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Archive for October, 2008

Thinking about a laptop - health goals

October 25th, 2008 at 10:46 am

Bear with me folks, this is a bit long today.

This is pretty sad really, my post today. The scale has been going up and up in the past few months, but I kept consoling myself that I was still less than when I started Sparkpeople back in June 2006.

Then this morning I get on the scale and find out that that is no longer true.

What's really sad is that I am exercising, although not as consistently as before. I even have a 5k I'm participating in tomorrow, even though I've not been able to complete 2 miles on the treadmill in 30 minutes for several weeks. Frown

What has happened though is that I've gone back to most of my *really* bad eating habits. This has been affecting me both financially (food costs + needing new clothes) and health wise (weight gain, not able to run as fast).

I can't even begin to explain how frustrated and discouraged I feel about this whole situation. One totally of my own making, and my own control.

So . . . I'm working a good bit of hours at the gym. Probably once a week get called to cover an extra shift after work. Then of course, this coming Friday I will start doing the Friday early morning shift for the next 8 weeks.

Usually I spend most of my time at the gym when working, reading. I have attempted to do a weight routine while on shift, but there were so many interruptions I kept losing my place in my counts.

As I've mentioned before, I also am working for ChaCha.

So, I'm thinking that maybe I can knock out three objectives with one stone.

1. Get back on track with food/exercise
2. Reign in spending on junk/extra food
3. Make more side income

The way I'm thinking of doing this is by allocating whatever money I earn from "extra" shifts, as well as the early Friday morning shifts for the next 8 weeks, to a laptop fund.

In order to actually access the money though, I have to earn it. Kind of do a matching funds type thing.

For example:
One day where I don't spend any money on any type of junkfood or unnecessary food, as well as don't consume any office supplied junkfood equals $5.

For every 5 days, I would get a Fund Match of $25.

Once I have "earned" at least $200, I will go ahead and order the laptop I'm thinking of: Sylvania G Netbook and then make a "loan" to myself that I will be able to pay off much faster by using the laptop at the gym to do ChaCha. (Until the loan to myself is paid off, any money I earn doing ChaCha at the gym would go towards the loan.)

I am guessing, if all goes well, it will take me around four weeks to get to the initial $200 mark. Then, roughly another three weeks (when adding additional ChaCha income) to pay it off. So, that would give me 7 weeks of getting back into my good habits, which hopefully would stick even after the laptop is paid off.

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By the by . . if anyone knows of another laptop that would work with Firefox and in the $400 or less range, I'd love to hear about it!

Also, I think I'm right that I could use the laptop purchase as a tax write off on Schedule C since it is largely being purchased to do the ChaCha job. Am I right?

Mom and daughter go shopping

October 19th, 2008 at 05:25 pm

Like I mentioned yesterday, my mom and I were going to go clothes shopping today.

I wanted to get several under items, a pair of pants, and some tops. I had set my budget at $250. I don't buy clothes very often, and a good number of my tops were starting to look worn and/or "shrinking".

Our first stop was Costco. We picked up three cute tops (same top, 3 colors) for $24 + tax. My mom actually paid for these, said they were a special treat for me from her. Yay! Smile

Next, we stopped at Grapevine Mills Mall. The first store we went to was Dress Barn Woman. I bought a really pretty flowy type dress with a lime green shrug. It originally was $69.99, but was on the sale rack and came to $23.34. I also bought a t-shirt type top for $8. So, that total was about $32.

Next we stopped at Hanes. I was fitted, then bought 3 regular bras and 2 Champion sports bras. That came to $73.

Last we stopped at Lane Bryant. I tried on LOTS of clothes. Finally I handed my mom the things I knew I wanted, then chose two items I'd get depending on how much the other items rang up to.

The clerk told me if I signed up for LB card that I'd get 15% off the entire order, plus 25% off the highest priced item. To me, it was worth doing, even worth losing the points on mypoints card.

After everything was added up, and I added the extra 2 items plus a third one - it came to a total of $101.23.

I got: 1 pair pants, blue striped button up blouse, pink striped button up blouse, plain white button up blouse, a black swingy loose jacket, and a light material blue sweater with a buckled waist.

After that mom and I went our seperate ways.

On my way home I stopped at Walmart. Since I was well under budget, I decided that I'd go ahead and see if I could find a good replacement for my purse. (The one I have the lining has ripped out and some of the seams are looking pretty loose. I've had it for about 6 years I think.)

I found a good replacement for $10, plus got a 7 pack of undies for $6. Smile

So, for approximately $245 today I got: a new purse, 7 prs undies, 3 bras, 2 sports bras, 1 pair pants, 1 dress w/ sweater shrug, 1 black swingy jacket, 3 buttoned up blouses, 5 other office appropriate tops.

Eventually I'd like to see if I can find a brown sweater shrug to go with my dress as well, but by the end of the day I felt all shopped out!

I'm very happy to have come under budget and gotten much more than I thought I would be able to. Good quality brands too. I'd love to be able to shop at a thrift store and get much more for the same money, but if you are over a size 12, there is not much to find at a thrift store.

I wonder if anyone at work will notice my new duds. Big Grin

Now I know why . . .

October 18th, 2008 at 03:15 pm

I was sure that I had scheduled two transfers from my Chase checking to ING to go out on Tuesday. But when I checked, they weren't showing up as pending. I kept checking through the week, and still they weren't showing up.

So today I did a Yodlee check up which I hadn't done in a few days and noticed that my Chase checking balance was pretty low. Curious, I clicked on the link to see what was going on.

In bright red it showed me that my gym paycheck of $98.25 had bounced, and that I'd been charged a $10 fee. Ugh!

I called E and he apologized and told me that he'll have $108.25 in cash for me on Monday.

I'd been warned by another gym independant contractor about checks bouncing - but this was the first one that actually bounced. Frown

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I'm off to my mom and stepdad's here in the next hour or so. I'll be doing laundry tonight, then tomorrow my mom and I are going to go clothes shopping! I've budgeted $250 for it. I'm hoping to get a few under items, a pair of pants, and then as many tops as I can with the leftover money.

I've unfortunately NOT been going in the right direction lately with my weight, and my current wardrobe has many items which have "shrunk". I'd like to say that I'm going to take the bull by the horns and get back on the losing track . . but I've said that over and over for the past few months, and the pounds have crept up instead of down. So . . I've gotta deal with reality. Frown

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*Disclaimer: I put everything I possibly can on my Mypoints credit card, which I then pay off in full each and every month.

I redeemed 9800 mypoints today for 3 $25 giftcards. They're all Christmas gifts - brother (I'd also gotten my brother a gift card through Mypoints for his birthday which I received a few weeks ago), dad, stepdad. (I got my mom her gift from Amazon a few weeks ago.)

*Almost forgot - at the same time I got my brother's birthday gift card, I also ordered a gift card for the Office Christmas Grab Bag we do on Christmas Eve.

I have 2300 points left, so by the end of November I should have enough to get one more $25 gift card.

More Extra Monies + a bit of a rant

October 17th, 2008 at 07:54 pm

First, the good stuff. Big Grin

My second monthly ChaCha payment went through of $131.74. $10 of that was money from a contest I'd won. I lurve ChaCha!

I also picked up my check for the gym. It was for $65.50, but then the $20 overpayment from the previous check was subtracted, so it came to $45.50.

So, between ChaCha and the gym, in October I have added a little over $275 to my Extra Monies funds. Most of what I do for both of these require very little effort - just time and consistency.

It looks like my next paycheck for the gym will be at least in the low $100 range - due to an extra shift already worked, 3 Friday afternoons, plus starting to work the early morning shift on Friday Oct 31. Me likey.

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Rant.

Today I went out to eat with two of my coworkers. One of them had a buy one get one free coupon for specific items on the menu - none of which could be turned into a vegetarian friendly food. Not a problem - I'm used to it, and can deal with it.

I've eaten at this place a couple times before, and have found that the Grilled Cheese Panini w/ a side of sweet potatoes can be had for $6 +tax and is filling.

It is however on the children's menu.

So, I place my order for it. I am then told that I can't order off the children's menu. I reply back by saying that I have done it both times I've come before with no problems.

The waiter tells me that if I'd like to speak to the manager he'd be happy to get him. I very briefly considered this, but then decided that I did NOT want to make a scene. I told the waiter that I am a vegetarian and that there was NOTHING else on the menu without meat. He suggested that I get the quesedilla entree and just have the chicken left out.

The quesedilla price: $8.95
The pannini price: $5.95 (includes side dish)

I went ahead and ordered the quesedillas and asked to have spinach and mushrooms added.

Later when I saw the bill, they had charged me $9.95 for my item. I can only assume the extra dollar was for the oh so much more costly than chicken - mushrooms and spinach!

OY VEY!

Needless to say I will NOT willingly go there again - nor will I recommend it to anyone!

I would REALLY like to know just what the problem is with an adult ordering off the children's menu?? The portion size is going to be the same whether an 11 year old orders it, or an ahem.. 32 year old orders it. Is it really worth $4 to them to completely lose a customer??

Yeow!

October 15th, 2008 at 04:30 pm

So I watched CSI:Vegas online this past weekend. It was a very good episode, but I was getting annoyed by all the starts and stops.

I decided it was time to go up to the next DSL tier. It was only $5 more and I felt it would be worth it.

So a few minutes ago I called to upgrade my DSL speed.

YEOW!

There is no $25 option anymore. They don't even have my $20 option anymore. The next higher speed than what I have is now $35!!!!
I just about hung up.

The lady kept trying to tell me that AT&T had given me free installation and that they'd felt like they had lost money with the free installations which is why it had gone up so much. Then she tried to tell me you don't have a phone line charge . . . etc, etc.

Finally I told her, that may all be true, but I don't have $35/mo in my budget for internet. That finally got her to back off.

I guess I will be living with the hiccups of watching tv on the lower speed.

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In other news. E asked me today if I'd be willing to fill in on Friday mornings at one of the gym locations from the end of Oct to Dec 19. It will mean an extra $13/week! Yay! It also will mean that I'll have to get there by 6:20 a.m. which is an hour earlier than I usually get there for working out. For 8 weeks, I can deal with it.

Checking in

October 14th, 2008 at 07:30 pm

Just a quick note. I've been keeping pretty busy between ChaCha and doing extra shifts at the gym, etc.

On Saturday I had the most fabulous day. I spent the day with my best friend T, her husband and their two kids. The daughter was having her sixth birthday. The five of us went to the Dallas Arboretum where T has a family pass (up to six) and she brought a picnic. T kept apologizing for how simple the picnic was , but I told her the simpler the better!

After the kids had plenty of time to wear themselves out, we went to their house. N, the dad, and the boy N worked together on carving a pumpkin. Then D, the girl, and I separated all the pumpkin seeds.

We had a late supper of Sabbath Roast, veggies and sweet potatoes. The food was very good, but even better to me was watching young N as he insisted on serving everyone! I still remember staying with him at his parents apartment the night T had D and feeding him his "mooney" (mac and cheese).

How the years do fly.

Interesting Afternoon

October 4th, 2008 at 08:53 pm

Back in 2003 I met this guy on a dating website. We emailed back and forth for 4 or 5 months - quickly realized that all it would be would be a friendship. At one point he mailed me his collection of coins from around the world to show my students.

About a year or so after we stopped emailing each other, I received an invite to his wedding. I didn't go (it was in AR, and well, it would've been kind of weird.)

About two years ago he found me on myspace and we friended each other. He and his wife had had a son, and they were still in AR.

Today I got a message from him on myspace saying they were going to be in town, and would I like to get together.

At first I was thinking this would be a bit strange, but then I figured why not? It isn't like I had any real plans.

So I replied and gave him my cell #. He called me and we agreed to get together at a nearby SouperSalad.

We met there at 5p.m. and then were basically kicked out at 8p.m. (the place was closing.) They are both very nice and interesting people. His wife has a hobby doing something I'd never heard of before - body videos. Basically where she pantomines/sign languages what a song is about.

She attended a 3rd Day concert here on Thursday night, and someone noticed her signing along to the songs. They got her up on stage and had her sign for a couple songs. Pretty cool.

I'm glad to have had the chance to meet them.

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Last night I attempted to log in to my HSBC savings account to transfer part of my extra paycheck. (5 paycheck month - Woo hoo!). I guess it had been so long since I manually logged in, I had forgotten my security key.

I was locked out. Frown So this morning I called the contact number and got my account unlocked. While I was on the phone, the representative asked me what the purpose of my account was.

I told him part of it was my emergency fund and part of it was my car fund. He asked me if I'd be interested in hearing about CD's where I could put some of my money to earn more interest. I told him no. He asked me why. I told him that it was important to me that the money in that account be accessible without penalties or charges for withdrawals. He backed off then, and told me that if I ever was interested in learning more about cd's to give them a call.

HSBC is offering 4% for a six-month CD which isn't too bad. I just would hate to put part of my EF in a CD, and then four months from now have to break it for some big emergency that the non CD funds can't cover. It would only be a .75% difference between the savings account and the CD interest.

Overcompensated

October 3rd, 2008 at 09:31 pm

Today I got my gym paycheck. I had worked a couple times at the other gym site where there had been no time cards. So E was going to write my times down on a timecard. He forgot of course - which I found out when I got my previous paycheck. Big Grin

So today's paycheck included one Friday I hadn't gotten paid for (previous pay period) plus the normal hours in the current time period. But . . the numbers didn't add up.

11.5 hours (3 afternoons of 3.5 hours, plus one 1 hour afternoon) x 6.55 = $75.33

My paycheck today was for $98.25.

I looked at it and looked at it trying to figure out where he came up with that figure. Shoot - I *liked* that figure. Big Grin

The only thing I could figure out is that he counted one of my 3.5 hour afternoons twice.

So I called him and told him. He told me to write on my current timecard a note to subtract $20 from my next paycheck. That's about $3 less than the difference, but he said he didn't really care much about $3.

We had an interesting exchange about just what $3 could get you. Big Grin

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I can't say much, but I am very sad about a situation happening with a family member of mine. I hope and pray that the situation will change, but I fear that it won't.

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I think I don't handle change well. At all. Work the past two weeks has totally and completely stressed me out.

Yesterday the furniture was finally moved back into place.

The way I have to place my computer on my desk causes me to have my back towards the kitchen/hallway 99% of the time. There are three heavy traffic patterns which run by my desk now (3 sides). At least twice now I have looked up from what I was doing to find multiple people by my desk looking at me. Also, due to the setup, I now have LESS space.

I keep getting asked how I like the new setup. They don't get what I'm really thinking -- they get - GRIN Oh, it's great!

Trying to think positively -- I will get used to this!

Moving - Tickers and Office

October 1st, 2008 at 06:56 pm

I updated my tickers on my sidebar for September. For details you can check out my September earnings page. There was some actual good movement - thanks to ChaCha and my gym job. Smile

My ING interest increased this month (by $.48) but my HSBC interest went down, even though the actual amount in the account increased, the teaser interest rate dropped on the 15th. Frown

In October there will be a good deal more movement due to a 5 paycheck month. Although, I am considering using *some* of that extra paycheck to help update/upgrade my wardrobe. I haven't fully decided on that one yet though.

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At work the chaotic week - week two has continued. Only the fun was compounded by my main manager being back from vacation. On Monday he was understanding. Yesterday however when I told him I wasn't able to get some information he needed because that program was on my computer which of course wasn't set up - he became the opposite of understanding.

So I spoke to the president's daughter, who I guess you could call the company liasion (sp?). She told me that I could go ahead and set up my computer on the floor until the furniture got moved back in.

Um ok. Miss ingenious here really didn't want to sit on the floor in her skirt and use her computer. So I thought about this little rolling table we have back in the Engineering copy/file room. It has a double purpose - holds extra paper for the copier, and when I do my filing it holds my filing book and the files.

So I cleared the table off and set up my computer on it. For the rest of the day I had many people laughing at me and my setup - good naturedly of course.

I will admit it is a funny setup. But it is much better than trying to use my computer on the floor. Or continuing to share the computer with the receptionist when this particular manager asks me to get something for him and expects it yesterday and doesn't want to hear that I can't do it yet because receptionist is having to use the computer to do something for another person.

Fingers crossed - furniture is supposed to be moved back into office area and set up in the morning. Anxiously awaiting a return to some semblance of normalcy.