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Viewing the 'Just Thinking' Category

October 28

November 4th, 2018 at 05:39 am

October 28
$31 Groceries
$16 Haircut
Dinner: Mexican Potato Soup (crockpot)

Not much to report. I wasn't noticing any decrease in our grocery spending, though DL was gone for for 10 days, MM was gone for one weekend, and we've been eating out excessively (for us). BUT, it hit this week. The grocery run this week was an entire $31. We have enough food otherwise, to get through the week.

MH ran some errands and got a haircut. All I did was laundry and work (job #2).

October 27 - Last Saturday

November 4th, 2018 at 05:37 am

October 27
$29 Deli Sandwiches
$124 Professional Classes
Dinner: Out

MH ended up taking MM to his volunteer shift at the animal shelter, because I was working all weekend. He went to the free car charger (which is right by the shelter) and got about 50-cents worth of free electricity. Or enough "fuel" for the drive home.

I don't remember why, but we decided to bring dinner in. I think MH was just feeling that he had not planned better. & when he brought up the idea of eating out, everyone was game. He picked up some sandwiches from our favorite deli. I still don't understand food delivery, but I guess is nothing our families ever paid for. Just to say we picked up our own food and didn't have any additional expenses for that.

Though I worked like crazy all weekend, I did take the time to sort out my professional licensing and education. The good/bad news is that I can take some live webinar classes during Saturdays. Phew! Is so much easier because then your credit is just based on attendance, and confirming every 15 minutes or so that you are there.

That said, the "cheapie" place that "twin" referred me to (I bought an unlimited class pass for 12 months) did not have two of the courses that I needed. I recalled I had a free course for some professional membership renewal, but I had to pay for the other one. I just used the CE company that I usually use. I knew they had the right course for my state and their classes are top notch. Next time I can take more time to shop around. These two could potentially be more time consuming because they are self study. Will see.

So yeah, that pretty much consumes my Saturdays for the rest of the year. It's pretty much 4 hours x 5 weekends.

Electric Car Costs Update

October 28th, 2018 at 07:15 am

I received my home gas bill and it was something like -$20 due to an energy credit. (They owe us $20). Our home is crazy energy efficient, though we have the more expensive private utility for our gas. So our bills average around $30 per month throughout the year. People all the time presume we have like $300/month heating bills in winter, if we have a larger home than they do. ??? I've never had the heart to tell anyone that is our bill for the entire YEAR. This is also one reason we would very seriously consider new construction again. We've been really spoiled by the low utility costs in this house. I'd describe it as more frugal energy efficient. Most of the energy savings was put into wrap and insulation. Not into things like solar (that cost a LOT of money).

Anyway, I saw the gas bill, so thought I'd check on our electricity usage for the month.

This was electricity usage pre-electric car:


This is electricity usage with overnight car charging (for lower electricity rates):


I was trying to figure out why our electricity was spiking so much more in the evenings on older bills, and I finally realized that was A/C. This second picture is more average electricity usage for us during the fall.

We can charge the car between midnight and 6am for cheaper electricity rates. There is a delay on the charger where you just set how many hours later you want to turn it on. Or you can set that up in your car. I think there's a way to set it up so that if the car knows it is at home it will always delay to midnight, or something like that. I suppose that is something we should figure out. But for now, I just usually set it to charge 8 hours later, when I get home around 4pm every day. Or sometimes if MH is going to run MM to gymnastics or something like that, I charge it until 5:00 and then unplug it. Is just enough charge to make a trip like that.

The summer rates are going to be INSANE during the week for 5pm-8pm, so we are just trying to get into that mindset/habit NOW. We have about 6 months to adjust. Mostly we are doing all the laundry on the weekends and making sure to charge the car at midnight.



I was really pleased to see this last summary pop up, when I logged in to electric company website today. It's going to be so easy to calculate the electric car costs.

For simplicity sake, will probably just use that '12am-6am usage' figure.

So, for this month we used 284 kWh so far, from 12am-6am. It looks like we used about 1.50 kWh per day, during those hours, before we bought the car, so gives us some kind of baseline usage. BUT we also sometimes top off a few miles on the car here and there during the day, so will just consider that to be a wash. Keeping it simple.

284 kWh x $0.0819 = $23.26

If this were the bill for the entire month, that is the number I am going to allocate every month to car fuel costs, instead of "house electricity".

Teen Job

October 27th, 2018 at 11:12 am

MM(15) got a job!

He always has been charmed, and I think that continues for him. My "forever employer" is just up a creek and needs any help they can get to cover work backlog, and until they hire new employees.

In addition, I wouldn't be surprised if I am able to hire him on at my new employer next summer. Will cross that bridge when we get to it, but probably some good opportunities for him. At new job, it's SO busy and they like to hire family members. I will bring it up as summer approaches.

Anyway, this all started because "awesome admin" is helping "forever employer" however she can. She was saying like she wished she had someone who could just scan documents (huge backlog) or something like that. I joked that my son could do it. But in the end both him and both her really liked the idea. So I hashed out the details with "forever employer" this week.

I've said before that one of the perks of living in a higher cost region is if we just live off the one income, all the other incomes are gravy. & the gravy is bigger, though MM has absolutely no expenses at this point in his life. He will definitely take advantage. His starting pay is $12 per hour.

For now, I think they'd just appreciate help for a couple of days. But if it works out well, he may have some work through spring. Though we totally understand if they hire someone good and don't need the help after next month. Will see.

As to me, I need a break. I still have gotten to absolutely nothing on the home front. I still need to take some time to sort out my education/licensing, so am loosely thinking of taking the next two weeks off entirely from Job #2, to tend to that. & Christmas is my DEAL BREAKER, and so maybe taking the last two weeks of December off of 2nd job??

For the past 17 years, Christmas week is a crazed deadline, and is just where I have to draw the line with helping "forever employer". It was the one thing I looked forward to more than anything, with this job change. I will still be working a 40-hour week at Job #1, but absolutely no nights/weekends/OT that week. Phew!! (12/31 is just the most unforgiving/tight deadline, so is my least favorite). I've always worked multiple jobs or long hours, so that part (potentially working tax season) doesn't bother me as much. I still think that is relatively short-term. Like maybe a year or two? If that?? & I am not offering to do any high-stress/tax season type work. So I know MH is concerned, but I keep telling him this is not TAX SEASON. Heck, we've been talking about taking some time off during spring break just because I can. I am still totally free to do that. I haven't even offered to help at all with taxes. Just easy bookkeeping work.

For the rest of this year, I am not working anything like I did the last two weeks. I am thinking maybe 8-12 hours per week. With two weeks off first and then two weeks off at the end of the year.

For 2019, will cross that bridge when I come to that.

I am motivated financially, due to pay cut with new job. Will definitely be more than fine without the extra money, but it's easy money. I can't so no to the easy money.

So my plan the next two months is to only work maybe 12 hours x 4 weeks max??

On the plus side, I am catching up on 3+ months of work that was never done, so as I type this out, I feel better about the next round of Quarterly deadlines. Phew! Just a note to myself that having more than two weeks to cram ALL this work in, will be nicer for next time.

There is one wrench in my plans to take time off. If I am driving MM(15) over to "forever employer" to work some weekends, it would make the most sense for me to get some work done while I am there. His loose first day is planned for next weekend. Will see how that pans out.

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.


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!!