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October 21-26 - Crazy Busy!

October 27th, 2018 at 09:23 am

October 21
$107 Groceries
$ 20 Round Table Pizza (Used $5-off coupon)
Dinner: Linguine with spinach and pine nuts

MH went to see a free movie (movie pass) and the kids decided to randomly crash at their friend's house for most of the day. This was decided while MH was at the movies, and I had to drive them. But I obliged because DL(13) was in such a good mood about it. In fact, I had taken a nap and had woken up and was just listening to him talk to his friends online. It was just "cute" and he was in a super good mood. Then he tells them, "I have to go wake up my mom so that she can take us over!" I pretended to be asleep and chastised him a bit but said if he promises to NEVER wake me up again like that, I could take him. I wasn't really asleep anyway. TEENAGERS!

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October 22
$258 Symphony Season Subscription
Dinner: Fiesta Chicken Burritos

I did go ahead and buy some Symphony tickets. The Season Subscription worked out to $40 per ticket, good seats, with fees and everything. If nothing else, the convenience fees were so high for the single concert purchases, that was where most the savings was. So we paid $40 per ticket for good seats. We otherwise would have paid as much for the nosebleeds probably. The same seats were $60 per ticket if we purchased each concert separately.

I ordered the Pops Subscription, which was Broadway, Queen & Star Wars. (I know MH will LOVE the Star Wars one). The guest conductor we saw last time was AMAZING and he is doing two of those shows, and is why I know MH will love it. The Queen show has a different conductor. I may buy a couple of more tickets so the kids can go. No one (in my household) wants to go to the Broadway one with me, but I will find someone to go with me.

The classic series is $30 per concert. I don't want to go to *every* concert. We do go to a lot of other concerts (art museum, art school, etc.). It may be that I just buy tickets to one of those and will see how bored MH is with it. He will 1000% go, because he knows he drags me everywhere. But it may be I consider just buying a solo season subscription at some point in the future. I don't know if I know anyone else who really wants to go to a bunch of classical concerts. & I could be mis-judging MH. He may enjoy it. But I think it's an easier sell once or twice per year, at this point.

I stopped by "forever employer" on the way home from work (is 100% on the way to/from my old job) to drop off the work I did over the weekend and discussed working past October. (It wasn't on my radar to discuss it, but employer wanted to ask what pay rate I Was expecting). Will probably go back to my old pay rate. Still not sure what exactly I will be doing, how many hours, how quickly before I burn out. Lots to figure out. In my mind, I am probably committing through April or May.

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October 23
$9 Lunch
$14 Dinner
FREE MOVIE
Dinner: Out

I was thinking of just focusing on work this week and not going out for lunch, but "twin" invited me to lunch Tuesday. I couldn't say no! (I had invited her all the prior times. I just had no plans to initiate during such a busy week).

I figured MH Would probably never meet me for lunch or anything like that, because my office is so far away from home. BUT, there was a free movie screening in my work neighborhood on Tuesday night. So he came by my office and we had a quick dinner before the movie. We saw Bohemian Rhapsody. It was really good.

On the plus side, I was able to have MH pick up some files for me, from "forever employer", on the way. Saved me a trip!

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October 24
$10 Gymnastic
$11 Groceries
$107 Christmas Purchase
Dinner: Korean Beef Bowl

Work Work Work

MH picked up some groceries (no idea what) and took MM to gymnastics.

MH also ordered some electronic toy for his parents for Christmas. They are the only ones we buy for. They go kind of crazy re: Christmas though they are toning it down a wee bit over the years. I don't know anyone else who actually wants to participate in any Christmas/Birthday gift giving. & I mean, I often exchange gifts with friends and family, but it's more "from the heart" and "I saw this and I thought of you" stuff. Not any holiday obligations.
In contrast, my in-laws go crazy but in a way that sucks *all* the fun out of it. *sigh*

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October 25
-0- NO SPEND
Dinner: Salisbury Steak

I stopped by "forever employer" on the way home to drop off work I did Wednesday. It was super weird because "twin" was there working. She agreed to help through October only, if they just hired her through her new employer. So that was the arrangement she was able to make. "Awesome Admin" is going back full-time through April, but she was not there. Anyway, it felt like I walked into a time warp, with most the old employees there.

At home, I finally got around to setting up some invoices for work I did this month. I sent out about $400 invoices. I expect to invoice about $3,000 total this month. ("Forever employer" is paying me double my billing rate, so that is the bulk of it. Will send them a bill when I am done with October deadlines).

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October 26
-0- NO SPEND
Dinner: Salsa Verde Carnitas (crockpot)

I have so much work to do for Job #2, but I just came home and crashed instead. I slept for around 11 hours.

I feel refreshed, but I still have about 16 hours of work/deadlines to get through. *sigh*

I would probably just take the entire next week off, but... I have more news on this front. Next post.


Credit Card Rewards Update

October 27th, 2018 at 08:38 am

2018 TALLY:

$561 Gift Cards (Capital One Venture, Moi)
$ 10 Hulu Credits (American Express)
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$571 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

**In addition, various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31.

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I was just paying bills and saw a Hulu Reward offer on our American Express card. Should get $5 back per month, for next 4 months. $10 this year and $10 next year? (We Pay Hulu around $10 per month in lieu of cable).

That reminds me, I need to set up a couple of Citi Price Rewinds (where Citi automatically price matches for 60 days). We had a couple of big purchases this month. I always set up big purchases even if I never expect to get anything. Was just looking and nothing has come within even $100 of the charger we picked up at Costco. But who knows, someone could have some super crazy sale in the next few weeks.

EARLIER POST FROM 2018:

I think I probably would have mostly passed (on one-time bonuses) this year given all my employment upheaval. Life has been CRAZY this year and I am being ultra protective of my credit score since I work in the financial industry. It's always been like 800+, but I just don't feel like it's the year to open 5 new credit cards in my name. Might raise some eyebrows during any employment consideration. (& I am probably just being overly cautious, but that is how I roll). & I did open 4 cards in MH's name last year so I am giving him a break. But anyway, this travel reward was easy and too good do pass up with our travel plans.

In the end, my new employer never ran a background check or a credit check on me. I actually am kind of horrified about their being so lax on this front and will probably chastise them a bit about this in the future. It's on my infinite list of things to address.

October 20 - Kittens!

October 21st, 2018 at 09:41 am

October 20
$15 Groceries
Dinner: Spaghetti & God Sauce

I think I only worked about 6 hours on Saturday. Got distracted by some other things (tending to some chores), and did end up doing some cooking, etc.

In the morning, DL(13) was in a cooking mood. So he made chocolate chip pumpkin bread. I have a super easy recipe that makes a ton. I had literally just sat down to work, and don't remember who thought of that recipe (him or me) but I talked MH into supervising him. I am sure next time he can do it on his own.

We really fell off the wagon as to having kids cook. I told MH if he went over what the kids wanted to make this week I could supervise. I generally get home by 4:30 so can help more on that front. He was resistant because he's in the mindset I am doing WAY too much. But you know, cooking will get my eyes off the computer screen for a bit and I'd rather get in a better schedule of kids helping us. & if we make this a more regular thing, they shouldn't need any supervision/help. The point is to hand off some of the chores to them! But anyway, I just told him that I'd personally embrace "difficult teenager's willingness to help." You know, lean into that. Because if he won't, lord knows I will.

My plan was mostly to work all day, but I had agreed to take a kitten break. One of my old clients is fostering kittens. I LOVE her regardless and is nice to foster our friendship outside of work. But OMG, her home is always filled with kittens. She has been busier than I have been, so I haven't seen her in a few weeks, but she told me it would be great and helpful if I went and played with kittens while she was out. MM(15) finally agreed to go with me yesterday. They were bottle fed kittens. O.M.G. I had no idea! They just kind of attack you and purr like crazy. We walked in and they just started climbing all over us. We just giggled the whole time. I had gone over a couple of times to help socialize the "getting socialized" kittens, and they seemed friendly enough, so I had no idea. I guess I've probably always adopted the scared cats too. I have never experienced anything like this! They just loved loved loved having some people to play with and to sleep on.

It was hard to tear away ourselves from the kittens!

On the way home I got some groceries. I picked up some eggs in case DL was in the mood to hard boil eggs. I had been wanting to make pumpkin bread too, so he is making my life easier. He is not the "makes my life easier" kid, so I was kind of eating this up yesterday. If eggs will magically boil themselves and pumpkin bread magically gets made.

Our store has not been stocking pumpkin this year (???) so I made sure to pick some up while there (I took the last can). Picked up some meat and tomato sauce for dinner, and garlic bread. & a few other odds and ends.

The God Sauce I made for dinner is just a pasta sauce that I make. The first time I made it, DL told me it was so good it was like it came straight down from God. Something like that. To this day, we call it God Sauce. MH can't stand it (is lots of vinegar and garlic) and so I often make this dinner when he is out because it is super easy and the kids go crazy for it. In this case, no leftovers. *sigh*

MH was off on a movie shoot yesterday. I think they were supposed to be done last month but they are crazy behind now. I think he told me yesterday it might be 6 more months.

October 18-19

October 21st, 2018 at 09:02 am

October 18
-0- NO SPENDING
Dinner:Chicken Satay (Thai)

Someone delivered free (very small) sandwiches to my office. I don't remember the eatery and they were just okay. But that was a nice perk! They were trying to generate business, I suppose.

I can't tell you what a 180 I have done in office environment. My "forever employer" was actually somewhat snobby and their office was a bit of an art museum. Absolutely beautiful offices. BUT, they built the building around 40 years ago and the area has really gone downhill since. Seriously, on like my last week there, someone was setting up a tent in our parking lot in the middle of the day. UGH! I don't know if problems were getting worse because our building was clearly becoming semi-vacant or what. Other than that, it just comes in waves. It may be quiet for several months, and then some weeks there are people fighting outside every day.

New office is in the Beverly Hills of my region. The most expensive zip code.

Let's just say, no one ever came to our old building handing out free sandwiches. Ha!

I hadn't really given it much thought, but "awesome admin" keeps telling me how much "safer" she felt at her last new job, though it was a little ghetto in many regards. I will say that I did pull over to call my mom for some reason the day I dropped off my employment paperwork. In the business park parking lot I pulled over somewhere and mentioned to her it was so peaceful and nice. I definitely noticed that right away. But it's amazing how quickly we adjust to these things. Hadn't really thought too much about it otherwise. Is just my new normal.

Because I do only have a 1/2 hour break, I often just sit in my car at lunch. I would have NEVER done that at my old job. It's some combo of the nicer neighborhood and also being able to run the electric car and listen to music and keep the temperature inside nice.

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October 19
$17 School Play
Dinner:Pork chops & Brussel sprouts

MH took MM(15) to the high school play. This is not the art school, so I wasn't as interested. I had to work anyway.

I have some free tickets available for the art school, but all the plays/musicals they did so far this year seemed depressing and/or I was too busy anyway. Will have to pay more attention. I think I am owed 4 free tickets at this point.

That reminds me, we skipped PTA meeting this week. I told MH that the money I would get from one hour of working would buy us 7 parent hours. I am going to do that, instead. This school is so nice on this front. If you can help more time-wise or money-wise, they will take whatever. I thought this was going to be more of a "time" year but apparently this is a "money" year. Take my money, because I am busy!!

October 16 - Splurge-y

October 21st, 2018 at 07:47 am

October 16
$15 Lunch
$60 Dinner
$875 new cell phone
Dinner:Out

See last post for context and splurge-y turn of events.

I met "twin" for lunch. There is actually a vegetarian Indian restaurant right by my office and they have several $5 dishes. I was thinking, "OMG!" In the end, I talked "twin" into eating there though she had never tried the place or eaten Indian food in general. I got a full meal and an appetizer to share with her. In the end they were so SLOW! Next week I may order ahead to-go and just grab a $5 dish some day to see how that goes. But yeah, I only have a 1/2 hour lunch and she was still eating when I left 45 minutes later. The food was good, so I will try the take-out later and see if that is faster. I can foresee grabbing a bite here once a week if the To-go works out better.

We went out to a splurge-y dinner at our favorite Indian cafe (yes we like Indian food! Most my friends growing up were Indian and I was spoiled by all their mom's home cooking). It was DL's first day back in the States and he really wanted to go out to his favorite restaurant. MH obliged him. I had extra money coming in, so whatever. MH was super generous on the tip again, though it's just counter service.

MH also ordered a new cell phone. He actually kept his last phone a full three years, which is a long time for a phone-obsessed techie. Heck, I really was just limping my phone along (during that last year) when I kept mine for 4 years. Anyway, I am in full agreement with replacing his phone now, before we have a potentially lower income year (2019). BUT, I think the amount of money he spent on this phone is RIDICULOUS. I am sure he thinks the amount of money we spent on this car is RIDICULOUS, so I am not really one to talk right now. Big Grin

So I am kind of grumbling to myself a bit as the entire first 10 hours of work I do for "forever employer" is going straight to pay for this phone. But on the flip side, I did appreciate the money seemingly falling from the sky, to pay for this phone. I just look forward to the part where I get to splurge on something too. I have to pay for last weekend. & then what's next down the line is I still want to get car windows tinted (haven't had the time). & I had been wanting to buy some show tickets. Which was one of those things that was going to go by the wayside with income cut, but now I have this extra money to fund that. I think the annual Sketchfest tickets go on sale in a couple of weeks and there was a couple of Symphony concerts I wanted to get to (I haven't looked up the price yet so I have no idea on that; how many concerts we go to and how many people, will depend on the price). I may have worked enough extra this week to pay for all of that, and can probably work another 15-ish hours next week too. Regular income/budget is all good. If I keep having side work, I will work on 2018 mortgage goal. I usually fund that with OT, but I didn't get paid OT this year ("fake employer" never gave me promised OT/bonus) and we instead prepped for unemployment and replaced an old vehicle, etc. I would be over the moon to earn an extra $3,000 to fund mortgage goal. I didn't expect this!

As to bonus, that is still being fought and I haven't ruled out filing a complaint with the labor board. With a little time and space, I am thinking I should just file the very open and shut "late final paycheck" complaint, which is a $3,000-ish penalty they owe me for giving me my last paycheck late. That would be about net what the bonus would be anyway, but the penalty is tax-free income. I won't file that yet because I "should" also file the OT complaint at the same time (or I lose rights to that bonus), but other lawyers are currently fighting that battle for me. So I need to wait for some resolution on that front, probably. I have something like 12 months to file a complaint. Before I was more in the head space I didn't want to deal with it at all. But I can see I am being much more clear headed about this right now. I was caught up in not sure if I wanted to bother if the lawyers took half AND I just wanted to move on with my life. But I can see taking the easy $3,000 puts us pretty square anyway. I shouldn't need a lawyer to prove I gave proper notice AND my paycheck wasn't dated until a full 2 weeks after my last day. I hadn't really considered the possibility before of fighting that battle on my own. I also didn't want to like take a day off so soon after starting new employment (for labor board hearing) but as time passes and I get to know new employer, I feel better about it.

Mid Month Update

October 21st, 2018 at 06:30 am

Mid Month Update on spending totals:

Fuel $41 ($36 gas car + $5 hybrid**)
**Net of work auto reimbursement for driving 90 miles
Tolls $5

Note: Electric fuel costs were about $15 for the half month

Groceries $433
Dining Out $48
Household $20 (towels)

Gymnastics $30

Miscellaneous:
Copy Machine/Scanner $8
Movies $12
‘Vacation’ $208

I was going to do a mid month update, regardless. It’s been a pretty typical month for us, so far. But the second half of the month gets CRAZY, so I guess it’s good to get this snapshot. (I will eventually get to the “crazy”).

Fuel spending is way down, of course. Though we drove out of town three times already this month.

Groceries have been bought for 3 out of 5 weeks, so we are on track with $650 monthly budget. We will have two more $100-ish grocery runs this month. (This includes cat food/litter and all consumables).

The vacation spending was a splurge that will come from savings (or money that we would have put to savings in a regular month, probably more to the point).

Aside from vacation spending, that needs to be saved for monthly, I’d say it’s been a pretty typical month for us. This level of spending should be sustainable for us, with my pay cut. I know I need to post more about that.

Short update on craziness: Old “forever” employer hired me very part-time at a very high rate. They do need the help and it is a deadline month, but I am also trying to cram in as much work as possible at the higher billing rate. I am sure there will be more work after October but not sure how long they are willing to pay me so much. Knowing that we have this extra money coming in, we aren’t tightening up things as much. The rest of the month will be very splurge-y.

I was really prepping for time off and unemployment, but money/work keeps raining from the sky. It's all good! It's busy and I have no idea when I will ever have any time on the home front (or for anything else but work), but I LOVE all the work that I am doing and have set aside most the work responsibility and stress, for now. (New job is awesome, and I've left behind all the parts of my old job that were higher stress). After October, maybe I will take my evenings back and just work Saturdays or something like that.

October 15 - Out of Town Again

October 17th, 2018 at 07:41 pm

October 15
$12 Fuel (hybrid)
Dinner: Out

We drove to the Bay Area to pick up our international traveler.

In-laws insisted on taking us out to dinner. I have no idea why! Was trying to get them to let us bring them dinner. They had spent 14 hours on an airplane.

But it worked out. Absolutely no traffic for 95% of the drive. We planned to stay there a couple of hours to wait out crazy long-distance commute traffic, before turning around and coming home. Going out to dinner was just enough time to wait out "crazy insane traffic." Though if they were too tired, it would have been nice to see my parents for a bit. But DL just wanted to get HOME.

Though I know DL(13) was absolutely exhausted and ready to get home, I told MH that I prefer not having to stop for gas in the a.m. again. The gas light came on just before we got home. We stopped to put in about 3 gallons of gas. I don't think we have any plans to go out of town or to use any gas the rest of the month, so didn't fill up beyond that. We stopped at the super cheapie gas station on the way home. (The two gas stations closest to our house just happen to be the cheapest gas stations in our region).