Current mood: hopeful

It’s snowing!!!  White gold falling from the sky!  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  At least 2 inches, please…so we can $NOWPLOW!!!  More snow would be even better!!  Bring it on!!!

I’m Ok

I had to rant a little bit last night, just blowing off some of the head of steam I worked up last night doing the bills.  I went and took a long, hot bath and went back downstairs and just accepted the situation for what it is.  I cannot create a miracle.  So, instead of planning future bill paying by calculating in overtime that I can’t even be sure he’ll get, or snow I’m not sure we’ll see, or predicting how much I can expect from the TDR gig, I just said, “I’m going to figure this out with Hubby’s base pay and, it is what it is.”  I’ll make partial payments where I can, and first and foremost, I have to prioritize what gets paid.  House payment, groceries, gasoline, utilities.  The rest will get paid as I can pay it.

With that in mind, I started figuring out how I can slowly catch us up on things we’re behind on.  I made payment arrangements with the gas company, I will make 4 increment payments on the past due balance, and keep up with current balances.  That’s achievable.  I’m going to just pay the budgeted amounts for everything else, with some extra to pay down the balances that are past due.  By April or May, things should be pretty well caught up.  Not that I put it into the equation, but I know we’ll probably be getting a refund this year, especially since my business took a dive, and we didn’t do very much snowplowing in early 2006 or ANY snowplowing in late 2006.  😦  But anyway, we will pay some of the immediate important debts when that comes in.  We usually file early.  As soon as all the paperwork has been received.

And Hubby and I decided that we are not going anywhere major for vacation this year.  We’re going to go ahead and invest a couple hundred dollars of our tax refund in Paramount Parks season passes, which will get us into Kings Island, Cedar Point, Michigan Adventure and various other parks that are close enough to make day or camping trips to.  Honestly, that’s the most fun we have as a family, going to amusement parks and riding roller coasters.  It’s something we all enjoy.  We all love to camp, yet haven’t been camping since Lola was born.  Last year, when we went to Disney for the day, Lola enjoyed some things but was a little alarmed on her first ride.  I think things will be different this year, going to the kiddie lands at the amusement parks.  And the rest of us will greatly enjoy riding the “big kid” rides.  Plus that whole parents’ pass thing rocks…if you haven’t been to an amusement park with little kids lately, what you do is one person goes through the line and rides, and they get a “parents pass”, and after they get off the ride, they take the little ones, hand the “parents pass” to the other parent, and they get to go to the front of the line and take their turn riding.  It’s pretty cool.

But finances being what they are, I am still looking to make some money.  Optimally, I’d like to bring home at LEAST $500 a month, maybe $1000, working part time.  It’s achievable, if I can find the right scenario.  But I’m not going to assume anything or plan on it — just make my plan on Hubby’s base pay, and once I actually get a regular paycheck of some sort, then I can plan what to do with it as I go along.

I figured out how much we spent for Christmas this year.  I just went out and spent, and didn’t really think about it.  I thought we’d stayed in a pretty decent budget, but we didnt.  The number shocked us both.  I told Hubby that we should just tell our friends we are converting to Judaism and will not be celebrating Christmas in the future.  Just go on a long weekend vacation during Christmas and avoid the whole thing, if we’re going to blow that much money, we should be spending it on the betterment of our family.  LOL. 

It used to be that I kept such a watch on our incoming and outcoming money flow, that I would KNOW as we went along how much had been spent for Christmas, or anything else, for that matter.  But my emotional stuff had drained me to the point where I just didn’t really have the energy to do that.  I’ve been on this medication for almost 2 weeks now, and I’m telling you I’m looking back at myself and I can’t believe I was operating under the immense weight of all that mental shit.  Now, it’s like I have that old fire back in my heart.  I want to have a clean house and don’t mind doing something about it.  I want to look nice every day and am actually doing that.  I want to get my finances in order and feel willing to do what I need to do to make that happen.  I want to teach my baby everything, and now I’m doing that more and more.  I have energy to PLAY.  My hubby seems happier, Princess seems to enjoy her home being clean and pleasant to be in.  And Lola, I swear just in the last 2 weeks, I’ve taught her so many new words, and we’ve been cleaning up her toys, getting into a morning and evening routine, and her physical development has really sped up.  She can now put all the pieces in her wood puzzles without any difficulty at all.  She’s learning some of her letters. 

Even though I know that we are going to have to continue being frugal for a while, I know how much pleasure can be derived from simple things.  We used to have board game nights every week.  I think we’re going to start doing that again, and movie nights, etc.  And this summer, we have everything we need here to have a great time at home — a new patio and grill, nice comfy patio furniture, some play things for Lola in the yard, Princess has her pimped out clubhouse, our huge yard, our old but speedy jetskis, our firepit, etc.  We have a camp resort in our own backyard if we just use it.

And we have been toning down on eating out.  Of course, we have had no choice, we’ve had NO money to eat out with.  We have one credit card, and it’s maxed out, and our bank account was negative there for a while.  I was raiding Hubby’s new quarter collection to get milk.  It’s payday now, and I’m going to be much smarter this time around.  I have my budget.  I’ve made my menus for a month.  I’m alloting myself a certain amount per week for groceries.  I will make a grocery list each week with my menu in front of me, and get the things I need to feed us all for a week.  If money is left over, I’m setting it aside to save for a trip to the bulk store to get some of our most popular food items in bulk.  I’m planning meals that are cheaper to make, and Hubby’s lunches are packed each day.  Each week, I’m setting aside a “pizza” day where we can order pizza.  A local pizza place has this thing they call the school special – a large pizza with one topping, and an order of their special breadsticks – and the total with tax is $8.47.  And a dollar of that order goes to the school district.  As our finances improve, I will allot more $ per week for eating out, and we will have a choice, if we choose not to use our weekly eating out or pizza allowance, I’m putting it in what I have dubbed the “Benihana” jar…to save up until we have enough money to go to Benihana’s.  We all love Benihana soo much, and it will be a special occasion to go, and we’ll enjoy it that much more knowing we saved so we could really do it without guilt.

And, if I do end up making extra money, I can pay the debts down and make sure everyone has a little bit of spending money for themselves.  I figured it out — if I was making $1000 a month, after I get everything else paid off, and started applying all the money we’re paying towards the other debts to our 2nd mortgage, we could have it paid off in less than 2 years.  Then, we’d only have our regular mortgage.  Plus, before I even started making huge extra payments on the 2nd mortgage, I would be paying everything else off, including the loans we took from our life insurance and Hubby’s 401(k).  Hubby’s 401(k) loan payments are deducted from his check before we even see it.  After paying that off, Hubby’s paychecks will be much larger.  So things would ease up very much if we could get that handled.

I’m just thinking aloud, I hope you don’t mind!

One thing that has been helping me to cook at home and not order out or go out for fast food is the fact that I’ve been doing FlyLady again, and my kitchen is spotless at all times, so I have counterspace to do what I need to do.  My dishes and pots have stayed clean, and I clean as I go when I’m cooking.  Getting meat or other ingredients out to thaw is part of my bedtime routine now, so the food is ready to cook. 

I already have a full time job — running my family.  I’m running it like a business from now on.  I’m going to address things head on, just like I would do in an office job, and get things done the way I do in that scenario.  I’m going to put in a certain number of hours each day to administer the “family business”.  My efforts will pay off, and hopefully I can remedy what I’ve managed to cause over the last couple of years.

Enough.  I have stuff to do!  Thanks for listening to me babble.