since it does look more "little kid", but he's up to size 9. Anyway, it's best he tries them on. MH said he would take him shoe shopping this week. It's been a battle (to get him to go to the store to try on shoes), so I will let MH fight that battle.

I drove past Target on my way back to pick up MM and thought I'd get him an icee. I sometimes do that, but usually we share a small. I thought, I will surprise him with a large icee. Wouldn't you know, they were out of everything but small? *sigh* (I did get him the small. Was better than nothing, and he told me it was refreshing).

At this point I am only about 1/2 way done with errands. I took MM to Kohls after his class. They have an abundance of extra wide shoes in stock and I had some gift cards (I got for the purpose of buying the kids shoes). I actually found a cheaper pair of flip flops for DL and MM found a pair also. (They both have sad flip slops that are too small. Mostly they just refuse to go shopping). Those were $15 each. I grabbed a shirt from the men's section. (It just caught my eye when we walked by, and was on sale for $10). MM found a pair of tennis shoes for $55. His shoes were 12 months old, which isn't bad for a growing boy/man. In the end, that was all $28 cash (after gift cards), which I Was pleased with.

MM was telling me how the kids at school like to brag about how expensive their shoes are and how many they have. He just thinks it's dumb. He's telling me from an, "I don't understand people" standpoint. Welcome to the club. (This is a teenager who didn't want anything for his birthday. He's really extreme in the other direction).

After that we went to the grocery store to get fuel and groceries. I had a '50-cent off per gallon' coupon from MH's big grocery run the prior weekend.

We stopped by the grocery store because I wanted to pick up some eggs. I was going to make deviled eggs for the kids, but ended up being too exhausted in the end. I don't even remember what else we got. MM wanted some string cheese and I picked up some deli meat. Probably some other odds and ends.

MM chose Mongolian BBQ for his birthday dinner.

Though we spent a lot of money this weekend, I am overall pleased with the spending. I think in most cases we got more than we paid for.

I think I mentioned before, neither kid wanted to do a birthday party. They both just chose lots of eating out, instead. I think we got off easy!

July 14, Long Day

July 17th, 2018 at 06:05 am

July 14
$32 Fuel
$18 Water Park (parking/locker)
$ 4 @7-11 (snack)
$30 Birthday Gift
Dinner: leftovers

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Saturday was a long day. We decided to pick up the kids because I wanted to visit the water park in our parents' city. (It is significantly nicer than the one here, as I recalled). Plus, the weather was *perfect*. 20-30 degrees cooler than our July weather.

I guess I should say, original plan was for the in-laws to bring the kids to us. But it was better for us to just switch that around.

We tried to get there at opening, but failed. We got a late start and had to pick up the kids first. The water park looked crazy crowded but in the end most the lines were pretty short. We stayed 2 hours, as planned. I think that worked out pretty well, even though we missed the first/less crowded hour. DL was in a mood and didn't talk to us the entire time. But anyway, given all of the above, I think it went as well as could be. I got enough slides in to feel like I got my money's worth.

Did I mention that it was the month of birthday? MH wanted to get his mom a birthday present, so got her a gift card. He tried to consult me, but my family isn't much into birthdays. I balked at $40, accordingly. So he went with $30. (Usually his sister takes the lead and they go in together. Or we plan ahead and have free gift cards).

Before that, we did fill up the gas sipper with gas (we have a cheapie gas station by our home). We did end up driving 250 miles round trip.

After the water park we had lunch with the in-laws. MIL made lunch for us.

After that, everyone was pretty tired and ready to go home, but we wanted to see my parents for at least an hour. Usually MH handles the drive home (which is often much later; he is the night owl) but he was wiped. I was also pretty wiped, but I probably had slept more the night before. Anyway, I was fine with driving as long as we got home before dark. I also needed some caffeine and calories to stay awake, so I did a stop at 7-11. I don't remember the last time I did that, but was worth being more alert for the drive home.

We probably left the house around 8am and got home around 8pm.

Friday the 13th

July 15th, 2018 at 07:25 am

July 13
-No Spend-
Dinner: leftovers

Phew! Thankfully Friday the 13th was peaceful. It was one heck of a week. The black cloud/crazy insanity seemed to let up for maybe a month at work but then returned. It was just one thing after another this past week. My co-worker's wife finally had her brain tumor removed (LONG Story), my "old employer" had a bad fall, and we had a crazy driver fly through our parking lot and hit a fence. Just a typical week in the year 2018. Seriously!

MH did take our newer car in for a couple of recall repairs. I honestly don't remember ever doing this before. I think we have just been lucky. For some reason I was thinking this was the first car we ever brought the dealer brand directly from the dealer, and that they probably had better records. No idea why I was thinking that because after thinking about it, we bought our prior two cars from their respective dealerships. Duh. I think we were close to pulling the trigger on completely different make cars, so I just forgot. We've only ever bought used cars. Other than these 3 new-ish cars, all the rest of our cars were bought 10+ years old from private parties. I think that explains most of our lack of recalls over the years. (It's only 10 of 25 driving years that we've had newer vehicles).

Anyway, we had one recall and MH tried to make an appointment and they were super annoying. Like he had to get on some mail list and they couldn't fit it in for 4 months!? I don't know. We've only found dealerships to be super irritating. I avoid if at all possible. So MH just got pissed off and gave up. I think the second recall notice was more important. I don't know all the details, but he was able to schedule ASAP.

So, he took care of that Friday. In the end, the timing worked pretty well for us. We are going on a 2000 mile road trip next month and I hadn't thought too much about it. I'd like to think I would have double checked the tires and so on. But in the end, the dealership said we need to urgently replace all tires and some brakes. Anyway, I totally take this with a grain of salt and definitely will not get the work done at the dealership ($$$$$). But I did look up the tires and they are near the end of their warranty. The only work we've ever done on this (5 year old) car is to replace tires, so I think it's reasonable it needs brake work. MH will take care of that with our mechanic this week.

The public TV station that MH volunteers for usually has a really nice appreciation dinner every spring, but they skipped it this year. In the end, MH was mailed tickets to the fair and a free parking pass. I'd probably just give them away (nothing appeals about going to the crowded fair during the hottest weeks of the year. UGH!) But this works out pretty well. Our water park is inside the fairgrounds, which is just annoying. With our season passes we have free fair entry (which you need to get into the water park during the fair), and we also have a lot of free passes to bring friends. BUT, the fair is for the next two weeks, and after that the kids are back at school. MM wanted to invite a few friends on a weekday but it just wasn't going to work. It was going to be super crowded and annoying, and we'd have to pay to get them into the fairgrounds. But I told him we now have two fair passes and a free parking pass so go crazy.

The kids were still with grandparents and MH was working on a movie set until the wee hours (volunteering), so I had a very quiet evening to myself.

July 11-12, This & That

July 13th, 2018 at 11:35 am

Feeling caught up now...

July 11
$10 Lunch
$10 Gymnastics class
$26 Target (Groceries)
$66 Hanes
Dinner:Tortellini

July 12
$1 Donut
Dinner: leftovers

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Thursday (12th) was a pretty quiet day. I treated myself to a donut for breakfast. MH met his parents half way (about 60 miles) and dropped off the kids. They wanted to do spend some time with them and celebrate their birthdays.

Wednesday was a bit busier and spendier.

I went out to lunch with one of my co-workers.

MM(15) had gymnastics class. He missed all the other (July) classes due to birthday festivities and other plans, but he usually tries to go twice per week.

MH took him over to his class and grabbed some groceries at Target while he waited for him.

I got my travel reward credit card and charged it up. I was telling MH I was short $13 (I had medical bills and insurance bills to easily get to the bonus). Anyway, DUH. I usually prepay some health insurance ahead (to get these bigger spend bonuses) but just didn't have to this time. I would have pre-paid $13 (adding onto the July payment) if I had thought of it. In the end, I had noticed some holes in my socks and did some shopping on Hanes.com. I will have to check the last time I bought socks/underwear. (I don't remember off the top of my head). They had some big sale and free shipping and so I picked up a couple of other items, in addition to ordering new underwear. I just threw it on the travel card to be done with the reward.

{I will have to do a separate credit card reward post later}.

Oh, and I remembered to check the men's socks for pricing differences. In this case, the pricing was the same either way.

Edited to add: I didn't note buying any socks since 2015. I am not sure how accurate that info is. I can see that being a small enough purchase to not really bother with (going out of my way to correctly categorize).

July 10

July 13th, 2018 at 10:40 am

July 10
$75 Medical
$35 Fuel
$15 Groceries (forgot tomato sauce!)
$9 Walgreens (Groceries)
Dinner: Burritos

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Paid $75 for a medical appointment today. We will definitely max out our deductible this year (which we usually do anyway; my husband has an ongoing medical issue). But this year seems to be my year to rack up medical bills. I've had three ultrasounds already and probably will have two more in the next month. (I'd say 3 entirely different medical reasons, though two may be related). It's just been one of those years.

My test results were good (PHEW!) and was a huge relief, but I have another ultrasound scheduled to follow up and to be on the safe side.

MH was supposed to have his annual MRI this week but it was rescheduled. What I expected to be a high-stress medical week ended up being low-stress. Phew!

I took the 'gas sipper' to my medical appointment but the car was about out of gas. I stopped at a really cheap gas station neat the hospital and near my work. That worked out well.

I stopped by Walgreens for a soda afterwards and picked up granola bars on sale. This is my office breakfast/snack stash.

MH planned to make an "ingredients already on hand" kind of dinner, but didn't realize until the last minute that we had no tomato sauce. Ice cream was on sale, so he stocked up on that too. (I just took care of dinner. Is an old family recipe I can make in my sleep, so wasn't phased with dinner being thrown at me as I walked in the door. Otherwise I may have preferred to turn around and go to the store for him instead).

MH attended a free acting seminar. This is some group at a local for-profit college. They have some really useful film making programs and so on. In this case, he thought the seminar could be relevant to screenwriting and the speaker was DL's teacher from the art school. He's very involved in the local film making community and MH was figuring it wasn't the worst thing to get more face time with this person.

July 9, Two Teenagers!

July 13th, 2018 at 09:28 am

July 9
$7 Game
$26 Lunch (Deli + Bakery)
$61 Dinner (Indian Cafe)
Dinner: ~Out~

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

MH found a Game Stop? gift card and picked up a VR game. (I believe this was a birthday gift to MM one full year ago and that we gave him the cash value in exchange for the card). Just a coincidence that MH happened to find or remember about it this week.

My youngest turned 13! Ack!

I think it's pretty certain at this point that MM(15) is the easiest kid on the planet and is never going to be much of a *teenager*. His brother will make up for it. He's been very *teenager* already for two years. Wink

DL(13) didn't want to do anything for his birthday but eat out a lot. MH took the kids out to their favorite deli and stopped by the bakery next door ($2 for 5 pastries?).

For dinner we took him to his favorite Indian Cafe. We were all very happy to have an excuse to eat there. MH left some huge tip that was way out of character. Is not a restaurant (with servers). He told me he wants them to stay in business. Yeah, because handing them a $10 bill twice a year will keep them in business. Wink It's just funny because it was so out of character. & it added significantly to our spending on this day, so is worth noting.

I need to remember to get DL(13) set up with a checking account. There is no rush except that I can automate his allowance when we get this set up. I am very happy about this because it makes our lives simpler.

Edited to add: In the end, DL grew 5 inches this past year. I was surprised. His brother did the same from age 12-13. That is just crazy!

July 8

July 13th, 2018 at 09:26 am

I've been jotting down spending, which is good because I am behind... I will do a few posts today to catch up.

July 8
$33 Groceries
Dinner: Indian Chicken Makhani (crockpot)

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

Not much to report for Sunday.

MH did some grocery shopping and picked up some treats for DL (his birthday is Monday). Because he seemed to have a few dinners already planned and the kids will be gone half the week, I joked that he didn't need to get (more) groceries this week. Right? ... He actually said that might be the case. So might even out a bit from the monster grocery run last weekend. It is what it is. This is the only full month the kids will mostly be home. We usually get more of a reprieve with school lunches. Last month MM was fed for like half the month while he was gone. School starts pretty early in August. So it's mostly this month that I need to feed two teen boys *all month* from the grocery budget.

We watched Titanic, which felt like it took all day. (It did, between that and catching up on the Unspooled podcast). There aren't too many LONG movies, thankfully. I did remember to watch this one in our home movie theater. I usually don't like to utilize and rather just watch a movie on our comfy couch. But since this is more intellectual movie watching than "just for fun" movie watching, I guess I want to get the full experience. I told MH to remind me in the future (as we go through the Top 100 movie list), because I will never remember. Unless it's something epic. It was definitely the right choice to watch Titanic on the big screen with the premium sound.

Next: 2001 Space Odyssey

July 7, Mostly Quiet

July 9th, 2018 at 12:31 pm

July 7
$28 Groceries
Dinner: Sloppy Joes

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

In the morning MM volunteered at the animal shelter. It's been more than a year but I've actually never made it out to the library over there before. It's a long drive to the shelter and not worth driving home in between, but usually can find some errands to run. Anyway, today I was able to sit in the car and listen to podcasts and read for about an hour until the library opened. But it was too hot to sit in the car (for 2 full hours) and I had nothing else to do. I went to the library and it was packed! I swear I saw like 30 people in there. But no one was sitting in the cushy chairs they had (about 6 that I saw?) so I sat and read (my library ebook) for a while. The library is only about 2 miles from the shelter, so it's just perfect.

It's nice to see so many people utilizing the library.

On the way home I picked up some groceries. I noticed we were out of milk yesterday, and I wanted to pick up a few other things. I planned to pick up a pound of meat, but it was on sale if you buy more in bulk so I just bought 3 pounds. Same for the pasta I bought.

So... I get home and there is already milk in the fridge. Ack! No idea where it came from. Even worse, I accidentally bought the brand milk. (I don't buy milk very much). I was so focused on getting the correct fat content, that I forgot to look at the price (they all look the same to me). So that was a fail. (MH told me he would make some pudding, and I did use some of the milk to whip up some more pasta, so maybe we will get through it).

The kids were off at a birthday party and MH was working on a movie shoot (it's all volunteer but they do get fed well). So they were all taken care of for dinner. I didn't see much food in the fridge so decided to just make some sloppy joes (old family recipe). It will be nice to have some leftovers.

For the birthday party, it was rather last minute but I had already stocked up on Target gift cards when they were on sale around Christmas time. MM also picked up some food treat for his friend, while we were at the grocery store.

This is DL's best friend who shares the same birthday. I think this is some of why DL is kind of "meh" on the birthday front. Other people's houses/parties are always more fun. Wink

In the end the kids ended up staying at their friend's house overnight (which didn't surprise me at all). So it was a very quiet night in my house.

July 5 & 6, Feeling Blah

July 9th, 2018 at 12:29 pm

July 5
$8 Groceries
$12 Indian Grocer
Dinner: Fiesta Chicken Burritos (crockpot)

July 6
$2 Lunch out
$40 Games (4 Party Packs)
Dinner: Cheeseburger Pasta

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

For lunch Thursday, I was feeling kind of ill and nothing sounded good, so just picked up a sandwich at the grocery store. In the end, I didn't like it much. While there I picked up some other groceries (fresh baked bread). I guess MH also picked up some groceries for some meal he hasn't made yet. (Our grocery store is high end and has very fresh food, but the sandwich was a strange bread and they barely put any mayo on it. It was just very dry and not jiving with me).

I ate out again Friday, same deal. The only thing that sounded good to me was a BK burger, and I had to drive about 10 miles (home) to find a decent BK. It was just a bad week. (I spent far more on gas than I did on the burger).

Friday night was DL's night to choose/cook dinner. Cheeseburger Pasta (sort of a casserole) is his favorite meal.

MH participates in some game night group and one time they did some electronic games. I remember MH telling me about it, where you put it up on the big screen somehow, but then everyone can participate with their phones. Anyway, he saw some deal Friday, $40 for something like 20 games. So we tried out the games last night and we had a blast. In this case, he bought them for the playstation and we were able to play along with our cell phones. I am guessing we will end up with just a few favorites, but it's nice to be able to try such a wide variety of games. & because my husband is a bit of a game collector (board games), I told him I appreciated the electronic/non-clutter version.

July 3-4, Pink Tax

July 7th, 2018 at 07:34 am

July 3
$10 pet license renewal
Dinner: Thai chicken

It was MM's night to make dinner. The kids love their dinner nights because they get to choose what to make.

I do have to take my cat to the vet to get his shots updated (usually around $20). I suppose I may have a deadline with the license renewal, but was already planning to update his shots so that we can board him while we do our road trip.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 4
$35 Birthday Gifts for MM
Dinner: Steak & Baked Potatoes

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

I mentioned in a recent post that MM didn't want anything for his birthday.

We had played bananagrams at SIL's house and MM seemed to be way into it. So I thought that would at least give him something to open on his birthday. The gift is not necessary, but we have quite a game stash and it wouldn't hurt to add that one to the collection.

In the end, MH also picked up a signed CD from MM's favorite band. They will sign it if you pre-order, something like that. Was another $20. (We won't get it for a couple of months, but can tell him that it is coming).

We did nothing for the holiday, but the kids went to a friend's house where there was a fireworks extravaganza. Definitely not anything I would spend my money on (I think setting off fireworks in our climate/region is completely dumb and insane, but it's what people do. So the kids' youth will be full of pyromania. We are happy to sit it out now that they are old enough to go off on their own. In addition, MH is hard of hearing so he just does not enjoy on any level).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I saw this video the other day and it was amazing:

https://www.facebook.com/dearalyne/videos/194488441235252/

I've not paid too much attention to the "pink tax" talks because I don't even buy most female products to begin with.

Well, this video starts talking about razors. I've never bought the female razors because I just didn't like them. I don't know if price factored. Maybe. (I made this decision like 20 years ago, so I don't remember). & I do sometimes buy men's clothing. I have more man-sized feet, if nothing else.

Anyway, I watched the video and it blew my mind. I really need to start thinking more carefully about everything I buy. I don't even like pink! So why would I pay a premium to buy something pink? I told MH that I was embarrassed that I recently bought a big old thing of pink shaving cream. I feel somewhat *shrugs* about it because was a luxury I never purchased during our one-income years (just used soap or shampoo) and the one large bottle of shaving cream will probably last me something like 5 years. Wink I will survive for paying that few extra dollars. I can see that I should probably stop buying girly foo foo deoderant. I just think it's good to be mindful and will think more carefully through these things as I make future purchases.

July 2

July 7th, 2018 at 07:21 am

July 2
$6 lunch
$27 birthday gift (DL)
$60 Flea meds
$173 groceries
Dinner: Crockpot Chili

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not a frugal day, whatsoever. MH and MM did go to a free movie screening.

**I've been eating out lunch more with co-workers, which I mostly had not done since one-income years. I think mostly they used to eat at the same place every day and it was expensive. I'd maybe go once in a blue moon. Now they mostly eat junk food (??) after that place shut down? (I probably feel the opposite now, that I don't want to eat junk).

Anyway, with all the upheaval at work, there have been a lot of lunches out. On the flip side, my one lunch buddy has been busy and MH has been busy so I am just moving my lunch dollars over to be more work focused. I mostly join them for $2 tacos on Tuesday. But my co-worker had been gone on a long trip and I wanted to hear all about it yesterday.

**I did also order some flea meds online. That's a new thing. I've never battled fleas with indoor pets before. *sigh*

When I got home, the fridge was pretty bare, so I presumed MH did a light grocery run. HA! $173 is probably the biggest grocery run I have ever seen. I have no idea what he stocked up on. But this is the one full month the kids are home and I am sure he stocked up on food and bought some extra food/treats.

**MH also picked up a birthday gift for DL. He has been asking for a pull up bar.

Usually it seems we don't plan much for the kids' birthdays and then something more extravagant always seems to come up last minute.

Will see... For now, we have about 5 days until birthday #1 and both kids are saying they don't want anything and they don't want to do anything for their birthdays. Both their birthdays are next week.

In the end, DL did ask for a pull up bar specifically. MH never wants anything and so we usually aim more for experiences for him. I have been thinking that we will take him rock climbing. He LOVES climbing and maybe it's time we get him some more opportunities on that front. At the least, will take him once, but might think about getting him more of a membership or into classes.

MM = Monkey Monkey. It's just not been a priority to-date, but I can't imagine anything he would want more than more opportunities to do some sort of rock climbing.

**I've got DL's passport in hand already. It only took 2 weeks. I had been dreading that chore, but in the end our city had opened up a new passport center (since the last time we needed passports) that is open 6 days per week. Phew!

I did not get MM's passport renewed, because if we can wait until he is 16 then he won't have to renew in person after that.

**I haven't done any credit card rewards (one-time bonuses) this year because it's been so much chaos.

In the end, we are planning a very simple/frugal road trip for the end of this month. It's only in the last week or so, as it seems to be coming together, that I thought I should try to get the cost down with rewards. I'd be more inclined to save that for a bigger and more expensive trip, but am realizing I am not planning any big/expensive trips in the foreseeable future. & who knows if this reward will even be around in another few years? So, might as well take advantage.

We used the Capital One Venture card for our Europe trip last year, and that seems to be the best bet for a road trip. Will have $500 of our hotel expenses paid for. So I made sure to apply for that card on Monday and should receive it any day. The other reason I chose this card is because it will work with the more last minute plans.

July 1

July 2nd, 2018 at 06:06 pm

July 1
$10 Parking @ Water Park
$0 Movies
$0 Library books
Dinner: Parmesan Pasta & Mediterranean Salad

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For whatever reason, was thinking of tracking spending this month (er, sharing in the blogs. I always track spending). Life has been crazed and I don't even remember why I was thinking that, except for maybe a bit of a reset.

I didn't even realize it was UFM month. I guess that is extra motivation.

{I don't generally participate in UFM and don't want to upset our delicate balance. But the way I participate is by sharing our spending. I will put some kind of disclaimer on my posts}.

I am also putting these in the "one-income" category since MH doesn't work during the summer months.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had bought premium season passes to our local water park around the time of Black Friday. About 50% off current prices.

The catch is that we had to process our season passes at this location, and ideally before the Fair starts. (I personally bought my season pass more for another location).

So we took care of that yesterday. It was a pretty horrible trip for us adults (especially because I wasn't feeling well and it was crazy hot). But, the kids had fun. (We maybe stood in lines for an hour, and then the kids spent an hour on the slides. It wasn't that crowded but they were just that inefficient. Security was slow. Season passes were slow. Ugh). I could see MH being more moody about the whole thing, since he is the one who will be taking the kids on weekdays and generally doesn't do *sun*, but he seemed impressed with how cheap the passes were. (The way to his heart is through a good deal?).

I also ended up getting a free meal while we were there. MH got me something because I was so miserable, and we thought it might help. So we went through all the coupons we got (x4) and I chose whatever was cheap. (I mean, it's all junkie food I wasn't that enthralled with to begin with). In the end, they refused to let MH pay. HA! Told him he had some kind of meal card. He argued with them a bit, but then figured he doesn't know what the heck I bought. I told him 100% I did not buy or get any meal cards. So he decided to go check with customer service and see what the heck. Because if our meals were really supposed to be free then he was getting the kids some free food.

I guess it's early in the season. Everything was just kind of very slow and was chaos. In the end, we were not supposed to get a free meal. Wink The free food put us in a better mood though.

After that, I slept for several hours. I just hadn't been feeling well, and have some other medical issues in addition to having some kind of bug yesterday.

When I woke up, I was craving some pasta recipe I saw online earlier. We had everything on hand (though our fridge was mostly bare otherwise). I asked MH what he was planning to make for dinner, and it was actually something similar. He was fine with me taking over dinner. Everyone liked it. I didn't have a quick/easy creamy pasta dish before. Now I have one:

https://damndelicious.net/2014/10/11/one-pot-garlic-parmesan...

Other than that, I've been reading. I might have to finish my library (ebook) tonight. It's due back any second.

We watched the French Connection last night. That one was pretty weird. Every movie we watch leads to like 5 more movies to watch. Anyway, MH told me I had to watch the commentary track. I think he bought this one at the used store ($0 cash out of pocket ~ used his credit). We didn't realize until after that it was based on a true story. Anyway, there are not enough hours in the day and I have had to let it all go. But maybe I can squeeze in this one commentary. Especially because I got like a 10 day break from the movies and I have Wednesday off work.

Titanic is next on the list, which is one of my favorite movies. Probably one of the very few I have actually seen.

I want to do a more general update too. Will see... I think overall less chaos this week. Except for my medical stuff, everything is kind of calm right now. (Knock on wood).

Ugh!

June 27th, 2018 at 06:17 am



We did our annual family camp trip last week (3 nights). It was DIVINE.

Since then... Ugh!

These are the words I wrote a couple of posts ago:
I feel like NOTHING is going to be easy about this year. *sigh*

Was emotionally exhausted between work mess/health issues/kid's mental health, etc.

That said, I guess stuff on the work front had leveled out a bit. & in particular the, "everyone is dying/seriously ill" stuff. We maybe had a quiet month.

Anyway, I came home to learn:

--My mom had fallen and had to call 9-1-1.

My dad is leaving all the month of July. Which is common (for him to be constantly traveling) but I feel odds are higher that I may have a freakout this time and may drive 100 miles at some point to make sure my mom is okay.

--My sister's health issues seem to be catching up to her.

--Long-term neighbor's 50yo daughter has terminal cancer and just a few months to live. Her 80-something parents are taking care of her in the meantime. Seemed very backwards. (Parents' neighbors ~ she was my babysitter).

--Family friend (who is a total mess) was rushed to the ER in an ambulance, due to chest pains. (He's been a complete mess, regardless. Is dying of cancer. Just more crap for him to deal with).

Oh, and it never really occurred to me anything worse could happen at work, but it did... *sigh* Returned to horrible news. Have to be cryptic for now, but trust me, was horrible. (Is more medical/black cloud stuff, though is of course affecting work situation).

I actually started to type up this post with that info. Little did I know how much worse it could get...

Since then:

MH went to LA over the weekend (which was the silver lining in all this. He has a lot of interest in his script and submitted to one movie studio. You can't submit without a referral, so will consider this a win).

We need some GOOD news!

Supposedly many others were interested and he may get other referrals in the future.

Anyway, DL has been so moody that I just decided to take him out of town this past weekend to distract him. (His mental health bottomed out with MM gone a few weeks ago, and he gets the same way when MH is gone). In the end, the weather was horribly hot and I felt my parents needed me (and their city is much cooler, weather-wise), so the reasons seem to compound. We did have a nice weekend.

--While at my parents' house, their neighbor with cancer passed suddenly.

--Monday night my mom called me to say family friend (the one rushed to the hospital last week) had fallen and no one had found him for FOUR days. HORRIBLE. He is okay, and doing well as can be considering.

--Tuesday night I Was driving home from work and someone slammed into me on the freeway. ??? I didn't see them until about a couple of seconds before they hit me. Logically, they were just hitting cars for kicks. I don't know. Or they were just driving crazy recklessly.

{I was driving full speed on the freeway and absolutely no one was in front of me. Like 5 lanes, so plenty of room to go around. They hit me so squarely it seems to be no accident}.

I didn't really have time to process, but they took off, which is probably for the best. (I can't say I would have pulled over to exchange info in that situation. I probably should have been scared out of my mind, but I didn't have time to be scared before they took off).

The whole thing was traumatic and horrible, but given the week we have had, I can keep it in perspective. If that's my "once every couple of decades" car accident, then I got off lucky.

I edited this down because of the situation. But the short version is that the other vehicle left a perfectly clear license plate imprint on my bumper, so the CHP took a report and documented the evidence. (I thought being in a big city and having no details or witnesses, that I'd probably have to filed an online report. But given the "hit and run" aspect, I called the police first, and by then had figured out I had a license plate imprint).

My first car was rear ended many many times, in my teens/20s, usually when I was not in the car. So it's a similar situation. I don't have full insurance because the vehicle is pretty old and worthless (Same as my car back then). But the damage is probably just cosmetic. Even if I can track down insurance information for the offender, I have to take care of it myself (most likely). Which has never been any big deal the many times I did this with cooperative parties. But in this case, not really sure what I am getting into and how it works. I will get the police report (will take some weeks) and check with my insurance company, etc. But I am guessing I have to take care of filing a claim with the other insurance, if they even have insurance. I am guessing we won't fix the bumper. But our mechanic also does body work and we will make sure it's safe and just cosmetic damage.

So that was my week post vacation... *sigh*

Grammar Question

June 17th, 2018 at 08:56 am

I know this is completely random, but there are a lot of writers around here. Big Grin

Is this correct grammar?

The unlikely duo pursues their only lead.

MH got a note that this should be:
The unlikely duo pursue their only lead.

I am his unofficial editor, but looking this up is giving me a headache (especially because I only have a few minutes). I think that probably sounds right, but no one giving him notes is a grammar expert by any means. (I am more of a human spell checker).

TIA!

More Movies

June 16th, 2018 at 11:17 am

Trying to blog more, and miserably failing. I am trying to break this one down into two blog posts to break it up a bit.

MH, MM and I went to a free movie screening last week.

MH got a free pass to Ocean's 8. We missed the free screening but plan to go today.

I have to go through the Wizard of Oz again. No idea when, but maybe will have time while MH is gone next weekend. I was trying to make a pierogi recipe and it took much longer than I expected and I more half listened to the movie. I realize I need to sit down and really watch the movie. I overall LOVED it though.

I've never baked much when it comes to (homemade) dough. I actually had MH pause the movie a couple of times so that I could look up dough making on Youtube. I thought, "How did we survive before the internet?" I guess I'd be asking someone's mom to help me. I have done a wee bit of dough/baking before but is usually quite a mess. In this case I started with, "What was I thinking!?" & ended up with round pierogie dough and some confidence. Phew! I never did end up making any home made pizza dough, and so I am putting that next on my list. I also have a samosa recipe that looked way too involved, but the first thing I thought was I could totally do a samosa. After doing the pierogis. Same idea, different fillings.

Oh, and I did need a cookie cutter for this recipe. I decided just to measure the cups we already have, and I had the right size. That was my frugal victory. I love a useful kitchen tool, but try to avoid single-taskers if at all possible. I was determined to find something around the house; it didn't take long. I had some plastic cups with 5" openings, that were perfect for cutting dough into round shapes.

Yesterday we watched Swing Time. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I liked it.

The theme from these early movies seems to be how poorly the female lead actresses were treated. Ugh!

Next on the (Top 100) List: The French Connection. (Watching along with a Podcast, but they are not going in order). I get a movie reprieve for the next 10 days or so. With MH gone next weekend, we probably won't watch that one until the following week.

One other thing we do on the entertainment front is try to see more lesser known/up-and-coming acts. Not only is it a lot cheaper, but is also always a much better experience. For example, MH saw the Lumineers open up for one of our favorite artists at a little restaurant. This was right before they hit it big. I think I missed the first time they headlined locally, but MH took me (to a small club) the second time they came around and they were already clearly very frustrated by how crowded the venue was. They wanted to come out into the audience, and tried, but it just wasn't working well. I can not even fathom seeing them in a large stadium or how they must feel about that!

So anyway, though I took DL to the Symphony recently and it was absolutely *amazing*, it was also quite expensive. I don't know why I haven't been paying too much attention to it, but the art museum (we are members) has concerts for $8. I guess one of the performances caught my eye. For reference, the tickets are $10 or $12 to see anything at DL's art school. I just paid $10 per head just to see his spring vocal performance (which was totally amazing; talk about up-and-coming talent). But it just hit me that seeing some of these art museum concerts is cheaper than a student concert! I need to pay more attention in the future.

Edited to add: Don't waste your money on Ocean's 8. Glad we didn't pay for that one.

Exhausted...

June 10th, 2018 at 08:57 am

I feel like NOTHING is going to be easy about this year. *sigh*

MM(15) is always charmed, and his 8-day river rafting trip went GREAT! They did an expensive tour (he went with my dad) and they had a blast.


That said, DL(13) had already been pretty moody in recent weeks and was very stressed about finals. He pretty much completely fell apart with his brother being gone AND finals. UGH! I am hoping things settle down a bit now that school is done for summer and his brother is back. (So far so good...). He had otherwise gone 18 months without any episodes.

On top of all that, I have some medical issues. We are just watching things and seeing what to do next. (I don't think anything major, but who knows). Just female stuff, or mostly TMI. But this is just adding to my emotional exhaustion of late.

Work is as weird as it ever was. I don't really know anything more than my last post on the subject. *sigh* I've been very much in 9-5 mode, especially with endless doctor appointments and so on.

MH is done with work for summer. Phew! I can't even fathom him working full-time right now. That is very much on the back burner, for now. Original plan for him to work part-time another 12 months? We are back to that. {Back in January: 18 months + completely job uncertainty, I wasn't so sure about}. But knowing that I at least have a job, and that we are only facing 12 more months on our original timeline... Is all good. He's been working the equivalent of full-time lately anyway, and it's been pretty traumatic on our household. (Maybe working 35+ hours at job +12 hours on movie set. Sometimes more, so I guess it's just been a lot).

On Friday the kids were whisked off to some last minute party. We were both completely exhausted, as we settled back into some sort of normalcy. DL had his last final Thursday, and MM came home that day. Anyway, I wanted to just go out and have a nice dinner. My expectations were low on a Friday night. But I still have tons of gift cards we never used. So we went to Seasons 52 and just completely pigged out. I ordered Prosecco. We ordered several appetizers. The restaurant can be hit or miss, but was *so good* on Friday. The waiter even commented we must like the food because we completely cleared our plates. I don't know how often we splurge on dinners like that and it's kind of "meh". I mean, it's not often. But I think it's that much more disappointing when you have saved up a very long time for a treat. I guess I should say that more often than not, these things end up being kind of "meh". So we really enjoyed having such an amazing meal. I had a $50 gift card, so we ate like a $100 meal with that. $50 out of pocket. Made it easier to splurge.

So I mentioned in my last post that we were watching the Top 100 movies (AFI) along with a new podcast called 'Unspooled'. I was really skeptical about my long-term participation. We watched Citizen Kane (#1) and that was okay. Certainly very relevant in this day and age. But I was dreading the second movie (#100), Ben Hur. It's almost 4 hours long! Anyway, in the end, I surprisingly enjoyed it. I don't even know if I can tell you why. I just wasn't bored at all though I expected it to be quite boring. The plot was predictable and the acting was "meh", but I guess it was just all so grand. There was certainly some incredible highlights, like the boat/slave scenes and the Chariot race. I guess every movie race ever pulls from that one race. & I also noticed the music sounded a heck of a lot like Star Wars. Star Wars is clearly very much inspired by Ben Hur. The downside to all the discussions is that you want to watch like 5 more movies for every one movie you see. Since I've committed to watch one classic movie every week, will just have to let it go. There are only so many hours in a day! But I can tell you that I think I will enjoy this more than I thought I would. Citizen Kane was a little harder to get through. But Ben Hur was entertaining and really opened my eyes to how much it influenced future cinema. (After watching Ben Hur, 1959 version, I'd be interested to see the earlier silent version which everyone mostly says is better, and the more recent version ~ 2016? Also, Life of Brian might be fun to watch again, as it was mentioned how much it pulls from Ben Hur. & on and on and on).

Today we watch the Wizard of Oz. This will be one of the very few (Top 100) movies that I have seen before. It's on Amazon Prime right now.

I guess if there is a theme to this year, it's going to be "culture", for my household. I do think I will be attending the Symphony more this year. I received an incredible deal on the last musical we went to because I had liked the event or page on Facebook. So I made sure to "like" every musical production I was interested in this year. Will see... & now we are doing this movie project.

So far, most of these movies we are borrowing from the library. (Er, we borrowed Citizen Kane from in-laws' cable, but I guess the library was an option for that one). MH is usually pretty picky about film format, but he likes the DVD option because they do come with a lot of extras usually. We didn't watch any extras after the 4-hour movie. Wink

Upcoming Vacations

May 30th, 2018 at 09:14 am

**I mentioned in my last post that I am taking a staycation of sorts this week. I guess since everyone else in my house has so much fun stuff planned (later), and I am long overdue for a break, I am just focusing on some small splurges this week. I picked up a few treats at the grocery store. I will probably go out to lunch today, etc.

**On Monday we dropped MM(14) off with my parents. He is going on a long river rafting trip with my dad.

He finished school last week. He usually has school well into June. So they might have gone on this trip last year, but when I pointed out how much earlier he gets out this year (public high school), they decided to wait. Is already pushing it as far as crazy hot weather in the Grand Canyon, but May beats June or July.

We spent $200 getting supplies for the trip, as I expected. & some of the items, like sunglasses and swim trunks, he can use beyond just the one trip. He's otherwise roughly the same size as MH. That makes it easier to buy higher end sporting gear, if I know we might use it again in the future. Mostly, he just needed proper shoes and some high quality rain gear. He needed a sweatshirt for this trip and I just gave him one of mine.

**MH just booked a June trip to LA to try and get a script sold. He was able to get a free timeshare stay (even though it was rather last minute) and will just drive, so is just a small blip on my financial radar.

**DL(13) is cashing in his raincheck for his 10th birthday trip. MIL took all her grandkids "anywhere in the world" on their 10th birthday. DL decided he was only 10 and wasn't interested. MH's family has been very melodramatic about this. OMG. I am just like, "He's 10." Or, "He's 11." I was quite sure he would come around with a little age and maturity. & trust me, we've told him not to pass up an opportunity like this. But MIL is one of those people that pushes and pushes and pushes, which usually has the complete opposite effect on people. So I was trying to buffer that as much as possible, because otherwise he would never go.

In the end, maybe because he is a bit older, he choose the most exotic destination of all the kids: Finland. They are planning for that trip in the fall. He's just always wanted to live there. & we've probably told him 100 times to use this opportunity to see if he actually likes it there. It's in the past few months that he has decided that he is ready.

I just dug out passports over the weekend because MM was was flying to Arizona. (He's a minor, but he looks 20. I figured it was best to have some proper ID on him). The kids' passports (just) expired and of course we have to renew in person. UGH! It was the most painful experience last time. I will just renew them both together (again), and then we never have to do that again.

Time Off

May 29th, 2018 at 09:04 am

With MH being so busy, I am completely exhausted. What a month!

I have this week off, but haven't had any time to process that. So, I feel rather "meh" about it. Work was surprisingly quiet last week, which I guess is some of it. Almost any other week this year I probably would have been in more, "Get me out of here" mode. I planned this as just a mental health break. Is unpaid time off (spurred by change in business ownership).

Anyway, we shipped MM off yesterday, for his river rafting trip with my dad. We spent most of yesterday stuck in a horrible traffic jam. UGH.

I am also kind of bummed that everyone in my house is so busy. But I decided to go to the coastline by myself for one or two days this week. That sounds DIVINE! I have no idea what I will end up doing, but I am jotting down notes to drag MH with me on some weekend when he is done with work for the summer. (I've crossed off a couple of things I'd rather wait for MH to do).

I am starting to think I may just go to San Francisco for the day. At the least, will go to the beach and my favorite restaurant (in SF). Which by itself is probably all I need. But while there, I am thinking about going to the zoo or the art museum. Is just going to depend on my mood that day. I am definitely just going to wing it.

The other thing I realized I need to make sure to make time for is some pool/sun time. Is really my only goal for today. I am going to get some gas (cheap/small gas station; will go while it's not busy). I am going to buy some groceries (we need a few things and MH didn't have time, but I also want to buy some treats. It will be a very small grocery run). I will check gas buddy because it just depends on the day which gas station is cheaper. I think the grocery store may be the same price (gas) today, and in that case might as well not drive around so much.

It's going to be pretty hot today, so I won't go to the pool until late afternoon.

That's about it for my plans today. As I get more into vacation mode, I will probably look up some books to check out from the library (I would love any recommendations) and I may work on my knitting. All of the above is usually stuff I have/make time for. I am viewing this week as a chance to hit the reset button. This year has just not been very "balanced" with us both being so busy/stressed on the work front.

Oh, and I forgot one more thing. MH mentioned some podcast (Unspooled) where they watch and discuss the AFI's Top 100 movies. A lot of classics that he has never seen. I told him in theory that sounds nice, but I am never able to keep up with all the movies he watches. & I don't generally like what a time suck movies are. (I am not a movie person, and he is THE movie person. I do like movies. But I am just generally good with like once per month, whereas MH will watch a movie every single day). But... it's summer and whatever, I can give it a go. So we are going to watch #1 Citizen Kane tonight. I think we decided that we will watch the movies together and just do the podcasts on our own time. He wants to keep up and watch one movie every week. Will see... I am not very optimistic about my long-term participation.

I'll ask him later how he acquired Citizen Kane. I don't remember. But I wouldn't be surprised if he owns like half the movies already. & we are generally able to watch movies for free because he has credits to rent (through Amazon/Vudu, etc.). & for more difficult movies to find, I know he's bought used and sold back in the past. So, as we go along I will try to remember to share how we participate frugally.

Edited to add: Most these movies are at our library.

FUN STUFF

April 15th, 2018 at 09:32 am

I did two posts of work updates. I am ready to look forward and to talk about something else!

I kind of have no idea where we stand financially. We are definitely in "too busy to spend money" mode and in the usual "hoarding money" zone that we start every year off with. Usually MH's work is more slow in the spring but he's been busy.

Anyway, I usually eat out a bit more during my busy work season. Not a ton, but I figure if I go out one day per week it's covered by OT. Except in this case I am working more hours than ever but I am not getting compensated for the extra time. So that is the part I don't really know and am not sure of. I guess next weekend I can sort out April and see where we are at. I told MH that I don't think I have been spending any more money than usual, but it's just I am not entirely sure how to pay for the "Stress spending." If it will come out of his paycheck, or savings, or what.

In addition, I have been indulging in some bigger splurges. Definitely a feeling of "I deserve this," after months of working so hard. In this case, we don't have any vacation plans, and so might start tapping the vacation fund. It would be our "normal" to use it for treats that we can't otherwise justify, or more staycation-y type stuff. Our traveling the last few years has been unusual for us.

Splurges:

--I got front row seats to the symphony in a couple of weekends. Just DL and I are going. That was crazy expensive. If we have a great time and want to go back again in the future, we don't have to sit so close next time. Definitely a special treat.

--Robogames (robot battles) is in a couple of weekends. This is my absolutely favorite thing. It is SO FUN! So I am very excited about that. I thought we'd bring some friends and this might get expensive (if we are covering driving, lunch, dinner, tickets). But it looks like it will just be the four of us. Regardless, it will be pricey but I will pull from vacation budget or MH's paycheck. Is probably only $100 for tickets, but last time we bought some beer and food there, and we will probably want to go out for a meal or two that day.

--I got tix to see the Beach Boys in September at an awesome venue. There is a winery in the Bay Area that I've seen some great concerts at. It's maybe been 5+ years (10 years?) since we have seen any shows there. The lineup hasn't been that exciting the last couple of years that we checked. This year!? OMG! So many good shows. MH was "meh" on all the weeknight shows. Having no idea what is going on with my job, I agreed we should just stick to weekends. This left Steve Martin/Martin Short (which sold out in like 5 seconds) and the Beach Boys. I am glad I was able to get the Beach Boy tickets for the whole family.

I've also got piles of dining out gift cards to get through. Was thinking that DL and I might go to P.F. Chang's before the symphony.

I still owe my dad his birthday dinner at Benihana. We had plans in January, but the restaurant shut down that day and canceled our reservation due to "technical difficulties." Seriously! Maybe we can try again during the next few weeks. (I have gift cards for this).

It's good to have some fun stuff to look forward to.

My New Employer

April 15th, 2018 at 07:53 am

I am kind of working my way backwards through these posts, as I get everyone up to speed. This one is very SA relevant. I still want to go back and give more details on my job upheaval, but at this point I'd rather fill you in on what is going on in the here and now. When I have more time I can work backwards and fill you in.

The short version: Employer was ill: couldn't work, sold business.

I think new employer is honestly trying to be helpful by not telling us anything. They have hired on old employer for 2 years(?) which is just making everything more awkward because he has completely checked out. So is creating a vacuum of no leadership or communication. I touched on this in my last post about how unbearable this all is. But I really and truly think the situation is unique and awkward and that the new employer thinks that they are being helpful.

On the other hand, first impressions have been pretty dismal. & really, is it ever not awkward? It's got to be awkward to keep working as someone else takes over your *baby*. So, I don't know.

I honestly had no idea who was going to write my paycheck on April 1. We knew NOTHING except were told at some point (mid March) that the sale had gone through.

I'd say that around April 5 we were given HR paperwork and it came up that old employer needs to pay out PTO (which they have yet to do) through February 1. February 1 was when they decided to sell the business to this company.

This is the point when I was given direct contact with new employer. Since I have a million questions, I wouldn't even know where to begin. I am frustrated they couldn't even give us a single HR type handout?? I don't understand. They know we are busy and don't want to bother us. But this doesn't mean they can't communicate in some non time-intrusive way. So anyway, when given direct contact, and being told my PTO started with them February 1, I thought at the LEAST I wanted to know what my compensation was at the moment and how much PTO I was earning for the prior 2 months. My "new boss" (for lack of a better idea what to call her) told me that they use our hire dates with old employer and that I was accruing 4 weeks of vacation. She actually sent this e-mail to me on my worst day when I completely checked out. At first I thought, "Holy crap!" Was not expecting that. I had 3 weeks time off before, because have been here forever. But later I realized that had to include sick pay and wasn't that exciting in the end. But, will admit was better than I expected. Which is some of my feeling endlessly conflicted. Every time I am ready to quit, then I'll get some good news like this.

Anyway, this is the perfect example of our communication issues. I just want to know WTH I am being paid and compensated. But since getting all this info, I Decided to take a week off in May. I just need it for my sanity. She did tell us we can take unpaid time off for already planned vacations, and because we are getting our old PTO paid out. Which is why my other co-worker is super excited. She was part-time for 10 of 15 years and only has 2 weeks vacation, and she would gladly take unpaid off. So she is super stoked at the minute. She maybe had like 4 or 5 weeks of vacations planned this year. So she has something planned in a couple of weeks and wanted to make sure it was approved through proper channels. So she also asked about it and received info about the PTO process. Then our awesome admin asked (also trying to plan a trip) and she was given the full PTO/sick policy. This PTO is in addition to sick pay. I was not expecting that!

So we all three pretty much asked the same thing and got 3 different answers. & why on earth would you send an entire policy to one employee without giving it to everyone?

But yeah, you have to understand we haven't had a single day off since January 1. So, that is why we all have pressing PTO concerns. For me, it was more of a compensation question. I guess there are multiple reasons.

Old boss has yet to pay out PTO, and I've been too busy to even remember about that. But Monday (4/16) is our old payday and I expect we will probably be paid at that time. I did decide to take a week off in May, unpaid. I just need it for my sanity. I think I made that decision before realizing that I also get sick pay, but whatever. When I almost applied for that job last week I was kind of bummed if I got it I didn't see any way I could take any time off in between. So this is kind of my "unpaid week off in case I don't end up with any unpaid time off between jobs." In addition to just being generally long overdue for a break. & I will get the check to cover it (I am due about 40 hours of PTO from old employer).

We were also told at that time that the new employer pays the 22nd and the 7th of every month, or one week later than usual. So I otherwise won't get paid Monday. How do I feel about this? *shrugs* I am just thankful that they don't pay every two weeks. I don't think my accounting brain could handle reconciling being paid bi-weekly with all the monthly bills. It would drive me INSANE. So I am good and fine and happy.

I was planning to transfer about $5,000 into savings on Monday, the result of all this cash hoarding. In the end, I think this probably works out better for me (for the long run). I pay all my bills around the first of the month, which is usually when I get paid. Anyway, I used my 4/1 paycheck to pay bills and my plan is to use the 4/22 paycheck to pay my 5/1 bills. Then I will do all savings transfers with the 5/7 paycheck. Switching that around, and not being paid for an entire week, puts me a bit behind on my cash hoarding schedule. But, in the grand scheme of things this doesn't affect us whatsoever.

{In addition to that, I pay all my bills more when I get them than when they are due, so I would have a large buffer and could delay paying all these bills for 2-3 weeks if need be. I mostly charge everything and like to pay the cards off the first of the month so that we literally start each new month with no debt. I decided at some point to do this versus putting more cash in our emergency fund. I presume this is largely playing into my *shrugs* feeling about all of this. Essentially saving my second paycheck every month is also a lot of it. The combo of the two means I am not sweating any of this in the slightest. I also pay my mortgage one month ahead, for the same reason. It's all a built-in buffer for when life happens. This is a 4-6 week "emergency fund" in itself.}

This is a bigger company and so I was sure we would get direct deposit. WRONG! That is one thing I am disappointed about.

I am guessing we will receive some more communication before the end of April.

There was a class (one day seminar) I wanted to take in May. I have no idea if the class will be reimbursed, or I will be paid for the time out of the office. It's stuff like this I still know nothing about. I will take the class regardless.

Surviving

April 15th, 2018 at 06:01 am

The Black Cloud still remains at work. It is so beyond ridiculous that I wouldn't even know where to begin. Everyone but me seems to be in the middle of a full on crisis. & the bombs keep dropping.

Surprisingly enough, the work side of things is going pretty well. I anticipated infinite more problems. A lot of my fear (besides the sheer insanity of the workload) was spurred by having a rough tax season last year and clients NOT being understanding at all. In this case, clients have been TOO understanding. I am not aware of losing even a single client. ??? But it's been okay if they are being super understanding in the interim. & I do expect that some of these clients will move on next year, which might things more bearable. I understand why people told at the very last minute just stayed, but doesn't mean they will be back next year.

We will "Survive" though no doubt my customer service and quality of work has decreased. It's at an okay level, that I can probably live with, but would not be happy for the long run. I have no one to hand off any busy work to. Our admin was told by a doctor last weekend she should be home on bed rest for the week. She came in to work because she knew the place would fall apart without her. The workaholic in my office is super human and I have no idea how he did all the work he did. None of this is sustainable. & it's a horrible first impression re: new employer.
My old employer would have never done this to us.

But...Everything on the work side has gone pretty smooth. Phew! Lord forbid if any of our clients had any complex tax issues though. We just wouldn't have had the time to deal with it.

I haven't quit yet because I'd say most tax offices have far worse hours than I've dealt with this year. I don't mind taking my time and finding the right fit, but I doubt I Will be happy with the hours in any similar type firm. For now, I am just waiting it out. If we go back to 9-5 the rest of the year, and next year we have more of a plan and is a little less chaos, may be worth staying (more short term). Just don't know. I am job searching but am not considering similar jobs at the moment because of the hours. If my only complaint is the hours, it's realistically just going to be worse anywhere else.

As to all of the work to cover for my old boss, it was surprisingly clean and easy, and it's all DONE. As I come up on tax deadline (April 17th this year) I am just dealing with my usual flakes. I am relieved not to have any new clients in my "last minute flake" list.

What's been bad at work has been the (lack of) communication and leadership. Unbearable, really. I almost applied for a job last week. Looking back, I worked almost 70 hours this past week and no idea how I would have done it (a job interview). It's for the best that I put a pin on that. If I want to get out I really need to be more prepared when I do apply. But I had just had ENOUGH one day the prior week. I think I've been clear all along that I know this is how it ends. But I came to some 100% certainty last week that I can't keep this job.

What's making it worse is that our lowest level employee thinks she is in charge now. ??? We all ignore her, but unfortunately she keeps bossing around our awesome admin. I don't know WTF is wrong with her. Yeah, great, drive away all the awesome employees. Just what we need! But if she is kind of sort of her superior then it makes it more awkward for the admin. I talked to our awesome admin earlier this week and she was just DONE! She was in the exact head space I was the week prior. I think all else being equal she would have resigned April 1 or will resign tomorrow, but her husband just had some big life changes and wants her to find a higher paying job. Just to say her ability to just quit, has suddenly changed, financially. But she is going to end up in the hospital if she doesn't take care of herself.

MH thinks that lowest level employee is just trying to make herself relevant. Not really sure what she does and she seems more useless than usual this year. I think she's been doing a lot of work with the changeover. This is actually some of my zen as we approach April 15th, because anything important that I needed done, I routed around this person. (She keeps letting tax returns pile up in her office for days, which is driving everyone CRAZY. She's always been this way, but you know, yesterday was April 14th!). So yesterday I heard a lot of, "Where the F is the tax return I finished 10 days ago?!" going around the office. I even looked through her pile to see if any of my clients got caught up in it and none of them were mine. Phew! Glad I anticipated and worked around that mess.

I wouldn't even know where to begin, in her attempts to be "helpful". It's all the complete opposite of helpful.

In the end, my other co-worker (we are a package deal at this point) is feeling pretty optimistic and she talked me off the ledge. I am going to document my concerns though because I want to be clear and don't want to forget anything if anyone ever asks me for my input. I think the writing is clearly on the wall. But if this co-worker is positive and workaholic is super human, I can take the excellent paycheck while I figure out my next steps. I may have a good 7 months to take my time with the job search.

I feel endlessly conflicted because this was my "dream job" before. Of course it would be best and good to wait and give new employer a chance, but all first impressions have been horrible. That ship has sailed. Instead, I am just sticking around for the paycheck while I figure out my next job.

My plan for now is to switch to 9-5 mode on May 1. I have too much deadline work to get through the next two weeks. But after that, I am just putting in the bare minimum. I will also be very seriously job searching. It seems that it will take time to find something that pays so well, but if I do find something where the work/pay/hours look good, I am definitely willing to jump at this point.

{Note: Old employer only worked about 3 months of the year, and so we don't have to shoulder his workload the rest of the year. That part is done, to be clear}.

Mentally, I checked out last week. & I can walk away mid May, tying up most loose ends. So I am ready to apply for jobs.

I do also have a week off planned in May, which is good for my sanity. More on that in my next post.

Updates

March 26th, 2018 at 06:26 am

Work is still insane and covered by a black cloud. The latest is that on top of 1/2 my (very small) office being very ill or recently out on bereavement, now someone else's spouse has a brain tumor. The odds of that have to be unreal. (We did also lose an employee to brain cancer around the same time my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor).

Work situation is still the same. I know less than nothing.

--Employer has a health diagnosis and is being open about the situation with clients. *phew* I can share, but it's just another post for another day.

--I was wise not to hold my breath about sale of business. It did go through but it dragged on forever. Heard a rumor at some point it was falling through.

--In the end, the sale was complete about 9 days ago. Saying that I know "less than nothing" sums it up. I know the name of the company, and I know they don't pay OT. This was the extent of what I was told 2 months ago (& the OT, only because I asked about that specifically. & let's be clear, it's not like none of us have asked any questions since then). The only new news is that it's official they don't intend to hire anyone to help us. Though my old employer did *most* the individual (seasonal) tax work (& has been unable to work at all). We completely lack leadership or communication. I suppose the "plan" is to just pile up tax forms being mailed in and not do them and not tell clients we don't have the manpower? That seems to be the extent of the plan. We covered all the in-person appointments and had been told to this point we'd get a temp. (At the time that was first mentioned, 2 months ago, I thought that sounded like a joke. A 60-day temp to do all this work? So it just gets more ridiculous as time goes on).

--I am feeling more and more likely that I just walk out with no notice. I just don't know if I walk out when the angry clients start to mob us, when someone else quits, or when I am told I need to be working 100 hours per week. Probably some combo of all of the above. The other good employees are all on the verge of walking out.

I thought it was reasonable to wait and see with new employer, but first impressions are pretty dismal. I think it's pretty clear I never expected much more. & that was with *any* new employer, but this situation had seemed more promising. I decided this weekend that my job search should probably take precedent over keeping this job. It's moot as I wouldn't have had any time whatsoever to job search the past 2 months. But I am wrapping up my old employer's client meetings this week and at least I have time in my day if an interesting job pops up. I will start perusing job listings. I did look some in Jan/Feb but it was way too premature to walk out at that point. At this point, I am ready to start applying for other jobs. I wanted to give the new employer more than 9 days, but they need to throw us a bone.

I really don't even want to talk to about work, but that catches you up to speed.

I was going to post more but I've run out of time.

Craziness All Around

March 4th, 2018 at 06:01 am

This was our neighborhood on Monday:



For reference, I don't even own an ice scraper. So this was random, and completely terrifying to drive in. (That is all hail and ice).

I guess this pretty much sums up work too. It's hard to imagine it getting any more ridiculous. We only have 6 people. My employer carries the entire individual tax practice (er, carried) but is unable to work. This is why my workload is completely absurd right now. Another employee suddenly lost a parent and is out on leave. Another one will lose her parent any day (she's been out dealing with her mom's health issues). It would be almost comical if it wasn't all death and illness.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I've been sick all of the past week. Probably the flu. No one in my house particularly gets sick, so to be sick for so long is a LOT. I am sure I have been under a wee bit of extra stress. I won't do anything but sleep today (I am mostly over it, but have a BIG week/month to rest up for).

My calendar had filled up last week but I had to skip pretty much everything. We had won tickets to a basketball game at the "new" arena (I haven't seen it yet). Generally not our thing, but the tickets were in a suite and we hadn't been to the newer arena, so we had wanted to go. In the end, we didn't go because I Was not up to it. So that was a bummer. Lord knows I could use a change in scenery.

The one thing I made it out to was an information night put on by the group that is conducting the autism study that MM is participating in. They served some amazing food and the whole thing was really interesting. They are about 2 years into a 5-year study. They were saying that a problem with a lot of the studies is they pull from very specific populations (like mostly choosing their participants from hospitals where people come in because they need more intervention). This is a large study, in contrast, with a more general sample size. In the end, they are finding that a lot of past study findings (smaller studies) are not statistically significant given the size and population of their study. They are also using brain imaging on the participants, with a general goal to see how brain development occurs in the normal population versus the autistic population. They have not taken their second data points yet, so they haven't made much progress yet on that part of the study, but they are already noticing distinct differences in brain function between the autistic and control groups. It is exciting to hear that they are already learning so much in the process. They did mention that they were collecting so much data that it could be used in future studies as well.

Financially, not much to report. Funneling everything into cash right now. Should know more in March or April. I already paid all the bills the first of the month (per usual) and so don't have to think about anything financial for another month. I guess the exception is I have to finish funding our IRAs for 2017. Will do so next pay day.

Updates

February 21st, 2018 at 06:10 am

I know more on the work front, though not much. The business is being sold. As is, job/salary will remain. Will I still want the job, is another question. I always presumed NO. But as MH is still figuring out his next phase, it might be worth sticking around and seeing what happens. The latest means that we can probably stick with initial 18-month timeline for MH to figure out his job situation. Phew! I am not holding my breath about anything, for now. Sale has to go through first. Things will probably remain relatively unchanged for the next year or so, if it does go through. The goal is a very slow transition. Would probably stay at the same location for a year (I believe they are signing a one year lease). The location is a dream as to commute but otherwise is HORRIBLE. So I have mixed feelings about that. I'd be happy if the first change was a new location, but I also realize that even if most any change would be closer to my home (less miles) it would also most likely be a worse/nightmare commute. This is just one of my infinite concerns and why I don't see high odds of sticking around.

The only thing I've gleamed is that the new company does not pay OT. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. They have a different bonus structure. (No idea what that bonus structure is, for now). On the flip side, our hours are literally in the bottom 1% of the industry. So I expect nothing but more hours. & if I am not getting paid for those hours... Will see.

{I did ask about OT specifically, pre-sale, because last year was CRAZED. For completely non-related reasons. & so I'd usually not have much OT racked up at this point in the year, but I was owed a lot. I inquired and employer already paid me OT through February 1. Unfortunately, in the meantime we have been asked to take on tons of extra work and I know I am no longer being paid for my time. But I also expect new company to have a lot of incentive to keep existing employees, so am just waiting to see what happens. I don't mind the job security in the interim. Tax season is already halfway over. So just another 2 months of craziness. Things should normalize after that. I don't generally work any OT May through November}.

There is still huge crap show potential, beyond anything I mentioned. I have not ruled out quitting in frustration in the interim. I think it's probably most wise to stick it out and see what happens. But I have to survive the atomic bomb that's been dropped in my office in the interim.

In the meantime, MH prefers to look for work while he can be very choosy and doesn't have tons of pressure being put on him. I don't know that he's looked much in the past couple of weeks, but my work is so crazed. I think it's more sensible to wait until April or May to more seriously pound the pavement. (I want to seriously consider all my options, but can't realistically look for any work until May. So my job searching is on hold for now).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Financially...

We have enough reserves to have no income for 12 months. So I don't have any short-term concerns. If I have to quit tomorrow for my sanity, I would quit. Honestly, I appreciate being the type of person who would pause and feels like we don't have enough reserves. I can recognize that having too much FU money isn't ideal in a situation like this. I am conservative enough I want to see it through and realize I can survive a few months of temporary insanity. If MH had a job, I think I would just quit, and I don't know if that is really the best long-term solution. So I am appreciating my financial motivations to stay.

I have been hoarding cash ~ we are up $5,000 since January 1. Will be another $5k-ish by May now that MH is back at work (his current very part time job).

On the job search front, I'd like to talk to recruiters and get real offers in hand. My first impression of the job market is that I am *feeling* our lower cost move. When we moved here, and cut our housing expenses by 70%, I never took a pay cut (2001). In fact, my compensation increased. I guess being in a similar job market is promising, and I am sure there are some employers willing to pay more (and those are the employers I want). But as is, I feel like I am looking at a 20% pay cut. Just looking at what is out there. Which is giving me more motivation to stay put and not to sweat the loss of overtime.

If that's what we have to work with, it is what it is. We currently live on 60% of my gross salary. I'd still be able to save 20% if I took that kind of a pay cut. But I would prefer not to entertain these type of pay cuts until MH was back to work full-time. If he gets a $30k per year job, then I can take the pay cut and we'd have more income in the end. All of the above is thanks to living far below our means. $30k is more lower end/entry level. I know he could get a $50k job tomorrow if we were more desperate. (Which would increase our household income significantly, even if I took a 20% pay cut).

{To be clear, this is more "ideal" job type stuff, like my current job. This doesn't mean I couldn't make same or more if income was my bigger motivation. & maybe if I take a year to consider my options, I can probably find a lower stress job with higher pay. Just speaking to my initial impression and surprise by low salaries for comparable jobs}.

So I guess that's the long and the short of it. These are all things we have thought about, but I mostly have no answers. I just have to wait to get more answers on current job, and I have to wait to have any time whatsoever to job search and see what kind of offers I can get (considering the entire compensation package).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, the bar keeps moving on the work front. *sigh* I really was looking forward to 2/28 (huge deadline) and being done with the crazy workload of the past year or so. But the bar has been moved. Now I have to survive until April 15th. If I am MIA, I am just tired of staring at a computer screen all day and I lack the down time that I usually have.

In other randomness, MH did a focus group for $300 last week. That's helped with our cash hoarding.


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>