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More college business

May 3rd, 2017 at 09:31 am

Kid finally called yesterday to see what impact his mom getting married would have on his scholarship (see last entry.) He was given a new website with a calculator that would help determine whether he was still eligible. He asked his mom for the finance's salary info (through text, since he was at our house) and she got upset and told him that only her salary counted.

He's going to sit down with her and asked her again for all the information. N coached him a bit-he wants to make sure kid stays calm throughout it all and is respectful to his mom, but also wants him to know when it's okay to be upset. So N asked "what if she said there's no way to know what they make?" and kid said "I will say 'Didn't you just do your taxes?' " I have a feeling this conversation is not going to go well tonight.

N is already preparing what he is going to say in a meeting with kid's mom. Unfortunately, I don't think she will really "hear" what he has to say. She can still have the big wedding, the party, the dress, the ring, the vows and the committment she wants. It would just be better for kid, and for her relationship with kid, if she didn't sign the marriage papers until after he graduated college.

Kid was pretty down yesterday and I wished that there was something I could do to even temporarily make him happy. He is such a good kid and this is such a stressful time.

If it looks like he won't get his full ride to a Big 10 that he's been promised, we worry about what his senior year will look like. I think he might live with us full time (he is definitely welcome to, but we've always stressed not to hurt his mom-I think this is an exception.) I worry he will just do the bare minimum to graduate.

I've looked into what community college costs around here. If worst case scenario happens I think I will offer to pay for his first 2 years (or until he transfers to university.) BUT there will be a contract and things he has to uphold (renewable each semester so if he thinks it's too much then he can opt out.) 1. He has to maintain a 3.0 average. If he isn't going to actually try then he can pay for college himself. That's all I got right now.

We'll see. He has a lot of people in his life and he isn't my kid-frankly his mom should be the one figuring this out. This whole situation just makes me sick.

I'm still plugging away at my finances. The basement reno for the Airbnb space is finally paid off!!! Woo hoo!

College kerfluffle

April 5th, 2017 at 12:26 pm

In our state, there is a program that gives economically disadvantaged kids free college tuition to a state school as long as they meet certain conditions (maintain a certain gpa, don't get in trouble with the law, do service projects, parents make under $x annually.)

N's kid is part of this program. He signed up in 7th or 8th grade and has steadily been making progress towards what he needs to accomplish for it. His entire life every adult he knows has been telling him not to screw it up because that is the only way he will have to pay for college outside of loans. As a result, though, no one has even thought about TRYING to save any money for college for him.

This week kid learned that one of his friends was kicked out of the program because the friend's parent remarried and now new spouse's income counts. This is troubling because kid's mom is getting married in October.

When this info was brought to kid's mom she said "Well, I thought about that..." and trailed off.

How long ago did she think about that? And what did she do after she had the thought? Absolutely nothing.

We don't have all the information yet. It's unclear if they can kick him out or if they will count new husband's income. The website is terrible, and the high school is not much better. N and kid are going to try to talk to someone so they can form a game plan to take to kid's mom.

I just can't fathom wanting to be married so badly that I would be fine with throwing away the chance that my kid wouldn't be able to go to college. And the resentment my kid would have knowing that I chose marriage over their future. (The kicker is that kid doesn't even like fiance. He gave him a try and is civil when he's over at their house, but has stopped wanting to hang out with them because fiance is a big baby man that literally cries when he doesn't get his way.)

Some options we talked about last night- switch custody to N. N is very poor and we aren't getting married so there's no worry about my finances screwing things up for kid.

Kid getting emancipated. He'd be on his own for insurance but he would still be able to live with us and we'd provide a lot for him.

Kid says his mom would never go for either of those because she gets $2-$3k back on her taxes because of him. Honestly, I think she forfeits any say in it because she is the one making terrible decisions that effect kid. Also, at some point he is going to get to an age where she can no longer claim him and what was her plan? She sure isn't saving that money for college for him.

I am frustrated because kid has been promised something that through no fault of his own might not work out. But also because I have absolutely no say in anything that happens. This is between Kid, N and Kid's mom to figure out a solution. Also, kid's mom will never listen to any advice I have, she won't listen to N because he calls her out on bullshit and she won't listen to kid because in her mind kid is still a kid, not almost a man who can make his own decisions.

I'm not trying to shit all over kid's mom but this situation is absolutely crazy town to me.

I'm not sure how long I will leave this up but I am frustrated and wanted to get part of it out. Hopefully I am severely overreacting (like I am prone to) and it will work out for kid.

Staying in a motel this weekend

February 10th, 2017 at 01:04 pm

We have to spend the weekend in a motel.

We blocked out the entire month of January thinking that would be enough time to complete our renovation. Then we thought it would be enough time to at least finish the bathroom. And it turns out, it wasn't. Which isn't so terrible, but we only have one bathroom now and it is in the Airbnb space. We won't cancel a booking because it seriously negatively affects our status, plus we need the income to pay the mortgage Smile

So, we're at a motel, while our guests have the airbnb space. I was able to get the cost of the motel from $179 to $124, so that's helpful. The guests are paying $204 to stay at our place so we still come out ahead. I am putting the cost as part of the reno, though.

We have guests next weekend too, but by then we should have a toilet!

Yesterday and today have not been so great. I snapped at N this morning. I absolutely should not have raised my voice at him-that is not what nice and civilized people do. But, I feel at least what I was frustrated about was legitimate. Still not okay to be rude/mean/bitchy to your partner, though.

I haven't really woken up today, despite sleeping pretty good. What I want is to take a long, hot shower and cry my eyes out. Maybe then I can perk up. And then I would like to eat a bunch of greasey, cheesey food. I know what I really should do is get out and moving, so maybe I will try to do that instead.

I don't want to eat out tonight. In addition to not having a toilet, we also don't have a kitchen. We have a induction cook plate that is awesome, so I am hoping I can convince N to a pasta dish, or something else relatively easy to make. We've been having lots of crock pot meals, too, but that isn't an option for dinner tonight.

I made the best lasagna I have ever made in my cooking life in the crockpot recently. It was from Betty Crocker-http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-family-favorite-lasagna/c030b869-a04f-4135-a79c-9effd6171c1d

House, job, focus...

February 8th, 2017 at 07:18 am

I guess it is time for my quarterly post?

House situation- instead of me buying N out of the house, we decided to do something on the more radical end of the spectrum. We're in the middle of a DIY renovation. We are hoping that upgrading the bathroom and kitchen will increase the value of our house enough to both pay back the cost of the reno and get N the money he wants out of the house. We've done some other upgrades previously (new metal roof, adding another full bath, finishing the basement) that the numbers should work. Then, we will get a HELOC, pay off the reno, N will have his money and still have a share in the house.

Right now the money we've spent is put on 0% interest credit cards. It looks like it will be under $12k for the entire operation.

Pros:
-N is doing 95% of all the work, so he will "earn" more equity in the house even though he will be taking some out.
-Risks associate with the house, costs for repairs, etc, will still be split between me & N
-I don't have to refinance a higher mortgage with a higher interest rate and resetting the mortgage.
-new kitchen and bathroom!!!!

Cons:
-It's risky taking money out of the house for something that isn't going to earn us money.
-Another payment (but Airbnb and/or N will be responsible for it.)

So, that's what is happening with that. I feel better about the situation but it's not great. I wish it didn't feel so rushed. Also, I wish it was done. We started the week before Christmas and it is take way, way longer than anticipated.

Job:

Still meh. I like it better than I did, so that is something. The public library has an adult librarian position open and I am definitely applying but I can help but feel discouraged by it all. I think it is likely (but not definite) that I will get an interview. But I think it's pretty likely they will not hire me even if I am awesome. I love, love, love the mission of the public library and would love to be able to feel like the work I am doing is "good" but it sounds like all of the problems I had with the administration of the library before I left are only getting worse.

Other things:

I have been really unhappy lately. I am seeing a counselor but I am not sure she is the "right" one for me. I was doing really well for a few weeks-I started exercising most days, paying attention to my diet, finally started sleeping good and made sure to make time for me. But then I got sick and missed work for almost 9 days. I am starting to get back into the exercise and stuff but I still feel stuck.

I also am having problems focusing. Partly because I can't turn my brain off and partly because...I am unmotivated? Lazy? Sad? Something else? Do any of you have recommendations? I know I feel better when I get good sleep, and I sleep better when I have been exercising. But I feel like there is SO MUCH I want to do, but don't have enough time to do it. And then when I do have time I end up wasting/squandering it. I think I might try a meditation app but my attention span is pathetic.

I haven't been totally MIA from blogging, even if I haven't been writing on SA. I started this blog (www.projectbeachlife.com) I have so many great ideas for it but then run out time or am too tired to be creative when I do have the time.

Financially things are going okay, but they could be better. Getting sick for so long meant a lot of take out, but now that I am well I am trying to get back into cooking and taking care of things myself instead of throwing money at a "problem." Baby steps!

Funeral and house news

November 1st, 2016 at 07:00 am

We went to the funeral last week. I hope this doesn't sound insensitive, but it was the best time I have ever had visiting that side of the family.

Granny was so happy to have us there. She and N stayed up until nearly 1am talking the night before the funeral. We got to hang out with N's sister without the kids for several hours on Wednesday. It was great to be able to be with her without her having "mom duty". We didn't get to see the kids that night (her husband was driving them down from 5 hours away and took them straight to the hotel.) SIL gave me oldest nieces cell phone number (she just turned 9! So young for a phone!) and she and I have been texting every few days. It's fun because she is really, really bad at texting-but that's how you learn! We really love those kids (and they us!) and we're trying to convince them to move to our town. I think we're going to try to get the older two to visit us this summer, individually. They both sounded excited about it.

I had never been to a funeral before so I didn't know what to expect. I find our death rituals really weird and uncomfortable. I don't understand viewings and it weirds me out to be in a room with a body. Well, at least I thought it would until I saw Uncle Charlie and burst into tears. I was the only one crying and that felt odd to me because I have only known him 3 years and everyone else...for much longer. I am an overly emotional person though, and goodbyes are very difficult for me.

MIL never showed up for the funeral. She said if Danny (Uncle Charlie's son) was still alive she would go for him but that she saw no reason to be there. Uh, how about the rest of your family is grieving? Honestly, a lot of the reason why the trip was so much better was because we didn't see her. N is very angry with her that she is putting him and SIL in shitty positions. She wants to visit us next weekend and that is not something I am looking forward to.

We're concerned about the caregiver Granny hired to help take care of Charlie. I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt but I got a bad feeling from this woman. I think she (and her unemployable adult son) will start to look at Granny as a meal ticket. I feel awful saying this but there were some real red flags and clear instances of professional boundaries being crossed. N & Granny had a talk about it and Granny is a tough lady, but I still worry about her being taken advantage of.

In other news, N wants me to buy him out of his share of our house. I have been a mess of emotions about this. We're not breaking up, but he has something he wants to pursue and feels like this is the best way to do it.

On one hand, I feel it's completely irresponsible of him. But, he has a pretty solid plan and I know it will make him really happy. And he hasn't been happy recently. I will be less vague later.

But unfortunately, I don't have the money to buy him out right now. He actually didn't know that (we don't combine finances) and thought I did which is why he felt comfortable asking. We're in the process of seeing what all our (my) options are.

I will no problem qualify for the remaining mortgage on my own. The only question is interest rate. My credit is in the high end of the "good" range, so I am trying to get up to excellent by paying off the reno credit card ASAP (long before the 0% interest period ends.)

What I don't know is if I will be able to take out N's share of the house at the same time. And if I can't, then I need to figure out how to come up with the 12-13k to pay him. I have another 0% interest card for 18 months that I can write him a check from, but it would only cover 7k. I could try for a personal loan. He wants it changed over as quick as possible, so there isn't time to save up money AND pay down the credit card.

This is stressing me out a ton. Before he brought this up I felt like I was floundering but was pretty sure I would find my footing sometime. Now I have no idea what I am doing with my life. I am unhappy with my job, but am limited to what kind of positions I can apply for. There aren't really any locally, at least not for a significant pay cut and I can not afford that right now. If I look at jobs elsewhere, I would need to be paid enough to be able to afford a second (much, much smaller) residence. But now I don't think I will be able to do that, at least not until I have finished paying off his portion of the house.

We've been having nice long talks every evening, working out the particulars and unpacking the emotions. I know that this will end up better for me in the long term, because I will be getting all the airbnb money and will be able to make my savings goals a lot easier. But I have to get there first. I am not going to lie, I am feeling really let down about the whole situation, but I am trying my hardest to stay positive and keep an open mind.

I calculated my networth this morning. So far every month this year I have seen an increase (once only for $41, but I will take it!) Feels good to see the numbers going up!

Wowza, it's been awhile

October 25th, 2016 at 04:04 pm

It's been awhile...

To catch up with the Granny situation... N went down to talk to Granny and her lawyer and see what options she had once MIL left Granny's house. Then N moderated a lunch where Granny told MIL that she needed to leave by August 1st. MIL was pissed, but wouldn't let N talk about what options SHE had. The plan was for MIL to be out by August 1st.

Meanwhile, we went on vacation to California to visit my family. We had a great time and it was pretty frugal, but the last couple of days we went crazy spending-wise. While we were relaxing on the beach, N got a call from Granny saying that she had her lawyer serve MIL with an eviction letter...giving her almost an additional 30 days. We don't know why she escalated it, but it didn't matter because MIL left before August 1st.

She came to visit us. I really feel for her because she is in a bad situation, but she completely made that bed. I asked N if she came to visit would she leave, because it was a real concern (to me) that she might decide she likes living in our house. It was as good of a visit as we would get with her. She frequently compared our house to N's sister's (who she had visited prior to us) and of course SIL's house was better. But then after we found out that she was doing the same thing to SIL but over there it was how SIL's didn't shape up.

A couple of weeks ago N got a call from his step father (MIL's ex husband) that Granny's husband, Uncle-Granpa, had died. We were expecting this, but it was still sad. N called Granny to see what happened and she kept getting Uncle Grandpa confused with his son. Well, it turned out that Uncle Grandpa didn't pass away-his son Danny did.

Danny took care of everyone in the family. He helped out with Granny and Uncle Grandpa, his mom is committed to a state institution so he looked out for her, he was raising several of his grandchildren. He only slept a couple of hours a night. His body literally quit.

Uncle Grandpa was able to make it to Danny's funeral. And then I guess he started giving up. He passed away yesterday. N and I will be going down tomorrow afternoon and the funeral is Thursday. I am not super into funerals, but it will mean a lot to Granny to be there so I will go.

Granny has someone living with her until November 1st, so that is good. N told her that they are going to sit down and have a discussion about what she's going to do in the future, what she can afford, and how to get her to have the best future she can. Earlier, he had met with her lawyer and her financial adviser and she can afford assisted living or in home care, but she is convinced she can't. She is thankful that someone is looking out for her.

Financially, things are still going well. They could be a little better, but that's because I am not making the best decisions Wink

We're super excited about the Cubs making the World Series! We're trying not to spend all our money at the bar but MLB has made it really hard. We don't have cable, so there's no streaming through the MLB website, or our cable provider. We can't get Sling TV or Playstation Vue because it doesn't support our Fox market. We can't use the antenna because it won't pick up the Fox station that is 60 miles away. It is really RIDICULOUS. We're using a legal grey area streaming site on a laptop that we don't use often just in case it gets infected. It's stupid because we're willing to pay, just not every month to a cable provider.

That's about it! I read every day, but will try harder to update.

Feeling stuck

July 19th, 2016 at 09:56 am

I am feeling stuck in my job. The university job was always supposed to be a stepping stone, and I haven't been here a year yet (10 months) but I am ready to move on. Part of it is on me. I do need more direction than I am getting and I need to be more responsible in creating my own projects and seeing them through. But part of it is that the work just isn't satisfying or fulfilling, and there isn't enough work.

I asked one of my bosses for more work and that has been good. I have a few, varied projects I can work on and a couple of them will take a couple of weeks. I need to ask the other boss for some work to do but he has been pretty clear that he doesn't want to have to give me things to do. He is very hands off.

One thing that really bothers me, and I don't know if it should, is that both my bosses refer to me as their assistant. I am a Reference Assistant. I assist with the collections, but I'm not anybody's personal assistant. I feel like when they call me their assistant when asking people to contact me with the questions they have that I am not taken as seriously. This might be on me to get over, though.

I have been looking for other jobs, and even interviewed at my dream job at the rare books library. I knew from the moment I sat down in the interview they were only interviewing me as a courtesy, but I did the best I could anyway. Obviously, I didn't get it but I hope I left a positive impression in case something opens in the future.

I am bound by geography. Other library systems in the area don't pay as well, so I'll take a pay cut PLUS have a 2 or more hour commute a day. Currently, I walk to work. I am more seriously considering looking for jobs in a 3 hour radius and renting a room or a studio apartment and to come home on the weekends. It's not ideal, but I am so unhappy at work that it is bleeding into home. If I could accept that I have a job that doesn't satisfy me then maybe I could focus on just what makes me happy at home, but I am very much someone who depends on my job to make me happy.

Financially things are going well, but I want to do better. We are heading to visit my family soon and have agreed to do super cheap things (beaching, swimming, hiking, etc) instead of more costly fun things. We'll have a great time, I am sure, but there were several things I wanted to do that we just can't afford. I told N & Kid we aren't going next summer, that we'll visit N's dad for a week instead. I'll go back for a couple long weekends but that is obligation visiting and not really vacation. (Not that I won't have a great time with my family.)

The next adult thing to take care of is setting up a will. I called my family lawyer but he wants me to find someone in the state I live in. So I have a couple people in mind. I know I can do it myself, probably, but I feel like I have just enough weirdness in my finances that it might be better to pay someone to get the job done right.


Talked to the lawyer + other things

June 22nd, 2016 at 12:01 pm

N talked to granny's lawyer on Monday. Luckily, N and the lawyer are completely on the same page. Granny can't kick MIL out unless and until she has in-home care. The lawyer has a lot of elderly clients so he has some referral for in-home caregivers. N has decided (and I agree) that Granny should start with in home care and then assess whether to push moving to an independent living situation. It might be easier with someone else (the caregiver) recommending that she go across the street (literally).

N is going down to take her out to lunch tomorrow and explain that there needs to be in home care and also that she has to be in his corner while he is in hers. He doesn't want to sit down with MIL to tell her she needs to find other arrangements only to have Granny equivocate or tell MIL she can stay. N will help no longer if that is the case. He is also going to tell granny that the lawyer recommends, and he agrees, that if she wants to keep a relationship with her daughter (MIL), then she's going to have to pay MIL some kind of living allowance so that she can support herself. It's stupid but that is the price you pay for bailing out your kid every time they get in trouble and not making it so they have to figure out how to live on their own and not off of someone.

If MIL doesn't agree, on advice of N's dad (who has been divorced from MIL for many, many years) is first going to beg MIL in order to stroke her ego and then if that doesn't work he is going to tell her the hard truth: no one in the family will want to have any kind of relationship with you if you keep this up because it is clear you are using an elderly couple only for their money and that is disgusting. But he doesn't think it will get that far.

N asked the lawyer what kind of legal rights MIL has and she has very few. Even if she tried to claim that Granny and Uncle-Grandpa are incompetent and that she needs to make their decisions, she'd have to hire her own lawyer (which she doesn't have the money for) and that no judge would agree-even UG who has short term memory problems is deemed competent to make his own decisions under the law.

Hopefully this will get Granny and UG the care they need, eliminate a lot of stress in their lives, and keep MIL off of SIL's doorstep. It has been a stressful week, and there is still a bit more to come but at least there is a path to a solution.

Granny Update

June 20th, 2016 at 06:07 am

We've been dealing with some issues with Granny that at minimum have been frustrating. I will try not to write a novel about this but a lot has happened in the past couple days.

We planned on visiting Granny, Uncle-Grandpa and MIL the weekend before last, for Granny's birthday. Due to poor planning on our part (we had to flip the airbnb space on Sunday morning) and MIL dental problems we postponed to this past weekend. Friday morning N gets a call from a very upset granny telling him that her lawyer will be calling him and MIL needs to leave the house and that she wants N to be the one to tell MIL to get out.

According to granny MIL has been aggressive and increasingly mean and it came to a head when MIL got up into granny's face which caused uncle-grandpa to try to intervene and got him very upset. Uncle-grandpa is dying; he only has 10% function of his heart and just moving from a chair to the wheelchair wipes him out. He does not need this added stress.

Knowing what we know about MIL and granny, we know that there is a lot of truth to what granny was saying, but N wanted to take the weekend to observe before confronting MIL or making any changes.

After this weekend it is clear that at minimum there is neglect. MIL is being paid $2500+ a month from Uncle-Grandpa's insurance to be his caregiver. She put on a good show for us and every time her alarm rang she made a big fuss to me about how regimented her life is and how she never has any time for herself because she is always taking care of something, but there was a lot of talk and not so much action. She does make sure UG takes his medicine and gets his breathing treatment, so she is doing the minimum.

But he has a lot of short term memory loss. That's just the way it is. And she makes fun of him and talks to him like he's stupid, and that is so unnecessary. I know it is easy for us who don't live with him to answer the same question a lot, but this is how she is treating him when there is someone else around. I can't imagine how bad it could get when it's just the three of them.

There is no food in the house. Scratch that-there are 7 different kinds of cookies, a cake, several bags of different chips and several boxes of crackers, frozen pot pies and cheap cheap cheap frozen pizzas. Food Granny and UG have never eaten in their life and food that really shouldn't be given to people with heart problems. MIL kept complaining about how she can never find time to grocery shop and N stated several times "we're here now, do you want to go and get some grocery shopping done." and she got upset with him. "I don't want to waste your visit!"

The state of the house is filthy. MIL lets her dogs pee in the house and doesn't clean it up. N woke up and there was a puddle of pee on the floor outside our bedroom. Granny didn't notice it and was walking through it and dragging her walker through it. MIL said just to leave a paper towel on it and got upset when N cleaned it up.

MIL is not a trained caregiver. She just isn't. She may mean well but this is not the right job for it. The problem is is that she has never earned her own living and saw an opportunity and moved into Granny's house to "care" for her. MIL literally has no where to go once Granny kicks her out. So N needs to come up with a kind of solution for that so MIL doesn't end up with SIL.

However, Granny does not accept that she and UC need a caregiver. Great, MIL leaves, then what? Granny gave up driving 11 years ago. How will they get grocerys? What happens if Granny falls, who will be there to help? UG absolutely can't help. Granny is doing a reasonable good job taking care of herself, but she is 91 and TIRED. The few minutes N had alone with Granny he tried to bring this up and that she needs someone in the house to care for her but she said "we don't have that kind of thing around here. Maybe in the big city but not here."

Okay, that is just absolutely not true. The literally live across the street from an assisted/independent living community. I mean, you walk down their driveway, cross the street and BOOM there the community is. They live in the country but we found 5 different places that offer in home care. Granny gave us permission to find her "options" but she doesn't want someone in her house and she refuses independent/assisted living.

N is going to talk to the lawyer today but we don't know how fruitful it will be or how much he can discuss with N. N is going to implore him to wait to send a letter requesting MIL leave (that is the plan-ugh) until other care for Granny and UG is in place. That is when it will become clear to MIL that her services are no longer needed and hopefully police won't have to become involved and some of the relationship can be salvaged.

We're afraid if their care isn't in place first then MIL will just take off and then how will granny and UG eat? All it will take is one accident-UG falling, or granny falling, before social services is called and they will decide what "home" to put them it. We're going to try to frame it to Granny that she should be the one to make the choice and hopefully she'll go to the place across the street (assuming it is a good place. We haven't looked there yet.) We know the place that social services will chose is awful because UG was there for many weeks last fall and it was depressing and cheap.

I am not a decision maker here but I am trying to offer N as much support as possible and offer different perspectives so that he can make the most informed decisions. He's been in contact with his sister but I don't have much confidence she'll be of too much help-only because she brings so much emotion into it and might not be able to stand up to granny or MIL for what's best in the long run.

Catching up

May 25th, 2016 at 02:13 pm

We had the kid's birthday celebration and he seemed very happy with it. He had dinner with his mom and her fiance and his stepmom and her boyfriend the day before and did not have a good time. Mom and stepmom used the dinner as time to catch up and ignored kid (at least that's how he tells it) and mom's fiance was a big grump (shocking). He said all he wanted for his birthday was to have a good time, so I hope we gave one to him.

(I know I complain about kid's mom a lot and I feel bad. It's just that I can't say how I really feel about her when the kid's around and it's not really my place to complain when he's not. She is a great mom and has raised a wonderful young man but sometimes she is just so frustrating!)

It's been a pretty spending week. I bought a new cell phone. I was looking around because I knew I was going to need one soon, but didn't want to spend more than $200. I was looking at iPhones because that's what I currently have and I just couldn't bring myself to paying what they were asking-even used! It looked like I was going to settle for a 4th generation used, but then I got an email from Consumer Cellular (my cell phone company) that new iPhone 5Ss were selling for $160 (16 gb) and that I could pay $25/month for 5 months (no interest, auto deducted) with $35 paid right away. I jumped on it and I am so excited. I really love this phone. This is the first brand new phone I've had since I was 16 (not just a new to me phone).

I told partner how I am trying to get my spending to under $2000/month (not including retirement, or renovation payments) and he scoffed like it shouldn't be hard and asked what I am spending now. When I told him he looked at me sheepishly and said "I'm really not pulling my weight around here..." Which...financially he isn't, but he cooks dinner most nights, does almost all the deep cleaning of the house and takes care of any house problems we have. I told him if he wants to help he is more than welcome to buy groceries. Hopefully he can start helping out more, but I have long ago come to terms with what we each take care of.

So far I have 22 mystery shops on the books for May. Several of them are internet queries though and don't take much (they also don't pay much). I have gotten obsessive about it and I am going to try to tone it down a tad for June-there are other things I want to work on as well. But, yesterday partner and I went wine tasting for a mystery shop so that was awesome and I will not turn down something like that in future. I have been able to use dinners to cut down on grocery shopping, and there are a couple of grocery shops in neighboring towns but I need to find other shops to do while there because I don't think it is worth the drive or the time.

Currents wants/needs:
*new pair of flats and new pair of walking shoes
*new coffee maker-ours shorted and the grinder randomly comes on but won't make coffee anymore. In the short term we bought k-cups because we have a kureig but I want to research coffee makers and maybe get one this weekend (would love to stretch it to next weekend)
*pencil skirt

Not too terrible of a want list Smile

Jobs and birthdays

May 18th, 2016 at 08:31 am

Only two more shifts at the public library! I reminded the HR head last week that I am leaving and want to do an exit interview and she said she knew and would let me know this week. So far, nothing. I think they know what I am going to say and don't want to hear it. I'm torn between being honest and you know, not being honest. I think they need to hear what I want to say but also I may want to work there again some day.

In other job news, a position opened up at the University Library that I am SUPER JAZZED ABOUT. It's cataloging rare books, and while that isn't a MLS position, it is a supervisory one, and cataloging is a MLS position elsewhere (depending on the institution). I am 99% sure I am going to go for it because I think I would be really excited to do that work everyday. But here are my concerns

1. I have only been at my current position for 9 months. I don't want the rare books people to think I am a job hopper (I'm not, I spent 6.5 years at the public library)

2. One of the positions I currently work in is sans librarian right now. They're hiring for it, but until the contract is signed it's anyone's guess when they will be in place. Will it look bad on me if I leave before the new librarian starts? Truthfully, the position was empty for at least 6 months before I was hired, but there was a librarian there then.

I just don't want leaving soon to reflect badly on me. There is a culture of moving between positions here, though.

The kid turns 16 today and is super stoic about it. We're having our celebration with him tomorrow. I asked where he wanted to go out to eat and he said Indian which sounded great to me. But then somehow a local steakhouse got brought up and how the kid had never been to it. It took some prodding to get it out of him that he wanted to go. He will not ask for things he wants or needs. This drives me crazy. I get that you don't want your little kid pestering you every time you go to a store for something, but this kid sometimes legitimately NEEDS things (like pajamas) and doesn't ask for them and waits for us to notice. He's at the age now where he needs to start advocating for himself! But I am not his parent so what do I know. It only bothers me because I care about him.

Financially things are tight but that's in preparation for our trip this summer. Otherwise things are moving along.

Using up what we have

May 16th, 2016 at 06:01 am

This is my last week at the public library! While I am very sad to be leaving, I am so happy for the extra time I will be getting back. I had an amazingly productive Sunday and I am looking forward to that being the norm.

We had a lot of fruit that was needed to be used up. First, I made a loaf of banana bread (secret ingredient-almond extract). Then, I made a fruit crisp-apples, pears and strawberries with a topping of crushed walnuts, almonds, pecans and brown sugar.

I still had pounds of apples left. I already had enough apple butter so I didn't want to make anymore yet. I did a google search of how to use up apples but none of the recipes would work with only what I had on hand. UNTIL I decided to search for a drink that I had every day that I lived in Tajikistan- Kompot. It's a Russian flavored water (not quite juice). So I boiled more apples, pears and strawberries for about a half hour, took out the big pieces and strained the rest in cheesecloth, and have a delicious drink for the week! Then I used the remaining fruit to make a fruitsauce (like apple sauce, but with more than just apples). Delicious! Here's the recipe for the kompot-http://natashaskitchen.com/2012/07/17/homemade-juice-kompot/

Then I made a delicious sausage pasta bake that exceeded my expectations. I made too much so I froze the remainder for another night.

I finally bought our tickets for California. Originally I was going to buy us on Allegiant air because it was almost half the price as any other airline. But I read all sorts of bad reviews and I didn't want to deal with those sorts of things. So I bought them on Southwest. One perk is that by next summer we should have enough points for another free trip out there.

Right before this my partner told me he still hadn't paid his credit card off from our trip last summer and doesn't have a whole lot spend while we're there. That was a disappointment. We don't share finances and he is an adult so I don't know all the details of his finances and don't get on him because it's up to him and it doesn't (usually) effect me. I had considered canceling the trip because the airfare was already going to be more expensive than I planned and then add to that I will have to pick up more of the bills while we're there. But I just can't do that to my aunt. She is so looking forward to us visiting and I know if I said we couldn't come because of finances that she would offer to pay and I can't let her do that when it's because my partner doesn't take good care of his. Plus, we are going to scatter Nanny and Papa's ashes.

So we're going. But next summer if he doesn't get his shit together I've decided we'll just spend a week at his dad's and then I will visit my family alone for a long weekend. The week at dad's isn't expensive-just the gas to drive there and back and a meal each way, because FIL pays for everything. Plus he has a boat and lives near mountains so there is lots of free things to do.

While we're in CA I am planning on mystery shopping our meals and hopefully get some grocery mystery shops too so that we can bring lunches to the beach. There's one shop for something in Palm Springs that I am dying to do but was going to put off this trip because of the expense. If we can get the shop then we'll do it. Other than that and a baseball game (can't visit my favorite team's city without going to the stadium) we are planning low key, free things. Like, hanging out at the beach every day and taking a cooler.

Roof is paid off!!!

May 6th, 2016 at 08:10 am

I made the final payment for the roof this morning!!! Hooray! It took just about a year to pay off and the only fees were the balance transfer fees-well worth the extra $200ish for the flexibility to pay it off over a few months.

I also paid off my laptop yesterday! No interests/fees were charged for that one.

Next up to tackle is the renovation charges. They are 0% until May 1st, 2017. I still have $9800 to go. I will pay $850/month on it and put all my credit card cash back rewards to it. I might have to pay a little bit more that $850 for the last payment, but I am hoping that our airbnb money can pay for the shortfall.

I did two mystery shops last night and was reimbursed for a bottle of wine, cheese, a slice of cheesecake and a package of chocolate. This is in addition to the $20 (total) fee it will pay me. Of course, I won't see this money until the end of June but it was nice to be "paid" to buy something we were already planning on treating ourselves to.

We went out to dinner last night even though I didn't really want to. I didn't fight it though because the partner's kid is stuck at his mom's house for several days while she is out of town at a wedding. Apparently the animals can be alone for 8 hours while everyone is at school or work but can't be left alone over night for him to spend his regular night with us. Also-he is 15 and this is the second time she has left him 5+ days alone. It's not my place to comment but this seems borderline neglectful. Anyway, partner wanted to make sure he got a good meal (kid doesn't know how to cook and they leave him cereal? and other things like that that aren't really meals. Plus mom's fiance is a vegetarian which in their house means no one can eat meat in the house) AND wanted to spend time with him and how could I argue against that. Plus, I miss him when we don't get to see him regularly. So he tagged along for the mystery shopping and got some cheesecake out of it Smile

I am hoping that will be the last big splurge of the month but kid's birthday is coming up and that will mean another treat out. Kid wants acting lessons and I found one for teens that take place the nights we have him during the month of June. Unfortunately kid's mom has arranged for him to be out of town one week so he can't do it. So that's a bummer. His mom and her family buy him every piece of crap imaginable so I have given up on "thing" gifts because he already has them. We try to do experiences but it is hard to plan because we have to take into consideration her plans AND kid has a social life now, too. Oh blended families.

But other than the birthday I think we can do okay. Once I am finished at my part time job (15 more days!) I am going to start heavily listing my shit on ebay and take some mystery shops in the towns next to mine since I'll have a little more time. Partner and I are really gunning for financial independence and I told him it would come a lot quicker if we stopped eating out and drinking. I am hoping to temper those vices a little but I know we won't give them up completely.

Mystery shopping has helped a little bit with the eating out and we have found a new favorite wine for $3.99 a bottle which tastes fine and is a price I can definitely live with (Beringer, if anyone is interested, at Kroger). I sometimes like a glass of Baileys for dessert but I buy O'Donnels at 9.99 versus Baileys at 21.99. If we're going to do it any way at least let's not pay full price for it!

I quit

May 1st, 2016 at 07:01 am

Yesterday, I put in my notice for the public library. My last day will be May 21.

After I left my supervisors office I went to my partner's desk and cried my eyes out. I am sad to go but I know staying won't make me happy. I need to figure out what WILL make me happy-and pretty soon I will have the extra time to do that.

Friday I applied for a position as a prison librarian. It is about an hour away and pays well (better than what I am making by about $4/hour). I used to do the County Jail service while at the public library so I have some experience and know a little about what I am getting myself into. It looks like a fun and challenging job but also a little bit scary. My feelings won't be hurt if I do not get contacted by them.

We decided not to go for the house-yet. My partner would rather me not work 60 hour weeks, even for just a couple more weeks, than get the house. So, I am going to work on my credit (it's at about 700 but I want to try to get it to 720), cutting expenses and saving money and if the house is still on the market when we're in a better position then we'll go for it.

Still mulling over the house

April 28th, 2016 at 06:52 am

We haven't heard back from the mortgage lender yet (and we aren't expecting to until at least tomorrow, but maybe not until next week) but my partner has said that he doesn't want to get the property if it means I still have to work the part time job. I think I have to respect that. Also I want to quit. I still kind of want to stay because I like the security of the extra money but as I have said a million times: I am tired.

So, we will wait and see what the lender says and then go from there. There will always be another property to buy and this one has been on the market for awhile with no bites so it's possible it still might be there when we're ready again to try this process.

I am almost ready to make the final payment for our roof! Hooray! I am just waiting to get the rent check in to have a little more of a buffer in my checking account before I send the money off-just in case something happens in the next week. It took us a little over a year to pay the $12k for our metal roof (we had saved half of it and put the other half on 0% interest credit cards.) Next up to tackle is the renovation costs. We have about $9600 left to pay and have 12 months to do so before the interest kicks in. I am paying $850 a month plus all the cash back I get from my regular credit card spending (not much but about another $13/month) I am feeling pretty good about that.


What follows doesn't really have a lot to do with personal finance but is about politics so fair warning you are free to skip reading if you don't share my beliefs. I will not be offended Smile


We went to see Bernie Sanders speak last night. I was already feeling the Bern but last night made me feel it even more. I agree with what Robert Reich says about the two Democratic candidates-Hillary is the most qualified to be president for the system that we currently have but "But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he’s leading a political movement for change."

One of the things he spoke about last night had a huge impact on me- our health care system and how broken it is. My mom passed away 5 years ago after many weeks of complications after having a surgery to heal an ulcer. An.Ulcer. She had the ulcer for 4 years but didn't/couldn't get any treatment for it because she couldn't afford to see a doctor. She lived in tremendous pain for 4 years because we didn't have health insurance. She either did not qualify for insurance because she was a breast cancer survivor and therefore had a pre-existing condition, or because the premiums were FAR too high to afford-especially because she was unemployed and couldn't work due to her health.

My mom lived in pain for 4 years in The United States of America because she couldn't afford a doctor. At the time it seem so normal but now I am beyond outraged. When we moved here when I went to grad school my mom was finally able to receive care. Because our town had a network of volunteer doctors who would see and treat patients for little or no cost at all. The clinic would fill prescriptions for little or no costs. My mom and I thought we had hit the jackpot. Finally she could receive care! I can't believe how happy we were for CRUMBS when the insurance companies and health care industry ARE MAKING BILLIONS off the sick and the poor. If we lived in Europe we would never have had to make the choices we did. She could have seen a doctor when she first felt bad and maybe the ulcer could have been healed without surgery.

There were a couple of days we thought that my mom would be able to be released to come home. She wasn't cured or even any better, but they said she couldn't stay at the hospital forever but would send her home with a PIC line...to the tune of $1500 a day. Yeah, that's completely reasonable. Sometimes I think my mom gave up at that point and decided it wasn't worth it. That she didn't want to be a burden on me and didn't want me making decisions about my future based on her and how to afford the things she needs. Two days after we started the process for medicaid, she had a massive heart attack. Then her organs began to shut down. If there was a medicine that would help one organ, it would damage another. There wasn't anything we could do but make her comfortable-she had a DNR and didn't want anything done to prolong her life. I helped her make phone calls so she could say goodbye. She told her closest friends that the doctors only gave her three days (they didn't say that, they had no predictions for us other than it could be any time) and sure enough she died 3 days later. I think she gave herself 3 days to take care of business and let go.

I am so thankful for the Affordable Care Act, even though it came too late for my mom. No one should have to live with pain because they can't afford to see a doctor, or can't afford to fill their prescriptions. But the ACA isn't enough. It hasn't gone far enough. We need a single payer system in this country. It is ridiculous that health care consumers don't know the cost of their procedures before hand. That the costs for the same procedures are so radically different depending where you are getting them. Our healthcare system is still broken and I just can't accept that we can't do better.

Met with the mortgage lender today

April 27th, 2016 at 08:11 am

It is going to be harder this time around to purchase a property. Some of it has to do with changing regulation and some of it because of changes we've made in our lives.

Background: We want to buy an investment property a couple of blocks away from our primary home. It is plot with two structures on it-one structure is a two bedroom house and the other is a 1 bedroom almost tiny house. We think that we can rent it out (once a little work is done to it) for enough for it to pay for itself and the mortgage and property taxes of the primary residence. It shouldn't take too long to get it to be cash flow positive.

The news today:

First, we can't count AirBnB income until next year. We need to have two years of it on our tax returns. Oh well.

Second, the way student loans are factored in have changed. When we bought our house in January 2015, they just used the monthly payment to figure it out. My partner's IBR payment was about $70/month, I believe. Right now it is $0 because he only works part time. But, they have to use 1% of the total loan-about $900-as a monthly payment. That is ridiculous.

Third, our work histories. Partner's income can't count because he only works part time and has only done so for 6 months. I think he needs 1-2 years before they'll count it. I want to quit my part time job, but I haven't been at my full time for a full year yet. Though, I have strong work history, no gaps at all so that helps.

We're looking at seeing if we can do it in just my name, because we were already planning on moving the property to an LLC (private borrowers getting better interest rates than LLC borrowers) once we make a couple of payments.

My partner wants me to quit my job and then we'll work on getting in a better position to get a mortgage for an investment property. But, if we wait I still might not be able to qualify on my own without that extra income. If I stay for 2 more months (estimate) then I should be able to qualify on my own.

It is all a little ridiculous to me because I have more cash liquid than the property costs, but obviously don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. I am glad there are tighter mortgage rules but this seems harder than it needs to be.

We have a lot to talk about. If I stay at the public library for 2 more months that's almost 2k more, which I can put towards debt to help with my credit score which will help with the interest rates. It sucks because I don't want to stay any longer. But I think it might be worth it to get a place that will go a long way in furthering our financial goals.

So much to consider!

Catching up

April 26th, 2016 at 06:59 am

I made it back from my visit with my aunt and uncle. We spent a lot of time crying together then laughing. I am glad I was able to go out and I know they appreciated me visiting. I feel very guilty that I don't get to see them more often. It is just us three now. I have got to figure out a way to go for a long weekend but I don't get much vacation time (I will already have to take unpaid time off this summer when we visit) and it takes 4.5 hours to fly there-if I can get a non-stop flight. Add in another 1.5 hours just to get to the airport, and then who knows how long to get to their house from that airport because SoCal traffic is a nightmare. It hardly seems worth it for a Friday-Sunday visit.

I brought my grandfather's ashes out with me so that he and nanny could be together again. That was an experience but only because I was so worried that TSA wouldn't let him on the plane. But they did and I had to carry him all over the place. Who knew ashes could be so heavy! We mixed nanny and papa's ashes (something I have never wanted to do in my life but my aunt needed me to be the one to do it) and we'll wait until my partner and I come out in July to scatter them. My aunt suggested the desert because nanny and papa loved to go rock hunting together out there, but the desert in July might be too unbearable. So maybe the mountains. We'll see.

Financially things are going really well. I want to quit the public library now that I'm back from bereavement leave but now there's a new snag. Tomorrow we're meeting with a mortgage lender about getting pre-approved for an investment property mortgage. It might be better to keep my extra job until we get the investment property (if we get it, that is). Certainly, the extra paychecks won't hurt but I am tired and would like to not work so much. There is the real possibility that we won't get approved for the house we're looking at. My credit has gone down a little because the renovation costs are on my credit cards (0% interest and they will be paid off before any interest accrues). Plus, the mortgage would only be $88,000 and no mortgage calculator's online will give me an estimate for that amount with my credit score. We'll find out tomorrow.

I've been amping up on mystery shopping in preparation for losing my extra paychecks and having more free time. I actually did one the afternoon I got into CA. I took the shuttle to my aunt and uncle's city, straight to a hotel where I mystery shopped a restaurant. They paid me $30 to have a cocktail with my lunch and watch a Cubs game (plus reimbursed all my charges) LIVING THE DREAM.

AirBnB was unusually great this month so I was able to use some of that money to put towards the roof costs. I am planning on paying it off this month! Hooray! Less than a year after it got put on Smile Next savings goal: 5-7k for a bathroom remodel. The pipes are old and we want to move where the tub/shower is so most of that cost will be labor. I don't have a great plan for how to save for it yet, but I am working on it.

Room to breathe

April 10th, 2016 at 07:05 am

I heard back from my tax guy. I emailed him and said "Can you give me a heads up about how much I'll owe this year." I had estimated and budgeted $1000, but I didn't know because of airbnb and having two jobs. He responded "you're getting money back from the feds and owe the state about $50"

SAY WHAT.

Not only do I NOT owe $1000, I am getting $900 back! This is wonderful! Bill is a miracle worker! He was able to use what I paid for the renovation to lower my income from my rental properties (house and basement) And because I have so much extra withheld it means a refund! I don't think I will change the withholding for next year because we won't have those expenses but will have higher airbnb payments (since we only rented it for 2 months last year. I 'll have to talk to him about how to set myself up well for next year.

So, what to do with the extra $1850? I am going to get a haircut, first. My hair is down to my butt and I want a very short cut-basically Claire Underwood's hair from House of Cards. But I want to go to someone who is good at cutting short hair. Also I haven't had a hair cut in at least 18 months so this is all the justifications I have for spending a lot of money on a hair cut.

The second thing is a new cell phone. My is getting wonky and almost to the point of not working. I have had iPhones (used) the last two times but don't know if I can justify the price.

Dirt for the garden. I was already planning on working that into my budget but now I don't have to.

The rest will go towards the roof/reno costs.

The other big thing that happened this week is that my grandmother passed away. My aunt called me Thursday to say that they tripled Nanny's pain medication because she was in so much pain. Then about 6 hours later she called to tell me that Nanny had passed. So I am going out there April 20-24. I will bring my grandfather's ashes so that Nanny and Papa can be together again.

I am looking forward to spending time with my aunt and uncle and hope that I can be of some comfort to my aunt. I also hope that the estate settling goes smoothly because my aunt is so sensitive and everything is already going to be hard enough.

In limbo

April 4th, 2016 at 03:39 pm

I guess Nanny has rallied since my aunt was told if she ever wanted to see her mom alive she better visit right.now. It is super frustrating because she is in pain but they can't (won't) give her more pain medication because it will cause her organs to shut down. She has had zero quality of life for the past 6+ years and now she is in pain. I want so much better for her and none of it is in my control.

On a selfish note-it's hard to determine when I should put my 2 weeks in at the public library. I don't know if or when I will be going back to California. I don't want to take my bereavement leave and then 4 days later have it be my last day. That doesn't seem responsible. But they're scheduling training sessions and my manager wants me to work out times with my other job so I can attend and I don't want to go out of my way for training when I will be quitting soon. But I can't tell her that because I don't know when I can quit!

Still waiting to hear back from the CPA. It sounded like he was almost done when he called Thursday night. What I really want is to email him and ask if he has any numbers for me yet.

I cooked up a storm yesterday. I made homemade apple butter and it is AMAZING. We're putting it on chicken breasts for dinner tomorrow. I also made the most delicious chili to have for dinner tonight. The kid's girlfriend came over for movie and dinner and she is so sweet. It was fun hearing random laughter and she puts up with the partner and me Wink

I used to plan 3 meals to make each week but it seems like that hasn't been leaving us with enough leftovers and so my partner is spending more on eating out (which to be honest if he planned ahead at all he could eliminate but...) So I've planned a 4th meal with the hopes that we can cut out some of the lunch runs.

I've got to bring the cat back to the vet tomorrow and I hope the collar can come off for good now. Although she has been the cuddliest she has ever been in her life. I will miss her wanting to sleep with us all the time, but I probably won't miss her insistence of being ON TOP of us ALL THE TIME.

All the bills are now paid. Spending for the month is high, but it usually is the first half of the month and then slows down to even out the second half. I use Mint to compare spending of current month to the same time period as last month and challenge myself to spend less. Sometimes it's possible..sometimes it isn't. My Amazon Prime membership with renew this week but we use it so much to stream tv shows and music that I feel it's worth it.

Things are starting to look up again

April 1st, 2016 at 07:21 am

Today is already a much better day and it's barely 10am.

* Property taxes are due May 10 and they've applied all our exemptions and now are half as much as I anticipated!!!! I thought the exemptions would start until November payment. WHAT A RELIEF. We saved enough for the higher payment, but now some of that money can go towards the renovation bills!!!

*One of the librarians offered me desk space in her area. YES PLEASE. I know I am being a baby about my desk but if there is an alternative, I will take it. For the record I cleaned off all the desk space and took my personal stuff off to make room for my new deskmate and so that he could also feel like it was his. I didn't complain to my manager at all, just on here. (Just got an email from my manager: "B* says it takes a special person to work in the grotto, so we just can’t put anyone there. She thinks you would fit right in!" That lifts the spirits some!)

*Took Bones to the vet today to get her sutures out of her eye and the vet said her eye healed better than she expected it would!!!!! (This is going to be an exclamation mark heavy post) She still has to wear a cone but her eye is open and cleaned up. I take her back Tuesday or Wednesday for another check up and if everything looks alright still they'll take the cone off!!!

*Laura mentioned what mystery shopping companies she uses awhile back and I started and it has been really nice to be "paid" to do some of the things I'm already doing...and paid to try out restaurants in town Smile I try for all the grocery shops and restaurants I can because that's stuff we already do and need to spend money on. Once I am not working so many hours I want to branch out a little. I may be getting a little obsessive about it. I also think it might be a way to keep our expenses down when we vacation this summer.

*My partner took my car to get the nail in the tire fixed (and also replace the break light that has been out for...months) yesterday and it came to $19.01. I will take it!

On the not so great side- still no news about Nanny. They are feeding her ensure so her body will never shut down. Which would be fine but she is in such pain. Hospice comes every other day but we're worried it's not enough. This is not dying with dignity. America is so backwards about this and it is so painful to think about how much suffering she is going through.

On the whole things are starting to look up. I have a bad habit of letting every little thing get to me and then getting completely overwhelmed.

More practical worries

March 30th, 2016 at 01:10 pm

*One of my tires has a nail in it. I discovered it last week and have just been walking everywhere but I would like my car back. I am hoping they'll be able to patch everything up, but I am preparing for having to pay for new tires. I'll find out tomorrow night.

*The wind knocked open our front porch door and damaged the frame. Going to call the man who did our basement and see if he can fix it.

*Still haven't heard back from CPA about taxes and need to know if I am going to owe more than I estimated because the urgency to quit PT job is fierce right now. I am now going to have to start sharing my desk. Great. It's not unreasonable to have two part time employees share but I am still angry about it.

*The lawn mower is also broken but I am leaving that one for my partner to take care of. The lawn is his responsibility.

*Cat- we take her to the vet on Friday to get her cone off. FINALLY. But that's another visit charge and if her eye hasn't healed it's more money for another procedure. We'll do it, of course, it's just hard to swallow with everything else.

*Gardening- we need to buy more dirt. Partner also has a huge plan for an espalier and two more garden boxes and I have no idea where he thinks the money will come from because I am wiped out.

*Loss of income from PT is going to be really hard. It will get better eventually but everything is going to be really tight and even though my discretionary spending has been cut and is so low, the regular bills keep going up.

I am a master juggler and everything will end up paid one way or another but I am tired of worrying about money.

HUGE case of the "I want it now"s

March 28th, 2016 at 04:32 pm

I have a huge case of 'the wants' and the 'I want it right now's.

I want to travel. And while it would be great to go places that require a passport I would be happy with weekend destinations we could get to by car.

I want time back. I don't want to work so many hours.

I actually don't want to work at all.

I want to maintain my current standard of living.

I want to buy a beach house and never see winter again-unless I choose to.

I want a new phone. (this one is getting close to a need.)

I want to get a good night's sleep, every night.

I want to buy our investment properties and furnish our house with nicer furniture and paint the walls and redo the kitchen and bathrooms.

I know slow and steady wins the race. I know I have got to trust the plan. Eventually I will either have all these things or not want them anymore. Sometimes looking at my spreadsheets calms me but today it has gotten my mind racing to how I can speed up all my wants and I am feeling stuck.

The trip to CA to visit my aunt and uncle will be a nice break. I will be able to read a ton and not have to do much. I want to cook for them but we eat so differently I don't know what I could cook that they will eat...

Soon I will be quitting the public library. I wanted my last day to be April 30 but I am thinking of staying one more pay period to pay for the ticket out to CA. I'll come up with that money one way or another but will try to stick it out 2 more weeks.

Budget is pretty good considering the vet bills. That plus the plan tickets mean I'll be taking an extra month to pay off the roof but it is interest free until October so at least I won't have to worry about that.

Still waiting to hear back from the CPA about how much I will owe on taxes. I budgeted $1000 but he usually works magic and gets me lower. So far I am on track to owe little to nothing for next year so that is wonderful. I use the withholding calculator about once a month to make sure I am keeping up.

I just have to remember to breathe and to be happy with what I have now. Everything else will fall into place.

Nanny

March 25th, 2016 at 06:52 am

After worrying about Granny (my partner's grandmother) I got news last night about Nanny (my grandmother).

Nanny is not doing good. They don't think she has long at all to live. Which is good because she is in terrible pain. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's maybe..13 years ago? And for awhile she was doing alright. There was definite memory loss but she still could still reasonably pull it together. Then maybe... 7 years ago things took a turn for the awful and pretty quickly she forgot how to talk and walk. I haven't seen her since I moved away for grad school, but my aunt saw her pretty regularly even though it messed her (my aunt) up pretty bad each time. Nanny sure has a tremendous will to live because her quality of life has been shit for so many years.

But my aunt called me yesterday to tell me we're nearing the end. She's on morphine and the DNR is in place and Nanny can't swallow and hasn't eaten for a week.

I asked my aunt if I should come out and she said no. I told her I wasn't asking for Nanny (My nanny has been gone for a long, long time even if her body is still around) but for her-my aunt. She said no that she'd see me in July. I thought about it after I hung up with her and then called her back to tell her I get bereavement time off from my work and it isn't any trouble and she told me she didn't want to inconvenience my life.

I think it is pretty important that I am there for my aunt and now I know that she won't tell me she wants me there even if she does. So I am almost positive I am going to plan to go out in the next couple weeks. Now it really will just be my aunt, uncle and me left Frown

Nanny's situation is similar to Granny's in that both women have shitty children who are looking for an inheritance. The difference is that Nanny is loaded. Because 3 of her children were trying to take her money when she had dementia, she has a conservator of the estate (and also the person). We know that her will says that each of the grandchildren get 10k, four of the children (all the kids except my aunt) get 30k, and whatever is leftover goes to my aunt and uncle. My aunt and uncle have been the ones who have moved her I don't know how many times, have taken care of her, have made sure she has gotten to doctors appointments and have been the only ones who have consistently been there. It's also important to point out they were never trying to get into her pocketbooks when they saw her. My mom and I lived on the East Coast and my mom did what she could for Nanny but it wasn't the same as being there. The rest of the kids came by only when they needed money.

So when the will came out there was a huge hulabaloo with the 3 kids about how much my aunt will be getting. So they did everything they could to whittle down Nanny's estate with lawyer fees. What is awful is that their inheritance is defined, but my aunt's is whatever is left over. My aunt is really worried that there is going to be a big fight over what is left. Because despite her kids best efforts there is still a substantial amount left.

For the record-my aunt doesn't want this money. She has never let it figure into her future. We have all hoped that Nanny would spend the money on her self. BUT that being said and in my opinion my aunt and uncle DESERVE whatever Nanny wanted to leave them because they have taken care of her the most! And they did it because they love her, not for the payout.

I just want to be with my aunt to support her and comfort however I can. I am thinking of going April 13-17 but it will depend on how soon (or not soon) Nanny passes.

What money does to families...I just don't understand.

Family messes

March 21st, 2016 at 07:33 am

My partner talked to his granny this weekend. There are some concerning things going on and he/we are unsure how we can help-if we can help at all.

Granny's husband, Uncle C (after her first husband passed away, she married his brother) is not doing great health-wise. He is at home and in hospice care and pretty steady but we all know there is not much time left. Because he's in pain and because of everything that's wrong with him, he has become mean. When he was in the hospital, N's mom (MIL from here out even though she technically isn't but it's easier to keep somewhat private) moved right on in to Granny's house. Now, MIL has made a lifetime of one bad financial decision after the other, and most of the time Granny was there to bail her out. MIL has never really had a "real" job and has lived off of Granny/husbands/child support and more Granny. She is in an unhappy marriage and took Uncle C's trip to the hospital as her chance to improve her station.

So, MIL and uncle C are not getting along and Granny, who is NINETY YEARS OLD, has to referee and tell her daughter to knock it off.

Granny told N that she is worried about paying for the house once Uncle C dies. His pensions stop when he passes and she doesn't know if what they have left will be enough to live on. She also said that she knows she can't count on MIL to help any. N wants to suggest that I take a look at the books because I am really good with money and either help find a solution she can live with or just ease her mind.

I would be fine with this but I wouldn't want it to cause any family problems-mainly MIL who is living off Granny and Uncle C's dime.

We would absolutely bring Granny to live with us NO PROBLEM if she needed us to. The only problem is the MIL would invite herself to come too, and once she's here we wouldn't be able to get her to leave without having to cut her out of our lives completely.

It breaks my heart because Granny shouldn't have to worry about these things at her age. I guess part of it is her own fault-she never exercised tough love with MIL but... Also, I think MIL made a serious error in living with Granny so soon. We know she thinks that there's going to be an inheritance for her but after this conversation it doesn't seem like there will be much. MIL has no plan to support herself.

We told N's sister that she can take MIL, and we would take her kids Wink

Family...what a mess :/

Work and career musings

March 18th, 2016 at 09:15 am

Today I spoke with the man who used to hold my position at the library. I asked him about not having enough work to do. I frequently don't have enough to do and my boss is on sabbatical and I don't necessarily want to bother him with that. I take care of the things that pop up that he normally does and I have created my own projects but there is a limit to my position. He told me in the several years he had the position he often worked on his own things or read the news, or did other things. I am relieved. AK (my boss) is not a hands on guy and also is happy with very little. But it is hard for me to come to terms with just needing to be a body in the office. The main thing I am doing now is maintaining the website and creating resource lists-which is discouraging to do when you know they aren't going to be utilized.

I am getting to the point where I need to put notice in at the public library. I am 90% sure I won't be grading the state's standardized tests. The days just don't make sense for my schedule (I can't do it on weekends and have to get 30 hours in each week, but I work M-F). So I will stay at the public library until the end of April and hope for the best paycheck wise. I am concerned about the loss of income.

I have spent $1.25 since Sunday, so that is pretty awesome. I didn't bring enough food yesterday and since it's spring break none of the eateries are open in the university library. So I did something I've never done in my life. I used my credit card to buy something from a vending machine (I never carry cash because it all ends up in vending machines). I don't know if the pop-tarts were worth it, but I desperately needed something as a bad headache was approaching.

There's a position in a town about 1.5 hours away that looks interesting to me. I am thinking about applying. Someone I went to school with works at that library so I am going to contact her before I make a decision. The town is super near to my partner's mom and grandmom, but I think I would get my own apartment. I couldn't live with granny, but I would be open to seeing them way more often than I currently do. Not that they really want to see me-it's the kid they want. If I got this position I would use it as a stepping stone to a better position NOT in that town because I absolutely don't want to live there and partner told me even though he loves me he would break up with me if I wanted to live there permanently.

Lastly, I posted a pretty saucy (though well thought out) comment on a blog post on the public library's intranet. Background: we're going through a restructuring and coming up on the year anniversary of implementation. Everyone (staff, patrons) is upset about something that has changed. I stated that our new philosophy devalues having a personal relationship with the library and why that's bad for our patrons and why that's bad for our staff. But then I offered a possible solution that combines both the need of the library to be flexible (one aspect of the restructuring that has staff upset) with the ability to provide personal relationships. I feel like my comment was calm, thought out, identified a problem but also offered a solution. What's the worst they can do? Fire me? I already have a full time job. Also they never fire anyone. The worst they can say is that I am passionate about our patron's experience, but that maybe I am no longer a good fit with our culture. And that is absolutely accurate. So far I have gotten very good feedback from the staff. We'll see if I hear anything from management...

Cat update, budget and career

March 15th, 2016 at 07:46 am

Boney had her surgery and apparently did really well. The vet called to brag on her about how good she was during the prep for the surgery. I find that difficult to believe!

She's been home since Friday evening. She has to wear a cone (e-collar) for 3 weeks! Only 17 more days to go. She HATES it. But, she's getting the hang out it and getting into a routine. She's still a miserable little kitty, but she has become VERY lovey. However, she did poop on the couch this morning right in front of us so I think she is telling us she's mad.

I have spent twice as much in the first 15 days of March as I did the first 15 days of February. It's a little frustrating but most of it is vet bills. I am trying to cut out all unnecessary spending-including my 2:30pm coffees on my long days. Yesterday I thought it would be a true test of my willpower not to, but then I realized it's spring break here and nothing in the building is open. It's pretty easy not to spend money on coffee when there's no place to buy it Smile

I spent a ton on groceries but the good thing is we have a ton of food. I shouldn't have to buy much next week-just eggs, milk and fruit and veggies. At least there's that.

This weekend N took gift cards and birthday money to the mall and bought a game he's really wanted from gamestop. He played it for about an hour and hated it. He tried to return it but they would only give him $27 in credit since it had been open (he paid $60.) That made me want to throw up so I looked at how much it was going for online, estimated what I could get for it and then "gave" him that amount ($45) toward another game. 45 is better than 27, but still not great. Luckily the game sold this morning and I will receive $45.xx after fees.

I still am not jazzed about my work. It's fine but it is not my passion. I am trying to figure out what my passion is and so I started studying for the foreign service exam again. It'll be a long time before I take it. I want to bone up on my languages a bit more. Also, I want to know who is elected president first. I just can't be a representative of a President Trump.

Cat is back at the vet :(

March 11th, 2016 at 08:00 am

The Boney cat never really got over her cold. Her fever was gone and she was back to normal but her eye was still leaking and gunking. But it would look like it was getting better for a day or two and then start to get bad again. I was really hoping it would work itself out on its own but I guess I waited too long. Apparently she scratched her cornea getting at it. I took her to the vet yesterday and they gave me drops that we had to put in every three hours. I set me alarm twice during the night so we could wake up and give it to her. I took her back this morning so that they could keep an eye on it (har har) but it had gotten worse.

She's at the vet now waiting for surgery. They are going to pull her third eyelid up over her eye and then suture her eye shut for 3-4 weeks and hope that helps the eye heal so they don't have to remove it. There's still the possibility this won't save her eye.

I am pretty devastated and worried for her. She must be so scared! I know there was no way of knowing this would happen but I still can't help feeling like I should have done better for her.

We should get her back this evening, as long as there aren't complications. There's no reason to believe there will be complications but you never know with animals.



This means we probably won't get to pay the roof off next month, but I am okay with that. We'll just have to keep being careful with spending.

After I got home and sobbed a bit I told my partner "We can never have kids! I can't take care of anything!" He responded that kids tell you something's wrong; cats actively try to hide that something's wrong.



Other than this, everything is going well. I decided that I will attend (virtually) the orientation for the standardized test grading before I make a decision. If it doesn't look like it will work out then I'll decline. And I have got to let go of the public library. There is almost a certain chance that if they hire my position again (which they do at least twice a year) that if I apply I will get it back. So I just need to look forward and let the old plan go.

Change is hard

March 9th, 2016 at 08:22 am

I wrote a pretty long post yesterday that got lost in the internet..I hope things are working better today.

So, I have the opportunity to take a temporary, remote position of grading the written portion of our state's standardized tests. It starts April 7 and goes for about 5 weeks, until all the tests are graded. It requires at least 30 hours a week and can go up to 40. I had planned on my last day at the public library being April 30, but if I take this opportunity it would be April 16. So that leaves one week of working 90 hours (I would take some time off from the other two jobs to get the hours in).

But...here's the thing. I am very anxious about leaving the public library. I have been there 6.5 years. I like my job. The actual job part of it, not everything else. I am worried about losing the extra pay. I am worried about closing a door...even temporarily. I know I am not doing myself any favors staying there because I will never be considered for higher than my current position, but I am still scared. I thought I had made peace with my decision but now that it's coming up that I have to act on it, I am nervous.

I don't have to accept this grading position, but it seems interesting to me, pays 12.10/hour and I can do it at home. It gives me a couple extra weeks of a second paycheck. I don't necessarily *need* the extra paycheck. I have been trying to limit my expenses and stick to my guns. But it would be helpful.

I have been trying to figure out the direction I want to go in terms of my career but I still haven't focused in on just one. On one hand that gives me options, but on the other it just feels like I am spinning my wheels because I am not seeing progress towards any one thing.

End of February and the investment property

March 3rd, 2016 at 07:48 am

Here's how the monies looked at the end of February :



I didn't pay my cell phone because it's not due until March, but I did make the $200 reno payment.

I don't know if I can keep this low spending (for me) up through March. I've lowered my grocery budget by $25 (babysteps plus we still need to stock up on a lot of things) but I am working hard at not wasting any food. For example, 2 Sundays ago I got a rotisserie chicken from Sam's. Then last week I made a ton of chicken broth using the bones and vegetables that were past their prime. Last Sunday we had friends over and made a ham. Then Tuesday I took the rest of the ham, the bone and some of the broth I made earlier and made a Ham Bone Soup-SO DELICIOUS.

I bought the "wrong" kind of apples and partner won't eat them. No worries! I will be making apple butter and apple sauce with them!

I am trying to get into the habit now. Approximately 7 more weeks left of working 60+ hours (I signed up for extra hours at the part time job. Just trying to squeeze the most out of it while I can.) The extra $900/month has been wonderful but I am tired. Now it's time to make due with what we got.

It doesn't look like the investment property is going to pan out. We emailed our realtor to see if she could get a feel about the sellers and told her what we were willing to pay. She said she'd talk to the other realtor but that our price is probably too low. No worries. We'll keep an eye on the place and see what happens. We've emailed her about seeing another property. I'm not as excited about it but I may change my mind after seeing it.

Saw the house

February 29th, 2016 at 06:34 am

We met the kid's girlfriend yesterday and she is freaking adorable and smart and nice. After she left he asked us what we thought about her and if we liked her, which is the first time he's asked our opinion about a girlfriend.

We went to see the house after lunch yesterday and told the kid that he and the gf could come. He goes "oh yeah, I'll just say 'hey, do you want to come see a house my parents are going to buy?" (first time he's referred to me as part of his parental group-made me smile) and N goes "well, one day we'll die and it might be yours...and hers if you're still together." And kid goes "Dad. This is a high school girlfriend. We're not getting married."

So...the house. It is ROUGH. Honestly, I am not sure how it is rented out other than it is rented for WAAAY under market price.

The good: There are two structures on one plot, grandfathered in to current zoning policy. This doesn't happen now and they don't go on the market often.

-GREAT neighborhood, one that most people in our town want to move into.

-Potential for rents is HIGH.

-BRAND NEW roof (2 months old)

-ANY upgrade or fix will significantly improve the value of the house.

-rents will only be going up (unless our university some how decides to leave our town. It's been here for about 200 years so I don't think that's likely) while the mortgage (not including property taxes) will basically stay the same.

Bad:

-The back structure will have to be completely gutted and re-done.

-Rental permits expire next August (2017) and will have to be renewed-which means a lot of expense to bring it up to code.

- We wouldn't feel comfortable renting structures out in the condition they're in...unless current tenants want to resign lease.

-Both structures have been extremely neglected.


First thoughts: Even though it would be a TON of work, and money, we don't mind the idea of fixing up the houses. Our contractor for our basement renovation originally began his company to teach people how to do their own upgrades, but most people just wanted him to do the work. We're going to ask him (the next time we use him) if N can "apprentice" and learn how to do some of the more basic things so that we can do more of the work ourselves.

The biggest problem with going through is the price of the house. It's too expensive for us to then have to put $50k into it in the immediate future. What we would offer (so that we could afford the renovations and mortgage) is significantly lower than the asking price and I am pretty sure that the owner will laugh at it. However, I absolutely don't think he'll be getting anywhere near the asking price, and since the property has never gotten far enough to have an inspection I am betting there are even bigger issues than the owner thinks.

We've roughly estimated what needs to be done and tried to plan phases. For example-best case scenario is tenants want to renew leases and we can have year to save up some cash. When the back tenant leaves, we start planning on gutting the house-and that takes as long as it takes (estimating a year without rent because of how long it will take and the rental market here is dictated by the university schedule). The front house we have the minimum we would do to it before we rented it out-update the kitchen and bathroom and fix one of the walls. Then we could up the rent. THEN once the back house is finished and rented out (for a much higher rent) we would go back to the front house and finish up the "extra" stuff that needs to be done, but not necessarily immediately.

We're going to talk to our realtor to see if she can feel out how low of an offer will be entertained and go from there. It is an exciting project that will definitely pay off in the next 5-10 years-but we still have to be able to afford our living expenses until then. Of course, I have several spreadsheets for all the different scenarios. When we estimated the costs we estimated high and then I almost doubled it.

We have much to think about and discuss and sleep on.


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