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Panic Mode to Inspiration – Future Planning (Part 3 of 3)

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This morning I rose at 6:00 am, early for a 9am start girl, and made my way to a local Job Transition group. And that is where I will start.  This group is faith based and was very welcoming.

I don’t know what I will do at this juncture…do I try to return to corporate, do I continue with my current consultant structure and resume marketing in the same manner, do I try something new, do I just get any job I can, or do I take the time and really do something out of the box???

I LOVED what they focused on today….essentially they said, that for any of your skill sets that you are considering pursuing as a job…make a 30 second commercial or spiel.  Not that you film yourself but that you have a card with a couple of bullet points that at any given time, you can “sell” yourself.  It’s alot harder than you think.

I think I am going to look for a few other networking opportunities that I can jump in on while I am transitioning to whatever comes next.

I am working really hard to not let panic mode take over and instead focus on the positives….

  • At this point, I will get to really focus on my kids wholeheartedly right around the holiday season, how cool is that!?
  • I do have several resources I can sell…my car being the big one that comes to mind.  And the inspiration for slowing down before I make any quick decisions I might come to regret.
  • My ex husband is to be starting a new job within a week or two and has committed to stepping up to help me.
  • While we are still living pretty frugally there are a few places I can cut back…
    • Cancelled Netflix (we don’t have cable) as we can use Amazon Prime which is paid for the year for entertainment – $9 month savings
    • Cleaning out storage which I should be able to cancel by the end of the month – $70 month savings
    • Changed the animals food to a cheaper brand which I can get even cheaper on Amazon – $60 month savings
    • I’m sure there are more that I will come up as I move forward.
  • This gives me the chance to really start over if that is what I should do as far as jobs go without really letting anyone down.

I will end with this and it’s probably the most important part right now….

I have really struggled over the past year or so in trusting myself and my decisions.  My prayers have been that if I was not on the right path, I needed that made CRYSTAL CLEAR.  This might just be that CRYSTAL CLEAR sign that I needed to push me in a different direction.  I can’t say that for sure, but I am totally and completely open to whatever God may have in store for me/us next.  He has a plan and I will put my faith in Him as I certainly cannot do it myself.

 

 


Panic Mode to Inspiration – The Call (Part I of 3)

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Mondays are my least favorite days.  They require from 3-5 hours straight in the car for me.  I run the twins and sometimes Princess to another city to work with their competitive robotics team, run back here to drop off the Gymnast, a few miles down the road to coach Princess’ volleyball team and then back to the other city to pick up the twins.  It is a grueling day…and this is all after I take Princess for a couple of hours of volunteer time at the local shelter.  I am not complaining, although it does sound like it, I choose this, I could say “No” – I own that this is my choice.

But this past Monday was a whole other roller coaster in and of itself.  First the day started out on a high…we celebrated four years of being a family which I wrote about on my personal blog.  In years prior to our tiny space living, we would celebrate with a visit to the local pottery painting place where we would all paint a dish including the number of the anniversary and a meal out.  This year and last, we opted to skip the painting due to financial reasons and because we just don’t have space for more dishes.  But we did go out to eat.  So a good day.

However, in between my marathon chauffeur duties, I got the dreaded call.  My biggest, longest running client, the bread and butter of my business for the last 8 years…they are downsizing.  They gave me three weeks notice.  Tears sprang to my eyes.  All the plans for housing, out the window, all the debt pay off plans, out the window.  All with one phone call.  I was devastated.  But I had to pull it together and go coach Princess’ first ever volleyball game….we WON!

There have been sleepless nights since then as I toss and turned, panicking, wondering what if as I look back at how I got here, and just worrying.  It took me a year when I first started my business to get to the level where I could support us.  And I have to admit while I do have some smaller clients and occasion bigger projects, I’ve become complacent.  So I will essentially be starting from scratch again.

I ended the day with dinner with my kids to celebrate the four years that we’ve been a family…since the day the twins moved into our life.  They all knew about the call as I couldn’t hide the devastation.  But we spent the meal reminiscing about those first days, learning more about the twins’ feelings at the time and being grateful for the experiences we’ve had to this point.

 


Phone Case for the Save!!!

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I’ve mentioned that when we switched phone providers, one of the perks was that we got new upgraded phones for free (of course…this was right before the newest iPhone came out so now our “new” phones are one generation old. But I digress…)

Anywho, when we got new phones I immediately invested in really sturdy, hard-core phone cases. It seemed like the prudent thing to do and, Lord knows, I have a bit of a history of shattered phone screens (see here and here).

Well, this week I proved to myself that the investment was in fact worthwhile (and I say “investment” because the phone case was about $90. At that price point it certainly seems like an investment to me!).

I have a bit of a walk from the parking garage into my office building so I always listen to music or podcasts on the walk. One day this past week as I reached my building I went to  take out my ear buds and put my phone in my purse, but I missed and dropped the phone straight on the tiled floor. It fell hard, face down, and upon hitting the ground the impact was hard enough that the case actually split open. Like…it didn’t break…it popped open along the seam. There were a couple other people in the main floor hallway who witnessed the event and there was an audible gasp at the sound of the impact. It was dropped that hard.

I reached down and grabbed up my case and phone and nervously flipped it over to see the front (screen side). 100% intact. No damage physically or functionally. And since the case wasn’t actually broken I was able to put the phone back into the case and simply snap it back together.

Phone case = 1.

Tile floor = 0.

Phone case for the save!!!


The Cost of Travel

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We are in GA visiting my parents (who met us here from TX) for a long weekend.  It is a weekend that I’ve dreaded and greatly anticipated for months now. I had budget $250 for the trip, but in reality it will really only be $100 to cover the gas to get here and home.  So that’s good.

We got a really sad piece of news upon our arrival.  The decision has been made to sell the lakehouse (shared family vacation home owned by my dad and his two siblings jointly, inherited from my grandparents.)  I guess I had in the back of my mind that in April when we leave our tiny space, we could come here for a bit and kind of use it as a base for some travel if we don’t find housing immediately and if I’m still not sure where we will settle.  (Keeping myself open to any possibility.)

And with that news, my fingers have been busy researching travel with family, pets, last minute flights to anywhere, etc.  And I’m curious to know if any readers here have ever traveled for any length of time.  My thought is that by that time my monthly commitment (since rent, utilities will cease to exist) will be quite low.

So I’ve started looking at different ideas:

  • Camping
  • Living in a 3rd world country (met a family this year who spent a year in Panama living on a farm so their kids could learn Spanish, how cool is that?  And they have 10 kids!)
  • Using sites like AirBNB, Kayak and other economic, out of the box travel sites.
  • Just getting in the car and going with no set plan or destination

I don’t really know.  I like the idea of taking a break from “real” life these days and especially right now as I am wrapped in the many mixed emotions I deal with being around my parents.  Obviously there is alot of time before anything will be settled and even more so, there are tons of details I would have to address to make any of this happen.

But I’m just wondering, has anyone ever traveled for a few weeks/months and what was your experience?  I’ve found some families who do this and blog about it so I’m checking there too.  Do you have any blogs like that you follow or recommend?

This is in no way shape or form a plan for the future, just me exploring options and being prepared for whatever opportunities may present themselves.


An Anniversary of Sorts

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This month celebrates a year with no regular child support.  I was trying to remember just how much he had contributed this year since he warned me that he would not be able to help last Sept/Oct.  I think over the last 12 months I’ve gotten right at $1000 total in support.

While this definitely created a burden and we had to cut back a bit, we did it and we thrived.  One of my goals back in November was to become independent of it and the twin’s adoption assistance.  And I’m proud to say that I think I’ve met it and exceeded it.

By picking up the two classes at the homeschool co op I was able to pay for the kids’ classes. And by living on last month’s income and picking up extra work here and there, I was able to buy each of the kids some new school clothes (a must for the littles since they still out grow everything every year and a blessing for the twins since they are primarily responsible for their own clothing purchases) and school supplies.

So today I am grateful that we continue to thrive despite unexpected financial down turns, for continued work at times when the “extra” is needed most and for this blogging experience that has continued to keep me in check and on a smart path financially.


Cheap(ish) Birthday Day-Date

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It feels like months have already passed, but hubs’ turned the big 33 the first week of August.

I don’t talk a lot about our relationship on the old bloggy, but given the celebration over his birth I just want to brag on him a minute.

First, he’s a worker. Always has been. When, in this day and age, it seems like everyone is trying to avoid work in favor of the next big “get rich quick” scheme, hubs actually enjoys working. Instead we have the OPPOSITE problem – it’s hard to get him to take a day off!

With all my Dad’s health issues, my last minute trips out-of-state for doctors’ appointments, and starting back to work full-time, hubs has stepped it up BIG TIME! He’s never once complained when I’ve asked him to grab the girls from preschool so I could stay to work late, or when I’ve left him by himself to care for the girls while I’ve flown to be with my Dad. He’s helped out with cleaning and laundry around the house. A little secret is that I’m a terrible ironer. So hubs’ faithfully irons all my work clothes for me so I’m looking pressed and sharp at the office!

I could go on, but we’ll leave it at that. The point is that I really wanted to do something to make hubs feel extra special for his birthday this year, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to do it.

A few months back I started thinking of ideas for hubs’ birthday. What could I do that he really enjoys that doesn’t cost a ton of money? He’s not a big “dinner and movie” type of guy. There’s nothing he really needs right now – no clothing, no cologne, etc. I’ve done the homemade picture/craft gifts before. Then it hit me.

Hubs has a small collection of guns. Me, on the other hand….I’ve never shot a gun. In fact, they kind of scare me. Ours are all locked safely away but I’ve made comments before about how if we ever did have a home invasion, I’d be more likely to shoot myself than the robber! Hubs has tried to convince me to go to the gun range with him, but it’s just not something I’ve really cared about and I’ve never made it a priority. Before having kids it would have been easier, but now it requires special planning, paying a babysitter, etc. And I just didn’t think it was worth the effort.

Soooo, why not schedule a little day-date to go to the gun range so hubs could shoot his guns and he could show me a little about gun safety/handling/shooting, too?

So that’s just what I did!

I started off by lining up a babysitter (which was the most expensive part of this date, by the way).

Then a few days before the date I decided I needed to tell hubs what was going on. He loves surprises so I hated that I’d have to tell him in advance, but there are different shooting ranges for different types of guns and I wanted to let him pick which gun(s) to use and I needed enough time to be able to go buy some ammo for whichever gun(s) he selected. So to try to still make it fun and exciting I decided to make a scavenger hunt. I wish I would’ve taken pictures of the clue cards but I didn’t even think about it! Basically, I had everything set out so he saw the first clue as he walked in the front door. All the clues were about things related to going to the gun range (e.g., one clue said we’d need to wear casual clothes and directed him to go to where he keeps his casual clothing for the next clue). The final clue lead him straight to the gun safe and directed him to select which gun(s) he wanted to take to the gun range! He was surprised and very excited for the weekend!

When the weekend rolled around, I had a babysitter come first thing in the morning. We went to the gun range while it was still early so it would be a bit cooler. As it turns out, we already had enough ammo so I didn’t have to buy anything in anticipation of the date. At the gun range I paid for targets and ear plugs. It was a whopping $7 per person. We spent a couple hours there, then went to a good brunch restaurant to eat. After everything was said and done I spent:

$14 – gun range

$26 – brunch (including tip)

$40 – babysitter

Total:  $80

Granted, eighty bucks is the most I’ve spent on a gift (I believe) since we started our debt-reduction journey. But, as I mentioned, the babysitter was the most expensive part. For someone with willing family in town or if trading childcare with someone else was possible, the total gift would have only been $40!! I feel like that was a pretty good price, considering the enjoyment hubs got out of the gift and the quality time we were able to spend with each other (a true rarity now with me back at work full-time!) And, really, we didn’t have to do brunch. So really we’re talking about a birthday gift that was under twenty bucks (considering just the cost of the gun range).

I think it was a good compromise of not going too crazy with cost, selecting something hubs really enjoyed, and getting to spend some fun time alone together.

And now that I’ve practiced, I feel significantly better about the gun in the lockbox by the side of our bed. Don’t mess with me! ; )

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TVs Anyone – Just Comical

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As I previously mentioned, my ex-husband, Little Gymnast and Princess’ dad recently moved across the country.  Also, as previously mentioned, he stopped paying child support last October due to financial troubles of his own.  Hopefully with this move and the promised job, that will change soon, but when it does it will come as a complete blessing and not something I’m banking on. We are NOT going to discuss him anymore, so please don’t start down that road.  Moving on…

Due to his move and his purging, our house is over-run with TVs.  Remember we will in essentially 3 rooms (2 bedrooms and 1 open living space, that is right at 900 square feet.)  We already have 3 TVs.  One in the main living room where we play video games and watch Netflix, one in the boys room for another game console and one small one that sometimes doubles as a computer monitor for laptops and most just stays put up.  What in the world are we going to do with 2 more good sized TVs?

Of course, the kids won’t let me get rid of them since they are from their dad.  And I understand that for now.

But right now, I’m just giggly that with all that is going on and all that we don’t have…here we are a family of 5 with 5 TVs.  We have 3 rooms and 5 TVs.  We don’t even have cable, don’t really watch TV and we have 5 TVs.

Oh, the irony.  So for now, our dining room that will someday house a table is a storage space for TVs.

Sidenote: He actually brought them several things from his home.  Nothing practical or particularly of interest to them.  But in this matter, I guess it truly is the thought that counts, and I know there is something in all this “stuff” that they will hold on to, since they can no longer hold on to him.

 

 


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