"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

Adulting

This week was one of “getting shit done”.  I tackled packing up my son which involved a lot of sorting through stuff that has been in storage for the past year, creating an inventory of things he may need (lost in the break-up of his girlfriend) and then packing his car to capacity.

We actually had fun with all of the drudgery.  I coaxed him into saying good-bye to five garbage bags of old clothes.  We literally did the Marie Kondo method of “does this spark joy?” .  We were entertained.  He patiently tried on tons of clothes during the process.  We also had some shopping and a few miscellaneous errands, so the time went quickly.

He has already arrived in his new city and has hit the ground running.  He has a lot of “adulting” tasks to complete the next week, but his spirits and attitude are great, so he should be fine.

All of this sorting and packing for him has inspired me to get started on my own stuff.  Fortunately I have weeded out most of the superfluous except for the damn china and silverware.  Despite a huge purge for my last move, I still find things I won’t need or want, so a dreaded garage sale is in my near future.  I did tackle some administrative stuff like getting a new auto insurance quote, finding a cheaper cell phone plan, changing my renters insurance and adding a jewelry rider to it.  I have been quite productive.

I am still working on the Hunter’s big consulting project.  The client has been dragging their feet a bit about launching everything.  That’s actually good news for me because there is a ton of behind-the-scenes administrative work to do and I am about 75% complete.  I should be able to wrap it up soon.  He has another new potential consulting client that we are meeting next week.  My fingers are crossed on this one.

Work was a short week since I took two days off to hang out with my son.  That threw me off a bit, so the week ended before I knew it.  I learned some new technology out of sheer desperation.   I’m not familiar with Zoom meetings, so I coaxed one of the IT guys into giving me a tutorial.  He was laughing when I said that I needed more skills so I didn’t break out in a cold sweat whenever I had to lead one of these meetings.  He was a great teacher because later that day I successfully lead a meeting, shared my screen and multiple files with about 6 people.  That was a big win!

Nothing exciting to report.  I was a bit glum driving home on Friday because I have nothing fun planned.  Life isn’t full of adventure right now.  It’s just a huge re-positioning slog right now.  That’s OK, I am super-excited about my move and I know that by the end of the year I will be on a much better financial footing and I will have room in my life for more activities.  I miss being outside every day, so I can’t wait to get settled and be able to take a long walk every morning.  Commuting two hours every day has eliminated my walk time right now and I really miss it.  Now, let me step away from the computer…

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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Dumping Stuff

It is time to finish getting rid of stuff and at the very tip top of my list is a set of china and sterling silver that had belonged to my stepfather’s mother.  I never knew her and despised him, so I am happy to let go of it.

However, it’s not that easy.  The sterling has value –about $1,000.  I filed my information with replacements.com and am matching things up.  It is a lovely, ornately designed set that I would never, ever use.  The ornateness makes cleaning it a nightmare and polishing silver is not on my list of fun things to do in front of the TV.

Besides, when am I having that fancy a dinner party?  Not my style.  My everyday flatware is nicer than average.  That goes for my everyday china set.  I use my wedding stuff because I like it and it goes happily into the dishwasher.

The china is pretty with delicate pink roses, scalloped edges with a light gold trim.  It is worthless.  It will cost more to ship it than I will get paid and they only want some pieces, not all.  Do I dump it or keep it?  My kids have no interest in it.

Either way, I have now inventoried and photographed all of it.  Now I can pack it up. I do know that I can sell the silver for it’s weight.  That would be my last resort.  I do have an old high school friend who is interested in the silver set for her daughter.  She is an antique collector and collects the very same pattern.  It will be interesting to see what comes of that.  I might give her the friends & family discount, but she was on occasion one of the “mean girls” in high school, so we’ll see.

This was one thing I really wanted off my To Do list.  The whole process of pulling it out, counting, taking pictures, etc. has been lingering on my To Do list for months.  Now I can happily cross it off!

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Yep, I just don’t see this for me…..  Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

He’s Back!

My son is home safe and sound, but he is visiting for less than a week.  He is literally passing through to pick up his stuff and head off to grad school.

He is staying with his dad, which is fine with me.  His dad is living with his GF, now fiancee, in a large house (even larger than what we had when we were married).  My son will be more comfortable there because at least he won’t be sleeping on a camping cot.

But his dad is once again trying to plan everything and those plans don’t include me.  It leaves my son stuck in the middle.  Nobody handles any of this with any finesse and my feelings got hurt. Ugh.  That’s the short, non-ranting version.  But I don’t write this blog to spare readers from my rant, so here goes.

I had made arrangements to have my son’s car taken to a repair shop that is owned by a friend of the Hunter.  This way the car could be thoroughly inspected before my son embarks on his long trek to school.  That repair shop is very close to where my Ex lives.  I set it up so my son could pick up the car a day or two after he arrives.

My son arrived late at night, so I didn’t go the airport thinking we could all get together for lunch the next day.  I had even texted that to his dad.  Somehow that all seemed to go sideways for a spell.  My Ex wanted to take him to do fun activities and things that didn’t include me.

It finally got straightened out, as I sat at the mechanic’s getting new tires.  My son really needs to manage both of us better.  Now I have to wait about 48 hours before I see him again.  I hate taking turns.  I hate when my Ex tries to monopolize him.  I feel like a second-class parent.  My son needs to be more assertive with his dad.  I know he just landed and what not, but really?  There were going to be no plans for me to see him the first day he returned from a YEAR away?

It all sorted itself out and the three of us grabbed a quick lunch.  I got to hear some about my son’s most recent adventures.  I heard recent news of the Ex and his family.  I just have to take a deep breath and relax.  My poor son is dealing with jet lag, culture shock and two very demanding parents.  OK, OK, I get it….grudgingly.

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My Son is the rope in this Tug-of-War…LOL    Photo by Darinka Kievskaya on Unsplash

 

Changes Abound

I have been meaning to write about the upcoming changes that will be occurring in the next two months. I have found a new place that I absolutely love and have passed the application phase, so I am just waiting for my lease.  I can walk to a bunch of stores including Target. I am 10-15 minutes from my beloved beach and only 15 minutes from work.

I have been busily figuring out what will fit and what won’t. I am incredibly excited about the place.

Then we have the Hunter.  I truly have mixed feelings.  I want him in my life, but I don’t want to live with him.  Does this make sense?  I want to have my own space, my own free time.  He snorts and says I just want his “pinga”.  Maybe, but I also enjoy the intimacy of having someone to chat with and share day-to-day stuff with.

However, I am so over living with him and the Kracken.  Both are messy.  Both destroy my belongings.  I want to cook certain things and he doesn’t like those things.  He keeps crap in the refrigerator and freezer that I don’t like and we should just toss out anyway.  When I am home in the evening, we don’t really spend time together.  I scrounge up something to eat and he sits outside all evening smoking a cigar.  I live in a place where I would never invite anyone over because it’s a mess and has no sofa or seating for guests.

Having said all that, the Hunter treats me with respect always.

But I can’t afford the place where we live.  I can’t afford to be the primary breadwinner, nor do I want to.  It has been four years and I am still the primary breadwinner and by a long shot.  The lease and utilities are in my name.  Over the four years, if I add up the direct $$ I have given him, the things I have bought him (clothes, laptop, 2 cell phones, etc.), the furniture & other things he and the Kracken have destroyed, I am over $40,000 over the past four years.  Probably closer to $60,000.  I am not as generous and giving person as I like to think I am because I am a bit resentful about that.  A smidgen.

Yes, he has made a promise to pay me back about 25% of that and he is paying me for the work I am doing for him now.  But….I am broke and I need to get my financial house back in order first and foremost.  I am 55 years old and I need to be focused on retirement planning, not debt reduction.  I have $40,000 of debt between the IRS and credit cards.  Add in my car and we are over $50K.  I can’t live with that weight on my shoulders.  I don’t want to.

I have a plan and with the little bit of income Maggie & Co. has generated, I should be able to put the debt behind me by the end of 2020.  I’ll explain more about that in another post.

I imagine waking up in my new, cozy apartment designed by me, for me and I am so excited.  Yes, I will need to buy a few things, but these will be frugal purchases.  Space will be limited because my grandmother’s dining table is taking up some valuable real estate, but the buffet will become my TV stand and the corner china cabinet is too adorable to say good-bye.  I have been laying things out on a scaled plan and it looks like a roomy love seat may be my best option.  That’s fine with me.

I am ready for my next chapter.  But first I have quite a bit to do:  get my son back from Asia and off to school inside of a week; help the Hunter launch his new, lucrative consulting gig and pack.  Lots of packing.  All of this has to happen in about 45 days.  Wish me luck.  You probably won’t hear much from me until I get to the other side…

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I’m Boring

I haven’t been posting much because, quite honestly, I am boring.  Here’s my life right now:

  • Up at 6:00 (been hitting that old snooze button, so no more 5:30 awakening)
  • Leave the house by 7:00 which puts me at work right at 8:00
  • Work, work, work
  • I bring my lunch most days unless somebody else is buying.  Yep, I’m that cheap now.
  • Drive home for an hour.
  • Arrive tuckered out around 6:30 or 7, so I change clothes, wash my face and plop down.
  • Eat something, watch a little TV and try to climb into bed by 9:30.
  • Sleep at 10:00.
  • Repeat

My weekends aren’t any better.  The Hunter has won a big contract.  It’s really big, so he needs me for the admin work necessary to get it started.  I put in about 10-12 hours over the weekend trying to tame this behemoth.  I have another month or so of this.  Don’t worry, he’s paying me generously for my time.  I take those $$ and give them to the IRS.

I am not exercising — I know, this is not good.  I was getting up early to run/jog around the neighborhood a couple of laps, but 5:30 has been slipping away.  I need to re-start that.  It is so healthy for me in so many ways.

I joined a weight loss challenge at work.  I am pretty sure I will be the sucker that loses the $20 investment.  Meh, I need the competition and accountability I tell myself.

I am looking at some new places to live.  I haven’t found The One, but we haven’t seen that much yet.  It did feel me with a bit of angst that I will be so far away from the Hunter.  He is a security blanket, but I also still really want my freedom.  What a conundrum, but that is a post for another day.  For now, I’m just boring…..

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Photo by Hutomo Abrianto on Unsplash

Family Love

I had the beautiful realization that I have been blessed with my kids.  Although my Ex and I split after 25 years, we spent those years creating a good family atmosphere for our kids.  They love one another and everyone helps the other out.

Taz called me yesterday to chitchat about life.  I love to hear from her.  I don’t have much to add to the conversation these days, so I like to listen and ask questions about her life.  We started talking about my Son who will be returning from Asia in a few very short weeks.

She had a frank discussion with him about money, his budget, student loans and the like.  She is the Queen of Student Loans because let’s face it — med school was not cheap.  Taz told him that he needed a little more of a buffer and he needed to factor in some fun money.  She’s right.  My Son tends to be too frugal.  Think hermit — monk.  He still wears his t-shirts from high school and he’s 23.

We decided I needed to see if he is willing to share his actual budget, so we can make sure he has enough $$.  My Ex is helping him with housing and will co-sign on the lease.  I am helping him with resume, LinkedIn, recommendations and job-hunting.  We are all happily wanting to help him but not in a bossy, overbearing way.  He asks and we jump to attention.

What a beautiful family.  How wonderful that everyone is looking out for the other, proud of each other, no competition or jealousy.  What a miracle.  Today, this is what I am grateful for.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Slooowww Down

I have been figuring out how to slow down and smell the roses at this new job.  Fortunately I have always been a very good self-starter because this job requires a high amount of that skill.  I just keep reminding myself that this is a marathon and not a sprint.

The other thing I keep reminding myself is that they hired me to be their in-house expert.  To that end, it is up to me to keep my knowledge and skills sharp.  I have been seeking out organizations that will help me with this.  My old professional organization is one.  I also attended meetings of two others that I discovered I prefer over the old one.

Also, I want to start writing here more, however, I have a strong rule that no personal stuff will be done on a work device.  I have a few financial spreadsheets on my work laptop, but I have been careful.  I worked for a Fortune 500 and know that every keystroke and download can be watched.  The head of IT is not someone I want to cross.  He has a clearly defined kingdom and while he gives off the air of the befuddled professor, he doesn’t fool me for  a minute.

Overall life is good.  My bank accounts are healthy.  Maggie & Co. is winding down but I anticipate several more substantial paydays from it.  I plan on hoarding those monies until I move and pay my 2018 taxes.  Then I can attack my debt with some sizable payments.

My realtor GF suggested that I try to lease my current place to perhaps avoid the 2-month termination penalty.  That might mitigate things, but I’m not sure how to go about it.  I could use her even though it isn’t her geographic area.  I think that just delays in the inevitable.

I have been thinking about cutting my housing budget down substantially.  This means I might not be able to live in the urban area I wanted, but that might be OK for my new frugal resolve.  I will be notifying my landlord probably around August 1st, so the clock is beginning to tick.  One of my perks with the new job is the low-cost prepaid legal service for minor matters.  I figure I’ll have them write the letter to my landlord so we get it right the first time.

I have a list of personal financial stuff to do.  Things like lower my renter’s insurance coverage, call my whole life insurance co and discuss options to lower my premium for a year or so, renew my auto tag, budget, budget, budget, QuickBooks for Maggie & Co, etc.  The good news is that none of this causes me anxiety any more.  A year ago I would have been frozen in fear and stress.  Now I shrug and get to work.

I find myself working over the weekend, some evenings.  I am BUSY.  Now if only my new job could keep me fully occupied.  I have finally confessed to my boss that I still have capacity for more work.  She’s been traveling almost constantly since I started, so once she returns we will discuss this further.  I like her and she needs help, so I may end up with things outside my expertise, but I’m a smart cookie and learning something new would be good for me.

It’s all good, thankfully…..

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Photo by Camilo Ayala on Unsplash

 

 

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