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The new year!

January 3rd, 2018 at 06:27 pm

The pups and I spent New Years at my Godmother's house. I love these dogs so much



I bought Little Bit a Yoda sweater since he is so small and it is so cold. He seems to like it well enough.


Sonny, on the left, took over my godparent's house. He decided it was his, and every time they entered the room he barked at them-he doesn't like strangers in his house!


This wasn't from New Year's, but I had to share. Little Bit is such an ugly boy! But he loooooooves me so much. And I love him. We are inseparable-but that is not necessarily my choice.


It was nice spending New Years Eve with my godmother, because it was also my mom's birthday. And my godmother is the closest thing to my mom I've got. I've been missing her so,so much lately. Here is a picture my godmother gave me of her and me.



Can you believe that woman was 36 when that photo was taken?! She looks like a baby!

I have moved into the new house full time now. It is taking some time to get things put together. My most major complaint right now is how much of the heat just floats out of the house. This weekend I am going to insulate the windows and make door drafts to try to keep the heat inside. I don't mind a colder house, but I do mind a heater running constantly but not being able to heat the house above 63. I don't look forward to my first electric bill, to be honest.

I made some really smart purchases with gift cards yesterday. N and I ran errands together (because we still do that. I don't know how to describe what we are but 'separated' is the closest term. We aren't in a serious relationship, we don't live together, but we still have some kind of relationship that is a bit more than friendship.)

Anyway, I bought a much needed trash can for $1.50 OOP since I had a Menard's rebate. I used a $5 Target gift card as a partial payment for a $13 hair dryer (I didn't have one! And I need it for the window insulation kits!) I got a $100 Sam's Club gift card from Swagbucks and I bought: Toothpaste, mouth wash, laundry detergent, trash bags, kitty litter and V8. The trash bags and toothpaste should last about a year, the rest for several months. Except the V8. That's a kind of splurge but one I'm okay with.

Then I took N out for fries and drinks, so that blew my whole eating out budget for the month but okay. This is a transitional month.

I got a mystery shop in a town about an hour away this weekend. The shop itself pays very well, and I got distance pay. Now I am trying to figure out how many other shops to tack on. If I do all I plan, then it's two take out restaurant shops (will get salads to eat for lunches for the next few meals),two grocery shops, Bed Bath and Beyond and possibly 5 guys and a gas shop. The only problem is getting all the reports done. I know I will be beat by the time I get home, but will still have 2-3 more hours of work left to do... But I feel like I can't really turn down the work/money/food...

Credit cards are at -$27,681 which is sobering. So far I am not paying interest on any of it, but will start to pay a little next month. I am really trying to keep my spending down and earn more so that the interest paid is minimal. Paying rent every month is really going to slow down my credit card payments.

That's the most that is going on here. Just taking one day at a time and trying to do my best. That's all anyone can do, really.

Got the house!

December 18th, 2017 at 07:28 am

I sign the lease on Thursday and get the keys immediate after!

Movers come Saturday morning. Internet is scheduled to be set up Tuesday, the 26th.

Right now N and I are going to be moving my boxes to the living room so that the movers have an easier time getting everything. Even though movers cost money they save on sanity and with them it's a two hour job instead of an all day job. I have a lot of boxes but not that much furniture. Two dressers, a couple of tables, a desk and a cabinet. Oh, and some book shelves.

I'll probably take my clothes and breakables over on my own Thursday and Friday.

I might ask N if I can stay at the house on Christmas so that I have access to the internet, but maybe not. I know we need boundaries but I am really dreading this Christmas alone without any distractions. He won't be home for it.

The dogs will have quite the adjustment. I don't think I can come home during lunch to let them out. I am going to give them big walks in the morning to tucker them out and then big walk before bed to...also tucker them out. Sonny loves walks and Little Bit tolerates them. N said he would let them out during the day for as long as he can but he is hopefully getting the job he interviewed for so it might not be possible. I might ask my friend's daughter to stop by to let them out. I'd pay her, of course. Even if she could only do it 2 days a week that would be helpful. Once kid is out of high school and in college I will offer him the job, paid again, of course. He's free to turn it down, though.

I am excited for the new place! I can't wait to set up my library and start new routines. And to stop bleeding money.

I am still pretty broken up with the break up, and secretly hope that once we have some physical distance we might be able to repair our relationship. I know that is a pipe dream-N really hasn't given any indication that that is in the future. We're still very friendly and don't hate each other and want to continue a friendship. I will try for as long as it doesn't hurt my mental health.

Might have a new house

December 16th, 2017 at 06:01 am

I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support offered on my last couple of posts. It really means a lot to me.

It looks like I may have a place to live. I put the deposit down and I am waiting to see if I am approved to rent it. They already ran my credit. I want desperately to move in on Friday.

They are fleecing me with all the fees, though. Base rent is $750 and they want $50/pet/month, for a total of $900 per month. That is actually a reasonable price for the house given the area, but I was able to negotiate it down to $825/month total. That is less than the house N and I rented when we first moved in together, and it's a better house in a better neighborhood. So I am happy with that.

The deposit was $570, the pet deposit will be $1,200 and then first month's rent will be due at signing. I don't know if they will make me pay prorated December rent and all of January, or just December. I have to ask.

I am scrambling to transfer money to cover all these expenses in time. It will require using half of my savings but that's what they are there for.

I am starting a list of things I will need for the new place, and deciding what I will look for at thrift stores, what I will mystery shop for and what I will just buy new.

Immediate needs
A bed-I found one on Amazon that I like and was recommended. The frame I chose is low to the ground to make it easier for the dogs to sleep with me. I have a $100 Amazon gift card to help offset the costs, but I don't want to order it until I can have it delivered to the new place. In the meantime, I have a blow up mattress that works perfectly fine, I just don't want it to sleep in the forever.
-Shower curtain, trashcans, curtains for the bedroom, paper towels and toilet paper. Most of this I can get at the dollar store or walmart. I am not picky. When the shower curtain starts to go I hope to be in a better place to afford something. The bedroom curtains are a necessity- all of the windows go down to the ground and it makes me uneasy.
-Cookware- I might start with things from goodwill and fill in by mystery shopping for better quality pieces.
-A couch and maybe some chairs- I don't mind used but I am picky. Maybe I shouldn't be but, I am. I don't want to spend a ton because if I move to California I don't want to bring it with me. But I want something that looks nice, is functional and isn't terribly uncomfortable.

So far that is what I have. I am sure this list will be added to once I move in.

They wanted me to sign an 18 month lease and I just can't commit to that. I signed a 6 month lease with the option of renewing for 12. I am probably going to stay in town for the next 18 months, but N is thinking about buying his own place with the money I buy him out with. If he leaves then I definitely want to move back into my house!

I am staying with my job until at least September, because that is when my retirement vests. Right now there is nothing else keeping me in town, so after September I might start job searching in California (where my family is) or North Carolina (where my best friend is.) I've wanted to move back to California for awhile now, so this might be the right time.

My finances need to be a ton better before I can move to California, though. But one step at a time.

New potential house

December 12th, 2017 at 07:46 am

I am going to see a house today that is in a slightly dodgy part of town. I drove by yesterday and I am not as excited about it. Patient Saver gave me great advice last night to knock on the neighbor's doors and ask them about the neighborhood. I don't even feel comfortable doing that. I am still going to look at it because I want to know all my options but it isn't my first choice.

I scheduled another walk through for tomorrow afternoon. This house is about 3 blocks from where I currently live, so I know the neighborhood and love it. And the dogs know it too! We walk by this house on our walks. The only downside is that there is a $400/pet refundable deposit, and an extra $50/pet per month in rent. I am going to ask if I can pay the extra on only 1 pet since $1200 PLUS the regular $570 deposit will cover any damage my pets cause (I expect them to cause zero damage, honestly.) Even with the ridiculous pet rent, the house is $900/month, which is $75 cheaper than the dodgy place.

It's also available to move in with 1 week's notice.

While I don't relish the thought of handing over $2670 in one go, it feels like it might be the right place for us.

N has an interview today! After 9 months of applying for jobs and hearing nothing, he heard back 2 or 3 days after applying. It's also at the university which is such a great place to work and so hard to get hired at! It feels like the universe is throwing both of us a bone.

Starting over

December 11th, 2017 at 05:02 pm

N and I ended our relationship last night.

Nobody did anything bad or wrong. We are both unhappy. I know it is probably for the best (and even if it isn't I can't do anything about it) but I am heartbroken. I slept maybe 2.5 hours last night, and sobbed the rest. I tried reading until my eyes were about to shut on their own, but as soon as I closed my mind all I could think about was what I should have done differently and how I could have been so careless with the most important relationship in my life.

We decided that I would buy him out of the house but that he would rent it from me at least until kid finishes high school in May. We would have a lease and we would revisit the situation every x months until he moves on or something changes.

This big sticking point is the animals. N graciously will let me have them, but it will be so difficult to find a place to rent with two dogs and one cat (I will leave the other cat with N even though it breaks my heart.)

I found a house this morning that is on the border of the dodgy side of town, but said they would take me with all my animals. I am going to do a walk through tomorrow. They say it is available 1/1 but I am going to ask if I can move in next week. Our current living situation is not great for me because I can't stop crying.

The house is 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, so definitely more than enough room for me. It is $975/month plus utilities which is higher than I want to pay but beggars can't be choosers when it comes to making an exception to the general 2 animal rule. There is a garden in the back yard, so maybe I can grow some food in the spring. I will have to adjust my work hours so that I can come home on my lunch break to let the dogs out. I take a half hour right now, but an hour is more than enough time to get to this house and back. It is 1.5 miles away from my work and only one block north. There is a bus that runs frequently that takes me within blocks of the house and picks up across the street from my work.

I drove by the house today and it isn't very welcoming. But again, beggars can't be choosers. I just have to feel safe walking the dogs on my own.

Buying out N...I have no idea how this is going to work. I am going to my godmothers over New Years and I am going to ask her for a loan of $6,000. I currently owe $24,000 and my credit is eh, but if I pay down $6,000 then my credit will be 700 (or so Credit Karma estimates.) That will give me a better rate for the refinance. In a perfect world, our house will appraise high enough so that I can buy him out using the equity. Then I will pay everything off, hopefully by the end of 2018. If the equity isn't enough...I don't know.

Right now I am living in our Airbnb apartment. I love the space but hate that I feel like I am hiding and that the family I had two days ago is no longer mine. I had a cup of tea with N and kid last night and we watched the Youtube series we watch together and it was nice. But then I went back downstairs because this isn't my home anymore.

It will be easier when I move.

N and I are committed to both of us getting what we deserve and keeping it civil. He wants to stay friends and doesn't understand why I don't think we can. If we are going to remain friends I need some space to get myself together and distance from the relationship.

I know that my brain isn't making things easier. I know it's a coping mechanism, the racing thoughts telling me N is only nice to me right now because he has to be not because he is actually a good guy and still loves me but just doesn't want to be in a relationship with me. I have a session with my therapist on Wednesday so hopefully she can help me with these unproductive thoughts.

Right now I am trying not to spend any money (it's not working but I am trying-had to get the dogs up to date on their shots tonight) and trying to earn extra money to pay off the cards/beef up my savings. I am starting to think of what kinds of things I will need to buy to live on my own and seek out mystery shops for them. Might as well, right?

I am still around

October 6th, 2017 at 07:18 pm

Oh lordy.

So, the renovation is still not complete. BUT at least the house is finally functional. The only thing left to do is tile the backsplash in the kitchen, get the shelf/closet situation in the bathroom figured out and install the baseboards in the bathroom.

Right now it looks like we've spent about 17k on the kitchen and bathroom renovation. Definitely reasonable. In what should be a surprise to no one, especially me, N has decided he no longer wants a bus. The entire reason we started the renovation. So instead of transferring all the reno costs to a HELOC,I am going to pay it off. And buy N out of the house. I think it will be better for our relationship if we don't have anything combined. The house has provided us with a lot of freedom, but it is also the cause of a lot of stress.

In addition to the reno debt, I've taken on about 10k in vet bills and bills for a new fence. N's granny passed away at the end of June and we inherited her two King Charles Cavaliers. I can not understate how much joy these dogs have brought me. Sonny is 10 and Little Bit is 13. Sonny was Uncle Charlie's dog and Little Bit was Granny's dog and both of them have taken on the personalities of their (former) owners and it is like having Granny and Charlie around still. Sonny and I are BFFs and I can't tell you how much I love coming home to a dog who is excited to see me. His whole butt wags and he jumps on me and kisses my face and doesn't want to leave my side. Little Bit is more reserved but is learning how to dog better. He loves ear scratches and butt scratches and the rotesserie chicken I buy for him. He is underweight and Sonny is overweight and it is hard to get one to eat and one to exercise.

Again, I just want to state how much I love these dogs.

So, those are the big things. I am currently $27,014.53 in debt. All but $3,121.07 is on 0% interest credit cards. I will able to pay about half of the $3,121 before interest is due but will carry a balance on that card for one month. I should be able to pay each of the other cards off before interest starts to accrue. It kind of makes me sick to have so much debt, but there is no use wallowing.

I have been mystery shopping my heart out. This week alone I have booked over $250 in shops. I am applying to become a scheduler. The pay isn't super great, but it will be welcomed extra income for something I think I will enjoy doing. And if I don't enjoy it I will just quit, since it will be in addition to my full time job.

Even though I owe so much money, i am still contributing about 20% of my income to retirement, between my IRA and my work retirement plans. My net worth is still increasing. But day to day is a little bit of a struggle. I am looking forward to the day when that is not the case.

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.