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Archive for February, 2010

What a weird day

February 22nd, 2010 at 02:53 am

I had to go to a trade show for work today, so my mom and sis came to help hubby with the babies.

When I walked in the door, Bean noticed the helicopter flying back and forth over our house. I didn't think much of it until I realized it was literally hovering on my block and it was really loud. Then, bunches of police cars started driving back and forth down my street.

Great, clearly someone is on the loose, so I put the whole house on lock down. Mom and sis weren't allowed to leave, all the doors locked, etc.

I still don't know exactly what happened, but when I finally sent the relatives home, there were 4 police cars in front of the house four doors down. I suppose the neighborhood gossip will fill me in later this week.

There have been some random crimes in our neighborhood lately, with people robbing people and stealing their cars when they are walking out of their garage. That kind of stuff makes me angry because we live in a nice quiet neighborhood and these folks are clearly coming from somewhere else to prey on my mostly elderly neighbors.

It also makes me angry because hubby gave our gun to his dad because he thinks we don't need it. I say be prepared, but I also have mixed feelings about having a gun in the house with babies. Maybe I should invest in a baseball bat or a bee bee gun!

The weird vibe followed through to dinner, when I made chicken casserole. The weird thing is I was on auto pilot. I have never once made a casserole in my entire life, but I must have been channeling my grandma because I didn't have to think about it and it turned out fine!

I hope tomorrow is much more boring than today.

Thoughts on lent

February 21st, 2010 at 02:11 am

I'm behind the 8 ball on this one. I have been considering Lent and what to do about it, so my resolutions are

1. No fast food
2. No unnecessary or unplanned purchases. This means no sneaking the candy bar in the cart at the grocery. If it isn't essential, we aren't buying it.
3. Cut back on sweets. I have a serious sweet tooth. Once whatever is in the house is eaten, no more is coming in, except for the two March birthdays.

Unexpected bonus money

February 19th, 2010 at 07:33 pm

In years past, hubby has gotten a bonus this time of year. With things so bad in the economy, I wasn't expecting it this year, but it came today.

Now, what to do with the money? Which goal should I put it towards? Should I just park it in savings? Put it in the bean college fund?

I used part of it to pay for the cooktop, so that is one goal met.

ING $50 bonus code

February 18th, 2010 at 06:22 pm

I got this in the mail today. Feel free to use it:

$50 bonus if you open an ING checking account and have use your debit card 3 times in the first 45 days:

EL633

I must just be cheap.

February 17th, 2010 at 09:22 pm

It's official. I am super cheap. That, or everyone else has lost their minds.

I'm wringing my hands because we budgeted $5,000 to redo our kitchen. That includes converting the cooktop from electric to gas, a new cooktop and super beautiful and indestructible Silestone quartz countertops.

We will likely have money left over when we are finished, depending on how much the counters set us back.

So, I was watching Sweat Equity on DIY last night and they said several times that the AVERAGE mid-range kitchen remodel costs $54,000. Ten times my budget. Are these people crazy? That's mid-range? I could add on to my house for that!

No wonder we are in a housing crisis, if that's what people think they need to spend on things.

Life lessons from Clean House

February 17th, 2010 at 03:29 am

It's 10:15 and I am up with Baby Squiddy. During my baby shift, I watch Clean House. Totally love that show!

I'm watching now and I just keep wondering why the hell people hold onto things they admit they no longer need or use. Usually, it seems they have some symbolic or emotional attachment, I get that, but really? Do you need 90 pairs of shoes like this lady? Do you need the first bedroom set you bought as an adult, which is a symbol of your independence, to still see yourself as independent?

Maybe there is something wrong with me, but I have no problem clearing out closets. I always have a bag or a box set aside for charity.

I know it's hard, but there comes a point where you have to move on,
- admit when you aren't going to be as thin as you were at 25 and let the clothes go
-admit that you have a hubby and family and don't need all the stuff you bought for your single life!
Please!!

Watching these shows makes me want to give away EVERYTHING, so I will never be up to my butt in shopping bags and balled up clothes!

Freelance point challenge

February 16th, 2010 at 06:28 am

I am giving myself a new money challenge.

I'm a freelancer, so I get paid by the project. I can;t always control the pay rate, but I have a little more control over how many projects I take on.

To give myself a goal and more motivation, I am awarding all my projects "freelance points."

For my weekly column, I am giving myself 1 point for every one I finish.

I'd like to average at least one more project per month in addition to that. For each extra project, I am giving myself 2 points.

If I meet my goals, I will have 76 "points" at the end of this year

52 points from my weekly columns
and 24 points from the one extra project per month I'd like to have.

I think I am ahead of the game so far. I have all of my weekly columns, plus I've had three extra projects this month, so that's 6 points to the 24 I need.

I paid full price, let me have it!

February 15th, 2010 at 04:06 pm

I took the plunge and ordered our new cooktop yesterday. I have waited 6 weeks for an appliance sale only to turn up empty-handed, so we decided to just pay full price. (Although, when I ordered it, I found out it was on sale, though only about $23 off, which is kind of a weird amount to be on sale).

Normally, I wait for sales. But we are still cooking on the original 1957 electric cooktop that came with our house. It is in sad shape! We are down to two burners, and one of the good ones is starting to go bad.

It takes three weeks for the special order cooktops to arrive, so if you add that, plus the time to have it installed and the gas line run, and we're looking at a month at least before our new cooktop is up and running.

Right now, we are racing against the clock! Can our old stove last one more month after 53 years of dutiful service? I sure hope so!!

This got me thinking about how many appliances these days will last 53 years? Not many. Our stove in our last house was a 1953 O'Keefe and Merrit and the thing is still baking and cooking perfectly. They literally don't make them like that any more.

In other shopping news, I did get a second chance on an item I saw about a month ago on the clearance rack at Kohl's. it's a black fitted blazer/tuxedo jacket that fits perfectly. I originally turned it down, but had been kicking myself. Well, it was there when I went there yesterday. Marked down to $24 from $60. I paid zero because I used a gift card. Not too shabby.

legal woes= more money for me

February 15th, 2010 at 02:59 am

I had a thought today. I've been covering a securities fraud trial for a news wire service for two years now, and every time there is a new round of legal problems for the accused, I make cover the proceedings, which means I make money. ergo, these people's legal woes= I make more money.

It's a little weird. I have to cover a bail hearing Tuesday, so I was thinking about it.

In other news, I bought the new cooktop today. it was only on sale to the tune of $23 off. Kind of a weird number, but better than nothing. I considered getting a store credit card because I could have saved about $60 due to an in-store promotion. But, I hate store credit cards.

When do appliances go on sale?

February 11th, 2010 at 03:49 pm

I've been waiting around to order my new cooktop from a big box store. I want to wait until there is a sale. But things are getting desperate. My current cooktop alal 1957 is down to 1 and a half working burners. I can't wait much longer, especially considering special order takes 21 days.

When do these things go on sale? I am hoping President's Day is the answer!!

peddling backwards in '10

February 10th, 2010 at 12:30 am

Okay, so 2010 isn't going swimmingly savings wise. I've had to take money out of savings to cover bills the last two months, hence the reason my savings goals have increased from $10,000 to $12,000.

I guess I should expect it. This time of year is usually pretty thin as far as money because we have to pay our property tax, home owners and car insurance, gym memberships (not a normal gym, a community center with lots of stuff for the kids, so it's worth it). This year is no different than most.

We usually start getting ahead again in March, because the bills are paid, we file our taxes and often get a refund, and sometimes hubby gets an annual bonus at work. This year, though, who knows.

On the upswing, I have lost 3 pounds, so 7 more and I will be in good shape. I'm too cheap to pay for yoga classes, so I use the DVR to tape shows off of FitTV, and bean and I sneak downstairs while Squiddy is napping to do a 20-minute show. It's kind of fun.

I am also planning to sell some of the supplies from my craft closet and do a craft show with a friend later this year, and will put the proceeds into the tiki bar fund. Last craft show, I had profits north of $300 for about a week's worth of sewing and a fun day at the booth.

When I get my first freelance checks of the year, I will put some of that toward my IRA, the tiki fund, and self-employed tax bill. Can't wait to get those checks!

On another note, I started the savings accounts for the babies. We are giving them each $1 a week in allowance, plus adding in money from gifts and such. I figure we'll get a jump on savings before they like to buy stuff!

Overdoing my Superbowl party

February 7th, 2010 at 06:01 am

So, of course I am having a Superbowl party since the Saints are in for the first time ever. I've never had one before and I have no idea how many people are coming, but I think I have overdone it.

I am making two pots of red beans and rice (one reg., one vegetarian.) Picking up a giant box of Popeye's, making hurricanes (REAL ones, not the Pat O'Brien's blech), and the king cake from Haydel's arrived this morning. I'm also making chocolate cupcakes with yellow icing-- the closest I can come to black and gold. Plus, I have fleur-de-lis cupcake toppers and a giant Saints banner to hang.

It will be a true New Orleans food experience for all of my new Ohio friends. It should be interesting. Albeit a spendy treat.

I need serious advice

February 4th, 2010 at 04:32 pm

So, hubby was asked to attend a "Global outsourcing" meeting today at work. I am hoping he still has a job when he gets home.

Here's the rub. If he gets laid off, he may have another job--in Houston. I am not a fan of Houston.

If we went there, we'd have no friends, no family, no babysitters and two kids under 2. Sounds like a nightmare.

So what do you do if that's the job you can get?

Do you move whole hog?
Do you send hubby there alone to telecommute?
Do you split your time 50/50 between here and there?

What are the options???
I hope we don't have to seriously think about this, but just in case, I want to have some ideas.

Goal met, phew!

February 3rd, 2010 at 05:29 am

I started the year with a goal to earn a minimum of $500 a month from regular freelance work. It doesn't sound like a lot, but with two babies and me having to do all of my work at night... Well, yeah, it can be a lot.

I'm happy to report I exceeded this for January, bringing in $750, and I am on track to bring in about $1100 in February. Woo-hoo! Of course, I will have to pay a big chunk of that in taxes, but it feels nice to meet the goal and have some steady work coming in.

2009 was hard. My and hubby's freelance work dried up. It became clear exactly by how much when I started looking at our taxes. In 2008, we made $28,000 in side income after expenses, and in 2009, it was only $3400. That's a huge difference.

Here's hoping 2010 is better!