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Archive for May, 2016

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.