Since I last posted in December!!! a few things have happened.
Most exciting, the adoption is finalized. Our sweet Z and his little brother X are forever safe with us! After 7+ years we are finally done with limboland! It was a great ceremony- the boys were so adorable in their little suits, and the whole courtroom cried happy tears!
I have set a retirement date of June 2021. I will be 60, and we should be in decent financial shape if we buckle down and stick with the plan unless something catastrophic happens between now and then. My SA blog focus will be changing to reflect the changes we make towards this goal.
My 3.5 year old fridge died about 5 weeks ago. I am shocked to learn that the life expectancy of newer fridges is 4-6 years and you are lucky if you get more than that.... WHAT???? Thankfully I had bought an extended warranty and will get a new fridge today, plus a refund for all the food that spoiled. I dont often buy extended warranties, but this one REALLY paid off. (Needless to say, I bought another extended warranty on this new fridge)
This is a travel year for us. We celebrated (pre adoption) in Disneyland for a week in early Feb, then we joined my son and his family in Aruba at the end of February for another week. In July we are going on an Alaska cruise with friends...and I am visiting my cousin in NY in October. Our vacation budget will be fully depleted but plans just worked out for all of this to happen this year! Next year will be very low key to get the vacation fund rebuilt. Our thought is travel while we are healthy and working...rather than wait and possibly not be able to.
Thats the big stuff...
Since I last posted in December!!! a few things have happened.
Update! I am still in disbelief, but the funds were all returned to my DS and DIL this afternoon and have been submitted to the title co. The house will close on Christmas Eve. I have no words for how relieved I am. Thank you for all the kind words of encouragement!!
My DS and DIL fell victims to a horrible scam this week. They were closing on a house purchase and received an email with the wire instructions... the email was spoofed to look legitimate and just like that, the kids are at high risk of losing $35k.
I say at risk of, because thankfully (if there is a thankfully in this situation) DIL sent the receipt of the wire to the legit email at the title company and they called her right away. The receiving bank, Wells Fargo, was notified and they are investigating. Unfortunately, they can't (won't) tell us anything. So the kids are in a very sickening limbo as the closing time on their house ticks closer to the deadline.
I knew this type if scam happened, I just had no idea how organized it was and how prevalent it has become.
It is a billion dollar industry that has grown 2200% over the last 2-3 years. This makes me sick. Why isn't more done to protect innocent people????? The title company told them to expect an email with instructions. WTH- if this happens so much, WHY IS THIS STILL A PROCESS??? I guarantee if the title companies were liable for that money, something would be done.
My DS and DIL worked diligently the past 4 years to rebuild their credit and save this down payment. They looked for the right house for almost a year. And two days before closing, their hard work and dreams may likely vanish.
UGH. If you or anyone you know is buying a house, PLEASE make sure you are aware of this scam and how it works. It is VERY organized - the timing of the emails, the spoofing of the emails, everything makes an unsuspecting purchaser believe it is legit. Don't fall victim - it is a gut-wrenching experience.
Hoping, praying and keeping my fingers crossed this was caught in time... Even if the kids don't get this house, if they can just get their money back and be financially whole again, this momma will be so thankful.
As I get closer to retirement, my focus on health and health insurance is increasing. Thankfully, I don't have any serious health issues (knock on wood). I am running the gamut of tests this year to make sure everything is in good working order. I did get diagnosed with pre-diabetes a couple of months ago. Actually I was borderline diabetes, but the doctor gave me three months to try to change things. At two months in, I have learned so much about nutrition, sugars, carbs, fiber and protein. I check my blood several times a day, work with a nutritionist, move a lot more during the day, and am seeing good progress. I have lost over 20 lbs and my levels have dropped to 'low pre-diabetes' and continue to drop. I really hope this last month will get me where I need to be. I DO NOT want diabetes, especially when it is still in my control not to get it.
Things are going really well at work and it looks like I will finish out the last two years of my five year retirement plan here. That is a good thing, as we still have checkmarks to get on debt, savings, etc. and having that second paycheck will certainly help. I also anticipate a significant raise at the first of the year, which will help even more. Now if the stock market would be kinder...
We are really close to adoption. Everything is done, we are just waiting for the ceremony to be scheduled. DD1 still has the boys' older sister. Bio family has made no attempt to contact her- so after the 6 month mark is up, they will reconsider her permanency (guardianship or adoption). DD1 also still has the other two girls, sisters who went into the system just a couple of weeks after the boys sister did. All 5 of these kids are amazing little people and are as much family as the rest of us. We are so blessed!
We are planning a family trip in December - if you can believe it, it was DH's idea! We started planning and saving a year ago for this trip. It is scheduled for the first week in December and we have rented a huge home in a resort about 4 hours away. All of my kids and grandkids will be under one roof for 5 days! So excited. We havent done a trip like this with all the kids and grandkids since the year after my dad died...so 10 years ago.
When we started planning, we thought there would be 18 of us...we rented the largest house available on the rental site...which was 8 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms. We are going to do Christmas movies, hot cocoa, make Christmas decorations, get a tree from the woods, and just do all the fun Christmassy things we can think of!
Well, since then, DD1 has taken in 3 foster girls. Bringing our total to 21 - (12 kids ranging in age from 3 - 14!). (DD2 would love to bring her boyfriend and his 2 kiddos, but the rental is restricted on how many we can have- and sadly we are at the max already).
One of the ideas DH had was to get all the kids matching or coordinating jammies. So, two days ago Kohls posted an ad for Christmas jammies bogo- 1/2 off. Sweet....so I ran down and bought twelve pair. Of course, the next day, Kohls put those same jammies on sale for 50% off and was also giving Kohls cash... I took the receipt in and they credited me $105 and gave me $40 in kohls cash- bringing the total for each set at about $13.50. SCORE!! I am thrilled to save the extra $$- which with 21 people can easily help with the food budget.
So, I still have plenty of planning to do, but get a nice checkmark on the jammie box!
And, came in well under budget for that line item! Ho-Ho-Ho!
I love planning stuff like this so the next few months will keep me busy putting all the special touches on the plans. I am hoping by the time we go the boys adoption will be final and we can celebrate while we are there. One of the girls that DD1 has is the boys older sister- so, they will all be together for this trip- which will make it extra special for them and us!
This summer, like many previous summers, has been very smoky in So Oregon. This weekend has been really bad. In addition to thousands of acres of forest burning, hundreds of firefighters are risking their lives to battle the blazes.
I am so tired of choking every summer. I love living here, but this smoke is wreaking havoc on my asthmatic lungs. I told the hub I am ready to start summering somewhere else...I am sure by early fall, this will become another distant memory, but today, it is really depressing- both physically and mentally, just looking out the window at the yellow hazed sky...
The hub is working long shifts this summer, an unusual schedule for sure- as normally, summers are slow months for his job. But they are short on mechanics, so he is working similar to a winter rotation- 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off. It is helping to speed up debt payments and savings goals- but it also means very minimal camping and summer fun time. He doesn't seem to mind the extra hours- so I shouldn't complain. I just hate that we dont get to camp as much as usual...then again- with all the smoke, it would be difficult to find somewhere clear skied to go to.
I am on month 2 of no satellite tv. I cancelled the $165 a month service and am just using netflix, hulu and amazon prime. It is saving a boatload, and I am wondering why I waited so long cut the cord! I watch way less tv now- and don't really miss it. DD1, DIL and I are sharing subscriptions- so the cost is minimal. I did bump our data plan up a little to cover the streaming- but this is def cheaper and more disciplined than having 24/7 access. I find myself reading more, which is great.
I made a quick trip to Costco today and got a few things that will last all week for lunch and dinner. Much cheaper than eating out or grabbing something to go on the way home!
So much has happened since I last blogged. Where has the time gone! Even though I havent been active here, I have tried to check in on others' blogs.
Well,right after I gave notice at work (literally within seconds) I was told that my job was changing and things in our department were changing...and after hearing about this, I reversed my decision to leave. :0 Meaning, I am still at my job. I still plan to transition to my son's business...I am just not sure what the (new) timeline is now.
So far, with the changes at work I am much happier so I am taking it day by day. Having options gives me a wonderful feeling of freedom though.
My son still needs his procedures developed, so I will be doing that for him on nights and weekends.
DD2's adoption of the boys is plugging along. The process is still on track to finalize by year end. Everyone is eagerly waiting for this final chapter to be done with.
But a major turn of events is that DD1 now is fostering the boys sister (age 9) She had been living with dad's family, but it wasn't working out and they needed a place to move her to, so DD1 stepped up. Of course, we are already like family to her - we have known her since she was 2.
Other than this, things are just moving ahead. DH is still working lots of hours up north and we are still saving for retirement.
I am planning to join my son's business in 5 months and this makes me really excited and beyond nervous all at the same time.
With the exception of a 2 year break (2005-2007), I have been at my current job since 1994. Leaving the security I know here, is a little unnerving.
I will be working part time for my son. His business is growing fast, and he needs someone to help formalize policies, guidelines, and procedures- and to help drive company culture. These are things I enjoy doing- so the day to day work I am looking forward to. I also will enjoy working independently from my home. No more commute each day! No more driving to work on icy roads in the winter!
The downside are things like insurance, my 401k match, and my current salary... these are BIG DEALs.
I will be able to be on the hubs insurance, and can also join my son's company insurance plan- which is just a catastrophic type plan. My 401k will continue to grow organically...and my son will add me as a business partner and 'buy me out' as part of my retirement plan with him (which will amount to more than I would achieve with the current 401k match). My current salary is really nice, but if I am not enjoying the job, is it worth it? I am at a point I say no, it is not.
I am going to ask my son for an insurance stipend each month, to cover the cost of being on the hubs insurance.
What else am I missing?
So the next few months will be spent cleaning out files at work for the next person..and creating an office space at home. And wrapping my mind around letting go of the current comfort zone...while preparing for the future.
All the boxes have been checked, except the court saying it is so. It should be any time! DD2 asked if I would co-sign for a mini van. Her current car just fits everyone with no room for friends or others. I think that co-signing is a small thing to do for a daughter who has been so big hearted to the boys.
X's dad got out of prison and has been spending time with him. X gets so excited to see his daddy. The hard part is that Z sees the interaction and wishes his daddy was around too- but Zs dad just doesn't have the drive or capacity to get clean and to be a part of his life, and so we all do our best to help fill in the gap.
The hub has been working a lot of overtime this season. We have used the extra money to build the emergency fund, build a cushion for the months when he only gets 1-2 paychecks, and to pay down debt. I feel like we are well positioned for 2018 now. And he still has at least 4-6 more work weeks of busy season.
My son is still nudging me to come work for him. We have set a tentative date of August. I am ready to change career paths and to go part time, I just need to make sure insurance will work for me (either get on his or be added to the hubs). Working for my son would mean working from home. I love the idea of not having to drive to work every day. I live about 25 minutes outside of town and the idea of not having to make the drive sounds wonderful. I am not super social at work, although I do enjoy interacting with others. Generally when I work, I like to focus. I am sure being alone so much will be a change for me, but I also am confident I can handle it.
My son's business is about 5 hours away, and I would need to travel there at least every month or so for a day or two. Of course, that means seeing my grandbabies, so I am a-ok with that!
I am enjoying watching our 401k's growth, but it also makes me nervous given historical trends showing what goes (quickly) up, eventually comes down (corrects). Is anyone else nervous, or am I just being paranoid?
The hub worked 28 hours straight yesterday. One of the mechanics who tag-teams with him fell last week and broke his hip, so they are short staffed. 28 hours is crazy- and it's schedules like this that create an environment for accidents.. The hub wants the hours, but not to this degree. The hub also will work 6 weeks this hitch, rather than 5. Not only will he make significantly more with this schedule, but having just me here, our budget drops as well for the month. The extra will go to debt and savings. With our 401k growth, my son paying me back this year and the hubs extra earnings, we are likely to hit my BHAG a good 18 months early- which means work for me becomes optional that much sooner.
Z and my youngest granddaughter (9) are spending the night tonight. GD also invited her bestie to join us. Should be a fun night. X (age 2) really wants to come too, but he is sick and I do not want what he has...so he'll have to come next time.
With everything going on today, it may be tomorrow before I tackle the freezer inventory.
Last night the hub went back to work for a 5 week rotation. I have been reading others' blogs about using up the pantry, freezer and fridge and think this may work for me too! I am certainly going to spend some time Saturday morning figuring out how I could make it work for me. I am not even sure what lives in the burrows of our freezer right now..but no time like the present to find out!
We had to put one of our dogs down on Monday. He was old, and had multiple medical issues. But the clincher was when he swallowed an adult sized athletic sock on Sunday. We were dumbfounded when he did it- and it took a few minutes for it to sink in enough to realize that it was a really bad thing for his frail body and digestive system. He had never done anything like that before. After, I read online that dogs eating socks is not uncommon- but it was certainly not something we expected. The vet confirmed that it was not going to end well for him. So given his age and condition, the hub made the tough decision. RIP sweet Bear.
This month should be a fairly frugal one. The hub arrived home last night, but because of the winter schedule, he will only be here for 5 days and then will head back up to work. Having to spend for only me for the majority of the month seems to put much less stress on the budget. And I am in a frugal state of mind lately.
I suppose one of the reasons I am thinking more frugally of late is that I am nearing the tipping point to being able to retire. Moving from having to work, to working if I want. I am about 6 months out.. At 57, I am not sure I am ready for full time retirement, but I am certainly ready for part time...however, it will depend on some of the changes happening at work. If things go really well, I will want to stay working at least for another year. If not, then I will shift gears and figure out the plan B. It is a wonderful feeling to have options tho!!
DD2 received the reports on the boys from the state yesterday. This is the report created after our trip to the state office for CPS last month. The report discussed the boys history, primarily Z's and it was a stark reminder of why we have fought so hard to keep him safe now that he is back with us. Reading his story makes my heart ache. Suffice it to say that he was in a bad, dark place for his first 4 months of life and again when he was returned to BM for that year and a half. We new most of the story, but there were other things we didnt know that help explain some of his PTSD.
The good news is that the report strongly recommended giving the boys permanency with DD2 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. And now adoption is in full swing. They are projecting 3 months!!! I can not tell you how excited we are to be here, finally.