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Fundraising for Local Charity and Surprise at the Hairdresser!

October 6th, 2019 at 03:27 pm

This afternoon I went out with some others from my church collecting money for a local charity here which helps people who have been vicitimized by domestic violence. The woman and her two boys who are my partners (and have been the past 4 years) were actually helped by this charity. So it brings it really home.

After I was done with that, I stopped at the mall and found out that JC Penny's does still have a hair salon. (I wasn't sure .. it had been years since I'd used it.)

The hairstylist and I chit chatted away as you do. At some point she had mentioned that she was from Utah and that she had been Morman. Later on in the conversation I mentioned that the transit manager here is Mormon.

Guess what? He's her bishop!!

Whew! Glad I didn't say anything negative about the job. Smile (Goes to show that you JUST NEVER KNOW.)

She was emailing him as I left to tell him about this awesome customer she had today. Big Grin

Interview Scheduled!!

October 2nd, 2019 at 07:02 pm

This afternoon I received an email with my scheduled interview time. Monday at 1:15 p.m.!!!!

I really hadn't been expecting it to happen so quickly, but I am glad it is kind of ... pull the bandaid off ... hurts less? Smile

Hopefully they'll move just as quickly with making their decision??

If I get it, in less than a month I could possibly have a completely new job! And be working on finding a replacement for me. (Too bad the woman doing light duty wouldn't want to do it, she does a great job. But makes a LOT more as a bus driver.)

I told my aunt about it, and she asked me if I had a cute outfit picked out. I told her I hadn't really figured that one out yet. She then offered to pay for one, so I could get something new.

With my weight gain this year, my options in my closet which would be appropriate for a higher level position interview ... well ... not much there. So, I took her up on it.

I stopped at Lane Bryant after work, because even though they are on the expensive side, I figured I had a better shot of finding *something* decent in my size quickly. (rather than the billards shot in the dark of going to other department stores or thrift stores ...)

I ended up getting a blue dress and a blue suit jacket. (I also bought this brown skirt I fell in love with, but the jacket which would have gone with it was $100 alone ... I did buy a turtleneck that looks really nice with it.) It was a buy one get one 50% off. Even so, I spent WAY too much money. (Especially considering I had just declared a moratorium on spending for two weeks. Of course, I hadn't expected the interview to happen so soon either!)

There is another job posting which is closing tomorrow - I need to finish my cover letter for it. Then I need to focus on figuring out answers to interview questions.

The lady at LB kept saying something about unbuttoning my jacket when I sat down. Is that customary?? I never did that before when interviewing. Although, I suppose it makes a better appearance when sitting, and then rebuttoning when standing up.

Hopefully I won't need a second interview (the position closing tomorrow) but the outfit I got today will work for that as well. Also will be a nice church outfit (with or without the jacket) Smile

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I am sad to have lost several months of blog posts. Although I haven't been that active here the past year or so, so not that many posts of mine lost.

On another forum I'm on, someone figured out a way to download posts. Once I'm past this interview stuff, I will see if I can find out what that was, and if it would work for a site like this. 15 years of blog posts would take a LONG time to copy and paste. Big Grin

Whew!

October 1st, 2019 at 07:26 pm

I have been blogging here since January, 2005. There have been a few times the blogs were down, but thankfully so far, they have always come back!

This latest round though has made me want to do two things: 1. figure out a way to store all my posts somewhere else as a double safe-guard; and 2. Create a backup place for us to gather in case something more permanent ever happens. (*Please note, this isn't anything against James, the current site owner. I just feel it would be good to have a backup.)

I haven't quite figured out #1 yet (really should be working on another job application right now ...), but I do think I have come up with a solution for #2. It's not perfect by any means (though it does have some neat features like a real time chat box) but it would do in an emergency. Smile

I have it set so that I have to approve any new members - so hopefully that would limit spam. There's two sections, one is a general one, viewable by people not logged in, and one for the Journals, viewable only by members who are logged in. Again, hopefully this would help keep the spam (and rude commenters) down.

Anyway ... if you are interested in joining as a placeholder (i.e. in case of emergency) then please leave a comment down below. Please make sure to use the email in your comment with which you would register - that way I know it is you when I go to approve registrations. (###Please#### Do Not Post Your Email IN the comment.)

This is a free forum (and one that has been used by another forum I'm part of - in anticipation of our current forums demise) so as long as the host is around, this could be an option.

If you'd like to be a moderator (i.e. at this point, just someone to be my second - in case something happens to me, a second person who has some access authority to the forum) please let me know.

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Okay ... in other news ...

I have declared a moratorium on purchasing anything other than food, gas, or medically necessary items for the next two weeks. Looking at my spending the past few months ... not good. The money WAS in my budget/spending category, but I've just been a little too free with it. Not really thinking through purchases.

HealthyWage - doing ok. Not eating til noon was *really* hard the first couple of days, and then again on the weekend. But overall, it is getting easier. I need to work on the stopping eating at almost comfortably full. That would probably help the weight loss.

RunBet - I have completed 2 of the 3 required runs for the first week. I have to do the 3rd one tomorrow or else. Smile

StepBet - I canceled (refunded) out of the first one I joined, and then switched to a different one. We're still in our warm-up week. The bet really starts on Monday.

***I might possibly be having a job interview next week!!** GULP

What books/sites would anyone recommend for current information on how to be a good manager/supervisor? I know the website Ask A Manager, but am not sure what would be some other quality resources.

I'm also applying for another position which closes on Thursday. It would be a step up in position, but not a pay raise initially - eventually it would be though, since the ceiling is higher than my current one. (government jobs have pay ranges - you start at the bottom, unless you're in the middle of it or something, and then the yearly merit raises stop once you reach the ceiling - though you still get cost of living raises.)

SO READY to do something else.

Okay, I really need to stop procrastinating.

$tretching, etc.

January 16th, 2019 at 06:27 pm

So DH found an insurance company that will cover him (did I mention he'd been given the pink slip by Farmer's??) His current liability only for 3 vehicles is $332 for 6 months. As of February, liability only (with slightly higher coverages) will be $882 for 6 months.


Ever since August I have been saving more than normal for his car insurance renewal - but nowhere near enough for this.


--

The vehicle which he has been dragging his feet on selling is $349 of that. I'm of half a mind to tell him he can pay that portion out of his spending money - then when he actually sells the darn thing, he can be reimbursed for whatever portion they reimburse.

But in reality, it probably is a good thing he hadn't sold it yet. Since his CRV developed bad suspension issues. We were quoted $1700+ by Brakes Plus. The husband of a lady who I go to church with, did the labor for $285 and DH ebayed the parts for another $230.

Of course, it now desperately needs new tires - to the tune of $500. We have $440 in our car repair fund.

A couple of times DH has mentioned that we really should have at least $1k in our car repair fund. Um … yeah, we would have that - if his cars weren't needing repairs all the time!
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The property appraisals came out last weekend. Our house had a $25k increase. Um …. There are also rumblings about increasing property taxes.

That's about a $55/mo increase - which isn't terrible … but when you couple it with the huge hike in insurance premiums, increased ROTH contributions to max out, and other piddly increases in various services … Ugh.

We're going to have to seriously reconsider how we do the budget. And I know he's going to hate my suggestion. Not that I'm going to like it much either. But the money has to come from somewhere, right?

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Oh, we still are deciding on if we are getting a treadmill or not. DH is worried we'd get shocked when using it since our plugs aren't grounded. So .. he's looking into joining a health club.

That's fine - it's just it only benefits him, and it'd make it easier to not do it.

So if he decides to go the gym route, that's another monthly expense to add.

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Some of this is mitigated by a 3rd paycheck this month. That will cover the increased insurance premium and the shortfall in the tires. I had other ideas for the money … but what can you do?

I also received a very generous check from my aunt for Christmas. When she told me about it, it almost sounded to me like she wanted it to all be for me only. I did not tell DH this, because I didn't want him to feel bad.

It's not his fault that he basically has no family left, nor that my family is pretty generous. I feel when I'm given money like that - that it belongs to us equally. My mom has sent me $100 for my birthday before - but none for him on his birthday. I split it with him (again, he doesn't know it was meant just for me.)


I have 3 family members who could quite possibly pass on in the next year to two years. Cancer, old age and Parkinson's/defeated attitude. I have travel money set aside for this. 2 of the 3 I'd probably be reimbursed at least plane fare.


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I have not done any shops for Shipt. I have tried, but it really doesn't seem to be busy in my area.

I kind of have given up on it.


I signed up for Door Dash through SBs when it had the $200 bonus. I actually kind of like it! I have done 10 orders over 4 dashes and made about $72 + the $200 bonus came through early from SBs.


When it stays light out longer, I might do a few hours during the week, and a few on the weekend.


I was going to dash last weekend, but decided the weather wasn't something I wanted to deal with in my car. This weekend could be a repeat of that unfortunately.


I managed to finish reading/read 3 books in one day … Smile thanks to being snowed in. (2 by Tracie Peterson - Embers of Love/Hearts Aglow, 1 by Petersheim called The Divide) I started the 3rd book in the Peterson series - Hope Rendered.

I had read about half of Embers of Love while on … Jury Duty! Yes, last week (and this week) I was slated for jury duty. I actually got further than Ii ever have before - into the courtroom and sitting in the pews to listen to the voir dire (sp?) After 2 hours, all but 12 of us were dismissed.

I learned one thing though that made me glad I didn't get on the jury - if we were sequestered, not only no tv, no Internet, etc. But NO books!! Sorry, I'm not down with that.

I'm curious to find out how much I'll be paid for my time. For work, I just had to keep track of my time away, but got paid normally.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

January 1st, 2019 at 10:54 am

Looking back at 2018 financially …

We increased our EF by $1200.

I had a goal to increase by $3000, but we had several weeks where DH was off work due to his heart attack, plus lots more medical costs. So I'm ok with it only increasing that much.


We fully funded both of our IRA's to the tune of $12k. ($1k of that funding did come from selling non-IRA stock the month after DHs hospital stay.)


We sold all of the electric car stock at $350/share. It went up to $369 a few weeks later, but is now at around $300 … so I'm glad to be off that roller coaster ride. All the funds were put into an index fund - either in the taxable account or our IRA's.


DH successfully raised and sold his first batch of angel fish. Fish are his main hobby right now (he owned two pet stores when he was younger.) This hobby comes from his fun money so it doesn't really affect our finances.


I paid for my cruise vacation with my mom fully out of my fun money - earned via Swagbucks, Earnably, Earnhoney, YouGov, credit card rewards, etc. etc.


Our medical fund was pretty much wiped out this year … but we had the money set aside for it. I'm putting it all on a credit card which will give me $500 cash back. So … a small win there.


DH has lost 45 lbs+ since Oct. I have gained 30lbs since January ….


At work my employer added 9% of my salary to my retirement, took 6% of my salary, and then I added another 11% or so. I increased the amount in February when I got a step raise, but since the new contract hasn't been signed yet, I haven't gotten my cost of living raise yet (usually in August) so that's all I increased it.


We paid $2k cash for some yardwork / improvements. This hopefully will reap dividends in ease of maintenance going forward.

I completed one course towards my AA degree - advanced typing, with a 97%. As soon as I get the official grade report, I'll be putting in for reimbursement.
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Looking forward:

I will be taking 2 -3 more courses towards my AA degree in 2019. (Microsoft Applications 1 and 2, and possibly Intro to Accounting)


My supervisor will be retiring in November … so I'm not sure how that is going to affect things at work. She's working on our main boss to reclassify me to a higher level of pay.

I would like to add $2k to our EF.


I want to save $2k towards our medical deductible again.


We will fully fund our IRA's at $13k this year.


We need to focus on putting money towards our car repair fund. 3 of our 4 vehicles are really old and eating up money.


We will either be purchasing a treadmill or DH will be signing up for a gym membership. Purchasing a treadmill may involve getting an electrician to ground some of our electrical outlets - this is something we are still researching.


Hopefully a fence will happen this year. We have the money set aside for it - its just getting someone to actually do it!


DH wants to continue to grow his fish business.


I'm continuing to save towards a possible France trip - once my SIL is able to leave the US again. I have $600 of my $2000 goal.


Some of my usual earnings sites are getting more difficult to earn from. I have signed up with Shipt and Doordash to hopefully make up for lost fun money from those sites. My goal is to bring in $200/month besides what I can manage on the various sites.


I must stop the weight gain. The big culprit is my not avoiding the junkfood - i.e. sugar and chocolate. I have managed to avoid soda for over 2 years now - mainly by not allowing myself even a "sip" of DHs when eating out. I think that may be the only way for me to overcome the sugar/junkfood thing too - just say 100% NO.


This will also help the grocery spending …


I'm doing well overall with a whole foods plant based diet - except when I make exceptions for the junk I crave. No more exceptions! Lets see the power of this way of eating.


I bought a pedal exerciser thing from Aldi, and am looking at one of those bike stands if we don't get a treadmill.


Insurance/Medical, Lawyer, Rewards Checking, Jury Duty

December 4th, 2018 at 06:55 pm

We are still waiting to find out what the insurance is going to do about the $42k bill. I sent an email tonight asking about the status.

I received a check from the insurance company for $936. I have NO CLUE what it is for. I emailed them to see if they can tell me before I cash it.


DH is now down 45 lbs! since October.


My back has been giving me fits the last month or so. Last week it started to seize … So, I went to a chiropractor for the first time in my life. 2 x last week, and 1x so far this week. My back is feeling SO much better!


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DH met with a lawyer last week - to the tune of $300. OUCH!


Once he heard the backstory, he was flabbergasted because it seemed DH's insurance dropped the ball. He knew the lady's attorney (bicyclist DH hit) and contacted him. Sounds like other attorney was pretty ticked at the ball that was dropped.


So... hoping this is the end of it for us.


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I found out that my credit union has raised its checking to 4% and up to $40k! Sweet! Pretty soon, I'll have to pull the money back in from the 4% CD's if rates keep going up.


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I'm being called for jury duty the first two weeks of January. I talked to my supervisor today, and she told me that I'd just have to keep track of any hours spent on jury duty. But I would be paid my normal salary, plus keep any jury duty pay.


Sweet!

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I decided to NOT bite the bullet on an Instacart subscription. But … if there's any money left in the grocery category, I'll put it towards it.


I'm determined this month to not overspend the grocery category!

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A fascinating article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_godfather_of_fake_news

What a Month!

October 29th, 2018 at 04:59 pm

The latest stressors …

On Friday I got home to find a letter from our insurance company stating that they were "pre denying" our claim for Cardiac Rehab due to DH not having a condition that warranted it.

Needless to say, panic ensued. He'd been to six sessions already at $250 a pop. They're getting him to actually EXERCISE. The education part of it is pretty worthless, but the GETTING HIM TO EXERCISE is priceless.

I posted on a FB group with people who've gone through heart attacks (or their SO has.) And they talked me down. I got a plan of action put together - call the hospital on Monday and figure out what the heck is going on.

Then I checked the insurance website. The first hospital's charges of around $16k was mostly covered, except for our out of pocket and deductible.

The second hospital, where he had the stent put in, had $42k+ in charges. And in big red letters - NEED MORE INFORMATION. If we do not receive more information within 45 days, we will base our decision off of what we do have.

My panic level greatly reduced at this point. This explained why they were pre-denying Cardiac Care. If they didn't have the proof to go with the charges from the stent hospital, then they'd have no reason to believe Cardiac Care was needed.

So … it at least was enough to get me through the weekend.

I called today and left a message with someone. I hate voicemail.

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DH's good vehicle (not great on gas mileage, but the best for his shoulders) may have an engine in the last stages of life. He has less than $1k in his car replacement fund due to having cleaned it out to buy this particular vehicle.

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Haven't heard anything new about the car accident / insurance. I hate to push DH to check into it.

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DH's stepdad with whom he was estranged … (he actually wrote him a long letter a few months ago trying to mend fences - no response) … died a couple weeks ago. DH found out because of an email from the guy who wrote a book about a local cave here DH and his stepdad's family were a big part of.

So yeah .. DH is getting a nice stress free time of it while recovering.

And yes, if you were wondering, my stress levels are quite low as well. If you consider Saturn pretty low.

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DH is doing so well changing his eating patterns. Not perfectly, but so much better than I would have believed to be possible.

Getting him to eat vegetables without me sitting beside him having a big bowl of them, is still a work in progress … but he's reduced his level of SAD diet by at least 95%.

I spent a lot of money on groceries this month trying to figure out dishes that would at least somewhat tempt him, as well as things he can take with him to work easily.

I'm hoping this next month will be more reasonable.

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We are not contributing to our ROTH's this month from new income. He was off work for almost two weeks. We agreed that this was the simplest way to do it.


I'm selling $1k of stock (electric car) and then moving that to our ROTH's. So they'll still get their contributions, it just won't be new money. (And that stock seems to be going up again after having fallen hugely thanks to its erratic man at the helm.)


We also had to lower what we normally put in various categories. He even willingly acknowledged that putting money in the date night fund when we weren't putting money in (new) into the ROTH's wasn't a good idea.


So anyway … that was our budget meeting on Sunday.


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I'm about halfway through my keyboarding class. The first week of it unfortunately fell the week DH was in the hospital. Trying to figure out an online keyboarding class while also spending the vast majority of my waking hours at a hospital … yeah, that wasn't good.


I've got it figured out now though, and am pretty sure I'll be making an A. Smile


I registered for my next class today - Microsoft Applications 1.


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We haven't turned our heat on yet. There haven't really been very many cold nights yet, so it isn't THAT much of a major thing. Smile Although, we did have our first snow a couple weeks ago.


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My newish supervisor let me know she's going to be retiring a year from this Thanksgiving. So, I guess a year from now I'll see what happens.


I've taken over managing our FB page, as well as the info email. We're debuting a couple new technologies that I'll be doing a lot with - keeping alerts up to date and answering texts, etc.


So, even if I don't stay here, I'm growing my resume.


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I made a couple eBay sales this past week. A set of Dr Suess books and a pair of Keds. Now I need to get some more stuff up …

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OK this was long. I'll try not to be such a stranger!


One more thing - Have you seen Bodyguard on Netflix yet? The one from BBC not Whitney's. Smile I binge watched it this weekend …


I almost forgot! Someone used my Ting referral!! I have a $25 credit from that. (Will have to tell about my phone trials in another post.)