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Archive for December, 2006

I am my own Grandpa

December 31st, 2006 at 10:16 am

Name of a hilarious song Ray Stevens did a number of years ago about a convoluted family tree. A few days ago, a friend of DD's thought I was her big sister. Amused her--flattered me! Then a couple of days later, a clerk in a store thought I was possibly my son's wife. Amused me, but left him and his wife (standing out of the line) speechless. My DS and DIL are talking about having a child soon. Got me thinking about that song. Hmmmmm...wonder what my grandma name will be when it gets here.....

4th of July in December

December 30th, 2006 at 11:46 am

Using up items is making it fun with menus. I had a bunch of leftover potatoes and some extra eggs from baking so I got the idea for potato salad. Then, since it was so warm out, we thought we might grill hotdogs with DD's gift to Hubby of a handy-looking thing that rotates the dogs on the grill for you. Along with the kids in the neighborhood shooting off fireworks, it was eerily starting to feel like the 4th of July. Unfortunately, after making the potato salad, the weather got nasty and we settled for BBQ. Okay, now that's 4th of July, also. Weird. Now if we only had some homemade ice cream. Wait...I think DD left some vanilla ice cream in the fridge when she left. This is getting creepy...

2007 Goals

December 29th, 2006 at 08:50 am

Some are financial and some are not. Here are the ones I had been musing over for the end of December....

1. Increase Charitable Contributions--I use to give more than I do now. Need to figure out which local charities I will give more to.

2. Pay off one auto loan. We have two. Paying off one will free up car to give to DS and then goodbye to payment AND auto insurance payment for it. (he pays for his part of insurance, but we pay for ours)

3. Keep EF at 6 mos. while paying down CC. I just feel better that way.

4. Pay off 3 CC and close 1.

5. Get all CCs down to 30% usage. This is getting closer all the time, but there is one or two that is higher because of tuition costs and such.

6. Lose a pound a month and walk/exercise again.

7. Start a house project book and try to fit in a project a month. Don't try to do more than one a month so I won't burn out.

8. Eat healthier. Add vegetables back into our diet. For some reason, vegetables disappeared from our table. Weird.

9. Keep in better contact with far away relatives.

10. Plan a trip with Hubby this year. We haven't gone on a real vacation together in a loonnngg while.

That's it so far!

I Made It!

December 27th, 2006 at 09:16 am

I finished my first Breakfast Challenge. I was not going to buy more breakfast foods for myself for the four weeks up to Christmas. I had so much in the pantry, that I wanted to use up and rotate it. I am paying myself $5 for each week, so that means there is $20 to add to my local CC. I am going to put that on this next bill that is due next week. The big thing is not only did I use up food I already had, but that I was disciplined enough to finish a challenge. I almost forgot a couple of times in the store, but then realized that even though I carry a list, I sometimes get a couple more things that we normally use to add to the pantry. I found that I need to THINK a bit more--not on what I can use, but on what I can do without at that time. I'm wondering about buying a couple of items for breakfast at the beginning of the month and seeing if I can use it all up by the end of the month. Continuing the challenge sort of. I really only need to stockpile more in the hurricane months. I guess my next Breakfast Challenge is to see about doing the challenge each month. It's funny how excited you can get over something like this.....

The Suitcase or What Was I Thinking?

December 19th, 2006 at 08:15 am

I needed another gift for DD. Since a gal pal of hers gave her a nice vanity case--cute, sorta pale lime green with white polka dots--for her birthday awhile back, I decided to find this little store and buy a matching tote thing so she had a thing to put some clothes in when she hops around the state visiting. I found the store without too much trouble and had to park down and across the street. No problem. Went into the store and, wow, they've got a lot of stuff, but I didn't see any obvious green/polka dot luggage. Since I was sorta wandering about, the lady asked if I needed help. I asked about the luggage. Turns out they don't carry it anymore. But, WAIT, she had something......She went into the back and I was just hoping it would be a big enough something for DD to carry a couple of day's worth of things in. She rolls out a HUGE suitcase. Light lime green with white polka dots. And did I mention HUGE? I just stood there and said it is a bit......large? She said that it is all that is left. I asked the price, thinking that it would be over 100 and I could just walk away. But she said I could have it for $35. Wow. Yep, she could put her whole wardrobe in there, including the vanity case. Yep, she'll never lose it on an airplane conveyor belt. Yep, she probably can NOT get it into her trunk...but I bought it anyway. Here I go. Rolling a huge lime green, dotted suitcase down and across the street. Didn't even try to get it into my trunk--just sat it on the front seat. I got home and hoped my neighbors (who think I am a bit strange) don't see me wheeling a green suitcase up the walk. I parked it in the entryway because I wanted to see Hubby's face. I left to mail a box, so I missed him by a few seconds. He was calling me when I got in the driveway. I just went inside to see what he thought. He was speechless. Needless to say, I'll have to buy a tree bag or something to put it in as wrapping. Or maybe they make humungous bags for people who lose their minds and buy things like this. She will be able to use it when going somewhere in her boyfriend's truck, but I have to come up with something else for her to carry in her car, I think. If nothing else, it will be a huge laugh at Christmas (pun intended).....

New Budget

December 15th, 2006 at 01:55 pm

Got the new pay stub today for Hubby's new job. The last one was abbreviated and didn't have the 40lK stuff, and I decided to wait until the first full one to see how it would affect the budget. Even though he is getting more pay, the retirement deduction is higher and so is the medical stuff. All in all, it is a little over 100 less for each two weeks. So I went to the spreadsheets and started to play. What is so great is that I can see right away where it will affect us. This budgeting thing is great. So I adjusted a few accounts that have been a little underutilized for now and the figures all seem to add up. We'll see how it does.

I simply cannot wait to see how paying off these debts will affect the budget. It seems such a slow process, but I am trying to learn patience....

You gotta try this for fun....

December 14th, 2006 at 09:41 am

My sense of humor is well---bent. My immediate family really doesn't get my humor. I guess when you have been ill, you tend to see humor in some really crazy places. That's why when I found this on a depression disorder website, I could appreciate the humor that put it there.


Be sure and shake the globe. And have your computer sound on. Don't judge me too badly....I take pills for this.....

A can in the bedroom?

December 12th, 2006 at 01:05 pm

Okay, now I know things are getting crazy. And I am not working like so many. And I do this every year: juggling a couple of birthdays, an anniversary, Christmas, programs to attend.....So why did I find a can of green beans sitting on a chest in my bedroom? I remember taking them out of the pantry last night....Thank goodness this year I have a Christmas budget to keep me on track and keep my lists together. Sheesh!

On another note, Hubby's new company gave us a $50 gift card for a local grocery. That was really nice, considering we have only been there a short while. We've had a debate on what to spend it on. I'm going with his ideas since it is his gift. I am actually being the frugal person on this one......

The Land of Oz

December 12th, 2006 at 08:14 am

I get so excited during the last week of my financial month. I want to see the numbers. Never thought that would happen. But like Dorothy, I am learning that I have had the ability to get there inside me all along. Even in finances. I just needed help to point out the way. That's where this community has really helped. Along with awesome ideas on how to turn things around and ways to utilize what you have better, I've quit thinking I was financially challenged. I know now that I can do this. Just click my heels and say--There's no place like debtfree, there's no place like debtfree.....

Santa Claws

December 11th, 2006 at 10:05 am

I don't know if we are going to put up the tree this year. A handful of years ago, we had a problem with pets and trees. Bigger dog never bothered anything in her life, unless it was edible by humans (or strange doggie poo in the yard--ewwww). That year, DD got little dog she saved for--right before Christmas. Cutest little puppy arrived on plane no less. Then DS arrived from college. DS's roommate had left his kitten--don't know who he thought would take care of it over the holiday, so DS had to bring it home with him since he was the last to leave. So we had a new puppy and a kitty. Soon after they arrived, Hubby and I went out to get a couple of last minute things. When we arrived home, there was no ornament or tree in sight. Everything was gone. DD sat in the living room. She said through clenched teeth that the tree was GONE for this year. She and a friend had repacked every ornament and tree limb and replaced all the boxes back into storage. What a job! Seems kitty and puppy were having a grand ole time climbing the tree, crawling through packages, getting stuck way in the back and driving DD crazy getting them out when they cried. This was when we still had the BIG tree. So we spent Christmas without the tree. Now, this year we still have little doggie, who doesn't bother the tree anymore. But we also have DD's kitty who LOVES tissue paper, bows, tape, wrapping paper, bags, ornaments, green growing things, etc. So Hubby and I have been contemplating no tree. We think we might put up DD's old little tree on the dining room table......

I think we just got shot.....

December 10th, 2006 at 11:32 am

Definitely need to add to the fence money. Growing up in the country, the kids had pellet guns and bows/arrows for target practice. Of course, we had fields to set up hay bales and targets away from animals and people. And strict parents. Today, little doggie was watching backyard kiddo from the long windows on the glassed-in back porch. I heard a loud pop and doggie ran into the kitchen. I looked out and sure enough, backyard kiddo had a pellet gun of some sort. Now, he could just have had a ricochet, but tell me what parent allows a child to shoot a gun in a crowded neighborhood? Sheesh! Our kids had only nerf gun things and had a blast with the neighborhood "battles." I checked all the windows and I can't find a crack yet. Oh well, time to really focus on getting that fence money. I think that instead of paying extra on my CC bill with my challenge money, I will put it into the fence fund. In going over my budget, I have a little extra going to most of the CC anyway and had a little extra left over this month in there to add to one of the cards. So a refocus is in order....


December 8th, 2006 at 10:34 am

The therapist called this morning and she had a sick child. Understandable with the weather being so crazy. Cold today and then warming back up by the end of the weekend. Anyway, I rescheduled for Tuesday. It will give me time to coordinate my random notes into something cohesive. It cracks her up when I bring my notes and lists. She says no one comes with an agenda! I often have a list of things I want to learn or accomplish or understand. It's a good sign--I can THINK again. For so long, my brain function was so limited. For those who wondered, I have dysthymia (a low-grade depression disorder--medicated), mild OCD (not like Monk--I am not spotless--I do other things, but have learned how to overcome a lot of them, wonder if my medication works on that...hmmm), severe panic disorder (medication--thank goodness, got tired of nearly passing out in movies, restaurants, grocery stores, driving the car, etc., now I just get a little anxious in crowds but nothing serious), and a mild form of bipolar (non medicated--managed). Overall, I am doing great. The panic disorder really kicked in after the birth of DD. My body chemistry was so out of whack that I couldn't regulate my temperature well, and don't get me started on the wacky hormones. I remember really getting scared when I realized I had gone from a mostly "A" college student to not understanding how to turn on a copy machine while volunteering at a school. And they had just showed me how. I would be driving somewhere and not remember how I got there. I couldn't find my way home a couple of times. But I made it through. Some terrific people recognized what was happening and stepped up to help me. I've been told that bipolars are really creative. Many composers, artists, writers, and statesmen have had some of these things. So I'm in good company.

Probably too much information that you didn't want to hear. But I wanted to thank all of you for the support! It can be a lonely road. I've known several others in my lifetime that had to keep their stuff hidden cos of employers, family, etc. I am fortunate that I can share. Like those who helped me, I want to encourage others who are hurting and don't know why. I am in a priviledged position in that I can do this without reprocussions. Thanks again to this community of great people....

Wreck of the Day

December 7th, 2006 at 09:55 am

My house-- and-- me. I have been struggling a lot this last year. Didn't know where it was coming from. The docs were worried about a major depression and were going to up my medicine. But I had some really great leaps forward this year and wanted to wait and monitor myself closely. I go to see the docs again in a couple of weeks. Trying to understand what is happening now, I had a lightbulb moment. I sat down and wrote (well I paced about and then wrote) all I could think of connected to the idea. I think I could be on to something. I think my problem now is knowing how to deal with emotional issues. I feel things really deeply. I had blocked a lot of emotional stuff while I was undiagnosed and unmedicated, so now I have to learn to handle my deep emotions without caving in. I've been so busy raising kids and stuff that I had the didn't see the forest for the trees sort of thing. So I decided to call my therapist. I haven't been in two or three years, so I hoped that I could still be in her system. Got an appointment for tomorrow. I'm excited. I hope that this will be a turning point. Just like being here has been a turning point for my financial situation. She can teach me skills that I haven't learned yet. Or at least help me better understand the process. I don't want to go back to not feeling things except anxiety. I don't want to change who I am, just better understand how to live with myself. Some of my disorders are medicated and some are managed. So far, so good. I like who I am, I just don't always understand how to live with who I am. This might be the next step. Knowledge is powerful. And helpful. It is a journey.

I saw a sign on a church on a trip: Keep going--even the snail made it to the ark.

I'm going to get up and clean house and prepare to meet this new challenge.....


December 6th, 2006 at 10:36 am

Hubby's vacation money came in. After the taxes (yikes!), I decided to let things sit for a bit and ponder it. I know we need to use some of it for repairs like new doors for the front and back of the house. But I thought I might be able to make increased payments on a credit card and push the process forward a smidge. Well, I worked with the spreadsheets for a while. I already had a sheet that automatically adjusted for payments and interest and another sheet that showed percentage of use. (See, I AM listening!) Hubby helped me set these up. Then, today I got curious--and then brave--I set up a sheet that showed interest paid on each credit card and totals. OUCH! I PAY THAT MUCH EACH MONTH IN INTEREST???? Facing the problem is the first step. Now, I need to figure out step two. A plan of action. I am motivated more than ever to do something about this. Look out credit cards....this is WAR!

Getting there is half the fun.....

December 5th, 2006 at 10:41 am

I can't believe I've been gone five days. Last Thursday dawned bright and sunny and was 75 degrees and way humid. I knew the weather was going to change, but they were predicting 90 percent rain so I was going to wait the rain out before I traveled to see the college kids. The rain never really materialized, but the cold and wind did! DD called and said that she'd gotten out of class early and Hubby called and said that it was icing up north so better go ahead and leave. So I loaded up the car and packed the cat and off we went. Right into the teeth of the weather. Wow, the wind was blowing so hard that I could hear it whistling around the car. And I was either driving into it or it was crosswise of the road and fighting it for two and a half hours was a trip. Poor kitty. Thought that DD would love to spend some time with her cat, but I don't drive with the heat on much and the poor thing got cold. DD and I went to a concert that night that she had to attend and we had to hold on to each other to cross the street to the car. And COLD! Now I know what the guys here have been going through. We hit the hot chocolate. Hubby came up the next day so we could attend one of the concerts together. Kitty rode back with him while I stayed another day to see a third concert. Would have like to have stayed and seen the steel drum band concert that DS used to be in (bass player) because the carribean music is fun and the band has a blast. But after five days and three concerts, I was ready to get home. Got so much to do with Christmas. The drive home was sunny and mild. Today will be getting out all the receipts and trying to figure out how badly I butchered the budget.....