How did my quiet weekend get so busy?
**Paid all the bills today. When I focused on other chores I completely neglected any fiscal chores. No biggie - and it only took about 15 minutes to pay all the bills for May, etc.
Made good progress on several financial goals this month. Over half-way on all savings goals, etc. (Getting extra income this month, helped there!)
The cash infusion means I can top off all my savings accounts. I think some have fees for inactivity - and I haven't kept on top of all that. I have a couple of accounts with $300-ish that I will just round up to $500. I will put a whole $5k back in my Ally account (my mini-emergency fund). Then, the balance in my Alliant account is pretty much long-term savings. It will simplify things. I had paid some property taxes out of Ally at some point, or something, and there was no rhyme or reason to the balances. I didn't want to put more money back in there since the interest rate was low, but now this will simplify things a tad. Being able to just look at my accounts and know that one is strictly for emergency - the rest isn't emergency funds.
(I usually just track total dollars - not separating money. If interest rates change dramatically I may prefer to chase higher interest rates. For now, this will do - all my accounts are paying about the same).
**Work is a little crazy. As much as I was looking forward to getting my weekends back, I don't find it a big deal in the least to work a few hours on a Saturday. I usually go to aerobics, work for 3 hours, and get home by noon. Aerobics just relaxes me and makes me very productive. SO, I hope to clear some stuff off my desk.
I remembered regretting taking a 3-day weekend IMMEDIATELY after April, last year, because I felt so swamped. So, this year, I chose the second weekend in May. I am starting to regret that too. Someone gave me a big project yesterday I spent all day on - like I am not WAY crazy behind on everything else. During April clients are more forgiving, but in May everyone wants everything yesterday.
**Soccer sign ups are this weekend. We can sign up another weekend, but looking at our calendar I decided I better get that all taken care of today. Doesn't start for MONTHS, so I am kind of annoyed to commit to that today. BUT, BM wants to do soccer again.
And so my Saturday turned from lazy to crazy.
All in all, a Sunday home with no plans is something that I haven't had in MANY weeks. So, I will survive.
I'll probably fill out all the paperwork (soccer) while I am at work, and send dh and the kids off to deal with that when I get home. So *crazy* might end at noon, for me.
These Saturday mornings hardly feel like *work* - it will be peaceful and I can get so much done without the interruptions. Will make next week easier. Heck, maybe I can leave early Friday if I get ahead of the curve. I just want to get out from behind!
Archive for April, 2011
How did my quiet weekend get so busy?
**My honey bunny is home!
He went to the cabin for a few days to work on some scripts.
I haven't paid any attention all week, but logged in today to see what kind of money he was spending. He didn't spend a dime. Not that I can see. But for some groceries before he left.
The phone was dead when they got up there, so I didn't talk to him for days. WEIRD. In this day and age? Not being able to get ahold of someone? He did want to disconnect for a few days (no cable or internet), but not to the point no one could reach him.
Haven't seen him yet, but glad to know he made it home safe!
He's still got to pick up the kids, so one more BIG drive this month.
Anyway, looks like grocery spending was $350 for the month, and gas was $350. To-Date. ($250 gas in reality - but we both need a refill, very soon. $100 to fill both tanks up).
I suppose if dh wants to go grocery shopping, he probably should. Overall, was better than I expected. Especially since he apparently lived on ramen all week.
I had wanted to go out to eat tonight, but decided I wasn't in the mood. My salmon dinner is pretty much all I ate the last 3 days. Still tons of leftovers in the fridge. So I think we really should hit the leftovers tonight. We have manicotti, enchiladas, and some rice/meat dinner. We will eat well. I can't let that food go to waste. Kids will help us finish it up.
I've said before - I am not the eater in my house. I live with 3 super-high-metabolismed boys. It is just amazing to me how LITTLE I can live on, in comparison. $30 of groceries lasted me a good 4 days, with food to spare. & that was a super expensive treat! (Salmon) I am worried about these leftovers, but they will probably be devoured in seconds, once the little ones return.
I am relieved to know we can probably fit in another big drive month. Now that tax season is over I want to get out there and enjoy some mini-vacations.
The kids are on a full schedule with their energetic grandparents (MIL, and my dad). I am sure MIL ran them ragged with her crazy schedule (she always tries to jam pack a ton of activities when they visit).
They got to meet my SIL's new puppy, so had a blast playing with her. Also, swimming, playing with cousins, etc., etc.
Grandpa took them to the zoo today and is taking them on a hike tomorrow. Dh will meet them half way for lunch, to pick them up.
We had to drive them, but since we didn't have to feed them all week, I think we come out ahead. What a cheap spring break! I am sure they had a BLAST!
I didn't mention all the STUFF I hauled up from San Jose this weekend.
My parents are re-modeling their home. (Pretty much re-painting and re-carpeting the whole house).
We had gone over to pick up the treadmill, as expected.
But then my mom offered me several items I wasn't expecting at all. She gave me these 2 framed pictures that I have always admired (& joked that I would steal some day). She also offered me several other items which I declined. I also noticed she had taken down a quilt I always admired, and asked what she did with it. She gave that to me too!
I suppose it is easier to give some of this stuff away when you know you can visit it any time.
In addition, I Was offered my old disco ball. Don't remember where it came from. Probably left at my parents' house because they had a good room for it. I am thinking of giving it to BM and putting it up in his room. But due to his rambuctious nature, maybe that should wait several years. (He'd find a way to get into trouble with a big ball hanging from the ceiling!).
All in all, it isn't so bad. This morning I cleaned the quilt in the wash and hung up the two pictures. I moved another picture from downstairs to upstairs, to make way for the new pictures.
I think the quilt will go nice over the back of our living room couch.
I've still got plenty of white space on the walls, so we have a long way to "clutter," I suppose. It really wasn't a re-cluttering, but I didn't expect to bring home all that stuff, all the same.
I also got a pile of soap and corn dogs - that were no longer needed by my folks.
Saturday I cleaned out dh's car (it was an awful mess). Vacuumed, but no scrubbing. IT could probably use some scrubbing.
This morning I got around to vacuuming the van out. Dh can put the seat back in when he returns home.
Tonight I have in mind to file papers away.
& so will end my little time off to myself. Tomorrow dh is coming home and he has a big date night planned. Probably movies and dinner. Our budget may only allow for movies (already paid for - some groupon or living social deal). Will see where we are at with the money this month. We probably both need gas, and if he wants to do a big grocery run... I think the groceries can wait though - since kids won't be back until dinner Friday. All I ate is salmon all week - haven't even touched the leftovers yet! I think we can survive with what is in the house and get groceries on the 1st, or later. Will see...
Anyway, no huge progress on chores. But, absolutely nothing planned all weekend, so hoping for a decent amount of spring cleaning.
I have a client who is WAY too nice. Called me today to ask about a check he wrote in 2003. Why??? Because an old employee had stopped by with an uncashed paycheck - wanting to replace it.
I advised against it, but whatever. As usual, he is too nice. He will probably cut her a check!
Anyway, it was so completely mind boggling that I have to share. This really takes the cake!
That said, I have said before and will say again. For all of my clients there are certain employees who often don't cash their paychecks. Always the most broke employees. BROKE! & they don't cash their paychecks!
How do I know they are broke? The 401k loans, all the advances, and garnishments, are all a pretty good clue. No one else forgets to cash their paychecks.
I'll be lazy, but I won't get much done this week. My few days alone are more than half over it seems.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store and bought some fresh salmon. It was funny because I almost changed my plans rather than go to the store at 5:00. Then I had a distant memory surface of how our grocery store is so awesome there is no line in the evenings. Other times? Maybe. But dinner rush they do well. So I walked in, grabbed a few things, and walked out. Wait time? -zero- Glad I didn't re-arrange my whole night to work around the grocery store craziness. Phew!
I got fresh salmon and rice a roni. Decided I Wasn't in the mood to make rice, too.
Did my slow cooker salmon recipe - in the oven (due to time constraints). It wasn't as moist, but it was close enough. Had some more for lunch, and it was about perfect. I am hoping the rest keeps for dinner tomorrow.
Anyway, groceries and cooking didn't take too long. But then there was dishes and all that. Decided that was all I was up for yesterday. I am a morning person so I crash and burn pretty quickly after 5:00. Started to realize I wouldn't get much done this week.
But, that said, was a very nice evening. I LOVE my house and hadn't just settle down to enjoy the peace and quiet for a while. Opened the blinds, enjoyed the backyard, turned on some music, and cooked a great meal. Grabbed some balsamic vinaigrette for my salad, too. YUM. Couldn't ask for a nicer evening.
I grabbed some Thai noodle thing for tonight - will see how it is.
Was going to go to aerobics - but didn't feel so hot. Decided to skip it. I made myself sit down at the computer and do my computer chores. I usually stay pretty on top of the good old inbox, but with my surgery in January there was about 2 weeks of e-mail I barely glanced at. IT spiraled out of control from there.
I spent a good hour deleting e-mails and organizing e-mails I wanted to keep.
Just something I long put off, so that feels GOOD! Went from maybe 300 e-mails in my inbox to about 20. Woohoo! I know I can keep top of it, surgeries/illness and tragedies aside.
I also caught up on some of my correspondence and e-mailed my friend demanding we get together. Hadn't talked to her for AGES, and her daughter is going through a brain tumor thing. She asked for my phone number maybe a year ago but never called. So I took the initiative to get this ball rolling. Felt more motivated after sitting down with brain cancer husband client and realizing how much she just needed that "understanding" shoulder to cry on. I initially felt both their cases were extremely different, but realize they are very similar. Maybe we will start our own unofficial brain tumor support group. I think eventually I should introduce them, too.
Anyway, I am not much of a movie person. You know my dh is a MOVIE person. I really don't mind TV, because with the DVR I can flip through HOURS of TV watching in mere minutes. I don't find it to be much of a time suck. Not the way I watch it. (Usually just before bed when I am too tired to do anything else!). Movies on the other hand? Big time investment with rarely any reward. Life with dh has made me too much of a movie critic - which means I enjoy very few movies. Used to be I never watched any movies, so I thought they were all pretty cool. Funny how I am totally opposite any more. BAck to never watching movies, though.
BUT, I was thinking a netflix movie would be nice (a co-worker had recommended something). I had time for a chick flick or something. It was my "doh" moment since usually I just ask dh to take care of that me. I don't think I touched the Blu Ray player until we had it several years. I can work one of our 3 netflix set ups, but I didn't know how to add movies to the queue.
Hallelujah, I typed netflix.com into the computer and figured it out pretty easily. In fact, I thought my dh said they were hard to add, which is why I was hesitant. But clearly there was nothing hard about it. Must have been thinking about something else.
I also saw he had some internet link to netflix wii, which reminded me that was how we pick movies on the TV itself, but that I probably wouldn't have a CLUE how to figure that out.
Anyway, watched some stupid movie and was a nice end to a peaceful night.
Anyway, the few days off have been nice, but will be nothing spectacular. (I am still working, too).
When the kids were younger, nothing sounded more diving but PEACE and QUIET and FREEDOM, but the second they were gone I couldn't stand the silence. I missed all the noise, etc. So basically, I had many opportunities to myself, but could never enjoy.
The first time I was really able to enjoy was in 2009 when they went to Florida for a week. I suppose the kids were 4 & 6. IT was the first time since having kids I could really enjoy the peace and quiet.
This week it was like welcoming an old friend. Can't say I will miss the fam at all. I know they will be back. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Always how it has been for me (except with super young 'uns!).
Even with work and everything else, I feel like I have put so much of my life on hold for kids. I don't want to be one of those people who put their ALL in their kids and have nothing once they are grown. I know I am not, but it's hard not to feel like you are doing that, as a parent. Everything with kids is just so intense and all consuming. It's nice to realize that I have something to look forward to in the future. Peace and quiet. Maybe it won't be so bad when we get to that empty nest stage.
It's true what they say - I can't believe I will have an EIGHT year old soon. All I can think is that is half way to driving age. How the heck did that happen?
Kind of funny, but dh's most favorite holiday is definitely Easter.
If you knew him, you would never guess.
He of course spent about $50 on Easter stuff.
Besides my initial "WHAT!?!" reaction, I don't have much more to add. He is pretty easy to please and doesn't spend much money. If that is his pleasure. I just wish I would remember - it surprises me every year. Obviously I should be used to it by now!
That's probably more than we spend for them all year, or birthday, or Christmas, so I have to let it go. Let them be spoiled.
I think he enjoys having a holiday where no one else spoils them. His mom hogs up Christmas/Birthday pretty good. Easter is mostly his turn to go all out.
Anyway, today was long and exhausting. Track meet ALL DAY, packing kids for next week, chores, etc.
Tomorrow should be pretty nice. Look forward to seeing the family and all that. We will eat well.
In the evening, dh and I will have a date to watch Game of Thrones.
For most of the week I get the house to myself. Not sure if I will laze around and do nothing, kick start my spring workouts (get back in the swing after winter and busy season), or do some spring cleaning. I'd like to do spring cleaning, but won't be surprised if I collapse and do absolutely nothing. Just depends on my mood.
I'll have to fend for myself. Was thinking burritos (lots of leftovers) and salmon (since no one else really cares for salmon). I will probably turn fresh salmon into 2 dinners, so that will probably carry me through.
I think I am done working overtime for the year. Phew! Tones of deadline stuff, but I forgot how easy and mindless all this stuff is compared to taxes! Whipped through a pile of work this week, and that was moving at an "I am over tax season" slow/tired pace.
Which is good because really no time to work this weekend, anyway. Figured I'd come in Sat. afternoon tomorrow and a couple hours Sunday morning if need be. Glad I don't have to do that!
Anyway, re-adjusting to the change of pace at work. 40 hours a week always feels like a vacation to me after tax season.
I found another good lunch deal. It's funny because I found a Togo's that is a little out of the way. I've worked here TEN years, but found this Togo's when I first started working here. Some of my co-workers had already been here 20+ years, and always asked, "Where did you find Togo's???"
So the other day we were driving down the main street by my work and dh points out a Togo's - "How long has that been there?" he asks. It looks OLD. Like it's been there for decades - a really old sign.
So all along I've been driving way out of the way when there is one right down the street? I told dh I felt stupid, but obviously no one in my office knew it existed!
Last time we were there I saw my favorite sandwich is on special on Mondays for $2.99. For now, anyway. I keep forgetting, but will have to remember one of these days. One small sandwich = two meals for me. I usually keep half for later.
I am not sure how the next week or so will shake out. I think April has been low-spend, overall, but I am still flying pretty blind with not being able to download my transactions into Quicken (Fidlity credit card), and too busy to manually enter things. I added up the gas/groceries the other day just to see where we were at. Which is mostly the part I am flying blind on. We always write down the misc. stuff since our buget is so limited for anything extra.
Anyway, the gas will not be good this month.
Tomorrow - drive 120 miles rount trip for a track meet. Taking the gas sipper, of course.
Sunday - drive 250 miles RT for Easter. Have to drive van because picking up treadmill. Ugh!
Monday - Dh is driving 130 miles RT for his little retreat. He said if his friend drove he'd give him gas money. I told him if his friend drove that would be nice because he was providing free shelter. !!! They are staying at the family cabin to work on some projects (without distraction).
Dh will probably drive 120 miles, at the least, to pick up the kids later in the week. I just remembered that part. Yeah, I really hope his friend drives!
That said - since we are getting a really nice/new treadmill, for free, it's not so bad. Any gas budget overage I will probably just pull from savings and consider it the cost of the treadmill.
Also, food costs may be on the low side with the kids (bottomless pits) gone for a week!
It's a bummer because all of the activities I had planned in May/June are pretty drive-intensive. May have to re-evaluate and find more to do closer to home. There were several hikes we wanted to do, etc. I also wanted to go to Monterey and San Francisco. Usually no big deal, but these gas prices are getting ouchy!
**Crossing my fingers for my usual overtime bonus. I don't take it for granted, and this year is not a year to take it for granted (boss decreased compensation by 10% last year).
**If I do get a bonus, I will also be able to figure my tax refund for 2011. Or if I will owe. We still have a pile of medical bills for this year, and so I expect another odd "large refund" year.
So, it will be nice to revise my mortgage pre-pay and ROTH goals having an idea of the refund amount.
I take most my withholding from my bonus - which is another thing. No bonus? - may owe a lot of taxes! I should have a better idea today, either way.
**My main goal is 10% to retirement. Secondary goal is to fund medical deductible ($3,000) for the year 2012. I don't expect to receive enough to do both 100%, so that's it! Will put away what I can for next year.
I may pull a couple of hundred dollars for some recent spending.
**Spending on the horizon???
Having replenished cash savings after a VERY spendy April (property taxes, medical bills, etc.), and having saved $300-ish on home repairs (was much cheaper than I expected), we will probably move forward on buying a nice screen door for the front door.
I am still cringing at the price, but it will serve a dual purpose. IT will add a small amount of security to our home (drives me NUTS that dh will answer the door to anyone - he thinks I am paranoid. Female versus male perspective, obviously). I would love a locked screen door between him and the outside.
I'd also love a better and more secure way to get fresh air moving downstairs. I suppose it could be an energy saving measure.
This is not technically from my bonus, at all. Would be one month's home/car savings. We've just been trying to spread out these known home improvement projects, and we have nothing else on the horizon (knock on wood) - so it's time! I suppose the point is if I don't get a bonus, we might decide not to spend the money. This is why we make these decisions in April, when the cash gets a bit of a boost.
P.S. Game of Thrones was AWESOME!
Had a really nice lunch date with dh today.
That's it for a while because kids are off school for 2 weeks!
That said, sounds like we might get some time to ourselves since kids are staying with the Grandmas a few days after Easter.
I have another skype date with my friend tonight.
I've tried to connect with her on skype a couple of times but she hasn't responded (said she didn't get the e-mails).
She lives in San Francisco. Last we met up we marveled how she hadn't seen my youngest son since he was an infant!
So, thought crosses my mind yesterday. Gosh, I need to skype her. I know she is really busy so ask if we can do a short skype session some time.
She e-mails me back and says yes, tonight, but why not a long skpye session.
I feel like a dork. For one, I should have taken the initiative and demanded we skype sometime soon. Yeesh! It's been over a year since I saw she was on skype?
Secondly, I easily solved the problem of her not meeting my son. If we skype early enough she can see and talk to him. If not, maybe another time.
I mention because skype can be such a frugal tool.
My dh has been skyping with his friend who lives about an hour away. They are working together on some projects, and started regular skyping to collaborate, last time gas prices spiked. The habit has just stuck.
I think that's why I Was thinking about it in terms of my friend. Distance doesn't seem to matter so much any more, does it?
Now that my sister is settled in her new house, we need to get a regular skype schedule set up, too. Since she was in limbo her webcam was packed away in boxes or something - for a LONG time. Time to bug her to get out the webcam.
It's ironic, because this week is going kind of slow for me. The franticness has gone down a notch. But none of my clients (or friends) want to bother me because they think I am so busy.
Anyway, as of yesterday, I am DONE! All the April 15th (er, 18th) stuff taken care of. I have a record low number of clients on extension. No idea why. But, it's pretty nice.
I am trying to get through the piles on my desk, then see what else has been pushed aside. It will be busy here for a while with April 30th and early May deadlines. None of which I have mad ANY progress on. So I am not exactly relaxing! Then there is all the "catching up on our regular work" which keeps us busy well into summer.
Anyway, BM has track meets the next two weekends and we are going to the Bay Area for Easter, so I don't see a "down day" in my future for a while. I will probably need to work this weekend, and won't have any time to work the following weekend. Easter will be fun, but I prefer more down/quiet time.
Next week I will choose my 3-day weekend for May. I usually take a Friday off in there, to celebrate the end of tax season. 3-day weekends feel like a full week of vacation after this craziness. & I will have two 3-day weekends in May!
I told dh that this was officially the easiest tax season ever. With both kids in school, I hoped he'd agree. He did, but said last year was pretty easy too. I guess we didn't expect much of him after surgery. No wonder this year seems so easy.
I think my own surgery significantly shortened the usual "4 months no break" that tax season becomes. For me, it's been about 3 months no break. So I am not as exhausted as usual. Plus, I get the strong feeling my co-workers were easy on my since I had surgery.
As such, I don't have any pent up splurges in mind. Usually we have a nice dinner out or something to celebrate the end of tax season. I told dh I would be easy this year. I want a REALLY nice bottle of champagne because I have conquered quite a few ongoing/neverending issues at work in recent weeks. I mentioned in a recent blog. Plus, hopefully we are done with all this medical stuff. I told dh I had no desire to eat out, but that I just wanted a nice glass of champagne. We can toast the hope that things will settle down a little bit.
All that said, the family is leaving me for 4-5 days. The kids have 2 weeks off of school, and dh is doing a "retreat" to work on his scripts. I think he feels this is his last hoorah to get some projects off the ground, or give up and get a "Real job." We have long talked about him going back to school and/or work come fall.
Anyway, so I will probably put in some BIG days at work and have an inordinate amount of peace and quiet at home. Next 2 weeks may not be so hectic after all.
Well, we got some interesting news on the medical front.
Dh is due for another MRI. So, he calls, and learns his Doctor retired LAST WEEK.
Since he should no longer need surgery, it shouldn't be too big of a deal. I am trying to be positive that it will be good to get another point of view or opinion, and switch to a local doctor to monitor things.
I also feel extremely blessed we were able to have this surgeon do dh's surgery. A year later, and maybe he couldn't have. !!! & it had taken years to diagnose him - so I do feel blessed we got the chance to have one of the best surgeons. That we didn't have to travel more than 90 miles or so to have one of the best surgeons around. Phew!!!
Anyway, I am not sure when his MRI will be (probably not scheduled yet), but crossing my fingers for NO NEWS. He's still a very valid candidate for cyber knife (a radiation procedure). We just have been dragging our feet on that. His last surgeon really recommended it, but we wanted some time and space before we went down that road again. The side effects can be really similar to surgery, and we kind of felt it was best to heal and see how things go. Rather than add more swelling/problems, etc. immediately after a seemingly succesful surgery.
So, will see what any new surgeon's opinion on the subject is. & hopefully we like the guy we are referred to. We may have to shop around a bit.
It's bad enough our *forever* dentist retired and we have to carefully find a new dentist too. What's up with that? People retiring all over the place... A dentist is just a dentist, but I have had a lot of trouble finding one that wasn't extremely scammy. Just thinking about it stresses me out. & now I have to add brain surgeon to the "awesome retired people to replace" list. Ugh!