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I asked....and guess what?

September 4th, 2014 at 05:48 pm

I decided to try to negotiate my new salary and was pleasantly surprised when they accepted my request! I asked for $5k more per year. NOW I can say I am super happy with the change. They agreed to keep me in the department I asked for too. Now I am eager to return to work again and focus on the new responsibilities without having to manage a department or people!

The hub and I spent the day looking at woodstoves and kitchen layouts and pricing. It will be tough to stay within budget with so many options- but we will take it slow and make our decisions carefully. It is way too easy to get caught up in the wants rather than staying focused on the needs. Maintaining balance between the two will be key.

We are meeting with the contractor tomorrow afternoon, I am REALLY hoping that his schedule and what we need done will equate to being in the home by Thanksgiving. Now that the ball is rolling, I am motivated to get er done!!


Boomeyers and Buh-bye scary room

September 3rd, 2014 at 09:48 am

Many of you may remember Boomeyers, a fellow blogger, from way back. She and I have been cyber-friends since we started blogging on here and have always talked about visiting one or the other. Well, next month, she is coming to Oregon to visit! I am so excited. I have been lucky to meet several bloggers through the years...from California to New York- and have always felt an immediate sister-hood and friendship. I hope to meet many more of you someday!!

The Scary Room:
I am ashamed to admit that we have a room in the big house that would make the cut for the Hoarders show. We have appropriately called it the 'scary room' for years. The room is actually a one car garage that was converted to a room. Stuff ends up there either as storage, indecisiveness, or just because. It has been the scary room during my son's renting days, my daughters renting days, and now DD3 and her friends renting days.

Two days ago, WE WENT IN....
A few minutes later we WE CAME BACK OUT after we found black widows.

We set off bug bombs and yesterday, we went back in and got about 50% done. 80% went into the 'dump' trailer. The other 20% is either going to goodwill, salvage yard, or back to the owners to deal with. All in all, there was about 2% that was the hubs or mine that will be kept. Mine is my moms depression glass that has been boxed up and a few keepsake toys for the grandkids.

We will finish the scary room today. Then we will move into the storage room that currently has my stuff from the city house...but has also accumulated stuff from DD3 and her friend who are currently renting the big house. It all needs to be organized so that the room can be easier accessed.

After we are done with these two rooms, we are ready to bring in the contractor to get a bid on the work we need/want done.

One thing I have definitely learned over the years is that STUFF is expensive. It costs to acquire, it costs to store, and it will cost to dispose of. How much easier life would be this week without all this STUFF.

Hopefully- Goodwill will benefit from what we can donate and the rest, well an expensive lesson in less is more.


More on my work changes and upcoming remodel!

September 2nd, 2014 at 05:41 pm

I am humbled by the well wishes from everyone regarding my post yesterday. I mentioned changes at work- which is something I have pondered for several months actually, but didn't think Id really do it.

Looking back, opportunities and more responsibility just kept coming at work-and it was flattering to be trusted to take on more and more, my department grew-which meant more people to supervise, but my core job duties still had to get done- only they were multiplied because of our company's growth. Sometime during the past several months, I realized that I wasn't happy. My job became the only thing I had energy to focus on- work crept into lunches then evenings and the past several months, many weekends...dread began to fill my Sunday evenings. At 53 years old, with a family I adore, my focus just seemed backwards. I loved having money to splurge on my family, but money does not replace time to spend with them or energy to enjoy it when I do.

So- I will move into something different in the next few weeks after I get back from vacation. I am very grateful that my job is creating a new position to fit my strengths and my new responsibilities will include things I enjoy doing. I am truly blessed that they are making this such and easy thing emotionally to do. Financially, ouch. My cut will be about $14 an hour...but I will still make what I consider a decent salary and will retain my seniority and vacation time (5 weeks a year)- which is SO important to me. And most important, the workload and management expectations will be reduced.

The weird thing for me is that I have always been climbing...working my way up. Taking a step back is foreign to me, and not something many at my job do- so it will be foreign to others too.

So- what do you do with the budget in order to do this? Thankfully, we don't live paycheck to paycheck. And thankfully, we have paid everything off except our house and the 5th wheel we bought to travel in when we retire.

I wont splurge as much, will reduce the budgets for Christmas, birthdays, vacations, etc. And we will have to be more conscientious about things we do to the big house. We wont cut our 401k contributions and will continue to save what we can for rainy days.

And we will hopefully start to see the benefits of the change in our grocery bill when we don't eat out so much! And then there are the bullets I will dodge in doctor bills by being less stressed.

I haven't updated on little Z (foster child) in a while- his world is so different these days. He is still with his mom and they are living in a homeless mission - although they have to leave there tomorrow-and she has no plan of where to go. She has a new boyfriend that she met in rehab and he has been out of jail for a few weeks now- just long enough that they are pregnant. This will be the 3rd child for each of them (not together-so 6 total) and they do not have custody or support any of them- besides Z- and the state supports Z. Thankfully, she needs lots of breaks and lets us have Z often. It is heartbreaking- I want so badly for her to figure out life but she continues to make really bad decisions.
Frown

On a happier note- I am enjoying a staycation this week. We are working on the big house and are getting things cleaned up to start some much needed remodel. THe work will start in October and hopefully will be done enough so that I can move in by Thanksgiving.







Tough few months- But light at the end of the tunnel finally

September 1st, 2014 at 09:09 pm

This has been a tough year with work. Lots of reasons why, but the end result is that I have decided to step down from my position and take a lower paying job where I work. It is a HUGE cut in pay, but I am ready to let go of the stress and accept a job that I can hopefully work until retirement in. I wont have to manage anyone, and I wont be responsible for multiple areas within a department. I am not sure what the new job will entail, but I do know that I will make at least $20k per year less. (ouch). But it is the right thing to do. I am ready to downsize stress. Beyond ready.

So, I am taking a week off- recalculating the budget and preparing things to transition into pre-retirement mode.

In all honesty, I am giddy with relief...while simultaneously worrying about the budget. It works on paper, but....OMG.



New treadmill and the truck vs the elk

July 27th, 2014 at 09:35 am

My son called to tell us that his in-laws are selling their treadmill for $60. They are moving into a smaller home and wont have room for it. I am not sure about the size of their new home, but I have a whopping 390 sq ft. However, I know this is a nice treadmill in good condition AND I am going to Hawaii in 10 months. What to do, what to do? My solution, out with the dining table and chairs, scrunch things up a little more, and in with the treadmill. Big Grin The hub is on his way to pick it up now.

We are getting to have little Z quite a bit- as in several times each week- mom gets overwhelmed and needs breaks - much to our joy!! Z has FINALLY been assigned a CASA worker- thankfully a seasoned one who understands the needs of the child and the pitfalls in the system. He is concerned about some of the decisions that have been made and is concerned about his moms ability to raise him and has requested evalutions. I sure hope Z isn't shipped back out of state to his grandma- he has been moved so many times. We are taking each opportunity to see him and enjoying every moment. He went with us yesterday to the local caves. Unfortunately, he wasn't tall enough to go on the tour, so I spent the afternoon with him while everyone else took the tour. I took Z for an ice cream, we went 'exploring', took lots of pictures and had a great time. He was none the wiser that he had missed out on any fun. And I loved every second!

My sons business is doing great this summer and he is slowly starting to pay us back- not much, but what they can- and it is nice to see the flow of funds reversing. I am so proud of him for working so hard to make his dream successful.

We were supposed to be camping this weekend. Unfortunately, on the way home from picking her dad up from the airport, DD3 and the hub hit an elk. Thankfully, they weren't hurt- the elk and the truck not so lucky. The truck is in the shop. Damage was about $2600- my surprise was that our deductible was only $60. Umm...I guess that's good this time, but I will certainly be raising that - as I am sure our premiums are reflective of such a small deductible. wow.

My oldest grandson, 10, spent the night with us last night- he is curious about ancestry- so we have spent the morning talking about our relatives. He was surprised to see a picture of my paternal grandfather and to realize his great grandfather was full-blooded Cherokee, which means GS is part Cherokee too! Fun times









One year in the little house!

May 31st, 2014 at 09:50 pm

Today was a productive, busy day.

DD1 asked if I could watch her kiddos (and 'grandpa')this morning while she did photography at a wedding. DD1 lives in my house in town- with the kitchen I love...so I happily agreed. I took advantage of the time there to make a big batch of ronza's. My parents used to make these years ago, and I LOVE them. I just don't have the kitchen to make them here in the little house. The kiddos were great..as was grandpa. I spent about $21 for the supplies to make a batch of 36. Ronzas are little bread pockets filled with seasoned meat, onion and I use sauerkraut, but many recipes call for cabbage. We eat these hot with mustard...yum.

Then, I had to go by work and get some work done on a project that is due tomorrow afternoon. I didn't finish, so I will have to work again tomorrow. I am really thankful that vacation starts next weekend. These deadlines are wearing me out.

Tomorrow, I will get up early and head off to work- hopefully finish by noon and then get groceries and head home to clean and do laundry. I am exempt, so I don't get overtime, but I also wont have to take time out of my PTO for last Tuesday when I was sick, since I have made the 8 hours back up this week with all this overtime.

I have now been in the little house for a full year. In some ways that's hard to believe, in others it feels much longer. I am still up in the air about what to do. When a decision impacts others, it is harder to make. I guess indecision is, in a way, in a decision in itself.

WE DID IT! CC DEBT FREE!!!!

May 30th, 2014 at 07:24 pm

Todays balance is ZERO!!!!!

Years in the making- a lifetime of bad decisions, over indulgences, 1 step forward 2-3 steps back...

But today, 5-30-14...we are officially credit card debt FREE.



We have paid off 401k loans, car and truck loans, and now this.

We still owe two mortgages and have a loan for our 5th wheel...but that's it!!!

WOOOT.

I actually worked 12 hours today and didn't really get a chance to happy dance until now- but what better place to do so than here with my frugal friends!

One more week!

May 23rd, 2014 at 08:18 pm

Anyone else excited about a three day weekend? I sure am!

If all goes as planned...in ONE WEEK, I will get to post that we are CC debt free! We have stayed uber focused since the first of the year on paying off the last of a massive debt that we'd accumulated over many years. About 2.5 years ago, we got really serious about facing the numbers and paying things off. We had several credit cards, 401k loans, and a car payment. We have paid off the 401k, car and all but the largest cc by the first of this year. We started the year with a $25,000 balance and we are down to $2499. To say I am excited is a real understatement. It is an incredible feeling when you think something is insurmountable...but then conquer it after lots of hard work!

This weekend my son turns 30. I will get to see all the kids and grandkids on Sunday- we haven't all been together since Christmas, so I am looking forward to it! The kids are all going camping. I am opting just to visit the campground for a day- which will be just perfect for gramma!

And in two weeks, I have a week off! Ive had a day or two here and there this year, but not a full week since last November, so I am really ready for the time off. Vacation plans are working on the country house and then heading over to the coast for 4 days with the 5th wheel.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Life is good!


Low key weekend and Hawaii in my future!!

May 18th, 2014 at 06:54 pm

This weekend was a NICE low key weekend, mostly spent at home catching up. Laundry, cleaning, reading, budget, and planning. I did go to town yesterday for a little while to go to the library and then stop for lunch $8.25. That is my only expense this weekend.

I got a couple of books on disc for the commute to and from work and checked out a few books. I sure love the library.

I got my laundry caught up- and hung most of it on the line to dry. My last load is still drying in a cool breeze tonight. I am not sure if it will dry before dark or not. But I am giving it my best shot.

We (the hub and I and a couple of friends) have decided to plan a trip to Oahu next May. we have all always wanted to go to Hawaii- and we decided planning a year in advance would give us time to save, look for deals and prepare. Since the hub flies so often, we can probably pay for our flight in miles. We are taking small camping vacations this year, so a nice 'big' vacation next year will be something to really look forward to. We chose Oahu because everyone wants to see Pearl Harbor. Im pretty excited!

I made a nice big pot of soup for this week using some leftover chicken that I bbq'd a few nights ago. I have enough soup to make 3-4 meals.

DD3s friend stopped by to pay her rent and mentioned that she is looking for a new place to live. I am sad to see her having to find something for her and her two little ones on her budget; the neighborhoods that she is considering are known for having a higher crime rate- I sure hope she keeps looking until she finds something safer. But I know rent is expensive, especially for a single mom. She is looking for subsidized options or low income housing, but there are many people on the wait lists.

The week ahead is busy one, so I am glad there was down time this weekend!

My author info disappeared!

May 14th, 2014 at 09:15 pm

I am not sure what I did, but I tried to update my sidebar, and the Author info disappeared, and now I cant get it to save my update.

Hmm.

If I could update it...I would add that we are now at $4999 on that last cc. We have paid $19,000 so far this year!! WOW. We will have the last of this drasted debt paid in full by July!!

We took our 5th wheel out on our first camping trip this past weekend. We stayed at a beautiful campground about an hour from home- it is my happy place, right on the river surrounded by tall pines. There were only a couple of other campers in the campsite, none anywhere near us. It was so fun to have the place basically to ourselves. And at $20 a night it was really inexpensive.

The hub headed back to Alaska today. He will be home in three weeks.

After much debate, we decided that we will fix the country house and live out here. DD3 will move into the little house and her friend will be looking for a different place to live. Looking Forward made a suggestion that we hadn't thought of, which was to have the friend live in the little house, but with baby #2 coming, she didn't want to...so that sealed the decision, and she is going to move back home with her parents. DD3 is actually excited about simple living in the little house. She thinks it will be perfect. And I am REALLY ready to have a normal size bath room, a spacious kitchen and my washer and dryer in the same house where I live.

Now that the decision is made, I am eager to get started on the repairs!

10 months in the little house!

April 25th, 2014 at 08:13 pm

I LOVE bbq'd food. Steak, chicken, corn, potatoes, asparagus..if it cooks on a grill, I generally enjoy it- but I usually only get bbq when the hub is home from Alaska- because I never learned to bbq myself.

I am learning how to bbq in the hubs absence- and Im pleasantly surprised to realize I CAN DO THIS.

I grilled chicken last week, and steak and potatoes tonight. So far, REALLY GOOD. I miss having my big kitchen- so this is a nice treat. And its not all that hard- just knowing when the coals are ready and how long to wait before turning the meat and when to take it off the grill.

Speaking of missing my kitchen, it is hard to believe that I have been in the little house (390 sq ft) for almost a year. WOW. Funny thing is, I have almost forgotten what is in all the storage boxes- all the 'stuff' that wouldn't fit in this space- stuff that I once thought I really needed, but have learned, I don't- that I can do well with just 6-7 options for work clothes and 3-4 options for non-work clothes. I am able to do laundry once a week, generally in 2 loads, unless I am doing all the bedding. A few pots, pans, cups, plates.

I don't shop much these days. There is literally NO WHERE to put any new purchases. I am constantly weeding more out- so bringing anything new in is just counter-productive.

But after a year, I am struggling with whether to stay in the little house or find a bigger option. Warmer weather is coming, which means outdoor space to augment the small living space is soon an option. But as I mentioned earlier in this post, I miss having a spacious kitchen. And I am tired of fighting the handicapped bar for space in the shower every morning. (the handicapped bar was installed by the factory that made this little house, so removing it isn't an easy option.)

So, what options do I have.

Well, the house in town is still occupied by DD1 and her family, who are very happy there. They pay rent that covers most of the house payment and hope to eventually buy it.

The house in the country is occupied by DD3 and her friend. The friend just found out that she is expecting. They love living out in the country, and enjoy the reduced rent. (Rent is reduced because the house needs a few repairs, and they take care of the hubs dogs)

Which leaves me either displacing one of the content kids, staying in the small house or renting a bigger place. I look at options daily and have yet to find anything that is bigger, in a good location, for a reasonable price.

What to do, what to do.





GUESS WHAT? Lil Z is coming back!!!!

April 4th, 2014 at 04:53 pm

We learned today that lil Z is coming back to Oregon! The state is going to try placing him with bio parents- splitting the time with each about 50% of the time.

Mom is in a secured rehab program and dad has passed all recent drug tests, so the state wants to try the placement. It is shaky at best, but it does mean that lil Z will be here locally and that (hopefully) we can have visits with him! He left in November, so its been almost 5 months. I am cautiously optimistic that this will end up being at least semi-permanent for him. (He will be in the area for 18 months while mom is in the secure rehab.)

He arrives in 5 days and dad has stated he is open to letting us see/spend time with Z during his 50%. Not sure if mom will be or not yet. In any case, Gramma is offering free babysitting anytime I can!!!


Another Tax day surprise- and not a good one.

April 4th, 2014 at 04:43 pm

Last year we got hit fairly hard with state taxes and paid a hefty amount, plus paid quarterly taxes all year. Unfortuately, it wasnt quite enough and we are sending an extra $3k for last year and an extra $700 on top of the $1600 we were paying for quarterly taxes (now- $2300 quarterly).

Sadly, this hits before I rebuilt the emergency fund so our only option is the CC- which brings the balance to just over $14k and sets our payoff date back several months.

HUGE SIGH.

The aheader we go...the behinder we get.

Time to head back to the budget and see what I can shave and determine a new payoff date.

Balance under $10k

March 17th, 2014 at 04:18 pm

I paid $1501 today to get the balance on that final CC debt to $9999. We have paid $14,001 since the beginning of the year! I am so excited to have this bill PIF!

This past month has been a busy one, so not much time to blog- but we are making progress. The hub comes back on Friday- He received a 5% raise this year, so that definately helps- especially since they have limited the amount of overtime the employees are getting this year.

More later..just wanted to document the milestone! Yippee!