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.

CG

Just under the wire

Current mood: nerdy

Well, it’s 2:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, and we are to be at my mother-in-law’s house at 6 p.m.  I just finished the photo collages for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  They actually look pretty cute.  I hope they like them and like my choice of pictures.  If not, they are free to redo it however they like.  Knowing them, they may just redo it.  What eva!!!

I have been slow cooking 3 boneless turkey breasts in my lemon peppery goodness concoction.  I was impressed, this particular specialty of mine was specifically requested to be part of the Christmas dinner menu by a couple of different people. 

Princess is over at her mom’s.  Her mom requested that she be there “to open presents on Christmas morning”.  That was the reason she wanted her to be there.  Guess when they opened presents?  Yesterday afternoon.  She had no need of her being there this morning.  So our girl woke up on Christmas day and actually had no presents to open.  She just did it to mess things up for us.  She will not be getting another Christmas morning from us, not for a very long time.  And our girl is sick, so she is ready to go home.  We will be picking her up around 5 p.m.  The Ex-Wife will not be seeing her the rest of the break.  I’m going to keep that girl so busy and having fun that it won’t even be an issue. 

Lola has had a good Christmas.  She definitely figured out the ripping paper of the box part of the presents.  She has played and played with her toys and her interactive games.  We gave her the Little Leaps system today, and I was amazed, she followed the directions from the very beginning of the first game.  She’s a smarty!

I have been listening to my Weird Al CD, and there are some really funny things on it.  I love him!!! 

Lola is cranky right now.  She definitely needs a nice nap before we go to Grandma’s house.  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if I could squeeze one in myself.  But I need to shower and make an attempt to look pretty because Hubby will be snapping photos.  And like I have said previously, I don’t often take good photos, but if I don’t wear makeup or fix my hair, I know I won’t.  No one wants to see my acne scars and red spots blazing brighter than the Christmas lights.  Nor would they want to see my cowlicks in all their glory.

I must go.  Everyone have a nice evening.

CG

Currently listening :
Straight Outta Lynwood
By Weird Al Yankovic
Release date: By 26 September, 2006

Pre-Christmas Christmas

This morning, we had our family Christmas morning.  This year, Princess had to go to the Ex-Wife’s house for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning.  It was really fun!  This is the first year ever that I have really been excited about something I got to the point of feeling like a kid again.  I got Trivial Pursuit – 80’s Edition and Name That Tune – 80’s Edition.  I also got Valmont (starring the yummy Colin Firth), Bridget Jones’ Diary, and Godfather I to go with II and III that I already have.  I’m glad because Godfather I is truly the best one anyway.  I got Straight Outta Lynwood, Weird Al’s newest CD.  I also got a lot of good smelly stuff and some really cute decorative hair ornaments (hair stix).  I also got one of those plug N play joysticks with ms. pac man, galaga, pole position, xevious, and mappy games!  YAY!

The kids of course, made out like wee banditos.  Lola got a laptop!  It’s a VTech laptop, really meant for 5 years of age or older, but it looks JUST like our laptops and she is fascinated with our computers.  I am hoping this will deflect her attention to our expensive and sensitive machines.  I’d rather her abuse a $50 kids’ laptop than our $800+ models, wouldn’t you?  Plus, worst case scenario, she LEARNS stuff!  If she breaks it, we have a 1 year warranty.  She got some Elmo stuff, some Wiggles stuff, a bunch of Baby Einstein books and stuff as well.  She still has a couple of gifts to open tomorrow morning.  Puzzles, dress up stuff, and the biggest gift is a Little Leaps learning system, which is made especially for little ones her age.  Hooks up to the TV.  Lola opened her present from Tiffany, which was 5 pairs of the softest PJ’s ever, and a Little Leaps game!  🙂 thanks Tiffany!

Princess got her iPod Nano and accessories (that was $200 right there), $25 iTunes gift card, $15 Bath & Body Works card, $30 Visa Gift Card, $25 Build-A-Bear Bucks, Pirates of the Caribbean II game for Nintendo DS, jewelry, hair stix, temporary hair color, good smelly bath stuff, Pirateology and Fairyopolis books, a $20 gift card to borders, a certificate for $50 off her laptop loan.  She also opened her present from Tiffany, which was $15 iTunes, $25 gift card to Hot Topic, and Pirates of the Caribbean II DVD.  Thanks Tiffany!

Also, Tiffany sent me and Hubby a package, which had a decorative tree with photo frame ornaments (I LOVE IT!), and a rose-scented Yankee Candle.  Someone knows their Aunt CG really well!!!

Hubby did ok too – he got an angle die grinder (i bought it but i don’t know what it does), a fancy kind of razor knife, a waist holster for his DeWalt drills (call him quick-draw mcgraw LOL), cologne and matching shower gel, a new wallet, and some other things I can’t remember! 

We all got tons of candy, and the above doesn’t count all the little gifts I did for my family for the 12 days of Christmas tradition I am starting.  They all got a special ornament from Mommy also. 

We decided our Memory Box tradition is going to be on New Years Day, because it is about what we liked about the year just passed, and we are going to use it as a springboard to discuss our plans for the next year. 

We didn’t start our “love notes” tradition I had intended on doing, simply because I ran out of time.  I am going to set it up so it is ready for next year.  What I’m going to do is make little cards that have a prearranged question on it.  So maybe next year it will be “What was the nicest thing (family member’s name) did for you this year?” or “What is your favorite thing about (family member’s name)?” and then we’ll fill them out for each other, and put them in the tree to look at and read.  Then, they can go in the memory box. I think that will be special.

This coming week, I am planning on taking Princess to work for a food bank or homeless shelter.  I think it will be good for us both to help others. 

Princess’s hair looked awesome this morning when she got up.  I cut it and styled it yesterday and today it still looks gorgeous.  Hubby said that when he got to Ex-Wife’s house she said, “Princess your hair looks great!  I was going to do that for you!” and Princess said, “That’s ok, you don’t need to because CG already did it for me.”  Ha!  There’s a reason for that — earlier today she called and was really rude, apparently they are going to take some photos of the family today and she said, “Could you make sure that Princess actually wears something nice today?”  Like Princess is Cinderella in rags or something.  What she meant was “dressy” not “casual” but she’s always acting like Princess looks bad and she does not.  It’s just something she can act like she would do better than us.  Well, not only does Princess always look adorable, she’s smart and good and responsible, and I am sure that Ex-Wife couldn’t pull that off.  Her oldest son is going to jail for the third time, and this time will probably be the long haul.  He stole Ex-Wife’s mom’s credit card and bought $1800 worth of stuff off of eBay, and he stole $300 in cash out of grandma’s purse as well.  So Grandma reported him.  He was on probation so he will probably have to serve the full thing this time.  This son was LIVING with them and her guiding hand really helped there, didn’t it?  Her oldest daughter is a high school dropout who had a kid at 16, she really was watching that one too.  The younger son lives with his dad and stays away from his mom pretty much, so there’s hope for him like there is for Princess.  But of course she’s going to focus on the outside appearance, her clothes, her hair, like that’s what matters.  Stupid cow. 

Anyway when she said that today, “Don’t send her over in a T-Shirt with writing on it” Princess said, “I should get a ‘Step-Mom’s Are the Best’ T-Shirt and wear that over there for pictures.”  LOL.

Ok, I need to go and play with my baby.  Have a great holiday if I don’t get on here again.

🙂

Well…We survived it

We survived Picture Day, and actually it went really good.  The pictures are going to be great.  We did a portrait of all 14 of us, and then each individual nuclear family – all 3 siblings’ families are 4 people – So me, Hubby, Princess & Lola; Hubby’s twin brother, Sis-in-law, and her two boys; and Hubby’s sister and her husband and two boys.  Then, Hubby’s mom and dad took a photo.  After that, all the kids together.  That was interesting!!!

But the picture of the 4 of us was really nice so I’m looking forward to getting it.  I actually didn’t look too bad.  It is too much to ask to look beautiful for a formal portrait, so I just don’t expect it.  I pretty much expect to look like shit, and if I look slightly better than shit, I am content.  I’m not saying I am UGLY or anything, just that I don’t look good in most pictures, especially formal ones.

It was a very long process and I felt sorry for the photographer lady.  The place was bulging to the seams.  She would die if she did MY family’s photos!  I mean, there are 6 of us siblings, and 4 of us have spouses, and the total number of children at this time is 10 so that’s 20 people right there.  We won’t include mom and dad because it’s weird, because Dad’s remarried, and it’s weird but we would not include my step-mom.  They got married 5 years ago and we were all grown adults.  We would never put her in a picture with my mom, and we would never take a family photo with my dad and not my mom. 

After the photos, which were taken at the Walmart studio, I went and got the groceries I will need the next few days, and that was an experience!  But we got home ok.

Earlier today, Hubby and I spent a few hours poring through all our photographs culling out a few for me to do my photo collages I’m doing as gifts for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  I bought these collage frames last year but didn’t get a chance, I’d really like to do them and have them ready for Christmas dinner.  The one for my mother-in-law says “GRANDKIDS” and all the letters are cutout so you can place photos behind it.  It should be just frustrating enough for me to give up quickly. LOL.

I cut Princess’s hair today by myself and I must say it turned out REALLY well.  I’m impressed with myself.  I styled it for the photo shoot and she looked absolutely lovely.  All her aunts and uncles were saying how grown up and beautiful she looked.  My hubby’s sister who usually has no patience for me, was really cheerful and nice to me today.  So everything went relatively well.  If they would act this way to me every day, I’d actually like them more and want to go around them more.  But you just never know what you’re going to get.

I am wasting time, I need to get off here and wrap presents!  Much love to everyone!  Everyone who has been invited to this blog is someone very special to me and your friendship has made me what I am today.  Thank you for being you, and for loving me not only in spite of my imperfections, but because of them!

CG

Family Picture Day

Please, send me strength.  Prolonged exposure to my inlaws might be hazardous to their health.

Some things I want to say today:

1) Girlfriend, I love you with all my heart.  You are #1 to me too, and always will be.  Kids, men, jobs, whatever…you have always been one of the few things absolutely necessary to my happiness since the day I met you 18 years ago.  Of course we know each other better than anyone else after that long.  You are doing the right thing at home right now and I stand behind you 100%.  If you need anyone to plant a boot in someone’s ass, let me know and I’ll come down.  Tell them, “Don’t make me call down the wrath of CG on your ass.”  You can call me anytime about anything.  The knowledge that I can do the same with you has sustained me all these years as a refugee in Michigan.

2) My husband said something to me for the first time in our 8 years together.  Without being prompted to do so.  So I really needed to document that on Friday, December 22, 2006, my husband told me that he needed me.  He tells me all the time that I make him happy, that he loves me, that he adores me, that I am the most wonderful woman in the world, but for some reason he has never said the above.  I have asked him a couple of times and he said yes to the question, but never just came out and said it to me.  So that was probably one of the most wonderful things that has happened in a long time.  It was just during a normal conversation, kind of sparked by some of the things going on in his family with his uncle that is dying.  Whatever the reason, he said it of his own accord and with so much love that I will remember the location and everything till the day I die — Toys R U$ parking lot, in our van, driving towards the western exit, stuck in holiday traffic jam.

Well, I have a ton to do today and not enough time to complete everything.

I don’t know how much will be put on here between now and Christmas Day, so I will take this opportunity to wish all my special friends a WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS or CHANUKAH.  (“Name your poison” — at least that’s what our holidays have become with commercialism)

I am grateful for your friendship and support.

CG

Ugh, here it comes

I am dreading this coming 7-days like no one has ever dreaded anything in their life.  Prolonged exposure to in-laws could be harmful to THEIR health. LOL.

First of all, I have a LOT of craft gifts I need to make, and HOW and WHEN I can do them with a toddler I never get a break from is trying to get into everything?  I also need to help Princess get her gifts together, and we have to make sure we go Friday afternoon to the elementary school to deliver her gifts to her favorite teachers.  This is a tradition every year.  We remember all her teachers from Grade 2 on because she has bonded with them all so much.

Speaking of her bonding with people, when I was still working, she went to before and after school daycare.  This has been over 2 years ago.  Even longer ago, there was a lady who worked at the daycare named Mrs. B.  It was just during one summer that she worked there.  She and Princess really bonded, and at the end of the summer, she gave Princess a goodbye gift.  That school year started, and she was working as a lunch lady at the school, so Princess was thrilled, she saw her every day.  At Christmas that year, Mrs. B gave her another gift.  And so every year since then, they exchange gifts.  Last year I am not sure that she was at the middle school so Princess didn’t see her last year.  But this  year apparently she made it a point to get a day scheduled at the middle school JUST SO SHE COULD SEE PRINCESS and give her an adorable gift.  What do you think of that?  Isn’t that precious?  We made her a gift together–she lives locally and we have her address so we are going to deliver it to her over the holiday.

Here’s another bonding story.  When I had Lola, I had her via C-Section.  My incision got infected badly, so for over a month, I had daily in-home nurse care.  This nurse came every day to *ugh* pack the wound, etc.  She really clicked with the whole family including my mom.  I have always remembered her name, and saved her phone number.  So this year I wanted to put her on my christmas list, and I called the number, it was her direct voice mail.  I left a voice mail telling her “You probably won’t remember me, but…” and I told her who I was and that we still thought of her, and was wondering if she would like an xmas card with a recent picture of the kids.  She called me back in 5 minutes flat, and was just gushing about everybody.  “How’s your mom?  Is she still living in Kentucky or did she move to one of your sisters’ houses?”  “How is Lola?  Is her hair still thick and curly?”  “How big is Princess now?”  “Does your hubby still work for ___**___?”  She remembered all of us.  I was really flattered, I mean, she probably takes care of 2 to 4 people every day, week in and week out. 

She told me that this past summer she was in my town and she actually stopped at the house, but that we weren’t there. (!!!)  So anyway I have her contact information and she has been told profusely that she is to stop anytime.  I just love her.  She’s older than me, younger than my mom.  She’s probably in her late 40’s early 50’s.  I adore her.  I always seem to make friends that are older than me.  I just love the wisdom and humor they offer.  And nobody else gets me as much.  Not knocking my friends my age–I’m just saying different kinds of friends offer different kinds of comfort.  My younger friends know *just* what I’m talking about…am I right?

I have tons to do today, so I guess I will get off here and get it done.  Have a great day!

CG

Annoyed

Mood: Annoyed
Listening To: Elmo talking about dogs
Reading: The Want Ads

So I am annoyed with Word Press. It is not as “easy” as they tell you it is going to be. Oh, yes, if you don’t want to mess with *anything*, just type a blog and be done with it, it’s fine. But let’s say you want to add extra fields i.e., “Mood” or “Reading”. Not so easy. I don’t know how to get to the html code for the individual pages. I have been trying to read the “how to” information but it reads like a really, really, really boring technical manual and lots of things go unexplained to the new user.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how this blog looks and everything. I could just write in the mood, etc., at the top of the page and I probably will. Another thing that I wish I could do is import journal entries from my other journals. I may make a project of that. I may just go through my entries and find my favorites and bring them over.

Well, I am hoping to get some presents wrapped today since the hubby is home and can keep the baby out of my hair (I can hope, right?). I am also hoping to do my last 3 loads of laundry, do a little straightening up of the house. If that goes well, I am going to spend some time trying to figure out how to generate some cash, because I’m not just broke, I’m in the negative. My bank account is in the red, because of my recent money blunders. Like I have said on other blog venues, I feel like such a failure right now financially. I am trying so hard to get some money in here, but nothing is working.

I decided that my Pure Romance business is not working out, so I have been trying to liquidate my stock (at MY cost, I might add). It is crazy to try to sell it for less than I bought it for, but I will if I have to. I sent out an email and list of the huge savings, and only got 2 responses with orders, out of about 50 people I sent it to. I guess no one is having sex, and that is sad.

I sent out an email yesterday trying to drum up some side work, i.e., cleaning house, organizing home or office, office work, watching kids, doing laundry. Have gotten no responses to that either.

I am going to try to set up an Amazon or E-Bay account to sell all my extra books, videos and CDs. I am also going to apply for some more jobs.

Another thing that sincerely needs done is some major frugal cutbacks around here. Hubby makes enough for us to get all our basic bills and needs met if we can stick to the budget. And the budget gets blown out of the water by no one but me, the one who makes up the damn thing. Everyone else could probably stick to it just fine. I’m the one who goes and buys stuff that is not on the budget, sometimes it’s needed, but most times it is not. I’m the one who talks everyone into eating out every other day because I don’t want to cook. I don’t like to cook. Well, I need to learn to like it or just deal with it.

So anyway, that is what is on my mind this morning. I am going to keep working on generating income. We really need it right now. It’s still one week till our next payday and no money means no money for gas to get to and from work. I have a couple of things i can do to generate enough money to get gasoline, etc., but if any real expenses come up, we’re screwed.

CG