I seem to go in spurts posting here but so often life gets out of hand so here is a quick update...
School has been going well except for Business stats. I understand it when he goes though it in class but I am having trouble when it comes to the tests and that is what the grade is based off. This may be a do over. I don't really enjoy Sociology but I am so far doing well in the class. I think... here it is spring break and I have only received one grade in spite of multiple papers. I love Economics and Accounting, big surprise (not) right now we are doing a big ecel project in Accounting, an interactive budget, and I am having so much fun! English is...okay. I found a decent partner for the research paper although I would much rather do it all myself. We are writing about the credit card industry.
My internship is going well and has been a real education in the corporate insurance/financial world. There were firings about a month ago and my direct supervisor was one of the ones let go. I work in the service center (not on the phomes thank goodness) and it is one of the more profitable sections of the company but I think we were somewhat top heavy so I understand why they let one of the managers go. It was weird though I have never known someone who was fired like that and he was a good guy. Deadlines are very important and with tax reporting we have been very busy.
Income tax season has been slow...I got a raise because of my experience so I am drawing more salary but I haven't done as many returns this year.
I bought a netbook to take to school with me. I really like it because it does everything I need it to but is really small and light. I have been thinking about getting one since before Christmas. Yesterday I pulled it out to work on my English paper and one of the girls went "ooh that is so cute"
So that is about it around here. Spring break starts Monday and I am looking forward to more time to do some of the things I have been putting off.
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I seem to go in spurts posting here but so often life gets out of hand so here is a quick update...
It is from Montgomery Gentry
And if all you ever really do is the best you can
Well, you did it man
That's something to be proud of
That's a life you can hang your hat on
That's a chin held high as the tears fall down
A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out
Like a small town flag a-flyin'
Or a newborn baby cryin'
In the arms of the woman that you love
That's something to be proud of
I think striving to live a good life might be a good dream.
Over at the Simple Dollar Trent talks about giving up your dream.
I never really had a dream...
After my divorce I wanted to learn more about income taxes so I took a class on income taxes. I had a perfectly good paying job but at the end I was offered a chance to work part time doing income taxes. I liked it. I liked it much more than my usual day job.
Then my day job became more stressful and just plain horrible. I was worried it was going to come to a head so I began socking every penny away until I had enough in the bank to survive 12 months.
When I was put on probation for the second time in less than a year I knew I couldn't work there anymore. I wasn't ever going to please my new manager. So I quit and went back to school. I am an accounting/finance major and got 3 A's and a B my first semester. I got an internship at an insurance company doing cost basis for surrendered policies. I still do my income tax work, in season. Next year I will have a full scholarship. Financially I am still okay. I haven't had to use any of my savings to make ends meet.
But I still don't have a dream...
There is nothing that really fuels my flame. I am happy going on day to day and living my life as it unfolds. When I am 50 I will finally graduate from college with a BBA. I will probably find another job in accounting. I will probably look into getting a masters. I have been looking at different fields and thinking about what I want to do. With my low COL I could do anything... but I really would like to find that dream, that one thing I want to do more than anything else.
I have been thinking about what I love to do. If I didn't have to work what would I do?
I like learning new things. I like teaching new things to individuals but not necessarily to groups. I seem to work better one-on-one.
I like helping people, but I find them frustrating. Most of the people I meet don't want help thay just want solutions that don't require any work on their part.
I like being a wife, cooking, keeping a nice house. When I was married we would often host parties and I loved making sure that everyone had a good time. I don't like going to parties but I did like the feeling that the guests were well taken care of. People liked coming to our parties and they were always well attended.
I like inteligent conversations with intelligent people. I like debating concepts and having discussions about important topics.
So how does all this fit into a dream? Does everyone have to have a dream?
I did my stats test tonight and didn't worry at all about the one problem I had no clue about, 6 points down the tubes. BUT I got back my Accounting test from last week and I only got 87/100. There are 3 tests plus the final and all are worth 100pts. I had 96 on the first, 104 on the second and now this stupid 87. Why is the A in accounting so much more important than the A in statistics?
Tonight was my only classes for this week. The instructor said he would be in class tomorrow night if we wanted to come but it wasn't mandatory. I have a study date to work on the project in that class so I will probably go especially since the class is in the computer lab.
DS is working tonight so I am home alone. I like being home alone with nothing due tomorrow. I will probably study a little just because I am used to spending evenings studying. Right now I have A's in 3 of 4 classes, Why it alright to settle for a B in Stats when a B in accounting would bother the heck out of me?
It seems like all my professors are going crazy with the last 2 weeks of classes coming up. In accounting we went over 4 chapters in 4 classes and had another test. Statistics has accellerated too with a test tomorrow, luckily it will be the last one before the final but since there is only 3 more classes before that there isn't much time to cram in alot else. One more humanities class and one final project in Business Class.
Because of all the junk classes I took in the past I am classified as a Senior but I still have a minimum of 5 semesters to actually graduate. Next semester is going to be FUN. I have-
from 9-1pm on MWF
Then- work from 1-4 MWF 8-4 T,Th
Then- Statistics for business MW nights
And-H&R Block from 5-9pm T,Th,F plus all day Saturday/Sunday
My plan has been to take all my H&R Block money and put it aside for extra school costs, my tax refund will go into my funds for irregular expenses like proerty tax and car insurance and I will live off of my internship work money.
I have been doing alot more secret shopping lately too. The little checks have been going to fund having a little fun now and then. With there being so much free entertainment at school I have found it is not too hard to spend almost nothing on a good time. Last weekend they were having a play in the theater. Free to students. Last week was a concert. I actually don't have time to do everything offered although I usually manage to show up for the events with free food. I had a blast at the debate watches and all the pizza and pop I wanted. There was a business luncheon about interviewing techniques with a free lunch, I also met some very nice people in the business school/community so making contacts was an important part of it.
Although I am really busy instead of feeling tired I feel energized by it all. It is so empowering to be totally in charge of my own life. In lots of ways I think it has been a good experience for my DS too. He has become more self sufficient and confident. He has started keeping his own budget and taking care of his own needs without me reminding him. It is a bunch of little things but I am happy to see him growing up.
On a sadder note one of my old friends, we actually dated a few times, died last Thursday. It was strange, his son found him at the front door looking like he was leaving for work. They think it was a heart attack but he was only 56 years old. I hadn't seen him for a long time but it feels funny to think he is not out there anymore.
At Security Benefit (who is one of the biggest employers around here). $9 an hour and up to 30 hours a week. They will work around my schooling and I will get some practical experience in the financial field.
I am so excited! It isn't a totally done deal yet though so keep your fingers crossed, say a prayer or whatever you do. I am a little worried about what my former supervisor might say to them when they call him. I got the call tonight at 5:30 so I am sure they haven't talked to him yet. I told them I wasn't sure what he would say because he was not happy with me when I left so at least if he does decide to be petty they might understand.
Then they do a drug screen, background check, and a credit check before I can officially start. I am not really sweating these things.
This will be so much better than just working retail or something to make ends meet. I was almost out of the extra money I got for all my vacation time and was thinking it was time to set my sights a little lower but this is PERFECT.
Wish me luck.
Two months ago my car scared me when I turned the ignition and...nothing.In a panic I turned it again...vroom, it started right up. I got over it, it became commonplace to have to try and start it 2 times. Then about 2 weeks ago I had to try 4 TIMES!! I was sure I would have to push start it. So I took it to my mechanic, he took off the ingition switch, determined it was bad, ordered a new one, which took 4 days to come. Put the old one back on (so I could drive it those four days) and put the new one on when it came in total damage to the budget....$71.99 (the part was $42)
Tuesday My car started sounding like a street racer and I was sure it needed a new muffler alfhough a quick look under didn't show anything. I couldn't drive it like that, so Wedneday I took it to my muffler guy. I like him because twice he has welded the tailpipe back instead of telling me I need a whole new exhaust system. He told me that it was the same problem (tailpipe broken up near the engine) he said it looked like it had been welded back before (yeah, by him) and that it was going to keep happening if I didn't replace the pipe with something he called a "flex pipe" All the time he sounded so apoligetic like "Gee I'm sorry but this is going to be so much more expensive" then he let loose. $90??? it cost $50 to have him weld it. So my car is quiet again and I am out $96.71.
My car is 14 years old. I bought it new in December 1994. So far in those 14 years it has been towed twice, has had a new alternator, clutch, tires and brakes and about 20 of these minor (under $100) repairs. It gets about 26 mpg in town and 32 on the highway. Cosmetically it isn't pretty but it has always gotten me where I was going and has dirt cheap insurance and taxes (in Kansas we pay personal property tax on vehicles based on their value) Just because I was curious I looked back at how much it has cost me to have it this year.
TOTAL COST = $1271.00
So that comes to $141.22 a month (9 months so far)
I really love my old car.
My financial aid finally came though. They sure made me jump through all the hoops. Whew! I actually had to go and see them twice because they weren't updating my record online. I signed up for direct deposit so hopefully it will hit my bank account next week.
I had my first test in Humanities (97%), my first test in Statistics (no grade yet) and got 100% on my first project in Business Management Systems (it was an Excel Spreadsheet) I have my first test in Accounting, a 2nd project due in BMS and a 3 page paper due in humanities next week so I am going to be working hard this weekend. I also applied for an internship (haven't heard yet)and have another interview in October with an accounting firm. So I have been keeping busy staying on top of my schoolwork.
DS got a second job, his first one is only a few weekends a month so he needed something more steady. Funny but he is in unpaid training for a third job that starts in January. I might be quite a juggling act to keep them all straight so I gave him a little pocket calendar to write it down on. We keep a calendar on the computer but it is always handy to have one you can take with you.
Cable Guy just left a little while ago, it seems a pack of squirrels chewed though our line. He says the main line has problems too and they are sending a crew out to fix it as well but so far the internet is working. He also told me of a way to get past all the automated stuff when I need to speak with a real person. Nice guy, I give him 10's all around. Funny but I just finished getting a 6 month discount on my cable by calling and asking for it, then this happened.
The school has a football game Saturday and I was thinking of going and just having a little fun. There is a grassy area outside the stadium and students are allowed to sit there free.
Well that's the update from us here.
But I also have been careful.
Yesterday at work a friend, who hates her job more than I do, used that phrase to describe what I am doing. She can't quit or even go to a lower paying job because she and DH need every penny just to pay the bills. I feel for her but she has been living on the edge for so long now it has just become her way of life. Big mortgage, big car payment on gas hog SUV a camper & a boat.
I hope things work out for her, she is so young...
I played a Texas Hold-em freeroll tourney tonight, got 116th out of 1015 players, not too shabby for my first ever tourney. For those of you who don't know freeroll means there is no buy-in (cost to play) but the prizes aren't too high either top prize tonight was $125 for the winner. 116th doesn't get anything.
Talked to my sister's this week and told them about going back to school. My older one is real gung ho on education so she was all for it, the younger just thinks it's terrific I can do something that so obviously makes me happy.
...and enrolled in College. It is scary but my job has become more and more stressful and less and less what I want to do with my life. I did all the math and even without a part time job, which I intend to get, I can manage for quite some time financially.
I am majoring in Accounting/Finance and it will take about 3 years to complete my degree with the credits I already have. Now all I have to do is finish up these last two weeks and off I go!
Wish me luck.
I have been looking for Broken Arrow and he has just disappeared. His Blog is empty, as if he had never been there and his user profile says he hasn't been here since June 16th.
I miss him.
I haven't tried to add pictures before.
So I am going to try one of my house.
I was having a water main put in and the roofers were doing the back so it's not the best picture but I want to try this.
I will see how it works. I wish I could preview my blog entries but I haven't figured out a way to do that either.
Well since it worked maybe I'll add more pictures of the work in progress. Here in the beginning most of it won't be visible though.
I am so excited about the upcoming 5 weeks- Next week I get my last paycheck from my seasonal employment-May 2nd regular paycheck- May 9th-Last child support check and Stimulus check- May 15th Regular paycheck- May 23rd-Bonus check from seasonal employment- May 30th- Another regular paycheck (3 check month)
I called the contractor and they are coming out to level my house in May. Once the house is back on level with proper support beams I can start some of the other renovations I have been planning for the last 3 years.
A friend is coming to take out some of the big trees that shade my backyard so I may even be able to get something to grow back there.
Our neighborhood is having a block sale which may be a chance to get rid of some of the junk that has accumulated in my shed (and make a little cash)
My son is graduating from High School. It has been a LONG 10 years (the first 2 weren't so bad)
May is going to be a GOOD month.
He is a strange boy, doesn't want to drive. Finally I just told him he was going to go take his test this week and if he flunked so be it.
He didn't flunk (knew he wouldn't)
So at 18 he can now drive himself and I am no longer a chauffer.
YEAH! Plus his insurance was cheaper since his grades came up this year (Senior year easy classes)
Well I finally got off my duff and did some little things around the house. A light fixture near the front door, very handy when getting home after dark, had been broken for over a year so I replaced it this weekend. I had budgeted $25 for it and it cost $6 so I bought the new motion switch I had been wanting for the Kitchen. That light is always getting left on because when we leave that room we usually have our hands full. Installed it last night and it is working!!
My son's voice teacher offered to take down all the trees in the backyard so that I can get some sun back there and plant a garden. The ones in the front shade the house well enough so all the ones in the back can go (about 14 with 6 being full grown large trees) I need to contact the electric company and ask them to take down the service line for the day. Hopefully they will do it for free but I would still come out ahead since I don't have to pay big bucks to get the trees taken down. BTW-He has been doing this for years and has insurance and everything, he uses the wood to either heat his house or he sells it. Cheaper for him since he has the skill and cheaper for me cause he does it more for the wood than the money.
One of our grcoery stores is running a special where if you buy 10 items it will rebate you $5.00, limit 3 rebates per transaction. I plan on making 3 runs this
week to stock up on things I buy all the time anyway. I always stock up on the things that are on sale for a great price and then get my $5 on top of that. Last night I got 20 mixes I use all the time for $20 and then received $10 back making the usually $1.79 mixes $0.50. It looks a little silly buying things in large quantities but it will reduce my grocery bills in the future. I just wish that coupons were more available around here. I have tried the couponing sites but most of the stores around here won't take printables and there just aren't many other ones anywhere.
I sometime wonder what my stuff says about me.
I live in the most run down house in my neighborhood. I picked the neighborhood because it is a nice neighborhood and picked the house because it needed alot of TLC and fit my needs. I like fixing up ugly things and making them beautiful again but for now I live in the worst house in a nice neighborhood. Do the neighbors pity me?
I drive a 12 year old Nissan Sentra. It has been a good car and has not caused me any problems. Most days it is just parked outside the house because I like to walk but I also like go go places when I walk so I walk to work, the grocery, the library pretty much anywhere I need to go is within walking distance. Is my kid ashamed of me for driving around in that old beater, can't I afford a nicer car?
Speaking of walking, when I go to the grocery store I have a little wagon I bring groceries home in. It is a nice collapsable cart/wagon but I wonder, do people think I walk to the store because I can't afford gas? or because I don't have a dirvers license (DUI or the like)?
I pay all my bills online and pay cash for most other things; what does that say about me? How many people pull out cash to pay for their groceries, gas, clothing etc... I don't suppose the envelopes help much with that impression. When being invited out with friends I sometimes get offers to pay for me because they assume I am broke.
I clothes shop mostly at the thrift store but all my clothes are nice and in good repair, no stains, tears or missing buttons. I have gotten compliments on some of my tops, all of which were bought at the thrift store. Except for the clerk at the store I guess nobody even knows about that particular lifestyle choice.
Now, I never really cared about what other people think except I have been trying to date again and most of the men I have been meeting are lower income. I wonder if this might be why? I live the way I do by choice. I am working on my house, I love my car, I like walking and I like my budget. But am I sending out the wrong signals?
That old song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" keeps going through my mind. When my fortunes changed I could have worried but instead I decided to be happy.
Be happy with a smaller house, with only two people in my family I didn't need a 2000 sf 3 bedroom house so I bought an 800 sf 2 bedroom. Utilities are less plus insurance and property taxes are cheaper too.
Be happy with an older car, I don't have a car payment my personal property taxes are less than the registration fee. I have only the basic insurance because the car isn't worth enough to worry about.
Be happy without the latest and greatest. I still have my old Sony TV I bought 10 years ago. I have had a big screen before but I decided to be happy with the one I have now. Do I really need to hang it on the wall?
Being Happy has had many benefits other than saving money but that is a subject for another post. So right now I am able to save almost 50% of my income for retirement and other goals because I decided to just "Be Happy"
I haven't written anything in here in such a long time I thought I would put up an official notice. No time for blogging these days.
Maybe I'll be back sometime but not for awhile.
Okay, I keep hearing about these things and reading about them and I just don't like them.
They sound so diversified and aggressive 90& stocks 10% bonds but what stocks are we talking about? If it is mostly safe, big US company stocks then are you really being aggressive? What if I said I had a portfolio of 70% large cap and 20% mid cap and 10% bonds would you even begin to think I was being an aggressive investor?
I think they give the people who buy them a false sense of security. I actually think alot of people, probably not on this board, think that if they invest in these funds they will have enough to retire on in 2040 or whenever. Put the money in and kaching without any other effort on your part you will have what you need.
I realize that I am still relatively new to handling my retirement investments and I even had a financial planner say I was too aggressive with too much in international funds (20%) I have a high risk tolerance because I have a fallback provision, a pension that pays 70% of my ending salary, so anything I make will be additional to that.
It bothers me though the way these 'lifecycle funds' are marketed. My personal experience is that if you let someone else manage it and don't get educated you lose.
END OF RANT
Well DS left for Dads and I am on my own for a WHOLE DAY! (I am being sacastic) Dad has to go pick up his stepson at the airport so DS is coming back Sunday morning. I have so much to get done before then. I haven't wrapped his presents, I need to fix the back door, get by the grocery cause we are out of food and do my laundry (cause DS will need to do his when he gets back)
It used to be my life revolved around him but as he has matured this year I find myself standing back and looking at him as the man he is becoming. I am pleased with him and except for some motivational issues (he is a little lazy) I think he will be a good adult. He has a strong moral character, strong faith, is thoughtful and has empathy for others. He can cook, do laundry, and handle his finances.
Perhaps this is normal, the standing back and letting him run his own life. Maybe it is getting me ready for the day he goes out on his own.
I wonder though what it will be like knowing he is not coming back after the weekend is over?
My DS wanted the computer upgraded for Christmas so it went to the shop yesterday. I am already going into internet withdrawl so I am surfing away during my breaks and lunch at work. I am still waiting for the dream list estimate to come in but together (DS savings and Christmas Gift money) we have about $400 for this. Wish me luck, we are hoping to get a new video card with video capture abilities and at least double the RAM we have now (512k).
Someone asked me at work why I didn't just get a new computer? My computer is now custom made and gets upgraded usually once every year or so, If I saved that money every year and bought a new one it wouldn't be any cheaper and this way I get exactly what I want. Last time it was a new hard drive and a DVD burner, this time more RAM and a better video card. Next year who knows what I will want it to do? I couldn't have predicted my DS's interest in making videos and burning them to DVD's.
I am just hoping we can get it all done within the budget. Christmas shopping is done so this is the last big expense for December.
I have always told my son that unless you want to do something forever never do it more than 3 times in a row, if you do it becomes TRADITION.
On the Sunday after Thankgiving we always decorate the Church and afterwards Barb serves everyone Ham & Beans. The other people bring stuff but Barb always makes the Ham & Beans it is TRADITION. Well this year Barb was going to Illinois for her daughter's wedding. They thought about moving it to a different date, they asked Barb to make them ahead anything to avoid breaking TRADITION. But Barb was going up early and staying to take care of her Grandson during the honeymoon there was no way she was going to make Ham and Beans this year. I knew Barb felt guilty SO..me being the rabble raiser I am said "There are other people who can make Ham & Beans" Guess who got to make them?
The package said serves 50 and there are usually around 15-20 people there so I thought that would be enough. Barb gave me her TRADITIONAL recipe and I cooked up a humongous pot of Ham & Beans and took them to the Church. Everyone was perfectly happy, everyone had seconds, I felt really good about it. Hopefully a new tradition was started, Barb is not the only person in the church who can make Ham & Beans.
And neither am I.
Okay I knew this was coming but DS kinda blindsided me with it yesterday. His choir is going to Chicago and the teacher wants $100 deposit by December 5th. Why December? Why are property taxes due in December? Don't all these people realize that December is NOT a good month to throw extras into the mix. I suppose I am really just whining because I have the property tax money sitting there in savings and the Christmas money sitting there waiting to be spent so all I really have to come up with is the $100 deposit ($50 if I can get ex to split it) but WHY DECEMBER! Arrrgh.
I enjoy everyone elses so I thought I'd give it a try. Don't quite know what to say yet but I am sure something will come eventually.
The Holiday season is just started and is already wearing me down. I need a good cover story for the busybodies at the office who keep asking me my plans. Somehow it is sad (to them) that I just plan on staying home, making Ham & Beans for the Hanging of the Greens at Church Sunday and probably bake a turkey cause they are real cheap right now and I love turkey sandwiches and homemade turkey noodles. I don't mind so much being alone for the holiday but the funny looks are starting to bug me.