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Archive for May, 2010

Some drama, Some maybe good news, etc.

May 24th, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Yech. There was drama this weekend. I won't go into it all, but suffice it to say that there is no chance of mom and stepdad reconciling.

I've really, really tried to stay out of all of it. But today something happened which made me very annoyed. No, actually, REALLY annoyed.

Mom was over here picking up some of her belongings. She decided she wanted her case of CD's. Apparently before I moved in, this case was stored in one of the dresser drawers in my bedroom. Stepdad knocks on my door, and when I say come in, he walks right in and goes over to my closet (which was open) and starts looking at the top shelf. Some things there are his, some are mine. He then asks me if I've seen the CD case. I tell him that no, I don't recall having seen it since moving in here. He leaves.

My mom then comes in and asks me if I'd seen it. I told her that no, I hadn't. Then she opens one of the dresser drawers. I stood up to her and told her that I did not want her going through all the dresser drawers! The drawers had ALL been empty except for one which had sheets for the bed in it. She got all huffy and told me "Well, if you were missing something, you'd want to go through all the drawers!"

Then she left.

First of all, a big part of the reason I insist on paying rent is to have some expectation of privacy. Secondly, if I *was* missing something, and was told by someone that NO they had not seen it, NO I would not expect to be able to go through their dresser drawers or their closet!!!

And she seriously thinks I'd consider living with her on her own??? (She's under this delusion that she's going to be able to go out and buy a 3 bedroom house in the low 100's with part of the divorce settlement. She's offered to let me rent a room there "for just $300 a month - a real bargain since I'd charge a lot more to anyone else". Sweet, right? Let me move *again*. Let me move *further* away from my home church. Let me pay *more* in rent. And, top it off with being in a much smaller space than now with just my mom? Yep, I'll be taking her up on that real fast.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding really, really b-wordy here. I'm having LOTS of really ungracious thoughts. Wondering a lot of the time if it really was worth living like this to go back to school. Now I'm pretty much stuck. I've gone to far to not finish.

My brother is so smart. Living FAR away from Texas, and far enough away from all other relatives so he has a comfortable breathing space.

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One other piece of drama this morning. I dropped my prescription off to get refilled. I then got a phone call from my doctor's office manager telling me I had to come in for blood work and a doctor visit before they'd renew the scrip. When I explained that I have no income at the moment, and am in school, she snarkily asked, "So how do you plan on paying for the medicine?" At the time I didn't have this comeback on hand, although I wish I had -- $25 for medicine is a WHOLE LOT easier to come up with than $200+.

She wanted me to make an appointment right then. I told her I couldn't do that - I needed to see if I could figure something out. I called back later and asked if the figure of $190 they gave me *absolutely* included everything. i.e. I wasn't going to receive a surprise bill a month from now for lab work. They assured me it did. So, I went ahead and scheduled the appointment. I've been with this doctor since 2001, and really like her. (Her office manager, not so much.)

My stepdad when he heard about this, told me to not send him rent for May. That I can make it up once I have some income coming in again. That way I won't be dipping into savings for this.

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Enough of the meladrama already, right?

So, maybe good stuff.

I went ahead and registered for my fall classes so I could see exactly how much they'd cost. Then I also checked with my advisor about how many credits I'd be charged for for Spring semester.

I was told that there is *no charge* for Capstone (a one-week course where you write 3 1500-2500 word research papers on a pass/fail basis). So, I'd only have the one 3 credit course.

What that means is that right now I have about $1200 more than I need for Fall/Spring tuition. Of course, then there are the fees for the certification exam and graduation expenses ... but that right there makes me feel a whole lot better. (I was worried that it was going to cost a good bit more.)

Then I finally contacted the scholarship/financial aid office to find out when the decisions were being made. I was told that they'd already weeded out those who weren't eligible, and are working on giving out the rewards. Since I haven't received a letter saying I'm ineligible, and there's no notation of such on my record --- I may have a chance of some scholarship money! The final rewards will be given out by (sometime in) July. So, hopefully sometime in the next 4 -5 weeks I'll be getting on here gleefully exclaiming that I was awarded some scholarships. Smile

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I checked into CareCredit. You have to financially qualify for it - just like a regular credit card. The only way I could qualify right now, would be to get a co-signer. I'd thought about (not too seriously) asking my mom to cosign, but her income is about as unsteady as mine is.

I also checked into the idea of getting work done at the local Dental school. I'm not too sure about it though. The screening visit is $54. Then *if* you are accepted as a patient, you have to come in once a week for appointments AND be willing to go for a "complete" treatment plan. That makes me very, very wary. The school is in Dallas - about an hour's drive from here. All I want is a crown and two fillings. What if they "suggest" a whole bunch of other work?

So .. I think I'm going to wait to make any decisions on the dental stuff until I find out if/how much I receive in scholarships.

My Day

May 21st, 2010 at 12:32 am

Today I finally went to the dentist to have my teeth checked. The ones which have been bothering me for several months. But that really is just a small part of my day today.

It started with my tutoring student telling me he had not spent any time studying the study cards, and that the night before a test he had all of three days to prepare for, that he's going to a friends house for a few hours. I seriously don't get it. I care more about him passing than he does. Only one more week left working with him. If he passes, then I might work with him again next year. I'm not so sure though that I even want to.

After tutoring, I got my oil changed. Had a $5 coupon and got a raincheck for a free car wash ( since it was pouring rain). $26.84 total

Then I went to the library to pick up a bunch of books I had on hold. (the Alice books by Phyllis Naylor) books 1,2 and 4-9 were all there. Book number 3 hadn't even been put in transit. I'd ordered all of them on the same day, and none of them had other requests. The CSR released the hold on that copy, and put it on a different copy. Hopefully I'll have it before I finish the first two.

Finally, I head down the road for my dentist appt. He is located in a town I lived in several different places, and also attended a nearby university. So I knew a great Chinese place with the best Egg Foo Young. I parked, and before going in checked to see the showtimes for Shrek 4. The local movie place has first run movies for $3. I turned my car off, but not my lights.

A few minutes later I got out (the first showing wasn't till after my appt) to go eat. Soon I found out they didn't take cc or debit. So back to my car for another plan.

The problem was though, my battery was dead!!! Argh!! After about 15 minutes a lady helped me jump start my car. I didn't want to turn it off till I was sure it was recharged, so went through TB drive through and then just drove around looking at the places I'd lived before for about an hour.

I finally went into the dentist about 30 minutes early, and an hour later was seen. Final prognosis is that I have at least two cavaties on the left side (where they xrayed) and one tooth that most likely needs a crown soon.

Total cost of prognosis (2 fillings, right side xrays, and. crown) $1700!!!

Today's visit -$85.

I feel so frustrated. My car has now done this twice - where the battery dies if the lights are left on after the motor goes off. Plus all the problems I had with it last summer.

Then I have a sinking feeling that before my doctor will renew my synthroid (hypothyroid) prescription, she's going to insist on an office visit and bloodwork. $3-400.

Then of course all this dental work. I could let it go - but what if the tooth cracks? And the cavaties will only be worse later.

Right now I have enough savings to pay for fall semester tuition. IF I find some income for the summer.

I'm really tempted to use my Roth Ira contribuitions. There'd be just about enough to pay for the dental work, and I don't think there'd be any tax consequences.

Or, I could just not continue my degree right now, and try to find full time work and rebuild my savings. I'd really hate to do that though, with only 16 credits to go. Plus there's no guarantee I'd find anything.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 9th, 2010 at 03:27 pm

To all the mom's here, I'd like to wish you a very happy and special Mother's Day!

Holding on ...

May 7th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

My one remaining student still hasn't paid me for May. He'd asked me if I could wait until he found out for sure when his final was ... I agreed. Then the next day I pointed out to him that if he wanted me to help him with the English class, it didn't matter when the final was -- and that I needed him to pay me by Friday. He must have forgot, and I also forgot, because the entire session we were working on the (thankfully!!!) open book test.

I know for sure that I have A's in two of my classes. In my third class I am pretty much finished with the final test, but am just waiting for a reply from the instructor regarding a few questions I had.

I've been enjoying myself soaking up book after book -- ones I want to read, and can enjoy without having to worry about writing something about them later. Big Grin

My mom and I have played 4 games of Words With Friends in the last week. She's won two, I've won one (and am probably going to win the current one).

I've not been doing very well with food or money lately. They kind of go hand in hand for me. The more my gut tightens about not having money, the easier it is for me to spend money --- not on good, healthy food -- but on junk food. I'd been doing so well on No-S, sticking to just the weekends for my sweet tooth -- but of the last two weeks especially ... not good. It's almost like I get this voice in my head that tells me --well the money's gonna run out sometime one way or the other, whether you're careful or not ... may as well enjoy some of it.

I'll get back on track, I always do. I just wish I was stronger and could tell that "voice" (for lack of better terminology) to shut the hey up!

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In good money news ...

I got my tax refund --- $62! Yay! I'd been planning on using some of it for a hair cut, but with what I'm bringing in for May, and nothing lined up at all for June yet ... guess I won't be getting a hair cut any time soon.

Also, after a bit of a mess with half.com (they had an old checking account on file for me -- and I had to verify my identity in order to update) I finally am getting paid for the two textbooks I sold. (Actually, I sold three. But before I mailed out the third one, the buyer asked for a refund. Supposedly had dropped the class.) So ... that's $59.62.

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I've been really considering what to do with my things in the storage building. That rent eats $79 a month. I'd say the unit is about half-full -- it was the smallest non-climate controlled one. The climate controlled ones start at $99/mo.

I have approximately another year before I could possibly get into a place of my own again. So, the 4 months it's already been in storage, plus 12 more would be a total of 16 x $79 = 1264.

What's in storage? 5 bookshelves of varying sizes, approximately 15 boxes of books, ~5 boxes of photos/games/DVD's/memorabilia, ~10 boxes of kitchen and bathroom stuff, 3 boxes of decorative items, elliptical, 2 dressers (1 is my childhood dresser the other is a normal dresser), 2 nightstands, futon/couch,computer desk/hutch,and some other miscellaneous items.

I could see selling the elliptical with no problem. The futon/couch I could sell, although I was thinking I could use that as my bed whenever I get into my new place. The childhood dresser ... mostly held on to for sentimental value, as well as the hope to use it for a child of my own someday -- very dim hope. It's not very big, but is sturdy. The books ... I suppose I could cull them down to only 5 boxes worth, if I absolutely had to.

The thing is, even if I did manage to cull the items down to even half of what I have right now ... the smaller units wouldn't be cheaper. Or, if I somehow found another place with cheaper smaller units, I'm not sure the savings would equal out the cost of renting a truck to move the items.

Ugh. I don't see a way to effectively cut this expense. Although, maybe I should go ahead and try to sell the elliptical. I probably couldn't get more than $50 for it though ... it would be more than nothing.

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Is anyone else having a problem getting notified about responses to blog posts? I've gone back and checked a number of blogs where I commented, and found that there'd been subsequent comments - but I'd not gotten any notice of it.

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Well, can't think of anything else halfway interesting right now. Hope everyone has a good weekend -- and Happy Mother's day to all the mom's!

Almost Finished with Spring semester, etc.

May 3rd, 2010 at 05:57 pm

Spring semester is almost finished. I have one test to take on Friday, and then I will be done! If I do well on the test, then I should have 3 A's. Then I can breathe easy (at least academically) until my summer class starts on June 6.

Financially ... my gut is twisting. This month -- May -- it looks like I won't even make $400.

TG, the academic dean at the school where I'm tutoring the high-school boy at talked to me today. She did say that she might have some (one at least) person for me to work with this summer. She also asked me if I'd be willing to work with SH again next year ... at a reduced rate and reduced time. But that she thought she could find others to make up for the reduced amount/time.

Next year SH will be taking pre-calculus. I'm not even sure what pre-calculus is. (yes, I know it's math - I've taken Algebra 2 and Statistics ... not pre-cal). The government and lit classes I feel comfortable helping him with ... the pre-cal ... not so much.

I'm really not sure what to do. I was hoping to find something part time where I could be more sure of how much I'd make each month. But there doesn't seem to be much of anything near enough that'd be worth the gas.

I was looking forward to my break between classes so I could go catch some movies at the dollar theater, but all the movies there are ones I don't want to see. The movies I'd like to see are at the full-cost theaters (or will be soon) Iron Man 2, Sex and the City 2, Shrek ... For now I'm going with the free movies from the library. This weekend I watched Miss Petigrew Lives for a Day (great movie!) and Revolutionary Road (Ugh!!! Don't recommend unless you want to be very, very, very depressed). I have Cold Mountain, Slumdog Millionaire and Dan in Real Life still to watch.

I'm going to try to do some cooking and putting together a lot of freezer meals over the next couple of weeks. So hopefully I can reduce my grocery bills for the next few months. There really isn't much I can cut.

My monthly bills look like this:
$200 - rent
$79 -- storage unit rent
$80 -- phone (paid for by my dad right now)
$90 -- gas (auto)
$90 -- groceries
$25 -- prescription
$35 -- savings towards 6 month car insurance
Total -- $599

Then of course, 10% of whatever comes in goes to tax savings, and another 10% goes to the giving category. Then you know, the incidentals like oil changes, hair cuts (still need one badly), etc.

I'm going to have to use some of my tuition savings for living expenses. Which means I'll have to borrow money for Spring 2011 tuition -- unless I get some killer scholarships.

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My stepdad has paid for tickets for my mom and I to go see the play version of Little House for Mother's Day. I had planned on doing it for her, but realized that it would be totally financially irresponsible -- even though the two tickets ended up being a bit less than $50. I'm going to cover parking, which will probably be $10.

My teeth are still bothering me. My mom and stepdad have said they'll cover the cost of getting my teeth checked out, and if something needs done, they'll help me out.

This is a lesson in humility for me. Learning to humbly accept other peoples generosity. Someday hopefully I'll be in the position to do the same for others again.

Thankfully my car seems to continue to hang on. I read a good article off of Yahoo today:

http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/1428/How-To-Tell-When-It-s-Time-for-a-New-Car

Well, that's about it for now.