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Archive for January, 2010

Vanishing Money? Spendy Month, Still at Gym :(

January 30th, 2010 at 01:04 am

I hadn't checked my 401k from my former company for a couple months. Today, I logged in just to see how it was doing.

There was NO money in the account!

The last time I'd looked, I had over $4,000.00!!!

It was after business hours, so I sent an email asking what had happened to my money!! A small portion of it was employer matched money (maybe $400 or so) but the rest of it was money I'd put in - either through a rollover, or from my salary.

I've had a 401k from when I was teaching continue to be held for me, now for nearly 5 years. This makes me more than slightly perturbed.

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This has been one spendy month. Nearly $200 spent on gas (when a normal month *might* be $90). Then of course renting a truck to move, and paying rent (for Feb.) to two places (guess that actually would count towards Feb and not Jan.)

Next month will hopefully be better. I'll be making another tuition payment (I took the three payment plan - just to spread out the pain a little bit).

On Wednesday I left my tutoring bag at the school - in it was my iPhone charger along with a marker board and other supplies. So, I had to go to Walmart and get another phone charger - because I was going to be at the gym all day Thursday, and had to have my phone working.

Yesterday as I was leaving the gym to go to my Thursday tutoring session, I got a call from the headmaster of the school I'd interviewed at on Wednesday. Frown After I'd interviewed, apparently someone else with more experience working with 8th graders and who could do Reading Recovery applied - and they went with her.

Of course I thought I'd be starting Monday, so had already told E he needed to find someone else. Frown I'd also told a couple gym regulars ... So, had to call E and grovel. He gave me hours - but less, and instead of Tuesdays, Mondays.

So I did my tutoring session (without the markerboard) and headed home. And got royally lost - even with the gps on my phone. It was raining cats and dogs and super dark. I was nearly out of gas when I finally found a gas station.

I pulled off the freeway and filled up. Across the street was an AT&T store. My phone has been coming close to dying on me 3 or 4 times in the last week when I've been far away from any place to recharge it. So ... I went in and I bought one of those portable battery chargers ... $50. I also had the guy change my texting plan to the $15/1500 text plan (this last bill I had 400 texts over my plan limit of 200). Then ... I somewhat impetuously decided to sign up for the talking gps function. I figured I could try it out for a month and see if it was better than the free gps (no talking/no auto rerouting) option. $10/mo extra.

I tried out the new gps function today. I really really like it. Sometimes its a little slow on telling you turns, but if you miss a turn, it automatically reroutes. SO nice not having to mess with touching the screen to see the next turn. You also can be choosy about how you want them to make your route. SO nice.

I guess you could say I did a little bit of retail therapy. At least I don't do it very often, right? And these were all things I'd been thinking about and debating about pretty much since I first got my phone in September (I think)?

--
After a nice week weather wise, it was really strange to go outside today and be freezing my tail end off again. I hope it goes away soon and we get back our low 50's!

Great day! :)

January 26th, 2010 at 01:26 am

Today was my first tutoring session with I, the sixth-grade boy. He didn't have any actual math homework, so I taught him the concepts for his next two-days assignments, then he played the various math iPhone games I'd downloaded. (math was estimating multiplying fractions, and multiplying fractions). It went pretty well, except we ran out of things to work on before our time was up. I don't think that'll be a normal occurrence though.

His mom gave me $60, and said she'll give me the remainder on Wed. and Th.

---
I arrived at the school's library early so I could be sure to have a parking spot (and to make sure I didn't get lost). The school librarian was still there when I arrived. We talked for a few minutes, and then a bright idea hit me.

I asked her if she was certified, and she said yes. Then I asked if she had her Master's, and she said yes! Then she told me that she'd just finished mentoring a library student last semester!! So ... I asked her if she'd be willing to be my mentor, since I'd just moved to this area and needed a nearby person. She said yes!!

(in the library program, you have to have a mentor as you go through it who essentially checks off that you've completed various skill tasks required for graduation)

Seriously, I felt like this was a God-thing.

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I have an interview on Wednesday at noon for the keyboarding teacher position. I SO hope I get it!

---
One of the ASL books I ordered on Friday came today. That was some real quick shipping! And now I have a piece of mail with my current name and address on it, so I can get a library card (once I find where the local branch is located!)

---
Spending:

Business expense: iPhone math apps - $7

All Moved! / Tutoring / ASL

January 25th, 2010 at 04:09 am

Today my 5 male helpers and I got all my things completely moved out of my former landlady's house. They are now all either in storage, or at my new home.

Yahoo!

Former Landlady (FL) did a number of things that messed with my mind. First, on Friday when I went over to pack everything, I got another note.

"Laura, the kids have been having trouble remembering what food is ours and what is yours. So, I packed up all your food into bags and boxes." FL

And ... she had! Even the food in the freezer - which was really strange, since she didn't even have any food in there.

Before I left, I had a chance encounter with her. I spoke up, and told her thank you for bagging/boxing up my food. She completely ignored me.

Um.. okay.

Then... today. When I got there, I had yet another note. "Laura, I wish you all the best. You are a great person. Leave the key under the mat, and make sure you have your mail forwarded." FL

She had moved all my pantry boxes, etc. into one huge pile next to my room. The whole time we were there, she stayed shut up in her room with the animals. I was glad I'd had a chance to say goodbye to them (the animals) on Friday.

My dad offered me a good suggestion I think. I'm going to write her a note and ask her if she'd tell me what had happened. That I don't understand why her attitude towards me changed so drastically. Then, if she wants to tell me, she can, in writing. Which, seems to be her favorite way of communicating.

----
Tomorrow I start my first day of tutoring with my new student. There is a slim possibility of a 5-hour a week position teaching keyboarding to 8th grade students at a local Christian school. If I get that ... then I *will* be quitting the gym!!!!

--
On February 3, I'll be starting to take a class at my church on American Sign Language. I was talking to the instructor at church this weekend, and she told me that if I really enjoyed it, and did well with it, that I could take the next level with her. That would enable me to know enough to interpret sermons. (like she does)

That *really* intrigues me. Not only would it be an awesome skill to have as a librarian, but it would also be an awesome way to give back a little at church.

She was giving some stats during the announcements. Out of 10+ million baptized Seventh-day Adventists worldwide, there are less than 100 baptized deaf members. Our little church of less than 200 members has 10 of them.

So, if I can become good enough, someday when I move to wherever my librarian job will be, I may be able to help bring in new deaf members.I just think that would be SO cool. Big Grin

---
I spent several hours tonight sketching out my assignments for the coming semester. There are some weeks which look like real hair pullers. But, if I can keep pretty much on schedule, I should be able to do just fine.

They also put out the summer schedule. So today I put in my advising form for the last of the three Master's classes where you have to be on campus. I'm hoping that my form gets put through early enough that I get into the particular section. It's the only one that doesn't meet on Saturday.

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Spending ... ugh...let's see, what do I remember?

Truck rental: $18x.xx (added insurance)

won't get reimbursed for cost because the storage place I used was not the one with the reimbursement coupon Frown

Gas: my car $23.xx
rental truck: $27.xx

Offering: 1.xx

books for ASL class: $23.xx
(used on Amazon)

Change of address form: $1

Driver's License change: $11

Hmm.. I'm sure I'm forgetting something... oh well.

*My mom paid for the pizza today, which was very nice of her. The guys ate almost every slice of the 3 large pizzas and most of the salad my mom added on the side.

Schools Started; Tutoring; Feeling Yuck; Blogaversery!

January 21st, 2010 at 01:03 am

Classes started on Tuesday. Two of my classes were up and running with no problem, but the third one was having some technical difficulties. It finally was up and running today.

I knew I was in a different section for my Children's Lit class, but hadn't realized that the required reading list would be different. As far as I can tell, the books I read over vacation are NOT on the new list. Ugh! Even better, with the other list, I didn't have to read Goosebumps - there were several other series I could choose from. Now, I have no choice. Double ugh! Also, the other section had you write book reviews as blog entries - this one only has you write the book reviews. I'll probably still put them up on my blog - if I'm going to take the time to write reviews, may as well put them on my blog!!

Anyway, only one of my classes looks like it will be a lot of work - the cataloging class. I have to do a research paper/project for it. I already chose to do it on graphic novels and comics, since I have somewhat of a knowledge base from the class I took this past summer.

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I will be starting to tutor a 6th grade boy next Monday in ... Math. Don't laugh too hard, I'm trying not to. As long as it keeps to stuff like adding fractions with unlike denominators, and very basic algebra, I should be okay. I hope.

3 1/2 hours a week for $100. It will definitely help the budget, since I'm spending more on gas, and had to cut my hours at the gym (both due to longer commute).

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The last couple days I've been feeling really yucky. Don't know if it is allergies, my body releasing stress, or what. All I know is that all I want to do is sleep, when I need to be doing schoolwork, and Friday will be packing and of course Sunday moving all the big stuff!

Ugh!

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Almost totally forgot! My 5 year blogaversery was on Tuesday! Hard to believe that I've been nattering on about my thoughts on money and life here for 5 years. Like I've said before though, I'm so glad to have found this community here.

SA'ers are the best!

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Spending:

Gas: lots of fillups 3 x in the last 9 days!!! ugh!!! roughly $87 total

Groceries: $12 - Costco veggie patties
$1.23 - frozen veggies
$29.32 - misc. groceries

Storage Unit: $35 (Jan rent + admin. fee)

For the most part things are going well in my new place. This morning I was slightly annoyed when I went to eat breakfast and there were no bananas left. Which is why I made a grocery store trip today .. bananas for the counter, and bananas for the fridge (plus other stuff).

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Oh yeah, I figured out a way to get to the gym without paying so much in tolls. It only adds about 5 minutes or so to my driving time (as long as there's not much traffic). So, I'm hoping that'll work out long term. Or ... I'll get another tutoring student or two and be able to quit the gym completely!

Settling in; No-S; Comments?

January 17th, 2010 at 08:45 pm

I'm starting to get settled in to my new home. Slowly, I am making my room into my own. It is so nice to have space to move around without bumping into furniture. I'd say that this room is at least twice as big as my former room.

I didn't leave quite early enough to make it on time for Sabbath School yesterday. Luckily I wasn't the only one running late. Smile I mentioned to everyone that I needed a couple guys on the 23rd. Then I found out I had made a mistake -- I thought for some reason that the 23rd was a Sunday. Nope, Sunday is the 24th! So, I am going to have to call the truck place and change my reservation to the 24th. Ooops.

After church I stopped by my former landlady's to pick up my textbooks, and also see about getting some other things. She was home I think, but I didn't see her. Apparently she was not very disappointed about my leaving ... she'd already moved my stereo and toaster oven along with some other things right by my room. Oh well.

I went to the animal shelter after that, and spent a bit over two hours. There was this one dog there that I just absolutely fell in love with. It was only 8 months old, and so sweet, and so beautiful. It was adopted before I left! There was also this cat - the kind with the smushed nose - 10 years old. It's owner had died, and that's how it ended up in the shelter. It was gorgeous and so friendly/loving. My heart broke for it. Frown

My worst fear with my cat was something happening to me, and no one willing to take care of it -- part of why I bought life insurance (don't have it anymore though).

On the way home I stopped at Dairy Queen. Smile I love their blizzards.

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No-S update: Big Grin I am down 20 lbs from my highest weight (of about June, 2009) and 17 lbs since July 23 when I started No-S.

Big Grin Big Grin

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I'm not sure what's going on, but I didn't receive notice of any replies to my previous post. I only found out I had replies when I came here today to catch up on the blogs. I also haven't been receiving notices of new comments on other people's blogs I've subscribed to.

Anyone else having that problem?

Sometimes Cops ARE Around ...

January 16th, 2010 at 04:25 am

You know how when you see drivers do idiotic moves in front of you, or near you, it seems as though there never are any cops around to see it?

Well, today as I was driving home (oh glorious word - home, as in the place where I can use the kitchen in a relaxed manner, have a bathroom right off my room ...) a red pickup truck was in the center turning lane next to me. The driver of the pickup truck cut in front of me to get into my lane, causing me to have to brake hard in order to avoid him. Then, a few moments later, the same truck pulled back into the center turning lane, again, causing me to brake hard.

Unluckily for this truck driver, directly behind me was a cop. The cop smoothly pulled into the center turn lane, and followed the pickup truck into the parking lot with lights on.

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As I mentioned above, the word "home" has a much better meaning for me now. As of Thursday night, I essentially moved in to my mom and stepdad's home. Sweet bliss.

I had wanted to avoid my landlady seeing me haul off my computer and also get my frozen foods on Thursday. However, I'd forgotten she doesn't have her kids on Thursdays, so I couldn't do it without her seeing/hearing. I ended up getting my computer, some clothes, etc. All 4 animals greeted me, and the black cat Sierra, nearly escaped out the front door during my last trip to the car.

I decided to try again today to pick up food from the pantry, as well as fridge food and freezer food, and of course my computer keyboard I'd left behind. Unfortunately, I guess the kids got out of school early today for whatever reason.

So, again I got everything I wanted to get, except for the fridge and freezer food - landlady was in living room/kitchen with a friend talking the entire time. All 4 animals greeted me, and hung around me most of the time I was there.

On my way to the house, I stopped at the bank and got a cashier's check for Feb. rent and wrote a note to my landlady giving 30-day notice. I was worried that she might try to say I had abandoned my stuff or something (since she could NOT have not noticed all my activity on Thursday.)

I left the note, and the check, taped to her bedroom door just before leaving. I had hoped to not go back until Friday to pack the remainder of my things, but I realized tonight that I'll have to go back once again tomorrow - I left my textbooks there. Ugh. I just hope she's not home.

The hardest part of all this is seeing the confused looks on the dogs faces - especially Nikki's. Today when I walked in the door, Kayla, the dog who slept in my room, *ran* full flight to me with her butt wiggling vigorously. It just about broke my heart.

Ugh. It wouldn't have been any easier in May to leave the animals ... but it still isn't easy. I would've liked the opportunity to at least have taken the dogs on one last walk ... oh well. In a few years I'll have a place of my own again, and hopefully be making enough money where I can afford a dog and a cat - animals that I can train and spoil and love however much I want to!

--
Spending today:

Deli - $4.68 (breakfast and lunch)
Gas - $25.46
Feb rent - old place: $290

I didn't get any groceries today. I'd been planning on getting some more bananas, but just ran out of time before sunset.

---
This morning was my first run from my new home to the gym. It took about 45 minutes, which wasn't too bad. What wasn't so great were all the tolls. I'm going to have to experiment to find a way with less tolls, and not too much added time.

---
Today was payday. Even with the extra shift I worked on Wednesday, it was a paltry amount.

$317.68

So ... $31.77 - Giving; Savings; Tax Savings

Update

January 14th, 2010 at 07:08 pm

I met with my mom and stepdad last night. It went really well. If my mom can remember that I'm 34, not 15, then I think it'll be a good situation. 

I found a storage unit right near mom's. The smallest non- climate control unit is $20 move in, then $79/mo for 150 sq feet. The awesome thing is that they reimburse you for the cost (actual - not taxes, etc.) of your rental truck. 

So I rented a truck that is probably bigger than I need, and got it for less. The person I talked to quoted me $123+ tax. Then I added a dolly for $10. She then told me the total was $166!! I was silent, then asked her to please break that price down. I guess she thought she was about to lose me .. Because she did something that got the final cost to $142!

The actual cost of the truck is $110, so once I'm reimbursed, it'll only cost $32!

I have E and A already lined up to help (from gym) and should be able to get another guy or two from church. Will pay in pizza hut and water. Smile

I'll be starting to stay at my moms tonight, but I won't pay my first rent till Feb. 1 ($200). I'm going to write landlady a short note telling her there'll be movers at her house on the 23rd, and that I'll be coming by on Friday to defrost my freezer and get everything packed. I'll mail it, along with a cashiers check for feb rent, on Saturday. She might get it by Tuesday. 

It's going to be so hard leaving these animals. The black cat Sierra has been cuddling up with me a lot this past week. She's always greeted me in the mornings, but now she's even been laying on my lap. Frown

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I found out something really awesome yesterday! Little House on the Prarie starring Melissa Gilbert as Ma is going to be playing at the Dallas Summer Musicals this May!!!

I've decided this is how my birthday money will be spent, and I'll take my mom along for mothers day. (she named me after Laura Ingalls - she watched it the whole time she was pregnant).

The Lippizanier stallions are also coming to Dallas (feb 21). I saw them back in the late 80's and remember how fantastic they were. 

If I had disposable income, I would buy season tickets x 2 for DSM and go to as many programs as I could. They also have Wicked and Shrek ...  

Today

January 12th, 2010 at 03:24 am

Gym went well. Had a new member sign up.

Made it to the meet the possible tutoring student on time.

Maybe it's because I'm feeling so stressed out in general, but I don't think it went that great. The kid was great, but I didn't know what the eck I was doing. I took the kid home, and got royally lost on the way back.

So I get home. The dogs greet me. Excited to be taken on a walk.

I go get a doggie bag. I go to get Nikki's sweater. No sweater to be found. I debate about asking landlady where it is ... but then a little intuition comes in, and I check the leashes. Gone.

What kind of person does this?!

I so felt like going into the living room and throwing things at her and yelling and telling her just where she can shove her asinine behavior. It's bad enough when her behavior is hostile to me, but so much worse when it affects the dogs - completely innocent in the matter. They don't understand why I'm not taking them out. They saw me get the bag - a clear sign to them. Then we don't go anywhere.

I've called my mom. We're moving up our expectations discussion to Wednesday evening. Hopefully I can be moving the most important items (computer, clothes, frozen food) to my mom's after that. And not have to spend another night in this hostile environment.

I'm going to take pictures of anything I leave behind at that point so that if once she realizes what's going on, she decides to retaliate by messing with my stuff, I can prove it. Probably need to get a current newspaper to photograph with it all.

Tomorrow I'm going to start working out the details of a condensed schedule for me with the other gym workers. That way I won't have to drive in so far 4 days a week.

My mom thinks I should write out a letter saying why I'm leaving. Thinks that my room still being so cold is a breach of contract - I'm not sure about that, because she did "try" to make it warmer by "insulating" with cardboard and plywood and provided me with extra blankets. My mom thinks I shouldn't pay her anything for Feb rent. I'm thinking that would come back to bite me later - she might be able to come after me legally somehow. (small claims court?) Plus, it wouldn't really feel honorable. Even if she's not being very honorable, two wrongs don't make a right.

The sooner I get out of here the better. I just will really really miss the animals. Frown

Options/Clutter Challenge

January 11th, 2010 at 01:03 am

I didn't have a talk with my landlady this weekend. She came home Friday night slamming doors and loudly complaining about how if she has to turn up the heat (presumably for me) then she (meaning me) should pay for it. It was pretty obvious she wanted me to hear it. Pretty silly really, because no matter how much she turns up the heat, it's not going to help how cold it is in my room.

So, anyway, after that, I realized that she isn't in any kind of mood to have a rational discussion.

---
Yesterday at church I made my need known for a new living situation as soon as possible. One possibility arose, but I think it's pretty slim.

An older lady (maybe late 70's) had been renting out a room to someone up till Christmas. The person had been there for a year and a half, and apparently was driving her crazy, so she finally told the person to go.

From her one question of me (do you have a car?) I surmised that the problem had been the tenant was asking for rides a lot.

She didn't sound too enthused about taking on another tenant, but promised that she'd think about it.

I know nothing about what the space is like, nor how much it would cost ... but I figure if it works out that the lady is open to my coming there, it may just work out in the other details. (Gotta have a little faith, right?)

My other option that I'm looking at again (which I chose to not go with before) is living with my mom and stepdad. I stayed with them this weekend, and my mom offered it again to me. I told her that I wanted her to sit down with D and work out what their expectations of me would be (i.e. what would it take for them to both be comfortable having me in the house all the time) and then I'd take a look at it and see if I could live with those expectations. I also told her that if we did it, I'd want to have a weekly conference where we'd feel free to constructively share what's working and what's not working, so if anything's bugging anyone, it won't take more than a week to get it out and figure out a solution.

I would have to rent a storage unit for the majority of my stuff, and my commute to the gym would nearly double. But .. if I can find enough tutoring students, I could quit the gym, or cut way back -- and be much closer to where most of the tutoring students would be located.

I'm thinking of offering $150/month, plus whatever household chores they'd like me to do. Then $30/month more for utilities. That would give me $110 month towards the extra gas and rental of storage unit.

We both would just have to keep in mind that this is short term. Who knows, maybe this summer I'll manage to find a school in desperate need of a librarian, and can get my emergency certification and then move to wherever that school is. (Dream, dream ...dream..)

---
One way or another, my personal deadline for getting out of here is two weeks from today. I wish I could do it this coming Sunday, but I don't think that's possible.

It is not healthy for me to live in this environment.

--
Saturday I made it over to the animal shelter. I ended up only being there a bit over an hour. There were a lot of new dogs. Penny and Lenny were both gone - hopefully adopted (and not in the back sick or something). There were also a lot of people there - part of why I didn't stay very long.

I went to a free music concert at our sister church. It was pretty good - not enough to buy the lady's cd, but I did leave $1 offering for her.

After the concert I went over to my mom's. We watched the Cowboys stomp the Eagles. Big Grin Then today we played with the Wii for a while. I showed mom and stepdad how to do the boxing, and we played skee ball and darts on another game. They're thinking about getting the Wii Fit.

Mom made a cottage cheese roast for me. There were enough leftovers for me to have lunch the whole week! Smile I'd been thinking about making enough quiona and cornbread, and opening up a can of baked beans for lunches. But this way I don't have to *use* my landlady's cooking stuff. Heaven forbid! Rolleyes

---
Today I cleaned out my car. There was a bunch of stuff I threw away.

I'll say 20 points worth (for the challenge)

I also cleared out a good bit of stuff from my pantry that I don't think I'll ever get around to actually using. I'm going to see if I can find a place to donate it.

I'll give myself another 20 points for that.

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I've decided to not replace my printer just yet. Once I move, I will either replace it, or maybe work out a deal with my mom on using theirs. (maybe buy every other ink cartridge? or pay 1/3rd of cost?)

---

I wish I had a temperature gauge to find out what the temp is in my room right now. My feet are freezing, my hands are slightly cold, but the rest of me is okay.

It sure was nice sleeping in a *warm* room last night!

---
Oh, I forgot to mention this before. When I got back last Sunday, there was a sign on the washing machine saying that it was broken. However, on both Wednesday and on Saturday when I got home from church ... guess what I heard? The washing machine.

So this lady is trying to make me mad with the animals, and to top it off not letting me use the washing machine. Jokes on her though, cuz when she's not here, the animals still choose to be in my room, and I washed most of my clothes before I came back! (and did some more at my mom's this weekend)

I'm SO ready to get out of here!!

More drama - Ugh!

January 8th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

So, I did a stupid thing this morning. I didn't know I had done it until I got home this afternoon.

How did I find out? By one of my landlady's famous notes!

What had I done? I left my space heater on. Major stupidity, but NOT done on purpose. I hadn't turned it on since before I went on vacation, and just plain forgot it was on this morning as I was stumbling around getting ready to go to work.

Understandably, she was ticked. I'd be too. But, instead of saying, "Hey Laura, you left your space heater on this morning. That's incredibly dangerous. Please don't let it happen again!" then I could respond with abject apologies, and make sure it doesn't happen again .. and we could move on ...

Nope, she writes me a note telling me that she'd found out my space heater was on, and that she's decided to give me notice of an earlier move out date. June.

She then goes on to say that she's selling her house this summer.

--
Today I was studying my SS quarterly lesson on the fruits of the spirit - specifically love. It really hit me hard, all the uncharitable thoughts I've been having towards my landlady.

I had decided that instead of reacting to all this by taking flight and possibly leaving bad blood, I should be the adult and see if we could talk it out and clear the air. Maybe I'd be able to find out what was really going on here.

After getting that note this afternoon, my resolve to have that talk with her weakened measurably. I was again ready to schedule the movers to come get my stuff ASAP and take whatever place I could find.

Thankfully I decided to call my dad first. Smile

After talking with him, I've decided that I'm going to write her a note saying that we need to talk, and when would be a good time for her. Leave the ball in her court.

I'm thinking of leaving it on the kitchen table in the morning before I go to church.

If she bites, then I'll start by saying how sorry I am about the space heater thing, and continue by saying that I think there've been some frustrations building, and I'd like to hear what she thinks. Then go from there.

Hopefully the conversation can make it tenable for me to live here until May. If not, then an intensive search for a new home will begin.

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I also received a disturbing piece of mail from a government agency resulting from a failed company I owned in 2000. I'm going to make some calls on Monday to figure out what to do about it. (I thought it was taken care of way back then!)

---

In gym related news ...

K, another worker at the gym, talked to the owner yesterday for quite awhile. She expressed to him our frustration with not having enough supplies to keep the bathrooms stocked, and sometimes not even to do the towels. He agreed that wasn't a good thing, and that now that he's done with his "football middle age thing" (my words, not his) he's going to pay more attention to his business.

So ... this morning I texted E to tell him we were out of laundry detergent - and I had a full load to wash. He then called me and told me that he'd be in later with a lot of supplies. I'd heard that one before, so kind of rolled my eyes. Miracles do happen! We now have more than enough shampoo, deodorant, hairspray, detergent, etc., to last a few months! (no body wash yet .. he's still going to get that). Now we are to tell him whenever the supply closet (which I organized today) gets down to one of anything - and he'll make sure it gets replaced.

If this actually happens, it will make life so much easier at the gym!

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The tutoring session I was supposed to attend yesterday (in order to meet a possible tutoring student) was rescheduled for Monday - due to bad weather closing the school & the mom feeling sick.

Mom told me that there may be another lady with a second grade boy who'd be more able to afford my $25/hr rate than her rate.

So, I could possibly have 6 hours/week of tutoring (or more). That would be very, very helpful.

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What's up with sweet potatoes?!

Last week when I went to Walmart for my weekly grocery shopping, they didn't have any. Then this week they had some, but they were completely unappealing.

I ended up finding some at Albertsons, but they were $1.29/lb versus the russett's for $.98/lb!

I thought I saw on some list somewhere that winter is their growing season?!

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I had to stop by my bank today to figure out what was going on. On Tuesday I had deposited two checks, but they were not showing up online, either as a pending or completed transaction. The teller wasn't able to tell me why it wasn't showing up, but she said that it did show up in my account. Weird.

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Spending today:

Wal-mart: $5.87 (fruit, egg sub, treat)
Albertsons: $3.21 (sweet potatoes)

Printer options; Renting possibilities

January 7th, 2010 at 02:04 am

Today didn't start out great. I got a phone call from E asking me to come in and work a shift. As I half-heartedly got ready to go in, I got a text saying it was a joke, and thanks for my flexibility. I was ticked off. Thankfully I was very careful in my text response, and found out that he'd truly needed me to come in - but had found another way to take care of it. E needs to learn the right time to say "just joking" and the wrong time. (today was my day off)

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Won't go into it, but the situation with my landlady still isn't getting better. I went out to Target this afternoon to look at printers, and then saw "Love Happens" at the dollar theater.

When I got home, I was just overwhelmed with the desire to get out of here asap! So I checked out Craigslist (again - been doing a lot of that lately). Miracles! There were at least 4 really good possibilities which had just been listed today!! One is for $300/mo with the additional responsibility of pet sitting their dog! Smile Another one is just a few blocks from where I am now ($255/month). I'm kind of wondering if this isn't God providing a way out for me ...

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Here are the printers I'm considering. I'd love to hear what you all think about the options - or know about ink costs for them. (i.e. can I use the Walgreen's refills, etc.?)

1. $39 HP Deskjet F2430 All-in-One Printer

2. $40 Canon Pixma MP250 Photo All-In-One Inkjet Printer/Copier/Scanner

3. $45 HP Deskjet F4235 Multi-function Inkjet Printer, Copier & Scanner

4. $49 HP F2480 All-in-One Printer/Copier/Scanner

5. $49 Canon Pixma MP490 Photo All-In-One Inkjet Printer, Copier, Scanner - Energy Star Compliant

There are three things I mainly want to be able to do: 1) print stuff for school (research papers, etc) 2) print coupons and 3) scan photos

*all prices are off of walmart.com

Thanks!


The Price of Peace of Mind

January 6th, 2010 at 03:33 am

In my post yesterday I mentioned about how the situation where I am living is going downhill. One of the tensions is the issue of dishes.

So, today after work I stopped at Albertson's and went to the paper goods aisle.

For $6.88, I got:

100 paper plates
50 Foam Cups (hot chocolate, cider)
20 Party Cups (juice/water/milk)
48 piece variety set of plastic ware

So, the materials cost $6.88, but the value of achieving peace of mind (at least regarding this one issue)? Priceless!

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After thinking about it carefully, I decided to not get a portable DVD player. It just would not really get enough use to justify the expense. Once school starts on the 19th, I doubt I'll have very much free time at all - either at work, or at home. So, I can make do with two streaming movies from Netflix a month, and then take the physical DVD's to my mom's house when I go visit her.

What I really do need to get is a printer with scanning capability, and a replacement power cord for my netbook.

Although I can't get on the internet at the gym via Wi Fi, I can use my netbook to type up discussion postings and journal entries for my classes. I have the feeling that I will definitely need to be spending my time wisely this coming semester - there is a lot of reading required for my Children's Lit class, as well as quite a bit of writing. My two other classes also appear to have a good bit of requirements. I don't think this coming semester will be as easy as the last one. I'm ready for it though. Big Grin

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If it works out with the student on
Thursday, and I can just find tutoring students for 6 more hours a week ... I am going to quit my job at the gym. Or .. maybe cut back to only two days a week ..

10 hours a week of tutoring would give me $1000/month income (pre-tax) which would be $150/mo more than my gym income at 29.5 hours. I also would save on tolls. I might save on gas, but that would depend on how the hours are spread out.

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When I stopped by Compass today to deposit my paycheck, there was a couple up ahead of me at the teller. The husband was asking the teller what was the "inactivity fee" about that they'd gotten a letter about. She explained that it was just a letter letting them know well in advance of the change in terms, and that all they had to do was make one charge per year to avoid it. They didn't seem to like that idea very much, and were considering closing the account. The teller than used the "it's good to have in case of an emergency!" They ended up not closing it.

(I wasn't trying to listen in .. the participants were just loud!)

Vacation, + lots of etc.

January 5th, 2010 at 01:54 am

Overall, my California trip went really well. My very favorite part of the trip was the day my dad, grandma and I spent with my brother in San Francisco and finally at his home in Napa. We stopped at Ghiradelli's and had hot chocolate, then somehow wound up under the Golden Gate bridge where we discovered a part of San Francisco none of us had been to before - Fort Point. Later, we played three games of Rook, and finally played Wii bowling.

We were planning on visiting Hearst Castle on our way from San Jose to Loma Linda, but we got started at nearly 1 p.m., and by the time we were within 30 minutes of Hearst, it was past time for the last tour of the day. So, we all agreed to continue on to Solvang.

A *lot* of eating out was done on this trip. So much so, that if I don't eat out again until this summer, it'd be just fine with me! On New Year's Eve we ate out at the Cheesecake Factory in Beverly Hills (by the Farmer's Market/Grove). The tip for that meal, and the hot chocolate at Ghiradelli's, were the only things I paid for the entire trip.

My grandma wasn't quite sure what her Wii was all about. She kept calling it "wi fi". Big Grin Once we got to her place, and I set it up so we could bowl, she got the hang of it. Smile

In Denver, (layover) I experienced my first deicing while on a plane. I was quite happy that my return trip was non-stop.

I got quite a few new clothes. We went shopping at an outlet place - Coldwater Creek, Liz Claiborne, and Izod's sister store, all contributed to my wardrobe. Smile Then we also hit up JC Penny's for one more item we couldn't find at the outlet place. All in all, for just a bit over $100 I got - two dressy tank tops; a new purse; a short sleeved sweater top; two other tops, and a dress.

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One downer of my trip, which really had nothing to do with the trip at all. I got a call from E telling me my hours had been cut to 27. When I asked him where those hours had been cut (thinking only 4 had been cut) he told me Thursday. I used to work from 8 to close - he was putting me as noon to close.

I asked him if I could have 8 to 3 instead, to keep my schedule basically the same. He told me that K was the one wanting the morning hours. So then I told him to cut a few hours on T and F to equal out the 4 instead. He then tells me that those hours had already been cut!!

So then I asked him how he was figuring 27 hours, because it sounded like 8 hours were gone from my schedule. In the end, he made it so I have 29.5 hours.

I was expecting a cut in hours, but it still hurts (financially).

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I had an interesting homecoming (to where I live). I was greeted at the door by all 4 animals. The two dogs raring to go for a walk.

However, the first acknowledgment/greeting I received from any of the humans was 6 hours later when I went out to the living room and told the daughter that Kayla was outside whining. She snottily informed me that Kayla was not whining. Umm ... ok. I just walked out to the living room for no reason, and happened to see Kayla at the door.

My next acknowledgment was from my landlady this afternoon after I had placed the doggy bag in the trashcan. A short curt "Be sure to lock the door!"

Nice. Adding to that the lovely argument I got to overhear last night between the mom and the kids ... is it May yet???

At least the animals are friendly to me.

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The dishes situation is completely ridiculous. I had a mug of hot chocolate last night. I rinsed out the mug and the spoon, and placed them in the (empty) dishwasher.

Tonight, I went out to the kitchen to put groceries away, and found this note taped to the mug cabinet "Wash your own dishes!!"

I am seriously contemplating buying paper plates, cups, and plastic ware. I hate the waste and the expense, but it might just be worth it for the peace of mind.

I am also contemplating about whether it would be all that horrible to move during the semester if I found the right situation ...

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Something which may help me be a bit more flexible in how much I can budget for housing ... my mom is letting me "have" one of her students for the $25/hr rate. She's been tutoring him at the $50/hr rate, but the mom just isn't able to keep going at that rate.

It would be 4 hours a week, so $100/wk. But it would be about an hour's drive one-way (assuming no major traffic snafus.)

If I do well with this kid, then it might lead to more people willing for me to tutor their child. So, this could be a good thing - especially with my hours being cut.

I'll be meeting the mom/child on Thursday to try it out.

My two biggest concerns are: 1)My mom is going to somehow hold this over me - that there is going to be some kind of extra expectation of me which hasn't been stated yet (like "I'd be glad to help you with getting a different car, but you have to promise me that you'll keep it clean and neat."), and 2) That for one reason or another the child and I won't gel, or I'll have no idea what I'm doing, and completely mess it up, and that somehow that will end up messing up my mom's tutoring business ...

I guess I shouldn't worry over milk that hasn't spilled yet ...

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While I was in San Jose, I ended up telling my Uncle about all my car troubles this year. He basically offered to either co-sign on a loan for a new car, or pay for it up front, and have me pay him back when I can.

The offer does appeal to me very much. Every time I get in my car I wonder if something is going to go wrong.

My dad recently replaced his car. He looked for months for a used car, or even for a few years old car (like an 09 leftover on the lot). He found that the used vehicles were going for as much, or more, as the new vehicles.

My uncle is big on Subaru's. They're good cars .. if I could find one that was similar in size and gas mileage to my Honda, I might go for it.

I just am not sure how I feel about going into such large debt to a relative. Paying it back in good time would depend so much on my finding a *real* job (i.e. not minimum wage!) once I graduate. But if my car dies on me, or gives me more mechanical headaches ... I'll end up having to do it anyway, plus have used up more savings to try to fix it.

Ugh! I've got such a headache thinking about all this!!

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Spending:

Gas: $22.41 (Sunday)

Deli: $4

Groceries: $22.78 (replenishing things I ate up before the trip, etc.)

Almost forgot -- extra monies:
Brother - $40 (birthday money)
Grandma - $50
Dad - $200 (cell phone, space heater, baggage fees, + extra just because)

I'm thinking about getting a portable DVD player - something I can take to the gym to watch movies on, or use at home (since my computer's dvd program still isn't working!).

$10 of my brother's gift goes to saving/giving, but I could put the other $30 towards a portable DVD. Then if I used $30 of the money grandma gave me -- I'd have $60. If I used $25 of the extra my dad gave me, that would give me $85 to buy one.

I've seen them for right around $80, but need to do some research to see if I can find one for less. (I was told by all three that they *did not* want me to put all the money into savings or just bills - they want me to use it for something frivolous.)

I also kind of really need a new printer. It needs to have the scanning capability. Two or three rounds of printing out journal articles for research papers at the library would probably equal out to the cost of one. (my mid-term paper research cost about $18 in printing costs at the library)

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Sorry if this is all over the place. I think jet lag + plane leaving 6:20 a.m. CA time on Sunday, and then getting up at 5:30 this morning for work all are coming together to make me very tired and out of sorts.

Why?!

January 2nd, 2010 at 07:03 am

Edited after reconsidering content.