You are absolutely correct, sometimes there’s a whole ‘nuther side to the story

Reminds me of a story I read along these same lines, not so much about having well behaved children per se, but about having some tolerance and compassion because we don’t know the whole story. The author was on a city bus, making lots of block-by-block stops in Mid-town Somewhere. Said author was getting very angry, because a man was on the bus with his four kids, and the four kids were completely out of hand. Jumping up and down on the seats, hyper, changing seats while the bus was in motion, etc. The other passengers were getting annoyed, the author was definitely annoyed, and the driver kept looking back but of course he can’t stop and do anything. Finally the author felt compelled to say something along the lines of “hey, mister, get these kids under control or please get off the bus.” When she said something, the man seemed to come out of a daze and said “oh, right, I guess I should do something about that. It’s not their fault you know. My wife just died, their mother. We just came from the hospital. After she died, I wasn’t sure what else to do but just pack up the kids and go home.” Took the author a moment to realize the enormity of what he’d just said. At that point the folks on the bus realized they weren’t acting up because they were brats, but because they had just lost something huge. And the man wasn’t ignoring them. He was still in shock. The author came away from that with a much different take on what we see, versus what’s really going on. Something to keep in mind along the way. I’m as guilty of that as anyone, passing judgement on what I see without knowing the whole story. But I do try to keep it in mind.

Well, we sort of started DR two years ago

At that time, between the two of us, we owed 72 thousand dollars in credit card debt (all but 14 thousand was my partner’s debt). We got more serious about it last summer. As of today, we are now down to 38.4 thousand in credit card debt. It’s still a lot, but that is a lot to have paid off in two years. All but about 10 thousand of that has been paid off since last July.

We still have about 40 thousand in student loans from my partner and more than that from me. And, we owe more on our house than it is worth, but the size of the hole is decreasing.

I’m hoping that another year will be enough to pay off the rest of the credit cards, but that may be too lofty of a goal. We’ll see.

What is wrong with me?

I spend everything we make, I only save up to spend it later. I don’t use credit cards, but I can’t seem to save more than a few thousand dollars before we “need” it for some emergency. My emergency fund is a joke. If I was able to save up $10,000 it would be a miracle. What can I do? My husband is very frustrated and so am I that we can’t seem to keep money in the bank. There always seems like something comes up that we need to spend it.

Hardly are you a walking joke

Truly, until I read your blog, I’d totally forgotten about attempting to regrow celery, and this is the season. Instead, I’m chucking everything into my huge compost tumbler that I’ve yet to able to harvest dirt from because the dang thing always has scraps in it. We need to buy a second one of those things in order for it to make any sense for us. We just get so busy concentrating on one thing that we forget other stuff. I will tell you that I freeze the top stuff from the celery (I have worms too btw) to use in making broth and soups. Just a thought if you do that sort of thing. Thanks for the response. I totally get how busy your life is right now. This seems to be crunch time for every parent out there. Three more weeks for us! I just pray they don’t give my children daily assignments to complete over the summer to be handed in the first day of school as they did last year. I might as well be a homeschooler and that’s not how I want to spend our summer!

The celery grew thin

I guess I was hoping for commercially-grown looking stuff which didn’t happen. I haven’t gotten far enough in my life to try regrowing romaine lettuce—it’s been baseball season (between 1 son playing, volunteer umpiring and umpiring for pay, I’m gone virtually every night and most of saturday. I know I know…how long can it take to plunk lettuce in water??)

your question made me laugh–it reminded me that I am a walking joke. I made jambalaya in the pressure cooker the other night, and was really annoyed that my daughter has misplaced my canned home-dehydrated celery to put in the jambalaya. I was annoyed because the celery I had in the fridge is still there simply because I haven’t had time to grind it up to feed to the composting worms (translation: not edible for humans.)

DID I THINK EVEN ONCE ABOUT HARVESTING THE CELERY I HAVE GROWING IN MY FRONT YARD???

No. Creature of habit that I am, if it wasn’t “inside the house” then I must be out of it.

Geez, if I could just get out of my own way, I might actually accomplish something.

I was looking at your blog and in looking at past posts

noted how you were growing food from scraps. Did you ever attempt to regrow romaine lettuce? If so, how did it go? Did you use organic romaine if you were successful? How has your celery turned out? The rabbits always seem to get mine after they are transplanted, but I think I’ll go ahead and try again. I don’t know about everyone else, but prices here seem to have gone up around 25% – 50% for groceries, and this is one area I’m returning to concentrate heavily on reducing. Currently, we’re spending around $300 a week on fuel, but that should drop (drastically) once school is out for the summer. I have a number of home improvements we need to concentrate on (the winter here in northern Michigan has really done a number on our home), and I’m looking everywhere I can to squeak extra money out so that I can get the work done, along with some much desired, upgrades.

I blew my monthly budget by $600

I sat down this morning and worked it down to $142 over. I have a good excuse though. I bought a beautiful AKC poodle puppy. We are going to expand our business . Right now I only raise one litter of English Bulldogs a year. The poodle puppy is from a dear friend of mine who is an excellent breeder. She was the last female puppy ever from her best line. The parents are now retired. She is of course already spoiled and I swore I would never get a poodle.

Finally on a fixed mortgage!

I just signed all the paperwork last night – 30 year fixed, 4.75% interest(up from the 3.x% ARM). Payment is about the same, which is a drag – but at least I don’t have to worry about my interest rate rising before the loan is paid off. Now I just have to figure out how to pay it off sooner…

How can 2 highly educated parents of 4 kids

NOT understand that the PLUS, or whatever that parent loan is called, is a loan?

Who is in charge here? The parents or the kids? Kids wanting private school and mom and dad happy to indulge …. and none of them thinking about the consequences, eventual financial toll, the toll on the parent/kid relationship, ability to get the ONE job they love vs. “settling” for 2-3 jobs just to make the loan payment i.e. www.gshloans.com online payday loans no credit check? Parents sacrificing all savings for retirement? The kids and parents are in debt up to their eyeballs or more … they ALL are one emergency (or one missed paycheck) away from bankruptcy.

I love free food !!

My neighbors took off for the weekend and asked me to water and take care of their garden while they were gone. I’ve been a “vacation gardener” for them before. They have a good size vegetable garden. They hate coming back from vacation with spoiled produce on the vine, so in exchange for caring for their yard, I get all the ripe produce.
Today that meant 6.5 lbs of blackberries which equaled 3 quarts of freezer jam!!

Last week dd and I went to a scrapbook retreat house

I got to make something new to go to my e-commerce site, glass magnets. I have not yet posted them but that is on my “to do” list. I also made 3 sets of cards while there. Those will go up on the site too.

Last week I received a check for 3 sets of coasters I had consigned to an online store promoting Louisiana products. Yeah!!!

This week I have begun marketing my products to some more local gift shops. I have been in one for well over a year and they purchase one of my monogram designs. They have a bridal registry and I know some of the brides have chosen my monogrammed coaster for their “wish list”. I am using that relationship to hopefully build more relationships with other stores.

I have been by 3 stores. At two of them, the respective owners were not in. I got their name and will by another day. I went by the gift shop at a local plantation museum and they bought several items. I thought at first they were not going to purchase anything but they ended up with 5 different items. Got paid right away and that works for me!

I took an adult art class Tuesday night and one of the ladies who runs the place knew I was doing coasters and other items. After the class she wished she could see some of my coasters. Well, it just so happened that I had some stuff in my car from going around to stores on Tuesday. Anyway, I brought my wares in and sold a set of coasters, a plaque and got an order for a trivet!! Wow!! I am so blessed with friends (old and new) who support local artists.

yesterday I went by the bank and made a pretty good deposit after doing so little work to earn it. It is still amazing how well this business has turned out. No, I am not making enough to retire early or anything like that. However just this week I feel I am beginning to think I am gaining traction/momentum. I hope to see it continue. I believe part of it is due to getting out and pounding the pavement. Once I get my products out there a little more, like in a couple more stores, I feel that will be sufficient for now till I see if I can keep up with demand.

While I was typing this the one store I am already in just called… I had stopped by yesterday but the owner and manager were both out. The manager called to see what I needed …. I wanted to see if they were ready to reorder. She will check tier stock and let me know what they need. Yeah! They pay quickly too. They have ordered as many as 26 sets of coasters (2 each of certain letters) but I am thinking this order may not be that big. Any order is good and I don’t require a minimum with them.

This afternoon I will be going to another store to see about getting my products in the store. It is an antique store with a café. I think they usually rent out booths. I don’t want to have to commit a large rental fee for something that may not work out. If the fee is small, I will probably give it a try. As with the other stops I made I will bring some samples for them to look at. However they have seen my work because I did the craft show there earlier this month.

Well, better go for now and will report my progress later!

We had a partly positive week here

Our grand opening for the karate school is this coming weekend, so we have been busy trying to get ready for that. We had some positive postings on yelp, shop local and google +. We also partnered up with a few schools and applied to the county, so we can volunteer/work/lecture at the schools in the county.
Downside to the week was that a kid turned in her 2 week notice to 1 of her jobs. I knew that eventually this would happen, but was hoping she would make it through the summer. Her school job ends Friday and she has only picked up a 2 day a week nanny gig so far. So she’ll be out actively looking today and talking to parents at the school she works at. Fortunately, she is DCF certified and has been fingerprinted and checked in the 2 counties she is looking for work.
I start my summer nanny job next week, so I’m looking at some money coming in vs going out.

We took a couple steps backward this week

It is rent check paycheck this week, so money is exceptionally tight. Enter the State of California wanting their remainder $617 they think we owe them. DH got a wage garnishment order so he called all in a panic. It wasn’t such a big deal, I could redirect the car payment $400, if they garnished it and the kids could help with the rest to make up for rent.

But I called the State anyway. They agreed that the amount “might” be in error, but I have to get and forward proof from the IRS first which of course will take weeks. In the meantime, they agreed to reduce the amount of the WG to $100 a check.

Success! or so I thought. I told DH to go to HR immediately and tell them an amended order was on its way and should be there within the hour. Which of course, he didn’t do. So instead of taking out $100. they took out 25% of his check, virtually the entire amount we “owe” the State.

Then someone he somehow owed $112 to (don’t get me started), wanted money back RIGHT NOW.
And I forgot to pay the electric bill as soon as I got up Friday morning….they shut it off at 11am, so that cost $185 to get it put back on. And just like that, we are $900 short in paying rent.

Silver linings in car accidents

Yesterday morning we went to the car rental facility. Car rentals are covered under our insurance. When asked what kind of car we needed (i.e., did we need an SUV since what was damaged was an SUV) I said, it doesn’t matter, but something with good gas mileage would be nice.

He responds: “HOW ABOUT A PRIUS?”

So we took it.

DH went to work, and since the Prius provides stats, came home and told me he had driven 52 miles (to and from work) on…drum roll please…

ONE GALLON OF GAS !!!

That would be versus our normal quarter tank.

Running air conditioning, (which he never gets to do) in stop and go traffic.

$4 of gas. In a week that will be $20 verus $100+. That’s like driving the scooter to and from.

Maybe it’ll take a month to fix the SUV??? We can hope.

I’m not sure if I should feel insulted or amused

Back when I worked at Macy’s this Christmas, the only way you could get your employee discount was either to open a Macy’s CC, or a Macy’s prepaid “CC.” I chose the latter, since I wasn’t really planning on shopping there.
Basically, you put the full retail amount on your “card” and they deducted the employee cost, which generally meant you had a positive amount left on your card.
They just sent me a check for the $22 I had left on the card, and closed the account.
Really? What if in some strange strange world I decided to shop there and use my “card” to get the deals only available when you use your Macy’s “Card?”
And how do you close an account which has a positive balance anyway??

just saying :)

Well, the Grand Opening for the karate school went well

We had over 50 students, instructors and Masters visit from 5 different schools in the Federation. Most everyone was blown away by the look of the school, from the mats, to standing bags and the hanging bags. We had 4 people inquire about classes and had another person come in today to see about enrolling his kids when they come back from summer vacation.

The kid that quit her job has decided to do the private nanny thing this summer. The part-time job she had applied for turned into a “we will schedule you when we want to even if it means overtime”…that won’t work with taking 4 classes this summer and promising t/th days and S evenings to the regulars. She picked up 8 extra hours this week already.

I start my private nanny thing tomorrow morning. We’ll see how I adjust to actually having to be somewhere before I commit to the person that has asked this mom if I wanted more hours….who knew that private nanny gigs were in demand?

Checkbooks have been balanced and the bills paid…until the next statements arrive.