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DH Heading Back to Work (& Other Stuff)

July 5th, 2015 at 09:52 pm

Okay, "Other Stuff" first.

Been super busy at work.

The new co-worker is doing fine and we get along well.

My boss gave me a $1/hour raise! Big Grin

Our local fair was in town recently. I entered a table setting again.
It was set for the fair's theme and won a first place - $15 prize.

Our friend took us into the fair again for free this year.
I went three times.. once was girl's night. Big Grin

DH and I did make it to the gym *almost* every day since my last post. Smile
(Between work, gym, fair and home I had very little down time lately.)

The kids and I bought DH a Fit Bit for Father's Day.
He has really liked it and using it seems to help him motivate.

DH's stress test for his heart function was all completely normal and is regular physician cleared him to return to work.

His doctor did refill the anxiety medication.
DH has started talking to me more about what causes him anxiety. Some of it is from his crazy mom - her guilt trips and passive aggressive bulls**t. Angry

And he is nervous about returning to work tomorrow.

Update I: Work Related

May 31st, 2015 at 03:30 pm

It has been a busy May. I have been wanting to blog, but have been feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated.

Unfortunately, my boss' wife was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer mid-way through the month. Frown
It really came out of nowhere. She had some mild pain in March, but that had resolved. Then she was having shortness of breath at the end of April and the doctors saw some fluid accumulation in her chest. They started the string of diagnostics to rule things in or out (heart, lungs, infection etc..). When they drained the fluid and analyzed it it was full of cancer cells.

Naturally my boss has been a mess. To make it worse they are totally f***ked in the financial department.
(You might recall previous posts about poor money management and being in bankruptcy for the second time.)
He had to keep coming in to work, even while she was hospitalized, because he doesn't have enough reserve to even miss more than one day of income.
Really bad. And sad, sad, sad.

Due to these circumstances he didn't pay close attention to his bank account and bounced almost every check/charge that week - including paychecks...
Yeah. Frown

By the time I see that my paycheck bounced it was two days until payday again. Deposited that check and naturally my bank puts a hold on the funds until they know the check will clear. Arrgg!!

Received our third, post-diagnosis, paycheck this last Friday. It is in my purse right now.. I have decided to cash it (well, try to) tomorrow.

So yeah, as it stands he paid me cash for the bounced check and my fees associated with it.
The following check is tied up in Hold limbo until later this week.
The current check might get cashed tomorrow.. hopefully.
This is especially inconvenient since my income is the only income for my family right now.
(DH has applied for his disability and we are waiting for the first check.)

My co-worker, N, as had enough. She feels like now is the right time to move on - I think she is making the right move.
She has been thinking of moving to a lower cost of living area. She found a place this last week.
(A place where she will be renting *a house* for the same cost as she had been renting *a room* from her friend.)

I am very sad she is going. We have worked together for 13 years.
She is leaving pronto - tomorrow is the last day we will work together! Frown

Things are not feeling so great, or hopeful, at work right now.


September 1st, 2014 at 04:37 pm

Been busy here. We were out every weekend in August.
DD theater performances.
Close friends had their twin's first birthday.
Kids visiting grandparents.
Our nephew's first birthday.
A baby shower for my BFF.

Lots of traveling so we spent way more than usual in gas.

(Beautiful Quicken graph for an ugly total!)

Did a little better in other spending areas - food for one since we didn't have to feed ourselves several weekends.

Gift Giving:
We didn't buy anything for the twins. They have so much family that there was a huge pile of gifts. Our friends have a small house too, so I don't know where all that is going to go!

Our nephew got a box of fruit & veggie pouches from Costco. $12.

For my BFF baby shower I bought two clearance items. A cute outfit for $3.99 and a plush blanket for $5.99. I also bought her firstborn a wooden puzzle (her birthday is next week) for $4.

While shopping I found a very cute long sleeve Roxy shirt for DD. $19. I stashed it for Christmas.

DH is still having short hours at work, which leads to low paychecks. It's tough because we can't pay extra to anything and we still need to get the roof taken care of and I do not want to drain the EF to $0.
Honestly, I cannot remember the last time he had a "normal" 40 hour paycheck. It has been about 18 months since he had a full paycheck AND commission (sometimes netted him as much as $500/week extra).

And it seems it is causing him some depression. Even though it isn't his fault, he is taking it personally (like he can't provide for the family).
I have suggested that now might be the right time to try finding something new or maybe a part time job. I have gotten a lukewarm response to that, so we'll see....

Somewhat Disappointed

June 15th, 2014 at 04:21 pm

Received an email Friday from the company I had the phone interview with last week.

They said they are hiring someone internally for the position.

I did feel disappointed when I read the email.
Not terribly crushed or anything. But the disappointment I felt made me realize I was hoping for this more than I actually thought.

I'll just keep pluggin' along as usual for now.

Phone Interview Went Smoothly

June 5th, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Had my phone interview this afternoon. It went smoothly. I got the feeling there are many people they are phone screening, so we'll see.

I was told I should hear in about a week if there will be a face to face interview.

The interviewer asked what my desired salary would be and I said $42k, which is a decent increase over what I make now. She couldn't offer exact details on compensation, but there is base salary, commission, "spiffs", vehicle & fuel reimbursement.

Still feeling unsure/anxious about this, but as I keep saying, the possibilities are exciting.

If I do get a personal interview I am thinking at that point I will tell my current boss what is going on. If I do not get the job it will open a dialog about the fact I will be leaving at some point.
And if I do get the job I will have given him a bit more advanced notice - I think that is the right thing to do given nearly 14 years of employment.

What do you all think?
Everyone here (DH, coworker, friends) think I should just stick with the standard two weeks notice.

ETA: I was able to speak with the woman who just left this position after 13 years. I've known her for a long time so I told her I had applied and asked for her perspective.
She said she didn't get along with the regional manager (her boss) who was hired two years ago. She said, "she is very middle management. Some people get along fine with her. You might like her just fine."
She didn't say, "Heck NO - Run away!" So I guess that's good??

Final Days of School

June 3rd, 2014 at 11:09 pm

This is the last week of school.
DS will go to some summer sessions of preschool, but not with the regular teachers or program.
DD will be *free* of any schedules except for 4H camp and possibly a four week musical theater day camp.

The past few mornings I have had a really hard time getting going - we are all ready for a more relaxed "summer schedule".
I can get about 20 more minutes in bed or hanging around the house because I won't have to drive DD to school. Smile

Phone interview is on Thursday.
I plan to ask several questions since the job posting was so vague.

I told my co-worker if I don't get this job I will plan to leave current job next year when DS finishes his preschool year. It is hard to make changes, but I think it needs to happen. At the very least applying for this job has got my mind more accepting of change.

New Job Info & High Cost Rental Market

June 2nd, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I received a phone call this morning from the company I applied with last month. They set up a phone interview with me for Thursday afternoon.

At first I got that scared feeling again.
I had to ask myself what am I so afraid of?
I've decided it's a fear of change and fear of the unknown. But I also know this could be a wonderful opportunity so I've got to keep moving forward on this.

The phone interview will give me a chance to gather more information.
For one, I want to find out if I will be given a company car or reimbursed somehow. I also want to ask about the training period and amount of travel outside of "home area".
Is it too soon to ask about salary?

Haven't said anything to my boss about any of this yet. I am thinking if I get called back for in-person interview then I will say something.
That is another hard part for me - I'm feeling disloyal about thinking of leaving. (I am sure that will seem silly to some of you, but I've been with this job/boss for 14 years.)


My coworker rents a one bedroom house (part of a four-plex). This weekend she received notice from her landlord that he is planning to sell the property and she has 60 days to move. She is feeling really stressed. I feel bad for her - it sucks to move even when you want to, let alone when you don't. Frown

She has started searching - wow have the rents gone up since she moved a little over a year ago!

She called on a one bedroom apartment and its $1295/mo. Well over 50% of her income.

The voicemail message box for a $900/mo studio was full and not accepting new voicemails when she called on it.

She is feeling really discouraged right now.

Still Having Short Paydays..

May 27th, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Although not as bad as previous weeks we are still running short each payday. With the increased heat DH's work is busier, but still not back to full paychecks. Friday we were just about $100 short.

As long as my work is not dead slow and the boss sends us out early then my paychecks are predictable. It might be + or - an hour per week depending on what's going on and there's not much I can do to change that.

You might recall several months back my boss increased, then cut back on my Tuesday hours.
For a long, long time I only worked a half day on Tuesdays. Then he and I agreed to increase it to a full day because it was so much work for just him and the receptionist alone. That worked well for awhile until he decided he needed to save money and cut my hours back to where I had been.

Well I think that choice has really been biting him in the butt.. There have been several busy Tuesdays recently where there is a bunch of extra work.. But he hasn't yet asked me to stay all day. Rolleyes

I really enjoy getting home early on my half days, but I wouldn't pass up the extra hours if I could get them here and there.

I received my usual $15 check for the inventory tracking on Friday.
I applied it to my *Special Focus Debt*.

$1109 Starting Balance

$15 Payment

$1094 New Balance

Working on My Professional Self

May 13th, 2014 at 09:32 pm

My paycheck bounced last week. No, I'm not kidding.
The boss deposited the amount plus the $12 fee my bank charged into our account the next day.
I am feeling much more comfortable and excited to move to a new job. Really getting the feeling that the boss just doesn't feel shame at all anymore; he bounces checks to everyone. Before there was one time paychecks were returned in the span of 10 or so years. Now twice in what, six months? Bad business.

My RVT license is due for renewal this month. It is currently $140 and renews every two years. I always pay for this myself; my boss has never offered to pay it or a portion. Whatever.. that way I don't feel like I owe him anything for my license, and I do write it off on our taxes.

Thursday I joined the local veterinary nurse and assistant association. It has been around for about two years I think. I have been meaning to join, but now is really a good time for me to reconnect professionally. I am excited because I already know several gals that are members. It will be fun to catch up with them and to network with new people. The other good thing is that each monthly gathering includes an hour of CE learning. The cost is $40/year.
I have RSVP'd for the next meeting which is next week. Smile

I also looked into requirements to become a certified veterinary practice manager. It is just another option that I could persue to advance myself.
Need to get some college credits in business and accounting, but that would be interesting and fun to me.

My pet sitting website is up and my business cards arrived Saturday. I already handed one out at work and plan to leave some at the nearby pet shops and feed store bulletin boards soon.

Applied for the Job

May 4th, 2014 at 04:29 pm

I created a resume and applied for the sales job yesterday...

I am SO conflicted..
My feelings alternate between excitement about the challenges, increased income, travel and changes with a new job. And anxiety about the unknown, the travel and leaving my current job where I am happy (despite my boss' poor business skills).

I am not typically a person who is confused by her feelings - and that is stressing me too!

At this point I am telling myself Fate will decide - if this is meant to "be" then I'll get the job and if I'm better off where I am then I won't.


In the meantime, I am moving forward with increasing my pet sitting work. I am getting my insurance in place, designing some business cards and putting together a little website.

Working on this is exciting.. mostly exciting.. I'm a little nervous about this too. I'm worried I will spread myself too thin. But I keep reminding myself I don't have to take every job that is offered.. I'm going to have to say "No" sometimes.

Sales Job???

April 29th, 2014 at 07:13 pm

There is an opening for an outside sales rep in our area. This is selling veterinary drugs and supplies.

Lots more money. There is base salary plus bonuses and commission. Potentially triple (or more) than what I make now.

Way more traveling. Sales meetings in other areas, or states. Staffing vendor booths at large conferences.

I know - nothing ventured; nothing gained.

I am actually kind of scared to think about such a change.

Car Repairs. Two More Short Paydays.

April 13th, 2014 at 06:21 pm

My car was repaired last Sunday.. sort of..

I took it for a little test drive just to be sure it didn't give me any trouble before my commute Monday morning. It was a beautiful late Sunday afternoon. I cruised just out of town and through rolling green hills with houses, gardens and animals. I was really enjoying my drive and then the car started running badly again..

Even worse, actually, because it had no power whatsoever. I was glad I was on a quiet country road with nobody behind me. I puttered for a few miles, pulled into a school parking lot and had to call for a tow home.

I was glad it was only me stranded and that I was in a safe place and not on the side of the highway.
I passed the time by watching baby goats playing in the field next to the parking lot and catching up with games on my phone.

Unfortunately, I was 9 miles from home and we just have basic roadside service that covers up to 5 miles of towing (or to closest repair garage), so we had to pay the 4 mile overage. Frown

Turns out there was a second sensor that needed replacement. The car would run fine until it got hot then it would crap out. Our mechanic neighbor finished that replacement early Tuesday afternoon (and the car has been running great since *KNOCK on WOOD*). We returned the rental car that night - we had it for five days.

$542 - repair
$ 82 - car rental
$ 40 - tow

AND as if that isn't financial headache enough, we had two more paydays short of the weekly income I budget for.

On 4/4 we came up short by $240.
On 4/11 short by $318.

The costs for the repairs and the funds to balance the budget have come out of the now pitifully depleted EF.


Rented a Car for $10/Day

April 4th, 2014 at 08:45 pm

This morning my car really started coughing and surging. It died twice on the way back home from taking DD to school. Ugh!

DH drove DS to preschool and he drove me to work. I ended up getting there 30 minutes late, but at least I got there.

Without knowing what the problem with the car was or how long it would be out of service I rented a car. I used Costco travel again. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that it was $9.99/day for the weekend - Compact car category. I went to pick it up on my lunch time so I had something to get me and DS home in this evening.

The rental office gave me a Honda Fit. Very peppy!

Anyhow, our mechanic neighbor got my car to do it's "thing" for him and it is a cam shaft sensor that went/going out. He ordered the part and should have it fixed tomorrow.

*fingers crossed* it's quick and somewhat cheap! Smile

I'll address some of the comments from my last post re: my boss ..

First, I have been working with him for nearly 14 years. And he is a nice person. Awful with his finances! Not much business savvy. BUT, really calm and kind. Very good at doctor-ing.

Our clients are wonderful. I am close with many of them and their pets.

Second, this is the way he has run this business for many, many years - maybe even since the start! And so far it is still sputtering along.. He robs Peter to pay Paul and then robs Bob to pay Peter and Jill to pay Bob and so on and so on..

I am VERY well aware that at some point his business could fail. I am not ignorant to that fact at all. (All the more reason to have some of my own income producing options firmly in place.) I also have contacts all over, so I am not overly worried about finding new employment. I am comfortable finding work in various areas, not just veterinary medicine.

The Good & The Bad

April 3rd, 2014 at 03:58 pm

First, can't believe it is April!

The Good:

- My cat care client gave me a bonus gift - $20 Starbucks card.

- My coworker gave me a code to get five stars on my Starbucks account (Free drink every 12 stars).

- A client gave me and my coworker a $100 bill each! Big Grin

- Trees are cut down and all cut up.

The Bad:

- DH hurt his knee playing racquetball with his boss last week. It seems pretty bad to me, but naturally DH doesn't want to see a doctor. He has injured this same knee before and it takes weeks to feel better. I am of the mind that it might need surgery. If that is what it needs to "fix" it, well we'd have to do it, but oh man could that create some financial bumps.

- Water pump went out in our truck. FUDGE! I wanted to get a load of garden soil/amendment this weekend so we could get started with our boxes. That didn't happen. Frown And the repair will have to wait. Quoted $750 and I don't want to take any more from savings.

- My car has had a few weird episodes where it seemed like it wasn't getting fuel. Was okay last night and this morning. Our mechanic neighbor looked at it this morning and of course it didn't do it for him.
Going to change the fuel filter wait and see if it does it again. Might be the fuel pump..

- Disgust is at an all time high for me at work.
My boss owes money to almost, strike that, *every* vendor we use. Some have stopped accepting orders from us until they get paid.

I haven't gotten one cent toward my health insurance yet; although the boss says that is coming.

Sore subject for me.
At first it was, "pick a plan you like."
Then it was, "choose a few you like and we'll discuss."
Then he was, "I'll need to limit the amount I pay to $300/month."
That meant not getting a plan I "liked"; just a plan that was cheap.

Tuesday I asked what the status of reimbursement was because I paid the April premium two weeks ago and just received the May bill. He asks me how much the premium is. And I'm thinking - "look you pledged $300 so don't you dare think of shorting me now."
I told him just under $300 because I can't afford to pay anything beyond what he is offering.
SO he was like "Oh, okay, so you'll need $280 to $290 then?"

I am not trying to sound ungrateful. I am thankful that I have had 100% employer paid coverage and hopefully still will. But I feel pretty unappreciated with the way he is handling all this.

By the way, I have the day off today because he and his wife went to Tahoe to ski ... Heaven forbid he say "No" to the family.

End of the Week & I Was Bad

March 21st, 2014 at 09:40 pm

Another payday with short paychecks.
(Next week will be golden as neither DH nor I had short days this week.)
But, yeah, $206 less income this week than what I budget/estimate/plan/project for. Frown

I have $60 of cat care cash that I was planning to put toward a cc.
In fact, this week I decided to make this particular card my main focus and commit any *extra* to its payoff no matter what.

Now, I either need to stick to that plan OR use that $60 cash to help cover the usual expenses. No matter which option I am still going to have to transfer some from savings to cover outgoing bills.

It is feeling very one step forward; two steps back.

& I was bad this week...
I don't know if it was the nice weather making me lazy, or the "special" time of the month, or the feelings of stress over weeks of lower income, or some sadness/reality over unexpected deaths (there was a horrific car crash where a pickup truck crushed a car all the way to the front seats. Killing two women - mother/daughter. Happened on a road I frequently drive.) Sicily, the weird missing plane and some other upsetting (child abuse) news stories..
But I ate lunch out four days and as a family we ate dinner out once and had fast food dinner once.
$30 - lunches out
$46 - dinner out
$21 - family fast food

And I completely feel like I am shooting myself in the foot - while taking those two steps back!


Health Insurance Hassle

March 16th, 2014 at 10:17 am

Been meaning to share that my boss decided to end our group plan at work. His family is eligible to get coverage through his wife's work. Her employer will pay 50%, so he figures they will save money going that route.
*Shrug* We'll see. The % her employer pays is dependent on how many units she teaches each semester, so that might make a big difference.

The good thing is the boss wants to continue paying for my insurance. The bad part is *how* he is going to pay since I am now getting an individual plan. He is discussing with his accountant. One option is bonuses with additional funds added to cover the tax I will have to pay.

The other not-so-great part is that he decided he would cover only up to $300/mo. If the plan I chose was more I'd have to pay the difference. SO what he is paying isn't getting me the same level of coverage I've had.

What is good is that I might "make" money. I opted to go with the same plan that I picked for the kids - which is a bit on the lower end of Bronze. The total for us three is $517/month. Because I opted to go with a "cheaper" plan there will be *extra* money and that will offset the additional we've been paying for DD & DS.

$18/mo of that is "mandatory" dental, but we have dental coverage so I need to discuss with our agent (when things quiet down) if we can drop that.

The hassle has been spending a week trying to get a straight answer about how much the boss would be willing/able to pay. (Still no answer about *HOW* the money will come.) Then shopping and comparing plans for me only to come to the conclusion that I should just go cheap. Then making a new application for me and the kids after I just went through all this a few weeks back for the kids. (Now their previous policy will cancel and this one will start up.)

I am a bit nervous that I'll need to depend on my boss to pay me this additional money each month (you all remember money is a big issue for him). Yes, he has been responsible for paying the premiums in the past, but that was when his family was concerned...

It is all just Hassle..

Paycheck Pinch

March 15th, 2014 at 08:14 pm

The last three weeks have been slow at both my and DH's offices. February is typically the slowest month in veterinary offices and then starts picking up. HVAC work slows down when the weather is mild - not cold enough for furnace work; not hot enough for AC work.

When it is quiet we get sent (or choose to go) home early. This past week I lost four hours on Wednesday when the boss told us not to stay for the afternoon. DH was home about 1pm every day this past week, so that is about 12 hours lost there. (The very nice thing is that often his bosses will pay for some of the lost hours.)

It adds up to a lot of lost income. Frown

One week can be absorbed without much pain, but this is the third week and I had to deposit the $60 of cat care cash I had earmarked for the EF to help cover scheduled payments.

If the paycheck pinch continues the first place that gets cut back is extra debt payment. Frown

Someday DH Might Have a Career Change! (& Re-Joining the Gym)

March 12th, 2014 at 09:31 pm

First off if you haven't read me mention before - my DH's *dream job* is to be a firefighter. He went to college and completed the FF academy. He also took several other classes and was certified to teach HazMat procedures to other FFs. Out of college he secured a job with the city department in our hometown (long before we met). He was also the youngest captain in that county at one of the volunteer stations (where he was on his days off).

Then his first wife (high school sweethearts - married *very* young) wanted to move away to a different city. He did move for her and left a very promising career behind. He applied and tested to several departments without success. Then marital struggles.. and breaking up.. back together.. move to another city.. break up.. reconcile.. break up.. divorce.

He mostly fell into the HVAC industry because he needed a steady job, decent paycheck and had friends there.

Almost from the time we were married he has volunteered at where ever the closest volunteer station to home is.

In June 2009 (not a typo!) he applied and tested for San Francisco FD and was put on the eligibility list. "The List" is ranked according to scores on the test and DH ranked pretty high - top 3 to 5%, BUT the list is like 6,000 people long. Only within the past year have they started pulling people off it to place in their training program. Budget issues forced them to wait.

It is *possible* he could get a spot. *Possible*. (Just can't even let myself get too excited about it.. nearly five years of waiting.)
He has to get off his butt and update his profile with his current EMT cert and he has to take/update a special fitness test.

This leads to us discussing a move to rejoin the gym we had been members at previously. DH really needs to lose some pounds. It seems to me he has been getting down about his weight/looks/health. We agreed it would be good for both of us. DD wants to get back to the gym too - for the pool mostly I think.
DH is going to talk to the GM of the gym in the next few days to see what deal she might offer him to get us to come back.

Please cross your fingers and send out the positive vibes for my DH... The next SFFD training academy starts in August.. I don't think I can really explain how WONDERFUL it would be for him to be selected..

Our Daycare Lady is Very Sick :(

February 13th, 2014 at 08:19 pm

Our daycare lady, GrandmaB, is very sick, so sick she is in the hospital! Frown
The doctors at first thought she had bronchitis. Now they also think she is having heart failure with congestion/fluid accumulation from that.
We are very worried about her!!

That meant I stayed home again today.
Thursday we only work for a half day, so I didn't miss much.

It was good for me to stay home anyway because now I am sick with the cold DS is recovering from. Phooey!

DS and I did venture out to drop DD at school. Then we drove to the next town up to care for the elderly cat I see twice weekly and leave flowers and a card for GrandmaB with her daughter.

Tomorrow I will go to work and DS will go to preschool. Next week we will need to find someone to watch DS Wednesday and Thursday. Depending on what exactly is going on we might need someone for the next several weeks... Frown

DS Sick

February 11th, 2014 at 04:21 pm

DS seemed to be feeling fine and then he spiked a fever while he was down for a nap Sunday.

This is very scary for us because last year he had a seizure when his fever spiked.

It seems likely that he might have had a fever seizure while in his room for nap. I didn't see it, but he seemed "off" when I came in to see why he was crying. DH and I cooled him with a washcloth and dosed him up with meds and he was better.

He is doing okay now. Has a low grade fever (still giving Advil/Tylenol), little runny nose and a cough.

Monday I stayed home in the morning and DH came home early so I worked in the afternoon.

Today I stayed home.

Then our daycare lady, GB, called me and she won't be able to watch him tomorrow because she is sick.
She sounded terrible. Frown

So now I'm taking tomorrow off from work. It is fine - extra fine actually because it is slow at work.

I will take Wednesday as a paid sick day; otherwise my paycheck is going to look pretty sad.

In other news:
I had a call on our horse trailer this morning.
She is headed out to the ranch now to see it. Sounds like a sure thing.. still keep your fingers crossed though..

Vacation, then Christmas, now nearly New Year.. Oh My!

December 28th, 2013 at 09:59 pm

Our trip was great!
Really my only complaint was that it was 75F-80F (terrible, hu?) and made the Disney parks a bit more crowded than we were used to. (We always plan to go at "non-peak" times to save money and avoid the crowds. We usually wait 15 minutes or less on the really popular rides and less than 5 minutes for everything else.)
I shouldn't complain, even waiting twice as long as we're used to is better than a lot of people deal with.

It was so enjoyable to watch DS's enjoyment.
This is him on the Toy Story ride which he kept referring to as the "yellow glasses ride".

I used a hotel we hadn't stayed in before. While the hotel was nice and the beds very comfy it was too much of a walk to get into the parks. We walked back and forth twice each day in order to take an afternoon nap, so it was a lot of walking.

Yes, there is a circulating bus/shuttle, but I didn't want to pay the extra money, plus you have to wait for it to pick up and drop off. I prefer to walk, although this time it meant some seriously sore feet by day end.

We did pretty well with food spending. Snacks in the car and hotel room. Eating out *only* twice daily was easy to manage.
We ate at the Rainforest Cafe for $12. I had $100 gift card (credit card reward) that almost covered the "splurg-y" meal.
A character breakfast included with our package at n/c was a great treat.
I had my special treat in Disney - a Monte Cristo - that was filling enough for two meals.
We also ate at the Mexican restaurant in Frontier Land which I have found to be nearly the same cost as Mexican food anywhere else. You can also get free soda refills there. That meant my DH bought a soda with six trips for refills. Big Grin

We rented a car. A 2013 Ford Focus.
It was good for us. I had calculated that we would be about even driving our own gas guzzling car vs. renting a fuel saving car. Additionally, no wear and tear on our aging vehicle (we drove 1370 miles).
With the costs tabulated we saved a little money by renting the car! Smile

Here it is in Las Vegas at the Excalibur - where we stayed.

We splurged on the Tournament of Kings dinner show. It's where you eat with your hands while watching knights battle. I had seen a similar show while in high school so knew what to expect (good for a three-year-old!).
My family really enjoyed the show. As predicted DS was glued to the action. Big Grin

DH and I hit the blackjack tables both nights, but alas, didn't win big. We have found that we can play blackjack for hours on very little money all while drinking *free* beer. Smile

Vacation Spending:
$1414 Disney package (4 nights/(4) 4-day hopper tickets/pkg extras)
$310 Food
$200 Cash for gambling/souvenirs/misc.
$181 Rental car
$159 Dinner show
$146 Gas
$ 94 Vegas hotel (2 nights @ $29+taxes/resort fees)

DH's boss gave us DH's $500 Christmas bonus early so we could apply it to the trip if we wanted.
(I used the Sapphire for almost everything and will use the bonus money toward the bill next month.)

Both DH and I used paid vacation time, so no lost income.
We saved a few bucks in daycare costs.
My dad stayed at our house so we didn't pay anything for house/pet care. As a big plus, my dad totally spruced up the front and backyard - mowed, raked, swept.. That was nice!

This trip was our Christmas gift to each other. Tiring, but good family time and some funny memories made. I'll tell you it was nice - no shopping, no wrapping, no extra crap!


Christmas was comfortable and low-key.
Santa brought a $25 dump truck set for DS.
Santa used Amazon credit (from selling back the EMT textbooks) for DH and DD's gifts. They cost $0.
Stocking stuffers included personal care products and trip souvenirs.

I got coffee and chocolate from almost everyone. Smile
My boss gave me a nice, crisp $100.

Only my parents were here with us (Yay! no drama!).
I made a nice ham dinner, roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, rolls, pie.

This year I feel like I figured out the best way to warm a ham without drying it out!
I used a roasting bag and set the oven for 275F.
About 10 minutes/lb.
Nice and warm throughout - no dry slices!

I bought a 10lb ham for the extra leftovers. I froze the ham bone for later use and a dinner's worth of slices for a future meal.


Kids are visiting the in-laws until tomorrow. DH and I have been basking in the quiet laziness the last 48 hours.

Next week will be pretty easy. Work one and a half days, then another paid day off. Big Grin
Then.. WOW.. 2014!

OMG! $1,000 Tip!

November 12th, 2013 at 06:12 pm

DH came home from work with a thousand dollar tip from a client! She gave him and his boss each $1k when they completed their job.

DH works in heating and air contracting. Sometimes he gets tips. Usually $20 or so for "lunch" or "beers after work". He has gotten as much as $100 a few times. But this tops them all! Wow!

It is his *extra* money so he chooses how it gets spent. He is spending some on a project he is working on, a little for vacation spending and the rest to remove a tree in the backyard (or something else the family/house needs).

I am still shocked by the amount... Amazingly Cool!

Financial This 'n That

November 9th, 2013 at 07:51 am

Called our cable provider for a lower rate. We have TV, internet and home phone bundled with Comcast.
I was all set for a tough negotiation and threats of leaving. Didn't need that at all! The CSR was super nice and I was all set less than 15 minutes later. Smile
Kept our same package and services for $120/month for two years.
A savings of $55/month compared to their *regular* rate! ($16/month less than the *low* rate we had been paying.)

DD lost/forgot her debit card. (While walking home with a friend she stopped for a fast food snack.)
An hour later our bank called - her card had been brought in by a good citizen. Big Grin
A good lesson learned.

Our gas and electric bill last month was the lowest it has been all year (I think?) $80. Such mild days and nights in September/October we didn't need the heat or the AC.

Had to reorder checks. Totally ran out right before the first of the month. Rolleyes
Last time I bought them was March 2012.

It has been slow at work, so this past Tuesday my boss reduced my schedule back to a half day on Tuesdays again. (He is a total dork, but that's a different post.)
Darn it - I was liking that bit of extra income.
The silver lining is that I work in the morning, pick up DS from preschool in the afternoon and get home well before dark.
My work schd is pretty sweet: full day, half day, full day, half day, full day, weekend.

Might be able to switch DH's iPhone to Ting at the end of this month.
(Shhh..I got an email about beta testing..)
That could save us an easy $40 to $60 each month! Very excited!

Had a 0% balance transfer offer come up. A bit of quick math and I figured the upfront transfer fee would "pay for itself" after 3.5 months. We would not have the balance paid off by then. Prepaying a bit of interest now to reap long term 0% benefit will pay off in the long run.

I am continuing to earn $80/week with my quick, 30 minute, twice weekly trip to give an old cat fluids.
I also earned $140 by pet sitting some other cats five days last week.
This extra cash has been so awesome! Big Grin

Resolution of the Childcare Situation

September 26th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Currently we are situation "A".
Daycare costs are calculated at the new rate and average number of hours/month.
School costs are fixed per month regardless of attendance.
I work four full days and one half day per week.

A) School part-time/Daycare part-time
School 3 days/week = $590
Daycare (GrandmaB) = $396

B) School mostly/Daycare 4.5/hrs/week
School 4 days/week
+ flat rate aftercare = $885
Daycare 1/2 day/week = $81

C) School Full Time
School 5 days/week + flat rate aftercare = $990

I have asked the preschool to put us on the waiting list to increase DS to five days or at least add the fourth full day I work. This may not happen for weeks or months. This preschool is *amazing* and 100% full with a waiting list.

The school is hands-down the best place for our son to go. He asks to go every day now and financially the numbers speak for themselves - why did I/am I having such a hard time with this?
After more thinking it is because of emotional attachmant and that I very much dislike change.

In my earlier post I wasn't very clear - not even for myself. I was actually struggling to find a reason to *stay* with our current daycare lady (GrandmaB) even given her rate increase. Though it is not logical in the financial sense. I have very personal feeling toward this woman, whom I've known for over 10 years and who has cared for both of my children. She loves them like her own and gets them little gifts for birthdays, Christmas and back-to-school.

Yes, my feelings got a little hurt when she announced her rate increase. I feel that her reason comes more from seeing us "have the money" to pay preschool tuition than anything else. I might be wrong there, but can't help feeling that.

Her home and care is safe and reliable, but it is not enriching, stimulating or exciting. If you picture a small living room and a dining room with some toys and a grandma in a rocking chair you've got the whole picture. And there isn't anything wrong with that, except we can have more for him for essentially the same cost.

I could have enrolled DS full time in preschool when I was planning months ago, but I didn't for these reasons.
1. GrandmaB is flexible. If I work 20 or 30 minutes later it is no problem.
2. I didn't want to "take" DS away from GrandmaB. I didn't want to hurt her feelings by not "needing" her.
3. Wasn't sure how well DS would take to such a big change. (In retrospect this is more *I* didn't want a big change. My baby isn't a baby anymore.)
4. The cost of using GB part time was less by close to $60/month.

Unfortunately, the school is not so flexible with late pick-up. That is the only drawback there. I have already discussed what is going on and the plan with my boss. He is fine with me not being available to work late. It really doesn't happen very often and I can still stay up to 15 minutes after "closing time" if need be. He said he thinks school is the best place for DS too and that is most important.
So there it is, the only real negative factor isn't really a factor at all.

When we end up making the change I will give GrandmaB as much notice as possible and write her a very nice letter of recommendation. There may still be days when we will use her in a drop-in way or maybe in the summer. If not, I will make a point to drop by to see her and still send her cards and pictures of the kids.

Another Monthly Snowflake

September 12th, 2013 at 02:49 pm

I signed up last month to provide work inventory information to another survey company. It pays $15/month. It is easier to fill out than the first one and I figured if I was already tallying numbers it makes it really easy to do. This company pays monthly and I got my first check yesterday. Smile

Working More Hours

September 2nd, 2013 at 02:30 pm

Happy Labor Day!
I hope everyone gets to enjoy a restful day off. We are in relaxation mode here at our house. Smile

Tomorrow I start working Tuesdays all day. For years I have had the morning off. Recently I started thinking I should offer to work all day. I already pay gas money to commute and I could add 3.5 hours to my week by making this change. I figured that after tax and additional childcare costs I will still bring home over $2k/year more. That is hard to say "No" to.

Last week went better than I had expected in regards to my new morning routine of getting the kids off to their schools. What it boils down to is leaving the house 30 minutes earlier. I hope we can keep it up all school year long.

Work Musings

July 13th, 2013 at 12:34 am

Plenty keeping me busy at home and work.
I am like, "Where did the last 12 days go??"

Work has been very frustrating this past week to ten days. Without going into a huge explanation it basically breaks down to my boss being such a poor money manager that we can't get new equipment or hire more help.

We have been running on very limited staff for two years (at least). We were told we would get extra help from his family, but that is spotty at best. Example - his daughter is supposed to work two days a week and stopped coming in one of those days months ago. Just stopped coming in.

Now our other girl that helps two afternoons per week is moving away to college/new job. When I asked boss about posting a job opening he claims his daughter wants more hours. WTF? Am I missing something?

After stewing on that for a few days I told him that made me angry because it couldn't be true when she doesn't even come in on a day she is already slotted for. (Come ON!!)
He couldn't say anything in reply.
I said we need to hire someone who would come in and help us. Someone who will do the J-O-B.
And now my coworker and I will wait to see ......

His bank fees (overdrafts) are so out of control it makes *ME* embarrassed.
I think I may have posted before that last year it was near $16k!!
Last month it looked to be near $3500 - that's just for June. It makes me sick - and I have zero control or ability to "fix it". Meanwhile the business goes without replacing dated equipment, computers or staff.

I am thinking it is time for a new place to work. But, with DS's daycare lady and his preschool in the city my current work is located in that makes me less inclined to change (for now).

It's also hard when you've worked for someone for so many years. And there are so many clients I would miss. I do enjoy my job. My boss is a kind, easygoing (but lame) person.
The sad thing is I don't think things will ever change.

And now the wrench: there is an opening at an office in the town we live in. A place I *think* would be a good fit. Fully staffed. Nice equipment. No commute.

Please, Don't be Cheap When it Comes to....

April 30th, 2013 at 02:30 pm

When it comes to Flea Control for your pets.

I think we could all come up with many other things that you should not skimp on, but this is forefront in my mind right now.

If you don't know, haven't read my info or my blog before let me say I am a veterinary nurse (RVT) and I work in a single doctor practice. (I have really interesting cases sometimes and I really should blog more about work, but that is for another time.)

Yesterday we had two separate clients bring in their elderly cats. One cat was an indoor only cat and the other was indoor with access to the outside. Both cats were being seen because they haven't been doing so well.

They were both COVERED in fleas.
Crawling all over these poor, old cats were nasty, bloodsucking fleas.

In my opinion impossible to miss. You could part the hair and see the fleas walking around. The cats' fur full of "flea dirt" - flea poop looks like specks of dirt.

Most young cats can groom off almost all their fleas. Not that they should have to do that, use flea preventatives and they are so much better for it. Many people will say they don't see fleas and that is a big reason why. But, an old cat (or dog) don't groom themselves as well as when they were younger and can get overwhelmed with fleas. Fleas suck blood and with a ton of fleas feeding on a pet it can cause anemia among other things.

The owner of the indoor/outdoor cat has been "using some drops she picked up *somewhere*".
She seemed surprised that they weren't working. (Really?! Do you ever pet or look at your cat?)
Her old kitty was very dehydrated and anemic. Not to mention how miserably uncomfortable I can only imagine she was.

The indoor only cat: "Shouldn't have fleas! She is an indoor cat!"
The cat was seriously covered with fleas. It doesn't matter to the flea where the cat lives.
Actually, inside is even better for the flea - nice temperature controlled environment.
Unfortunately, that kitty was in bad shape due to other problems and was euthanized. It made me feel so sad that the cat had to spend her last days/weeks/months being eaten on by fleas. Frown

As the days heat up flea populations will climb. Please don't be cheap. Use the "good stuff" and use it every month. Indoor or outdoor. Look online so you can educate yourself about what flea dirt looks like. It dissolves to blood when wetted. You can find flea dirt much more easily than finding a flea - unless your pet is severely infested.

The "good stuff" in my opinion and what I use is:
Revolution or Advantage for cats.
Comfortis, Advantage or Advantix for dogs.
Capstar (for cats and K9s) can be used for a quick kill and is great to use in combo with above products to get an infestation under control.

So to conclude, this is an area where I say money well spent when you buy the right product.

What item or service do you feel is worth the "premium price"?


April 27th, 2013 at 05:04 pm

The days have just been flying by here. We have been having beautiful weather and the seeds we planted in the garden two weeks ago have sprouted up. When they get a bit taller I will take a picture to share.

The chicks are much bigger now. They have almost all their feathers so no more fluffy downy fuzz. We let them out in the backyard every afternoon and they are so fun to watch. Once they are a little larger I will move the dog crate that is their home out to the coop and they can start acclimating to nights outside.

I received two more referrals on my Ting account - $50 more credit. Big Grin
A big Thank You to the folks using my referral code (if youíre reading this.)
I am so very happy I switched to Ting. Great service and excellent value.

Last week I changed my withholdings from 2 to 4 so I could squeeze a little more money into my weekly paycheck.

Then this past Wednesday my boss gave us each a brief review and a $1/hour raise. Big Grin Yay!

Now Iím worried with the raise I might not be withholding enough. What I will do is give it a few months then do a year-end-mock-up and see where we stand tax wise.

The plan for this weekend is relax, relax, relax. Our calendar is full for the next two weeks once May starts, so we've got to rest up.

We plan to have BBQ dinners tonight and tomorrow, so no "real" cooking to do and I love BBQ'd food. Smile

Happy St. Patty's Day! More on Payroll.

March 17th, 2013 at 01:24 pm

It has been a wonderful weekend. The weather has been very nice and mild. We have been enjoying "hang out" time as a family both indoors and out. I have even had plenty of quiet time to read this weekend. Not much got done yesterday..*shrug*..who cares?!

Today it's laundry, dishes, general pick-up. DD and DH are getting the garage organized for a garage sale next weekend.

I'll be starting the corned beef soon. I'm going to make soda bread tonight because I have not had that in years. It is very easy to make - flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt.

After dinner I am going to a girlfriend's for dessert and a chick-flick with her and another girlfriend. Very likely I'll go over in my PJ and be comfy. Smile

My coworker got her check replaced in cash before anything effected her checking account (her account never went negative.)

I think that my check cleared because: (A) I put in the bank first or
(B) because he instructed his personal banker to pay my check before any other.

I asked the boss about doing direct deposit. He told me he pays the rent that way and if the account is empty the direct deposit is declined so that would not be a solution.

I know with certainty that our withholdings are okay. All our insurance and such is covered. He pays IRS like he should. Thankfully he does conduct his business legally. Unfortunately he sucks big time with money management, budgeting and so on.

When my coworker was talking to him about things she said he told her "the kids really *need* their cell phones nowadays" among other things.. Rolleyes

She told him she wasn't going to work this Saturday. She just didn't want to be there. A bit of payback, I think, because he had to have his family work with him.

I don't know if he really can't say "No" or he can't figure out what to do. It's frustrating!

Hey! It just occurred to me that I should duct tape him to a chair and have him watch a Suze marathon! Wink

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