Home > Archive: July, 2012

Archive for July, 2012

Yay Almost August!

July 30th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I feel a giant burden has been lifted off of me. My giant horrible freelance project is finished. I'll submit the invoice for $2,000 tomorrow. (and when the check comes, it'll cut the car loan in half!)

The weekend consisted of a date night rock show, sleeping in, time to putter around the house, go to a birthday party and a festival, and to start cleaning and organizing the basement (in prep for my office actually being finished).

I sold the extra unused drywall from my basement office project on craigslist for $60, and the guy just picked up. Also gave him the stack of odd-sized peices, half bucket of drywall mud and extra corner seams. I'm happy to be rid of it! I made a little money and saved a lot of hassle. (no truck to take it back to the store for a whole refund). There's a lot more room in the office/basement now that that stuff is gone.

of course, no wire transfer from the deadbeat friend who owes us 5k, but fingers crossed, right?

365 in 365 challenge?

July 28th, 2012 at 08:13 pm

My geeky gym trainer (former, but still a friend) was musing about how the short 6-week programs don't do enough to change people's lifestyles and help them make and keep long-term fitness goals.

I came up with my own fitness goal. I'm going to walk/ run (mostly run) 365 miles in the next 365 days. That's a year-long average of 7 miles a week, which is about 2 to 3 days of walking or running. (for me at least).

My official start date was July 20, which is the 4 year anniversary of my dad's death and the 6 year of my grandmother's death. It's a date that reminds me that I must care for myself not just for me, but for my children and grandchildren.

Goal: 365 miles
To date: 7.4 miles
Jul 23: 1.3 mi
Jul 24: 3.1 mi
July 27: 3.0 mi

Well, I'll try not to be excited.

July 21st, 2012 at 06:26 pm

Dh and I finally have come to an agreement about the neighbor situation. (See my last post about the trampoline-- last straw!). Hubby is opposed to building a fence. I don't fully understand, but he seems to really be hurt and upset by the idea.


Their children are no longer allowed in our yard.
We have also decided to plant trees for privacy in the open space between the yards. In the back corner of our yard (a wooded area) where those children sometimes sneak onto our property and destroy things, we will be making a fake fence. We'll be clearing out some of the brush and stacking all of our firewood racks along the property line to make a clear, unpassable barrier. tIs less permanent, so DH seems not happy but less upset about it. And, it's be a handy place to keep our wood, which with the hopeful purchase of a wood stove, I anticipate we will have much more of.

On other news.... remember DH's best friend who borrowed the $5,000 2 years ago and swore to pay it back in a month? Well, he has since travelled the world and moved to Chile with a girlfriend (sending us pics of all his adventures, as we sit here scrimping and saving. Um yeah). Anyway, he called last night asking for the info so he could wire the money. We'll see. he has done this before and nothing has appeared, so I'm reluctant to get excited and make plans for what to do with the cash.

Ugh. Advice please.

July 15th, 2012 at 11:33 pm

So. I try to be neighborly, but I'm at the end. At our last house we were good friends with all of our neighbors. At our new house, we and one house have an adjoining back yard with no fence. They have two sons who are about 5 and 7 years older than my sons. I thought it was going to go well, but over the last year, things have soured.

Their boys alternate between friendly and mean to my sons, and they are not always but regularly disrespectful and lippy to me. They come over here, break my son's toys, kick balls into neighbors yards then tell me it's my problem not theirs. They do not respect or listen to adults. Of course my sons adore them because they are big kids, and imitate everything they do.

There have been stretches where they have been at my house in my yard for hours, every night for weeks at a time with neither of their parents in sight.
Recently, the mom, who doesn't work, has taken to letting her kids play in my yard while she mows hers. Um yeah. I'm not a free babysitter lady. I have two preschoolers, a job, and deadlines. no offers to ever return the favor.

Yesterday, they installed a trampoline smack dab in the middle of the open space between our yards. I can see it from every single part of my half-acre back yard. It is literally touching my property line.

This alone isn't the issue. They then immediately came over to tell me that our sons were NOT allowed to play on it. Ever. (even though they play on one at their grandparents once a week.). So, there are my two crying 2 and 4 year olds watching every other kid in the neighborhood but them bouncing and laughing, right at the edge of their own back yard, and yet they aren't allowed to play.

A lot of arguing, kicking, and screaming has been happening in my house since they put it up. We have had to avoid being in our own backyard because my kid's feelings are so hurt.

The neighbors 7 year old even had the nerve to tell me "We should go buy our own unless we're too poor."

So yeah. I'm miffed. I think it's time to pay the money and put up a fence and be done with these people. I feel like this is the last straw. I have other priorities for my money, but I think a fence is money well spent. I don't want my kids hanging out with these mean boys anymore, and I don't need the heartache of thoughtless parents treating us the way they do. I shouldn't have to pay a penalty because they put up a trampoline (and yes, they could have put it where my kids couldn't see it, but they didn't.).

Is spending money on a fence a good move? Or am I overreacting. And I have attached a pic for your consideration!

Can't wait for August...

July 14th, 2012 at 02:54 pm

I just can't wait for August to get here. Mostly because the crazy crazy crazy pace of July will finally settle down.

I'm halfway through my giant freelance project. I have forgotten what it is like to deal with companies outside of journalism-- slow slow slow. people are so disorganized! It's been a nightmare, BUT, the fee was raised by $500 to $2,000, so one the articles are in and the check clears, I will say it will be worth it.

I FINALLY got the car loan under $4,000! Feels good. And when this project pays, all of that will go to the car loan, putting me so close to pay off I can almost taste it.

I signed up to run a fundraiser 5k on August 4, even though I have little time to train. It's for pancreatic cancer, which killed my dad and aunt, and that my best friend's dad was recently diagnosed with. So, I feel like I have to. I'm touched. I set a fundraising goal of $300,and my friends and family have contributed $255. Brings a tear to my eye.

August is going to be huge for my life as well. BOTH kids will finally be old enough to go to preschool MWF from 9 to 1, and it's right down the street. No more driving across town to the sitter, or having one kid at school and one kid at home. I'm hoping my work life balance will improve and I will be able to shift a lot more work from nighttime after the kids are asleep to the daytime. This would drastically improve my life!

Right up our alley

July 7th, 2012 at 06:07 pm

You know I am always on the prowl for good personal finance blogs. I'm very picky-- I'm tired of generic advice. I finally have a good one to share. I stumbled on it last night and ready every single post. I really like these people!

Text is and Link is

Wood stoves, electricity, and mortgages.

July 6th, 2012 at 08:14 pm

Well, a week after the storm and everyone I know has power again. Finally! It's funny. New Orleans is very disorganized and has decaying infrastructure, but I never remember being without power for more than 24 hours after a Cat 1 hurricane, but here in Ohio, which is much more functional, it was 5 days! Oh well, Guess they aren't used to those kinds of winds in the midwest.

My mom finally has power which is the big thing. She is rural with a well and no power means no electricity and no water. It's really hard for her. I live an hour away. She stayed with me a couple of nights for the warm meals, showers and AC!

ANyway, all that time in the dark got me thinking about
A. how much electricity we use that isn't essential. I've been flipping a lot of switches off lately, and leaving the AC off as much as possible.

I've also been thinking more about a wood stove insert for the upstairs fireplace. It would allow us to use free (around here, plenty) firewood to heat our upstairs in winter. They new ones are very efficient and filter a lot of the particulates out of the smoke, so it's not like dumping ick into the air by burning wood.

If the power went out like this in winter, which it's only a matter of time, at least we'd have heat, too. I looked at our heating bills and for a $2500 stove installed it might take 6 or 7 years to pay for itself. We plan to be here for 18 at least. What do you think? Worth the money?

I've also been running more mortgage payoff calculations. If I pay $400 extra every month, it'll be paid off in Sept. 2016. If I pay $500 extra, it'll be paid off in April 2016. Four years! I'm going to be ambitious and START with $500/month consistently. It'll be easier next year once DS1 starts kindergarten and one preschool bill disappears, but this year will be hard. The money will come out of my freelance income, which has been growing.

Speaking of, it's a good problem, and I am blessed. But I'm up to my eyeballs in freelance. It's just hard now bc I'm still only part time, 12 hours a week of childcare to do all the work. I've been working every night and weekends, and I'm getting burned out.

My newest, biggest project is due July 25 and was supposed to pay $1500. Just found out they extended the scope, so it now will pay more (not sure how much, but at least $500). It's going to be a crazy two weeks, but I'm just going to put my nose down, plow through it, and keep my eyes on the check. It'll take a huge chunk out of the car loan!

I have one other extra article to finish after that, and then I am going to take it slow in August, until I get the kids settled into their new preschool routine (they are both finally old enough to go, so no little one at home while big brother is at school). I think it will be a game0changer work wise, so I will hopefully see how it goes then add projects back in based on how much more work time I have.

Finally have power!

July 4th, 2012 at 01:54 pm

It's been a brutal week. We lost power in the monster storms that swept through the midwest to D.C. on friday. We just got power back. I lost everything in the fridge and freezer-- all that food and money wasted ugh. And another day I would have had to start throwing out stuff from the chest freezer.

Luckily, that didn't happen. My mom still doesn't have power, and since she is rural and has a well, no water either. She's been here in evenings for dinner, because in many ways, it's not a hardship to live without electricity for us. We have a gas stove and hot water heater, so we can cook and shower (although I work from home and need the internet, and my deadlines don't go away for holidays or disasters...)

We're in a 100 degree heat wave as well, but I have to say, the insulation we had installed in January is a-mazing. We had the attic and the exterior walls insulated, and despite the heat, the house stayed at a comfy 75 degrees. I'm impressed. If this had happened last summer, with the zero insulation in the attic, and the hot burning ceilings of last year, we'd be a family of roasted beets by now.

So yes, it's nice to be back online. I just hope the other 40 percent of people who lost power get theirs back soon as well.