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Thank God it's over, and 2017

December 27th, 2016 at 07:34 am

In-laws have gone home. No more house guests. My house is mine. I spent all day yesterday in a super-charged cleaning mood. Every scrap of laundry and bedding washed, dried, and folded, bathrooms scrubbed. Floors and rugs vacuumed.

Although, the house keeps falling back into chaos thanks to the boys nerf bullets!

MIL Update

For those of you eating popcorn and watching my MIL drama unfold, here is the takeaway: The FIL enlightened me about who she is and what motivates her. And, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. No, I can't get rid of her, but it clearly is her problem, and I'm justified with pointing it out when she's being critical.

I avoided alone time with her as much as possible this trip because I didn't want to deal with her. Plus, her ire was aimed at the FIL because they fought on the way here about how controlling she is.

Besides him telling me that she has to be in control all the time (which was a gem, and reaffirmed what her sister told me) FIL explained that she isn't controlling or domineering because she wants to be the boss, she does it when she is outside of her comfort zone and is incredibly uneasy/scared/uncomfortable.. so, she unleashes the controlling and the criticism in an attempt to reign in the situation to something back safely inside her comfort zone.

This explains why she is worse when we travel. She is the consummate homebody. Being in the world freaks her out, ergo, she's already off kilter when traveling. Then throw me into the mix...

And... the problem with me is that everything I do is outside of her comfort zone, and outside of the zone of what she understands and is comfortable with. (she's incredibly old-fashioned. As in, married couples are even supposed to shop together all the time, and never be on their own! Me and DH taking trips to be with friends without each other drives her nuts. She thinks we're having affairs.)

FIl said "You've lived a freer life than she has ever had." To which I said that was of her own choosing. He agreed, but then said she didn't understand, because it never occurred to her to make choices other than those she was raised with...

So yes, I wish I would have known all this 15 years ago so I could have reigned her in. But here we are. At least I have the information to set boundaries now.

Phew. Enough about that. I'm ready to move on and start a new (albeit politically frightening) year.

A New Year is Coming.

So... in short. We didn't make all of our savings goals for 2016. We did meh. But hey. At least we paid off our house. That is a coup.

Now, I need to move on and plan for a post-mortgage financial life.

We shouldn't have any CC debt from the holidays once payday arrives. But, we spend too much overall, and I feel with all the political uncertainty that we need to scrimp scrimp scrimp while at the same time upping our donations to nonprofits and political causes.

So... I guess my new year's plan for us is--Keep It Simple and Do What's Worked for Us in the Past!

We'll have $400 a week as a family for groceries, entertainment, and discretionary spending. (Pretty much everything that isn't a bill). Plus the kids' weekly allowances, and the adult weekly allowances.

(Each of us get $1 a week for every year old we are. DH gets $43, I get $41, DS1 gets $8, DS2 gets $7 a week, to spend on whatever we want.) This seems high for the kids, but we expect them to save up for and buy their own video games/toys/extra treats and donuts, etc. And, it seems to be enough that they have to save up, but can do it in a reasonable enough time that they don't think it's hopeless and give up.So, it works for us.

So really, with the $400 plus allowances, the budget is $499/ week.

We also need to save $280/ check to pay the property tax bill ($6,706/year). Plus, I have been putting $500 per check in savings. I can meet these goals and maybe more if we can stick to the weekly budget MOST weeks.

We'll see. I'm feeling ready to move on from the excess of Christmas. It's just too much!

I hope to start bringing in snowflakes again this year. I used to, when I first joined SA, and brought in north of $1,000 a year. I guess I forgot about all that once I had kids!

Now, I have the time to try to bring in some snowflakes. I started swagbucks again. The coupon part might work out for me. I'm open to any other suggestions!

Fitness

So, I try to stay fit. Reasonably, at least. I just don't have the time and dedication to get buff.

I received a fitbit charge for Xmas. It has taken days to set up the app, but we finally seem to have everything working. Yay!

My plan is to see what my 'base' activity level is. As in, wear it for a few weeks without changing my routine, and see how many steps, etc. I average. Then, once the data is in hand, add more. (I'd love to get an SA fitness fitbit challenge going too!)

I'm trying to be flexible with these goals because I know how life is. But my daily goal, in the interest of simplicity, is to move and use my body every day.

I do 10 to 20 minutes of core and back exercises every day, to keep my lower back pain in check. (Seeing the physical therapist was a life changer. My advice? If you have degenerative disc disease, don't put it off. Go to the therapist. My pain was gone after 3 weeks and it hasn't come back thanks to the simple daily exercises she gave me.)

Plus, I walk to the library and the kids to school. So, Maybe I can add in walking/biking to the bank or to the grocery store at some point. We'll see!

Professional Goals

I've been dreaming of it and talking about it for years, but 2017 is the year I become a professional fiction writer. I feel it. I have a plan.

My first novel is finished and is up for two awards sponsored by the Romance Writer's of America. (Trying not to be excited...) I find out in February how I placed in the final tally.

The final judges are editors at the Big Five publishing houses. Maybe they'll request the full manuscript. If not, I plan to self pub in March, in paperback and on kindle and in itunes.

The first draft of the second book in that series is 80 percent complete. I'd hoped to have it finished before Xmas, but alas, into January it will go. I try to write 2k words a day every week day. It goes quickly when I'm that productive. I'm still working on structuring my day to be more productive. I, like my novels, am a work in progress.

Anyway... The goal is to write two more full-length novels in 2017. (50k to 80k words) Book 3 in the series, and either book 4 OR one of the other book ideas I've been toying with.

I also have a couple short story/novella ideas floating around, but I'm not going to commit, because life always gets in the way! But if I do have time, I'd like to write the first draft of those just so I can get the ideas out of my brain and into the real world.

Overall, I'm optimistic. You have to make the life you want, right?

giving

My hope for 2017 is that I can become a more giving person.

We have a friend, Steve, a single dad, an engineer. He's like an onion. He seems so gruff, and cursing, etc. on the outside, but he is pure gold on the inside.

One of our more casual friends mentioned to me over Thanksgiving that she was losing sleep over their property tax bill. They work hard, but they are low income, and have had a lot of health set backs the last couple of years. AFter they left, I told Steve and my two lady friends that instead of giving gifts to each other, we should pool our money to pay their overdue property tax bill.

If they get foreclosed on, they'll be in bigger financial trouble. Anyway, we all agreed. then I looked at the bill and realized it was $6,000. My two other friends bailed, and while I debated taking the money out of savings to bail them out, Steve just went and did it. He took the cashiers check down to the treasurer without a second thought.

He's always like that. Does the good and generous thing without a second thought and without a thread of selfishness.

I aim to be more like selfless Steve!

With that goal in mind, my mom and I volunteered in person to help set up the holiday store at the homeless shelter this year. It was a wonderful experience. We worked for two days, sorting, wrapping, organizing, etc. We had long supported the shelter with money and toy donations, but being in the building took it to a new level.

I hope to volunteer more this year for causes we care about.

Oh, and those friends with the tax liens? Steve paid off the liens, and I've paid the first half taxes for 2017, so they have time to catch up and make a plan. They have no idea....

10 Responses to “Thank God it's over, and 2017”

  1. crazyliblady Says:

    I don't think you give yourself enough credit. Your paid off your mortgage and you have no credit card debt this year! That is awesome! Your MIL visited for the holiday and no one went to jail! :P

    And congrats your novel being a contender in the novel contest. That is wonderful. And kudos to your friend, Steve, for helping out friends in need. He sounds like a great friend. I just hope that no one takes advantage of his generosity.

  2. My English Castle Says:

    It's helpful to see/hear that about your MIL. We have a CF friend whose control freakness also comes from anxiety. I like your goals! Here's to a better new year!

  3. rob62521 Says:

    Sometimes learning from someone else that it isn't you, but the problem is the other person is freeing. Throughout my life my mother kept telling me that I was a disappointment, that I couldn't do this or that right, that I was a lousy daughter. When she died and I went through her papers, I learned she lost custody of her son and daughter (of a previous marriage) during the 1940s. That was telling that maybe it just wasn't me, but she wasn't parent of the year.

    Wow, you have done extremely well this year. Hope 2017 is just as wonderful!

  4. crazyliblady Says:

    I also have a mother who is very controlling and somehow does not see she is that way. A few family members can see it, but no one seems to have an ability to do anything about it. I would get a knot in my stomach and a headache every time I would talk to her on the phone or go for a visit. I was an an over-emotional, anxiety ridden wreck because of it. She would tell me how to "improve myself" like a better hairdo, clothes, job, husband, you name it, but truth be told, there was nothing really "wrong" with me; it just was not what she would have chosen. I am educated and successful in my field. I make a decent living and don't have a lot of debt. I haven't borrowed money from her since about 1997. I am very healthy for my age and rarely get sick. In her words, I was a lousy cook, but almost everything eaten in my house is home cooked. I was somehow a disappointment even though she never said it in those words. She is still living and some family think I should call her, but I wonder why? I guess I must sound really cold, but it's how I feel.

    But I try not to think about this. I know there is nothing I can do about her. I can only control me and how I react to her. I have chosen to disconnect from her, but not other family. However, this makes visiting those family in person impossible. I chose to concentrate on me and improving myself and my standard of living.

  5. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Inlaws make you crazy. I've just had my own dose, but then they go home and it's all good. Sounds like you have big things planned for 2017, best of luck with your goals!

  6. livingalmostlarge Says:

    good luck with all those great goals. I hate my in-laws too. Can't be helped sometimes.

  7. Dido Says:

    Great goals and accomplishments. So lovely of you to follow in "selfless Steve's" footsteps and pay a half year of taxes. You are an inspiration!

  8. Kiki Says:

    What an incredibly generous gesture both you and Steve made happen for your family friends. That is simply a wonderful thing to keep in mind moving forward through 2017 how generous can we be. If you were to start a savings advice fit bit Bet thing I would join.

  9. alice4now Says:

    I admire your goals for this year, these will make a great impact on your community as well as your own life.

  10. kashi Says:

    I'm so excited for you and your potential book awards! Crossing my fingers!

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