Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bye, Bye 2011!!!!

As this year comes to a close, the re-evaluation process needs to start. I need to analyze my goals from 2011, what got accomplished and what didn't, I also need to plan for new ones for 2012. This will be a big year for us. Princess will graduate from high school and head off to college.

But today, I don't want to do that. I just want to sit back, relax and enjoy the first stressfree day I've had in a long time. Today, I am happy and joyful and full of optimism about the future.

Farewell 2011! And a bright, happy "Hello!" to 2012! Y'all stay safe tonight!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to Reality

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful, peaceful and blessed Christmas. Ours was wonderful. I spent the days leading up to in a flurry of baking, cooking, cleaning and last minute trips to the grocery store. The fabulous thing about having a teenager that drives is that you can send them with a list to pick up those last minute things. The not so fabulous thing? Even with a list they forget something!

I spent yesterday relaxing and getting the house back in some semblance of order. Its not the
re yet, but its slowly is getting there. I also went out to Target to get slip covers for my hand-me-down den chairs. I got several Target gift cards for Christmas and this is what I wanted them for. I also managed to pick up a couple of ornaments for next year gift giving, but passed on the Justin Beiber and Spongebob gift wrap (that's all that was left that late in the day). I will keep my eyes open over the next few days for paper I like because although I only had to purchase ribbon and gift tags this year, my paper is stock is now very low.

Today, I head back to work after 6 days off. Its hard to get motivated this morning. I'm drinking my coffee and wishing I could just snuggle back in bed! Cold, rainy weather isn't helping my motivation either!

I hope you all survived the insanity of the Christmas season with joy, laughter and love. Now, back to the real world!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Well, That Was a Close One!!!!!

Sunday morning, Murphy paid a visit in the form of a car that wouldn't start.....not the happiest thing a week before Christmas. Yesterday morning, my Dad picked me up to take me by the mechanic's place to drop off the keys and then take me on to work. We got there a little early before they opened and my mechanic walked out saying he was just about to call me since my car was sitting there. I explained to him what was going on, gave him the key, asked him also do the preventive maintenance while he was at it,  and went on to work.

Shortly before lunchtime, I got a phone call...... he'd retested the battery and it wasn't showing as well as it did when it was tested the day before. He felt they have a better machine in his shop for testing. Good news was that since I had gotten it there, it was still under partial warranty, so only $25 for the replacement. He also replaced a valve that should take care of that belching exhaust, $18 for that and he was waiving the labor because he felt his guys should have noticed the corrosion on the battery when they did my last oil change. He had a coupon for me for the fuel system cleaning, and were doing the transmission servicing. Total damage, with tax, was $166.88. Phew! I had budgeted $200 for the two maintenance services (mainly because I couldn't remember exactly what they quoted me before but knew it was over $150 but below $200 and gave some wiggle room!).

So, $33.12 under what I'd planned even with Murphy coming into the picture!!!!!! I am SO relieved.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Murphy Arrived For A Pre-Christmas Visit

My weekend was humming along nicely, until Murphy decided to show up for a visit. Yesterday morning, I hopped in my car to head our for a quick errand. I put my seatbelt on, put the key in the ignition and "whirr, whirr, whirr, whirr", but it didn't turn over. Took the key out, put it back in and tried again. Crap. One more time. Same result. Ugh. Ironically, I had just been telling a friend of mine that I needed to take the car in this week for transmission service and fuel system cleaning. Perhaps I put that off too long?

Anyway, so I called my Dad and he came over and looked under the hood. There was some corrosion going on around the battery and the connector cables, so he cleaned those off well, then took the battery out and took it to AutoZone to have it tested. The battery was fine and dandy. He put it back in and we tried to crank it again. Same result. This means it needs to go into the shop. So we decided to go ahead and try and get it over there, even though they were closed. Thought it might be easier to get it up and going then instead of stressing over it on Monday morning. So, after several attempts to jump start, it finally cranked with a massive belch of exhaust and I drove it over to the shop.

My Dad will pick me up this morning and take me over to the shop to give them my key, as well as to discuss the potential problems. I SO did not need this right now --- of course do we ever REALLY need it?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tis The Season to be Stressed!

This Christmas season has seemed to fly by faster than most. I'm not sure why that is. My Christmas Shopping is completed. The decorations are up. But nothing has seemed to so incredibly smooth. Perhaps it was getting the cruds right at Thanksgiving which had me somewhat down and out for 2 weeks and that are still hanging around a bit even now. Maybe its starting a new position at work. Maybe its the fact that I haven't walked in the door before 8 p.m. except one single night for 2 weeks. And when I do, I'm exhausted. What ever it is, it seems to be speeding up the countdown to Christmas. Or at least my timeline.

I have cookies to bake. And sausage balls. And sweet potato biscuits. And cheese grits. And casseroles. And various other things. I haven't made a recipe list. I haven't made a shopping list. I'm not even sure if I have flour in the pantry, much less the other required ingredients!

I haven't wrapped the first present. I haven't even checked my stock to be sure I HAVE the appropriate wrapping. Sigh. I need an extra 12 hours in each day for the next week. THEN maybe I'll feel caught up. Anyone else feeling the time pinch this year?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Celebratory Shopping

Earlier this week, the Princess sent me a text from school exclaiming that she'd pulled a 96 on her final project for a class she has been struggling in! Whoop! An hour later, she sent me another text stating she'd maintained her final grade in another class and would therefore get to exempt that exam! (Exams tend to hurt rather than help the Princess's grades so exempting is a cause for high fives all around). A few minutes later she sent yet another text requesting her favorite dinner in celebration. I did a quick mental check and new I had most of the ingredients at home, so even though it would require an unplanned trip to the store, I said sure.

So, here is what a got:

Milk Bone Dog Treats (no that is not part of the celebration dinner, I promise!)
Wine (celebratory for me, not the Princess)
Publix Sour Cream
Publix Crescent Rolls
2 Simply Potatoes Hashbrowns
Bic Razors
Sesame Seeds (on clearance for $1.25)

Spent: $15.90
Saved: $11.67
That's 42% for an "on the fly" trip. Not too bad!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Facing Facts

I met a wonderful friend for dinner last night. We took the chance to catch up on everything that is going on each others lives. This friend, Rescue Girl, has always been super successful and in the past couple of years has really become heavily involved in animal rescue. As I've watched her posts on FB, I've always admired and marveled at how much passion, time and energy she devotes to giving animals a second chance. I also knew that she was putting some of her own money towards the cause she so ardently believes in. Since Rescue Girl has always been so successful, I just thought she'd found a great outlet for her time and energy.

After the check came, the talk turned towards finance. I was paying for mine with my debit card and Rescue Girl was paying with cash and I remarked that I needed to get to a cash basis, so that I'd really feel the pinch when I paid for something. It was then that she said she didn't have a choice, her credit cards were gone. I then said something about that being my goal too and that's when she told me that her credit cards weren't gone by choice, that she was in real financial trouble -- the close to losing her house kind of financial trouble. My mind flashed back to the numerous fb posts showing her very flashy car filled with huge bags of dog food for donation, the numerous nights out on the town she posts, all things that appeared to show a hugely successful person living a really fun and fulfilling life. I asked Rescue Girl if she had a plan, and she just said "it will all work out". I was astounded. This super successful friend whose drive and energy I had always admired was in a deep hole -- and basically just thought it would work out. I tried to press a little more, but she changed the topic abruptly. Sigh.

I hope she will see that these kinds of things usually don't just "work out",  That there needs to be a plan, and it needs to be put in place asap. There's really not much I can do except to suggest ways to make a plan if she asks, and to definitely be sure we don't meet up for any more dinners out, maybe pizza at my house instead?! You can't make someone face reality if they don't want to, all you can do is be there and help out when reality finally sets in. I'm hoping it sets in sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tis The Season To Be Spending

It seems, no matter how well we plan, December always seems to be expensive! I always try to keep the spending under control, but it always seems to creep back up there. Hectic schedules end up with little in the pantry and the "easy" option of drive through. Friends wanting to get together end up with yet another excuse to eat out.

This week is the perfect example! The calendar crept up on me and I remembered that I needed to bring something for a pot luck get together last night. I had hoped to leave work early to throw it together yesterday afternoon. My previous position had that sort of flexibility. Two days into a new position without the same flexibility, and I just couldn't do it. So I ended up running by the store and grabbing a $8 pie!

Tonight, I'm meeting a friend for dinner as our holiday get together. We've been trying for weeks and it just hasn't happened! Yikes. So, I'll be spending there too. And tomorrow night, we'd planned a month ago to have our departmental Christmas get together. That was before we were all reassigned, and before I felt like I'd been throwing money at restaurants for weeks. However, since I plan to return to this department, I can't blow it off. I really need to go for professional reasons, and I also need to go for personal reasons --- I really really really like those I work with and my boss too!

So, tis the season --- for restaurants to get all my money! Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One Down, Many More To Go

So yesterday started Day 1 at my new postition. I got to work a smidge early, reported in to my new supervisor who said my trainer would be with me shortly, moved my stuff from my old desk to my new desk, and was all ready to start my new job. I booted up the new computer and logged on. And it wasn't set up properly. My email wasn't linked. The software system wasn't there, my access systems weren't there. My trainer came by and had some stuff come up so we went over a few things, including my computer that wasn't set up right. We notified IT and I waited. And waited. We finally got started a bit around 11 a.m., but until then I just sat there and checked facebook and played games on my iphone. I had nothing to do.

Once we did get started it was somewhat a blur of new systems, new acronyms, new processes. By the end of the day, my brain was mush. I can see that this new job isn't going to provided the "today is a new day with new adventures" variety that my previous job did. It is going to be harder to be motivated to do it without the adrenaline rush my old job did. But I'm thankful that our powers that be wanted to be certain they could me so found a place for me instead of pinkslipping me. Now I just have to find the motivation factors internally, because I don't think the job itself is going to be providing that kind of push. But its okay, I have a job, I have a paycheck and I have really good benefits. And for that I can find my own motivation!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wish Me Luck

Today I start my new position at work. I'm nervous, I'm frazzled..... so much so that I didn't even hit "snooze" this morning! It is an odd thing to wake up and know that although everything has changed, it really hasn't changed quite that much. I'll still dress the same. I'll still leave the house at the same time. I'll still park in the same place....but now my desk will be in a different spot, I'll have new immediate co-workers, I'll have a new supervisor, and I'll be learning all new stuff. It is kind of a "yikes" and "phew" all rolled into one!

So wish me luck today as I start this brand new adventure. I'm so lucky in so many ways. I'm so thankful in so many ways. But dang it, I'm nervous! Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Think I'm Finished!!!!!

Yesterday, I spent the entire day Christmas Shopping. And I think I'm finished. I started out, list in hand, budget in hand at 7:45 yesterday morning. The rest of the day became a blur of ringing cash registers, swiping debit cards, traffic frustrations and shopping bags. I was getting tired late in the afternoon and wanted to just go home! But I had a final stop to make and knew if I did that, I would not have to fight the crowds again, which would only get worse closer to the big day, so I persevered. And I finished.

I've got a mound of shopping bags that need to sort through and match up with my list. I'm pretty sure I didn't exceed budget on any of the gifts, but I need to double check. I also need to have the Princess try on a few things --- these aren't part of her Christmas, but really, when I find Ralph Lauren skinny jeans marked down to $15 in her size and she wears jeans almost every single day, its foolish to pass them up without at least giving them a try. They can go back to the store if they don't work.

Today will be spent sorting the gifts and labeling who gets what --- and cleaning the house. I have a busy week on tap so I need the house to be sparkly. I'm totally happy though that it looks like I can spend at least part of this Christmas season just enjoying it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Adventures During My Absence.....

Last week, before the need for a pity party hit.... I took a much needed sick day to get some rest and get over the crud that had been plaguing me since Thanksgiving. It turned out to be a very good thing. We had another pup spend the night due to an unexpected cold snap and the morning of my sick day, I was in the kitchen making a bagel and cream cheese for my breakfast. Visiting pup and Thing 2 were having a grand time playing. Let me make it clear, Visiting Pup is a VERY sweet dog and they seemed to take to each other like long lost friends. They were romping around the house, just having a ball. And then, they apparently started playing too rough. And boom! A fight broke out. Which I got to break up. Fun. After I pulled them apart, I surveyed the damage.

Visiting pup was fine, not a mark on her. Thing 2, however, had a gash on her head. She thoroughly got her behind kicked by a pup half her size. At first I thought it was a scratch, but when I went to clean it.... I could see that it needed more medical attention than I could provide. So I loaded her up and took her to the vet. Four staples, antibiotics, pain meds and $75 later, we came back home. The rest of the day went without incident although the pups ceased to romping around the house.

Needless to say,I wasn't really expecting the additional $75 in vet expenses this month, but when you are a pup lover, it is sometimes to be expected. Thing 2 has healed well and the staples have been removed and she now sports a rather rakish scar. Still, not an experience I'd care to repeat.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Groceries! Finally!

So, I have been woefully neglectful on shopping lately? Coupons? Haven't clipped them worth a flip in over a month? Sale shopping? Nada. Taking pictures and blogging about my groceries. Haha. Apparently not. But I finally went to the store yesterday evening and here is what I got:

10 Powerades
2 Publix Froxen Pizzas
1 Bag Beggin Strips
2 Pillsbury Ready To Bake Cookies
1 Flipz White Chocolate Covered Pretzels
1 Coffeemate Creamer
3 Ramen Noodles
2 Knorr Sides
1 Bag Arborio Rice
2 Publix Diet Lemon Lime Sodas
1 Barbers Frozen Chicken Entree
2 Hormel Compleats
1 Busy Chewnola Bone

Spent: $36.94
Saved: $29.90 or 43%

A New Start

Monday will begin a new phase for me, which will likely be temporary, but in this case temporary means anywhere possibly from 6 months to 2 years. My job, which I adore, has undergone some massive changes. Due to some changes that are beyond my control, my supervisor's control and even the executives' control, my position is being temporarily eliminated due to changes in the company's contract. This is incredibly difficult for me as I LOVED what I was doing and in fact I have never had a job that paid so well, provided such good benefits, provided the in-deparment comraderie or provided me with such personal satisfaction. We knew there were massive changes coming since August. Since the abrupt changes have no end in sight currently, upper management had two choices: lay us off or reassign us. We are hopeful that these changes will be temporary --- whatever that means when dealing with bureaucracy.

Other departments within the company that weren't as affected by the changes need additional staffing. Our department was pretty much consumed with busy work for the past couple of months in order to stay busy. I am very thankful that instead of laying off our department, upper management chose to reassign us. And it will be okay. Nevertheless, the last week has been an adjustment of immense proportions. It is hard to let go and to readjust my thinking.

I have a job. That job isn't going anywhere, and in this economic climate, I can now (after a pity party), let go and move on to the next phase extremely grateful.

So sorry for the long absence, it has been difficult transition. Monday will start a new chapter. And I think that will be a very good thing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I swear, this has seemed to be the longest week ever! In addition to STILL having the lingering cruds it has been drama drama drama filled. Drama is NOT my friend. A total week of upheaval that I haven't even fully processed yet. I'll write more about it later, once I fully have some sort of mental grasp of it all.

On the budget front, well, that's just gone to hell. I haven't done a decent grocery shopping in ages --- in fact I had to stop at the store yesterday and get a pack of TP at FULL PRICE-- ugh. However, down to roll in the house, 2 girls in the house --- well you do the math! That was a necessity! Lack of groceries, feeling like crap and other drama have also conspired me to be lazy in the kitchen and we've resorted to more takeout than I care to admit.

I'm feeling a smidge better today and I'm hoping to get the house in complete and total order, finish the decorating for Christmas AND get some grocery shopping done this weekend. Here's hoping.

Y'all have a fabulous Saturday!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Still Hanging On

This crud just doesn't seem to want to go away. It has been a full week now and I've still got the icks. I've been struggling through work, and at night, I just want to veg. Last night I got the first decent night's sleep in a week. Maybe that means I've turned a corner? We will see, I suppose. In the meantime, I'm behind on Christmas decorating, shopping, cooking and every other preparation I can possibly make. Sigh.

And I have major writer's block if you can't tell. Unfortunately, when I'm sick my brain appears not to work much either. I hope all of your preparations are coming through fabulously! For me, the focus is on getting healthy and hopefully getting back into the groove.